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intended to pursue him and arrest him, and bring him back to Staunton, I think it advisable that you should trausmit there some evidence that will authorize him to be taken into legal custody, and dealt with according to law.

Mr Archibald Stewart, at or near Staunton, is a gentleman of reputation and ability at the bar, and is recommended to be employed as counsel for the United States in this instance, to whom may be enclosed the following papers:

1. The warrant issued by Judge Peters, which was not executed, and can be only executed within the State of Pennsylvania. This will be evidence that the proper affidavits have been made before him for arresting William Blount; and, of itself, would be sufficient evidence to a justice of the peace in Virginia to issue a new warrant directed to any proper officer in Virginia, for arresting and bringing William Blount before him or some other justice of that State

2. Lest the warrant above mentioned may be deemed insufficient for authorizing a new one, as above stated, let the affidavit of Major Siagg, proving the authenticity of the letter of William Blount, dated 21st April last, and the sworn copy of Carey's deposition, accompany the warrant.

Should Mr. Blount be arrested in Virginia, and imprisoned for want of bail, application must be made to Judge Griffin for a warrant to the marshal of Virginia for removing him to Philadelphia; there to be delivered to the marshal of Pennsylvania. For this proceeding, I refer to the judicial act, 24th September, 1789, section 33.

The charge being a misdemeanor, in plotting and combining to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the United States, and to draw them into a war with a foreign nation, as also in retaining an officer of the United States in an enterprise unlawful by common law, and perhaps by the act of June 5th, 1794, Mr. Blount may be bailed by any justice of the peace for appearing before the circuit court of the United States for the district of Pennsylvania. In this State the offence was partly and priucipally committed; and therefore the trial must be here.

All the expenses are to be paid by the United States, for delivering the prisoner here, as well as the compensation to Mr. Stewart for his services.

If Mr. Blount is not arrested in Virginia, you should desire the papers to be returned to you, as they may be used in another State.

I am, &c., &c.,

CHARLES LEE. To the SECRETARY OF STATE.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON.

The district attorney may assure a counterfeiter who shall disclose his accomplices, and produce the plates and counterfeited paper, of a pardon; but the mere disclosure is not enough.

PHILADELPHIA, November 18, 1797. Sir: I coucur with you that Pardon Smith may be pardoned by the Pres. jilent, if he will previously disclose to the attorney of the United States in Massachusetts district the name of the offender at New York who was particeps ciminis in the counterfeiting, and will also cause to be produced aud delivered to the atiomey the plates and paper which he says are concealed and may be obtained by him. The district attorney may be in. structed to assure, by promise, a pardon to him when these conditions shall have been performed; and may be directed to do what is necessary for obtaining the plates and paper.' Merely to discover the name of the offender in New York is not enough, in my opinion, to entitle the convict to pardon; and the grant of pardon should be deferred till an answer shall be received from the attorney of the district, informing you of the result of the intended discovery of the plates and paper.

I am, &c., &c.,

CHARLES LEE. To the SECRETARY OF STATE.

CONSULAR PRIVILEGES.

A consul is not privileged from legal process by the general law of nations, nor is the French

consul general by the consular convention between the United States and France. Though a consul for a transaction in which he acted as the commercial agent of his govern

ment, the President has no constitutional right to interpose his authority, but must leave the matter to the tribunals of justice.

PHILADELPHIA, November 21, 1797. Sir: I have taken into consideration the letter of citizen Letombe, consul general of the French republic in the United States of America, bearing date the 16th instant, with the several papers which accompanied it.

The United States have acknowledged citizen Letombe in the character of consul general; and thus only they know him. As such, he is not privileged from legal process either by the general law of nations, or by the consular convention between the United States and France; and, if he is authorized to represent the republic of France in any ministerial character, he has never yet so offered himself or been received. The second article of the convention seems to me to preclude all doubt respecting the suability of the consul general. The immunities and privileges annexed to his office are there distinctly enumerated; and, in all other respects, he is subject to the laws as our own citizens are. Though the transaction which has given rise to the suit instituted by John Coffin Jones was not of a private character, but of a public nature, which concerned the republic of France, and in which the consul general acted as the commercial agent of the republic; yet the President of the United States has no constitutional right to interpose his authority, but must leave the matter to the tribunals of justice.

