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OPENING SPEECH

OF

HON. JAMES BUCHANAN,
OF PENNSYLVANIA,

IN THE CASE OF McLEOD:
AND ALSO HIS

EEPLY TO MESSRS. RIVES, CHOATE, HUNTINGTON & PRESTON.
Ttmntsy, Jvnc 10, 1840—Mr. RITES
kanEf renewed his motion that so much of the
Prtsutem's message as relates to our foreign
i&ia be relerred to ihe Committee on Foreign

It did not make it: appearance until nearly siz
weeks after the important business between the*
two Governments had been transacted. It was the
letter of the British Minister of the 12.h of March,
Atll'Ii—
and the instructions of the Secretary of State to>
Mr. BUCHANAN thereupon rose and addressed the Attorney General of the United St&tes, of the
lie S.-njif, ofcerring that when he bad first read 15th of the same month, which contained the tract
fe corretpoadence between the British Minister, merits of the ca?e. It was that letter of instruc
«•• Ffi, and the American Secretary of State, he
tions, a copy of which had doubtless been commu
™atoDeede!erinin«d to make, upon the first fit nicated to the British Minister, and had been open
cppo.t«Diiy, some observations upon that corrn- ly referred to in the British Parliament; it wax
spodnce in the fuce of the Senate and of the coun- these instruction:, especially, which lay at the root
'•7- He regretted that, in finding a fii opportunity, of ..»• question. On these two papers of the 12tb>
te nid. contrary to his own inclinations, been and 15 h. March, public opinion had been formed^
ssiacbdelaj; bm having at length found it, he and must be formed, as well in England as here;
*wW accomplish his original purpose, and would a.Mi'1 the Secretary's last letter, which came limp
arjijj ranch brevity as possible; premising, ing along six weeks after, however just and how
«»m:, ihit he should not have thought of cucb ever eloquent it might be, conld exert bnt little or,
•pKcteding upon this mere motion of reference, no influence either in Europe or in this country.
«iet tbe example been set and a precedent estaTo understand the merits of the case, a brief re
ti'dit ite last se»ian of Congteis by the pre- capitulation of facts was necessary. A rebel
te Sareury of Slate.
lion, said Mr. B. or, if you please, an attempt at
Utmost be permitted to make one remark by revolution, existed in Canada; during the course
*v°' prefaer;aad that was, that if he knew him- of which the insurgents took possession of Navy
*i,la*is not actuated, in this matter, by any Island, in the Niagara river. A British militia
bf Lke pany political feeling. He trusted bis force of two thousand men was embodied at ChipKiratioa of some portions of the correspond- pewa, on the Canada side of the river. The Ame
ea it question might prove incorrect; for though rican steamboat Caroline, after having carried
* i&itmledged himself to be a party man and provisions to the insurgents on Navy Island, (for E
f'.qlf influenced by party fcelinr, it had been believe that was the fact,) together with probably
fcodaror never to carry that feeling with him a single cannon, lay at anchor, after her trip, fas
** it Committee on Foreign relations, (of which tened to the wharf at Schlosser, a small village no
fcW for many years been a member,) and be toriously within the jurisdiction of the United
f^ri tkat he had given sufficient evidence of this States, under the sacred a:>is of our protection.
tjteeoaneon that committee. Yet, as he was And that country must be recreant to itself and to>
fejcooTiocwi that a proper regard for the Arae- ts citizens, which would not, until the very last,
j>oo character, both at home and abroad, required maintain and vindicate its own exclusive sove
[fc: some commentary should be made on these reignly over its own soil against all foreign aggres
PCS, ke lud, upon reading them, determined, at sion.
«•-, tint that commentary should be made by him
There lay this vessel in American waters, under
**« few, but with respectful regard to the feel- he guardianthip of our sovereignty and of the
*«' til parties.
American flag,j3ut these afforded her no protec
3: hid been asked, what objection conld be tion. What happened on the night of the 29 'h of
•it » 4e letter of the 24th of April last, lately December, 1837J Colonel Allan McNab, a name
^'-•W, from Mr. Webster, our Secretary of famous in story, was in command of the body oC
^ 10 Mr. Foxl There was little, indeed ; much, militia at Chippewa. Under his auspices, a Cap
sjsoch that it contained, had bis cordial appro- tain Drew, of the British navy, who, 1 believe, has
b«t, nnfortonately, that letter had little or since been pensioned for his gallant exploit, under
to do with the substance of the matter. took to raise a body of volunteer?, and, by way cC

j

z
characterizing the nature of the service they were >reience for making this statement has most pro'jto perform, declared that he wanted fifty or sixty >ably arisen Irom a custom too common among us
desperate fellows, who would be ready to follow of pnblishing diplomatic correspondence, whilst
Slim to the devil. Under the authority of this Col. the negotiation to which it relates is still pending.
McNab, now Sir Allan McNab, (for I understand Mr. Stevenson, in his letter to Mr. Forsytn of ihe
lie has since been knighted by Q.u<>»n Victoria,) 2d July, 1839, employs this language:
I regret to say that no answer has yet been ciren to m;
this body of men, with Captain Drew at their
in the case of the Caroline. I have not deemed it proper
iiead, passed across the Niagara river at the dead note
under the circumstances, to rjresa the stihject without lurvhe:
lionr of midnight, wilhout previous notice, and ntlriictions from your Department. If it is the wish ol 'hf
[iovernmcnt lhal t should do 60, I pray t>.) be informed of r.
-while the people on board of the Caroline lay re and
the degree of urgency lhal I am to udupt."
posing under tie protection of American laws, and
made an aliack on unarmed men, who were pri- To which Mr. Forsyth replies under date of Sep
Tate citizens, not connecied in any way wiib ihe tember 11, 1S39, as follows:
"With reference to the closing paragraph in your commuti
resistance to British authority, and murdered at cation
Deparimeril, dated 2d of July last, it is proper i
Jeasl one of their number wiihin the American ter inform toyouthethat
no instructions are ai present required f<
ritory. These barbarians, regardless of ihe lives again bringing forward the question of the 'Caroline.' /Act
frffjiitnt cotiTtrsatioJis ifith Mr Fox in rtgcrd
of those who may have remained on board, nn had
sutijtct. one of very recent date; and, frtm Us Imc, 11
moored the boat, towed her out into the middle of this
Prtsi'i' nt e»pf.cis the British Governmeni tcill ansicer j/oi
*he ri»er, where a swift and irresistible current application in the case, tcilhout much further delay."
coon huriied her down the falls of Niagara, and The Senate will thus perceive that ih re is n
Jo this hour it is not known how many American foundation in this correspondence for the prete]
citizens perished on that fatal night. This is no that the American Government bad abandone
dancy picture.
lh« pursuit of this question, unless it may bet
Now, a* 10 the principle of the law of nations garbling the note ot Mr. Forsyih, and suppretsin
"which applies to such a case, lhat pure patriot and ihe sentence which I have just read.
eminent juris:, John Marchall, has eipre^ed it with
Whether the administration of President YJ
jgreat force an>4 clearness. He says lhat
Buren pursued its remonstrance with suffice
"The jurisdiction o!' a nation, within iis own territory, is e:_ energy is not for me to say, although 1 beta
elusive and absolute. Ills susceptible of no limitation not im
posed by itself. Any restriction deriving validity from an ex they did, but that forms no part of the qu&stii
lernal source, wouM imply a diminution of its sovereignty to now before the Senate. It teems tha', from I
ahe extent of that restriction, ami an invesimenl of that sove
Jeignty to the same exlcnt in that ijower which could impose conversation of Mr. Fox, Mr. Forsyih was indue
to believe lhat a speedy answer would be given.
•uch restrictions."—7 Cranch, 116.
And u.'iiin:
On ibe — of November, 1840, this unrortuni
"Every nation has exclusive jurisdiction over the waters ad man, Alexander McL°od, came voluntarily will
jacent to its shores, to the distance of a cannon shot, or marim
the jurisdiction of the United Slates. I am inclii
Jeague."— 1 Oallis,C. U. R. 63.
According to ihe settled law of nations, if the to believe that ihe vain boasting of this man, as
Caroline had been a vessel of war on ihe h'gh his presence and participation in ihe attack en i
•seas, belonging to the insurgent*, and afier an rn Caroline, has occasioned all Ihe difficulty wn
^agement with a British vts=el had been pursuec now exists. I rather think he was not present a:
•within a marine league of the American shore, our captu'eof lhat vessel, and this fact, if it had bi
xational sovereignty, as a nentral power, would im- wise'y used, would have afforded the means o;
anediately have covered her, and a hos'ile gnncoulc justing the difficulty to the satisfaction of boih |
lie! have been fired against her wilhout affording tias. But he came npon the American soil, a
•us grounds for juM complaint. If, for example in the company of American citizens, openly DO
Ihe Briti-h and Freach nations had been at open ed that he had belonged to Drew'scapluring squ
•war, and a French vessel, in flying before Brilish ran. In consequence of these assertion!:, be
pursuit, should have been driven within a marine arrested by the local authorities, and indicted
league cf the American coast, all further acts o murder. This stale of things gave rise to a ca
ijostility towards her must have instdnily ceased, spondence between Mr. Fox and Mr. Forsjth.
w we, »s ihe neuiral power, would have been correspondence resulted in this: ibat Mr. Fur
Bounded in he most sensitive point, namely, tha expressed it as his opinion, and that of the Prrsi
Vof our sovereignty.
of the United Stales, lhat under the iaw 01 nai
I shall not here argue to prove lhat in this case the avowal by the British Government of the
there hits been a gross violation of our national so- ture of ihe Caroline, should such an avowa
-vciriv.nl,1, because on that point no gentleman, 1 made, would not free McLeod from prosecutu
am sure, does or can entertain a doubt. That be the criminal courts of ihe State of New Yoik.
ing clear, the American Governmeni at once re effect was merely cumulative. It did not take '
anonstrated in strong and forcible, ar.d even elo the offenceof McLeod, but added thereto, acd i
quent, terms, through ou- Minister abroad. The it a national as well as an individual ofTrnce.
letter of Mr. Stevenson on that occasion, does him legal prosecution of McLeod, and the applic
great honor, indeed. Repealed atlempls were made to the British Governmeni for saiir-facti(>n,
•o induce the British Government to answer this independent of each other, and might be sepal
remonstrance, but ail in vain. It is tro« that i and simultaneously pur?ntd. But whetUri
lias been stated in the British House of Commons were the true principle of national law <.i
•>y one of the British minis'ers, that ihe American Mr. Forsyth very properly said that the qui
Government had finally given up the question, must be decided by the judiciary of New
a:ri did not intend to insist upon an answer. The and tha', if the posiiion 01 Mr. Fox were

.jis leiter an an. thing, it is to ihe letter ofMr. Forio7«~V~"~ lo Mr- Fox OD IDe 26ia December
1840. I will not trouble the Senate lo read that
paper;
they may find it in document 33, page 4
happier, safer, and more secure And what
is the character of the letter ofMr.
question for American righ's and Fox? It commences
with a peremptory and conl
elusive settlement of the whole matter, so far as the
; ,Wnen 'he trial came on, Mc; had two ground! of defence: first Bntisa Government is concerned. It is not suffi
nct^been present at the capture of the' cient for that Government to say that they take the
responsibility of the act of McLeod upon them
Klvu7'-^* *'?** Q™™*™ as\d public a"! selves, but they even jusiify in the strongest terms
^ W'K aa*or,"}'- If. i" 'his state of things, ihe capture of the Caroline itself. Yet here is
Mr. Webster on the 24ih of April, arguing a
SM^^
a "t;eLp™dem de!ay- lhe I"*™
question which the British ministry had settled six
»onKi probabJy soon have jett|-J-- --••
to I
11 " do not say surrender McLeod
1, in Parliament, to the British ministers --- — -!..„„„„ „, vlie Caroline shall be left op«n
ioat
would
not
be acco'ding to the manner of
CR uussubjcct, and a hieh excitement had been
John Bull when he puts himself fairly in motio"
frwJa>A
"Vh*! Eonnlryen every comrover- He does not stop to argue, but at once cuts the
ywjj, Aaena, because our side of the question knot without the trouble of giving any reason
. Stevenson had remonstrated in the most urd submitted to the British Go'ear» m the habit of reading some of the
a mass of testimony, but no
«rna!s, and, so far as I have observed
KG whatever was taken of his communication
. toe question even in relation to the
no reasons given for their determination Mr*
boondar/, had never to this da
• or ""»""• ""' Government, in hall a sentence
.

• -

=

~y the British Go-

lt th«Plea were allowed, he would

s£vSt.ayw!±as
— -Q--

!

Wl-W, VVtUU

I1UI

ISl1 a0"8- OBK lhe Brili'h nation- ™s™

£Z^/•*™5lnn,hpe1!rv,pub> rraals- £ have

in question (sars the letter) may have
tty't Government are of opinion thai it
mptoymtnt offorce for the purpose ofde
-A territory," $c,

I
T,ent,had been raised on lhe McL'od
«» -sd km* defiances had been uttered on
Our remonstrance, when this haughty reply was
vxa. ead . iJTOeof0wmnoM' Threats had written, had been pending for three year?.
• Ijj, '. ln ca.*!.?? American Government io?Jr' ?"?**• in his Ieller of 36'h December.
^ *Sl^ re:aT McLeod in custody. An at- 1H4U, had argumentatively stated lhe whole
case, setting forth lhat ihe avowal of McLeod's
^«*.lbe behef that wa' was imp-nding; and act, should it be assumed by the British Go
"i- success, that the American fleet in the vernment, so far from doing away with our
i?aa, or at least a portion of it, has actu ground of complaint, \reat only to increase it
;d h .me, while all our vesselj in lhat It was cumulative, not exculpatory. Whilst it
a ad gu*d tse straits and gone into the At- would aot relieve McLeod from personal re
ssome pcop.'e h-re even, other than the la- sponsibility, it would seriously implicate the Bri---, ^.teaice a:raid that the British fleets would ush Government in his guilt. And how is that
,3i cor coast and lay our cities in ash«s A argument answered? In this haughty, imperious
JmOoaj panic prevailed for a time among those sentence:
Mud .eak nerves and then, to crown all, "Her Majesty's Government cannot believe lhat the Govern
J* .«tter ot Mr. Fox to Mr. Webster. Th, ment of lhe l.nited Crates can rpnllv iniAn.1 in .».
;f ***** hav. I freely admit, much to recom
~^,,boi we all know lhattheii dlplomatic posince banished. '
L' ^T** y**1 cf otber European nations, has ongHere
argument attempted, no anlhority
«' a character bold, arrogant, and over cited, butis anosimple
declaration put forth in the
?- John Ball has ever preferred to accom- strongest term: as to the
"atrocity" of the principle
oai by mam force which otber nations fur which the American Government
had been se
:£,r* Vf™Pted °y diplomacy. I come n«w riously contending. But the crowning
point of
«*Qcr of Mr. Fox, and such a letter! This this mjulting letter is yet to come, and I undertake
« ^ rfce more imposing from the fact that it was to say that it contains a direct threat from the
»r- *oxs own comprsilion, but is an official
"••canon from the British Government. British Government. I am not extensively ac
quainted with the language of diplomacy, but I
^^appears from its first sentence, which is certainly
have not seen any thing like this threat
in any official communication between civilized
,,o.
is msiructed by i,i. Govern. ind friendly nations for the last fifty years. I hope
1 may be mistaken in my view of the language, but
iCr6 it ISt
<' *Q omcial communication from the "But be that as it may, her Majesty's Government formallv
!?reniment Ihem3e!*es- I' is not my de- demand upon the pound, already stated, the immediate re• tfea occasion to excite either here or elsc- ease of Mr. McLeod; and her Majesty'* Government entreat the

SW^fl-"?"!' cn b3lh sides of lhe water- 1«

President of the United Biaies to take inio his most deliberate

consideration the seriout nature of the consequences which < blame in not noticing language which I consider
must ensue from a rejection of this demand."
containing a very distinct and intelligible thre

What consequences? What consequences? Af
ter the denunciation we had beard in the British
Parliament, and all that had occurred in the course
of tbe previous correspondeEce, could any ihinghave
been intended but "the serious nature of the conse
quences which must ensue" from tear toiJA ENG
LAND? And here let me put a case. I am so un
fortunate as to have a <!:l;c:i-m e with a friend of
mine. I will supprsa it to be my friend from
South Carolina, [Mr. PRESTON.] I knew, if you
please, even that I am in the wrong. My friend
comes to me and drmauds an explanation, adding,
at the same limp, these words: If you do not gram
the reparation demanded, I entreat you to consider
the terious consequences which must eusu* from
your refusal. Certain I am there is not a single
member of this Senate, I might s:y not an intelli
gent man in the civilized world, who would not con
sider such language as a menace, which must be
withdrawn or explained b«lore any reparation
could be made. It was the moment after I read
this sentence that I determined to bring the subject
before the Sena'e. A thought then struck me
which perhaps I should do betier now to repress;
but it was this. 1 imaginrd I saw that man whom
Mr. JeflVrson truly denominated the old Roman,
a« President, sitiing in his appartmtnt and reading
this letter for ihe first lime. When he came to
this sentence, what would be his feelings? What
indignant emotions wouln it arouse in his bread?
Of him it may be justly said:

But let that pass.
Even if the Secretary wete right in the view
takes of the law of nations, still 1 think that cc
moa prudence would have dictated to him not
express his opinion so strongly. It was then a
dicial question pending, and eventually to be
cided, by the highest court ia the State of IS
York; a tribunal which, on all bands, and by 1
Webster himself, is admitted to be eminently e
tied to confidence. Suppose it should happen
it will happen, if my humble judgment of tbe 1
shall prove correct) that the Supreme Court of
Stale of New York and the Secretary of Slate
the United States shoald differ in opinion as to
legal question. Suppose an appeal should t
be taken (if such an appeal may be taken) to
Supreme Court of the United States, and it sh(
there be decided, as I feel greai conndence
it would be, against the opinion of the Secre
of Slate, what would be the condition of this
vernmem?
The judicial authority will be on one iide of
question, and the Eiecutive Government 01
other. Whilst the Judiciary decide that Mel
is responsible in the criminal court of New 1
the Secretary decides lhat he is not. By prej<
ing ibis pending judicial question, the Secretary
placed himself in in awkward dilemma, »h
the Supreme Court of New York d«termine
tbe recognition and justification by the British
vernment of the capture of the Caroline does
"A kind, true heari; a spirit high,
release McLeod from personal respomib
Thai could not lear, and would not bow,
In common prudence, th«refore, Mr. We
Ii written in his manly eye.
And onhia manly brow/'J
ought to have expressed no decided opinion 01
Would he not have resolved never to make any delicate question, but left it to the Judicial
explanation under such a thiea.? Would he noi Mr. Van Buren'i administration had done.
But the Secretary of State thought oihei
have required it to be withdrawn or explained before
giving any answer whatever to Mr.Fox'cdemand? In The imperious tone of Mr. Fox's letter doe
this possibly he might have gone too lar. Our Se item to have produced any effect on his i
cretary, however, has passed over this threat with Three short days after its date, on the 15th V
out Adverting to it in any manner whatever.
1841, he issues his instructions to the AM
And now we con:e 10 the case immediately be General. These instructions are the rea)
fore the Senate. Although I think the Secretary stantial answer to Mr. Fox's letter, and
of Stale decidedly wrens; in his view of the law of proved entirely satisfactory to the British Gh
nations, that to me is comparatively a very jmall mem, as they could not have failed to do.
matter. 1 have not, in this thing, any personal or teller written by Mr. Webster, on the 24th
private feeling to gratify. Towards the Secretary succeeding April, will never disturb that <_i
of State I cherish no unkindly feelings, and I sin- ment. Long before it was written, the S <
ceiely hope that be may discharge the duties of his bad granted them every thing which they
high and responsible station in such a marines as to have desired.
redound more and more to his own honor. What
He at once, by these instructions, aba
I complain of is this omUsion, and an omission, 1 the position so ably maintained by Mr. V
consider, of great consequence. He has not, in ren's administration, that McLecd would
his reply, noticed that threat at all, although it responsible, individually, notwithstanding i
was conveyed in such terms as would have entire tish Government might recognise the destrn
ly justified him in saying "The American Govern the Caroline. In condemning this position,
ment has no answer to give until this language has terms almost as strong as Mr. Fox had dor>(
been explained." He should at least have said, nouncing it. He says "that an individual
"this is a menace, such as it is not usual in the di part of a public force, and acting under tlxc
plomatic correspondence between civilized and in rity of his Government, is not to be held aj
dependent nations, and I shall be glad if you will ble as a private trespasser or malefactor, u,
explain or reconsider the language employed." ciple of public law sanctioned by the u<»e<
For myself, said Mr. B. I hare no desire for war civilized nations and which the Governtnei
with England: so far am I from desiring it, that I United States has no inclination to dispute.
As actions speat louder than words, -^
would consent to sacrifice all but cur honor in
order to avoid it. But I think Mr. Webster to Mr. Webster do with this threatening letter

JIB m the face? With fiery expedition be has his the defence of McLeod; it having been imposed as
Attorney General on the way to Lockport; and I a duty on our Attorney General to see that "he had
ar.nii bol ihiak, from my personal knowledge of skilful and eminent counsel."
tilt officer, thai the mission on which he .v.v em
Now the-e ar« features in ;his transaction any
ployed co j ; not have been very agreeable to h-m. thing but creditable to our national character. I
He informs the Biitish Government at once, for think that sufficient decision and firmness have not
ft ought never to forset that the letter to Mr. been displayed by the Ametican Secretary of
Cfittenden is in substance the Secretary's answer Sta'e. It will ever prove a miserable policy to
io Mr. For, thai if it were in th» President's pow attempt to conciliate the British Government by
er to enter a nolle preaequi against McLeod, it concession. It w;s the maxim of General Jackson
sbmUl be done without a moment's delay. "If that, in oar foreign relations, we should ask only
this indictment," says he, "were pending in one what was right, and submit to nothing that was
of the Courts of the United S:at«s, I am directed to wrong; and, in my judgment, the observance of
ay that the President, upon the receipt of Mr. ihat maxim is ihe very best mode of preserving
rut".~ last communication, would have immedi peace. When a nation submits to one aggression,
ate!; directed a n*Me prosiqM to be entered." But a; another will soon follow. It is with nations as it is
iis was not in Mr. Webster's power, the Gover- with individual-. Manly and prompt resistance
wrofNew York was in the next place to be as will secure you from a repetition of insult.
sailed, in order to accsmplish the same purpose. If you yield once, you will be expected to
Mr. CriueaJen was informed thit he would ''be yield again, and then again, till at length there
iuraished wi;ii a copy of this insinuation, for the is no end to submission. 1 do not pretend
use of UK Executive of New.York and the Atior- that Mr. Webster has done wrong intention
aey General of that Stats." "Whether," says ally; all I mean to say is, that, in my judgment, he
toe Secretary, ia this case, "the Governor of New has not, in this instance, displayed a proper and
York ha ?e 'bat poorer, or, if he have, whether he beeonvng .flmmcan spirit. If' he hid waited a lit
»oaJJ feel it his duty to exercise it, are points upon tle longer before he prepared his instructions to
rhe Attorney Genera!; il he had taken time for re*ai<h we are not informed."
Bat ;V Governor of N-w York proved to be a I flection before he despatched that officer crusading
wry restive sabjec'. He felt no inclination what- to New Jfork, hi; conduct would probably have
{ver So enter a nolle proseq\d against McLeod. I been different. According to the practice of diplo
hare seen, somewhere, a correspondence between macy, a cnpy of thfse instructions was doubtless at
iat oScer and the President, but I cannot now once sent to Mr. Fox. It is certain that they were
iuuit. The tone of this correspondence on the j known to the British Government befoie the 6ih of
fart of the Governor evinced a spirit of deter- -May, because on that day they were referred to by
ained resis'ance to the suggestion of trie Secretary. Lird John Russell on 'he floor of the House' of
Tie Goveroor c 'mplained thit the District Attor- Commons as a document in possession of the BriMy of ih« Ua.trd S'a'es was acting as the counsel j tish Cabinet.
c.'McLeod. This, however, according to the ex- j I shall now offer a few remarks on the question
plaaaticn of the Piesident, happened by mere ac- of public law involved in this case, and then close
cdent, the Attorney having been retained as coun- what I have to say. I sincerely believe the Ad«el some time befou his appoit.tment. The corres- ministration of Mr. V<n Buren was perfectly corat all event', is sufficient to show that rect on this doctrine, as laid down by Mr. Forsyth.
Governor Seward did not participate in the views If I had fnund any authori'y to induce me to en
ud feelicgs of the Secretary of S'ate towards tertain a doubt on that poinr, I wou'd refer to it
UeLeod, am! we know th.it he did not approve of most freely. I now un lertakc tossy that the only
circumstance which has produced confusion and
ncl^t pnstijul in his ca>e.
BBC tie Avorney General of the United States doubt in the minds of well-intormed men on this
»as irmed r: h inductions from the Secretary of ; subject is, that they <io not make the proper disSta^e, to meet every contingency. If McLeod ' Unction between a s'a'e of national war and na
tes!; not be discharged by a nolle prosequi; if he 1 tional peace. If a nation be at war, the comrsand
a.'jtbe tried, then Mr. CnueDden was to consult! of the sovereign power to invade Ihe territory of its
d'i counsel, and furnish 'hem the cvi- enemy, and do battle there against any hostile
ma'erial to his defence, and he was even "to force, always jns'ifies the troops thus engaged.
-•ft ihat he 'aave iki!ful and eminent counsel, if| When any of the invaders are seized, they are
sach be not alreidy retained." It is no wonder j considered as prisoners of war, and as having done
ia: it appeared very strange to Governor Seward j nothing but what the laws of war justified them in
a Sad the authorities of the United States thus ac- doing. In such a case they can never be held to
arelvand ardently enzaged in defending McLeod, answer, criminally, in the courts of Ihe invaded
~bi]=t the anthoritifs of New York were enlisted country. That is clear. The invasion of an ene
my's territory is one of the rights of war, and, in
»rub equal v:sor in his prosecution.'
The de'esce of this man, who had no claim to all i;* necessary consequences, is justified by the
ptcaliar favor, eic^pt what arose from an earnest i laws of war But there are offences, committed
feiire to plea«e and .satisfy the British Govern-! even in open war, which the express command of
•ea', became the cbj;ct of the Secretary's pecu- the offender's sovereign will not shidd from exemr solicitude, and ;his, too, in the face of a plain. plary punishment. I will give gentlemen an ex<
ample. A spy wi'l be hum, if caught, even though
pabte menac? from that Government.
Tae next thing we might hear would be a bill of | ha acted under the express command of his sovefe.es against this Government for I reign. We might cite the case of the unfortunate

justice, and punish him. If he has escaped, and returned
Major Andre. He was arrested on his return from his
own country, she ouijhi to apply to his sovereign to ha1
an interview with Arnold, and, his life being in justice
done in the case."
danger, the British commander (Sir Henry Clinton,
Can
any thing in the world be clearer? Tt
I believe) made an effort to save him, by taking author puts
the case distinctly. The nation ii
upon himtelf the responsibility of the act. Bui al jured ought not to impute to the sovereign of
though he had crossed cur lines whilst the two na friendly nation the acts of its individual citizen
tions were in a state of open and flagrant war, in but if such friendly sovereign shall ncogni'e tt
obedience to instructions from his cocimsnder-in- acts
as his own, it then becomes a national coi
chief, yet Washington, notwithstanding, rightfully cein. But does such a reco°r,i ion wash away tk
hung him as a spy.
of the offender, and release him from tt
Now, let me tell whoever shall answer me, (if, guilt
punishment due to his offence under the jurisdi
indeed,any gentleman will condescend to notice what tion
of the country whose laws be ha? violate!
I have said—for it set-mi we on ihissideofihe Houes Let Vattel
answer this question. He says: "If ti
are to do all the ?)M ;. ;,i, •;. and they all the voting,)
offended Slate has in her power the individual U'fto .'.
that whilst all the modern authorities concur in de done
the injury, the may, \cithcut scivfle, Ining hi
claring that the law of nations protects individuals tojuitict and j-unish him." There is the dire(
when obeying the orders ol their sovereign, during plain, asd palpable authority. And here permit n
a state of open and flagrant war, whether it has been to add that I think I can ptove that, according
solemnly declared or not, and whether it be general sound
reasen, the principle ij correct; and that tl
or partial, ) et these authorities proceed r.o lurther. question would now be so derided by our court
But, to decide correctly on the implication of this even if the law of nations had been silent oa tl
principle in the case before us, we must recollect subject. This r.ot jmly is, but ought to be, il
that the two belligerents here were England on the principle of public law.
one hand and her insurgent sul jtct.. on ihe other,
Mr. Webster, in his letter to Mr. Fox of the 24
and that the United Stale* were a neutral power, in
perfect peace with England. But what is the ruie of April, tells the British Minister that the line
in regard to nations at peace with each othei1? This frontier wh,ch jepatates the United Stales from h<
is the question. As between such nations, does ihe Britannic Maje'tj's North American provinct
command of an infeiior officer of the one, to indi " is long enough to divide the whole of Europe in
viduals, to violate the sovereignty of the other, and bahei."
This is true enough. Now, by admitting tl
commit murder and arson, if afterwards recegnised
by the supreme authority, prevent the nation whose docttine ol Vstle-l to 'be incorrect tnd unfouncc
laws have been outraged from punishing the ot- on what cor.sequer.cts are we forceo1? I beg S.n
fenders7 Under such circumstances, what is the tors to consn;>ei this question. The lire which i
law of nations? The doc'rtne is la:d down in Vat- parates us liom the British po;sesMons is a !;;
tel, an author admitted to be o! the highest authori Ions enough to divide Europe into halves. He
ty on questions of international law; and the very ven knows I have no desiie to see a rebellion
question, totidem verbis, which arises in this case, Cai:ada, or the Canadian provinces am.exed tot!
is in his book stated at.d decided. He admits taat the United S'a'e'; but no event'in futurity i* mored
lawful commands of a legitimate Government, tain than that tb^e provinces ate destined to
whether to us troops or other citizens, protects them ultimately separated Irorn the British empire. I
from individual re;por..«ihiltty for hostile ?.cts done a civil war come, and let every McNab who shi
in obedence to such commands, whilst in a state then have any command in the Brif.sb posscsJso
of open war. In such a case, a prisoner of war is along this lo: g line be pttmitted to send a milits
never to be subjected to the criminal jurisdiction of expedition itr.o the territory of the Ur-iud Stall
the country within which he has been arrested whenever he shall believe or pre:er.d thai it v
But what is the law of nations in ie;ard to crimi aid in defending the loyal authority against thn
nal offences committed by ihe cit.'zens or subjects who ate misting it, a:,d war between Great B
of one power, within the sovereignty and jurisdic tain and the Umied fctaies bi conies inevitable.
tion of another, they being at peace with each British subject marauci:ng under the orders of 1
other, even it" these criminal ac:s should be recog superior officer on this s.de of the line is seized
nised and justified by the offender's sovereigii? the very act. .Well, what is to be ('.one?
This
This is
is Ihp
Ihe rasp
case nf
of ihp
ihe nanlnrp
capture onH
and ripclrn/»'inti
destruction nt
ol i pose we are to wait until we caa ascertain whetl
the Caroline. The sutjtct is treated of by Vattel, I his Government chooses to recognise his hostile
under the head " of the concern a nation B.ay have criminal act, before we can triUict upon him t
in the actions of her citizens," bork ii, chap. 6, punishment which be deserves for v:o';a ing our la'
page 161. I shall read sections 73, 74, and 75: If it should recognize his act, the jaii door is imB
'•However, as itis impossible, '' says tlie author, ' for the beet
diately lo be thrown open ; ihe oil'rnder, it may
regulated Slaie, or for the most vkiian; am! absolute sovereisn tbe murderer, takes his flight to Caneda, and i
to model at hia pleasuie all the actions of his subjects, and 'to
confine Ihem »n every occaeion to the moat exact nliediunce, il must settle the question with the Rnti-h Govet
would be unjuat to impute to the na'k.!i or tlie savereign every merit. Such is the docttiae advanced by the B
lauU committed by the citizens. \Ve oii^ht not, then, to say, tisli Government atd our own Secretary ofSia
in geneial. that we have received an injury from a nation, be
This principle woaid, as I say, lead us inevti
cause we have received it from one of its mem bets.
"Bui if a nation or its cniefappnvres and ratifies the act of bly into war with that power. What can be do
the individual, il then becomes ;i public concern, and the in
jured party is then loconaidtrlhe mlion a--* the real author of in a slate of wat? In that case, the laws of fl
the injury, of which the citizen was perhaps ouly the instru provide that person: invading our territory who i
ment.
"Ifthe offended State has in hffr potcer Ihe indiridtml irfto captured, shall be considered and treated as r
has done tfie injury, stie way, without acrujtte, bring him to soneis of war. But while the two couniries cc

ame_ at peace, a man taken in the flagrant act o own laws, wh'ch are never to be extended to the
:in-ion and violence cannot be made a prisone intercourse between nations at peace.
C'TU. McLei .:, however, is not lo be treated o
The principle assumed in Mr. Fox's lelier is welE
-j principle, and punished under our laws if b calculated
for the benefit of powerful nation*
x tailty, lest we should offend the majesty o againsi their weaker neighbors. (But in say
&?lan<L The laws of New York are to be null, ing ibis I do not mean to admit that we are a.
wl.acd the murderer is to run at large.
weak nation in comparison with England. W«
Bit if ihe principle laid down by Vatiel be soum do not, indeed, wish to go to war with her, yet &
u4 ;rae, all difficulty at once vanishes. If sue am confident in the b«lief that whatever we might
a offender be caught in ih? perpeiration of a cii suffer during ihe early period of such a contest
aita'. ac% he is thtn pnmshed for his crime. H would be amply compensated by our success be
os«:n ;o be tried for it at ieas', and then, if (her fore we reached the end of it.) But let me present
« any mitigatting circnmsiances in his case an exam pie.
:sf the sake of good neighborhood let him escape
Let us suppose thst ihe empire of Russia haar
«ftsr conviction, by a pardon. There wil
i« be no danger of war from this cause. Let me by her ride a ccnlerminons nation, which is compa
nTjjcse a Ci.se. Suppose Colonel Allen McNab ratively Wfak. A Russian Colonel, during a sea
iboald lake u into h:s head that there exists in the son of profound peace, passes over the boundary,
tV.ei Stales a c^n-piracy aga:ns! :he Briush Go and commits some criminal act against the citizens;
reiEmenu and should believe that he could unra of the weaker nation. They succeed, however, in
7el the vfccVe plot by seizins on the United State; seizing bis person, and are about to punuh hint
mail :n iis passage from New Y,-rk to Buffalo according lo the provisions of iheir own laws. Buc
H? place? hjQ>eli at the head of a party, come; immediately the Russian double-headed blact
»rer the hae. acd seizes and tobs the mail; but in eagle makes its appearance; a Russian officer saya
'JK ae: he n overpowered and arrested, and he is to the authorities of the weaker ration, stop; lake
;Ldic:<cj before a criminal court of the Unitec off your hands; you shall not vindicate jour laws
Sales. Will it be maittained, il ;he Brhiih and sovert ignly. We assume this man's crime as
GoTerBicett should say, we recognise the ad o a national act. What is ihe consequence? The
McNai :n robbinsr your mail as we have'alreadj rule for which Great Britain contends will in thiscaso
'sed lha! of his burning your steamb"a compel the injured nation, though th» weaker, to
ing yonr citizens, that Mr. Webster woulc declare war in the first instance against her Mrongec
ned in directing a nolle proseqvi to be enteret neighbor. But she will not do it; ihe wil! not be
come ihe actor, from the consciousness of her,
a ts favor, and thus suffer him tv go free?
Idc sot say thauhe British Government would weakness and the instinct cf self-pre-crvation.
w in this manner: but I put the ca.se as a fair il- Phis principle, if established, will enable the»
:i>irat>cn cl" ihe argument. There was one case in strong to insult the weak with impunity. ' But
»is-eli something very lika this might have hap- ake the principle as laid down by Vaii^l. The*
praed, and it was even ihought probable that it weaker nation defends Ihe majesty of her owrt
*;j'flj happen. It was reported that an expedition an-s by punishing the Russian subject who had
tai been planned to seize the person of McLeod, iolated them; and, if war is to ensue, Russia must
iac to carry him off to Canada; and I belhvc thai assume the responsibility of declaring it, in tho
i very diamgoished and gallant general in th ace of the world, and in an unjust cause, against
Ct;*d Sla'es servic", (Gen. Scott)—an officer for he nation whom :he has injured. It is said that
«Boai, m commc-n with his fellow-citizens, I cht- >ne great pnipose of the law of nations is to pror--jiioe highest respect and regard—went, in com- ect the weak against the strong, and never was
iasr with ibe Aforney General, lo Lockport; and liis tendency more happily illustrated than by,
r;»«s conjectured that he had received orders to bis very principle of Vatttl for which I am coa^
fcK McLeod aad defend the Lockport jail against ending.
a»j iceauioa of Sir Allan McNab or any other
ihtrefcre believe that the Secretary of State
?eno».
was as lar wrong in his view of international law,
Sapytw now that such an expedition had beon s in his haste to appea-e the British Government,1
ffi oc ;«K, ihat ii bad succeeded, aad that MtLfod i the face of a direct threat, by his instructions lot
had teen seized and carried off in triumph, ihe VIr. Critlenden. The communication of th«se in^i taii'D, being still in profound peace. The iructiens lo that Government, we know, had thet
*scoe cf a prisoner is a high criminal offence. esired effect. They went out immediately to>
Waii wcn'.d have been done wilh McNab if he England, and no sonner wtre they known on that
4*3 Tokntanly come wiihin our jurisdiction and i<le of the water, than in a moment all was calnx1
**» aaeved} Ifhecnuidbe indicted and irieri nd tranquil. The storm, portending war, passed}
«^i ?c£isbed before the Brilish Government should way, ami tranquil peace once more returned anot
«'e time to recognise his act, very well. But if mile J over the scene. Sir, the British Govern
«, thea, at the moment of such recognition, he ment must have been hard-hearted indeed, if a pe-|
L *-o.<i be no longer responsible, and must forthwiib us»l of those instructions did not soften them, anij
* icfree. The principk- cf Vattel, r ghtly under- fford them the most ample satisfac'ion. This*
toi, abfoltitely secures the lerriiorial severe gnty miable lemper will nev«r even be ruffled in the)
1 » MCI in lime of peace by permi ting them to ightest degree by the perusal of Mr. Webster's
fc all mvasinns of it in their own criminal etter to Mr. Fox, written six weeks afterward&J
**»8,andhu doctrine; eminently calculated lo "'he matter had all been virtual}- ended before its dateJ
Itarve peace among all nations. War has iis In the views I have now expressed I may ba

•wrong; but, as an American Senator, •without any
feeling on my part but such as I think every Ame
rican Senator ought to cherish, I am constrained to
aay that I cannot approve of the coarse pursued

by the Secretary of State in this matter, while, at
the same time, I hope and trust that no other occa
sion may arise, to demand from me a similar criti
cism OD the official conduct ot that gentleman.

