« AnteriorContinuar »
April, 1812, do provide for calling forth the militia "in the exigencies" above mentioned. The governor is not informed of any declaration made by the president of the United States, or of notice by him given that the militia are required "to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections, or repel in-, vasions," or that "the United States are in imminent danger of invasion." As, therefore, none of these contingencies enumerated in the constitution, and recognized by the laws, are shown to have taken place, his excellency considers that no portion of the militia of this state can, under existing circumstances, be withdrawn from his authority. Farther, if the call had been justified by either of the constitutional exigencies already recited, still, in the view of his excellency, an insuperable objection presents itself against placing the men under the immediate command of an officer or officers of the army of the United States.
The appointment of the officers of the militia, is by the constitution expressly reserved "to the states respectively." In the event of their being called into the actual service of the United States in the cases before specified, the laws of the United States provide for their being called forth as militia, furnished with proper officers by the state. And, sir, it will not escape your recollection, that the detachment from the militia of this state under the act of congress of the 10th of April last, is regularly organized into a division, consisting of brigades, regiments, battalions, and companies, and supplied conformably to law with all the necessary officers. His excellency conceives then, that an order to detach a number of companies sufficient for the command of a battalion officer, and place them under the command of an officer of the United States, cannot with propriety be executed, unless he were also prepared to admit that the privates may be separated from their company officers, and transferred into the army of the United States; thus leaving the officers of the militia without any command except in name, and in effect impairing, if not annihilating, the militia itself, so sacredly guaranteed by the constitution to the several states. Under these impressions the governor has thought proper, by and with the advice of the council, to refuse a compliance with the requisition of major general Dearborn.
His excellency is sincerely disposed to comply promptly with all the constitutional requests of the national executive, a disposition which has ever been manifested by the government of this state, and he laments the occasion which thus compels him to yield obedience to the paramount authority of the constitution and laws of the United States. He trusts the general government will speedily provide an adequate force for the security
and protection of the sea coast. In the mean time his excellency has issued the necessary orders to the general officers commanding the militia in that quarter, to be in readiness to repel any invasion which may be attempted upon that portion of the state, and to co-operate with such part of the national forces as shall be employed for the same purpose.
With great respect, I have the honour to be, sir, your obedient and very humble servant,
JOHN COTTON SMITH.
To the Hon. Wm. Eustis, Secretary of War.
Sir, War Department, July 14th, 1812. I have the honour to acknowledge your letter of the 2d inst. The absence of his excellency governor Griswold, on acaccount of ill health, is seriously to be regretted, particularly at this important crisis, when his prompt assurances of obeying the requisition of the president, to call into the service of the United States, such detachments of militia as might be requir ed, conformably to the act of April 10, 1812, through general Dearborn, are interrupted and suspended by your honour.
The reason assigned for refusing to execute the engagements of his excellency governor Griswold, appears not less extraordinary than the act itself. After a declaration of war against a nation possessed of a powerful and numerous fleet, a part of which were actually on our coast, had been promulgated, and officially communicated to the executive of the state, the assertion made by your honour, "that the governor is not informed that the United States are in imminent danger of invasion," was not to have been expected. To remove all doubts from your mind on this subject, I am instructed by the president to state to you, that such danger actually exists; and to request that the requisition of general Dearborn, made by his special authority, for calling into the service of the United States certain detachments of militia, from the state of Connecticut, be forthwith carried into effect.
The right of the state to officer the militia, is clearly recognized in the requisition of general Dearborn. The detachments, when marched to the several posts assigned them, with their proper officers, appointed conformably to the laws of the state, will command, or be commanded, according to the rules and articles of war, and the usages of service.
Very respectfully, &c.
His Honour John C. Smith, Lieutenant
VOL. I. PART I.
Lyme, August 13th, 1812. His honour governor Smith has put into my hands your letter of the 14th July, and it is with surprize I notice the construction you have put on my letter of the 17th of June. The unusual and exceptionable terms also, in which your letter is expressed, have not escaped notice. But a regard to the propriety of my own conduct, will not allow me to descend to any comments upon its particular expressions, but leaves me to perform my duty to the general government, by giving the explanation which appears proper.
When you communicated the request of the president, that any future requisition from general Dearborn, for a part of the drafted militia, might be complied with, it remained uncertain whether such a requirement would be made, or, if made, under what circumstances it might take place.
