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his trust? I believe the former the most rational as well as the most charitable conclusion of the two, and I trust that I have said enough to persuade my reader of the same opinion.
But I pass from Mr. Reverdy Johnson's individual sayings and doings, and from the topic of Belligerent Recognition as inexcusably omitted by him (or by him and Mr. Seward jointly) from the convention of January 14th-inexcusably, at least, on their own showingto briefly notice, in the third place, the equally important omission from the same State-paper of all statement of principle or recognition of national ground of indemnity to be effected by means of any award which the Commissioners or Arbitrator might afterward make under it in favor of the American private claimants.
Here I must take my text again from Mr. Seward's dictum of Jan. uary 13, 1868, already quoted. I believe the matter will well bear a moment's further attention. Says Mr. Seward to Mr. Adams, just a year before the signing of the Johnson-Clarendon Convention, " the lowest form of satisfaction for that national injury that the United States could accept, would be found in an indemnity (I leave out the words " without reservation or compromise," for present purposes] by the British Government to those citizens of the United States who had suffered individual injury," etc.
Now, what satisfaction could it be of the “national wrong and injury,” felt by the people of the United States, for British unfriendly neutrality during the civil war, that any sum of money, however large, should have accrued by a fortunate cast of the Commissioners' dice to the “ Alabama” claimants, individually, so long as the Commissioners did not attempt, and in fact were not authorized, to adjudicate damages upon principle ? Granting that the fortunate recipients of the indemnity would be willing to accept their money without asking whence or how it came (though most of them, I believe, would imitate Mr. George B. Upton in being willing to postpone their private remedy to the paramount claim of the public wrong), what step forward would have been accomplished by the process toward conciliating international good-will, or, still more, toward securing that future co-operation in an amended code of maritime law, which the experience of the late war has shown to be so necessary to the future peace of the two countries ? Upon both of these points, but especially the latter, shall I not have the concurrence of our English friends in the propriety of the rejection of the late treaty ? Are they not desirous that their money, when paid, if an Alabama indemnity is ever to be rendered (as I trust, in the interests of public law and an advanced civilization, one shortly will be), that it shall be paid and accepted as a pledge of international satisfaction, and not as a mere recompense for private loss?
Thus, if a million of dollars is to be paid because of a defective observance of neutral precaution in not preventing the original escape of the "Alabama," or the “Florida," from Liverpool, or of the "Florida” from Nassau ; another million because of the burning of American ships by British-built Confederate cruisers, without adjudication, contrary to that code of maritime warfare which Lord Russell an. nounced on behalf of the British Government, at the outbreak of the Rebellion, would be insisted on from the newly created belligerents ; another million because of the admission of unneutrally-equipped privateers, or so-called public ships of war, into the ports of that neutral power which had negligently tolerated their original outfit within its own territory; and other millions or thousands, because of the violation of this or that just doctrine of international law ;if, I say, these sums of money are awarded on these respective specific grounds, and the United States as a Government accepts the money on behalf of its citizens, thereby virtually giving a receipt in acknowledgment of the moneys being paid upon such and such a principle--is not the transaction an infinitely more satisfactory one to the British taxpayer, than as if neither tenet of public law yor conciliation of the wounded sensibilities of a great maritime competitor had once been taken into account in the matter?
For myself, speaking as a humble member of the great American Republic, I cannot look upon the acceptance by the United States of any “ Alabama” indemnity, even in the shape of pecuniary redress to individual' sufferers, in any other light than as a pledge given by the country to Great Britain-perhaps to the world—that it is itself bound to make reparation on the same principles and to the same extent, to other rations, for any similar injury, national or private, which shall hereafter be brought home to its charge. In this sense, it seems to me that the adequacy of any satisfaction to be exacted and recovered by the United States, certainly on national account, is to be estimated rather by the responsibility which its acceptance draws after it, thin by its absolute apparent magnitude in the first instance.
Thus, supposing the American Government were to exact and recover that enormous demand for remote and consequential damages for English intervention in the late war, which has been construed into rather than out of Senator Sumner's late speech-say to the extent of half the expenses of the war-I cannot doubt that the acceptance of any such sum (provided it could once be collected of Great Britain by threat of war or otherwise) would pledge the former country to a responsibility which it would be altogether unwise and inexpedient to enter into. At least, if the United States are hereafter to be called into judgment upon the same principles, I do not well see how they could long avoid becoming nationally bankrupt; certainly so unless their foreign relations are hereafter to be conducted upon a system of more scrupulous precaution than has been sometimes seen to prevail.
On the other hand, if the British Government, in making any "Alabama” redress --whether unsolicited, or in compliance with an arbitrator's award-are content to adapt their indemnity to a low grade of neutral obligation, then, so far as its acceptance draws after it the corresponding obligation which I have imagined, the United States may consider themselves fortunate that they are thereby exonerated in future from this or that principle of neutral restraint which Great Britain has impliedly waived. As a lover of peace and well-wisher to civilization, I can only hope that that indemnity may cover as many principles as possible, and be large enough to fix those principles in the perpetual remembrance of both countries.