Jn Senate, Tueidsy, Juiu 15, 1841—In reply to
Metsrs. RIVES, CHOATE.HONTINOTON, and PREV
TOK, on the motion of Mr. RIVES to refer so
much of the President's message as relaies to
our foreign affairs to the Committee on Foreign
Affairs.
Mr. BUCHANAN expressed bis thanks to the
Senate for their kind indulgence in permitting him
to address them this morning, instead of requiring
him to proceed at the late hour last evening when
the adjournment was made. He should endeavor
to merit this indulgence by confining himself to as
Irief a reply as possible to the observationi which
iiad been made in answer to his former remarks.
And first, : aid Mr. B. I cannot but feel highly
{ratified that the few remarks which I made in
opening this debate, were sufficiently potent to call
forth fuur such distinguished Senators in reply as
Ihose from Virginia, [Mr. Rims,] Massachusetts,
JMr. CHOATE,] Connecticut, [Mr. HDSTIXGTON,]
and South Carolina, [Mr. PRESTON.] In contend
ing against such an host, my only wonder is that I
have not been entirely demolished. Thanks be to
Providence, I am yet alive and ready for the con'!:<;•; and, what is of more importance, my argu
ments remain untouched, howtver ably they may
lave be-n assailed by the distinguished Senators.
The Senator from Virginia [Mr. RIVES] has
preached me a homily on the subject of my party
ieelings. I acknowledge myself to be a pany man;
and whj? For the very same reason, I presume,
•which has, also, made ihe S.-nator irom Virginia
3L party rt>.n. I sincerely believe that the very
test interests of the country are identified wiih the
principles and involved in the success of my party;
and he doubtless entertains a similar opinion in
legard to the party to which he belongs. Bat he,
of all men, ought to be the last man in this Stna'e
1o read me such a lesson. Is he no party man
himself? This he will not pretend. I think I may
•with confidesce appeal to the Senate to deci.ie
•whether he is not, at the vtry Uasl, as strong and
ardent a party man as myself.
In regard to our foreign relations, I have ever
studiously avoided, as far as this was possible, th;
influence of party feeling. I have determined, on
this subject, to be of no party but that of my coun
try; and if I know myself, I should rather have
applauded, if that had been possible, than con
demned the conduct of the Secretary of Slate
in his recent transactions with the British Govern
ment. The commentaries which I have made on
his instructions to the Attorney General, I felt my
self called upon to make as an American Senator,
ealous of kis country's honor.
The Secretary's head would have been turned
long ago, if the incense of flarcry cnuld have pro
duced this fflVct. Each of the four Senators has
indulged in an ercess of eulogy upon him. As if
no one mortal man could be justly compared with
him, he has been almost deified by comparing him

with the whole Roman Senate. The Senator from
Virginia has informed us that the Secretary will
deliver up McLeod to the British Government, as
the Roman Senate sent back the murderers of their
embassadors to King Demetrius, determined like
them to avenge the insult offered to his country, nol
upon the head of aay subordinate agent, but of the
sovereign himself. We shall see hereafter the
justice of this parallel.
I have been for many years acquainted with the
distinguished author of the instructions to Mr. Grittenden. For condensation of thought and of expreision, and for power of argument, that gentle
man is not surpassed by any man ia this country
But will these qualities alone make him a grea
practical statesman? No, sir, no. To be such i
statesman, he m-.-i ba powerful in actions as wel
as in arguments— In deeds as well as in words. H(
must possess the clear and sound judgment—th<
moral firmness, and the self-reliance necessary
decide »nd to act, with promptness and energy, ii
any crisis of political affairs. The Secretary is no
the man whom I should select for my leader ii
times of difficulty and danger.
In the might;
storms which shake empires, he is not the mal
whom I should place at the helm to steer the shi
of Slate in safety through the raging billows. Ni
ture generally distributes her gifts with an impai
tial hand. Some she endows with great powers <
eloquence, and others with great powers of actioi
but. she seldom combine3 both in the same ind
vidual. Demosthenes himself, the greatest of on
tors, fled disgracefully at the battle (I think) <
Cheror.sBa, and afterwards accepted a bribe; wb.il
Cicero w.i • timid and irresolute by nature, ac
was, even in ihe opinion of his own friends, uni
for great action*. I would not attribute to the S
crelary that want of courage and firmness whi<
was so sinking in Demosthones and Cicero; and
present these examples merely for the purpose >
proving that great powers of ratiocina'ion do n
alone make great statesmen, fitted to act upon
ing occasions. In leaving the Senate, '.he Secret
ry has, I think, left his proper theatre of actio
Should we be involved in serious difficulties' wi
England, I doubt whether he will ever be as co
spicuout in tbe field of diplomatic action, as
has b»en in the field of debate. His is not one
those master minds which can regulate and cont.
events.
I shall now mum to the subject of debate a
shall spend no more time upon it than may
absolutely necessary to reply to the few poii
made by those who have, with sach eloquen'
heaped eulogy upon eulosy on the Secretary,
stead of refuting my arguments.
There are somi important principles on wh:
the fuur Senators and myself entirely agree. A
in the first place, they all coincide with ir,e in
eard to the enormous outrage committed on (
national sovereignly by the capture and destr

'ibe-Caroline." We aUJagree that this was
I* trccious invasion 01* oar rights as a free
l jdfptndeat nation. Aa American vessel,
|-*:»y American citizen;, and lying wiihin
r « waters icder the protection of our own u.r/,
ks:~n seized by a band of volunteer marauders
tc i.'pper Canada, has been set on fire, and with
ksumcd and murdered citizen, on board—the
«»i'h the dead—has been sent headlong down
idiadt'ol precipice of Niagaw. We all agree
i! nis was one of the greatest outrages ever
•niutd by the subjects of one independent na
ff aeimst the sovereignly and the citizens of
wfctr.
U ik«re, then, any principle »f national law
,' neb resistless power that it will rescue
Kaurdsrers from trial and punishment when
fffsed wi;hin the jurisdiction of the sove?n SIM where their crimes hav« been cum: ftil C»a ihe perpetiators of this barbarity
i claimei by their Government, and upon its
• ^jaeLi assamption of their responsibility
i; taeir gniit, most they be released and perc 'ei to ?o (rte by virtae of any imperative man•tcf the.'awof aationil Toe British Govern
or ica lae American Secretary of Siate have
tTfrfd ;his question in the affirmative; whilst I
3;'. I iiiil be able to prove that the best writers
t picljclaw.ai well as both reason and justice,
i't tapered it in the negative.
i.', I djiire to pay a deserved compliment both
i it i-jnmeai of the Senator from Massachuis, {Kr, CHOITI.] and to the feelinzs displayed
( ka broHgboni nis remarks. It was his first
pvjracce in debate here, and judging of others
Fajieil', I must say, that those who have lis
ted k> aim once will be anxious to hear him
Ot 4« treat principle of international law in
itial 12 this case, the Senator and myself enfyvnt. Indeed on 'his point there is no conn«y of opinion between myself and any of the
w'« who have repiied to me, unless it may be
f Ssistor from Virginia. In my opening re
nts! -aid down the principle in as broad terms
fc> of them have used. I freely admitterl, that
' ae Bodern authorities concurred in declaring,
>t &t !iw of nations protects individuals from
mhMt in the conns of an invaded country,
a-is committed there, in obidienee te ike
tir tier, sovereign, during a state oj
r, tsi that, too, vkeUur this ufar hat been
(M.'J itrltred or not, and toktther it be general or
&& Wax has its own laws, and* such indi'•»'?. ii seized, can only be held as prisoners ol
• Tiey cannot be punished. Upon thi? priniti'ke law of nations we all agree. It is
M.'U ippiieation to the circumstances of the
•mease, and upon that alone, that we differ.
I talk I shall satisfy the Senate that no war of
rtad, under the law of nations, existed be*i Great Britain and the United States, in con•aet of the attack upan the Caroline; and that
capture of this vessel was not an act of war.
•1 then conclusively establish, frrm the very
krities cited by the Senaior?, that the perpetra'i this outrage are liabl; to be tried and puItlin ihe criminal courts of New Yurk, |

If no war existed between the two nations,
then, according to the argument of the Senators
themselves, M'Leod can ecjoy no immnnity from
trial and punishment. Was. the capture of the
Caroline then an act of war) I answer not. And
why? Became no power on earth, except it be the
snpteme sovereign power of a nation, can make
war. Nay, more; no other power can even grant
letters of marque and reprisal. The Senate will un
derstand that I speak of offensive war, such as the
capture of the Caroline must have been, if it were
war at all. I admit that any appropriate autho
rity on the spot, from the necessity of the case,
may repel invasion, and thus make defensive war.
What does Vattel say upon this subjeeil He de
clares that "war, undtr Hie laic of natiora, can never
be waged by any but the tmereign power of a State,—
Vattel, page 291.
And again, in page 393, he says:
"The right of making war, as we have shown in the first
chapter ofthis book, solely belongs 10 the sovereign power,
which not only decides whether ii be proper lo undertake the
war. and 10 declare it, but likewise direcinall its operation*, is
circumcancet of the utmost importance to the safely of tba
State. Subjects, therefore, cannot nf ttitmaelrea take any
sttps in this affair; nor are tftf.y allowed to commit any act
oj hostility miltioul orders from their sovereign."

