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sable to give effect to its acceptance, the expected that the objects of such delibecommittee are relieved from their embar rations should be accurately stated and rassment, and enter at once upon the free defined, and the manner of their accomand full examination of the propriety and plishment clearly marked out. The Preexpediency of the proposed mission. sident himself made this suggestion in the
They do this, not less in compliance first instance, and required as a condition with the President's expressed hope that of his acceptance of the invitation pro. their opinions may concur with his, than posed to be given, that these preliminary with what is conceived to be the right of points should be arranged in a manner the Senate, in all cases “ where it is pro- satisfactory to the United States. The posed to create a new office by nomina- Committee express both surprise and retion, or to despatch ministers to foreign gret that the Executive should have decistates for the first time, or to accomplish ded subsequently to send Commissioners by such missions objects not specially de- at once, without insisting on that condiclared, or under circumstances new, pecu- tion. liar, and highly important,” to extend its Under these circumstances, the Cominquiries not merely into the fitness of mittee have no other explanation to give the persons nominated, but into the pro- to the Senate, as to the objects to be acpriety or expediency of the mission itself, complished at this Congress, than what and into all the circumstances and objects may be collected from the language of connected therewith, or to be affected the Mexican minister in reply to the Secthereby.
retary of State, that they are those " to The first objection of the Committee which the existence of the new States is, that this new and untried measure may give rise, and which it is not easy to was in conflict with the whole course of point
out or enumerate ;” and it is 'expolicy, uniformly and happily pursued pected that ample powers are to be granted by the United States, of avoiding all to our ministers, to accomplish all the entangling connections with any other enumerated and all the undefined objects nation whatever. For such departure that might arise, without any knowledge no sufficiently cogent reasons had been as to how these powers are to be used assigned. During the fierce struggle of and exercised. The Committee unhesithe new States for independence, the tatingly express the opinion that nothing United States, notwithstanding their natu- known to them requires or justifies at ral sympathies with nations thus engaged, this time, the commissioning to this Con. adhered unfalteringly to the neutrality gress of agents endowed with undefined which they had proclaimed as the rule of powers, to accomplish undefined objects. their conduct; nor until these States had It in no wise changes this view, that become independent in fact, by the expul- the Senate have the power of rejecting sion of the Spaniards, did this country any agreement or treaty which might be recognize them. But when it did so made for the mere act of entering into recognize them, it was done freely and a negotiation is sometimes productive of joyfully, and ministers were commissioned embarrassments from which it is difficult without delay to several of the new Re- to escape ; and hence, until the objects of publics. Through these Ministers all the negotiation are distinctly known and objects may be attained which could be approved, it is better to abstain from it attained at the proposed Congress, and altogether, than to confide in the power without any deviation from existing of the Senate to refuse its assent afterusages.
wards. An examination of the reasons assigned Turning from the objects thus indefi. by the new States for desiring the attend- nitely shadowed forth, as likely to occupy ance of the United States, and of the mo- this Congress, to those more distinctly tives of the President of the United States enumerated, the Committee object that the for acceding to this desire, did not remove different Stales take different views even the objections of this Committee.
of these-and that while some of the There is too much vagueness and lati- topics enumerated by the foreign ministude in the whole scheme. Before the ters are not at all referred to by the Predestinies of the United States should be sident in his message to the Senate, other committed to the deliberations and deci. topics are mentioned in that message sions of a Congress composed not of our which find no place in the communicaown citizens, but of the representatives tions of those ministers. of many different nations, it was to be The first and great object of the Congress
nations were, on the 28th, (two days after apprehension existed. The main object they were sent in,) referred to the Com- of the correspondence with Mexico and mittee on foreign relations. On the same Colombia, was to dissuade both those day, Mr. Branch of North Carolina (after- governments from a purpose, then supwards Secretary of the Navy under Presi, posed to be entertained, of wresting from dent Jackson), submitted a resolution and Spain the two islands above named. preamble, which were printed for the On the 16th January, Mr. Macon as use of the Senate, of which the purport Chairman of the Committee on Foreign was, that the President “ does not consti- Relations, made a long report adverse to tutionally possess either the right or the the views of the President, and concludpower to appoint ambassadors or other ing with this resolution : public ministers, but with the advice and consent of the Senate, except when time, for the United States to send any
“ Resolved, that it is not expedient, at this vacancies may happen in the recess.” ministers to the Congress of American na
The Senate continued to occupy itself tions assembled at Panama.” in secret session with this subject. On the 4th Jan. a resolution was adopted on
The Committe of Foreign Relations of motion of Mr. Macon of North Carolina, the Senate, was composed at that session calling upon the President to communi. of the following persons :-Mr. Macon cate confidentially to the Senate any con
of North Carolina, Mr. Tazewell of Vir. ventions between the new States relative ginia, Mr. Gailliard of South Carolina, to the Congress at Panama, and any other Mr. Mills of Massachusetts, and Mr. information tending to show the propriety
White of Tennessee. of a mission from the United States to
On the 25th March, in the House of said Congress. On the 10th the Presi- Representatives, Mr. Crowninshield from dent communicated the papeis asked for the Committee on Foreign Relations of consisting of four Conventions between the House, reported favorably on the misColombia and Peru, Colombia and Chili, sion, and concluded with this resolution: Colombia and Central America, and Col “ Resolved, that in the opinion of this ombia and Mexico—and of certain cor House, it is expedient to appropriate the respondence between the Executive gov
funds necessary to enable the President of ernment of the United States, and the the United States to send ministers to the governments of Russsia, France, Co- Congress of Panama.” lombia and Mexico.
