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of the treaties between European nations. I am happy to see,
therefore, that it has shown itself to be useful to the citizens of
the United States, for whose benefit it was devised and adopted ;
that it has proved itself \vorthy of favor and imitation in the
judgment of the most enlightened nations of Europe ; and that
it has never been complained of by any body, except by mur
derers, and fugitives, and felons themselves.

Now, Sir, comes the matter of the African squadron, to which
I am induced to turn my attention for a moment, out of sincere
respect to the member from Arkansas,* who suggested the other
day that to that article he had objection. There is no man
whose opinions are more independent than those of that gentle
man, and no one maintains them with more candor. But, if I
understood him, he appears to think that that article gave up
the right of search. What does he mean? We never claimed
that right, we had consequently no such right to give up. Or
does he mean exactly the opposite of what he says, that the
treaty yielded to England her claim of such right ? No such
thing. The arrangement made by this treaty was designed to
carry into effect those stipulations in the treaty of Ghent which
we thought binding on us, as well as to effect an object impor
tant to this country, to the interests of humanity, and to the
general cause of civilization throughout the world, without rais
ing the difficulty attending the question of the right of search.
The object of it was to accomplish all that was desirable, in a
way that should avoid the possibility of subjecting our vessels,
under any pretence, to the right of search. I will not dwell on
this. But allow me to state the sentiments on this subject of
persons in the service of the United States abroad, whose opin
ions are entitled to respect. A letter has been received at the
Department of State, from Mr. Henry Wheaton, our minister at
Berlin, in which he expresses his approbation of the arrangement
alluded to as particularly satisfactory, and as adapted to secure
the desired end, by the only means consistent with our maritime
rights. Mr. Wheaton adds the remark, that "the policy of
the United States may consequently be said, on this occasion,
perhaps for the first time, to have had a most decisive influence
on that of Europe." f

* Mr. Sevier.

f See Mr. Wheaton s letter in the Appendix to this Speech, No. I.


I am quite willing to rest on this opinion of Mr. Wheaton, as
to the propriety and safety, the security and the wisdom, of the
article in this treaty respecting the suppression of the African
slave trade by a squadron of our own, against any little artil
lery that may be used against it here. I do not allude to the
opinion of the gentleman ; I have for him the highest respect.
I was thinking of what is said in other comments to which
I have referred. But I need not stop here. Upon the ap
pearance of this treaty between the United States and Eng
land, the leading states of Europe did, in fact, alter their
whole policy on this subject. The treaty of December, 1841,
between the Five Powers, had not been ratified by France.
There was so much opposition to it in France, on the ground
that it gave the right of search to the English cruisers, that the
king and M. Guizot, though the treaty was negotiated accord
ing to their instructions, did not choose to ratify it. What, then,
was done ? When this treaty of Washington became known in
Europe, the wise men of France and England who wished to
do all they could to suppress the African slave trade, and to do
it in a manner securing in the highest degree the immunity of
the flag of either, and the supremacy of neither, agreed to aban
don the quintuple treaty of 1841, the unratified treaty ; they gave
it up. They adopted the treaty of Washington as their model ;
and I have now in my hand the convention between France
and England, signed in London on the 29th of May, 1845, the
articles of which, in respect to the manner of putting an end to
the slave trade, embody, exactly, the provisions contained in the
treaty of Washington.

Thus it is seen that France has borrowed, from the treaty
stipulations between the United States and England, the mode
of fulfilling her own duties and accomplishing her own purpose,
in perfect accordance with the immunity of her flag. I need
hardly say, Sir, that France is the nation which was earliest, and
has been most constantly wakeful, in her jealousy of the su
premacy of the maritime power of England. She has kept her
eye on it, steadily, for centuries. The immunity of flags is a
deep principle, it is a sentiment, one may almost say it is a pas
sion, with all the people of France. And France, jealous, quick
of perception, thoroughly hostile to any extension of the right
of maritime search or visit, under any pretences whatever, has


seen, in the example of the treaty of Washington, a mode of
fulfilling her duties for the suppression of the African slave
trade, without disturbing the most sensitive of all her fears.

Allow me, Sir, to read the eighth and ninth articles of the
treaty of Washington, and the first, second, and third articles of
the convention between England and France.

Mr. Webster here read the designated articles of the treaty of Wash
ington, and the convention between England and France.*

Mr. President, there is another topic on which I have to say a
few words. It has been said that the treaty of Washington,
and the negotiations accompanying it, leave the great and in
teresting question of impressment where they found it. With
all humility and modesty, I must beg to express my dissent
from that opinion. I must be permitted to say, that the corre
spondence connected with the negotiation of that treaty, al
though impressment was not mentioned in the treaty itself, has,
in the judgment of the world, or at least of persons of consider
ation and authority in the world, been regarded as not having
left the question of impressment where it found it, but as hav
ing placed the true doctrine in opposition to it on a higher and
stronger foundation. The letter addressed on that subject from
the Department of State to the British plenipotentiary, and his
answer, are among the papers. I only wish the letter to be read.
It recites the general history of the question between England
and the United States. Lord Ashburton had no authority to
make stipulations on the subject ; but that is a circumstance
which I do not regret, because I do not deem the subject as
one at all proper for treaty stipulation.

