Sidebilder
PDF

“the United States, or by you, that could have given these pain“ful proceedings a different direction or issue than the one they “ have so unfortunately taken. The power to do mischief and “wrong, and often irremediable mischief and wrong, is in the “hands of the most insignificant and wicked of mankind. The torch of an incendiary may consume the most magnificent work of art; and the hand of an assassin may destroy a life of incalculable value; but it rests with the just and wise not to extend these evils beyond their own limits.--So the malice and avarice of such a being as the accuser in this case may involve great and friendly nations in difficult embarrassments, from which their own moderation and discretion only can extricate them; but which if received with irritation, or misunderstood, may “ lead to the most disastrous consequences.” or Notwithstanding the umbrage of Russia and the lowering aspect of Spain, we may well congratulate ourselves on the state of our foreign relations. The serenity of the political horizon cannot at any time be considered as fixed for a great country, but we are now so situated as to have little more to dread than passing clouds. Among the circumstances of the day which we may contemplate with particular satisfaction, is the appointment of a minister plenipotentiary of the kingdom of the Brazils near the United States. This is the first mission of the kind to us from an acknowledged, established government of our hemisphere. The importance of a friendly intelligence, or even close union, not merely with a view to commercial but to political interests, between all the independent powers of the American continent, will be better understood hereafter than at present, and cannot now escape the penetration of those who are aware of what must be, at no distant period, the dispositions of Europe as regards the whole. Under this point of view, as well as of its priority, the Brazilian mission forms an epoch. In another respect, too, we might so consider it:—I allude to the character of the gentleman, the Chevalier Jose Correa de Serra, whom the new monarch of the Brazils has selected as his representative. It is a choice of which both nations have reason to be proud. To say nothing more of him whom all unite in admiring and loving, it was not possible to select an individual of more heartfelt loyalty, or accomplished ability, and who, at the same time, so thoroughly understood, and so affectionately regarded this much misapprehended and much underrated country. The contrast between our domestic condition at this moment, and what it was during the war, is yet more striking and exhilarating than that of our foreign relations at the two periods. The worst of our domestic ills has nearly disappeared—“that species of party or faction which broke the locality of public affections and united descriptions of citizens more with strangers than with their countrymen of different opinions.”* The fever which threatened our vitals has gone off, or at least has so far intermitted, as to be no longer a subject of alarm. Party-divisions— necessary, and wholesome in a free state when of a certain character,-are approaching much nearer to that character. There may yet be hesitation in the majority as to some great points of national defence, and internal improvement, but there is a proneness to them in the developments of experience and maturation, which cannot be long resisted. I am almost confident of soon witnessing such a military and naval organization as circumstances require; the adoption of Mr. Calhoun's scheme of appropriation, or a still more liberal one, for internal improvement; a new expedition under the auspices of government for exploring the West, fitted to accomplish that which was impracticable with the imperfect equipment of the first under Lewis and Clarke: I do not despair of a broad, and elevated plan of diplomacy; nor even of a national university when congress shall be convinced, that the states and individual enterprize, with the aid of the Lancastrian system, have done, or are doing all that could be desired for the purpose of the universal initiation of the people in lettered knowledge; but that it alone can put us in the way of mastering the higher branches and penetrating the mysteries of science.

The prosperity of our finances strengthens, every hope of the kind just mentioned. The improvement of our situation in this respect is truly wonderful, and not, I think, to be ascribed merely to the operation of the peace. To the gentleman who has recently left the treasury, Mr. Dallas, we owe, in great part, its extrication from difficulties which staggered every resolution but his own, at one gloomy period. No tribute of acknowledgment can be too ample for his official courage and assiduity, the general wisdom of his management, the clearness, fullness, and rich theory of his official reports, which make of them the best existing digest of the principles and details of our financial system. If his scheme of a national bank were exceptionable, without him we should, probably, have had no such institution, the true remedy for a disordered currency. It is a remedy, however, the efficacy of which depends upon the policy which he has recommended in his last report. The banks have been wisely indulged as long as their interests were those of the nation, in the matter of suspension; but now that the question of specie payments, in the light which they themselves have put it by their selfish precautions, and in which it is placed by general circumstances, has become one between their convenience or particular loss, and a great national disadvantage and loss, continued forbearance on the part of Congress and the state governments, would be a breach of duty.

* Mr. Burke.

The peace has wrought already an admirable change in our general situation, and we may look to the accession of the President elect for a new era of a most auspicious character. He has had the full education at home and abroad, proper to the chief magistracy of these states; his nature does not admit of his setting the example or obeying the suggestions of party rancour; the lessons of experience and the warmth of his patriotism will raise him above all narrow partialities, and uni-lateral interests. If we can once lose sight of these in the administration of the federal system, and the distribution of public employments, we shall have accomplished almost everything for our security both from internal and external dangers. o

~~~~ *~~~~)-

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

“THE thirty-first day of March, 1814, a day,” says the Archbishop of Malines, in his Congress of Vienna, “ which will be memorable to eternity. Similar to the condition of a man relieved of a most oppressive load, Europe began to breathe.” America might well have been included in this remark; for we, too, had suffered from the Genius of evil, by whose overthrow this day is in some part hallowed. We had shared, if not largely in the distresses, in many of the solicitudes and fears, of Europe, and could appreciate, 'although we might not so directly feel, the importance of the revolution which it seemed to complete. In rejoicing at the downfal of Bonaparte—this “chief monster who has plagued the nations yet,” we were not insensible to the magnanimity of the victors, and were ready to join in the European chorus of admiration, at the generosity with which France was treated.* The allies proved by the

* “I had formed, from other information, the most favourable opinion of the virtues of the emperor Alexander. The magnanimity of his conduct in the first capture of Paris still magnified

Vol. I.

sequel, that the primary object of their union and military operations was to repossess the real dignity, religion, and morality of France

of the means of their natural in

fluence, and thus afforded an example of self-command, moderation, rectitude, and concord, unparalleled as well in the degree as in the circumstances. There was, indeed, a grand spectacle; a magnificent stage effect! a dénouement which appealed with equal force to the fancy and the heart. It is not, that we were over-sanguine with respect to the benefits of the change; that we supposed the millenium at hand; or, that the cabinets of Europe had acquired a fixed character of heroic forbearance and enlarged wisdom. But a death-blow appeared to be given to the hydraheaded anarchy of France, of which the spirit and convulsions were so

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« ForrigeFortsett »