Слике страница

declared and supported as the true policy of England; and that even if the United States were to take part in the war; and Spain is expressly notified that she cannot and must not expect aid from England.

"In arguing therefore for the advantage of a strict neutrality, we must enter an early protest agains awy imputations of hostility to the causc of genuine freedom, or of any passion fr drspotism and the Inquisition. We are no more the panegyr. ists of legitimate authority in all times, circumstances, and situations, than we are advocates for revolution in the abstract,” &c. “But it has been plausibly asserted, that by abstaining from interference in the affairs of South America, we are surrendering to the United States all the advantages which might be secured to ourselves from this revolution ; th it we are assisting to increase the trade and power of a nation which alone can ever be the maritime rival of England. It appears to us ex. tremely doubtful whether any advantage, commercial or political, can be lost to England by a neutral conduct; it must be observed that the United States themselves have given every public proof of their intention to pursue the same line of policy. But admitting that this conduct is nothing more than a decent pretext ; or admitting still farther, that they will afford to the Independents direct and open assistance,

our view of the case would remain precisely the same,” &c. vere in force, unaided, is to miscalculate her (Spain's) own resources, even to infatuation. To expect the aid of an ally in such a cause would, if that ally, were England, be to suppose this country as forgetful of its own past history as of its im. mediate interests and duties. Far better would it be for Spain, instead of calling for our aid, to profit by our experience; and to substitute, ere it be too late, for efforts like those by which the North American colonies were lost to this country, the conciliatory measures by which they might have been retained.”

[ocr errors]

To perse

In the case of the struggle between Spain and her colonies, England, for once at least, has manifested a degree of wisdom highly deserving our imitation, but unfortunately the very reverse of her course has been pursued by us.

She has so conducted, by operating upon the hopes of the two parties, as to keep on the best terms with both to enjoy all the advantages of the rich commerce of both. We have, by a neutrality bill containing unprecedented features; and still more by a late executive measure, to say the least of it, of doubtful constitutional character, contrived to dissatisfy both parties. We have the confidence neither of Spain nor the colonies.

It remains for me to defend the proposition which I meant to submit, from an objection which I have heard intimated that it interferes with the duties assigned to the executive branch. On this subject I feel the greatest solicitude ; for no man more than myself respects the preservation of the independence of the several departments of government, in the constitutional orbits which are prescribed to them. It is my favorite maxim, that each, acting within its proper sphere, should move with its constitutional independence, and under its constitutional responsibility, without influence from any other. I am perfectly aware that the constitution of the United States, and I ad

mit the proposition in its broadest sense, confides to the executive the reception and the deputation of ministers. But, in relation to the latter operation, Congress has concurrent will, in the power of providing for the payment of their salaries. The instrument nowhere says or implies that the executive act of sending a minister to a foreign country shall precede the legislative act which provides for the payment of his salary. And, in point of fact, our statutory code is full of examples of legislative action prior to executive action, both in relation to the deputation of agents abroad, and to the subject matter of treaties. Perhaps the act of sending a minister abroad, and the act of providing for the allowance of his salary, ought to be simultaneous; but if, in the order of precedence, there be more reason on the one side than on the other, I think it is in favor of the priority of the legislative act, as the safer depository of power. When a minister is sent abroad, although the legislature may be disposed to think his mission useless—although, if previously consulted, they would have said they would not consent to pay such a minister, the duty is delicate and painful to refuse to pay the salary promised to him whom the executive has even unnecessarily sent abroad. I can illustrate my idea by the existing missions to Sweden and to the Netherlands. I have no hesitation in saying, that if we had not ministers of the first grade there, and if the legislature were asked, prior to sending them, whether it would consent to pay ministers of that grade, I would not, and I believe Congress would not, consent to pay them.

If it be urged that, by avowing our willingness, in a legislative act, to pay a minister not yet sent, and whom the President may think it improper to send abroad, we operate upon the President by all the force of our opinion; it may be retorted that when we are called upon to pay any minister, sent under similar circumstances, we are operated upon by all the force of the President's opinion. The true theory of our government at least supposes that each of the two departments, acting on its proper constitutional responsibility, will decide according to its best judgment, under all the circumstances of the case.

