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the colours will be deposited with the archives of the United States, wbich are at once the evidence and the memorials of their freedom and independence ; may these be perpetual ; and may the friendship of the two republics be commensurate with their existence."

The address of the French Minister; the reply of the President, the flag of France, and the letter of the Commitee of Safety were all transmitted by the President to Congress.

In February 1796, the treaty was returned in the form recommended by the Senate, and ratified by his Britannic Majesty; and on the last of that month, the President issued his proclamation stating its ratification, and declaring it to be the law of the land.

The predominant party in the House of Representatives expressed surprise, that this proclamation should be issued before the sense of the House was taken on the subject; as they denied the power of the President and Senate to complete a treaty without their sanction. In March a resolution passed, requesting the President “ to lay before the House a copy of the instructions to the Minister of the United States, who negotiated the treaty with the King of Great Britain, communicated by his message of the first of March, together with the correspondence and other documents relative to the said treaty; excepting such of the said papers as any existing negotiation may render improper to be disclosed."

This resolve placed the President in a situation

of high responsibility. He knew that the majority of the House entertained the opinion, that à treaty was not valid until they had acted upon it. To oppose, in a government constituted like that of the United States, the popular branch of the Legislature, would be attended with bazard, and subject him to much censure and abuse ; but considerations of this nature make but weak impressions on a mind supremely solicitous to promote the public interest.

Upon the most mature deliberation, the President conceived, that to grant this request of the House, would establish a false and dangerous principle in the diplomatic transactions of the nation, and he

gave

the following answer to their request:

" Gentlemen of the House of Representatives;

With the utmost attention I have considered your resolution of the 24th instant, requesting me to lay before your House, a copy of the instructions to the Minister of the United States, whd negotiated the treaty with the King of Great Britain, together with the correspondence and other documents relative to that treaty, excepting such of the said papers as any existing negotiation may render improper to be disclosed.

In deliberating upon this subject; it was impossible for me to lose sight of the principle which some have avowed in its discussion, or to avoid extending my views to the consequences which must flow from the admission of that principle.

I trust that no part of my conduct has ever indicated a disposition to withhold any information which the constitution has enjoined it upon the President as a duty to give, or which could be required of him by either house of Congress, as à right; and with truth I affirm, that it has been, and will continue to be, while I have the honour to preside in the government, my constant endeavour to harmonize with the other branches thereof, as far as the trust delegated to me by the people of the United States, and my sense of the obligation it imposes, to preserve, protect, and defend the constitution, will permit.

- The nature of foreign negotiations requires caution, and their success must often depend on secrecy; and even when brought to a conclusion, a full disclosure of all the measures demands it, or eventual concessions which may have been proposed or contemplated, would be extremely impolitic; for this might have a pernicious influence on future negotiations, or produce immediate inconveniences, perhaps danger and mischief to other persons. The necessity of such caution and secrecy was one cogent reason for testing the power of making treaties in the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate; the principle on which that body was formed, confining it to a small number of members.

To admit then a right in the House of Representatives to demand, and to have as a matter of course, all the papers respecting a negotiation with a foreign power, would be to establish a dangerous precedent.

* It does not occur that the inspection of the

papers asked for, can be relative to any purpose under the cognizance of the House of Representatives, except that of an impeachment, which the resolution has not expressed. I repeat that I have no disposition to withhold any information which the duty of my station will permit, or the public good shall require to be disclosed ; and, in fact, all the papers affecting the negotiation with Great Britain were laid before the Senate, when the treaty itself was communicated for their consideration and advice.

“ The course which the debate has taken on the resolution of the house, leads to some observations on the mode of making treaties under the constitution of the United States.

Having been a member of the General Convention, and knowing the principles on which the constitution was formed, I have ever entertained but one opinion upon this subject; and from the first establishment of the government to this moment, my conduct has exemplified that opinion. That the power of making treaties is exclusively vested in the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, provided two thirds of the senators present concur; and that every treaty so made and promulgated, thenceforward becomes the law of the land. It is thus that the treaty-making power has been understood by foreign nations, and in all the treaties made with them, we have declared, and they have believed, that when ratified by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, they become obligatory. In this construction of the constitution,

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every House of Representatives has heretofore acquiesced ; and until the present time, not a doubt or suspicion has appeared to my knowledge, that this construction was not the true one. Nay, they have more than acquiesced ; for until now, without controverting the obligations of such treaties, they have made all the requisite provisions for carrying them into effect.

“ There is also reason to believe that this construction agrees with the opinions entertained by the state conventions, when they were deliberating on the constitution, especially by those who objected to it; because there was not required in commercial treaties the consent of two thirds of the whole number of the members of the Senate, instead of two thirds of the senators present; and because in treaties respecting territorial, and certain other rights and claims, the concurrence of three fourths of the whole number of the members of both houses respectively, was not made pecessary.

" It is a fact declared by the general convention, and universally understood, that the constitution of the United States was the result of a spirit of amity and mutual concession. And it is well known, that under this influence the smaller states were admitted to an equal representation in Senate with the larger states, and that this branch of the government was invested with great powers; for on the equal participation of those powers, the sovereignty and political safety of the smaller -states were deemed essentially to depend.

“ If other proofs than these, and the plain letter

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