Page images

fell with Charles the 10th of France in 1830. This grand scheme for the conquest of the human mind and the entire abasernent of mankind by arms, rivaling the proudest dreams of Napoleon, has passed away, and the fragments of these mighty monuments of universal dominion form a common ruin.

An example of unlawful object is found in the treaties for the partition of Poland by force, and in other like treaties. Napoleon and the Emperor Alexander, are said to have made at the treaty of Tilsit, a secret article for the conquest and partition of several kingdoms. This was an immoral and unlawful treaty of partition and void in foro concientiae. Any object of a treaty unlawful in itself, or malum in se, ought not to be performed. If things lawful and unlawful are intermingled, the lawful ones ought to be performed and the residue not. (See Vattel, b. 2d, ch. 12, s. 161.)

All rights under a treaty may be lost by a violation of it, by refusing to observe it, or withholding satisfaction for such violations. (See ib. b. 2, ch. 13, s. 200, 202.) Upon this principle our act of Congress of July 1798, declared that our treaties with France had ceased to be obligatory on us. This is right; as if one party refuses to observe a treaty, it discharges the other of necessity.

Upon sound moral principles a treaty must bind the parties to it to the fulfilment of all its stipulations. As a necessary consequence if either of the contracting parties refuse or omit to perform any stipulation after demand, the defaulting state ought to lose the benefit of the whole treaty, in case the other party shall elect to annul it for such breach thereof, or the injured state may withhold performance of some stipulation on its part as an equivalent for the non-performance of the other, or it may omit to notice the violation of a treaty in any provision, according to its discretion.

The rule which ought to regulate nations in reference to treaties violated by one party was well laid down by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State of the United States, in a letter to Mr. Hammond, the British minister, dated May 29th, 1792, relating to the violations of the treaty of peace of 1783. The Secretary says: “On the

" breach of any article of a treaty by the one party, the other has his election to declare it dissolved in all its articles, or to compensate itself by withholding execution of equivalent articles; or to waive notice of the breach altogether."

Secret articles of a treaty we disallow, and this is the practice of our republic. A secret article of our treaty with the Porte was negotiated by our American envoy, but it was rejected by the Senate. Our treaties are part of the law of the land,

[ocr errors]

e i




[ocr errors][merged small]

and must be published with the laws of Congress. Beside concealment in treaties is evidence of wrong, and the practice ought to be discontinued. We hold, therefore, that treaties, to be binding, must be freely consented to and have a lawful object. The treaty of Madrid between Francis 1st of France, and the Emperor Charles 5th, Napoleon's treaties with Prussia at Tilsit, with Austria after Napoleon's great victory over that power, and with the Spanish Princes at Bayonne, and all like treaties, are condemned by our rule. Such treaties are repudiated by the moral sense of mankind, and are never kept after the compelling force is removed. Such was the result in each of these

There can be no sacred performance of an extorted treaty. There is in truth no obligation in foro conscientiae to observe such treaties.

[ocr errors][merged small]


[ocr errors][ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

In order to carry into practical effect the principles of peace, of national liospitality and justice, of reciprocal commerce and of free trade, it is respectfully suggested to our executive administration to negotiate treaties, when practicable, with the following standing general articles :

Article 1st. It is stipulated between the high contracting parties that the citizens of the republic of the United States of America and the subjects


or citizens of the king of or the republic of shall enjoy mutually the right of free ingress and egress into and from the dominions of the contracting parties and of residence therein for the purposes of trade or pleasure, and that while so sojourning they shall be protected in their persons and property ; and that the citizens and subjects of each party in all the courts of the other contracting party shall enjoy all the rights and privileges of native citizens and subjects, so far as the administration of justice is concerned.

Article 2d. The high contracting parties stiprilate and agree that their citizens and subjects shall mutually enjoy in the dominions of each other freedom of worship, public and private, and the rights of respectful burial in the usual burying grounds, and that no impediment thereto shall be allowed.

Article 3d. In case a vessel belonging to either of the high contracting parties shall be driven into the ports of the other, or within its maritime curtilage by stress of weather, by pirates or any misfortune it is stipulated that all practicable aid, relief and assistance shall be given by each contracting party to such foreign vessel in the same manner, on the same terms, and to the same extent as if she belonged to the party furnishing succor; and that in all cases of piracy each party shall give relief

to the vessels of the other on the same terms as if they belonged to the relieving party; and that in all cases of shipwreck of the vessels of either of the contracting parties upon the coasts or within the maritime curtilage of the other, like assistance and on the same terms shall be extended to such vessels, their cargoes and the mariners. And it is agreed that in cases of wreck the proceeds of ships and cargoes, deducting reasonable salvage according to the rule applied to native vessels so wrecked, shall be preserved without charge in the national treasury of the contracting party having possession of the same, and that upon the request of the President of the United States of America, or the King of

the other contracting party, (as the case may be,) such proceeds shall be paid, according to his order, for the use of the owners of such vessels and cargoes.

Article 4th. It is mutually agreed that if the citizens or subjects of either of the contracting parties die in the dominions of the other, the state in which such death happens shall see that the property of the deceased is preserved for the heirs, devisees, legatees or representatives of the deceased at a charge not exceeding one half of one per cent; and that in case of a last will and testament or of intestacy the right of such property shall be decided by the laws of the state or country of the

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »