Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

tions avowedly upon the faith of this contemporaneous record which find not the least countenance in its language or its sentiments? Let mankind give the verdict, and faithful history record it.

• AARON V. BROWN. WASHINGTON, D. C., December 14, 1844.

THE FLORIDA TREATY.
From notes furnished by Gov. A. V. Brown.

To the Editors of the Richmond Enquirer :

WASHINGTON City, February 2, 1845. The Florida TreatyGeneral Jackson and Mr. Adams— The

New York Courier and Enquirer-Samuel S. Governeur, Charles J. Ingersoll, and A. V. Brown.

Every intelligent man in the United States is well aware that the treaty of 1819, which secured the Floridas and lost us that part of Louisiana known as Texas, was negociated by John Quincy Adams as Secretary of State, on the part of our government, and Don Louis de Onis, the envoy of Spain; and it is equally known by those who have investigated closely the correspondence which took place between those two diplomatic functionaries, on the part of their respective Governments, that Mr. Adams could have secured for the United States a much better treaty than the one which was negotiated; as will be seen by reference to the communication of Mr. Erving in 1829. But, Don Onis, who was a man of great diplomatic powers, saw that Mr. Adams was not very particular as to boundary, and he took advantage of it, and secured to Spain, independent of other pecuniary advantages, a territory of more importance than the one she lost. In the face of these historical reminiscences, and particularly at this juncture, when the lost territory is anxious to re-annex itself to us, to secure

to her citizens that liberty and independence which had been guarantied to them by the treaty with France, and who had been alienated by a blundering piece of diplomacy, which was inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, so boldly and beautifully asserted by the Hon. Wm. H. Hammett, in his speech upon the question of annexation; the Hon. John P. Kennedy, in his puny efforts to establish for himself a reputation as a statesman and a man of talents, and to shield Mr. Adams from the imputation of having lost sight of the true interests of his country in that negotiation; and being controlled by sectional and geographical feelings rather than those which should belong to a statesman of enlarged views, reiterated the assertion of Mr. Adams, made up from his celebrated diary, which had been sleeping silently ever since, that General Jackson gave his assent to the treaty of Florida before it was negotiated; and that it was submitted to him by Mr. Adams, for an expression of opinion. He said, if the friends of Gen. Jackson denied this assertion, the evidence was in the possession of one of the legal representatives of Mr. Monroe's family, (Samuel S. Governeur,) in a correspondence between Gen. Jackson and Mr. Monroe, which established the facts as stated by Mr. Adams, and recorded in his diary. As a friend of Gen. Jackson, whose fame is the common property of his country, I boldly proclaim, that the assertion of Hon. Mr. Kennedy is not warranted by the facts; and unless he establishes what he asserts, even by his volunteer witness, (Samuel S. Governeur,) who received the lucrative appointment of Postmaster at New York from General Jackson, in consideration of his connection, by marriage, with Mr. Monroe, that he, for veracity, will be placed in the same category with Mr. Adams upon this subject. Upon the mere ipse dixit of this Don Quixotte, the New York Enquirer of January 18th, said that General Jackson was in

“unfortunate dilemma, by denying the assertion of Mr. Adams, that he approved of the treaty of 1819, at the time of its adoption." It further stated, “that Messrs. Charles J. Ingersoll, A. V. Brown, and the Globe, had not hesitated to accuse Mr. Adams of forgery, in order to repel his assertion, sustained as it was by his diary." These extracts show the New York Enquirer's own statements, based upon the authority

an

of Messrs. Adams and Kennedy, of the issue between General Jackson and Mr. Adams. What is it? That Gen. Jackson was consulted before the presentation of the treaty to Don Onis for his signature, and that he approved the Sabine as the boundary. General Jackson has denied emphatically all remembrance of the alleged call of Mr. Adams on him, or himself on Mr. Adams, and also, that he ever received the treaty or returned it, as stated by Mr. Adams, with his approbation of that particular boundary. This issue was made many years ago. In the course of the past year Mr. Adams revived it, and General Jackson met it, in his letter of October 22d, 1844, in the following language:

“I say, in advance of the review I shall take of this extraordinary production, thus heralded before the public on the eve of the Presidential election, that the assertion of my having advised the treaty of 1819, is a barefaced falsehood, without the shadow of proof to sustain it." &c.

