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The Louisiana Treaty.
It is to be observed that the latter part of this article refers to that convention which stipulates for the payment of money to the French Government. But who, I ask, could understand it in this way y? The convention here referred to, is said to be relative to a definitive rule between the contracting parties." Why these dark, obscure, and unintelligible expressions? Is a consideration a "definitive rule?" The first article speaks of the cession as being made, "from a desire to give to the United States a strong proof of the friendship of the First Consul," and when you turn to the convention, which is said to establish the "definitive rule," you find a provision binding the United States to the payment of money to the French Republic, but not a word is said about its being the consideration of the cession. Suspicion hangs over the whole of this business. If the territory is, beyond all doubt, to be put quietly and peaceably into our hands, whence the necessity of sending down to receive it an imposing force? Admit that a nominal possession of the territory has been given by the Spaniards to the French, the latter it is well known have not a single soldier at any of the posts. Suppose, upon the arrival of our troops, the Spanish forces should refuse to obey the orders of the French Prefect, who then can only give you possession by the twig of a tree or the knob of a door; your army left to possess itself of the fortifications as it can, is half destroyed ere resistance by the Spaniards is overcome. In that case, shall we be willing to pay the whole amount of the fifteen millions of dollars? I trust not. If however we pass this bill, we shall have no control over the subject. We have already strong reasons for doubting the validity of the French title to the territory in question: suppose our doubts should be confirmed before the payment of this money, will you then consent to pay any part of it for what you will not be able to hold? I conceive, therefore, that I am fully justified in withholding my assent from the passage of this bill, seeing that no advantage can result from delegating this power to the President; that it may be, without inconvenience, exercised by ourselves, as we shall remain for some time in session; that even in common cases the unnecessary delegation of power is not to be justified; and that, in this particular instance, circumstances exist of a very extraordinary nature, which render it peculiarly improper.
Mr. JACKSON.-Mr. President: In answering the honorable gentlemen who has just sat down, I shall take the liberty of commencing. with repeating what I said yesterday, in answer to another honorable gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. WHITE,) that every argument they have made use of would better have applied at the time the treaty was on its passage for ratification, or at the time of the passage of the bill for taking possession of Louisiana; and it appears extraordinary now, after voting, if not for the treaty, for that bill, to see those gentlemen rise to oppose the conditions to be performed on our part, when France has issued the necessary orders to comply, on her part. The delay of the passage of the bill before
you may have the most fatal consequences; and if, as some gentlemen have hinted on former occasions, the French are sick of their bargain, will give them an opportunity to break it altogether, or create such jealousies between the two nations as may render the ceded territory and its inhabitants of little value to us. In my opinion, policy, as well as justice, requires, that we should comply with the stipulations on our part, promptly and with good faith, and leave no opening for complaint with the other party. We shall then stand justified in the eyes of the world, and to ourselves, not only to take, but keep possession of this immense country, let what nation will oppose it.
But the honorable gentleman (Mr. WELLS) has said that the French have no title, and, having no title herself, we can derive none from her. Is not, I ask, the King of Spain's proclamation, declaring the cession of Louisiana to France, and his orders to his Governor and officers to deliver it to France, a title? Do nations give any other? I believe the honorable gentleman can find no solitary instance of feofment or conveyance between States. The Treaty of St. Ildefonso was the groundwork of the cession, and whatever might have been the terms to be performed by France, the King of Spain's proclamation and orders have declared to all the world that they were complied with. The honorable gentleman, however, insists that there is no consideration expressed in the treaty, and therefore it must be void; if the honorable gentleman will but look attentively at the ninth article, I am persuaded he will perceive one: the conventions are made part of the treaty; they are declared to have execution in the same manner, as if they had been inserted in the treaty; they are to be ratified in the same form, and in the same time, so that the one shall not be distinct from the other. What inference can possibly be drawn, but that the payments to be made by them was full consideration for Louisiana? But the honorable gentleman lays stress on that part of the treaty which declares that "the First Consul of the French Republic, desiring to give to the United States a strong proof of his friendship, doth hereby cede to the United States the territory," &c.; inferring from thence that our title rests on the friendship of Bonaparte alone. Sir, let my opinion of the present Government of France be what it may, and I confess it is not very favorable, Bonaparte, by the consent of the nation, is placed at its head; he is the organ through which the will of the nation is expressed, and is and must be respected as such by all other Powers. No nation has a right to interfere with the rule or police of another. It is enough that the nation wills it, and Bonaparte's act is the act of the whole nation, which cannot recall it, even if Bonaparte should cease to govern, and another form of Government be adopted. But, sir, admitting the objection of the honorable gentleman, in its utmost latitude, as to pecuniary considerations; are there no other considerations among Powers and Potentates? Does not policy sometimes induce a cession of territory to prevent a
The Louisiana Treaty.
