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not,-it was indispensable that the Government should collect its dues in gold and silver, and its own credit. Without this, the Bank of the United States itself must run down, if one should be established. There must be expansions, under a bank circulation, great and sudden. Nothing could prevent it—and the bank would, sooner or later, be swept by the board ;—unless some provision be adopted which should be quite as strong as the Independent Treasury law. All general bank expansions had commenced in England ; and when their banks or ours must explode, the calamity must fall on ours,—as constituting the weaker part of the boiler. The strongest possible provision against such a disaster would be, to collect the dues of the Government in specie. But he saw plainly that gentlemen would have their way ;-yet time would show who was right. An experience of less than ten years would satisfy them of their profound error.


On the Case of McLeod, delivered in the Senate, Fri

day, June 11th, 1841.

[In Senate, Friday, June 11, 1841.—The business before the Senate being the motion of Mr. Rives to refer so much of the President's Message as relates to our foreign affairs to the Committee on Foreign Affairs-]

MR. CALHOUN said : I rise with the intention of stating very briefly the conclusion to which my reflections have brought me on the question before us.

Permit me, at the outset, to premise that I heartily approve of the principle so often repeated in this discussion, that our true policy, in connection with our foreign relations, is neither to do nor to suffer wrong, not only because the

principle is right of itself, but because it is in its application to us, wise and politic, as well as right. Peace is pre-eminently our policy. Our road to greatness lies, not over the ruins of others, but in the quiet and peaceful development of our immeasurably great internal resources—in subduing our vast forests, perfecting the means of internal intercourse throughout our widely extended country, and in drawing forth its unbounded agricultural, manufacturing, mineral, and commercial resources. In this ample field, all the industry, ingenuity, enterprise, and energy of our people may find full employment for centuries to come ; and, through its successful cultivation, we may hope to rise, not only to a state of prosperity, but to that of greatness and influence over the destiny of the human race, higher than has ever been attained by arms by the most renowned nations of ancient or modern times. War, so far from accelerating, can but retard our march to greatness. It is, then, not only our duty, but our policy, to avoid it, as long as it can be avoided, with honor and a just regard to our rights; and, as one of the most certain means of avoiding war, we ought to observe strict justice in our intercourse with others. But this is not of itself sufficient. We must exact justice as well as render justice, and be prepared to do so ; for where is there an example to be found of either an individual or nation, that has preserved peace by yielding to unjust demands ?

It is in the spirit of these remarks that I have investigated the subject before us, without the slightest party feelings, but with an anxious desire not to embarrass existing negotiations between the two governments, or influence in any degree pending judicial proceedings. My sole object is to ascertain whether the principle already stated, and which all acknowledge to be fundamental in our foreign policy, has in fact been respected in the present case. I regret to state that the result of my investigation is a conviction that it has not. I have been forced to the conclusion that the Secretary of State has not met the peremptory demand of the British Government for the immediate release of McLeod as he ought ; the reasons for which, without further remark, I will now proceed to state.

That demand, as stated in the letter, rests on the alleged facts, that the transaction for which McLeod was arrested, is a public one ; that it was undertaken by the order of the colonial authorities, who were invested with unlimited power to defend the colony, and that the Government at home has sanctioned both the order and its execution. On this allegation, the British Minister, acting directly under the orders of his Government, demanded his immediate release, on the broad ground that he, as well as others engaged with him, was “performing an act of public duty, for which he cannot be made personally and individually responsible to the laws and tribunals of any foreign country;” thus assuming as a universal principle of international law, that where a government authorizes or approves of an act of an individual, it makes it the act of the government, and thereby exempts the individual from all responsibility to the injured country. To this demand, resting on this broad and universal principle, our Secretary of State assented ; and, in conformity, gave the instruction to the Attorney General, which is attached to the correspondence, and we have thus presented for our consideration, the grave question, do the laws of nations recognize any such principle ? .I feel that I hazard nothing in saying they do not.

No authority has been cited to sanction it, nor do I believe that any can be. It would be no less vain to look to reason than to authority for a sanction. The laws of nations are but the laws of morals, as applicable to individuals, so far modified, and no further, as reason may make necessary in their application to nations. Now, there can be no doubt that the analogous rule, when applied to individuals, is, that both principal and agents, or, if you will, instruments, are responsi

ble in criminal cases; directly the reverse of the rule on which the demand for the release of McLeod is made. Why, I ask, should the rule in this case be reversed, when applied to nations, which is universally admitted to be true in the case of individuals ? Can any good reason be assigned ? To reverse it when applied to individuals, all must see, would lead to the worst of consequences,—and, if I do not greatly mistake, must in like manner, if reversed, when applied to nations. Let us see how it would act when brought to the test in particular cases.

Suppose, then, that the British, or any other government in the contemplation of war, should send out emissaries to blow up the fortifications erected, at such vast expense, for the defence of our great commercial marts-New-York and others—and that the band employed to blow up Fort Hamilton, or any other of the fortresses for the defence of the city, should be detected in the very act of firing the train : would the production of the most authentic papers, signed by all the authorities of the British Government, make it a public transaction, and exempt the villains from all responsibility to our laws and tribunals ? Or would that Government dare make a demand for their immediate release? Or, if made, would ours dare yield to it, and release them ? The supposition, I know, is altogether improbable ; but it is not the less, on that account, calculated to test the principle.

But I shall next select one that may possibly occur. Suppose, then, in contemplation of the same event, black emissaries should be sent from Jamaica, to tamper with our slaves in the South, and that they should be detected at midnight, in an assembly of slaves, where they were urging them to rise in rebellion against their masters; and that they should produce the authority of the home government, in the most solemn form, authorizing them in what they did : ought that to exempt the cut-throats from all responsibility to our laws and tribunals ? Or, if arrested, ought our Gov


ernment to release them on a peremptory demand to do so ? And if that could not be done forthwith, from the embarrassment of State laws and State authorities, ought this Government to employ counsel and use its authority and influence to effect it ? And, if this could not accomplish its object, would it be justified in taking the case into its own tribunals, with the view of entering a nolle prosequi?

But, setting aside all supposititious cases, I shall take one that actually occurred—that of the notorious Henry, employed by the colonial authority of Canada to tamper with a portion of our people, prior to the late war, with the intention of alienating them from their Government, and effecting a disunion in the event of hostilities. Suppose he had been detected and arrested for his treasonable conduct, and that the British Government had made the like demand for his release, on the ground that he was executing the orders of his Government, and was not, therefore, liable, personally or individually, to our laws and tribunals: I ask, would our Government be bound to comply with the demand ?

To all these questions, and thousands of others that might be asked, no right-minded man can hesitate for a moment to answer in the negative. The rule, then, if it does exist, must be far from universal. But does it exist at all ? Does it even in a state of war, when, if ever, if we may judge from the remarks of gentlemen on the opposite side, it must ? They seemed to consider that nothing more was necessary to establish the principle for which they contend but to show that this and all other cases of armed violence on the part of one nation or its citizens against another, is in

informal war, as they call it, in contradistinction to one preceded by a declaration in due form.

Well, then, let us inquire if the principle for which they contend—that the authority, or the sanction of his govern

fact war ;

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