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PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
The character of this gentleman is not fully developed. It is yet an enigma whether he is a traitor to his country, or the dupe of French politics,
Excepting the marauding expedition of his friend Buonaparte to Moscow, at the beginning of winter, we know nothing so unpríncipled or unwise as the war declared by James Madison on Great Britain, at the time when that step was taken.
So much has been said on the alleged grievances of America, that it would far exceed our bounds to enter into thať question; and it is sufficient to observe, that, for years, the complaint has changed its form; and that the only great cause of discontent was removed before any important hostilities took place.
America has been ill-treated by France again and again; in short, constantly, and on every occasion : yet she has never complained. But she has as constantly complained of England; and her grievances, though they changed like figures in a magic lantorn, yet they never ceased to assume the form of grievances in her laboured manifestoes, which were in fact nothing more than jesuitical memorials, to gloss over an improper line of conduct.
The right and wrong of the case, however, is not the most important part of the business. We have no right to judge for the President of the United States, in respect of what he was to do with other nations, but we know what was his duty towards
James Madison's duty was to do the best for the interests of America, and he could not be ignorant that peace was her interest, Never, since the world began, had any nation increased in wealth so fast as America, since the commencement of the disturbances in Europe, and she would have continued to do so had she preserved the peace with England, for there was no other
approach her shores. Peace with England was peace with the world, for no other nation could be brought into contact with her to carry on war.
Had Britain commenced the attack, the case wonld have been widely different; but it was begun with precipitation and impatience, and has been
carried on with an unusual degree of irritability by America.
Mr. Madison is president of a free republic, and he cannot be ignorant that Britain was fighting to defend the liberties of mankind, at the very moment that he made the attack on her; neither could he be blind to the ultimate consequences. Should Britain fall, his own America must fall likewise; he therefore risked those liberties it was his first duty to guard from every danger.
Mr. Madison knew that the wealth and population of America were rapidly on the increase, and that war must stop both, so far as they were derived either from the emigration from Europe, or the commerce with Europe; he therefore risked the future liberty, and sacrificed the present prosperity of the country both of which it was his first duty to
preserve, Perhaps Mr. Madison was made to believe that the West India Islands and Canada would be given up to the states, and that her internal industry would be greatly augmented by the shutting her ports against Great Britain. Perhaps the cry of, " Perish commerce," exploded in Europe, as contrary to all experience, and every wise principle, had obtained credit in America, and the agricultural system was
adopted, as the philosophers who murdered sa many of the French, and ruined the country, had done at the beginning of the revolution: or perhaps Buonaparte had promised to make Mr. Madison king of America!
Though all these are suppositions, yet that some one is, or that all of them are true, is without a doubt. Mr. Madison must have either thought to benefit his country or himself; and how could either be done but in some of those ways? It is therefore necessary to inquire into the ignorance of the man who would give credit to any of those promised advantages. That at some future day America may
obtain share of the West India Islands is not doubtful; but the day is not near; and all Europe is at present interested in preventing her from having any of them. If, then, Buonaparte had conquered all Europe, and of course Britain, could it be expected that he would not take all the islands to himself, in order that he might have ships, colonies, and commerce: As to Canada, that would be a small acquisition to America, but a very important one to France: therefore neither could that be expected.
If Mr. Madison wished to be king, he was neither
more nor less than a traitor to his country, and therefore neither more nor less is to be said about it, although a good deal may be thought on the subject*.
If Mr. Madison has only been led away by the idea that the loss of external commerce would be compensated by the internal industry, he is not so blameable. A president or ruler is obliged to be an honourable
and faithful to his country, to the best of his knowledgeat; but he is not bound to be
* If it was even being president for life, the matter was nearly the same; and indeed controuling the majority of his countrymen, and guiding the politics at the instigation of a French faction, which Mr. Madison certainly does, is not much better.
+ Even many well-informed inen were led into the belief, that commerce and manufactures were of little importance to a state, and that agriculture was almost every thing; but they were Europeans that fell into this errori and the wise Americans, who boast of excelling the Europeans in all sorts of knowledge, who pretend to be a superior people with regard to state policy, ought to have known that the chief difficulty America has to struggle with, interpally, is the preventing of agriculture from swallowing up all the capital and industry of the country; and that, till it ceases to offer such advantages, other sorts of industry cannot flourish. Men will cultivate their fields and live on the produce; but though they