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(H. OF R.
volved, and how they could be excused from pay- not be denied, that the loose manner in which the ing it, without disgrace, he was at a loss to know, act was worded, might be so construed as to cover though he did not think they were bound to pay the purpose for which 200,000 dollars of that apit. It went to establish a principle that whatever propriation was expended, viz: to prosecute the property was thus lost they would be bound to claims of our citizens whose property had suffered make good, however great the sum, or bear the spoliation, as it was an extra expense of interexpense of suits to recover it, which was a danger- course with foreign nations; yet he did not think ous principle.
the construction which had been put upon it was Mr. W. Smith could not agree with the gentle- perfectly natural, but he would not now dispute man who had just sat down, that by this act we ihat question; he would allow it was a legal appledge the United States to make good any defi- propriation. But it could not be denied, that ciencies of our citizens; on the co: trary, he whenever appropriations were made in such a thought there would be a reimbursement of this, loose manner, they could not cover the expense as he thought considerable sums would be reco- further than the money would go. If the Legisvered, and when recovered, would be placed to lature, indeed, had authorized an expense, and the credit of the United States, and if not reco- appropriated a sum of money for that purpose, vered, he could not see how the United States and this money had fallen short of the expense, it stood pledged for its payment. He thought the might have been said the expense was authorized, appropriation should be made. It was passed, and and therefore the money must be procured. In he could not see how it could be prevented. The such a case the PRESIDENT would have been auPRESIDENT had, he thought, good reason for ad- thorized by law to pledge the faith of the United vancing these sums, or he would not have done it, States, in the same manner as he would be auand having done it, it could not be recalled. All thorized to call out the Militia; for, though no they had now to do was to prevent the like again, appropriation was made for the purpose, they by raising a sufficient armament to protect our should feel themselves bound, in a certain degree, flag and deter foreign Powers from insulting or to pay the expense: they might, indeed, say he injuring our commerce in future; he trusted it had expended too much money, yet they would, would be a warning to us to make ourselves so in some degree, be bound to pay it. But the case respectable as to guard against the necessity of in- now under consideration was altogether different: demnification in future.
the object of expense was not authorized, and the Mr. Nicholas said, that the appropriations only reason why the money had been legally exshould be kept separate, that those for the service pended, was, because a kind of general appropriaof Government, and those which were of a dispu- tion had been made, of which advantage had been table nature, might not be introduced, as it could taken. He conceived, that the President might not be essentially different whether the item now have gone on to have expended the money as far under consideration be introduced in this, or in a as it went; he had not the power to pledge the separate bill. He did not think with the gentle faith of the United States further. Upon this man last up, that because niuch money was to be ground he had prepared a resolution, which he inspent, that more should be spent to prevent it in tended to have offered to the House this morning, future. He was not at all satisfied with the busi-viz: ness; it seemed a matter of surprise on the House,
“ Resolved, That a Committee be appointed to inand, he believed, done without authority. He did quire into the propriety of the United States either adnot believe there was power in the Executive to vancing or defraying the whole, or part of the expenses use money in this manner. At any rate, he of prosecuting the claims of their citizens, whose prothought the appropriation might remain until the perty has been captured by the belligerant Powers, and last of the session, and therefore he would move of authorizing the President of the United States to to strike out the item.
pledge the faith of the United States for the purpose; Mr. GALLATIN said, that upon examining the and that the said committee be authorized to report by documents sent the other day by the Secretary of bill or otherwise.” Siate, and the Secretary of the Treasury, he Being an entire new subject, Mr. G. said, it was. fuund that, having been under the necessity of proper they begin the business afresh. They giving security for the costs of the suits of our ought not, by appropriating in this bill, to countecitizens in Great Britain, and being authorized to nance the expenditure of money for an object not do so, Mr. Bayard, our agent, had pledged the authorized by the House; they ought first to au. faith of the United States for the payment of thorize the expense, and then appropriate the them. On this account, several merchants in money. He, therefore, was for striking out the London came forward and were security for him, item in question. He would not wish to be unand, though the sum of 50,000 dollars was small
, derstood to say, that, though the President had it could not be obtained without pledging the not the power to incur the expense alluded to, faith of the United States. By recurring to the that the necessity of the case might not warrant law, it would be found that there had been a gen- it
, and that they might not be induced to legalize eral appropriation of one million to defray an ex-ii; but if they made an appropriation without tra expense of intercourse with foreign Powers; any inquiry on the subject, it would be taken for and though it was the intention of the Legislature granted that the expense was perfectly regular that this sum should have been exclusively appro- and warranted; but if, on the contrary, they priated to obtain a peace with Algiers, yet it could brought in a bill by itself, it would show that they
[FEBRUARY, 1797. alone were the only branch of Government which evils had arisen from the want of the knowledge had the power of creating expense.
of the duties herein contained, and had nearly for. Mr. W. Smith said, it was not very material feited our neutral character. If the duties laid whether this appropriation was in this bill, or in down in this act were such as should be generally any other, since the gentleman last up admitted it known and practised, it was necessary the law was necessary to appropriate for it; this gave should be considered as permanent: indeed, he him considerable pleasure. Gentlemen admitted had heard no argument against its permaneney, there might be cases wherein to justify the Exe- either now, or at the time of its passing. It saw cutive in incurring expenses unknown to the necessary the duties of neutrality should be well House. Mr. S. thought this may be a case of impressed upon the mind of every citizen. It had, that kind, and that he was justified from the ur- indeed, been the pride of this country to keep gency of it: however, every gentleman would hitherto that neutrality inviolate. And in truth, judge for himself. There would have been more if the law should not now be made permanent, it propriety in bringing forward this measure last would exhibit a fluctuation in our councils, that session than now, as then a certain sum was voted would not fail to produce a bad effect upon the for this purpose in the appropriation bill; they, people. therefore, then did what gentlemen now said
Mr. Gallatin said, there was the same reason ought not to be done. Last session, said Mr. S., for continuing the limitation now, that there was we received a communication from the Execu- for originating it when the law passed. The law tive, informing us that some money was wanted was suitable for our present situation, and whilst for the purpose; we, then, without legalizing the the European war continued, it might be well to expense, considering the necessity of the sum to continue this law in all its parts. Indeed, if it be granted extraordinary to the diplomatic de contained nothing but an exposition of the law of partment, it was done, and considered as a proper nature and of nations, as the gentleman from measure. Mr. S. had no objection to the mode Maryland had said it was, he would fully agree proposed, provided it had been done last ses- with him that it should be permanent; but he sion.
believed it, in a few instances, contrary to both. The question for striking out the item was then When he was up before, he said, he did not see put and carried.
anything, except in the two first sections of the The other articles of appropriation were then bill, that appeared to him improper for a permagone through, the Committee rose, and the House nent law, but those sections he did not think were took it up, and the bill was ordered to be engrossed proper. He should be justified in saying, that for a third reading to-morrow.
ihey were in flat contradiction to the Laws of
Nations, which was the reason he did not wish it PUNISHMENT OF CRIMES.
inserted as a part of a permanent law of the land, Mr. W. Smith called for the order of the day without further investigation than they had now on the bill from the Senate repealing the limita- time to give it. One of the passages in the law tion of the act for the punishment of certain was to the following effect: crimes against the United States, and to continue “ That if any citizen shall, within the territory of the in force the same.
United States, accept of any commission in the service Mr. GALLATIN said, in looking over this act, he of any foreign Power or State, he shall be guilty of a saw little in it which might not with propriety high misdemeanor,” &c. be made a permanent law; though he thought In no other pation, he said, was it considered as there were some few things in the two first sec- a high misdemeanor to enter into the service of a tions, which were not so fit for a permanent law. foreign Power. The United States themselves He, therefore, thought it would be best to extend had a number of foreign officers during the last the act for two years longer, by which time the war. No nation ever yet forbade the practice; situation of this country, and of the public mind, yet he would fully agree that, owing to the temmight be such as to allow the repeal of those par- per of the public mind at the time, the regulation ticular parts. He made a motion to this effect. was a proper one ; it might be so now; but he
Mr. MURRAY hoped the amendment of the was not prepared to say it would always be so, gentleman from Pennsylvania would not succeed. because there might be considerations which, From what he knew of the law, he was impressed whilst we were at full peace, would induce us to very favorably towards it; he thought it well ex- wish our citizens to learn the art of war; yet, he plained the duty of the citizens of this country, as would not say that this consideration might not a neutral nation, towards this Government and to be overbalanced by other considerations. He wards other countries; these were permanent du- would rather leave this subject, which was not ties, which no time could change; they were du- conformable to the Law of Nations, but a kind ties inherent in the law of nature, and agreeable of novelty, until the expiration of the present to the Law of Nations. The object was to cre- European war. With respect to fitting out priate such a disposition in the people as should be vateers, the observations of the gentleman from friendly to our neutral situation. The clause Maryland (Mr. MURRAY) were perfectly right. He which forbade the fitting out of privateers was agreed that the law on this subject ought to be sanctioned by the laws of morality and justice. permanent; but the reflections which that gentle Mr. M. hoped, therefore, this law would be con- man had made were mostly derived from the obsidered as a permanent law, especially when great ljectionable clauses.
Punishment of Crimes.
Mr. W. Smith wished the gentleman from to the recruiting parties of any other, it became Pennsylvania [Mr. Gallatin) had confined his us to make provision by law against the practice; motion to the two clauses which he had mentioned and were they to repeal a law of this kind which as objectionable, as he seemed not to carry his had been already made, or give a limitation to it, objections to any other part. The two sections they would say this was a duty which might might be enacted for two years, and the remain- cease; for the law, said he, does not create duties, der be permanent. The law, he said, was a valu- but enforces them. The Law of Nations enjoined able one; and, by making its duration for two upon neutral nations peaceable manners towards years only, they would run the risk of bringing all other nations. This flowed from principles of the law under consideration every two years; at honor when applied to nations. If the provision a time when, perhaps, the miuds of the people was made only a temporary one, the Law of Namight be in a situation which would render the tions was put in the power of a mere majority of discussion improper. They knew now what was that House to do it away, which was certainly the duty of citizens; and as it could not possibly improper, as the sanction should be as perpetual be known what our situation might be at the end as it was obligatory. of two years, it was proper to have a permanent Mr. SwANWICK said, there seemed fto be obserlaw. The gentleman said, it might be, that our vations introduced into this subject which were situation at that time would be such as not to re- foreign to it; the question was, whether they quire a continuance of that law. But this they would agree to limit the law before them to two knew, that the system was valuable; one of the years, or make it a permanent one.
From anyeffects of it, he believed, was our peace, whilst thing he had heard, he was in favor of the limitaother nations were embroiled in war, by preserv- tion; as he was not less inclined to think favoring our neutrality: He hoped, therefore, the gen- ably of the wisdom of our successors, than of their tleman would at least let all the other clauses of own; nor did he fear that House would at any the act be permanent, if he should choose to have time do what it ought not to do. He doubted not the period of duration of the two first confined to their successors would do the business of the natwo years. He would do well to confine his mo- tion as well as they did it-perhaps better. What tion to them.
did experience say in this respect? Were they Mr. Cort did not think it material whether the not in the habit of frequently altering their laws? law was made permanent, or extended for two Did they not often hear of "an act supplementary years more. If he had had the same opinion with to an act," &c., which did not look as if their laws the gentleman from Pennsylvania, he should have were made like the laws of the Medes and Percome to the same conclusion that it would be best sians, which changed not; on the contrary, every to make the law temporary. But he thought the opportunity was given to revise and make our expression, " if any citizen within the territory or laws as perfect as possible. It was no evidence jurisdiction of the United States," did not mean of the wisdom of a law, that its advocates wished what he made it. There was no prohibition of it to be made permanent; it would appear more any citizen of the United States from going out consistent in them to leave it to the consideration of the country to serve, “by taking and accept- of a future Legislature, because it was really a ing employment within the United States." wise and excellent law, there could be little doubt
Mr. MURRAY said, he had not read the law late- that a majority of that House should insist upon ly; since he was up before he had looked it over, a repeal of it. For his part, he was much in favor and he owned he was not convinced of the impro- of limitations, and wished they were more frepriety of making it a permanent law, by anything quently introduced. which had been offered by the gentleman from Much, Mr. S. said, had been said about nations Pennsylvania., That gentleman would, doubtless, and the Law of Nations. He believed the great admit that from a neutral situation certain duties variety of business which lay before them would immediately arose ; but that, when we declared not allow them to discuss the extensive folio of our neutrality, they became much stronger, and the Law of Nations; and therefore, he believed, that it would be a breach of neutrality if these it would be much better to pass the law before duties were to be neglected. The offence which them for a limited term, and leave it to those who was forbidden by the first section of the law, was came after them, who probably would have more an offence against the Law of Nations, since it time to do it, to discuss this Law of Nations. So would be to allow a part of the nation to assume far as passion might be supposed to be engaged on a military character, which the Law of Nations one side or the other, with respect to the belligewas a verse to; what was prohibited in the second rant Powers of Europe, he did not think they were section, viz: “ that no person shall himself enlist, so competent to the passing of a permanent law or enlist any other into the service of a foreign as they might be supposed to be some years hence, Power," was equally improper, as a nation which when the present contest shall have come to a allowed itself to be a place of recruiting could close. But this Law of Nations, of which they not retain its character of neutrality; indeed, if heard so much, was so flexible a thing, that it was one Power had the liberty of beating up for re- become difficult to know what it was. It seemed cruits amongst us, another must have the same, so to be a law of force, which a strong Power always that we should lose altogether our neutral charac- interpreted for a weak one. We, he said, had ter. If we, therefore, considered ourselves as a complained to other nations, that the Law of Nafree nation, and did not choose to open our doorstions had been violated in their conduct towards
H. Or R.]
[FEBRUARY, 1797 us; but, knowing us to be weak, they told us we zeal of the House of Representatives for the powwere mistaken it was no such thing; whereas, ers of the President and Senate, they should if we had been strong enough for it, we should lose sight of their own. As he had no doubt of have shown that we understood that law as well the virtue and wisdom of a future Legislature, he as them-so laughable a matter was become this wished the limitation to be agreed to. Law of Nations. If a gentleman could not find Mr. Gilbert said, there were certain things his opinions supported by Vattel, he turned to which were immutable in their principle; and Marten, and if not by him, it would not be diffi- this was the case, he thought, with respect to the cult to find some other author agree with him in provisions of this bill; and therefore they ought sentiment; indeed, he thought this famous Law not to put upon an uncertain footing what was of Nations was become little more than the law eternal and true. He therefore was of opinion of strength.
that what had been remarked with respect to But the gentleman from Maryland [Mr. Mur- laws in general, had no weight with respect to RAY] said, if this law was made permanent, it this law. would bave a good appearance 10 foreign nations; Mr. GALLATIN said, if he were of opioion with it would show them that our neutrality was fixed; the gentlemen from New York and Maryland, that they had nothing to apprehend from us; we that the whole of this law was founded upon pershould be as peaceable as lanıbs. For his part, he manent principles, he should agree with them that did not think this so very desirable a thing; and, its existence should not be limited; but he still inif the limitation clause would produce a contrary sisted that the first and second sections of this law effect, he should think it a considerable recom- were not so grounded; for, notwithstanding the mendation for adopting it. But, it was said, these word exercise, which moderated the word accept, limitation clauses kept the people's minds in con- still he would say that it was not contrary to the tinual fluctuation; on the contrary, he believed, Law of Nations ihat citizens of the United States no law they could pass would fluctuate their opi- should enter into foreign service. As he did not nion. He was convinced they would think for mean to recur to Vattel on this occasion, he would themselves. Indeed, their opinion might be found refer to a fact. A few years ago, it would be reto fluctuate concerning their Representatives, and membered that, whilst the Russians and Turks they might tell them they had no further need of were engaged in war, the British authorized offitheir services. There was no certainty that the cers to go into the Russian service; they went to people's opinions would approve the conduct of Russia, and when the fleet of that Empire went iheir Representatives.
