« PreviousContinue »
[H. OF R. Mr. HARPER said he proposed to fill the first was a division between it and a considerable with $40,000, and the last with $28,650. portion of the people. The evidence of this
Mr. NICHOLAS conceived this to be a good fact had been long shown, and he feared the time for the House to attempt to bring back the operation of circumstances of this nature on establishment of the diplomatic corps to the the public mind. footing on which it was settled at the com- He gave it as his opinion on our foreign inmencement of the Government, and continued tercourse, that the United States would be bedown till the year 1796; and to prevent in fu- nefited by having no Ministers at all. He did ture the probable increase which he apprehend- not think that we could be benefited by any ed from the recent examples, he thought it ne- sort of compact these foreign agents could form cessary to take a view of this subject, not only for us, for we only bound ourselves by any from the increase of expense, but from a variety treaty we entered into, as we are totally incaof other considerations. It is not the manner pable of enforcing the execution of the stipulain which a Government is constituted which tions made by other nations by any offensive makes its operations easy and certain. But the measures. It might be thought necessary to execution of the powers of the Government it- make commercial arrangements with some Euself is no more to be considered than the nature ropean powers; but, he asked, if they had the of its formation; for I do believe there is a force to make a foreign country conform to its tendency in all Governments like ours to pro- engagements? No gentleman would say that duce a union and consolidation of all its parts they had; therefore such regulations only tendinto the Executive department; and that the ed to entangle ourselves, without rendering limitation and connection of the parts with commerce any efficient aid. He would, thereeach other, as settled in the constitution, would fore, leave our commerce to seek its own marbe destroyed by the influence I have mentioned, kets totally disembarrassed. All the protection unless there is a constant operation on the part we could furnish it with, consisted in officers of of the Legislature to resist this overwhelming another grade than those mentioned in this bill: power. I think we have the most convincing Consuls who should reside in the sea-ports, and proofs that a representative Government can not Ministers Plenipotentiary residing in the be made most oppressive and burdensome, and interior. Jet preserve all the forms which are given to it! He did not intend by the motion he was about by a constitution; and the Legislature shall ap- to make, that the whole diplomatic establishpear to act upon its own discretion, whilst that ment should be destroyed at this time, but discretion shall have ceased to exist. Where merely to reduce it to what it had been before the Executive has an influence over the Legis- the late increase. With this view he proposed lature, and the Government is a representative to alter the bill so as to direct that there should one, the Executive is capable of carrying its be appropriated $9,000 for a Minister Plenipoviews into effect in a manner superior to what | tentiary at London, and $9,000 more for ancan be accomplished even in the most despotic other near the French Republic, and that the monarchy; the mischief will be carried further PRESIDENT be left at liberty to reduce the Minisin the former case than in the latter, because ters Plenipotentiary at Berlin, Madrid, and Listhe people will be more inclined to submit to the bon, to Ministers resident, which would dimindecisions of a Government of its own choosing ish their salaries one half-a resident Minister than to one which, rules them by hereditary being of a lower grade has only $4,500 per anright; monarchs cannot carry their oppressions num. He then went into a detail of the pro80 far, without resistance, as republics. Under ceedings of the first Congress, in order to show this general view of the subject, he conceived that it was admitted on all sides by that body, it to be the duty of the Legislature to guard | that the constitution vested the power of specautiously its own independence, and to limit, cifying and limiting the salaries of foreign Minas far as consistent with the general welfare, isters and Consuls; he read the speeches of Mr. the influence of Executive patronage.
LAWRENCE, Mr. SHERMAN, Mr. W. SMITH, of He conceived that this extension of influence South Carolina, Mr. SEDGWICK, Mr. HUNTINGof one branch of the Government over another ton, and several others, from the Congressional was strictly guarded by the constitution, which Register, by which it appeared, that there was was framed on the principle of checks and ba- but one opinion on their powers under the Conlances of departments acting and controlling stitution; and showed from hence, that the each other; but he was sorry to see the idea of only reason why the House did not undertake patronage drawn into a closer compass than it to enumerate and fix the salaries of foreign bad formerly been, as it increased the evil. He | Ministers in detail, arose merely from the want was sorry for it, because it tended to manifest a of information as to the places where they circumstance which had been sought to be con- should be fixed, and the sum necessary to cover cealed. Every insinuation that there was a di- their expenses. As his construction corresvision between the Government and the people ponded with that of the gentleman who fixed had been repelled as an insidious and malignant the principles upon which the Government was design; but the Administration, by acting on a put in motion, he was encouraged to expect his new principle, which he was too well assured motion would succeed, seeing that the House was the fact, had established the idea that there had now had sufficient experience to enable
H. OF R.]
[JANUARY, 1798. them to say what were the regulations proper | foreign intercourse; but it was the discovery to be made.
