Page images
[ocr errors]

any legal remedies also denied to native citizens of a country. As for example, the Constitution of the United States as amended does not allow any suit to be brought against any state of the Union by any private citizen of any state or country. The states contract debts by issuing bonds for internal improvements, and other objects, and these to a large amount are now in the hands of Europeans and Americans.

Some of the states are in default in paying interest, and no suit can be brought by any private holder, and inasmuch as the foreigner stands on the same footing as the American holder, there is no just ground of claim against the government of the United States. Chancellor Kent, in his Commentaries, lays down the doctrine that the United States, a state of our Union and a foreign state may sue in the Supreme Court of the United States any one of our states. The Supreme Court of the United States so decided in the celebrated case of Cohens vs. the State of Virginia. Besides our government is known to be organized under a United States and State Con

а stitutions, and the powers of its component parts are limited, and all who deal with any department must look to its powers as defined in the fundamental Constitutions. It plainly follows that the national government violates no international duty by not furnishing foreigners with a right to sue our

States, or the United States, since we grant no such right to our citizens. Nor can the United States be justly bound to pay the debts of defaulting states either to foreigners or our own citizens. The national government ought indeed to stimulate every state to an honest payment of its debts, and employ its influence in favor of that object. As far as it can constitutionally go, it ought to sustain the credit of the states unimpaired.



Nations are morally bound to be kind to each other, to succor each other in great calamity, such as earthquakes, pestilence or famine, to assist to save the lives and properties of foreigners when wrecked, on the same terms as to salvage applied to native citizens, and to aid the sufferers, and to allow foreign consuls to assist them, to permit foreign consuls to appear in the courts and maintain the rights of their countrymen; to allow foreigners in time of peace to pass through any country or sojourn in it for business or pleasure at will. They ought to be allowed free ingress and egress in all countries for the peaceful objects of commerce or pleasure. China had in this respect violated her international social duty, until Britain by the sword forced upon the closed doors of the celestial em. pire. Unjustifiable, as the British invasion of China was most certainly, it has brought that ancient empire to the observance of the duties of hospitality. A memorable instance of violation of this duty is found in the arrest of Richard Coeur de Lion, King of England, by the Duke of Austria and his detention by Henry the 6th of Germany, until a treaty was extorted from him for the payment of one hundred and fifty thousand marks for his ransom, on payment of which the King was set at liberty. The arrest and execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, by order of Queen Elizabeth, is another case of similar enormity. The seizure of General La Fayette, and his cruel imprisonment in the dungeons of Olmutz, present a like case. The detention of Napoleon, when he threw himself upon the hospitality and magnanimity of Britain, is another instance of a breach of this duty, a precedent for which Napoleon had himself set in his treatment of Touissaint Louverture, the St. Domingo Chief. These acts are plain violations of the international obligation of hospitality and kindness. Nations ought to assist and succor the vessels of each other in cases of wreck, stress of weather or piracy. Many of our treaties so provide. Our treaty with Sweden of 1827, by Articles 1st and 15th, has provided for the mutual enforcement of the duty of national hospitality, Articles 13th and 14th relate to consuls and com.


mercial agents in both countries and carry out fully the same principle. Our treaty with Prussia of 1785, by the 9th and 25th Articles, provides to carry out this duty.

The republic of the United States is open to évery people of every nation, to kings and their exiled subjects, to the Pope, Jesuits, priests and to their anathematized victims, to Christians, to pagans, to Turks, to Hindoos, in short to all men without limitation. And not one of them can be delivered up by any officer of the state or national governments except in pursuance of a treaty, if any one is a fugitive criminal. The Supreme Court of the United States have decided that the President can only deliver up criminals to a foreign power in cases provided for by treaty.






But this duty does not prevent a nation from liberating slaves escaping to its jurisdiction, or freeing slaves on board a slaver driven into a foreign harbor by stress of weather or any other

Indeed it is a duty to free all persons improperly restrained of their liberty that come into a nation's jurisdiction. Great Britain acts on this principle, and correctly applied it to the American ship Creole, and the self-emancipated slaves on


board. The decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of the Amistad is 10 the same effect. In the Parliament of Great Britain it is avowed as a permanent rule of action. At the Congress of Vienna the allied sovereigns resolved to lend their aid to suppress the African slave trade. This is a noble resolution and worthy of this enlightened age. Great Britain and the United States have by treaty bound themselves to maintain a naval force on the African coast to prevent their respective subjects and citizens from embarking in the infamous trafic. By the laws of the United States to our citizens this trafic is made piracy, and it is punished as such. It is piracy by the moral law of nations. It is the duty of all nations to use their best efforts to suppress this inhuman commerce in human flesh. Our republic, and the leading nations of Europe, are most laudably laboring to destroy the African slave trade.

The slave trade originated abroad, and is European so far as America has been connected with it. Some of the American colonies resisted the introduction of slaves, a trade forced upon them by foreign cupidity, and they complained of it in the American Declaration of Independence.

President Tyler, in a Message to Congress, in 1843, speaking of the African slave trade, appropriately says:

« PreviousContinue »