With the acquisition of Louisiana, there grew up a powerful opposition to Jefferson in the North and East. The idea was disseminated that the purchase was only a scheme to strengthen the south and the southern democracy. Mr. Jefferson came almost to having a wholesome dose of his doctrine of State sovereignty exemplified. A convention of Federalists was called at Boston, in 1804, in which a proposition of secession was made. Fortunately, however, there was too much patriotism in the body for the proposition to carry, and the government was saved.
The peace of 1783 between the United States and Great Britain had been extorted by the necessities, rather than obtained by the good will of England. Though, by a formal treaty, the United States were declared free and independent, they were still hated in Great Britain as rebellious colonies. That such was the general opinion is manifest from the letters of John Adams, our first minister to the court of St. James, and from other authentic contemporary accounts. Of course there were a few men of sufficiently enlarged and comprehensive minds to forget the past and urge, even in parliament, that the trade of America would be more valuable as an ally than a dependent; but the number of these was small indeed. The common sentiment in England toward the young republic was one of scornful detestation. We were despised as provincials, we were hated as rebels. In the permanency of our institutions there was scarce a believer in all Britain. This was especially the case prior to the adoption of the federal constitution. Both in parliament and out, it was publicly boasted that the Union would soon fall to pieces, and that, finding their inability to govern themselves, the different States would, one by one, supplicate to be received back as colonies. This vain and empty expectation long lingered in the popular mind, and was not wholly eradicated until after the war of 1812.
Consequently the new republic was treated with arrogant contempt. One of the first acts of John Adams, as minister to England, had been to propose placing the navigation and trade between the dominions of Great Britain and the territories of the United States, on a basis of complete reciprocity. By acceding to such a measure England might have gained much and could have lost but little. The proposal was rejected almost with terms of insult, and Mr. Adams was sternly informed that a “no other would be entertained.” The consequences were that the free negroes of Jamaica, and others of the poorer inhabitants of the British West India Islands were reduced to starvation by being deprived of their usual supplies from the United States. This unreasonable policy on the part of England naturally exasperated the Americans, and one of the first acts of the federal government in 1789 was to adopt retaliatory