Mr. W T ebster here read extracts from the letter, and among others
this : t

44 In the early disputes between the two governments on this so long
contested topic, the distinguished person to whose hands were first in
trusted the seals of this department f declared, that 4 the simplest rule
will be, that the vessel being American shall be evidence that the sea
men on board are such.

44 Fifty years experience, the utter failure of many negotiations, and
a careful reconsideration now had of the whole subject, at a moment

* See Appendix to this Speech, No. II. J Mr. Jefferson.

f See the letter in the sixth volume.

VOL. V. 13


when the passions arc laid, and no present interest or emergency exists
to bias the judgment, have fully convinced this government that this is
not only the simplest and best, but the only, rule which can be adopted
and observed, consistently with the rights and honor of the United
States and the security of their citizens. That rule announces, there
fore, what will hereafter be the principle maintained by their govern

This declaration will stand. Not on account of any particu
lar ability displayed in the letter which it concludes ; still less
on account of the name subscribed to it. But it will stand, be
cause it announces the true principles of public law ; because it
announces the great doctrine of the equality and independence
of nations upon the seas ; and because it announces the deter
mination of the government and the people of the United States
to uphold those principles, and to maintain that doctrine, through
good report and through evil report, for ever. We shall negotiate
no more, nor attempt to negotiate more, about impressment. We
shall not treat, hereafter, of its limitation to parallels of latitude
and longitude. We shall not treat of its allowance or disallow
ance in broad seas or narrow seas. We shall think no more of
stipulating for exemption from its exercise of some of the per
sons composing crews. Henceforth, the deck of every American
vessel is inaccessible for any such purpose. It is protected,
guarded, defended, by the declaration which I have read, and
that declaration will stand.

Sir, another most important question of maritime law, grow
ing out of the case of the " Creole," and other similar cases, was
the subject of a letter to the British plenipotentiary, and of an
answer from him. An honorable member from South Carolina *
had taken, as is well known, a great interest in the matter in
volved in that question. He had expressed his opinion of its
importance here, and had been sustained by the Senate. Occa
sion was taken of Lord Ashburton s mission to communicate
to him and to his government the opinions which this govern
ment entertained ; and I would now ask the honorable member
if any similar cause of complaint has since arisen.

Mr. Calhoun said he had heard of none.
* Mr. Calhoun.


I trust, Sir, that none will arise hereafter. I refer to the letter
to Lord Ashburton on this subject, as containing what the
American government regarded as the true principle of the mar
itime law, and to his very sensible and proper answer.

Mr. President, I have reached the end of these remarks, and
the completion of my purpose ; and I am now ready, Sir, to put
the question to the Senate, and to the country, whether the
northeastern boundary has not been fairly and satisfactorily set
tled ; whether proper satisfaction and apology have not been
obtained, for an aggression on the soil and territory of the United
States ; whether proper and safe stipulations have not been en
tered into, for the fulfilment of the duty of the government, and
for meeting the earnest desire of the people, in the suppression
of the slave trade ; whether, in pursuance of these stipulations,
a degree of success in the attainment of that object has not
been reached, wholly unknown before ; whether crimes disturb
ing the peace of nations have not been suppressed ; whether the
safety of the Southern coasting trade has not been secured;
whether impressment has not been struck out from the list of
contested questions among nations ; and finally, and more than
all, whether any thing has been done to tarnish the lustre of the
American name and character ?

Mr. President, my best services, like those of every other good
citizen, are due to my country ; and I submit them, and their
results, in all humility, to her judgment. But standing here,
to-day, in the Senate of the United States, and speaking in be
half of the administration of which I formed a part, and in
behalf of the two houses of Congress, who sustained that
administration, cordially and effectually, in every thing relating
to this day s discussion, I am willing to appeal to the public
men of the age, whether, in 1842, and in the city of Washing
ton, something was not done for the suppression of crime, for
the true exposition of the principles of public law, for the free
dom and security of commerce on the ocean, and for the peace
of the world ?



No. I. Page 143.

Mr. WJieaton to Mr. Webster.

