Sidebilder
PDF
ePub
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

to XATION OF Milit"Any LANDS.

Mr. WICKLIFFE, of Ken. moved the following: Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary be instructed to inquire into the expediency of exempting, for a limited time, from taxation, by the Territorial Governments, the military bounty lands which have been patented to, and not sold by, the original claimants, or their heirs. Mr. WICKLIFFE said, that his attention had recently been called to the fact, that, in one territory of this country, four hundred tracts of land had been brought into market and sold for taxes; and, in reflecting upon such a state of things, he was convinced, that the power claimed by the territorial governments to tax the military lands within their limits, was one great cause of the facility with which speculators obtain possession of rights to land which were originally intended to reward the war-worn soldier for his toil. The original grantee, hearing of tax upon tax, was unwilling and unable to o so much on his land, and was thus compelled to sell his right to it. The object of the resolution he now proposed to the notice of the House, was to exempt these lands from taxation for a limited time. Mr. BRENT, of Louisiana, thought that the remedy proposed by the gentleman from Kentucky ought to be applied to the case referred to, but that the Committee on the Public Lands, and not that on the Judiciary, was the proper one to which the resolution should be sent, and he moved such reference as an amendment. The motion was lost. Mr. COOK, of Illinois, thought the resolution was important, and required some reflection before it was acted upon. He therefore moved to lay it on the table. This motion also was lost. Mr. TAYLOR, of New York, then rose, and observed, that the value of such a measure as that proposed in the resolution, was considerably diminished by the lateness of the period at which it was brought forward. Could it have gone into effect when the soldiers' warrants were first issued, it would have been of great utility—but at this time, only a small proportion of the military lands was in the haids of the original grantees. Nevertheless, if the discrimination which it was the object of this resolution to make, could be accomplished, in relation to the small portion that yet remained, it should by all means be done. As to that portion of the military lands which had passed into the hands of other parties than the soldiers or their heirs, he saw no reason why they should be exempted from taxation more than other lands. Nor did he perceive why the lands of non-residents should in this respect be distinguished from those of resident owners. The Territorial Governments must be supported in some way, and real estate was the chief resource to which resort must be had for that purpose. The patents, he believed, were now, for the most part, old; but when they were first issued, the lands were for five years omitted to be taxed. At the time the State Constitution was granted to lllinois, the Legislature was restrained from taxing the bounty lands for three years, after the organization of her Government. Mr. T. observed, that his own wish had been to extend the restriction to five years, and he had introduced a motion to that effect in committee of the whole; but when the bill for framing that constitution came into the House, the proposition was rejected, and it was on his motion that it had been fixed at three years, and passed in that form. A similar restriction was imposed when Missouri was admitted, and, from all he had learned, he believed the prohibition had had a beneficial effect. Arkansas was now, he believed, the only territory in which bounty lands were to be found, and he presumed it was to that territory that the remarks of the gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Wickliffe) had reference. He knew that in many cases large and valuable tracts of land had been sold to pay a comparatively small amount of tax; and

though he had but a faint hope that, at this time, much could be effected in a way of remedy, he had no objections to the inquiry proposed. Mr. OOK coincided in opinion with the member from New York. It had been his lot to reside, for a large part of his life, under a territorial government, and he could with truth declare, that that form of government was more expensive than a state government. The territory of Arkansas had been organized only three years, and it had officers to support, and public expenses to endure, which fell with a heavyweight upon its sparse and scanty population. But little of the public lands in that territory had yet been sold, and the most of it was held by speculators. His the measure proposed by the resolution went into effect, it ought to be restricted to those lands, the patents for which had not been issued, and which were not yet subject to taxation, and should not extend to those which had passed into other hands than the grantees. He considered it as unfair to exempt the lands of non-residents, more than of those who resided within the territory. To a bill as broad as the resolution he should object, and, if introduced, he should certainly oppose it: and, with a view to having the terms of the resolution narrowed, he moved to lay it on the table. Mr. W1CKLIFFE observed, in reply, that he did not mean by the measure he proposed, to do any thing to destroy the rights of the territorial government, or prevent their support—his sole object was to furnish, to the soldiers who still held their lands, an inducement which might operate to prevent their parting with them to speculators. He was notable to state how many warrants remained unsold, or how many were not yet issued. But one thing he did know, that the soldiers whom it had been the intention of Congress to reward, were in general ignorant of the condition of the land they held; and if the territorial government were suffered at will to lay taxes on the lands, the poor soldiers would be compelled by necessity to sell them, as so many others had already done, for any thing speculators chose to allow them. As to the direction the resolution might take, he felt indifferent—he cared not to which of the committees it went—his sole object was, that an inquiry should be made. The question was then #. on agreeing to the resolution, and decided in the affirmative. So the resolution was adopted.

