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examination of the propositions, in detail, unnecessary. They have confined their inquiries to the considerations
1. Whether there be any circumstances which call for the proposed advice; and
2. Whether there be not serious objections to the interference of the Senate in the direction of foreign negotiations.
In relation to the first branch of inquiry it is deemed important to ascertain whether the Executive has duly attended to the objects comprised in the resolutions; and whether the advice of the Senate will furnish aid to his future exertions.
By recurring to documents in possession of the Senate it will be seen that the most unremitted efforts have been employed to obtain satisfactory arrangements upon the points concerning which the advice is proposed. The committee need not refer to the volumes of instructions and correspondence which have been published. They will advert only to the late negotiations at Ghent and London. The attention of the Executive appears to have been directed in those negotiations to two objects-peace and commerce; and authority was given to our ministers to form a treaty for each. By the letter of April 15, 1813, they were instructed to provide against impressment and illegal blockades; to restrict contraband of war to its just limits; to remove restraints on our commerce with the enemy's colonies; to prohibit the seizure of our vessels returning from an enemy's port laden with innocent articles, on the pretext of their having carried contraband of war, or on their passage from one port to another, or from the port of one independent nation to that of another; to exempt our merchant vessels from the necessity of sending their boats with men and papers aboard a British ship of war for the purpose of search. This instruction provides in explicit terms for Nos. 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the resolutions, and by obvious inference for No. 8; for if neutral rights are defined and secured in the instances above specified, the injury suggested in that number could never occur.
The letter of April 27, 1813, which, with other documents, accompanies this report, and which authorized the negotiation of a treaty of commerce in the event of concluding a treaty of peace, directs the attention of our ministers to all the objects of the motion. They are instructed by it to endeavor to open to our commerce every part of the British dominions on a footing of reciprocity and equality, and are referred, in aid of their own experience and knowledge of the subject, to the light to be derived from the treaty of 1794 and its effect on the general commerce of the country; to the instructions given to Messrs. Monroe and Pinckney, of April 17, 1806; to the project of a treaty signed by them on the 31st of December of the same year, and to the subsequent remarks and instructions of the Executive respecting it. By this instruction every subject which could be considered a proper object of arrangement between the United States and Great Britain was committed to the American ministers and all the light which the labor and talent of preceding times had afforded was communicated as their guide.
The correspondence between the ministers of the United States and those of Great Britain at Ghent and London and the communications of the former to the Department of State furnish satisfactory evidence that no effort which belonged to either negotiation was neglected and that the failure to arrange the subjects embraced by the resolutions was owing to the manifest indisposition of the British plenipotentiaries to concur in any satisfactory stipulations concerning them. If, therefore, the committee are correct in stating that the resolution communicates no information not already known to the President and that he has been faithful in the discharge of his duty, a sufficient pledge is afforded that his exertions will be continued for the future; and this pledge is strengthened by the sentiment expressed in his communication to Congress at the commencement of the present session.
Whether this be the proper moment for renewing negotiations upon the points presented by the resolution or whether the British Government is now more disposed to arrange them on just and equal conditions than it was in the negotiation lately terminated at London are questions which the committee have not the information necessary to determine, but if any evidence of such a disposition should appear it can not reasonably be doubted that the Executive will seize all the advantages it may disclose.
Is it probable that the proposed advice will aid his exertions? It can not be presumed that he entertains any doubt concerning the opinion of the Senate with respect to the interests comprised in the motion, and that the committee do not perceive how the expression of solicitude on the part of the Senate in relation to the objects about which no difference of opinion exists can afford any aid whatever. Every nation in making contracts is supposed to consult its own interests; and it is believed the history of the world does not furnish an example of one party yielding its pretensions in consequence of the disclosure of unusual solicitude by the other party. Should, therefore, the proposed advice be adopted and made public, it does not appear that any beneficial effect would be produced; and if it be kept secret, as is usual in executive business (supposing it to be given by the Senate as a branch of the executive), it would be wholly nugatory.