Berlin, November 15, 1842.

g IR5 Your despatch, No. 36, inclosing copy of the treaty recently
concluded at Washington, between the United States and Great Britain,
has just reached me. I beg leave to congratulate you, Sir, on the happy
termination of this arduous negotiation, in which the rights, honor, and
interests of our country have been so successfully maintained. The
arrangement it contains on the subject of the African slave trade is par
ticularly satisfactory, as adapted to secure the end proposed by the only
means consistent with our maritime rights. This arrangement has de
cided the course of the French government in respect to this matter.
Its ambassador in London notified to the conference of the five great
powers the final determination of France not to ratify the treaty of De
cember, 1841, and, at the same time, expressed her disposition to fulfil
the stipulations of the separate treaties of 1831 and 1834, between her
and Great Britain. The treaty of 1841, therefore, now subsists only be
tween four of the great powers by whom it was originally concluded ;
and as three of these (Austria, Prussia, and Russia) are very little con
cerned in the navigation of the ocean and the trade in the African
seas, and have, besides, taken precautions in the treaty itself to secure
their commerce from interruption by the exercise of the right of search
in other parts, this compact may now be considered as almost a dead

The policy of the United States may consequently be said, on this
occasion, perhaps for the first time, to have had a most decisive influ
ence on that of Europe. This will probably more frequently occur
hereafter ; and it should be an encouragement to us to cultivate our
maritime resources, and to strengthen our naval arm, by which alone we
are known and felt among the nations of the earth.


No. II. Pace 145.

Treaty of Washington. [Extract.]

ARTICLE VIII. The parties mutually stipulate, that each shall pre
pare, equip, and maintain in service, on the coast of Africa, a sufficient
and adequate squadron, or naval force of vessels, of suitable numbers
and descriptions, to carry in all not less than eighty guns, to enforce,
separately and respectively, the laws, rights, and obligations of each of
the two countries, for the suppression of the slave trade ; the said squad
rons to be independent of each other, but the two governments stipulat
ing, nevertheless, to give such orders to the officers commanding their
respective forces as shall enable them most effectually to act in concert
and cooperation, upon mutual consultation, as exigencies may arise, for
the attainment of the true object of this article : copies of all such orders
to be communicated by each government to the other respectively.

ARTICLE IX. Whereas, notwithstanding all efforts which may be
made on the coast of Africa for suppressing the slave trade, the facili
ties for carrying on that traffic and avoiding the vigilance of cruisers by
the fraudulent use of flags, and other means, are so great, and the temp
tations for pursuing it, while a market can be found for slaves, so strong,
as that the desired result may be long delayed, unless all markets be
shut against the purchase of African negroes, the parties to this treaty
agree that they will unite in all becoming representations and remon
strances, with any and all powers within whose dominions such markets
are allowed to exist ; and that they will urge upon all such powers the
propriety and duty of closing such markets effectually, at once and for

Convention leticeen her Majesty and the King of the French for the
Suppression of the Traffic in Slaves. [Extract.]

ARTICLE I. In order that the flags of her Majesty the Queen of
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of his Majesty
the King of the French, may not, contrary to the law of nations and the
laws in force in the two countries, be usurped to cover the slave trade,
and in order to provide for the more effectual suppression of that traffic,
his Majesty the King of the French engages, as soon as may be practi
cable, to station on the west coast of Africa, from Cape Verd to 16 30
south latitude, a naval force of at least twenty-six cruisers, consisting of
sailing and steam vessels ; and her Majesty the Queen of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland engages, as soon as may be prac
ticable, to station on the same part of the west coast of Africa a naval


force of not less than twenty-six cruisers, consisting of sailing vessels
and steam vessels ; and on the east coast of Africa such number of
cruisers as her Majesty shall judge sufficient for the prevention of the
trade on that coast ; which cruisers shall be employed for the purposes
above mentioned, in conformity with the following stipulations.

ARTICLE II. The said British and French naval forces shall act in
concert for the suppression of the slave trade. It will be their duty to
watch strictly every part of the west coast of Africa, within the limits
described in Article I., where the slave trade is carried on. For this
purpose they shall exercise fully and completely all the powers vested in
the crowns of Great Britain and France for the suppression of the slave
trade, subject only to the modifications hereinafter mentioned as to Brit
ish and French ships.

ARTICLE III. The officers of her Majesty the Queen of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of his Majesty the King of
the French, having respectively the command of the squadrons of Great
Britain and France, to be employed in carrying out this convention,
shall concert together as to the best means of watching strictly the parts
of the African coast before described, by selecting and defining the sta
tions, and committing the care thereof to English and French cruisers,
jointly or separately, as may be deemed most expedient ; provided al
ways, that, in case of a station being specially committed to the charge
of cruisers of either nation, the cruisers of the other nation may at any
time enter the same for the purpose of exercising the rights respectively
belonging to them for the suppression of the slave trade.