The Committee on Foreign Relations The Conventions between the new of the House was thus constituted—Mr. American States were all—1st, for a Forsyth of Georgia, Mr. Crowninshield mutual, defensive alliance, in order, as of Massachusetts, Mr. Trimble of Ohio, the treaty betweeen Chili and Colombia Mr. Archer of Virgina, Mr. Worthington expresses it, “to maintain their inde- of Maryland, Mr. Everett of Massachuspendence of the Spanish nation, and of etts, and Mr. Stevenson of Pennsylvania. any other foreign domination whatso As these two conflicting Reports preever;" 2ndly, for commercial purposes; sent substantially the argument relied on and finally, for the convening of a “ “gen
side, for the support of the eral assembly of the American States.” views taken by each, we proceed to fur
The correspondence communicated con nish a brief analysis of each, beginning sisted of copies of letters to and from our in the order of time with that of the Senministers in Russia, France, Mexico and ate, to which, in some sense, the Report in Colombia; those of the ministers in Eu- the House is a reply. rope, related to the steps taken by them In entering on the examination of a in conformity with instructions from the subject of so much novelly, delicacy, State department—to invite the govern- and high importance to the character and ments to which they were accredited, to future destinies of the United States, the use their good offices in inducing Spain to committee of the Senate say, they were put an end to the quasi war against her somewhat embarrassed by the declaration former colonies, by recognizing their in the President's message that he had alindependence, but more particularly to ready accepted the invitation to send a minexpress to those governments the de- jster to Panama. Inasmuch, however, as termination of that of the United States, the correspondence of the Secretary of State “not to allow a transfer of the Islands of intimates to the several foreign ministers Cuba and Porto Rico to any European who joined in the invitation, that the Power”-of which, at that period, some concurrence of the Senate was indispenVOL. III.-NO. I.
the possible case that the Congress, not tion shall be made to the sovereignties finding these topics included in their pro- represented at the Congress, that it was gramme, may refuse to consider them, the purpose of the United States to discuss and thus place the United States in “a there their plan of civil polity, or the indegraded position.”
terests of their religious establishments, The first of these topics is “the estab- the invitation given to us would soon be lishment of principles of a liberal com withdrawn. mercial intercourse.” This, the Com Having thus exhibited to the Senate mittee think, may be more surely accom- the objects of the proposed Congress, as plished, as far as it can be accomplished stated both by the foreign ministers and at all, by separate negotiations with the by the President, and their conclusion, separate States; each of which having after due consideration, against the adoppeculiar interests, productions and wants, tion of the measure proposed by the Precan but judge of the nature and extent of sident, the Committee might have here commercial intercourse it may suit it to terminated, but for the revelation in some encourage. The consentaneous adoption of the correspondence accompanying the of principles of maritime neutrality, fa- President's message of still other objects, vorable to the navigation of peace and the chief of which was," the present and commerce in time of war,” is the next future condition of Cuba and Porto Rico.” object which the President suggests. From the papers referred to, it appeared The reasoning applicable to “commercial that during the year 1825 serious appreintercourse,” is alike applicable, the Com- hensions existed that Mexico and Colommittee think, to the commerce of peace; bia were about making a concerted atand as to the rules of war applicable to tempt to wrest these fine islands from the navigation, the Committee see “great Spanish crown. This was a cause of risk of compromising and destroying the great uneasiness to the United States, relations of neutrality which the United who desire nothing better than that those States are now maintaining, should they islands should remain as they are; but involve themselves by any compact rela- who were not without solicitude, if the tive to belligerent rights, entered into attempt of the new Republics should sucwith only one of the parties to the present ceed, lest, eventually, anarchy not unlike war, during its continuance.”