If we make the previous appropriation, we act upon our constitutional responsibility, and the President afterwards will proceed upon his. And so if he makes the previous appointment. We have the right, after a minister is sent abroad, and we are


upon to pay him, and we ought to deliberate upon the propriety of his mis. sion-we may and ought to grant or withhold his salary. If this

power of deliberation is conceded subsequently to the deputation of the minister, it must exist prior to that deputation. Whenever we deliberate, we deliberate under our constitutional responsibility Pass the amendment I propose, and it will be passed under that responsibility. Then the President, when he deliberates on the propriety of the mission, will act under his constitutional responsibility. Each branch of government, moving in its proper sphere, will act with as much freedom from the influence of the other as is practically attainable.

There is great reason, from the peculiar character of the American government, for a perfect understanding between the legislative and executive branches, in relation to the acknowledgment of a new power. Everywhere else the power of declaring war resides with the executive. Here it is deposited with the legislature. If, contrary to my opinion, there be even a risk that the acknowledgment of a new state may lead to war, it is advisable that the step should not be taken without a previous knowledge of the will of the warmaking branch. I am disposed to give to the President all the confidence which he must derive from the unequivocal expression of our will. This expression I know may be given in the form of an abstract resolution, declaratory of that will; but I prefer at this time proposing an act of practical legislation. And if I have been so fortunate as to communicate to the committee, in any thing like that degree of strength in which I entertain them, the convictions that the cause of the patriots is just—that the character of the war, as waged by Spain, should induce us to wish them success; that we have a great interest in that success; that this interest, as well as our neutral attitude, require us to acknowledge any established government in Spanish America ; that the United Provinces of the River Plate is such a government; that we may safely acknowledge its independence, without danger of war from Spain, from the allies, or from England; and that, without unconstitutional interference with the executive power, with peculiar fitness, we may express, in an act of appropriation, our sentiments, leaving him to the exercise of a just and responsible discretion, I hope the committee will adopt the proposition which I have now the honor of presenting to them, after a respectful tender of my acknowledgments for their attention and kindness, during, I fear, the tedious period I have been so unprofita

ble trespassing upon their patience. I offer the following amendment to the bill :

“For one year's salary, and an outfit to a minister to the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, the salary to commence, and the outfit to be paid, whenever the President shall deem it expedient to send a minister to the said United Provinces, a sum not exceeding eighteen thousand dollars."



[In the year 1814, General Jackson, then in command of the South Western Military D strict of the United States, then expecting an invasion from a formida. ble British force, was aroused by the arrival of a small British force at Pensacola, which was received as friends and allies by the Spanish commander of that post, and the British commander thence issued a Proclamation threatening hostile movements against our government, and inviting the Louisianians to rally around the British standard. It was also a subject of complaint on our part, that the Creek and Seminole Indians engaged in ferocious hostilities against us were sheltered, if not protected in Florida, and that its authorities lacked the power, if not the will to restrain them. Impelled by these provocations, General Jackson, without authority from our government, marched his army into Florida, then the possession of a nation at peace with us, took Pensacola, hung two Indian traders, and committed many acts of great temerity and harshness, not to say cruelty. These high-handed proceedings came under review in Congress in 1819, upon resolutions of censure on General Jackson for exceeding his authority and for tyranny, when Mr. Clay addressed the House as follows:]

MR. CHAIRMAN :-In rising to address you, sir, on the very interesting subject which now engages the attention of Congress, I must be allowed to say, that all inferences drawn from the course which it will be my painful duty to take in this discussion, of unfriendliness either to the chief magistrate of the country, or to the illustrious military chieftain whose operations are under investigation, will be wholly unfounded. Towards that distinguished captain, who shed 80 much glory on our country, whose renown constitutes so great a portion of its moral property, I never had, I never can have


other feelings than those of the most profound respect, and of the utmost kindness. With him my acquaintance is very limited, but, so far as it has extended, it has been of the most amicable kind. I know the motives which have been, and which will again be attributed to me, in regard to the other exalted personage alluded to. They have been

« ПретходнаНастави »