First session of the fourth Congress.—Resolution pro­posed by Mr. S. Smith for checking the British treaty.—Hints respecting that paper.—Attempts to involve America in a French war.—Sketch of the state of France, by Edmund Burke.—Contrast between her and the United States.—Scanty pay of the Federal army.—Fatal effects of a rupture with France.—Camillus.—His mistakes as to the state of Europe.—Mr. Pinckney.—His opinion of the advantage of delaying a British treaty.—At­tempts to irritate France.—Extreme danger of doing so.—Real authors of the misunderstanding.— Montgaillard's prediction.—Notice to the patrons of a certain gazette.—Concluding remarks, 1
Character of Mr. Gallatin.—Connecticut poetry.— Major Jackson.—John Watts.—The Boston Federal Orrery.—Curtius.—His exaggerated statement of British resources.—Remarks on paper [Page iv] money.—Causes of the preference of Britain to France in the federal party.—Democratical con­spiracy developed by Curtius.—Defence of Jeffer­son, Madison, Giles, Parker, Christie, &c.—Fables from Pittsburgh.—Curious presentment by a grand jury in Georgia.—Purity of Boston, 31
Federal artifices to promote a French quarrel.— Howe's landing at the head of Elk.—Jacobins not worse than other people.—Burgoyne's picture of the British East-India Company.—Recent stoppage of the bank of England.—Robespierre eclipsed by Pitt.—Amount of the yearly rental of Britain.— Note on the state-house of Hartford.—Number of the public creditors of England.—The triumph of Camillus.—Moral certainty of American indemni­fication for British piracy.—Mercantile apathy for the sufferings of American seamen.—Impressment at Jeremie.—Pinckney.—Jay.—Neck or nothing forgeries of Pitt.—Dependence of the British West-Indies on the United States.—Fallacies of Camil­lus.—What Jay should have said to Grenville, 74
British piracies on American shipping in 1796.—Case of the schooner John.—Of Capt. Samuel Green.— British privateers built in the United States.— Skirmish in Port Jeremie between the Americans and Capt. Reynolds.—Impressments by the Severn, the Hermoine, and the Regulus.—Twelve Ameri­cans whipt.—Case of the brig Fanny.—Of the ship Bacchus.—The Swallow.—The Paragon.—The [Page v] Voluptas.—The Lydia.—The Hannah.—Fray at Liverpool; and rout of a press-gang.—The Friend­ship.—The Ocean.—Letter from Samuel Bayard.— The brig Polly.—Vigilance of the American to­ries.—The Hannah of Baltimore.—The ship Di­na, of New-York.—The ship Polly, Captain Mayo, 122
Federal plan for a French War.—Specimen of French justice.—The Sea Horse.—The Musquito.—Re­marks on the British treaty by Mr. Gallatin.— Reply by Mr. Tracy.—Hints on the western in­surrection.—Case of the brig Maria Wilman, cap­tain Oaks.—The schooner William, captain Scott. Despotic influence of the tories in American sea-ports.—Elegant style of some of their publications. The Polly, captain Wade.—The Edward and William, captain Jones.—The Ariel.—The brig Sisters.—Capture of the brig Jay, by the French, and barbarous treatment of the captain.—Mr. JAY'S INSTRUCTIONS.—Extracts from them NE­VER BEFORE published.—Proofs of his neglect of orders.—Anecdotes relative to the British treaty, 151
British depredations continued.—Mercantile selfish­ness.—The brig Fame.—The schooner Andrew.— Joshua Whiting.—The brig Columbia.—The sloop Dove.—The May Flower.—The Eliza.—Murder of captain Bosson.—Snuff Excise.—Memoirs of ALEXANDER HAMILTON, late Secretary of the [Page vi] Treasury.—His singular mode of correspondence with certain persons.—Remarks on his connection with Reynolds, 189
Farther observations on the correspondence between Messrs. Hamilton and Reynolds.—Singular mode of secrecy in framing the federal constitution, and of discussing Jay's treaty.—Defence of General Mason.—Report to President Adams, by Mr. Pickering, on French captures.—Singular style of that paper.—Defamatory charge by Judge Iredell to a grand jury in Virginia.—Their pitiful pre­sentment.—Defence of Mr. Cabell.—Curious let­ter to Mr. John Beckley.—Observations on the PURITY of the federal government.—Specimens of the mode of travelling in America.—A trip to New-York, 228
Proceedings of Congress.—Affair of Randall and Whitney.—Plan of appointing a short-hand wri­ter.—Debates on the federal city.—Act of Appro­priation.—Debates on the call for Jay's instruc­tions.—Strange answer of the President.—Appro­priations for the British treaty.—Explanation of the conduct of Mr. Muhlenberg.—Singular multi­plicity of petitions in favour of appropriating for the British treaty.—Rise of the session.—Summary of events till the end of the year 1796, 277


IN January last, I published The American Annual Register for 1796. My collection of materials required more room than had been expected, and it was found necessary to close the volume without completing the plan.

Some gentlemen, who wished to see the publication proceed, offered to assist by subscriptions for a second volume. But this was unsuitable, because persons who had not seen the for­mer one could not with propriety be asked to subscribe for a continuation of it. I therefore began the same task over again under a different title page. The subject was fertile, and repe­titions of what had been said already have been avoided with so much care that they do not, in whole, extend to near half a page.

On the appearance of the former volume, certain critics complained of my stile. The roughness of their own, in the instant of condemnation, afforded the best apology for the faults of mine. But moreover these refined literati were the patrons and prompters of William Cobbet. He had spoke of me, with his wonted politeness, in ten or twelve pamphlets. It was proper, as it seems, that I should be silent, because the two chaplains of Congress, the secretaries of state and of the treasury were in the number of his auxiliaries or admirers. I would not injure Mr. Cobbet by comparing him with his em­ployers. The bench and jury who assassinated lord Stafford were still more execrable than Titus Oates.

In this catalogue of the patrons of genius we find Mr. Ro­bert Liston. The British ambassador, not contented with paying Mr. Cobbet for his labours, receives a daily bundle of his gazettes. No person possessing the feelings of a gentle­man would suffer that commodity to come within his door. Such intermeddling from a foreign envoy would not be endured by any independent country in the world, unless in the United States of America. A French envoy at London, or an English ambassador at Paris, never sets up a newspaper to recommend [Page viii] his measures. Neither the old monarchy nor the present republic of France, would, for a single day, have endured such a connec­tion. In London, where the spirit of national independence is understood and felt, the first news of the Morning Chronicle being supported by a French pension, would level the prin­ter's office with the pavement. But Mr. Liston goes farther. He corresponds with internal traitors. He is detected, and the most despicable, or rather the most prostituted of all cabinets, hath accepted of his refusal to reveal their names. To trace the conspiracy, Congress appoints a committee of five mem­bers. Of these, three are tories, and one of them is Robert Goodloe Harper, the intimate friend of Liston, the adviser of a Spanish war, and of the conquest of Mexico. This is a new way to discover plots.

When the fifth number of this book was published, Mr. Alexander Hamilton printed, in Mr. Fenno's gazette, a deni­al of his connection with Reynolds. He has now come from New-York to complete a satisfactory statement. Like the pot whitewashing the kettle, he has already received from Mr. Wolcot a certificate of his virtue. He is, at present, also solici­ting Mr. Monroe and Mr. Muhlenberg, on both of whom he had heaped mountains of calumny. Mr. Hamilton entreats them, to attest his innocence, that is to say, their belief of his having debauched Mrs. Reynolds.

The variety of articles transmitted for revisal and publication was unexpected, and many have been delayed for want of room. The denial of access to subscribers appeared an ungra­cious task. A compliance with their wishes made it necessa­ry to shorten the latter part of the narrative, and to leave out some entire chapters that were prepared for the press. This gives to the volume a miscellaneous texture, which the rigid remark­er is entitled to condemn. At another time, I shall perhaps do better.

A report has been circulated, that Mr. John Beckley is the author of this volume. He did not frame a single sentence of it. He is unacquainted with my hand writing, and I could not be sure to distinguish his.


History of the United States, &c.


First session of the fourth Congress.—Resolution pro­posed by Mr. S. Smith for checking the British treaty.—Hints respecting that paper.—Attempts to involve America in a French war.—Sketch of the state of France, by Edmund Burke.—Contrast between her and the United States.—Scanty pay of the Federal army.—Fatal effects of a rupture with France.—Camillus.—His mis [...]akes as to the state of Europe.—Mr. Pinckney.—His opinion of the advantage of delaying a British treaty.—At­tempts to irritate France.—Extreme danger of doing so.—Real authors of the misunderstanding.— Montgaillard's prediction.—Notice to the patrons of a certain gazette.—Concluding remarks.

AT the beginning of the year 1796, the fourth Congress of the United States were in their first session. On the 4th of January, Mr. Samuel Smith laid on the table of the Representatives a resolution in these words: ‘That from and after the [...] day of [...] it shall not be lawful for any foreign ship or vessel to land in the territories of the United States any goods, wares, or merchandize other than the produce of that country to which the ship or vessel belongs. This proposal was professedly pointed at the treaty of [Page 2] commerce with Britain, which had been signed at London on the 19th of November, 1794, by Mr. John Jay, as envoy on the part of Ame­rica. Mr. S. Smith opposed that instrument. He said in Congress, that, within two years, it might be expected to destroy the shipping of this country. The fifteenth article of the treaty has these words: ‘Nor shall any prohibition be imposed on the ex­portation or the importation of any articles to or from the territories of the two parties respec­tively, which shall not equally extend to all other nations.’ Thus the resolution was in strict har­mony with the conditions of the treaty; yet, if the United States shall ever carry it into execution, the treaty itself will, in some measure, be at an end. Britain could find a thousand effective ways of ex­pressing her disgust at this regulation, which would incommode her much more than the other mari­time states of Europe. Still she would have less reason to complain than any nation in the world, because the resolution is grounded on the princi­ple assumed in the English act of navigation*.

The treaty in question has produced many vo­lumes of elaborate investigation. Since the new constitution, no other subject has excited so gene­ral an effort of the ingenuity, the eloquence, and [Page 3] the passions of America. It was this emergency which marked out the present year as more emi­nently deserving of historical notice. The mat­ter itself daily grows in importance, as this transac­tion has brought the United States to the verge of a French war. Few have leisure to read, and still fewer have information or even capacity ade­quate to comprehend a great part of the complica­ted arguments employed for or against it. To at­tempt a detail of the topics on each side would be a voluminous, and by this time, almost an use­less undertaking. The public has already become satiated with essays, letters, memorials, replies, ob­servations, features, reports, addresses, views, vin­dications, defences, paragraphs, resolutions, peti­tions, explanations, proceedings of town meetings, motions, and speeches. Within the short space of eighteen months, the argument has entirely shifted its place. The stress of the debate can be no longer about whether the British treaty is advantageous or prejudicial to American commerce; but whether it is worth preserving at the risk of a French war. That the Directory of Paris have this object some­what in their eye is most likely. The recall of their ambassador, citizen Adet, was a broad inti­mation of their design. In Europe, such a step is the professed signal for hostilities. It is as certain that a party in this country are solicitous of driving the United States into that contest. If a croud of other evidences could be forgotten, their absence is supplied by the letter from secretary Pickering to Mr. Pinckney our ambassador to the French re­public. At the same time, attempts are constantly made to decry the power of France. When a French general chances to retreat, the newspapers of the party teem with exultation. The republic at large is invariably represented as a rendezvous of [Page 4] ruffians, a nuisance to civilized society. It is im­possible that the French should fail of being offen­ded at such unprovoked insolence. They hire no gazettes in Paris to revile America. They do not fill libraries in censuring our political characters. Yet our federal prints attack, on every occasion, both the republic and all her friends, in the most vulgar style of abuse. Even the ministerial prints of London, the organs of Rose and Dundas, are, by many degrees, less insolent in their invective, and less brutal in their reproach*.

Before going farther, we shall glance at the cha­racter and actual state of the French, whom Mr. Pickering and his friends are so anxious to degrade. In preparing for a quarrel it is essential to be ac­quainted with the talents and resources of your an­tagonist. The situation of our citizens, thinly dis­persed over an immense continent, affords a pecu­liar avenue to deception. It has been employed with diligence against the republic. On a topic [Page 5] of such universal Importance candid explanation can hardly be tedious. No better authority will be required than that of Edmund Burke. Two letters from him on this head have been recently printed. A few detached sentences, extracted from whole sheets to the same purpose, will place the resources of France in a just light, and shew what the United States have to expect in a contest with her. ‘Out of the tomb of the murdered monar­chy in France, has arisen a vast, tremendous, unformed spectre, in a far more terrific guise than any which ever yet overpowered the imagi­nation and subdued the fortitude of man.—The republic has actually conquered the finest parts of Europe, has distressed, disunited, deranged, and broke to pieces all the rest.—We have not in the slightest degree, impaired the strength of the com­mon enemy, (France), in any one of those points in which his particular force consists.—The re­gicide has received our advances with scorn*!— If things should give us the comparative happi­ness of a struggle, I shall be found dying by the side of Mr. Pitt.—Spain is a province of the ja­cobin empire.—Her crown is a fief of regicide.— We have not considered, as we ought, the dread­ful energy of a state in which the property has nothing to do with the government.—The disco­very is dreadful, the mine exhaustless.—A repub­lic of a character the most restless, the most en­terprising, the most impious, the most fierce and bloody, the most hypocritical and perfidious, the most bold and daring that has ever been seen, or indeed that can be conceived to exist!’

Mr. Burke is far from being singular in his pa­nic. Major Cartwright, in his work, entitled, The [Page 6] Commonwealth in Danger, shews the folly of Eng­land depending for safety, solely on her fleet. The French may give battle by sea, be defeated, and lose twenty ships of the line, without material in­jury. They know that the English must be crip­pled and return to port. The road is then open, and they disembark in Britain what troops they please. The major adds, that, previous to the vic­tory of the 1st of June, 1794, admiral Howe was reviled for not beating the French fleet; but even then, he only did so because the French came pur­posely in his way. They also, by sacrificing a few ships of the line, gained their object. This was to secure the arrival of an American convoy with provisions. Arthur Young, a third writer of emi­nence, has demonstrated the depth of his despair by the following proposal; viz. that England should raise an army of five hundred thousand men; and that they, as well as their officers, must all be men of property. He says that nothing else can save the country from a French conquest. This was above two years ago*. These authorities con­firm the lamentations of Mr. Burke. As to his picture of what France can perform, we may judge by what she hath suffered. In March, 1795, Du­mourier printed at Hamburgh, a very interesting pamphlet on the state of the war. He therein says, that, in December, 1794, a report was laid before the Convention of the number of soldiers whom France had lost by her three campaigns. They were stated at six hundred and fifty thousand. Du­mourier adds, that this computation was by one-third part less than the truth; and that, including emigration, famine, and the scaffold, France had [Page 7] then lost twelve hundred thousand men, in the flow­er of life, besides aged persons, women and chil­dren. Compared with this havoc of the human species, the waste of any other modern war is but trifling. The king of Prussia estimates that the war of 1756, which lasted seven years, destroyed, in the whole, and in all parts of the world, only about a million of soldiers. To the twelve hundred thousand Frenchmen we may safely add eight hundred thou­sand from the allied armies; since the latter were equally numerous with the republicans, and besides were beaten. We have thus about two millions of deaths, in two years and four months, or above eight hundred thousand per annum; so that the present war is at least five times more destructive than that of 1756.

No other nation or government that the world ever saw, could have supported such enormous losses as the French have endured; yet their strength appears undiminished, and every campaign adds to the catalogue of their conquests. It is not less than madness for a party in America to be hiring newspapers to revile such a terrible people. They are not only most formidable from their physical strength, but from the peculiar structure of their government. ‘It is systematic; says Mr. Burke, it is simple to its principle; it has unity and con­sistency in perfection.’ [Congress have refused to impose a land tax. Nay some of them, with surprising hardiness, declare such a measure imprac­ticable, though land taxes are at this moment paid in perhaps every state of the union. Pennsylvania has three or four. Opposed to this frivolity, this puppet-shew of legislation, observe what Burke tells of France:] ‘In that country, entirely to cut off a branch of commerce, to extinguish a manufac­ture, to destroy the circulation of money, to [Page 8] violate credit, to suspend the course of agricul­ture, even to burn a city or to lay waste a pro­vince of their own, does not cost them a moment's anxiety.—Going straight forward to its end, un­appalled by peril, unchecked by remorse, despi­sing all common maxims and all common means, that hideous phantom overpowered those who could not believe it possible she could at all exist!

This is the sort of enemy whom we may chance to encounter, as the price of the British treaty, and the epistle of Mr. Pickering. When in parlia­ment, Mr. Burke was considered as the best in­formed member of the House of Commons. He has long been the oracle of English aristocracy. He is a pensioner to Pitt, and would be sorry to overcharge the picture of French power.

It is serving America, to make a short comparison between the relative force of the two nations. The French, in only four years, have overcome the German empire, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the Netherlands, comprehending not less than fifty millions of people. The United States, white, black and yellow, have not five millions. The French have drubbed three British kingdoms, with their popula­tion of fourteen millions, and crushed numerous con­spiracies and rebellions in the heart of their country. The revolt of La Vendee alone cost as much fight­ing as passed in America during the revolution. Pichegru, in one campaign, did what Marlborough, though constantly victorious, could not accomplish in ten.

In 1794, France maintained nearly eleven hun­dred thousand fighting men, and was, in 1795, to have sixty thousand cannoneers*. In 1797, Ame­rica, by the report of Oliver Wolcot, was to [Page 9] require an army of three thousand five hundred and twenty-four men, including officers, cadets, ar­tificers, and twenty-seven surgeons. Even this handful cost infinite haggling in Congress*; and the greatest anxiety how they were to be paid. The French are the best appointed troops, perhaps, in the world. From an immense distance, they have been often transported in waggons to the field of battle. The pay of American regulars is abso­lute beggary. The privates have a ration per day worth twenty cents, or seventy two dollars and eigh­ty cents a year. Their pay is four dollars per month, or forty-eight dollars a year. An annual suit of clothes are valued at twenty-five dollars, so that the accounts stands thus;

Rations, 7280
Pay, 48 
Clothes, 25 

Every man who can handle an axe may gain dou­ble the sum, and have his victuals into the bargain. For such a pittance our soldiers, in war, penetrate the wilderness to fight an enemy who give no quar­ter. In peace they are cooped up in garrisons from whence they dare not stray above a gun shot, and where they have been often in the utmost dis­tress for necessaries. Thousands of horses, in at­tempting to carry supplies through the desart, have consumed their loads, and died of hunger. Ge­neral Wayne, it is said, lost his life at lake Erie, for want of two ounces of castor oil.

Such is the present balance by land between the [Page 10] regular forces of France and the United States. They are as one man to three or four hundred. Our expences equal or exceed our revenues. Congress have refused to attempt a land tax. All other sources are about exhausted; and a war with France, by the ruin of our commerce, would certainly cut off a great part of those arising from it. Nine parts in ten of the public taxes proceed from the duties on impost and tonnage. In the land tax debates of Congress, last winter, Mr. Harper strangely said, that, if at war with France, our trade would not, in his opinion, suffer more than it does already. He inferred that our revenues would not, by that event, be materially reduced.

If we look at the sea there is no prospect of suc­cess in a contest with France. We have on the stocks three frigates. Of their navy an exact ac­count cannot here be given, but it has, for a centu­ry, been the second in Europe. It lately was said to contain three hundred and thirty-seven vessels. An hundred and twenty one were ships of the line. Of these the least carry seventy four guns*. They would, in a contest with America, be seconded by Spain, Portugal, and Holland. Against this immen­sity of numbers, our Lilliput squadron would be like three pismires in the gullet of a crocodile, or three grains of chaff in the charge of a six pounder. But then our privateers can destroy their com­merce! Yes. And they shall destroy ours. Thus, as Henry Fielding says, we sell a blind horse and receive a bad note in payment. Our seaport towns, from Portland to Savannah, will be successively trans­formed into a range of bonfires. The shutting up of the Mediterranean and the western waters would compose but an atom in the Alps of our calamity. [Page 11] In a struggle with France alone, unsupported by her allies, we could not muster a tenth part of her force either by land or sea. Mr. Pitt computed, in the House of Commons, that the campaign of 1794, cost the republic an hundred and fifty millions ster­ling. Ours with the Wyandots were estimated at a million of dollars yearly. The burden produced infi­nite discontent, and an earnest desire of peace. France, at an annual charge three or six hundred times grea­ter, continues to fight and to conquer, to trample every enemy, and to dictate the terms of every peace. To contend, if we can help it, with this re­publican Typhoeus would, in rashness, resemble the last struggles of Jerusalem and Palmira. On the altars of Titus and Aurelian we might read with probability the prospect before us.

As a political writer, Alexander Hamilton holds the same rank in America that Burke enjoys in Eng­land; and it would be injuring the logic of his party not to give his opinion. Camillus, No. vii. was published in the summer of 1795, and contains a survey of Europe extremely different from that of Mr. Burke. ‘It cannot be denied that she (Britain) is triumphant on the ocean; that the acquisitions which she has made upon France are hitherto greater than those which France has made upon her.’ The reduction of two or three islands in the West Indies is not worth notice in this contest, where the independence of Britain is in imminent danger. When No. vii. was written, the French had conquered Holland, and the Austrian Netherlands. ‘Holland, says Mr. Burke, is to England a matter of value inestimable. * By the conquest of the low countries, France forms a semicircle around the British islands. Hence, while the fleet [Page 12] of England lies wind-bound at Spithead, or is in any other given situation, the French, by taking an opposite point of the compass, can, at their leisure, disembark an army on the coast of Britain or Ireland. For excluding them, an hundred ships of the line and an hundred canoes would be of equal importance. This, by the way, points out the folly of a favourite British maxim, that he who is master by sea is master by land. While the Ne­therlands, therefore, continue a part of the repub­lic, it is frivolous to speak of British conquests in the East or West Indies, or indeed any where else. They signify no more ‘"Than Caesar's arm, when Caesar's head is off."’

‘If, on the one hand, she (Britain) owes an im­mense debt, on the other she possesses an immense credit, which there is no symptom of being im­paired. British credit has become, in a British mind, an article of faith, and is no longer an ob­ject of reason.’ [Thus Camillus tells us that the creditors of England are fools. The prospects of a merchant are not very hopeful, when no man of prudence will trust him. Yet such is the condi­tion of England as described by its advocate.] ‘Her government possesses, internally, as much vigor, and has as much national support, as it perhaps ever had at any former period of her history. Alarmed by the unfortunate excesses in France, most men of property cling to the government, and carry with them the great bulk of the nation, almost the whole of the farming interest, and much the greatest proportion of other industri­ous classes.’

Mr. Burke has the advantage of being on the spot; [Page 13] and he dissents entirely from Mr. Hamilton. He estimates the number of British citizens who think for themselves, at four hundred thousand. Of these he computes that eighty thousand are ‘pure jacobins, utterly incapable of amendment.— On these, no reason, no argument, no example, no venerable authority, can have the slightest in­fluence. They desire a change, and they will have it if they can.—This minority is great and formi­dable. I do not know whether, if I aimed at the to­tal overthrow of a kingdom, I should wish to be en­cumbered with a larger body of partisans * The London Courier, of the 26th of December, 1796, affirms, that these two letters were published by the connivance of the minister. Burke has pensions to the effective amount of about four thousand pounds sterling, so that this supposition becomes highly pro­bable. Thus the authority of Pitt is superadded to that of Burke, and they explode the opinion of Ca­millus. Each succeeding campaign is an additional nail driven into the head of monarchy. Every new tax makes a number of new enemies. Here we per­ceive three distinct causes for a British revolution. These are, a superior and implacable enemy on the continent, whose local position makes a Bri­tish navy useless; a national debt, which by this time approaches to four hundred millions sterling, and of which the very interest can be paid only in paper; and a party within the country whose enmity cannot be extinguished, and who, by the confession of their enemies, are abundantly numerous for the destruction of any government in the world. ‘Among her allies, says Camillus, are the two greatest powers of Europe, France excepted; namely, Russia and Austria. Spain and Sardinia [Page 14] make a common cause with her.’ The two lat­ter have been turned by France into mere stepping stones in her path to the dominion of Europe. Rus­sia never gave any help, more or less, to the crown­ed coalition. Catharine is now dead; and her son has declined any concern with it. But even if he did send an army to the Rhine, Britain would be obliged to pay them. As for Austria, Jasper Wilson, in his celebrated letter to Mr. Pitt, says, that, before the present war began, the Emperor was offering nine per cent for money, so that by this time he must be as much entangled in debt as England herself. Nothing but arbitrary power could enable him to pay even a single regiment. This will not hold out long. ‘She (France) cannot, without great dif­ficulty, from their geographical position, make any farther acquisitions upon the territories of Austria.’ Carnot is a better geographer than Mr. Hamilton. Since this prediction, Moreau and Jour­dan have penetrated into the heart of Germany. They have subdued a multitude of its princes, and were within a small matter of reaching Vienna. As to Italy, Buonaparte has eclipsed every commander since Telesinus and Sylla engaged under the walls of Rome. Hear what Burke says: ‘The over-running of Lombardy, the subjugation of Pied­mont, the possession of its impregnable fortresses, the seizing on all the neutral states of Italy, our expulsion from Leghorn, instances renewed for our expulsion from Genoa, Spain rendered sub­ject to them and hostile to us, Portugal bent un­der the yoke, half the empire over-run and rava­ged*.’ This is the picture of 1796. Yet, in reliance on the political foresight of Camillus, a nu­merous party in the United States have filled, and [Page 15] continue to fill their newspapers with scurrilous ca­lumnies against the French nation. They insulted her ambassador, even after he had been recalled; and, as if this had not been enough to ensure a rupture, Mr. Pickering sent a letter to Mr. Pinckney in France which is more in the tone of a libel than a diploma­tic paper. When the blind lead the blind, we know the sequel. With regard to Europe, Mr. Hamilton is, in all his views, mistaken. This lamp of politi­cal wisdom, has conducted America to the edge of a precipice from which General Washington saw fit to retire. It is of consequence to expose the sophistry of Mr. Hamilton, that our enlightened citizens may see by what ignorance they have been led into the present crisis. We shall, on this account, pick up two or three others of his mistakes.

"Britain and her possessions are essentially safe," says Camillus, ‘while she maintains a decided maritime superiority.’ Burke, in one of his letters, speaking of the war of 1689, says, that ‘in two years three thousand vessels were taken from the English trade.’ In every war, the com­merce of Britain suffers prodigiously. The present state of the West Indies shews that a superior fleet cannot always preserve her islands. Witness the recapture of Guadaloupe, the conflagration of St. Vincents, Grenada, and St. Lucia! But the expedi­tion of Hoche, to Ireland, is the best refutation of Mr. Hamilton. Some people speak of the British navy as if it could be present every where at the same time. If twenty-five thousand Frenchmen had disembarked at Bantry bay, a march of two days would have brought them to Corke, a city as large as Philadelphia, disaffected to government, and besides entirely defenceless. Another week would be suf­ficient for reaching Dublin. The temper of its citizens appears by a letter from the viceroy. [Page 16] He boasts of having a militia of two thousand bar­risters, attornies, merchants, and such people. But these men would not mount guard, if they durst em­ploy the poorer classes to do so for them. Dublin has between two and three hundred thousand inha­bitants, and if the bulk of them had been well affec­ted, the militia might have amounted to twenty thousand. His lordship says that the whole mili­tia of the island are about twenty-five thousand. This is a pitiful portion in a population of four mil­lions*. It is hard to say whether the catholics of Connaught or the protestants of Ulster would feel the greatest impatience to join an invader. Thus the left arm of England would be cut off without, perhaps, even the honour of a battle. This is the essential safety that Mr. Hamilton speaks about.

In defiance of geography and history, Camil­lus next endeavours to undervalue the conquest of the Netherlands. ‘France must be still more fa­tigued and exhausted even than her adversaries. Her acquisitions cannot materially vary this con­clusion; the Low Countries must have been pret­ty well emptied before they fell into her hands.’ He has more to the same effect. They are inhabi­ted by about six millions of industrious people, among the richest in the world. The acquisition was of immense importance. If Brussels and Am­sterdam had been reduced to ashes, and if a famine [Page 17] like those produced by British monopolies in Ben­gal, had whitened the whole country with the bones of its inhabitants, Camillus might have some reason for this insinuation. The French did not think that Holland was emptied, as appears from their first requisition. Among other articles, they demanded two hundred thousand quintals of wheat, seventy-five millions of pounds weight of hay, fifty millions ditto of oats, and hundred and fifty thousand pairs of shoes, two hundred thousand shirts, with straw, breeches, coats, waistcoats, overalls, hats, and so forth, all in one month, besides twelve thousand ox­en to be furnished within two months. This enume­ration shews the inaccuracy of Camillus, and what may be expected if the French disembark at Mud island.

‘The British government maintains a proud and distant reserve, repels every idea of peace, and inflexibly pursues the path of war.’ Mr. Burke's two letters are half filled with lamentations for the debasement of England. They hold out a ludi­crous refutation of Alexander Hamilton. ‘The regicides were the first, saith St. Edmund, to declare war. We are the first to sue for peace.— The speech from the throne in the opening of the session of 1795, threw out oglings and glances of tenderness. Lest this coquetting should seem too cold and ambiguous, the violent passion for a re­lation to the regicides, produced,’ &c. This is the proud and distant reserve described by Camillus.— ‘I do not know a more mortifying spectacle than to see the assembled majesty of the crowned heads of Europe waiting as patient suitors in the anti-chamber of Regicide. They wait, it seems, un­til the sanguinary tyrant, Carnot, shall have snor­ted away the indigested fumes of the blood of his sovereign.’ The remainder of this scene [Page 18] is admirably painted; but our envoy, Mr. Pinck­ney, is not, it appears, admitted even to the anti-chamber. He has been desired to quit the coun­try. ‘At this second humiliation it might not have been amiss to pause and not to squander away the fund of our submissions. A report from the Committee of Agriculture at London affirms, that the lands lying waste in Britain, could be encreas­ed in value by twenty millions sterling a year! They deferred this acquisition to manufacture French kings.— ‘At Basle, it was thought proper that Great Britain should appear at this market, and bid with the rest for the mercy of the people-king.’ This is that republic which the Ameri­can emissaries of England are so busy in provoking.

Mr. Burke then relates two fruitless applications made by England, the one at Berlin, by our friend Robert Hammond, and the other at Paris through the Danish ambassador. Both were rejected. ‘It might be thought that here, at length, we had touched the bottom of humiliation; our lead was brought up covered with mud. But in the lowest deep, a lower deep was to open for us still more profound abysses of disgrace and shame. However, i [...] we leaped!.—The question is not now how we are to be affected with it in regard to dignity. That is gone. I shall say no more about it. Light lie the earth on the ashes of English pride *!’

We can now answer the query of Camillus. ‘How happens it that France with all her victories [Page 19] has not yet been able to extort peace! She never asked for it. ‘It is probable, says he, the negoci­ation (Jay's treaty) received its first impression and even its general outline anterior to the principal part of the disasters sustained by the coalesced powers in the course of the last campaign (1794).’ If Jay had been warranted, as he was not, to make a treaty such as he did, its first impression would have been sketched in America before he set out. But, as lately observed*, the time chosen for ma­king it was highly improper. Camillus, in ancient or modern annals, will hardly find that, with views merely commerical, any nation ever chose so hazar­dous a time for entering into a treaty. This con­sideration alone should have laid the bargain on its back, at least till the conclusion of a peace. It was just like building a house close to another which is on fire. During the residence of Jay in England, every post brought him news of French victories. Hence, even if the outline of his paper had been sketched before the conquest of Flanders, that decisive event should have taught him to make a pause. A suspension of signing the treaty for only three months could not have ruined America. These things were as huge as high Olympus. They pierced the deafest ear. They thrust themselves on the dullest understanding.

The letter of Mr. Pinckney above referred to clearly admits the advantages that might have been gained by delay. ‘The business, upon the whole, says he, has been concluded more beneficially for us than I had any hope we could obtain by nego­ciation six months ago, and, in my opinion, places us in a more advantageous situation than we should have been in by becoming parties to the war. [Page 20] If so much had been acquired by one delay of six months, reason pointed out a second postponement. Britain has been ever since going down hill, and had the affair been to begin at this time, we might have had any terms that could be desired. The latter part of the above citation obliquely implies that Ame­rica had no choice between a treaty and a war. The supposition gives a poor specimen of the writer's dis­cernment. How gladly some people would be at get­ting into war appears from the Aurora of the 5th of April 1797.—A correspondent in the Centinel, says, that the people of this country are not YET ripe for an alliance offensive and defensive with Great Bri­tain, but suggests that the event is probable. This passage points more clearly than usual at the ultimate purpose of a certain party. If the alliance above recommended were to take place, the best fortune that we could look for would be that of Ulysses in the den of the Cyclops; we should be reserved as the last morsel. If any motive can drive out of our fancy a British alliance, it is to read the recent fate of the allies of England, as described by Mr. Burke. ‘They (the French) have hitherto constantly de­clined any other than a treaty with a single pow­er.—In that light the regicide power finding each of them insulated and unprotected, with great facility gives the law to them all. By this system, for the present, an incurable distrust is sown amongst the confederates; and in future all alliance is rendered impracticable. It is thus they have treated with Prussia, with Spain, with Sar­dinia, with Bavaria, with the ecclesiastical states, with Saxony; and here we see them refuse to treat with Great Britain in any other mode.’ Suppose that we shall have entered into the alliance recommended by the Centinel, and that Britain, within six months, patches up a separate peace, [Page 21] while Hoche's hussars are whetting their sabres in the barracks of Dublin. America would then make but a sorry figure in a solitary negociation. Besides, we cannot trust our ally. This appears by an ex­tract from the journals of Congress, in the year 1779. ‘"We are contending, say they, against a kingdom crumbling to pieces *, a nation with­out public virtue, and a people sold and be­trayed by their own representatives; against a prince governed by his passions, and a ministry without consistency or wisdom; against armies half paid, and generals half trusted [these were two flagrant falsehoods], against a government equal only (observe this only) to plans of plunder, conflagration, and murder, a government noted for its violations of the rights of religion, justice, humanity, and mankind, and revolting from the protection of Providence!"—"Our armies in Flan­ders swore terribly," said uncle Toby, "but nothing like this!"’ As for Providence, the peo­ple of England held frequent fast days for military success. This delicate specimen of the mob-stile was part of a letter from Congress to their constitu­ents, and was draughted, at their desire, by Mr. John Jay. They should have said nothing about half-paid armies, till they had been half able to pay their own. Several continental officers, on casting up the difference between dirty pasteboard and hard silver, found, during the war, that they were fighting for about one cent per day. Yet they continued to support the cause, and to sink money in it. But the object of the above quotation is to point out the consistency of our envoy, and how not­ably [Page 22] the stile of 1779 agrees with that of 1794. Only poor fifteen years have converted a horde of demons, for that is the amount of his billingsgate description, into the most upright people in the world.

We have remarked on the haste with which Mr. Jay closed his treaty, and how much might have been won by deferring it. But the conduct of the negociator is eclipsed by that of the great body of the people. It does not appear that the possibility of a rupture with France ever once came into the conception of most of our citizens. A majority in the House of Representatives of Congress did indeed foresee or fear it. One of them was asked why they did not state it in their speeches, instead of ma­ny trifles, which were advanced against the treaty. He replied that ‘they did not think it prudent. The Hamiltonians would instantly have accused them of encouraging the French to begin a war with this country.’

This is the very design of some of that party themselves. When a man calls hard names at his neighbour he is understood as desiring to quarrel. Mr. Monroe, American ambassador to France, con­ducted himself with prudence and popularity. In December 1796, he presented letters of recall, and bade farewell to the Executive Directory, in the most amicable terms. His address was received with respect and cordiality. He congratulated the nation on their victories, and their new constitution, in terms not as strong, by twenty degrees, as those of Mr. Washington on receiving the French flag. The Gazette of the United States, for the 29th of March, 1797, scolds him for this act of civility so contrasted to the insolence of Mr. Pickering. ‘Though you could crouch, and kneel, and lick, and fawn, on such an occasion, your fellow citizens [Page 23] can feel nothing for you but contempt; and for the Directory, who require of the United States an act that would prostrate them in the dust, the utmost indignation. There is much more in this stile. The alleged act referred to, is, that the Direc­tory refused to admit an American minister till the United States had redressed their grievances.

As for the contempt and indignation so fiercely spoke about, a different tone may soon be found ne­cessary. Mantua is at length given up. Five Aus­trian armies have been destroyed, and an hundred thousand prisoners taken, during a single campaign in Italy. Compared to this work, the American revolution was mere scratching. The Emperor cannot pay his troops with English bank notes. He must either make an immediate peace, or be de­throned. It does not appear that the United States could, in one summer, raise five, or indeed two such armies, in defence of the frontier of Canada; and it is likely enough that the French may reclaim that province from England, and require this coun­try to restore its ancient boundaries. They would enter upon such a scheme with every advantage. They have already a numerous colony of their own people in Canada, who are acquainted with it as well as the New Englanders. They have always exceeded the British in the art of gaining the Indi­ans. The war with the savages has been computed to cost yearly a million of dollars; but with a French army to support them, a campaign might devour fifty millions. The cession of Canada would be one of the least wonderful events of the present war. A great part of the people of New England have been uncomonly solicitious to exasperate the repub­lic, and, after the treatment which they have also diligently bestowed on the southern states, and their numerous menaces of disjunction, the latter might [Page 24] chuse to give themselves but small concern in the dispute. On the south-eastern frontier, the United States are still more vulnerable. Were Victor Hughes, with three or four battalions of black troops, to land on the coast of Virginia, the horrors of St. Domingo would immediately be renewed. Geor­gia still continues to import negroes; a practice deserving the severest reprobation.

When we consider the terror, which France has, for three years past, inspired in Europe, the con­quest of Canada, and the extension of its limits, will seem but as dust in the balance. The brutal insolence with which the republicans are treated in the Columbian Centinel, can arise only from an un­acquaintance with the possible extent of danger to New England. Count Montgaillard is a French royalist. His enmity to the revolution is as sincere as that of any printer or preacher in the eastern states. In 1794, he published a pamphlet on The Necessity of continuing the war. ‘The generation, says he, which is to invade and destroy Europe has now reached the twelfth year of its age. It was born in the very midst of a revolution [that of America perhaps]; it has seen all the epocha of this [the French] revolution; it has inhaled all its principles, and it has sucked in every poi­son by which it was infected.—Where is the trea­ty of peace which can constrain this rising genera­tion to renounce so horrible a conquest.’ He insists, like Burke, that the war must be continued; he even affirms, that the republic must be subdu­ed. When this piece appeared, the French had not conquered Lombardy. They had not plun­dered one-half of Germany; and the bank of England had not stopt payment. Arthur Young, in the pamphlet already cited, speaks in the same tone. ‘Activity, vigour, and energy, such as the [Page 25] world has not seen, are exerted to spread destruc­tion.—The late manifestation of the French pow­er is too tremendous to be considered but with alarm and terror. The independence of Europe is at stake.’ He says that the war had, at that time, cost France thirteen hundred thousand men. Every nation fears her, except America, or rather the tories, and the monied interest of our country. William Cobbet has set up a gazette in this city, for the express end of reviling France. He does not conceal his design of bringing the nation into a French war. Sincerity is always respectable, and he cannot, as an editor, be charged with a want of that virtue. If we are plunged into such a situa­tion, his subscribers, and not Mr. Cobbet, must be held accountable for the mischief that he has done. It will be nothing wonderful, if, before three years elapse, a French fleet shall anchor in the Delaware, and compel Philadelphia to deliver to the republic both him and them. Myriads of precedents of this kind are to be found in history.

Dr. Ames once observed, in Congress, that "this country is rising into a giant's strength." He was right. Ten years more of peace will double the population of the whole range of western states from Vermont to Tennassee. Above an hundred and fifty thousand people are annually added to our num­bers, and the ratio of increase is constantly aug­menting. It will soon amount to two hundred thou­sand yearly, or perhaps it has already reached that proportion. This is an advantage enjoyed with equal happiness by no other nation. The addition­al swarms will, for centuries to come, have no want of room.

"The world is all before them, where to choose
"Their place of rest."

[Page 26]They will not, for the sake of subsistence, be compelled to bury themselves forever in mines, or unwholesome manufactories*, or to rush into mer­cenary regiments. Whatever profession they shall choose, a moderate portion of industry can hardly fail to supply a plentiful competence. But a foreign war, and most especially a French war, will assuredly re­tard, and may finally blast this fairest harvest of fe­licity that the human race hath ever seen. Recur­ring to the metaphor of Dr. Ames, it would be madness to expose the atlantean infant of America to the arm of a giant, whose limbs are completely formed, whose joints are firmly knit in his tremen­dous maturity of manhood. Let us forbear then to imitate, while we condemn the insolence of Genet, or to propagate the exploded calumnies of Fauchet. Let us no longer whet the edge and embitter the venom of our faith by reviling a distant nation for having, like most of ourselves, granted an universal right of conscience. To speak plainly, some of the holders of public stock, with Alexander Hamilton in their van, have excited this clamour. Witness the letters of PHOCION! These people tremble [Page 27] for their paper, which no well informed citizen will ever think of molesting; and, quite overshooting the mark, they wish to preserve it by plunging the continent into a British alliance and a French war. The latter is only another name for a second American revolution. Were Pichegru at Elkton to-morrow, many citizens would feel more than a spirit of re­sistance. The public can trace the contrivers of such a calamity; and, before opposing the house-breaker from without, they would perhaps begin with punish­ing those who had turned the key. It has already been proved in the Aurora, that the flambeau dispatch of Mr. Pickering contains elaborate misquotation and direct untruth. Our secretary takes the shortest way to provoke the rage of a conqueror alike inflex­ible in defeat and success, intoxicated with the ho­mage, enriched with the spoils of Europe, and yet unexhausted by his thousand victories.

In this chapter the narrative of the year 1796 has made small progress, but something perhaps has been gained in point of information. The motion of general Smith, with which it set out, regarding the British treaty, introduced some re­flections on the extreme hazard of a French war, and on the temerity or perfidy of those who have led the United States into so critical a situation. The authority of Edmund Burke, and other intel­ligent English writers, was next appealed to with regard to the power of that republic, as a coun­terpoise to the systematic and voluminous fallacies of Camillus. This induced naturally to a compa­rative view of the respective force of the two na­tions by land and sea; and the immeasurable infe­riority [Page 28] of America was the result of examination. The shameful attempts made to widen the breach between the two countries was illustrated by addi­tional remarks. We have closed with pointing out the peculiar advantages that America may hope for, beyond any other nation, from the continuance of peace; and we have seen some of the motives of that party, who, under pretended zeal for her con­stitution, wish to disturb her tranquility. To elu­cidate the numberless advantages of a pacific sys­tem a great deal yet remains to be said. So much untruth and deception have been studiously heaped on the subject, that much previous labour is requi­red to remove the rubbish, before even the founda­tion of a narrative can be properly sketched out. The most painful portion of the task is to bestow censure on persons or parties, and sometimes to hold up even a large majority of the nation in a light not extremely reputable. Flattery to the prejudices and vices of the public has hitherto been the bane of almost every historian. This fault shall, in the present work, be avoided as much as possible, though at the requisite expence of displeasing the violent of every party. When we sometimes stop to criticise the paragraph or essay in a newspaper, it should be remembered that to these publications the people of the United States do most universally resort for political knowledge. By seeing detected some dozens of notorious fic­tions in that shape, persons at a great distance from sources of accurate information may come to ac­quire the habit of thinking more boldly for them­selves, and of demanding evidence before they be­lieve an assertion.

The ensuing chapter will partly consist of speci­mens of federal composition, as a key to the pro­jects and talents of that party. The next three chap­ters [Page 29] proceed to some remarks on the mode of sup­pressing the western insurrection, of repelling the savages on the south-western frontier, of compil­ing the present national debt, and of negotiating Jay's treaty. The city of Washington, and the treatment of the late continental army, will merit and receive some investigation. These topics are intimately connected with the business of the ses­sion of Congress about to be described. Without some prefatory explanations of this kind, a reader might find himself in the same state of embarrass­ment, as if he were to begin a perusal of Homer, at the thirteenth book of the Iliad.

The first five introductory chapters having been employed on political subjects, we shall be prepared to go on with the journal of Congress. As variety is the soul of enjoyment, and as this work is intended for the entertainment of every class of people, an intermediate and miscellaneous chapter will be given on the present internal state of America. A swarm of books of travels, in this country will, among other articles of amusement, be brought on the ta­pis, and some of their injurious or absurd observa­tions with respect to America will be candidly ex­plained. To ourselves refutation may be unnecessary, but several copies of the present work will be sent to Europe, where it may chance to be reprinted. This part of the volume will there serve as a vin­dication of America against the errors of those, who either did not perceive truth, or did not chuse to tell it.

A work of the present kind has been much wan­ted. We complain that newspaper details are imper­fect, prejudiced, and contradictory. These charges are true, but the printer cannot avoid affording foun­dation for them. The narrative of to-morrow is often at variance with that of to-day: and neither [Page 30] he nor his readers can, sometimes, be certain which to prefer. Like Penelope, an editor must frequent­ly unravel at night the labour of the morning; while the public, amidst the shreds and fragments of infor­mation, can hardly determine what to believe or to reject.

The mere bulk of a daily newspaper makes its mode of information often intricate, and sometimes inaccessible. A folio volume of twelve hundred and forty-eight pages may damp the curiosity of the boldest reader. No one newspaper can relate eve­ry thing. The proprietor generally wishes, as far as he conveniently can, to decline publishing what his competitors have already given to the world. Almost every sheet is, likewise, half filled with ad­vertisements which are entirely useless to most rea­ders. These defects in newspapers cannot, by di­ligence or candour, be entirely shunned. But they point out the expediency of an annual compilation, where selection, brevity, and arrangement can more easily find place. Many citizens of Philadelphia take in six daily newspapers at an yearly expence of about fifty dollars. Three different prints are a common supply. Not one-half or perhaps one-tenth part of their contents are read; and they are sometimes cast into the fire without being opened. After such a waste of money, a charge of one or two dollars for a yearly publication cannot be held extravagant. The compiler of such a book has the greatest ad­vantage in coming at a distance behind the events which he is to relate. He can expatiate on the igno­rance of statesmen who, at easter, did not exactly foresee what was to happen next christmas, and which, a twelve month after it has past, he sees ve­ry distinctly. He is amazed at the dulness of news-printers, who, with ten discordant accounts of a bat­tle before them, did not, for some hours, distinguish [Page 31] the right one. With judgement and industry, he may write an useful performance; and, by some ad­dress, he can look extremely wise at the expence of his predecessors.


Character of Mr. Gallatin.—Connecticut poetry.— Major Jackson.—John Watts.—The Boston Federal Orrery.—Curtius.—His exaggerated statement of British resources.—Remarks on paper money.—Causes of the preference of Britain to France in the federal party.—Democratical con­spiracy developed by Curtius.—Defence of Jeffer­son, Madison, Giles, Parker, Christie, &c.—Fables from Pittsburgh.—Curious presentment by a grand jury in Georgia.—Purity of Boston.

‘AS to Gallatin, the seditious Gallatin! What shall I say? How shall I describe that com­pound of vice and depravity, that disciple of meanness, corruption, debauchery, and idleness. He is a foreigner by birth and education.’ [Of course, he must be a rascal]. ‘For some time after his arrival in this country, he wandered about the district of Maine, like Cain, a fugitive and vagabond, destitute of the means of honest subsistence.—The writer of this felt the effects of his own liberality for months afterwards!— Unable to pay for a lodging, or to purchase the necessaries of life, it was his custom to sleep in barns, and under the foliage of hedges, and not unusually in the arms of some shameful strumpet. The fragments of the kitchen satisfied the cra­vings of hunger. We find him next among the [Page 32] insurgents of the western counties in Pennsyl­vania. The late whisky rebellion there is prin­cipally attributed to him.’ There is ten times more of this trumpery. It is copied from the Ken­nebeck Intelligencer; and was published about the beginning of the year 1797 to defeat the re-election of Mr. Dearborne, a member of Congress for Massachusetts. This is one sample of the fe­deral eloquence of New England. If Mr. Galla­tin had wished for an opportunity of inflaming the public, he could not have chosen a better topic than American finance. Yet his treatise on it is written in the most harmless stile, and seems to evince an unusual degree of good nature and for­bearance.

About the same time with this production, the Connecticut Courant contained Guillotina, a series of rhimes, written by one Trumbull. They were republished in a Providence newspaper. A few lines will shew in what kind of kennel this Con­necticut muse dabbles; and how wretchedly a certain party labour under a dearth of decent ad­vocates.

"Once more my fond attentions turn,
"Where Pennsylvania's patriots burn.
"See Mifflin stretching out the laws,
"To aid the anti-federal cause."

This refers to the scandalous artifices employ­ed in Pennsylvania to stop the arrival of the post at this city with votes for electors at the late elec­tion of President, and to the activity of governor Mifflin in detecting a variety of frauds made use of by the federal party. If Trumbull had felt any sense of common honesty, or common shame, he would not have stirred the ashes of a story so dis­honourable to his friends.

[Page 33]
"See him with Barclay, John, and Dallas,
"(Poor Pennsylvania keeps no gallows)
"Play many a democratic prank,
"In fleecing Pennsylvania bank."

One may say, with parson Adams, ‘I would ra­ther be the subject of such verses, than the au­thor.’ Several months before this piece ap­peared, Mr. Dallas had published a certificate that the bank of Pennsylvania was, at the time referred to, in his debt. This fact could not be unknown to the libeller of Hartford. But old brass will make a new pan, says the proverb. A fiction, though refuted in prose, may have a joyful resurrection in verse. The polite introduction of the gallows shews how strongly some of the federal party thirst for blood. They have given more than one intimation to that purpose. The New-York Gazette has an essay by William Wilcocks, dated the 15th of November, 1796. ‘Surely, says he, the guillotine has not done all its du­ty!’ He rails at the machine in France, yet re­commends the setting up of another in America, for that is his plain inference. Some people should not, in common prudence, be so forward to speak of banks, till they give a satisfactory account of their connection with Alexander Hamilton, and his bank of the United States. ‘The books of transfer at the treasury, and the books at the bank, are held secret under the obligation of an oath, on all persons who use or inspect them, not to reveal the names or amount of stock hol­ders*.’ So much concealment can hardly be [Page 34] for an honourable purpose. The righteous are bold as a lion. Trumbull proceeds thus:

"When Fauchet kept an open mint,
"They doubtless had a finger in't.

This is another exploded untruth. The rhymer goes on at this rate through five columns of rib­baldry. The lines now cited are sufficient to shew the classical discernment of his friends, and what sort of aid they will stoop to receive. Swanwick, Giles, Gallatin, and a long list of that party are reviled sadly. Dr. Franklin, his grandson, Mr. Bache, and Thomas Paine meet with the same usage. General Washington, as usual, is thoroughly soaked in the treacle of panegyric. But when the Presi­dent notified his intention to resign, the party soon began to change their tune. Wilcocks has said ‘that the fulsome adulation of the President on the reception of the French flag was the most deroga­tory part of his administration*.’

The charge of being a fulsome sycophant does not entirely agree with the superb encomiums, which Wilcocks has so frequently plaistered upon Gene­ral Washington. This veering about lets us into the real character of some people, and how little they care about the General, when his reputation ceases to promote their private ends.

But this revolt was overbalanced by Major William Jackson, surveyor of the port of Philadel­phia. The speech of the President, on the 8th of December, 1796, was followed up, next day, by the Major, with a puff in one of our newspapers. It begins thus. ‘To attempt an illustration of a subject in itself so illumined as the speech of our most excellent President were an arrogance [Page 35] which we utterly disclaim.’ He goes on white-washing for a considerable length. ‘The distant settler on the Mississippi beholds with exultation that his happiness forms a consideration in the mind of the government, co-equal with that of his fellow citizen on the Atlantic.’ He is equally entitled to protection; for his welfare is essential to the union. Hence exultation would be misplac­ed. A President and other officers of government are paid for doing their duty; and, if they fail of performing it to public satisfaction, there are, if we could only believe so, abundance of men as good as the best of them. Major Jackson here points at the Spanish treaty; but he might have reflected that the same administration, by the weakest and meanest species of trimming, has induced the dan­ger of a French war, and if that happens, the wes­tern waters will be more completely blocked up than ever.

‘Is there a seaman belonging to the United States, or a connection of that valuable class of citizens, whose vows are not offered for the good of him, whose head and heart have been so much occupied with their concerns?’ This was an unfortunate topic. But the Major, as a military man, knows that the weakest part of a fortifica­tion has most need of defence. ‘Where is the veteran whose bosom does not beat in responsive applause to the eulogium of Washington on military skill?’ If, at the creation of the public debt, he had taken a single step to save them from indigence, if he had refused to sign the statute of limitations, and some other laws not much better*, their bosoms would have been more likely to beat. No peculiar share of blame in this business lies on [Page 36] the President. The great body of the people have betrayed entire indifference about the old soldiers, otherwise such acts never could have past. At the same time money is unaccountably wasted on sa­vages. John Watts, a Creek warrior, boasts of having taken thirty-three scalps. In the latter part of 1796, this fellow, and a number of others, came to Philadelphia, where they feasted at an ex­pence of four thousand dollars*. Thus much for Major Jackson.

Nothing is, in itself, more comtemptible, and nothing tends more certainly to defeat its own purpose, than extravagant praise. Encomium ne­ver appeared in a more farcical shape, than it has often assumed in poetry. Of this sort of writing the Boston Federal Orrery afforded a miserable speci­men, in the Gratulatory Address on the birth-day of the President, in February, 1796.

