Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

H. of R.]
Foreign Intercourse.

[MARCH, 1798. they will mould and fashion both the legislation na promised to establish its authenticity so clearly and administration, according to the true import that all the arguments of the worthy member from and meaning of that most excellent Constitution Pennsylvania (Mr. Gallatin) should fall to the which they have framed and adopted by mutual ground and be of no weight. But, sir, how was consent, and for mutual benefit, and which they this promise complied with? Why, we were told still admire and revere as the only sure palladium that the Ministers having been appointed, and their of their dearest rights, liberties, and privileges. salaries fixed, it would be as unconstitutional to

Mr. CLAIBORNE (of Tennessee) rose to offer a lessen them as it would be to diminish the comfew remarks upon the question under debate, but pensation of a federal Judge And shall this asmore particularly to reply to some observations sertion alone induce the committee to embrace an which had fallen from the gentleman from South opinion that will not stand the test of the smallCarolina (Mr. HARPER.) And, notwithstanding est inquiry. We all know, said he, that the Conthe exhausted state of the patience of the com- stitution prohibits the diminution of a Judge's mittee, since it was his intention to occupy their salary during his continuance in office; but as to time but a little while, he hoped to be favored the compensation of Ministers, it was silent; with their kind indulgence and attention. hence the inference is fairly deducible that it is

Some weeks ago, early in the investigation of left to Congress to fix, heighten, or lessen that the present subject, he had expressed an opinion compensation at their discretion. But it is unnefavorable to the proposed amendment, and he had cessary to dwell longer on this point. The arguheard no reason to authorize a change of that ments of the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. opinion.

Gallatin) appear to me conclusive, and remain It was true that the opposition had been violent unanswered. and uniform ; that the most splendid eloquence But we are told, adopt the amendment and our had been called forth to defeat the amendment; Ministers will retire. "This event would give to and gentlemen, abandoning a plain system of rea- him no regret-not that he disliked the characters soning which might tend to convince the mind, employed--they were all honorable men, and their had vied with each other in exhibiting talents for return to America would be a valuable acquisideclamation, and, indulging themselves in the vi- tion. But Mr. C. was opposed to this diplomatic sionary fields of fancy, had brought to the view policy; he feared it would draw closer our foreign of the committee a number of imaginary evils, connexions, and extend our foreign political interwell calculated to alarm timid men, and to com- course, which, in his opinion, foreboded much municate uneasiness to the people.

evil to our common country. Thus we found that, while the gentleman from France, says the gentleman from South CaroNew York (Mr. Williams) feared the success of lina, commenced her intrigues in America at the the amendment, lest it might overthrow the Gov- organization of the present Government, and he ernment and destroy the Union, the gentlemen would add, that England began her career about from South Carolina (Mr. HARPER) wished its the same period. France, we were told, had rejection, lest it should be accompanied with all acquired a powerful party in America, and that the horrors of anarchy, and throw us completely even within the walls of this House she had her into the arms of France.

votaries, whose zeal for her cause induced them Mr. C. begged leave to call the attention of the to lose sight of the interest of their own country. committee to the amendment itself, and he would If this was the fact it was unknown to him; bút ask whether such dangers could be rationally ap- he would say, there was some ground to fear that prehended from its adoption ? The simple ques- there were men in the United States so much tion was, whether all our foreign Ministers should attached to the interest and policy of England as receive equal salaries with those residing at Lon to be willing to entwine the fate of America with don, Paris, and Madrid. Is there not strong rea- the destinies of that tottering and corrupted monson for a discrimination ? Have we not been told archy. For his part, he disclaimed and despised that the Courts of France, Spain, and England all foreign influence, and the great wish of his are the most expensive in Europe, and that in heart was to see it exiled from our country; the Portugal and Prussia Ministers can move with first step towards it was, to reduce our diplomatic dignity, and live in affluence and case, on much establishment, and, by degrees, to do it away altosmaller salaries than those residing among the gether. first mentioned Powers? Has this information But, says the gentleman from South Carolina, been denied, or has an attempt been made to con- Ministers are the guardians of our commerce; fute it ?