NIAGARA SUFFERERS.

On motion of Mr. TRACY, the House went into com. shittee of the whole on the bill “further to amend the act authorizing the payment for property lost, captured, or destroyed, by the enemy, while in the military service of the United States, and for other purposes.”

Mr. P. P. BARBOUR said that his design in rising was not to oppose the details of the bill now before the committee, but to offer a proposition superseding them altogether. He wished to test the sense of this House on the principle of the bill, and with this view he moved to strike out the enacting clause. It was not his intention to detain the committee by any prolonged discussion; he wished to direct them at once to the principle of the measure, and, in doing so, he should submit to their consideration some general principles of national law, and a few facts which he thought had a bearing on the question before them.

It had been his fortune to be a member of this House when the subject of these claims was first brought before Congress, and he had at that time borne some small share in discussing it. He now begged leave to recall some of the considerations he had at that time urged, and in doing so he should be very brief. The great question to be settled is this—What is the nature and character, and what is the extent, of the obligation which a whole community owes to its individual members for losses sustained during a state of warfare from

[ocr errors][merged small]

acts of the enemy 2 (for in this case a broad distinction was to be preserved between acts of an enemy and the acts done by the authority of our own Government.) Now, said Mr. B. it seems to me that, as to the obligations of the Government in such a case, there can be but one sound general principle assumed. Whenever a war is declared, the immediate consequence of such declaration is to place every indivividual of each Government, together with the property of every individual of each, in a relation reciprocally hostile to each other; and, according to the original principles of international law, each nation had a right to do the other all the harm it could, indiscriminately, without respect to any distinction of persons or property. But such a principle has long been abandoned by all civilized nations—and the rule which has by general usage been substituted in its place, seems to be that, as to persons, non-combatants shall be as exempt from danger or injury as if the two nations were in a state of perfect amity—and with respect to property, unless in certain extraordinary circumstances, that it shall not be subject to destruction or injury unless it be immediately connected with and used for the purposes of war. From these doctrines of international law, as held by all civilized nations, it results, as a general principle, that, for all the losses which the people under either Government sustain in consequence of the declaration of war, they have no demand upon their Government for indemnification, because all share in one common fate. The law presumes a tacit stipulation among the members of a community, that they shall share its fortunes whether of good or evil; but if, by any act of the Government, property which otherwise would have remained in a state of safety, is withdrawn from its pacific character, under which it was not liable to injury by an enemy, and invested with a warlike character, a character which exposes it as an object of hostility, the Government shall be bound to indemnify the owner for any damage it may sustain in consequence of such change of character. This rule will apply to property of every description. If a house, for example, be taken by the Government, and made a place of deposite for troops or for military stores, and while thus occupied is destroyed legitimately by the enemy, so that that occupancy was the cause of its destruction, the Government is bound—the individual who owned the house has suffered from a new character induced upon his property by the act of the Government. On this principle, the act of 1816 directed that when such a state of facts should be proved, the amount of their loss should be paid to those who suffered under such circumstances. But are we to go farther? Are we to allow claims for all the ravages which an enemy may perpetrate contrary to the law of nations Surely not. I can, indeed, suppose a case where a whole extensive district of country is laid waste by an incursion of the enemy, and all its inhabitants reduced to ruin. How far such a case might address itself to the sympathy of the Government—what appeals it might make to compassion and humanity—how far it might melt our feelings or call for our charity, is a question wholly different from the question we are now arguing. We are now speaking of what has for distinction's sake been called a perfect obligation. Such as might arise from the case I have supposed, can only amount to what is called an imperfect obligation. A man is under such imperfect obligation to give to any miserable fellow creature whom he can without impropriety relieve. But he cannot be forced to do so. There exists nothing like that sort of obligation by which a man is bound to pay his debts. The appeal, in one case, is to liberality, to pity, to compassion; in the other case it is to strict and naked justice. The difference is immense. The one obligation is tangible—it can be measured—it can be reduced to a fixed and definite limit. The other is of a nature which can neither be limited nor measured—it

