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British owners, what course could President Washington have taken to enforce its surrender, without a statute conferring authority upon him or some other Federal functionary to act in the premises. Should he have issued a warrant, or ordered a seizure of the prize without a warrant, himself? Or should he have communicated his requests to the judicial authorities, and solicited their concurrent action in vindication of the rights of neutral sovereignty?
Hamilton, as it seems to me, providing for just such another future possible violation of our territorial sovereignty as this, frames the provision, that, upon any one's — whether the President, United States District Attorney, foreign minister, consul, party aggrieved, or who not — complaining of the grievance to the district court, informally, or in any manner to be thereafter regulated by rule of court, and asking for its redress, the court may assume jurisdiction of the subject-matter, and grant proper process to enforce satisfaction.
In this sense, the provision was undoubtedly general, and left too much to judicial intendment. Still, as a relief against a sudden executive emergency hereafter, and with a view to furnish something to amend by in future legislation, it constituted an expedient and valuable enactment.
Now, is it promotive of the scope of this act, and supplying the desired additions to its deficiencies, to treat " complaint” as a form of process, and, assuming that the authors of the law intended that a ship of war or its prize should be seized on process borrowed from Burn's Justice, or some other justice's formbook (!), go on to remedy the defect by suggesting that informations and indictments may become co-ordinate processes as well ? It reminds one of the story of Puritan legislation, which, I dare say, may have already at some time reached the ears of the learned member from Rhode Island, but which I will venture to reproduce for the sake of its illustration of his legislative amendment.
The question before the Yankee General Court was, upon passing "An Act for the preservation of the heath-hen and other game."
An unlettered member from the back settlements, more used to hunting Indians than to spelling out statutes, com
ing in upon the House of a sudden, without any initiation into the business then before it, struck with the title of the Bill just as it was passing the Speaker's hammer, and believing that he must do something to arrest a legislative abomination, arose and delivered himself of the following speech : " Mr. Speaker, I don't care about preserving the heathen generally, and haven't much objection to them; but I must except Indians. I move you to amend the Bill so that it shall read, 'An Act for the preservation of the heathen and other game, but except Indians.'
I venture to think that the honorable member from Rhode Island hits as wide of Hamilton's ideas in adding "informations, indictments,” &c., to his Bill, as the backwoodsman did in excepting Indians from the statute devoted to the preservation of the heath-hen and other game.
Perhaps, however, I may fairly add, that Mr. Jenckes is guilty of no greater legislative faux pas in his interpretation of Hamilton's proviso (supposing my own construction of it is the just one) than the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs has made in entitling his new project, as he does, "A Bill more effectually to preserve the neutral relations of the United States ! »
This leads me fairly to my last topic; viz., to inquire how the neutral relations of the United States may, in fact, be best preserved and promoted; or, in other words, what is our expedient policy in future on the score of neutrality.
THE EXPEDIENT FUTURE OF AMERICAN
Though our past neutral practice has resulted to our advantage as well as our
fame, should it not change for the future, with our changed condition? — The writer does not purpose a new neutral theory, like a new Monroe declaration, but rather to state negatively what our future neutrality ought not to be, and then to add some suggestions towards an improved neutral system, affirmatively. - The repeal of the present neutral code of the United States will not (1) advance the Monroe doctrine on this side of the Atlantic; nor (2) increase our influence on the European side; nor (3) prove a step forward in national progress; nor (4) is it expedient out of ill-will to England, who might be of the greatest aid to us as a fellow-champion of neutrality; nor (5) is it expedient as to the other nations besides England, against whom we have no ground of complaint; nor (6) is it expedient on any ground of the temporariness of neutral legislation, which, in truth, ought to be as permanent as extradition laws; nor (7) is it the lesson taught us by our late civil-war experience. (8) The advancement and consolidation of that code is the “coming” movement in American foreign policy. - Has our neutral stand-point shifted with our growth? — Now that we have grown to be a great people, can we dispense with the rules of international morality ? — A nation is responsible, like an individual, for the discharge of its duties. — The element of our growth, then, does not vary our international duty. The new movement based largely on the idea that England has imposed upon our good nature. — Supposing it to be so, England does not stand to us for all the world. — Must we not keep up our neutral relations to France, Spain, &c. ?. Ought we to abolish our neutral laws as to England and France (for France has also imposed upon us), and leave them standing for other powers ? Now, as to England, do we not owe to the existence of these neutral laws, and the jurisprudence founded on them, that England did not make common cause with the rebels ? - Surmise as to the possible result of such a step, which, in Lord Russell's phrase, would have been “an engagement for the suppression of liberty.”- Some good, then, has come out of this neutrality policy, so far as it concerns England. General Banks quoted as to our having stood bail for the peace of the world long enough, and also as to the moment having come for a new coup d'état. That coup d'état can have nothing to do with the Monroe doctrine, though it may connect itself with promoting filibusterism. — Notice of the Monroe doctrine. — Exemplification of it by Fenianism. — Is the new act in reality "an act in aid of filibustering”? — And would the reputation gained by its adoption help us to greater weight in European affairs ?
