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the claims of the States against the Union, &c. The Report was agreed to nem. con.
Sundry papers from the Illinois, complaining of the grievances of that country, which had arrived by a special express, were laid before Congress by the President, and committed.
Mr. MITCHELL, from Connecticut, observed that the papers from Virginia communicated yesterday were of a very serious nature; and showed that we were in danger of being precipitated into disputes with Spain, which ought to be avoided if possible; and moved that these papers might be referred to the Committee on the Illinois papers, which was done without opposition; Mr. King only observing, that they contained mere information, and did not in his view need any step to be taken on them.
The Virginia Delegates communicated to Mr. Guardoqui the proceedings of the Executive relative to Clark's seizure of Spanish property, at which he expressed much regret as a friend to the United States, though as a Spanish Minister he had little reason to dread the tendency of such outrages. The communication was followed by a free conversation on the Western territory and the Mississippi. The observations of the Delegates tended to impress him,-first, with the unfriendly temper which would be produced in the Western people, both against Spain and the United States, by a concerted occlusion of that river; secondly, with the probability of throwing them into the arms of Great Britain ; thirdly, of accelerating the population of that country, after the example of Vermont; fourthly, the danger of such numbers under British influence, as well to Spanish America as to the Atlantic States; fifthly, the universal opinion of right in the United States to the free use of the river; sixthly, the disappointment of the people of America at an attempt in Spain to make their condition worse, as citizens of an independent State, in amity and lately engaged in a common cause, than as subjects of a formidable and unfriendly power; seventhly, the inefficiency of an attempt in Congress to fulfil a treaty for shutting the Mississippi, and the folly of their entering into such a stipulation; eighthly, that it would be wise in Spain to foresee and provide for events that could not be controlled, rather than to make fruitless efforts to prevent or procrastinate them.
Mr. Guardoqui reiterated his assertion that Spain would never accede to the claim of the United States to navigate the river; secondly, urged that the result of what was said was, that Congress could enter into no treaty at all; thirdly, that the trade of Spain was of great importance, and would certainly be shut against the United States, -affecting to disregard the remark that, if Spain continued to use fish, flour, &c., her interest would restrain her from shutting her ports against the American competition; fourthly, he signified that he had observed the weakness of the Union, and foreseen its probable breach; that he lamented the danger of it, as he wished to see it preserved and strengthened, which was more than France* or any other nation in Europe did. No reply was made to this remark. The sincerity of his declaration as to his own wishes was not free from suspicion. Fifthly, he laid much stress on the service Spain had rendered the United States during the struggle for their independence, considering it as laying them under great obligations. The reality of the service was not denied, but he was reminded of the interest Spain had in dividing a power which had given the law to the House of Bourbon, and compelled Spain to relinquish, as he said, the exclusive use of the Mississippi. Sixthly, in answer to the remark, that Spain was for putting the United States on a worse footing than they stood on as British subjects, he not only mentioned the necessity which had dictated the Treaty of 1763, but contended that the recovery of West Florida made a distinction in the case. It was observed to him that, as the navigable channel of the Mississippi ran between the Island and the western shore, Spain had the same pretext for holding both shores when Florida was a British Colony, as since. He would neither accede to the inference nor deny the fact. Seventhly, he intimated, with a jocular air, the possibility of the Western people becoming Spanish subjects; and, with a serious one, that such an idea had been brought forward to the King of Spain by some person connected with the Western country, but that His Majesty's dignity and character could never countenance it. It was replied, that that consideration was no doubt a sufficient obstacle, but it was presumed, that such subjects would not be very convenient to Spain, It would be much more for the interest of Spain that they should be friendly neighbors than refractory subjects. It did not appear that he viewed the matter in a different light.
* From this it may be inferred that he does not regard France as favorable to the claims of Spain touching the Mississippi.
Eighthly, he disclaimed his having ever assented to, or approved of, any limited occlusion of the Mississippi, though in a manner that did not speak a real inflexibility on that point. Ninthly, it appeared clearly that the check to the Western settlements was a favorite object, and that the occlusion of the Mississippi was considered as having that tendency. Tenthly, the futility of many of his arguments and answers satisfied the Delegates that they could not appear convincing to himself, and that he was of course pursuing rather the ideas of his Court than
FRIDAY, MARCH 30TH.
Mr. Jay's report in favor of the admission of Phineas Bond as
as British Consul for the Middle States, was called for by Mr. CADWALADER. Mr. MADISON said, he was far from being satisfied of the propriety of the measure; he was a friend in general to a liberal policy, and admitted that the United States were more in the wrong in the violation of the Treaty of Peace than Great Britain; but still the latter was not blameless. He thought, however, the question turned on different considerations: first, the facility of the United States in granting privileges to Great Britain without a treaty of commerce, instead of begetting a disposition to conclude such a treaty, had been found, on trial, to be made a reason against it; secondly, the indignity of Great Britain in neglecting to send a public Minister to the United States, notwithstanding the lapse of time since Mr. Adams's arrival there, gave them no title to favors in that line; and self-respect seemed to require that the United States should at least proceed with distrust and reserve.
Mr. Grayson thought, as the Secretary had done, that it would be good policy to admit Mr. Bond, and that it could not be decently, and without offence, refused after the admission of Mr. Temple.
Mr. CLARK said, he was at first puzzled how to vote, as he did not like the admission proposed, on one hand; and, on the other, thought it not decent to refuse it after the admission of Mr. Temple. On reflecting, however, that Mr. Temple was admitted at a time when hopes were entertained of a commercial treaty, which had since vanished, and that the question might be postponed generally without being negatived, he should accede to the idea of doing nothing on the subject.
Mr. VARNUM animadverted on the obnoxious character of Mr. Bond, and conceived that alone a sufficient reason for not admitting him. The postponement was agreed to without any overt dissent except that of Mr. GRAYSON.
The Delegates from North Carolina communicated to Congress sundry papers conspiring with the other proofs of discontent in the Western country at the supposed surrender of the Mississippi, and of hostile machinations against the Spaniards.
It was ordered that they should be referred to the Secretary of Foreign Affairs for his information. It was then moved that the papers relative to the same subjects from Virginia, yesterday referred to a committee, should, after discharging the Committee, be