If a stranger knew nothing else of the history of the American war, than what he could glean from this copy of verses, he would infer, that General Washington had singly, and exclusively, extermi­nated the British armies in a personal combat. In the last line of the first stanza, this rhymer of Mas­sachusetts calls him the "Godlike Washington." This is something worse than mere nonsense. It approaches to indecency and profanation.

In the third stanza we meet with a parallel be­tween General Washington and —: let the rea­der, if he can, conjecture the counter part of this comparison! Moses, the Jew, is introduced as not superior in legislative or military merits, to the leader in our revolution. As if that were not [Page 37] enough, there follows a parallel between the Pre­sident and the Creator of the Universe; and though this style may seem ridiculous, incredible, and mad, it has absolutely been adopted by the bard of the Boston Federal Orrery. After alluding to the mi­raculous passage of the Red sea, he adds, that

"By night your pillar, and your cloud by day,"
"He (the President) fought your battles."

Here is an attempt to blend the services and exer­tions of the American colonies with the omniscient superintendancy of the Supreme Being. Effrontery or impiety cannot proceed much farther. Of such panegyrists, Dr. Edward Young has observed, that

"Their praise degrades, as if a fool should mean,
"By spitting in your face, to make it clean!

For the sake of completeness, our author should have run a comparison of Mount Vernon with Mount Sinai, the Delaware at Trenton and the Arabian Gulph. Between such impious jargon and legitimate poetry, there is the same distinction as between the trowel of a bricklayer, and the pen­cil of Titian.

About the same time, another piece of excel­lence, too singular to be forgotten, appeared in a Philadelphia newspaper. Here it is:

Go weed your corn, and plow your land,
And by Columbia's interest stand,
Cast prejudice away;
To able heads leave state affairs,
Give railing o'er and say your prayers,
For stores of corn and bay.

This is the first stanza of that brilliant production. American farmers are very obligingly advised to give over railing. The writer must by this word mean remonstrating against the treaty of Mr. Jay. As to able heads, five-sixths of the members of Con­gress [Page 38] are farmers, and hence this admonition ap­plies to them. They had better, as it seems, go home and mind their ploughs. The next and con­cluding stanza runs, or hobbles, in the following words.

"With politics ne'er break your sleep,
"But ring your hogs, and shear your sheep,
"And rear your lambs and calves;
"And Washington will take due care,
"That Britons never more shall dare
"Attempt to make you slaves."

The felicity of the rhime in calves and slaves, proves that the auricular accuracy of this laureate keeps pace with his other qualifications. It is a very handsome compliment to the farmers of the United States to tell them that their understandings are just equal to putting a ring into the snout of a hog. The odes of Horace, and Martial's epigrams, were written in the sink of Roman tyranny; yet, they contain no­thing correspondent with the abject vulgarity of this advice. The piece is, from first to last, a stupid in­sult on the feelings of a free country. This Phila­delphian bard seems a formidable rival to the vi­lest sycophant that ever licked up the spittle of des­potism.

The people of America boast loudly of their free­dom, and of their superiority, in this respect, to every other nation; yet the spirit of servility in writing birth-day verses, exceeds all bounds.

One of the gazettes of this city, after the birth-day in February, 1795, had another piece of the same shabby strain. It filled two entire columns; and, which shews the wretchedness, or rather non-entity of literary taste, it was printed, in at least one other newspaper.

Alluding to the friends of democratic societies, this poet calls them sorcerers in their cells. After [Page 39] raving through this comparison for a few impudent lines, worthy of Webster and his Minerva, we are told that

"Already Washington, like Atlas stands,
"Alone supporting empire with his hands;
"Alone, the prop of all this vast machine,
"The mortal hero of the immortal scene.

The genius of Columbia (this is the new-fangled rhyming name for America), then bounces into the following exclamation:

"Chaos will come, when Washington expires,
"Hide Freedom's sun, and quench her starry fires.
"A gift so fatal, why should I retain?
"Realms so accurst, why should my power sustain?
"No, let these regions to the deep be hurl'd.
"Take back, unfathom'd ocean, take your world."

A charming proposal undoubtedly! that nature shall dissolve on the death of an American p [...] ­dent. There is reason to think that neither Geo [...]ge the third, nor any of his predecessors, was ever so­luted with such execrable buffoonery. If the de­calogue had said, Thou shalt not write nonsense, this author must have been a dismal sinner. It is the happy privilege of an American, that he may prat­tle and print, in what way he pleases, and without any one to make him afraid.

Augustus Caesar found it for his interest to be bountiful and grateful to Virgil and Horace. Their verses, like stepping stones across the mire, part­ly saved his name from that reproach, through which it has waded down to posterity. The reputation of our President requires not the help of poetical crutches. To him we may apply what the king of Prussia, in his memoirs, hath said of his brother Henry: The highest encomium which we can bestow, is an impartial narrative of his actions.

As a sketch of the current stile, we shall notice [Page 40] one other writer of the day. Curtius published twelve letters in defence of Jay's treaty. The points now to be investigated, refer to what he says about the relative force of France and Britain, and the violent manner in which he speaks of those who differ from his political opinions.

As an evidence of the greatness of Britain, Cur­tius, No. vii. says, that her East-India territories ‘yield an annual revenue of more than eight mil­lions sterling.’ Camillus, also, No. vii. lays much weight upon the ships from India to England in 1795, having cargoes ‘computed to be worth between four and five millions sterling.’ While an alliance with that country is recommended, and such accounts given of its wealth and power, only a few words are needful to set the matter right. Three-fourths of this revenue go to the expence of supporting the government of the country; part is absorbed by investments and commercial charges, and the remainder is consumed in paying the inte­rest of the Indian debts of the company. By the latest advices received, on the 16th of June, 1795, from India, they were owing, in that part of the world, seven millions three hundred thousand pounds sterling. This was stated in the House of Commons, on the above date, by Mr. Dundas. The company owe likewise another enormous debt in England, a part of which, under the name of bon­ded, amounted then to two millions sterling. Thus, when the company have paid the charges of govern­ment, the interest of their debts, and mercantile expences, they are, by several millions sterling, worse than nothing. They have been often on the brink of bankruptcy, and would have stopt pay­ment many years ago, if Parliament had not lent them, in advance, large sums of money*. It is [Page 41] hard to think that such an establishment can add to the real strength of a nation. Camillus and Curti­us need not build much on that source of opposi­tion to France*.

[Page 42]When Curtius speaks of Europe, he stumbles in the same way as Camillus. ‘Great Britain, though her army was destroyed in the Netherlands, re­tains all her activity and resources*. Govern­ment has not been compelled to distress her trade to man her navy.’ She never manned twenty sail of the line, at one time, without distressing trade. A general press is the sure consequence of such an equipment. The scarcity of seamen has been very great. Again. ‘Her debt has indeed been augmented; but still immense sums of mo­ney (of paper he should have said) are offered, and the only question with government is, whose money shall be received on loan.’ That is on account of the extravagant premiums. As for money, all the gold and silver coin in England would not pay above one-nineteenth part of the debts that she has contracted. If the island could be divided into three equal shares, it would require one of them to satisfy the public creditors. ‘Britain, at this moment, maintains as commanding an at­titude among the powers of the earth, as at any former period. Only two pages before, Curtius had said, ‘that her land forces were defeated and cut to pieces, the last campaign (1794), is unde­niable; [Page 43] and there is no question that any com­bat by land would be decided in favour of France.’ When England won the battles of Blenheim, Quebec, and Minden, she was equally superior at sea. Curtius has no ground to compare the present attitude to that of any former period.

With the same judgment this writer rejects all danger of a British revolution. If England cannot be happy enough to make a peace, she will be ex­cluded from every port in Europe, as she is at pre­sent from two-thirds of them; and then her com­merce and her power must decline together. It is worth while to consider the effects of this turn in her affairs on the situation of America. One of the consequences must be the explosion of her paper money. The quantity in circulation may be in England about three times, and in Scotland sixty times greater than that of gold and silver. This is a rough guess. Every year of war augments the quantity of paper. The first effects of a na­tional bankruptcy would be an utter destruction of credit. Currency would again be restricted to the precious metals; and they would increase to three, four, or five times the value that they now bear. The silver six-pence, which, in London, would not, last winter, buy a pound of beef, will then purchase three, four, or five pounds, as was the case fifty or an hundred years ago. Hence it follows, that the manufactures of Britain will fall surprisingly in their prices, because the same quan­tity of labour that formerly was worth half a gui­nea, will then probably be offered for three or four shillings, or less. Another cause must cheapen Bri­tish exports. The country being rid of public debt, will, of course, cast off a great proportion of her taxes; for, at this time, including the expence of the collection of revenue to pay its interest, the [Page 44] debt requires about sixteen millions sterling per an­num. Even now the manufactures of the United States cannot, in many cases, bear a competition in point of cheapness with those of Britain. But a sudden fall of one-half of the former rate, or perhaps a still greater reduction must put an end to them, unless their cost can also be lessened. The price of so many commodities having sunk so fast, they will, of course, drag all other kinds of property after them, till matters shall be restored to their com­mon level, because the situation would be too forced and unnatural for any length of endurance. The price of flour, for example, could not long conti­nue at eight or ten dollars, in America, while En­gland raised it for two or three. The value of lands, houses, and personal labour sinking with such rapidity would produce numerous failures, and the quantity of money afloat being more than was wan­ted, the precious metals, as on similar occasions, would drive paper out of the market. This must, in some degree, give a check to banking: Another class of people would suffer essentially, and that is the holders of public stock. From its nature the fall would be more severely felt in this than most other property. Land, when equally ploughed, will yield as large a crop as now, whatever might be the want of money. The scarcity of houses in the sea port towns, would prevent them from stan­ding empty. Good tradesmen are always need­ful and must be paid a subsistence. But stock be­ing entirely unproductive of itself, unless as to the interest paid by the public, its decline in price would operate as a real loss, since it is only worth what it can bring in the market.

Thus the ruin of the British system of funds, and paper money, would run the hazard of sha­king the same systems in the United States. This [Page 45] appears to be the reason why persons connected with them have such a violent prepossession for British success, and so strong an aversion to the ascendancy of France. The destruction of public credit in that country, soon after the revolution began, and the mixture of despotism and anarchy which have since prevailed, inspired every holder of stocks with horror. A considerable number of these public creditors were from the eastern states, and but few from the southern. The whole influence of the fiscal corps, was directed against the French revolution. As a requisite counter­poise, the party wished to cast America into the arms of Britain. The bankers and stock-holders were joined by two other classes. The one of these consisted of British tories, who had been permitted to continue here in the war, or who had returned since the end of it. Another order of men, in whom the motives of the former were often blended, had frequent occasion for the discounting of bills, to support their credit. Within a few years, since banks became numerous, there has arisen an ex­treme spirit of mercantile speculation, which could only expand its flight on the wings of paper-money. All these sorts of people, with a few exceptions, and all on whom they had influence, joined in re­probating the French revolution. Alexander Ha­milton has always been considered as the leader of this party. His official powers gave him a very considerable sway in the management of the public funds, and the bank of the United States. Under him, the party have acted, or are thought to have acted with system and spirit. But while they were thus loudly declaiming, and often with justice, against the shocking barbarities perpetrated in France, many of them have forfeited their preten­sions to purity, by promoting, to the utmost of their [Page 46] skill, a civil war among the United States themselves, and likewise a quarrel with the republic. Their designs have been gradually developed by the course of events; and it has at length been fairly confes­sed, both by their words and actions, that they are willing to go to war with France. They dread her example as contagious for the destruction of their financial fabric, which they constantly mention not by its proper name, but as the constitution.

Having premised these particulars, we shall now quote some of the expressions that Curtius adopts in his twelfth letter. ‘There is a confederation of characters, from New-Hampshire to Geor­gia, arrayed in opposition, either to the consti­tution of the United States, to its administration, or to particular men in office. The opposition of the principal men in this confederacy can be traced to some known causes, originally of a personal nature. Disappointment in application for some office, or the failure of some favourite scheme in their political system, has converted many of the friends of the late revolution into determined opposers of the general system of the present administration.’

This charge is daily repeated in an infinity of dif­ferent shapes. No facts are specified by Curtius, except an indistinct reference to Genet. ‘The con­duct of this ambassador is entirely unexampled in the history of civilized nations*.’ He was re­ceived with tumultuous hospitality, and childish ex­ultation. But when it was discovered that he wanted to plunge the nation into a war with Britain, this envoy instantly sunk into neglect. Curtius says, ‘that his views were counteracted by the President, seconded by the northern states. One would [Page 47] imagine that the militia of New-England had been ordered to march, that the legislatures had taken some important step, or at least that their members in Congress had introduced some motion to the house, which led the way for recalling the French minister. Not one of these circumstances ever happened. The impertinence and indiscretion of Genet were, in a few months, visible to all men of sense. His importance shrunk immediately to no­thing. As to seconding, it was manifested in no way by New-England, unless scurrilous newspaper para­graphs deserve that name. Even this commodity was as plentifully bestowed at New-York and Philadel­phia, as at Boston. The reign of Genet was very short. He arrived in this city on the 17th of May, 1793, and his recall was solicited by the American Secretary of State in a letter dated the 16th of Au­gust following. This letter, though different in­deed from the stile of Timothy Pickering's epistle to Pinckney, was as sharp as decorum would permit. The one haggles like a rusty knife. The other cuts like a razor. The next news from France was, that, if Genet had returned home, Robespierre would have made him look out at the little national window. Even the letter desiring his recall was not so much as wrote by a native of New-England, though Henry Knox, as Secretary at War, was then a member of the American cabinet. Neither did Alexander Hamilton, though also in office, write any part of it; for the dispatch has none of his entangled periods. It was drawn by Thomas Jef­ferson of Virginia. The story of the President being seconded by the northern states is, therefore, an entire falsehood.

The history of Genet has been thus examined, because it is the only fact to which Curtius refers. We now go back to his quotation, and shall begin [Page 48] with what he calls a confederation of characters ar­rayed against the constitution, &c.

The most eminent personage of the party accu­sed is Thomas Jefferson, the single man who assisted the President in driving Genet out of office. But if the democrats, as, for the sake of distinction, we must call them, were so violently attached to Ge­net, they must have held his antagonist Jefferson in the utmost abhorence. Yet this is so far from be­ing the case, that, at the distance of four years, their respect and friendship are unabated. Thus, as to Genet, the charge against the great body of the democrats involves a gross contradiction. Whe­ther a few individuals do still admire what he did, cannot be worth enquiring. If he was often in the wrong, he was sometimes in the right. The wretched attack made upon him by John Jay and Rufus King was only fit for two old women in a chimney corner. It disgraced the national charac­ter of America, by shewing what weak men had been elected as a chief justice and a senator.

Curtius speaks of the principal men in this confede­racy, and their disappointment in application for some office. Neither can this apply to Jefferson. He had been ambassador to France. He was then Se­cretary of State. Little more was to be had. Some­time after he resigned his office. The resignation was voluntary. This appears from the choice of a successor to him. Randolph was of the same party and principles; which proves that the President only chose him because Jefferson would no longer keep the office.

As to the failure of some favourite scheme in their political system, of this also Mr. Jefferson stands clear. His retirement was heard of with general regret. Nay, so much does he possess the confi­dence of every state in the union, that Mr. Adams [Page 49] was perhaps the only man on the continent who could have had a tolerable chance against him for the presidency. It is singular that the principal per­son of a confederacy against government should possess the esteem even of its friends.

We must enquire among the representatives in Congress for the second leader of the confederation of characters. This is James Madison, esq of Vir­ginia. Mr. Vans Murray said, some years ago, in Congress, that he might be called the father of the present constitution. It would be strange if he was al­ready impatient to strangle his own offspring. Of the private character of the man it is needless to speak, for the stock-holding newspapers confine them­selves to an incomprehensible jargon about conspi­racies. He certainly had no hand in promoting the popularity of citizen Genet. He was in Virginia during the period of the citizen's importance. It is doubtful if they were ever in the same room toge­ther. The classical elegance, and logical acute­ness of Madison bear the same resemblance to the scampering fustian of Genet which Madeira has to ditch-water. It is impossible that two persons so contrasted in every thing intellectual could have agreed, for a single day, in any confederation. Be­sides, Mr. Madison is in close friendship with Mr. Jefferson, who put an end to the citizen. Disap­pointment in application for some office cannot be imputed to this gentleman, unless the office can be named which he was disappointed of obtain­ing. Very few places in the gift of the President would have been a temptation. Mr. Jefferson did not, as Secretary of State, save money. By absence from his estate, he very likely lost as much as he received for residing in Philadelphia. If Mr. Madi­son had undertaken an office in this city worth two thousand dollars a year, it would have been of no [Page 50] pecuniary advantage to him, while his plantation was lying half wasted for want of his presence. But none of the federal hacks has ever pretended that Mr. Madison met with a repulse in solicita­tion. They say that he has been in the pay of France. Yet he just now despitefully gives up his seat in Con­gress, thus robbing the accusation of the last rag which covered its nakedness. He never had a cent from the government of this country, excepting his six dollars per day. As to favourite schemes, Mr. Madison, at least for the last four years, has been as often in a majority as out of it.

Thus we have got over the first and second heads of the confederation. The third in order is Wil­liam B. Giles, another Virginian. Almost all which has been said of Mr. Madison suits him. He never applied for any office. Perhaps the execu­tive has not one to bestow, that, in a pecuniary light, would deserve his acceptance. He has an independent fortune. He is a lawyer of eminence. He could make a handsome income by his pro­fession, if he chose to stay at home, and mind that only. He could live on his own farm in Virginia for a tenth part of the money which he must spend in attending Congress. To such a man six dollars a day, or any place that the executive could give him, is not an object; and nothing but sheer igno­rance can excuse a party writer for holding such language about him.

If we look over the other members who have often voted in opposition to executive oracles, the same observations as to personal indepen­dence apply to perhaps every one of them. For instance, Gabriel Christie is a merchant in Havre de Grace, a village at the mouth of the Susquehan­nah. If he wants to recommence planter, he has a large farm of his own a few miles up the river, [Page 51] in one of the most healthy and desirable spots in Maryland. Such a man could gain nothing by confusion, nor could the executive offer him almost any post possessing a lucrative tempta­tion. An office in Philadelphia, or any where out of his own country, with a salary of fifteen hun­dred dollars a year would be as a feather. The case is similar with Messrs. Baldwin, Blount, Heath, Page, Parker, New, Nicholas, Macon, M'Dowell, Carnes, Venable, Preston, and others. They have either independent property, or lucra­tive professions, or both. They could gain nothing by disturbing government. They never made the smallest attempt of the kind; nor has any of the scribblers, who abused them in wholesale, ever pretended to specify a single fact, and much less to bring evidence of a single fact, that looked like a confederacy against government. Such malici­ous nonsense may do very well for a Connecticut tavern, a Kennebeck Journal, or a town meeting of Stockbridge, when our patriotic citizens are toas­ting John Jay and the papers! It may suit Samuel Dexter in a circle at the dancing school, or Daniel Buck in an address to some mob, who are ring­ing the town bells for joy at his return to Vermont.

After the words seconded by the northern states, Curtius proceeds thus. ‘But the party which ori­ginally rallied under that man, (Genet) still ex­ists, and forms a league co-extensive with the United States, connected in all its parts, and act­ing by a single impulse.’ Dr. Swift, speaking of Gulliver's Travels, says, that they contained a lie at every second word. If a single word could convey an untruth, Curtius would be an unrival­led master in that sort of brevity. The party, such as it is, existed in all its vigour, for several years before Genet landed on this continent, a fact known [Page 52] to every person who has crossed even the threshold of American history. As for the single impulse, if the confederates were always to behave to each other with common civility, there might be some possi­bility of the charge being true. But they are con­stantly differing among themselves on serious topics. For example, Colonel Parker, on the 10th of Fe­bruary, 1797, made an able and earnest speech in defence of the three frigates. He was supported, manibus pedibusque, by John Swanwick, who, if cart­loads of slander can bestow distinction, shines like a star of the first magnitude in the democratical zo­diac. They were opposed by three of their con­federates, Messrs. Christie, Nicholas, and Giles. The poor frigates were kicked about, as if they had been so many washing tubs. Nicholas wished them to rot on the stocks, as an instructive monu­ment of national folly. Christie did not care if they were reduced to ashes. Giles declared that he always had opposed, and always should oppose them, in every stage, and every shape. This is only one instance out of fifty or an hundred, that occur in every session, where the gentlemen stigma­tized as acting by a single impulse, do shew very plainly that they value not one farthing the opinions of each other; but speak immediately from their own caprice or conviction. We go back to Curtius.

‘Thus, in the infancy of our empire, the bane of all republics, is already diffused over our coun­try, and poisons the whole body politic! [It is natu­ral that weak or ignorant people should find their heads half cracked, while they hear of such terri­ble phantoms.] ‘Faction is a disease, which has pro­ved fatal to all popular governments; but in Ame­rica it has assumed an aspect more formidable than in any other country. [He assigns some foolish rea­sons, and then adds:] ‘But in America, faction [Page 53] has assumed consistency and system. It is a con­spiracy perpetually existing, an opposition organi­zed and disciplined, for the purposes of defeat­ing the regular exercise of the constitutional pow­ers of our government, whenever a measure does not please the secret leaders of the confederacy.’

Curtius ought to name those secret leaders, and to give some traits of the progress of this conspiracy. In his labyrinthian stile, it is impossible ever to take a fast hold. He is one of the most decent wri­ters of the federal party; and this is the universal way in which they make an assault on private cha­racters. In the last four years of chiming, they have hardly advanced four intelligible assertions. Their charges glide from the grasp of straight inquiry, like the shade of Anchises from the embrace of his son. The Tom Thumb tale about Fauchet bri­bing Randolph, has been safely conducted to its grave in the American Annual Register. As for the western insurrection, Findley, in his history of it, has shewed that Gallatin was so far from being an insurgent, that he had a principal share in pre­venting mischief. It is deplorable that a party so pregnant with charges should be so unfortunate in their few attempts at specification. ‘Already, says Curtius, are the heads of our govern­ment denounced as traitors; already is our coun­try threatened with civil war.—If the opposers of the treaty can possibly embroil our country in civil war, it will be effected.’

There is a considerable sameness in the dialect of the Hamiltonians. Their constant cry is the dan­ger of a civil war; and the usual menace a disjunc­tion of the eastern from the southern states. This railing comes exclusively from the eastern and some parts of the middle states. To the south of Penn­sylvania no newspaper embattles itself against the [Page 54] Yankees. Of the three daily prints in Baltimore, not one is attached closely to either party. A ma­jority of the inhabitants voted for Jay's bantling. In the whole country, down to Georgia, you meet with no gazette lying and raving in the stile of Cur­tius and the Columbian Centinel. The Virginians encourage no newsprinter to balance accounts in black ball with Webster; or to proclaim the peo­ple of New-England bankrupts, swindlers, conspi­rators, and traitors. They are not, with the mono­tony of a magpie, eternally croaking about the danger of rebellion. Their souls do not sit so much upon thorns as those of their eastern fellow citizens. There appears to be less vinegar in their composition. At least, by judging from the state of the press, in these opposite quarters of the union, a bystander would make that inference. Envy may have some share in this barking. The popu­lation of Massachusetts and Connecticut is stationary, and their territory is but small. From New-York, inclusive, all the states to the southward, excepting three*, have an immense extent of new land, which holds out the certain prospect of augmented wealth, population, and importance.

The relative proportion of exports from the mid­dle and southern states has augmented greatly, and must continue to do so. Boston, formerly as popu­lous as Philadelphia, hath still but about twenty thousand inhabitants, while those of its late rival have augmented to sixty thousand. New-York, which formerly was much its inferior, hath fifty thousand. But Baltimore is the most provoking in­stance of recent ascendency. This town arose, but as yesterday, from a marsh; and rivals or eclipses the wealth and population of the metropolis of New-England. [Page 55] Virginia is twelve times larger than Maschusetts; and has already double her popula­tion. So great a difference of numbers did not ex­ist in the census, of 1775, and it is hourly augmen­ting. ‘"Like ancient ladies when refus'd a kiss,"’ These two New-England states are not perhaps pleased to foresee the decline of their consequence. Whatever may be the cause, the rancour of many of their citizens against the southern states appears to be of the bitterest kind. Judging from the Co­lumbian Centinel, a foreigner might be led to believe that the latter have subscribed a solemn league of revolution; that troops have been raised, and ma­gazines formed; that half our citizens are prepa­ring to butcher the rest; that Madison is a second Cataline, and Giles a Caesar Borgia. A considera­ble minority in New-England agree with the poli­tics of Virginia. In May, 1794, the inhabitants of Boston held a very numerous town-meeting, at which, by a great majority, they agreed to recom­mend to Congress to prolong the embargo. An additional sixty days of famine would have put an effectual end to British piracies in the West Indies; and would likewise have been of more service to France than an aid of ten thousand land forces, and ten ships of the line. A copy of the Boston resolutions, signed by the town clerk, was transmitted not on­ly to their representative, Dr. Ames, but a second also, superscribed to Mr. Madison, Colonel Parker, and Mr. Giles. This told pretty plainly that they trusted the three latter gentlemen farther, in that instance, than their own representative. Perhaps, however, this town-meeting consisted likewise of conspirators. Aves unius generis facile congregantur. The foolish word jacobin is rung in endless changes; [Page 56] while Curtius gravely declares that ‘private associations are formed and extending their influ­ence over our country.’ All this is the vilest trash imaginable.

The calumny of the federal patriots is not confined to the southern states. The whisky riots in the wes­tern counties of Pennsylvania have supplied them with a happy fund for declamation. Of their la­bours in this line, accept the following specimen.

In a Philadelphia newspaper of the 8th of March, 1796, there is inserted an extract of a letter, dated Pittsburgh, the 25th of February preceding, which contains unexpected intelligence. The extract extends to one third of a column, and represents the western counties, as having relapsed into a state of anarchy. ‘It is generally believed, says the writer, that near half the men in this country have crossed the river to take possession of what­ever land they could get. This town is almost empty! Some large parties are gone with an in­tent to clear all before them, where the land is good. Reports from the woods say, that a strong party coming to a house, they turn out the weak­er, and a stronger coming on turn them out, so that some houses change their owners two or three times a day. This makes about a fourth part of the extract, which is all exactly in the same style, though some passages soar quite above comprehen­sion.

No farther intelligence about this tumult reach­ed us, till the 28th of March brought forth a se­cond extract of an epistle from Pittsburgh, dated the 12th of March. It corroborates the former news, affirming that ‘the poor people are pas­sing the Alleghany in legions with their families to reside, and establish actual settlements, &c. Both letters, but the second in particular, have a [Page 57] multiplicity of ranting bombastical phrases, which would be apt to make their veracity suspected. Both of them speak much about a Mr. —, who is doing some inexplicable wonders. Both contain a profusion of such egregious nonsense, and malicious falsehood, that they are in themselves, an hundred and fifty degrees beneath animadversion.

No further notice was taken in any newspaper about this insurrection. Hence it is natural to in­fer that both pieces came from the same pen, and that both were written with one rascally view, that of spreading a false alarm among the people in the Atlantic regions of the union. If such revolution­ary wonders were going forward, beyond the moun­tains, it was strange that nobody should hear about them but one correspondent. It is the business of every good citizen, to pluck up by the roots such incendiary slander. There seems a double barba­rity in ripping open the scar of a wound that is but just skinned over.

The bad effect of such reports was very well described in Congress by Mr. Baldwin. On the 1st of December, 1794, this gentlemen observed that in a country so extensive as America, and where the people are so widely scattered, it was a work of immense difficulty to have a regular and accu­rate account of the measures of government com­municated through every part of the union. It can scarcely be conceived, said he, by those who have no call to visit the interior and more retired parts of the country, how much the peace of society is disturbed by the malicious propagation of poli­tical falsehood. The most wicked lies are kept in circulation, for months together, and before they can be effectually contradicted, the people have be­come almost frantic. For example, Mr. Baldwin mentioned, (and editors of newspapers in every [Page 58] part of the union, ought to quote this part of his observations, as a caveat in future,) that it had been asserted that a poll tax of forty shillings per head, has been laid on all the inhabitants, that the excise has been extended to wheat, to looms, and to in­struments of husbandry, and that the late draughts of the eighty thousand militia, are sold to France to carry on the war! It is probable, that riots and insurrections are fomented by these rumours more than by all other causes. If a constant and regular publication of all that is done could reach every part of the United States, it would be an effectual, and, perhaps the only cure for these mischiefs. The people of this extensive country have, for these ten years, enjoyed all the essential benefits of society, on very easy terms. A man with five or six hundred acres of land is scarcely called upon for a dollar of taxes in a year. Per­haps no people on earth ever enjoyed so fully the advantages of society with so few burdens. Is it not a distressing consideration, that when we have so few real evils, we should create to ourselves ima­ginary ones, that give us so much useless uneasiness? Some wrong measures have taken place, and here­after will take place, and nobody can expect that any kind of conduct will give universal satisfaction*.

But a very small difference is perceivable in the scale of morality from one end to another of America. Of this remark the Yazoo business afforded a notable instance. By an act past in January, 1795, a junto in the assembly of Geor­gia [Page 59] sold to four companies of land-jobbers some vacant lands of that state. On the 2d of March, 1795, Mr. Harper said in Congress that the sale covered thirty millions of acres of the finest land in the world, and most admirably situated for commerce and emigration. It might, every foot of it, be made worth half a dollar per acre. Its settlement would tend to open the Mississippi navi­gation. These thirty millions of acres had been sold, he said, for five hundred thousand dollars! A more villainous transaction cannot be conceived. Yet, strange to tell! many persons in the religious town of Boston were deeply concerned in buying from these purchasers. The newspapers said [...]at the speculators of that place had agreed to give some millions of dollars for a part of this booty. The reader knows that the bargain hath since been set aside, but that does not lessen the infamy of those connected with it. The following extract from the presentment of the grand jury of Chatham coun­ty in Georgia, at the October term of 1796, gives an entertaining picture of the parties concerned.

We further and abominably present those abo­minable and iniquitous grants of pine barren land, which have been palmed upon foreigners and northern citizens, the plats of which have been decorated generally with timber not found on them; and most of the pretended tracts sold are not in existence, to the injury of the cha­racter of the state, and the honest citizens thereof; nine-tenths of whom behold the speculation with the utmost abhorrence, considering the measure calculated to injure their reputation and to cheat the unwary, to add to the pelf of a few men, who are void of principle and honour, and who would sacrifice their country and its rights to increase their own property. We are sorry to say, that [Page 60] among those characters, are those high in office in the United States; and two judges thereof, to wit, James Wilson of the Supreme Court of the United States, and Nathaniel Pendleton, of the District Court of this state, together with James Gunn, Senator from this s [...]te to Congress, have been foremost in influencing the legislature which passed the pretended Yazoo law, bartering the rights of this state, and the most fertile tract in the United States, for a mere song; and which, if it were to be deemed legal, those concerned have sold for ten times as much, which the state, by proper management, might have put into her treasury.

We congratulate our fellow citizens, how­ever, on the virtue of the last legislature, which declared the said pretended sale, constitutionally null and void, as fraudulent and corrupt, and we hope our fellow citizens at large, will now ex­hibit their virtue, by sending such men only to the next legislature, as are known to be free from speculation, and will respect our rights by con­tinuing and confirming the annulling law. It is only by a firmness of conduct in the citizens at large, on this important occasion, that our rights can be respected in Congress, and at home; that this species of gambling can be discountenanced, and speculating sharpers be defeated, which is as much to be desired, on account of morality and our rising generation, as the future repose of so­ciety, and the reputation of our growing com­munity.

We further present on this head the attempt by Alexander Moultrie and others to drag this state into the federal court, to answer a suit in equity, under a former pretended Yazoo sale. We abhor both speculations alike, and we recom­mend [Page 61] to the officers of the state, who may have been served with copies of the bill filed in the said suit, to make no answer thereto until the next meeting of the legislature, who we hope will remonstrate to Congress on this subject. We cannot suppose the state liable to be sued, and in this case we hope she will preserve her dignity, by refusing an answer, particularly in a court where the judges have been guiding the last spe­culations, and where she can consequently expect no justice. We hope that the amendment to the constitution, so unanimously entered into by Con­gress, against the suability of a state, will not be leaped over to answer the vile purposes of the most infamous speculation.

The above presentment gives no sublime notion of American jurisprudence, even at its fountain head. What follows will shew the pollution of some of its inferior streams. In a work like this, the wrongs of the poor ought not to be overlooked; and the story is inserted at this place lest, in the subsequent press of matter, it might chance to be forgotten. The particulars are taken from a letter addres­sed to the printer of the Georgia and Augusta Chro­nicle, dated Hancock county, 30th of April, 1796, and signed Henry Boyle. They serve to shew what outrages may be perpetrated, in this country, under the sanction of public justice.

Sometime in last fall, Abner Pierce was commit­ted to jail, and as it seems in Hancock county, on suspicion of stealing a mare, the property of Ward Darnel. He remained in irons till the sitting of the superior court, but could not have his trial. The only evidence against him was the oath of Darnel, while two other persons swore that they were witnesses to his having received the mare from Darnel, in virtue of a mutual agreement. After [Page 62] being confined for a considerable time, public jus­tice had not leisure to do its duty, by giving him a trial.

This poor man was on the point of lying in jail till the next superior court; ‘consequently, says the letter, as the imprisonment would have amoun­ted to nearly twelve months, lying summer and winter in the dungeon, chained in irons, without one bit of fire to thaw the frost off his frozen limbs, and only one oath against him, two in his favour, humanity shrinks at the idea*.’ What makes the affair still worse, the prisoner had a wife and two small children. They had neither cow nor horse, nor any visible means of subsistence, [Page 63] except his labour. Four persons entered them­selves as securities to the amount of twelve hun­dred dollars, that this Abner Pierce should attend at the next superior court. Mr. Boyle, who sub­scribes this letter, was one of the justices of peace who granted his liberation. For such an office of benevolence and of equity, he has been abused in a newspaper, and published, in his own defence, the letter above abridged.

The following is another anecdote of oppression, and of so singular a kind, that it ought to be recor­ded for the honour of the eighteenth century. A negro man from the coast of Guinea had been sold to a farmer on the southern line of North-Caroli­na. In the fall of 1793, he applied to a black boy and girl, the property of an adjacent planter, to give him some victuals. In return he assured them that he would perform a charm to soften the seve­rity of their master. He gave them a callibash full of the feathers and claws of birds, mixed with negro men's nails. This was buried under the threshold of the planter's door. He was, at that time sick, or fell ill soon after; and having ordered the boy to be punished for some offence, the latter said that, if he was pardoned, he would tell what had made his master ill. The concealment was im­mediately discovered, along with some of the same materials which had been stuck about the sick man's bed. The necromancer was consequently taken up. This was on a Saturday. He was tried on the next Monday, by a jury of three free-holders, convicted of witchcraft, and hanged on the Tues­day. The boy and girl were whipt and branded in the forehead with a red hot iron. One of these children was eleven, and the other thirteen years of age. The story has made noise, and an indis­tinct account of it with some remarks, appeared [Page 64] in the newspapers, a considerable time after the perpetration of the murder. The narrative is here given on the authority of a gentleman of veracity in Pennsylvania, who was on the spot soon after. A neighbouring magistrate observed to him that he had no doubt as to the guilt of the prisoner. He was sorry for being from home at the time of the execution, as he should have made his own negroes attend it. He added, by way of conso­lation, that the owner of the slave would not be any great loser by the affair, because the state was to grant him seventy pounds of damages*.

We shall close this chapter with a few miscel­laneous remarks. In the profound debates of De­cember, 1796, about whether Americans were the freest and most enlightened people in the world, Dr. Ames said that, by all which he could learn, the people in Europe who could read were but as nume­rous as those in America who could not read. In plainer words, he meant to state that the people in the new world had twenty times more commonly a decent education than those in the old one. Mr. Giles agreed with him in thinking that Americans were wiser than the rest of mankind, but he did not believe it modest or becoming to divulge the secret; for a secret it hitherto has been, and, since the resolution was negatived, it is likely to remain so. The very morning after the doctor made the above remark, Mr. Bache printed a decisive speci­men of the superiority of the American intellect. A woman in New-Hampshire was accused, and per­secuted for being a witch. A man who had beaten her, was, just before this debate, brought to trial. The wicked bench laughed at the charge of witch­craft. [Page 65] In revenge, a mob of the wisest men on earth were on the point of pulling down the court house.

Connecticut is usually held up as the mirror of true republicanism, the centrical point, the very focus of federal virtue. Take the following in­stance. In spring, 1796, during the debates on the British treaty, a newspaper of that state, which has been already cited*, had the following most ex­traordinary paragraph.

‘We are informed, by a gentleman from the up­per part of the county of Hampshire, that a regi­mental review was held, if we are not mistaken, at Conway. As the people were informed that some communications of a political nature, were to be made to them, upon the parade, a very general attendance was observed, of all ages, from sixteen years to sixty. The communications were read to them while under arms, and they were then cal­led upon to express their sentiments, which was done without any hesitation. The unanimous voice of the people present was, that, before they would submit to a prostration of the constitution, by the present majority in the House of Representatives, they would MARCH TO PHILADELPHIA; up­hold the constitution and the President; and cause the treaty with Great Britain to be carried into ef­fect.’

It would have been curious to see this army set out from Hartford with Trumbull, as a second Alcaeus at their head, chanting the paean of battle. Before they had got within an hundred miles of this city, Pennsylvania might perhaps have furnish­ed them with materials for a Connecticut Aeneid; and truly the cause to be celebrated, and the bard [Page 66] who was to sing, were two objects so worthy of each other, that the world has not seen a more suitable conjunction.

All the intemperate expressions of democratic so­cieties, and Aqua vitae reformers, do not come within sight of the effrontery and insolence of this single paragraph. A body of men assemble in arms at a review. They declare that they will march to Philadelphia. overbear the majority of the House of Representatives, and uphold the constitution, and the President. By the way, it was time that a public servant of such dangerous popularity should be re­moved from his office. The resignation of Gene­ral Washington merits the inexpressible gratitude of his country. But what better was the Conway re­view than the meeting at Braddock's field? Indeed it was much worse; for the whisky boys did not, like this federal gang, make an explicit avowal of rebellion.

If the description drawn by Morse of New-Eng­landers be faithful, nothing but such behaviour is to be looked for. ‘They are indeed, says he, often jealous to excess; a circumstance which is a fruitful source of imaginary grievances, and of innumerable suspicions, and unjust complaints against government.—A very considerable part of the peo­ple have either too little or too much learning to make peaceable subjects. They know enough, however, to make them think that they know a great deal, when in fact they know but little.— Hence originates that restless, litigious complain­ing spirit, which forms a dark shade in the cha­racter of New-England men*.’ This is the ac­count given by one of their own parsons.

Morse hath obligingly announced his own princi­ples. [Page 67] ‘The clergy (of Connecticut) who are nu­merous, and as a body very respectable, have hi­therto preserved a kind of aristocratical balance in the very democratical government of this state; which has happily operated as a check upon the overbearing spirit of republicanism *.’ What a precious deliverance that must be! It is not sur­prising that this state vomited up, during the revo­lution, such a multitude of the most inveterate cut-throat tories.

‘In New-England," says Morse, "learning is more generally diffused among all ranks of peo­ple than in any other part of the globe .’ His universal geography shews how little Morse him­self knows about many parts of the globe. He farther adds that ‘another very valuable source of information to the people is the newspapers, of which not less than thirty thousand are printed every week in New-England.’ Philadelphia has now, besides other prints, eight daily newspa­pers. They work off about forty thousand sheets of paper in a week; so that the people of this ci­ty must be still wiser if possible, than the New-Eng­landers; who have only one daily newspaper in the whole country.

But newspapers, and especially some of those in New-England, do not always tend to illuminate; they often mislead. Thus, about the memorable month of April, 1796, a number of the Columbian Centinel had an article that begins thus.


I send you another extract from Philadelphia, too important to be kept private. You may there­fore insert it, &c.

[Page 68]This important packet is by far too long, as well as too stupid, for republication entire, but a few de­tached parts may serve as a specimen.

The writer sets out by alluding to the disgraced situation of Congress and our country. A majority in the house are ‘listed under Madison and Galla­tin; or rather Gallatin and Madison, for the lat­ter has become so changed as to be only a second to the former, a devoted tool to him in overturn­ing the government.—A majority of the house are arrayed, under such leaders, to oppose and pull down the President. Their aim is to destroy the executive, to usurp to the house all the power given by the constitution to them exclusively.’

The House of Representatives, or a majority of them, have never been listed under Mr. Madison or any body else; as little has Mr. Madison been listed under Mr Gallatin, as a devoted tool to aid him in overturning the government. No reason is as­signed, and no proof is offered, that a majority in Congress had any such design; and the result shew­ed that a majority of the representatives would sub­mit to ratify the treaty. What then becomes of their pretended enlistment?

As for pulling down of the President, the ex­pression is highly impertinent, and intended only to inflame the feelings of the public. Did a British House of Commons ever scruple, or did they even forbear, to discuss the merits of a foreign treaty? No! And yet it seems that to do so in America is to pull down the President, and overturn the con­stitution. If the conduct of Congress in making this enquiry was culpable, the constitution is de fac­to overturned already. It is laid in ruins at the feet of the executive. The writer goes on to tell us that, since 1781, Mr. Madison has been a devoted tool to the French interest and government, the ab­ject [Page 69] tool or the active hireling of the tyrant of the day. He is charged with unwearied endeavours to plunge this country into the present war in aid of France.

There is more ribbaldry to the same purpose, and all equally impudent and nonsensical. What must be the state of mind among the readers of this honest Centinel, if they digest such a morsel? An hundred legislators never yet assembled, without often differing in opinion from each other. The people without doors are also much divided on al­most every great topic, and we may as well con­ceit them to be bribed as their representatives.

If the citizens of New-England are so much wi­ser than their neighbours, it must certainly appear in the choice of their representatives in Congress. The superiority is not always conspicuous. In the debate on the snuff excise, in spring 1794, some mem­bers from that part of the union, and especially Mr. Sedgwick, affirmed, that a land tax was injust and impracticable, and that Americans would never submit to it *. It was impossible for any member to give a more consummate proof of ignorance or stu­pidity. The constitution of Massachusetts itself, the very state that sent Mr. Sedgwick to the house, authorises the assembly ‘to impose and levy pro­portional and reasonable assessments, rates, and taxes, upon all the inhabitants of, and persons re­sident, and estates lying within the said common­wealth.’ Such taxes are actually paid, yet Mr. Sedgwick has often declared that they never could be raised, This conveyed a gross reflection upon the country. In point of argument, the gentleman might as well have whistled yanky doodle to the le­gislators [Page 70] of America. This remark has no reference to Messrs. Henderson, Harper, and a certain vene­rable majority in the second session of the fourth Congress.

While the people of Massachusetts have been so anxious about the preservation of the federal consti­tution, they should revise their own. Morse says, ‘that the religion of Massachusetts is established, by their excellent constitution, on a most liberal and tolerant plan. The present horrible op­pression of baptists, and other sectaries, contra­dicts this assertion*.

When the Trojan fugitives, driven ashore on the coast of Africa, solicited aid from the queen of Carthage, Dido, in her answer, tells them, that, acquainted with misfortunes, she had learned to suc­cour the miserable. A higher authority than that of Virgil, has also declared, that, by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. A shoal of metaphysicians, moral philosophers, and divines, in volumes of five hundred or a thousand pages, have likewise told us, that adversity softens and refines the heart.

By far the greater part of the world is full of misery; government, a few of the republics ex­cepted, is nothing but robbery reduced to a system. Life itself has emphatically, and justly, been termed a vale of tears. These truths are not only trite, but they have been stale, and even mouldy, for twenty centuries.

Now, as adversity is so common every where, and so supreme an antidote for thawing the ice of selfishness, as poets have loaded avarice with ridicule in this world, and as divines have menaced it with perdition in the next, our natural conclusion, from [Page 71] these powerful and coalescing causes, must be, that this blessed planet is pregnant with sympathy, chari­ty, liberality, and the entire bead-roll of benevo­lent sensibilities. Amen.

These remarks have occurred on reading the ac­count of a very melancholy affair which took place in the latter end of February, 1796, at Hingham, in the state of Massachusetts. The following par­ticulars of it are abridged from a letter written by one of the professors in the university at Cambridge, dated the 23d of February, and printed in a late Boston newspaper.

About two months before the date of the letter, a young foreigner called on this professor, and in­troduced himself by saying, that he wanted to be­come acquainted with some scientific man. The subject which he brought on was pneumatics and mechanics. He conversed with the professor flu­ently, in French, Dutch, and Latin. After a con­ference, of which part is related, he took his leave, and, by agreement, paid a second visit to the profes­sor in three days. We shall now quote verbatim a part of the account of him, as given by the wri­ter of the letter.

‘From his good figure, polite and easy manners, I concluded he was some unfortunate emigrant from the continent of Europe, probably in the service of the monarchy, who, destitute of money and friends, chose to apply some of the princi­ples he had learnt at college, to the purpose of procuring subsistence by a novel exhibition. On this account, I never asked him his name or na­tion?’

On what account? He was destitute of money and friends, and he wanted to procure subsistence by the exhibition of a novel mechanical apparatus; [Page 72] and, therefore, this American philosopher did not venture to ask him his name or nation.

"'Twas pitiful! 'twas wond'rous pitiful!"

That the professor in a college should be capable of mean ungentlemany conduct, we know by fre­quent personal experience; but, that any man should wish to bring himself forward to the public in so humiliating a point of view, is rather uncom­mon. Is it a crime to be in want of money? Is it culpable to attempt earning subsistence by exhibit­ing an apparatus of mechanism? Both these liberal and manly doctrines are avowed by this Cambridge professor. Such treatment of a foreigner, a man of learning, and, above all, a fellow creature in dis­tress, is disgraceful not only to the individual who acted so, but, from his alacrity in telling the story, it reflects a sarcasm on the country to which he be­longs. A reader in Europe will be tempted to think very meanly of the general cast of our ideas. Was the professor afraid that this foreigner would eclipse him in the eyes of his pupils, by his inten­ded shew? How easy would it have been for the professor to have found employment of some de­cent kind for a well educated man, who understood four languages! It is trusted that every reader will heartily despise such a frost-bitten pedagogue.

The chilling reception that he encountered, was undoubtedly the reason why this ill-fated wander­er fell into despair, and shot himself. He left a letter addressed to the professor, wherein he states, that his want of money, and the failure of his plans for obtaining subsistence, had determined him to put an end to his life.

The professor speaks of him thus:

‘The writings and drawings which he left di­rected to me, are so far from evincing a derang­ed mind, that they intimate a cool and vigor­ous [Page 73] intellect; being executed not merely with taste, but mathematical exactness.—I have never heard any thing against his character, but have seen some evidences of his humanity, in giving freedom to his slave, after binding him to a trade by which he could get his living.’ How much is it to be regretted that a man so gifted, should have met with such beastly treatment!

The professor concludes by citing the exit of this gentleman as a proof, that nature, without the commanding voice of religion, has left the noblest of her works imperfect.’ What part of the christian religion taught this person to keep a stranger at a distance, because he is in distress? To repel such sordid ideas, and to extend the feelings of humanity, is the only intelligible or rational purpose of religion.

The name of this victim to rashness was Iberkin. He was probably a German, there is, at least, such a name in Prussia. The letter-writer is Dr. Ben­jamin Waterhouse, Professor of Medicine at Cam­bridge. Leyden gave him education; Rhode-Island had the dishonour of his birth.

The people of New-England boast much of their superior hospitality to strangers; of which this anecdote holds up a shocking sample.

Before this sorry pedant speaks a second time of religion, let him read the parable of the good Sa­maritan. In the Levite, who passed by on the other side, he will trace the intellectual pedigree of his own mind. When such a character presents itself to mankind, as a paragon of piety, it is both our right and duty to wrench the vizor from the features of deformity, and to administer that typographical drubbing, which has been so hardily courted, and so richly deserved.

[Page 74]


Federal artifices to promote a French quarrel.— Howe's landing at the head of Elk.—Jacobins not worse than other people.—Burgoyne's picture of the British East-India Company.—Recent stoppage of the bank of England.—Robespierre eclipsed by Pitt.—Amount of the yearly rental of Britain.— Note on the state-house of Hartford.—Number of the public creditors of England.—The triumph of Camillus.—Moral certainty of American indemni­fication for British piracy.—Mercantile apathy for the sufferings of American seamen.—Impressment at Jeremie.—Pinckney.—Jay.—Neck or nothing forgeries of Pitt.—Dependence of the British West-Indies on the United States.—Fallacies of Camil­lus. —What Jay should have said to Grenville.

AMONG other artifices employed by the federal party to exasperate the people of this country against the French republic, one is, their assertion that the United States were indebted for the aid of France to the personal benevolence of Louis. This is constantly held up as a reason for detesting the revolution; and mountains of ribbaldry have, from that ground, been discharged on its authors. Some notice has already been taken of this error*. Mr. Burke, in the letters above quoted, goes fully through it. He says that even when Louis came to the throne, ‘the revolution strongly operated in all its causes.’ The politicians of France had been compelled to despise their kings. ‘From quarrelling with the court, they began to com­plain [Page 75] of monarchy itself; as a system of govern­ment too variable for any regular plan of nation­al aggrandizement. They observed, that, in that sort of regimen, too much depended on the personal character of the prince.—They compa­red with mortification the systematic proceedings of a Roman Senate with the fluctuations of a monarchy.—What cure for the radical weak­ness of the French monarchy, but in a republic? Out the word came; and it never went back.— The different effects of a great military and am­bitious republic, and of a monarchy of the same description were constantly in their mouths.’ After a long detail of circumstances, Edmund goes on in these words: ‘These sentiments were not pro­duced, as some think, by their American alli­ance. The American alliance was produced by their republican principles and republican policy.’ Several pages are spent on this subject, and every thing proves that the alliance of France with Ame­rica was the work of the republican party, not of the king. After this explanation, no man who prefers truth to fiction will deafen the public about their obligations to Louis, or the guilt of putting him to death. It was at worst not more criminal than the unavenged murder so lately com­mitted in the jail of Philadelphia*. We print week­ly whole columns of reproach against French ar­mies; yet, when five thousand of these troops mar­ched down Front-street, in their way to the capture of Cornwallis, it is still remembered with what prostration of gratitude they were welcomed by the surrounding citizens. The French ambassador was looked up to as a tutelar divinity. His landing from Europe was announced by the discharge of cannon, by fire-works and illuminations. His pre­sence [Page 76] was essential at every public entertainment. He was the arbiter of politics, of fashion, and of taste. But our turn has been served, and citizen Adet can describe the reverse of the medal. Daniel Defoe, speaking of his country, says:

"Ingratitude, a devil of black renown,
"Possess'd her very early as his own!"

Yet there is nothing quite so paltry as this con­duct of ours, even in the sable history of England. In a comparison with British armies, the French cannot lose much. When Howe landed at the head of Elk, many persons in that neighbourhood had pre­pared the best entertainment which they could af­ford for the reception of their deliverers. They brought the English soldiers to their tables. The instant that dinner was over, the guests began to plunder. It was affirmed, at the time, that in an extent of a few miles, they took away sixteen hun­dred horses. It was a common practice, when one of the regulars met an American, to ask him the time of day. When he pulled out his watch, it was wrested from his fingers. The tories were so much ashamed of this treatment, that they were never heard to complain, and at the distance of twenty years, many of them are yet as firm in loyalty as ever.

Alexander Hamilton and Co. are in the habit of making comparisons between France and England to the advantage of the latter. A celebrated wri­ter of the federal phalanx observes, that the French ‘have ransacked the coffers of the rich, stripped poverty of its very rags, robbed the infant of its birth-right, wrenched the crutch from tot­tering old age, and, joining sacrilege to burgla­ry, have plundered the altars of God*.’ All this, and much more is true; and declamations of that sort have been a powerful means with the Bri­tish [Page 77] interest for exasperating the people of America. But, coming home for a comparison, the citizens of this state would not think themselves fairly painted in a picture of the Paxton boys, butchering innocent Indians in the prison of Lancaster. A few senten­ces will shew that, in general morality, the Bri­tish are as bad as other people, and often much worse than many.

Mr. Howard says, that the annual average of executions in London only, for twenty-three years, was between twenty-nine and thirty. ‘In all the seven provinces, says he, there are seldom more executions than from four to six. The United Provinces are, by common calculation, three times more populous than London. They should, in proportion, have ninety executions per annum, instead of which there are but five. Mr. Howard gives an hundred other facts of the same nature. This may help in ascertaining the balance of domes­tic morality.

As for politics, no jacobin can less disguise his appetite for blood and plunder than the common run of British historians. The late war against Tipoo Saib is spoke of as follows: ‘No period ap­peared more favourable to humble Tipoo. The Nizam and the Mahrattas both declared them­selves ready TO CRUSH THE RISING POW­ER OF MYSORE*.’ The latter words are, as printed by the author, in capitals. He proceeds at considerable length, in the most sordid and inso­lent tone of exultation. No highwayman could speak in plainer language. To humble Tipoo! This creed vindicates every thing that the French have done, or can do. Thus, after the earthquake at Lisbon, Spain, might have sent an army to hum­ble [Page 78] Portugal. France, in the midst of peace, might as justly disembark an hundred thousand men at Plymouth or Dover, to humble England. Thus, in all ages, has the most detestable sophistry, been exerted to vindicate the commencement of unjust and destructive wars. Guthrie says, that this war cost Tipoo forty-nine thousand men. A famine destroyed perhaps ten times that number. Nothing but the wildest ignorance of history could make our citizens believe that the French are worse than their neighbours. It is of the highest importance to remove this mistake, which has become such a favourite handle of party.

