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together with instructions to our minister to continue negotiations upon matters yet unadjusted. He then (July 15th) left for Mount Vernon.
No preceding measure of the administration, probably, encountered a more furious opposition than this. Public meetings were held, not only in the cities, but in country towns, to condemn the treaty. Essays were written, in which it was closely scrutinized and severely reprobated. In Philadelphia, an attempt was made to burn Mr. Jay and the ratifying senators in effigy; and copies of the treaty were carried before the doors of the British minister, British consul, and Mr. Bingham, a senator who had voted for its ratification, and burned amid the huzzas of the multitude. Subsequently, in Boston, an effigy of Mr. Jay was burned in the street.
The president returned to Philadelphia on the 11th of August; and the next day the question of ratification was brought before the cabinet. Mr. Randolph, who had before recommended a suspension of the ratification until the provision order should be repealed, now gave it as his opinion that the treaty ought not to be ratified while the war continued between Great Britain and France. The other three members concurring with the president in the expediency of immediate ratification, with a memorial against the provision order, the treaty, with the suspension clause, was signed on the 14th, and Mr. Randolph was directed to complete the memorial and instructions, then remaining unfinished. This course was successful. The order was revoked, and the ratifications of the treaty were exchanged.
It was hoped by the president, that the ratification of the treaty would check the violence with which it had been assailed. But it seemed rather to increase the bitterness of the opposition. To weaken the support which the treaty was known to derive from the president's personal popularity, his merits as a soldier and statesman were disparaged. His private character did not escape detraction. He was accused of having overdrawn the amount of salary, and appropriated the money to his private use. In authorizing the negotiation of a treaty without previously consulting the senate, he had violated the constitution, for which he ought to be impeached.
Notwithstanding the increased virulence of the opposition, the number of the friends of the treaty also appeared to increase. The commercial community generally were in its favor. Public meetings were held in many parts of the country. Reflecting men, governed by judgment rather than partisan zeal, sustained the administration. Commerce, notwithstanding the restrictions under which it labored, was rapidly increasing; and it was deemed unwise to jeopard the public prosperity by a course of policy likely to result in a war, which, though perhaps justifiable, was not indispensable to the maintenance of the national honor.
During the ensuing fall and winter, the subject of te treaty was introduced into the legislatures of a majority of the states, for the purpose of condemnation or approval. In one or two only of these states, it is believed, did resolutions disapproving the treaty pass both houses By the legislature of Virginia, resolutions were adopted proposing several amendments to the constitution, abridging the power of the senate, and reducing the term of office to three years; and requiring the concurrence of the house of representatives in making treaties; but we are not aware that the proposition met with a favorable response in any state: by several of the state legislatures they were discountenanced by a formal vote.
In August, 1795, Mr. Randolph resigned the office of secretary of state, and that of attorney-general was vacated by the death of Mr. Bradford. Both these offices continued vacant until the next annual meeting of the senate. On the 10th of December, Timothy Pickering, secretary of war, by whom the duties of secretary of state also had been performed, was appointed to the head of the state department; and Charles Lee, of Virginia, was on the same day appointed attorneygeneral. On the 27th of January, 1796, James M'Henry, of Maryland, was appointed secretary of war, in the place of Mr. Pickering.
On the 3d of August, 1795, a satisfactory treaty was concluded with the north-western Indians.
On the 27th of October, after a negotiation of about fifteen years, a treaty was also concluded with Spain; by which the claim of the United States as to the Florida boundary, and the right to a free navigation of the Mississippi river, were both conceded. In defining neutral rights, the treaty, as that with France, provided that provisions and naval stores were not to be deemed contraband, and that free ships should make free goods. And compensation was to be made to American citizens for property illegally captured by Spanish cruisers.
A treaty of peace with the dey of Algiers was made on the 5th of September, and the American captives released from their cruel imprisonment. The ransom of these prisoners was effected at an expense of about one million of dollars.
The fourth congress met on the 7th of December, 1795. In his speech, delivered the next day, the president congratulated the country on the restoration of peace with the western Indians; on the favorable advices from Algiers and Spain, the treaties not having as yet been received; and on the general internal tranquillity, the rapid increase of population, and the unexampled prosperity of our agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, the molestations of our trade having been overbalanced by the aggregate benefits derived from a neutral position. The decision of the British government with respect to the amended treaty, being yet unknown, would be communicated when received. Subjects of legislation to which he called the attention of congress, were, a review of the military establishment, a more complete organization of the militia, and more effectual provisions for the protection of the Indians from the violence of the lawless part of our frontier inhabitants, as being necessary to prevent destructive retaliations by the Indians.
The answer of the senate, expressing their approval of the foreign policy of the president, was adopted, 14 to 8.
In the house, the answer reported by the committee, declared the undiminished confidence of the people in the president. This declaration was objected to as untrue; and before a direct vote was taken
upon it, the address was recommitted, and so modified as to render it acceptable to the majority, which, as in the last preceding house, was opposed to the administration. The treaty with Great Britain, though not directly disapproved, was treated in a manner indicating the sense of the majority.