2. The committee having endeavored to show that the resolution is unnecessary, they proceed to submit some positive objections to its adoption.
If it be true that the success of negotiations is greatly influenced by time and accidental circumstances, the importance to the negotiative authority of acquiring regular and secret intelligence can not be doubted. The Senate does not possess the means of acquiring such intelligence. It does not manage the correspondence with our ministers abroad nor with foreign ministers here. It must therefore, in general, be deficient in the information most essential to a correct decision.
The President is the constitutional representative of the United States with regard to foreign nations. He manages our concerns with foreign nations and must necessarily be most competent to determine when, how, and upon what subjects negotiation may be urged with the greatest prospect of success. For his conduct he is responsible to the Constitution. The committee consider this responsibility the surest pledge for the faithful discharge of his duty. They think the interference of the Senate in the direction of foreign negotiations calculated to diminish that responsibility and thereby to impair the best security for the national safety. The nature of transactions with foreign nations, moreover, requires caution and unity of design, and their success frequently depends on secrecy and dispatch. A division of opinion between the members of the Senate in debate on propositions to advise the Executive, or between the Senate and Executive, could not fail to give the nation with whom we might be disposed to treat the most decided advantages. It may also be added that if any benefits be derived from the division of the legislature into two bodies, the more separate and distinct in practice the negotiating and treaty ratifying power are kept, the more safe the national interests.
The committee are therefore of the opinion that the resolution ought not to be adopted.
(Ex. Jour., vol. 3, pp. 8, 9, 30.)
February 27, 1816.
Mr. King, from Committee on Foreign Relations, on conference on “An act to regulate the commerce between the United States and the territories of His Britannic Majesty, according to the convention of the third day of July, eighteen hundred and fifteen, and the ratifications of which were exchanged on the twenty-second day of December, eighteen hundred and fifteen,” reported as follows:
The conferees of the House of Representatives commenced the conference by stating that of the treaties made in pursuance of the Constitution, while some might not, others require the enactment of laws to carry them into execution; and considering the convention with England as a treaty of the latter kind, the conferees of the House of Representatives made the following objections to the bill passed by the Senate:
1. That by the addition of the word “declared” to the usual formula, instead of a bill of positive enactment, it assumes the form of a declaratory law.
2. That the bill is defective because its commencement is uncertain. 3. That it is defective because its duration is uncertain.
4. That it is furthermore defective in respect to the equalization of duties, it being uncertain whether for this purpose the native duties are to be raised or the alien duties abolished.
The conferees of the Senate do not contest, but admitted the doctrine that of treaties made in pursuance of the Constitution some may not and that others may call for legislative provisions to secure their execution, which provision Congress, in all such cases, is bound to make. But they did contend that the convention under consideration requires no such legislative provisions, because it does no more than suspend the alien disability of British subjects in commercial affairs in return for the like suspension in favor of American citizens; that such matter of alien disability falls within the peculiar province of the treaty power to adjust; that it can not be securely adjusted in any other way, and that a treaty duly made and adjusting the same is conclusive, and by its own authority suspends or removes antecedent laws that are contrary to its provisions.
That even a declaratory law to this effect is matter of mere expediency, adding nothing to the efficacy of the treaty, and serving only to remove doubts wherever they exist.
The conferees of the Senate thereupon insisted on retaining the word “declared " in addition to the usual formula of enactment, because it imparts to the bill passed by the Senate the character of a declaratory law, a quality without which any law would, in this case, be inadmissible.
A law that declares to be of no force or effect so much of the laws as are contrary to the provisions of the convention recognizes the existence and authority of that convention; the date and limitations of which must ascertain the commencement and duration of the law, while its stipulations place the people of the two nations on a footing of commercial equality by the abolition of discriminating duties on both sides.
