Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

No. 14.--Extract of a Letter from Winthrop Sargent, Esq. Sectes

tary of the North-western Territory, to the Secretary of State, dated Cincinnati, June 3d, 1797.

« General Wilkinson sending off an express, I seize the occafion to transcribe for you some paragraphs from a western letter.

“ The Spaniards are reinforcing ; their upper posts on the Misfilippi considerably. General Howard, an Irishman, in quality of commander in chief, with upwards of three hundred men, is arrived at St. Louis, and employed in ereding very formidable works. It likewise appears through various channels, that they are inviting a great number of Indians of the territory to cross the Millisippi; and for this express purpose, Mr. Lorromie, an officer in the pay of the crown, made a tour through all this country last fall, since which time several Indians have been sent on the same errand, and generally furnished with plenty of cash to defray their expenses.

“ A large party of Delawares passed down on White River about the 6th of May, on their way to the Spanish side, bearing the national flag of Spain, some of them from St. Louis.

• They (the Spaniards) have, above the mouth of the Ohio, on the Millilippi, several row-gallies with cannon.”

Preililippine pay of which t

Now, Sir, what inference can be drawn from that letter? Why, that the Spaniards have fortified San Luis, and availed themselves of every means of defence that the country afforded ! But let me ask you, Sir, against whom it is that they were preparing to defend themselves ? Surely the clocuinents which you have laid before the President, and the momentous business which now engages the attention of Congress, and agitates the public at large, afford a complete and satisfactory answer.

I mentioned to you, in my letter of 2d March, that the object of the British was to attack Upper Louisiana, and take San Luis and New Madrid by surprise. It will not be questioned but that prudence required of us at that juncture to fortify the threatened points. This, Sir, was all we did; and this, Sir, you knew many months past : yet Mr. Sargent's letter, which in substance fays no more, fills you all at once with fears and self-created apprehensions, and makes you declare in the face of the American people, " that the Spanish officers are exciting the Indians to a rupture with us." No one will say that preparations for our self-defence were not necessary on our part. The assurance given you by the British minister, with all the appearance of a confidential communication, but without any signature, did not inspire the servants of his Catholic Majesty with the same blind confidence which it produced in you. We know from daily experience how religiously the British nation observes the rights of neutrality.

Witness

Witness the American failors! Witness the republic of Genoa, in whose port they attacked and made prize of the French frigate La Modelte, as she lay at anchor there. Witness the inhabitants of Trinidad, when the British, though then in amity with them,

entered their capitał with drums beating and colours flying, in - pursuit of a few French who had taken refuge there. There, and

other instances of the fort, too numerous to be recapitulated, make us less credulous on the score of Great Britain's respect for the rights of neutrality than you appear to have been.

As to those tender considerations which actuated the British minister to reject the plan on account of the inhumanity of calling in the aid of the Indians, I did expect that such vagne unauthenticated declarations would have been appreciated as they deserved by you, Sir, who have fought in the glorioirs cause of American independence, who witnessed the humanity of their condu&t in the course of that war; and you cannot be ignorant of what has happened lince.

Your ascribing hostile views to the preparations of our selfdefence, cannot, Sir, have been matter of much surprise to me, after having heard a certain member of Congress, who is known to be the organ of the will of the administration, declare in that House, that he ascribed to the same motives the preparations we were making for the defence of Florida, though probably he was not ignorant, at the very time, of their real object. Thus then, Sir, according to your mode of reasoning, and that of the gentleman I have just alluded to, though we were certain of being attacked, and though we were not certain that the American government had taken the proper measures for protecting its neutrality, yet we were to adopt no measures for our defence, but tamr.ely suffer his Majesty's forts and poste lion's to be taken; and all this for fear of creating ill-founded suspicions on your minds!

If you have not been very successful, Sir, in the folidity of your reasonings, you appear not to be more so in the method of following them. After having denounced us to the whole American nation as stirring up the Indians against the United States, and preparing them for a rupture, you fall into the moft glaring inconsistency in the following paragraph :-". Whether this plan of exciting the Indians to direct hoftilities against the United States, has been contemplated and promoted by any of our own citizens, it may be difficult to say ; but that one or more citizens have proposed and taken measures to detach the southern Indians from the interest of the United States, and to destroy the influence of the public agents over those nations, and thus to defeat the great objects of their appointment, the chief of which is to preserve peace, is certain."

I again appeal here, Sir, to your generous candour. How is it poflible to reconcile such evident contradictions? On the one

hand,

Inish officed States ; an foundationes. But whi

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

hand, the Spanish officers are those who excite the southern Indians against the United States; and on the other you quickly allow, presuming, with sufficient foundation, in my opinion, that it may be some citizens of the United States. But although you might entertain any doubts yourself on the subject, which I am fure no person in America will, after reading Mr. Blount's letter, did not this very fame doubtful case and uncertainty require in your fituation more circumspect language? And if, even in this case, you appear to have gone beyond what found policy, the tranquillity and interest of the United States, sequired, how much more unjust are your insinuations against Spain, when the public pofieis, in Mr. Blount's letter, a document by which they can fee, that, if the manæuvres with the Indians were not favourable to the United States, thev were precisely combined to attack the Spaniards ? From this method of reasoning of yours, it appears as if the Spaniards were, jointly with Mr. Blount, stirring up the Indians to attack themselves.

