Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

THE

POLITICAL CENSO R.

No. VI.

REMARKS ON THE BLUNDERBUSS.

THE moment the Gallic usurpers had murdered their sovereign, and, from the vilest walks in life, mounted into his seat, they assumed the tone of masters to the government of the United States. Their style has sometimes softened, it is true ; but the general tenor of it has regularly approached towards that loftiest note, that ne plus ultra of insolence, which it attained in Citizen Adet's last communications.

In offering my sentiments on these arrogant effusions of upstart tyranny, I feel an unusual degree of diffidence : a diffidence that does not arise from any

fear I entertain of the citizen or his factious adherents, or even of the terrible nation,to use his own words, of which he was lately the worthy representative, but from a consciousness of my inability to do justice to the subject. The keenést satire, were I master of it, would fall blunted from such hardened impudence, such pure unadulterated brass as it would here have to encounter. Terms of

P 2

reproach

reproach are not yet invented, capable of expressing the resentment that every man, who has the least respect for the government, ought to feel on this occasion.

Thus voluntarily to interfere in a correspondence between a foreign minister and the officers of state, might, under o her circumstances, appear rather a bold intrusion ; but, the citizen's having communicated his papers to the people, at the same time, if not before, they reached the secretary of state, happily precludes the necessity of an apology.

The notes on which I am about to remark, and to which, collected together, I have affixed the title of Diplomatic Blunderbuss, are intended chiefly to notify to the people of America, that the French rulers are angry with the Federal Government, and that, in consequence of this anger, they have ordered Citizen Adet to suspend his functions as minister, till the government shall alter its conduct, or, in the pedagogue style, mend its manners.

In the 44th page of the Blunderbuss, the citizen makes a recapitulation of the offences that have brought on us this dreadful chastisement, this political excommunication ; and it will not appear a little surprising, that some of them have existed ever since the birth of the French Republic, notwithstanding the love and esteem this outlandish lady has ever expressed towards her sister America.

These offences, amounting to seven in number, are as follows: 1. The Federal Gorernment put in question,

whether it should execute the treaties, or receive the agents of the rebel and proscribed

princes. 2. It made a proclamation of insidious neutra

lity. 3. By its chicaneries, it abandoned French privateers to its courts of justice.

4. It eluded the amicable mediation of the French

Republic for breaking the chains of the Ame

rican citizens in Algiers.
5. It allowed the French colonies to be declared

in a state of blockade, and allowed the citi-
zens of America to be interdicted the right of

trading to them.
6. It eluded all the advances made by the

French Republic for renewing the treaties of
commerce upon a more favourable footing to

both nations.
7. It anticipated Great Britain, by soliciting a

treaty, in which treaty it prostituted its neutraity; it sacrificed France to her enemies, or rather, looking upon her as obliterated from the chart [map] of the world, it forgot the services she had rendered it, and threw aside the duty of gratitude, as if ing atitude' was a governmental duty. These are the heinous crimes of which the Federal Government stands charged by the sultans of France. Let us now, if they will perinit us, examine these crinies, one by one, and see whether the President, and Messrs. Hamilton, Knox, Jay, Pickering and Wolcot, really deserve to be guil lotined, or not.

“ 1. The Federal Government put in question, " whether it should execute the treaties, or receive " the agents of the rebel and proscribed princes.

The Citizen has made a small mistake in drawing up this charge, owing, I suppose, to his ignorance of that excellent rule of the English language, which requires every thing to be called by its right name. I would have worded it thus: “ The Federal Government put in question, whe“ ther it should execute the treaties, made be“ tween America and the King of France, with

“ his

[ocr errors]

P 3

rebel subjects who had just murdered him, or re“ceive the agents of his lawful successors, the “ Princes whom those murderers had had the auda“ city to pretend to proscribe.”

With this trifling alteration, I am ready to admit the truth of the charge, but am very far from admitting it to be a crime. The King of France was murdered on the 21st of January, 1793. Information of this event could not be received here much before the 18th of April, and it was on that day the President submitted to his council, the questions of which the above charge forms the substance.

The treaties here spoken of, were made with Louis XVI. whose minister, at the time these questions were proposed for consideration, was resident at Philadelphia. The President knew, indeed, that the king was dead; but he, at the same time, knew that the treaties were binding on the United States in behalf of his lawful “ heirs and successors," and he certainly knew that Pétion, Danton, Roland, Clavière, Condorcet, Brissot, and the innumerable horde of bloody usurpers who have come after them, were not those " heirs and successors !" He also knew, that even the whole French nation, could not, in the sense of the treaties, become the " heirs and successors” of Louis XVI. and, though treaties, made with a monarch, may remain in force with the nation under a new form of government, yet this is, as most assuredly it ought to be, entirely at the option of the other contracting party. The American government had, therefore, an indisputed right to refuse to execute, in behalf of the French nation, treaties made with their sovereign alone. If we turn back a little, we shall find this

very audacious and unprincipled Convention, whose minister was coming to Philadelphia, publicly deliberating, “whether the treaties, made with the ty

" rant

[ocr errors]

old ones.

rant Louis, were binding on the regenerated na" tion, or not.” This question was determined in the negative, and accordingly the treaty with Holland was immediately violated. And yet they will not permit the poor government of America to debate about any such thing, nor even to talk of it in secret, though the result be in their own favour ! Let it be remembered too, that Genet came authorized to make new treaties, a pretty certain proof, that the Convention did not call in question the right of the government to refuse to adhere to the

It is a proof of more; it is a proof that they expected that it would make the refusal. Would to God their expectation had been realized !

I will not go so far as to say, that the Federal Government was fully justified in its decision on this important subject ; but I insist that its conduct evinced the utmost partiality for the new Republic. When Genet arrived here, it was far from being ascertained that the whole, or even a majority, of the French nation, approved of the murder of their sovereign, or had abandoned the cause of his suc

The government of America, had, but a few months before, beheld them raising their hands to heaven, and swearing to die, if necessary, in defence of their king. Their constitution, establishing an hereditary monarchy, had been voluntarily formed, and solemnly sanctioned by the whole nation, amidst festivals and Te Deums, and had been officially communicated to the world. Each member of the Assembly, as well as every individual Frenchman, had repeatedly sworn “to maintain “ this constitution with all his might.” Laws had been made, punishing with transportation all who refused to take the oath, and till then unheard-of cruelties had been exercised on the non-jurors. After all this, was it astonishing that the Federal Government should, for a moment, hesitate to be

lieve,

cessors.

P4

« ZurückWeiter »