Of all writers, Burke is the fittest to be quoted on this head. ‘I never, says he, shall so far in­jure the janisarian republic of Algiers as to put it in comparison, for every sort of crime, turpi­tude, and oppression, with the jacobin republic of Paris.’ Yet, when speaking [...] England, this author has afforded a still more complete idea of depravity. ‘There has not been in this century any foreign peace or war, in its origin, the fruit of popular desire, except the war that was made with Spain in 1739.’ [This is the grand assertion of Paine that government dragged England into such quarrels for the sake of augmenting public debt, and pillaging the public purse. He adds.] ‘I examined the original documents.—They per­fectly satisfied me of the extreme injustice of that war. [This shews the rooted corruption of the people.] Some years after, it was my for­tune to converse with many of the principal ac­tors against that minister (Walpole), and with those who principally excited that clamour. None of them, no not one, did in the least defend the measure, or attempt to justify their conduct. They condemned it as freely as they would have [Page 79] done in commenting upon any proceeding in his­tory*.’ Every man must see that these authors of the war of 1739, were as execrable as the French Directory possibly can be.

This is a sufficient reply to the endless barking of Webster and Camillus about jacobin principles. Let us add one word more about this war of 1739. Guthrie says, that the English took three thousand four hundred and thirty-four prizes. They lost three thousand two hundred and thirty-eight. Thus we learn that a navy cannot protect an exten­sive commerce. English trade has, in the present struggle, suffered still more severely. A British navy of six hundred sail cannot secure British ship­ping. Six frigates have an hundred times less ca­pability to protect the commerce of America.

In 1772, an enquiry took place before the House of Commons, as to the conduct of the East-India company. Burgoyne was chairman of the com­mittee. He says, that ‘such a scene of iniquity, rapine, and injustice, such unheard of cruelties, such open violations of every rule of morality, every tie of religion, and every principle of good government was never before discovered; and that, through the whole of the investigation, he could not find a single spot whereon to lay his finger, it being all equally one mass of most un­heard of villainies, and the most notorious cor­ruption.’ This passage occurs in the first of more than three hundred pages, all in the same style. By accounts transmitted from Hastings, it was pro­ved, that, in five or six years, the servants of the company had destroyed, starved, or driven away, a greater number of people, than were contained, [Page 80] collectively, in all the British colonies. After such a review we need not be scared at the cruelty of jacobins.

One incessant reproach to the French has been the breach of public credit. Our ally is descen­ding, with hasty leaps, to the same level. On the 27th of February, 1797, the privy council of George the third, by an arbitrary order, forbade the bank of England ‘from issuing any cash in payment, until the sense of parliament could be taken on that subject.’ The reason given is, an apprehen­sion of ‘a want of sufficient cash to answer the exigencies of the public service.’ If government had forbidden the bank to pay gold and silver as the interest of the public debt, this would have been no worse than a simple confession of bank­ruptcy. But they step in between the bank and its private creditors, and say, ‘You shall not pay your private debts. We must have the money to pay our own salaries, and to support our standing armies; to defray the charge of barracks built in defiance of law; and to clear off the bills of a prince who has defrauded his mistresses, insul­ted his two wives, who are both alive *! hired newspapers to calumniate his mother, and at­tempted to keep his father for life in a strait waist­coat.’

Parliament have an equal right to interfere between any debtor and creditor in the kingdom. Thus, all the requisitions of Robespierre are rivalled at a single stroke. With equal justice they may say to every farmer, ‘you shall pay no rent to your land­lord.’ Pitt is in the highway to substantiate Mr. Sedgwick's universal assessment. No legisla­ture on earth ever hazarded a more glaring act of [Page 81] iniquity. It is as extensive in its operation, as de­testable in its object. Every individual in Britain will feel the effects of this stoppage. Associations of bankers and manufacturers may, and will for a time, keep up the price of paper; but the first loan wanted for 1798, will ring the knell to its inter­ment.

The act of parliament that has followed this or­der of council, affects, in a tender point, the mer­cantile interest of the United States; and, as shall be presently explained, it strikes at one of the pil­lars of the British treaty. Much pains are employ­ed to represent it as of a temporary nature, and to convince the public that credit will quickly come round to the former situation*. On this account, it cannot be regarded as desultory to state, in this place, some decisive facts, of which a few are not generally known in America.

The national bankruptcy of England is not a matter which has come suddenly to a crisis. Its inevitable approach was distinctly foreseen and described. Mr. William Morgan, an eminent writer on English finances, published, in the begin­ning of 1796, Facts addressed to the people of Great Britain. From a long series of arguments and cal­culations, the following particulars have been a­bridged.

Mr. Pitt estimates the yearly rents of all the landed estates in Britain, at twenty-five millions [Page 82] sterling. But the land tax, at four shillings in the pound, though comprehending houses, places, and pensions, gives only one million nine hundred thou­sand pounds. Mr. Morgan believes that the yearly rents do not exceed eighteen millions. The ac­tual expenses wanted, in 1796, even for a peace establishment, were twenty-two millions. Thus, even a year ago, the public taxes were equal to the whole landed rents of Britain. It was, howe­ver, found difficult or impossible to raise the twen­ty-two millions essential for the national credit, even supposing that the war had ended in January, 1796. In February, 1795, taxes were laid to the expected amount of sixteen hundred and forty-five thousand pounds. In December following, others were also proposed to the amount of eleven hun­dred and twenty-three thousand pounds. Yet the interest of many millions of debt still remained to be provided for. From the first establishment of the consolidated fund, in 1786, till the commence­ment of the present war, the expenditure invaria­bly exceeded the revenue. The deficiencies in the six years preceding the war, amounted to nearly seven millions sterling. The blank was supplied by loans, and extraordinary but casual receipts. In the first three years of the war, new taxes were laid to the amount of about four millions, and still the annual deficiencies increased. In 1795, they came nearly to two millions. ‘It is probable, there­fore, says Mr. Morgan, that annual loans will become necessary, in future, to provide for the ordinary expences of a peace establishment; and these loans, by requiring new taxes, will produce further deficiencies; so that, by borrow­ing each year, not only to pay the deficiencies of the preceding year, but also the interest on the deficiencies in former years, the national debt [Page 83] will be increasing, at compound interest, in the same manner as it is reduced; but with this alarming difference, that the operations in the one case, are ten times more powerful than in the other. If these are likely to be the effects of the public debt, with the expenditure only of a peace establishment, or on the supposition that the war were immediately closed, what must be the consequences of obstinately persisting in a system of profusion, which, if long continued, would ruin any country, however unimpaired its strength and resources?’

Men who desire useful knowledge will not tire of this quotation. It is certainly better entertain­ment than to ring invidious changes on the purity of Connecticut*, and the wickedness of Virginia. Since these remarks were published by Mr. Mor­gan, a campaign has elapsed more disastrous, if possible, to England, than any of the former. Her situation has, uniformly, sunk from bad to worse. What, in the end of 1795, was but expectation, has, in 1797, been converted into history. Many people in America seem to be intoxicated with the superior information and abilities of Mr. Hamilton. The extravagant predictions and assertions of him­self, [Page 84] and his auxiliaries, about British pride, and power, and opulence, have become too despicable for refutation. If Camillus really believed what he wrote respecting them, he must have been ve­ry ignorant. If he knew more than he chose to tell, his conduct demands a harsher name. Ano­ther citation from Mr. Morgan will, perhaps, re­pay a perusal.

‘The competition of rapacious loan-mongers to share in the spoils of the country, supported by the fictitious credit of paper-money, may perhaps enable the minister to triumph in the facility with which the public debts are accumulated, and the temporising expedient of ineffectual taxation may serve him as a proof of our inexhaustible re­sources to provide for those taxes; but a system founded upon delusion, must end in disappoint­ment and ruin. It was the boast of a French minister of finance, that the American war was carried on during his administration, without imposing a new tax upon the French people; and it was this very circumstance which produced [Page 85] the revolution. He borrowed immense sums an­nually, and endeavoured to provide for them by the ineffectual means of economy; for, in that country, taxation had then arrived at its limits. A system of economy, under a government which existed by corruption, necessary failed. New loans became necessary to pay the interest of for­mer loans. The mass of debt continued to ac­cumulate, till at length it overwhelmed public credit, and buried the government in its ruins.’

As the government and the bank of England can­not at present command specie, the next question is, at what time, or from what source, have they a prospect of getting it? The debts of the former are about three hundred and eighty millions ster­ling. Paine guesses the paper of the bank of En­gland at sixty millions. Several other great banks had stopt before it, and the banks of Scotland and that of Ireland, have stopt since. In an affair of uncertainty, but of enormous magnitude, we may conjecture that eighty millions sterling, in bank notes have been blocked up. This added to the debt will make four hundred and sixty millions. Opposed to this world of paper, George Chalmers, an autho­rity to be trusted in this case, says, that the British dominions have a circulation of twenty millions in gold and silver. Thus credit stands like an inver­ted pyramid, of which paper is the base. But since that calculation, the quantity of hard money has been reduced. Besides, every guinea, and eve­ry sixpence, will now hide itself. Suppose that the bank has at present in its coffers two millions sterling, and that this money is to be reserved for public exigencies. Two months only of the ap­proaching campaign will exhaust it. The cash will dive into the pockets of those who furnish the supplies, and they will hold it, with the gripe of [Page 86] death, till the alarm has become to an issue. It is hard to see from whence money can be expected. The emperor will not replace his wages. In the mean while, confidence must by degrees decline. Tradesmen must be thrown idle, from the want of a proper medium to pay them; and, after every ex­pedient has been tried, an universal bankruptcy will ensue. Unless France shall grant England a peace, the campaign of 1798 will require another loan. Paper cannot be sent to the East and West-Indies, even were its character sound at home. The precious metals cannot be had, and public credit will of necessity expire. We see that six years be­fore the war, the minister after every exertion, was annually borrowing great part of a million sterling to pay the interest of old debts. This practice alone would, in time, have produced insol­vency; but, when there is superadded the history of the last four years, probability rises to demon­stration. In 1791, Mr. Rayment published a statement of the number of the public creditors of England, taken from the books. It amounted to an hundred and twenty-seven thousand three hun­dred and one persons▪ About an hundred and twen­ty or thirty millions sterling have been added to the debt, so that we may now compute the credi­tors as being at least an hundred and sixty thousand. The bankruptcies of 1793 came perhaps to twenty millions sterling. Those made by the stoppage of paper money will be at least twenty times greater. Every man in Britain, who is worth five guineas, will be affected more or less. The shock must convulse every nerve in the mass of property. Thus much for British credit. We now come to apply these remarks with respect to Jay's treaty. The Philadelphian address to the President, thanking him for having signed it, speaks of ‘indemnity [Page 87] (the subscribers meant to say indemnification) therein stipulated for past losses. The New-York chamber, in their resolutions of the 21st of July, 1795, congratulate themselves on ‘a fair compensation for the spoliations upon our com­merce,’ Curtius in his fourth letter, trusts that ‘just claims will be supported, and just damages paid! The fifteenth number of Camillus is oc­cupied on this subject. He quotes the seventh ar­ticle of the treaty, by which, referring to the pira­cies on American commerce, ‘his Britannic ma­jesty undertakes to cause the same to be paid to such claimant in specie, without any deduction,’ after the amount has been ascertained. ‘The plan, says Camillus, affords a moral certainty of sub­stantial justice.—The indemnification which may be awarded, is to be paid fully, immediately, and without de tour by the British government itself. Say ye impartial and enlightened, if all this be not as it ought to have been!

In short, the hope of recovering payment for the ships and cargoes was the greatest cause for the treaty becoming popular among American mer­chants. Its advocates incessantly held out this ar­ticle as an object of exultation. When handling it Camillus rises above his wonted composure, and one apostrophe may well enough answer another. ‘Say ye impartial and enlightened, after the pre­ceding explanation of English finances, do ye ex­pect one farthing from the king of England? Do ye fancy that a monarch who is fifteen months in arrears to the wench who scours his water closet*, whose government is three hundred [Page 88] and eighty millions sterling in debt, and who can pay its interest in nothing but paper, do ye fancy that such a person will send over his money to indemnify American merchants.’

Dr. Ames, in his renowned speech in Congress on the treaty, delivered himself with more caution. ‘Five millions of dollars, said he, and proba­bly more, on the score of spoliations committed on our commerce, depend upon the treaty. The treaty offers the only prospect of indemnity *. Such redress is promised as the merchants place some confidence in. Will you interpose and frustrate that hope! That hope, to borrow the style of Bunyan, hath since arrived in doubting castle, and will soon be in the grasp of giant despair.

One feels less for the misfortunes of some of the merchants on account of their ingratitude to their seamen. The neglect of Jay to secure an article in favour of these people, even when it was offered by Grenville, has already been stated to the public. It was disgraceful to have accepted of such a treaty at all, without an ample compensation to every one of these men, who had been imprisoned, hand-cuf­fed, starved and flogged, while acting in American service. The printed resolutions of the chamber of commerce at New-York and Boston approve the treaty in general terms, without the smallest notice of this infamous omission. The indemnity addres­sers of Philadelphia drop not one word of alarm or sympathy for the dangers or sufferings of some thousands of mariners. On the 14th of April, 1797, also, when the merchants of Philadelphia [Page 89] presented an address to Congress in favour of the treaty, that paper contains not one glimmering of compassion or even of reference to the sufferings of their seamen. Five millions of dollars, and ‘the principal part of their remaining fortunes, form the exclusive burden of the song. Never did the sordid spirit of mercantile adventure display itself in more repulsive colours. Woe be to that coun­try whose counsels are governed by merchants, or by priests! When the Senate saw an article about the West Indian trade which they did not like, they refused to accept it. But they overlooked this hideous chasm about seamen, though in every view of justice, honour, humanity, and even of commer­cial interest, it was by many degrees more impor­tant than the other. This is precisely the way in which Congress and the country have treated their old continental soldiers; so that no part of our en­lightened citizens has a title to condemn the rest.

It may be answered, but what could you do! The reply is ready. The immediate restoration of every American seaman, or a serious and vigorous effort to that end, should have been demanded and obtained, before making a single clause of any treaty. Farther, every one of them should have received a liberal compensation for the time during which they had been confined in British vessels. We have not heard of such compensation being either given, or sought. If any scruple was to be entertained on the part of Britain about making such reparation, it contradic­ted common reason to believe that negociation with such people could end in satisfaction. Figure the case that a crimp kidnaps your son on the streets of London, and sends him to the East Indies as a re­cruit. This offender owns the fact, and without engaging to restore the young man, he asks you to enter into an agreement for a freight of cotton or [Page 90] tobacco. You would not listen to such a proposal till security was given for the redemption of your son; or, if you did listen, the whole world would pronounce you an unnatural barbarian. Of British impressments, the following instance is not, perhaps, worse nor better than an hundred others. It is in­serted merely as a sample.

On the 29th of July, 1795, Cyprian Cook, master of the sloop Crisis, of Norwich, in Connecticut, and Elijah Clarke, a passenger in the vessel, emitted de­positions at New-London, of which here follows an abridgement. On the 4th of July, preceding, the Crisis, and above twenty other American vessels were lying at anchor in the port of Jeremie, in Hispaniola. The Hermione, an English frigate, came into the port, anchored, and sent her boats to board the Americans. Every man in the vessels, was taken away, excepting the captains and mates. They were, to the number of sixty or seventy, kept on board and fasting, during forty-eight hours. They were examined, one by one, and five only were dismissed, because, as the English captain ob­served, they were unfit for service. All these men were Americans born, excepting two Danes, who had been naturalized here. This outrage happen­ed seven months and an half after signing of the treaty; and it shews how sincerely England despised our envoy and those who sent him. Tame sub­mission to such treatment was the very excess of national disgrace. But, after Jay had declined to write an article in favour of our sailors, they were sure of meeting with the worst usage. It is strange that Jay did not burn the copy of his card, making a demand in their behalf, and of the consenting re­ply of Grenville. The President had very good rea­son to be ashamed of laying such a correspondence before the House of Representatives. It is suppo­sed [Page 91] that some thousands of American seamen have been treated like the above at port Jeremie*.

Camillus, in No. vi. points out many difficulties in the way of a complete protection for our mari­ners. It is likely enough that the article, if inser­ted, would have been broken; and real difficulties might have occurred in the business. But even de­corum required such a clause. Camillus has ad­vanced some assertions that are absolutely untrue. He says that ‘Great Britain has accordingly per­severingly declined any definitive arrangement on the subject; notwithstanding earnest and reitera­ted efforts of our government.—Our minister plenipotentiary, Mr. Pinckney, it is well known, has long had this matter in charge, and has stre­nuously exerted himself to have it placed upon some acceptable footing; but his endeavours have [Page 92] been unsuccessful.’ By Thomas Pinckney, and his efforts, we need not set much store. While France was in the very act of driving the allies to perdition, Jay, by the most absurd, or persi­dious misconduct, put his hand to the treaty, when, if he had only waited six weeks, till the approaching conquest of Holland had been completed, he might have had almost any terms worth asking. Pinckney was silly enough to approve of his management in making so good a bargain. Neither of these pre­cious envoys would buy largely in the funds, when there was a certainty of their tumbling. Yet they clapped up a treaty, when every moment of delay was inestimable to America. This is the scanda­lous way in which our business hath been transacted. The affair had hung over ten years, and then was finished at a moment of infinite impropriety. Such miserable botching the world has probably never seen before.

Camillus foresaw the objection as to the very un­seasonable period of signing the treaty. In No. vii. he defends it thus. ‘It will be useful to go back to the periods when the negociation began and en­ded. Our envoy arrived in England, and enter­ed upon the business of his mission, at the mo­ment when there was a general elation on account of the naval victory gained by Lord Howe, and previous to those important successes, which have terminated in the conquest of Holland; and the treaty was concluded by the 19th of No­vember last, prior to the last mentioned event, and the defection of the king of Prussia. The posture of things at the time of the negociation, and not at this time, is the standard to try its merits.’

It will indeed be useful to go back; for every line of this argument is contradicted by undisputed facts. [Page 93] The President's message to Congress about his having appointed Jay, was dated the 16th of April, 1794. The king of Prussia, in the beginning of that month, had published a curious manifesto stating his rea­sons for quitting his allies. Pitt afterwards gave him twelve hundred thousand pounds to make him return to the combat. He took the money, but never performed his promise. Instead of that, he went into Poland to besiege Warsaw. He left in­deed his quota as a prince of the German empire; but they also were annihilated, along with an Aus­trian army, at Kaiserslautern, in a battle which lasted inclusively night and day, from the 12th to the 15th of July, 1794; in the end, the republicans plunged through the loaded Prussian batteries at the point of the bayonet. Surely, Mr. Hamilton imagines that nobody reads newspapers except himself. In No­vember, 1794, when Jay signed this paper, [...]ede­ric William had, for many months, been abused in the daily prints of London, as a deserter from the cause of morality, and regular government. Thus Camillus stands detected of an intentional and notorious falsehood.

As to the general elation about lord Howe's victory, the French were equally satisfied, and with better reason. An American ambassador ought to have been possessed of more penetration than the porters and chairmen whom Pitt or his runne [...]i­red, upon that joyful occasion, to break the win­dows of John Wilkes and lord Stanhope.

Again, Camillus says that Jay entered upon the business of his mission previous to those important successes which terminated in the conquest of Holland. This is another stupendous untruth, like that about the king of Prussia. A few facts and dates will prove it to be so. On the 26th of April, 1794, Pichegru totally beat Clairfait at Moucron, and [Page 94] killed six thousand of his troops. In the course of a few weeks, a number of other desperate battles en­sued. The allies did whatever brave men, and able officers could do; but the French, by their numbers, their enthusiasm, and their talents, fair­ly drove them out of the field. So early as the 19th of May, 1794, the emperor printed an address to the inhabitants of Brussels, in a tone almost as dejected as the king of Prussia's farewell manifesto. The armies continued almost constantly fighting till the 26th of June, when the French gained the battle of Fleurus. This completely turned the scale. The grand Austrian army immediately sent off their baggage, and, in the course of a few days, thirty thousand people fled from Brussels. From that day forward every man in England, excepting Jay, must have foreseen the conquest of Holland. Though Jay had entered upon the business of his mission be­fore the fate of Flanders was decided, it was his duty to have spun out the business and to have ta­ken the utmost advantage of that invaluable con­tingency. Camillus, by advancing, in Jay's de­fence, the above palpable fictions, has exposed with­out reinforcing the weakness of the cause.

But Camillus should also have defended the Se­nate of Congress. They certainly did not approve of the treaty till after the defection of the king of Prussia, and the surrender of Amsterdam. They did not ratify till the 24th of June, 1795. In the above quotation, Camillus plainly implies, that, af­ter the defection and reduction, &c. better terms might have been had. The question then comes to be why the Senate did not stand out to get them? They sent back an article. They should have amen­ded and sent back others. The true reason was, first, that some of the Senators were seriously and substantially ignorant about the real state of politics [Page 95] in Europe; for, after the reduction of the seven United Provinces, a fear of England attacking Ame­rica was ‘but the eye of childhood; that fears a painted devil.’ Secondly, the ratification was an object of party. Jay had been sent over in des­pite of a majority in the House of Representatives; and to have refused the ratification of a treaty plan­ned under the auspices of Mr. Hamilton, would have cast irrecoverable ridicule on their whole connec­tions. For this reason twenty senators, less par­donable, if such a thing can be, than Jay himself, agreed to what he had done; and, as Junius ob­serves, ‘though royal favour cannot remove moun­tains of infamy, it undoubtedly lessens, for it di­vides the burden.’

But, independent of French victories, Jay must have known that Pitt, from his dreadful want of money, could not hold out for any considerable time. Much has been said as to the danger of Eng­land (forsooth!) declaring war against the United States. To shew the dreadful plight that she was in, the following particulars are taken from a se­ries of resolutions read in the house of commons by Mr. Smith, on the 22d of February, 1796.

In September, 1795, Walter Boyd, junior, was requested by Pitt to advance him a million sterling. He did so, and by agreement, he was to draw bills on the lords commissioners of the treasury, which they were to accept. Now comes the astonishing part of the transaction. Bills for seven hundred thousand pounds were drawn in London, bearing a false date at Hamburgh, several weeks pre­ceding the real time of framing them. Walter Boyd is not engaged in any house of business at Hamburgh, so that he might as well have preten­ded to draw bills from the moon. These forge­ries, prosessing to be foreign bills, were written [Page 96] upon unstamped paper. ‘They were, says Mr. Smith, of such a nature and description, as the bank of England would have refused to discount for any commercial house whatever, and such as it would have been injurious to the credit of any private house, to have negociated.’ These are civil words, but, in plain English, any other parties of such a plot, but the minister and his friends, would infallibly have been hanged.

It was plain that a government adopting such in­famous expedients to raise money, must have been upon its last legs. With such facts in view, it is amazing how completely some of the ablest men in America were deceived about it. Of all the argu­ments in favour of the British treaty, none was more loudly repeated than the danger of a war with Britain. ‘War, said Dr. Ames, might be delay­ed, but could not be prevented. The causes of it would remain, would be aggravated, would be multiplied, and soon become intollerable. More captures, more impressments, would swell the list of our wrongs, and the current of our rage.’ [If England had declared war against the United States, in consequence of the repre­sentatives rejecting the treaty, she would have become bankrupt before the next Christmas.] ‘The progress of wealth and improvement is wonder­ful, and some will think too rapid.’ * [Witness the enormous bankruptcies in October, 1796, and the intolerable scarcity of money ever since. The country is thriving undoubtedly, but not the more from the extravagant spirit of over-trading] ‘The vast crop of our neutrality is all seed-wheat, and is sown again to swell, almost beyond calculation, the future harvest of prosperity. And in this [Page 97] progress what seems to be fiction is found to fall short of experience.’ And, in this progress, the bank of the United States, unless its discounts are extremely circumspect, will go to the family-vault of those in London, Edinburgh, and Dublin. The reign of paper is past in Europe, and, as a matter of course, its expiration in America will happen sooner or latter. In case of any serious rupture with France, and after the unparalelled ruin that is overspreading England, every man here will directly insist on metal for his bank notes. A [...] the vast crop of our neutrality, the privateers of France and England have reaped a very great part of it.

We shall now go back to Mr. Smith's resolutions, and cite another proof of the utter incapacity of England, in June 1796, to have attacked America. ‘The profits of the contractors, says he, at the expence of the nation, have been so exorbitantly swelled, as to have risen even before the depo­sit was made thereon, to an amount greatly ex­ceeding the deposit itself, viz. on a loan of eigh­teen millions, to the enormous and incredible sum of, two millions, one hundred and sixty thousand pounds sterling.

No man could imagine that such a system was to hold out, any more than the gambling interest of five per cent. per month, so frequently paid of late in the sea port towns of America. Both these ways of raising money resembled the resource of the culprit, who said that he could escape the gal­lows by cutting his throat in prison.

Another instance shall be given of the hurry in which Pitt was to secure the loan for 1796, and of the extreme impatience with which the people of England saw the war prolonged.

When the bankers of London agreed to lend a sum of money to the minister, the custom was to [Page 98] give them credit in the public funds to a certain amount. The current price of stock, at the time of making the bargain, determined the quantity of it to be given for the new advances of the creditors. Thus, if the three per cents were at eighty, the same proportion of them would buy ten thousand pounds, that would only buy seven thousand five hundred, if the stocks were at sixty per cent. It was hence the great aim of every premier to raise them as high as possible, before his loan, and it was usual to cast prospects of peace, into some royal speech or message, by which they were sure of being raised. But, on the 27th of November, 1795, Mr Pitt, with a precipitancy that wears the foulest aspect, closed a loan for eighteen millions with Mr. Boyd. A message that he must have foreseen, came on the 8th of December, thereafter, from George the Third to parliament, telling his earnest desire of peace. The funds instantly got up so high that the quantity given for the loan, rose in its value, nine hundred thousand pounds sterling. This was just so much money lost to the public, and gained to the bankers, who probably run halves with Pitt himself. So rapid a rise in the funds, on the slender prospect of peace, shewed how very little the British were by this time disposed or indeed enabled for a war with America. ‘I consider all those war arguments that have been made use of," said Mr. Christie, as nothing more than the old story of raw-head-and-bloody-bones, much fitter to be used by an old woman to quiet a cross child, than to convince any of the enlightened members of this house of the propriety of this measure*.’

Events have since proved that the dread of war was a mere chimera, as the public credit of England [Page 99] had become too feeble to support such a shock. But, independent of that, and admitting our legis­lators to have been, as many of them were, very shamefully ignorant of the state of English finance, still America had another string to her bow that would have reduced Britain to any reasonable terms. The West-India Royal Gazette, of the 7th of October, 1794, contains a memorial to Henry Dundas from the West-Indian planters and mer­chants. They state, at much length, how impossible it is for them to subsist unless by supplies of pro­visions from this country. Hence an embargo on exportation would have reduce [...] them directly to famine. There is not room here to insert the whole memorial, though every line of it well de­serves attention; but the following passages will shew how silly it was in members of Congress to stand up and make speeches about the danger of an attack from England in the shape of open war.

‘The British West-India islands," says the me­morial, "containing about five hundred thousand black, and about fifty thousand white inhabi­tants, have been for many years, greatly depen­dant for food upon a supply of flour, rice, Indi­an corn, oatmeal, bread, and other articles of dry provisions, received by a speedy channel, and in quantities proportionate to their want, from the countries now under the sovereignty of the United States of America; by no internal re­source can they render themselves independent of such a supply, excepting by a total change of their agricultural system, at the expence of their com­merce and revenue of the mother country; and experience dearly bought, on such occasions, has now sufficiently evinced, that, by no other external channel, can such a supply, adequate to their wants, and suited to the emergency of circum­stances, be obtained.’

[Page 100]With such a document staring in his face, how could a representive pretend to say that he was afraid of Britain declaring hostilities? Or how could two-third of the people in this country fall into so foolish a tremor on that head? It argues very little either for the sound information, or the good sense of our citizens. The American alarm did not begin till eighteen months after the date of this memorial, till the British minister had begun to forge bills, and till the bank of England was with­in a year of its dissolution.

‘Besides the important articles of food, timber for the purp [...] of building their houses and manufactories, and staves and heading, of which to form packages for their produce: horses and other cattle for agricultural uses (the indispensi­ble vehicles of those benefits which Great Britain derives from these islands) cannot, in many cases, be obtained at all; and in no case, on reasona­ble and advantageous terms, excepting by an intercourse with the United States of America.

The whole paper goes on the same principles, that the British West-Indies are absolutely at the mercy of the United States.

‘The British colonies of Canada, Nova-Scotia, and St. John, instead of supplying the West-In­dia islands with timber and provisions, have, upon a fair experience, been found, nearly at all times, to consume their own productions of these arti­cles; and, upon some occasions, even to need a supply from their neighbours of the United States.’

The contents of this memorial are so pleasing as well as important, that one could wish to have it framed in glass, and hung up in every farmer's kitch­en in the country, as an invincible antidote against the return of the federal mania of April and May, 1796. [Page 101] Every step of investigation discovers more clearly the utter ignorance, negligence, or corruption of his excellency John Jay. This envoy might have dic­tated his own terms about the West-India trade, yet it was in this very quarter that he consented to a stipulation which even the capacious gulp of our Senate could not, or durst not, swallow. By the twelfth article, we were not to keep the British islands from starving by freighting any vessels larger than seventy tons!

Many obstacles stand in the way of the West-India colonies, obtaining lumber and provisions from Great-Britain, or any other country in Eu­rope; more particularly the precarious circum­stances of such a supply; its distance in time of emergency, and the perishable nature of the ar­ticles of food, which forbids a provision of large stores from a resource so remote; and even were it practicable for the colonies to exist under a de­pendance of the necessaries of life and cultivation, upon means so uncertain, yet the enormous ex­pence of those means, particularly in respect to lumber, must prevent their cultivating their lands to any beneficial purpose either to themselves, in the first instance, or finally to Great Britain.

The British colonies have found, in an inter­course with the United States, a market for their superfluous produce beyond the European con­sumption, and particularly for the article of rum; for which, at different times, the European market would not afford the cost of package and trans­port.

Thus far we have about one-fourth part of the memorial. We now plainly see that the more islands which England conquered in the West-Indies, the more she was dependant on this country, for their means of subsistence, for timber to build houses, [Page 102] for staves and heading, as likewise for taking off a great part of the West-Indian productions that would not bear the expence of being conveyed to Europe. The planters and merchants proceed to complain heavily of the mode of intercourse then permitted between the continent and the islands. It is difficult to do justice to their ideas but in their own words. Here follows part of what they say.

‘Since the separation of the United States from Great Britain, their intercourse with our islands having been restricted to British vessels only, the price of lumber and provisions at the West-India markets, under the most favourable circumstan­ces of peace and regular supply, has arisen from fifty to an hundred per cent.’

This, by the way, shews the tyrannical spirit of the British government, and how every other part of the empire is sacrificed to the plan of aggrandi­zing the mother country. The memorial goes on in these words.

The intercourse, while confined to British ves­sels, has, for various reasons, been principally carried on by a direct trade between the islands and the United States, in vessels constructed and fitted for the purpose, which must evidently have the advantage over vessels employed in the circu­itous trade from Great-Britain; as the last could not be at once proper for the transport of lumber from America to the islands, and for that of pro­duce from the islands of Great Britain; nor afford means of barter in rum and molasses, nor be navi­gated on equally advantageous terms with those smaller vessels, nor equally suit their expedition to the wants of the islands and to the state of markets.

Upon the breaking out of a war with France, these small and defenceless vessels have either [Page 103] fallen a prey to the enemy, or been employed in other trades; and this cannot be accounted a circumstance accidental, or that admits of future remedy; since the nature of the intercourse in question forbids an establishment of regular con­voys to and from all the islands at such times as may be suited to their wants; and the immense expence of outfit, seamen's wages, and insurance, discourage adventure in a trade attended with such imminent risk, and which, if a supply by such means were even possible, must swell the ex­pence beyond those bounds which the cultivators in those islands can possibly support.

There is next stated the frequent and invincible necessity which the governors of the West-India islands find of opening their ports to American vessels to prevent instant starvation; and yet provisions and other articles of immediate necessity are some­times sold at three hundred per cent. beyond the average price. For this, and other reasons above stated, they solicit a more extended intercourse with America. They represent the impossibility of providing food from their lands, and the pecu­liar distress under which they labour during the present war. ‘Under such disadvantages a perseve­rance in the present system of their intercourse with America must form an accumulation of bur­den, which will entirely preclude a fair competi­tion with their rivals in cultivation, will stimu­late and assist the progress of cultivation in the Dutch and Spanish settlements, and immediate­ly tend to the distress and ruin of the inhabitants of the British West-India colonies, and of the numerous classes of their fellow subjects in Great Britain and Ireland connected with and depen­dant upon them.’

The memorial also represents the good policy [Page 104] of encouraging America to persevere in her agri­cultural system, and expresses fears that the de­pression of her intercourse with the islands may have a tendency of driving her to manufactures. They add, ‘our system of exclusive possession of those be­nefits has been found, in times of emergency, impracticable, and the participation which, at such times, we have granted to America, has had neither the merit of a concession with that country, nor the advantage of effectual relief to ourselves.’

It is needless to seek farther evidence of the Bri­tish West-Indies existing wholely at our good will; and how highly England values that part of her ac­quisitions appears from her solicitude to extend them.

In the debate, in parliament, about the beginning of 1796, on the bill for abolishing the slave-trade, in the House of Commons, Mr. Dundas stated the imports from the British West-Indies, in 1795, to be as follows: eight millions eight hundred thousand pounds sterling; revenue arising on this amount, one million six hundred and twenty-four thousand; shipping employed in that trade, six hundred and sixty-four vessels; tonnage, one hundred and fifty-three thousand; seamen eight thousand; exports from Great-Britain, to the West-Indies, in 1794, three millions seven hundred and forty thousand pounds, employing seven hundred vessels; tonnage, one hundred and seventy-seven thousand; seamen, twelve thousand; produce of the islands imported to Britain and re-exported, three millions seven hun­dred thousand pounds.

On the 10th of February, 1797, Mr. Parker, when defending the plan of building American fri­gates, observed that, since the beginning of the war, not a single British West-India fleet had been home­ward bound which these six frigates were not strong [Page 105] enough to have taken. Such was the known track of the trade-winds that they were obliged to come within seven days sailing of this coast. The French were in the same condition, so that we might have been as formidable to either of these powers as Al­giers is.

The stopping of this enormous trade must have ruined the credit of Britain. She would not, there­fore, have been hasty in declaring war against the country, after the dreadful campaign of 1794. On the 10th of February of that year, Dorchester had, in­deed, made an address to the Indians, wherein he sta­ted the possibility of a war, in the course of the year, between England and the United States. But this was, most likely, a mere decoy for our executive. On the 26th of May following, Grenville and Dun­das denied, in Parliament, any knowledge of this performance. They certainly lied, for they refu­sed to produce a copy of Dorchester's instructions; and, as Fox observed in reply, his lordship was not a person who would hazard such a conduct without proper authority. This disavowal by Dundas and Grenville shews that they were afraid to acknow­ledge the speech; and that a rupture with the Uni­ted States would have been regarded in the old country with universal reprobation. Grenville even pretended to deny the possibility of such a harangue having ever been delivered. What an impostor! But this agrees very well with the forgery of Boyd's Hamburg bills*.

Camillus, No. v. overlooks every circumstance of this kind that shews how much Pitt would have [Page 106] been afraid of an American war. He tries to play upon our prudence and our fears. When speaking of the claim for negroes carried away by the Bri­tish from New-York, at the end of the late war, he says ‘no consideration of honour forbid (for­bade) the renunciation; every calculation of in­terest invited to it. The evils of war for one month would outweigh the advantage, if, at the end of it, there was a certainty of attainment. But was war the alternative? Yes, war or dis­grace. —If nothing had resulted [from Jay's voyage, he means,] was there any choice but re­prisals? Should we not have rendered ourselves ridiculous and contemptible in the eyes of the whole world by forbearing them?’

The necessity that Camillus describes did not ex­ist; though we have lost less by a shabby state of peace, than we must have done by a successful war. But wisdom would have chosen a middle course. Jay might have addressed Grenville in terms like these. ‘You have wronged the United States in a variety of shapes. Your offers of redress are eva­sive or insolent. We shall not declare war against you. There is a shorter and a cheaper way. America has no treaty of commerce with Eng­land. She cannot be accused of breaking any, by stopping the exportation of provisions to your West-India islands. We know that your fifty thousand whites, and five hundred thousand blacks cannot find bread or pork for their dinners, or timber to build their houses, or staves for their casks, or even horses or cattle, but by sending for them to our continent. Besides large quan­tities of their rum, we also take several produc­tions that will not bear the expence of a con­veyance to Europe. This market they will for­feit, and ninety days of an embargo in our ports [Page 107] will make them die of hunger as fast as your victims on the glacis of Tanjore*. We shall farther give notice to France that, for ready mo­ney, she may get whatever supplies she can want, on exporting them in her own bottoms. If you wantonly proclaim hostilities against us, we shall follow the maxim of the Celtic chief, neither to seek the battle, nor slain it when it comes . Twenty thousand of our militia, would, in a few weeks, drive your handful of regulars out of Canada, and you could not, at present, spare a fleet or an army to recover it. We should thus put an end to Indian wars, by tearing up the root from whence they spring. After driving Victor Hughes out of Guadaloupe, you might burn some of our towns on the sea coast, as you did in the last war. But then we shall infallibly destroy your nine millions sterling per annum of imports from the West-Indies, and the sixteen hundred thousand pounds of revenue derived from them. This would be a mortal stroke to your finances, and so take your choice.’

In No xv. Camillus treats of the compensation afforded by the seventh article of Jay's treaty for British piracies on American commerce. Since the apoplexy of British paper the word compensation sounds like mockery. But Camillus would have it believed that Pitt never intended the confiscation of our vessels. ‘These terms, legal adjudication, were certainly not equivalent, upon any rational construction, to condemnation.—Yet the British West-India courts of admiralty appear to have ge­nerally acted upon the term as synonimous to con­demnation.—The British cabinet have disavowed this construction of the West-India courts; and [Page 108] have, as we have seen, by a special act of inter­ference, opened a door,’ &c.

The stile of Mr. Hamilton is so prolix, he has such skill at beating out his guinea into an acre of gold leaf*, that it is inconvenient to quote him at full length. But he means to have it understood, that the West-India judges acted against the under­standing and wishes of P [...]t. The latter must have been a very great blockhead, if he could not write a dozen intelligible lines, especially on a subject of such immense importance. But every man, Camil­lus and the tories excepted, can see at once the bot­tom of the story. The object was to seize Ame­rican shipping for the treble purpose of enriching the English, of humbling America, and distressing France. Yet the orders were to be drawn in a shuf­fling form, that Pitt, if he should afterwards find it adviseable to disown them, as he did Dorchester's instructions, might have a chink to creep through. We may be sure that judges, and officers of the na­vy, acted from a perfect acquaintance with Pitt's re­al intention▪ and, when colonel Hamilton tries to persuade us of the contrary, it is only adding insult to robbery. When the object had been attained, it was very easy for Pitt to deny his orders. In a fu­ture chapter shall be inserted a regular history of the whole of these instructions. A second set was published by the cabinet of London on the 8th of January, 1794. They were very little better than the first. A former edition, just about as bad, had been issued on the 8th of June, 1793, under which also some bucaneering was committed. Thus the court of London acted upon a system, and it was very wrong in Camillus to cast the blame on the judges in the West-Indies. As for the above door [Page 109] that has been opened, it costs two hundred and fifty pounds sterling to get in. Divine justice never dis­played itself more splendidly than by the chastisement of British pride. Since the storming of the Bas­tile, the most auspicious event in the annals of Eu­rope is the fall of the bank of England.

Among the inflammatory topics of the federal party, no one has had a more powerful effect than the attempt of Genet to involve this country in hostilities with England. The force of the objec­tion shall be admitted; but any other envoy, situa­ted like Genet, would have rejoiced in securing the alliance of America. This was the very part which Dr. Franklin acted at the court of France; and the ultimate consequences of his mission overturn­ed the French monarchy. Nothing, therefore, can be more impenetrably stupid than to advance, as Mr. Hamilton and his hacks constantly do, this de­sign of involving us in an English war, as a charge of peculiar atrocity against Genet and the republic. This was the very path formerly pursued by the United States; and it would, under similar circum­stances, have been attempted by any nation or any ambassador under heaven. This identical trap had been laid by the old Congress and Franklin for the French cabinet, so that it was perfectly natural for France to endeavour at obtaining a retaliation. While Genet must be condemned, Mr. Hammond was equally culpable. His perfidious and insolent proposal to Mr. Randolph, previous to the ratifi­tion of Jay's treaty*, was more affronting to the executive feelings, if any such feelings existed, than the most frantic menaces uttered by Ge­net. A compliance by General Washington would have cast him completely into the lee-way of the [Page 110] British ambassador. The possession of such a secret must have been of immense value to the British cabinet. It would have been a rudder by which our executive must have steered wherever Ham­mond chose to lead him; for it discovery was sure to have interred even the popularity of Wash­ington. If this disgraceful project had come from Genet, the Gazette of the United States would have played a weekly tune upon that fiddle to the end of this century. But, originating with Pitt, not a single word will be heard about it from the fede­ral presses.

Mr. Washington has made an uncommon parade about the impartiality of his conduct between France and England. As the former saved him from the chance of ascending a gibbet, to which he had been destined by the Parliament of Britain, he can­not derive much honour from an utter oblivion of his political obligations. But the fact is, that he has preferred Britain to France. This will appear from what follows.

In 1793, when Genet came here, he was direct­ed, by his instructions, to open negociations for a commercial treaty. They direct him to tell the American government that the executive council ‘are inclined to extend the latitude of the propo­sed commercial treaty.’ Another idea was to break up the colonial and monopolizing systems of all nations, and emancipate the new world. Camil­lus, No. xxiv. calls the latter a mad scheme and a po­litical chimera. These expressions betray Mr. Ha­milton's general cast of thinking. His feelings are so perfectly British, and monarchical, that it seems inconceivable how he ever came to sight, as he did, for the American revolution. Mexico and Brasil are just as well entitled to freedom as New-York and Pennsylvania. Their emancipation would be [Page 111] an immense benefit both to the inhabitants of those countries themselves, and to mankind at large. So far from being chimerical, the event is probable*; and it would thrill with joy the heart of every man who is not completely petrified against the pleasure of seeing his fellow creatures happy. In the last age, Camillus would have defended the divine right of kings. In England, he would vindicate the Guinea trade, as in America he sighs over the me­mory of the Bastile; while John Jay, and Rufus King, and Jedidiah Morse, and the whole priesthood of Connecticut, heave responsive notes of sorrow. Were these regions of the new world independent, a rapid influx of the precious metals would pour into this country; and Mr. Hamilton's bank of the United States might then be able, upon a month's warning, to give hard dollars for one-fortieth part of the notes which it hath in circulation. So far from such an emancipation being chimerical, it is next to certain of taking place. If the French do not atchieve this great event, the tide of federal population, rolling westward, will begin it in less than a century.

Returning to President Washington and Genet, we observe that the former refused to enter into any treaty, because the Senate were not sitting at the time when the French envoy made the propo­sal. [Page 112] Yet, in the following spring, while the Senate were in session, and without ever once consulting them, did this identical George Washington take John Jay from the bench of the Supreme Court of this country, and send him to England, where, as we all know, he made a treaty. It was impossible for the French to avoid being affronted at such du­plicity. They could no longer put trust in a man capable of such naked inconsistency. Here is inser­ted evidence of the fact.

The Senate being then in recess, and not to meet again till the fall, I apprised Mr. Genet, that the parti­cipation, in matters of treaty, given by the constitution to that branch of our govern­ment, would, of course, delay any de­finitive answer to his friendly proposition. As he was sensible of this circumstance, the matter has been under­stood to lie over, till the meeting of the Se­nate. —The President will meet them (the executive of France), as soon as he can do it in the forms of the con­stitution*.

Gentlemen of the Senate.—I HAVE THOUGHT PROPER TO NOMINATE JOHN JAY, as envoy extraordina­ry from the United States to his Britannic majesty.

See a letter from Mr. Jefferson, then Secretary of State, to Mr. Morris, dated August 23, 1793, in The President's Message, &c. Ca­rey's edition, p. 88.
Journals of Congress, April 16, 1794.

[Page 113]The President's message is of considerable length, but the few words above quoted contain its essence. In the left hand column he says, that he cannot en­ter into any negociation for a treaty till the meet­ing of the Senate. No words can be plainer or stronger than those which he employs. The opposite column speaks an opposite language. It is ungene­rous to triumph over the ruins of declining fame. Upon this account, not a word more shall be said about the matter. The bare circumstances super­cede any attempt either to exaggerate or demon­strate. Nothing but the necessity of explanation could have, at all, brought the subject forward.

While this sheet was going to press, (16th May, 1797,) President Adams has delivered a speech at the opening of the first session of the fifth Congress. He says that ‘the conduct of the government has been just and IMPARTIAL to foreign nations.’ With respect to France, what has been above cited refutes the assertion. The speech consists entirely of a complaint against the republic. It forms a kind of postscript to Pickering's letter to Pinckney. Not a word escapes the President about British piracy, which continues to expand in full blossom. The ve­ry day before this speech was pronounced, the Phi­ladelphia Gazette contained a curious example of the relative amity of France and England. The French had carried about sixteen American vessels into Jean Rabel. The British cut out these vessels, and it was expected that they would be sent to Ja­maica for trial. There can be no doubt of their being tried somewhere; and the chance is, that most, if not the whole▪ of them will be confiscated.

When Mr. Munroe, had his farewell audience of the executive directory, Barras glanced with con­tempt at the British treaty, and the British interest by which it had been brought about. Mr. Adams [Page 114] has mustered up this into an alarming insult against our country, and an attempt to sow domestic dis­sension. He reprobates such a style in the bitterest terms, as ‘studiously marked with indignities to­wards the government of the United States. It evinces a disposition to separate the people of the United States from the government; to persuade them that they have different affections, princi­ples, and interests, from those of their fellow-citizens, and thus to produce divisions fatal to our peace.’

This speech does not come within the period as­signed to the present volume; but it forms a branch of the plan already explained for provoking a French war. A case exactly similar to this of Bar­ras and Munroe happened, some years ago, be­tween lord Grenville and Thomas Pinckney. The former mentioned to the latter, in the most overbea­ring manner, the influence of a jacobin faction in America. Choiseul or Neckar would not have up­braided an English envoy with the riots excited by John Wilkes or George Gordon. If the American executive of 1793, had felt even the most glim­mering spark of national dignity, the insult would have been resented. If Pinckney himself had been penetrable by reproach, he would have cut Gren­ville short. ‘My lord, he might have said, Eng­land has many jacobins. Scotland has perhaps a still larger proportion, and the number is hourly augmenting. The Irish are a jacobin nation. They are as ripe for a revolution, as a peach ever was for dropping. Confine your solicitude to them, and leave us to get rid, as quietly as we can, of your correspondent, Alexander Hamilton, and his funding cancer of six per cent.’

Mr. Pinckney pocketed the stigma. He sent home the precious notice of a jacobin faction in [Page 115] America. The executive, proud of such a corro­boration to his own doctrine, sent it to Congress; and the letter was read to the House of Represen­tatives without one murmur of disdain. That Pinckney should have endured such mockery was bad. That General Washington should have trans­ferred the indignity to his own shoulders, without any muttering, was a great deal worse. The abject silence of the representatives, when the paper was read, betrayed an equal extinction of any formida­ble spirit.

Barras could not have wished for a better prece­dent in his speech to Munroe. The etiquette of federal degradation had been established at London. It had been approved by the President and Congress. Barras, with a thousand reasons for resentment, while Grenville had not one, was highly excusable for giving us a repetition of the dose.

The President affects to bristle up at the mention of American parties. He knows that there are such, and an allusion to them was not separating the peo­ple from the government. The British treaty was squeezed through the Senate by a party of twenty against a party of ten; and two of the former, on account of their personal characters, would hardly be admitted as evidences in a court of justice*. In the House of Representatives the treaty escaped by a single vote. Every second number of Camillus represents America as full of desperate incendiaries. [Page 116] The Gazette of the United States is an egg hatched under the very wing of the Senate. It produces a constant stream of invective against the republic, and against every man in this country who has ap­proved of the French revolution. On the part of Barras the sarcasm was perfectly fair. We had no right or pretence to complain about it.

The House of Representatives have set out with a direct breach of one of their standing rules. This is that ‘in ALL cases where others than mem­bers of the house are eligible, there shall be a previous nomination.

The propriety of adopting this rule will be happily illustrated by a recent circumstance, which occurred within the walls of that house. In the second session of the third Congress, Mr. Sedgwick presented a petition from a person who wanted to be appointed as their short hand writer. It was after­wards known that this man * had, sometime before, been publicly tried at Baltimore, and banished, as a receiver of stolen goods. Had a stenographer been, at that time, chosen by ballot, Mr. Sedgwick might have probably brought himself into the dilem­ma of voting for this honest candidate. Such an instance has, to be sure, nothing to do with the successful candidate in the election here referred to; but it shews what may fall within the chapter of pos­sibilities.

Mr. Giles urged the justice of naming the candi­dates beforehand, that gentleman might have an opportunity of balancing, in their own minds, the merit of each. This looked like fairness. The proposal was resisted by Dr. William Smith of South-Carolina. That state hath, in the fifth Con­gress, sent two members of the same name and [Page 117] surname. The one here meant is the writer of PHOCION'S letters. This is the man who dispatch­ed pilot boats, while Congress met at New-York, to Charleston. The object of this maritime embassy was to buy up continental certificates. They were obtained at eighteen pence or half a crown per pound. They were then funded by the doctor at twenty shillings. By a special act of Congress, to which he gave his vote, an hundred and twenty or an hundred and fifty thousand dollars of his precious commo­dity were transferred from the public stocks into the stock of the bank of the United States. There the Doctor draws eight per cent. of interest for the nominal amount of a sum of which the principal originally cost him but ten per cent. In plainer words, he advanced as it were ten dollars to serve his country, and, by various steps, he now draws an yearly interest for them, at the moderate rate of eight dollars. A nation cannot help flourishing, when under the auspices of such a disinterested le­gislator.

The point in view, by the breach of the above stan­ding rule, was, to remove Mr. John Beckley from his office as Clerk of Congress, an office which he has held ever since the operation of the new government. There was not a member in the house, who could, even in the smallest degree, impeach his of­ficial conduct. This made it necessary to exclude him by a silent vote. The motion was carried by forty-one voices against forty. Mr. Beckley may now, like Sully, find leisure to write an history of the abominations to which he has been a witness. His talents are equal to the task, and he cannot ren­der America a more important service.

From what has been said about the sale of cer­tificates, it is not inferred that every purchaser of them, at an inferior price, acted dishonestly. No [Page 118] certainty existed of their being funded by the new government, and much less of their being funded at the full nominal value. It was a lottery where­of no one could tell the proportion of prizes. The blame in speculating rested entirely with those mem­bers of Congress who bought up the certificates at a cheap rate, with the view of thereafter voting for their being funded at the full price; or who gave such a vote with an eye to subsequent pur­chases. Among other defects of the new government, one was that the House of Representatives consisted only of sixty-five members. This number was too small, and twenty, joined together, by the sacred bond of paper-jobbing, were next to certain of car­rying any point about which they were anxious.

On the 1st of January, 1790, this domestic debt amounted, in principal and interest, to forty milli­ons, two hundred and fifty-six thousand dollars*. A majority of each house voted for funding the whole mass at its nominal value. How many mil­lions belonged to themselves cannot be ascertained until the arrival of that day, which is to disclose all human secrets. Thus did the nation suffer a do­zen or perhaps thirty speculators to sit as judges upon their own job.

A member of Congress might, on this occasion, be very fitly compared to an attorney whom you send into court to make the best composition that he can with your just creditors. They had heard of your being partly insolvent, and offer to trans­fer their claims for an eighth part of their nominal amount. It is the business of your agent to take advantage of this juncture; instead of which he clandestinely buys up all those debts against you, at the reduced price, for which his funds afford [Page 119] him ability. To shelter himself in a croud, he en­courages other adventurers to buy up all the re­maing debts against you in the same way. He then comes forward, in name of himself and his as­sociates, and compels you to give a mortgage for forty millions of dollars, when he could, in reali­ty, have rid you of the whole sum for five milli­ons. You would not think that such an attorney had discharged his trust with fidelity. You never would employ him again. It is even possible that he might be turned out of his profession. Within the last twenty years, Mr. Alexander M'Kenzie, an at­torney at Edinburgh, was employed to sell an es­tate. At the time and place publicly appointed, no purchaser appeared, and Mr. M'Kenzie bought it up in his own name. Several of his brethren, men above being suspected of collusion, attended the whole transaction, and gave evidence that they had no jealousy of unfair dealing. The price it­self, though alledged to be somewhat low, was not much under the mark. Yet the Court of Session declared that no factor could buy and sell at the same time. They reversed the bargain, and the house of peers confirmed their decree. But, if Mr. M'Kenzie had been directed to buy an estate at its market price of two thousand five hundred pounds, and if he had first procured it for himself, and thereafter forced his client to pay twenty thou­sand pounds for it*, his gown would have been torn from his shoulders. The first glance from the bench would have announced the annihilation of his scheme.

Of the above forty millions of dollars, a small part was funded at only three per cent. though with [Page 120] the prospect of certain advantages, needless here to be explained, which were supposed to place it on a level in value with the remainder of the debt. Another part, though but a small one, was funded in name of original creditors, the men with pal­sies and rheumatisms caught on board of the Old Jersey, with wooden legs and weather-beaten faces, whose very looks are disgusting to a friend of order. These heroes promoted an American revolution, when we were fifty times less heavily taxed than any other subjects of the British crown. They began a rebellion when its expence, for a single week, exceeded the value of all the taxes that Eng­land had either got or asked for the preceding twenty years. HUNC tu Romane caveto. After such doings, they are unfit to be trusted under any government.