without them Consuls would be of no use, since But, say gentlemen, we have not a Constitu- they are unknown to the Courts of Europe. I tional right to adopt the amendment; that the believe, said Mr. C., this statement is not strictly office of Minister is created at the will of the accurate. The foreign Consuls in America, before President, and we are bound to appropriate. To they acted in their offices, produced their credenavoid an unnecessary discussion, he would con- tials to our Executive, and were acknowledged. cede this point. But did it follow that a Minis- He believed a similar usage prevailed among other ter having been created, and his salary fixed, it nations. The Consul General from France was could not be lessened during his continuance in well known in the United States, and it appears office? Yet this doctrine was maintained by some that our Consul General is known to the French members, and the gentleman from South Caroli- Directory, and if my information be true, that

four years

March, 1798.]
Foreign Intercourse.

[H, OF R. gentleman has rendered our commercial interests he acquits the friends of the amendment of the considerable service.

motive, declares that their doctrine would overIt had been asked, Where was the necessity of throw the Government and introduce tyranny. having a Minister at Berlin ? and the member from What is this dangerous doctrine, so much dreaded, South Carolina has given us the answer. He so pregnant with evil?. It is only this: we claim tells us " that the present Prussian monarch is a share in the care of the public purse; we see an young, enterprising, warlike, ambitious, and just impropriety in giving to all our foreign Ministers grasping the most brilliant sceptre in Europe; equal salaries, and some members are of opinion, that he held the balance of power in his hands; of which number I am one, that an extensive that he held it with a treasury replenished by foreign political intercourse is inimical to the

of

peace, and with three hundred thou- interests of America. And can such doctrine sand of the finest troops in Europe." All this lead to the destruction of the Government, supmight be true, and it might further be conceded, ported as it is by the strongest bulwark-the hearts that these troops would, the first opportunity, re of the people Ž It is impossible! A doctrine, trieve the disgrace which the sans-culottes of too, which flows from the Constitution, and conFrance had ought upon them. But all this fides to the Representatives of the people a power proved not the propriety of America's forming a to limit the disbursement at the Treasury Departconnexion with him. She had nothing to fear, ment; a power that is safely committed, since, either from his power or ambition, unless she from the great responsibility attached to the Recourts his favor.

presentatives, no abuse can be apprehended. This Let this monarch preside at the Congress of doctrine never could endanger the Government. Radstadt; let him prove the pacificator of Eu

The committee were told by the worthy memrope, and put an end to a war which has so much ber from South Carolina, that political

, like relithinned the ranks of mankind; but for myself, I gious fanaticism, is equally destructive to the hapwould wish him to lose sight of the interest of piness of the people, and he cautioned gentlemen America. The friendship of Kings too often against the adoption of the present amendment. proves the bane of Republics. He said he was And had that the appearance of fanaticism? Cernot well versed in history, but he would ask the tainly not. Why, then, were such observations learned member from South Carolina if number- heard? Are they made to alarm the citizens, and less instances did not present theniselves to his to excite their suspicions against the gentlemen mind, where the friendship of Kings ultimately who support the amendment ? proved the ruin of Republics?

France, says the gentleman, affords an awful In tracing the historic page of ancient times, it example of the danger of fanaticism. There, a will be found that some of the little Grecian monarchy that had lasted for fourteen centuries, States, when in imminent danger, had solicited the was bauled to pieces in a moment, and the nobles friendship of Philip, King of Macedon. He gave and the priests perished in its ruins; and, in pait; but what was the consequence? He acquired thetic terms, he exclaims, "The brilliant' throne an influence in their councils which enabled him of Louis was not far distant from the place where to triumph over liberty and enslave the people, he bled, and the splendid administration of Neckar and the last remains of dignity sunk in the Gre was soon followed by the reign of Marat.” How cian world.

