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I have the honour to remain, gentlemen, very respectfully, your obedient humble servant,
JAMES MONROE. The Hon. Messrs. Wells, Giles, and King.
Answer from the Chairman of the Committee. Sir,
Committee Room, 24th June, 1813. The committee of the senate appointed to conter respectfully with the president of the United States on the nomination made by him of a minister plenipotentiary to Sweden, have had the honour this morning to receive your letter of yesterday.
The committee heard with real concern of the continued indisposition of the president; but as they presume that there are connected with this nomination no considerations of so urgent a nature as to require an immediate decision upon it, they will wait with pleasure for the conference they have been ordered by the senate to request of the president, until the restoration of his health takes place.
I have the honour, sir, to be, with the highest consideration, your very obedient servant,
WM. HILL WELLS, Chairman of the committee of the senate on Mr. Russell's
nomination. On the 6th of July the following message was received from the president.
To the Senate of the United States. I have received from the committee appointed by the resolution of the senate of the 14th day of June, a copy
of that resolution, which authorizes the committee to confer with the president on the subject of the nomination made by him of a minister plenipotentiary to Sweden.
Conceiving it to be my duty to decline the proposed conference with the committee, and it being uncertain when it may be convenient to explain to the committee, and through them to the senate, the grounds of my so doing, I think it proper to address the explanation directly to the senate. Without entering into a general review of the relations in which the constitution has placed the several departments of the government to each other, it will suffice to remark, that the executive and senate; in the cases of appointments to office and of treaties, are to be considered independent and co-ordinate with each other. If they agree, the appointments or treaties are made. If the senate disagree, they fail. If the senate wish information previous to their final decision, the practice, keeping in view the constitu
VOL. I. PART I.
tional relation of the senate and executive, has been, either to request the executive to furnish it, or refer the subject to a committee of their body to communicate, either formally or informally, with the head of the proper department. The appointment of a committee of the senate to confer immediately with the executive himself, appears to lose sight of the co-ordinate relation between the executive and the senate, which the constitution has established, and which ought therefore to be maintained.
The relation between the senate and house of representatives, in whom legislative power is concurrently vested, is sufficiently analogous to illustrate that between the executive and senate in making appointments and treaties. The two houses are, in like manner, independent of and co-ordinate with each other; and
; the invariable practice of each, in appointing committees of conference and consultation, is to commission them to confer, not with the co-ordinate body itself, but with a committee of that body. And although both branches of the legislature may be too numerous to hold conveniently a conference with committees, were they to be appointed by either to confer with the entire body of the other, it may be fairly presumed, that if the whole number of either branch were not too large for the purpose,
the objection to such a conference, being against the principle, as derogatory from the co-ordinate relations of the two houses, would retain all its force.
I add only that I am entirely persuaded of the purity of the intentions of the senate, in the course they have pursued on this occasion, and with which my view of the subject makes it my duty not to accord: and that they will be cheerfully furnished with all the suitable information in possession of the executive, in any mode deemed consistent with the principles of the constitution and the settled practice under it.
Washington, July 6, 1813. JAMES MADISON
On the 9th, the senate, yeas 22, nays 14, resolved, that it is inexpedient at this time to send a minister plenipotentiary to Sweden; and the secretary was ordered to lay the resolution before the president of the United States.
As executive business is transacted in the senate with closed doors, we are not in possession of any debates on this question. Mr. Giles, however, one of the senators from Virginia, in an address to his constituents lately published, states, that the senate, from the want of definite information on the subject, were not able to comprehend with sufficient certainty the real policy or obj«ct of the nomination. That if the object was of a temporary character, and consisted in the policy of soliciting the
interposition of Sweden as auxiliary to the mediation of Russia, for he purpose of obtaining peace with Great Britain, which was seriously apprehended, he could not reconcile it with his duty to advise an appointment, which, in his view, would rather have a tendency to prolong the war, than to accelerate a peace, by betraying an unbecoming solicitude for that event. Would not this, Mr. Giles asks, rather induce Great Britain to conclude that the United States were labouring under some unknown incapacity to carry on the war, and thus encourage her to prolong it, for the purpose of developing these embarrassments, and with
, the hope of finally reducing us to submission :
If nothing of this kind was intended, the nomination of a minister plenipotentiary appeared to indicate a general change upon a point of policy hitherto held sacred by government, to wit, not to extend political connexions in Europe, nor multiply diplomatic agencies there, especially with the minor powers.
The resolution of the senate, Mr. Giles adds, was not intended to preclude the president from nominating Mr. Russell or any other person as a minister resident to Sweden, corresponding with the one sent here on her part. Had this been done, says he, although its utility in some respects might have been questioned, I do not believe there would have been in the senate one solitary objection to the measure, nor to Mr. Russell as the person nominated.
