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nor to limit the discretion of the ex- Now the question is, whether the ecutive, beforehand, as to the man- president and senate,having created ner in which it shall perform its this mission, or, in other words, own appropriate constitutional du having appointed the ministers, in ties. And, those who hold these the exercise of their undoubted conopinions have the advantage of stitutional power, this house will being on the common highway of take upon itself the responsibility our national politics. We propose of defeating its objects, and rendernothing new; we suggest no change; ing this exercise of executive power we adhere to the uniform practice void ? of the government. It is for those, “By voting the salaries, in the orwho are in favor of either, or both, dinary way, we assume, as it seems of the propositions, to satisfy the to me, no responsibility whatever. house and the country, that there We merely empower another branch is something in the present occasion of the government to discharge its which calls for such an extraordina- own appropriate duties, in that ry and unprecedented interference. mode which seems to itself most

“ The president and senate have conducive to the public interests. instituted a public mission, for the We are, by so voting, no more repurpose of treating with foreign sponsible for the manner in which states. Such appointment is, a the negotiation shall be conducted, clear and unquestionable exercise than we are for the manner in of executive power. It is, indeed, which one of the heads of departless connected with the appropriate ment may discharge the duties of duties of this house, than almost any his office. other executive act ; because the “On the other hand, if we withoffice of a public minister is not hold the ordinary means, we do increated by any statute or law of cur a heavy responsibility. We inour own government. It exists terfere, to prevent the action of under the law of nations, and is the government, according to conrecognized as existing by our con- stitutional forms and provisions. stitution. The acts of congress, It ought constantly to be rememindeed, limit the salaries of public bered that our whole power, in the ministers ; but they do no more. case, is merely incidental. The Every thing else, in regard to the constitution vests the power of apappointment of public ministers, pointment in the president and setheir number, the time of their nate ; the law gives to the president appointment, and the negotiations even the power of fixing the contemplated in such appointments, amount of salary, within certain is matter for executive discretion. limits; and the only question, liere. is upon the appropriation. There " But the gentleman argues, that is no doubt that we have the power, in the present case, the president to break up the mission, by with has especially referred the matter holding the salaries; we have pow. to our opinion; that he requests er also to break up the court, by our advice. This appears a very withholding the salaries of the mistaken view of the subject ; but judges, or to break up the office of if our advice and opinion had thus president, by withholding the sala- been asked, it would not alter the ry provided for it by law. But, line of our duty. We cannot take, then, can we rightfully exercise this though it were offered, any share power? These officers do, indeed, in executive duty. The president already exist. They are public cannot properly ask, and we canministers. If they were to negoti- not properly give, our advice, as to ate a treaty, and the senate should the manner in which he shall disratify it, it would become a law of charge his duties. He cannot shift the land, whether we voted their the responsibility from himself; salaries or not.

and we cannot assume it. Such - The gentleman from Delaware a course, would confound all that says, that the source from which the is distinct in the constitutional asineasure springs, should have no in- signment of our respective funcAuence with us whatever. I do tions. It would break down all not comprehend this. This mea- known divisions of power, and put sure comes from the executive, and an end to all just responsibility. it is an appropriate exercise of “ But, sir, I see no evidence whatexecutive power. How is it, then, ever, that the president has asked that we are to consider it, as if it us to take this measure upon ourwere a legislative measure origina- selves, or to divide the responsiting with ourselves? In deciding bility of it with him. The senate whether we will enable the exe- having concurred in the mission, cutive to exercise his own du- the president has sent a message, ties, are we to consider whether requesting the appropriation, in the we should have exercised them in usual and common form. Another the same way ourselves ? And if message is sent, in answer to a call we differ in opinion with the presi- of the house, communicating the dent and senate, are we on that ac- correspondence, and setting forth count to refuse the ordinary means ? the objects of the mission. It is I think not ; unless we mean to say contended, that by this message he that we will exercise, ourselves, all asks our advice, or refers the subthe powers of the government. ject to our opinion. I do not so understand it. Our concurrence, of the other powers. This is not he says, by making the appropria- a general expression of opinion. tion, is subject to our free deter. It is a particular direction, or a mination. Doubtless it is so. If special instruction. Such a thing, we determine at all, we shall deter- sir, is wholly unprecedented. The mine freely : and the message does course of the house, hitherto, has no more than leave to ourselves to not been such. It has expressed decide how far we feel ourselves its opinions, when it deemed proper bound, either to support or to to express them at all, on great, thwart the executive department, leading questions, by resolution, in the exercise of its duties. There and in a general form. These is no message, no document, no general opinions, being thus made communication to us, which asks known, have doubtless always had, for our concurrence, otherwise than and such expressions of opinion as we shall manifest it by making doubtless always will have, their efthe appropriation.

