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war was courted by an administration who depend upon the people for their power, and are proud of that dependence; or that it will be carried on with a childish obstinacy, when it can be terminated with honor and with safety. You have, on the contrary, a thousand pledges that the government was averse to war, and will give you peace the instant peace is in its power. You know, moreover, that the enemy will not grant it as a boon, and that it must be wrung from his necessities. It comes to this, then; whom will you select as your champions to extort it from him? upon whom will you cast the charge of achieving it against him in the lists?'
Mr Wheaton's work contains other extracts from his correspondence, and some of his opinions and speeches, which, if they fail to interest the general reader, will give the work a place in the libraries of lawyers and political inquirers.
ART. VI.-The Diplomacy of the United States; being an Account of the Foreign Relations of the Country, from the First Treaty with France, in 1778, to the Treaty of Ghent, in 1814, with Great Britain. 8vo. pp. 379. Boston. Wells & Lilly. 1826.
THE establishment of a new empire in the western hemisphere, by the separation of the North American colonies from Great Britain, has been justly considered as 'constituting a new era in the political world. The events, whether political or military, which produced that extraordinary revolution, as well as those, which led to the formation of the institutions peculiar to this new republic, together with the influence, which this revolution and these institutions have had on the civilized world, are daily becoming more and more interesting objects of inquiry. No contribution, therefore, to the political or military history of this country can fail of a favorable reception from the American public. The political transactions of the United States, especially those concerning their connexions with foreign nations are much less known than those of a military character. Movements in the field, as well as their causes, are more easily ascertained and oftener become subjects of historical research, than those in the cabinet. In the latter, greater secrecy is often required,
and this secrecy sometimes continues, long after the occasion. for it has ceased.
Under the old system of government, Congress held their deliberations in secret, and very little of their foreign correspondence has yet been made public. No inconsiderable part of the foreign correspondence, under the new form of government, is now before the public; while the earlier correspondence between the United States and foreign nations still remains in the archives of the Secretary of State. In 1818, the national legislature ordered the journal of the general convention, together with the secret journal and foreign correspondence of Congress, from their first meeting, to the peace of 1783, to be published, under the direction of the President of the United States, with the exception of such parts of the foreign correspondence, as he might deem it improper to publish. By a second order, papers of a similar description, from 1783, to the commencement of the new government, were included. Under these orders, the journal of the convention, and the secret journals of Congress, have been published. The publication of the foreign correspondence has hitherto been delayed. The delicacy, as well as labor, of making a selection from such a voluminous mass of papers, may, perhaps, have been one of the causes of this delay. The publication of these important state papers, in connexion with the secret journals, would add greatly to the general stock of materials for American history, and would, no doubt, tend to increase the reputation of those American statesmen, who, during that period, were principally employed in foreign transactions. Many of them would probably be found of the same high character, with those state papers published by Congress, at the commencement of the Revolution, which Lord Chatham declared to equal any productions of the free states of antiquity.
"The Diplomacy of the United States,' a work which has been presented to the public during the present year, is, we believe, the first publication of the kind relating to America. It is confined to the diplomatic part of American history; and the author has judiciously availed himself of the various state papers which have been published, not only in this country, but in Europe. From these and other sources, he has drawn up a valuable summary of this important and interesting part of the history of the United States. The account of the negotiations of this country with each of the European nations is given by
itself, in a distinct chapter. The author commences the second chapter of his work with the following remarks.
"The means of intercourse, possessed by the confederation with foreign nations, were exceedingly limited; of the States in Europe, most able to assist them, they had known but little except as enemies. They had, in various wars, taken an active part with the mother country against France, and had powerfully, and very cheerfully, contributed to the conquest of the French possessions in North America. Indeed, one of the principal motives of the Convention at Albany, held in 1754, and consisting of commissioners from eight of the colonies, was to agree on a scheme of mutual protection against the encroachments of the French and Indians, at that time always allies. Their trade had also been constantly subject to the severities and restrictions of the colonial system; and at the period of the Revolution was confined to Great Britain, the West Indies, Africa, and Europe, south of Cape Finisterre. It is not, therefore, to be expected that they could look abroad with much confidence or hope of relief. The principal European states possessed colonies. America labored, on that account, under the peculiar disadvantage of seeking aid and encouragement from governments, whose policy it would always be, to resist the principles the confederation asserted. Revolutions were at that time not so common as they have since become. The act of the Americans was, with the exception of two very slight affairs of the Pretender in Great Britain, the only instance of rebellion, that had occurred among civilized nations in that century. The governments of Europe appeared, moreover, at this crisis, to be strong and prosperous. Monarchy was never, in appearance, more firmly estabÎished, or colonies of all descriptions, in more complete subjection.