Now, is it not evident, from this ready and unequivocal deni. al made by General Jackson himself, that the onus probandi fell upon Mr. Adams? Why, then, was it necessary for such an automaton as John P. Kennedy to reiterate it? The friends of General Jackson call for the proof now, while he is living, and Mr. Kennedy, with the aid of his quandam friend, Samuel S. Governeur, must produce it. They think, that the correspondence, alleged to have taken place between General Jackson and Mr. Monroe, will put the issue between General Jackson and Mr. Adams forever at rest; but they may rest assured that the friends of General Jackson will allow no misstatements of the issue Mr. Adams has averred, viz: a previous consultation, and a previous approbation of that particular boundary; and to the support of this averment, General Jackson and his friends will doubtless hold Mr. Adams and his friends, in all their attempts to escape from the “unfortunate dilemma,” in which he has involved himself, and I shall wait for the promised publication of General Jackson's letters. I can readily imagine how it should be, that Mr. Monroe (long after the signature of the treaty, and when Spain was still hanging out against its ratification, and when there was considerable opposition to it here at home) writing to General Jackson of all the

difficulties by which he had been surrounded in its negotiation, might well receive responses from him approbatory of what he had done, under all the circumstaces of the case; but this would not aid, in the slightest degree, Mr. Adams, in averring that he had held a personal consultation with General Jackson, and secured his previous approbation of the treaty before it was ratified. The points at issue are, that General Jackson denies positively having been consulted personally by Mr. Adams, in relation to the terms of the treaty; and that he never gave his previous approbation to it. Here is the issue, and Mr. Adams and his friends, with the aid of his diary, must sustain it, or the world will award to them an unenviable position in the history of their country. General Jackson has never denied having had a correspondence and consultation with Mr. Monroe, but he denies positively, having had one upon the subject with Mr. Adams. This is the dispute, and Mr. Adams is bound to prove his assertion, with corroborative testimony to sustain his diary, which has never been exhibited to the public gaze. But when did General Jackson ever say or write, that he was dissatisfied with the Florida treaty ab initio? Who pretends that he ever complained of it, or of Mr. Adams' negotiation of it, until he received the communication of Mr. Erving in 1829 ? That communication contained a statement of facts never before known to General Jackson until its reception. In his letter of 1843, to Mr. A. V. Brown, he expressly says—I was filled with astonishment !" At what was he astonished? At the disclosures made to him in the communication of Mr. Erving? Now, here is the starting point, as far as I have any knowledge of the subject, of General Jackson's opposition to the Florida treaty. Before that, he had learned, no doubt, from Mr. Monroe, the general course of the negotiation, and the difficulties which attended it, and he might have thought that Mr. Monroe had done all that was in his power to get a favorable treaty, and, therefore, may have expressed his approbation to him. But how vast the difference in many cases, between recommending the making of a treatybeforehand," and "acquiescing” in one after it had been done, and could not be altered. The case of the late treaty with Great Britain, in relation to our North-eastern boundary, is an apt illustration. How many Senators thought it best to ratify that treaty after it had been made, who would never have made it themselves? But after Mr. Erving's statements were made, General Jackson found that Spain had given express authority to her Minister to surrender as far as the Colorado, or even the Rio Del Norte. He saw, in the face of this express authority, that Mr. Adams had accepted the Sabine, and he was filled “with astonishment,” to use his own emphatic language, at such a dereliction of public duty. Now, it settles nothing between these gentlemen to produce General Jackson's letters to Mr. Monroe, or any body else, written after the treaty, and before Mr. Erving's communication. Within these periods, for aught I know, General Jackson may have approved what had been done. I have had no communication with him on the subject, and only judge of this controversy from what I have seen of it in the public newspapers, and from facts concomitant with the great question upon which it originated,

But if he ever had so approved its consummation, it was for the want of that information which never was communicated to the Senate or the public, but which General Jackson, for the first time, learned from Mr. Erving, our Minister to Spain. It is now well established by the correspondence printed by the order of the House of Representatives, that many parts of the most important communications of Mr. Erving to Mr. Adams were suppressed by him and never went to the Senate at all.Hence, they were never known to the public, and only came to the knowledge of Gen. Jackson, through Mr. Erving's statement. I repeat, therefore, that letters from Gen. Jackson, approving directly or inferentially the Florida treaty, written after the treaty was made and before the communication of Mr. Erving to General Jackson in 1829, can prove nothing on the issues now pending between the parties, nor show anything inconsistent with the publications of Gen. Jackson on the subject.-The letter of Mr. Monroe to Gen. Jackson, and his reply, published in the Globe of the 21st January, does not, in the least sustain Mr. Adams in his assertion, that General Jackson approved of the Treaty before its ratification, which is the question in controversy. This letter is precisely as I anticipated, settling nothing at all of the controversy between General Jackson

« AnteriorContinuar »