could these observations apply to the present quesBut we are told, the Prussian monarch has pos- tion? But having been made, his respect for the sessions on the Baltic, and wishes his commerce gentleman led him to notice them. And does extended ; and shall America make any sacrifices my friend really lament the downfall of a monarto gratify him in this wish? Have our merchants chy that held a brave people in servitude and heretofore had any trade with this Power, and do chains for fourteen centuries; where not only gentlemen wish to force it?' With regard to the human rights, but human life, were sacrificed at commerce of America, he was of opinion, it was the pleasure of the monarch? And does he too soon in our history to see it splendid, or to lament the ruin of a splendid administration, turn our attention solely to its welfare.

which enabled the Court, the nobles, and the Agriculture is the leading interest of our coun- favorite few, to revel in luxury on the hard earntry, and requires our primary care. Agriculture ings of the yeomanry of the country; which is the favorite pursuit of man; and so long as filched from the industrious citizen one-half the extensive and fertile tracts of land remain unoc- produce of his labor? If such be his disposition, cupied in America, so long will her citizens prefer and such his sentiments, all that I can say is, Í a livelihood from the peaceful cultivation of the envy not his feelings, and thank Heaven my parsoil to an uncertain subsistence on the ocean. tiality for the human family is too great not to

It is necessity that occasions commerce to un- rejoice at the liberation of thirty millions of peofurl her sails. Thus we find, that while the flag ple from so galling a yoke of bondage. of England is displayed in every quarter of the Fanaticism, says the member, once reigned in globe, the colors of France are seldom seen. The America ; bui he felicitated himself and his couninsular situation and contracted limits of the for- try that its reign was over. If the gentleman mer, drive her citizens upon the ocean for support, alluded to the spirit of 1776, Mr. C. believed he while the extensive and fertile dominions of the lat- was mistaken; ihat spirit still existed, and if a ter afford for her inhabitants subsistence at home. time should come when liberty was in danger, it

The gentleman from South Carolina, although would burst forth in all its glory.

H. OF R.]

Foreign Intercourse.

(March, 1798.

Mr. C. then called the attention of the com- and the public at large, as to our own Governmittee to a country in Europe where history ment, and particularly its administration, than to afforded a valuable lesson on the present subject. produce any real good, or 10 avert any impending Switzerland, although in the neighborhood of danger. And in proportion to this conviction on European Princes, maintained no Ministers at his mind should he feel himself at liberiy to give their Courts; she neither courted their favor nor his opinion, independently of any insinuations as feared their power, and while this independency to the purity or impurity of motives, which were of conduct freed her from the disputes of Europe, so often the favorite theme of declamation on Switzerland was respected by every nation. that floor.

Mr. C. said he might be told that the situation With this view, he said, he would endeavor to of Switzerland is dissimilar to America ; that her direct such observations as he might make on the riches consisted in a few sheep feeding in her val- occasion, on a supposition that every member of leys, and a few cattle grazing on her mountains; that committee was actuated by similar motives and as to commerce, she had none. But Switzer--the good and welfare of his country; and that land had enjoyed the blessings of liberty and the differences of opinion which had taken place peace for several centuries, and where so much were merely as to ihe mode and manner of obhappiness dwells, the policy observed is entitled taining this great end, and were more the result to remembrance, and worthy to be pursued. of our free Government, and the independent and

Gentlemen tell us that atiempts are continually liberal manner in which they had a right to dismaking in this House to usurp the powers of the cuss all subjects which came before them, than Executive. He was not a witness to them. It from any improper motives. To suppose any appeared to him that they too frequently dele- thing short of this, he said, would be to suppose gated their powers. Look to the laws, and see the people themselves did not know their own inthe increase of influence and power in the hands terest, or that gentlemen had forfeited that responof the Executive. It was this he feared. The sibility which they owe to their constituents, or power of the Representatives was safely placed, have taken up opinions and principles hostile and and ought to be held sacred, for, as he had before foreign from those under which they were electremarked, their responsibility was too great to ed. He thought it much more proper to draw apprehend serious danger.