'It is not likely that the American colonies, in the outset, expected assistance from abroad. The Revolutionary war, though events had been setting with a silent, but most unerring course, to that extremity since '66, was little anticipated in '74, the year of the first meeting of the Delegates in Philadelphia. This war finally broke out in a very unexpected manner, and spread with a rapidity equally astonishing. It is the first illustration, we have in history, of the effects of strong excitement on a people well educated and perfectly free.' pp. 17, 18.
The colonists did not apply to foreign alliances to assist them, in their struggle against the unconstitutional and arbitrary claims of their parent country, until the last hope of reconciliation had vanished. When their second humble petition to the king had been rejected with contempt; when, by a solemn act of Parlia
ment, they had been thrown out of the protection of the British government, when thousands of foreign mercenaries were engaged to force them to submission; then, and not till then, did they declare themselves independent, establish governments of their own, and seek foreign alliances.
They had, indeed, previously taken measures to sound some of the powers of Europe, on the subject of assistance, in case a separation from Great Britain should be ultimately found necessary. For this purpose a secret committee was appointed by Congress in November, 1775, consisting of Dr Franklin, Mr Harrison, Mr Johnson, Mr Dickinson, and Mr Jay. This committee were to correspond with their friends in Europe, and other parts of the world. They had their agents in Europe, among whom was Arthur Lee in London, and Mr Dumas in Holland. In March, 1776, this committee sent Silas Deane, a delegate in Congress from Connecticut, as a political and commercial agent to France, to solicit supplies of arms, ammunition, and clothing from the French court, or from whatever quarter they could be obtained. He was particularly instructed, to ascertain whether, if the colonies should be forced to form themselves into an independent state, France would probably acknowledge them as such, receive their ambassadors, enter into a treaty or alliance with them, for commerce, or defence, or both? If so, on what principal conditions?' The French government had anticipated that part of Mr Deane's mission relating to supplies, before his arrival in France. This is evident from a letter written by the French minister to the king, as early as May, 1776, which the author of the work now under notice has quoted at large. It shows the extreme caution and secrecy used by the French court, in furnishing the Americans with supplies, at that early period, and is here subjoined.
'Sir, I have the honor of laying at the feet of your Majesty the writing, authorizing me to furnish a million of livres for the service of the English colonies. I add, also, the plan of an answer I propose to make to the Sieur Beaumarchais. I solicit your approbation to the two propositions. The answer to Mr de Beaumarchais will not be written in my hand, nor even that of either the clerks or secretaries of my office. I shall employ for that purpose my son, whose handwriting cannot be known. He is only fifteen years old, but I can answer in the most positive manner for his discretion. As it is important that this operation should not be suspected, or at least imputed to the government, I entreat
your Majesty to allow me to direct the return of the Sieur Montaudoin to Paris. The apparent pretext for that proceeding will be, to obtain from him an account of his correspondence with the Americans, though, in reality, it will be for the purpose of employing him to transmit to them such funds as your Majesty chooses to appropriate to their benefit, directing him, at the same time, to take all necessary precaution, as if, indeed, the Sieur Montaudoin made the advance on their own account. On this head, I take the liberty of requesting the orders of Majesty. Having obtained them, I shall write to the Marquis de Grimaldi, inform him in detail of our proceedings, and request his co-operation, to the same extent.' pp. 19, 20.
This is one of those curious state papers, which the French revolution has brought to light; and to enable the reader to understand, why the answer to Beaumarchais was of so secret a nature, as to be entrusted in the handwriting of no one, but that of the son of the minister, it is necessary to state, that, previously to the date of this letter, Beaumarchais had been secretly sent to London, to inform Arthur Lee, that the French court had determined to assist the Americans, by sending them, as a present, the amount of two hundred thousand louisdors, in arms, ammunitions, and money; and to request Mr Lee to communicate this information to Congress, and say that the same would be transmitted through the French West India Islands, in the fictitious name of Hortales & Co. The answer here alluded to referred, no doubt, to this secret mission.
Beaumarchais soon after returned to Paris, and this million of livres was placed in his hands, for the benefit of the Americans. Soon after Mr Deane's arrival, he had several interviews with the French minister, or his secretary. The minister assured Mr Deane of his protection; and informed him that their ports should be open to the Americans, and that every facility would be given to the shipment of warlike stores. With respect to American independence, he told Mr Deane, it would be improper for him to say anything on that subject, until it had actually taken place. Soon after his first conference, Beaumarchais was introduced to Mr Deane, recommended by Vergennes, and offered to procure for him whatever he wanted. Some doubts being suggested to Mr Deane, whether Beaumarchais, who was not a merchant or a man of business, would be able to fulfil his engagements, he had a second conference with Vergennes, who assured him, that he might rely on whatever Beaumarchais