It does not belong to me, in my public capacity, to advise how the consul general may proceed to relieve himself from the obligation of giving bail; yet, having a wish that every inconvenience may be avoided by him, consistent with the laws of our country, I will venture to sug. gest that the right to hold him to bail, or to recover the debt from him, cannot, in my opinion, be maintained; and as to the former, any one of the justices of the Supreme Court is competent to decide at his own man. sion, whenever application shall be made. The reason for this opinion is, that it evidently appears the contract was founded on the credit of the French republic only, and not on the private credit of citizen Letombe.

I am, &c., &c.,

CHARLES LEE. To the SECRETARY OF STATE.

CONDEMNATION OF PRIZE.

A captured vessel must be brought within the jurisdiction of the country to which the captor

belongs, before a regular condemnation can be awarded.

DECEMBER 19, 1797. The Attorney General has considered the case of the English ship John, as represented in the note of the Secretary of State dated yesterday.

If it be a rule established by the laws of nations, (which the Attorney General thinks is the case, “that a captured vessel must be brought within the jurisdiction of the country to which the captor belongs, before any regular condemnation can be awarded,” it must follow that the ship John has not yet been legally divested from the original British owners, who, in case of recapture, on paying salvage will be entitled to restitution; or, in case the ship should be found in any of the British dominions, might recover her in an action of detinue.

The rule before mentioned is designed to prevent piracy and other unjust seizures on the high seas, which it is the interest of all nations to prerent.

As to the United States, they have a right to order the ship out of their territory; and, until regularly condemned, they may refuse to permit her to remain in their ports. Perhaps it will be most prudent to be passive.

It need scarcely be added, that, in the opinion of the Attorney General, the ship John ought not to be either bought, or employed for any purposes whatsoever, on account of the United States.

To the SECRETARY OF STATE.

PATENTS FOR VIRGINIA LANDS.

Patents under the act of June 9th, 1794, for lands in Virginia, cannot be issued until the claim

ant shall have first complied with the laws of Virginia to which the act refers.

PHILADELPHIA, December 21, 1797. Sir: I have considered the question proposed in your letter of the 16th instant, which I did not receive until the 19th.

The act of June 9th, 1794, provides and requires that patents be issued in those cases where the laws of Virginia have been complied with, and every applicant for a patent must produce "a survey, agreeably to the laws of Virginia,” for the tract to which he is entitled, to the Secretary of the Department of War. If a survey be produced, and it be not according to the laws of Virginia, a patent ought not to be granted. Whether a survey be agreeable to the laws of Virginia, is subject to the decision, in the first instance, of the Secretary of War, as the act requires it to be produced to him,—which must be understood to be for some useful purpose; and this would answer no useful purpose, unless he can investigate and decide that question, and can prevent a patent from issuing in any case where it shall appear to his judgment that there has not been a compliance with the laws of Virginia.

A law was passed in Virginia at the October session, 1783, entitled "An act for surveying the lands given by law to the officers and soldiers on continental and State establishments, and for other purposes,” to which I take leave to refer you. This prescribed many things to be done for a fair appropriation among the claimants of the lands set apart for the military bounties; and particularly how the locations of warrants, in order of priority, were to be made. It is suggested by Gen. Morgan, in his caveat, that the surveys upon which patents are souglit by R. C. Anderson, Massey O'Bannion, and W. Lytle, have not been made in conformity with this law, but in a manner injurious to his and other officers' rights; and, therefore, that the emanation of the patents should be stayed until an investigation shall be made into the question whether these surveys have or have not been made agreeably to the laws of Virginia. The information of General Morgan is not on oath; yet it is notice to the Secretary of State of bis objection, and may justify him in desiring the Secretary of War to make the proper inquiry, with whom asfidavits should be lodged verifying the objections to be made by any credible person acquainted with the truth of thein, before any person authorized to administer an oath. I pretend not to pass any opinion, now, whether the allegations of General Morgan be well or ill founded; they being left open to inquiry and proof before another tribunal.

