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united. The result showed the wisdom of the course pursued by the President.
Instructions modifying the pretensions of the British Government and acceptable to ours, as the basis of a new treaty, were dispatchel from england to the British minister at Washington after the notice was received in England, but before it had been delivered to that Government.1
Whilst, therefore, the committee are clear in the opinion that the right to give the notice in question pertains to the treaty-making power, they see nothing in the fact that, in the case with England, the House of Representatives acted with it, from which it is necessarily to be inferred that such union was then considered necessary to perfect the authority. But if it were so intended the committee would not yield to the precedent. They consider the reasoning irrefragable which establishes the right to give this notice in the treaty-making power, and in their judgment it should ever be so maintained.
Then as to the inquiry whether, conceding the notice effectual to terminate the treaty, so far as our relations with Denmark are concerned, legislation is not necessary to repeal or annul it as a part of the “law of the land.”
By the sixth article of the Constitution it is declared thatThis Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made or which shall be made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
The latter clause of this article is the key to the meaning of its antecedent. Treaties are laws to the nations contracting them. Nor was it intended by this provision to ascribe to them on the part of this Government any greater or higher obligation as between the contracting parties than they imported under the law of nations.
From the peculiar structure of the Federal Government, however, in its relations to the State governments, it was deemed proper and necessary to declare the paramount authority of a treaty if at any time in conflict with a State constitution or laws; a necessity that extended equally to the Federal Constitution and the Federal laws; and accordingly having classed them together, the latter clause of the article declared them also “supreme," and bound the State judges so to administer them, “anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding."
It may also have been considered as more conducive to the peace of the country by placing them, for domestic purposes, on the general footing of “laws,” to make them as such obligatory on the citizen. They are thus brought practically, for domestic purposes, immediately within reach of judicial exposition, and to be enforced directly, as other laws, against the citizen. But it were a capital error to suppose that it is under this provision of the Constitution that a treaty can be abrogated or annulled by law of Congress.
Treaties are contracts resulting from the faith which all civilized nations must, for the peace of the world, repose in each other. To
The joint resolution authorizing the notice to be given was passed on the 27th April, 1846. It was received by Mr. McLane, our minister at London, on the 15th May, with instructions to deliver the notice. On the 19th the new instructions left England for the British minister at Washington, whilst the notice was not delivered until the 21st. The new treaty settling the boundary was signed at Washington on the 15th of June.
violate them, except on grave and proper consideration and for adequate cause, is not only utterly dishonoring to the offending party, but may be taken as cause of war. No statesman would venture to justify before a foreign power the abrogation of a treaty by quoting a supposed right to do so reserved in this article of the Constitution.
In the instance cited, that of the act of 1798, declaring the treaties with France no longer obligatory on the United States, no reference was had to this article of the Constitution. But, on the contrary, those treaties were so declared null exclusively on the ground that they had “been repeatedly violated on the part of the French Government,” and that “the French Government yet pursued against the United States a system of predatory violence infracting the said treaties.”
The committee, on the whole, conclude that so far as the practice of the Government” is concerned there is nothing to question the sufficiency of the notice that has been given to Denmark to terminate the treaty, and they recommend the adoption of the following resolution:
Resolved, That the notice which has been given by the President to Denmark, pursuant to the resolution of the Senate of March third, eighteen hundred and fifty-five, to terminate the treaty with that power of the twenty-sixth of April, in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-six, is sufficient to cause such treaty to terminate and be annulled, to all intents whatsoever, pursuant to the eleventh article thereof; and that no other or further act of legislation is necessary to put an end to said treaty as part of the law of the land,
July 15, 1856.
On the treaty with the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, Mr. Mason reported as follows:
Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators concurring), That the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of the treaty between the United States of America and IIis Majesty the King of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, concluded at the city of Naples the first day of October, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and fifty-five, with the following amendments:
Article XXII, in lines 10 and 11, strike out the words “or emission of forged papers” and insert the word forgery.
Same article, in lines 13 and 14, strike out the words “fraudulent bankruptcy.”
Same article, in lines 17, 18, 19, strike out the words “or by persons hired or salaried, to the detriment of their employers.”
(Ex. Jour., vol. 10, pp. 122, 139.)
July 15, 1856.
On the extradition treaty with Baden, Mr. Mason reported as follows:
Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring), That the Senate advise and consent to the ratification of the convention for the mutual delivery of criminals, fugitives from justice in certain cases, concluded between the United States of America on the one part and the Grand Duchy of Baden on the other part, at Berlin, the tenth day
S. Doc. 231, pt 8-8
of October, eighteen hundred and thirty-six, with the following amendments:
Article 1, lines 10 and 11, strike out the words “ or the utterances of forged papers.”