Floridas, to use the language of a late member of Congress, the road to Mexico is now open to us, which, if Spain acts in an amicable way, I wish may, and hope will, be shut, as respects the United States forever. For these reasons, I think, sir, Spain will avoid a war, in which she has nothing to gain and everything to lose. But what possession, say the honorable gentlemen, are we to receive, the twig of a tree or the knocker of a door? No, sir, I reply; but possession of New Orleans, the capital, and its defence. By whom, will the honorable gentleman ask? I answer, the same men who the honorable gentlemen were so anxious to send forward and take forcible possession the last session, which could not have failed to involve us with the French, for, if we had succeeded and taken possession, whose territory should we have violated? Spain was barely the tenant, at will, of France, and France the real owner. If, private life, I were to enter a house the honorable gentleman had purchased, and kick his tenant out, would he not feel aggrieved and seek redress? So would France, if we had rashly taken the measures proposed, and what should we have had then to do? Fling ourselves at once into the arms of Britain for protection. Is this what hon-. orable gentlemen wish? It cannot be. I hope, Mr. President, that the citizens of the United States will never see the day when their defence shall depend on a British army or navy, or the army or navy of any other Power on earth. We are happily divided from the distractions and tumults of the Eastern world by the Atlantic Ocean, and I trust we shall steer clear of entangling alliances with any of them.
larger portion from being sacrificed? Is not the
in a war, which would have. saddled us W.
Mr. President, the honorable gentleman appears to be extremely apprehensive of vesting the powers delegated by the bill, now on its passage, in the President, and wishes to retain it in the Legislature. Is this a Legislative or an Executive business? Assuredly, in my mind, of the latter nature. The President gave instructions for, and, with our consent, ratified the treaty. We have given him the power to take possession, which his officers are, perhaps, at this moment doing; and surely, as the ostensible party, the representative of the sovereignty to whom France will alone look, he ought to possess the power of fulfilling our part of the contract. Gentlemen, indeed, had doubted, on a former occasion, the propriety of giving the President the power of taking possession and organizing a temporary government, which every inferior officer, in case of conquest or cession, from the general to the subaltern, if commanding, has a right to do; but I little expected these doubts, after we had gone so far. For my part, sir, I have none of those fears. I believe the President will be as cautious as ourselves, and the bill is as carefully worded as possible; for the money is not to be paid until after Louisiana shall be placed in our possession.
Sir, it has been observed by a gentleman in debate yesterday, (Mr. WHITE,) that Louisiana would become a grievance to us, and that we might as well attempt to prevent fish from swimming in water, as to prevent our citizens from going across
The Louisiana Treaty.
the Mississippi. The honorable gentleman is not bill, I conceive it all-iinportant that it should pass so well acquainted with the frontier citizens as I without a moments delay. We have a bargain am. I see an honorable gentleman in my view, now in our power, which, once missed, we never who knows whether or not what I am going to shall have again.' Let us close our part of the assert be the fact-he was part of the time high contract by the passage of this bill, let us leave no in office, (Mr. PICKERING.) The citizens of the opportunity for any Power to charge us with a State I represent, scattered along an Indian fron-want of good faith ; and having executed our stiptier of from three to four hundred miles, have ulations in good faith we can appeal to God for been restrained, except with one solitary instance, the justice of our cause ; and I trust that, confiding by two or three companies of infantry and a hand- in that justice, there is virtue, patriotism, and fúl of dragoons, from crossing over artificial lines courage sufficient in the American nation, not and water-courses, sometimes dry, into the Indian only to take possession of Louisiana, but to keep country, after their own cattle, which no human pru- that possession against the encroachments or atdence could prevent from crossing to a finer and tacks of any Power on earth. more luxuriant range, and this too at a time when Mr. WRIGHT-Mr. President, I presumed from the feelings of Georgians were alive to the injuries the observations of