conclusions from arguments themselves, that Mr. C. said, if ever this Government should might be admitted in support of any measure, as be shaken, the attack would come from the Exe. the true way to understand its merits and know cutive and Senate, combined against the popu- the line of conduct to be pursued, than to be seeklar branch. Mr. C. wished not to be understood ing after motives, which can only end in conjecas wanting a confidence in the present Executive; ture, and tend to confound and en barrass, rather the reverse was the fact; but if a period should than elucidate. He said it was in his opinion a arrive when a bold, intriguing, ambitious man, thing to be lamented, that for some time past, panting for uncontrolled sway, should work him- not only since he had the honor of a seat in that self into the Presidential Chair, and two-thirds of Legislature, but before, scarcely one subject of the Senate be found wicked enough to favor his importance had come before it, but immediately views—by means of the treaty-making power, the doctrine of confidence and the independent the Government of America may be overturned, rights of the Executive, or some department of and her liberties lost forever.

Government, was introduced, as though we had Mr. R. Williams (of N. C.) said, although it no Constitution at all—or, if one, that they poshad become very fashionable for gentlemen to sessed a very imperfect knowledge of it. Some apologize for delivering their opinions at this late gentlemen contending as though they have unstage of the debate, he should make none, but limited confidence in the Executive, and thereonly say he should not have troubled the commit- fore willing to cede almost all power; and that the tee with any observations had it not been for the Executive has no check. On the contrary, othturn which the debate had taken, and the Consti- ers seem disposed not to give up that which may tutional principle which gentlemen on both sides be necessary, or heretofore in practice; both of seem to contend would be settled by the deci on which were on the extreme, and ought not to be of this question, viz: whether that House had a countenanced. Thus one extreme begets anothright to withhold or control appropriations for er. That we ought to have confidence in every foreign Ministers. He said, lest it should be department of our Government, to a certain de thought that he meant to concede the principle, gree, he said, was right, and what the people inthat it had not the right, he felt it a duty which tended in the formation of the Constitution. It he owed to his own opinion, as well as the inter- is not the officer, said he, individually, whom we est of those whom he had the honor to represent, ought to regard, but the office or department. to state the reasons on which he should give his Thus he would have as much confidence in one vote. From the best considerations which he Executive as ano!her, in one officer as another, had been able to give the question before the com- in their official character, and if they violated the mittee, he thought the proposed amendment ought duties and trust reposed in them by the Constinot to obtain. It appeared to him to be a meas- tution and laws, punish them accordingly. ure calculated in its effects, and from the manner It is not, said he, that a thing has been done in which it had been brought forward and argued, this or that way, or by one or the other of the demore to sound the disposition of that Legislature partments of Government, which proves that it

[ocr errors]

March, 1798.]

Foreign Intercourse.

[H. OF R.

over

is alone right to be done that way; for there are wrong, when reason would have a contrary effect, many things which may be done by either of two and in that proportion do you shut the door against of the departments of Government, and yet be conviction, and put reason at defiance. But this constitutionally right; this, he said, showed the appeared to be the design of some, particularly mutual confidence which was intended to subsist the member from Maryland, (Mr. CRAIK.) who between the different departments of Govern- said he had no hopes of a reconciliation of sentiment, by which they might work together with ments in that House, and that it was necessary that political union and harmony, so essentially now to make a firm and decisive stand against a necessary to promote the general good and wel- party within these walls, who wished to overturn fare of the country, and happiness of its citizens. the Government; to prove which he rummaged He said the people had placed confidence in eve- up the votes on all the important acts of that ry department of their Government, up to which branch of the Legislature, or laws that have he conceived it to be his duty to act, otherwise he passed, and at once proscribes the minorities. The should violate the fundamental principles of the member from South Carolina (Mr. HARPER) had Government, and the Constitutional rights of the pursued the same line of conduct, and gone on to people, which he was sworn, as a citizen, and a abuse and censure private as well as public characrepresentative, to support.