Same article, at the end thereof, add the words: Nothing in this article contained shall be construed to extend to crimes of a political character.
(Ex. Jour., vol. 10, pp. 122, 144.)
July 15, 1856. Mr. Mason made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the convention between the United States and His Majesty the King of the Netherlands for the mutual delivery of criminals, fugitives from justice, in certain cases, and for other purposes, concluded at The Hague the 29th of May, 1856, having given the same careful consideration, beg to report it to the Senate and recommend that it be advised and consented to with the following amendments:
Article III, lines 13 and 14, item 5, strike out the words “or the felonious utterance of forged papers.” Article VII, line 18, strike out the word "purely."
(Ex. Jour., vol. 10, p. 122.)
July 29, 1856.
[Senate Report No. 251.) Mr. Mason submitted the following report:
Mr. Mason, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the bill (S. 405) “to provide for carrying into effect the first article of the treaty between the United States and Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, of the 15th day of June, 1856,"submitted the following:
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, February 18, 1856. Sir: I have the honor to invite your attention to that part of the President's last annual message in which an appropriation is recoininended for the purpose of surveying and marking the boundary between the Territory of Washington and the contiguous British possessions.
The letter of the Department to Mr. Hunter, chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, of the 15th of July, 1854, a copy of which and of the estimate to which it refers are herewith inclosed, will serve as data for the appropriation. The expediency of an appropriation. without any delay which can be avoided, is further manifest from the note of Mr. Crampton to the Department of the 9th instant, a copy of which is also herewith transmitted. I have the honor, etc.,
W. L. MARCY. Hon. JAMES M. MASON,
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Senate.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, July 15, 1854. Sir: I transmit a copy of a letter of the instant, which I addressed to the Secretary of the Interior, upon the subject of a demarcation of the boundary between the United States and the British possessions on the north west, pursuant
to the treaty of 1846. It is understood that Governor McClelland referred the.letter to Mr. Robert B. Campbell for an estimate. A transcript of Mr. Campbell's letter to the Department of the Interior, and of the accompanying estimate, are also herewith transmitted, and I have the honor to request that an appropriation for the purpose may be made at this session of Congress. It is believed that a sum of $50,000 in addition to that mentioned in the estimate will be required for marking, under the direction of the Coast Survey, the line from the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver Island and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel and of Fuca Straits to the Pacific Ocean. I have, etc.,
W. L. MARCY. Hon. R. M. T. HUNTER,
Chairman of the Committee on Finance, Senate.
WASHINGTON. Februar!!, 1956, SIR: I have been instrn teil by Her Ma'esty's Government to call the serious attention of the Government of the United States to the unsatisfactory and hazardous state of things which continues to exist on the boundary which divides the Territory of Washington from the British possessions occupied by the Hudson Bay Company; and Her Majesty's Government direct me to express their regret that their repeated remonstrances have not led to any measures which seem to have succeeded in restraining the acts of the authorities of that Territory.
I have already had the honor of addressing your Department (in a note to Mr. Hunter) on the 27th of July last, respecting the depredations committed on the property of the Hudson Bay Company in the island of San Juan, by Mr. Ellis Barnes, sheriff of Whatcom County, Washington Territory, in virtue of an alleged claim for taxes due to the authorities of the Territory; and I have now the honor to inclose the copy of a further letter from the governor of the Hudson Bay Company, together with accompanying documents, in regard to the same matter, from which it appears that no reparation whatever has been made to that company for the heavy losses which they incurred on that occasion.
You will at once perceive, sir, that the occurrence in question has arisen out of the conflicting claims of the authorities of Vancouver Island and of Washington Territory to the jurisdiction of the island of San Juan, as appertaining, under the provisions of the treaty between Great Britain and the United States of 1846, to the dominions of their respective Governments.
San Juan is one of the small islands lying in the Gulf of Georgia, between Vancouver Island and the mainland, and the question which has arisen between the parties regards the position of the channel through the middle of which, by the provisions of the treaty of 1846, the boundary line is to be run.