Respecting the last article of your report, I have only to obsérve, that although you have constantly assured me that government had not the least information respecting the subject of my representations, and although the letter of Mr. Jackson, of Georgia, appears to coincide with your ideas, nevertheless time has shown that I have complied with my duty by not sepofing on such assurance. The plot is discovered, and nobody any longer doubts that the expedition was to have taken place.

After having followed you step by step through the various points of your report to the Prefident, I shall make a short compendiųm of such as arise from this letter; from which it results,

1. That on the 27th of February I gave you sufficient particulars respecting the intended expedition, to have attracted the attention of this government.

2. That although to this verbal communication I added another in writing on the 2d of March, the President had not the least knowledge of it on the gih of the same month; and that, without doubt, you must have had very powerful motives to prevent you from communicating it to him.

3. That it does not appear by the documents presented by the secretary of war, that government had given orders to the military commanders to cause the territory and neutrality of the United States to be respected,

4. That you made to the English minister a communication, which in my opinion you ought not; and that, even if you thought it neceflary, you delayed doing it for two months, that is, from the 27th of February to the 28th of April, although it respected a mofi urgent and important object.

5. That 5. That the Baron de Carondelet could very well have received my letters, without its fecellarily following that his had coine to hand.

6. That the Baron did not represent Mr. Ellicott's not write ing to him officially as a complaint, but as an observation; and that, in fact, he never has done it in those terms. ; : ;

7. That the proofs you allege to exculpate Mr. Ellicott, refpecting his intentions of taking the fort of Natchez by surprife, are purely negative.

8..That it is not merely pretences, but very powerful reafons, which have impeded the evacuation of the posts, and the tunning of the boundary line.

9. That the infinuations with which you are willing to pers. fuade the American people that our arming is directed againt them, are unjust as well as unfounded, as, by Mr. Blount's letter, it is clearly demonstrated to be a precaution for the mere purpofe of defence. :

10. That you evidently contradict yourself, when, on 'one hand, you are pleafed to attribute to us the movements of the Indians, and, in the very next paragraph, you show it might proceed from American citizens, as it actually does according to Mr. Blount's letter ; and that he acted with the knowledge and intelligence of the very fame British minister, in whofe private notes, without hgnature, and perhaps not of his own hand-writing, you place fuch implicit confidence. ,

11. That although, in all your official communications, you have always manifefted to me that the American government knew of nothing which indicated any foundation for my furpicions, Mr. Blount's letter clearly proves that I was perfectly in the right.

I have thus fulfiled a very disagreeable duty. Always' delir.. ous to contribute to strengthen the bands of friendship which unite Spain and America, and to which their fituarion, their wants, and resources, invite them, I have seen with the moft profound grief, that the language and tenour of your communication to the President, is not, in my opinion, calculated to promote so defirable an object to us all. For my part, although I shall leave nothing undone to cement the union and harmony with a nation which I refpeét, neither shall I ever fuffer the interests of the King, my mafter, in any case whatever, to be sacrificed to an unjust partiality. I pray God to preserve you many years.

Your most obedient humble servant,

CARLOS MARTINEZ DÉ YrUJO, Philadelphia, July !!, 1797.

Voz, VII.

Speech

hence, and addublic inconvekelirable to aceilature at forbe city

Speech of the American President, on the opening of the Congress,

Thursday, Nov. 23, 1797. :
Gentlemen of the Senate, and Gentlemen of the

House of Representatives, 7 WAS for some time apprehensive that it would be necessary,..on account of the contagious sickness which affected the city of Philadelphia, to convene the national legislature at some other place. This measure it was desirable to avoid, because it would occafion much public inconvenience, and a considerable public expense, and add to the calamities of the inhabitants of this city, whose sufferings must have excited the sympathy of all their fellow-citizens. Therefore, after taking measures to ascertain the ftate and decline of the sickness, I postponed my determination, having hopes, now happily realized, that, without hazard to the lives or health of the members, Congress inight assemble at this place, where it was fixed by law to meet. I submit, however, to your consideration, whether a power to postpone the meeting of Congress, without passing the time fixed by the constitution upon such occasions, would be an useful amendinent to the law of one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four. :. Although I cannot yet congratulate you on the re-establishment of peace in Europe, and the restoration of security to the persons and properties of our citizens froin injustice and violence at sea, we have, nevertheless, abundant cause of gratitude to the Source of benevolence and influence, for interior tranquillity and perfonal security, for propitious seasons, prosperous agriculture, productive. fisheries, and general improvements; and, above all, for a national spirit of civil and religious liberty, and a calm but steady determination to support our sovereignty, as well as ous moral and religious principles, against all open and secret attacks. - Our envoys extraordinary to the French republic embarked, one in July, the other in August, to join their colleagues in Holland : I have received intelligence of the arrival of both of

them in Holland, from whence they all proceeded on their jour..ney to Paris, within a few days of the 19th of September.

Whatever may be the result of this inifsion, I trust that nothing will have been omitted on my part to conduct the negotiation to a successful conclusion, on such equitable terms as may be compatible with the safety, honour, and interests of the United States. Nothing, in the mean time, will contribute so much to the preservation of peace, and the attainment of justice, as a manifestation of the energy and unanimity of which, on many former occasions, the people of the United States have given fuch memorable proofs, and the exertion of those resources for na

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »