« ForrigeFortsett »
To all who shall see these presents : Beit Known, Caesar Augustus Rodney, John Graham, and Theodorick Bland, three distinguished citizens of the United States, and enjoying, in a high degree, the confidence and esteem of the President, are about to visit, in a national ship, on just and friendly objects, and at the special desire of the President, di
vers places and countries in South America. These are therefore to request that, whithersoever they may go, they, with their suite, may be received and treated in a manner due to the confidence reposed in them, and each of them, as aforesaid, by the Presi
dent of the United States, and to their own merit.
Given under my hand, and the seal of the Department of State, this twenty-fourth day of Novem[L. s.] ber, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight
hundred and seventeen. JOHN Q. ADAMS, Secretary of State.
Mr. CLAY rose, not, he said, to make any objection to the three respectable citizens for whom this appropriation was intended—that was not his object; but to enter his protest to this kind of appropriation by Congress. As to the object of the commission, he thought it of very little use for the expenditure of public money; he referred to the views avowed, and the directions to touch at Buenos Ayres, &c., and said, if the object of the commission was to acquire information of the actual state of affairs in the Southern provinces, it was the most unfortunate mode that could have been adopted for that purpose. What, asked Mr. C., was this mode 7 Three distinguished citizens are selected, their appointment and intentions are announced by the newspapers, months before their departure, then declared by the President himself, and made known to the whole world, and they depart with all the paraphernalia of public Ministers; information of their object precedes them wherever they go. As soon as they arrive at a South American port they are surrounded by all the factions in the country; royalists, if there were any, as well as republicans; who strive to prejudice them in fayor of their respective interests, to mislead their judgments and prevent the getting correct information of the real condition of things. Mr. C. described the extent of the interior provinces of Buenos Ayres, to show that the time allowed to the Commissioners (if they were acquainted with the language, manners, and habits, of the country) was inadequate to enable them to make any material addition to our stock of information; but, even if they could, were they to range the whole continent, and visit even the armies, whether successful or not, of the different parties, still, their object being known, they weuld everywhere be liable to the same deception and imposition. Correct information they would not obtain. The . course to have adopted, Mr. C. said, was to despatch an individual unknown to all parties; some intelligent, keen, silent, and observing man, of pleasing address and insinuating manners, who, concealing the object of his visit, would see and hear everything, and report it faithfully.
But it was not to the object of the appropriation,
boldly as the mission had been devised, that Mr. C. rose to object; it was the Constitutional point it involved that made it obnoxious; and he read the clause of the Constitution which requires the consent and concurrence of the Senate to all appointments not specifically provided for by law, to show that these Commissioners should have been nominated to that body-taking it for granted, that they had not been submitted to the Senate. The President had not only made these appointments without the authority of the Constitution, or of any law recognising them, but in derogation from a positive act of Congress. There was an act of Congress, fixing the grade of the only Ministers we sent abroad, and it provided for two cases only, that of Minister Plenipotentiary and that of Chargé des Affaires. To the first it assigned a salary of $9,000, to the last a salary of $4,500. Here were Commissioners. then, sent with a salary fixed by the sole authority of the President, and not conformable to that foil. by the law in either of the two grades. f he might assign $6,000, what was there to prevent his allowance of 50,000? It might be said in that case this House would afford a remedy ; but gentlemen would perceive how difficult it would be, to withhold from an agent an approo which had been promised and pledged y the Executive. There was a contingent fund of $50,000 alsowed to the President by law, which he was authorized to expend without rendering to Congress any account of it—it was confided to his discretion, and, if the compensation of the Commissioners had been made from that sund, Mr. C. said, it would not have been a proper subject for inquiry; but, under present circumstances, in opposition to the Constitution, he could not be going too far, in giving at least his protest to this appropriation. It was not his intention to make any motion on the subject, and he made none. Mr. Forsyth said, the Constitution vests the Executive with the powers to make appointments in the recess of the j Whether these were such as required the confirmation of the Senate, had been or would be submitted for that purpose, to that body, he did not know, nor was it necessary to inquire. He presumed what ought to be done would be done, and he was disposed to leave the subject to the Executive and to the Senate, to whom it more properly belonged. If the idea of the Speaker was correct, and these were officers requiring a nomination to, and the appropriation of the Senate, yet, as they were appointed in the recess, no Constitutional wrong had been done in their appointment. But the Speaker had objected to this commission because it was useless, if it was information they went for. Was it not proper and necessary, Mr. F. asked, for the Government to have information of the state of the South American provinces—of their actual political condition, their prospects of success, &c. 3. If so, this information could be obtained only in two ways—by the newspapers, or by agents sent out for the purpose. he vague and uncertain reports given in the newspapers could not be relied
