Page images

employ their power to prevent for the future the establishment of free governments elsewhere, meaning America probably. The 2d Article bound the allies to suppress in their own states and in Europe, the freedom of the press. The 3d Article enjoined a union of church and state with a view of teaching the people passive obedience to their sovereigns and of uniting the interests of priests and princes. The 4th Article referred to France the duty of putting down by arms the constitutional governments of Spain and Portugal, and the other allies pledged money and influence to aid in this work. This treaty, viewed in all its aspects, is the most unprincipled and wicked one ever made in any age. All other immoral treaties have been limited in their object when compared with that of Verona. It proposed an armed intervention to destroy the liberty of the press and free governments in Europe and America, and to reduce mankind to slavery by force, and to perpetuate it by union of church and state. Every object of this treaty was base and immoral and stands condemned by the code of public law, as well as by the moral law of nations. This treaty was promptly resisted by Great Britain and the United States, and after it had destroyed the constitutional government of Spain and done other mischief, it fell with Charles the 10th of France in 1830. This grand scheme for the conquest of the human mind and the entire abasement of mankind by arms, rivaling the proudest dreams of Napoleon, has passed away, and the fragments of these mighty monuments of universal dominion form a common ruin. An example of unlawful object is found in the treaties for the partition of Poland by force, and in other like treaties. Napoleon and the Emperor Alexander, are said to have made at the treaty of Tilsit, a secret article for the conquest and partition of several kingdoms. This was an immoral and unlawful treaty of partition and void in foro concientiae. Any object of a treaty unlawful in itself, or malum in se, ought not to be performed. If things lawful and unlawful are intermingled, the lawful ones ought to be performed and the residue not. (See Vattel, b. 2d, ch. 12, s. 161.) All rights under a treaty may be lost by a violation of it, by refusing to observe it, or withholding satisfaction for such violations. (See ib. b. 2, ch. 13, s. 200, 202.) Upon this principle our act of Congress of July 1798, declared that our treaties with France had ceased to be obligatory on us. This is right; as if one party refuses to observe a treaty, it discharges the other of necessity. Upon sound moral principles a treaty must bind the parties to it to the fulfilment of all its stipulations. As a necessary consequence if either of the contracting parties refuse or omit to perform any stipulation after demand, the defaulting state ought to lose the benefit of the whole treaty, in case the other party shall elect to annul it for such breach thereof, or the injured state may withhold performance of some stipulation on its part as an equivalent for the non-performance of the other, or it may omit to notice the violation of a treaty in any provision, according to its discretion. The rule which ought to regulate nations in reference to treaties violated by one party was well laid down by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State of the United States, in a letter to Mr. Hammond, the British minister, dated May 29th, 1792, relating to the violations of the treaty of peace of 1783. The Secretary says: “On the breach of any article of a treaty by the one party, the other has his election to declare it dissolved in all its articles, or to compensate itself by withholding execution of equivalent articles; or to waive notice of the breach altogether.” Secret articles of a treaty we disallow, and this is the practice of our republic. A secret article of our treaty with the Porte was negotiated by our American envoy, but it was rejected by the Senate. Our treaties are part of the law of the land,


and must be published with the laws of Congress. Beside concealment in treaties is evidence of wrong, and the practice ought to be discontinued. We hold, therefore, that treaties, to be binding, must be freely consented to and have a lawful object. The treaty of Madrid between Francis 1st of France, and the Emperor Charles 5th, Napoleon's treaties with Prussia at Tilsit, with Austria after Napoleon's great victory over that power, and with the Spanish Princes at Bayonne, and all like treaties, are condemned by our rule. Such treaties are repudiated by the moral sense of mankind, and are never kept after the compelling force is removed. Such was the result in each of these cases. There can be no sacred performance of an extorted treaty. There is in truth no obligation in ford conscientiae to observe such treaties.


In order to carry into practical effect the principles of peace, of national hospitality and justice, of reciprocal commerce and of free trade, it is respectfully suggested to our executive administration to negotiate treaties, when practicable, with the following standing general articles:

Article 1st. It is stipulated between the high contracting parties that the citizens of the republic of the United States of America and the subjects

or citizens of the king of or the republic of — shall enjoy mutually the right of free ingress and egress into and from the dominions of the contracting parties and of residence therein for the purposes of trade or pleasure, and that while so sojourning they shall be protected in their persons and property; and that the citizens and subjects of each party in all the courts of the other contracting party shall enjoy all the rights and privileges of native citizens and subjects, so far as the administration of justice is concerned.

Article 2d. The high contracting parties stipulate and agree that their citizens and subjects shall mutually enjoy in the dominions of each other freedom of worship, public and private, and the rights of respectful burial in the usual burying grounds, and that no impediment thereto shall be allowed.

Article 3d. In case a vessel belonging to either of the high contracting parties shall be driven into the ports of the other, or within its maritime curtilage by stress of weather, by pirates or any misfortune it is stipulated that all practicable aid, relief and assistance shall be given by each contracting party to such foreign vessel in the same manner, on the same terms, and to the same extent as if she belonged to the party furnishing succor; and that in all cases of piracy each party shall give relief

« PreviousContinue »