Another measure recommended by the president was frustrated by the senate this session :
87. On the 20th of July, the following confidential message was received from the president by both houses, which was read with closed doors. To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States.
There being sufficient ground to infer that it is the purpose of the enemy to combine, with the blockade of our ports, special licenses to neutral vessels, or to British vessels in neutral disguises, whereby they may draw from our country the precise kind and quantity of exports essential to their wants, whilst its general commerce remains obstructed ; keeping in view also the insidious discrimination between different ports of the United States ; and as such a system, if not counteracted, will have the effect of diminishing very materially the pressure of the war on the enemy, and encouraging a perseverance in it, at the same time that it will leave the general commerce of the United States under all the pressure the enemy can impose, thus subjecting the whole to British regulation, in subserviency to British monopoly-I recommend to the consideration of congress the expediency of an immediate and effectual prohibition of ex
ports, limited to a convenient day in their next session, and removable, in the mean time, in the event of a cessation of the blockade of our ports.
Washington, July 20, 1813. JAMES MADISON.
In the house of representatives the message was referred to the committee of foreign relations, who, the following day, reported that they were “of opinion that it would be expedient to adopt the measure submitted by the message to the consideration of the house.” The house concurred in this report, yeas 78, nays 51, and it was then referred to a select committee, with instruction to report a bill in conformity thereto.
On the 22d, Mr. Grundy, from the select committee, reported a bill laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in the ports and harbours of the United States which the same day passed by yeas and nays, yeas 80, nays 50.
The following day the bill was sent to the senate for concurrence, and after considerable discussion was finally negatived on the 28th, 16 voting for the passage of the bill, and 18 against it.
9 8. On the 29th of June Mr. Pickering, in the house of representatives, presented a remonstrance from the legislature of Massachusetts on the subject of our foreign relations. This remonstrance, after taking a review of the alleged causes of the war against Great Britain, and more particularly the pretences for its continuance, after the principal one was removed,”! concludes that the declaration of war was premature, and that the perseverance in it after the repeal of the orders in council was known“ was improper, impolitic, and unjust.” They therefore most earnestly request, " that measures may immediately be adopted to stay the sword of the destroyer, and prevent the further effusion of human blood ; that our invading armies may be forth with recalled within our own territories ; and that every
; effort of our rulers may be speedily directed to the attainment of a just and honourable peace; that mutual confidence and commercial prosperity may be again restored to our distracted and suffering country; and that by an upright and faithful administration of our government, in the true spirit of the constitution, its blessings may be equally diffused to every portion of the union."
The remonstrance likewise adverts to the admission of Louisiana into the union, a country beyond the territorial limits of the United States at the time of the formation of the national compact. " Against a practice," say the memorialists, " so hostile to the rights, the interests, the safety of this state, and so destructive to her political power; so subversive of the spirit of the constitution, and the very principles upon which it is found
ed; your remonstrants, in the name and behalf of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, feel it their duty to enter their most deliberate and solemn protest."
After the reading of the memorial, Mr. Pickering moved that it be referred to a committee of the whole on the state of the union.
$ 9. Mr. Robertson, of Louisiana, moved to except from the general reference so much of the memorial as relates to the admission of Louisiana into the union, on the ground that congress had no right to make the sovereignty of any state a subject of enquiry. Louisiana having been solemnly and legally admitted into the union, her rights could not be questioned by congress.
Mr. Fisk (of New York) having moved that the petition lie on the table, on the ground that it would be improper, if not impossible, for congress to legislate on any part of it, Mr. Pickering waved his motion for reference, having no objection that for the present it should lie on the table.
Mr. Bigelow moved that the remonstrance be printed. Thiş motion was advocated by Mr. Rhea and Mr. Farrow, because they had not been able to hear the paper read; by Mr. Macon, on the ground that Massachusetts was entitled to be heard ; by Mr. Brigham and Mr. Baylies, because respect was due to the source from which it came; by Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Ingersoll, Mr. Fisk, of Vermont, and Mr. Calhoun, because it was high time that the memorial and all such papers should be met with reason and argument on the floor of congress, and that their fallacies should be exposed.
Mr. Robertson moved to except from printing that part relative to Louisiana, for the same reasons that he had opposed its reference.
Mr. Fisk (New York) opposed the printing, because no legislative act could grow out of it; Mr. Wright, Mr. Farrow, and Mr. Bibb, because it was unnecessary.
The motion to except from printing that part of the memorial relative to Louisiana was negatived, and the whole was ordered to be printed, ayes 108.
The memorial, together with a protest of the minority of the legislature of Massachusetts will be found among the documents of this session, near the end of the volume.
§ 10. On the 15th of June, at the instance of Mr. Pitkin, a resolution was referred to the committee on military affairs, directing them to inquire whether any, and if any what alterations are necessary in the art, entitled “an act making provision for
" arming and equipping the whole body of the militia of the United States ;” and particularly as to the time when the arms pro