was another point to be considered—the importance of this information to the Government was such, that it would be necessary that this individual should be an American, and the kind of information to be acquired might have subjected him to the fate of other Americans in the Spanish provinces; he might have been thrown into a dungeon. The opposite party might adopt this course to prevent his communicating the information he should have acquired. This had been done; American citizens had been thrown into dungeons. In whatever aspect this subject was viewed, Mr. F. could see no impropriety in voting this appropriation. It was true the President might have taken it out of the secret ser, vice fund, and no inquiry would have been made about it; but, in order to meet all the expenses of the mission, it might have been necessary to ask a further appropriation for this fund, and then the inquiry would have been made, for what it was wanted. The present course, he thought, was more honorable and fair. It would have been necessary nearly to double the ordinary contingent fund, and it would have been a conclusive objection to the appropriation, that Congress was ignorant of the object to which it was to be applied. Would the House have been wil. ling to vote an addition to the secret service fund, for what might have been considered the employment of spies throughout the world 7 This objection to such an appropriation, he believed, would have been made with effect; and it was much better for the Executive to proceed in the present open and frank manner. Mr. F. took occasion, in reply to an allusion of Mr. CLAY, to say, that it was true he did not find fault with the Executive quite as often as the honorable Speaker had latterly done, but still he was not the defender of all Executive measures. The Committee would do him the justice to recollect that he sometimes differed from the Executive, and never failed to censure what he believed censurable. Mr. Clay said, in reply, that Mr. Forsyth had not controverted the objection that these appointments had not been submitted to the Senate. But these agents were to be provided for, either in the quality of Ministers or Chargés des Affaires; and, considered in either capacity, the House was called on to make a larger appropriation than was authorized by law for officers of that character. As to a private agent being liable to the fate mentioned by Mr. Forsyth, what, he asked, were the immunities of the present Commissioners? Nothing more, he said, than those of a private man. It had even been decided, in the affair of the Russian Consul at Philadelphia, that Consul Generals were not entitled to the immunities of Ministers. But, could not the President have given the same commission to one man, sent privately to obtain information, as to those three Commissioners, and with the same effect and
validity? As to the object of the commission, Mr. C. again asked, how these gentlemen were to acquire this information respecting the independence of the South American provinces? The fact of their independence was not to be established by a dedimus potestatum sent out to take depositions. The independence of some of these States was matter of history—was too notorious to require the evidence of those Commissioners. And Mr. C. referred to the condition of some of the South American States, on which the knowledge was complete, and contended that they had been sent to parts, with regard to which (Venezuela and Buenos Ayres, for example) our information was most perfect, and were not to visit all those parts (Mexico and New Grenada) from which we most wanted it. Mr. C. again adverted to the manner in which the Commissioners had been appointed, which being done not according to law was the more improper, as they had not sailed till after the meeting of Congress, when it would have been scarcely any detention to have waited the concurrence of the Senate, which was in session when they departed. Mr. Hopkinson observed, that he did not rise to express any opinion upon the object or utility of the mission in question—he was willing to agree in both ; but he desired to express distinctly his dissent to the appropriation, because he believed the appointment of these Commissioners was of a kind, under the provision and spirit of our Constitution, to require the approbation and assent of the Senate, and because he had no reason to believe such assent had ever been given by the Senate, or asked by the Executive. He thought it more important for us, as the Repretatives of the American people, to attend to and guard our own Constitution, than to send abroad to inquire into the form of government of other people. Mr. H. said, that being up, he would take occasion to say that he saw little or no difference between sending a Minister without consulting the Senate, in a case when their assent is admitted to be necessary, and sending him just on the eve of the meeting of that body, without any known urgency, and afterwards submitting the appointment to the Senate. Nobody can believe the Senate can exercise that free and unembarrassed judgment upon the nomination which the Constitution intended they should have, after the Minister had actually embarked and sailed for his destination, with his outfit and other expenses of the mission. On the suggestion of Mr. Lowndes this appropriation was passed by for the present, that in the meantime the additional information which had been asked for by the Speaker might be obtained from the Department of State. Mr. CLAY rose, and noved to insert in the bill a provision to appropriate the sum of eighteen thousand dollars as the outfit and one year's salary of a Minister to be deputed from the United States to the independent provinces of the River Plata, in South America. This proposition Mr. C. sollowed up by entering into a discussion of the question, involved in March, 1818.
his motion, of a formal recognition of the independence of the South Ameriean States mentioned. He had spoken something more than an hour, when (having given way for a motion to that effect) the Committee rose, about half-past four o'clock, and the House adjourned.