the honorable gentleman from they had received by the New York Treaty with Delaware (Mr. Wells,) that he had not minutely the Creek Indians, which took Tallassee county attended to the provisions of this bill, on which the from them, after even three Commissioners ap- transfer of this stock is made expressly to depend. pointed by the United States had reported to the The treaty has in the most guarded manner secured President that it was bona fide the property of us in the possession of the ceded territory, as a Georgia, and sold under as fair a contract as could condition precedent the payment of the purchase be formed by a civilized with an uncivilized soci- money, and this bill has expressly provided that ety. If the Georgians, under these circumstances, no part of the stock shall be transferred till the poswere restrained from going on their ground, can- session stipulated by the treaty shall have been obnot means be devised to prevent citizens crossing tained. Not such a possession as the gentlemen into Louisiana ? The frontier people are not the has said the President may be satisfied with—"the people they are represented; they will listen to delivery of a twig and turf, or the knocker of a reason, and respect the laws of their country; it door.” The treaty has defined the possession incannot be their wish, it is not their interest to go tended, it is the possession of Louisiana, the island to Louisiana, or see it settled for years to come; and city of New Orleans, with the forts and arthe settlement of it at present would part father senals, the troops having been withdrawn from and son, brother and brother, and friend and friend, thence. But, sir, from his remarks, it would seem and lessen the value of their lands beyond all cals that his objections to this bill bad been predicated culation. If Spain acts an amicable part, I have on his want of confidence in the Executive, as he no doubt myself but the Southern tribes of Indians bas expressed his fears that the stock would be can be persuaded to go there; it will be advanta- transferred, before the pre-requisite conditions had geous for themselves; they are now hemmed in been performed. He says, we ought to be satisfied on every side; their chance of game decreasing that the possession stipulated by the treaty shall daily; ploughs and looms, whatever may be said, have been delivered up before we pass this bill. have no charms for them; they want a wider field Has he forgot that, by the Constitution, the Presifor the chase, and Louisiana presents it. Spain dent is to superintend the execution of the law ? may, in such case, discard her fears for her Mex- Or has he forgot that treaties are the supreme law ican dominions, for half a century at least; and of the land ? Or why, while he professes to rewe should fill up the space the Indians removed spect this Constitution, does he oppose the comfrom, with settlers from Europe, and thus pre- mission of the execution of this law to that organ serve the density of population within the original of the Government to which it has been assigned States. For, sir, I will agree with the honorable by the Constitution? Why, I ask, does he distrust gentleman, (Mr. White,) that it will be as impos- the President? Has he not been throughout the sible to prevent fish in the water from swimming, whole of this business very much alive to the as to prevent the distressed of every country from peaceful acquisition of this immense territory, and flying to this asylum of the oppressed of the human the in valuable waters of the Mississippi? A proprace. They will come from the ambitious and erty which, but the other day, we were told was distracted States of Europe to our mild and happy all-important, and so necessary to our political exGovernment, if they commit themselves to the istence that if it was not obtained the Western mercy of the ocean, or on a few planks nailed to- people would sever themselves from the Union. gether. In a century, sir, we shall be well popu- This property, for which countless millions were lated, and prepared to extend our settlements, and then proposed to be expended, and the best blood that world of itself will present itself to our ap- of our citizens to be shed, and which then was to proaches, and instead of the description given of be had at all hazards, per fas aut per nefas, seems it by the honorable gentleman, of making it a now to have lost its worth, and it would seem as if howling wilderness, where no civilized foot shall some gentlemen could not be satisfied with the ever tread, if we could return at the proper pe- purchase, because our title was not recorded in the riod we should find it the seat of science and civ- blood of its inhabitants. But that this is not the ilization.