of a few men who believed that every thing Mr. HARPER supposed it would be remember which had been done by this Government had ed by all those gentlemen who had attended to been radically wrong. He trusted, however, the business of Congress for several years past, the House would adhere to what it had so that the doctrine of the gentleman from Virgi- frequently sanctioned, and that the proposed nia was by no means new. The subject of for- amendment would not be agreed to eign intercourse was never taken up, without Mr. GALLATIN believed that there were a that gentleman, or some other who agreed with number of people in the United States-people him in sentiment, advancing these opinions; otherwise enlightened, and who, upon all comthey never failed to speak of the danger to be mon subjects, possessed sound understandings apprehended from Executive influence, from its —who were fully convinced that there was a power to appoint foreign Ministers; that foreign faction existing within the United States, and intercourse was unnecessary; that our public af- even within the walls of that House, who fairs abroad were not to be attended to, and wished to demolish the Government; and he that commerce ought to be given up, or left to further believed that this opinion was supshift for itself. Nor was this a doctrine confined ported by such declarations as had been made to this country, or this age. Whenever a set of by the gentleman from Connecticut. He should gentlemen in any country found their views be sorry that such a "elief should be considopposed by the measures of Government, they ered as dangerous to the safety of the commubecame vexed, and attributed the proceedings nity. Nor could he consider the determination of those who differed from them in opinion to of the Executive to employ only such persons any motive rather than the public good. The as are of the same political opinions with themdesire of Executive favor, or Executive offices, selves, as of such a nature as to produce fatal was an usual charge, and it was at this day well consequences, and that Government, on that understood. It would also be remembered, account, was unworthy of confidence. He bethat whenever the subject of foreign intercourse lieved that such a line of conduct must flow had been discussed, though these objections bad from the present state of parties in America, been constantly made to it, they had been as divided as the people were upon many imporconstantly disregarded by the Congress of the tant occasions. To say, therefore, that the ExUnited States. The good sense of the country ecutive employed persons of consonant political had weighed these objections in the balance, opinions to its own, was not to say the Governand declared them wanting; and he trusted the ment did not deserve confidence. But if the same fate would now meet them as heretofore. committee turned their attention to the amend.
In aid of the $40,000 per annum, originally ment proposed, it only went to declare that granted for this purpose, Mr. H. said, various ministers to London and Paris should not have supplementary appropriations had been made. a salary of more than $9,000 a year; and that First, a sum of $20,000, then a sum of $23,000, ministers to other parts of Europe should not and, in March last, $17,000, and, in addition to have more than $4,500. In support of this this, $14,000 for a particular appointment. The amendment, it was said that this was the House had, therefore, not only deemed it expe- ground upon which this Government first fixed dient to continue the original act, but to make the business of foreign intercourse. He beadditional appropriations from year to year. lieved this statement correct. Until the year He thought the good sense of the country had 1796, there was no minister plenipotentiary never been more firmly shown than on this except at Paris and London; at other places subject. But now a new course was to be ta- there were no higher grades than ministers ken, and all former proceedings declared to have resident. Hence the committee might be led been wrong. But it was said this country had to argue the propriety of bringing back our no need of foreign ministers, and that com- foreign political intercourse to what it was bemerce might be left to itself.' He did not be- fore that period. He said foreign political inlieve the House would think so. Did not the tercourse; because he thought the gentleman United States trade with all the nations of the from South Carolina (Mr. HARPER) had blended earth? How, then, was it possible to do with two subjects together, viz: foreign commercial out accredited agents to attend to our concerns intercourse, and foreign political intercourse. in foreign countries? Were we to give up our He did not believe it was the opinion of any commerce? There were gentlemen, he knew, gentleman in that House that commerce ought who would answer, Yes. They would tell the to be left to shift for itself, unattended to. He House, commerce was a bad thing, and that it believed it was well understood that our comrather ought to be outlawed than protected. merce in foreign countries was attended to by But was this the sense of the country? Was it our consuls and not by our ministers plenipothe sense of that House? Would they discard tentiary; and consuls would exist if we had no the property of that class of citizens who de ministers at all. Therefore, all that gentlepended upon it for their support and their man's arguments, which tended to show that wealth? Or would they be ready to forfeit the amendment would affect our commercial the revenue arising from it? Mr. H. said he intercourse, had no foundation whatever. had often heard of the dangerous nature of l Returning to the question of foreign political