Wednesday, March 25.
On motion of Mr. MARR, the Committee on the Public Lands were instructed to inquire whether any, and, if any, what further provisions of law are necessary for preventing waste and trespass on that portion of the public ñ. which have been, or may hereaster be, reserved for the use of schools. The bill from the Senate, entitled “An act regulating the pay and emoluments of brevet rank,” was read the second time and referred to the Committee on Military Affairs. The bill from the Senate, entitled “An act authorizing a subscription for the 11th volume of State Papers,” was read the second time and committed to a Committee of the Whole. A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed bills of this House of the following titles, to wit: “An act respecting the district courts of the United States within the State of New York,” and “An act to alter the time of holding the circuit court in the southern district of New York, and for other purposes,” with amendments to each; in which they ask the concurrence of this House. The amendments to each of the said bills were read, and severally referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. An engrossed bill, entitled “An act in addition to the act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States, and to repeal the acts therein mentioned,” was read the third time, and passed. An engrossed bill to alter the flag of the United States was read the third time, and passed. Mr. Johnson, of Kentucky, from the Committee on Military Affairs, to which was referred the bill from the Senate, entitled “An act regulating the pay and emoluments of brevet rank,” reported the same without amendment, and the bill was committed to the Committee of the Whole, to which is committed the bill of this House to repeal so much of an act as allows pay and emoluments to brevet runk. Mr. Johnson, from the same committee, also reported the bill from the Senate, entitled “An act for the relief, of Ashael Clark,” without amendment, and the bill was committed to the Committee of the Whole, to which is committed the bill for the relief of Birdsall & Foster.
DISTRIBUTION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS.
On motion of Mr. Spences, the House took up and proceeded to consider the resolution submitted by him on the 19th instant, providing for the distribution of the documents printed by order of the House, and agreed thereto, amended to read as follows:
Distribution of Documents—Erecutive Papers.
H. of R.
Resolved, That unless otherwise specially directed by the House, 600 copies shall be struck, of all such matter as may be directed to be printed, except bills and amendments. That the said 600 copies shall be disposed of, and distributed in the following manner, to wit: Two hundred copies shall be retained in the printing office, and, at the close of each session, be disposed of and distributed, conformably with the provisions of the resolution of the 27th December, 1813. The remaining four hundred copies shall be deposited by the printer, in the post office of the House, from time to time as the work may be executed, pursuant to his contract, and shall be promptly distributed by the Doorkeeper of the House, as follows, to wit: On the desk of each member and delegate, one copy - - - - - - - On the Speaker's table - - - - On the Clerk's table - - - - - 2 In the Clerk’s office - - - - - 4 To the President of the Senate, for the use of the Senate - - - - To the President of the United States To the Secretary of State - To the Secretary of the Treasury To the Secretary of War To the Secretary of the Navy To the Attorney General To the Commissioners of the Navy Board To the Auditors of the Treasury, 5 copies each To the Comptroller of the Treasury - To the Register of the Treasury - - To the Postmaster General - - - To the Commissioner of the General Land Office To the Commissioner of the Revenue - To the Commissioner of Public Buildings To such foreign Ministers as reside at the Seat of Government, or Consuls, in case of no resident Minister, 2 each, supposed to amount to nine " - - - - - - To the Public Printe - - - - - I
To the Librarian - - - - - - 2 The residue to be bound up, at the end of the session to be deposited in the Clerk's office as heretofore - - - - - - - 27 600
Several Messages were received from the PREsident of The UNITED STATEs. The first of the said Messages was read, and is as follows: Washing rors, March 24, 1818. In pursuance of a resolution of the House of Representatives of the 7th instant, I now transmit the report of the Secretary of State, with a statement of the expenses incurred under the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th articles of the Treaty of Ghent, specifying the items of expenditure in relation to each. JAMES MONROE.
