bad Bill Johnson
, the pirate of the St. Lawrence
Having proclaimed them belligerents she has given them a commission not simply to capture American property in American vessels, but to capture on the high seas American property on board of whatever vessel it may be found, and to carry the neutral vessel and cargo into a belligerent port for further examination.
She recognizes the right of the men who have robbed our treasury, betrayed our forts, and filched our navy-yards and arsenals, to establish prize courts to decide upon the lawfulness of captures made by their commissioned cruisers, and brought into court for adjudication, and the title to be given by Davis
's courts is to be held valid by the law of nations.
This is what the proclamation of neutrality really means.
This is the neutrality which England
has inaugurated and which France
has adopted; and those two great powers, who recently declared in the Congress
that privateering is and shall remain abolished — by royal and imperial proclamation have countersigned letters of marque for the destruction of American ships, and which threaten with spoliation the commerce of the world.
The aim and effect of the British
proclamation seem to us so clearly unfriendly and injurious, that it is hardly worth while to note the discourtesy of adopting such a policy and giving it a definite and irreversible shape in advance of the arrival of Mr. Adams
, without allowing us the opportunity to offer a word of explanation or remonstrance.
the 13th of May.
The next day the proclamation was printed in London
The United States
by their neutrality broke the back of the Canadian
rebellion, dashed the hopes cherished by the rebels of effective American sympathy, in good faith assisted the British
government in maintaining its authority, and restoring order, and thus materially diminished the cost of treasure and of life at which alone their subjection could have been accomplished.
The British government by their neutrality have made our task far more difficult, apart from the injury we may anticipate from the fleet of privateers whose letters are so respectably countersigned.
But we learn from this proclamation one lesson, that will be perhaps worth all that it shall cost us, we learn the treatment we may expect if we fail to maintain our national integrity and the honor of our flag.
If a mere supposition that the rebels of Montgomery
are likely to be successful, can in a moment dash from the memory of the English
government all recollection of past friendship, and induce her in our moment of trial to condescend to a course so different from that we had pursued towards her, what treatment may we not expect from her, and from every other European
cabinet, if we ourselves by our conduct admit that we are powerless at home?
How will we be treated abroad, if we yield to the threats of a fraction of our own population?
What will be our standing among nations if, consenting to separation, we lose nearly half of our territory, and two-thirds of our Atlantic seaboard, and descend to the position of a third-rate power?
Or what respect will be paid us, if to maintain our territory we compromise with rebellion?
If we yield at the cannon's mouth what the people have deliberately refused at the polls, if we teach the world by such an example that we may be bullied with success, and that when we resist on principle unreasonable demands, it is only necessary to humble our flag, and to threaten Washington
, to induce us ignominiously to submit?
Let us discard all reliance upon other help than that of God, a right cause, and a strong arm, and let us recognize the stubborn fact that “the government or nation that fails to protect itself against foes, whether foreign or domestic, deserves to perish ingloriously.”
Before leaving the question of England
's neutrality, I think we should distinguish between the hasty action of the British
cabinet and the deliberate conviction of the British
That the heart of that great nation is sound, and that as soon as they understand the motives and manner of this rebellion as you understand them, they will appreciate our position, approve our resolution, and wish us God speed in our great work of restoring the Federal Union to its integrity and its great original principles of freedom, I cannot, I will not doubt.
Already their cabinet has partially atoned for the first proclamation by an order that will prevent the privateers of Davis
from entering British ports, and both the government and the people must soon recognize the fact that we have the ability and the will to crush this rebellion and maintain our integrity, however long the struggle, however great the cost; and that we no more recognize the right of England
nor of Europe
to dictate to us in this matter, than England
would have recognized our right to interfere between her and Nana Sahib.
The material interests based on cotton must yield to the national and moral duties that to-day devolve upon the American
people, in determining, perhaps for untold ages, the destiny of the American
The English people will see that our resolve to crush the conspiracy for the establishment of a slave empire, is not based on any evanescent burst of enthusiasm, but on the most sober calculations of honor, duty, safety, and economy; and that it is the true interest of England
, her pecuniary, her political, and her moral interest, that the war should be as brief as possible, that the rebels may no longer be deluded into the belief that any true Englishman who understands the history and the object of their rebellion, can regard it with other feelings than