MR. PRESIDENT, I am not at all surprised at the introduc
tion of this bill. For aught I know, it is a necessary one ; but
it shows, at all events, that the law which it is intended to
amend and improve is but a piece of patchwork. That law was
not passed for calling into the service of the United States the
militia of the country, nor was it passed in the regular exercise
of the power conferred upon Congress for raising and maintain
ing an army. It was a mixed, an anomalous, an incongruous
system, as, I will venture to say, this early occasion for its
modification proves it to be, and as will be made abundantly
evident before the war with Mexico is ended.

I shall not oppose the progress of this bill. I cannot say it is
unconstitutional, though I think it is irregular, inconvenient, and
not strictly conformable to the exercise of the constitutional
power of Congress. If those who are charged with the conduct
of the war, and are answerable for its results, think it necessary,
I shall not oppose it. But I will take the occasion now present
ed, Sir, of the second reading of an important bill respecting the
troops called into the service in order to carry on the war, to
make a few remarks respecting the war itself, and the condition
in which we find ourselves in consequence of that war. The
war continues ; no man can say definitely when it will end ; and
no man can say, upon any reasonable estimate, what expense
will be incurred before its conclusion.

We have received a very important communication from the
President, I mean his message of the 16th of June, setting forth

* Remarks in the Senate, on the 24th of June, 1846, on " A Bill to provide for
the Organization of the Volunteer Force brought into the Service of the United


his views and opinions, and the views and opinions of the Sec
retary of the Treasury, with respect to the means and sources
of revenue for carrying on the war. Upon this, Sir, as well as
upon one or two other subjects connected with this bill, I have
a few remarks to make.

The executive is responsible for the conduct of the war, and
for the application of the resources put at his disposal by the
two houses of Congress for the purpose of prosecuting it. For
one, I shall not deny the government any supplies which may
be considered necessary. Whatever may be thought of the
origin of the war, the fact that war does exist is itself a suf
ficient reason for granting the means for prosecuting that
war with effect. Those who condemn the origin of the war,
and those who most earnestly long for its termination, will
all agree that the refusal of supplies would make no amends
for what some lament, and would not hasten what I hope all

The message of the 16th of June informs the Senate and the
country, that, for the fiscal year ending July, 1847, there will be,
under the operation of the existing law for raising revenue, a de
ficiency, if the war continues, of twenty millions of dollars, and
suggests the ways and means by which it is expected that this
deficiency will be made good. I refer to these suggestions for
the purpose of making a few observations upon them.

The object is to provide new sources of revenue, which shall
realize an amount, beyond that furnished by the provisions of
the existing law, of twenty millions of dollars, between this time
and the 1st of July next year. That is the object. The first
suggestion in the communication from the executive government
is, that five millions and a half may be produced by reducing
the rates of duties on certain imported articles, and by laying
new taxes on certain other articles now free of all duties ; mean
ing principally, I suppose, by those articles now free, and which
are to be taxed, tea and coffee. There is also an intimation or
an opinion expressed by the Secretary of the Treasury, that a
million of dollars will accrue to the treasury under the operation
of the warehouse bill, if that bill should become a law. In the
next place, it is estimated that, if the bill for graduating the
price of the public lands shall become a law, the augmentation
of the sales will so far counterbalance anv losses incurred in the


reduction of price, as on the whole to produce half a million of
dollars more than would otherwise be obtained from that source
These several sums put together would leave a balance of
twelve million five hundred and eighty thousand dollars still to
be provided for, and a provision for this balance is contemplated
either by loans or by an authority to the treasury to issue treas
ury-notes, or both, with a distinct recommendation and prefer
ence, however, for the authority to issue treasury-notes.

Now, Sir, with an anxious desire that the country shall be led
into no mistaken policy in regard to this very important subject
of revenue, a subject always important, and intensely important
in time of war, I will take occasion to suggest, in very few
words, what occurs to rue as important to be considered upon
these several topics.

In the first place, there is no doubt that a tax properly laid
upon tea and coffee will be productive of a clear positive reve
nue. But this will depend upon two things ; first, upon the
amount of the duty ; and, secondly, upon the mode of laying it.
The first is obviously a matter for consideration ; and in regard
to the second, I suspect that gentlemen who are desirous of
raising revenue by this means will find their calculations falla
cious unless they make the duty specific. In my opinion, an
ad valorem duty will disappoint their hopes of any consider
able amount of revenue. If I mistake not, under such a system
it will be soon found that teas made up in Canton for the New
York market will become wonderfully cheap. A specific rate
per pound will undoubtedly make the duty productive of rev

I doubt not that treasury-notes may be available for the uses
of the government to a considerable extent. I do not mean as
revenue or income, but as instruments or facilities for the trans
fer of balances, and as proper to be used in anticipation of
taxes or sources of income. In regard to this I would say,
simply, that, if it be the purpose of the government, as has been
intimated to us for some time, to resort to the issue of treasury-

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