The second of the said Messages was read, and is as follows: To the House of Representatives of the United States;
In conformity with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 5th of December last, I now transmit a report of the Secretary of State, with a copy of the documents which it is thought proper to
The Secretary of State, to whom has been referred the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 15th of December, has the honor of submitting the documents herewith transmitted, as containing the information possessed at his department, requested by that resolution. In the communications received from Don Manuel H. de Aguirre, there are references to certain conferences between him and the Secretary of State, which appear to require some explanation. The character in which Mr. Aguirre presented himself was that of a public agent from the Government of La Plata, and of private agent of that of Chili– his commissions from both simply qualified him as agent; but his letter from the Supreme Director Pueyrredon, to the President of the United States, requested that he might be received with the consideration due to his diplomatic character. He had no commission as a public Minister of any rank, nor any full power to negotiate as such. Neither the letter, of which he was the bearer, nor he himself, at his first interviews with the Secretary of State, suggested that he was authorized to ask the acknowledgment of his Government as independent—a circumstance which derived additional weight from the fact, that his predecessor, Don Martin Thompson, had been dismissed by the Director Pueyrredon for having transcended his powers, of which the letter brought by Mr. Aguirre gave notice to the President. It was some time after the commencement of the session of Congress that he made this demand, as will be seen by the dates of his written communications to the Department. In the conferences held with him on that subject, among other questions which it naturally suggested, were those of the manner in which the acknowledgment of his Government, should it be deemed advisable, might be made 1 and what were the territories which he considered as forming the State or nation to be recognised ? It was observed, that the manner in which the United States had been acknowledged as an independent Power by France, was, by a treaty concluded with them, as an existing independent Power, and in which each one of the States, then composing the Union, was distinctly named; that something of the same kind seemed to be necessary in the first acknowledgment of a new Government, that some definite idea might be formed, not of the precise boundaries, but of the general extent of the country thus recognised. He said the Government of which he desired the acknowledgment was of the country which had, before the revolution, been the Vice Royalty of La Plata. It was then asked, whether that did not include Montevideo and the territory occupied by the Portuguese—the Banda Oriental, understood to be under the government of General Artigas, and several provinces, still in the undisPuted possession of the Spanish Government. He said it did; but observed, that Artigas, though in hostility with the Government of Buenos Ayres, supported., however, the cause of independence of Spain— and that the Portuguese could not ultimately maintain their possession of Montevideo. It was after this that Mr. Aguirre wrote the letter, offering to enter
into a negotiation for conducting a treaty; though admitting that he had no authority to that effect from his Government. It may be proper to observe, that the mode of recognition by concluding a treaty had not been suggested as the only one practicable or usual, but merely as that which had been adopted by France with the United States, and as offering the most convenient means of designating the extent of the territory acknowledged as a new dominion.
The remark to Mr. Aguirre, that if Buenos Ayres should be acknowledged as independent, others of the contending Provinces would, perhaps, demand the same, had particular reference to the Banda Oriental. The inquiry was, whether General Artigas might not advance a claim of independence for those Provinces, conflicting with that of Buenos Ayres for the whole Vice Royalty of La Plata ? The Portuguese possession of Montevideo was noticed in reference to a similar question.
It should be added, that these observations were connected with others, stating the reasons upon which the present acknowledgment of the Government of La Plata, in any mode, was deemed by the President inexpedient, in regard as well to their interests as to those of the United States.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.
The following are the list of papers transmitted to the President:
1. Don Yono Alvarez, to the President of the United States, dated Buenos Ayres, January 16, 1816. 2. Declaration of Independence of the United Provinces of La Plata, dated at Tucuman, July 9, 1816, communicated by Don Manuel H. de Aguirre, to the Department of State, December 24, 1817. 3. Don J. Martin de Pueyrredon, Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, to the President of the United States, dated January 1, 1817 4. The same to the same, dated March 5, 1817. . 5. Commission granted by the Supreme Director of the State of Chili, to Don Manuel H. de Aguirre, dated March 8, 1817. 6. Commission granted to the same by the Supreme Director of the United Provinces of South America, dated at Buenos Ayres, March 28, 1817. 7. Don Bernardo O'Higgins, Supreme Director of the State of Chili, to the President of the United States, dated April 1, 1817. 8. Commission granted by the Supreme Director of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, to Don Manuel H. de Aguirre, as agent of that Government, dated April 28, 1817. 9. General Don Jose de San Martin, Commanderin-chief of the army of the Andes, to the President of the United States, without date. 10. Don Cactano Bezares, Secretary of State ad interim of the Executive Department of the confederated States of Venezuela, to the Secretary of State of the United States, dated Pampatar, May 22, 1817– 7th—transmitting 11. The act of the re-establishment of the Congress of Venezuela, at the city of San Felipe de Cariaco, on the 8th of May, 1817. 12. General Don Jose Artigas to the President of the United States, dated Headquarters at Purificacion, September 1, 1817. iš, Don Manuel H. de Aguirre to the President of the United States, dated Washington, October 29, 1817,
14. The same to the Secretary of State, dated December 16, 1817. 15. The same to the same, December 26, 1817. 16. The same to the same, December 29, 1817. 17. The same to the same, January 6, 1818. 18. The same to the same, January 16, 1818.