For the sake of round numbers, and to be con­siderably under the fact, suppose that only twenty four millions of dollars, out of the above forty, had been funded in the name of purchasers at half a crown per pound. The interest, at six per cent. comes to fourteen hundred and forty thousand dol­lars per annum. If this sum had remained in the pockets of those who pay it, we should have been saved from many of the burdensome taxes which are so heavy on the inhabitants of the sea-port towns; and more or less so upon every part of the country. Again, those traders or manufacturers, who pay such taxes, must always add more than the net addition, to indemnify themselves for the trou­ble which attends it, as well as for the advance of money*. The enormous dearth of labour must partly be deduced from this cause, and it produces, in an hundred different ways, inconvenience and [Page 121] backwardness to all sorts of business. The ex­pence of collecting or borrowing the money forms also a serious item; and all these together, make a real loss to the public, by these twenty-four mil­lions of dollars, not merely of fourteen hundred and forty thousand dollars, but of at least three millions. This equals the whole principal sum that the buyers of the twenty-four millions advan­ced. Thus nominally we pay about fifty per cent. but in reality, at the lowest, an hundred per cent. of interest for the sum truly given before hand.

The common body of creditors must have been very glad to see six millions of dollars. This would have doubled their principal and made a very snug adventure. Judging by the statute of limitations, and other desperate leaps of congressional economy, we may be perfectly sure that other creditors would not have got one sixpenee more than they really ad­vanced, if it had not been to serve as a screen for the full gratification of Camillus and his myrmi­dons. They have ever since been constantly ha­ranguing the public about conspiracies. The greatest rogue always turns king's witness, says the proverb. Nothing, since the new constitution, has, within an hundred degrees, as much the appearance of a con­spiracy as this certificate business, unless, perhaps, the uproar which forced Congress to ratify the Bri­tish treaty.

This was the dawning scene of that government whose wisdom and virtue have resounded through the four quarters of the globe. The annals of an­cient or modern finance record not a more deform­ed transaction. In the black luxuriance of Roman rapine, a more pregnant field never exercised the ferocious contempt of Claudian, or the majestic se­verity of Juvenal. If imperial Rome could boast of her Sejanus, and Byzantium of her Rufinus, the [Page 122] the future historian of federal glory, may brighten the tints of his canvas, and refresh the verdure of his laurel, by the congenial names of Hamilton * and of Smith.


British piracies on American shipping in 1796.—Case of the schooner John.—Of Capt. Samuel Green — British privateers built in the United States.— Skirmish in Port Jeremie between the Americans and Capt. Reynolds.—Impressments by the Severn, the Hermoine, and the Reg [...]lus.—Twelve Ameri­cans whipt.—Case of the brig Fanny.—Of the ship Bacchus.—The Swallow.—The Paragon.—The Voluptas.—The Lydia.—The Hannah.—Fray at Liverpool; and rout of a press-gang.—The Friend­ship.—The Ocean.—Letter from Samuel Bayard.— The brig Polly.—Vigilance of the American to­ries.—The Hannah of Baltimore.—The ship Di­ana, of New-York.—The ship Polly, Captain Mayo.

MR. BACHE has compiled two volumes of speeches on Jay's treaty, which were made in the House of Representatives of Congress, in spring, 1796. It would have been a service of still more consequence to this country, if he had re­printed a collection of the various narratives of British piracy on American vessels in the West-In­dies. This monument of bucanneering might have served as an useful curb to national vanity, and have taught us, if not quite incurable on that side, [Page 123] to apprehend the meanness of our present maritime condition. The devastation has been going on, with different degrees of violence, since the summer of 1793. A complete account of these piracies would very far exceed our present limits. A few exam­ples are here selected from the mass; and begin­ning with the early part of the year 1796; several miscellaneous anecdotes and observations being oc­casionally interspersed.

A Salem newspaper, of March 8th, mentions the arrival of the schooner John, captain Philip Saun­ders, from Jamaica. While he lay there, an Eng­lish officer and five men, from a sloop of war, came on board to impress his crew. Only one of them happened to be on board, besides the mate and a boy. The rest were on shore on business. The gang t [...] the sailor. On being told that he was an Ame­ri [...] [...]y replied that they knew this, but wanted [...] and would have them, whatever might be the consequence. Captain Saunders went on board of the [...]l [...]p of war, to reclaim his seaman. The com­mander told him to go back to his own vessel, make out his account of the wages due to the hand, and send them and his clothes to the sloop. In case of non-compliance, he was threatened with a slogging. Whether he obeyed this order, we are not told. The rest of the crew were secreted on shore by the captain, for ten days, till the sloop of war sailed, as her declared design was to impress the whole. Du­ring this time, the schooner lay exposed to the weather, as well as the insults of the sloop of war, without any person to take care of her, except the captain, his mate, and the boy. The sloop's crew consisted of eighty-seven men. Of these, thirty-five were said to be Americans, who had been impressed in the West-Indies. Such, at the distance of twenty months, was the success of Jay's appeal to the mag­nanimity [Page 124] of George Guelph, and of his kissing the hand of ‘the meat, drink, snuff, and diamond-loving dame.’ Captain Saunders further inform­ed, that several vessels belonging to the southern states, were lying at Jamaica, when he left it, with­out seamen to navigate them home. The crews had been impressed.

The same post brought an article from the Mi­nerva, which is in admirable unison with the pre­ceding narrative. An entertainment had been given, a few months before, at Amsterdam, where, ‘the portrait of our beloved Washington, was exhi­ted as the chief decoration of the room.’ Web­ster then gives a long rhapsody, pronounced by some Dutchman, on the President, ‘As a Cato in council; a Caesar in the field; a Hercules in the political tempest; the scourge and admiration of proud Albion; Columbia's bulwark,’ &c. &c. Mynheer should rather have said the jossing-block of proud Albion, from which she vaulted into the sad­dle of sea-robbery; for now, since the mountain of compensation hath been happily brought to bed of its mouse, all parties must, in their hearts, agree, that, from the day when Jefferson left his office*, our British concerns could not have been more wretchedly managed than they actually have been. If Hercules had permitted Cacus to keep his stolen oxen, the insertion of his name would have been more intelligible. As for Caesar and Cato—but it is needless to tread upon imbecility.

Early, as it seems, in the year 1796, captain Sa­muel Green made a voyage from Norfolk, in Virgi­nia, to Martinico. He had the command of a fast-sailing schooner, of three bundred barrels burden, and carried a cargo for the British at that island. [Page 125] On his arrival, the consignee shewed him a bill of sale of the vessel, and told him, that he was no longer master, because the schooner was bought for the British government, and to be fitted out as a privateer. If captain Green chose to remain on board, he was told that he might have employment. This offer he refu [...]ed. Several of the sailors were impressed by the British. Others were enticed to en­ter as volunteers in the different ships. This was the treament which other American crews, in the same trade, met with as well as his. These priva­teers, when thus fitted out, were to intercept our shipping in their way to the West-Indies. Thus the United States furnished privateers and seamen for the destruction of their own commerce. This is one proof, among many, of the indifference of some American owners to the personal safety of their sailors. Captain Green arrived from Marti­nico at Baltimore, about the 14th of March, 1796. He related the above particulars to Colonel Low­ry of that town, who gave them for publication to the author. Put the case, that a merchant of Liverpool were to freight a vessel for Calais or Pe­tersburg, with the previous but concealed certain­ty before him, that the ship was to be sold; the captain turned adrift without warning, and the crew to be seduced or pressed into the Russian or the French service. The attested recital of such a fact would make the owner completely odious to the public. But, in this country, a series of such transactions does not excite the smallest emotion, or even attention. About twenty-five years ago, an English sailor at Dantzie, was entrapped by a recruiting party, belonging to the late king of Prus­sia. The man got a letter conveyed to England, and though Frederic possessed, in all its vigour, the faculty of retention, yet he found it necessary [Page 126] to give Jack his freedom. The story was printed in the English newspapers, and became, for a short time, a topic of conversation. Compare this sen­sibility to national rights, with the selfish American apathy, and say which of the two countries has the greatest appearance of being enlightened.

A newspaper of this city, of the 15th of March, 1796, contained a narrative subscribed by Jacob Peterson, master of the sloop Polly, of Philadelphia. He says that, on the 29th of January, 1796, he ar­rived at cape Nicola Mole, where he had scarcely cast anchor, when the Syren, a British sixty-four, pressed one of his best seamen. On the 31st, he sailed for Jeremie. While he remained in that port, about nine o'clock in the evening, of the 9th of February, captain Reynolds, of the Harriot, a British armed ship in government service, manned his boat and pressed several American seamen from different ships in the harbour. He began with the ship Carolina, of Baltimore, captain Lusher.

Next day, Reynolds, when on shore, swore that he would that night make a sweep among the Ame­ricans. The latter, hearing of this threat, assem­bled themselves into two vessels that lay in the har­bour, one of them the brig Richard and James of Philadelphia, and the other the schooner Eliza of Baltimore. About nine o'clock in the evening, a boat full of armed men was observed coming from the Harriot towards the Eliza. She was hailed and enjoined to keep her distance. Reynolds caused his men to fire. This was returned; and, after sometime, the boat went off. She came back with a fresh supply of men, and again found it prudent to retire. The people in the Eliza then went on board of the Richard and James. Reynolds went on shore, obtained a reinforcemt, and came back to a third assault. Finding the Eliza deserted he [Page 127] gave up the attempt. In this contest, the British said that they had seventeen men killed or woun­ded. The Americans had one killed, and one wounded.

The above account, as to what happened at port Jeremie, was almost immediately confirmed by the arrival of captain Webb, of the brig Nymph. Cap­tain Webb added, that the Americans had presented a petition to the commandant at Jeremie, admiral Murray, for the recovery of their impressed men, and satisfaction for the behaviour of Reynolds. Murray answered, that he had given no orders for the impress, and that he would use his influence to get the men restored; but, when captain Webb left Jeremie, there was no appearance of that taking place. The answer of Murray was mere mockery. Reynolds durst not have fired a pistol against the real inclination of the admiral. A British officer, in the river Thames, durst no more impress a sea­man without orders, than he durst set fire to the city. For the bare loss of so many men, indepen­dent of other circumstances, he would have been called to a most severe account, even at Jeremie, unless he had acted by express orders, or conniv­ance.

On this affair, Webster has a curious para­graph*. In spite of his British pension, it was ne­cessary to save appearances, by saying something about it. Accordingly he observes, that, ‘hereto­fore, this villainous business has been justified under the pretence, that the men were British subjects, and indeed this has often been the fact; but these lawless fellows now openly, and avow­edly take Americans.’ The heretofore insinuates an untruth; because, from the beginning, multi­tudes [Page 128] of Americans were taken without any such pretence. ‘As the admiral, says Webster, did not justify him (Reynolds) it is possible the insul­ted Americans may obtain redress, and we pre­sume [and what is your reason for that presump­tion?], all impressments are made without orders from the British government.’ [The best and only redress will be, when the French shall burn Plymouth and Dover.]—‘Their conduct is now, if possible, aggravated, as it is a direct violation of the treaty; which, to England, is of equal concern with the violation of a pancake. As for acting without orders, that is the constant s [...]am. Dorchester was said to act without orders, when, on the 10th of February, 1794, he made his famous or infamous speech to the savages. Simcoe, un­doubtedly, acted also without orders, when he sent a body of British regulars and Detroit militia, to assist the Indians in assaulting fort Recovery. The rank and file, with their faces blacked, and the three British officers dressed in scarlet, who kept at a distance, in the rear, and directed the motions of the Putawatimes, were certainly acting likewise without orders. Nay farther, Henry Knox, late Se­cretary at War, did infallibly act without orders, when he refused to give the newsprinters a copy of the long and important letter from Wayne, gi­ving evidence of these facts*.

[Page 129]On the 15th of March, 1796, Mr. Samuel Smith, presented to the House of Representatives a pro­test taken by captain John Green, of a Baltimore brig, trading to the West-Indies. He deposed that, when he was at cape Nichola Mole, he was on board a schooner from Virginia, where he saw two of the crew, native Americans, impressed by the officers of the British ship Severn. One of the men was af­terwards returned as unfit for duty. The comman­der of the Severn said, that he was authorized, by the late treaty, to take all seamen who had not pro­tections from the United States. In saying this, he paid a compliment to Jay's treaty which it does not merit. All seamen, whether with protections or without them, are alike unnoticed by that paper. On presenting this protest, an insignificant debate ensued in the house. The question was, whether it should be referred to the select committee on American seamen, or to the Secretary at War, that the President might make suitable representations to the British government. It was remitted to the committee. Congress might as well have deli­berated, whether the protest should be cast under the table, or into the fire.

[Page 130]The Philadelphia newspapers of the 18th of March, related that captain M'Keever, of the brig Amiable Creole, sailed from Port-au-Prince, on the 25th of February, preceding. The captain said that, while he lay there, the Hermione frigate pressed, from time to time, a vast number of American sea­men out of different vessels. On a moderate cal­culation, two-thirds of his crew were Americans.

The Regulus, another frigate, pressed all hands of all nations indiscriminately, who could not pro­duce protections. Those who refused to do duty were whipt. Four days before capt. M'Keever left Port-au-Prince, twelve American seamen were re­turned on shore from the Regulus, after receiving several lashings for having utterly refused to do duty on board of her. The rest of the impressed men, in these two frigates, had found it prudent to comply with British orders. This was the treatment of our seamen fifteen months after the signing of Jay's treaty, and before Congress began to debate on the propriety of accepting it.

REMARKS from the brig Fanny's log-book, William Swin­burn, master, from the West-Indies, arrived at New-York, on the 21st of March, 1796.

On Thursday, January 28, 1796, at five P. M. was boarded off St. George's bay, Grenada, by the Zebra's boat (a British sloop of war), who impressed one of the peo­ple, John Burt, being born in the United States, and having a regular protection. I accordingly made application to the commanding officer, in expectation of getting him clear, but to none effect; their answer was, they wanted men and must ha [...]e them.

On Monday, February 8th, at two P. M. was boarded by the Mermaid's boat, a British frigate, who impressed one of the men (he not being a British subject), and overhauled us very strictly on suspicion of my having sailors stowed away. That same night I went on board to solicit for my man. After communicating to the captain my errand, he told me he was certain I had men stowed away, and he would send [Page 131] his boat on board, and overhaul us from keel to gunnel; and, after giving me much abusive language, said, he would flog me, and all I had on board. Accordingly, the Mermaid's boat came on board with a great many hands, hove the long boat out of the chocks, hoisted up twenty-two barrels of beef, moved part of the ballast, and, as the saying is, turned every thing upside down. They went on board, first being con­vinced I had no people stowed away. I shortly after went on board the Mermaid to see if they would send the boat and crew on board to stow the cargo in its proper place, as I had no people to do it, and put the boat in the chocks, &c. and after distressing me all they could, with respect to my people, I was told they had done with me, and bid me go about my business, and get people where I could.

Shortly after I had got on board my vessel, the Charlotte, captain Williams, a British sloop of ten guns, sent her boat on board, who overhauled us, &c. On the 9th, at meri­dian, with much difficulty weighed anchor, and made sail, as I could get no redress, and no probability of getting hands.

Shortly after was brought too by a shot from the above sloop, and after we hove the sails to the masts, and brought too, she fired no less than half a dozen musket shot, aimed right at us; but providentially we received no hurt from them, though I heard the whistle of several of the [...]alls.

After we had laid some time, they sent the boat on board, who rummaged and overhauled; but seeing they could find nothing, they returned on board.

On Thursday, the 11th, at nine A. M. saw a sloop to the leeward, which shortly knew to be the same sloop, that had boarded us two days before, in St. George's bay.

When she came within a league of us she fired, and con­tinued to do so, as long as the guns would bear, she reaching one way and we the other. When she got into our wake she tacked but did not come up with us until two P. M. when we tacked, and she fetched us and brought us too with another shot. I received a great deal of abusive language from the captain without giving any reasons.

He cursed and damned the Americans and said they were their greatest enemies. He said he had fired twelve shot at us, that I should pay two dollars for the first, and double for every one after: however, I not being willing to comply with this unreasonable request, and seeing he had no business to have fired at us, as he had boarded us the day before, and [Page 132] as he did not think fit to send his boat on board, he suffered us to set sail.

This is a short specimen of the usage we meet with from the British cruizers in the West-Indies. All which I can attest to; and much more if required.


On the 28th of March, 1796, the ship Bacchus, captain George, arrived at Philadelphia. On the 20th he was boarded by the Thetis, a British fri­gate. She pressed his mate and cabin boy, on a suspicion of their being British subjects. The boy was an indented apprentice.

As it is proper to do justice to all parties, it may here be noticed that, at this time, captain Burnet, of the brig George, arrived in Philadelphia from Kingston, and brought a complaint of the French privateers. He said that several of them were cruising off Jamaica, when he left it. They were very troublesome to American vessels, sometimes plundering them of their sea stores, and otherwise behaving with the greatest insolence. No farther particulars are specified; and this is the first com­plaint against France, or at most the second, which hath as yet occurred in collecting materials for the present summary of piracies. At the same time, several articles of British rapine have been omitted for want of room. So contrasted at that period, was the conduct of these two nations to this country!

A gentleman at Kingston in Jamaica, in a letter to the printers of the Maryland Journal, dated the 25th of February, 1796, gave the following par­ticulars. The Argonaut man of war of sixty-four guns, had, a few days before, sent into Kingston, two American vessels. The one was the schooner Swallow, captain Stubbs, from Cape Francois to Boston. Her cargo consisted of cotton and coffee, with six thousand dollars in specie. The whole [Page 133] property belonged to Mr. Trisdale of Boston. The other vessel was the schooner Paragon of Norfolk, laden with coffee, and owned by Mr. Moses Myers of that town. In June, 1794, coffee cost in re­tail, at Philadelphia, about a shilling per pound. In June, 1795, it had got up to one shilling and four pence. By November, 1796, if not sooner, it rose to two shillings and four pence. The pira­cies just now stated, which are only part of hun­dreds of the same kind, explain, very fully, the cause of this alteration. The writer of the above letter added that both vessels were libelled, and that indeed none need expect to escape that fate, whatever might be the final verdict about them. The very delay, disappointment, and rise of insu­rance, in consequence of such alarms, impose a ruinous tax on the owners, while, in the mean time, the sailors were frequently pressed. Sometimes they were swept off by the yellow fever; and car­goes of a perishable nature were often destroy­ed while the ship waited for a decision.

The same letter adds that the schooner Volup­tas, Jonathan Hall, master, of Baltimore, had been sent into Kingston, by the Severn of forty-four guns. She had on board a valuable cargo of cof­fee and cotton, and part of an outward bound freight of provisions, with a large sum of money. The supercargo, Mr. Duncan, was going from Gonaives to the Platform, to purchase coffee to load the sloop for Baltimore The pretence for sending in the Voluptas was, that she carried pro­visions for an enemy's port. At this time, the captain of the Severn had kept Mr. Duncan a pri­soner for fifty-two days, and threatened to try him, as a British subject, for high treason; al­though he had with him a certificate of his being an American citizen.

[Page 134]Captain Hall, and Mr. Duncan had been sent prisoners from cape Nichola Mole to Port Royal, on board of the Lark man of war. On their pas­sage, they were put upon two-thirds of the British seamen's allowance of salt beef and bread. One of them, the letter does not say which, happening to sleep in the next birth to the lieutenant, had his watch and money stolen out of his pocket. It was their opinion that the Severn had designed to send the schooner to the bottom, for she run so near as to carry away their bowsprit.

A few days before the writing of this letter, the ship Lydia, Robert Blount, master, from Ports­mouth in New-Hampshire, had arrived at Kingston. About four leagues to windward of Port-Royal, he had been boarded by the Regulus. She took away his mate, and four men. They were all natives of Portsmouth, married, and had regular protec­tions. Before taking them on board, the British captain sent his surgeon into the Lydia, to examine the men, and see if they were in good health. The Regulus had pressed above fifty seamen, went to Port-au-Prince, and from thence to England; so that when the Portsmouth sailors were to see their families, or whether they were ever to see them at all, was extremely doubtful.

The same correspondent gives an account of the conduct of a French privateer to an American brig which, on the 14th of February, had come into Kings­ton. This privateer had taken the British ship Barzil­lai, captain Blackburn, which left Kingston on the 3d of February, and was taken on the 7th, in sight of Port Royal*. The French put Blackburn, with [Page 135] his whole private property, on board of the brig. In his trunk were two bags of money; the plate of the ship's cabin; and two bills of exchange to the amount in whole of eight hundred pounds. The Frenchman said that he disdained to take any thing from a prisoner, and wished him a good voyage to Kingston. From the brig this jacobin took a bar­rel of beef, and paid fifteen dollars for it. Thus far the letter to the printers of the Maryland jour­nal.

A Philadelphia print of the 26th of March, 1796, contained an extract of a letter dated March 2d, from Bermuda. The writer mentions that the ship Hannah, captain Hoare, from Philadelphia to France, was, on the 24th of February, taken by the Lynx sloop of war. She stript the Hannah of her whole crew, excepting the mate, the cook, and the cabin boy, and sent her into Bermuda. Most of the hands impressed had protections. The captain of the Lynx had spoke, on the day before, with the Roebuck of Philadelphia, and said that he was prevented from taking her by a violent gale of wind.

An article dated Salem, the 22d of March, gives what is called verbal information by captain Blacker. Part of it is in substance as follows:

On the night of the 22d of January, 1796, the press gang at Liverpool crimped an American sea­man, having previously served several others in the same way. Two hundred and fifty American sailors assembled, went to the house of rendezvous of the gang, and rescued their companion. They placed the officers of the impress in the centre of the room, obliged them to uncover, and give three cheers to [Page 136] the United States. On the 27th, another American was impressed. His countrymen again assembled, rescued the man, killed one of the gang, threw ano­ther into the dock, where he was drowned and se­verely beat the remainder, who fled.

On the 2d of February, the American captains were called before the mayor and magistrates of Liverpool. They were admonished to keep their crews in order. They made an answer which must have occurred to any body excepting a member of Congress vindicating appropriations for the British treaty. The account adds that, from thence for­ward, the Americans were unmolested.

About the 29th of March, 1796, the ship Friend­ship, captain Atkins, arrived at Norfolk. The cap­tain said that, within the capes of Chesapeake, he was boarded by a boat from the Thetis, captain Coch­ran, which pressed a man who had been naturalized for ten years past. As the Chesapeake is within the territory of the United States, the British might as decently have taken him from the streets of Phi­ladelphia. A letter from New-York to a merchant in Philadelphia, dated the 2d of April, informed that his ship, the Ocean, captain Vredenburgh, had been taken on the 31st ult. and sent into Halifax by La Prevoyance, a British frigate. The whole crew, at the time of writing the letter, were detained on board of the frigate, except the master, the first mate and a boy. The Ocean was from Havre-de-Grace, and the frigate took her, not far from the Highlands, with a pilot on board. The Argus, of April 4th, says, that before she was dismissed for Halifax, ‘several passengers were most graciously permitted to jump into the long boat, and come up to New-York.’ When captain Vredenburgh remonstrated, the Bri­tish captain told him that this conduct was justified by Jay's treaty. The Minerva says that the Ocean [Page 137] was taken three days before she made land. But the Connecticut goddess of wisdom is distinguished for want of veracity*. It is at least very uncommon to take in a pilot, at such a distance from shore; and it is agreed that the Ocean had one. While the British were thus plundering American ship­ping, Mr. Pickering received a letter from Mr. Samuel Bayard, dated London, 29th of December, 1795. The following extract appeared, on the 31st of March, 1796, in the Philadelphia Gazette.

In the course of this next month, the Judge of the Admiralty has authorized us to expect an order for the restitution of the vessels and car­goes seized and sold by sir J. Jarvis and sir Charles Grey, at Martinico, St. Lucia and Gua­daloupe.

In the Court of Appeals, also, two illegal sen­tences of the Vice-Admiralty Courts, in the West-Indies, have lately been annulled, and the con­duct of the judges severely censured by the Lords commissioners of appeals.

This intelligence, as if worth a perusal, was communicated by Mr. Pickering to the Committee of Merchants in this city, appointed to superintend the business of indemnification. Nothing but the blindness of interested hope, could have drawn any comfort from such an account. The attainment of an object is at a very indefinite distance, when the parties are only authorized to expect. The an­nulling of two piracies, out of five or six hundred, was merely casting a tub to the whale. As for the censure bestowed on the West-Indian judges, how much it was in earnest, and how much it was re­spected, appears from their persisting, at that very moment, to proceed in the same track. There [Page 138] could not be a more palpable delusion, though in­deed the thinness of the disguise almost precludes it from that name. The British had been plunder­ing American merchantmen for almost three years. A treaty, which was to stop every proceeding of the kind, had been ratified eight months before. Yet still piracy and impressment went on at full vigour. But when we consider the uncommonly petrified ideas of many merchants in the sea-ports of America, nothing but the most snivelling timidity could be looked for. In summer, 1793, British effrontery declared the French republic in a state of siege; and, under that pretence, confiscated Ame­rican vessels freighted for any French port with provisions, as if France and her colonies had only been some fortified town with an area of a square mile. At that crisis, merchants of eminence in this city were to be found who vindicated that enormous robbery. If, in a similar situation, any citizen of London had harboured such feelings, the certainty of public abhorrence would at least have forced him to hold his tongue. When captain Barney, about that time, made a voyage to the West-Indies, and declared his determination, if attacked, of giving battle to the successors of Blackbeard, the tory par­ty in Philadelphia were violent in his condemnation. A report having reached the continent, that the English at Jamaica had resolved to hang him, it was solemnly pronounced, in this city, to be perfectly right; and that he was an incendiary who wanted to embroil the two countries. It was to be expec­ted that such people would abominate the American Annual Register as the veriest catch-penny that ever was published, the mere tittle tattle of jacobinism *. They are welcome to feel no excitement except that [Page 139] of disgust at any thing it contains; for, if it had met with their approbation, it would have com­pletely disgusted its author, and that class of people whom he is chiefly desirous of pleasing. It cannot escape observation that the above notice from Bay­ard contains not one syllable about the impressment of sailors. This blank in Jay's treaty, and Bayard's commission, may be compared to the capitulation of a general, who, without a single stipulation about protecting the sick and wounded men of his army, thinks of nothing but the security and free depar­ture of his baggage.

Captain Paulding, of the brig Polly, in a letter to his owners, at New-York from Curracoa, dated March 3d, says that he had been sent into Grenada, by the Favourite sloop of war, after she had taken from him all his hands, with sailing orders, letters, invoices, and bills of lading. He was detained for some weeks. At length he had orders to depart, but could not recover his papers. His cargo was, he says, considerably damaged by his detention. He does not tell whether he got back any of his men, which is very unlikely, or by what means he work­ed the vessel to Curracoa.

The Maryland Journal, of the 13th of April, 1797, has an extract of a letter from an American seaman, dated Spithead, December [...]6th, 1795, on board the ship Assistance, in which she had been detained from the 20th of October preceding. The man belonged to the Hannah of Baltimore, Captain Wescott. This vessel, with four other Americans, had been carried into St. John's, Newfoundland. He expressed a hope that the Hannah would be li­berated. The printers added, that the sticklers for British amity might, upon calling at their office, see the original letter. This intimation was needful in the case where such an article had not [Page 140] been copied from some other print; for in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and perhaps in every sea-port town in the union, a number of people are constantly ready to browbeat and even ruin any printer who publishes articles unfavourable to Britain. Thus, at the death of Dr. Franklin, a newspaper of this city observed, that the flags of the ships in the Dela­ware were lowered. The printer unthinkingly subjoined that even the British, * did so. Next day, several of his subscribers came into his office, and, with many reproaches threw up his paper. The author had the story from himself. Indeed no bet­ter state of society can be expected in our sea-ports, where the whole mass of British tories, who had been doing the utmost mischief in their power to this country during the revolution, were permitted, almost universally, without distinction, to return and mix upon a level with the republican citizens. In private morals, they were just as good as other people. But, in a political light, they were at best concealed, and often professed enemies. In pri­vate life, no man would lodge under his roof an in­cendiary who, for eight years, had been attempting to burn his house. At the last election for Congress, in the county of Philadelphia, one of the most offici­ous of the federal managers had formerly acted as a British guide. He was, for this offence, tried by the state, and very nearly hanged. A shoal of similar examples might be traced.

The next article in the same Maryland Journal, shews in what subjugation the tories hold the press. [Page 141] Captain Herring, from Jamacia, had informed the printers that, when the British captured and sent into that island American vessels, the sailors were either turned ashore to starve; or pressed into the British service. He added that all of them received ‘the most indignant treatment from these tyrannical sea monsters. For inserting such harsh language, the printers made a long and humble apology. This timidity betrays a feature of degradation unknown in France or England. Was it ever heard of that a British mariner, on returning home from a French jail, durst not publish his complaints in a British newspaper; or that the editor would be forced to apologize for giving him a corner*?

Captain Herring, abovementioned, furnished the printer of the Journal with the following list of vessels left at Kingston, on the 8th of March last, which were all prizes to the Argonaut, Schooners Voluptas, Hall, Baltimore; Active, Compton, do.; Adelaine, Stanley, do.; Fortitude, Ross, do.; Swal­low, Stubbs, Boston; Paragon, —, Norfolk; and a number of other vessels, belonging to seve­ral ports in the United States; in all FIFTY-FIVE.

The infatuation and stupidity of a certain set of people in this country surpasses all description. They embrace every opportunity to revile and ex­asperate the French, to whom we were at first in­debted for independence, and who, at this mo­ment, [Page 142] are the shield which saves us from the im­placable fury of Britain.

On the other hand, though they cannot deny the scandalous conduct of our blessed mother country, they do no not wish, if they can help it, to hear a single word upon the subject. Language of this kind, can, they say, be productive of no good; and it may irritate Britain, with whom, you know, we are in amity.

A letter from Norfolk, dated 4th, and publish­ed in the Philadelphia Gazette on the 11th of April, 1796, has these words.

‘A vessel, yesterday, returned from the Mole, which carried out some of the horses, and lost about one half of them. Also a sloop from here, arrived there with only four horses alive; and a brig from here lost about one half of the cargo of horses which she carried out, the rest were all sickly.’

The next paragraph shews the difference of be­haviour at this time, between the French and Eng­lish privateers. A French cruizer fell in with the schooner Little John, sent her into the Havannah, and detained her five days. The French took half a puncheon of rum, a barrel of bread, and a spy­glass. The captain gave an order for the amount upon his agent in Philadelphia.

We stop the press to mention the arrival of captain Wanton Steer, of the brig Charlotte, in twenty-four days from Port Royal, Martinique: from him we have obtained the following:

That the ship Diana, of New-York, David Chadeayne, master, on his passage from the East-Indies to New-York, was boarded by his Britan­nic majesty's brig Pelican, captain J. C. Searle, who sent an officer and crew on board, and took [Page 143] out the mate, six people, and carried her into Port Royal, where on the 6th of March, while in their possession, she caught fire and was burnt to the water's edge, with all her cargo, of im­mense value!

The following article is here copied from a Bos­ton newspaper, of the 7th of April, 1796.


Captain Elkanah Mayo, who arrived in town this week from New-York, has favoured us with the following ac­count of the cruel treatment he and his men received from the officers and men of the British frigate La Pique, at Bar­badoes, in December last, viz. Captain Mayo, in the ship Polly, of Cape Ann, homeward bound, from a whaling voy­age, was drove in by stress of weather to Barbadoes, where he lay near three weeks for the arrival of some Americans to freight his oil home; during which time, the British fri­gate La Pique arrived there from a cruise, and in two days after, pressed two of his hands. Captain Mayo applied to the governor for protection, who caused the men to be re­leased; three days after, captain Mayo's boat, being ashore with three men waiting for him, the frigate's barge hauled in close to his boat, and boarded him with [...]utlasses, to press the men by force. The men called on captain Mayo, from the shore, who run to the boat for their relief, where he found the crew of the British frigate with the tiller of their barge, beating his men over their heads, with said tiller, till the blood gushed from their mouths and noses, and otherwise mangling them in a barbarous and shocking manner. Captain Mayo sprung into the boat and cleared it of the British crew. The commanding officer, who was then on the wharf, said he would have every man aboard the ship. Mr. Woodruff, with whom captain Mayo did business, being on the wharf, offered his bonds to the captain of the frigate that he would bring his protections on shore. Captain Mayo then went on board his ship to bring his protections. While he was on board, the commanding officer of the frigate, and all the rest of the officers, got into their barge, waiting for captain Mayo, who was returning with all his protections; they boarded him; the commanding officer jumped into captain Mayo's boat with his drawn cutlass, and dragged by force all [Page 144] his men into their barge, and then presented his cutlass to capt. Mayo's breast, and ordered him into the barge, which he refu­sed; after which he pricked him several times in the breast, and then towed him on board the frigate; he put capt. Mayo's men into the hole among his men who were sick with the yellow fever; he then ordered a pair of irons to be fixed on captain Mayo, which were not, however, fixed; he kept him on the quarter-deck until evening, then ordered captain Mayo's boat to be hauled up, and ordered him on board alone. Capt. Mayo requested him to let him have a man to go with him, which the captain of the frigate refused; then said he would cast him off, and let him go adrift, he told him he might perish at sea, to which he replied, he hoped he would. Captain Mayo told him he would not go, unless he cast him off, he then took his barge, and towed captain Mayo on board his own ship; the next morning captain Mayo went to the go­vernor, and complained of the officers' conduct; the gover­nor ordered his men to be immediately released, who were accordingly sent on shore. Four days after, three of his men were taken with the yellow fever, which they took while on board the frigate, and which spread through captain Mayo's ship's company: four of his men died of the fever, the rest were obliged to leave the ship, and he hired negroes to pump her. Captain Mayo then chartered vessels as he could find them to take his men and cargo to the United States. This base conduct of our new-treaty-allies occasioned the loss of eight thousand dollars to his owners.

I, the subscriber, do testify to the above account, ELKANAH MAYO.

While the British were going on at this rate, a letter, dated January 17th, was received in Phila­delphia, from Samuel Bayard, agent for the United States, at London, on the business of restitution. Mr. Bayard writes thus:

‘As soon as ministry learn the line of conduct, which the House of Representatives mean to pur­sue, I am persuaded their conduct, as it regards us, will be less fluctuating. Should the house co­incide with the President and Senate, every thing here will go well: should obstacles, on the other [Page 145] hand, be thrown in the way by the popular branch of the government, I doubt whether the western posts will be surrendered, or restitution made of our captured property. However, I trust that every man who has any regard to the honour, the faith, or interest of his country, will see the necessity of carrying the treaty fully into effect, so far as regards the United States.’

The scope of the letter is, that, if Congress ap­propriated for Mr. Jay's treaty, compensation would be made for the piracies in the West-Indies. If they did not, the prizes would be kept. This plainly infers, that the British were acting as con­summate bucanneers. For, whether the treaty past or not, they had no title to have taken these ves­sels. But the superior talents of Mr. Jay had happily interwoven two matters totally distinct. If you sign this treaty of commerce, you shall get compen­sation for the vessels. If not, we shall have them to ourselves. Before entering upon the old story of debts due to Britain; of the western posts, and of matters relative to the last war; before plunging into treaties of amity, the recent seizure of the vessels should have been fully and separately settled. If that could be done, it was time enough to get into a treaty. If it could not be done, the way for America was to have stood by in wait for con­tingencies, while an embargo on provisions would have laid the British West-Indies prostrate at her feet. Instead of this obvious policy, matters the most distinct were all jumbled together; and the bait of compensation made America snap at the gilded hook.* Suppose that one of her neighbours [Page 146] hath broke into a widow's wheatfield, nightly, for months together, and carried off or destroyed her crops. An envoy is sent to demand satisfaction. The robber answers that he has old accounts to settle with the landlady, that he wants a wife, and that, if she will agree to a settlement, and at the same time let him have her hand, he will enter into one sweeping treaty for the whole. Any ser­vant girl would see the absurdity of this jumbling [Page 147] proposal. She would reply, that intermarriage might come time enough, when former complaints were cleared up. But the object of Mr. Hamilton and his friends was, right or wrong, to have a British treaty; and the present one could not have been got through, but for entwisting it with the prospect of compensation.

On the 8th of April, 1796, a Philadelphia print contained the following extract of a letter from London, dated February 2d.

‘I this moment came from the court of admi­ralty, where the first case of the captures at Mar­tinique, by Grey and Jervis, was tried this mor­ning: it was reversed, which will be a precedent for all the others, and a point gained for all of us that have cases in the courts here. And now they say, on Saturday next, the lords will sit, and will go on to try the legality of the condem­nations in the West-Indies.’

As to the point gained for all of us, there is yet very little progress made, nor is it of much concern to the claimants whether there is or not. The above, and Mr. Bayard's letter, are quoted chiefly because they contain not even one single, solitary, word, about the relief of the sailors, who had been torn from their families, and their country, star­ved, hand-cuffed, and flogged, to make them en­rol in the British service of assassination. If this book falls into the hands of any of that class of peo­ple, they are entreated to reflect for what sort of owners, and what sort of a country, they are bra­ving the hardships of a mariner's life. We have seen how tranquilly Camillus gets over their enor­mous wrongs. Yet, when a British creditor in the American funds was concerned, he could speak about them like a man who was in earnest. ‘No powers of language, says he, at my command, [Page 148] can express the abhorrence I feel at the idea of violating the property of individuals, which, in an authorized intercourse, in time of peace, has been confided to the faith of our government.— In my view, every moral, and every political sentiment, unite to consign it to execration.’ * Compare this glowing style with the frigid accents in which he observes, that it was impossible to help the impressment of American seamen. They should be at least as near our hearts, as the mere pecuni­ary interest of an English creditor in the American funds. This will be granted by every friend to the country; and, on this principle, every moral and political sentiment will consign to execration, Jay and his treaty, wherein the safety of our mariners has been totally neglected. As for the twenty treaty-making senators, they are neither worse nor better than the numerous bodies of our citizens, who thanked the President for signing this monu­ment of American apathy—an instrument by which thousands and ten thousands of seamen were con­signed to British mercy. There is no desertion of fellow-countrymen so thoroughly disgraceful in the annals of any independent people under heaven. A century of heroism could hardly wipe out the stain. Fifty-five American ships are captured by a single British corsair, more than a twelvemonth after a treaty of amity had been signed, and above six months after it had been fully ratified. With such intelligence staring in their faces, while every newspaper, for eighteen months preceding, had been suffocated with similar information, ‘the FREEST and most enlightened nation in the world,’ compelled their representatives, for fear of a British war! to appropriate for the treaty.

[Page 149]As Mr. Hamilton has betrayed so much concern for British creditors, it may be asked why he does not feel equal interest in the state of Maryland? Before the war that province had vested considera­ble sums of money in the bank of England. On the 17th of December, 1795, a select committee re­ported to the legislature of that state, that ‘they have no information as to the probability of their recovering the stocks in the bank of England, to which they claim a title.’ When Jay took so much care for the safety of British creditors in American funds, he might likewise have paid some attention to the interest of Maryland in the British funds.

The tenth article of the treaty contains a plain commentary on this stoppage of Maryland property. It says that ‘neither the debts due from individu­als of the one nation to individuals of the other, nor shares nor monies which they may have in the public funds, or in the public or private banks, shall ever, in any event of war or national differ­ence, be sequestered or confiscated, it being unjust and impolitic, &c. Why then did England seques­trate, or with what pretence of decency does she continue to keep the funds of Maryland? When the Senate and Executive signed the treaty, they might surely have thought of this important omission. But this article has even a worse fault The words unjust and impolitic contain a direct libel on Mr. Dayton, and that party in the House of Re­presentatives, who, in March, 1794, had proposed to sequestrate British debts, as a security for Ame­rican compensation. The Senate and President ra­tified this insult on the Representatives, though, as being a solemn act of government, it contained an attack on the American legislature, a million of times more flagrant than the transitory squib of [Page 150] Barras. Yet the latter is to be made the handle for a French war, while the former, because it came from Britain, was pocketed in silence. If an English minister had subscribed a treaty conveying such a di­rect reference to, and such an abrupt censure of any previous motion in parliament, the parties aggriev­ed would have taken the matter up. But indeed no English minister dared to have made such a di­gression. In discussing the treaty, none of the Re­presentatives adverted to this tacit reproach. The pulse of national dignity seems to beat higher in England than in the United States.

Camillus clamours loudly about the iniquity of America in neglecting the payment of debts due to Britain, before the last war. What here follows, on that head, was related to the author, in January 1796, by Mr. James Madison.

Much noise has been made about the justice of America, in neglecting the payment of debts due to Britain before the last war. In Virginia, it was formerly usual for the planters, in that country, to consign their cargoes of tobacco to a correspondent in Britain, who was vested with a discretionary power of selling them as high as possible. It was often observed, that when two planters had each of them, at the same time, sent cargoes of tobacco of equally good quality to England, the one received perhaps twenty pounds the hogshead, and his neigh­bour not more than four pounds. There was no regularity or equality in the prices, and this gave rise to complaints and suspicions.

Sometime ago, a gentleman, in Virginia, brought a counter-action against his British creditor, in one of the courts of that state. His plea was, that the creditor and consignee had actually sold his tobac­co in Europe at a much higher price than he had sta­ted in balancing their accounts. The facts alledged [Page 151] were clearly proved, and the jury gave a verdict for damages to the amount of thirty thousand dollars.


Federal plan for a French War.—Specimen of French justice.—The Sea Horse.—The Musquito.—Re­marks on the British treaty by Mr. Gallatin.—Re­ply by Mr. Tracy.—Hints on the Western insur­rection. —Case of the brig Maria, captain Wil­mans. —The schooner William, captain Scott.— Despotic influence of the tories in American sea­ports. —Elegant style in some of their publications. —The Polly, captain Wade.—The Edward and William, captain Jones.—The Ariel.—The brig Sisters.—Capture of the brig Jay, by the French, and barbarous treatment of the captain.—Mr. JAY'S INSTRUCTIONS.—Extracts from them NEVER BE­FORE PUBLISHED.—Proofs of his NEGLECT OF OR­DERS. —Anecdotes relative to the British treaty.

THIS chapter begins with a few instances of the maritime conduct of France and England, that occurred about, or previous to, the commencement of the year 1796. They had been omitted for the sake of brevity. But while this work is printing off, President Adams, and a formidable phalanx in the fifth Congress, are driving the federal chariot, at full speed, to the brink of a French war. One great pretence for this measure is the republican robberies on our shipping in the West-Indies. But if it can be proved that our commerce endured greater injury, in 1796, from England, than it hath since done from France, and that the government [Page 152] of last year took very small concern about the out­rages of the former, while it has constantly exag­gerated those of the latter, the reader will gradu­ally be convinced of ‘a conspiracy perpetually ex­isting* to embroil this country with France, and to entangle her in an alliance with the guinea-note monarchy of Britain.

A letter from Port-au-Paix, dated the 18th of December, 1795, to a merchant in Philadelphia, Has the following particulars. Anthoine Chaplin, captain of the Guillotine, a French privateer, had maltreated captain M'Keever of the American ship James. For that and a similar offence against the ship Molleville, of St. Thomas, Chaplin was fined in two hundred dollars, and all damages that might accrue from the illegal capture of these vessels. His privateer was confiscated; and the pirate him­self was condemned to fifteen months of imprison­ment in irons. ‘I this day saw him, says the let­ter-writer, chained with a negro working in the street, in the same kind of dress in which he for­ced captain M'Keever to leave the privateer and go on board an American vessel. So much for our Laveaux's justice.’

Anthoine Chaplin was less culpable than Reynolds, and other English kidnappers. His punishment was immediate and complete; but we have never [Page 153] heard a single instance of a British offender meet­ing with such a check. At the time here spoke of, the American executive had signed Jay's treaty, to the extreme joy of England, and the utmost provo­cation of France. Yet the former continued to rob America, and the latter did not*. For what reason was Laveaux able to execute justice, while admiral Murray could only promise to use his influence? Thus Pichegru might have promised to use his in­fluence with one of his own corporals. The fact seems to have been this. The Directory still valu­ed federal friendship as something; while Pitt held it as nothing.

On the 4th of January, the schooner Hiram, cap­tain Brooks, arrived at Hartford in Connecticut. He related, that the Sea Horse, captain Smith, from Guadaloupe for Boston, had all her crew, excepting the master and first mate, taken out by an English ship. She was sent to Antigua, and released, but her crew were detained on board of the ship that took them.

A more complete account of the sufferings of captain Smith and his people, was given by him­self, dated Baltimore, January 5th, 1796. On the [Page 154] 13th of November, preceding, he was taken by the frigate Resource, captain Watkins. Five of his men, two of whom had the fever, were impressed. A prize-master and four men were put on board of the Sea-Horse. They confined captain Smith for three days below, under the guard of two men with drawn cutlasses, and loaded pistols. While captain Smith was on board of the Resource, he was ill treated by a midshipman; and told him that he would not be insulted by a boy. Captain Wat­kins said, that, if he had heard the expression, he would have tied up and flogged Smith for daring to insult his majesty's officer. To the feelings of an enlightened federalist, this language may be acceptable. Watkins offered him two hundred pounds, and a share of the prize-money, to say that the ship was French property. At Antigua, the first mate of the Sea Horse died, and the president cau­sed his body to be thrown into the sea. He also sent a pilot and negroes on board to carry the vessel out to sea. Captain Smith offered to knock them down. The president sent for him, and threatened to cause the fort to fire into the vessel, if she did not go out to sea, either with men or without them. On Smith's refusal, the president said that he would have him confined. What a splendid blaze of Bri­tish honour and hospitality! And how fondly would Noah Webster have chuckled over it, if the scene had only past in a French port instead of an Eng­lish one! Watkins had brought three other Ameri­can prizes into Antigua. He cut them out of a port in Guadaloupe; and, their registers being in the of­fice on shore, he boasted of them as a sure prey. They were, notwithstanding, discharged. How captain Smith got hands to work his vessel to Baltimore does not appear. Two leagues from Cape Henry, he was boarded by admiral Murray, who, as if the [Page 155] poor man had not already suffered enough, took from him Wilkinson Gilt, a mate whom he had shipped at Antigua. Somebody called citizen Hughes, is sincerely thanked for supplying him with part of a crew. But whether this was Victor Hughes, or where the help was given, we are left in the dark.

On the 8th of January, 1796, the brig Experi­ence, captain Houston, arrived from Port-au-Prince at Philadelphia. He informed, that three British ships of war, at the former place, pressed every American who could not produce a protection. They were chiefly manned with American seamen. A number of our vessels, lying at Port-au-Prince, were in a most distressed situation for want of hands.

A letter from St. Kitts, dated 4th January, 1796, and received by a merchant of Philadelphia, says, that the brig Fame, captain Medlin, of this port, was about to sail for it. The letter adds, that she had been plundered by a French privateer, but gives no particulars.

On the 17th of January, the Musquito, captain Harshaw, arrived at Baltimore from Bourdeaux. On the voyage, he was met by the Hussar, a British frigate. His keys were taken, his chests broke up, and every thing stolen that the British could lay their hands on. They also drank a case of his wine, and pressed the Musquito's mate, and one of the hands, who was an American.

Thus far we have instances of British piracy, for­merly overlooked or omitted, as observed in the beginning of this chapter. The reader must have become tired with this uniform and disgusting tale of our commercial degradation. As a relief to the melancholy picture, let us turn, for a moment, to the debates on the British treaty. The enthusiasm of attachment which it inspired, forms one of the [Page 156] most singular phenomena in the history of the hu­man mind. Many of its sanguine advocates were men unsuspected of a sinister design.

On the 26th of April, 1796, Mr. Gallatin, in speaking of the British treaty, had these words:

‘The fact was uncontroverted, that the British still continued to impress our seamen and to cap­ture our vessels. If they pretended to justify that conduct by the treaty, it became necessary to obtain an explanation of the doubtful articles; if there was nothing in the treaty to justify it, their acts were acts of hostility; were an infrac­tion of that treaty; and even, according to the doctrine of those gentlemen who thought that, in common cases, the house had no discretion, the treaty once broken by one party, was no lon­ger binding on the other; and it was the right as well as the duty of this house, not to proceed to pass the laws necessary to carry it into effect, until satisfactory assurances were obtained, that these acts should cease, and until Great Britain had evinced a friendly disposition towards us*.’

It was impossible to conceive a plainer, or a more substantial argument. These few lines con­tain just enough to have convinced an audience of accessible understandings, of the propriety of sus­pending proceedings toward fulfilling the British treaty, till an effectual check had been given to British piracy. On the 27th of April, Mr. Tracy rose in answer to Mr. Gallatin. Two passages shall be here given from his speech. The first is as fol­lows:

‘It had been acknowledged, by Mr. Gallatin, that a new negociation, at present, cannot be ex­pected. Great Britain possesses the posts, the [Page 157] confidence of the Indians, the many millions of dollars despoiled from our commerce, the bene­fits of our trade, and proceeds to make more in­vasions on our property and our rights, and yet the gentleman says we will not go to war! What would be the American conduct under such a state of things? Would they tamely see their govern­ment strut, attempt to look big, call hard names; and the moment they were faced, like an over-grown lubberly boy, shrink into a corner? Is this, he asked, the American character? He thought him­self acquainted with a part of the United States, too well, to believe they merited such a cha­racter; the people where he was most acquain­ted, whatever might be the character in other parts of the union, were not of the stamp to cry Hosannah to day, and crucify to-morrow; they will not dance round a whisky pole one day, and curse their government, and, upon hearing of a military force, sneak into a swamp. No, said Mr. Tracy, my immediate constituents, whom I very well know, understand their rights, and will defend them, and if they find that the govern­ment either cannot, or will not protect them, they will at least attempt to protect themselves. And he could not feel thankful to Mr. Gallatin for coming all the way from Geneva, to give Ame­ricans a character of pusillanimity*.’

This rhapsody makes up with ill-nature what it wants in meaning. From the first part of it, where the gentleman speaks of the injuries committed on this country by England, one would suppose, that he was going to recommend an immediate exertion of American vengeance. But, so far from that, he only recommended that we should kiss the British [Page 158] rod by instantly appropriating for Jay's treaty. The blustering sound of his words, and the abject prostration of his ideas form a striking contrast. His comparison between Connecticut and the west­ern counties of Pennsylvania is a master-piece of vulgar calumny. That the people of the former state are as brave as any in the union has never been denied; and the convention of Saratoga will, for ages to come, be remembered and cited as a monu­ment of their courage. But this ought not to be converted into a handle for reproach, and much less for slander, against other states. As to the western insurrection, it is time that we should begin to speak truth about it. The way in which that af­fair was suppressed did, in itself, discredit the go­vernment of the country. The late king of Prus­sia would not have thought all the military conduct displayed about it, worth an ensign's commission. Here are a few specimens of the federal army.

‘On Thursday the 13th of November, there were about forty persons brought to Parkison's house, by order of general White; he directed to put the damned rascals in the cellar, to tie them back to back, to make a fire for the guard, but to put the prisoners back to the father end of the cellar, and to give them neither victuals nor drink. The cellar was wet and muddy, and the night cold; the cellar extended the whole length, un­der a log-house, which was neither floored, nor the openings between the logs daubed. They were kept there until Saturday morning, and then marched to the town of Washington. On the march, one of the prisoners, who was subject to convulsions, fell into a fit: but when some of the troop told general White of his situation, he ordered them to tie the damned rascal to a horse's tail, and drag him along with them, for he had only [Page 159] feigned having the fits. Some of his fellow pri­soners, however, who had a horse, dismounted, and let the poor man ride: he had another fit before he reached Washington. This march was about twelve miles. The poor man, who had the fits, had been in the American service, during almost the whole of the war with Great Britain.’

General White has not denied this accusation, nor prosecuted the historian who records it. Hence we must admit the statement to be true; and New Jersey may congratulate herself on the acquisition or production of a second DUKE OF CUMBERLAND. Mr. Findley gives some farther traits of this fede­ral hero. ‘Stockdale was forbid, on the peril of of his life, to administer any comfort to his neigh­bours, though they were perishing with cold, and famishing with hunger. The general treated the prisoners, as they arrived, with the most insulting and abusive language, causing them all to be tied back to back, except one man, who held a re­spectable rank, and who, however, was said to be one of the most guilty in his custody. One of the nearest neighbours, who had a child at the point of dying, and observing that they were bringing in the whole neighbourhood prisoners, without regard to guilt or innocence, went and gave him­self up to general White, expecting that, as he was conscious there was no charge against him, he would be permitted to return to his family on gi­ving bail, but he also was inhumanly thrown into the cellar, tied with the rest, and re­fused the privilege of seeing his dying child; nor was he permitted to attend its funeral, until after many entreaties he obtained that liberty, accom­panied with the most horrid oaths and impre­cations.’ Of the small honour acquired in [Page 160] this expedition, a great part falls to the snare of captain John Dunlap, of this city. ‘Captain Dunlap and his party, while they behaved with the greatest dexterity in taking the prisoners, trea­ted them with as much politeness and attention as their situation would admit of, and engaged their gratitude by accompanying unavoidable severity with humanity*.’ At Carlisle, a p [...]t of our ar­my, after a hearty dinner, were on the point of set­ting fire to the town, and of charging each other with the bayonet. Mr. Tracy is left to judge whether such conduct was not as bad as that of dancing round a whisky pole. But when the member attempts to stigmatize the whole constituents of Mr. Gallatin, as rebels and poltroons, it is hard to find, within the compass of decency, a term suitable to his behaviour.

Mr. Tracy farther complained of Mr. Gallatin for having said that ‘the negociation with Great Britain was begun in fear, carried on through fear, and the treaty made by the same motive; when it arrived in this country the Senate sanc­tioned it, and the President placed his signature to it from fear▪ and now there was an attempt to obtain the sanction of the House of Represen­tatives from fear. All these expressions, in an un­qualified manner, the gentleman had applied to this country, in its most important transactions, by its most important characters, and to crown all, we were to defeat the treaty, and sit down quietly under injuries the most irritating, and not attempt a redress, or to do any thing like going to war. Under impressions made by such declarations, he had said what he had, and he now said, he wished to look in the face of Mr. [Page 161] Gallatin, or Mr. Heister, or any other, who da­red say, the American character was that of cow­ardice. He would say again and again, it was madness, or worse, to suppose we could defeat this treaty and avoid a war.’

