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or devise the same; and that neither they, nor of that State and of the south-western territory, their heirs or assigns shall, so far as may respect may be revived by the treaty; for although a the said lands, and the legal remedies incident law has psssed in that State to confiscate the thereto, be regarded as aliens. I am not a lands of all the British subjects who should be lawyer, and, in expressing an opinion, I mean absent on a certain day, yet the proprietary nothing more than to communicate my doubts, lands were not meant to be comprehended and ask for an explanation. There would be within that provision; the commissioners who no difficulty in finding the meaning of the were to sell the confiscated property, never disarticle, did it apply only to those British sub- posed of a single acre of the lands, which were jects, who have acquired lands under the laws granted by another law of the State as vacant of the States; but the former connection of and not as confiscated lands, without having this country with England, renders the subject been actually escheated to the State by an office difficult to be explained, even by men of legal being found or any other formality whatever; abilities; for its explanation must depend on the and they are even expressly distinguished from consequences of a principle unknown to the laws land to be confiscated by the very act passed for of England. The principle of the English law the purpose of confiscating. is, that no şubject can shake his allegiance, that
Mr. Gallatin here read the clause of the act is to say, that no man who was once a citizen, can become an alien. Yet, by the effect of the revo
he alluded to. lution, British subjects, who, before 1776, had a Supposing, however, every thing I have said right to hold lands in America, as part of the on this subject as very doubtful, it is not less British Empire, have become aliens in the true that this article, under an appearance of United States, and the effect of that alienage reciprocity, grants à positive advantage to upon their titles to such lands, and how far that Great Britain without any equivalent being effect is changed by the operation of the treaty, given—is, if not an infraction, at least a restricseem to me to be questions of a very nice tion over the legislative powers, and an excepnature. I will, however, beg leave to suggest tion to the laws of the different States on a what to me appears to be the effect of the subject of a delicate nature—may involve not treaty. So far as lands have been confiscated only soine of our citizens, but even several of by the laws of any State, and those laws carried the States in complex lawsuits and serious eminto effect, and so far as such lands having been barrassment, and although it may thus create considered as escheated, an office has been much mischief, can give us no possible benefit. found, and the escheat been completed, I con
Ι From the review I have taken of the treaty, ceive the treaty will create no alteration; but and the opinions I have expressed, it is hardly where the lands have not been confiscated, necessary for me to add, that I look upon the either because no laws had been passed for that instrument as highly injurious to the interests purpose, or because they had not been carried of the United States, and that I earnestly wish into effect before the treaty of 1783, and where it never had been made; but whether in its the legal formalities of finding an office, &c., present stage, the House ought to refuse to necessary to complete an escheat have been neg- carry it into effect, and what will be the probalected, it seems to me the treaty may operate ble consequences of a refusal, is a question in three ways. Firstly, it will prevent any which requires the most serious attention, and State from completing an escheat by finding an which I will now attempt to investigate. office, &c., when they have neglected doing it. Should the treaty be finally defeated, either Secondly, it will enable the British subjects to new negotiations will be more successful or sell or devise, and therefore to convert their life Great Britain will refuse to make a new arestate into a fee-simple for ever. And thirdly, rangement, and leave things in the situation in it will enable those subjects to institute suits in which they now are, or war will be the consecourts for the recovery of those lands, pro- quence. I wil, in the course of my observaviding them with a legal remedy, they had not tions, make some remarks on the last supposibefore, since their alienage would have been a tion. I do not think that the first will be very sufficient bar against bringing real actions. If probable at present, and I am of opinion that the treaty may be supposed to have that effect, under the present circumstances, and until some its tendency so far as relates, not to private change takes place in our own or in the relaestates, but to the former proprietary estates, tive political situation of the European nations, may prove vexatious and injurious to several of it is to be apprehended that in such a case, new the States. It will strengthen the proprietary negotiations will either be rejected or prove claims of the Penn family, not in Pennsylvania, unsuccessful. Such an event might have perbut in the State of Delaware. It may have haps followed a rejection of the treaty even by some effect on the decision of the Fairfax claim the Senate or by the President. After the nein Virginia, and even on such parts of the lands gotiator employed by the United States had of Maryland, which have been sold, although once affixed his signature it must have become formerly the property of the Baltimore family, very problematical, unless he had exceeded his as vacant lands and not confiscated lands. În powers, whether a refusal to sanction the conNorth Carolina, the proprietary claim of the tract he had made would not eventually defeat, Grandville family, which includes the best half at least for a time, the prospect of a new treaty. I conceive that the hopes of obtaining better | tended that those decisions cannot be considerconditions by a new negotiation are much lessed as legal impediments, yet it has been insisted in the present stage of the business than they by Great Britain that they are.
