Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

we carriot o ourselves the pleasure of inscrting the following speech, which has never before y

[ocr errors]

preciated by all who are qualified to judge.

gth compels us to exclude a part of our usual collection. As the al and temporary insertion depart from our principle of ever intrenching on the province of the deeply learned and profound investigations of this li


On the Bill to firevent the abuse of the firivileges and immunities en

joyed by foreign ministers within the United States.

of it, during the past season, has been ve. ry successful, and the lancet has been rather ". employed. Numerous rheumatic affections have appeared this month. Fever has been very common, especially among children. The invasion of this disease has been generally sudden and severe, but of short duration. Thofe chronic affections of the lungs,which have existed some time, have been much aggravated during this month, and rew ones have appeared. Small pox has again shown itself; and in the centre of the most populous part of the town. The early removal of the patient prevented the infection being communicated for this time. Vaccination is very widely diffused through the town. Scarcely have there ever existed so many cases at one time, as at present,

-o-o-o- *

uestion of party politicks, we do not by its gazettes. The and accomplished scholar will be ap


BE it era&cd, &c. That from and after the passage of this act, if any foreign anbassador, minitter, or other person, crititled to enjoy within the U. S. the privileges and immunities of a foreign minister, shal! connit any violation of the municipal laws; which, if comir "ted by a person annenable to the ordinary judicial authority of the place, where such ambassador, minister, or other perfon, may be at the time of committing such offence, work! be indictable by a grand jury, and punithable by death, by corporal punishment, or by imprisonment or cominment to labour. the prefidênt of the U. S. upon application made to him by the executive authority of the state or territory where such offence may be commited, or upon the complaint to him of any person injured or aggrieved by such offence so committed, and upon proof of the facts, satisfactory to the said president, being furnithed to him

in support of such application, or complaint,

shall be, and hereby is authorised to demand of the sovereign of the said offending ambassador, minister, of other person, justice upon the offendor, and reparation to any person or *...". thus injured or argrieved; and in case of the refusal of oeglect of the said sovereign to comply with fuch demand for judice and reparation, the president of the U S is hereby further authorised to ## fuch a noassador, minister, or other parson offending, to depart from the U. S. and the territories thereof; or to send him home to his fovereign, according to the aggravation of the offence, and at his #. said president's discretion Sec. z. That fran anol after the pass ge of this aćt, if any forcion ambassador, minister, or other person entitled to enjoy within the U. S. the privileges and immunities of a foreign minister, shall within the U. S. or the territorics thereof commit any act of hostility or enter into any conspifacy against the government of the U.S. or shall


Fo insult or treat with disrespea the Pre:
tent of the U. S. for the time being, the said
President shalibc, and is hereby authorised, at his
discretion, to order the said ambassador, minister
or other person so offending, to withdraw from
the seat of government and the territory of Col-
umbu, or to depart from the U.S. and the terri:
tories thereof; and in case of refusal or neglect
by such ambassador, minister, or other person as
afore said, to obey such order within a reasonable
time, of which the said president shall judge, the
said president that be, and is hereby further au-
thoriscq to send the said ambassador, minister, or
other person as aforesaid, home to his sovercign o
and in either cafe to demand of the said sover-
eign, the punish-ment of such offending ambassa-
4 or, minister, or other person as aforesaid, accord-
ing to the nature and aggravation of the offence;
and conformable to the laws of nations.
Sec. 3. That in every case, when the president
of the U. S. shall, under the authority of this ado'
order any foreign ambassador, minister, or other
person entitled to enjoy within the U.S. the pri-
§§ and immunities of a foreign minister, to
withdraw from the seat of government and the
territory, of Columbia; or to depart from the
U.S. and the territories thereof; or shall send any
such offending ambassador, minister, or other per-
for as aforesaid, home to his sovereign the said
prefident shall, in the order given to such ambassa-
dor, minister, or other person as aforesaid, to de-
part, or to withdravo, signify the offence u
which such order shall be founded ; and shalf as-
tion to the sovereign of the said ambassador, min-
iter, or other person as aforesaid, the reasons for
which such order shall have been given, er
winich the said ambassador, minister, or other per*
son as aforesaid, shall be sent home ; particularly
specifying that such proceedings are not on aco
count of any national differences, but on account
of the personal misconduct of such ambassadory
minister, or other person as aforesaid.


$ENATE of THE UNITED STATEs. Monday, March 3, 1806.


TheRE are two points of view, Mr. President, in which it appears to me to be important that the provisions of this bill should be considered : The one, as they relate to the laws of nations; and the other, as they regard the constitution of the United States. From both these sources have arisen inducements, combining to produce conviction upon my mind of the propriety, and indeed the necessity of some measure, similar in principle to that which I have had the honour to propose. I shall take the liberty to state them in their turns ; endeavouring to keep them as distinct from each other, as the great and obvious difference of their character requires, and that their combination on this occasion may appear in the striking light, which may render it the most effectual.