What Mr. Gallatin says about fear is perfectly true. Mr. Tracy always takes it for granted, that America had no medium between the acceptance of Mr. Jay's treaty and a Btitish war. An embargo for four months would have reduced the mother coun­try to our terms, without occasion for the firing of a pistol.

Mr. Tracy next denies the reality of British im­pressments. ‘He took this opportunity to ask for the proofs of such transactions, as impressing our seamen, by the British government. He decla­red he knew of none; and had never heard one instance of the British government either avowing the right, or practising upon it, of impressment of an American into their sea service; many instan­ces had occurred of complaints to the govern­ment, and all were immediately redressed; and, although it was become very fashionable to calumniate the British government, he was impelled, from his own belief and conviction on the subject, to say, that no such instance had ever taken place or would ever, of the Bri­tish government, justifying the impressment of natives of the United States, or one who was an acknowledged citizen. Is it not unfair, said Mr. Tracy, to attribute to the government unautho­rized misconduct of individuals, far removed from the seat and controul of the government? It was equally unreasonable to say, that we were not protected by the treaty, and should not be, when the British government had promised to pay for all former depredations made in that way up­on [Page 162] our commerce, was it not reasonable to sup­pose, they would prevent or pay for any such depre­dation now made? And they certainly would pre­vent all such, which were not from the confusion of war rendered inevitable.’

As for the proofs of impressment, the gentleman is referred to the deposition of Cyprian Cook, emit­ted at Norwich in Connecticut. As for his never hearing of one instance, where the British govern­ment avowed the right of impressing, or practised upon it, the inference must be, that Mr. Tracy has ears of a particular construction. Whether Mr. Pitt himself asserted the right is of no consequence. The British, in the West-Indies, universally avowed and practised upon it. Mr. Tracy says that all com­plaints to government were immediately redressed. He should have told us what redress was obtained in the case related by captain Cook. He then mounts upon that favourite topic of the British officers acting without orders. Compensation closes the cho­rus. We now proceed with the list of British pira­cies, leaving Mr. Tracy to deny their existence, as long as he shall think proper.

A Philadelphia newspaper, of the 8th of April, 1796, informs, that the brig Maria Wilman, of Bal­timore, captain Oaks, was taken in Tortola by the Bull Dog sloop, and there sold at auction. She was from Demarara, bound to Baltimore, with a cargo of sugar and coffee. It farther says, that, on Monday, the 11th of April, 1796, the brig Charlotte, of Pro­vidence, arrived at Baltimore, in thirteen days from Martinique. Captain Watts, of the schooner Alex­andria, of Alexandria, came passenger, along with a number of other Americans. Their vessels had been contracted for, and they were obliged to leave them. This corroborates the account already given by captain Samuel Green. In summer, 1793, Gide­on [Page 163] Henfield and John Singletary had been arrested on board of the Citizen Genet, a French privateer, lying in the Delaware, and Henfield was tried in this city, soon after, for having enlisted in the French service. In spite of a bustle made by govern­ment, he was acquitted. In the eye of reason, it seems equally culpable to have sold privateers to Britain, yet no notice has been taken of that practice.

A paragraph from Fredericsburg, dated April 1st, 1796, says, that, last week, arrived in the river, the schooner William, captain John Scott, from Bassa­terre, St. Kitts. He said that on the 23d of Febru­ary, between nine and ten o'clock in the evening, in Bassaterre road, he was boarded by a boat with five men with cutlasses. They belonged to a British armed sloop lying there. They ordered William M'Coy, a native of Fredericsburg, into the boat; but, being prevented from taking him, they went back to the sloop. Immediately after, they returned with their commander, one Williams, and an addi­tional number of men, armed with pistols and cut­lasses. They took away from the schooner, John Mansfield, William M'Coy, and two blacks. Next morning, captain Scott went on shore, and proved these people to be citizens of the United States. He could recover only the two blacks. Every Ameri­can at the port shared a similar fate. A Baltimore schooner was stript of all her hands, excepting the mate and a boy.

A practice had for sometime prevailed at Norfolk, in Virginia, of sending horses to the British West-Indies to mount their cavalry. This, if not a breach of neutrality, was at best a plain enough indication to France that we preferred the most petty self-interest to any success on her side. A Kingston newspa­paper, of the 23d of February, 1796, has the fol­lowing article. ‘Captain Huntington reports, that, [Page 164] when he left America, admiral Murray, with his squadron, was lying in Hampton road, waiting to convoy the horses that were purchased for the dragoons in St. Domingo. Two articles, dated Philadelphia, April 12th, say, that three of these ves­sels, with their freights of horses, were taken by the French, and sent into Cape Francois. This is the only capture by the French of American shipping that has yet occurred in compiling the last or the present chapter.

The Federal Gazette of Baltimore, of the 15th of April, 1796, contains a letter from Tortola. The writer mentions the irregular proceedings of the British court of admiralty in that island, respec­ting American captures. The captains of the ships of war were permitted to detain the masters and su­percargoes of the prizes as prisoners on board of their vessels, till they were deprived of opportunities for employing proper counsel. Enormous costs were granted, of which the bench received a share. Some particular circumstances of injustice are mentioned in the case of the Maria Wilman, captain Oaks, who, in the same newspaper, is noticed as having, at this time, arrived safe with his vessel at Baltimore. It is likely that he wrote this very letter; but perhaps nei­ther he nor his owners durst avow it, for fear of of­fending the British party. In an independent coun­try, this dread may seem strange, yet nothing is more notoriously true, than that such influence is extreme­ly active and formidable. Every mercantile man, and every newsprinter, who dares to speak, with energy, of the insolence and rapine of the Queen of Isles, runs imminent hazard of persecution. The British tories, in our seaport towns, seconded by the American interest, will spare no toil or ex­pence to make him insolvent and infamous. Ge­neral description cannot convey a complete picture [Page 165] of their proceedings. Their own pencil furnishes the best portrait. Here follows an extract from a federal electioneering hand-bill. An hundred years hence, it may be hoped, that Americans will turn over such outcasts of typography, with the same contemptuous pity as an Englishman of the present age looks back on the sallies of Settle and Tom Browne*.

To the Citizens of New-York.

Jacobin men and jacobin measures are all hol­low and rotten. An instructive instance has just occurred. The bank of Pennsylvania was estab­lished in opposition to the bank of the United States. A jacobin president, secretary, and a ma­jority of jacobin directors were appointed. The issue has disclosed a scene of jacobin villainy. It turns out, that the president, secretary, and the notable John Swanwick, have fraudently, and by collusion, drawn out of the bank one hundred and seventy thousand dollars more than they had a right to. John Swanwick, the famous French American democrat, whom the good democrats in Philadelphia have lately made a member of Congress, in opposition to the prudent and honest part of the city, now appears in his true colour, an unprincipled swindler. Such is the authentic intelligence just received from Philadelphia. And yet a large body of citizens, many good but delu­ded ones, are straining every nerve to place once more in Congress the aristocratic, democratical, jacobinical, Edward Livingston. Pause, fellow-citizens; be assured time will prove to his most in­fatuated followers, that he is as rotten and hollow as his compeers.

[Page 166]Posterity, if this page chances to reach them, will naturally ask where lies the propriety of re­printing such rubbish? The answer is, that such writings were, in December, 1796, propagated at New-York, with the approbation of a very nume­rous party. The design was, to defeat the re-elec­tion of Mr. Livingston as representative in Con­gress for that city; and while any remembrance of this handbill shall remain, its authors and its abet­tors must be abhorred by every honest man.

The bank of Pennsylvania was not established in opposition to the bank of the United States. The field of competition was alike open to every person. It has never been said that the Pennsylvania bank used an unfair means to rival or injure the bank of the Uni­ted States. The latter is here referred to, as if it were something sacred; and yet the holders of its stock are ashamed or afraid of telling their names*. Mr. Swanwick did not, in the close of 1796, nor for a long time before it, owe the Pennsylvania bank a dollar. Here he is charged as an unprincipled swindler, for having made fraudulent draughts out of it. Those who voted for his election opposed the honest part of this city. But even if it had been all as true as it was false, this had nothing to do with the election of Livingston, any more than the idle story of Mr. Gallatin, sleeping under hedges, afford­ed a reason for rejecting general Dearbourne. The same tissue of defamation, falsehood, and vulgarity, runs through a very large proportion of the wri­tings of the federal party. So many different sam­ples are here given to convince people, at a distance from the scene, that these are not partial specimens. One would think that the friends of order have im­ported a cargo of Cossacks or Hottentots to act as [Page 167] their penmen. Their encomiums are, if possible, more loathsome than their invective. To censure President Washington is ranked, by the Columbian Centinel, with ‘ridiculing ********, or black-guarding the Bible*.’

Recurring again to the case of the Baltimore brig, it may well be supposed, that captain Oaks was afraid of provoking such a swarm of scorpions. For the same obvious and weighty reason many nar­ratives of British piracy have been secreted, by the sufferers, from the public prints. Of the fifty-five ships taken by the Argonaut, perhaps no regular account of the capture of six has appeared in any newspaper.

The Maryland Journal, of the 2d of May, 1796, gives the following account as from captain Wade of the schooner Polly, from Jamacia. He says, that from the 20th of February to the 1st of April, thir­teen American prizes had been sent into Kingston. Three of these were schooners, belonging to Oliver and Thomson, of Baltimore. Another was a new copper-bottomed ship from Baltimore to Calcutta.

On the 3d of May, the schooner Edward and William, captain Levin Jones, arrived at Baltimore, in nineteen days from Port-au-Paix. In the passage, she met with a brig from Port-au-Prince bound for New-London. The people told captain Jones, that five of them had been impressed by a British frigate. On the 28th of April, they were chased by another, but night coming on they got out of her way.

On the same day, the Ariel, captain Fisher, ar­rived at Baltimore from Jacquemel. He had spoke to the schooner Elizabeth, of Philadelphia, from Ja­maica. The captain gave him an account of twen­ty-seven American vessels carried into that island [Page 168] for trial, and of two carried into the Mole, which were to be sent to Jamaica. He adds, that all ves­sels to or from French islands were seized.

On the 17th of April, the brig Sisters, captain Brent, arrived in Hampton roads from Guernsey. She had, on the 12th of March, been boarded by the Thetis, a Bermudian corsair. These pirates took out the master and crew, rummaged the ves­sel, broke up all the letters and papers, and, after three hours, permitted her to proceed.

By an arrival, on Saturday, of a vessel from Curracoa, we received the following protest of Hugh Wilson, master of American brig called the Jay, belonging to Baltimore; who being duly sworn before the notary royal and public of St. Bartholomew, declareth:

That, having got his vessel captured and condemned, as hereafter will appear, and having had his log-book and all the papers belonging to the vessel and to himself taken from him, all to the shipping articles and a small memorandum book of his private disbursements, he is obli­ged to give his declaration from memory, and to the best of his recollection, viz. that, on the 10th of April last, 1795, he sailed in said brig from St. Pierre, in the island of Mar­tinique, bound to Antigua: that, on the 12th of said month, in the morning, he was boarded by the French armed schoo­ner called, (as near as he could recollect) the Alhenienne, commanded by one Pascal from Guadaulope, under the lee of which island the brig then was, and in the evening was carried into Bassaterre road, in said last island. That the same deponent and all his crew were immediately put on board a French sloop of war, where they were detained about eight or ten days, without knowing what was the intention of the French to do with the said brig, and without ever having been heard or examined. That the deponent and the supercargo, Mr. John Starck, were sent on shore and conducted to the interpreter or linguister, who told them the brig Jay and her remaining cargo, consisting in corn and staves, had already been con­demned, and who furnished Mr. Starck with a copy of the [Page 169] condemnation. That Mr. Starck was put at liberty; but the deponent was, the next day, thrown into Bassaterre goal, where he remained about ten days, after which he was drove out of the said goal and put in chains, on board a small French schooner bound to Point-a-Petre, the deponent lying all the passage (about sixty hours), with eight prisoners more chained to the same bar, in the hold of said schooner, upon the stone bal­last, with a very scanty and indifferent food. That, having arrived in such a situation at Point-a-Petre, the deponent was immediately put on board one of the prisonships in the harbour, where he was detained for near eight months, that is to say, until the 1st instant, (January 1796) when captain Whee­ler, of the brig Peggy, of New-York, having obtained per­mission to pick out American sailors, that might be found on board of the different prison ships, came along side the ship, where the deponent was detained. That having made his case known to him, he the said captain Wheeler took the de­ponent along with him, and put him on board the said brig Peggy. That on the 11th inst. or thereabout, the depon­ent went in said brig from Point-a-Petre, and arrived in this harbour of Gustavia yesterday, the 13th inst. without yet knowing what has become of his vessel, the brig Jay, her cargo, or any thing belonging to her, and without ever hav­ing been heard, either in behalf of said property or of himself, during all the time of near nine months, he was detained in Guadaloupe, plundered of every thing belonging to him, and not left a second shirt to put on; that, during his detention in Point-a-Petre, captain Lyle of Baltimore, as he passed by the said prisonship, having seen and recollected the deponent, had applied to the commissaire de guerre in his behalf, but in vain, as said captain Lyle afterwards told the deponent.

[Here follows the protest of the judge and notary public, declaring the capture and condemnation to be contrary to the law of nations, and of humanity; the whole is dated at Gus­tavia, (St. Bartholomew) the 14th January, 1796.]

The insertion of the preceding article, ought to vindicate this work from the suspicion of a desire to conceal or palliate the injuries committed against American commerce by the French republic. No­thing of that nature has been intentionally over­looked; for the only object of the author is the [Page 170] discovery and publication of truth, without the smallest concern what nation, or what individual may chance to appear in an unfavourable light. From this instance of French piracy, we return to British depredations.

A paragraph, dated Norfolk, April 26th, 1796, mentions the arrival of the schooner Eleanor, cap­tain Jackson. He gave an account of the Hussar, a British frigate, having captured the ship Alexan­der of Yorktown, captain Orr, from Lisbon to Nor­folk. The crew were taken on board of the Hus­sar, and the ship herself was sent to Halifax. The Maryland Journal, of the 2d of May, gives ac­count of the schooner Betsey of Boston, captain Philips. She was taken by the British, but re-cap­tured by the crew, who delivered up the British as prisoners to the French, at Jacquemel. The same newspaper tells of the seizure of the ship Alexander, of Baltimore, by the British. She was bound from Demarara for Baltimore. The captors sent her in­to Grenada, where the cargo was libelled. Here is also a statement from captain Wade of the schoo­ner Polly, of thirteen sail of Americans which had been sent into Kingston, Jamaica, between the 20th of February, and the 1st of April, 1796. One of these vessels was bound from Baltimore to Calcutta.

It seems amazing that, in the face of such injuries, any member of Congress could recommend appro­priations for the British treaty. Public curiosity has been excited by the concealment of Mr. Jay's instructions. Access has been obtained to this paper, and leave has been given to make an abstract of every material part of it. This, though not in form, yet in substance, will answer the end in view.

Some notice has already been taken of the singu­lar conduct of the executive in refusing to treat [Page 171] with Genet because the Senate were not then sit­ting, and thereafter, while they actually were in session, of his resolving to enter into a British nego­ciation, and nominating Mr. Jay as envoy, with­out giving the Senate previous intimation of such a design. The message does not ask either advice or consent, but abruptly declares that he has thought proper. This is not the constitutional style of ask­ing advice, or consent. The departure from the spirit of the constitution is obvious.

The message was received by the Senate on the 16th of April, 1794. On the 17th, a motion was made in the following words: ‘that previous to going into the consideration of the nomination of a special envoy to the court of Great Britain, the President of the United States be requsted to in­form the Senate of the whole business with which the proposed envoy is to be charged. This mo­tion was negatived. Thus the advice and consent of the Senate, as required by the constitution, were overlooked. Without consulting them, the President resolved to enter into a negociation, and named an en­voy. When he sent down the message to the Senate as to his having done so, he did not let them know what the negociation was to be about. If the words advice and consent mean any thing, it must surely be that the Senate are to be previously acquainted with and consulted upon the business that an ambassador is going to undertake. There can be no other ra­tional explanation of the phrase. The Senate could not pretend to give their advice about the expe­diency of commencing a treaty, when they did not know the terms on which it was to begin. Yet such is the spirit in a majority of that body that they refused, as appears above, to request a com­munication from the President upon this pohnt. They had a title to have demanded such an ecclair­cisement. In private life, it would be mockery to [Page 172] ask a man to consent to any business, without first telling him the scope of it. Without such know­ledge it is impossible that he can give any thing de­serving the name either of advice or consent.

On the 19th of April a motion was made in the Senate of which the following is part. ‘That to permit judges of the Supreme Court to hold, at the same time, any other office or employment emanating from, and holden at the pleasure of the Executive, is contrary to the spirit of the con­stitution, and, as tending to expose them to the influence of the Executive, is mischievous and im­politic. This motion passed in the negative, ten to seventeen. On the 27th of November, 1794, Dr. William Smith objected in Congress to the de­mocratic society of this city, the holding of such a doctrine. But its being supported by so large a part of the Senate ought at least to have softened the severity of his censure.

We now come to the instructions of our envoy. Of these an entire copy cannot, as above stated, be obtained; but permission has been procured to make a copious abstract. They set out with directing Mr. Jay to obtain redress for the piracies committed on our commerce by authority of instructions from the king and council. He is next enjoined to draw to a conclusion all points of difference concerning the peace of 1783. The Executive then expresses a wish, that ‘the debts, the interest claimed upon them, and all things relating to them, be put out­right in a diplomatic discussion, as being certainly of a judicial nature to be decided by our courts.’ If this point could not be obtained, he was to sup­port the doctrines of government, ‘with argu­ments proper for the occasion, and with that at­tention to his former public opinions, which self-respect will justify.’ This phrase, as to former [Page 173] public opinions, does not seem very happy. Mr. Jay, as a judge, had declared, from the bench that the English were justified in detaining the western posts, on account of the debts due to Britain. Hence, attention to his former opinions, would lead him to vindicate the latter, at the expence of America.

The instructions proceed to say, that, ‘the Bri­tish government, having denied their abetting the Indians, we must, of course, acquit them. But we have satisfactory proofs, some of which, howe­ver, cannot, as you will discover, be well used in public, that British agents are guilty of stir­ring up, and assisting, with arms, ammunition, and warlike implements, the different tribes of Indians against us.’

‘It is incumbent upon that government to re­strain these agents, as a forbearance to restrain them, cannot be interpreted otherwise than as a determination to countenance them.’ Mr. Jay was farther directed to insist, ‘that the Indians dwelling in the territories of one, shall not be in­terfered with by the other.’ He was likewise en­joined, ‘to explain the pacific wishes of America, in case that he should find the court of London equally disposed for amity.’ Mr. Jay was, be­sides, instructed to mention the dangerous effect that might be produced upon the minds of the citizens of America, by the continuation of outrages in the West-Indies, while, at the same time, our courts gave entire authority to claims for British debts. Mr. Jay was, in particular, enjoined to consider ‘the inexecution and infraction of the treaty, as standing on distinct grounds from the vexations and spolia­tions; so that no adjustment of the former, is to be influenced by the latter.’ Mr. Jay was, in the next place, instructed, if he should be able to obtain sa­tisfaction, [Page 174] as to the trespasses on the treaty of 1783, and as to the West-Indian piracies, to sound the British ministry on the subject of a commercial treaty. If he found this subject eligible, he was es­pecially directed to insist upon the following points.

1. Reciprocity in navigation, and particularly to the West-Indies, and even to the East-Indies.

The admission of wheat, fish, salt-meat, and other great staples, upon the same footing with the admission of the great British staples in Ame­rican ports.


4. Proper security for the safety of neutral commerce in other respects; and particularly, by declaring provisions never to be contraband, ex­cept in the strongest possible case; as the block­ade of a port; or, if attainable, by abolishing contraband altogether. By defining a blockade, if contraband, must continue, in some degree, as it is defined in the armed neutrality. By restric­ting the opportunities of vexation, in visiting ves­sels, and bringing under stricter management privateers, and expediting recoveries against them for misconduct.

5. Exemption of emigrants, particularly ma­nufacturers, from restraint*.

6. Free export of arms and military stores.

7. The exclusion of the term "the most favour­ed nation," as being productive of embarrassment.

8. The convoy of merchant ships, by the pub­lic ships of war, where it shall be necessary, and they be holding the same course.

9. It is anxiously to be desired, that the fishing grounds now engrossed by the British, should be opened to the citizens of the United States.

[Page 175]10. The intercourse with England makes it ne­cessary that the disability arising from alienage, in cases of inheritance should be put on a liberal footing; or rather abolished.

11. You may discuss the sale of prizes in our ports, while we are neutral; and this, perhaps, may be added to the considerations which we have to give, besides those of reciprocity.

12. Proper shelter, defence, and succour, against pirates, shipwreck, &c.

13. Full security for the retiring of the citizens of the United States from the British dominions in case a war should break out.

14. No privateering commissions to be taken out by the subjects of the one, or the citizens of the other party, against each other*.

15. Consuls to be admitted in Europe, the West and East-Indies.

16. In case of an Indian war, none but the usu­al supplies in peace shall be furnished.

17. In peace, no troops to be kept within a li­mited distance from the lakes.

18. No stipulation whatever is to interfere with our obligations to France.

19. A treaty is not to be continued beyond fif­teen years.

The above enumeration presented, in a general point of view, the objects which our Executive con­sidered as desirable to be comprehended in a com­mercial treaty. But Mr. Jay was especially caution­ed not to expect that a treaty could be positively ef­fected with so great a variety of advantages in fa­vour [Page 176] of America. Here it is difficult to suppress the feelings of surprise, at so very injudicious a choice of the time for making a commercial treaty with Britain. Something has been said upon that subject already, and to which the reader is referred.

The sixth chapter of an act of Parliament, past in the 28th year of the reign of George the third, mentions certain articles which may be carried from the United States to the British West-Indies, in British bottoms; and certain others which may be conveyed from the British West-Indies to the United States in British bottoms. Mr. Jay was en­joined, if practicable, to obtain the same privilege, in both cases, for American bottoms. But such trea­ty, instead of the usual clause of ratification, was to contain the following. ‘This treaty shall be ob­ligatory and conclusive, when the same shall be ratified by his Britannic majesty of the one part, and by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, of the other.’

But if a treaty of commerce could not be form­ed upon a basis as advantageous as that above sta­ted, Mr. Jay was prohibited from concluding or signing any such; ‘it being conceived that it would not be expedient to do any thing more than to digest with the British ministry, the articles of such a treaty, as they appeared willing to accede to, referring them here for consideration and fur­ther instruction, previous to a formal conclusion.’

From this part of Mr. Jay's instructions, the plain inference seems to be, that he was not at liberty to sign any treaty at all, till it had been previously re­mitted to this country for examination. Indeed it was plainly enough admitted, in the House of Re­presentatives, that our envoy had exceeded his powers.

[Page 177]After this injunction, the instructions to Mr. Jay proceed immediately in the following words. ‘Some of the other points which it would be in­teresting to comprehend in a treaty, may not be attended with difficulty. Among these, is the admission of our commodities and manufactures generally, in the British European dominions, upon a footing equally good with those of other foreign countries. At present, certain enumera­ted articles only are admitted, and though the enumeration embraces all the articles which it is of present consequence to us to be able to export to those dominions, yet, in process of time, an ex­tension of the objects may become of moment. The fixing of the privileges which we now enjoy, in the British East Indies, by toleration of the company's government, if any arrangement can be made with the consent of the company for that purpose, would also be a valuable ingredient.’

As Denmark and Sweden were upon very indif­ferent terms with the British ministry, and as Russia, the nominal ally of England, had, in the American war, appeared at the head of the famous armed neu­trality, it was to be expected, that some co-operation from that quarter would greatly tend to enforce the success of Mr. Jay's errand. Accordingly, some ideas on this subject seem to have occurred to our American cabinet. But the timid and indecisive style in which the instructions, as to that point, are couched, shews how little could be rested upon them. Our envoy was cautioned as to entering into such a negociation, if there was a danger of its being discovered by the British court. Now this notion of our Executive runs expressly counter to the common experience of mankind. For, the very dread of Jay maturing such a treaty, would have been the most likely way to bring Grenville to favourable terms. Nothing [Page 178] was to be depended upon from that quarter, but through the operation of interest or fear; and the shortest way to make this impression, was, by affec­ting a correspondence with the Danish and Swedish ministers, even though America had previously de­termined to decline such a conjunction. The for­mer armed neutrality had struck England with un­usual alarm, and the very dread of a second com­bination of that sort would have chilled the warmest drop of blood in the veins of the English nation. In private life, when you want to cheapen a piece of goods, the first argument is, that you can go to the next store. But Jay was expressly directed to con­ceal any design of such a nature. To give our Exe­cutive full justice, the whole passage, as it imme­diately follows the last quotation, is here inserted verbatim.

‘You will have no difficulty in gaining access to the Ministers of Russia, Denmark, and Sweden, at the court of London. The principles of the armed neutrality would abundantly cover our neutral rights. If, therefore, the situation of things with respect to Great Britain should dictate the necessity of taking the precaution of foreign co­operation on this head; if no prospect of accommoda­tion should be thwarted by the danger of such a mea­sure being known to the British court; and if an en­tire view of all our political relations, shall, in your judgment, permit the step; you will sound those ministers upon the probability of an alliance with their nations to support those principles. Howe­ver, there can be no risk in examining what can be concerted with Denmark and Sweden, or any other power, against the Algerines. It may be re­presented to the British ministry, how productive of perfect conciliation it might be to the people of the United States, if Great Britain would use her [Page 179] influence with the Dey of Algiers for the libera­tion of the American citizens in captivity, and for a peace upon reasonable terms. It has been com­municated from abroad, to be the fixed policy of Great Britain to check our trade in grain to the Mediterranean. This is too doubtful to be assu­mcd, but fit for enquiry.’

As to the restriction in corresponding with the ministers of Sweden and Denmark, with regard to an armed neutrality, the reader can compare the text with the commentary, and decide whether a minister like Jay, who had justified the British in detaining the western posts, was likely to negoci­ate with the northern powers, under such equivocal and tremulous injunctions.

Another part of the above paragraph, refers to getting the British ministry to obtain the liberation of American prisoners in Algiers. Our minister was to tell how productive this step would be of perfect conciliation. If the British had desired the latter, American sailors would never have been carried as slaves into Barbary. It was publicly un­derstood in both countries, that the court of London, by patching up the Portuguese truce, were the real authors of the Algerine piracies. Nostro quoque seculo monstrum. To such atrocious, such abandon­ed political bloodhounds, whose guilt rivals the darkest precedent in the records of perdition, the application of this trimming, fawning style, was per­fectly useless. It was like telling a highwayman how greatly you would thank him for returning your purse. Jay, if in earnest, ought to have assumed a different tone. ‘You are not only, he might have said, corsairs in person, but corsairs by proxy. You have not only accumulated upon our commerce every wrong that British bucanneers were capable of inflicting, but with a meanness and baseness which [Page 180] no language can describe, you have summoned to your aid the dregs of the human race. Till you make reparation, common sense loudly exclaims that no treaty between us can repay the trouble of subscription.’

The last sentence of the above extract from Jay's instructions, speaks of something as a secret, which was in reality known to the whole world. England adhered to the policy of checking, not merely Ame­rican trade in grain to the Mediterranean, but Ame­rican trade in every commodity to every quarter of the world. Lord Sheffield had even wrote a book, extremely popular in England, wherein he recom­mended that protection from ‘the powers of Bar­bary’ should not be granted by England to Ame­rican commerce. This was, in other words, recom­mending that these robbers should be turned loose upon us, at the first opportunity. When Jay went to England, Lord Sheffield, the apostle of this pro­ject, was high in the confidence of Mr. Pitt, so that the conduct of the latter was merely an illustration of the principles of the former. Yet our Executive speaks, in the instructions, as if this news had been conveyed by some secret channel, though the doc­trine and practice of the British ministry were alike notorious. Nay, Mr. Tench Coxe had wrote an answer to Sheffield, and in particular to this Al­gerine plan, several years before Mr. Jay went to England. Thus our Executive might have found full evidence as to the fixed policy of Britain, in the store of every bookseller in Philadelphia. The next part of the instructions is in these words.

Such are the outlines of the conduct which the President wishes you to pursue. He is aware that at this distance, and during the present instabi­lity of public events, he cannot undertake to pre­scribe rules which shall be irrevocable; you will, [Page 181] therefore, consider the ideas herein expressed, as amounting to recommendations only, which, in your discretion you may modify, as seems most benefi­cial to the United States, except in the following cases, which are immutable.

1. That, as the British ministry will doubtless be solicitous to detach us from France, and may, probably, make some overtures of this kind; you will inform them that the government of the Uni­ted States will not derogate from our treaties and engagements with France, and that experience has shewn that we can be honest in our duties to the British nation, without laying ourselves under any particular restraints as to other nations; and,

2. That no treaty of commerce be concluded, contrary to the foregoing prohibition.

This extract concludes the instructions. A short analysis will evince that they are not remarka­ble for perspicuity. We shall begin at their outset, and attempt a short sketch of their merits.

The first object stated in the instructions is, to ob­tain redress for the piracies, or, as the paper terms it, ‘for the vexations and spoliations com­mitted on our commerce.’ The most atroci­ous of these vexations was the impressment of American seamen; yet, in the whole text of the in­structions, of which about five-sixths have been ex­actly cited, nothing distinct or decisive is said on that point. We have inserted above, an entire copy of the whole nineteen articles upon which Mr. Jay was authorised to found a commercial treaty. In these, nothing levels at the practice of impress­ment, unless it can be implicated under the general phrase, "as to the safety of neutral commerce," and restricting the opportunities of vexations in visiting vessels.’ Restriction is one thing, and prohibition is another; so that even if impressment [Page 182] had been really implied, the language was too vague and equivocal for the object. The treaty, as it now stands, contains not one single word about the pro­tection of American seamen. After Grenville and Jay had almost finished the articles of this paper, Jay sent a note to the British minister, containing eighteen corrections, or additions, that had occur­red to him. Only one of them, viz. the sixteenth, deserves publication here. It is in these words.

‘An article ought to be added, to prevent the impressment of each other's people.’

To this clause, the answer was thus.

‘Lord Grenville can see no reason whatever, why such an article should not be added.’ No farther notice was taken by Mr. Jay of the business. As to the authenticity of this singular correspondence, it has been first had from a member of the House of Representatives of last Congress, who read it when lying on the table of the Senate, and the substance of it was published, last fall, in British Ho­nour and Humanity. It was since repeated to the author by a member of the Senate. As for the merit of our envoy, in this case, a thousand volumes of diplomatic history would not furnish such another instance of negligence in the duty of office.

The instructions next observe, that the debts due to England are to be ‘put outright * in a diploma­tic discussion, as being certainly of a judicial na­ture to be decided by our courts. Instead of this Mr. Jay erected an arbitrary board of five commis­sioners. Thus American debtors were, with one dash of his pen, deprived of the right of a trial by jury. The President and Senate ratified this breach of justice and of law.

[Page 183]The instructions likewise say, that ‘the British government, having denied the abetting of the Indians, we must, of course, acquit them. On the same principle, an American debtor, denying his debt before the five commissioners, they must, of course, acquit him.

Mr. Jay was also to consider, ‘the inexecution and infraction of the treaty, as standing on distinct grounds from the vexations and spo­liations; so that no adjustment of the former, is to be influenced by the latter. The ge­neral face of the treaty plainly sets off the debts due to Britain, against the detention of the western posts, and the piracies in the West-Indies. The public have been sufficiently tired with harping upon Jay's treaty; but the business of compensation stands at present as follows. Provi­ding that American merchants recover their dama­ges in a British court of admiralty, they are not to receive immediate payment. The British claims on American debtors are to be held up as a counter-poise; and, when the balance shall be struck be­tween the two classes of claims, the British expect and say, that several millions of dollars will be found in their favour. This extraordinary mode of compensation for piracy, was related by a person high in office in the British service, to a Senator of the present Congress, from whom the account is here given.

We now come to the question, whether Mr. Jay broke his instructions? A few literal citations from them will decide this point. On p. 176, there has already been quoted a paragraph beginning thus: ‘but if a treaty of commerce cannot be formed up­on a basis as advantageous as this, YOU ARE NOT TO CONCLUDE OR SIGN ANY SUCH, it being con­ceived,’ &c. The whole paragraph is somewhat [Page 184] confused, but it clearly enjoins a prohibition upon Mr. Jay of signing any treaty, unless he could ob­tain an agreement to the whole of his own terms, which the Executive, as above, says, could not be expected. Thus we have one step.

A subsequent passage already quoted, has these words: ‘you will therefore consider the ideas herein expressed, as amounting to recommen­dations only, which in your discretion you may modify, as seems most beneficial to the Uni­ted States, except in the two following cases, which are IMMUTABLE.’

The two cases are above inserted. One of them is, ‘that no treaty of commerce be concluded or signed, contrary to the foregoing prohibition.’ These are the closing words of the instructions; and hence they must be regarded as explanatory of what goes before them. The preceding prohi­bition can only allude to that passage where Mr. Jay is forbidden from signing a treaty, unless he ob­tained every thing on his own conditions. The intermediate reference to his discretion is instant­ly checked by the prohibition of signing. The case may then be reduced to three points.

1. Mr. Jay was prohibited from signing a treaty unless on certain terms, that were not within the compass of expectation.

2. Mr. Jay signed a treaty.

3. So far from obtaining the terms required, he agreed to a treaty almost entirely the reverse of them. For instance, Free ships to make free goods is inverted. The security of emigrant manufac­turers is unnoticed. No admission is obtained to British fishing grounds. In the case of an Indian war, we have no restriction of military supplies from Britain to the savages. The free export of arms and military stores is forbidden, in time of [Page 185] war, for the eighteenth article of the treaty declares them contraband. Thus, out of the eighteen in­junctions above quoted, the third, fifth, sixth, ninth, and sixteenth, are either neglected or contradicted; and other infractions, of an inferior nature, may readily be found. But, passing by such trite mate­rials, we proceed at once to the two capital points of security to American commerce and of avoiding all cause of offence to France. As to the first, the Bri­tish continue at this day (June 19th, 1797,) to plun­der, though two years and seven months have past over since Mr. Jay signed his treaty. With regard to the second, the French were, from the first, highly and reasonably exasperated at the conditions of the treaty, and a war with that republic is like­ly to be the consequence.

Thus, in all their material parts, Mr. Jay vio­lated his powers. We asked for a fish, and he gave us a serpent. It has been whispered that a second set of instructions were transmitted to our envoy. They were never laid before the Senate, and it fol­lows, that, if they really existed, which is extreme­ly doubtful, the Senate knew nothing about them. They can form no part of our envoy's vindication, unless he shall chuse to produce them.

The tenth article, as to the injustice and impolicy of sequestrating British debts, was written, as it now stands, by Mr. Jay. This evinces, if evidence were wanting, that the whole affair was an instru­ment of party.

We have now ascertained that Mr. Jay trespas­sed his orders. The next question is, by what mo­tives he could be induced to do so? In this coun­try it has been the custom to hold up Americans as a race of superior beings, and from that theory the result is, that, for Grenville to purchase our federal envoy, was impracticable. But the tenth article of [Page 186] the treaty, by an express implication, arraigns Mr. Dayton and a considerable party in Congress, as me­ditating an act of injustice. Camillus, also*, in all the plenitude of his eloquence, can find no powers of language equal to the baseness of the Daytonian pro­ject.

From these estimates of American purity, every man will make what inference he thinks fit, as to the probable sale of our treaty. Speaking of this country, Thomas Paine has indeed told us that ‘the innocence of her character, that won the hearts of all nations in her favour, may, a thou­sand years hence, sound like a romance; her inimitable virtue, as if it had never been.’ At the date of only ten years, from writing of the above sentence, the tale sounds not like a romance, to be sure, but very like an untruth. It forms a part of that empty blabbing of national vanity, which has been remarked among every race of mankind, from Greenland to Cape Horn. With­out launching into the ocean of the revolutionary virtue of the United States, let us hear what the Assembly of Georgia have to say about its situation, in 1796. The picture makes an interesting part of the history of that year.

Clement Lanier, esq one of the Representatives in the le­gislature of this state, who, being duly sworn, on the Holy Evangelists of the Almighty God, deposeth and says, that, du­ring the last session of the legislature of Augusta, in the win­ter of the year 1795, he being a member of the House of Representatives, and sitting on the same seat with Henry Grindat, another of the members of that house, before the speaker took the chair, the said Grindat recommended to him to be in favour of the sale of the western lands, for that he [Page 187] the said Grindat, understood it was worthy our notice; for Mr. Thomas Wylly, a Senator from Essingham county, had told the said Grindat, that he, the said Wylly, could have eight or ten negroes for his part: and the deponent further saith, that, on the same day, in the afternoon, the said Thomas Wylly, came into the lobby of the house, and beckoned to the deponent, who followed him out, when the conversation commenced about the Yazoo act; that at the same time, a Mr. Denison came by, and asked what we were upon. The said Wylly answered, the land business; the said Denison then came up, and Wylly withdrew; that Denison then told the deponent, that he did not pretend to advise any member to be in favour of selling the land, but that those who were in favour of selling it, were handsomely provided for, and that if the deponent thought proper to be in favour of selling, that he should have part; and that the said Denison said, that he was a purchaser of such of the member's parts, as had a mind to sell, but understood that some of the members pretended to ask eight and ten negroes for a share, or their shares; he said he could not give so much, but the deponent might depend he would purchase: the deponent further saith, that, previous to any of the before recited circumstances, Mr. William Long­street, one of the members of the said legislature, frequently called on the deponent, and asked why he was not in favour of selling the western lands, who answered, he did not think it right to sell to companies of speculators. The deponent at this time, wished to make further discovery of the conduct of the members on that sale, and therefore affected to be inclined to come into the measure, and, by that means, kept up a conver­sation about it occasionally; that on the day the bill received its first reading, before the house convened, said Longstreet spoke to the deponent to get his approbation to the sale. The deponent asked him to shew him what security the members had of the purchase, when the said Longstreet presented a certificate, entitling the bearer to two shares of twenty-five thousand acres each, signed by Nathaniel Pendleton, chairman. The deponent then told the said Longstreet, that that was not what he had formerly told him was a member's share; for the said Longstreet had before said, a member's share was seventy-five thousand acres. That the said Longstreet, then told the deponent if he would wait a few minutes, or an hour, he would bring him another certificate from Gunn's company, for the same number of acres. That the deponent [Page 188] in order to disengage himself from the conversation, then said the security was not sufficient to entitle him to the land. That the said Longstreet then told the deponent that if he was not satisfied with the certificates, he would give him one thousand dollars for it, or for them. The deponent then presented the certificates to the said Longstreet, and went into the house, which was the last interview he had on the subject. The de­ponent further saith, that the shares offered him as aforesaid, were expressly designed to induce him, the deponent, to vote for the bill for disposing of the western territory.

(Signed,) CLEM. LANIER.
Sworn in presence of the committee of the House of Representatives, before me, THOMAS LEWIS, J. P.

The above deposition is one of those published by the legislature of Georgia, respecting the Ya­zoo business. It was happy for America, that, in June, 1795, the terrestrial speculations of general Gunn did not prevent his attendance at Philadel­phia as a senator. An absence so fatal would have deprived this continent of the British treaty, for which he voted, of that maritime security which now constitutes the pride of the seaman, and of that compensation in specie, which now cracks the coffers of the merchant*.

[Page 189]


British depredations continued.—Mercantile selfish­ness. —The brig Fame.—The schooner Andrew.— Joshua Whiting.—The brig Columbia.—The sloop Dove.—The May Flower.—The Eliza.—Murder of captain Bosson.—Snuff Excise.—Memoirs of ALEXANDER HAMILTON, late Secretary of the Treasury.—His singular mode of correspondence with certain persons.—Remarks on his connection with Reynolds.

TO commence this chapter, a few additional specimens of British amity are inserted. A letter from captain Thorndike Deland, dated King­ston, 1st of April, 1796, to a merchant in Phila­delphia, contains, for publication, a list of twelve American vessels taken and carried into that port. Captain Deland farther says, that he had heard of [Page 190] twenty-seven other ships at Tortola, which were in jeopardy. He informs, that all Americans, when carried into Kingston, were, after examina­tion, turned ashore, without provision for their support. Any one having concern in a house, or having even a factor at St. Domingo, or any French port, was deemed a Frenchman, and his property was, on that account, condemned. On the 21st of April, 1796, the schooner William and Mary, captain Shaw, arrived at Portsmouth, New-Hamp­shire, in thirty-eight days from Kingston. When he left that place, the impressment of American seamen had not subsided. On the 5th of May, the schooner Mermaid, captain Tabet, arrived from the Mole, at New-York. His mate, a native Ame­rican, was pressed by the Regulus. Several other Americans were, at the same time, pressed from different vessels. The Mermaid had sailed from New-York, with a load of timber, on account of the British government.

The Minerva, of the 13th of April, expresses surprise, that, if all the accounts of impressments were true, they had little or no effect in deterring American seamen from entering into the service. ‘In a full public meeting of merchants, in this city, last week, says Webster, the question was asked, whether the British impressments had operated to discourage seamen from entering in­to service? The reply was, that no such effect had been perceived.—If seamen do not com­plain, how happens it [that] printers take up their cause with so much zeal? Seamen do complain, of which the numerous details in this volume, and which are not, perhaps, a twentieth part of the whole, compose an ample attestation. But a common seaman has more difficulty in chang­ing his profession, than almost any other person. [Page 191] This explains the general adherence to it, even in spite of British crimping. Webster is angry at printers for taking up the cause of seamen with so much zeal. But, if they are not to be defended with ardour, upon what point should zeal be ex­cited? If circumstances require it, the presses of America will continue to remonstrate against such wrongs, when the bones of Webster shall be as rotten as his heart. As to the query started in the mercantile meeting, the members would have gained more cre­dit by subscribing to form a fund for the relief of such seamen, or the families of such seamen, as might be impressed while in their service. This would have been acting like men. It would have been acting like ENGLISHMEN; for, at London or Liverpool, a pro­posal of that kind would, under a similar situation, have been adopted. But, in the United States, it seems that, if a merchant can only save himself, he is per­fectly indifferent, what becomes of the people in his service.

A Charleston newspaper, of the 8th of April, 1796, contains the copy of a sentence past by judge Green, of Bermuda. It is dated the 6th of Janu­ary preceding, and respected the brig Fame. In summer, 1795, the Fame sailed from Charleston, for Bourdeaux. On her return she was captured, and taken into Bermuda. The vessel and cargo were both American property. But one of the owners, who went along with her, had staid be­hind, in France, to dispose of some remaining part of her cargo. This accident, in the eyes of Green, transformed him into a French citizen, and, on that pretence, both ship and loading were confiscated. Thus the British went on in the West-Indies, while Mr. Bayard was transmitting to Phila­delphia his important assurances about indemnifica­tion, and the resentment of the London Court of Ad­miralty at the decrees of Green.

[Page 192]Reader! unless you are a Britishtory, or the British editor of the Columbian Centinel, or Harrison Gray Otis, or Robert Goodloe Harper, or some other cu­riosity of their cast, who is fitter for a work-house than a state-house*, you must revere the magnani­mity of President Washington, who, in his last speech to Congress, disdained all notice of these British peccadiloes.

About the 23d of April, Captain Mercer, of the sloop Ambuscade, arrived in this port from Bermu­da. He brought a list of eight American vessels with their cargoes which were condemned at that place; and of seven others which were libelled. One of the latter was a brig from Boston. Captain Mercer had heard that her captain had died of [Page 193] abuse which he received from the prize-master. A paragraph of the same date says, that, at Nevis, the schooner Andrew, captain Montayne, of Philadel­phia, had her mate and seamen pressed by a British schooner. They were all Americans; and had pro­tections. The particulars are related in the cap­tain's protest, as transmitted to his owner.

These maritime anecdotes are valuable, as shew­ing the character of that people, who, in the midst of such injuries, could wish to appropriate for Jay's treaty. It would be vain to look in the history of England, for any measure so deplorably despica­ble. To proceed in a regular succession, to the end of the year 1796, would occupy a large vo­lume. At present, only three or four incidents of this kind shall be added, as they come to hand in the order of time.

Joshua Whiting was a seaman on board of the American brig Samuel. At Port-au-Prince, he, and four others of the crew, were pressed by a Bri­tish frigate. Three of them, after eleven days, escaped by swimming, in the course of which, one man had the calf of his leg bitten off by a shark. Another of them was retaken, received four dozen of lashes, and was put in irons. Whiting, and the cripple, escaped, after losing their whole ad­venture, besides being cruelly treated. In the Boston Chronicle, of the 18th of April, Whiting published a narrative, of which the above is the substance. Instead of voting money for the treaty, Congress might as well have voted some relief of the poor man who lost the calf of his leg, under that emblem of abasement, that contempt of na­tions, that nautical DETERSORIUM, the American flag!

The brig Columbia, and the schooner Unity, both of Newburyport, sailed from Port Lewis, on [Page 194] the 7th of March, 1796. Next day, they were brought to by the Ganges, a British seventy-four; and a schooner, attendant to the ship. ‘This schooner, says the account, is one of the fif­teen pilot boats built in Virginia, not long since, which are all employed as attendants to the Bri­tish men of war.’ They were sent into Mont­serrat, examined, and on the 14th, dismissed, upon paying forty-four pounds, four shillings, and ten pence, as the expence of their examination.

The sloop Dove, of New-Haven, in Connecti­cut, had gone on a voyage to the West-Indies. While lying at Antigua, she was boarded by a boat's crew from the Narcissus, who took away Benjamin Eastman. He was a native American, and as such, had a protection. On the 3d of April, 1796, the master and mate of the Dove made oath to this fact, at New-Haven. James Smith, master of the May Flower, of Norfolk, published a de­claration, dated the 3d of March, 1796. One of his men, an American, was impressed at Port Je­remie, by the Regulus. Captain Smith, himself, was kept, for three days, a prisoner, on board of the frigate, and half starved. He left about thirty or forty American sailors in her. Almost the whole of them had protections, and he saw some of them severely punished for attempting to escape. The newspapers containing these miserable details, are crammed with exulting encomiums on the number of petitioners to Congress, in favour of the British treaty.

On Tuesday, the 31st of May, 1796, the Spea­ker of the House of Representatives, laid before them, a letter from ten American captains, whose vessels were then lying at Jamaica. Their seamen were on board of British ships of war, where they were treated like slaves. They said that their [Page 195] brethren at Algiers were not greater objects of sym­pathy. These ten captains might as well have ad­dressed a memorial, on the same subject, to any old woman, in any chimney corner on the conti­nent. Congress have no fleet, and they can hard­ly raise money to pay the national debt. In this unparalleled state of prosperity, what would you have us to do?

The Aurora of June 2d, 1796, contained a long account of the capture of the Eliza, a vessel, Ame­rican property, by the British. She sailed from New-York, for St. Thomas's, and had orders to touch at St. Bartholomew's. She was taken by captain Cochran, of the Thetis frigate. The super­cargo, a Danish subject, was stript to the skin. The ship was libelled before the Vice-Admiralty Court at Bermuda, under pretence of being French proper­ty. The trunks of the supercargo were sealed up, and he was himself thrown pennyless out of the ship, without a second shirt to his back. The cap­tain and crew were put on shore, destitute of sub­sistence. Six or seven days after the ship and car­go had been libelled, the cattle were sold at half their prime cost, bought in by the agents who sold them, and sold a second time, next day, at a con­siderable profit.

A Boston newspaper, of the 26th of May, con­tains a deposition, dated at St. George's, the 27th of April, preceding. It was emitted by the second mate of the brigantine Polly, John Bosson, late master. The vessel was on her way from Dema­rara, to Boston, when the Cleopatra, a British pri­vateer, took her. Soon after, the prize-master quarrelled with captain Bosson, and wantonly beat him in a most shocking manner. This is the sub­stance of the deposition. Within six days after, captain Bosson died of his bruises. He was only in the twenty-fifth year of his age.

[Page 196]Such was the picture of national independence and dignity that America, during 1796, exhibited by sea. At some future opportunity the narrative will, perhaps, be resumed and completed. In the mean time, these instances may be compared, by an impartial citizen, with the censure bestowed by Barras, on the government of the United States. He can then attempt to decide, whether Mr. Wash­ington had, last year, greater cause to complain of England, or Mr. Adams, in the present year, of France. We shall now proceed to examine some federal transactions by land. In a work embracing such various objects, many points of importance are sure of being omitted. Still, however, even an imperfect history, if candid and accurate, is better than none. The facility acquired by expe­rience, and the resources derived from public pa­tronage may, hereafter, furnish means for produ­cing a more regular, and less defective, perform­ance.

Among the memorials presented to Congress, in spring, 1796, perhaps none deserved more atten­tion, than that of the snuff-makers of this city, re­specting the excise on their manufacture. On the 5th of June, 1794, an act had past in Congress, for levying a duty of six cents per pound, upon all snuff, manufactured in the United States. As this law did not answer the end proposed, it was re­pealed, and on the 3d of March, 1795, another was enacted in its room. By the l4ter, two thou­sand two hundred and forty dollars were to be paid for every snuff mill, with stampers and grind­ers, and sums proportionably less, for those of in­ferior effect. As a relief to the snuff-maker, he received a drawback of six cents upon every pound of snuff, exported out of the country. The first of these two laws originated with Mr. Alexander [Page 197] Hamilton, then Secretary of the Trersury. Both of them met with warm opposition in Congress. Both were, in an eminent degree, absurd, oppres­sive, and impracticable. Both deserve to be held in remembrance, as proofs of what shocking des­potism the legislature, even of a free country, may possibly commit. They were said to be laws of experiment, by those who were least eager in their defence. But a government has no right of ma­king experiments in opposition to probability, on the property of the public. The memorial was presented on the 9th of February, 1796, and is in these words.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, in Congress assembled: The memorial of the subscribers, manufacturers of snuff in the city of Philadelphia, Respectfully represents,

THAT whilst the United States exhibit an universal ap­pearance of public prosperity, and of private happiness, the memorialists feel deep regret and mortification upon their be­ing once more compelled to address you in the solitary lan­guage of dissatisfaction. They have sometime ago entered into a struggle to support a second excise law upon their ma­nufacture. Your predecessors, the late Congress, gave a fair trial to the first act, which attempted to levy a duty on snuff in proportion to the pound weight. This law, as the honourable Congress well knows, operated at once like a stroke of annihilation. No excise could be paid, at least in the state of Pennsylvania; for, out of seven snuff-mills, six were instantly shut up, to the infinite injury of the manufac­turers. Their stock lay dead on their hands. Their cus­tomers dispersed, and in many cases declined to pay the out­standing debts, because the subscribers, having no power to manufacture snuff, were unable to give them further credit. The buildings for carrying on their manufactories, erected at an expence of many thousand dollars, were at once conver­ted into sepulchres of American industry; and, in the vain at­tempt [Page 198] to extract a revenue, where every moral and physical circumstance rendered it impossible, six months of business and of human life were lost. Even the seventh snuff-mill, which actually was entered, never paid any duty.

Every feature in the history of this first excise upon snuff, justified the energetic presage of a gentleman, who was a member of the last, and is one in the present House of Repre­sentatives of Congress. He declared in his place that the act would terminate not in revenue, but destruction. The ac­curacy of his prediction hath been verified by experience, and fully acknowledged and attested on the floor of Congress. The effects of that memorable statute were perhaps unrivalled, even in the tragical and exterminating annals of excise. Like a pestilence, or a tempest, this law blasted and swept before it every blossom of industry, and had your memorialists re­mained ever since entirely unmolested by excise laws, yet some years of good fortune would have been requisite for en­abling them to recover the ground which they had lost.

That, with the deepest astonishment, the memorialists have, during the present session, heard of several petitions presented to Congress, chiefly as they believe from snuff-makers in the east [...] states, requesting the repeal of the present excise, in order to replace it by the former law for levying the duty by the pound weight. These petitioners have indeed honest­ly represented many insurmountable objections to the present law, and which your memorialists admit, as well as they do. But it does not follow, that the present extremely oppressive excise on snuff ought to be superceded for the sake of adop­ting another statute which is infinitely worse, and which has already been tried and cast aside as impracticable. The ruin­ous effects of both these laws, have been fully stated in a short history of excise laws, drawn up at the desire and un­der the inspection of a number of manufacturers in Philadel­phia, and of which a printed copy has lately been transmitted to each of the members of the two houses of Congress, and to the principal officers of the federal government.

In the last act for an excise upon snuff, a drawback of six cents per pound has been allowed upon the exportation. This drawback was liable to various abuses. If not granted at all, snuff could not be exported after paying an excise, and this would tend to depress the American manufacturer. But, in order to be entitled to the drawback, it was requisite to ob­tain a certificate of the snuff having been duly landed at the [Page 199] destined port: the chief exportation was to the British West-Indies, where American snuff is contraband, and consequently it was quite impossible to get the requisite certificates. But farther, nothing could be more easy than to make a preten­ded exportation of snuff to some island in the West-Indies, where it was not prohibited, obtain a regular certificate of its being landed, and then smuggle it back to this country. Thus one barrel of snuff, might receive twenty drawbacks. Such frauds are practised every day in Britain. Many mer­chants on the river Thames support their families in splendor by drawbacks, procured from their government for imagi­nary exportations. Your memorialists have been assured, that one bale of muslin, supposed to be worth five hundred guineas, received in this way a drawback of twelve and an half per cent forty times over, so that this bale earned two thousand five hundred guineas.