Without attempting further exposition of Mr. Seward's text of “ the lowest form of satisfaction for the national injury that the United States could accept,” I cannot dismiss Mr. Johnson's charge, that we have obtained all that we ever asked for, without adding my caveat against the United States being impliedly estopped from hereafter stating its case for national reparation in any different way, or to any different extent, from that which has heretofore been put forward in its official “ Alabama” correspondence. Thus, supposing our late Minister's allegation to be altogether well founded, by what act or declaration have the American Government cut themselves off from demanding a just and adequate indemnity in reparation of public as well as private injuries, if such reparation is ever to be made? If, for instance, the arming and equipment of the “ Florida” was not made in the first instance in the port of Mobile, as our diplomatists have tacitly conceded, but, on the contrary, in Liverpool, or, at any rate, within British jurisdiction in the Bahamas; if the equipment of the Alabama with a crew who were known to be “ going down” in the steam-tug Hercules “to join the gunboat” in Beaumaris Bay near Liverpool (amounting to what Lord Russell has himself called “going to another port in Her Majesty's dominion to ship a portion of her crew "), has never been sufficiently dwelt upon; if the non- n-compliance by the rebels with the British programme of Belligerent Recog
nition at any time during the war, and especially after the American blockade had been rendered incontrovertibly complete (a period long prior to the launching of the Alabama, the Georgia, and, much more, the Shenandoah, as British official concessions establish), has not been as yet made a part of the American grievance; if, still more, the deliberate refusal of the rebels to comply with that programme as manifestoed in Secretary Benjamin's “ Instructions to Confederate Cruisers,” published in the English Confederate official organ in London, in November or De cember of 1864, several weeks before the “ Shenandoah ” was supplied, as a regular ship of war, with the forty-five men, the two hundred tons of coal, and the extra provisions at Melbourne, which were the very means by which she afterward destroyed our whaling fleet in the North Pacific Ocean, has never yet been connected with the statement of the "
Shenandoah” claims ;-if, I say, these and numerous other points, of perhaps equal or even greater magnitude, have heretofore failed of their due setting forth on the national behalf, will it be contended by any one, even Mr. Johnson himself, that they may not now be justly advanced by the United States, and “ listened to by the British Government, or countenanced by other nations”?
For my own part, I think that the argument might as well be made that no claim can be raised for any injury done to the United States or its citizens by the depredations of the Alabama since October 23, 1863 (nine months before she ended her career), because Mr. Adams on that day proposed to Lord Russell, under Mr. Seward's instructions, “ that there was no fair and equitable form of conventional arbitrament or reference to which the United States will not be willing to submit" the question of British responsibility for the doings of that vessel. It has been British option thus far, until the late negotiations were so rashly hurried through, to keep this “ Alabama” controversy open; and if the American claim justly grows the more it is examined and the longer its settlement is deferred, (1 will not say so much the worse for England, but, as I verily believe) so much the better for civilization, and the establishment of a better code of international law. Only, for the present, let it be acknowledged that the country is to sustain no prejudice for fair dealing because of these abortive Johnson-Stanley, Johnson-Clarendon negotiations.
And this leads me to say a word, before concluding my already too extended communication, upon a topic which, as much as anything else, prompted the making of the communication at all. I mean the point last suggested, that the United States may possibly bave been
wanting, in some degree, in good faith toward England, in repudiating, through the action of its Senate, a treaty which had been regularly entered into by its Minister at London, and then approved of by its Executive at Washington. This is a suggestion which is naturally brought to the notice of every American traveler in Europe, and which forces itself all the more painfully upon his attention, when he is informed that the Minister of his own Government has declared that the treaty in question concedes all that the United States has ever asked for.
The answer to this suggestion is so simple and conclusive, founded on the constitutional right and duty of the United States Senate to reject any treaty inconsistent with their views of its expediency for the interests of the country, however strongly it may have been approved of by the Executive, or agreed to by the foreign Minister, that I can promise to be very brief in making it.
Of course it would be quite superfluous to remind any intelligent American of the co-ordinate and independent power of the Senate of the United States to reject any treaty submitted to them for ratification by the President. That the President, or, much
the Secretary of State, or any diplomatic agent abroad, cannot undertake to pledge beforehand the decision of the Senate in such a case, without being thereby guilty of the heinous official impropriety, if not of an impeachable offense, is also too well understood on the American side of the water to need a moment's elucidation. But to most Europeans, and to many Englishmen who have been accustomed only to a monarchical or imperial form of government, the idea of the treatymaking power not being exclusively vested in the Executive head of the Government, presents an anomaly such as has hardly ever before been considered.
To such, therefore, of my readers (if I shall be so fortunate as to have any), I beg to commend the following short extract from Wheaton's Commentaries on the Law of Nations, which states the case as to the Constitution of the United States in this particular so clearly as to dispose of the point at once. I would only premise that the American publicist wrote the passage more than twenty years ago, for the text of both the French and English editions of his treatise, and that, therefore, by this time, it ought to be within the knowledge of Europeans generally.
The municipal constitution of every particular State determines in whom resides the authority to ratify treaties negotiated and concluded with foreign powers, so as to render them obligatory upon the nation. In absolute monarchies it is the prerogative of the sovereign himself to confirm the act of his plenipotentiary