Confident, however, that the president would authorise no requisition which was not strictly constitutional, and particularly that the order would not exceed the conditions of the act of the 10th of April, to which you had referred, I had no hesitation in giving a general assurance, that the requisitions which the president might make through general Dearborn would be complied with. I then thought, as I do still, that decency, and a due respect to the first magistrate of the union, required that my assurance should be general, and no expression should be used, which might imply a suspicion that the president would violate the constitution in his orders.. I also expected that this early and general declaration would be considered as evidence of a disposition, which has been uniformly felt in this state, to execute every constitutional requisition from the general go-`
In what light, however, my expressions have been viewed, I trust there will be no future misconstruction, when I assure you, that I neither intended nor expected to be understood by the general language of my letter, or any expression it contained, to give the smallest assurance, that I would execute any order, which I judged repugnant to the constitution, from whatever source it might emanate.
The light in which I have viewed the order from general Dearborn, has been already communicated by governor Smith; and it is only proper to add, that my opinion has not changed, but is confirmed by the unanimous opinions of the council of
The new light in which you have presented the subject in your letter to governor Smith, has received every attention, but
still my opinion remains the same. The war which has commenced, and the cruising of a hostile fleet on our coast, is not invasion and the declaration of the president, that there is imminent danger of invasion, is evidently a consequence drawn from the facts now disclosed, and is not in my opinion warranted by those facts. If such consequences were admitted to result from a declaration of war with a European power, it would follow, that every war of that character would throw the militia into the hands of the national government, and strip the states, of the important right reserved to them. In addition to the foregoing facts, it is proper for me further to observe, that I have found it difficult to fix in my mind the meaning of the words, “imminent danger of invasion," used by congress in the act of the 28th of Feb. 1795, and now repeated in your letter, as no such expression is contained in that part of the constitution which authorises the president to call the militia into service. Presuming, however, that some definite meaning thought consistent with the constitution, was at the time annexed to the expression, I have rather inferred that the legislature must have intended only to include an extreme case, where an enemy had not passed the line of the United States, but were evidently advancing in force to invade our country. Such a case would undoubtedly come within the spirit of the constitution, although it might not be included in its literal expression.
But whether the congress, in 1795, were justified in the expression or not, is unimportant, there being no difficulty, in the present case, as none of the facts disclosed furnish any thing more than a slight danger of invasion, which the constitution could not contemplate, and which might exist even in times of peace.
While I regret this difference of opinion on a question of such importance, I do not doubt that the president will do me the justice to believe that a sense of duty leaves me no other course to pursue, and that every means for the defence of the state will be speedily provided.
I have the honour to be, &c.
Hon. Wm. Eustis, &c.
Message from the President of the United States, communicating further information relative to the pacific advances made on the part of this Government to that of Great Britain.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States. For the further information of congress relative to the pacific advances made on the part of this government, to that of Great Britain, and the manner in which they have been met by the latter, I transmit the sequel of the communications on that subject, received from the late charge d'affaires at London.
November 12th, 1812.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe.
London, 19th Sept. 1812.
On the 12th instant I received your letter of July last, and the copies of my note to lord Castlereagh and of his lordship's reply, enclosed herein, will inform you that the propositions made in consequence of it have been rejected.
As I have but this moment heard of the immediate departure of the Friends, I have time only to add that I have received the communications of Mr. Graham of the 9th and 10th of August by the Gleaner, and that I leave London this evening to embark on board the Lark, at Plymouth, for New York.
I am, with great respect and consideration, sir, your faithful and obedient servant,
JONA. RUSSELL. An interesting interview took place between Lord Castlereagh and myself on the 16th instant; the account of which I must, for want of time, reserve until I have the honour to see you.
Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh.
[Private.] My Lord, 18 Bentinck street, 12th Sept. 1812. In consequence of additional instructions which I received from my government this morning, I called about noon at the Foreign Office, and found with regret that your lordship was out of town. My object was to communicate to your lordship the powers under which I act, that you might perceive their validity and extent. I have, however, sought to state them substantially, in the official letter which I have herewith the honour to transmit to your lordship; but should you find any thing that stands in need of explanation, previous to being submitted to his royal highness, I shall remain at 18 Bentinck street, to receive the commands of your lordship. If your lordship could, in