eludes our scrutiny—it is a thing of feeling merely. Now, what one individual may justly force another individual to do, he might, with the same justice, force a Government to do—but, as its sovereignty interposes to render this impossible, the Government ought, and is bound, to do it of its own act. In the case of a perfect obligation, there is no choice, no limit, or restriction : the thing must be done, and to the whole extent of such obligation; but, in case of an imperfect obligation, we may pause, we may inquire into circumstances, we may consider our means, we may listen to the dictates of policy, and act as we make up our free choice upon the whole case when considered. But this bill proceeds on the principle that the Government is bound to make compensation, and it is on that principle that I wish to try the sense of the committee by a motion to strike out the enacting clause of the bill. I may illustrate my idea by an example taken from the municipal law. Suppose a case of larceny; is the Government bound to pay the loser? Certainly not. But it is bound to punish the thief, if it can catch him. So,if a foreign nation has infiicted lawless injury on a citizen, his Government is bound to punish that nation, if it can, but not to indemnify the citizen out of the public chest. [Here Mr. Barbour quoted the bill, and urged and enforced the objection which had yesterday been made to it by the gentleman from North Carolina, (Mr. Williams,) viz: that it would provide for payment, should a house have been occupied but a night upon a march, in the first week of the war and not destroyed by the enemy till the last week of it.] The principle I advocate would repudiate such an allowance. The occupancy alone removed the house from its ordinary condition, and, by giving it a military use, rendered it liable to attack and destruction, on the principles of civilized warfare. But that occupancy has ceased—the house returns to its ordinary character—it is now not lawful to destroy it, and if it is destroyed, the Government is not bound to pay for it. On the question of retaliation, I shall offer no argument, because I consider it as a question wholly beside the bill—it is a question not now to be discussed. The bill does not propose to indemnify because the property was, or was not, destroyed on the ground of retaliation —but because it was destroyed because occupied in the service of the United States. Let us now see what has been done in this matter. In 1816, Congress appointed a Commissioner who was au– thorized to examine testimony on the claims, and if it was proved that the buildings destroyed were used as a place of military deposite, he was authorized to repay their value. The Commissioner held, that buildings, occupied as barracks, were included within the act. The acts of this Commissioner were submitted to Congress in 1817—and, by a subsequent law in 1818, they were referred to the Third Auditor of the Treasury, who was to decide upon the claims under the same law as the Commissioner had done, These laws, one would think. went far enough. [Here Mr. B. again, recapitulated them.] How much farther are we to go Sir, if I distinctly perceive the distinguishing features of the present bill, they are these two, first, we are to pay for the buildings if occupied at any time during the war for public services; and, secondly, we are to pay for one half of all personal property lost or destroyed. The latter is certainly a matter too loose and fluctuating for this kind of summary legislation; and, as to the former. I have already shewn that the laws already passed have gone, in all reason, far enough. No, sir; the only ground on which these claimants can stand before us is that of claimants upon our liberality—a subject difficult to argue, because, in considering it, we quit the field of perfect obligation, and go into that which is imperfect and uncertain : it is, in truth, Ilimitable. Consider to what extent such an appeal