The last of the said Messages was read, and is as follows: To the House of Representatives of the United States:
I now lay before Congress all the information in the possession of the Executive respecting the war with the Seminoles, and the measures which it has been thought proper to adopt for the safety of our fellow-citizens on the frontier exposed to their ravages. The enclosed documents show that the hostilities of this tribe were unprovoked, the offspring of a spirit long cherished, and often manifested towards the United States, and that, in the present instance, it was extending itself to other tribes, and daily assuming a more serious aspect. As soon as the nature and object of this combination were perceived, the Major General commanding the southern division of the troops of the United States, was ordered to the theatre of action, charged with the management of the war, and vested with the powers necessary to give it effect. The season of the year being unfavorable to active operations, and the recesses of the country affording shelter to these savages, in case of retreat, may prevent a prompt termination of the war, but it may be fairly presumed that it will not be long before this tribe, and its associates, receive the punishment which they have provoked and justly merited.
As almost the whole of this tribe inhabits the country within the limits of Florida, Spain was bound, by the Treaty of 1795, to restrain them from committing hostilities against the United States. We have seen with regret that her Government has altogether failed to fulfil this obligation, nor are we aware that it made any effort to that effect. When we consider her utter inability to check, even in the slightest degree, the movements of this tribe, by her very small and incompetent force in Florida, we are not disposed to ascribe the failure to any other cause. The inability, however, of Spain to maintain her authority over the territory and Indians within her limits, and in consequence to fulfil the treaty, ought not to expose the United States to other and greater injuries. When the authority of Spain ceases to exist there, the United States have a right to pursue their enemy, on a principle of self-defence. In this instance the right is more complete and obvious, because we shall perform only what Spain was bound to have performed herself. To the high obligations and privileges of this great and sacred right of self-defence, will the movement of our troops be strictly confined. Orders have been given to the General in command not to enter Florida, unless it be in pursuit of the enemy, and in that case to respect the Spanish authority wherever it is maintained, and he will be instructed to withdraw his forces from the province as soon as he shall have reduced that tribe to order, and secure our fellow-citizens, in that quarter, by satisfactory arrangements, against its unprovoked and savage hostilities in future.
SPANISH AMERICAN PROVINCES.
The House having again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the annual general appropriation bill; and Mr. Clay’s proposition to amend the bill by inserting a clause for appropriating $18,000 for the outfit and year's salary of a Minister to Buenos Ayres, yet pending, Mr. CLAY concluded, in a speech o: hours in length, the observations he yesterday commenced in support of his proposition; the whole of which is given entire, as follows:
Mr. Clay said he rose, under feelings of deeper regret than he had ever experienced on any former occasion, inspired, principally, by the painful consideration that he found himself, on the proposition which he meant to submit, differing from many highly esteemed friends, in and out of this House, for whose judgment he entertained the greatest respect. A knowledge of this circumstance had induced him to pause; to subject his own convictions to the severest scrutiny; and to revolve the question over and over again. But all his reflections had conducted him to the same clear result; and much as he valued those friends, great as his deference was for their opinions, he could not hesitate, when reduced to the distressing alternative of conforming his judgment to theirs, or pursuing the deliberate and matured dictates of his own mind. o enjoyed some consolation, for the want of their co-opération, from the persuasion that, if he erred on this occasion, he erred on the side of the liberty and the happiness of a large portion of the human family. Another, and, if possible, indeed a greater source of the regret to o he referred, was the utter incompetency which he unfeignedly felt to do anything like adequate justice to the great cause of American independence and freedom, whose interests he wished to promote by his humble exertions, in this instance. Exhausted and worn down as he was, by the fatigue, confinement, and incessant application incident to the arduous duties of the honorable station he held, during a four month's session, he should need all that kind indulgence which had been so often extended to him by the House.
He begged, in the first place, to correct misconceptions, if any existed, in regard to his opinions. He was averse from war with Spain, or with any Power. He would š. no just cause of war to any Power—not to Spain herself. He had seen enough of war, and of its calamities, when even successful. No country upon earth had more interest than this in cultivating peace, and avoiding war, as long as it was possible honorably to avoid it. Gaining additional strength every day; our numbers doubling in periods of twenty-five years; with an income outstripping all our estimates, and so great as, after a war in some respects disastrous, to surnish results which carry astonishment, if not dismay, into the bosom of the States jealous of our rising importance, we had every motive for the love of peace. He could not, however, approve, in all respects, of the manner in which our negotiation with Spain had been con