fect. This is the practice of the “ Mr. Chairman : I will here take government. It is a salutary pracoccasion, in order to prevent mis- tice; but if we adopt a very differapprehension, to observe, that no ent practice, and undertake to pre.. one is more convinced than I am, scribe to our public ministers what that it is the right of this house, they shall discuss, and what they and often its duty, to express its shall not discuss, we take upon general opinion in regard to ques- ourselves that which, in my judg. tions of foreign policy. On those ment, does not at all belong to great subjects, for instance, which us. . form the leading topics in this dis- “ It is obvious to remark, Mr. cussion, it is not only the right of Chairman, that the senate have not the house to express its opinions, undertaken to give directions or but I think it its duty to do so, if instructions in this case. That it should think the executive to be body is closely connected with the pursuing a general course of policy president in executive measures. which the house itself will not ulti- Its consent to these very appointmately approve. But that is some- ments is made absolutely necessary thing entirely different from the by the constitution ; yet it has not present suggestion. Here it is seen fit, in this or any other case, proposed to decide, by our vote, to take upon itself the responsibility what shall be discussed by particu- of directing the mode in which the lar ministers, already appointed, negotiations should be conducted. when they shall meet the ministers “ For these reasons, Mr. Chair.

man, I am for giving no instruc- or duties of these United States, tions, advice, or directions, in the either as may regard European nacase. I prefer leaving it where, in tions, or between the several states my judgment, the constitution has of Mexico and South America.' left it—to executive discretion and “I need hardly repeat, that this executive responsibility.

amounts to a precise instruction. “But I think there are other ob- It prescribes to public ministers the jections to the amendment. There precise manner in which they are are parts of it which I could not to conduct a public negotiation ; a agree to, if it were proper to at- duty manifestly and exclusively betach any such condition to our vote. longing, in my judgment, to the As to all that part of the amend- executive, and not to us. ment, indeed, which asserts the “But if we possessed the power neutral policy of the United States, to give instructions, this instrucand the inexpediency of forming tion would not be proper to be alliances, no man assents to those given. Let us examine it. The sentiments more readily, or more ministers shall not discuss, consincerely, than myself. On these sider, or consult,' &c. points, we are all agreed. Such “Now, sir, in the first place, it is is our opinion; such, the president to be observed, that they are not assures us, in terms, is his opinion; only not to agree to any such measuch we know to be the opinion of sure, but they are not to discuss it. the country. If it be thought ne- If proposed to them, they are not cessary to affirm opinions which to give reasons for declining it. no one either denies or doubts, by Indeed they cannot reject it; they a resolution of the house, I shall can only say they are not authorcheerfully concur in it. But there ised to consider it. is one part of the proposed amend. “But again : they are to discuss ment to which I could not agree, no measure which may commit our in any form.

neutral rights or duties. To com“ That part of the amendment to mit, is somewhat indefinite. May which I now object, is, that which they not modify, nor in any degree requires, as a condition of the re- alter, our neutral rights and duties? solution before us, that the minis- If not, I hardly know whether a ters shall not be authorized to common treaty of commerce could discuss, consider, or consult upon be negotiated ; because all such any measure which shall commit treaties affect or modify, more or the present or future neutral rights less, the neutral rights or duties of the parties ; especially all such war to redress the evil, we may treaties as our habitual policy leads learn, that if our objections had us to form. .

been fairly and frankly stated, the “But, if this objection were re. step would not have been taken ? moved, still the instruction could Look, sir, to the very case of Cuba not properly be given. What im- —the most delicate, and vastly the portant or leading measure is there, most important point in all our foconnected with our foreign rela- reign relations. Do gentlemen tions, which can be adopted, with think they exhibit skill or statesout the possibility of committing manship, in laying such restraints us to the necessity of a hostile as they propose on our ministers, attitude ? Any assertion of our in regard to this subject, among plainest rights may, by possibility, others ? It has been made matter have that effect. The author of of complaint, that the executive the amendment seems to suppose has used, already, a more decisive that our pacific relations can never tone towards Mexico and Colombe changed, but by our own op- bia, in regard to their designs on tion. He seems not to be aware this island. Pray, sir, what tone that other states may compel us, in could be taken, under these indefence of our own rights, to mea- structions ? Not one word-not sures, which, in their ultimate ten- one single word could be said on dency, may commit our neutrality. the subject. If asked whether the Let me ask, if the ministers of United States would consent to the other powers, at Panama, should occupation of that island by those signify to our agents, that it was republics, or to its transfer by Spain in contemplation immediately to to a European power ; or whether take some measure which these we should resist such occupation, agents know to be hostile to our or such transfer, what could they policy, adverse to our rights, and say? That is a matter we cansuch as we could not submit to— not discuss, and cannot considershould they be left free to speak it would commit our neutral relathe sentiments of their government, tions—we are not at liberty to exto protest against the measure, and press the sentiments of our governto declare that the United States ment on the subject : we have nowould not see it carried into effect? thing at all to say. Is this what Or should they, as this amendment gentlemen wish, or what they proposes, be enjoined silence, let would recommend ? the measure proceed, and after “If sir, we give these instrucwards, when, perhaps, we go to tions, and they should be obeved.

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