In the early part of 1848 I had the honor, by the instructions of Her Majesty's Government, to propose to the Government of the United States to name a joint commission for the purpose of making out the north west boundary, and more particularly that part of it in the neighborhood of Vancouver Island; in regard to which, as you will perceive from a reference to my note of the 13th January of that year to the honorable James Buchanan, the Secretary of State of the United States, Her Majesty's Government already foresaw the possibility of the occurrence of misunderstand ng between the settlers of the respective nations; and Her Majesty's Government, moreover, then proposed, in order at once to preclude such misunderstandings, that before instructing their respective commissioners the two Governments should agree to adopt as the channel” designated by the treaty that marked by Vancouver in his charts as the navigable channel, and laid down with soundings by that navigator.
Mr. Buchanan, entirely concurring in the expediency of losing no time in determining that portion of the boundary line, nevertheless felt some objection to adopting the channel marked by Vancouver as the “channel " designated by the treaty, in the absence of more accurate geographical information: and he suggested that the joint commissioners, when appointed, should be, in the first place, instructed to survey the region in question for the purpose of ascertaining whether the channel marked by Vancouver, or some other channel as yet unex. plored between the numerous islands of the Gulf of Georgia, should be adopted as the channel designated by the treaty, or, in other words, should be found to be the main channel, through the middle of which, according to the generally admitted principle, the boundary line should be run.
To this suggestion Her Majesty's Government, in the hope that immediate measures wuuld be taken by the Government of the United States to name commissioners to proceed to the spot with those already designated by the British Government, made no objection.
It has been a subject of regret to Her Majesty's Government that, from causes upon which it is unnecessary to dwell, no appointment of commissioner has, up to the present time, been made by the Government of the United States, and I am now instructed again to press this matter on their earnest attention.
Should it appear probable, however, that this proposal can not be met by the Government of the United States without further difficulty or dela y, I would again suggest the expediency of the adoption, by both Governments of the channel marised as the only known navigable channel by Vancouver as that designated by the treaty. It is true that the island of San Juan, and perhaps some others of the group of small islands by which the Bay of Georgia is studded, would thus be included within British territory; on the other hand, it is to be considered that the islands in question are of very small value, and that the existence of another navigable channel, broader and deeper than that laid down by Vancouver, by the adoption of which some of those islands might possibly fall within the jurisdiction of the United States, is, according to the reports of the most recent navigators in that region, extremely improbable: while, on the other hand, the continued existence of a question of doubtful jurisdiction in countries so situated as Washington Territory and Vancouver Island is likely to give rise to a recurrence of acts of a similar nature to those to which I have had the honor of calling your attention, and which, 1 have no doubt, wonld not be less deplored by the Government of the United States than by that of Great Britain.
I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to you, sir, the assurance of my high consideration.
Join F. CRAMPTON. Hon. W. L. JAR(Y, etc.
OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON TERRITORY,
Executive Office, May 12, 1855. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of April 26. in which you state that information has been received by you to the effect that an armed party of American citizens, ostensibly acting under the direction of a person named Barnes, who styles himself sheriff of Whatcom County, landed on the island of San Juan and demanded from Charles Griffin certain moneys in payment of taxes, on behalf and in the name of the United States of America, "a demand which, as a British subject, acknowledging no authority except that emanating from his own Government, he refused to pay;" that Mr. Barnes and his followers • abstracted a number of valuable sheep, and that upon Mr. Griffin demanding restitution he was menaced with violence and put in danger of his life.”
Of the matters detailed by you I have no official information save from your communication. It is known, however, that Mr. Barnes is the sheriff of Whatcom County.
You further state that you have called my attention to the same for the purpose of ascertaining '' if the said Mr. Barnes's proceedings were in that instance authorized or sanctioned in any manner by the executive officer of Washington Territory."
The sheriffs of the various counties come under the supervision of the executive in the exercise of the pardoning power, and in the case of a resistance of the laws. They act under certain prescribed laws, and to these laws they are responsible for the proper discharge of their duty.
By the act of the legislative assembly of the Territory of Oregon, previous to the separation therefrom from the Territory of Washington, the boundary line as between the two Governments was held to run through the Canal de Arro, and by the act of the legislative asseinbly of the Territory of Washington * to organize the county of Whatcom" the island of San Juan is included within the bounds of that county. The sheriff in proceeding to collect taxes acts under a law directing him to do so. Should be be resisted in such an attempt, it would become the duty of the governor to sustain him to the full force of the authority vested in him.
tou say "the island of San Juan has be’n in the poression of British subjects for many years, and it is, with the other islands in the Archipelago de Arro, declared to be within the jurisdiction of the colony and under the protection of British laws. I have also the orders of Her Majesty's ministers to treat those islands as part of the British dominions."
The acts before referred to have declared these islands to be within the jurisdic