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sity, and, if she did, were her acts limited by such necessity ? Here again I may rely on the authority of the Secretary, and, if it had not already been quoted by both of the Senators on the other side who preceded me, I would read the eloquent passage towards the close of his letter to Mr. Fox, which they did with so much applause. With this high authority, I may then assume that the Government of Great Britain, in this case, had no authority under the laws of nations either to enter our territory or to do what was done in the destruction of the Caroline after it was entered.
Now, Sir, I ask, under this statement of the case, what ought to have been our reply, when the peremptory demand was made for the immediate release of McLeod ? Ought not our Secretary of State to have told Mr. Fox that we regarded the hostile entry into our territory, and what was perpetrated after the entry, as without warrant under the laws of nations ? That the fact had been made known to his Government long since, and immediately after the transaction? That we had received no explanation or answer? That we had no reason for believing that his Government had sanctioned the act? That McLeod had been arrested and indicted under the local authority of New-York, without possibility of knowing that the transaction had been sanctioned by it? That we still regarded the transaction in the light we originally did, and could not even consider the demand till the conduct of which we had complained was explained ? But, in the mean time, that McLeod might have the benefit of the fact on his trial that the transaction was sanctioned by his Government, it would be transmitted in due form to those who had charge of his defence ?
Here let me say that I entirely concur with Mr. Forsyth, that the approval of the British Government of the transaction in question was an important fact in the trial of McLeod, —without, however, pretending to offer an opinion whether it would be a valid reason against a charge of murder, of which the essence is,-killing with malice prepense. It is a point for the court and jury, and not for us to decide. Nor do I intend to venture an opinion whether, if found guilty, with the knowledge of the fact that his Government approved of his conduct, it ought not to be good cause for his pardon, on high considerations of humanity and policy. I leave both questions, without remark, to those to whom the decision properly belongs ;—except to express my conviction that there is not, and has not been the least danger that any step would be taken towards him not fully sustained by justice, humanity, and sound policy. Any step which did not strictly comport with these would shock the whole community.
Having taken the ground I have indicated,—that we ought to have received explanation before we responded to a peremptory demand,--there we ought to have rested till we had first received explanation. "It is a maxim, that he who seeks equity must do equity; and, on the same principle, a government that seeks to enforce the laws of nations in a particular case against another, ought to show that it has first observed them on its own part in the same transaction; or at least show plausible reasons for thinking that it had. None, but a proud and haughty nation like England, would think of making the demand she has without even deigning to notice our complaints against her conduct in connection with the same transaction; and I cannot but think that, in yielding to her demand, under such circumstances, the Secretary has not only failed to exact what is due to our rights and honor, as an independent people, but has, as far as the influence of the example may effect it, made a dangerous innovation on the code of international laws. I cannot but think the principle on which the demand to which he yielded was made, is highly adverse to the weaker power, which we must admit ourselves yet to be, when compared with Great Britain. Aggressions are rarely made by the weaker on the
stronger power, but the reverse ; and the practical effect of the principle, if admitted, would be to change the responsibility of declaring war from the aggressor—the stronger power--to the aggrieved, the weaker; a disadvantage so great, that the alternative of abandoning the demand of redress for the aggression would almost invariably be forced on the weaker, rather than to appeal to arms. This case itself will furnish an illustration. We have been told, again and again, in this discussion, that in yielding to the demand to release McLeod we do not surrender our right to hold Great Britain responsible; that we have the power and will to exact justice by arms. This may be so; but is it not felt on all sides that this is, I will not say empty boasting, but that it is all talk ? After yielding to the peremptory demand for his immediate release; after sending the Attorney General to look after his safety, and employing able counsel to defend him against the laws of the State, the public feeling must be too much let down to think of taking so bold and responsible a measure as that of declaring war.
The only hope we could ever have had of redress for the aggression would have been to demand justice of the British Government before we answered her demand on us; and I accordingly regard the acquiescence in the demand for release, without making a demand of redress on our part, as settling all questions connected with the transaction. Thus regarding it, I must say that, though I am ready to concede to Mr. Webster's letter in reply to Mr. Fox all the excellencies which his friends claim for it, the feeling that it was out of place destroyed all its beauties in my eyes. Its lofty sentiments and strong condemnation of the act would have shown to advantage in a letter claiming redress on our part, before yielding to a peremptory demand; but, afterwards, it looked too much like putting on airs when it was too late; after having made an apology, and virtually conceded the point at issue. In truth, the letter indicates that Mr. Webster was not entirely satisfied with his ready compliance with Mr. Fox's demand,—of which the part where he says he is not certain that he correctly understood him in demanding an immediate release, furnishes a striking instance. There could be little doubt as to what was meant; but the assumption of one afforded a convenient opportunity of modifying the ground he first took.
On the Report of the Secretary of the Treasury,
delivered in the Senate, June 21st, 1841.
[In Senate, Monday, June 21, 1841.-On the motion of Mr. Clay of Kentucky, to print 1,500 copies of the Report of the Secretary of the Treasury on the Finances-]
MR. Calhoun said : It is impossible for any one to read the report of the Secretary, without being struck with the solicitude apparent throughout to make out a large deficit in the revenue of the year. So great was his solicitude that it betrayed him into numerous errors, which have been so fully exposed by the two Senators who preceded me on the same side, that I do not feel called on to add a word to what they have said in this respect. What I
What I propose, in connection with what may be called the financial part of the report, is to show, by a brief and condensed statement, what would be the deficit at the end of the year, according to the data furnished by the Secretary himself, collected from different portions of his report, but all from himself, without adding an estimate or a figure of my own.
According, then, to his own data, the available means of the treasury for the year, including the balance at the end of the last year, treasury notes authorized to be issued during the year, and the revenue from all sources, would be $24,942,935. This is made up, first, of the sum of $4,212,540, the actual receipts into the treasury from the beginning of the year to the 4th March, including the issue of treasury notes and the balance on hand at the commencement of the year; and next of the sum of $20,750,395 at which he estimates the receipts from the 4th March to the end of the year, including treasury notes authorized to be issued. Both items are taken from the report, without the alteration of a figure. Cents are omitted, as they are throughout my statement. These together make the sum of $24,942,935, which, as I have stated, is the aggregate of the available means of the year, according to the data of the Secretary.
The actual demand on the treasury for the year will be, on his data, $28,012,776. I have obtained the result, first, from his statement of the annual appropriations (he calls them definite appropriations) made during the last session, which he puts down at $17,937,981 ; next, from the permanent appropriations payable in the year, $1,781,115, followed by treasury notes, which he estimates will fall due in the year, or come into the treasury in payment of duties, making $5,283,831. These items are all taken from the 12th page of the Treasury Report, House Document. In the table containing them, the item of treasury notes is put down at $5,431,421 ; but there is a note appended, which states the items that compose it,—which, strange to tell, give not that sum, but the one I have stated, and is so footed,--making a difference of nearly $150,000. I have taken the one I have, as I find the items that compose it, stated in another part of the report, according with those that that The next, and last, sum that composes the items, which makes up, according to the data of the Secretary, the demands on the treasury for the year, is one