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as well from certain principles of international law, of the deepest and most painful interest to these United States, as from limitations of authority prescribed by the people of the United States to the legislative and executive depositaries of the national power, which placed him under the necessity of declining the proposal. It had been stated that a compact giving the power to the naval officers of one nation to search the merchant vessels of another, for offenders and offence against the laws of the latter, backed by a further power, to seize and carry into a foreign port, and there subject to the decision of a tribunal composed of at least one-half foreigners, irresponsible to the supreme corrective tribunal of this Union, and not amenable to the control of impeachment for official misdemeanor, was an investment of power over the persons, property, and reputation of the citizens of this country, not only unwarranted by any delegation of sovereign power to the national government, but so adverse to the elementary principles and indispensable securities of individual rights interwoven in all the political institutions of this country, that not even the most unqualified approbation of the ends, to which this organization of authority was adopted, nor the most sincere and earnest wish to concur in every suitable expedient for their accomplishment, could reconcile it to the sentiments or the principles of which in the estimation of the people and government of the United States no consideration whatsoever could justify the transgression.
In the several conferences which since your arrival here I have had the honor of holding with you, and in which this subject has been fully and freely discussed between us, the incompetency of the power of this government to become a party to the institution of tribunals organized like those stipulated in the conventions above noticed, and the incompatibility of such tribunals with the essential character of
the constitutional rights guaranteed to every citizen of the Union, have been shown by direct references to the fundamental principles of our government; in which the supreme, unlimited, sovereign power is considered as inherent in the whole body of its people, while its delegations are limited and restricted by the terms of the instruments sanctioned by them, under which the powers of legislation, judgment and execution are administered; and by special indications of the articles in the constitution of the United States which expressly prohibit their constituted authorities from erecting any judicial courts by the form of process belonging to which American citizens should be called to answer for any penal offence without the intervention of a grand jury to accuse, and of a jury of trial to decide upon the charge. [It has been shown that the trial of an American citizen for offences against the laws of his country, not by a jury of his peers and neighbors, but in a foreign land, by judges and arbitrators strangers both to him and his country, would be a subversion of these liberties to which in our estimation life itself is an object of secondary consideration; and that to be made amenable to tribunals thus constituted would be as repugnant to the general feelings and principles of this nation as to the express letter of several articles of their constitution.] 1
But while regretting that the character of the organized means of coöperation for the suppression of the African slave-trade, proposed by Great Britain, did not admit of our concurrence in the adoption of them, the President has been far from the disposition to reject or discountenance the general proposition of concerted cooperation with Great Britain to the accomplishment of the common end, the suppression of the trade. For this purpose armed cruisers
1 The sentence in brackets was struck out.
of the United States have been for some time kept stationed on the coast which is the scene of this odious traffic, a measure which it is in the contemplation of this government to continue without intermission. As there are armed British vessels charged with the same duty constantly kept cruising on the same coast, I am directed by the President to propose that instructions, to be concerted between the two governments with a view to mutual assistance, should be given to the commanders of the vessels respectively assigned to that service. That they may be ordered, whenever the occasion may render it convenient, to cruise in company together, to communicate mutually to each other all information obtained by the one, and which may be useful to the execution of the duties of the other; and to give each other every assistance which may be compatible with the performance of their own service, and adapted to the end which is the common aim of both parties.1 [It is hoped that by these means the flag of the United States may be effectually shielded from the disgrace of screening the slave trader from punish
1 Canning, in transmitting this note to Castlereagh, expressed his concern that the British proposals were not accepted, but added: "I sincerely hope that the counter proposal contained in the latter part of Mr. Adams's note, for the purpose of establishing a system of coöperation, grounded on common instructions, between his Majesty's cruisers and those of the United States, employed on the African coast, may be found worthy, on examination of being carried in effect. An opening once made, it may perhaps be found practicable at a later period to improve it into some arrangement more nearly approaching to that which has been offered by his Majesty's government. Your Lordship may be assured in the meantime that I shall endeavor, as opportunities arise, to encourage whatever disposition may exist in the House of Congress to favour the establishment of a more substantial coöperation on this head between the two countries; but I see no advantage likely to result from my pursuing for the present a further correspondence on this subject with the Secretary of State." Canning to Castlereagh, January 2, 1821. Castlereagh feared the American proposal would be "in its operation wholly inefficient as to the object, and can never be considered in the light of a substitute " for that made by Great Britain. See Adams, Memoirs, January 2, 1821.
ment without subjecting the standard of this nation to the humiliation of witnessing the search by a foreign officer of an American vessel, for transgressors of American laws; to be tried and doomed by the decision of foreign arbitrators and judges.1
The President is further disposed, should it be satisfactory to your government, to stipulate by a convention the number of cruisers to be kept stationed on the African coast by both parties, and the time during which and latitudes within which they shall cruise, with a view to the end to be accomplished by these concurrent operations.]2
These measures congenial to the spirit which has so long and so steadily marked the policy of the United States in the vindication of the rights of humanity will, it is hoped, prove effectual to the purposes for which this coöperation is desired by your government, and to which this Union will continue to direct its most strenuous and persevering exertions.
I pray you, etc.
TO GEORGE SULLIVAN
WASHINGTON, 20 January, 1821.
I have duly received your favor of the 11th instant, with a copy of Mr. Webster's report to the convention,3 concerning the University at Cambridge, and of the discussion of the question, who are now the rightful Overseers of Harvard College?
1 For the words italicised the following were substituted: "incurring the incon veniences which seem to be inseparable from the other course of proceeding." 2 The sentences within brackets were struck out.
For framing a new constitution for Massachusetts.
My sentiments with regard to that institution have uniformly been those of the most ardent attachment and the deepest reverence. Indebted to instruction there received for a large portion of the intellectual faculties which I con- ! sider as the most precious of worldly possessions, and to the friendships there formed for many of the most pleasing recollections that have accompanied me through life, indebted to its government for the first introduction to the notice of my fellow citizens, and for some of the dearest distinctions ever conferred upon me, my affection and gratitude have been further stimulated by the remembrance that the same institution has been for ages a fountain unexhausted of the same blessings to my forefathers of five generations, and by the hope that it will be alike beneficial of good to my children and with the blessing of Providence to theirs.
With these impressions I have sincerely lamented the discordance of opinions respecting the organization and management of the college government, indicated by the successive changes in it prescribed during the last ten years by the legislature of the state. Of the merits of those changes, however, my situation has not permitted me to obtain that thorough knowledge which would alone warrant me in forming and expressing an opinion. I have sorrowed over changes which I feared might be traceable to political prejudices, or to the spirit of sectarian proselytism; but I have fondly hoped that through all these changes the essential character of the institution as a seminary of wisdom and virtue would remain unimpaired, and I have felt that the first of all events in the sanctuary of the Muses is peace.
It neither has been, nor is now in my power, critically to examine the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Dartmouth College case, nor to investigate its bearings upon the question discussed in your pamphlet.