The two govwere when the treaty was in its inchoate formernments have come to issue on this point, as before the Executive; and in order to form a may be seen by recurring to the printed corjust idea of the consequences of a rejection at respondence of Mr. Jefferson. It is one of the present, I will contemplate them upon this sup- points to which the jurisdiction of the commisposition, which appears to me most probable, sioners must extend, since, on account of the to wit, that no new treaty will take place for a decisions of our courts, it is one of the cases certain period of time.
where compensation could not be obtained, and In mentioning my objections to the treaty has been refused by the ordinary course of juitself, I have already stated the advantages dicial proceedings; and for greater security the which in my opinion would result to the United commissioners are, by the treaty, empowered States from the non-existence of that instru- to take into their consideration all claims, whement; I will not repeat, but proceed at once ther of principal or interest, or balances of printo examine what losses may accrue that can be cipal or interest. These commissioners must set off against those advantages.
be considered less as judges than as political As I am not sensible that a single commer- agents, who will come with a determination to cial advantage has been obtained by the treaty, support the claims contended for by their reI cannot mention the loss of any, as a mischief spective nations. They will, therefore, disagree that may attend its rejection. if, however, the on the subject of war interest, and it will be East India article is supposed to be beneficial, left solely to the fifth commissioner, that is to it must, on the other hand, be conceded that say, to lot, to decide whether that interest shall we have enjoyed every benefit arising from it be paid by the United States or not. Eight for a number of years, without treaty, and con- years interest amounts to one-half of the whole sequently because it was the interest of the amount of debts due by America to Great BriEast India company that we should enjoy them, tain at the beginning of the war; for it must be and that it is not probable that circumstances remarked that this claim extends to all debts will so far change there during the short period whether good or bad, because it has been reto which this article is limited as to induce that fused on all, and can be recovered by the ordicompany to adopt a different policy towards us. nary course of judicial proceedings on none.
The indemnification to be obtained from What those debts amount to is very uncertain. Great Britain for spoliations on our trade, if I have seen a variety of calculations on this subconsidered as a national reparation for a nation-ject. If they are estimated as they have been al aggression, is certainly, as I have already by some, at five millions sterling, one-half of stated it, an important object gained by the them will amount to more than twelve millions treaty. But if it is to be viewed as a money of dollars; and when we take into consideratransaction, and its loss as a national loss of tion the amount of principal we shall have to money, it will be well to examine whether in pay, on the principles stated by a gentleman this point of view, viz. of money, we should from Virginia, Mr. Nicholas, his calculation of not be gainers on the whole by not carrying near fifteen millions of dollars in the whole, the treaty into effect. I have made no objec- will not seem exaggerated. But even taking tions to that article of the treaty which relates the amount of those debts at the lowest estito British debts. Whatever the amount may mate, the amount of war interest, and of the be, if it is just that we should pay them it must principal we shall have to pay, far exceeds the be just to pay that amount; but when we are amount which the most sanguine among us exexamining the situation in which we should be pected to recover from the government of Great if we had no treaty, when we are calculating Britain by virtue of the treaty, on account of the losses we are to experience by obtaining no the spoliations committed on our trade. compensation for our claims, it is right to con- The only positive loss, therefore, which in sider the amount of those claims, and to com- my opinion will arise from our having no treaty pare it with the probable amount of the claims is that of the western posts. I have already of the other party, and of the sums of money stated that, surrendered in the manner settled
which a non-execution of the treaty and a re- by the treaty, I conceive them to be of very in• fusal on the part of Great Britain to do us jus- significant value in a commercial point of view,
tice, to indemnify us for our own losses and to and of very little use, if any, as a security against enter into new negotiations, would justify us in the Indians; for it must be remembered that withholding. That subject has already under- our own laws, for the purpose of preserving gone a full discussion, and I will recall the at- peace with those tribes, have enacted under tention of the committee only to the demand severe penalties that our own citizens shall on of Great Britain for interest on the British no account whatever, cross over the boundary debts. It is well known that our courts have line between them and ourselves, although uniformly refused to allow to the British cred within the territory ceded to us by Great Briitors the interest which has accrued on their tain, unless they have special licenses from our demands during the late war, that is to say, government. It is therefore our own opinion during eight years. Although we have con- I that peace cannot be preserved with the In