By the laws of nations a foreign minister is entitied, not barely to the general security and protection which the laws of every civilized people extend to the subjects of other nations residing among them : he is indulged with many privileges of a high and uncommon nature ; with many exemptions from the operation of the laws of the country where he resides,and among others with a general exemption from the jurisdiction of the judicial courts, both civil and criminal. This immunity is, in respect to the criminal jurisdiction, without limitation; and an ambassador, tho’ guilty of the mostaggravated crimes which the heart of man can conceive, or his hand commit, cannot be punished for them by the tribumals of the sovereign with whom be resides. Should he conspire

the destruction of the constitution or government of the state, no jury of his peers can there convict him of treason. Should he point the dagger of assassination to the heart of a citizen, he cannot be put to plead for the crime of murder. In these respects he is considered as the subject not of the state to which he is sent, but of the state which sent him, and the only punishment which can be inflicted on his crimes is left to the justice of his master. In a republican government, like that under which we have the happiness to live, this exemption is not enjoyed by any individual of the nation itself, however exalted in rank or station. It is our pride and glory that all are equal in the eyes of the law : that, however adorned with dignity, or armed with power, no man, owing allegiance to the majesty of the nation, can skreen himself from the vindictive arm of her justice ; yet even the nations whose internal constitutions are founded upon this virtuous and honourable principle of equal and universal rights, have like all the rest submitted to this great and extraordinary exception. In order to account for so singular a deviation from principles in every other respect deemed of the highest moment and of the most universal application, we must enquire into the reasons which have induced all the nations of the civilized world to this broad departurefrom the fundamental maxims of their government. The most eminent writers on the laws of nations have at different times assigned various reasons for this phenomenon in politicks and morals. It has sometimes been said to rest upon fictions of law. The reasoning has been thus ; every sovereign prince is indefendent of all others and as such, cannot, even when personally within the territories of another, be amenable to his jurisdiction. An ambassador rehresents the fierson of his master, and therefore must enjoy the same immunities: but this reasoning cannot be satisfactory; for in the first place, a foreign misister does not necessarily represent the person of his master ; he represents him only in his affairs; and besides representing him, he has a fiersonal eristence of his own, altogether distinct from his representative character, and for which, on the principles of common sense, he ought, like every other individual, to be responsible ; at other times another fiction of law has been alledged, in this manner; the foreign minister is not the subject of the state to which he is sent, but of his own sovereign. He is therefore, to be considered as still residing within the territories of his master, and not in those of the prince to whom he is accredited. But this fiction, like the other, forgets the fiersonal eristence of the minister.” It is dangerous at all times to derive important practical consequences from fictions of law, in direct opposition to the fact. If the principle of personal representation, or that of exterritoriality, annexed to the character of a foreign minister be admitted at all, it can in sound argument apply only to his

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

official conduct ; to his acts in the capacity of a minister,and not to his private and individual affairs. The minister can represent the fierson of the prince, no otherwise than as any agent or factor represents the person of his principal ; and it would be an ill compliment to a sovereign prince, to consider him as personally represented by his minister in the commission of an atrocious crime. Another objection against this wide-encroaching inference from the doctrine of fiersonal refiresentation is, that it is suitable only to monarchies. The minister of a king may be feigned to represent, in all respects, the person of his master ; but what fierson can be represented by the ambassador of a republick : If I am answered, the moral fierson of the nation ; then I reply, that can be represented by no individual, being itself a fiction in law, incapable of committing any act, and having no corporeal existence susceptible of representation.t I have said thus

[ocr errors]

much on this subject, because I have heard in conversation these legal fictions alledged against the adoption of the bill on your table, and because they may perhaps be urged against it here. But it is neither in the fiction of erterritoriality, nor in that of personal representation that we are to seek for the substantial reason upon which the customary law of nations has founded the extraordinary privileges of ambassadors—It is in the nature of their office, of their duties, and of their situation. By their office, they are intended to be the mediators of peace, of commerce, and of friendship between nations; by their duties, they are bound to maintain with firmness, though in the spirit of conciliation, the rights, the honour, and the interests of their nation, even in the midst of those who have opposing interests, who assert conflicting rights, and who are guided by an equal and adverse sense of honour ; by their situar tion, they would, without some extraordinary provision in their favour, be at the mercy of the very prince against whom they are thus to maintain the rights, the honour, and the interest of their own. As the ministers of peace and friendship, their functions are not only of the highest and most beneficial utility, but of indispensable necessity to all nations, having any mutual intercourse with each other.

[ocr errors]

They are the only instruments by which the miseries of war can be averted when it approaches, or terminated when it exists. It is by their agency that the prejudices of contending nations are to be dissipated, that the violent and destructive passions of nations are to be appeased ; that men, as far as their nature will admit, are to be converted from butchers of their kind, into a band of friends and brothers. It is this consideration, Sir, which, by the common consent of mankind, has surrounded with sanctity the official character of ambassadors. It is this which has enlarged their independency to such an immeasurable extent. It is this which has loosed them. from all the customary ties which bind together the social compact of common rights and common obligations. But immunities of a nature so extraordinary cannot, from the nature of mankind, be frequently conferred, without becoming lia. ble to frequent abuse. As ambassadors are still beings subject to the passions, the vices, and infirmities, of man, however exempted from the danger of punishment, they are not exempt from the commission of crimes. Besides their participation in the imperfections of humanity, they have tempta. tions and opportunities peculiar to themselves, to transgressions of a very dangerous description, and a very aggravated character. While the functions of their office place in their hands the management of those great controversies, upon which whole nations are wont to stake their existence, whilc their situations afford them the means and stimulate them to the employment of the base but powerful weapons of faction, of corruption, and of treachery, their very privia leges and immunities concur in

« PreviousContinue »