The;e elementary principles, necessary lo pre
vent nations from being involved in the calamities
of war by every rash adventurer, or by any authority
short of the sovereign power, are laid down by Rutherfurih as well as Vattel, and every other writer
on the law of nations. They are so simple and so
consonant to human reason, that I shall read no
other authority to establish them.
That there may be no escape from the argument,
permit me to read a sentence or two from the fa
vorite author of the Senators, (2 Rutherfonh's In
stitutes, 5U7,) to show what is the nature of public
war.
"Public war," says he, "is divided into perfect and imper
fect. The former sort is more usually called solemn, accordin? to the law of nations, and the latter unsolemn war. Grotius
defines pei feet or solemn war to be such public war an i» declar
ed or proclaimed."
"Unsolemn
or imperfect wars between nations, Ihat is, such icara as na
tions carry on againttont another tcilhout declaring or
proclaiming them,tftougft they (ire public tears, are seldom
called vars at ail; they art more, usually known by the
name of reprisals or atla ofhostility-"

Thus me Senate will perceive that whether the
war be solemn or unsolemn, perfect or imperfect,
it is still public war, and such as "nation? alone
can carry on against each other." It would be
vain to declare that the sovereign power alone can
wage solemn war, if you permit individuals,
without its authority, to make reprisals or commit
acts of hostility. Suffer them to do this, and they
can involve ihcir nation in a general war, not only
without ihe consent, but in opposition to the will of
the sovereign power.
Having thus established, by the highest authori
ty, that public war, whether perfect or imperfect,
can a! ji;e b2 waged by the command of the nation
or sovereign power; let us proceed lo inquire
whether the capture of the Caroline was an act of
public war by Great Britain against the United
States.
Will it be pretended by any person, that this in
vasion of our territory was authorized or rommandet! by the sovereign power of Great Britain? Certsinly not. The expedition which crossed ihe Nia
gara, captured the Caroline, and committed the

10
murder wiih which McLeod stands charged, was
neither authorized nor commanded to make war
on the United States by the Government of Eng
land. This act of hostility was authorized alnne
by Colonel McNabb of the Canada militia, and
not by dueen Victoria, or even the supreme pro
vincial Government. It was undertaken suddenly
by a bacd of volunteer marauders, who neither knew
nor cared what was ihe object of the expedition.
On the recent argument of this case before the Su
preme Court of New York, the Attorney General
of that Stale, as appears from ihe Herald, "read
a despatch of Governor Head to Lord Glenelg, the
British Colonial Secretary, from "Head's Narra
tive," p?-ge 377—80. The letter was dated 9ih Fe
bruary, 1838. This letter showed the nature of
the aitack, and that it was composed of volunteers,
who embarked in ignorance of the precise object ol
the expedition—Caplain Drew, who led on the
attack, merely obtaining men who "would follow
hiitt to the Dnil." I regret lhat I could not procure
ihis bock. Ii has not yel btru received in ihe Con
gressional Library. No object was avowed or
even intimated by Captain Drsw. Cr.nseious lhat
he was about to embaik in an unlawful and unjus
tifiable expedition, he concealed his purpose from
his followers. Fifty or sixty desperate banditti
agreed to follow him to the Devil; and on that
night they committed arson and murder upon the
soil, and within the sovereign jurisdiction of the
Staie of New York. And yet, in order to save
McLer d from the punishment due to his crimes,
Senators have been compelled to contend that this
lawless afack was an act of public war committed
by Greai Britain again t this country. Unless they
can establish this position, their who* argumen
Einks into nothing.
Now, sir, if there never had been a book written
upon the subject of national law, could such a
principle be maintained for a single moment?
Reason would at once condemn ihe idea, that such a
marauding expedition, suddenly undertaken by an
inferior officer, was public war. No, sir; n< : there
was no war between Great Britain and the United
States; and it follows as a necessary con«- qnence
that every man engaged in this murderous attack
upon a vessel lying within the peaceful waters of
the sovereign State of New York, is amenable to
her criminal laws.
On this point, I shall presently show that the authorilies are clear and decided. And here permit
me to observe that the Senator from Massachu
setts did me no more than justice in supposing that
I ha I intentionally omitted to cite Grotius, for the
purpose of proving that individuals engaged in all
public wars, except such as are denominated so
lemn, might be arrested and punished for ttirir acisunder ihe laws of ihe country which they invaded.
Grotious, in more places than oue, has asserted this
principle. Whether there was not more humanity
in this ancient doctrine than in that which prevail:
at present, I shall not attempt to decide. Accord
ing to it, nations were compelled to make a public
and solemn declaration of war, and thus gave
notice to their enemy and all mankind nf the com
mencement of heslilitie.1 ; otherwite such wars were
«xt«rnally unlawful, and subjects were liable to
punishment for obeying the commands of their

sovereign. Bat I cheerfully admit that the la
nations has changed since the time of Grolius,
lhat this immunity from individual punithi
now exiends to public wars of the unsolen
imperfect kind which are preceded by no tiec
lion.
But what is ihe consequence if the membe
a nation make reprisals, or commii acts of hosi:
as Ccl. McNabb and Captain Drew have d
without the amhouty of :he sovereign power!
they, in such a case, protected from punuhi
(or their criminal acis in ihe couns of the
whose laws they have violated? Let Rmher]
answer this question, (vol 2, p. 548.)
•'Thirdly: Grotiua confines the external lawfulness otw
done in a war, which is internally unjust, to solemn wars
whereas the external lawfulness in respect of the memn
a civil s.-c iety extends to public ware of the imperfect t
acts of reprisals or to other acis ol'hos'.ilny. Byzinngiho
of public war to reprizals or other acts ofhnsiility, »hi<
short of beins solemn ware.I suppose the reprisals to bf ml
the acaof hostility to he conlnii(teJ/jy;/i£nK//«OTiyy o/o ra
though it has not solemnly declared wur. for (/''/it ?>«i
of the naliontnake reprisals, or commit acts ofhostility
out bcingthus authorized: they are not ultder the pnili
of the law of nations: ai they act ttpaiately by tilth
Till, so th'y are teparatily accountable to the nalim, aj
'fhitfi Iffy act."

Now, sir, here is McLeod's very case in so
ny words. Human ingenuity cannot escape ]
it. Thote who commit acts of hostiliiy, wil
the auihority of ihe nation to which they be]
are punishable by the nation against wh ch
ad. No man can pretend to say that this
uight incursionjof desperate banditti who Idle
Caplain D;ew, acted under the command of
sovereign power of England. They were v<
teer?— they acted upon their own authority;
McLeod boasted lhat be was one of this nun
Under the very authority read by the Senator i
Massachusetts himself, oj they acted separati
their own will, and without the authority of llu
liih nation, so they art stparately accountable ;
State of New York ogoinsi which thty acted.
then is the principle upon which we stand,
therefore, McLeod committed the murder i
buted to him, within the territorial jurifriictifl
New Yotk, under every law, both human ac
vine, he ought there lo be punished for his olif
On the question of national law, I might si
rest here. I have conclusively shown that Ccl
McNabb, of his own authority, could no! jt
war in behalf of Great Britain against ihe Ui
Stater; but I shall go one step further, and pr(
an authority, which would ?eem almost 10!
been intended for ibis individual case. It *i
found in 2d Ruthejrforlh's Institutes, fa?es
497, 498, &c. The questions there answered
Can any interior magistrate make war 3 or i
war proceed from the supreme magi-itraie 2
auther, after having treated the subject at s
length, and proved lhat no inferior magisi
whether of a civil or military characler, can
fully make war, concludes with the following
guage :
" Upon the whole, whatever liberty we have to us« »«
what sense we please; the law ol nations will call no'
public one, unless ilproceeds on both parts from thwe ir
inrestetl irifh supreme fKcutitc power; for in 1M T
Una law no otfif.r magistrates hare a public cA«;rt«l
respect a/ war."