Trash of any kind, or even sand, might be exported from the United States, under the name of snuff, and obtain the six cents per pound of drawback. Frauds of this kind could not be prevented without a multiplicity of inspectors, whose salaries would swallow up the revenue.

That the eighty-fourth and ninety-third sections of the British tobacco excise act of 1789, fully shew, to what length impostures of this sort have been carried in that country. The former of these two clauses, inflicts a penalty of two hundred pounds, for the mixture of cut walnut leaves, of hops, of sycamore, or ony other leaves or herbs, with the leaves of tobacco. The injunctions in the ninety-third section, against mixing snuff with other materials, are still more pointed. The penalty of two hundred pounds is levi­ed for mixing with snuff, any fustick, yellow honey, touch-wood, log-wood, red or guinea-wood, braziletto or Jamai­ca-wood, Nicaragua-wood, Saunders-wood or any other sort of wood, or any walnut tree leaves, hops, sycamore, or any other leaves or herbs. This singular enumeration ascer­tains how far such practices have gone.

That there is another material objection to the present mode of granting a drawback. The price of different kinds of snuff differs very considerably, and yet the same drawback of six cents is granted, without distinction, upon all kinds. Richard Gernon & Co. in their petition, state, that the snuff which they have been exporting is worth ten cents per pound, besides the six cents of drawback. Thus its value, after pay­ing [Page 200] the duty, would be about one shilling and three pence per pound. The memorialists are now selling snuff at two shil­lings and six pence and three shillings per pound, and were they to export it, a drawback of at least twelve cents per pound would be necessary to put them on a level with Ger­non & Co. who receive six cents per pound drawback on an article not half so valuable.

The memorialists, in their publication already referred to, stated the possibility that the drawbacks for a single manufac­turer might amount to sixty thousand dollars per annum, and if a dozen such manufacturers were to be found in the United States, that they would drain the public treasury of seven hun­dred and twenty thousand dollars a year, a sum which all the ex­cises in the country could not cover. To the great astonishment of the memorialists, this prediction received a partial fulfilment almost at the instant when it was made. The revenue deri­ved from the mills, entered in the state of Pennsylvania, comes only to eight thousand three hundred and eighty dollars. On the 26th January last, the drawbacks, at the port of Phi­ladelphia, since the new act began to operate, amounted to eight thousand five hundred and twenty-three dollars and thirty-nine cents, which is already one hundred and forty-three dollars, and thirty-nine cents, more than the total re­venue for this state. Almost the whole of this drawback has been paid to Messrs. Richard Gernon & Co. who have been only about four months in business, and within that period, have got back above five thousand dollars additional, besides the two thousand two hundred and forty dollars, which they paid, according to law, for entering their mill. It is not the design of your memorialists to cast the slightest reflection on the conduct of this manufacturing company. On the contrary, if government has laid itself open by a law which defeats its own purposes, and sinks a revenue where it expected to raise one, the manufacturers are in com­mon justice, entitled, to take every legal advantage of such an oversight. Nay, they beg leave to state it as a matter of absolute certainty, that if this law is not repeated, a number of snuff-makers will immediately enter into the business of exportation. They only forbear altering their mi [...]s, and adapting them for the business, till they see whether Congress will adhere to the law or not; for the example of Richard Gernon & Co. proves how easily a snuff-maker, with the requisite degree of capital and enterprise, may take from the public treasury in the shape [Page 201] of drawbacks ten times as much as he pays into it. Your memorialists cannot believe that Congress, or indeed any le­gislative assembly on earth, would suffer the longer existence of a law so pregnant with the most preposterous and ruinous consequences. A few weeks ago, Messrs. Gernon & Co. presented to Congress a memorial, representing the immense expence which they have been at in preparing their mill to grind snuff for exportation. Among other details, they state their having, in the first four months of their copartnery, pur­chased four hundred and thirty hogsheads of tobacco, and that they are continuing to make large purchases of this kind. At that rate, they will, in the course of twelve months, pur­chase, altogether, twelve hundred and ninety hogsheads. Your memorialists estimate, that, when grinded into snuff, the drawback on this quantity will amount to about ninety thousand dollars. The company will thus gain, by the pub­lic revenue, eighty-eight thousand dollars, the drawback exceeding the revenue in the proportion of forty-five to one. This is a circumstance perfectly novel in the history of tax­ation.

But further, if this affair is suffered to go on in its pre­sent way, Congress may soon expect to see twenty other snuff-mills working on the same plan, and to an equal ex­tent, with that of Gernon & Co.

If the government of this country intend, seriously, and steadily, to give a drawback of six cents per pound on the exportation of American snuff, it is the most acceptable and joyful intelligence that your memorialists could ever hear of. They will immediately repair their mills, extend their pur­chases, and they have not a doubt of clearing, from the draw­back, before the end of a year, twenty or thirty times the sum which they are to pay into the treasury. Twenty ma­nufacturers, like Gernon & Co. would each of them thus cost government ninety thousand dollars, or, collectively, one million eight hundred thousand dollars per annum. The original object of the law was said to be a revenue of forty thousand dollars; there is an equal chance, that, in search of it, forty-five times that sum will be sunk. It has been abovementioned, that the drawbacks, within this state, al­ready exceed the revenue. The first year of this law ex­pires on the last day of March next, and, before that time, there will most likely be a balance of several thousand dollars against the revenue, at the port of Philadelphia. But if the [Page 202] law s [...]nd [...] unrepealed, it is probable that two hundred thou­sand [...] will not make up the deficiencies in this state alone, for the next succeeding year.

[...] their history of excise, the manufacturers stated the prin­ciple, that all taxes ought to be levied in proportion to the [...]um of personal property. Since their publication took place, they have seen this doctrine justified by an authority of the highest nature▪ The new constitution of France, in the sixteenth article of the first section, lays it down as a fun­damental maxim, that, "as all taxes are established for the general good, they ought to be apportioned among the taxed in the ratio of their means." Under the head of finances, al­so, in the same work, it is declared, "that taxes of all kinds are assessed among all those liable to contribution according to their means."—Your memorialists cannot deny that the word excise is to be found in the letter of the federal con­stitution; but they strongly contend, that it is entirely hos­tile to the spirit of that instrument. One of the principle fa­bricators of that production, was the present judge Wilson. When the subject was debated in the convention of Penn­sylvania, he argued that it was necessary to give all power to government, but he was certain that an excise never would be imposed, unless in the last extremity. From the opinion which the convention of Pennsylvania expressed of excise, at that time, and which the assembly of this state have expressed since, it is evident that they never would have consented to ratify such a stipulation, if they had conceived that it was to become one of the first, and favourite resources of government.

That your memorialists, cannot help considering this excise on snuff as coming, exactly, under the description of an ex post facto law. They had no contemplation of such a bur­den, when they built their mills, and gave credit, to so great an extent, to their customers. Their mills would not, at present, sell for one half of the money which they originally cost, and one half of them are, at this hour, standing idle. This, of itself, would be sufficient to destroy any set of manufacturers. Your memorialists likewise beg leave to state, as their opinion, that if the merchants and manufactu­rers of Britain had a liberty of petitioning Congress, they could not solicit a more favourable mode of conduct for their own interest, than persuading you to trammel, and distress, the manufacturers of America with excises, which do not pay the expence of their collection, which in one state pro­duce [Page 203] bankruptcy, and in a second, rebellion. They humbly regard it as chimerical to term America independent of Bri­tain, while we are forced to send to England for a coat, and to Ireland for a shirt. It is this commercial chain of de­pendence in which Britain has entangled so many nations, that constitutes the essence and soul of her strength, and that enables her to bully, to combat, and to rob her neighbours. It is her superiority in manufactures, which has enabled this kingdom to subsidize and embattle pirates and cut-throats, in every corner of the world, while she herself may be termed a bucanneer of Atlantean magnitude, whose grasp embraces the terraqueous globe, and whose stature reaches from earth to heaven.

To conclude, your memorialists ardently flatter them­selves with a hope, that Congress will see the expediency, and even the positive and inevitable necessity, for an imme­diate and complete abolition of the excise upon snuff made in America. Though some ill-advised manufacturers to the eastward have called for the restoration of the act of 1794, the principal snuff-makers, in that part of the union, regard it with as much abhorrence, as the memorialists themselves do. To continue the present excise, and withhold the drawback, would be to prohibit, in a great measure, the manufacture of tobacco, the second staple of the continent; and it has alrea­dy been demonstrated, that, to continue the law, and the draw­back, in their present shape, is only to squander forty-five dol­lars in a fruitless search after one.

Your memorialists, therefore, earnestly solicit an entire re­peal of the excise upon snuff, and they, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.


The statute hath been since repeatedly suspen­ded, and, it is supposed, will never more be put into execution.

Some people may wonder what the House of Re­presentatives [Page 204] were thinking of, when they suc­cessively enacted such self-condemned laws. It is likely that, during the discussion, ten or fifteen were employed in reading newspapers, or in wri­ting letters. About as many more might be in pri­vate conversation, at the back of the Speaker's chair, or at the windows. General Samuel Smith, who hath saved the house from many woeful mis­takes, is the gentleman alluded to, in the second paragraph of the memorial.

We now come to a part of the work, more de­licate, perhaps, than any other. The freedoms which the federal party have taken with those who differ from their opinions, are universally known. The most impartial scrutiny would determine, that, in the arts of calumny and detraction, their publi­cations exceed, beyond all proportion, those of their adversaries. In the first session of the fifth Con­gress, Mr. Harper has publicly declared to the Representatives, that Mr. James Munroe, our late envoy to France, was guilty of corruption by for­eign influence. On being questioned by Mr. Giles, he has promised, in due time and place, to bring evi­dence of his accusation. This example is only one out of hundreds which might be adduced to shew that the friends of order, for such they call them­selves, are resolved to set no limits to their rage and their vengeance. Of course, they cannot ex­pect to meet with that tenderness which they re­fuse to grant.

Attacks on Mr. Munroe have been frequently repeated from the stock-holding presses. They are cowardly, because he is absent. They are unjust, because his conduct will bear the strictest enquiry. They are ungrateful, because he displayed, on an occasion that will be mentioned immediately, the greatest lenity to Mr. Alexander Hamilton, the prime [Page 205] mover of the federal party. When some of the papers which are now to be laid before the world, were submitted to the secretary; when he was in­formed that they were to be communicated to Pre­sident Washington, he entreated, in the most anx­ious tone of deprecation, that this measure might be suspended. Mr. Munroe was one of the three gentlemen who agreed to a delay. They gave their consent to it, on his express promise of a guarded behaviour in future, and because he attached to the suppression of these papers, a mysterious degree of solicitude, which they, feeling no personal resent­ment against the individual, were unwilling to aug­ment.

The unfounded reproaches heaped on Mr. Mun­roe, form the immediate motive to the publication of these papers. They are here printed from an at­tested copy, exactly conformable to that, which, at his own desire, was delivered to Mr. Hamilton himself. Not a word has been added or altered, and the period of four years may, surely, have been enough to furnish the ex-secretary with mate­rials for his defence. In the letters of Camillus, the most sublime principles of action are every where inculcated. But we shall presently see this great master of morality, though himself the father of a family, confessing that he had an illicit cor­respondence with another man's wife. If any thing can be yet less reputable, it is, that the gentlemen to whom he made that acknowledgement held it as an imposition, and found various reasons for be­lieving that Mrs. Reynolds was, in reality, guilt­less. An attentive critic will be led to enquire what has become of her husband, and why the in­dignant innocence of Mr. Hamilton, did not pro­mote the completion of public justice against a per­son, who had treated his name with such gross dis­respect? [Page 206] What a scandalous imputation was it for this culprit to cast upon our secretary, that he had gained thirty thousand dollars by the purchase of army certificates, that this fellow could bring him to capital punishment, &c. &c.? It is to be wished that Reynolds may still be found, and that, to borrow the words of his friend, Dr. William Smith, the Secretary may come out of this matter, "as fair as the purest angel in heaven!"

Before committing the following papers to the world, their editor must again beg leave to re­mark, that they are nothing more nor less than ex­act copies, from attested originals, of which Mr. Hamilton, as hereafter specified, has been, at his own desire, supplied with an accurate transcript. Some expressions used by the culprit, Reynolds, are harsh, and convey disgust, without adding to conviction. The editor, from aversion to invec­tive, had, on this account, resolved to leave them out, as well as several other passages, which are of little importance to the main point. But on due reflection, it has been found safer, and more adviseable, to publish the whole, even at the ha­zard of being tedious. This precludes all pre­tence of mutilation for unfair purposes.

As to the asperity of style in some parts of the precious confessions of Reynolds, the painful reluc­tance of the editor, to the printing of them, has been somewhat lessened, from the volunteer ac­knowledgment of seduction, emitted by the ex-secretary himself. This appears to be about as bad, as any thing which his wretched understrap­per either said against him, or could imaginably have to say. A procurer has always been regarded as in the lowest scale of human character. Mutatis mutandis, the patron of such an agent can have no scruple to become one.

[Page 207]Again, the intemperate stile of the convivial and confidential communications of our ex-secre­tary, prohibits him from being regarded as any peculiar object of indulgence. For instance, he has often boasted of rceieving letters from President Washington, with the word private wrote on the back of them, and a cross drawn over the seal. ‘After opening such a parcel, said Mr. Hamilton, what do you think were the contents? DEAR HAMILTON, put this into style for me. Some speech or letter has been inclosed, which I wrote over again, sent it back, and then the OLD DAMNED FOOL gave it away as his own. Mr. Hamilton is not singular in using this style to general Wash­ington. After the squabble between citizen Genet, John Jay, and Rufus King, the two latter sent a most insulting letter to the President. Randolph advised him to resent it. He had once resolved to do so; but altered his intention, from a jealousy that the writers were in concert with Hamilton, from whom he could not determine to disjoin him­self. Jay and King wanted to obtain a certificate which Mr. Jefferson had drawn up, relating to the behaviour of citizen Genet. The President actual­ly gave them the certificate, but it is thought that they found it not to their purpose; for it was suppressed, Jay and King also got back from the President their impertinent letter; of which, after cooling, they began to be ashamed. But a copy of it is in existence, and some hopes remain of its being obtained for publication. These par­ticulars are derived from undoubted authority. They prove what was so fully stated in the Ameri­can Annual Register, that the federal party des­pised the late President; that they took frequent opportunities of insulting him; and that they as­sumed the popularity of his name with no view but to serve their own ends.

[Page 208]To be the prompter and primum mobile of the greatest man in the world, might have flattered the vanity of a more discreet favourite than Mr. Ha­milton. To hear the Representatives, as in No­vember, 1794, dispute for three weeks upon the wording of an answer to a specch of his own com­position, must have been highly soothing to the self-importance of the ex-secretary. But, as general Washington had been, in the highest sense of the word, his benefactor, he ought to have concealed the imperfections of his friend. He has often com­pared his influence over the President to that of the wind upon a weather cock, or of that over an au­tomaton, moved only by the hand which directs it. This style was both imprudent and ungrateful. His power was very great, but not entirely unbounded. He wanted to be sent to England as envoy to ne­gociate the treaty. The arguments of Randolph hindered the President from giving his consent. That the pen of Mr. Hamilton has long assisted the President is a story current in Europe as well as in America; and that the speeches and letters of gene­neral Washington are extremely different from his more early productions is very well known.

We shall conclude these prefatory observations with an anecdote. During the late canvass for the election of a President, Webster, in his Minerva, gave a hint, that Mr. Hamilton would be an advis­able candidate. A person in this city, who chanced to see this newspaper, wrote immediately to a cor­respondent in New-York. The letter desired him to put himself in Mr. Hamilton's way, and inform him that if Webster should, in future, print a single paragraph on that head, the following papers were instantly to be laid before the world. It is believed the message was delivered to Mr. Hamilton, for the Minerva became silent.

[Page 209]

(No. I.)

JACOB CLINGMAN, being a clerk in my employ­ment, (F. A. Muhlenberg) and becoming involved in a pro­secution commenced against JAMES REYNOLDS, by the Comptroller of the Treasury, on a charge or information exhi­bited before Hilary Baker, esq one of the aldermen of this ci­ty, for subornation of perjury, whereby they had obtained mo­ney from the treasury of the United States, he (Clingman) applied to me, for my aid and friendship, on behalf of himself and Reynolds, to get them released or discharged from the p [...] secution. I promised, so far as respected Clingman; but, not being particularly acquainted with Reynolds, in a great mea­sure, declined so far as respected him. In company with colo­nel Burr, I waited on colonel Hamilton for the purpose, and particularly recommended Clingman, who had hitherto sus­tained a good character. Colonel Hamilton signified a wish to do all that was consistent. Shortly after, I waited on the Comp­troller for the same purpose, who seemed to have difficulties on the subject; and, from some information I had, in the mean time, received, I could not undertake to recommend Reynolds, as I verily believed him to be a rascal, which words I made use of to the Comptroller. On a second interview with the Comptroller, on the same subject, the latter urged the propriety of Clingman's delivering up a certain list of money due to in­dividuals, which Reynolds and Clingman were said to have in their possession, and of his informing him, of whom, and through whom, the same was obtained from the public offices; on doing which, Clingman's request might, perhaps, be granted with greater propriety. This, Clingman, I am informed, com­plied with, and also refunded the money or certificates, which they had improperly obtained from the treasury. After which, I understand the action against both was withdrawn, and Rey­nolds discharged from imprisonment, without any farther inter­ference of mine whatever.

During the time this business was thus depending, and which lasted upwards of three weeks, Clingman, unasked, frequently dropped hints to me, that Reynolds had it in his power, very materially to injure the Secretary of the Treasury; and that Reynolds knew several very improper transactions of his. I paid little or no attention to those hints; but, when they were frequently repeated, and it was even added, that Reynolds said, [Page 210] he had it in his power to hang the Secretary of the Treasury; that he was deeply concerned in speculation that he had fre­quently advanced money to him, (Reynolds); and other insi­nuations of an improper nature, it created considerable uneasi­ness in my mind, and I conceived it my duty to consult with some friends on the subject.—Mr. Monroe and Mr. Venable were informed of it yesterday morning.

(Signed,) F. A. MUHLENBERG.

(No. II.)

BEING informed yesterday, in the morning, that a person of the name of Reynolds, from Virginia, Richmond, was con­fined in the jail, upon some criminal prosecution relative to cer­tificates, and that he had intimated, he would give some intel­ligence of speculations by Mr. Hamilton, which should be known, WE immediately called on him, as well to be informed of the situation of the man, as of those other matters, in which the public might be interested. We found it was not the per­son, we had been taught to believe, but a man of that name from New-York, and who had, for some time past, resided in this city. Being there, however, we questioned him respecting the other particular; he informed us, that he could give infor­mation of the misconduct, in that respect, of a person high in office, but must decline it, for the present, and until relieved, which was promised him that evening: that at ten to-day, he would give us a detail of whatever he knew on the subject. He affirmed, he had a person, high in office, in his power, and had had, a long time past. That he had written to him, in terms so abusive, that no person should have submitted to it, but that he dared not to resent it. That Mr. Wolcot was in the same department, and, he supposed, under his influence or controul; and, in fact, expressed himself in such a manner, as to leave no doubt, he meant Mr. Hamilton. That he ex­pected to be released by Mr. Wolcot, at the instance of that person, although he believed, that Mr. Wolcot, in instituting the prosecution, had no improper design; that he was satisfied, the prosecution was set on foot, only to keep him low, and oppress him, and ultimately drive him away; that he had had, since his residence here, for eighteen months, many private meetings with that person, who had often promised to put him into employment, but had disappointed him; that on hearing [Page 211] the prosecution was commenced against him, he applied to this person for counsel, who advised him to keep out of the way, for a few days; that a merchant came to him, and offered, as a volunteer, to be his bail, who, he suspected, had been instigated by this person; and, after being decoyed to the place, the mer­chant wished to carry him [to], he refused being his bail, unless he would deposit a sum of money, to some considerable amount, which he could not do, and was, in consequence, committed to prison. As well as we remember, he gave, as a reason, why he could not communicate to us, what he knew of the facts alluded to, that he was apprehensive, it might prevent his discharge; but that he would certainly communicate the whole to us, at ten this morning: at which time, we were informed, he had absconded, or concealed himself.


(No. III.)

BEING desirous, on account of their equivocal complexion, to examine into the suggestions which had been made us, res­pecting the motive for the confinement and proposed enlarge­ment of James Reynolds, from the jail of this city, and incli­ned to suspect, for the same reason, that, unless it were immedi­ately done, the opportunity would be lost, as we were taught to suspect he would leave the place, immediately after his dis­charge, we called at his house, last night, for that purpose; we found Mrs. Reynolds alone. It was, with difficulty, we ob­tained from her, any information on the subject; but at length she communicated to us the following particulars.

That since colonel Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasu­ry, and at his request, she had burned a considerable number of letters from him to her husband, and in the absence of the latter, touching business between them, to prevent their being made public. She also mentioned, that Mr. Clingman had several anonymous notes addressed to her husband, which, she believed, were from Mr. Hamilton (which we have) with an endorse­ment "from secretary Hamilton, esq" in Mr. Reynolds's hand writing; that Mr. Hamilton offered her his assistance to go to her friends, which he advised; that he also advised, that her husband should leave the parts, not to be seen here again; and in which case, he would give something clever. That she was [Page 212] satisfied, this wish for his departure did not proceed from friend­ship to him, but on account of his threat, that he could tell something that would make some of the heads of departments tremble. That Mr. Wadsworth had been active in her be­half; first at her request, but, in her opinion, with the know­ledge and communication of Mr. Hamilton, whose friend he professed to be; that he had been at her house yesterday, and mentioned to her, that two gentlemen of Congress had been at the jail, to confer with her husband; enquired, if she knew what they went for; observed, he knew Mr. Hamilton had enemies, who would try to prove some speculations on him, but when enquired into, he would be found immaculate; to which she replied, she rather doubted it.

We saw, in her possession, two notes; one in the name of Alexander Hamilton, of the 6th of December, and the other, signed "J. W." purporting to have been written yesterday; both expressing a desire to relieve her.

She denied any recent communication with Mr. Hamilton, or that she had received any money from him to-day.


(No. IV.)

JACOB CLINGMAN has been engaged in some nego­ciations with Mr. James Reynolds, the person, who has late­ly been discharged from a prosecution instituted against him, by the Comptroller of the Treasury.

That his acquaintance commenced in September, 1791; that a mutual confidence and intimacy existed between them; that in January or February last, he saw colonel Hamilton at the house of Reynolds. Immediately on his going into the house, colonel Hamilton retired. That in a few days after, he (Clingman) was at Mr. Reynolds's house, with Mrs. Rey­nolds, her husband being then out; some person knocked at the door; he arose and opened it, and saw that it was colonel Ha­milton. Mrs. Reynolds went to the door; he delivered a pa­per to her, and said, he was ordered to give Mr. Reynolds that. He asked Mrs. Reynolds who could order the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States to give that? She replied, that she supposed, he did not want to be known. This happened [Page 213] in the night. He asked her, how long Mr. Reynolds had been acquainted with colonel Hamilton? She replied, some months; that colonel Hamilton had assisted her husband; that sometime before that, he had received upwards of eleven hundred dollars, of colonel Hamilton. Sometime after this, Clingman was at the house of Reynolds, and saw colonel Hamilton; he retired and left him there.

A little after Duer's failure, Reynolds told Clingman, in confidence, that if Duer had held up, three days longer, he should have made fifteen hundred pounds, by the assistance of colonel Hamilton; that colonel Hamilton had informed him, that he was connected with Duer. Mr. Reynolds also said, that colonel Hamilton had made thirty thousand dollars by speculation; that colonel Hamilton had supplied him with money to speculate. That, about June last, Reynolds told Clingman, that he had applied to colonel Hamilton for money to subscribe to the turnpike-road at Lancaster, and had received a note from him, in these words, ‘It is utterly out of my pow­er, I assure you, upon my honour, to comply with your re­quest. Your note is returned;’ which original note, ac­companying this, has been in Clingman's possession ever since. Mr. Reynolds has once or twice mentioned to Cling­man, that he had it in his power to hang colonel Hamilton; that if he wanted money, he was obliged to let him have it. That he (Clingman) has occasionally lent money to Reynolds who always told him, that he could always get it from colo­nel Hamilton, to repay it; that, on one occasion, Clingman lent him two hundred dollars; that Reynolds promised to pay him, through the means of colonel Hamilton; that he went with him, saw him go into colonel Hamilton's; that, after he came out, he paid him one hundred dollars, which, he said, was part of the sum, he had got; and paid the balance, in a few days; the latter sum paid was said to have been received from colonel Hamilton, after his return from Jersey, having made a visit to the manufacturing society there.

After a warrant was issued against Reynolds, upon a late prosecution, which was instituted against him, Clingman, see­ing Reynolds, asked him, why he did not apply to his friend colonel Hamilton? He said, he would go immediately, and went accordingly. He said afterwards, that colonel Hamilton advised him to keep out of the way, a few days, and the mat­ter would be settled. That after this time, Henry Seckel, [Page 214] went to Reynolds, and offered to be his bail, if he would go with him to Mr. Baker's office, where he had left the officer, who had the warrant in writing; that he prevailed on Rey­nolds to go with him. That after Reynolds was taken into custody; Seckel refused to become his bail, unless he would deposit, in his possession, property to the value of four hundred pounds; upon which, Reynolds wrote to colonel Hamilton, and Mr. Seckel carried the note. After two or three times going, he saw colonel Hamilton. Colonel Hamilton said, he knew Reynolds and his father; that his father was a good whig in the late war; that was all he could say; that it was not in his power to assist him; in consequence of which, Seckel refused to be his bail, and Reynolds was imprisoned. Mr. Reynolds also applied to Mr. Francis, who is one of the clerks in the treasury department; he said, he could not do any thing, without the consent of colonel Hamilton; that he would apply to him. He applied to Mr. Hamilton, who told him, that it would not be prudent; if he did, he must leave the department.

After Reynolds was confined, Clingman asked Mrs. Rey­nolds, why she did not apply to colonel Hamilton to dismiss him, as the money was ready to be refunded, that was receiv­ed. She replied, that she had applied to him, and he had sent her to Mr. Wolcot; but directed her not to let Mr. Wolcot know, that he had sent her there. Notwithstanding this in­junction, she did let Mr. Wolcot know, by whom she had been sent, who appeared to be surprised at the information, but said, he would do what he could for her, and would Consult colonel Hamilton on the occasion. Colonel Hamilton advised her, to get some persons of respectability, to intercede for her husband, and mentioned Mr. Muhlenberg.

Reynolds continued to be kept in custody, for some time, during which time, Clingman had conversation with Mr. Wolcot, who said, if he would give up a list of soldier's claims, which he had, he should be released. After this, Mrs. Rey­nolds informed Clingman, that colonel Hamilton had told her, that Clingman should write a letter to Mr. Wolcot, and a duplicate of the same to himself, promising to give up the list, and refund the money which had been obtained on a certificate, which had been said to have been improperly obtained. Cling­man asked Mrs. Reynolds, for the letters that her husband had received from colonel Hamilton, from time to time, as he [Page 215] might probably use them to obtain her husband's liberty. She replied, that colonel Hamilton had requested her to burn all the letters, that were in his hand-writing, or that had his name to them; which she had done. He pressed her to exa­mine again, as she might not have destroyed the whole, and they would be useful. She examined, and found two or three notes, without any name, which are herewith submitted, and which, she said, were notes from colonel Hamilton.

Mrs. Reynolds told Clingman, that having heard, that her husband's father was, in the late war, a commissary under the direction of colonel Wadsworth, she waited on him, to get him to intercede for her husband's discharge. He told her, he would give her his assistance, and said, ‘now you have made me your friend, you must apply to no person else.’ That on Sunday evening, Clingman went to the house of Reynolds, and found colonel Wadsworth there. He was introduced to colonel Wads­worth, by Mrs. Reynolds. Colonel Wadsworth told him, he had seen Mr. Wolcot; that Mr. Wolcot would do any thing for him, (Clingman), and Reynolds's family, that he could; that he had called on colonel Hamilton, but had not seen him; that he might tell him, Mr. Muhlenberg, that a friend of his (Clingman's) had told him, that colonel Wads­worth was a countryman and schoolmate of Mr. Ingersoll, and that colonel Wadsworth was also intimate with the governor, and that the governor would do almost any thing, to oblige him; that his name must not be mentioned to Mr. Muhlenberg, as telling him this; but that, if Mr. Muhlenberg could be brought to speak to him first, on the subject, he would then do any thing in his power, for them; and told him not to speak to him, if he should meet him in the street; and said, if his name was mentioned, that he would do nothing. That on Wednesday, Clingman saw colonel Wadsworth, at Reynolds's house; he did not find her at home, but left a note; but, on going out, [...]e met her, and said, he had seen every body, and done every thing.

Mrs. Reynolds told Clingman, that she had received money from colonel Hamilton, since her husband's confinement, enclo­sed in a note, which note she had burned.

After Reynolds was discharged, (which was eight or nine o'clock on Wednesday evening); about twelve o'clock at night, Mr. Reynolds sent a letter to colonel Hamilton by a girl; which letter, Clingman saw delivered to the girl. [Page 216] Reynolds followed the girl, and Clingman followed him. He saw the girl go into colonel Hamilton's house. Clingman then joined Reynolds, and they walked back and forward in the street, until the girl returned, and informed Reynolds, that he need not go out of town that night, but call on him early in the morning. In the morning, between seven and eight o'clock, he saw Reynolds go to colonel Hamilton's house, and go in. He has not seen him since, and supposes, he is gone out of town.

Mr. Clingman further adds, that sometime ago he was in­formed by Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, that he had books contain­ing the amount of the cash due to the Virginia line at his own house at New-York, with liberty to copy, and were obtain­ed through Mr. Duer.

The above contains the truth, to the best of my knowledge and recollect on, and to which I am ready to make oath.


(No. V.)

Mr. Clingman informs us, that Mr. Reynolds returned to town, on Thursday night, and told him, he had written him a let­ter which he then had; not having had an opportunity to send it to him, and which he then tore; part of which was thrown in­to the fire. Other parts he presented to us, and which we now have.

That Reynolds, at the same time, told him, he had been re­ceived by Mr. Hamilton, the morning of that day, when they parted, about sunrise. That he was extremely agitated, walk­ing backward and forward the room, and striking, alternately, his forehead and his thigh; observing to him, that he had ene­mies at work, but was willing to meet them, on fair ground, and requested him not to stay long, lest it might be noticed.

Mr. Clingman also informs us, that he received a note from Mr. Wolcot, to meet him, on Friday morning, at half past nine (which note we have). That he attended, and had an inter­view with him, in presence of Mr. Hamilton; when he was strictly examined by both, respecting the persons, who were en­quiring into the matter, and their object; that he told Mr. Hamilton, he had been possessed of his notes to Reynolds, and [Page 217] had given them up to these gentlemen: and to which, he re­plied, he had done very wrong. That he also told Mr. Ha­milton of the letter he had received from Reynolds, since his enlargement, mentioning that he (Mr. Hamilton) would make Francis swear back what he had said; and to which Mr. Ha­milton replied, he would make him unsay any falsity he had declared.

Mr. Hamilton said, Reynolds was a villain, a rascal, and he supposed, would swear to any thing.

Mr. Wolcot said, that unless Clingman used the same can­dour to him, that he had done to Clingman, he should not con­sider himself bound.

Mr. Hamilton wanted to know, what members of Congress were concerned in the enquiry, and desired him to go into the gallery, where he would see them, and enquire their names of the bystanders.

Mr. Hamilton observed, he had had some transaction with Reynolds, which he had before mentioned, as well as Clingman remembers, to Mr. Wolcot, and need not go into detail.

Clingman also informs us, that Reynolds told him, since his enlargement, that when he was about to set out to Virginia, on his last trip to buy up cash-claims of the Virginia line, he told Mr. Hamilton, that Hopkins would not pay upon those pow­ers of attorney; and to which he, (Mr. Hamilton) replied, he would write to Hopkins, on the subject.

16th. Last night we waited on colonel Hamilton, when he informed us of a particular connection with Mrs. Reynolds: the period of its commencement, and circumstances attending it; his visiting her at Inskeep's; the frequent supplies of mo­ney to her and her husband, on that account; his duress by them from the fear of a disclosure, and his anxiety to be relieved from it and them. To support this, he shewed a great number of letters from Reynolds and herself, commencing early in 1791. He acknowledged all the letters in a disguised hand, in our possession, to be his. We left him under an impression, our suspicions were removed. He acknowledged our conduct to­ward him had been fair and liberal: he could not complain of it. We brought back all the papers, even his own notes, nor did he ask their destruction.

He said, the dismission of the prosecution against the parties, Reynolds and Clingman, had been in consideration of a surren­der of a list of pay improperly obtained from his office, and by [Page 218] means of a person, who had it not in his power now to injure the department, intimating he meant Duer: that he obtained this information from Reynolds; owned that he had received a note from Reynolds in the night, at the time stated in Mr. Clingman's paper, and that he had likewise seen him in the morning following: said, he never had seen Reynolds be­fore he came to this place; and that the statement in Mr. Clingman's paper, in that respect, was correct.


January 2d, 1793. Mr. Clingman called on me, this even­ing, and mentioned, that he had been apprised of Mr. Hamil­ton's vindication, by Mr. Wolcott, a day or two after our interview with him. He farther observed to me, that he com­municated the same to Mrs. Reynolds, who appeared much shocked at it, and wept immoderately. That she denied the imputation, and declared, that it had been a fabrication of colonel Hamilton, and that her husband had joined in it, who had told her so, and that he had given him receipts for money and writ­ten letters, so as to give countenance to the pretence. That he was with colonel Hamilton, the day after he left the jail, when we supposed he was in Jersey. He was of opinion she was innocent, and that the defence was an imposition.



Endorsement on the parcel, in the hand-writing of Reynolds. "From Secortary Hamilton, esq *"

To-morrow what is requested will be done. Twill hardly be possible to day.

[This card has neither date nor address. It is in a kind of character, half print, half manuscript. It was admitted as his own by the secretary.]

[Page 219]

It is utterly out of my power I assure you, PON my honour, to comply with your request. Your note is returned.

[This is the card referred to in No. IV. being the answer to a request from Reynolds, of money to sub­scribe for the Lancaster turnpike. It has neither date nor address; but must have been written about the month of June, 1792. On what ground could Reynolds pretend to make such applications to a person so far above his rank? The gentle tone of the refusal, also, deserves notice. It expressly im­plies a high degree of previous intimacy. The simple assurance of inability was not enough. Mr. Hamilton declares PON HIS HONOUR, that it is not merely out of his power, but UTTERLY, &c. How generous! How magnanimous this language of the ex-secretary! especially when he wrote to a being who was in the habit of threatening to bring him to disgrace. If the statement of Mr. Hamilton, as to Mrs. Reynolds, had been true, she must have cost him, in whole, a smart sum. In No. IV. she says, that her husband had, sometime before, ‘received upwards of eleven hundred dollars of colonel Hamilton.’ A share in the Lancaster turnpike cost three hundred dollars; and though, in this re­quest, Reynolds did not succeed, yet so extensive a scale of application shews, that he had been in the habit of receiving, or at least of expecting, to a con­siderable amount. In the same number it appears, that Clingman was almost an eye witness to the re­ceipt, by Reynolds, of a large sum from Mr. Hamil­ton. No. IV. also, shews, that Mrs. Reynolds, du­ring the confinement of her husband, received mo­ney from our secretary; and in No. III. when Mr. [Page 220] Hamilton wanted to get rid of these people, he of­fered, if they would leave these parts, not to be seen here again, to give SOMETHING CLEVER. By the way, this was not the language of a lover. If the colonel was tired he might have quitted the lady with less ceremony. We proceed to the third card.]

Inclosed are FIFTY DOLLARS. They could not be sent sooner.

Addressed on the back, Mr. James Reynolds.

[This letter has neither date, nor subscription; and is in the feigned hand of the two former. The address is in a counterfeit hand, of a different kind; but resembling that of the secretary.]

My Dear Sir,

I expected to have heared the day after I had the pleasure of seeing you.

[This is in Mr. Hamilton's common hand. It has no date or signature. The address, if it had any, has been torn away.]

The person Mr. Reynolds enquired for on Friday, WAITED FOR HIM ALL THE EVENING, at his house, from a little after seven—Mr. R. may see him at any time to-day, or to-morrow, between the hours of two and three.

Mr. Reynolds.

[The above, and its address, are in the feigned hand. So much correspondence could not refer ex­clusively to wenching. No man of common sense will believe that it did. Hence it must have im­plicated some connection still more dishonourable, in Mr. Hamilton's eyes, than that of incontinency. Reynolds and his wife affirm that it respected cer­tificate speculations. The solicitude of Mr. Ha­milton [Page 221] to get these people out of the way, is quite contradictory to an amorous attachment for Mrs. Reynolds, and bespeaks her innocence in the clear­est stile. The following is the torn letter refer­red to, in the beginning of No. V. It is in the same hand writing with the indorsement above quoted on the parcel of letters, and merits particular atten­tion.]


I hope I have not forfeited your friendship, the last night's conversation, dont think any thing of it, for I was not myself. I know I have treated ******** friend ill, and too well I am convinsed [Here about three lines are torn out.] to have satisfaction from HIM at all events, and you onely I trust too. I will SEE YOU THIS EVENING. HE HAS OFFERED TO FURNISH ME AND MRS. REYNOLDS WITH MONEY TO CARRY US OFF. If I will go, he will see that Mrs. Reynolds has money to follow me, and as for Mr. Francis, he sas he will make him swear back what he has said, and will turn him out of office. This is all I can say till I see you.

I am, dear Clingman, believe me, forever your sincere friend,

Mr. Jacob Clingman.
Reynolds got out of prison, on Wednesday evening, the 12th of December. See No. iv.
The Secretary kept his word. The person here meant was dis­charged from the treasury office.

Here the story comes to a crisis. Reynolds, a man of a bad character, and dependent circum­stances, had been cast into jail for an offence of a very deep dye, and which, as it appears, could have been fixed upon him. Instead of comporting himself with [Page 222] that humility suitable to a situation apparently so des­perate, he speaks of nothing else but ruining and hanging Mr. Hamilton, who, the President ex­cepted, was the most powerful and dangerous enemy that he could have met with on the whole continent. This was not, certainly, an obvious way to get out of prison. He had been prosecuted by the Comptrol­ler, Mr. Wolcot, with whom he found no blame; but he affirmed, that it was a scheme of the secre­tary to keep him low, and drive him away. Even ad­mitting that his wife was the favourite of Mr. Ha­milton, for which there appears no evidence but the word of the secretary, this conduct would have been eminently foolish. Mr. Hamilton had only to say, that he was sick of his amour, and the influ­ence and hopes of Reynolds at once vanished. Our secretary was far above the reach of his revenge. The accusation of an illicit amour, though sounded in notes louder than the last trumpet, could not have defamed the conjugal fidelity of Mr. Hamil­ton. It would only have been holding a farthing candle to the sun. On that point, the world had pre­viously fixed its opinion. In the secretary's bucket of chastity, a drop more or less was not to be per­ceived, If Reynolds had no claim to regard but in one of the capacities of Mercury, his accusations and his threats were more than folly. They were synonimous to lunacy.

Grounding merely on the procuring system, the forbearance of Mr. Hamilton is equally inexplica­ble. The natural temper of our secretary, where he ventures to exert it, is vindictive and furious*, combining ‘that unusual mixture of quick feroci­ty and unrelenting vengeance,’ which Mr. Hume has marked out as a peculiarity in the character of [Page 223] Charles the ninth*. That such a man, or indeed that any man should tamely endure this treatment is in itself highly incredible. No transient attach­ment, such as that which the secretary alledged that he had, could have been put in the balance against his official character; and from the time that Mr. Monroe and the other gentlemen saw Reynolds, his reputation was evidently at stake.

In No. V. Clingman says, that he received a note from Mr. Wolcot to call on him. It is in these words.

Mr. Wolcott will be glad to see Mr. Clingman to-morrow, at half after nine o'clock. Thursday.

At this meeting, Clingman says that he was strictly examined by Messrs. Wolcot and Hamilton, respec­ting the persons who were enquiring into the matter, and their object. If everything was sound at bot­tom Mr. Hamilton, might have held such persons [Page 224] and such enquiries in defiance. The following letter, the last in the order of these pieces, is from Mr. Hamilton himself.


ON reflection, I deem it adviseable for me to have copies of the several papers which you communicated to me in our in­terview on Saturday evening, including the notes, and the frag­ment of Mr. Reynold's letter to Mr. Clingman. I therefore request that you will either cause copies of these papers to be furnished to me, taken by the person in whose hand writing the declarations which you shewed to me were, or will let me have the papers themselves to be copied. It is also my wish, that all such papers as are original, may be detained from the par­ties of whom they were had, to put it out of their power to repeat the abuse of them in situations which may deprive me of the advantage of explanation. Considering of how abomina­ble an attempt they have been the instruments, I trust you will feel no scruples about this detention.

With consideration, I have the honour to be, gentlemen, Your obedient servant, ALEXANDER HAMILTON.
F. Augustus Mughlenbergh, James Monroe, and Abraham Venable, Esquires.

Addressed on the back thus. "Frederick A. Mughlenbergh, esquire."

The above letter, closes the collection of papers regarding this affair of Reynolds. It only remains to make some observations; and these demand a retrospect.

If we consider the magnitude of the object be­fore them, it was highly commendable in the gen­tlemen concerned in these enquiries to trace the matter as closely as they did. The funding of cer­tificates to the extent of perhaps thirty, or thirty-five millions of dollars, at eight times the price [Page 225] which the holders had actually paid for them, pre­sents, in itself, one of the most egregious, the most impudent, the most oppressive, and the most provo­king bubbles that ever burlesqued the legislative proceedings of any nation. The debt that could have been discharged for ten or fifteen millions of dollars, was funded at forty millions.

But as the universal suspicion and hatred which the formation of this mass had excited, might, at some future period, endanger its existence, the assump­tion act, was brought forward. This law incor­porated into the former stock those debts contrac­ted by individual states during the war. Hence each of them became, for its own sake, interested in the support of public credit which implicated a rid­dance of the debt especially due by itself. Thus the certificate funds were inseparably embodied with a powerful and popular ally, under the shelter of whose reputation they might hope for some degree of longevity. This artful measure was pushed through Congress by the same party, who funded the half-crown certificates at twenty shillings. But, even in this project, it is entertaining to notice the blindness and precipitation of consci­ous guilt. The paper-jobbing junto were in such a hurry to shelter their speculations under the wings of the above assumption law, that they acted the measure in the most profligate or bungling manner which can be imagined. Take notice! They pled­ged the public faith for twenty-two millions of dol­lars, instead of eleven millions*; for, the latter sum [Page 226] would have settled the claims, if a reasonable de­gree of time, of judgment, or of method had been employed upon it. This work was the very pin­nacle of stupidity, or knavery, or probably of both. Suppose that you see a man go into a store, and buy ten shillings worth of linen. He receives the cloth, flings down a guinea, and runs away without wai­ting for his change. You will infer that he is ei­ther circulcating false money, or has deserted from bedlam. Yet such is precisely the profile. view of this assumption act. It is natural that Dr. Smith should be fond of calling Americans the most intel­ligent of mankind, when his party have made them such egregious dupes. Thus, the founder of some new sect in religion, while cramming the ears of his disciples with visions and miracles, assures them that they are the chosen people. In both instan­ces the encomiast holds in his eye the very same ob­ject. As for the state of public information, it is likely that not more than one-tenth part of our ci­tizens recollect or have heard any thing of the as­sumption act. Not one out of five thousand people is acquainted with this blasting blunder, about the eleven millions being funded at twenty-two.

This is a profile view of the assumption act. But when we look straight into its face, fraud, anarchy, and rebellion, are seen indelibly engraved on its forehead. Witness the debates of last winter in Congress, about the balance due from New-York to the union! A spark a thousand times smaller, has, before now, involved half the world in conflagra­tion. This act is like an ulcer in the midriff of Ame­rican tranquillity. To paint its possible effects would require the eloquence of Milton describing the congress of Death and Sin.

The bank of the United States was another but­tress raised to prop the rampart of corruption. [Page 227] This institution, and the irresistible influence which it draws after it, afford a striking evidence of the da­ring and profound genius of its author. By what clause of the constitution Congress thought them­selves authorised to turn bankers, they have not yet informed the public. From any thing which appears on the face of that instrument, they had no more warrant for erecting banks than for erecting pyramids. Their plea, that the institution was to be of national benefit, does not form a proper apology. It would have been bet­ter to tell the real motive, which was, that the lea­ders of a majority in Congress expected the scheme to issue in personal advantage to themselves. The report of Mr. Hamilton to Congress, on this bank, promised mighty matters which have never come to pass. But the grand point, the bracing of the funding system, has been completely secured. The city of Washington shall be just mentioned, as a quietus to the honest credulity of the President. Millions have been worse than idly sunk upon that spot, which, if government removes to it, may be safely predicted as the tomb of the federal consti­tution.

The result of all these measures hath been a pub­lic debt of eighty millions, instead of thirty; a re­publican government harnassed in a monarchical fac­tion; a continent overwhelmed with paper money, with jobs, and bankruptcies, of a nature and species of infamy almost unknown in Europe*; the price doubled on every article of living; a commerce in­sulted [Page 228] and within sight of ruin; a public treasury without money, and without credit; and last and worst, a squadron of legislative conspirators, in the fifth Congress, who, by every insidious artifice, and every unblushing effort, pant and toil to bury their country in a British alliance and a French war.


Farther observations on the correspondence between Messrs. Hamilton and Reynolds.—Singular mode of secrecy in framing the federal constitution, and of discussing Jay's treaty.—Defence of General Mason.—Report to President Adams, by Mr. Pickering, on French captures.—Singular style of that paper.—Defamatory charge by Judge Iredell to a grand jury in Virginia.—Their pitiful pre­sentment. —Defence of Mr. Cabell.—Curious let­ter to Mr. John Beckley.—Observations on the PURITY of the federal governmeat.—Specimens of the mode of travelling in America.—A trip to New-York.

IN his letter last copied, Mr. Hamilton speaks of an explanation. He gave nothing meriting that name. The short way to exculpate himself was, by confronting Reynolds and his wife, who accused him of fraud, with the gentlemen who undertook the enquiry. Instead of that, he sent Reynolds and his wife out of the way, to prevent any such personal exculpation. That he packed them off, there can be little doubt, since the suddeness of the disappear­ance of Reynolds can be accounted for upon no other ground. The letter from Reynolds to Clingman mentions a promise of that kind, and Mrs. Reynolds [Page 229] had previously declared, that this was a scheme in contemplation. Reynolds could not fly from fear. The prosecution against him was closed, and his chief resource for subsistence had been by applying to Mr. Hamilton. That he was removed, to keep him from a meeting with Mr. Monroe and his friends, bears the strongest marks of probability. It may be said, that the infamous character of Reynolds made him unworthy of credit. Taken by itself, his testimony was, indeed, worth little; but, when supported by various circumstances, it might me­rit more attention. The profligate manners of the accuser afforded an additional reason why Mr. Ha­milton, if innocent, should have brought him for­ward, since it would have been proportionably a more easy task to convince Mr. Monroe of his false­hood. But the secretary sealed the importance of the accuser's testimony, by forbearing to produce him to the gentlemen enquiring after him. When persons of so much weight and respectability had entered upon this business, every principle of com­mon sense called for the clearest explanation. In place of that the chief evidence was con­cealed, and sent off, while the mass of his correspondence with Mr. Hamilton was, by desire of the latter, abruptly committed to the flames. You will determine whether these fugitive measures look most like innocence, or like something else.

Mr. Hamilton, referring to Reynolds and his wife, calls this an abominable attempt. Granted. But, since the measures of himself and his party, on the affair of certificates, had excited a very general and violent suspicion, and since he well knew that the gentlemen who came forward, were supposed to be in the number of those who entertained it, every motive of self-love, and of zeal for the honour of his partizans, should have prompted Mr. Hamilton to [Page 230] tear up the last twig of jealousy. In place of smo­thering testimony, he should have courted it. In place of burning letters, he should have printed them. Publicity was the only basis by which he could main­tain the ground that he was in danger of losing. Yet this was the very mode of defence which he chose to avoid. When Randolph was arraigned of misconduct not more culpable than that imputed by Reynolds to Hamilton, he pursued the accuser to Rhode-Island, and obtained a certificate of his innocence, couched in the strongest terms. Yet the federal party, with their usual fortitude of assertion, and infelicity of de­monstration, have loaded him with reproaches, and the bare supposition of the possibility of his innocence, has been scouted as the height of effrontery. Put the case that Fauchet, when his apocrypha was in­tercepted, had been in jail, that Randolph, instead of bringing him forward had paid his debts, burnt all his remaining papers, and hurried him out of the country. Every friend to order, would have been convinced that Randolph was guilty, and had re­moved Fauchet, that ‘the pool of corruption might putrify in peace*.’ The force of moral or pre­sumptive testimony does not augment or diminish, because the party accused happens to be for or a­gainst the American funding system.

Some years ago, the late President was attacked in the newspapers for constantly uplifting his salary, be­fore it became due. Mr. Hamilton immediately prin­ted a reply that filled nine columns of the Philadel­phia Gazette. Even the very worst which could be alledged of Mr. Washington amounted only to this practice being irregular, improper, and super-emi­nently ridiculous from a man who pretended to do the business of his country for his mere houshold [Page 231] expences. The charge of Reynolds wears a more serious aspect. If he was one agent for the pur­chase of certificates, it may well be conceived, though it cannot yet be proved, that our secretary had twenty others. Physician! heal thyself. Before Mr. Hamilton prints any farther defences of other people, before he again arraigns one-half of his fel­low citizens as cut-throats*, let him tell us what has become of Reynolds. Let him observe that this nar­rative is explicit; and that, under all the circum­stances of the affair, silence will be more fatal to his character, than the most feeble vindication.

It is easy to see why Mr. Hamilton, and his par­ty, have been permitted to reduce America to its present disagreeable condition. When a merchant refuses not only to balance his books, but vilifies those who advise him to do so, it requires no ghost from the dead, to foretell for what port he is bound. In pri­vate life, it is hardly possible to find such a fool; but nations are sometimes actuated by a degree of madness to which, in their individual concerns, it would be impracticable to drive them. Of this re­mark, America, during the short period of her po­litical career, has afforded various examples. The people of other countries are ignorant against their will. The citizens of the United States appear of­ten averse, and even hostile to information. Thus, the federal constition, highly respectable and valu­able as truth must acknowledge it to be, was yet an instrument framed in darkness. When the conven­tion who made it met at Philadelphia, they began by shutting their doors. This clandestine appear­ance exhibited the worst auguries imaginable of what they were going to do. Though they had to frame a constitution, yet, before it could take effect [Page 232] it was to be submitted, seperately, to each of the thirteen states. To assist the citizens at large in forming their opinions, the safest and fairest method was to have debated with open galleries. If the arguments that swayed the decision of the delegates were well-founded, they might have had the same effect on their constituents *. But, to immure them­selves in the way in which they did, looked more like a Venetian senate, a gang of smugglers or coiners, than the Representatives of a free people. The long parliament of England would never have obtained the confidence of their party, they could never have overturned royal despotism, if they had kept their proceedings and debates a secret from the world. In England, a state-trial must be carried on in pub­lic. The spirit of the country would not endure the concealment of such a transaction. In the course of ordinary affairs, the present House of Com­mons do not shut their doors above once in several years. But the framing of a constitution is of in­finitely more importance than the usual routine of business; the English people would not, on such an emergency, submit to exclusion. The Scots union was previously known to be detested by all ranks of people; and brought the country to the brink of a revolution. Yet the Scots parliament debated [Page 233] with open doors. The acquiescence of our citizens in the Tiberian privacy of their delegates, has mar­ked a peculiarity in the American character.

The arrival of Jay's treaty afforded another in­stance of the same kind. In London, public impa­tience would, by such a circumstance, have been wounded up to the highest degree; and the proud­est minister must have found his popularity inte­rested in an early communication. But at Philadel­phia, there was even a parade of secrecy. The treaty reached the President on the 7th of March, 1795. Instead of laying it before the public, who were ultimately to bear its consequences, and who could have made light break in upon every quar­ter, he suppressed its contents from mankind, till the meeting of the Senate. Thirty gentlemen then shut themselves up, like the translators of the Sep­tuagint, as if they had been to act by inspiration. Without rashness it may be said, that this superior branch of government, as Mr. Fenno calls it, did not collectively know as much about commerce, and its foreign relations, as general Smith and John Swanwick. The resolution of the Senate to ratify, transpired on the 24th of June 1795, three months and an half after the President had got the treaty. This long suppression did not excite an audible murmur. Nay, after the ratification, the federal party displayed still more strongly their manly no­tions of government. The Senate had just one member, general Mason, of sufficient civility to­wards the public, to send a copy of the treaty to the newspapers. This violated an injunction of se­cresy past by the Senate. The federal cat calls be­gan instantly to squeak; and, if the general had been forging bank notes, they could hardly have made much more noise. Thus the Plymouth reso­lutions of the 30th of October, 1795, charged him [Page 234] with "a notorious breach of official confidence*." Instead of this language, they should have thanked him for his intelligence. If it had been communi­cated three months more early, much of the subse­quent bad consequences might have been prevented. He should, also, have printed Jay's instructions, with minutes of the notable harangues about the par­tition of the United States. With open doors, no senator durst have broached a doctrine of such en­ormous attrocity. The master's eye makes a fat horse, says the proverb. In public affairs, the same case holds good. The more that a nation knows about the mode of conducting its business, the better chance has that business of being properly conducted. This maxim appears very plain; and, in his domes­tic concerns, every man approves of it. On a great national scale, we are the first free people who have rejected it, and that is one of the principal reasons why some parts of our federal administration have succeeded so very ill. Secrecy is a favourite doc­trine with our financial Mahomet; and its triumph hath ensured his own.

