« IndietroContinua »
I went out to Passy, and spent the evening with Dr. Franklin, and entered largely into conversation with him, upon the course and present state of our foreign affairs. I told him my opinion without reserve of the policy of this court, and of the principles, wisdom, and firmness, with which Mr. Jay had conducted the negotiation, in his sickness and my absence, and that I was determined to support Mr. Jay to the utmost of my power, in pursuit of the same system. The Doctor heard me patiently, and said nothing.
"“At the first conference we had afterwards with Mr. Oswald, in considering one point and another, Dr. Franklin turned to Mr. Jay and said, " I am of your opinion, and will go on with these gentlemen, without consulting the court." He has accordingly met us in most of our conferences, and has gone on with us in entire harmony and unanimity throughout, and has been able and useful both by his sagacity and reputation, in the whole negotiation.”
Taken even singly, we do not see what need be added to the strength of this attestation. In conjunction with the letter of Mr. Jay, in which the same coincidence of views between Jay and Franklin is avowed, which Mr. Adams sets forth as existing between himself and Mr. Jay, we do not see in what stronger terms, and from what authority so competent, the imputation against Dr. Franklin could be repelled.
We own that we take pleasure in coming to this conclusion. It vindicates the honor and the fair fame of
reputation is a rich portion of the moral treasure of America. The whole matter then as between Dr. Franklin and his colleagues, will resolve itself into a difference of opinion, on the sincerity of the French court; a difference of opinion unquestionably most honest. If we go farther, as we have already observed that our best consideration of the subject obliges us to do, and conclude that, on this point, the judgment of Dr. Franklin, of the American secretary, and the majority of Congress was correct, we shall impute to Messrs. Adams and Jay nothing but an honest error in opinion, while we shall have the satisfaction of believing in the honor and probity of our first ally, to whose aid we are so deeply indebted for the success of the Revolution, and on whose motives we ought to rejoice to place the most friendly interpretation.
A part of the fourth, the whole of the fifth and sixth, and a part of the seventh volumes of this work are appropriated to the correspondence of John Adams. As it is twice the amount of the correspondence of any of our other public agents abroad, so it is proportionably rich in instruction in the political history of the times. Mr. Adams was appointed one of our commissioners to France on the 28th of November, 1777, when Silas Deane was recalled. At the close of the year 1778, Congress determined to have but one minister at the French court, and in consequence of this resolution Mr. Adams returned to America, and arrived at Boston, on the 3d of August, 1779, in the French frigate La Sensible, the vessel which brought M. de la Luzerne. On the 27th of the next month he was elected by Congress as a Minister Plenipotentiary, to negotiate a treaty of peace with Great Britain, whenever she should be disposed to put an end to the war. He arrived in the month of December in Europe. In June, 1780, Mr. Adams was authorized to negotiate a loan for ten millions of dollars in Holland; and in December of the same year was commissioned to negotiate a treaty of friendship and commerce with the United Provinces, and appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the States-General and the Prince of Orange. On the 14th of June, 1782, four additional Commissioners, Franklin, Jay, Laurens, and Jefferson, were associated with Mr. Adams, to negotiate a peace with Great Britain. On the 8th of October, 1782, Mr. Adams succeeded in bringing to a happy close, a treaty of commerce between the United States and Holland, and was publicly received as the Minister of the former. Thus left at liberty, he proceeded to Paris, where Messrs. Jay and Franklin had been employed for three or four months in the negotiations for peace. He united his efforts with theirs, and on the 30th of November had the honor, as the senior Commissioner, to sign his name first to the preliminary treaty. He also took part in the discussions of the definitive treaty, and was the first signer of that instrument. He passed the winter of 1784 in Holland, and in February, 1785, was appointed first Minister of the United States to the court of St. James. Returning in 1788, he was elected first Vice-President of the United States.
During this entire period, his correspondence was kept up with untiring industry. It is enriched with intelligence then important, from all parts of Europe, and with numerous state papers, not now easily to be found elsewhere. In his negotiations with Holland, Mr. Adams evinced great firmness, political courage, and skill; and acting as he did, in opposition to the advice of the French court, which he was directed to conVOL. XXXIII.-NO. 73.
sult, he deserves the undivided credit of having brought that negotiation to a successful issue ; as he did also the negotiation for a loan of money in the same country. None of the agents of the United States was longer employed in the foreign service, but one (Dr. Franklin) as long ; none exceeded him in industry, zeal, patriotism, and general intelligence ; none was more successful; and none higher in the estimate of his countrymen.