runs, Here is a whole region of country which has suf

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

fered by unlawful aggressions of the enemy. If you allow this as giving a right to indemnification, you must go through ; there is no stopping place; all who have suffered may claim; and all they have lost must be made up to them. Permit me, said Mr. B. to quote, on this subject, a writer who indulges in a very considerable liberality in treating the case. [Here he quoted a writer on national law, who, after allowing that it is a case of great difficulty, concludes the whole matter with determining that Government must take a view of all the circumstances, and act as it finds most expedient.] Suppose, for farther illustration, that we had no treaty stipulation on the subject of the negroes of the South, which were carried off during the war—(and I wish, after all the discussions on that matter, it may not turn out to be a treaty stipulation more in form than in effect) —is this committee prepared to say that Government would be bound to indemnify the losers for every negro{I had almost said stolen)—during the war? Sir, the loss would be immense. Every gentleman knows that if a few circumstances, during that war, had happened otherwise than they did—and had not the negroes been penetrated with a horror of the refuge which was opened to them by the enemy, they might have carried off thousands and millions of slaves. Indemnity for these would sweep away a whole year's revenue—(I hear agentleman near me say two or three years.) Sir, I have purposely referred to this subject of the negroes, lest it should be said that I was obdurate and insensible to one class of sufferers and one species of losses, but all alive to another nearer home, and for the express purpose that I might thus publicly declare that, were a claim, Like that provided for in this bill, set up by the losers of negro slaves, I should be just as much opposed to it as I am to this, and for the self-same reasons. The question of policy I need not agitate it has been frequently and powerfully pressed upon the committee. My object has been to show that the fundamental prin. ciple of the bill is wrong; that this is not one of those appeals to sheer and abstract Justice, in which the maxin applits, “fat justitia, rual calum”—but that it is a case which, if it has any claims, applies itself exclusively to the principle of sympathy. In that point of view. it is certainly not for me to dictate to this House. . If, on toe whole case, they shall choose to award any thing in way of mitigation for these losses, it is very well, but that is not this bill. The bill, I do maintain, goes further than any Government ever went before, or ever can go, without danger of ruin: it runs out into conse*.ences which are beyond our utmost sight. Consider what may not be said to be either the direct, or indirect consequences of war. The scholar is driven by it from his books, and flies to arms—the husbandman leaves his plough in the furrow-all classes of the community are thrown into a state of greater or less derangement—all these are the effects of war; and the act of Government is its immediate cause. An embargo, for instance, is said—the merchant’s obligations come upon him while his capital lies unemployed, and his ships are rotting at the wilarves. The farmer loses his foreign market, and his crops are rotting in his barn the injury is every where you can never indemnify all who suffer—and why must one small class be preferred before all their brethren in calamity? No, sir, unless the suffering has been directly occasioned by the act of Government, in using private property for military purposes—there is no claim, but a claim on our compassion. The bill recognizes a demand upon our justice; and as such I am fundamentally opposed to it. I move to strike out the enacting clause Mr. BRADLEY, of Vermont, said he did not rise for the purpose of extending the debate, nor should he have risen at all, had the principles by which he should be governed on this occasion been enunciated with sufficient distinctness. He cordially agreed with the learn

ed gentleman from Virginia, on mostpoints, but thought he had not fully explained the reason of the distinction he had made. Mr. B. said he was not aware of any instance in which a Government was ound to indemnify for a belligerant act, considered simply as such, and most of the difficulty which had ocurred arose from cases where property was destroyed y the enemy, when in possession of the Government. Bu Mr. B. begged the committee to remember that no difference existed in these cases, whether the property was destroyed by the enemy or the Government itself. And the reason was this: every well regulated Government, when it takes the property of the citizen, is boundto pay for it; and if it is taken for a temporary use, to riurn it in a state as good as it received it. When, thereore, it is destroyed by the enemy, the Government is dorived of the power of performing the moral obligationunder which it labors, and can only make compensatyn in money, which it is bound to do. Nor can it take advantage of the same defence, as an individual, for te non-performance of its contract. For the private lesee defends on the ground of inevitable necessity—t necessity against which he could not by possibility efend—but the Government being entrusted with the whole power of the nation for its defence, is not permited to avail itself of this excuse. For this reason, Mr. Bsaid, his vote would be entirely regulated by the proof by far the property in question was in the actual possesion of the Government; and, if it was not in such posession, he conceived the petitioners had no greater caim than every individual subjected to the vicissitudesof war. Mr. TRACY, of New York, the took the floor, in support of the bill, and had been ddressing the House for some time, when, On motion of Mr. WRIGHT, of]hio, the Committee rose; and, having obtained leave to sit again, The House adjourned.

IN SENATE.-WEnnesoAY, WEcEMBER 29, 1824.