ters, and was not content to confine his objects of Mr. W. said, these were his sentiments as to abuse to this country, but leaps over the Atlantic confidence in the different departments of the and does the same there, and attacks foreign GovGovernment; and he hoped they would not be ernments. He asked, is this what the people eximputed to him as one of those who was willing pect to hear in their federal Legislature? Is this to ascribe implicit perfection and infallibility in what we are sent together for? Does such conthe administration of the Government, or sing duct comport with the character and genius of hallelujahs to the Executive, as some gentlemen American liberty and independence ? had been pleased to say. He did not believe the Mr. W. said, having made these general rerights and liberties of the people were so endangered marks, he would proceed to consider the amendfrom their own Government as to be mourned meni, in the two-fold point of view on which it

that manner. He believed the Government had been argued: The Constitutionality and excompetent to render them great as a nation, and pediency. As to the first, he had no doubt but happy as a people; and the only danger which that this House had a right to restrict or withhold he saw and apprehended was from meddling with appropriations for foreign Ministers, and to exerEuropean and foreign politics. He said, he had cise a discretion in all such cases; but that disvery early made up his opinion as to the proposed cretion ought to be exercised su as not to be a viramendment; but ihe arguments and principles tual violation of the Constitution : Such as to rewhich some gentlemen had advanced against it, fuse to pay the President, a Judge, or other officer had almost induced him to abandon that opinion; necessary to constitute any of the departments of but when he considered it would be wrong to Government, or to defray the expenses of the year sacrifice an opinion which he knew to be formed 1798. There were cases in which this House on pure motives, and in which not only himself was morally bound to appropriate. It had been and those he had the honor to represent, but the said, that that House was as much bound to appublic in general were interested, he should not propriate for foreign intercourse as for the Judisuffer any arguments foreign to the merits of the ciary. He conceived the cases quite different. question, and which had been advanced merely The Judiciary was one of the grand departments for the purpose of crimination, to have any influ- of the Government, as much so as the Legislative ence on his mind. He said, without any inten- or Executive, and only different in its creation tion to dictate to gentlemen what observations and duties. The people create the Legislative they ought to make on any subject brought be- and Executive, and call on them to create the fore that House, he would say he was sorry to Judiciary; therefore, any act by either to defeat hear the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Nicholas) it would be a virtual violation of the Constitake the ground which he did, because he thought tution. it extremely impolitic, at this critical juncture of He said, foreign Ministers were not necessary our affairs, unless the occasion was more urgent. to constitute any one of the departments of the But, he said, it had been seized on with such Government; it was as complete without as with avidity, and commented on with such severity them; they are only to be employed as may be and crimination, as almost to make that mild expedient. which otherwise, and at first, would not have ap if we do not choose to have them, we may repeared so, and had gone further to prove the truth fuse, and our Government may still go on. But of some observations which had been made rela- it was quite different as to Judges. There is no tive to the existence of a certain fact, which he analogy in the cases. If we had no Judiciary, our was yet disposed not to believe, than anything Government could not go on; the people would since said in support of it. He meant Executive have no tribunal to determine their rights, liberpatronage. He said it was certainly more proper ties, or property. The case of an appropriation to show the impropriety of any measure, by reason for a treaty was also mentioned; that, he said, and argument, than by crimination ; for, in pro- differed from the present case. By the sixth arportion to the violence of the attack would the re- ticle of the Constitution, a treaty, when ratified sistance be, and the exertion to persevere, though I by the President and Senate, is declared to be

H. OF R.]

Foreign Intercourse.

MARCH, 1798.

