« AnteriorContinuar »
foster commerce. Their invariable object in trade, is to acquire sudden wealth by large profit; and if that cannot be done, they abandon the pursuit for some new project. Certain of the market, and certain of the encreasing supply, they will prescribe the price, both to those who cultivate, and to those who consume. Such will be the effect in peace. In a war with England, the attention of her fleets to cut off supplies from her enemies, must necessarily affect the price of produce in a still greater degree ; and in a war with France it will bear no price at all, until New Orleans shall be wrested from their grasp. Add to this the danger and the devastation from the troops of that country, aided by innumerable hosts of savages from the western wilds. Such being the evident effects to be produced in times not far remote, the present evil follows from the anticipation of them. The price of land must be reduced from the certainty that its produce will become less valuable. The flood of emigration to those fertile regions must cease to flow. The debts incurred in the hope of advantageous sales, must remain unpaid. The distress of the debtor, must then recoil on his creditor, and, from the common relations of society, become general.
What will be the effect on the southern states? Georgia, Carolina, and the Mississippi Territory are exposed to invasion from the Floridas and New Orleans. There are circumstances in that portion of America which render the invasion easy, and the defence difficult. Pensacola, though the climate be warm, is among the healthiest spots on earth. Not only a large garrison, but an army may remain there without hazard. At Pensacola and St. Augustine, forces may be assembled to operate in that season of the year, when the morasses which separate them from our southern frontier no longer breathe pestilence. By what are those armies to be opposed ? Will you call the militia from the north to assist their southern brethren? They are too remote. Will you to secure their seasonable aid, bring them early to the fields they are ordered to defend ? They must perish. The climate more fatal than the sword, will destroy them before they see their foe. The country adjoining to our southern frontier is now in possession of the most numerous tribes of savages we are acquainted with. The access to it from New Orleans and the Floridas is easy and immediate. The toys and gewgaws manufactured in France, will be scattered in abundance, to win their affections, and seduce them from their present connection. The talents of the French to gain the good will of the savages is and opinions, with sentiments and views so different, it will be a large and languishing body without a soul.
To the eastern states, when separately considered, this may appear a matter of less moment than to the other great divisions of our country. But they will perceive in it the loss of their navigation ; they will see the theatre of their industrious exertions contracted ; they will feel the loss of the productions of that western world in the mass of their commercial operations; and above all, they will feel the loss of an ample resource for their children. These western regions are peculiarly their heritage. It is the property of the fathers of America which they hold in trust for their children. The exuberant population of the eastern states flows in a steady stream to the western world, and if that be rendered useless, or pass under the dominion of a foreign power, the fairest hope of posterity is destroyed. The time may come, and I fear it will come, when those who cross the mountains will cross the line of jurisdiction. Whether we consider, there- , fore, this object in its relations to our general policy, or examine its bearings on the greater divisions of our country, we find ample reason to agree with the gentleman near me, that New Orleans and the Floridas must not be separated from the United States.