[H. OF R. intercourse: Was it proper to bring it back to stood, was the same as to say that the ground what it was eighteen months ago? And, be- upon which they complained was also well unfore he proceeded further, he would observe derstood : it was to acknowledge, that persons that, though the gentleman from South Carolina who were in the favor of the Executive had had been tolerably correct in his statements of some advantages which persons in the other the business, he was mistaken in one point, in party desired or envied. To admit of one posiwhich he would set him right. He had stated tion, was to admit of the other. But, if no parthat the first additional appropriation was $20,- ticular advantage was to be derived from Gov000; but this sum was not appropriated for for-ernmental patronage, then the cause of jealousy, eign intercourse, but for defraying the expense according to this doctrine, must cease. of the suits of our merchants in London. On Our Government, he said, was in its child. the first of January, 1796, there remained a ba- hood; and if this patronage had any existence, lance of unexpended appropriation for this it could not of course be as yet alarming. But object, of $30,000. To that day no extraordi- he desired gentiemen to look at all Governments nary appropriation had been made; the whole where this power was placed in the Executive, allowance was $40,000 a year, which was found and see if the greatest evil of the Government to be more than sufficient. On the 28th of May, was not the excessive influence of that depart1796, an estimate was sent by the PRESIDENT OF ment. Did not this corruption exist in the THE UNITED STATES, stating the sums already ap- Government which was constituted most simipropriated for foreign intercourse, and that $23,- larly to ours, to such a degree as to have become 500 were yet wanting, in order to change the a part of the system itself, and without which, establishment which had till that day existed, it is said, the Government could not go on by sending Ministers Plenipotentiary to Madrid Was it not, therefore, prudent to keep a watchand Lisbon, instead of Ministers Resident. ful eye in this respect? He did not, however, This estimate, he just stated, was received on speak against the power itself; it was necessary the 28th of May, and the law received the sig- to be placed somewhere. The constitution had nature of the PRESIDENT on the first of June, so placed it in the Executive power. If the same that it could not have received a very full discus-power had been placed in the Legislature, he besion (being passed just as the session was about lieved they would have been more corrupt than to close) and he thought there was good reason the Executive. He thought, therefore, the trust for examining the thing again. The next ap- was wisely placed in the Executive; and though propriation was made in the second session of it was right to keep grants of money within prothe fourth Congress. In that session, he al- per bounds, in order to prevent the abuse of lowed, the additional appropriation was passed power, yet it was proper to grant all that was after full discussion. It was made upon an necessary. estimate stating $17,900 wanted; and, during | Mr. G. concluded, by saying, that if he thought last session, an appropriation was made for a it was proper that our political intercourse Minister to Berlin, of $13,500.
should be extended, he should not support the The committee had been told that it would amendment; but as the conviction was strong erince great versatility if they were all at once upon his mind that our foreign political interto change what had already been done. But it course had at least been as expensive as it ought must be recollected, than when the change in to be; that it was owing, in a great degree, to the system was first made, it underwent little our political intercourse with foreign nations, discussion; and he would venture to say, that that our present critical situation was produced our business abroad was as well done from the that this intercourse produced more evil than year 1786 to 1796, as it had been done since. good to us; that he wished to bring the busiAs the question was whether a larger or a ness back to the state in which it stood in 1796. smaller sum of money should be appropriated, If the wisdom of future Legislatures shall think he would call upon gentlemen' in favor of the proper to abolish the establishment of foreign larger sum, to show what benefit was derived political intercourse altogether, it must be left from Madrid and Lisbon by the change; what to them to decide. He himself thought it would Decessity there was for a Minister at Berlin, and be going too far to do so at present. He bewhat good was to be derived from giving a lar- lieved, situated as we were, it was necessary to ger salary than $4,500. The gentleman from have some political intercourse; but he believed Connecticut had said, why send a Minister Pleni. it would be best, by degrees, to decline it altopotentiary to London or Paris, any more than gether. the other Courts? This was done at first, and Mr. SITGREAVES.—The constitution and laws the mover, he supposed, wished not to innovate of the.country had made certain offices necesupon the law as originally passed.
sary, and left it to the Executive to fill them as Bat they were told it was improper, upon this he pleased ; and was it for that House to floor, to say any thing about patronage, and that attempt to control this discretion? If it were all argoments of that kind are well understood, executed to the injury of the people, the constiand are by no means novel in their nature; that tution had pointed out the remedy to be by imsuch complaints are made under all forms of peachment. But where was the crime, the Government by discontented people out of office. offence, or the impropriety, of the conduct asTo say that these complaints are well under- scribed to the Executive, if it had been adopted ?
