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reign affairs of Spain, of January 20th, 1826, placed the reorganization of the new states of South America on this ground. Mr. Upshur, Secretary of State of the United States, in 1843, in a letter to General Almonte, Mexican Minister at Washington, reiterates and reasserts the doctrine that our Republic regards only governments de faeto. The Secretary speaking of Texas says, “ It is due, however, to the frankness which it is the desire of the United States to display in all their dealings with other countries, that the undersigned should make to the Mexican Minister the following explicit declaration :
“ Near eight years have elapsed since Texas declared her independence, During all that time Mexico has asserted her right of jurisdiction and dominion over that country, and has endeavored to enforce it by arms. Texas has successfully resisted all such attempts, and has thus afforded ample proof of her ability to maintain her inde. pendence. This proof has been so satisfactory to many of the most considerable nations of the world, that they have formally acknowledged the independence of Texas and established diplomatic relations with her. Among these nations the United States are included; and indeed they set the example which other nations have followed, Under these circumstances, the United States re.
gard Texas as in all respects an independent nation, fully competent to manage its own affairs, and possessing all the rights of other independent nations. The Government of the United States, therefore, will not consider it necessary to consult any other nation in its transactions with the Gov. ernment of Texas.” This is the guiding principle of our Republic, as laid down by President Monroe in 1822, through Secretary Adams, and it was followed in recognizing the Mexican and South American Republics as independent nations, while Spain was pursuing her hopeless plans for their reconquest. The recognitions of Texas was upon the same principle.
Vattel concurs in these views, and he maintains that the sovereignty resides in the nation itself and that the form of government and the executive power and its succession may be changed at the will and by the decision of the nation with a view to the public welfare,” and he bases his doctrine on the maxim, “salus populi suprema lex.” Speaking of the claim of legitimacy and hereditary succession he says, “ This pretended proprietary right attributed to princes is a chimera produced by the pretended law of inheritance with respect to private persons.”
Vattel, B. 1st, Ch. V., S. 69, speaking of sovereignty being inherent in a nation and not in the
prince or executive says, "Every true sovereignty is unalienable in its nature," and he denies that a prince or any national officers can, without a special authority, assign the nation's sovereignty to another, as the nation alone can do it. (See B. 1, Ch. 21, S. 263, 264 and 265, and B. 2, Ch. 12, S. 160.)
Puffendorf says, “A prince hath no manner of power to transfer or give away his kingdom by his own single authority, and his subjects are not at all obliged by such an act, if made."
We now have described a nation and its organ of international communication.
A nation is accountable not only for all acts of the executive government, but for the acts of individuals in pursuance of its direction or which are approved and assumed by it. Mr. Lee, Attorney General of the United States, in an opinion addressed to the Secretary of State, December 29th, 1797, lays down this doctrine in these words: “It is as well settled in the United States as in Great Britain, that a person acting under a commission from a sovereign of a foreign nation, is not amenable for what he does in pursuance of his commission, to any judicial tribunal in the United States." Mr. Webster, Secretary of State of the United States, in a letter to Mr. Fox, the British Minister, in reference to the destruction of the Caroline,
on the American side of the Niagara river by MÄLeod and others in the British service, and the avowal of Mr. Fox that it was an act of force by the British authorities," says: “The government of the United States entertain no doubt that after this avowal of the transaction, a public transaction, authorized and undertaken by the British authorities, individuals concerned in it ought not, by the principles of public law and the general usage of civilized states, to be holden personally responsible, in the ordinary tribunals of law, for their participation in it." Such acts are national, and redress must be sought by the nation deeming itself injured of the nation by whose authority the acts were done. No private action, cvil or criminal, ought, upon general principles, to lie for any act of any person invading the rights of a foreign nation by authority of his own sovereign. Such wrongs must be redressed by the nation doing them by its citizens or subjects on demand of the injured state.
OF PURCHASE OF TERRITORY.
A nation may increase its population or territory by purchase fairly made, and by this mode Louisiana and Florida were added to our Republic and the right of self-government and of representation in our National Legislature, the Congress of
the United States, immediately devolved upon the people of the newly acquired countries as component parts of the Union. These acquisitions which under our Constitution should have been sanctioned by amendments of that instrument, gave to the United States a convenient boundary, removed the dangers of war with foreign powers, and conferred freedom and self-government with American citizenship on a people deprived of these inalienable rights.
OF THE UNION OF STATES.
As the right of self-government is inlierent and inalienable in the people of every country, the citizens of any two or more nations may by their own solemn act agree to unite their governments in a new one agreed upon and substituted by the people themselves. This is a natural mode of adding territory and population sanctioned by right reason. But the existing governments of any two nations have no such power, as the authority of each is to govern the citizens of each nation according to its laws. Mr. Jefferson's opinion on this point was clearly expressed in the annexed extract of a letter written to Mr. Breckenridge, dated August 12, 1803, when the treaty for the cession of Louisiana was under consideration.