that at St. Domingo might ensue, to the Hence the Committee conclude that very great injury and danger of our own “the great maritime states of Europe country and all others. On the other would most probably consider that the hand, they were not without apprehenUnited States had seized the occasion of sion that, in order to prevent the possithis war to enter into a confederacy with bility of such a catastrophe, and with the the other States of this continent, now knowledge that Spain was powerless to actually engaged in it, for the purpose of succor these rich colonies, France or settling principles intended materially to England, or both, might seize these islaffect their future interests."
ands, and hold them nominally for Spain, “ The advancement of religious liber. but in reality for themselves. In this ty” is another topic suggested by the perilous contingency, the government of President; and as a motive for some effort the United States took ground at once in this behalf, the fact is noticed that in manly and frank. They instructed their some of the Southern nations an exclu- minister at the court of Madrid to urge sive church, without toleration of any upon the Spanish king the hopelessness other, has been incorporated with the of the attempt to reconquer the revolted political constitution.
colonies, and to draw his attention speThe Committee look upon this topic as cially to the danger which menaced those altogether objectionable, and unfit to oc- colonies yet faithful, and of such great cupy the deliberations of Congress upon value-Cuba and Porto Rico—and, by any suggestion from the United States : these and other weighty considerations, first, because it would contradictour to bring him if possible to acknowledge well-settled practice not to intermeddle in the independence of the new States, and the internal affairs of other states; and thus restore peace. They at the same secondly, because, of all topics, that time instructed their ministers at London, touching the religious faith or profession at Paris, and at St. Petersburg, to explain of any people is the most delicate and to each of those courts the danger which sacred. The Committee confidently ex- menaced Cuba and Porto Rico, to the press the opinion, that if ever an intima- end that they might coöperate with the
United States in the effort to induce Spain Republics, arises from their known deto put an end to the war ; with special termination not to mingle their interests directions, moreover, to say distinctly to with those of the other States of America. the governments to which they were ac- By making, or appearing to make, comcredited, that the U. States “ would not mon cause with those Republics, in a consent to the occupation of those islands general Congress, this moral force would by any other European power than Spain be lost, and thereby not only the new under any contingency whatever." States would be injured, but their own
While thus frankly explaining them- character and interests would be materiselves to Europe, this government dealt ally prejudiced. with like frankness with Mexico and In conclusion, the Committee, after Colombia. After apprising the govern- objecting to the substance, object to the ments of both those countries of the steps form in which the proposed Congress taken by the United States with the chief was called and arranged, as derogatory to powers of Europe, to induce them to the prepotency and eminence among hasten the period when Spain might American nations of the United States; recognize the independence of the new and for all the reasons stated, and withRepublics, and explaining the position we out entering into any investigation of the had assumed with regard to Cuba and qualifications of the individuals nominaPorto Rico in the face of the world, the ted as ministers, they pronounce the Secretary of State expressed the expecta- mission inexpedient. tion and desire, that at least until the For two months after the Report was effect of this friendly interposition could made, the Senate held the subject in be ascertained, the plans of Mexico and deliberation. The secret sessions were Colombia, if any such were entertained, numerous and prolonged, and it was only of attempting the conquest of these on the 14th March that the resolution apislands, would be postponed.
pended to the Committee's Report against The whole of this matter being devel the mission, was disagreed to by the foloped by the correspondence which was lowing vote : laid before the Senate, the Committee Ayes : Messrs. Benton, Berrien, Branch, seized upon it as another cause of objec- Chandler, Cobb, Dickerson, Eaton, Findtion to the Panama mission. Falling far lay, Hayne, Holmes, Kane, King, Mashort of the tone adopted by the adminis- con, Randolph, Rowan, Van Buren, tration, that “the United States would White, Williams, Woodbury–19. not, in any contingency whatever, con Noes : Barton, Bell, Bouligny, Chamsent to the occupation of Cuba and Porto bers, Chase, Clayton, Edwards, HarriRico by any European power other son, Hendricks, Johnston of Kentucky, than Spain,” the Committee feebly say, Jobnson of Louisiana, Knight, Lloyd, they “are well aware that the United Marks, Mills, Noble, Robbins, Ruggles, States can never regard with indifference Sanford, Seymour, Smith, Thomas, Van the situation and probable destiny of Dyke, Willy—24. those islands ”—but, nevertheless, they On the same day the nominations of think it highly inexpedient that the sub- Messrs. Anderson and Sergeant, as minject should be discussed at a Congress of isters, were confirmed. the American nations; for, on the one We shall have occasion, after presenthand, if the war continued, the United ing the analysis of the Report in the States could not, with any propriety, in- House of Representatives, to enter into terpose to prevent the new Republics from some detail as to the part taken, and the striking their enemy where alone he is speeches made, in both Houses, by the most assailable and most vulnerable by friends and opponents of this measurethem;
and on the other, if peace should a detail that will be rendered more intelsupervene, all apprehension on the sub- ligible by previously laying before the ject would cease. In neither event, reader the argument on each side. therefore, was anything to be gained by On the 15th March, the day succeeding the United States in bringing this subject that on which the Senate assented to the before the Congress.
