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Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The

His dispositions continue good


The

affair of the Emperor and Dutch is settled, though not signed. The particulars have not yet transpired. That of the Bavarian exchange is dropped, and his views on Venice defeated. The alliance of Russia with Venice, to prevent his designs in that quarter, and that of the Hanoverian Elector with the King of Prussia and other members of the Germanic body, to prevent his acquisition of Bavaria, leave him in a solitary situation. In truth, he has lost much reputation by his late manoeuvres. He is a restless, ambitious character, aiming at every thing, persevering in nothing, taking up designs without calculating the force which will be opposed to him, and dropping them on the appearance of firm opposition. He has some just views and much activity. The only quarter in which the peace of Europe seems at present capable of being disturbed, is on that of the Porte. It is believed that the Emperor and Empress have schemes in contemplation for driving the Turks out of Europe. Were this with a view to re-establish the native Greeks in the sovereignty of their own country, I could wish them success, and to see driven from that delightful country, a set of barbarians, with whom an opposition to all science is an article of religion. The modern Greek is not yet so far departed from its ancient model, but that we might still hope to see the language of Homer and Demosthenes flow with purity from the lips of a free and ingenious people. But these powers have in object to divide the country between
themselves. This is only to substitute one set of barbarians for another, breaking, at the same time, the balance among the European powers. You have been told with truth, that the Emperor of Morocco has shown a disposition to enter into treaty with us: but not truly, that Congress has not attended to his advances, and thereby disgusted him. It is long since they took measures to meet his advances. But some unlucky incidents have delayed their effect. His dispositions continue good. As a proof of this, he has lately released freely, and clothed well, the crew of an American brig he took last winter; the only vessel ever taken from us by any of the States of Barbary. But what is the English of these good dispositions? Plainly this; he is ready to receive us into the number of his tributaries. What will be the amount of tribute, remains yet to be known, but it probably will not be as small as you may have conjectured. It will surely be more than a free people ought to pay to a power owning only four or five frigates, under twenty-two guns: he has not a port into which a larger vessel can enter. The Algerines possess fifteen or twenty frigates, from that size up to fifty guns. Disinclination on their part has lately broken off a treaty between Spain and them, whereon they were to have received a million of dollars, besides great presents in naval stores. What sum they intend we shall pay, I cannot say. Then follow Tunis and Tripoli. You will probably find the tribute to all these powers make such a proportion of the federal taxes, as that every man will feel them sensibly, when he pays those taxes. The question is whether their peace or war will be cheapest. But it is a question which should be addressed to our honor, as well as our avarice. Nor does it respect us as to these pirates only, but as to the nations of Europe. If we wish our commerce to be free and uninsuked, we must let these nations see that we have an energy which at present they disbelieve. The low opinion they entertain of our powers, cannot fail to involve us soon in a naval war.


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