« PreviousContinue »
their armies placing Louis the 18th on the throne against the will of the French nation, these are violations of national immunity and sovereignty. The same may be said of Austrian armed intervention in the affairs of Naples, and of that of France in the government of Spain by direction of the Holy Alliance. The same of British armed intervention in China to annul her laws against the importation of opium. The principles of the republic of the United States, applicable to this subject, are correctly laid dòwn by Mr. Secretary Clay in the above in part quoted instructions of President Adams to our Minister to the Congress of Panama in these words : “ I have it in charge to direct your attention to the subjects of the forms of government and to the cause of free institutions on this continent. The United States never have been and are not now animated by any spirit of propagandism. They prefer, to all other forms of government, and are perfectly contented with their own confederacy. Allowing no foreign interference in the formation or in the conduct of their government, they are equally scrupulous in refraining from all interference in the original structure or consequent interior movement of the governments of other independent nations."
The duty of peace is proclaimed by the divine law, by all the Presidents of the United States from Washington down to the present Executive, by the fundamental declaration of the Holy Alliance signed at Paris by the Emperors of Russia and Austria and the King of Prussia on the 26th day of September 1815, and by the manifesto of the allied sovereigns at Aix La Chapelle signed by their ministers and dated November 15th, 1818.
Our Presidents have all declared peace as the first of international duties. President Jefferson pushed our pacific policy to an extreme as many suppose. President Madison in his Inaugural Address declared his intention to administer the government in the same spirit as far as national honor would permit. This object, he said, would be, “ To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations having correspondent dispositions ; to maintain sincere neutrality towards belligerent nations; to prefer in all cases amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of differences to a decision of them by an appeal to arms;" “ to foster a spirit of independence, too just to invade the rights of others, too proud to surrender our own." All his successors in the presidency have held the same language. President Tyler re
peated the same doctrines of peace and justice in his Message to Congress in June 1841. President Tyler in that Message, expressiifg the Christian sentiment of our day, says: “ The time ought to be regarded as having gone by when a resort to arms is to be esteemed as the only proper arbiter of national differences.” Again in an annual Message to Congress he says : “ Peace with all the world is the true foundation of our policy, which can only be rendered permanent by the practice of equal and impartial justice to all." Mr. Webster, Secretary of State, in his letter to Mr. Fox, the British Minister at Washington, dated April 24th, 1841, thus declares the pacific disposition of our country: “ This republic does not wish to disturb the tranquility of the world.. Its object is peace, its policy peace.” President Van Buren, in his annual Message to Congress in 1839, affirms the same doctrine in these words : “ With foreign countries, our relations exhibit the same favorable aspect which was presented in my last annual Message, and afford continued proof of the wisdom of the pacific, just and forbearing policy adopted by the first administration of the Federal Government, and pursued by its succes.
The same sentiments are found in every distinguished writer of our Republic. The highly
gifted Prescott, in his history of the conquest of Mexico, records his solemn condemnation of war and its inevitable atrocities. While he disapproves of the Spanish massacre at Cholula under Cortez, he declares it less atrocious than the cruelties practiced upon the descendants of these Spaniards at Badajoz by the British, and at Taragona and other places by the French in the Peninsular war, as women were protected from insult at Cholula, while in the other cases rape, rapine and butchery were perpetrated ad libitum by an infuriated soldiery. These things, this able writer considers " the inevitable evils of war," and he enjoins upon the Rulers of Nations, " to submit to every sacrafice, save that of honor, before authorizing an appeal to arms.” He justly applauds "peaceful Congresses, and impartial mediation,” to avoid war and its horrors, as the highest evidence of the advancing civilization of our day. If peace is a duty it is incumbent on a nation to do all things necessary to preserve it. Hence all national duties should be strictly performed by every nation in all international transactions. As this duty attaches to the means as well as the end, all nations are bound to do those things that tend to peace. In some American treaties it is stipulated that in case of supposed wrong or injury of one state to the other, the party deeming itself injured should
not resort to war, but should present to the other party a statement of the claim and the evidence on which it is founded. Such is now deemed the duty of all nations. (Vattel b. 2d. ch. 18, s. 327.) This is a universal rule enjoined by the moral law of nations. The next peaceful step is to negotiate candidly and kindly, and settle the difficulty if possible.
With a view to preserve peace, all Christian nations have agreed that ambassadors and their servants shall enjoy an entire immunity from local law, and be subject only to the laws of their own country. But one nation is not obliged to permit any enforcement of foreign law on foreign ministers within its territory. So Washington decided in the case of Genet. The only ordinary remedy in case of misconduct of a foreign minister is to request his recall, and to refuse intercourse with him. This was the course of our government, under President Washington, in the case of the French minister Genet. In extreme cases a foreign envoy may be ordered to leave the country, or he may be restrained of his liberty if his violence can not be otherwise restrained. fusal to receive or negotiate with foreign ministers, giving no just cause of offence, as was done by the French Directory in reference to our ministers
But a re