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in that government, having in the opinion of the President rendered forbearance on the part of the United States proper and expedient, in communicating to Congress the correspondence with General Vivés, he repeated the recommendation to postpone the consideration of the subject by that body until their next session, trusting that in the interval all necessity for their acting in a manner otherwise than amiable towards Spain will be removed by the ratification of the treaty.
You will understand, therefore, that if the Spanish government shall immediately upon the arrival of the messenger now dispatched by General Vivés determine to ratify the treaty, the ratification will be accepted by the President subject to the advice and consent of the Senate on the question whether it shall be received in exchange for the ratification of the United States heretofore given. The exchange, therefore, if made, must take place here, as it can no longer be made without the express and renewed assent of the Senate.
It is presumed that from the report made by General Vivés all the difficulties which have hitherto been alleged as obstacles to the ratification will be removed; but from a suggestion in your dispatch of 9 March which has been received, it is not impossible that a new objection may be started, namely of a want of power in the King under the constitution to which he has now sworn to consummate by his ratification the compact to which he had already pledged his solemn promise. Should this suggestion be made, it will not fail to occur to you, and if necessary to be duly urged, that the right of the United States, having been clearly perfect by the unqualified promise, could not be affected by any subsequent engagement of the King; and that the faith of the nation having been already bound by his engagement
while possessed of unlimited power, continues as much pledged under any internal change of government, as if no such change had happened. Thus much is unquestionable upon the principles universally recognized by the law of nations. But in urging this principle as a motive for requiring an immediate decision, you will add that the President has no intention to avail himself of it to fasten an unequal or a hard bargain upon Spain. He always has considered and still views the treaty as highly advantageous to Spain; and would not now desire its ratification if in the just and reasonable estimation of Spain herself it could be viewed in any other light. He instructs you, therefore, to manifest no peculiar earnestness to obtain the ratification; but to observe that the right of the United States to it within the stipulated six months having been perfect, and they having hitherto consented to waive any claim to further satisfaction and indemnity, for injuries sustained by them in consequence of the ratifications being withheld, they can extend this indulgence no longer, and that upon any subsequent adjustment with Spain they will insist upon further indemnity; that an additional provision will be indispensable for the existing claims of citizens of the United States upon the Spanish government; and that the right of the United States to the western boundary of the Rio del Norte will be reasserted and never again relinquished. Notice to the same effect has been given as you will observe to General Vivés, and you will take such further occasion as may be suitably offered, in terms as moderate and conciliatory as may be consistent with propriety, to make it known as the unalterable determination of the President.1
1 See Monroe to Gallatin, May 26, 1820, in Adams, Writings of Gallatin, II. 140.
TO JOHN HOWARD MARCH 1
WASHINGTON, 25 May, 1820.
I have received your obliging letter of 16 March, and the Hogshead and 14 cask of wine to which it refers, for your kind attention in sending which I pray you to accept my best thanks.
I must at the same time request you to have the goodness to send me a bill for them, charged at the price which you would affix to the same articles to your regular commercial correspondents in this country, with information to whom it shall be paid for you.
This request is founded upon a principle which I have always considered as resulting from the spirit if not the letter of the Constitution of the United States.
While holding an employment in the public service I have always felt myself interdicted from the acceptance of any present of value, not only from foreign sovereigns but from any other person. As the observance of this practice is necessary to the consciousness of my faithful discharge of my public duties, I shall in paying the bill receive your compliance with my request as an obligation added to that for which I am indebted to you for this mark of regard. I am, etc.
1 United States consul at Madeira.
TO ALBERT GALLATIN
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, 26 May, 1820.
Mr. de Neuville goes to France upon a leave of absence for a few months, and with the expectation of returning to resume his station here before the approaching winter.1
His conduct here has been so satisfactory to the President and so universally acceptable to the country, that I am directed to request that you would particularly make known to the French government the favorable sentiments entertained concerning it. His return here, should it continue to be conformable to his own wishes, and suitable to the views of his government, will be agreeable to the President; and if any other employment of him should be thought more useful to the service of his sovereign, or more adapted to his own prospects and convenience, while acquiescing in such a new destination to him from our good wishes for himself and his nation, we should have reason to desire nothing more promotive of the friendship and good understanding which we would earnestly cultivate with France, than that his dispositions and deportment should form an example for those of his successor.
I have, etc.
1 He sailed from Annapolis, May 30.
TO ALBERT GALLATIN
Department of State, WASHINGTON, 28 May, 1820.
I have the honor of enclosing herewith copies of the public documents relating to the negotiation with Spain, which have been recently communicated to Congress; together with copies of letters which have since passed between General Vivés and this Department.1
Upon the result of that minister's mission and the deficiency of his powers, no comment can now be necessary or useful. You will observe that he has not only denied that he was authorized in any event to give a pledge of the ratification of the treaty by consenting to the immediate occupation of Florida by the United States, but also that he ever stated either to you or to Baron Pasquier that he had such an authority. In communicating the documents to Congress, as the material question for their consideration arising from them was, whether the case under all its circumstances required that the legislature in the exercise of their exclusive constitutional powers should substitute action to negotiation in our relations with Spain, it was thought necessary to make known to them every fact in the possession of the executive which might have an important bearing on the question.
The facts stated in your letter of 15 February, as asserted by General Vivés to Baron Pasquier and to you in separate conversations at different times, apparently further confirmed by intimations from the Spanish Ambassador, the
1 Printed in American State Papers, Foreign Relations, IV. 650.
* See Gallatin to Adams, August 7, 1820, in Adams, Writings of Gallatin, II. 165. Ib., 678. See Adams, Memoirs, May 9, 1820.