The Senate, according to the rder of the day, proceeded to the consideration of the bill “to abolish imprisonment for debt.” Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, emarked that this bill had been very maturely digested)y the committee, and greatly modified from the bill c last session, with the view of obviating objections mile to it at that time. He did not know that any opposion would be made to it now, on general principles; bu if any were intended, he should propose to take it up t a future day for general discussion; at present he bped the investigation would be confined to its details for which purpose he moved that it be taken up by secions. This was done, and some veral amendments made. The bill having been gone through, Mr. COBB moved to strike ou the following sentences from the fourth section, viz: “But, after the return theref, the defendant or defendants may contest the allegaion of the said oaths or affirmations, before the court inwhich the said suit or action is instituted, in such form as the court shall prescribe. And if the court shallbe of opinion that the said allegations are not well founded, it may make an order, to be entered on record, Öscharging the said bail or security from his or their surtyship.” This motion gave rise to a debate of near two hours' duration, embracing occasional remarks on general principles, but chiefly involving questions of practice and proceeding in the courts of the different states, &c. &c. The motion was supported by the mover and by Mr. MILLS, at considerable length; and was opposed with much earnestness by Messrs. JOHNSON, of Ky, BARBOUR, and VAN BUREN. Mr. BRANCH made also some remarks on the question of modification; and then The bill was Fostponed to to-morrow.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

HOUSE OF REP+ESENTATIVES–Dec. 29, 1824. GEORGIA MILITIA claims.

Mr. Thom PSON, of Georgia, according to notice, moved to discharg: the committee of the whole from the further consideation of the report of the Committee on Military Affairs in the claim of that state for compensation for services performed by her militia, in 1793–4. The motion was arried—ayes 63, noes 56. Mr. THOMPSONthen moved to recommit the report to the same cominitee, with instructions “to report a bill making an appopriation for the payment of the said claims; the appropiation to be conformed to the report of the Secretary of War, made to this House upon the subject of those clans, in the year 1803, and to embrace each class of claims espectively, as described in that reDort.” I In support of this notion, Mr. THOMPSON rose, and addressed the Hous as follows: “It becomes uny city, said Mr. T. as a Representative of the people of Gergia, to urge upon the attention of the House the consieration of the claim which is exhibited in the Repot now before you. It is with some hesitancy I make thi attempt, not because I doubt the strength or fairness f the claim, but because so just a claim has been so lag neglected by the United States. Unused, as I am, toaddress the ear of this House, and notwithstanding thembarrassment under which, (I am conscious,) I in somesort labor, I dare believe that, if I am so fortunate as tobave the indulgence of an attentive hearing, for a fe' minutes, I shall be able to satisfy the House, not only f the justness of these claims, but that they ought to bepaid by the United States. It may be thought that I have, in the prosecution of my object, to combatorejudices which are, perhaps, supposed to exist againsthese claims, in consequence of the several rejections of tem by committees of this IIouse, to whom the subject hs been heretofore referred. No, sir, I will not insult ths House by supposing that such rejections have dictate to them a decision upon this subject. I intend no disrepect to the committees who have heretofore reported aginst these claims; on the contrary, I cherish towards to gentlemen who composed those committees, sentiment of proper respect; indeed, l anticipate, with some cofidence, that some of those gentlemen will review ther decision upon this subject If such rejections, howevr, are considered as amounting to an argument againsthese claims, in reply to such argument, I will only say (and I presume it is admissible to say,) that the fact & the very favorable reception these claims have herebfore met in the Senate, together with the several reportsmade to this House, favorable to the claimants, should b received as a countervailing argument. The only gound upon which the Committee on Military Affairs found their rejection of these claims, is the assumptio, that these claims were adjusted by the Treaty of Cesion entered into between the state of Georgia and the United States, on the 24th day of April, 1802, which is a virtual admission that they were originally just. I, on a full investigation of this subject, it shall appear to the IIouse that the expenses which were consequent on the services upon which these claims are predicated, wore not incurred by Georgia, then it will be acknowledged that they do not come within the description o’ expenses referred to in the Treaty of Cession, as that treaty referred distinctly to expenses which were inqurred by Georgia. If they do not come within that description, they could not have been adjusted by that trealy. In the investigation of this subject, I propose to show to the House, that the Governor of Georgia, when arranging the defence of that state, (by which these clams were created,) acted under the authority and control, and as the agent of the President. If I succeed in this, it will be conceded by all, that the United States were bound to pay the expenses

