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under the assumed name of Wilson, though he was a British subject born in London, Upon the strength of this evidence, admitted to be correct by the prisoner himself, he was found guilty, and adjudged to suffer death, which sentence was executed five days after his trial.*
It is against this punishment that the president exclaims with asperity, and even goes so far as to call the just exercise of our jurisdiction, an aggravation of an aggres. sion previously begun. This is a most barefaced and insulting interference in the domestic concerns of another people. Nor can the indecency of this conduct be explained away, by alleging that Mr. Jefferson had heard that the seaman so executed was an American citizen. Such an apology might be offered at the bar of the Old Bailey, by a petty-fogging attorney accused of perjury, but it is unbecoming the dignity of the first magistrate of a nation, whose public declarations ought never to rest on hearsay evidence. Of the five deserters who were tried and found guilty upon this occasion, William Hill was the only native American. He had entered into our service voluntarily at Antigua, and had received the usual bounty, so that he was liable to suffer death, as a deserter, according to the established usages sanctioned by the laws of nations. Notwithstanding, he did not suffer, for we hanged our fellow subject, and spared the swindling American. In whatever light, therefore, we consider this imputation of the president, it will appear as a weighty aggravation of the crimes of America, unless it be admitted, that a deserter from our service, whether British or American, having once taken shelter on board of an American ship of war, is entitled thereby to the benefit of sanctuary during the rest of his life.
The motives of these unwarrantable insinuations against our country, are too palpable to be misunderstood. Under the guise of an affected moderation, the president has pronounced an angry philippic against Great Britain, calculated to inflame, instead of allaying those heats which broke out at the commencement of our misunderstandings; for, upon what other principle can we explain his motives, when we find him deducing inferences from false premises, and justifying their unfairness, by the vapid testimony of the passions and violence of a fermented population. “On this outrage," says he,“ no commentaries are necessary. Its character has been pronounced by the indignant voice of our citizens with an emphasis, an unanimity, never exceeded." Thus, while he affects to chaupt a doleful lamentation over the love of peace, so much cherished in their bosoms, he irritates their feelings, and provokes them to war. He marshals against Great Britain, the whole artillery of special pleading; he deals also in inuendoes unsupported by any collateral proofs ; but when he speaks of the aggressions of Spain, he employs the language of affectionate moderation, and when he mentions France, it is only in the style of fulsome compliment. I call this message a brief of American special pleading, because it is full of quirks, sophistry, unauthogized distinctions, and even misrepresentations. With equal justice, I affirm that it contains inuendos not sustained by facts, because it insinuates without the least shadow of evidence, that the Indians in the north-western quarters, were excited to commotion by the intrigues of England : and I call it a breach of the rule of national equity, because, while it is lavish in its censures of our conduct, it treats the violent depredations of France upon the commerce of America, with the silent deference of timidity to unreproved despotism." With the other nations of Europe," quoth the president, << our harmony has been uninterrupted, and commerce and friendly intercourse have been maintained on their usual footing." • These reflections must suggest themselves to the mind of every one who reads with attention the message of the American president. He calls for a revision of our navigation laws, and makes our compliance with his desire, the condition of the future pacific conduct of the United States. I have shewn, that hitherto, this pacific conduct is no other than WAR IN DISGUISE. Whatever may be the principles which may be adopted henceforth, one point is indispensible to our existence as a nation, namely, that America must le stripped of this disguise. Let not England be in
* For further particulars relative to these proceedings, see No. 18 of this volume.
+ It is not improbable that the term “usual footing," is here employed as a stroke of special pleading; the usual footing of intercourse between France and America, consisting in theft, depredation, and swindling.
Inoriarch does not separate thus his interests from those of the country-it is with them he will perish, it is only with them he can be saved."--French.
By the above comparison, it is but too evident, that the emperor Alexander has dwindled into a contemptible tool of Buonaparte; and that he is as much subservient to the will of that despot, as any of the viceroys who, with crowns upon their heads, exercise his mandates in almost every country of Europe. It has been already admit ted, that taken abstractedly, the charge is just which Alexander bas preferred agaitast the late ministry, for neglecting to afford the slightest diversion in his favour. This however, is a crime of which we are not all guilty ; but it is our concern, not the office of Alexander, to punish those execrable impostors. If any thing can add to the public indignation already pointed against them; if any circumstance, more than another, can summon the spirit of vengeance from its drowsy bed, to smite them with the lightning of the state; it is the consideration that they have been the means of bringing upon us an additional enemy, and upon their devoted country, an augmentation of its dangers. Although I have repeatedly denounced them, in the name of heaven and earth, and for the sake of our endangered freedom, national establishments, and independence, I know where to draw the line between domestic interference and foreign dictation. As long as England retains a sense of her high renown, I trust, it will be impossible for any stranger to make our internal griefs accessory to his unjust ambition. When, therefore, the emperor of Russia accuses us of a selfish indifference to the public cause, he forgets the sacrifices which we have already made, during a sanguinary struggle of fourteen years, to sustain the falling fortunes of the European powers; sacrifices in a cause wherein Russia took no share. He forgets, or purposely avoids to do justice to, the public spirited cheerfulness with which we yielded up to their use, the treasures of our national industry, and encumbered ourselves with a monumental debt beneath the pressure of which this generation groans, and which it, must bequeath, as a lasting legacy, to its descendants. He forgets that we have covered the seas with squadrons, which have intercepted the resources of the common enemy, . and deferred the hour of public misery, while they afforded protection to those very neutral flags, which are now to be unfurled against us. Had the seas been left open to France, she would have exercised upon them her lust of rapine, murder, and.' tyranny, with no less violence than she has devastated the countries which her armies have subdued. He forgets, that in the midst of imminent domestic dangers, of the contention of rival parties of clandestine treasons, and undaunted seditions, that, with a mine so charged with combustible materials beneath our feet, we continued to wave the sacred banner of European independence, and to direct the energies and counsels of our country to the happiness and freedom of mankind. He forgets, that all this time, Russia stood at a distance from the scene of action, and looked with unfeeling indifference upon the fabrics that were breaking around her; while the rest of the confederates, instead of collecting their several powers into one united mass, were distracted by mutual jealousies, and animated by the most selfish principles. Lastly, he forgets, that when every other state had grounded its arms, in the vain hope of appeasing the wrath of the savage enemy, the spirit of England remained unbroken and invincible against the assaults of fear, hatred, and perfidy. Proof against the motives which led to the defection of so many communities from the noblest cause that ever inspired the souls of human kind, she maintained her proud position; and, while the vessel of every allied state was driving upon the breakers, she braved their tempestuous rage, and shone forth the Pharos of the civilized world.
From all these considerations, which impartial history will inscribe on the imperishable rolls of fame, it was natural to expect that Russia would have been the last power, upon the face of the earth, to accuse England of a dereliction of the public cause; more especially, as every wind that blows. from the continent, wafts to our country the shrieks and curses of her blood-stained ally, who is incessantly brooding over the downfall of British glory, as the preliminary to the slavery of inankind But now, weakness, selfishness, and the loss of honour, conjoined with the base turpitude of the ungrateful mind, conspire to detract from the reputation of the only people who have remained faithful to their king, to their country, and to its allies.
It does not behove us to pry into the inscrutable ways of Providence, which so often educes positive good out of multiplied apparent evils; but, pondering over all