wish of the American people, has been unequivoMr. President, in whatever shape I view this cally declared by their immediate representatives
NovemBER, 1803. in Congress, as well as by this House, who had securing them in their property and in their civil each expressed their approbation of the peaceful and religious liberty, agreeably to the principles title we had acquired, by majorities I thought not of our own Constitution? Can they be so unwise to be misunderstood. And the gentleman, although as to prefer being the colonists of a distant Eurohe voted for the ratification of the treaty, now pean Power, to being members of this immense again calls on us to investigate the title. It is cer- Empire, with all the privileges of American cititaiply too late. But I ask, if he was not possessed zens? Can any gentleman seriously entertain of the most satisfactory evidence of the title, why such an unauthorized opinion—that that people, he consented to the ratification of the treaty? whom we have seen so lately, with so much reDoes he not know that France, the original pro- spect to their late King, submit cheerfully to be prietor, ceded it to Spain ? Does he not know citizens of the French Republic, will now, in direct that Spain retroceded it to France, in exchange violation of the royal order, refuse to obey it, and for_Tuscany, which is now held as the kingdom treasonably take up arms to resist its execution ? of Etruria, by the King of Etruria, the relative of It is as cruel as it is unfounded! But should an His Catholic Majesty, by virtue of that exchange? infatuation so treasonable beget in them insurgent Does he not know that Spain disclaims all title to principles of resistance. I hope and trust that our it, and has issued the royal order for delivering it troops on the spot may be permitted to aid the offito France under its original limits, and that that cers of His Catholic Majesty to reduce them to order was lately in the possession of the Minister reason and submission to the royal order of their of the French Republic near the United States ? King; that they may be delivered up to be brought that the treaties had been ratified and exchanged to condign punishment, and that their treasonable for the sale of Louisiana to the United States, and project may be nipped in the bud. that the Minister of the First Consul had concerted I had for myself, however, supposed that from with our Government such measures as were the time of the address of the French Prefect he deemed necessary to put us in possession of the had been in possession of and in the discharge of ceded territory, agreeably to the treaty? How cor- the civil functions of the government, and that rect, then, it may be to investigate ihe title after the Spanish troops in the forts held the possession we have ratified the treaty, and become thereby of them to preserve and protect them tillihe French the purchasers, or how prudent to question that troops should arrive under his direction; but I tiile when claiming under it, are questions the never did suppose that after the First Consul congentleman's own feelings will best decide! But sented to sell ihat country, that he would send over of this I am sure, that we can have no just cause his troops to take possession of it, but to surrender of complaint against the French Republic until it; nor did I ever entertain a single doubt that an eviction under a pre existing title paramount, after the King of Spain had sold that property to which Spain herself disclaims. But if after we France and secured and held the property in exshall be in possession, under this peaceful, this le change of which his royal order for the delivery gitimate tiile, any Power on earth shall attempt of the possession was full proof, that if it was not to disturb our possession, I trust we can obtain in- in his power to induce the First Consul to keep it, junctions from our Secretaries of War and of the that he would commit that integrity hitherto unNavy, and secure our title in the way it was wished sullied, by any measure violative of the faith of by, some gentleman to have been originally ob- his cwn treaty. tained. The gentleman tells us he understands Mr. Pickering said, if he entertained the opinwe are to be opposed by the subjects of His Cath- ion just now expressed by the gentleman from olic Majesty in taking possession of the ceded ter- Delaware, (Mr. Wells,) of the binding force of ritory, or why send so many troops to take posses- all treaties made by the President and Senate, he sion ?' I cannot tell where the gentleman got his should think it to be his duty to vote for the bill information, either as to the opposition intended now under consideration. "The Constitution, or the number of truops to be sent. I have never and the laws of the United States made in pursuheard there was to be any opposition, but the re- ance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall verse. I have never heard the number of troops be made under the authority of the United States, that are intended to take possession; but I hope shall be the supreme law of the land.”—But a and trust a number sufficient to preserve the forts treaty to be thus obligatory, must not contravene in good order, and to defend them against any the Constitution, nor contain any stipulations Power that may presume to invest them. This, which transcend the powers therein given to the I have no doubt, will be done, as it is committed to President and Senate. The treaty between the the President, under his high responsibility, aided United States and the French Republic, profesby the heads of the departments to which it be- sing to cede Louisiana to the United States, aplongs, who will be possessed of all necessary in- peared to him to contain such an exceptionable formation, and who will, I trust, do their duty in stipulation—a stipulation which cannot be exepreserving and defending these important posts. cuted by any authority now existing. It is de
Can it be supposed that the Louisianians, who clared in the third article, that “the inhabitants so lately gave so demonstrative proof of their loy- of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the alty in their answer to the address of the Prefect Union of the United States.” But neither the of France, will be less disposed to loyalty to the President and Senate, nor the President and ConUnited States, when they recollect that we have gress, are competent to such an act of incorporatreated them as our children, and ourselves, by tion.' He believed that our Administration admit
ted that this incorporation could not be effected without an amendment of the Constitution; and he conceived that this necessary amendment could not be made in the ordinary mode by the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses of Congress, and the ratification by the Legislatures of threefourths of the several States. He believed the assent of each individual State to be necessary for the admission of a foreign country as an associate in the Union: in like manner as in a commercial house, the consent of each member would be necessary to admit a new partner into the company; and whether the assent of every State to such an indispensable amendment were attainable, was uncertain. But the articles of a treaty were necessarily related to each other; the stipulation in one article being the consideration for another. If, therefore, in respect to the Louisiana Treaty, the United States fail to execute, and within a reasonable time, the engagement in the third article, (to incorporate that Territory into the Union,) the French Government will have a right to declare the whole treaty void. We must then abandon the country, or go to war to maintain our possession. But it was to prevent war that the pacific measures of the last winter were adopted they were to "lay the foundation for future peace."