In the close of the last chapter, the word conspi­rator has been employed. It sounds harshly, but it has been inserted on the clearest evidence, and af­ter the strictest consideration. To be convinced of an executive plot, for involving America in a French war, we have only to look at a report from secretary Pickering to President Adams, and which, on the 22d of June, 1797, was sent by the latter to Congress. The title page professes to state the depredations committed on the commerce of the United States since the 1st of October, 1796.’ Consistency with this profession required, that, as [Page 235] much time should have been bestowed on the reci­tal of British captures, as on that of French ones. Apparently grounding on this idea, Mr. Adams, in his message accompanying the papers, hath these words: ‘I directed a collection to be made of ALL such information as should be found in the pos­session of the government.’

The report and documents fill about an hundred and sixty pages. The list of French captures is ta­ken from the Philadelphia and United States ga­zettes. Of the British, Mr. Pickering writes thus:

‘Captures and losses by British cruisers, the se­cretary presumes, have not been numerous; for, citizens of the United States having, these three years past, been accustomed to look up to the go­vernment for aid in prosecuting their claims, it is not to be doubted, that generally these cases have been reported to the department of state. An abstract of such as have been communicated, is annexed.’ Report, p. 5. This list amounts on­ly to ten vessels. They are dispatched in two pa­ges. That of captures by the republic occupies about an hundred and forty. As an apology for this disproportion of bulk, Mr. Pickering, on p. 9, gives a most curious reason. ‘This examination was chiefly made prior to the call of the house of Representatives for a report on this subject, with a view to ascertain the number of French cap­tures, and the circumstances attending them; and the result of the whole is annexed. It is regretted, that the time did not permit a re-examination of those papers to ascertain likewise the captures made by the British cruisers.’ The call of the house was dated the 10th of June. The papers were laid before the house on the 22d, being at an interval of twelve days. As the French list had been made out beforehand, the secretary had the more [Page 236] time to compile the British list. Six active clerks, like those in his own office, could, with great ease, have completed the business in forty-eight hours at farthest. Where was the mighty affair of turning over two files of newspapers for the last eight months? With some diligence, the whole might have been finished in a single afternoon. In a city like Philadel­phia, full of public offices, and able transcribers, the secretary, if he had been in earnest, could have col­lected forty proper assistants, on an hour's warning; and even admitting the British list to be as bulky as the French one, each of these auxiliaries would hard­ly have found an hour's employment. But the secre­tary himself says, that British captures were not nu­merous. Be it so. Then it would have taken the less time to make them out. Yet it seems that, with a space of ten or twelve days before him, the se­cretary could not accomplish this Lilliputian task.

Thus does our secretary trifle with the orders of the legislature; and Mr. Adams, by the acceptance of so absurd an excuse, exemplifies the proverb, like master, like man. But, to be plain with Mr. Picker­ing, such palpable sophistication will not go down. All people know very well why the British list of captures was not made out. It would have coun­teract [...]d his plan of inflaming us against the re­public. He proceeds thus.

‘The editors of those two gazettes agree in saying, that no great attention was paid to the subject, for the purpose of inserting accounts of all the captures which were published in the va­rious other newspapers; yet the number collec­ted exceeds three hundred, of which but few es­cape condemnation.’ The Gazette of the Uni­ted States is, and long has been, as much an engine of the American executive, as that of London is to [Page 237] an English premier*. Mr. Fenno, beyond all ques­tion, inserted every French capture that he could find. As to the Philadelphia Gazette, the present editor has only held it since last February; and, previous to that time, he knows not how it was conducted. When Congress wanted informa­tion, it was the duty of Mr. Pickering to have looked at a wide variety of newspapers. But he was well aware, that Mr. Fenno had collected about every thing of the kind. The object of Mr. Pickering is, to insinuate that many French captures have escaped notice. Yet the number collected ex­ceeds THREE HUNDRED. So long ago as September, 1794, a list was published, by authority, of British captures. They were about three hundred and sixty.

‘The conduct of the public agents, says Mr. Pickering, and of the commissioned cruisers there, has surpassed all former examples .’ They can­not be worse than the confiscation of the Two Friends, and the murder of captain Bosson. We might add an hundred British piracies recited in this volume, all as atrocious as any possible case of French piracy.

‘The persons also of our citizens have been beaten, insulted, and cruelly imprisoned; and, in the forms used towards prisoners of war, they have been exchanged with the British for French­men.’ This is very bad, but the French are only following the example that England, for above two years, had set before them, and at this moment continues to give them. When complaints of im­pressment [Page 238] were made against England, the federal party did their utmost to quell the story. In Con­gress, Mr. Tracy, and others, would gladly have de­nied that British impressments had taken place, and Webster wondered why American printers should trouble themselves about the matter*. This was the uniform language of the whole party.

‘There have been frequent accounts of at­tempts to effect condemnations by bribing the of­ficers and seamen of our vessels to swear falsely; but it was reserved to these times, when offered bribes were refused, and threats despised, to en­deavour to accomplish the object by torture. Report p. 10. American seamen have been flog­ged by dozens at a British gangway. This also was torture. Captain Reynolds, under the very nose of admiral Murray, attacked American vessels. Several men were killed and wounded. This was torture. There is not the smallest design to exten­ [...]ate French outrages, but merely to prove the gross partiality of our executive in shewing only the rob­beries perpetrated upon one side.

Paulo majora canamus. If Mr. Pickering has displayed gross partiality, President Adams has not acted, in the smallest degree, better. On the 23d of June, 1797, general Smith was reciting in Congress the steps pursued by the friends of order, for bring­ing about a French war. He said, that the execu­tive had called Congress, and had complained of the French; for the speech did not contain a single word of reference to any other nation. He next recommended the fitting out of frigates, with which he proposed to convoy American commerce. Our merchant ships are to be armed, and, on arriving in a French port, the question is put, against whom are [Page 239] you armed? The French would say, we have read your President's speech. By these preparations, he can only mean to fight us. Your envoys, arriving in France at the same time, are sure of being turned back again. General Smith farther observed, that Dr. Smith and Mr. Harper had avowed the design of employing the frigates to force a trade into ports of the West-Indies which the French have justly de­clared to be in a state of rebellion. Such was port Jeremie. General Smith affirmed, that these mea­sures led directly to war. He believed that gentle­men wanted to lead us into war. The member was right; there can be no doubt of it. This astonish­ing session of Congress hath afforded a whole dic­tionary of evidence. Sir John Brute says, ‘every thing I see, every thing I hear, every thing I feel, and every thing I taste, methinks, has wife in it.’ So at present with the federal party, every thing has war in it. A combination more culpable, more hateful, hath not occurred since the age of Cataline or Fiesco.

Mr. Pickering complains of the French mal­treating American seamen. His party have encou­raged the British to impress them. In proof of this, attend to general Smith, who is no violent demo­crat, for he professed in Congress great concern, when Mr. Hamilton retired from office. On the 27th of May, 1797, this gentleman said, in the house, that members had affected to treat the law for the protection of our seamen with lightness. It conferred the highest honour on Mr. Livingston, who introduced it. It was opposed in both houses by those who are always combating for an increase of power and influence in the executive govern­ment. The Senate mutilated that law, so as to de­prive it of its most salutary provisions. After all, the Senate refused their assent to a law for protecting [Page 240] American seamen from impressment, and from being whipped on the bare back at the gang-way of a Bri­tish man of war. They refused to adopt it, until it was so much mutilated, that the executive, to render it in any shape effectual, was obliged to enforce it with a supplementary part. Thus far general Smith.

If this majority in the Senate had been selected from the Divan of Algiers, they could not have more completely disgraced their station. At the same time, Messrs. Tracy and Harper, below stairs, were attempting to deny the reality of British im­pressments; and Webster and Russel inveighed against every one who mentioned their existence. These things are part of a system for degrading America into a British footstool. What kind of an AMERICAN Senate is that which refuses its consent to a law for the protection of AMERICAN seamen? The very idea looks so monstrous that one is apt to think himself in a dream when he endeavours to revolve it. The circumstances of their refusal to concur in the bill, stand recorded on the journals of both houses. The full detail shall soon be given to the world. The journals of the British house of peers afford no precedent for such horrible de­pravity. England has hitherto stood upon her own legs. Her representatives and legislators, though often extremely corrupted, have never been sus­pected of servility to a foreign nation; and, a tri­vial instance excepted*, they have not put them­selves up to auction for foreign gold. Their oppo­nents, at least, have not alledged that they ever did so; and this forms a strong presumption of their innocence.

In the mean time, Harrison Otis cants about French impressments, and Mr. Harper on the cor­ruption [Page 241] of Mr. Monroe, by French gold. For con­ceit and ignorance, Otis may be looked upon as the lineal successor of Samuel Dexter. As for Harper, he is said to be in embarrassed circumstances; and, while he prattles about foreign gold, one might ask him, who pays for the printing of his eternal pam­phlets*? By land, our interest has been as grossly betrayed as by sea. This appears from the discou­ragement constantly given to the defence of the Indian frontier. On that head, the following narra­tive will repay a perusal.

On the 19th of November, 1794, President Washington, in his speech to Congress, has these words. ‘Towards none of the Indian tribes have overtures of friendship been spared. The Creeks, in particular, are covered from encroachment by the interposition of the general government, and that of Georgia.’ It would have been fortu­nate for the people of Tennessee, if the general go­vernment had covered them from the encroachments of the Creeks. Respecting the behaviour of the Creeks, previous to the delivery of that speech, in­formation for the present work has been derived from two sources, the public newspapers, and a pri­vate [Page 242] manuscript communicated by Mr. Andrew Jackson, Representative from the state of Tennessee in the fourth Congress. An examination of these details will assist in ascertaining what sort of friend­ship the Creeks deserved, and to what side the ba­lance of protection ought to have leaned.

The account given in the newspapers amounts in substance to what follows. Continual skirmishes had been taking place for a long time. In one of these, on the 13th of August, 1794, lieutenant M'Clellan, with thirty-seven men, had been attacked on the Cumberland path, eighteen miles from South-West-Point, by above an hundred Creeks. He had four men killed, and four missing. He likewise lost thirty-one horses, with several other articles. A multitude of murders by the Indians are mentioned. Of these, it would be needless here to attempt a ca­talogue. A letter from Knoxville, dated 22d of September, 1794, says, that the general assembly of Tennessee had then been in session for several weeks. They had prepared another memorial to Congress with a list of the citizens killed, wounded, or taken prisoners by the Creeks and Cherokees, since the 1st of March last, the date of a former statement to Congress. The number of citizens was an hun­dred and twenty-seven, besides which the Indians had stolen four hundred and seventy-four horses. These thefts and murders had been chiefly commit­ted while a party of the Lower Cherokees were at Philadelphia, giving the strongest promises of peace, and while major Seagrove, an agent for Indian affairs, was making assurances of the friendship of the Creeks. The letter concludes with an account of some fresh murders which had, at that moment, been received. They were said to have been com­mitted on the 16th of September current. Nicka­jack and Running Water were two of the most po­pulous [Page 243] of the Lower Cherokee towns. They were situated close on the south bank of the Tennessee, below a place called the Suck. They were prin­cipal crossing-places for the Creeks over the Ten­nessee, when they wanted to make war on Cumber­land and Kentucky. They had co-operated with the warriors of Look-out Mountain, and Will's towns for several years past. They boasted of per­fect security from their situation. They were sur­rounded on three sides by mountains, and protected on the north by the south branch of the Tennessee. They were also formidable by their numbers.

On the 7th of September, major Ore marched from Nashville to attack the savages. He had with him five hundred and fifty militia, of whom an hundred and fifty were from Kentucky. They arri­ved on the bank of the Tennessee, opposite to Nicka­jack, and undiscovered, in the dusk of the evening. About eleven o'clock at night, a part of them cros­sed the river on rafts, and surrounded the town, while another party lay in ambush on the opposite side of the river. The attack began about day break. Many of the savages plunged, according to their cus­tom, into the water, and having got almost to the opposite shore, the militia in reserve rose from their covert, and discharged a volley at the fugitives in the river. The victory was compleat. Nine squaws and children were taken. About forty or forty-five warriors were killed. Accounts differ about their exact numbers. As no particular detail is offered a­bout Running Water, but barely that it was destroy­ed at the same time with Nickajack, it seems pro­bable that they stood very near to each other. In these towns two fresh scalps were found; and se­veral others dry, that had been hung up as trophies. Many articles of property were recovered which the militia knew to have been taken from their owners [Page 244] when killed by the Indians, in the course of the pre­ceding twelve months. Among these were found a number of letters. They had been carried off when the Kentucky mail was robbed and the post murdered. In Nickajack was found a quantity of powder and lead, that had just been received from the Spanish government, as also a commission to Braeth, chief of the town, who was among the slain.

The prisoners confessed that sixty Creek and Che­rokee warriors had passed through Nickajack, only nine days before, on their way to make war against the United States. Two nights previous to the de­struction of Running Water, a scalp dance was held in it. Among others, John Watts was present; and it was there resolved to carry on the war with additional vigour. This the white people learned from the prisoners. The towns were burnt, and every thing destroyed. Such is the substance of the newspaper account. That received from Mr. Jackson is to the following effect.

Major James Ore was, in the close of August, 1794, ordered by governor Blount to march to the district of Mero, to defend its frontier; and, on the 6th of September, was ordered, by general Ro­bertson to march to the Lower Cherokee towns, and destroy them.

‘It is proper for me here to observe, says Mr. Jackson, that the Indians inhabiting those towns were daily killing our citizens, and our officers, transmitting a Rostrum of the captured, killed, and wounded to the secretary at war*; and the answers returned were, not to pursue on any ac­count across the Indian boundary, or carry on any offensive measures against the Indians; construing the word offensive to be an act of crossing the [Page 245] Indian boundary in the pursuit of depredating parties.’

Major Ore obeyed the orders of general Robert­son. He marched to Nickajack and Running Wa­ter, swept them with the besom of destruction, and killed about thirty warriors. It is necessary here to state some facts. The night before major Ore made the attack on Nickajack, the Indians held the scalp dance over two fresh scalps, which they had taken on the frontier. Ore had pursued the track of this party. On the very day that he made the at­tack twenty-two Indians fell upon the station of the widow Hays, killed one man, and wounded three; and the evening before, they had burnt captain John Donelson's station. At the time that general Robertson issued the order to Ore, he had infor­mation of an intended general attack, contemplated on that frontier. This was well substantiated, and the expedition of Ore was the only circumstance which prevented it, and established peace on the frontier.

The pay of these troops hath been suspended, be­cause they crossed the Indian boundary, although they precisely pursued the orders given by ge­neral Robertson. The muster and pay roll's were, in the latter end of the year 1794, deposited with colonel David Henly, agent of the war de­partment at Knoxville. Governor Blount, in 1794, transmitted to Mr. Knox general Robertson's or­der, authorizing and commanding the expedition, and on the 19th of December of that year this com­munication was laid before Congress. Yet though frequent applications have been made at the office of the secretary at war for payment, they have con­stantly been refused. After a delay of more than two years, Mr. Jackson, in the last session of the fourth Congress, has applied to Mr Pickering to [Page 246] recover the necessary papers, that he might lay the subject before the House of Representatives. ‘I am informed by him, says Mr. Jackson, that he knows nothing of the business. Here the mat­ter stood, on the 22d of February, 1797.

Mr. Jackson further adds that this is not a single instance. In 1794, major Thomas Johnston com­manded a party of Tennessee militia who were or­dered to pursue a gang of Indians. The latter had murdered colonel John Montgomery, and the Tits­worth family. In the pursuit, they crossed into the Kentucky territory. Colonel H [...]nly gave that rea­son for suspending their pay. These were the on­ly two parties of Tennessee militia, whose arrears have not been paid up, excepting those comprehen­ded in the appropriation act for 1797.

Many parts of the union lie beyond the reach of public information. The country newspapers are commonly very barren. To remedy this inconve­nience, some members of Congress send printed circular letters to their constituents on the existing condition of the political world. Mr. Samuel J. Cabell, of Virginia, transmitted two of such letters. One of them was dated the 11th, and the other the 23d of January, 1797. They contained nothing uncommon. They mentioned the brilliant and ir­resistible progress of the French arms, the unfortu­nate chagrin which had taken place between France and the United States, and the deplorable consequen­ces that would ensue to this country from an actu­al rupture. Mr. Pickering's letter to Pinckney was referred to as more likely to promote than prevent a French quarrel. Mr. Cabell expressed his regret at the election of Mr. Adams as President, and ad­ded, as a consolation, that of Mr. Jefferson.

On the 22d of May, 1797, judge Iredell, of the fe­deral court, delivered a charge at Richmond to the [Page 247] grand jury, for the district of Virginia. It conveyed encomiums on the government, and a strong recom­mendation of confidence in it. The jury immedi­ately gave in the following presentment.

‘We, of the grand jury of the United States for the district of Virginia, present, as a real evil, the circular letters of several members of the late Congress, and particularly letters with the signature of Samuel J. Cabell, endeavouring, at a time of real public danger, to disseminate un­founded calumnies against the happy government of the United States, and thereby to separate the people therefrom; and to increase or produce a foreign influence, ruinous to the peace, happi­ness, and independence of these United States.’

The jurors themselves were evidently commit­ting calumny. The phrase of several members was casting their stink-pot in the dark. As to Mr. Ca­bell, they should have specified the calumnies. When the grand jury of Chatham county, Georgia, arraigned judge Wilson as a land-jobber, they con­descended on matters notoriously true*. When a ci­tizen of Maryland censures judge Chase, he begins with a history of the bankrupt law. If Mr. Cabell declared his dissatisfaction at the election of Mr. Adams, one half of the American citizens were do­ing the same. This did not produce the smallest confusion or embarrassment on the side of govern­ment. It is unfortunate for the union, that Mr. Ca­bell had so much foundation for regret. The out-set of the new President has been marked by an en­deavour to hurry his constituents into an unneces­sary war, while secretary Pickering has been wri­ting, and secretary Wolcot has been encouraging [Page 248] others to write invectives against the French nation*. America needs not to hope for a sincere peace with France, while either Mr. Adams or his present mi­nisters remain in office. She cannot forget nor will she forgive the many volumes of ribbaldry, which, under their countenance, have been printed against her. Besides, upon a British spy, upon an associate with the attorney general of England for the ruin of Thomas Paine, every honest Frenchman, every true republican, of every country, must look with horror.

"For never can true reconcilement grow,
"Where wounds of deadly hate have pierc'd so deep."

On the 31st of May, 1797, Mr. Cabell sent a third letter to his constituents. ‘It has, says he, been a regular practice of the federal judges, to make political discourses to the grand jurors.— They have become a band of political preachers.’ This is true, and their sermons are often very dull. In Britain, judges have generally been foremost to undermine the liberties of the people, and encou­rage the encroachments of the crown. There is a country where speculators occupy, in part, the su­preme bench of justice. There, the assertion of a public officer, whose want of probity is proverbial, has been taken as complete evidence, that four coun­ties were in a state of rebellion. It would certain­ly be very wrong in a private citizen to contest the [Page 249] purity of such legislators. In a subsequent letter of June 5th, Mr. Cabell says, upon an assurance of the fact from general Smith, that the just claims of America, for French depredations, do not exceed a million of dollars, and that the accuracy of his state­ment is confirmed by the president of the American In­surance Company. In the Congress debates on Jay's treaty, dr. Ames computed British depredations at five millions, and the account hath since been augmented.

The federal party naturally wish to drive out of their way every man who dares to think for him­self. Thus Monroe was recalled from France be­cause, without orders from Mr. Washington, he had obtained the releasement of Thomas Paine from the Luxembourg; and because he had retained with the directory a degree of that confidence which Mr. Washington had lost. Thus captain Montgomery, of one of the revenue cutters of this port, hath been dismissed from his office because he voted for the Jefferson ticket. Mr. Beckley hath not on­ly been discharged and attacked from the press, but even from the post-office. An elegant and polite letter came to him a few days after his dismission. It is printed here for an odd enough reason. The character is feigned, but still, on a careful com­parison, it has a strong likeness to the hand writing of MR. OLIVER WOLCOT, as the Saracen's head, in spite of disguise, resembled sir Roger de Coverly*.


You will now Experance the frut of your fooly in being so great a Demicrate & bitter Enemay to that Goverment whose Bread you have Eaten which has now cast you out of hir ser­vice & is certainly nothing less than you could have expede considering your conduct for a number of years past I can feal for your situation as I Understood all your Land speculation [Page 250] has turned out but little to suport a family in that Dignefied Way you have keept up However this I hope will turn for your Good to make you Humble & know a little more of the Deficulties attending those whose Cup has not ruin over with that fullness & sweet you have long injoyed [plase turn over] Let me give you an advise as a friend Not to let your former station Hinder you from Acepteing of a less & not so hounorable a place as that you have lost to enable you to suport your family You now stand Yet a Respectable Character for if your Pride & Haughteness keeps you out of Employ because you are not in so honourable a station as before till your finances get lower & Lower you find that it will be tenfold more dificult then to get into a place then at present & Endeavour to lay aside your politicts leave that to those whose Country have called them to the Important afairs of there Country by giveing them all the Aid & not throwing Impedements in there way by such a prudent Conduct youll Only deserve Well your Country and in time come forward again and get a good place take these hints from a friend who Wishes the Happeiness your family Belive me to be with much respect

Your Most Obt servant, JONATHAN WOTHERSPOON.

Nine years ago, the supposed writer of this piece was copying in the office of the treasurer of Con­necticut, at seventy-five cents per day. The gro­velling insolence which marks his elegant epistle has been too frequent with men unexpectedly raised from mediocrity to something above it. The let­ter affords a fine specimen of the spirit of the party. Your fooly in being so great a demicrate; that is to say, in being so great a friend to the political rights and importance of the people. Frederick of Prus­sia once wrote a letter to this effect: ‘If my sub­jects of Neufchatel chuse to be eternally dam­ned, I can say nothing against it.’ In like man­ner, if the citizens of America chuse to be trode down by an aristocracy, no third party should in­terfere.

Your conduct for a number of years past. The official conduct of Mr. [...]eckley was unexception­able. [Page] Indeed no audible complaint has been made about it. Dr. William Smith, at the head of his regiment of forty, declined argument, and obtained a silent vote. Where any thing can be said, the doctor is not a niggard of accusation. That government whose bread you have eaten, which has now cast you off. The bread was not eaten for nothing. The salary was moderate, and the duties laborious. As to the casting off, it was by the odd vote of Dr. Smith, who is, it seems, government. As for giving them all the aid, and not throwing impediments in their way, they cannot surely have apprehensions from a discarded clerk, who has to provide for his family by the toilsome profession of the law? If government fear impediments from Mr. Beckley, their situation must be very frail. That something is wrong will appear from what follows.

Alexander Hamilton calls it an abominable attempt in Reynolds to charge him with dealing in the pur­chase of certificates. Thus, by his own admission, the fact, if proved upon him, would be abomina­ble. Colonel Wadsworth spoke of it, as above quoted, exactly in the same way. But if this prac­tice was indefensible in a secretary of the treasury, it was just as criminal in a member of Congress. There is no difference, or, if there be, the case of the member differs for the worse. The secretary could only make a report in favour of funding the half-crown certificates at twenty shillings. But the member voted for it. The one drew the sword; the other drove it up to the hilt. Hence, by a very short and plain process of reasoning, if one of our legislators was concerned in these speculations, he committed an abominable crime. The heroes of the piece are sensible of this fact. Their conceal­ment of transfers at the treasury, and the bank of the United States of the names and amount of stock­holders, [Page 252] proves an irresistible and disgraceful evidence of their internal condemnation. What are you to think of a person who calls himself your creditor, but refuses to tell his name, or the amount of his debt? Such was the plan of the renowned leeches of the Nabob of Arcot. Bonds to an im­mense sum were constantly produced, yet the ca­talogues of creditors constantly varied. This rule at the treasury is like the crape over a highwayman's face, or the dark lanthorn of a house-breaker. The public creditors of England wear no such mask. Mr. Rayment printed their names to the number of an hundred and twenty-seven thousand. When Ameri­cans begin to think upon this subject, they will re­fuse to pay one cent more of interest upon the public funds, till they shall have torn asunder the veil that shrouds the system. To the great mass of the pre­sent holders the discovery would be indifferent or welcome. It is only the patriarchal, the congres­sional sharks of stockholding, who can wish for mountains to cover them, the men whose actions Messrs. Wadsworth and Hamilton, have, by the clearest implication, declared to be abominable. Mr. Adams, by the way, holds the funding system in ab­horrence*, and he will put an end to it, if he can get into his French war. While Americans entrust and admire such leaders, they display a temporal likeness to the inhabitants of Neufchatel. These are the paper currency politicians, who rail at jacobin rapacity, and at Jefferson for want of religion.

[Page 253]In March, 1793, some debate ensued in Congress on the motion of Mr. Giles for examining the con­duct of Mr. Hamilton. ‘The free latitude of dis­cussion, practised upon other occasions, was refu­sed; the smallest departure was censured; and whenever, in particular, an approach was made toward the bank, the whole party tumultuously crying to order, and with the directors at their head, rose in arms to defend it. The character of the vote itself, which constituted the majority is easily given.—Of the thirty-five, twenty-one were stockholders, or dealers in the funds, and three of these latter bank directors*.’

The great cry of the party is about the sacred na­ture of public faith, which they alledge to have con­summated by funding the domestic debt. This consisted of arrears of pay due to the army, to con­tractors for supplies, of loans made to government, and of the remnant of old paper money then in cir­culation. Now, we must recollect, that, during the revolution, this country had been covered with emis­sions of paper. When the old Congress borrowed money, they took part of this paper back in loan, but not at the value for which they themselves had issued it out. They allowed credit only for what was its current price in the market. The difference was frequently as forty to one. Thus a farmer got four [Page 254] thousand dollars worth of government paper for his wheat. After the value of paper fell, he came to lend it to them, and they would only give him cre­dit for the fortieth part of its nominal value, being one hundred dollars. This shocking fraud could be excused only by the omnipotence of necessity. But farther, ‘a part of the paper remained unre­deemed at the close of the war, and has been fun­ded at the rate of one hundred for one under the present government*.’

Thus taking America for a merchant who has three creditors, one of them is paid with a fortieth, and a second with a hundredth part of the sum that he lent. A third receives full payment. But a debt contrac­ted ten years ago, and still unpaid, is as fairly due as if it had been incurred but yesterday. The cre­ditor of 1776, who was paid with one-tenth, twen­tieth, fortieth, or hundredth part of his just claim, was quite as meritorious as the other of 1781, whose debt has been bought up and funded, in the name of Theodore Sedgwick, at twenty shillings in the pound. A brief consideration will convince you, that this position agrees with the essence of justice.

If the continent had been sold by an hour glass, its utmost value would perhaps have fallen short of satisfaction to the honest demands of public creditors. The greater part of the United States had been swindled or plundered to a degree that exceeds the descriptive talents of the most powerful mind. Funds could not be had to satisfy all the creditors, or even a twentieth part of them. It remains, there­fore, to be proved what was the superior merit of that class of creditors, whose claims were ultimately admitted, at their full value, as a debt on the pub­lic. The common saying is, that they were old sol­diers. [Page 255] A great number of them were so, and pos­sessed the highest merit. A large portion of certifi­cates was also held by contractors, and persons who had furnished various kinds of supplies, but who were not in the army. The country was full of widows and orphans, whose fathers and husbands had been killed in the war, and who, to this day, have received no compensation. Multi­tudes of soldiers had been also discharged from want of health, or from wounds, and who in equity, though not perhaps in name, were creditors to the public. Hence, if it had been possible to clear off all the last class of creditors, they were not more deserving than a still greater proportion of military sufferers who got nothing. The whole history of American public credit, during the war, holds up a picture of inevitable but enormous iniquity. Three-fourths of the citizens of the United States were, in real truth, creditors to government. The loss by de­preciated paper was prodigious and next to univer­sal. If it could have been possible to pick out all the soldiers or their families, and give them a higher proportion of payment than others, it would have been well. But to give one part of them their whole demand, and nothing to the rest, was not strict justice. The widow and orphan of one old soldier were actually taxed to pay the wages of ano­ther. When the federal party clamour so loudly on public faith, let them revolve these particulars. Let them look at the annual bundles of petitions refer­red to the committee of claims, and then they may blush at the very mention of American public faith.

Some perhaps think that the friends of order have been treated with too little ceremony in point of of stile. Observe a few specimens of their own. Mr. Fenno's gazette, of the 26th of April, 1796, con­tains a piece wherein the members of Congress who [Page 256] opposed the treaty, are termed the war-whoop party. If they carry their point, it will murder all your li­berties, privileges and properties.’ Again, refer­ring to Mr. Albert Gallatin, ‘Let the mighty Ita­lian, with his stilletto and bowl of poison come on.’ This piece concludes with saying that the Ameri­cans despise all incendiaries; and it is subscribed ORDER.

An extract of a letter in the same newspaper has the following words. ‘I want to know how Madi­son has accounted for his inconsistency and dupli­city of conduct. How long will the people of America be duped by this man.’

The first question to be here asked is, whether such inconsistency and duplicity exist? No details are attempted, and no evidences are offered. There never was an active and distinguished member in any legislative assembly, farther above impeachment than Mr. Madison. The marked attention which this gentleman obtained in Congress, is a tribute of esteem which all parties pay not more to his abilities than his virtues, to the irreproachable tenor of a life, that, since his first entrance on the political career, has remained without a stain, and which is far above the ordure of Mr. Fenno's correspondents.

As for the destruction of privileges and proper­ties, no party ever displayed greater tameness on that head than the Hamiltonians. After the British had, for, many months, been capturing American vessels without provocation, and almost without pre­tence, the Representatives, on the 21st of April, 1795, past a resolution prohibiting, from and after the 1st of November then next, ‘all commercial intercourse between the United States and the sub­jects of Britain, or the citizens or subjects of any other nation, so far as respects articles of the growth or manufacture of Britain or Ireland. [Page 257] This would have been a most effectual blow to Bri­tish commerce; and, as six months were to inter­vene before the commencement of its operation, full time would have been given for a mutual explana­tion and compromise. The British majority in the Se­nate of Congress rejected this proposal, so cheap, so simple, and so decisive. Jay, that executioner of his country, was, at the same time, dispatched to Britain. He there, by a clause of the treaty, tied up the hands of America, and destroyed all chance of adopting such a resource in future. The fifteenth ar­ticle has these words. ‘Nor shall any prohibition be imposed on the exportation or importation of any articles to or from the territories of the two nations respectively, which shall not equally extend to all other nations.’ Thus we cannot prohibit the importation of English manufactures, without also prohibiting those of all other nations; and that is impracticable.

This article has the appearance of reciprocity, but not the substance. Supposing that England should entirely prohibit all intercourse with this country, her loss would be an hundred times greater than ours. The desolation of her West-In­dies would be the first consequence, and a general bankruptcy among her West-Indian merchants, and her manufacturers for the American market, would be the second. On the contrary, the inconvenience and loss to the United States would be very sup­portable. We should begin to manufacture more among ourselves. American produce would soon find other markets. Other nations would learn to supply our wants, while the artists of England would croud over to this country in quest of employment. More commmanding ground could not be desired. Yet Jay jumped from his eminence to waddle in the slough of pretended reciprocity, to betray every principle of official trust, and to trample on every a­tom [Page 258] of his instructions. The reader will infallibly abhor such ignorance or treachery, unless he has been a British commissary during the last war, or a cer­tificat correspondent with James Reynolds since it, unless he has a suit of compensation depending at London, unless he expects to be made an officer in the customs, a director of the mint, a chaplain to Congress, a printer to the Senate, or an ambassador to Berlin; or, unless he has twenty bills lying pro­tested at the bank of the United States, and his cre­dit sticking together by the nod of Mr. Thomas Willing.

While the resolution of the 21st of April, 1794, was under debate, and frequently before that time, in the same session, the gentlemen on the opposite side of the question, said that the British would not feel the want of our commerce, because the three milli­ons sterling of exports from Britain to North-Ame­rica, formed only one-sixth part of her total exports. This reasoning resembled that of supposing, that a person worth six thousand dollars, will not regret the loss of one thousand, because he has five times that number behind; or, if you will, that a man would not feel the amputation of one of his fingers, if the other seven are safe and sound. Another circumstance must be attended to. One-half of the commerce of Britain had been destroyed by the ra­vages of the French war, so that the loss of Ameri­can commerce would then have been equal to the annihilation of one third or fourth part of her whole foreign trade.

What effect these resolutions, if adopted, were likely to produce in Britain, may be perfectly ascer­tained upon the authority of Dr. Adam Smith, who was, on a point of this kind, a judge above excepti­on. The passage now to be quoted, is of considerable length, but it serves to illustrate the present subject [Page 259] so completely, that an apology would be unnecessa­ry for its insertion. After describing some of the numerous inconveniences which Britain met with, in attempting to monopolize the commerce of her North-American colonies, the doctor proceeds thus:

‘Her commerce, instead of running in a great number of small channels, has been taught to run principally in one great channel. But the whole system of her industry and commerce has thereby been rendered less secure; the whole state of her body politic less healthful, than it otherwise would have been. In her present condition, Britain resem­bles one of those unwholesome bodies, in which some of the vital parts are overgrown, and which, upon that account, are liable to many dangerous disorders, scarce incident to those in which all the parts are more properly proportioned. A small stop in that great blood-vessel which has been artifici­ally swelled beyond its natural dimensions, and through which an unnatural proportion of the industry and commerce of the country has been forced to circulate, is very likely to bring on the most dangerous disorders upon the whole body politic. The expectation of a rupture with the colonies, ac­cordingly, has struck the people of Britain with more terror than they ever felt for a Spanish armuda, or a French inva­sion. It was this terror, whether well or ill-grounded, which rendered the repeal of the stamp act, among the merchants, at least, a popular measure. In a total exclusion [...] the co­lony market, was it to last only for a few years, [...] greater part of our merchants used to fancy that they foresaw an en­tire stop to their trade; the greater part of our master ma­nufacturers, the entire ruin of their business; and the grea­ter part of our workmen, an end of their employment. A rupture with any of our neighbours upon the continent, though likely too to occasion some stop or interruption in the employment of some of all these different orders of peo­ple, is foreseen, however, without any such general emotion. The blood, of which the circulation is stopt in some of the smaller vessels, easily disgorges itself into the greater, with­out occasioning any dangerous disorder; but, when it is stopt in any of the greater vessels, convulsions, apoplexy, or death, are the immediate and unavoidable consequences. If but one of these overgrown manufactures, which by means either of bounties or of the monopoly of the home and colo­ny [Page 260] markets, have been artificially raised up to an unnatural height, finds some small stop or interruption in its employ­ment, it frequently occasions a mutiny and disorder alarming to government, and embarrassing even to the deliberations of the legislature. How great, therefore, would be the disorder and confusion, it was thought, which must necessarily be oc­casioned by a sudden and entire stop in the employment of so great a proportion of our principal manufacturers!’

In despite of this overwhelming narrative, mem­bers of Congress could stand up and make speeches, by the hour, to prove, that an interruption of her commerce with America would not be seriously re­garded by Britain. If she was so deeply afraid of America in 1766, when victorious, and at peace with all the world, her alarm would, of course, be vastly greater in 1794, when her public debt had doubled since the former time; when her ar­mies on the continent were extirpated; when her manufacturing classes were already starving by thousands*; and when her trade to the United States was computed to be at twice the amount of what it had been twenty years before. This turn of circumstances went directly in favour of America. In 1766, England was more deeply alarmed than she ha [...] [...]een by the Spanish armada. In 1794, her tremor would have been ten times greater, as a man dipt up to the chin, stands in more hazard of drowning, than when the stream only wets his ancle.

The exports from Britain to America, were, in 1794, about three millions sterling; being, as above stated, equal to about a sixth part of her ex­ported manufactures. Let us suppose that every [Page 261] manufacturer in Britain requires fifteen pounds ster­ling per annum to support him; and that one-half of the price of the commodities exported from Bri­tain to America consists in the wages of their la­bour. Here then we have abstracted from the fund of subsistence for the labouring part of the people of Britain, ONE MILLION AND FIVE HUNDRED THOU­SAND POUNDS STERLING. Of these manufacturers, a considerable number must be married, and have families of children. It may seem strange in Ame­rica, but it is absolutely true, that in Britain, or at least in Scotland, a journeyman manufacturer has raised his family on six shillings sterling a week, which is only fifteen pounds twelve shillings per annum. Let us compute then that one-fourth part of the hundred thousand manufacturers above sta­ted, are married, and that each has three children. This estimate gives us two hundred thousand peo­ple reduced to beggary at a single stroke. We must likewise take into the account, that many thousands of British tradesmen depend entirely for their subsistence upon the custom of those two hun­dred thousand people; so that the whole number deprived of employment may be conjectured at two hundred and fifty thousand. To this we must add the destruction of revenue, the confusion, alarm, and bankruptcy of merchants, and the fall of the stocks, which must be the necessary conse­quence, and then let any body say, whether the loss of the commerce of America must not be a ve­ry serious object to Britain.

This act, prohibiting the importation of British goods, was lost in the Senate, by the casting vote of Mr. John Adams. All the advantages that it would have produced, have been thrown away, and all the mischiefs attending Jay's treaty have been ori­ginally caused by the fatal rejection of the vice-president. [Page 262] The advocates against the prohibition discovered a great want of information, of inte­grity, or of judgment. There cannot be a plain­er position than that now before us. Adam Smith was, perhaps, the best informed political writer that Britain ever had. He affirmed, that an exclu­sion from the United States would affright her more effectually than a Spanish armada, or a French in­vasion. The Adamites denied all this; and their ignorance, their factious spirit, or their treachery, has cost American trade at least seven or eight mil­lions of dollars. The constant cry was, that the British would declare war. Some weeks before that time, when Madison's resolutions were deba­ted, general Smith asked one of these bawlers, what made him apprehensive that England would attack us? He replied, that he had no apprehen­sions of such a thing, but some of his neighbours were afraid of it, and he wanted to please them. General Smith told this in Congress, on the 27th of May, 1797. This would be one of those impos­tors who went home and told their constituents, that Madison wanted to destroy the government.

Among the ridiculous arguments advanced in Congress for accepting the British treaty, one was, that it would prevent the renewal of an Indian war. On the 29th of April, 1796, Mr. Dayton said, that, by rejecting Jay's treaty, it ‘might be calculated upon as inevitable, and the consequent expendi­ture of fourteen hundred thousand dollars annu­ally; but in carrying the treaty into effect, and possessing the (Western) posts with the troops, they should be free from any danger of a serious rupture with the savages*.’ That the Western [Page 263] posts would firmly bridle the Indians, was, at that time, a received opinion.

Dr. Ames took up the subject in a higher strain. The tories were ready to spit in any man's face who did not admire his speech on that occasion. On the Indian war, he sets out as follows:

On this theme, my emotions are unutterable: if I could find words for them, if my powers bore any proportion to my zeal, I would swell my voice to such a note of remonstrance, it should reach every log-house beyond the mountains. I would say to the inhabitants, wake you from your false security. Your cruel dangers, your more cru­el apprehensions are soon to be renewed: the wounds, yet unhealed, are to be torn open again. In the day time, your path through the woods will be ambushed. The darkness of midnight will glitter with the blaze of your dwellings. —You are a father—the blood of your sons shall fatten your cornfield.—You are a mother— the war-whoop shall wake the sleep of the cradle. On this subject, you need not suspect any decep­tion on your feelings. It is a spectacle of horror which cannot be over drawn. If you have nature in your hearts, it will speak a language compa­red with which all I have said or can say, will be poor and frigid.

Will it be whispered that the treaty has made me a new champion for the protection of the fron­tiers? It is known that my voice as well as vote have been uniformly given in conformity with the ideas I have expressed. Protection is the right of the frontiers; it is our duty to give it.

All this is very fine. The conclusion implies an internal doubt in the mind of the orator that he was liable to the cha [...]ge of inconsistency. Indeed, on the 6th of June, 1794, Dr. Ames spoke thus, in [Page 264] Congress: ‘I am not one of those who think that there are too many Indians, any more than too many wild beasts. The one may, by skilful ma­nagement, be rendered as harmless as the other.’ In 1794, when the doctor used this language, he thought only of injuries that Indians have suf­fered from white people. In April, 1796, he thought only of injuries that white people suffer from Indians. In the latter instance, Dr. Ames proved more than he foresaw. A refusal to appro­priate would not have justified England in breaking the peace of 1783; and hence her stimulating the savages to murder, would have been an act of the blackest perfidy. The doctor looked upon this consequence as certain. Jacobinism can do no­thing worse. This proves the folly of thinking Frenchmen more barbarous than Britons. The doctor says, that ‘his voice as well as vote has been uniform. NO. He was an advocate for that system, which ended with refusing payment to the militia of Tennessee, for having done their du­ty. Yet the capture of Nickajack was nearly as important as Wayne's victory on the banks of the Miamis. Of the former, nobody speaks. For the latter, America has rung with exultation.

Again, if the Indians are ready to break a trea­ty, when a governor of Canada shall bid them do so, we have certainly too many of such neighbours, and systematic treachery makes it hardly worth while to negociate with them. This picture of persidy does not agree with what Dr. Ames had said only a few minutes before. ‘I see no excep­tion to the respect that is paid among nations to the law of good faith. If there are cases in this enlightened period when it is violated, there are none where it is decried. It is the philosophy of politics, the religion of governments. It is [Page 265] observed by barbarians. A whiff of tobacco-smoke, or a string of beads, gives not merely binding force, but sanctity to treaties.’

By the subsequent account of the gentleman him­self, the beads and tobacco were both to be for­gotten at the nod of England. No exception to the respect to the law of good faith! Modern history is as full as it can be of the violation of good faith. The British orders of the 8th of June, and 6th of November, 1793, and 8th of January, 1794, were all breaches of treaty. The extravagance of the or [...]r's style is too evident for detection. He then puts the supposition that England ‘refuses to ex­ecute the treaty, after we have done every thing to carry it into effect.—What would you say, or rather what would you not say?’ He then, in a strain of lofty declamation, tells what might be said! The only remark worth making would be that a blackamoor cannot easily wash himself white; and that no man versant in history would feel sur­prize at such national baseness. Dr. Ames makes repeated reference to the states of Barbary, as un­suspected of breaking treaties. A short history of Algiers, printed some years ago by Mr. Mathew Carey, will give him a precious catalogue of such matters. Jay's treaty itself is regarded by the French as a violation of our treaty with them. The remarks on this speech may be shortened, for the treaty has de facto died. This can be proved in a few words.

‘There is no position better settled, than that the breach of any article of a treaty by one par­ty, gives the other an option to consider the whole treaty as annulled*.’ Now, as England is on the verge of a general bankruptcy, our merchants [Page 266] have no chance to recover their five millions of dol­lars. This was the temptation for accepting the treaty; and, when that vision has vanished, Con­gress, by the admission of Camillus himself, are at liberty to declare it void. They could do nothing better.

His majesty's most faithful subjects in Philadel­phia toil hard to prove that England will recover her credit. The present distress hath not come of a sudden. In April, 1796, a committee of mer­chants waited on Mr. Pitt. At this interview it came out that the bank of England had advanced fourteen millions sterling for government, Sixteen millions sterling of cash and bullion had, within three years, been exported from the kingdom. Gambling in the funds had been excited by Pitt's exorbitant premiums to such a pitch, that twenty, thirty, and forty per cent were given for money to carry it on. Manufacturers or merchants could no longer borrow money at five per cent, so that so­ber trade was not to be supported. All these were the strongest causes and symptoms which could be conceived of approaching ruin. France hath only to rest on her arms, to exclude, as she hath done, English commerce from almost every port in Eu­rope, and then to permit England to proceed with an annual loan of twenty millions sterling. Hence it is of little concern whether Britain professedly stops payment in this year or the next. The event is certain. The delay is but like a fortnight's res­pite from the gibbet. The predictions of Gerald and Palmer have not been long unfulfilled; nor have their wrongs been long unavenged.

Recurring to Dr. Ames, we can now answer one of his queries. ‘The articles stipulating the redress of our injuries by captures, are said to be delusive. By whom is this said? By every body

[Page 267]Dr. Ames has been succeded in the fifth Congress by a diligent imitator. Of all that might have been spared in the representative of Boston we find a faithful copy. But from his comprehensive know­ledge, his pathetic vivacity, his acuteness of remark, his chaste, yet luxuriant elegance of expression, the honourable Harrison Gray Otis of Massachusetts keeps, and forever will keep, at an immeasurable distance.

On the 1st of July, 1797, an amendment was proposed in Congress to the stamp-duty bill. Twen­ty dollars were to be charged for a certificate of citizenship to an emigrant. On this occasion, Mr. Otis made, as usual, a speech of considerable length. Mr. Loyd took an extensive sketch of it. But as the commodities of this orator are not much in de­mand, Mr. Loyd has not yet presumed to incumber his newspaper with the copy. Mr. Bache gave a short account of it, and as Mr. Otis has complain­ed bitterly of the negligence of reporters, the fol­lowing extract of the most shining passages has been here inserted, cum notis variorum.

Mr Otis defended the stamp duty. ‘We did not want population now.’ [The United states con­tain above a million of square miles, and about five millions of people. Making large allowance for water, and for useless land, their territory could with much ease accommodate twenty times their present number of people. An immense wilder­ness beyond the Mississippi remains also to be filled up. We need an increase of numbers more than any other nation. It is momentous to our political safety. In the A. B. C. of American politics, Mr. Otis might have learned this lesson.] ‘He made some observations on the relative manners of Europe and this country. He could not agree [Page 268] that there was this similarity *, at least in the pre­sent distracted state of Europe; when morality and religion, and every vestige of what was great and amiable, was endeavoured to be swept from the surface of the earth.’ [In some parts of Eu­rope, in Portugal and Russia, for example, the hu­man character is degraded by despotism. But in every country where any degree of freedom can be found, the people of Europe will bear, in all respects, a comparison with those of America. How should it be otherwise? The United States have be­come inhabited by a succession of chips from the old block of European population. They have not been long enough in the New world to attain any important distinction of character. During this debate, an Irish representative remarked to a stranger in the lobby, that nearly one fourth part of the members then present were natives of Eu­rope. To the south of New-England, at least one half of the citizens are either emigrants from thence, or the sons or grandsons of such emigrants. As for the attempt to sweep morality and religion, every ves­tige of all that is great and amiable from the sur­face of the earth, this is only a round-about way of professing that Mr. Otis is an enemy to the French revolution. Had he been born in due time, he would surely have resisted that of America; for the French had received at least five millions of provoca­tions, where the Americans could produce one. It is to be inferred that Mr. Otis laments the destruc­tion of the Bastile, the abolition of the Gabelle, the rack, the wheel, monarchy, nobility, and that ut­most of abominations—an episcopal establishment by law. He thinks that to let every man believe what [Page 269] creed, and employ what priest he pleases, is the way to sweep religion from the earth. To destroy aristocracy is to destroy morality. This must be his meaning.] ‘He wished to place a bar in the way of the admission of those restless people who could not be tranquil and happy in their own country; those who had unfurled the standard of rebellion at home. He professed an esteem for some emi­grants to this country; but he did not wish a horde of wild Irishmen to be let loose upon us; who were now endeavouring to effect a revolution in their own country. He did not wish the introduction here of their revolutionary principles. He was willing to fraternize with those emigrants who might be admitted among us now, but he wished a bar placed to further migrations, and he did not think twenty dollars too much.’

The term of wild, as here applied exclusively to Irishmen, is highly impertinent. In those parts of Ireland where the peace and property of the subjects have formerly been protected, the ge­neral cast of manners was fully as good as that in New-England. A great body of the peo­ple were however kept in a state of incessant ir­ritation by the pressure of their landed aristocracy, and their blood-sucking church of England hierar­chy. Of these unfortunate victims it would be un­fair to estimate the morals, till they shall enjoy a political system, whereby industry is encouraged, and property secured. Fortune has never sported more cruelly, than by subjecting that hospitable and generous nation to the monopolizing jealousy, and the systematic barbarity of an English parlia­ment. An Irish revolution is now expected, and in its triumphant issue, Ireland, spurning the yoke of hereditary tyrants, will assume her proper rank and dignity among the powers of Europe.

[Page 270] ‘Those, says Mr. Otis, who have unfurled the standard of rebellion AT HOME.’ A gang of banditti from the town of Boston began the Ame­rican revolution, by unfurling the standard of vil­lainy. They wantonly destroyed three hundred and forty-two chests of tea, in presence, and with the approbation of an immense crowd of spectators. The act of parliament for shutting up the port of Boston, was the natural and suitable consequence of that shameful transaction. The burning of the Gaspee schooner, at Providence, in Rhode-Island, because it obstructed smuggling, was another wan­ton outrage, that must be reprobated by every man who is fit for living under a civilized government. The whole continent was dragged prematurely into war, to save the factious townsmen of Boston from a chastisement that some of them very highly deserved. The friends of America in England, could no longer defend their proceedings. The cause of liberty was disgraced and injured by the unbecoming insolence of its advocates. The towns­men of Belfast have invaded no man's property. The burden of actual oppression crushes them to the earth. The wrongs of America were chiefly in im­agination. She was more lightly taxed than any other country in the world. If the people of New-England had behaved with equal moderation and dignity as those of Virginia, it is likely enough that we might still have been British colonies, and in a happy situation, without any revolution at all. When once the contest had begun, there could be no medium between independence and slavery, but that does not lessen the extreme want of sense and honesty in burning the tea. It very ill becomes such people to rail at reformers in Europe. The whole speech proves that Mr. Otis is unworthy even to reside in a free country, and infinitely more so to re­present [Page 271] it. Nature intended him for a keeper of the Conciergerie, or a led captain to some prince of Wales. After all, Otis only betrayed the real senti­ments of his whose party; and under such leaders, we cannot wonder at the contemptible and pitiable fi­gure which the United States do at present make.

The unexpected length to which some articles in this volume are found to extend, has of necessity prevented the publication of others. This devia­tion from the first design is more fully explained in the preface. The following miscellaneous remarks have, however, been inserted, as a relief to the rea­der from the sameness of political details. They refer to subjects of universal interest, and which, in the most expressive manner, demand reforma­tion.

On Saturday, the 12th of March, 1796, two stage coaches, set out at six o'clock in the morning, from Frenchtown for Newcastle. The distance is only seventeen miles, and yet the drivers did not reach the latter place till twelve o'clock. They took six hours to travel a space, which a healthy, ac­tive man would have walked over with ease, in four and an half. The road through which the coaches had to go, was very tole­rable. One of the drivers, when near Newcastle, attempted a kind of quicker pace than usual. The wretched harnessing instantly gave way; the two foremost horses broke loose, and set off at full gallop: one of them was near breaking his neck.

When the passengers arrived at Newcastle, the wind was fair, the tide was making, and the boat for Philadelphia was ready and waiting; yet they were detained an hour and an half. The only conceivable reason for this delay was, that the innkeeper might scrub the passengers out of the price of a dinner.

At last the boat got off, and with a fair wind came up within less than two miles of Gloucester point; but the wind and tide failing, the vessel was obliged to come to anchor. If she had left Newcastle but an hour more early, she might have come with ease to the wharf at Chesnut-street, by six o'clock in the evening.

[Page 272]Seven or eight of the passengers, who were anxious to get for­ward, were obliged to pay half- [...]-dollar each to the sailors to row them ashore. If the owners of these boats are capable of shame, which is extremely doubtful, they must blush at such multiplied instances of negligence, insolence and extortion.

Another tide was expected to begin about one o'clock in the morning. The master, whose name is Mitchell, sate up, drinking grog, playing at cards with some passengers, and making an intolerable noise, till the hour above-mentioned; he then went to bed. About four in the morning, some of his men came down to tell him that the tide was ebbing, and that the boat was run aground. It was a long time before they could make him understand them.

Finally, the boat came up to Arch-street wharf on Sunday evening, with the tide, having performed a passage in twenty-eight hours, which, with the utmost ease, might have been executed in six.

The above appeared in a Baltimore newspaper. Some of the parties felt themselves angry, and said so; but they did not attempt to contradict the state­ment, for it was only a specimen of their daily practice.

Extract of a letter from a gentleman in Philadelphia, to his friend in Baltimore, dated 25th of April, 1796.

In the Maryland Journal of the 28th of March last, I ob­serve an account of an expedition from Frenchtown to New­castle in the stage coach, and from the latter place to Philadel­phia by the stage boat. The writer complains that the coach took six hours to drive seventeen miles over a tolerable road; that the boat spent twenty-eight hours on a voyage up the De­laware, which might have been ended in six hours; that Mitchell, the master of the boat, got drunk; that his sailors fleeced some of the passengers, &c. &c.

This malcontent must undoubtedly be a foreigner, other­wise he never would have attempted to grumble, for two solid reasons. First, because, with a few exceptions, brutality, negligence and filching, are as naturally expected by people ac­customed to travelling in America, as a mouth, a nose, and two eyes, are looked for in a man's face. Secondly, because legal redress, and individual reformation, are equally hopeless. The [Page 273] former would require such a waste of time and money, with so extreme an uncertainty of the issue, that no person of common prudence ever thinks of it. As for the second, there are excep­tions, both as to landlords and drivers, between this place and Baltimore; and others may be found in different parts of the country. But the blanks in this lottery are more numerous than the prizes; and to hope reformation or amendment of cha­racter, among the worthless, would be the most visionary of all visions.

Thus standing the case, this gentleman, instead of grumbling, should rather be very thankful to have rode from Frenchtown to Newcastle, without getting his limbs broke, and his trunk, if he had one with him, shattered to pieces, or pitched a yard deep into the mire. Mitchell, the boatman from Newcastle to Philadelphia, did not endanger the lives of his passengers. He only kept them about five times longer than was necessary on the water. If his sailors took half-a-dollar a piece for row­ing some of the passengers on shore, they should have been ve­ry grateful that the boat was not overset. Permit me to relate some of my own trials and troubles of this nature.