dians if ever our own citizens have a free and advantages that will arise from union of sentiuncontrolled intercourse with them. And yet ments, however injurious and unequal I conit is a positive condition of the treaty that the ceive the treaty to be, however repugnant it British traders settled at Detroit and in the may be to my feelings, and perhaps to my preother posts—men who from habit are attached judices, I feel induced to vote for it, and will to Great Britain, and inimical to the United not give my assent to any proposition which States: who have given repeated proofs of that will imply its rejection. But the conduct of enmity: who possess an unbounded influence Great Britain since the treaty was signed, the amongst the Indians, and have been the chief impressment of our seamen and their uninterpromoters of the Indian war—that these men rupted spoliations on our trade, especially by may remain there as British subjects, and that seizing our vessels laden with provisions, a prothey and all other British subjects may have ceeding which they may perhaps justify by one the privilege for ever to pass over that line, of the articles of the treaty, are such circumwhich we have forbidden our citizens to cross, stances as may induce us to pause awhile, in and may continue to carry on with the Indians order to examine whether it is proper, immediliving within our territory, a free trade and ately and without having obtained any explancommerce uncontrolled by our laws and by ation thereon, to adopt the resolution on the those regulations which we have imposed, or table, and to pass, at present, all the laws necesmay impose on our citizens; in other words, sary to carry the treaty into effect. we have agreed that these men may preserve The eighteenth article of the treaty, the protheir baneful influence over the Indians, and vision article, as it is called, has already been their allegiance to Great Britain; and we may fully investigated by a gentleman from Virginia, therefore expect that influence to be exerted Mr. Nicholas, and I have been astonished that which suits the interest and will be in conform those gentlemen who have spoken in favor of ity to the directions of their sovereign. I must, the treaty have given no direct answer to his therefore, repeat that as I think that at any remarks on that point. The second clause of time since 1789 we might have had the posts that article declares that “whenever provisions, without these conditions, provided we had then becoming contraband according to the existing agreed, as we have by the late treaty, to make laws of nations, shall for that reason be seized; a compensation for the British debts, I had the same shall not be confiscated, but the ownmuch rather that we could again be placed in ers indemnified." This clause of the article the situation in which we were two years ago ; does not contemplate provisions or other artiand I will not hesitate to declare that in my cles not generally contraband, when attempted opinion our claim to the posts and the chance to be carried to a besieged place; for the third we had to obtain them by negotiation, in the clause of the same article provides for the last year 1793, was better than their possession up- mentioned case, and declares, “that a vessel on the terms of the treaty. But as the question thus laden and sailing for a besieged place shall now is not what would be best to be done if not be detained, nor her cargo, if not contrano treaty had been made; as the negotiator has band, confiscated, unless after notice she shall put us in a worse situation than we were before again attempt to enter;" which implies, that in that treaty; as the subject of the present exam- case of notice thus given, provisions may be ination is the consequences that will follow if confiscated, whilst the provisions contemplated no treaty at all is made; and as one of those in the second clause are not to be confiscated. consequences will undoubtedly be a further de- It is, therefore, admitted by that article, that tention of the posts, and less hope to obtain there are cases other than that of provisions and them in future, I will certainly agree that it is other articles not generally contraband, carried better to have them, even encumbered with to a beseiged place, in which those provisions these conditions, than not to have them at all. and articles may be regarded as contraband. It For although they may not be of an immediate is admitting a principle unknown to the laws advantage, either as a commercial object or as of nations, infringing our neutrality, destructive giving security against the Indians, their posses- of our trade, and liable to every misconstruction. sion will enable us to prevent a further exten- The British have shown what they meant by sion of the British settlements within our ter- provisions becoming contraband according to ritory and by forming settlements of our own, the existing laws of nations, when they have to acquire by degrees sufficient strength in that taken our vessels laden with provisions, and quarter to have nothing to fear either from the given us an indemnification, of ten per centum. British or from the Indians.