the supreme law of the land, and the Judges in tract appropriations; they say there is always a every State bound thereby. Here a law may be tendency in the popular branch of the Governmade independent of this branch of the Legisla- ment to encroach on the Executive. To prove ture, excepi as to the first act, that of appropria- which they go into Europe ; England and France tion to enable the President' to form a treaty, are particularly mentioned. He thought there which the Constitution gives this House a dis- was no necessity; nor was it policy to quote excretion in; and having made the appropriation, amples from those countries, to know how to adit had exercised all the power given by the Con- minister our own Government. As to England, stitution, unless a treaty should be made to carry he said, the people have no power or liberty but on or declare war, which expressly belongs to what has been dealt out to them by mere acts of this House. But all these were extreme cases, sovereign grace and prerogative mercy, but their and ought not to be supposed, because it was im- Government is different. As to France, it is and possible to give power that might not be abused. has been for ten years in a state of revolution. He said, after a treaty was ratified, he then He said the sources of power, and the means of thought the obligations of that House to appro- obtaining it in this country and England, were priate might be assimilated to that for a Judge. guite different. Here it was in the people ; there To show more clearly that that House was mo in the Crown. Here power was freely given to rally bound to appropriate for a treaty Constitu- the Executive by the people; there it was taken tionally made, he would state a case. Suppose a from them by usurpation, which keeps up a contreaty made, which required no money to carry stant jealousy between the governing and the it into effect, or did not require any for several governed; the one constantly on its guard, under years; how was that House to check its opera- a conviction of being in possession of what it has tion, or prevent the Judges from being bound by no right to; whilst the other is taking all advanit, as by the Constitution they are? Or will gen- tages to regain what was forced from it. In this tlemen say, this House can only check such as re- country no such jealousy exists, because all power quire money, and not those which require none; is with the people, except what they have freely and that after a treaty has been in operation for given up. He said, this principle would hold several years, this House can stop it? This cer- good in private life; for if the property or liberty tainly would be the effect of such a construction of an individual was forced from him, he would of the Constitution.

never be contented at seeing another, or the one But it is said, for this House to refuse to appro- who had taken it from him, enjoy it, but would priate for Ministers, when appointed, would be be constantly striving to get it back. These reto check the other departments of Government. marks he meant to apply as well to these who It might as well be said the other departments seemed to fear Executive power, as to those who have no right to check this. Such a construction feared the powers of that House. The member goes to do away the intended checks of the de- from New Jersey, (Mr. IMLAY,) as well as some partments of Government on each other, and others, had said ihis branch of the Government tends to destroy all confidence and render them ought not to check the Executive. Mr. W. said, independent in all their acts. He said our Gov- that this was not a correct opinion; to prove ernment ought not to be construed as though one which he read a clause from Mr. Adams's dedepartment was intended to destroy the other, fence of the American Constitution, which says, but to aid and check it. The member from Dela-1" That each of the three branches of the Governware, (Mr. BAYARD,) in advocating the principle ment must be, in its turn, both master and serof the Executive's selecting men of certain poli- vant, governing and being governed by turns." tics to office, had talked of administering the Gov. He said, although he had no great partiality for ernment by conscience; he believed such would the politics contained in that author, yet he read be a new-fangled Administration ; he thought it in order to show that even those who contended the Constitution ought to be the conscience of for a much stronger Executive than ours did not every administrator of the Government. Mr. W. deny that each branch was to be a check on the other. said, the bill, without the proposed amendment, Mr. W. said, the gentleman from South Carowas the same in principle as that first passed in lina (Mr. HARPER) charged all those who advothe year 1790, and continued ever since; though cate the powers of the House as being ignorant there had been an increase of money granted, the of the effects of the measures they advocate, and principle was the same; where Ministers should compares their speeches to those of Fox and be sent, and their grade was left to the Executive, Sheridan in the English Parliament. The genthe check which that House reserved to itself tleman ought to recollect that with as much prowas as to the quantum of appropriation, which he priety might his be compared to those of Pitt f thought would ever prove a sufficient one against Co. And is that an Administration which he abuse, for the Executive could make use of no would wish to take place in this country?-a sysmore money than was given him. He said, this tem which had kept the nation one-half of its time was one of the things which might be done either involved in war-which had drenched the world by this House, or given to the President, as was with blood; a system which had involved the most expedient. It had been heretofore left to nation in a debt which all the world could scarcely him, and he saw no reason for a change at this pay, and which had reduced one-half of the people time. But some gentlemen seem very unwilling to a state of poverty and want, whilst it raised the to allow that this House has the power to con- 1 other to a state of luxury and dissipation.

« AnteriorContinuar »