Mr. P. had never doubted the right of the United States to acquire new territory, either by purchase or by conquest, and to govern the territory so acquired as a dependent province; and in this way might Louisiana have become a territory of the United States, and have received a form of government infinitely preferable to that to which its inhabitants are now subject.
There was another serious objection to this treaty. It purported to contain a cession of Louisiana to the United States. The first article had often been read and commented upon; yet he begged leave to refer to it once more. It was therein stated, by the third article of the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, made the first of October, 1800, that the King of Spain promised and engaged, on certain conditions, "to cede to the French Republic the 'colony or province of Louisiana, with the same ' extent that it then had in the hands of Spain and 'that it had when France possessed it, and such as it should be after the treaties subsequently en'tered into between Spain and other States." Now, under this mere conditional promise of Spain, the First Consul (declaring that the French Republic had thereby an incontestable title to the country) undertakes to cede Louisiana to the United States; and how does he cede it? "In 'the same manner as it had been acquired by the 'French Republic, in virtue of the above-men'tioned treaty with Spain." That is, by that treaty, France acquired a right to demand an actual cession of the territory, provided she fulfilled all the conditions on which Spain promised to cede. But we know Spain declares that those conditions have not been fully performed; and, by her remonstrances, warns the United States not to touch Louisiana. Now we, standing (as some gentlemen have expressed themselves) in
the shoes of France, can have only the same right relative to the subject in question. We can ask of Spain an actual cession, or a confirmation of the claim we have purchased of the French Republic, provided we will and can fulfil the conditions of the Treaty of St. Ildefonso; and what are these conditions? We cannot tell. Mr. P. believed that our Executive knew not what they were; and he believed, too, that even our Envoys, who negotiated the treaty for Louisiana, were alike uninformed. He believed that they never saw (for they had not intimated that they had ever seen). any other part of the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, than what is recited in the first article of our treaty with France; and this defect has not been supplied by any guaranty of the territory on the part of France. She had not stipulated, nor is under any obligation, to procure the assent of Spain, as a confirmation of the cession to the United States.
Such is the nature of our title to Louisiana. We had, indeed, been told of a publication, long since made at New Orleans, of the King of Spain's orders to his officers there, to deliver possession of the province to the French Republic. Mr. P. would also take the liberty of mentioning what he had heard, and from good authority: that the Prince of Peace, more than a year subsequent to the Treaty of St. Ildefonso, declared that the King of Spain (his master) had not ceded Louisiana to France.
Another honorable gentleman has entertained us with an account of the animating address of the French Prefect to the inhabitants of Louisiana, the largest portion of whom are French; and of the cordiality with which they received, and echoed, in their answer, the sentiments of the Prefect. But what were the feelings and conduct of the Spanish officers on seeing these French proceedings? Mr. P. had heard from an honorable member in his eye, (Mr. DAYTON,) that they sent for the printer, and forbade all further promulgation of the address and answer, on pain of his being sent to the dungeon, or to the mines, for life. Thus tenacious was Spain of her right to Louisiana, and thus severe in her prohibition of whatever might disparage her title.
But gentlemen rely on the royal order, now in the hands of the French agent here, for the delivery of the possession of Louisiana to the French Republic. They seem to consider it as full evidence of the cession of that territory to France; and as supplying all apparent defect of title under the Treaty of St. Ildefonso. That order (said Mr. P.) is a year old. Before that time France had concluded a peace with Great Britain; and whatever the French Government should demand of Spain would be given.
It is likewise supposed that the Spanish officers in Louisiana will not dare to refuse obedience to that order; and one gentleman has expressed his opinion, in case such refusal should happen, that the American troops, whom the President should send thither, would be justified in compelling them to obey. But what if a subsequent royal order had been issued requiring those officers not