« ForrigeFortsett »
during the session of Congress in the winter of words to this import. To a suggestion by me, 1818 '19, or at any other time, mention to you that we differed in opinion as to whether yok my confidential letter to Mr. Monroe, dated 6th were or were not reprehensible for your conduet
, January, 1818, relative to Florida and the Semi-he replied, to decide this question regard must be nole war-show you that letter, a copy thereof, had to your motives. These, he believed,had been or speak of its contents? Did he ever tell you pure and patriotic; that, from mistaken zeal in the that letter had been answered? if yea, what did service of your country, you had exceeded the he say was the substance of that answer? if nay, powers given you, or any the President had a did he give any reasons why an answer was not right to bestow. At the same time be observed given, and what? What did you understand to that Spain deserved from us the treatment she had be Mr. Calhoun's object in speaking to you of received, and a surrender of the posts was all she that letter?"
had a right to look for; that, whether you were Answer. Mr. Calhoun never did, at any time, culpable or not, was a concern of our own, and or upon any occasion, communicate to me, either not hers. He spoke of the acquistia of the verbally or in writing, his knowledge of the exis- Floridas, then a subject of negotiation with the tence of such a letter, or of its contents. Al- Spanish minister Don Onis, and the prospect of a though, at the time alluded to, I had a knowledge favorable result
, that he was apprehensive might of the contents of the letter, 1 did not derive that be defeated or endangered by a vote of censure
, knowledge from Mr. Calhoun, nor have I ever or the disapproval of your conduct
. I told Mr. made a suggestion to any man that would justi- Calhoun, in reply, that his viewe, or three of a fy such a belief.
similar nature, on the subject, had been prerions 2. “Did Mr. Calhoun at any time, and when, ly presented to me by the President
, but he had communicate to you the views expressed, as the failed to convince me that there were either contra course pursued by him in Mr. Monroe's cabinet sistency or safety in the course adopted by the in relation to my conduct in the Seminole war? administration. That, if the seizure of the Spanif yea, what were those views, and that course? ish posts by you was lawful, constitutional, and What opinion, if any, did Mr. Calhoun express in obedience to orders given, they should not to you as, at the time of your conversation, en have been surrendered; and, on the other hand, tertained by him relative to my orders, and the if their capture was illegal
, and manner in which I had executed them?",
in violation of your orders, you were highly repres Answer. Sometime in January, 1819, I think hensible, and to pass over such conduet without towards the latter end of the month, Mr. Cal- censure or animadversion, was to sanction it
, and houn called upon me in the Senate Chainber, and acting upon,and fortified by this precedent, every asked me into a committee room, and when there, land or naval officer in our service might
, in fusaid he wished to converse with me in regard to ture, involve the nation in war at their discretien your operiions in Florida, as that subject was or caprice. Such, I stated, were my view's
, and, before a committee of which he had understood I having been charged by the Senate with the inwas chairman. He then stated that the subject vestigation, I should not shrink from the respezhad embarrassed the administration, and present- sibility of faithfully discharging my duty. M. ed many difficulties at first, but a course was fi- Calhoun then said he would not wish to be w 'nally agreed upon that he had flattered himself derstood as objecting to the inquiry; it was rather would have been generally acquiesced in and ap- the spirit with which it was carried on that bad proved, and he was sorry to find himself mistak. given him surprise. He had understood that Go en, or words to this effect. We then went on to vernor Mitchell, of Georgia, who had just arricompare opinions, and discuss the subject. A-ed in the city, had been sent for to give evidence; mong other things, I stated, expressly, that, from that his testimony should be viewed with alloer, the facts disclosed, it was my opinion you had, ance, as he was the personal enemy of General in the prosecution of the Seminole war, exercised Gaines, and, he believed, equally so of General cruel and unprecedented severity in putting to Jackson; that Mitchell was an Indian agent, and death captive Indians and British traders; that, charges had been, or would be, as he understand by the forcible arizure of the Spanish posts, you preferred against him, that would, if established, had transcended your orders, and usurped the seriously affect his character, and he wished to power of Congress, and, consequently, violated put me on my guard. I assured him Governa the constitution of the United States. Mr. Cal. Mitchell had not been sent for by order of the houn replied that he agreed with me that the cap. committee, nor, to my knowledge, written to by turing the Spanish posts was unauthorized and any member of it. That, after his arrival