Thus the bill passed by the Senate does not appear to be defective in the particulars referred to by the conferees of the House of Representatives; nevertheless, as doubts were expressed on this subject, the conferees of the Senate proposed certain amendments for the purpose of removing these doubts and confirming the intentions and meaning of the bill.
The conferees of the Senate, therefore, recommend to the Senate, to insist on their disagreement to the amendments made to the bill by the House of Representatives, and to agree to the following amendments to the bill, which have been mutually agreed to by the conferees of both Houses:
Line 2, after the word “act,” strike out the words “or acts as are,” and insert these words: as imposes a higher duty or tonnage or of impost on vessels and articles imported in vessels of Great Britain than on vessels and articles imported in vessels of the United States.
Line 4: Strike out the word “shall,” and after the word “be” insert these words: from and after the date of the ratification of the said convention, and during the continuance thereof.
Resolved, That the Senate concur in the report, and that the bill be amended accordingly.
(Annals, 14th Cong., 1st sess., pp. 161-162.)
Mr. Barbour made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the treaty lately negotiated between the plenipotentiary of the United States and the plenipotentiaries of the King of Sweden and Norway, beg leave to recommend to the Senate the propriety of printing the following documents under an injunction of secrecy, viz, the treaty both in French and English (the original being in the former language); also the letter from our minister, Mr. Russell, of the 5th of September, 1816, addressed to the Secretary of State, with the documents referred to in that letter.
(Ex. Jour., vol. 3, p. 68.)
January 10, 1817.
Mr. Barbour made the following report:
The Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom were referred the documents accompanying the several Indian treaties transmitted to the Senate by the President of the United States on the 10th instant, beg leave to report that it would be proper to publish the instructions of the Secretary of War to the commissioners appointed to negotiate the treaties, with the exception of such parts as are underscored.
(Ex. Jour., vol. 3, p. 69.)
FIFTEENTH CONGRESS, FIRST SESSION.
April 13, 1818.
On the message of the President as to naval armament on lakes, Mr. Barbour reported as follows:
Resolved (two-thirds of the Senators present concurring therein), That the Senate do approve of, and consent to, the arrangement made in April, eighteen hundred and seventeen, between the United States and His Britannic Majesty relative to the naval force of the respective nations to be maintained on the lakes, and recommend that the same be carried into effect by the President of the United States.
(Ex. Jour., vol. 3, p. 132.)
FIFTEENTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION.
February 19, 1819.
On the documents accompanying convention with Great Britain as relates to colonial trade, Mr. Macon reported as follows:
That the object of the negotiation with Great Britain respecting the colonial trade is the establishment of a regulation whereby a trade in articles of the produce and manufacture of the United States and of the British colonies may be carried on between them; and, secondly, a regulation whereby the shipping of the two countries may be placed on an equal footing in the carrying on of this trade.
In respect to the articles of the trade, the United States would agree that all articles of the produce and manufacture of the United States and of the respective colonies should be included, and all other articles excluded. But as Great Britain probably would not consent to this arrangement, the United States would not object to the catalogue of articles of the produce and manufacture of the United States and of the said colonies enumerated in the British acts of Parliament, and according to which the trade has heretofore been carried on in British bottoms.
As respects duties and charges, they should be placed on a footing of reciprocal equality. If Great Britain would consent to impose no higher or other duties on articles of the produce and manufacture of the United States imported into the colonies than upon the like articles imported from her continental colonies (whence only they can be obtained), the United States might agree to impose no greater or other duties and charges on articles the produce and manufacture of her colonies than on the like articles from other countries. To this adjustment Great Britain will probaby disagree. In lieu thereof, and as a compensation for the stipulation not to impose greater or other duties on the colonial articles of Great Britain than on the like articles of other countries, it might be stipulated on the part of Great Britain that the duties and charges on articles of the produce and manufacture of the United States should not exceed more than
per cent those which should be imposed on the like articles imported from the British continental colonies.
In no event should articles of the produce and manufacture of the