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of different places, and thereby rendering the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of life more easy to be obtained and more general, shall be allowed to pass free and unmolested; and neither of the contracting powers shall grant any commission to any private armed vessels, empowering them to take or destroy such trading vessels, or interrupt their commerce.

What is the glory of an Alexander or a Napoleon, compared with that of having signed such a treaty ?

It would be worthy of the governments of two such nations as the United States and Great Britain, to establish a similar provision, by treaty, between themselves, and thus strike at the root of all their present differences, and fix their relations for ever upon the basis of peace. In so doing, they would conform to the humane notions of the present age; and the example of the two greatest maritime powers would serve to settle the principle, as a rule of national law. And I take the liberty of asking, who would lose by it? If our commerce suffers more in time of war, than that of Great Britain, from national ships, our privateers are, in turn, more active and successful than hers; and the rates of insurance prove, that the loss of the two parties is not very unequal. The practice is, therefore, in substance, a war by the two governments upon


commerce of their own citizens and subjects. Is a practice of this sort consistent with the spirit of the times, or of the governments of America and England? And if a proposition were made to the British government, in the name of common humanity and the general good, to abolish the usage, could they refuse to listen to it and to give it their assent ?

Such considerations, I am aware, have not been heretofore much employed in international negotiations, and to the shame of their rulers be it spoken. But the British government itself has of late given a remarkable example of a different sort; and has urged for a length of time, and with great earnestness, upon other governments the adoption of an important political measure—the abolition of the slave trade-solely on grounds of common humanity, and without the prospect of any immediate advantage to either party. This subject has been, in particular, repeatedly and pointedly pressed upon the government of the United States. If now the American government should, in its turn, press upon that of England the propriety of abolishing the practice of plundering private property at sea in time of war, on the ground of humanity and consistency, I confess I am unable to see how the British government could object to the use of such argu

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ments, or could reply to them in any other way,

, than by refuting them ; that is, by proving that the practice in question is not injurious to the merchants, and inconsistent with the contrary one, of respecting private property on land—a course of argument, which could not be attempted. Should they take so false a view of their own interest, as to suppose that the practice was immediately profitable to Great Britain, it would be easy to reply, that the slave trade was also very lucrative to Spain and Portugal, and the other nations, upon which they have urged the abolition of it. But, in reality, it is obvious, as I have observed before, that the practice of respecting private property at sea would be not only consistent and humane, but highly advantageous to the whole industrious part of both nations, whose interest must be supposed to be the same with that of the government; and it is on this ground, as well as on the other, that it might be pressed with great force and advantage.

The British government would have the less pretext for refusing to listen to arguments, founded in common humanity and the general good, inasmuch as they have pushed the use of them in this matter of the slave trade beyond the point of discretion, in particular, as regards the United States. It is well known, that the United States took the lead

of Great Britain in abolishing this traffic; and have shewn ever since, even up to the present day, a still more determined hostility to it, in their enactments upon the subject. Their last law, which subjects the crews of vessels engaged in it to the penalties of piracy, goes farther than any, that has yet been passed by the British parliament. As we have thus uniformly outstripped the British in devising means to check this odious commerce, it would have been natural, that they should at least do as much at home as we had done, before they began to stimulate us to do more. But without waiting for this, they are constantly and anxiously pressing upon us, simply on grounds of common humanity, to make fresh efforts, notwithstanding that we have already done so much more than they. The mode in which they do this is not less contrary to common international usage, than the thing itself. Looking behind our public acts, and perceiving, or thinking they perceive, that they are occasionally evaded, (as, in the nature of things, they must be,) they make it their principal object to urge upon us to put in execution our own laws. Such cxtraordinary indiscretion would admit of no excuse, were it not for the intrinsic excellence of the cause, which covers and justifies every thing. In order to realize the better the true character of such interference, let

us suppose that another nation, as, for example, the United States, should venture upon it with the British government, should point out to them British laws that are not enforced, and should press upon them for years the necessity of enforcing them, offering at the same time the armed force of the United States to assist in this object. Would such applications be received by the British cabinet in a friendly spirit? The practice of impressment, as is well known, is in direct opposition to the whole spirit of British jurisprudence, and to various special statutes. Magna Charta declares, that no British subject shall be deprived of his liberty, except by a verdict of his peers and the law of the land, which cannot mean an arbitrary order of the government, because the provision was expressly intended to prevent such orders. In like manner, the Habeas Corpus act provides, that every man, in any way deprived of his liberty, shall be brought before a magistrate within twenty four hours, and released, if there are no charges against him. As it is no crime to be a seaman, the enforcement of this regulation would defeat the practice of impressment in every instance. Or, reasoning from analogy, if a general warrant to search houses has been declared illegal, how much more so must be a general warrant to seize and imprison persons. Of the illegality of

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