I TRUST that it has sufficiently been made to appear, in an earlier portion of this discussion, that our past neutral policy has redounded to our national fame, if it has not to our national advantage. I propose now to devote a little space to the discussion of what ought to be our line of future neutral conduct. Undoubtedly, as the late Congressional Report declares, the circumstances of our national condition are largely changed from what they were seventy, or even fifty, years ago; and it is worth considering, whether the conduct of our foreign relations, and the structure and aim of our domestic neutral legislation, should not change with them.
Lest the space to which I propose to limit myself should prohibit the adequate development of some of the leading ideas which I have in mind upon these topics, I hasten to say, at the outset, that I do not propose to initiate the discussion of any new Monroe doctrine, or other scheme of foreign policy, — marking a new point of departure in our political history, - but shall rather content myself with exposing, from a negative point of view, in what our future neutral policy ought not to consist, and then, in a more affirmative direction, explaining how, without tearing down the present structure of our neutral system, we ought rather to widen and deepen its foundations, and enlarge and strengthen its superstructure, than to undermine and ultimately overthrow it.
As a negative statement, then, of what our future neutral policy ought not to be, I should say that the frittering-away or the total repeal of the neutrality laws would not be,
(1) A carrying-out of the Monroe doctrine, or a necessary prerequisite to making the country's influence more potently felt in the disposition of the affairs of state of the American continent.
(2) Nor would it be a desirable step towards giving the United States a greater weight in European politics.
(3) Nor would it be a step forward in the path of manifest destiny or of national aggrandizement; but, on the contrary, a retracing of our former progress in the ways of civilization, and a more detrimental course to us than to any other maritime power of the globe, whether inimical or friendly.
(4) Nor would it be a step forward, so far as our relations with England are concerned, to consummate this ultimate or immediate overthrow of the neutrality laws out of special discourtesy or ill-will towards her. On the contrary, if we have reason to coinplain of British unneutral conduct during the late civil war (as leading British statesmen concede), we are bound to acknowledge that we have derived important benefits from her observance of neutrality, poor as it may have been ; and, at any rate, that, if England would first set herself right as to past grievances, - which it would require but little sacrifice of consistency for her to do, considering these acknowledgments of her governmental authorities referred to, and considering, further, how potently her own interests prompt to that construction of neutrality contended for by the United States, — it would redound to the highest interests of the two nations separately, as well as to the advancement of the common cause of civilization, to have the United States accede to that urgent appeal already made to them by England for co-operation and fellowship in the development and extension of the sphere of neutral rights.
(5) But, if such repeal or doing-away with the neutrality code can be thought to be justifiable or expedient as towards England, and for the motive above assigned, then it is unjust and unjustifiable as towards those other friendly foreign powers from whom we have received no such objectionable or unneutral treatment, and with whom our relations have been preserved on a just and desirable footing of friendly neutrality by means of this same system of neutral laws.
(6) That such frittering-away and repeal of the neutrality code is inexpedient, because such a code is not a temporary and shifting scheme of external policy; but, on the contrary, ex