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more convenient than further definite respites for two months, which would have required the issuing of new warrants every time that the term for a final decision concerning them should have been prolonged.
A letter from the mother of Ralph Clintock, respited till further order at Savannah, has been received by me, and is likewise among the papers herewith forwarded. Clintock is the person by whose disclosures the conduct of the collector of Savannah, and still more that of his brother, have been so deeply implicated.1 Colonel Freeman called a few days since to enquire if the confidential papers submitted by him could be returned to him. When you shall have come to a decision whether any, and if any, what measure is to be taken upon these indications, I request the return of the papers which you will recollect you took with you.
From the evidence on the trial it appeared that the instructions to the captain of the privateer in which Clintock sailed were, if they took any vessel other than Spanish, they should send her in with orders to the prize master to personate the original captain of the vessel in making the entry at the custom house. The Nordberg, a Danish vessel, was taken and the prize master did personate the Danish captain in making entry of her at Savannah. Clintock's story is that these instructions were in the handwriting of the brother of the collector at Savannah. These instructions were among the papers produced and filed in court upon the trial. But when searched for after Clintock's disclosures, they had disappeared from the files and were not to be found. I have, etc.2
1Archibald S. Bullock and James S. Bullock.
3 "The cases of piracy continue to accumulate. You will see in the newspapers one lately committed at the mouth of the Chesapeake, within the jurisdiction of the United States, by a vessel which had been several months refitting at Norfolk
TO HENRY MIDDLETON 1
Department of State,
WASHINGTON, 5 July, 1820.
The relations of the United States with the Russian empire and its government, and which in their several bearings will require your constant and earnest attention are: I, political; 2, commercial; 3, special, resulting from the reference by the United States and Great Britain to the Emperor Alexander, of the question between them upon the construction of the first article of the treaty of Ghent.
1. Political. The present political system of Europe is founded upon the overthrow of that which had grown out
under a spurious name and captain. And another, of a privateer called the General Rondeau, a Buenos Ayres commission, and a Baltimore captain. The case resembles that of the Irresistible, the crew took the vessel from their captain, and sent him off in an open boat, with all their officers except one, whom they killed. Thirty or forty of them have been taken up in various parts of the United States and are to be tried.
"In the instructions to Commodore Perry the articles in the privateering regulations of Buenos Ayres, which give rise to these atrocious acts, were pointed out, and he was directed to remonstrate against them. If these articles are not revoked, and the sham court at the island of Margarita is not set aside, no laws of ours will check this disorder till the imposter South American flags are totally excluded from our ports. By imposter flags I mean the vessels with South American commissions, Baltimore captains, and not a South American among their crews. I take the liberty of submitting to your consideration whether it will not be proper to instruct Mr. Prevost, Mr. Forbes, and Colonel Todd, to give formal notice to the government of Colombia, and of Buenos Ayres, that if they will not put an end to this crying scandal, it will be necessary to exclude all their private armed vessels from our ports." To the President, July 11, 1820. Ms.
1 Almost a month was required for the preparation of the instructions for Middleton, and the importance of the questions involved is discussed in the Memoirs, June 26-29, 1820. Only a portion of the instructions are now printed.
of the French Revolution, and has assumed its shape from the body of treaties concluded at Vienna in 1814 and '15, at Paris, towards the close of the same year 1815, and at Aix la Chapelle in the autumn of 1818. Its general character is that of a compact between the five principal European powers, Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, and Russia, for the preservation of universal peace. These powers having then just emerged victorious from a long, portentous and sanguinary struggle against the oppressive predominancy of one of them, under revolutionary sway, appear to have bent all their faculties to the substitution of a system which should preserve them from that evil; the preponderancy of one power by the subjugation, virtual if not nominal, of the rest. Whether they perceived in its full extent, considered in its true colors, or provided by judicious arrangements for the revolutionary temper of the weapons by which they had so long been assailed, and from which they had so severely suffered, is a question now in a course of solution. Their great anxiety appears to have been to guard themselves each against the other.
The League of Peace, so far as it was a covenant of organized governments, has proved effectual to its purposes by an experience of five years. Its only interruption has been in this hemisphere, though between nations strictly European, by the invasion of the Portuguese on the territory claimed by Spain, but already lost to her, on the eastern shore of the Rio de la Plata. This aggression too the European alliance have undertaken to control, and in connection with it they have formed projects, hitherto abortive, of interposing in the revolutionary struggle between Spain and her South American colonies.
As a compact between governments it is not improbable that the European alliance will last as long as some of the
states who are parties to it. The warlike passions and propensities of the present age find their principal aliment, not in the enmities between nation and nation, but in the internal dissensions between the component parts of all. The war is between nations and their rulers.
The Emperor Alexander may be considered as the principal patron and founder of the league of peace. His interest is the most unequivocal in support of it. His empire is the only party to the compact free from that internal fermentation which threatens the existence of all the rest. His territories are the most extensive, his military establishment the most stupendous, his country the most improvable and thriving of them all. He is, therefore, naturally the most Lobnoxious to the jealousy and fears of his associates, and his circumstances point his policy to a faithful adhesion to the general system, with a strong reprobation of those who would resort to special and partial alliances, from which any one member of the league should be excluded. This general tendency of his policy is corroborated by the mild and religious turn of his individual character. He finds a happy coincidence between the dictates of his conscience and the interest of his empire. And as from the very circumstance of his preponderancy partial alliances might be most easily contracted by him, from the natural resort of the weak for the succor to the strong, by discountenancing all such partial combinations, he has the appearance of discarding advantages entirely within his command, and reaps the glory of disinterestedness, while most efficaciously providing for his own security.
Such is accordingly the constant indication of the Russian policy since the peace of Paris in 1815. The neighbors of Russia, which have the most to dread from her overshadowing and encroaching powers are Persia, Turkey, Austria, and
Prussia, the two latter of which are members of the European and even of the Holy Alliance, while the two former are not only extra-European in their general policy, but of religions, which excluded them from ever becoming parties, if not from ever deriving benefit from that singular compact.
The political system of the United States is also essentially in extra-European. To stand in firm and cautious inde- deche pendence of all entanglement in the European system, has been a cardinal point of their policy under every administration of their government from the peace of 1783 to this day. If at the original adoption of their system there could have been any doubt of its justice or its wisdom, there can be none at this time. Every year's experience rivets it more deeply in the principles and opinions of the nation. Yet in proportion as the importance of the United States as one of the members of the general society of civilized nations increases in the eyes of the others, the difficulties of maintaining this system, and the temptations to depart from it increase and multiply with it. The Russian government has not only manifested an inclination that the United States should concur in the general principles of the European league, but a direct though inofficial application has been made by the present Russian minister here, that the United States should become formal parties to the Holy Alliance. It has been suggested as inducement to obtain their compliance, that this compact bound the parties to no specific engagement of any thing; that it was a pledge of mere principles; that its real as well as its professed purpose was merely the general preservation of peace, and it was intimated that if any question should arise between the United States and other governments of Europe, the Emperor Alexander, desirous of using his influence in their favor, would have a substantial motive and justification for interposing, if he could