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as an example to the standard ten years ago, when it was felt that a million of muskets should be kept in store. It is not I who say this; it is the Chief of Ordnance.
But these several considerations, while making inquiry imperative, do not touch the money question involved. If in the asserted dealings with a belligerent power, in violation of our neutral duties, there is reason to believe corrupt practices of any kind, if there are large sums of money that seem to be unaccounted for, then is there additional ground for inquiry. Two questions are presented: first, as to the violation of neutral duties; and, secondly, as to misfeasance of subordinates involving money. In both cases the question, I repeat, is of inquiry.
I do not dwell now on the sums lost by France in this business. They are supposed to count by the million; but here I make no allegation. I allude only to what appears elsewhere.
Unquestionably there are enormous discrepancies between the sums paid by France for arms actually identified as coming from our arsenals and the sums received by our Ordnance Bureau. In different reports these discrepancies assume different forms. Not to repeat what has been said on other occasions, I introduce the report of the acting French Consul at New York, dated August 25, 1871, where, after showing that France received only 368,000 muskets and 53,000,000 cartridges, while the accounts with Mr. Remington enumerate a sum-total of 425,000 arms and 54,000,000 cartridges, it is said :
“Whence comes this difference of 57,000 between the arms said to be sent from here and those which were received in France, if in fact the report of M. Riant signifies that they
have only received a total of 368,000? How explain that there were 425,000 put on the bills of lading, and that the price of these was paid in New York ?”
Now this discrepancy may be traced exclusively to French agents, so that our subordinates shall not in any way be involved; but when we consider all the circumstances of this transaction, it affords grounds of inquiry.
But there is another witness on this head, not before mentioned in this debate. I have here an extract from the official report of M. de Bellonet, the French Chargé d'Affaires at Washington, made to his Government on this very question of losses down to a certain period. His language is explicit: “The dry loss to the Treasury of France must have been about $1,500,000, or seven million francs.” This, be it remembered, is only a partial report down to a certain period. Now there is nothing in this report to charge this "dry loss” upon our officials. It may be that it was all absorbed by the intermediate agents. But taken in connection with the telegram of Squire and the abundant letter of Mr. Remington, it leaves a suspicion at least adverse to our officials.
Sir, let me be understood. I do not believe that any inquiry by any committee can give back to France any of the enormous sums she has lost. They have already gone beyond recall into the portentous mass of her terrible sacrifices destined to be an indefinite mortgage on that interesting country. Not for the sake of France or of any French claimant do I propose inquiry, but for our sake, for the sake of our own country. We read of that vast Serbonian bog “where armies whole have sunk.” It is important to know if there is any such bog anywhere about our Ordnance Office, where millions whole have sunk.
Investigation is the order of the day. Already in France, amid all the anxieties of her distracted condition, these purchases of arms have occupied much attention. As far back as last April, the “Soir,” a journal at Versailles, where the Convention was sitting, called for parliamentary inquiry. Its language was strong :
“A parliamentary inquiry made in full day can alone establish either the culpability of some or the perfect honorableness of others."
And the same French organ added :
“ The Chamber, in consigning this matter to its pigeonholes, refused satisfaction to an awakened public morality."
There is, then, in France an awakened public morality, as we hope there is also in the United States, which demands investigation where there is suspicion of corrupt practices. The French Chamber has instituted inquiry.
Mr. President, as a Republic, we are bound to the most strenuous care, so that our example may not in any way suffer. If we fail, then does Republican Gov
. ernment everywhere feel the shock. For the sake of others as well as of ourselves must we guard our conduct. How often do I insist that we cannot at any moment, or in any transaction, forget these great responsibilities ! As no man “liveth to himself,” so no nation “liveth” to itself; especially is this the condition of the Great Republic. By the very name it bears, and by its lofty dedication to the rights of human nature, is it vowed to all those things which contribute most to civilization, keeping its example always above suspicion. That great political philosopher, Montesquieu, announces that
the animating sentiment of Monarchy is “Honor,” but the animating sentiment of a Republic is “Virtue."1 I . would gladly accept this flattering distinction. Therefore, in the name of that Virtue which should inspire our Government and keep it forever above all suspicion, do I move this inquiry.
On this whole matter the Senate will act as it thinks best, ordering that investigation which the case requires. For inyself I have but one desire, which is, that this effort, begun in the discharge of a patriotic duty, may redound to the good of our country, and especially to the purity of the public service.
1 De l'Esprit des Lois, Liv. III. chs. iii. vi.
(A.) Page 15.
AUTHORITIES REFERRED TO IN SPEECH.
WHEATON, our great authority, in Lawrence's edition, page 727, quotes Vattel as laying down the rule of neutrality :
“To give no assistance where there is no previous stipulation to give it ; nor voluntarily to furnish troops, arms, ammunition, or anything of direct use in war.”
Vattel, as quoted, then says:
“I do not say, To give assistance equally, but, To give no assistance; for it would be absurd that a State should assist at the same time two enemies." Le Droit des Gens, Liv. III. ch. vii. § 104.
Another home authority, the late General Halleck, in his work on International Law, after speaking of merchants en
gaged in selling ships and munitions of war to a belligerent, says:
“ The act is wrong in itself, and the penalty results from his violation of moral duty as well as of law. The duties imposed upon the citizens and subjects flow from exactly the same principle as those which attach to the government of neutral States.”
He then says, quoting another :
“ By these acts he makes himself personally a party to a war in which, as a neutral, he had no right to engage, and his property is justly treated as that of an enemy.” — International Law, p. 631.
Our other home authority, Professor Woolsey, in his work on International Law, section 162, says:
“ International Law does not require of the neutral sovereign that he should keep the citizen or subject within the same strict lines of neutrality which he is bound to draw for himself.” — Introduction to the Study of International Law, 2d edition, p. 270.
That is, a citizen may sell ships and arms to a belligerent and take the penalty, but the Government cannot do any such thing.
Another authority of considerable weight, Bluntschli, the German, lays down the rule as follows :
“ The neutral State must neither send troops to a belligerent, nor put ships of war at its disposal, nor furnish subsidies to aid it in making the war.
“In coming directly to the aid of one of the belligerent powers by the sending of men or war material, one takes part in the war.” – Droit International Codifié, tr. LARDY, art. 757, p. 381.
There is the true principle : “ By the sending of men or war material one takes part in the war.”
But the most important illustration of this question, and the only case bearing directly on this point, which, according