So immediately connected is that proceeding of The further detention of the posts, the nation the British with this article, that even the genal stain that will result from receiving no repa- tleman from Connecticut, Mr. Hillhouse, could ration for the spoliations on our trade, and the not separate them in his own mind; and when uncertainty of a final adjustment of our differ- speaking of the indemnification we are to obences with Great Britain, are the three evils tain in such cases, as are contemplated by the which strike me as resulting from a rejection of article, he repeatedly called it “ten per centhe treaty; and when to those considerations Itum;" thinking only of the compensation, given add that of the present situation of this country, by the British in the case before mentioned, as of the agitation of the public mind, and of the one contemplated in the article, since the words
ten per centum are not to be found in the clause still held over us, is in my opinion a dereliction itself. It is not, however, material at present of national interest, of national honor, of nato decide whether a fair construction of the ar- tional independence. ticle justifies the conduct of the British or not. But it is said, that war must be the conseThe fact is uncontroverted; they still continue quence of our delaying to carry the treaty into to impress our seamen and to capture our ves- effect. Do the gentlemen mean, that if we re sels. "If they pretend to justify this conduct by ject the treaty, if we do not accept the repara the treaty, it becomes necessary to obtain an tion there given to us, in order to obtain redress, explanation of the doubtful articles; if there is we have no alternative left but war? If we nothing in the treaty to justify it, their acts are must go to war in order to obtain reparation for acts of hostility and an infraction of the treaty; insults and spoliations on our trade, we must do and, even according to the doctrine of those it, even if we carry the present treaty into gentlemen who think that in common cases the effect; for this treaty gives us no reparation for House has no discretion, the treaty once broken the aggressions committed since it was ratified, by one party is no longer binding on the other; has not produced a discontinuance of those acts and it is the right as well as the duty of this of hostility, and gives us no curity that they House not to proceed to pass the laws necessary shall be discontinued. But the arguments of to carry it into effect, until satisfactory assur- those gentlemen, who suppose that America ances are obtained that these arts shall cease, must go to war, apply to a final rejection of the and until Great Britain has evinced a friendly treaty, and not to a delay. I do not propose to disposition towards us.
refuse the reparation offered by the treaty, and Whatever evils may follow a rejection of the to put up with the aggressions committed; I treaty, they will not attend a postponement. have agreed, that that reparation, such as it is, To suspend our proceedings will not throw us is a valuable article of the treaty; I have mto a situation which will require new negotia- agreed, that, under the present circumstances, tions, new arrangements on the points already a greater evil will follow a total rejection of, settled and well understood by both parties. than an acquiescence in the treaty. The only It will be merely a delay, until an explanation measure, which has been mentioned, in preferof the late conduct of the British towards us ence of the one now under discussion, is a susmay be obtained, or until that conduct may be pension, a postponement whilst the present altered. If, on the contrary, we consent to car- spoliations continue, in hopes to obtain for ry the treaty into effect, under the present cir- them a similar reparation, and assurances that cumstances, what will be our situation in future? they shall cease. It is by committing the most wanton and the But is it meant to insinuate that it is the final most unprovoked aggressions on our trade; it intention of those, who pretend to wish only is by seizing a large amount of our property as for a postponement, to involve this country in a pledge for our good behavior, that Great Bri- a war? There has been no period during the tain has forced the nation into the present present European war, at which it would not treaty. If by threatening new hostilities, or have been equally weak and wicked to adopt rather by continuing her aggressions, even after such measures, as must involve America in the the treaty is made, she can force us also to carry contest, unless forced into it for the sake of it into effect, our acquiescence will be tanta- self-defence; but, at this time, to think of it mount to a declaration that we mean to submit would fall but little short of madness. The in proportion to the insults that are offered to whole American nation would rise in opposition us; and this disposition being once known, what to the idea ; and it might at least have been resecurity have we against new insults, new ag- collected, that war cannot be declared, except gressions, new spoliations, which probably will by Congress, and that two of the branches of lay the foundation of some additional demands government are sufficient to check the other in on the part of the aggressor, and of some addi- any supposed attempt of this kind. tional sacrifices on ours? It has been said, and If there is no necessity imposed upon America said with truth, that to put up with the indig- to go to war, if there is no apprehension she nities we have received without obtaining any will, by her own conduct, involve herself in reparation, which will probably be the effect one, the danger must arise from Great Britain, of defeating the treaty, is highly dishonorable and the threat is, that she will make war to the nation. In my opinion it is still more so against us if we do not comply. Gentlemen not only tamely to submit to a continuation of first tell us that we have made the best possible these national insults, but while they thus con- bargain with that nation; that she has conceded tinue uninterrupted, to carry into effect the in- every thing, without receiving a single iota in strument we have consented to accept as a re- return, and yet they would persuade us, that paration for former ones. When the general she will make war against us in order to forco conduct of Great Britain towards us from the us to accept that contract so advantageous to beginning of the present war is considered; us, and so injurious to herself. It will not be when the means by which she has produced contended, that a delay, until an amicable exthe treaty are reflected on, a final compliance planation is obtained, could afford even a preon our part while she still persists in that con- tence to Great Britain for going to war; and we duct, whilst the chastening rod of that nation is all know that her own interest would prevent her. If another campaign takes place, it is ac- States, from one end of the continent to the knowledged, that all her efforts are to be other, are strongly attached to their constiexerted against the West Indies. She has tution; they would restrain and punish the prodaimed her own scarcity of provisions at excesses of any party, of any set of men in home, and she must depend on our supplies to government, who would be guilty of the atsupport her armament. It depends upon us to tempt; and on them I will rest as a full secudefeat her whole scheme, and this is a sufficient rity against every endeavor to destroy our pledge against open hostility, if the European union, our constitution, or our government. war continues. If peace takes place, there will But although I am not afraid of a dissolution, not be even the appearance of danger; the I feel how highly desirable is a more general moment when a nation is happy enough to union of sentiment; I feel the importance of an emerge from one of the most expensive, bloody agreement of opinion between the different and dangerous wars in which she ever has been branches of government, and even between the involved, will be the last she would choose to members of the same branch. I would sacriplunge afresh into a similar calamity.