round to the Mediterranean, they anchored within Mr. S. said, he remembered the time when a the jurisdiction of Great Britain. This was never permanent President was talked of; and some looked upon as an infraction of the Law of Nathing of permanency was heard about another tions. He therefore insisted that, however proper branch of the Legislature, which, if it were ex- in itself the first section of this law might be, as amined, it would be found, meani no more than it respected the situation of our own country, it that two branches of Government should have was not the Law of Nations, nord:d it flow fron) power over the third. It was said, that though the it. If they turned to the second section, he agreed law before them was a good law, and now ap- that that part which forbade the enlisting of proved, yet a future House might reneal it if it persons into foreign service was perfectly well were passed under a limitation. Mr. S. said, he founded, as such a practice was not only contrary had often heard apprehensions about what other to the Laws of Nations, but also an encroachment branches of the Government might do, but that upon the jurisdiction of a sovereign country. He, they should become apprehensive of what they therefore, did not obj-ct to that provision being themselves might do was extraordinary; for, made a permanent law of the land. But to inflict though the wisdom of the other branches was a punishment upon a person for enlisting himselt, often reiterated, yet he would rather trust their was not consonant to the Law of Nations, though own body than themespecially as they were re- they certainly had the power of making it an turned by the people every two years; therefore, offence against the law of the land. In order to if the opinion of that House fluctuated, it would prevent an invasion of our neutrality, it would be be a fluctuation favorable to the interests of the sufficient to prevent foreigners from recruiting, country, since it would receive its bias from the and there was little danger of our own citizens people, which might not be altogether so in the enlisting, though they had a right to do so, acother branches, as they were not so frequently cording to the Law of Nations, except forbidden brought to the test of public opinion. And ihough by a positive law. He concluded, therefore, it he did not wish to make discriminations betwixt would be best to enact the law for another limited the merits of the different branches of Govern- time. This legislating by the lump was not conment, if he did make them, it would be in favor venient. This was a long act, and as the session of that House. Why, then, should they wish to was near a close, there would not be time for disabridge their own powers?' This was a singular cussing it section by section; the law must thereconduct. He should be for cautiously upholding fore be re-enacted without undergoing much disthat power, because he believed the other branches cussions If it were to continue in force two years would take care of themselves, and that there was longer, it might then be taken up section by secno occasion for that House to take care of them; tion, and they would see whether it could not be yet he was sometimes afraid that, in the abundani amended.
(H. of R. Mr. Nicholas said, besides the objections which Colbert and Valleine, nor into his inquiries of had been made to the act, there was a principle in what France did during her despotic Government. it dangerous and new. It was the execution of And he thought it would be acknowledged, howlaw by military force; not only with respect to ever foreign he might have been from the subject, ships or vessels, but with respect to persons who he was not further out of the way than he was, in came under this law. He thought this alone going back to the musty records he had resorted would be sufficient to lead them to choose rather to. To tell them what was the practice of France to enact the law for a limited term, than as a per- one hundred and fourteen years ago, was indeed manent law. It would be recollected that this idle; they all knew what a wonderful revolution particular occasioned much discussion when the of sentiment had taken place since that time; law passed, and that it was carried only by a small they also knew that they had also lately treated majority.
