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expose the injustice of any unfounded demands which they might assert, was not content to exert his own ingenuity to put his own country in the wrong, and the British government in the right. He endeavored to attach to the late administration the discredit of bringing forward unfounded pretensions, and by disclaiming them, to propitiate the favor of the British king. He says, that the views of the present adıninistration upon the subject of the colonial trade
have been submitted to the people of the United States, and the counsels by which your conduct is now directed are the result of the judgment expressed by the only earthly tribunal to which the late administration was amenable for its acts. It should be sufficient, that the claims set up by them, and what caused the interruption of the trade in question, have been explicitly abandoned by those who first asserted them, and are not revived by their successors.' The late secretary of state - the gentleman under consideration here makes the statement, that the late administration were the first to set up the claims to which he refers. Now, under all the high responsibility which belongs to the seat which I occupy, I deliberately pronounce that this statement is untrue, and that the late secretary either must have known it to be untrue, or he was culpably negligent of his duty in not ascertaining what had been done under prior administrations. I repeat the charge, the statement must have been known to be untrue, or there was culpable negligence. If it were material, I believe it could be shown, that the claim in question - the right to the admission into the British West Indies of the produce of the United States upon an equal footing with similar produce of the British continental colonies is coeval with the existence of our present constitution, and that whenever the occasion arose for asserting the claim, it was asserted. But I shall go no further back than to Mr. Madison's administration. Mr. Monroe, the then secretary of state, instructed our then minister at London upon this subject. He negotiated with lord Castlereagh in respect to it, and this very claim prevented an adjustment at that time of the colonial question. It was again brought forward under Mr. Monroe's administration, when Mr. Rush was our minister at London. He opened a long and protracted negotiation upon this and other topics, which was suspended in the summer of 1824, principally because the parties could not agree on any satisfactory arrangement of this very colonial question.
Thus, at least, two administrations prior to that of Mr. Adams's had brought forward this identical claim or pretension, which his was the first to assert, according to the late secretary of state.
The next charge which the late secretary of state - the official defender of the rights of the American people - preferred against his own government, was that of omitting to accept the terms offered by the act of parliament, of July, 1825, after the subject had been brought before congress, and deliberately acted upon by
our government.' Never was there a more unfounded charge brought forward by any native against his own government, and never was there a more unwarranted apology set up for a foreign government; and a plain, historical narrative, will demonstrate the truth of both these propositions.
It has been already stated, that the negotiations of Mr. Rush, embracing the precise colonial claim under consideration, was suspended in 1824, with an understanding between the two gorernments, that it was to be resumed on all points, at some future convenient period. Early in July, 1825, neither government having then proposed a resumption of the negotiation, the British parliament passed an act to regulate the colonial trade with foreign powers. This act was never, during the late administration, either at London or Washington, officially communicated by the British to the American government, and we only obtained it through other channels. Now if it had been the purpose of the British government, by the passage of that act, to withdraw the colonial question from the negotiation, it ought to have communicated that purpose to this government, and at the same time, the act of parliament, as supplanting and substituting the negotiation. But it never did communicate such purpose. The act itself did not specifically embrace the United States, and offered terms, which, upon the face of the act, it was impossible for the United States to accede to. It required, for example, that, to entitle powers not possessing colonies, to the benefit of the act, they must place the navigation and commerce of Great Britain upon the footing of the most favored nations. To have done this, would have admitted British shipping to import into the United States, on the same conditions with native shipping, the productions of any quarter of the globe, without a reciprocal liberty, on the part of the shipping of the United States, in British ports. The act itself was differently construed, in different colonial ports of Great Britain, and an order of the local government of Halifax, closing that port against our vessels from the fifth of January, was subsequently revoked, thereby confirming the impression, that the act of parliament was not intended to dispense with the previous negotiation. And to conclude this part of the narrative, as late as the twentieth of October, 1826, Mr. Vaughan, the British minister, upon being interrogated by the then secretary of state, was totally uninstructed to afford any information, as to the meaning or intent of the act of July, 1825.
Meantime, in March, more than six months after the passage of the act of parliament, Mr. Vaughan notified the department of state, that he had received instructions from his majesty's government, to acquaint you that it is preparing to proceed to the important negotiations between that country and the United States, now placed in the hands of the American minister, in London.'
· The negotiations will therefore be forthwith resumed.' Here the negotiations were spoken of without exception of the colonial question, the most important of them. If it had been intended to withdraw that, no time could have been more suitable to announce that intention, but no such annunciation was made. Mr. Vaughan was informed, that we also would prepare for the negotiation, (including, of course, the colonial question,) and Mr. Gallatin was accordingly shortly after sent out, with full powers and instructions, amicably to settle that question. On his arrival in England, in the summer of 1826, he was told by the British government, that they would not negotiate on the colonial question; that they had made up their mind, from the passage of the act of July, 1825, not to negotiate about it; and he was informed by the sarcastic Mr. Canning, that as we had failed to accept the boon which the British government had then offered, we were then too late!
Such is the state of the case on which the late secretary of state so authoritatively pronounces judgment against his own government, for omitting to accept the terms offered by the act of parliament, of July, 1825!' He adds, indeed, after the subject had been brought before congress, and deliberately acted upon by our government.' It was brought before congress in the session of 1825–6, not at the instance of the American executive, but upon
spontaneous and ill-judged motion of the gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. Smith), and Mr. Gallatin was informed that if the bill proposed by that gentleman had been passed, it would have been unsatisfactory to the British government.
Í have another objection to this nomination. I believe, upon circumstances which satisfy my mind, that to this gentleman is principally to be ascribed the introduction of the odious system of proscription, for the exercise of the elective franchise, in the government of the United States. I understand that it is the system on which the party in his own state, of which he is the reputed head, constantly acts. He was among the first of the secretaries, to apply that system to the dismission of clerks in his department, known to me to be highly meritorious, and among them one who is now a representative in the other house. It is a detestable system, drawn from the worst periods of the Roman republic, and if it were to be perpetuated—if the offices, honors, and dignities of the people were to be put up to a scramble, and to be decided by the results of every presidential election-our government and institutions, becoming intolerable, would finally end in a despotism as inexorable as that at Constantinople.
Sir, the necessity under which we are placed is painful. But it is no fault of the senate, whose consent and advice are required by the constitution, to consummate this appointment, that the minister has been sent out of the United States, without their concurrence.
I hope that the public will not be prejudiced by his rejection, if the should be rejected. And I feel perfectly assured that if the government rejected, because he has there, by his instructions to Mr. McLane stained the character of our country, the moral effect of our decision will greatly outweigh any advantages to be derived from his negotiations, whatever they may have been intended to be.
END OF VOLUME FIRST.