which were incurred during the continuance of such agency. I propose to shew, also, that the United States are bound by constitutional principles, to defray all expenses incurred, (subsequent to the adoption of the Federal Constitution,) by military operations necessary to the defence of an individual state; and that, under the operation of the Constitution, an individual state cannot be charged with such expenses. And, finally, that the state of Georgia did, prior to the adoption of the Constitution, incur expenses to a much greater amount than the sun stipulated in the Treaty of ''ession, which expenses cone much more properly within the description of expenses referred to in that treaty, than these militia claims, which were created subsequent to the adoption of the Constitution by Georgia. If I succeed in either of the two last Fropositions, the motion now pending before the House must prevail. These militia claims are founded upon services alleged to have been rendered to the United States, in the years 1792, 3, and 4, by certain detachments of the militia of Georgia, in defence of that state, against the Creek and Cherokee nations of Indians. At that time, Georgia presented to several warike tribes of hostile savages, a thinly inhabited frontier of about four hundred miles extent; those savages oad long cherished a hostile disposition towards the infant settlements of Georgia, and had frequently, before that period, indulged their savage thirst for blood, by desolating those young settlements, and butchering the defenceless inhabitants At length, excited by their hope of plunder, and fired with jealousy and rage, by the artful representations of a few designing, discontented chiefs amongst then, the Creek Indians, especially at the commencement of the period to which this inquiry is directed, attacked the frontier settlements of Georgia, with such fury, as seemed to threaten a total destruction of those settlements. The Governor of Georgia lepresented to the President of the United States the the n critical situation of that state, which representation was supported by satisfactory evidence, that murders and depredations had already been committed on the defenceless frontier inhabitants—and in consequence of such representation, the Secretary of War, on the 27th day of October, in 1792, wrote to the Governor of Georgia, which communication contains this unequivocal passage. “If the information you may receive, shall substantiate, clearly, any hostile designs on the part of the Creeks against the frontiers of Georgia, you will be pleased to take the most effectual means for the defence thereof, which may be in your power, and which the occasion may require.” Thus, the Executive of Georgia was clothed with full discretionary powers, and was constituted the judge of the necessity of calling out the militia and of the force necessary to be employed. And in the exercise of such discretionary powers, we present to your conclusive evidence, that several detachments of the militia of Georgia, were ordered into service, for the defence of the frontiers of Georgia, against an enemy common to the United States. The evidence on which the claimants rely for the support of their claims, is embodied in documents printed under an order of the IIouse, and laid on our tables yesterday. The House will there find the correspondence between the Secretary of War, in the year 1793, and the then acting agent for the supply of the troops in Georgia, which shows that the agent had caused rations to be regularly issued to the militia, who now claim compensation for their service. And the report of the Secretary of War, made to this House upon this subject in 1803, informs us that regular pay and muster rolls, showing the service of these militia, have been received at that department under the direction of the President of the United States. The cvidence submitted must, I think, satisfy the House, as it has the Committee on Military Affairs, that the militia did perform the service for which compensa

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

tion is now asked ; and the amount due is not a matter 2f speculative opinion, for the estimates prepared and forwarded by the then acting agent for the war Department in Georgia, and now on file, ascertains the precise amount. Then, the service was performed. The indifiduals who performed it were, therefore, entitled to compensation. Such compensation has not yet been made, but is now due, and it is due from the United States; because, the Governor of Georgia, when arranging the defence of that state, acted under the authority, and as the agent of the President. The service was, therefore, rendered to the United States, especially as it was against a common enemy. Consequently, the United Stat's are bound to pay the expenses which were incurred by that service. But I contend that the United States are bound, by constitutional principles—principles perfectly independent of any agency which the President may have had in arranging the military defence of Georgia—to pay these claims. The state of Georgia,on entering into the confederation, by the adoption of the federal Constitution, transferred the power she then had, as a separate, distinct, and independent government, of making war and concluding peace, and, ". became a member of the American Union - as a member of the Union, she was entitled to the protection of the United States; and such transfer of her sovereign, independent powers, imposed on the United States the necessity of defraying all expenses incurred by the military operations necessary to her defence, especially as the defence of an individual state is the defence of the Union. And, although the Constitution has committed the defence of the country, generally, to the United States, yet the right is reserved to the States, respectively, to defend themselves under particular exigencies. This reservation is incorporated in the tenth section of the first article of the Constitution, in these words: “No State shall engage in war unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.” A state may, therefore, when actually invaded, or when in such imminent danger of invasion as will not admit of delay, constitutionally engage in a war against the invader; and the exercise of this reserved right, by an individual state, constitutes the Executive of such state the constitutional agent of the United States. what were the exigencies which authorized the military orangements made for the defence of Georgia? They were the same which induced the President to clothe the Executive of Georgia with full discretionary powers, by the Secretary’s letter of the 27th of October, 1792, before alluded to—the same which induced the presi. dent to say to the Governor of Georgia, by the Secretary s letter of the 10th of June, 1793, ‘the state of orgia being invaded, or in imminent danger thereof, the measures taken by your Excellency may be consi. dered as indispensable: you are the judge of the degree of danger and of its duration, and will, undoubtedly, proPortion the defence to exigencies. The President, however, expresses his confidence that, when the danger which has induced you to call out so large a body of mi. it a shall have subsided, you will reduce the troops to or existing state of things.” (Here, let it be observed, that this letter not only confirmed, but renewed the Powers given by the previous letter.) And the Secretary's letter, of the same date, addressed to the Goveror of “outh Carolina, acknowledged that the President to received authentic information of the unprovoked and cruel outrages of the Creek Indians upon the frontiers of Georgia. I presume it is admitted by the house, and that it will not be denied by any one, that the state of Georgia was invaded, and that the danger of a still more serious invasion was daily increasing. The Gover. or of Georgia, therefore, when arranging the defence. “that state, exercised a two-fold power; for the power *hich he exercised under the authority, and as the agent : the President, he had a right to exercise, indepen