To answer your question more distinctly, I add, that if the parties applying for patents comply with the act of Congress of the 9th of June, 1794, the issuing of patents ought not to be delayed. But no person can be said to comply with this act of Congress, who has not complied with the laws of Virginia to which it refers, and with which it requires a compliance. General Morgan alleges that there has not been a compliance with the laws of Virginia, and solicits an inquiry into this allegation before patents are issued in certain cases, which he describes. The request is, in my opinion, reasonable in itself, and tending to promote justice. I have, &c., &c.,

CHARLES LEE. To the SECRETARY OF STATE.

ACTIONS AGAINST FOREIGNERS.

The President will not interfere with judicial proceedings between an individual and the com

missioner of a foreign nation where the controversy may have a legal trial. But a person acting under a commission from the sovereign of a foreign nation is not amenable for what he does in pursuance of his commission, to any judicial tribunal in the United States.

PHILADELPHIA, December 29, 1797. Sir: I have taken into consideration your letter of the 23d, enclosing the note of his Britannic Majesty's minister, and the copy of Henry Sin. clair's memorial, complaining of two suits now depending against him in a court of law at Alexandria.

'If the cause of action is fully and truly stated in the memorial, Henry Sinclair, upon a plea to the jurisdiction of the court, ought to prevail before the court; for it is as well settled in the United States as in Great Britain, that a person acting under a commission from the sovereign of a foreign nation is not amenable for what he does in pursuance of his commission, to any judiciary tribunal in the United States.

Though this be so, yet, according to the constitution and laws of the United States, the Executive cannot interpose with the judiciary proceedings between an individual and Henry Sinclair, whose controversy is entitled to a trial according to law, and to whom it is hoped justice will be impartially and speedily administered.

The principle on which the interference of the President might be thought proper is the sanie that has been settled in the case of General Collot, and I believe in some other cases; in all of which there has been one and the same opinion against the power of the Executive to interfere.

I am, &c., &c.,

CHARLES LEE. To the SECRETARY OF STATE.

TREATY WITH GREAT BRITAIN.

Public officers should furnish authenticated documents in their custody when demanded, and

should assist in bringing forward testimony according to the duties of their several stations, and individuals should not refuse to give testimony.

PHILADELPHIA, January 3, 1798. Sir: I have considered with attention the representation bearing date the 16th of December last, made by his Britannic Majesty's minister, of the difficulties which the creditors alluded to in the 6th article of the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation have experienced, and are likely to experience, in obtaining proofs necessary to substantiate their claims before the tribunal appointed under the treaty. It was neither known nor imagined by me, before I read the communication of the minister, that clerks or other persons holding offices of record have refused to furnish authenticated copies of documents in their custody, or that indi. riduals would refuse to give testimony against the debtors. I hope instances of this kind have been rare, and will not occur again.

I am persuaded that both the honor and interest of the United States concur in a speedy and due execution of the 6th article of the treaty, and that it is reasonable and proper to pass a law to enable the claimants to produce regular testimony of the various facts which the treaty requires to be proved. It is expressly stipulated “that the commissioners shall have power to examine all such persons as shall come before them, on oath or atfirmation; and also to receive in evidence, according as they may think most consistent with equity and justice, all written depositions, or books, or papers, or copies or extracts thereof; every such deposition, book, or paper, or copy or extract, being duly authenticated, either according to the legal forms now respectively existing in the two countries, or in such other manner as the said commissioners shall sce cause to re. quire or allow.This stipulation implies that public officers should furnish copies of papers when demanded, and should assist in bringing forward testimony according to the duties of their several stations; and, also, that individuals should not refuse to give testimony. To aid and facilitate the true operation of this provision, when difficulties occur in the United States, is an obligation of good faith, and I believe will otherwise promote their interest. It is my opinion, therefore, that a law ought to be passed, with the proper regulations for removing ihe difficulties complained of, (but not exactly as suggested by the British minister,) by enforcing individuals to give testimony, and all public officers to do their duty, to

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