fice much to obtain that object; it has been one But to the cry of war, the alarmists do not of the most urging motives with me to be in fail to add that of confusion; and they have favor, not of a rejection, but only of a suspendeclared, even on this floor, that if the resolu- sion, of a delay. But even, as a matter of tion is not adopted, government will be dis- opinion, it is difficult to say, which mode of solved. Government dissolved in case a post- proceeding in this House, will best accord with ponement takes place! The idea is too absurd the general sentiments of the people. So far to deserve a direct answer. But I will ask as relates to the petitions before us, the number those gentlemen, by whom government is to be of signatures against the treaty, exceeds, at the dissolved ? Certainly not by those who may moment I am speaking, the number of those in vote against the resolution; for although they favor of the treaty. Amongst the last, some are not perhaps fortunate enough to have ob- have come from one part of the Union, where, tained the confidence of the gentlemen who it seems, both from the expressions in the petivoted against them, still it must be agreed, that tion itself, and from the proceedings there, that those who succeed in their wishes, who defeat a great inducement in the petitioners to sign, a measure they dislike, will not wish to destroy was a wish to carry the treaty with Spain into that government, which they hold so far in effect, as they appear to suppose that its fate detheir hands as to be able to carry their own pends upon that of the British Treaty. How measures. For them to dissolve government, they would act upon the British treaty alone, would be to dissolve their own power. By and unconnected with the other, I do not whom, then, I again ask, is the government to know, nor have I any evidence which enables me be dissolved? The gentlemen must answer to form an opinion thereon. All I know is, that by themselves--or they must declare, that they until the Spanish treaty was made, they were mean nothing but to alarm. Is it really the lan- perfectly silent on the subject of the other treaty, guage of those men, who profess to be, who and never expressed an opinion upon it alone. distinguish themselves by the self-assumed ap- True it is, that an alarm, which has produced pellation of friends to order, that if they do not a combination, has lately taken place amongst succeed in all their measures, they will overset the merchants of this and some other seaports. government—and have all' their professions What effect it will have, and how successful been only a veil to hide their love of power, they will eventually be, in spreading this alarm a pretence to cover their ambition? Do they amongst the people at large, I cannot tell; but mean, that the first event, which shall pnt an there are circumstances accompanying their peend to their own authority, shall be the last act tition, which, in my opinion, much diminish of government? As to myself, I do not believe the weight they otherwise might have had. that they have such intentions; I have too good. They have undoubtedly a right to petition an opinion of their patriotism to allow myself upon every public measure where they think to admit such an idea a single moment; but I themselves interested, and their petitions dethink myself justifiable in entertaining a be- serve equal regard with those of their fellowlief, that some amongst them, in order to carry citizens throughout the United States. But, on a favorite, and what they think to be an advan- this occasion, in order to create an alarm, in tageous measure, mean to spread an alarm order to induce the people to join them, in which they do not feel; and I have no doubt, order to force the House to pass the laws relathat many have contracted such a habit of tive to the treaty, they have formed a dangercarrying every measure of government as they ous combination, and affected to cease insuring please, that they really think that every thing vessels, purchasing produce, and transacting any must be thrown into confusion, the moment business. A gentleman from New York, Mr. they are thwarted in a matter of importance. I Williams, has been so much alarmed himself
, hope that experience will in future cure their that he has predicted a fall in the price of every fears. But, at all events, be the wishes and in- kind of produce, and seems indeed to have tentions of the members of this House what supposed that the clamors of a few individuals they may, it is not in their power to dissolve here, would either put an end to, or satisfy the the government. The people of the United wants of those nations, wbich depend on us for