In June 1794, I had occasion to go to New-York. Two rival coaches came near the town of Brunswick, at the same time. The one in which I was, got the start of the other by a few yards; and entered the town at full gallop. I expected every moment when the coach would break down, or some of the horses fall dead under the fatigue. Most of our passengers were as fond of this triumph as the driver himself, and did every thing in their power to encourage him to break their necks. At Elizabeth-town, a young lady, well mounted, came up behind us, and attempted to ride by. Six or eight of us instantly raised a halloo, frightened her horse, and almost unseated her. On attempting to expostulate, I soon found that I might presently be treated still worse than she was. The whole cargo roared out, What? Suffer any body to take the road of us? They reviled the lady in the most shameful stile. One of them I learned to be a merchant in New-York, and a man not of an obscure situation. A second was a quaker. I tried to ar­gue with him on the principles of his society, on the vileness and cowardice of hazarding the life or limbs of a fellow creature for such a jockey piece of ettiquette. I had a surly answer, and was at the same time, taken up short by a clergyman from the north of Ireland, who constantly kept himself in a state of elevation during the last sixty miles of our journey.

[Page 274]At New-York, I was lodged with two others, in a back room, on the ground floor. This was a dirty hole about three yards and an half square.—What can be the reason for that vulgar hoggish custom, common in America, of squeezing three, six, or eight beds into one room? No such thing is seen in the British islands. Among genteel or decent people, every person has not only a bed, but even a room to himself, and very frequently locks the door.

The back yard, into which the window of our cell opened, was about six yards wide every way. Within this space, and just opposite to our window stood a little brick kitchen, and cheek by jowl, an edifice of the most necessary nature. They were separated by a brick partition about six or nine inches thick. The delicacy of this arrangement must strike every person of superior taste. Having occasion to visit the temple, I found that the roof had tumbled in. It was about noon, and a very sultry day, and before I could get out again, I had well nigh fainted with the most horrible stench that ever assailed my nostrils.

If the continent of America were only ten miles broad, there might be some excuse for jamming buildings together in such a disgusting, aukward and dangerous way. I call it disgusting, as the scene just described might turn the stomach of a Hotten­tot. It is aukward, for when these receptacles of filth come to be emptied, matters are often so badly laid out, that the only passage to get the nastiness away, is through the very middle of the house itself. Such is not universally the mode of purga­tion, but it occurs, in too many instances. Now it is surely aukward to be thus, almost in a literal sense, entrenched up to the teeth in human excrement; and it is the more extraordi­nary, as the Americans are highly and justly commended for the general cleanliness of their domestic economy. Can any body wonder that a city, under the fortieth degree of latitude, should be visited by the yellow fever, when a part of its inhabi­tants are permitted to render it a centre of putrefaction? The danger of squeezing houses together like herrings in a barrel, is readily seen in cases of fire. A house burnt down last winter in Philadelphia near the corner of Arch-street; and such was its situation that it was either almost, or entirely inaccessible to fire-engines. I know a city in Europe larger than Philadel­phia, that did not suffer so much by fire in fifteen years, as I have repeatedly seen the latter do in a single evening. Ex­cuse this disgression. I now return to my travels.

[Page 275]In coming back from New-York to this city, I preferred going by water.—The master of a stage-boat, which took us over an arm of the sea to New-Jersey, gave an eminent proof of attention to his duty. He suffered our boat to be very nearly run down on a smooth calm sea, in broad day light, by a vessel of much larger bulk than ours, that was coming up in full sail. At last, when within perhaps twenty yards of her, the shouting of her crew awaked him from his torpor; but after all, we missed only by a few feet, a stroke that ine­vitably would have sent us to the bottom. Thus were the lives of twenty or thirty people brought into the most immi­nent risk, because the boat was entrusted with a blockhead, who had not common sense enough to drive a dung cart.

At Amboy, part of our baggage was forgot, notwithstan­ding the injunctions which we gave, and the assurances which we received, that the whole would be carefully packed. So great was the politeness of the house, that though we had paid for seats over-night, the coach was on the point of setting off without giving notice to five or six of us, who were in consi­derable danger of being left behind.

In our passage across Jersey, the drivers did every thing in their power to kill the horses, by making them go at a hand gallop, for six or seven miles together, without stopping, over a deep sandy road, and in a very hot day. If the owners of these coaches had the least sense even of their own interest, they would flog such barbarous villains, in place of paying them wages.

At Bordenton, we went into a second boat, where we met with very sorry accommodation. This was about four o'clock in the afternoon. We had about twenty miles down the De­laware to reach Philadelphia. The captain, who had a most provoking tongue, was a boy about eighteen years of age. He, and a few companions, dispatched a dozen or eigh­teen bottles of porter. We ran three different times against other vessels that were coming up the stream. The women and children lay all night on the bare boards of the cabin floor. A little boy, one of the passengers from New-York, lingered at the brink of the grave, during several months, in consequence of this mode of travelling. We reached Arch-street wharf, about eight o'clock on the Wednesday morning, having been about sixteen hours on a voyage of twenty miles. Compared to such navigators as those two, whom I have just given you an [Page 276] account of, even poor Mitchell was an Anson or a Co­lumbus.

Print the above. The press cannot do better than to describe scenes of inhospitality and swindling that seem to have been reduced to a national system, and that could hardly be expec­ted in a Turkish caravansera.

The buildings of Baltimore, New-York, and Philadelphia, contain in their construction so great a proportion of wood, that if a flame has once fairly caught, nothing but the most vigorous efforts can stop its progress.

If the ground story of one of our houses catches fire, a family residing in the second floor, may run the utmost hazard of be­ing either suffocated by the smoke, or burnt alive in the flames. Their only snift is to jump out of the windows, at the expence of breaking half their bones, unless, which does not always happen, ladders are brought to their assistance. Even in that case, from hurry and confusion, the risk is considerable. In many places, houses are heaped together in such a manner, that in case of a fire, either exit or access would be almost imprac­ticable.

Every man who sees a conflagration in an American town, must remark the facility with which it spreads from one roof to another. This is one of the great and leading causes, which make our fires so generally destructive. The first reason is, that our houses are roofed with wood; and secondly, a most ab­surd and stupid practice among house-carpenters, has multiplied the hazard in a ten-fold proportion.

When two houses of equal height are built close together, it is very common for the planks of each roof to cross over and join with those of the other. By this means, whenever one roof kindles, the flame, if it gets not opposition, from a water engine, spreads immediately to the next. In Dublin, the hou­ses are roofed with s [...]ate or tile, and each roof is separated from others by a little parapet of stone, which is raised about nine or twelve inches above the roof, being in fact, the top of the par­tition wall between the two buildings. This incombustible boundary, makes the conflagration spread far more tardily than it otherwise would do.

When a traveller from Europe first lands in the United States, he is amazed at the blindness and infatuation of persisting in this practice of running the wooden roofs across each other, a [Page 277] practice so pregnant with danger and ruin. A few years of ha­bit reconcile him to it, and if he builds a house for himself, he is not ambitious of looking wiser than other people.

We often hear of fires in London, and they are sometimes ve­ry terrible. But London is about seven or eight times more populous than the five largest sea-port towns in America put together, so that if we compare the number of buildings with the number of fires, in these different places, it will be found that those of London are of much inferior frequency.

In Edinburgh, the houses are far more durably built than either in London or Dublin. In the two latter, the walls are almost universally formed of brick, and the stairs of wood. In Edinburgh the walls and stairs are of stone, and every stair is arched quite round with stone, so firmly compacted, that the wooden parts of the house might be consumed twenty times over, and the stair-case itself remain without damage. No wooden roof is to be seen; and the s [...]ate roofs are invariably separated by a parapet wall. The result from this style of ar­chitecture is, that a well built house can hardly burn to the ground, on any account. A dirty chimney may kindle, cause occasional alarm, and produce petty damage; but the burning out of a family is a very uncommon accident.


Proceedings of Congress.—Affair of Randall and Whitney.—Plan of appointing a short-hand wri­ter.— Debates on the federal city.—Act of Appro­priation.— Debates on the call for Jay's instruc­tions.— Strange answer of the President.—Appro­priations for the British treaty.—Explanation of the conduct of Mr. Muhlenberg.—Singular multi­plicity of petitions in favour of appropriating for the British treaty.—Rise of the session.

THE preliminary and miscellaneous materials of this volume have swelled to a much grea­ter bulk than had been foreseen or designed. Af­ter [Page 278] all, many articles are left out, which were originally proposed for insertion. Though not al­ways in a regular series, yet a considerable part of the most important events of the present year, have been related. Our maritime history, that is to say, an account of the French and British depredations, for the first five months of 1796, have been com­piled with tolerable completeness. The present chapter is to give a sketch of the principal procee­dings in Congress, during that part of their session, which began with the 1st of January, 1796. Of many of the most interesting speeches, there have already been inserted large specimens.

The affair of Randall and Whitney belongs, most properly, to the year 1795. A full account of it has been recently given in the American Annual Re­gister. It is sufficient here to say, that Robert Ran­dall and Charles Whitney, did, in 1795, conceive a project, in conjunction with some British settlers in Canada, for purchasing from Congress that spa­cious peninsula, which lies between lakes E [...]ie, Michigan, and Huron. It contains about twenty millions of acres. With this view they came to Philadelphia. Randall made some improper ad­vances to certain members of the House of Repre­sentatives, in order to gain their interest. Having, no doubt, heard of the pilot-boat history, he wai­ted among others, upon Dr. William Smith. He was apprehended, brought to the bar of the house, and for a short time confined in prison. Whitney had done nothing wrong. He was sent to jail, and then dismissed without examination. In this busi­ness, the house acted without regularity, without judgment, and without justice.

On the 19th of January, they took up the bill of appropriations for the current year. Mr. Williams moved to strike out of it all the sums allotted for [Page 279] the mint. After a very hard struggle, the mint pro­tracted its existence, under the severest repobation of its management from every side of the house. The plan of this establishment came from Mr. Ha­milton. Large sums had been expended to very little purpose. One design of it seems to have been the erection of a board of sinecures for the sake of increasing the executive influence.

On the 29th of January, the house went into a committee of the whole, on a report from a com­mittee that had been appointed to find out a short hand writer who was to take down their debates at full length, and print them. A person had, for al­most two preceding sessions, attended the house to take minutes of its proceedings for the Philadelphia Gazette. In this wilderness of scribbling, many particulars transpired, which members were ashamed to confess and afraid to deny. Four gentlemen were especially irritated, viz. Theodore Sedgwick, Dr. William Smith, Samuel Dexter, and Robert Good­loe Harper. Messrs. Dexter and Sedgwick were not able to forgive the figure that they had made in the nobility debates, as well as on some other occa­sions. Harper had disputed with col. James White, delegate from Tennessee, on the defence of the South-Western frontier; and the particulars, which were not to his advantage, had been related with unfeeling accuracy. But Dr. Smith, was by far more rancorous than the other gentlemen collectively. During the debate on Madison's resolutions, Mr. Abraham Clarke of New-Jersey said, turning round to his right hand, and looking at Mr. William Smith, that a stranger in the gallery might suppose there was a British agent in the house. The nickname of British agent became general. Mr. Smith was burnt in effigy at Charleston. On the rising of the session, he found it convenient to shun a meeting with [Page 280] his constituents by a tour for the ensuing summer, into the eastern states. The blame of this whole scandal was imputed to the pen of the guilty taker of minutes for the Philadelphia Gazette. Influence was employed, but in vain, to procure his dismission. This occurred in January, 1794.

But on the 2d and 3d of March, 1795, the Repre­sentatives met in the evening, and some of them be­ing in a state of unusual vivacity, Smith and Dex­ter arose and complained bitterly of the minutes in the Philadelphia Gazette. Neither of them said, because neither of them durst say, that any thing of their own had been misrepresented. The late Mr. Andrew Brown, knowing that mistakes were unavoidable, had uniformly advertised that he was ready to receive and print corrections. The two members closed by proposing a resolution for ap­pointing a committee to examine a stenographer. It past by twenty-eight votes against twenty-six.

All this was in March, 1795. On the 29th of January, 1796, Mr. Giles and Dr. Smith, who had been appointed a committee, reported in fa­vour of Mr. Robertson, a Scotsman, from Peters­burg, in Virginia. He demanded four thousand dollars. Congress were to give him two thousand nine hundred, and Mr. Brown undertook for the rest of the sum. The debates were to be printed first in his newspaper. This would likewise answer the object of Mr. Smith in separating Mr. Brown and his present reporter.

The plan was attacked from every part of the house, as impracticable, if useful; and as useless if it could be practicable. Mr. Baldwin said that he had seen many printed sketches of speeches made in that house, and which he would not wish to see bet­ter done. Mr. Swanwick had often heard of mis­cellaneous compositions, but the strangest of all mis­cellanies [Page 281] that he ever heard of, was for the legisla­ture of a country to run shares with a printer in the publication of their proceedings. Even Mr. Sedgwick, also, opposed the plan. He honestly said, that gentlemen were apt to get into a passion, and then they were angry at seeing their expressions in print. Mr. Nicholas was for the appointment. He complained that a person who came often to that house, and who had a very good style of wri­ting, once published a speech as his. ‘The language was much better than I could have made,’ said Mr. Nicholas, and here the member was mistaken. ‘The speech did not contain a single sentiment that I would have disowned, but still the speech was not mine.’ Mr. Harper attacked the de­bates in the Philadelphia Gazette, as disgraceful to the country, and full of falsehoods. He prattled away at this rate, for a considerable time. He had never complained of inaccuracy but once; and his correction was immediately adopted. Mr. Harper possesses a readiness of invention, and a confidence of affirmation, which the public estimate at their proper value.

Mr. Giles spoke in favour of the report; but he seemed to lose courage on finding that a large majority in the house entirely disapproved of the plan. He expressed regret at having been concern­ed in it. As an excuse, he complained, for the first time, of the inaccuracy of the debates. He had never before dropt a hint of that nature. The pre­sumption is, that it was now brought forward to help him out with a lame argument. He felt evi­dent chagrin at finding himself entangled in this prodigal and absurd project. The committee rose without a division. On the 2d of February, 1796, the subject was discharged by a resolution of the house. Mr. Robertson had come some hundreds [Page 282] of miles, from a lucrative employment, at the par­ticular desire of the special committee, and had staid in Philadelphia waiting on this business, at a considerable expence. He was dismissed without compensation. The house ought at least to have paid the charges of his journey.

On the 8th of January, the President had sent a message to Congress. It inclosed a memorial from the commissioners appointed for inspecting the buildings at the federal city. The object was, to obtain a loan of money, under the sanction of go­vernment, in order to complete the public build­ings at that place. The loan was to be secured on the public property in the city. The United States were to pledge themselves that, in case of the pro­perty proving inadequate for discharging the loan, government was to make good the deficiency.

A committee was appointed to report on this message. After several discussions, a bill respecting it passed the House of Representatives, on the 31st of March, 1796. The President was thereby au­thorised to borrow three hundred thousand dollars on the plan above stated. The bill went through, by seventy-two votes against twenty-one. Thus a fresh blister is applied to the back of our national debt.

Mr. Coit, Mr. Sitgreaves, Mr. Havens, and Mr. Swanwick, did themselves the honour of opposing this annihilation of the public money; for, that these three hundred thousand dollars will finally come out of the federal treasury, and never more return to it, is tolerably certain.

Mr. Coit said, that, between three and four hun­dred thousand dollars have already been expended; and, as he conceived, to what was worse than no purpose. Ninety-seven thousand dollars had been laid out on the President's house, and it was estima­ted [Page 283] that nearly as much more would be wanted to complete it. When finished, he conceived that a house, which would cost only fifty thousand dol­lars, would better answer the purpose. About eighty thousand dollars had been expended on the capitol, and yet, progress was scarcely made beyond the foundation. He expected many future and hea­vy applications to the public treasury for those buil­dings, which he feared would be a lasting monu­ment of the pride and folly of this country.—Nine­ty-seven thousand dollars for a presidential palace, that is not yet more than half completed! Thus the whole building will cost at least two hundred thou­sand dollars. If this is not deplorable waste of mo­ney, we should be happy to learn what name it de­serves? Indeed, unless among the parties immedi­ately interested in forwarding this house, there can hardly be two opinions about it. The absurdity is too enormous to be endured with tranquility by any man, unless his ideas are adulterated by self-interest, by prejudice, by the horror of being left in a minority, or by some other petty motive unconnec­ted with the common exercise of his understanding. The capitol is another superfluous edifice, that, as came out in the debates, has already sunk eighty thousand dollars, and is scarcely raised beyond its foundation. Such things are encouraged to go on, while our most excellent of all governments can hardly raise money to pay the very interest of the debts which it is annually contracting. It is not a season to varnish the poop, when the wind is ren­ding the shrouds, when the sea is bursting the seams, and driving in the cabin windows.

Mr. Sedgwick, in the debate on the 25th of Februa­ry declared, with a convenient rotundity of assertion, that accommodations are to be made for govern­ment without any expence to the public treasury. It [Page 284] is certain that they will be erected at a very enor­mous expence, which must come in some shape from the purses of the people. Every newspaper is occasionally filled with advertisements about the Washington lottery. This is a tax on the public. In Europe it is universally agreed, that a lottery is the most ruinous of all methods for raising money, and, at the same time, the most injurious to the morals of the people. When we hear Mr. Sedgwick say, that these public buildings are to be raised without expence to the public, one might guess that, like the palace in an Arabian tale, they were to rise by enchantment.

It is amazing that any gentleman can stand up in Congress, and talk in such a way. Nay, Mr. Sedg­wick went further. He said that the more magni­ficent these buildings were, so much the better. If they exceeded the splendour of the palaces of Eu­rope, Americans ought to be grateful. It is highly wrong for any legislature to encourage, among its citizens, a taste for gambling. The lottery for the federal city does this in a considerable degree; it ex­plains, what Mr. Coit justly said, that between three and four hundred thousand dollars have been expen­ded to what is worse than no purpose.

Mr. Sedgwick may rant as much as he pleases, about the gratification that Americans must feel in contemplating the completion, and magnificence of these buildings in the federal city. A man with chaste ideas of political economy, and of national freedom, will consider them as an equal outrage on the one and the other. The pyramids of Egypt, the amphitheatre of Titus, the pillar of Trajan, and a thousand other edifices of a similar descrip­tion, were durable and insulting testimonials of the slavery of mankind, with an impression more forci­ble [Page 285] than the pen or the pencil can convey. They attested, that the property and industry of mil­lions of people had been sacrificed to glut the caprice and vanity of a single man. And who or what was this man? Some jockey king, or cut throat emperor, who, if stript of a little brief authority, would, usually, have been one of the most insignificant of his species. But it is need­less to enter into general declarations, or appeal to the mournful evidence of Rome and Egypt. The facts admitted in Congress speak with sufficient dis­tinctness.

If the money had been laid out on a canal be­tween Newcastle and Frenchtown, or on a high road between Philadelphia and Baltimore, or in pensions, to some of the poor old soldiers, who sold their certificates for half a crown in the pound, there might be some consolation. The cash had, to be sure, been raised in a bad way, but its expendi­ture had answered some useful end; and, though no man of sense would ever have been highly plea­sed by seeing the rapid sale of lottery tickets, yet the laudable application of the money, must have served as an emolient to the ulcer.

It is hard to say what was the original object of founding this federal city, or what benefit it could be supposed to answer to the country in general. The human faculties are as clear on the banks of the Delaware as on those of the Potomac. The Pre­sident had already a good house in Philadelphia, for which his very large salary, of twenty-five thousand dollars, well enables him to pay a suit­able rent. The apartments wherein Congress at present assemble, in the same city, are as roomy and elegant as can be desired. Philadelphia has a centrical situation, and an atmosphere at least as healthy as the intended new metropolis. We ask [Page 286] then, what could be the use or object of these buildings? Or why did a government, encumbered with a debt of seventy millions of dollars, plunge its citizens into this unfathomable pit of architec­ture and of lotteries? An old London bookseller used to say, that the title page was half of the bat­tle. In like manner, the name of this city has pro­duced more than half the patience with which its expenditures have been endured.

Endured is the proper word, for this plan has never excited popular enthusiasm. It hardly could. Is there not already in the union a city good enough to accommodate Congress? No other city on the continent can expect the smallest advantage from this removal, and every one of them feels a certain loss. ‘On the same principle, said Mr, Swanwick, the house might guarantee loans for all the cities in the union? Why a loan for the city of Washington in particular? Was there any reason why the different cities in the union should be taxed for that city? He might have subjoined, is there any justice in such a tax? If Washington becomes an eminent commercial place, Alexandria, or Norfolk, or Baltimore, will not be one farthing the better for it, but they may chance to be the worse.

It is highly expedient that the legislature of a nation should assemble to do business in one of the largest of its cities. The reason is obvious. The eyes of the people are thus more effectually open­ed to its proceedings; and a legislature is much more safely to be entrusted when under such in­spection.

The spirit of liberty, the penetration to discern and fortitude to resist despotism, have often been found to beat higher in the metropolis of a limited government than in any other place. Thus Charles [Page 287] the first was blamed for calling the long parliament at London, where his tyranny was detested, and consequently where parliament were sure of firm and effectual support. His friends regretted that it had not met at Oxford; the mistake cost his majesty the loss of his head.

The French revolution began at Paris. The true character of government was much better un­derstood there, by the common people, than by the same class in most other quarters of the kingdom. At Amsterdam, also, opposition to the corrupting influence of the stadtholder was always stronger than any where else. A very large city is, in almost every respect, a great nuisance. Yet, as it is a bad wind which blows good to nobody, a subordinate ad­vantage may often be traced in the midst of a po­litical evil.

Such immense capitals as London, Paris, or even Amsterdam, cannot subsist in America, for centuries to come, but if they did so, many reasons would re­commend that the seat of government should also reside in such a situation. With so many obser­vers to watch its motions, and whose very numbers inspire them with peculiar confidence, the insolence or corruption of office is more likely to be detected and exposed than on a more limited field of enquiry. The present trifling opposition that the abandoned minister of England finds in the House of Commons, would, by this time, have most likely dwindled alto­gether away, if the spirit of Sheridan and others had not been supported by their situation in the bo­som of a numerous party of the citizens of London.

These hints tend to point out the propriety of retaining the residence of the federal legislature in one of the larger cities of the union. On the streets of New-York or Philadelphia, every member of Congress meets with fellow citizens as independent [Page 288] and well-informed as himself, and who, without ce­remony, will tell him what they think of his conduct. In such a place he has a thousand opportunities of learning public feelings, which he never could acquire in a sequestered desart, like the paper-built city of Washington, even supposing that he were to read all the newspapers in the Uni­ted States. We have at this time about an hundred and twenty newspapers, if not more; and hence, that task is, in itself, impossible. It is by mix­ing with mankind that you learn how to legis­late for them. In the multitude of counsellors there is safety, said the wise man; and in a limited sense, the maxim holds good. It is only by a collision of various sentiments, opinions, habits of thinking and views of life, the light of truth is finally to be struck out.

There is a large house in Philadelphia which the Assembly of Pennsylvania had designed for the Presi­dent. Mr. Swanwick, in a debate about this fede­ral city bill, noticed that twenty thousand dollars were granted to build it; but nearly twice the sum had been asked for it since, and the house is not yet finished.

Veterans who fought battles for America, were glad to accept, as all the world knows, of half-a-crown in the pound for the arrears of their dear-bought wages. Hundreds of petitions are, in the course of every session, presented to Congress from miserable objects of all sorts, who were redu­ced to decrepitude and beggary in the continental ser­vice. Government cannot relieve all these people, but still if they promoted lotteries for that end, the money would be more honourably bestowed than on a capitol, which has already cost eighty thousand dol­lars, though it is hardly visible above ground!

As for the palace of the President, the plan must [Page 289] have originated with somebody, who wanted to set up a political idol. A President is the very last man in the community for whom the public ought to build a house, because he has a salary five times larger than that of any other public officer in the union; and hence can afford better than other pub­lic officer to pay the rent of his house.

The money expended on palaces at the federal city, is absolutely cast away. The President and Congress are already as well accommodated with lodgings as they need wish to be, or deserve to be. There is no use for such extravagant buildings. The raising of money by lotteries is the most perni­cious resource within the range of political insanity. The erection of such fabrics tends to excite a tone of aristocracy and of royalty, to which mankind are already but too much addicted.

Dr. Samuel Johnson says, that ‘to build is to be robbed. We cannot expect that houses raised for a government will be carried on with more economy than those of private persons. Mr. Coit* says, that the buildings at Washington have been commenced on an extravagant plan, and that he hopes the commissioners will be obliged to contract them. Mr. Sitgreaves, in the same debate, also declares that the eventual expence of the buil­dings is not within the reach of calculation, or even of conjecture. What a miserable prospect is yawn­ing before us!

Mr. Havens asked, what was meant when it was said that there existed an obligation of going to this new city at the year 1800? If room was not to be had in it, Congress might go to Georgetown. They may just as well stay where they are. What would they be at? Poor Richard says,

[Page 290]
I never saw an oft removed tree,
Or yet an oft removed family,
Which throve so well, as those that settled be.

Let us make a supposition that, before the end of the year 1800, only two millions of dollars are ex­pended on the federal city. The buildings, as has been already explained, are on an extravagant scale. The United States could do as well without them.

Put two millions of dollars into any rational scheme of domestic improvement in the country, such as a well contrived canal. The money will yield a clear profit of ten, twenty or thirty per cent. Take it at the lowest rate, and with ten per cent. of compound interest, a sum doubles itself in seven years, fifty-two days and an half. In fifty years, these two millions of dollars will double themselves seven times. They will amount to two hundred and fifty-six millions. In an hundred years, they will amount to thirty-two thousand seven hundred and sixty-eight millions of dollars, which, at that aera, will be the real expence of the city, even if restric­ted only to the original two millions. This com­putation shews the folly of sinking a capital on an object which is both unproductive and superfluous.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the federal quarries above ground will not be worth so great a sum; nor indeed worth what they originally cost. They cannot, like a high road, or an improved farm, pay a large interest. They are mere unproductive masses of brick and lime, and wood and stone, the spawn of lotteries and land jobbing, for all which fine articles Mr. Theodore Sedgwick imagines it our duty to be grateful.

This project of the federal city has been examined at some length, because the subject is very imper­fectly understood, and because the plan, if comple­ted, [Page 291] must end in destroying the American constitu­tion. The monarchical party in the convention of 1787, had the following clause thrust into that paper. ‘The Congress shall have power to exercise EX­CLUSIVE legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over such district, not exceeding ten miles square, as may, by cession of particular states, and the ac­ceptance of Congress, become the seat of govern­ment of the United States.’ A like clause was never heard of before in the constitution, or prac­tical administration of any government in the world.

Suppose that, at the English revolution of 1688, the new parliament had declared themselves exclu­sive legislators over a square of ten miles, and of which St. Stephen's chapel was to be the centre. Exclusive legislation is but another term for arbi­trary power, because it confounds the characters of judge and legislator. In so small a space, where parliament were sure to see every thing, magistrates would have been nothing but their tools; and jobs, despotism, anarchy, and revolt must have ensued. The citizens of London and Westminster would, in two or three years at the utmost, have laid the new government on its back. But it would be wrong­ing the character of the English nation to put the supposition that a clause so absurd, so fantastical, so big with mischief, and confusion could ever have past in that country. Such an originality was re­served for the fertile brain of Alexander Hamilton. In the convention of bolted doors, this bauble was part of the compromise and sacrifice granted by Ma­dison and his friends to the royal faction. Being combined with better materials, it was without re­flection accepted by the citizens of America. As a parting appeal to their common sense, let us only figure this case, that the state of Pennsylvania had ceded to Congress a district of ten miles, including [Page 292] this city. There is not a man in Philadelphia who wi [...]hes to see Congress erected into its exclusive le­gislators.

Their ignorance, their caprice, the natural inso­lence of unlimited authority, would, in a few years, have thinned the streets of the city. If on the 4th of July, 1795, Congress had held exclusive legislation in Philadelphia the evening would not have closed with a shower of brick-bats. The dismounting and disarming of captain John Morrell, of the china ware-house, in North Front-street, and his being so basely pitched into Frog-pond at Kensington, might have produced a general massacre of the citizens. The sale of his sword for sixpence, on his declining to reclaim it, might have easily been turned into a high crime and misdemeanour. This inference be­comes very probable, when we contemplate th [...] bloody maxims of our American DUKE OF ALVA*. Thus much for the federal city.

On the 5th of February, 1796, the bill of ap­propriation for the current year, having gone [Page 293] through both houses, was approved by the presi­dent. This approbation is an insignificant form. The worst laws, as well as the best ones, have, for seve­ral years past, constantly received the president's; affirmative. In all cases of importance, however, his will is previously understood and strictly obey­ed by a majority of the Senate. There may have been one or two exceptions to this rule, but [...] for a considerable time. In the case of Madison's first resolution, and of Mr. Clarke's [...]ill for prohi­biting commercial intercourse with England, the Senate were, indeed, equally divided, and the cas­ting vote of Mr. Adams negatived both. But here it must be supposed, that Mr. Washington had kept himself in suspence. He had only just parted with Jefferson, and Hamilton was not yet completely fixed in the saddle. When the latter fact came to be known, every federal measure was bolted through by a large majority. After all, when two legisla­tive bodies have agreed to a law▪ it is below their dignity to enquire for the opinion of any single man. By the constitution, a president who wishes to be troublesome, can raise considerable confusion. If he refuses approbation, the law is sent back to Congress; and, unless two-thirds of each house shall afterwards agree to it, the law becomes void. It is very seldom that so great a majority unites upon an important measure. The Senate consists, at present, of thirty-two members; and, by this clause of the constitution, Mr. Adams, supported by eleven senators, being more than one-third of the whole number, could prevent the passing of any bill which he did not like. Thus the veto of twelve persons, who are not wiser or better than their neigh­bours, might in every instance overweigh the whole House of Representatives, though supported by twenty-one senators. This is one of the mistakes [Page 294] in our constitution. If the citizens of America could, like the bees, create an animal of faculties su­perior to their own, this veto might be useful. But in the late and present mediocrity of presidential ta­lents, it is at best an expensive exc [...]esence. This subscription of the laws, and a trifling or inflam­matory speeeh at the opening of each session of Con­gress, [...]s almost the only real duty that a president has to perform. The business of state is divided among three secretaries, and we understand from Randolph that Mr. Washington used to hold a meeting with them on interesting points, and decide by the opinion of the majority. All this is no great matter. Jared Ingersol, or the secretary of the state of Pennsylvania, or any counsellor of equal talents, would do the business fully as well, and think himself handsomely paid with an annual fee of a thousand dollars*.

[Page 295]On the 9th of February, was presented the me­morial above inserted from the snuff-makers of Philadelphia. The act of which they complained exemplifies the remark of Montaigne, that ‘there is nothing so commonly or so grossly faulty as the laws. The first of the two statutes in question required the performance of impossibilities. For instance, the snuff maker was to swear to a daily jour­nal of the snuff grinded. To be able to do so he must have taken down his mill at the end of every day's work, and another entire day was requisite for putting it again in order. Thus between taking down and setting up, the snuff-maker would have spent four or five days in the week in hard work, with­out grinding one ounce of snuff. Mr. Thomas Lei­per, and his fellow sufferers, had not logic enough to convince Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Sedgwick, and Dr. Smith, of this rule producing a hardship. Other clauses were equally stupid, oppressive, and imprac­ticable. A ruinous excise on refined sugar manu­factured in America had been blended in the same law with snuff, and it still remains in force. In a proof sheet of the short history of excise, it was sta­ted [Page 296] that, after paying the duty, there would not re­main to the refiners of sugar more than a clear pro­fit of five per cent. upon the capital embarked in their business. This circumstance was related on the authority of some of the principal manufactu­rers in Philadelphia. But, on a revisal, they chose to strike it out of the publication, lest a disclosure might alarm their correspondents, and injure the ge­neral interest of the trade. This was in the fall of 1795. Matters have certainly been improved, or else the manufacture must have stopt, as that of snuff actually did. The sugar boilers could have got six per cent. for their money in the common rate of interest, and ten times that sum from an ex­porting flour merchant.

One would be apt to believe that the federal mem­bers of Congress wanted to destroy altogether Ame­rican manufactures. The paper money system is chiefly theirs. Twenty millions of dollars, fabri­cated out of old rags, are now circulating about the continent. Of these, ten millions belong to the bank of the United States. The total dividend of all these banks, as stated in Congress by Dr. Smith and Mr. Gallatin, comes to two millions of dollars per annum. The expences of management can hardly be less than five hundred thousand dollars more. This enormous tax, for just nothing at all, and the scropholous abundance of money produced by the bank capitals, have tended extremely to im­pede the progress of American manufactures. Though not the sole cause, they have yet been among the chief causes that raise the wages of la­bour in America so extravagantly beyond its price in Europe. Some leaders of the federal party pos­sess extensive concerns in the bank of the United States. But the maturity of American manufactures never can arrive, till wages fall, and that must [Page 297] be preceded by a reduction of the mass of paper. Hence these leaders wish to encourage the importa­tion of British goods. The merchants who import them, also, and who, in general, detest American rivalship, are in constant habits of discounting at the banks, and it is of consequence to favour such valuable customers. These obvious motives tend to make the federal commanders anxious for the closest connection with England. The same scale of argument leads them to abhor the French, among whom paper currency has always been des­pised. Hence, among other reasons, we find their constant inclination to revile France*. Hence their enthusiastic zeal, for the completion of Jay's treaty to which the journal of Congress hath now brought us.

Nothing that excited general attention occurred in Congress from the trial of Randall till the 1st of March. On that day, the President sent a message to each house informing them that ratifications of the British treaty had been exchanged at London, on the 28th of October, 1795. ‘I have directed the same to be promulgated,’ added the Presi­dent, ‘and herewith transmit a copy thereof for the information of Congress.’ This was clearly the style of a public officer, who considered his au­thority on this point, as independent and unques­tionable. [Page 298] He had complied with every formality required by the constitution. He had selected an ambassador for England, and had given him instruc­tions as a rule of conduct. The constitution says ‘he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassa­dors.’ The president had announced his nomi­nation to that body. They were mean or stupid enough to acquiesce in the appointment, without once asking for what purpose Jay was to be sent to England, or demanding a copy of his instructions. This shewed that the message was but an empty form, and that, in the particular details of his ne­gociation, the President scorned to hold any prefa­tory communications with them. Here, by the way, comes out, as before observed,* an evidence of hypocrisy towards Genet. Mr. Washington could not negociate with the French envoy, because the Senate were not in session. Yet, over their heads, he sent an envoy to England, without letting them understand one line of his directions. This was frankly telling the republic that he rejected their advances. He could not have taken a more ungra­cious, a more ungrateful or infatuated step. After such coldness and contempt on our part, we should speak with temper about the republic. Frenchmen have never been celebrated for patience; and it can least of all be expected in the midst of a blaze of victories, which reduce Belisarius and Hannibal to the rank and file of conquerors.

From this digression we go back to Jay. Recei­ving orders from the President, and a sanction from the Senate, he went to England and framed a trea­ty. On its arrival here, the Senate, and President, gave in due time, a ratification. They expressly [Page 299] took the whole burden upon themselves; and whe­ther Jay obeyed his instructions, or broke them, was a question entirely between himself and the Presi­dent, from whom exclusively he accepted of them. The Senate had, beforehand, resigned all right of thinking upon the subject. They possessed no fu­ture title to call for the instructions. The fit time for that demand had passed away. If the treaty proved to be a good one, it was quite a frivolous enquiry, whether the instructions were right or wrong. If it was bad, the President stood in the gap, and they could disappoint all bad effects by a rejection. They approved of the whole treaty, one article excepted. It was, thereafter, ratified by the President. Here the character of these two branches, or rather of these two sprigs from the trunk of representation, was completely embarked.

There does not appear any solid reason why the President, in the sequel, submitted Jay's instructions to the Senate, after the treaty had been ratified. The only time for such a communication was be­fore Jay sailed for England. The instrument could only stand or fall, not by the tenor of the instruc­tions, but by its own intrinsic value. The tardy production of Jay's orders resembled a Chinese marriage. The lover, it is said, does not see his mistress till after the wedding, but has leave to send her home again, if he does not like her. The Pre­sident could only send this paper as a matter of ci­vility. The Senate had lost their right of calling for the instructions. They had not even a decent pretence to have challenged Jay. He acted as pri­vate agent to Mr. Washington, and the Senate had, in plain justice, no more to do with him, than the President had with his secretary, Mr. Trumbal.

But farther, Jay was, upon a different ground, placed beyond the reach of personal consequences▪ [Page 300] Admitting that he acted with the wildest deviation from his orders, yet he neither did nor could do any thing final. If the President disapproved of the treaty, still he had only to refuse it. He could have sent Grenville a copy of his instructions to evince that Jay had entirely contradicted them. This must have been a full apology for his negati­ving the treaty.

There still remained one point of view in which Jay might be regarded as responsible. Suppose that, while he carried on a negociation contrary to the spirit of his orders, the relative condition of the two parties had altered, that Britain had become stronger, and America weaker, or that some change in the condition of a third party had produced a similar effect. In that case, the House of Repre­sentatives might have addressed the envoy in terms like these:

‘It is true that you acted as an immediate agent for the President, that he had legal authority to employ you, and that he, along with the Senate, has taken upon himself the total responsibility for your conduct. In common matters an employer, by vindicating his agent, completely covers him from enquiry; but, in your affair, there is some­thing particular to be said. We believe that you disobeyed your orders, that you treacherously en­tangled the President in a bargain for which you had no powers, and that you thus forfeited that impunity annexed to the character of HIS agent. He received your production with every feeling of shame, of alarm, and indignation. Agreeable to law he assembled the Senate; and they and he suc­cessively ratified the treaty, under the dread that if they rejected it, their perfidious and formidable enemy would pervert their refusal into a pretence for declaring war. So standing the case, we con­tend [Page 301] that in substantial equity, you have not been the agent of Mr. Washington, but of lord Gren­ville; and that the compulsive operation created by your perfidy on the minds of the Senate and President, transferred the constitutional responsi­bility from them to you. The charges here made against you are matters of strong suspicion, but not of certainty. We are in want of evi­dence either to support or to refute them. We can only get that evidence by resorting to your instructions, for you can only be impeached on the head of having disobeyed them, and of your diso­dienee having thereafter shackled the delibera­tions of the President and Senate. For the pur­pose of ascertaining your guilt or innocence, we are going to solicit the President. He has sent these papers to the Senate. He cannot, therefore, in common civility, or even decency, deny our request. Yet we have no constitution­al right of demanding the paper. The power of making treaties has been exclusively and jointly vested in the Senate and in him. No part of the constitution requires that he should explain to our house his motives, or divulge, unless by his own free will, your instructions and subsequent correspondence. If he withholds these means of information and impeachment, we can only grum­ble into silence, and blush at the contemptible in­cense of adulation that, for seven years past, we have piled on the altar of Mount Vernon.’

The above is apprehended to contain a summary of the arguments that might have been employed in favour of impeaching Jay. The stress lies on as­certaining that the President disliked the treaty, and gave it a reluctant ratification. On this point, Ran­dolph affords a copious evidence. ‘My opinion," says Mr. Washington, "respecting the treaty, is [Page 302] the same now that it was, that is, not favourable to it, but that it is better to ratify it in the man­ner the Senate have advised, than to suffer matters to remain, as they are, unsettled.—I find endea­vours are not wanting to place it in all the odious points of view of which it is susceptible, and in some which it will not admit.’ [This is plain enough.] ‘I have never, since I have been in the administration of the government, seen a crisis, which in my judgment has been so pregnant of interesting events, nor one from which more is to be apprehended: whether viewed on one side or the other.—Scarcely a day passed, that he (the President) did not enumerate many objections to it; objections going not only to the commercial part, but also to the Canada article,—to the omission of compensation for the negroes and property plundered, and to some other parts of less conse­quence.’ It would be useless to heap up farther testimony that the President disapproved of Jay and his treaty, and that he agreed to it only to prevent some worse consequences.

Having settled this point, we proceed with the journal of the Representatives. On the 7th of March, 1796, the house took up a resolution mo­ved by Mr. Livingston. It was in these words:

Resolved, that the President of the United States be requested to lay before this house, a copy of the instructions to the minister of the United States who negociated the treaty with the king of Great Britain, communicated by his message of the first of March, together with the correspondence and o­ther documents relative to the said treaty, except­ing such of said papers as any existing negociation may render improper to be disclosed.’ As one * [Page 303] reason for this motion, Mr. Livingston said that the production of the papers would determine the house whether ‘an impeachment would be deem­ed adviseable*.’ But his chief reason was ‘a firm conviction that the house were vested with a discretionary power of carrying the treaty into effect, or refusing it their sanction. To guide them in an enlightened determination as to that point, the papers are necessary; they would cer­tainly throw light upon the subject, and enable the house to determine whether the treaty was such as that it ought to be carried into effect*.’ Mr. Livingston calls the latter his principal reason. He did not speak exactly what he thought. The papers called for could not be needful to guide the determination of the house, as to whether they should sanction the treaty, for nothing but its indi­vidual merits could decide for or against it. But, second, if the papers were needful, the house, be­fore this time, had virtually, though not officially seen them. They had been lying for some time on the table of the Senate. Many Representatives had gone up stairs and read them, and every member was acquainted with the essence of their contents. Hence, they could not be wanted for the purpose of determining an opinion about the treaty, even had its fate rested on such a disclosure.

Mr. Livingston well knew that his former reason for wanting the papers was almost equally hollow. He knew, or he well might have known, that an impeachment was not adviseable. The sequel of the debates discovered the real sense of his party. The project of impeachment was but rarely and faintly dwelt upon. But the democratical mem­bers had other and good reasons for desiring an of­ficial [Page 304] communication of the instructions. This would have fixed the perfidy of Jay in departing from them. Popular resentment at his behaviour would have risen to the highest pitch. His alledged preceptor, Mr. Hamilton, would have been involved in the clamour. The treaty must on fresh grounds, have become an object of jealousy and disgust; and this addition to the force of its enemies was to have ensured, in the House of Representatives, a refusal of money for its fulfilment.

By an impeachment of Jay, nothing, in common sense, could be expected, but an enormous waste of time and of congressional wages, a pernicious and endless delay in the routine of private business, and finally, a triumphant acquital of the envoy. In de­fiance of all imaginable testimony, the British trea­ty majority in the Senate were sure to have pro­nounced him guiltless. Look at their extrusion of Albert Gallatin, at their fraternal embrace of Mess. Gunn and Marshal!

Thus it appears that Mr. Livingston could hope for nothing from an impeachment, and he as little needed the instructions* to complete his opinion of the treaty. That opinion had been long since matu­red. It is difficult to keep from smiling when we per­ceive an intelligent legislator standing up, and give­ing all reasons but the real one, in defence of his re­solution. The debate lasted, with some intervals, from the 7th of March to the 7th of April, both in­clusive; and the report occupies three hundred and eighty-six close printed octavo pages. This is the [Page 305] American mode of managing legislative debates. In a British House of Commons, the question could hardly have been protracted beyond six o'clock on a second morning.

Mr. William Lyman rose next after Mr. Living­ston. He defended the resolution. One of his ar­guments was, that possibly the papers ‘might throw such light as to produce a very great degree of unanimity relative to that instrument (viz. the treaty). Such circumstances might possibly be disclosed as to reconcile those now opposed to it, and who might otherwise remain irreconcilable. If the resolution tended only to this object it was effecting a valuable purpose.’ Mr. Lyman held the treaty in notorious detestation, so that this argument was mere hypocritical canting. The unanimity which he desired and expected from a production of the papers was not for the treaty, but against it. As to impeachment, Mr. Lyman spoke not one word. Mr. Giles on the same side, follow­ed. He did not contemplate impeachment ‘as the probable issue, but the information might tend, perhaps, to reconcile those now averse to the in­strument.’ This gentleman spoke with as little sincerity as the two former. We may observe how very soon the Madisonians began to file away from their impeachment.

Mr. Murray succeeded Mr. Giles. He opposed the resolution. He denied the right of the house to intermeddle in treaties, unless these were alled­ged to be unconstitutional. He objected the general impolicy of exposing secrets of state. Mr. Murray is a moderate and sensible speaker; but, with all his fondness for secrecy, he would certainly have voted [...] the resolution, if its real object had been to promote the success of the treaty.

Mr. Buck, another friend to Jay, took the same side, ‘but not from an apprehension that the pa­pers [Page 306] referred to will not bear the public scrutiny, or from a belief that there would be the least re­luctance on the part of the executive to deliver them. Here the first sentence of Mr. Buck's ha­rangue contained two direct untruths. He knew that the papers would not bear scrutiny *. He knew, and and so did every person in the house, that Mr. Washington would be ashamed and unwilling to give them up. It was for these very reasons, which Mr. Buck set out with disowning, that he opposed the resolution.

Thus the combatants went on. They interpersed much extraneous matter, with pretended arguments on each side, which, as in the five cases already cited, the orator himself held in sovereign contempt, and which every man who heard him knew that he de­spised. Some speeches deserved a better character, but the limits of this volume do not permit farther criticism. At a future time it may be convenient and instructive to trace the obliquities of congressional discussion. The pompous petulance and Iscariot-like malignity of Buck, the plausible stupidity and self-important ignorance of Sedgwick, the pregnant [Page 307] vacuity, and elegant loquacity of Harper, often approaching to good sense, yet almost never get­ting up to it, hold out prominent materials for amu­sing illustration. But the number of respectable speakers was greatly superior to that of such phan­toms as these. In general, a member of Congress hath sufficient prudence either to hold his tongue, or to tell his sentiments in a way which does not make him ridiculous.

On Thursday, the 24th of March, 1796, a divi­sion took place in a committee of the whole house on this resolution to call for Jay's instructions and correspondence. It passed by sixty-one votes against thirty-eight. This was a majority unusual on great political questions. When some victim who has been reduced to beggary by the late war, or some French officer who neglected to call, in due time, for his arrears of pay, has the weakness to solicit Congress, a negative passes with unanimity, or some­thing like it. But in matters of high political im­port, the majority runs, for the most part, very close. The resolution past in the house by sixty-two votes against thirty-seven. On the 25th of March, it was presented to the President. On the 30th, he sent a refusal of the papers. His message misquoted and perverted the request of the house into a positive demand, and then pretended to refuse what had not been asked. Their behaviour gave Mr. Washington reason to despise them. The de­bates that lasted for eight, ten, or twenty days about an answer to his annual speech dishonoured the whole body. His refusal of the instructions was to conceal the disobedience of Jay, and his own tameness in bearing it.

The majority of sixty two ought to have received the message with silent disdain, and prohibited their [Page 308] clerk from inserting it on the journals. Without ostensible interference they could have sent to press a copy of the instructions. These would have dar­ted through the newspapers with the velocity of lightning. An abortive attempt to conceal this pa­per must have ensured its universal perusal. A vic­tory to the publishers was the natural consequence. The people would have resented the disobedience of Jay, the pusillanimous acquiescence of the Presi­dent, and his ill-concerted scheme for suppressing in­formation. While they sympathized with the af­fronted representatives, a few well written essays might have matured into effective service the germ of indignation; and the treaty and its allies had sunk into the dust.

But the majority possessed not one man with the resources, firmness and activity of colonel Hamilton. The party seemed studious to display more than their usual inferiority of address and boldness. Ne­ver was a critical moment more miserably cast away. Instead of a glowing declaration that they contem­ned the refusal, instead of some spirited harangues to animate their partisans without doors, their tre­mulous and trimming measures towards a faction whose animosities are immortal, betrayed their to­tal want of energy, depressed their friends, encou­raged their enemies, and paved the way for their own approaching downfall. They did not perceive that the public had become tired of these de­bates, that farther haggling and wrangling would only increase that disgust, and raise the message to an unmerited importance, and that silent contempt was the plainest way to render it despicable.

On the 6th of April two resolutions * were brought forward. The meaning of the first was, that the majority, if they could hold themselves together, [Page 309] would refuse money for fulfilling Jay's treaty. The second implied, that when the house desired the ex­ecutive to let them have the instructions, they were not obliged to tell for what purpose the paper was wanted. Madison explained and enforced the re­solutions with that superior knowledge, ingenuity, and eloquence, which have so often illustrated and adorned the transactions of Congress. Next day, they were past, ayes fifty-seven, noes thirty-five. They were not worth one half of the trouble which they cost. To illuminate and brace the minds of the people it would have been better to propose the striking twenty thousand dollars from the presi­dent's salary. Mr. Adams, as a premium for his two British negatives, might have been restricted to twelve dollars per day during the sitting of Con­gress. This is the allowance to a speaker of the representatives, a character of more real use, and who bears more actual drudgery than the Senate and their vice-president put together. Such reso­lutions could not have been carried, but the bare proposal would have conveyed an important hint. A contrast might have been run between an old soldier with the palsy and seven dollars and an half per annum, or his widow with six ragged children, and Mrs. Washington gossipping for a whole evening at the national expence, with fifty or an hundred and fifty women, while snuff-mills and sugar-bakeries were cast idle by the approbation of her husband.

Treaties had, within a short time, been enter­ed into by the United States with Britain, with Al­giers, with Spain, and with those Indians whom Wayne defeated at fort Miamis. On the 13th of April, 1796, Mr. Sedgwick moved a resolution that provision should be made for carrying these treaties into effect. He meant that the house ought to vote sums of money for that end, and his view in bundling the whole four treaties into one resolu­tion [Page 310] was that they might stand or fall together. This resolution produced warm debates. Several amendments were suggested and discussed. Of these a particular detail can hardly interest an ordi­nary reader. The whole proceedings have been minutely compiled by Mr. Bache, and deserve to be studied by every future candidate for a seat in Congress. For this place, it is enough to set in one luminous point of view the actual objects of the op­posite parties. The news of the Spanish treaty had been received in America with universal exultation. It was to open the navigation of the western waters, of which the king of Spain had hitherto been the J [...]ilor. The Indian and Algerine treaties were ra­ther convenient than advantageous, but as their terms gave general satisfaction, no doubt was en­tertained that money would be voted to fulfil them. A refusal was, of necessity, to subject the union to immediate piracy and warfare. But it was, in all respects, quite otherwise with the British treaty. A general and violent opposition had appeared against it. A complexity of principles was involved in its discussion. Hitherto, most representatives had pro­fessed to dislike it, and a delay, or even a rejection, could not reasonably be supposed to produce war, when, by the conquest of Holland, the extirpation of her armies in Europe and the West-Indies, the scar­city of money, and the discontent of her people, England was evidently staggering on the brink of ruin.

The scheme of the federal members was to blend these negociations in one mass. Their arguments and motives, when stript of the loquacious mas­querade common to both parties, might be expres­sed thus:

‘We have on the table before us four treaties. Of these, three are equally acceptable to the whole house; but you want to fulfil them, and to reject [Page 311] the fourth. We are as desirous as you can be for friendship with Spain, and for peace with Al­giers and the Indians. But our British treaty, that you propose to destroy, is of infinitely grea­ter importance in our eyes than all the others col­lectively, and the interest and independence of our country into the bargain. Grenville has adver­ted to you, as American jacobins, and has assu­red the toad-eating Thomas Pinckney that a Bri­tish army shall, if we request it, be sent over to crush you. But if we reject this treaty, that aid cannot be expected; and that twilight of our po­litical millenium shall be forever extinguished, while so signal a defeat on the floor of Congress will give a mortal blow to the power which we at present possess. Mankind will begin to think and act about us with common sense. They will demand a publication of the books of the treasury. They will no longer pay interest for forty mil­lions of dollars of domestic debt to creditors, till they shall have learned who these people are? And whether William Smith, or Izard, or Hillhouse, or Sedgwick, has waded farthest into the funds? This prospect is terrible. To avert it we shall fall or conquer by the side of the treaty. If that cannot be carried, we shall rejoice in blocking up the Mississippi, in whetting the tomohawk, in glutting the pirates of Barbary with the plunder of our commerce.’

The resolution was negatived. The three trea­ties were agreed to. A second series of debates occur­red as to the granting of money for fulfilling Jay's treaty. This ended on the first of May, 1796. The appropriations past, in committee of the whole, by the casting vote of the chairman, Mr. Muhlenberg, the votes of members being forty-eight on each side. In the house, this appropriation past by fifty-one [Page 312] votes against forty-eight. Some even of this narrow majority, declared their entire disapproba­tion of the treaty. The general zeal excited in its favour, and the probability that the six per cent. citadel of Connecticut would have burst into actual rebellion*, were forcible reasons in favour of adop­tion. The multitude and stile of the addresses to Congress in its behalf were sufficient to make thoughtful members doubtful as to rejecting it. Mr. Muhlenberg has been highly blamed for his vote on this question. By an uniform tenor of conduct, since 1789, he had already offended the opposite party beyond all hope of forgiveness. But on this emergency, he preferred the security of internal peace, even to the approbation of his constituents. He had candidly stated his ideas in several private meetings of members previous to the final vote.

The session rose on the 1st of June, 1796. Bri­tish depredations did not, as had been fondly fore­told, cease after the appropriations had past for the treaty. As one of its consequences the French be­gan soon after to disturb our trade. The western posts were, however, delivered up. The general election for Congress, and that for a President, the difference between the French minister and the Ame­rican executive, were among the chief events which occurred till the next meeting of Congress, which was on the 5th of December 1796.


On p. 164, third line from the bottom, read "the American monied interest."—In the note on page 232, eleventh line from the bottom, read ‘A minority declined to pass an act for the calling of a convention, in order to its acceptance,’ &c.—On page 260, third line from the bottom, read "amounted, in 1794, to," &c.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.