's treaty in the streets, and clamored violently for alliance with revolutionary France
and war upon Tory England
, were, of course, anti-Federal; and their voices and votes helped to strengthen the Republican
opposition in Congress, and to swell the steadily-growing host that, in due time, ousted the Federalists from power, by electing Mr. Jefferson
to the Presidency.
But Mr. Jefferson
himself never shared in the blind passions by which he so largely profited.
An earnest and unchanging devotee of cheap, simple, and frugal government, he profoundly realized that wars were costly, and alliances perilous; and, while he hated the British Government
as embodying whatever was, at the same time, most pernicious to our country, and most seductive to her wealthy and commercial classes, he never, after our independence was achieved, was eager to tempt again the desperate chances, the certain devastations and enduring burdens, of war with Great Britain
Before the close of his Presidency,1
the popular feeling would have fully justified and sustained him in declaring war, but he wisely forbore; and it was only after the strong infusion of young blood into the councils of the Republican party, through the election of Messrs. Clay
, John Holmes
, etc., to Congress, that the hesitation of the cautious and philosophic Madison
was overborne by their impetuosity, and war actually proclaimed.
and his advisers definitively resolved on preserving a strict neutrality between revolutionary France
and the banded despots who assailed her, they did not entirely escape the imputation of ingratitude, if not positive bad faith.
Our country was deeply indebted to France
for the generous and vitally important assistance received from her in our Revolutionary struggle; and, although France
was not — as nations, like individuals, seldom are — entirely disinterested in rendering that assistance, the advantage accruing to and the obligation incurred by us were scarcely lessened by that consideration.
When barely two of our seven years arduous struggle had passed, Louis XVI.
decided to acknowledge our independence; and his minister soon after2
united with our envoys in a treaty of alliance, whereof the preponderance of benefits was very greatly on our side.
And among the stipulations of that treaty — a treaty whereby we profited too much in the general to be fastidious as to the particulars — was the following:
The two parties guarantee mutually, from the present time and forever, against all other powers, to wit: The United States, to his Most Christian Majesty, tile present possessions of the crown of France in America, as well as those which it may acquire by the future treaty of peace: And his Most Christian Majesty guarantees on his part to the United States their liberty, sovereignty, and independence, absolute and unlimited, as well in matters of government as commerce, and also their possessions, and the additions or conquests that their confederation may obtain during the war, from any of the dominions now or heretofore possessed by Great Britain in North America, conformably to the 5th and 6th articles above written, the whole as their possessions shall be fixed and assured to the said States, at the moment of the