On the first of January, 1796, an occurrence of some interest took place at the seat of government. Mr. Monroe, it will be recollected, was appointed minister to France in the summer of 1794. Soon after his arrival
, he presented to the national convention the flag of the United States, as a token of the friendship and good will of his country toward the French republic. Fauchet having been recalled, Adet, his successor, who arrived in the United States in June, 1795, was directed to reciprocate this expression of friendship, by presenting to the American gorernment the flag of France. This ceremony had been delayed until the first of January, when the flag was publicly delivered to the president, with a letter from the French committee of safety, expressing the jos with which they had received the declarations which the American minister had made of the friendly dispositions of his government toward
the French republic.
In his address to the president, Mr. Adet said France recognized the people of the United States as “friends and brothers. Long accustomed to regard them as her most faithful allies, she sought to draw closer the ties already formed in the fields of America, under the auspices of victory, over the ruins of tyranny."
The president, in reply, expressed his sympathies and those of his fellow-citizens for the people of France, and congratulated them on the recent substitution of a republican constitution for the revolutionary government, and concluded thus : "I receive, sir, with lively sensibility, the symbol of the triumphs and of the enfranchisements of your nation, the colors of France, which you have now presented to the United States. The transaction will be announced to congress, and the colors will be deposited with the archives of the United States, which are at once the evidence and the memorials of their freedom and independence: may these be perpetual! and may the friendship of the two republics be commensurate with their existence !"
The colors of France, and the letter of the committee of safety, with the address of Adet, and the president's answer, were all transmitted to congress.
On the 1st of March, 1796, the president sent to the house a copy of the treaty with Great Britain which had been returned, in the form ad. vised by the senate, ratified by his Britannic majesty, with the information that the treaty had been proclaimed as the law of the land. The debate to which this communication gave rise was exceedingly animated. Upon no other measure of the administration, perhaps, had the public mind been more sensibly agitated, or party passion raised to a higher pitch. It was viewed by many as virtually a question of peace or war; and what gave it additional importance was, that it involved the constitutional questions, whether the assent of the house was essential to the obligation of a treaty, and whether the president had a right to negotiate a treaty of commerce.
The first discussion arose upon a motion of Edward Livingston, of New York, to request the president to lay before the house a copy of his instructions to Mr. Jay, with the correspondence and other documents relating to the treaty. Several days afterward, the resolution was amended by the mover, by adding, “excepting such of the papers as any existing negotiation may render improper to be disclosed.” The propriety of this call was questioned by the minority, unless there was an intimation to impeach the president or Mr. Jay. But the principal topic of discussion was the nature and extent of the treaty-making power; or the right of the house to refuse the means of carrying a treaty into effect.
It was argued by the friends of the administration, that a treaty was complete, according to the constitution, when, by the advice and consent of the senate, it had received the signature of the executive; and that the non-compliance, on the part of the house, with its stipulations, was a breach of a solemn contract, and a violation of the public faith. On the other hand, it was maintained, that the power to make treaties, if extended to every object, would interfere with the constitutional powers of congress. Hence, treaties requiring the appropriation of money, or any other act of congress to carry them into effect, could not have force without consent of the house ; therefore the refusing of such appropriation or law was no violation of an existing obligation. The debate was continued until the 24th of March, when the resolution was adopted, 62 to 37.
The president was now placed in a delicate situation. The house, not having been made by the constitution a part of the treaty-making power, had no right to demand the papers relating to the negotiation. To comply with the call would be to concede this right, and to establish a dangerous precedent. A non-compliance, on the contrary, would increase the popular clamor against the administration, and confirm the suspicions of many, that there were facts connected with the negotiation which the president feared to expose. As there was nothing in the whole affair which he wished to conceal-indeed all the papers affecting the negotiation had already been laid before the senate—the question was simply one of popularity or duty.
The answer declining a compliance with the call, was returned on the 30th of March. After disclaiming " a disposition to withhold any thing which the constitution has enjoined it upon the president as a duty to give, or which could be required of him by either house of congress as a right,” he proceeds to argue the question : " The nature of foreign negotiations requires caution, and their success often depends on secrecy. The necessity of such caution and secrecy was one cogent reason for Testing the power of making treaties in the president, with the advice and consent of the senate, the principle on which that body was formed confining it to a small number of members. To admit, then, a right in the house of representatives to demand, and to have, as a matter of course, all the papers respecting a negotiation with a foreign power, would be to establish a dangerous precedent.
“ Having been a member of the general convention, and knowing the principles on which the constitution was formed, I have ever entertained but one opinion upon this subject; and from the first establishment of the government to this moment, my conduct has exemplified that opinion : That the power of making treaties is exclusively vested in the president, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, provided two-thirds of the senate concur; and that every treaty so made and promulgated, is thenceforward the law of the land. It is thus that the treaty-making power has been understood by foreign nations: and in all the treaties made with them, we have declared, and they have believed, that, when ratified by the president, with the advice and consent of the senate, they became obligatory. In this construction of the constitution, every house of representatives has heretofore acquiesced ; and until the present time, not a doubt or suspicion has appeared to my knowledge, that this construction was not the true one. Nay, they have more than acquiesced; for until now, without controverting the obligation of such treaties, they have made all the requisite provisions for carrying them into effect.”
In confirmation of this construction, the president refers to the deli