, I was illegal; and he said, when the subject was first told by Mr. Forsyth that he was in possession presented by the President, he had been for tak- of many facts connected with the Semnale wa, ing pretty strong ground, and instituting an in- and this I had mentioned to the committee
, and, quiry into your conduct, but, after mature consi- by his order, he was subpænaed. deration, the Cabinet had made a different deci
In repeating the above conversation between sion, and he had acquiesced; and he observed he Mr. Calhoun and myself
, I do not pretend that ! had yielded his opinion with less reluctance, find- have used the precise words made we of by ing the President strongly inclined to adopt a us, but I am certain that I have bol beer más different course; and, he added, that, while he taken in their import or meaning. was a member of the Cabinet, he should consider This conversation was not considered by meus it his duty to sustain the measures of the Presi- confidential, nor was it enjoined on me as suck. dent if it could be done with any propriety, or 3. “Was your object in consulting Nr. Cabe
houn to procure information to aid you in form- report, or otherwise, express to you his concuring your report upon my conduct in the Semi- rence in the views therein expressed? What nole war, made to the Senate on the day of other views or opinions, or facts, if any, relative February, 1819? did Mr. Calhoun understand to my conduct, or his, in the affair of the Semithat to be your object?”
nole war, did Mr. Calhoun communicate to you Answer. I never did consult Mr. Calhoun, or at that or any other time?" any other member of Mr. Monroc's cabinet, with Answer. Mr. Calhoun never did see the rea view of obtaining information or aid in forming port, or any part of it, before it was made, nor the report, unless the circumstances and facts I has he at any time, before or since the report was am about to mention, inay be so considered. made,expressed to me his concurrence in the views
Previous to Mr. Forsyth's appointment as taken therein, other than what I have already minister to Spain, and when he was a member of stated in my answer to the second interrogatory, the committee, he had more than once stated to and that passed in the committee room; nor has
me his belief that you had issued orders to Gene- Mr. Calhoun, in any manner or upon any occana sel ral Gaines, after the close of the Seminole war, sion, since I called upon him at the War office, as
directing the capture of St. Augustine, the cap- above stated, communicated to me his sentiments Az ital of East Florida, and that these orders had been or opinions on the subject of the Seminole war,
countermanded by the President. But, as the or your conduct in Florida. na do rei documents furnished by the War Department 5. “Has any thing passed between you and contained no evidence of the fact
, we were un- Mr. Calhoun, since the session of Congress in informed on the subject until I was, long after- 1918, '19, explanatory of his conduct or mine in Oh wards, informed by Mr. Eaton, of the committee, relation to the Seminole war, and the incidents that orders to that effect had been issued by you, which grew out of it? if yea,
what?" and that the place would have been taken had Answer. After the unhappy dispute (I mean Tu not the orders been countermanded; this he gave for the honor of the country) had taken place be
as an evidence of your firmness and decision, and tween you and Mr. Calhoun, and the publicathe absence of those qualities in the administra- tion of his pamphlet, he sent to me one of them, tion. This information induced me, soon after- with his name and compliments written on the wards, to call on Mr. Calhoun at the War office; title page. On reading the book, and finding my Mr. Roberts, (my colleague, was in company name gratuitously introduced in connection with Upon inquiry, Mr. Calhoun told me that such or- the name of Mr. Crawford, in a way not very ders had been issued by you, and were immedi. honorable to either, I was at a loss to decide wheately countermanded. I inquired why this cor-ther Mr. Calhoun had sent the book to me as an respondence had not been furnished.