mission and confirmed the nomination of The Committee go on to argue at some
ministers, President Adams sent a meslength, that the moral force of the posi- sage to the House of Representatives, in tion of the United States, which alone answer to a resolution of that House of enables them to render any effective ser the 5th of February preceding, asking vice in Europe to the cause of the new information respecting the character and
objects of the proposed Congress, in any manner the exercise of the national which he forcibly exhibited the advan- sovereignty of the contracting parties, in tages which, in his judgment, might regard to their laws and the establishresult from the assembling of that ment and form of their respective govbody, and from the presence there ofernments.” representatives of the United States. As to the objects of the assembly, the After explaining the whole matter, and most entire liberty is left to the parties his acceptance of the invitation in behalf present to propose whatever may be esof the United States—subject to the ad- teemed of common good to this hemivice and consent of the Senate—he sphere, without dictation, or the seminforms the House that its « concurrence blance of dictation, by those governments to the measure by the appropriations whence the invitation to the United States necessary for carrying it into effect, is had come. So far otherwise, indeed, alike subject to its free determination, was the fact, that in the letters of the and indispensable to the fulfillment of Colombian minister to the Secretary of the intention.”
State, the utmost deference is manifested This message, with the accompanying for the greater experience of the United papers, (similar to those submitted to the States, and the expectation is expressed Senate,) were immediately referred to the that they will avail themselves of the opcommittee on Foreign Relations. From portune occasion" offered by this Conthis committee Mr. Crowninshield, on gress, “ to fix some principles of internathe 25th March, made a Report conclud- tional law, the unsettled state of which ing with a resoluton “ that in the opin. bas caused much evil to humanity.” The ion of this House it is expedient to letter adds: “ It belongs to each of the appropriate the funds necessary to enable concurring parties to propose their views; the President of the United States to send but the voice of the United States will be ministers to the Congress of Panama.” heard with the respect and deference
On this resolution a debate, protracted which its early labors in a work of so through several weeks, ensued, when an much importance demand." The Comamendment, moved by Mr. McLane mittee conclude that “the objects of this of Delaware, virtually nullifying the assembly embrace in general terms the mission, even if otherwise authorized, political and commercial relations of the prevailed by a vote of 99 to 95; where- United States with the new American upon the supporters of the original reso- Republics." lution abandoned it as amended-and the As to the principle which has regulated vote on it being taken next day, 21st our diplomatic intercourse, the Committee April, it was lost–54 ayes, 143 noes. demonstrate that the moving considera
The bill reported from the Committee tions for the missions maintained by this of Ways and Means, making appropria- country have been the political and comtions for the mission, was soon after mercial relations of the nations with called up; and after an attempt to strike which they were established ; and not out the enacting clause, which failed, the power or grandeur of such nations. 61 to 134—the bill passed; and thus the Such being the general principle, it seems mission received the sanction of both particularly applicable to the case of the Houses.
Panama Mission, as at that Congress We now return to the report of the questions involving our most important Committee of the House.
political and commercial interests are to The Committee first explain that the be discussed. If we should decline atCongress of Panama is merely an tendance, it would not only exhibit an sembly of diplomatic agents, clothed with ungracious spirit towards neighboring no power except to discuss and to nego. republics, but take from us the right of tiate, deputed by governments whose complainiug of any results contrary to constitutions require that all engage our interests which might there be acments with foreign powers shall be sub- complished. ject to the ratification of some organic The various objections to the mission body at home.” In order, moreover, to are then considered by the Committee. As guard against all possible mistake as to to its alleged unconstitutionality, it is re. the design of this Congress, it is expressly plied, that the Constitution imposes no stipulated in the treaties between Colom- restriction on the appointment of foreign bia and the new Republics, that the ministers by the proper authority. But meeting at Panama “shall not affect in it is assumed that the Congress at Pana