dently, under the constitution, as constitutional agent of the United States. Will it be denied that the President did assume the direction and control of the military arrangements made in the defence of Georgia? Why, then, the Secretary's letter of the 27th of October, before alluded to ? Why did the President, by the Secretary’s letter of the 30th of May, 1793, addressed to the Governor of Georgia, restrain offensive expeditions into the Creek country Why did the President, by the Secretary's letter of the 10th of June, before alluded to, approve of the measures adopted by the Governor of Georgia for the defence of that state, acknowledging that he was apprized of the large number of troops ordered into service for that purpose And why the Secretary's letter of the same date, addressed to the Governor of South Carolina, requesting that state to aid in the defence of Georgia But if you deny (what I am sure you will not) that the Governor of Georgia, when arranging the defence of that state, did act under the authority, and as the agent of the President, will you say that the expenses which were incurred by the military arrangements made in defence of Georgia, where chargeable upon that state, because the Governor, when arranging the defence of that state, exercised constitutional powers independent of the President What! an individual state, a member of the Union, under the operation of the federal constitution, chargeable with expenses incurred by military operations necessary, to its defence against an enemy common to the Union! If so, to a state situated as Georgia was then and is now, the Union would not only be perfectly oppressive, but it would be a curse. This right was reserved to the states, because of the anticipated necessity of exercising such a power in cases of emergency; and, notwithstanding Georgia was compelled to exercise this reserved right, she was, nevertheless, at that time, entitled to the protection of the United States; for, by the fourth section of the 4th article of the constitution, the United States guaranties to each individual state protection against invasion. With the idea of protection against invasion, I am necessarily compelled to associate the idea of an exertion of military force; and an expenditure is inseparable from such an exertion; then, as the constitution guaranties to each individual state protection against invasion, and reserves to the states, respectively, the right to defend themselves under particular exigencies, and as the exigency occurred which authorized Georgia to exercise this reserved right, it follows, of necessity, irresistibly follows, that, whether the Governor of Georgia, when arranging the defence of that state, did act under the authority, and as the agent of the President, or as constitutional agent of the United States, or in the double capacity of agent of the President and constitutional agent of the United States, the United States are morally and constitutionally bound to pay these claims. The constitutional principle which I have laid down and attempted to elucidate, is, as it seems to me, so clearly fundamental, that any additional remarks by me, on this part of the subject, would chance to be superfluous, and I appeal to the great constitutional lawyers of the House, not only for the correctness of this principle, but to aid me in support of it. - - - - I anticipate that it will be said, that the Secretary's letter, of the 19th of July, 1793, addressed to the Governor of Georgia, withdrew from the Executive of that state the power previously given by the President. Be it so: the evidence submitted to you shows that the frontiers of Georgia were still pressed by a murderous savage foe. Yes, sir, defenceless females were then flying with their helpless children from the Indian scalping knife; driven by a storm of savage war, they were even then, all shelterless, forlorn, and destitute, wandering through the gloom of night, or, guided alone by the blaze of their humble cottage, fell an easy and unresisting prey to the ruthless savage. The necessity which

« ForrigeFortsett »