act of civility to an old acquaintance, with whom He said it never had been called for. I replied, all intercourse had been suspended for ten years, that the calls were in general terms, and compre- or an insult; and in this state of uncertainty i hended all the information on the subject of the acknowledged the receipt of it, and in my letter Seminole war that it was safe and proper for the made some animadversions on the impropriety of Executive to communicate, or words to that ef- dragging me from retirement before the public; fect. Here Mr. Calhoun, in the most bland and endeavored to repel the insinuation that I had conciliatory manner, (I remember his words dis- acted under the influence of Mr. Crawford, or tinctly,) observed, "had you not better try Gene- any other executive officer, in framing the report;
ral Jackson for what he has done, and not for reminded Mr. Calhoun of our conversation in E
what he had designed to do." I answered him, the committee room, and his endeavors to justiI was not governed by personal hostilities to you, fy your motives in the Florida operations. I renor were any member of the committee; we wish-curred to your confidential or Johnny Rhea leted to do ourselves, the country, and you, strict ter, and its new version as given in the pamphlet justice; and for this purpose we wished all the in- as proof positive and irrefragible of your bavo. formation that could be rightfully obtained. If ing committed an unlawful act with a perfect the correspondence was of a private or confidenconsciousness of its being so, inasmuch as you tial nature, I did not ask it; if of a public nature, had proposed confidentially to the President to we had a right to receive it
. Mr. Calhoun said, take the Floridas or make war upon Spain, if the he would be glad if I would consult the Presi- President would guarantee to you an indemnity dent, and if he had no objection, he would send by signifying his approbation to a confidential me the correspondence, if I would call for it as friend; thus, if successful, securing the honor of chairman of the committee. I immediately call- a triumph, and at all events escaping with impued on the President, and, when informed of the nity by shifting the responsibility and throwing object of my visit, he said he had not examined it upon the President. In this view of the case, the Seminole documents, since their publication, I stated that your deliberate intentions, and the nor did he know that the correspondence in ques motives by which you had been governed, could tion had been withheld, (or words to this pur- not be mistaken, pose;) but if it were so, he was perfectly satis I expressed to Mr. Calhoun my regret to find, fied it should be furnished. I gave the informa- by his pamphlet, facts disclosed and opinions exa tion to Mr. Calhoun, and he soon afterwards sent pressed by him and others high in authority, in to the committee a copy of the correspondence relation to your conduct, that had been carefully
4. “Did Mr. Calhoun see your report, or any suppressed at the time of the investigation. That part of it, before it was made? did he, before it for his part he was about to receive his reward, was made, or afterwards, in direct allusion to the and would fall a victim to his own policy, nor
would he, in my opinion, although the first on the and un favorable consequences. It is by a list, be the last victim.
knowledge of all the circnmstances, and a comThe purport and substance of my letter to Mr. prehensive view of the whole subject
, that the Calhoun, I have given you. My papers were so danger to which this measure is exposed may much deranged and destroyed by the spring be avoided, and all the good which you have flood, that I could not find the copy; of course I contemplated by it, as I trust
, be fully realized have to write from recollection. This letter was In calling you into actual service against the not written in confidence; I did not request, nor Seminoles, and communicating to you the or did it require an answer; nor did I ever receive an ders which had been given just before to bere answer to it from Mr. Calhoun. I have only to ral Gaines, the views and intentions of the Go repeat, that, other than what I have already stated, vernment were fully disclosed in respect to the I have had no communication from Mr. Calhoun operations in Florida. In transcending the 1 “relative to the Seminole war, and the incidents mit prescribed by those orders, you acted on growing out of it.”
your own responsibility, on facts and circumHaving closed my answers to the interrogato- stances which were unknown to the Governries, you will permit me to observe, that such of ment when the orders were given
, many of the foregoing questions, as,by fair and necessary which, indeed, occurred afterwards and which inference, were calculated to make me the passive you thought imposed on you the measure as 20 instrument in the hands of Mr. Calhoun to ac- act of patriotism essential to the honor and incuse or criminate you, I should have refused to terests of your country. answered in a court of justice, and should havere The United States stand justified in ordering pelled, as an attempt to make me impugn my their troops into Florida in pursuit of their ezeown character, and dishonor myself, and that too my. They have this right by the law of te in the discharge of an important public duty. tions, if the Seminoles were inhabitants of 10 But, notwithstanding you seem to consider me ther country, and had entered Florida, to elude as the victim of Mr. Calhoun's superior duplici- our pursuit
. Being inhabitants of Florida, with ty and skill, still you appeal to me to do you jus a speices of sovereignty over that part of the tice in a case where you suppose me concerned territory, and a right to the soil, our right to in inflicting the injury, evinces such confidence give such an order is the more complete and in my sincerity and candor on your part, that it unquestionable. It is not an act of Lostility to has not failed to be duly appreciated on mine; Spain. It is the less so, because her Gorenand, hence it is, I have answered all your ques- ment is bound by treaty to restrain by force of tions, however objectionable, with unreserved arms, if necessary, the Indians there from comfrankness.
