Imágenes de páginas

“ But if treaties, and every article in them be, (as they are and ought to be,) binding on the whole nation, if individual states have no right to accept some articles and reject others, and if the impropriety of state acts to interpret and decide the sense and construction of them, be apparent, still . more manifest must be the impropriety of state acts to control, delay or modify the operation and execution of these national compacts.

“ When it is considered that the several states assembled by their delegates in congress, have express power to form treaties, surely the treaties so formed are not afterwards to be subject to such alterations as this or that state legislature may think expedient to make, and that too without the consent of either of the parties to it; that is in the present case without the consent of all the United States, who collectively are parties to this treaty on the one side, and his Britannic majesty on the other., Were the legislatures to possess and to exercise such power, we should soon be involved as a nation, in anarchy and confusion at home, and in disputes which would probably terminate in hostilities and war, with the nations with whom we may have formed treaties. Instances would then be frequent, of treaties fully executed in one state, and only partly executed in another; and of the same article being executed in one manner in one state, and in a different manner, or not at all, in another state. History fornishes no precedent of such liberties taken with treaties under form of law in any nation.

“ Contracts between nations, like contracts between individuals, should be faithfully executed, even though the sword in the one case, and the law in the other, did not compel it. Honest nations, like honest men, require no constraint to do justice; and though impunity and the necessity of affairs, may sometimes afford temptations to pare down contracts to the measure of convenience, yet it is never done but at the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

expense of that esteem, and confidence and credit, which are of infinitely more worth, than all the momentary advantages which such expedients can extort.

“ But although contracting nations cannot, like individuals, avail themselves of courts of justice to compel performance of contracts; yet an appeal to heaven and to arms is always in their power, and often in their inclination.

“But it is their duty to take care that they never lead their people to make and support such appeals, unless the sincerity and propriety of their conduct affords them good reason to rely with confidence on the justice and protection of heaven.

« Thus much we think it useful to observe, in order to explain the principles on which we have unanimously come to the following resolution, viz.

Resolved, That the legislatures of the several states cannot of right pass any act or acts for interpreting, explaining, or construing a national treaty, or any part or clause of it; nor for restraining, limiting, or in any manner impeding, retarding or counteracting the operation and execution of the same; for that on being constitutionally made, ratified and published, they become in virtue of the confederation, part of the law of the land, and are not only independent of the will and power of such legislatures, þut also binding and obligatory on them.'

“As the treaty of peace, so far as it respects the matters and things provided for in it, is a law to the United States which cannot by all or any of them be altered or changed, all state acts establishing provisions relative to the same objects which are incompatible with it, must in every point of view be improper. Such acts do nevertheless exist; but we do not think it necessary either to enumerate them particularly, or to make them severally the subjects of discussion. It appears to us sufficient to observe and insist, that the treaty ought to have free course in its operation and execution, and that all obstacles

[ocr errors]


PERHAPS the following view of the elections of president and vice president, since the retirement of President Washington, may not be uninteresting.

In 1796, the votes were given under the first system, as heretofore explained. The highest in votes became the president, and the next highest, the vice president.

[blocks in formation]

The equality of the votes for Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Burr produced an arduous contest in the house, the history of which is worth preservation.

The declaration of the votes took place in the senate chamber, on Wednesday, the 11th of February. After the declaration that a choice had not been made by the electors, and that it devolved on the house of representatives, the house con

vened in its own chamber, and furnished seats for the senate, as witnesses. The house had previously adopted rules, that it should continue to ballot, without interruption by other business, and should not adjourn, but have a permanent session until the choice be made ; and that the doors of the house shall be closed during the balloting, except against the officers of the house.

The following was directed to be the mode of balloting :

Each state had a ballot box in which the members belonging to it, having previously appointed a teller, put the votes of the state, the teller on the part of the United States having then counted the votes, duplicates of the rest were put by him into two general ballot boxes. Tellers being nominated by each state for the purpose of examining the general ballot boxes, they were divided into two parts, of whom one examined one of the general ballot boxes, and the other examined the other. Upon comparing the result, and finding them to agree, the votes were stated to the speaker, who declared them to the house.

The number of states was at that time 16-nine were neces. sary to a choice. On the first ballot Mr. Jefferson had eight states, Mr. Burr six, and two were divided.

The first ballot took place about 4 o'clock, P. M. Seven other ballots, with similar results succeeded, when a respite took place, during which the members retired to the lobbies and took refreshment. At three o'clock in the morning of the 12th, two other ballots took place, and at 4 o'clock in the morning, the twenty-first trial. At 12 at noon, of the 12th, the twenty-eighth ballot took place, when the house adjourned to the next day, having probably, in secret session, dispensed with the rule for the permanent session. On Friday, the 13th, the house proceeded to the thirtieth ballot without a choice, and again adjourned to the next day. On Saturday, the 14th, the ballotings had the same result. On Tuesday, the 17th, at

the thirty-sixth ballot, the speaker declared at one o'clock, that Mr. Jefferson was elected, having the votes of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Maryland, four votes for Jefferson and four blanks, and Vermont one vote for Jefferson and one blank vote. Thus ended the contest, and it merits the attention of the enemies of republican institutions, who are fond of anticipating the occurrence of tumult and violence on such occasions. The decorum with which the whole was conducted, and the ready and peaceable acquiescence of the minority, evince both the sound texture of the Constitution, and the true character of the American people.

The election in 1804, was under the present systemThomas Jefferson had, for president

162 votes. Charles C. Pinckney

14 George Clinton, for vice president

162 Rufus King


[blocks in formation]
« AnteriorContinuar »