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tions, I shall take leave to examine the great question we are called on to decide. I shall moreover fully and entirely agree with the honorable member near me in another point. He has, with the usual rapidity of his mind, seized the whole object. He tells us, and he tells us truly, that the island of Orleans and the two Floridas are essential to this country. They are joined, says he, by God, and sooner or later we must and will have them. In this clear and energetic statement I fully agree; and the greater part of what I have to say, will be but a commentary on the doctrines they have advanced, an elucidation of their positions, and the confirmation of that strong conclusion.

In order to bring this extensive subject within such bounds, as may enable us to take a distant view of its several parts, I shall consider, first, the existing state of things: secondly, the consequence to the United States of the possession of that country by France: thirdly, the consequence to other nations : fourthly, the importance of it to France herself: fifthly, its importance to the United States if possessed by them; and having thus examined the thing itself in its various relations, the way will be open to consider, sixthly, the effect of negociation; and then, seventhly, the consequences to be expected from taking immediate possession.

Before I consider the existing state of things, let me notice what gentlemen have said in relation to it. The honorable member from Kentucky has told us, that indeed there is a right arrested, but whether by authority or not, is equivocal. He says the representative of Spain verily believes it to be an unauthorized act. My honorable colleague informs us, there has been a clashing between the Governor and the Intendant. He says, we are told by the Spanish minister it was unauthorized. Notwithstanding these assurances, however, my honorable colleague has, it seems, some doubts; but, nevertheless, he presumes innocence; for my colleague is charitable. The honora

ble member from Maryland goes further; he tells us the minister of Spain says, the Intendant had no such authority; and the minister of France too, says there is no such authority. Sir, I have all possible respect for those gentlemen, and every proper confidence in what they may think proper to communicate. I believe the Spanish minister has the best imaginable disposition to preserve peace; being indeed the express purpose for which he was sent among us. I believe it to be an object near to his heart, and which has a strong hold upon his affections. I respect the warmth and benevolence of his feelings, but he must pardon me that I am deficient in courtly compliment; I am a republican, and cannot commit the interests of my country to the goodness of his heart.

What is the state of things? There has been a cession of the island of New Orleans and of Louisiana to France. Whether the Floridas have also been ceded is not yet certain. It has been said, as from authority, and I think it probable. Now, sir, let us note the time and the manner of this cession. It was at or immediately after the treaty of Luneville, at the first moment when France could take up a distant object of attention. But had Spain a right to make this cession without our consent ? Gentlemen have taken it for granted that she had. But I deny the position. No nation has a right to give to another a dangerous neighbor without her consent. This is not like the case of private citizens, for there, when a man is injured he can resort to the tribunals for redress; and yet, even there, to dispose of property to one, who is a bad neighbor, is always considered as an act of unkindness. But as between nations, who can redress themselves only by war, such transfer is in itself an aggression. He who renders me insecure, he who hazards my peace, and exposes me to imminent danger, commits an act of hostility against me, and gives me the rights consequent on that act. Suppose Great Britain should give to Algiers one of the Bahamas, and contribute thereby to establish a nest of pirates near your coasts, would you not consider it as an aggression ? Suppose, during the late war, you had conveyed to France a tract of land along the river Hudson and the northern route by the lakes into Canada, would not Britain have considered and treated it as an act of direct hostility? It is among the first limitations to the exercise of the rights of property, that we must so use our own as not to injure another; and it is under the immediate sense of this restriction that nations are bound to act toward each other.

But it is not this transfer alone : there are circumstances, both in the time and in the manner of it, which deserve attention. A gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. Wright,) has told you, that all treaties ought to be published and proclaimed for the information of other nations. I ask, was this a public treaty? No. Was official notice of it given to the government of this country? Was it announced to the President of the United States, in the usual forms of civility between nations who duly respect each other ? It was not. Let gentlemen contradict me if they can. They will say, perhaps, that it was the omission only of a vain and idle ceremony. Ignorance may, indeed, pretend, that such communication is an empty compliment, which, established without use, may be omitted without offence. But this is not so. If these be ceremonies, they are not vain, but of serious import and are founded on strong reason. He who means me well, acts without disguise. Had this transaction been intended fairly, it would have been told frankly. But it was secret because it was hostile. The first consul, in the moment of terminating his differences with you, sought the means of future influence and control. He found and secured a pivot for that immense lever, by which, with potent arm, he means to subvert your civil and political institutions. Thus, the beginning was made in deep hostility. Conceived in such principles, it presaged no good. Its bodings were evil, and evil have



been its fruits. We heard of it during the last session of Congress, but to this hour we have not heard of any formal and regular communication from those by whom it was made. Has the king of Spain-has the first consul of France, no means of making such communication to the President of the United States? Yes, sir, we have a minister in Spain; we have a minister in France. Nothing was easier, and yet nothing has been done. Our first magistrate has been treated with contempt; and through him our country has been insulted.

With that meck and peaceful spirit, now so strongly recommended, we submitted to this insult, and what followed ? That which might have been expected; a violation of our treaty—an open and direct violation by a public officer of the Spanish government. This is not the case cited from one of the books. It is not a wrong done by a private citizen; which might, for that reason, be of doubtful nature. No; it is by a public officer—that officer, in whose particular department it was to cause the faithful observance of the treaty which he has violated. We are told, indeed, that there was a clashing of opinion between the Governor and the Intendant. But what have we to do with their domestic broils? The injury is done, we feel it. Let the fault be whose it may, the suffering is ours. But, say gentlemen, the Spanish minister has interfered to correct this irregular procedure. Sir, if the Intendant was amenable to the minister, why did he not inform him of the step he was about to take, that the President of the United States might seasonably have been apprized of his intention, and given the proper notice to our fellow-citizens ? Why has he first learned this offensive act from those who suffer by it? Why is he thus held up to contempt and derision? If the Intendant is to be controlled by the minister, would he have taken a step so important without his advice? Common sense will say no. But, the bitter cup of humiliation was not yet full. Smarting under the lash of the Intendant, the

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minister soothes you with kind assurances, and sends advice boats to announce your forbearance. But while they are on their way, new injury and new insult are added. The Intendant, as if determined to try the extent of your meekness, forbids to your citizens all communication with those who inhabit the shores of the Mississippi. Though they should be starving, the Spaniard is made criminal who should give them food. Fortunately, the waters of the river are potable, or else we should be precluded from the common benefits of nature, the common bounty of heaven. What then, I ask, is the amount of this savage conduct ? Sir, it is war-open and direct war. And yet gentlemen recom

mend peace, and forbid us to take up the gauntlet of

, defiance. Will gentlemen sit here and shut their eyes to the state and condition of their country? I shall not reply to what has been said respecting depredations on commerce, but confine myself to objects, of which there can be no shadow of doubt. Here is a vast country given away, and not without danger to us. Has a nation a right to put these states in a dangerous situation ? No, sir. And yet it has been done, not only without our consent previous to the grant, but without observing the common forms of civility after it was made. Is that wonderful man, who presides over the destinies of France, ignorant or unmindful of these forms ? See what was done the other day. He directed his minister to communicate to the elector of Bavaria, his intended movements in Switzerland, and their object. He knew the elector had a right to expect that information, although the greater part of Swabia lies between his dominions and Switzerland. And this right is founded on the broad principles already mentioned.

As to the depredations on our commerce, they are numerous, and of great importance; but my honorable colleague has told us, our merchants are in a fair way of getting redress. I own, sir, I am surprised at this information, which is, I presume, a state secret, com

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