mitting hostilities against the l’nited States Finding by your letter before me, that you de But an order by the Government to attacks sign the statement for "future historical use, Spanish post would assume another character. and that your object, and sole object, is the estab- It would authorize war, to which, by the prin lishment of truth, and to do justice to all men," ciples of our Constitution, the Executive is inpermit me in conclusion to assure you, that it competent. Congress alone possess the pover
. will afford me sincere pleasure to learn, that I I am aware that cases may occur where the have contributed in any degree to the accomplish commanding General, acting on his owa rt
: ment of an object so laudable; and should the sponsibility, may with safety pass this limit, and information I have given, be the means of pro- with essential advantage to his country. The ducing harmony and restoring a good under- officers and troops of the neutral power forget standing between the two first officers of the Go. the obligations incident to the neutral chara vernment, it will, to me, be a source of much ad. ter; they stimulated the enemy to make war; ditional pleasure, and cannot fail to be highly they furnished them with arms and munition di gratifying to every man who regards the reputa-war to carry it on; they take an active partia tion and honor of his country.
other respects in their favor; they afford then Yours, &c. A. LACOCK. an asylum on their retreat. The General co
taining victory purses them to this post, the APPENDIX.-A.
gates of which are shut against him, he attacks Mr. Monroe to General Jackson. and carries it, and rest on those acts for his jus
WASANIGTON, July 19, 1818. tification. The affair is then brought before * DEAR SIR: I received lately, your letter of his Government by the power whose post bisa June 2d, by Mr. Hambly, at my farm in Lou- been thus attacked and carried
. If the Game don, to which I have returned to await your re-vernment whose officer made the attack ba
] port, and the return of our commissioners given an order for it, the officer would have from Buenos Ayres. In reply to your letter, no merit in it. He exercised no discretion
, I shall express myself with the freedom and nor did he act on his own responsibility
. The candor which I have invariably used in my com- merit of the service, if there be any in it munications with you. I shall withhold nothing would not be his. There is the ground en in regard to your attack of the Spanish posts, which this occurrence rests, as to his part
. ! of occupancy of them, particularly Pensacola, will now look to the future. which you ought to know, it being an occur The foreign Government demands us this rence of the most delicate and interesting na- your act? or did ycu authorize it! I did hook ture, and which, without a circumspect and it was the act of the general
. He perforated cautious policy, looking to all the objects which it for reasons deemed suficient bimself
, and can claim attention, may produce the most serious his own responsibility. I demand, then, the
surrender of the posts, and his punishment. to the General, will be right, if the facts on The evidence justifying the cor duct of the A. which he rests made it a measure of necessity, merican general, and proving the misconduct and they be well proved. There is no war, or of those officers, I will be embodied, to be laid breach of the Constitution, unless the Governbefore the sovereign, as the ground on which ment should refuse to give up the posts; in their punishment will be expected.
which event, should Spain embargo our vessels, If the Executive refused to evacuate their and war follow, the charge of such breach posts, especially Pensacola, it would amount to would be laid against the Government with a declaration of war, to which it is incompetent. great force. The last imputation to which I It would be accused with usurping the author. would consent justly to expose myself, is that ity of Congress, and giving a deep and fatal of infringing a Constitution, to the support of wo'ind to the constitution. By charging the which, on pure principles, iny public life has
offence on the officers of Spain, we take the been devotedl. In this sentiment, I am satisfied, din ground which you have presented, and we look you fully concur.