Mr. Jay's letters from Spain and France are among the most valuable parts of this collection. They are perhaps the ablest specimens of a guarded diplomatic style, which the work presents; as prudence seems in fact to have been a prominent trait in his character. The letters of Mr. Jay from Spain, however, cannot be read without feelings of unmeasured indignation against that cold, selfish, illiberal court. Never was an honest man placed in a less enviable position. Mr. Jay was commissioned to obtain subsidies or a loan in Spain ; and Congress in the extremity of their wants, proceeded to the most irregular, and as the event proved, distressing step of drawing on Mr. Jay for one hundred thousand pounds, on the strength of his commission, and without the least ground to believe that he would succeed. Perceiving the distress in whích Mr. Jay and the United States were placed, Count Florida Blanca attempted, by holding out a fallacious hope of supplying their wants, lo extort concessions as to the navigation of the Mississippi and the Western boundary; and had the almost incredible
; meanness to demand in return for the aids he proposed to furnish us, a re-inforcement of ships of war for the Spanish navy. After all, one hundred and fifty thousand dollars was the utmost amount, which Mr. Jay could wring from the Spanish court, by importunities, which it is impossible to read without shame for ourselves, and scorn and contempt for the pastry spirit, that required to be thus solicited. Whoever would do justice to the French ministry, needs only contrast the conduct of the two courts.
We ought, before we hurry from this part of the subject, to observe that the letters of Mr. Carmichael, who went out as secretary to Mr. Jay, and succeeded him at Madrid as Chargé d'Affaires, are written with great ability, and evince an exceedingly active, able, and adroit diplomatist. They compare advantageously with the best contents of the work.
We are constrained reluctantly to pass over the correspondence of Chancellor Livingston and of the French Ministers,
Gerard and M. de la Luzerne, with the single remark, that it does great credit to these gentlemen, and forms an instructive section of the work. Neither are we able to dwell particularly on those portions of it which contain the letters of the Messrs. Lees, Izard and Dana. But we must do an act of hasty justice to Robert Morris, the superintendent of the finances of the United States. Mr. Sparks has collected his letters in the eleventh and twelfth volumes of the work. They throw much light on the crazy condition of the finances of the country, and on the singular merit of Mr. Morris. This indeed stood on general admission before; but we are inclined to think, that the reader of these volumes will come to the conclusion, that as Morris had the sagacity to single out and call into the financial service the talents of the youthful Hamilton, so he proved himself in the worst times of the Revolution a financier in no degree unworthy to stand on an equal footing with him, who has justly been called the father of the credit of the United States. His correspondence is not exclusively confined to finance, but extends to various topics, connected with the conduct of the war and the interests of America.
The present collection forms one of a series of valuable works, which have been published, in pursuance of a resolution of Congress, of March 27th, 1818. It has been preceded by the Journal of the Convention which formed the Constitution, and the secret Journals of foreign and domestic affairs of the old Congress; the former in one, the latter in four volumes. In the original resolution, the foreign correspondence of the old Congress was directed to be published only to the year 1783. At this point, therefore, the present work is abruptly brought to a close. It is evidently very desirable to have the correspondence of our diplomatic agents abroad, between the peace of 1783 and the adoption of the Constitution. This would comprehend the correspondence of Mr. Jefferson from Paris, and that of Mr. Adams from London, both we presume highly valuable, particularly the latter on the subject of the colonial trade. A resolution was reported to the House of Representatives at the last session of Congress, authorizing the Secretary of State to continue the work to the period of the adoption of the Constitution, under the editorship of Mr. Sparks. It is highly desirable that such a resolution should pass, as we trust it will, at a future session of Congress.
Meantime we must not omit, in closing our desultory notice
of the present collection, to repeat our thanks to Mr. Sparks, for the manner in which he has discharged his duty, in preparing it for the press. He has reduced the vast mass of materials to convenient order, and supplied from other and authentic sources the lamentable chasms in the files of the Department of State. It is well known, that no other individual in the country has enjoyed equal opportunities to fit himself for an enterprise of this kind. We sincerely hope that he will be authorized to carry it on to its appropriate close. Three or four volumes more, we presume, will be sufficient for this purpose, and for an ample index to the whole work. Appropriations for purposes like these are, we know, obtained with some difficulty from Congress. But there is no expenditure of the public money more creditable to the country, or more likely to contribute to the general respectability of the public service. If there were no other consideration to recommend it, we owe it to the generation of patriots who achieved our independence, to bring out from the archives in which they are perishing, the monuments of their talent, for their honor and our instruction.
ART. VII.-Stewart's Voyage to the South Sea. A Visit to the South Seas in the United States' Ship Vincennes, during the Years 1829 and 1830, with Scenes in Brazil, Peru, Manilla, the Cape of Good Hope, and St. Helena By C. S. STEWART, A. M. Chaplain in the United States' Navy, and Author of "A Residence in the Sandwich Islands in 1823 and 1825.' 2 vols. 12mo. 717. Mr. Stewart, on commencing the duties of his profession, conceived himself to be specially called to engage in the Christian Mission to the Sandwich Islands, where he took his station in 1823, with the other Missionaries who had established themselves there three years before. In 1825, the declining health of Mrs. Stewart, who had accompanied her husband on the mission, rendered it necessary for them to return home, and leave to others the hopeful and already gloriously successful work of christianizing and civilizing the successor of Tamehameha and his subjects. On returning to the United States, Mr. Stewart published his journal of a . Residence in the Sandwich Islands,' which was re-published in England, where, as