H. OF R.]
(JANUARY, 1798. Would gentlemen say that the Executive ought to this end, that the compensations to be made to appoint persons to office who professed an to the persons who may be employed, should, opinion contrary to its own? Did gentlemen according to the nature of their appointments, suppose that there was such a want of integrity be defined by law." This part of the Speech in this department of Government, that it was referred to a committee, and from that oriadopted a political opinion which it did not be- ginated this law. Want of information, at that lieve to be right? And, if it were believed to early time in the Government, prevented their act from principle, would it be prudent or right being as particular as they wished. They fixed to admit to a participation in the execution of a sum to each grade, and a sum beyond which the important duties of Government persons the whole amount should not extend ; limited whose sentiments were not in unison with those the law to a short period, that it might be open of the Executive, and who could only create to be corrected by experience. The present modiscord and confusion, where nothing but har- tion, if he had understood it, proposed now to mony and union ought to prevail ? If the Exe- be a little more particular in the establishment, cutive acted upon just principles, it would en-by fixing the sum for particular places to do deavor to give singleness of design to its the very thing then recommended by the Preoperations, and it could only do this by admit- SIDENT. The same has always been the intention ting persons into the Government who thought of every succeeding Congress, which was the with it. This would be a right, prudent, and reason why they continued it only for short honorable conduct; and where it had been de- periods, leaving it open to such amendments as viated from (as he had before observed), Gov- should be suggested by experience. These ideas ernment had received an awful lesson for its of the offices being first to be established by law, future conduct.
appeared not only to be the sense of the former The question whether that House had the PRESIDENT, and of each succeeding Congress, as power to interfere with the Executive authority, he had stated, but appeared also to be the opinby withholding appropriations, had been fully ion of the present PRESIDENT. At the last sesdiscussed in a former Congress, and the opinion sion he thought that a higher grade of office was of the country was not now to be fixed on this necessary at Algiers: this he stated in a message subject. For that part of the House who to Congress—that as there were great expendithought the constitution had not vested them tures of money on that coast, he thought it newith the authority of controlling the Executive, cessary that an establishment should be made it was sufficient to say that the Executive had which would enable him to appoint a very conthought it necessary to introduce the change in fidential person, on whom the other officers the diplomatic department, which was com- there shonld be dependent, and who should plained of, and that they felt themselves bound control their proceedings and expenditures. to carry his determination into effect; but those Congress concurred in this opinion, passed a law who think that the House of Representatives for the establishment of the office, and then the may control the Executive in this respect, will Executive appointed the officer. For these reaof course act accordingly.
sons he considered the question within their proMr. BALDWIN said he perceived there was a per powers, and fairly open to their deliberation. real difference of opinion between the gentleman At the close of the revolutionary war, the last up and himself. The gentleman supposed | disposition of forming many treaties, and having the diplomatic establishment was fixed by the extensive diplomatic connections with European Executive, and the Legislature had nothing to powers, was carried even further than it has do with it but to provide the money. Every been since. It was among their first national person must see, even from a cursory view of acts, and discovered marks of youth and inexthe constitution, that this was designed to be a perience; a few years convinced them that they Government of departments, Legislative, Exec: / had gone too far, that this country bad little to utive, and Judicial, to be kept distinct as far as expect from treaties, and much to lose, and that possible. It was the business of the Legislature many diplomatic connections were inore freto establish offices by law; it was the business quently the cause of perplexity and embarrasse of the Executive to fill those offices. It would ment, than of any national advantage. The appear, from tracing back the law, now pro-Congress under the articles of confederation posed to be continued, that it originated in this were extricating themselves from that policy as manner. He had not been notified of the sub- fast as possible; as these expired in course, they ject as being likely to be called up to-day, and were careful not to renew them. For several was not prepared to be as particular as he could of the last years of that Congress he well recolwish as to facts. He had endeavored to refresh lected that clusters of candidates for these aphis recollection since it had been under discus- pointments, supported by powerful interests and sion, and he found that it originated from the connections, were uniformly resisted; and, if he Speech of the PRESIDENT, at the opening of the mistook not, when this Government came into second session of the first Congress, in which he operation, this country had but one Minister in said, " that the interests of the United States Europe. The conviction on this subject was so required that our intercourse with other nations strong, and experience had so fully settled it as should be facilitated by such provisions as will the true policy, that it remained immoveable enable me to fulfil my duty in that respect; and for some time after organizing the present Gov.