to you to support it. You must aid in procur Your letlers to the department were written ing the documents necessary for this purpose in haste, under the pressure of fatigue and inThose which you sent by Mr. Hambly were firmity, in a spirit of conscious rectitude, and prepared in too much haste, and do not, I am in consequence, with less attention to some satisfied, do ju tice to the cause. This must parts of their contents than would otherwise be attended io without delay.
have been bestowed on them. The passage to Should we hold the posts, it is impossible to which I particularly allude froin memory, for I calculate all the concequences likely to result have not the letter before me, is that in which from it. It is not improbable that war would you speak of incompetency of an imaginary immediately follow. 'Spain would be stimu- boundary to protect us against the enemy, lated to declare it; and, once declared, the ad- being the ground on which you bortom all your venturers of Britain and other countries would, measures. This is liable to the imputation that under the Spanish flag, privateer on our com- you took the Spanish posts for that reason, as merce. The immense revenue which we now a measure of expedience, and not on account of receive would be much diminished, as would the misconduct of the Spanish officers. The be the profits of our valuable productions. The effect of this and such passages, besides other war would probably soon become general; and objections to them, would be to invalidate the we do not foresee that we should have a single ground on which you stand, and furnish wea. power in Europe on our side. Why risk these pons to adversaries who would be glad to seize consequences?' The events which have occur.them. If you think proper to auihorize the red in both the Floridas show the incompeten. Secretary or myself, to correct those passages, cy of Spain to maintain her authority; and the it will be done with care; thougli, should you progress of the revolutions in South America have copies, as I presume you bave, you had will require all her forces there. There is better do it yourself. much reason to presume that this act will tur. The policy of Europe respecting South nisi a strong inducement to Spain to cede the America, is not yet settled. A Congress of the territory, provided we do not wound too deeply Allied Powers is to be held this year, (Novem. her pride by holding it. If we hold the posts, ber is spoken of,) to decide that question. her government cannot treat with honor, which, England proposes to restore the colonies to by withdrawing the troops, we afford her an Spain, with free trade and colonial governments. opportunity to do. The manner in which we Russia is less favorable, as are all the others. propose to act, will exculpate you from cen-We have a Russian document, written by order stire, and promise to obtain all the advantages of the Emperor, as the basis of instructions to which you contemplated from the measure, his ministers at the several courts, speaking of and possibly very soon.
From a different the British proposition favorably, but stating course no advantage would be likely to result, that it must be considered and decided on by and there would be great danger of extensive the allies, and the result published, 10 p:oduce and serious injuries.
a moral effect on the colonies, on the failure of I shall communicate to you, in the conhdence which, force is spoken of. The seltlement of in which I write this letter, a copy of an answer the dispute between Spain and Portugal,, is which will be given to the Spanish minister, that made a preliminary. We partake in no councils you may see distinctly the ground on which we whose object is not their complete independ. rest, in the expectation that you will give it all ence. Intimations have been given us that the support in your power. The answer will Spain is not unwilling, and is even preparing be drawn on a view, and with attention to the for war with the Cnited States, in the hope of general interest of our country, and its rela-making it general, and uniting Europe against tions with other powers.
us and her colonies, on the principle that she A charge, no doubt, will be made of a bas no hope of saving them. Her pertinac ivus breach of the Constitution; and to such a charge refusal to cede the Floridas to us beretofore, the public feeling will be alive. It will be said though evidently her interest to do it, gives that you have taken all the power into your some coloring to the suggestions. If we enown hands, not from the executive alone, but gage in a war, it is of the greatest importance likewise from Congress. The distinction which that our people be united, and with that view I have made above, between the act of the hat Spain commence it; above all, that the Government, refutes that charge. This act, as
Government be free from the charge of com- be considered. If these be adopted as the mitting a breach of the Constitution.
proper rules of construction, and we apply I hope that you have recovered your health. them to my order of December 26, 1817, You see that the state of the world is unsetiled, will be at once seen, that both in description and that any future movement is likely to be di- and operative principle, they embrace ibat errected against us. There may be very impor der exactly. The requisitions of the onder art tant occasions for your services, which will be for the commanding general to assume the inrelied on. You must have the object in view, mediate command at fort Scott, to concentrale and be prepared to render them.
all the contiguous and disposable force of the
division on that quarter, to call on the exech. B.
tives of adjacent States for an auxiliary militia Gen. Andrew Jackson to Mr. Monroe. force, and concludes with this comprehensive
NaseviLLE, August 19, 1818. command: “With this view you may he preSIR: Your letter of the 19th July, apprising pared to concentrate your forces
, and adapt the me of the course to be pursued in relation la necessary measures to terininate a conflict, the Floridas, has been received. In a future which it has ever been the desire of the Presi. communication, it is my intention to submit my dent, from motives of humanity
, to sveid, but views of all the questions springing from the which is now made necessary by their stiled subject, with the fullness and candor which the hostility." importance of the topic, and the part I have In no part of this document is there a rier. acted in it, demand. "At present, I will con-ence to any previous order, either to myselfer fine myself to the consideration of a part of another officer, with a view to point to me le your letter, which has a particular bearing on measures thought advisable, or the limits of myself, and which seems to have originated in my power in choosing and effecting them. I a misconception of the import of the order un- states that Gen. Gaines has been ordered to der which I have commenced the Seninole Amelia island, and then proceeds to infan de campaign. In making this examination, I will that “subsequent orders have been given to make use of all the freedom which is courted General Gaines, (of which copies will be fura by your leiter, and which I deem necessary to nished you,) that you would be directed 10 afford you a clear view of the construction take the command, and directing lum to re-eswbich was given to the order, and the motives sume, should he decline the public interest to under which I proceeded to execute its intentions require it, the command at fort Scott
, un'il you It is stated in the second paragraph of your should arrive there." Lastly, it mentions that letter, that I transcended the limits of my order," he was instructed to penetrate the Seminole and that I acted on my own responsibility. towns through the Floridas, provided the
To these two points I mean at present to strength of this command at Amelia, would jos confine myself. But, before entering on a proof tify his engaging in offensive operations. The of their applicability to my acts in Florida, principle determining the weight of relerences allow me fairly to state, that the assumption of in subsequent orders, to instructions previous responsibility will never be shrunk from when ly given, is well settled. Such references are the public good can thereby be promoted. 1 usually made with one of these two inter'oni have passed through difficulties and exposures-either the order is given to a second officer
, for the honor and benefit of my country; and to effect a certain purpose which was in whenever still, for this purpose, it shall become lended to be effected by another officer, and necessary to assume à further liability, no the instructions of the first are referred to as the scruple will be urged or felt. But when it guide of the second; or the order con. As ao shall be required of me to do so, and the re- is designed for an extension of authority, and sult be danger and injury to that country, the only refers to interior communications to give inducement will be lust, and my consent will a full view of what has been previously ale be wanting
tempted and performed. In the first case it This principle is held to be incontrovertible, is always necessary to congect the different orthat an order, generally, 10 perform a certain ders by a specific provision, that no duabe may service, or effect a certain object, without any exist as to the extent of the command
, and thus specification of the means to be adopted, or the several requisitions and instructives are limits to govern the executive officer, leaves amalgamuted, and the limits of the agents plair an entire discretion with the officer as to the ly and securely established. Io the second, na choice and application of means, but preserves such provision is necessary; for an entire discrethe responsibility for his acts on the authority tion in the choice and use of means being pre from which the order emanated. Under such viously vested, the reference, if there be any an order all the acts of the inferior are acts of is only descriptive of tle powers antecedente the superior; and in no way can the subordi- given, and the results of measures attempted nate officer be impeached for his measures, ex- under such specified limitation. But adesit cept on the score of deficiency in judgment ting that, in my order of December 28, 1817, and skill. It is also a grammatical truth, tha: there is such a reference as I contemplated in the limits of such an order cannot be transcend- the first case, allow me to examine its character ed without an entire desertion of the objects and amount. It is stated that orders have it contemplated; for as long as the main legiti
. been given to General Gaines, (copies of which mate object is kept in view, the policy of the will be furnished you,") but without alienes measures adopted to accomplish it is alone to ing that they are to be considered as bindings