Let us now consider the consequence of the cession we complain of to other nations, and this we may do generally, and then more especially as to those who have a direct and immediate interest in the transaction. In a general view, the first prominant feature is the Colossal power of France. Dangerous to Europe and to the world, what will be the effect of a great increase of that power! Look at Europe. One half of it is blotted from the list of empire. Austria, Russia, Prussia, and Britain are the only powers remaining, except Sweden and Deninark, and they are paralized. Where is Italy, Switzerland, Flanders, and all Germany west of the Rhine? Gone, swallowed up in the empire of the Gauls. Holland, Spain, Portugal, reduced to a state of submission and dependence.... What is the situation of the powers that remain ? Austria is cut off from Italy, the great object of her ambition for more than three centuries; long the rival of France, long balancing with the Bourbons the fate of Europe, she must now submit, and tacitly acknowlege to the world the superiority of her foe, and her own humiliation. Prussia, under the auspices of the great Frederick, was at the head of a Germanic league to balance the imperial power. Though united with Austria for
a moment in the hollow league of the coalition, she has, like Austria, been actuated by a blind jealousy, and favouring the operations of France for the ruin of her rival, expected to share largely in the general spoil. In this fond hope she is disappointed ; she now sees the power of France at her door. There is not a fortress from the Rhine to the Baltic, except Magdebourgh, which the First Consul may leave on his left. The fertile plains near Leipsic contain the magazines for his armies when he shall think proper to march to Berlin, Westphalia and lower Saxony are open, on the side of Flanders and Holland. The Maine presents him a military road to the borders of Bohemia. By the Necker he approaches Ulm, and establishes himself on the Danube. These rivers enable him to take the vast resources of his wide domain to the point where he may wish to employ them. Menacing at pleasure his neighbors, he is himself secured by a line of fortresses along his whole frontier. Switzerland, which was the only feeble point of his defence, and which separated his Gallic and Italian dominions, has lately been subjected. The voice you now hear warned the Swiss of their fate more than eight years ago. The idea seemed then extravagant; but realized, it appears but as a necessary incident. Russia is deprived of her influence in Germany, and thereby of a principal instrument by which her policy might operate on the great powers of the south. The Germanic body is indeed in the hand of the First Consul. Three new electors along the Rhine are under the mouths of his cannon. They dare not speak.... Speak! None dare speak..., They dare not think any thing inconsistent with his wishes. Even at their courtly feasts they sit like Damocles, destruction suspended over their heads by a single hair. Would you know the sentiment of Eng. land ? Look at the debates. In the two houses of parliament they speak their fears. Such being the general sentiment of . Europe, can it be supposed that they will view without anxiety a new extension of that power and dominion, the object of their hatred and apprehension.
Will it be said that there is a security to the freedom of mankind from the moderation with which this enormous power is to be exercised ? Vain delusion! This power is not the result of accident. At the moment when France dethroned her sovereign, it was easy to foresee that a contest must ensue in which her existence would be staked against the empire of the world. If not conquered by surrounding princes (and the hope of such conquest unless by the aid of her own citizens
was idle) her numerous armies acquiring discipline must eventually conquer. She had the advantages of situation, and those which result from union, opposed to councils uncertain and selfish. It was easy also to foresee that, in the same progress of events, some fortunate soldier would seat himself on the vacant throne : for the idea of a French republic was always a ridiculous chimera. Bonaparte has placed himself at the head of that nation by deeds which cast a lustre on his name. In his splendid career he must proceed. When he ceases to act he will cease to reign. Whenever in any plan he fails, that moment he falls. He is condemned to magnificence. To him are forbidden the harmonies and the charities of social life. He commands a noble and gallant nation passionately fond of glory. That nation stimulates him to glorious enterprize, and because they are generous and brave, they ensure his success. Thus the same principle presents at once the object and the means. Impelled by imperious circumstances, he rules in Europe, and he will rule here also, unless by vigorous exertion you set a bound to his power.
Having cast thus a rapid glance on the general state of Europe, it remains to look particularly at the condition of England and Spain, so far as they may be affected by the çession of those provinces to France. England 'will see in it an increase of commerce and naval force for her rival. She will see imminent danger to her islands, and particularly to Jamaica. The climate of Pensacola has already been noticed. The position is of incalculable moment. During the sickly and hurricane season, fleets and armies may wait there in safety till their enemy shall be enfeebled and unprotected. Where will the British fleets and armies be stationed with equal advantage? If they ask an 'asylum in your ports, you must refuse ; for should you listen to any such proposition your kindness would be considered as a hostile aggression. The influence of France on the United States (which has already been noticed) will give double weight to her representations. And this very influence is among the effects which Britain must deprecate. I have not time to dwell on this subject, nor many others as fully as I ought. The condition of Spain is not less worthy of notice. No two nations on earth have more rooted hatred for each other than France and Spain. There are none more different in essential points of character... United, however, under sovereigns of the same family, these antipathies were wearing away. But the fatal stroke which destroyed the French monarch has severed that band. Force