Valtel, and other writers upon the Law of NaMr. Holland was in favor of the limitation. tions, somewhat roughly. For his own part, when It had been observed, he remarked, that expe- be read some of these works, he thought the aurience had shown the law to be a good one ; if so, thors of them bad spent their time to very little it would continue to be so. The gentleman from purpose. He believed we should understand the Maryland was certain that it was agreeable to the Law of Nations very well, il' we had twenty shipsfixed Law of Nations; it might be so, but he of-the-line to back our interpretation of it; but qught not to wish to pass it without giving gen- whilst we remained without ships, we should have tlemen time and opportunity to examine it for to receive the Law of Nations from others. Our themselves.
citizens had been buoyed up with the idea of the Mr. Murray believed, if the gentleman from Liberty and independence of their country; but we Peonsylvania (Mr. Gallatin] would recollect in had seen them plundered and enslaved.' We had the case of the British officers, they obtained some
also seen our peaceable conduct everlastingly reauthority from their Government before they en paid by injury. He believed the people would, tered into the service of Russia ; so completely however, begin to think for themselves. In two were that people bound up by allegiance to their years, he was of opinion, the people would not Government (and such a conduct was very patri
ask what was the opinion of Colbert, Valleine, otic and exemplary) that no step of that kind Vattel, but would think for themselves.
Mr. S. SMITA said, there was a law on the subwould be taken without authority.
ject wherein it was admitted that our citizens may Mr. M. said, we had the authority cf France go into other countries to fight it they chose; the for this provision by a famous author of that prohibiting clause only went to prevent them encountry, written one hundred and fourteen years tering inte the service of other nations within the ago, viz: Colbert. In speaking on the mainte- United States. His colleague [Mr. MURRAY] was nance of Ordinances, he says, that no subject of right as it respected Russia, sonie British officers France can, during a foreign war, take or accept ud this who had commissions, but some he knew a commission from any foreign country whatever, had not. How far he was right in his reference without permission being first obtained from Go-10 Colbert, he knew not, but he thought it had vernment; but the ordinance, as commented on by no force, for he believed the Marquis LAFAYETTE, Valleine, declares, that no citizen of France could and other French officers who assisted us during take a commission from a foreign Power, though the war, had no authority from their Government in alliance with that country. They had, there to do it. fore, the examples of both Great Britain and
Mr. Buck said, it could not be a matter of much France in favor of the regulations in this bill.
consequence whether the amendment took place With respect to the charge brought against him
or not; no one could say there was anything inby the gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Swan applicable to our present situation ; but it has been WICK.] he had entertained him so agreeably in said, that there is provision in the law which may passing, as it were, in a circle from pole to pole, hereafter be continued in force, and therefore there ihat he was obliged to lose sight of him in the
nas no need to restrict it to two years; it could dust that he himself had kicked up. He had then be reconsidered, for he could not see that, acwandered abroad so widely that he supposed he cording to the ideas of some gentlemen, it was in was mistaken as to the subject; he, doubtless, fan-the power of the House to make what they called cied he was upon some commercial business. He a permanent law to bind any future Legislature; if scarcely knew what to think of him; because he he considered that, he said, he should be against was generally as close to the pole as a well-bred passing any acts, and for repealing this, and leav: race-horse; he never knew him so completely outing its extension to a future House; as he thought of the way. The gentleman must have been it almost, if not quite, impossible to look forward thinking upon the frigates, or some commercial and see what would take place. He supposed it scheme, as there was no other way of accounting always in the power of a Legislature to make, for his wanderings upon this occasion. He should alter, or repeal, as they pleased; it might be left net attempi to follow him.
to their discussion and judgment, and if they saw Mr. Swanwick said, it was no wonder the gen-it not necessary to extend or limit, it might be left tleman should have lost sight of him after descri- to go on as it now is. He could not see any inbing him as turning the pole. He could assure convenience in the law, nor had the gentleman him he should not follow him in his notice of from Pennsylvania convinced him of any, he only