[H. OF R. ernment. All appropriations for foreign Minis- | impressions which may be attempted to be ters were refused at the first session, as far as he given with respect to this country, and thereby recollected. At the second session it was urged, put our business in the best train for securing in the Speech of the PRESIDENT, as before stated, the neutral standing which we have taken. and enforced by more particular explanations to He was against it for another reason. To individuals, as designed to be for temporary pur- change the diplomatic intercourse in the way poses, respecting the Northern forts and the pro- proposed, would be forcing upon the Executive perty that was withheld. Under these explana- a measure contrary to its wishes. It would tions a law passed, as before explained. It was also be affording testimony to the charge heretrue, this policy had been of late, in some tofore made, that there was a division in the measure, departed from. He thought experience Government and the people—a sitnation in had already been useful to them in this course which many wished to see us. He should be also, and ought to administer caution to them sorry to afford the appearance of one departin seeking to intermingle in European politics. ment of Government having forced upon anoAmbassadors and Ministers cannot be entirely ther a change of measures of which they are the indifferent to the characters and events with competent judges, and upon which they have which they are constantly surrounded; the acted. As it was well known that there was share they take is very apt to be exchanged be- a very intimate connection between Spain and tween the countries to which they belong. He Holland, and the country with whom we have did not wish to be too particular on that point; at present a misunderstanding, he should be he was persuaded facts enough presented them unwilling to deprive this country of the advanselves to the recollection of every member, to tages to be derived from having Ministers at confirın his remark. It might be said that on those places ; besides, if our Ministers were to this also we have an awful lesson. If evil had be recalled from thence, it would be considered been experienced from this cause, he hoped it as an extraordinary proceeding; and might be would operate as a reason to endeavor to dimin construed as intended to be hostile to them. ish it. He thought it not unreasonable for the Whatever influence Spain or Holland may have House to interpose their restraining power as to in the councils of the country which he had granting money, and the more particular estab- alluded to, by continuing our Ministers there, it lishment of the officers, and thus aid the other was probable that weight would operate in our departments of the Government in bringing favor. There was an additional reason with back, by degrees, this part of our policy to its respect to Spain. It was well known that we former principles, so well sanctioned by expe- had points yet to settle with that country. rience. Whether the present motion was well | Our treaty with that power was not yet carried timed, or whether it was best to give it another into effect, and negotiations might at this time short limitation, before we went into a definite be going on in relation to it, which might be establishment, was another question, on which frustrated by the recall of our Ministers. he was willing to hear more remarks. Informed Mr. NICHOLAS wished to explain his intenas he was at present, he should vote for the mo- tions in bringing forward this amendment. He tion, and thought they might make some amend-believed the gentleman last up would find they ments to the former bill, already suggested by nearly corresponded with his own. He had no experience, and which would be useful.
idea of putting an iminediate veto upon the The committee rose, and had leave to sit again. Ministers at present employed. He considered
this bill, though passed with a limitation, as a FRIDAY, January 19,
permanent system, and a subsequent clause of Foreign Intercourse.
the bill would enable the committee to fix the • The House again resolved itself into a Com-time at which the salaries of Ministers should mittee of the Whole on the bill providing the cease. His wish was to put a limit to this exmeans of foreign intercourse, when
| tension of Executive power. He reminded the Mr. PINOKNEY rose. He understood the gentleman from South Carolina that Holland amendment was intended to confine our Minis- was not concerned in this bill, as we had only a ters Plenipotentiary to London and Paris, and Minister Resident there. If the subject were that no higher grade than Ministers Resident further dilated upon, he should offer some farshould be employed in any other country. He ther remarks upon it. was opposed to this change at this time, and to Mr. N. SMITH was surprised to hear the genthe mode proposed of doing the business, if the | tleman last up considered that as a permanent time were seasonable. It was proper that at provision which was limited to a duration of this juncture our Ministers should remain as they two years. This law was merely temporary in were, as it was prudent to derive all the influ- its nature, and if he only contemplated some ence and advantage we could from the situation future regulations in our foreign intercourse, of our agents in Europe, who would not only his amendment was not now necessary. Howbe enabled to communicate more correct infor- ever competent it was for the Legislature to mation from thence, than could be derived from settle the salary of Ministers, it was clear the any other source, but who could also explain Legislature had no power, by the constitution the motives and objects of this Government, either to determine the number of foreign Minand by that means remove any unfavorable l isters to be employed, where they should be