It would be a monstrous doctrine, that everj
ty British magistrate along the Canada line,

11
ifjosare or his caprice, involve this couniry against their masters and exciting a servile insurv n;h Great Britain. If he can authorize rection—is such an emissary not to be held accoun
a adventurers to make such an incursion table 10 the laws of this State for hi: acts, because
Ctptain Drew has done, he may license the British Government, whore subject he is, may
cuobters, and mat derers, to invade our bo¥- have authorized the suppression of tlavery in this
iii »!i«r they have been guil'.y of the great- cruel manner? Although blood and assassination
:. miles, may demand their surrender, and may follow in im footsteps, yet must be, when ar
e asm from punishment, by casting the re- rested and brought before a court of justice to an
;.irjnpoa ha Government.
swer for his crimes, be .surrendered lo his sovereign
•Bbfequtnt approbation of the offender's the moment his surrender is demanded?
a: Kt by his sovereign can relieve him from Mr. Rives here explained. He said that such
tent It is ihe existence of ac.uil war, was not the position for mhich he contended. He
4: crime was commiued, and ihat only, had not intended to say more than thai military in
3 coald eonsiitn:e his defence. I, Uerefore, vasions were recognised by national law as reliev
'.; «j«e with the Senator from Massachu- ing the invaders from punishment.
£ tit principle that if McLeod had been a
Mr. BUCHANAN. Probably I may have mi-taken
:• .n public war, the proof of this fact alone the gentleman in supposing ihat thi principle foe
i:»iif7e aim from punishment. The subse- which he contended wa«, ihat ihe sovereign power
: iier.'ereoce uf his sovereign in h'S behalf under which an individual acted, and not ihe indi
::: Mcesiary. Whilst I admit this, I consider vidual himself, was responsible, no matter whether
ulij eltar, ihat if war did not eiist between he were employed as a military or a civil agent to
fo r.a';.oub, ibis interference coulcl not with- accomplish the designs ot his Government. I cerfiim from the penalty of ihe law; which he laii.iy understood the Senator distinctly to say, that
io'a'ed. Ic is th: lact of the existence of the authority cited by me from Valtel would pre
tad tot ins imemrence of the B'ilish sove- vent the States of ihis Union from punishing any
, OQ vhiefa the decision of McLeod's case nfienee committed within their territories by a fo
reigner, piovidcd his conduct w«ie afterwards
feperai.
trtry case of a c'ime committed within our sanctioned by the t>fleni!ei's sovereign.
'.7 by a foreigner, except only in actual war,
Mr. RIVES. Such I understood to be the mean
r.cciple applies which 1 cited from Vattel in ing of Vattel. I did not read the pas-age myself.
,'ia^g remarks. The State or na:ion whose Vattel is mistaken io this particular. I defined my.
tire been outraged, alwajs punishes the argument as being applicable to tnilitaiy aggres
!er. If the sovereign of Ihe nation to which sion only.
lotfs should approve or ratify his criminal
Mr. BUCHANAN. Then, sir, it teems that Vat
: be laagnage of Vattel, "it then becomes a tel is wrong in this particular; but I have ihe pleacciiacein against_such sovereign."
But
this
_ -.from bringing
. .
jsure
of knowing
from Virginia
i-c prevent the offended, S.ate
j
. fc «' that
( the
whSenator
h underslands
?0 be
.aLUi.!0_^:tICA^^r.h.er_°.W.n.Uw-: ..?,h.1S the opinion of this great author. But Vattel is not
mle between nations at peace. It applies
subject lo the Senaior's criticism. On the
T 5 he case of McLeod; Decause when the fairly
contrary, he is Ihe highest authority for the opinion
t: vai committed with which he is charged, wh;ch we now both entertain. He lays it down
T-ranee, we have been at peace with Eog- that the sovereign aggrieved may punish any such
1 had not supposed that any Senator would offence committed within his territory; and it is no
.rrn ihii rale; because upon its existence de- where intimated ihat hi arm shall be arrested,
-bt sorereijniy and independence of i.z- whenever a foreign sovereign choose* to recognise
li the daeen of England or the King of
rock, in time of peace, can send emissaries the act.
We then agree that if, in time of peace, an ofcountry to excite insurrection; and if.
el in crimes against our laws, the fo- fsnce be committed wiihiu the territory of a nation,
«te:5n can rescue them from punishment no authority whatever can screen the offender from,
their conduct, we are then no longer ihe penalty inflicted by its laws. The Senator ad
ndependent within out own leinlo- mits that war, and war alone, can render these so-,
// / Utierstood the Senator from Virginia vereign laws impotent. But even in war a cap
BJTZS] correeily, he contended that, under tured foldier is not to be delivered op on the de
•') tjiaority which I had citsd frjtn Vattel, mand of his Government. He is to be held as a
prcperiy understood, the recognition of any prisoner of war; and if McLeod were in that condi
:A! aci of a fjreigrier within our jurisdiction tion, Mr. Fox would have no right, under the law
ivjTereign, would release ihe offender from or nations, to demand his release, though he might
»:: pjaiihtneDt in our courts of justice. justly protest against his punishment.
But as neither Colonel McNabb nor Captain DrewH.S ;ecognitioa the prison djors must fly
• ltd eren ih: murderer escape. I cannot could authorize any act of hostility against the
'-'• i ar»ue Ihis proposition; but I shall pre- United States, no war existed; and an imaginary
• ae Senator an example of what might war has been conjured up by gentlemen as a last
'BOOT own country if hU doctrine wete cor resort, to rescue McLeod from danger, and to jus
tify the Secretary of State in yielding to the de
• ?v<t the Governor of Jamaica should send mand of the British Government. No case, then,
into one of our Si'tilhern State:: for exist*, to justify the demand of McLeod's release;
of iDflaming the pa>sions of the slaves »nd the State of New York has a perfect right to

12
punish him for any offence committed within her
jurisdiction.
When I addressed the Senate before, I expressed
an opinion that McLeod was not present at the
capture of the Caroline. On examining the evi
dence, however, which was recently presented to
the Supreme Court of New York, Ifind sufficient
testimony to render it probable that I may have
t>een mistaken. Among olher testimony, a wit
ness deposed that on the morning after the destruc
tion of the Caroline, he had met McLeod at a ta
vern in Chippewa, who then boasted that he had
killed "one damned Yankee" in that expedition,
and, pointing 10 his sword, said "there's his blood."
I hope this was only bis own vain boasting, and
that he was not in realiiy so bad as his vanity
prompted him to pretend to be. On the question of
his guilt or innocence, I now desiie to express no
cpinion.
The Senator from Massachusetts is mistaken in
his application of the established principle of the
law of nations regarding volunteers to the case ot
McLeod. It is certain that volunteers who enter
the military service of another country for the pur
pose of acquiring skill in ihe art of war, are, when
taken by the ..-nemy, to be treated as if they belong
ed to the army in which they fight. This is the
principle laid down by Valtcl. Such a volunteer
is entitled to all ihe rights and privileges which
•war confer?, to the »ame extent as though he were
a citizen or subject ot the nation whose forces he
has joined. But is this ihe case of McLeod? In
order to make it such, the Senator must first prove
that war existed bet ween this country and England,
and that, being ihe citizen of another country, that
individual voluntarily joined the British army.
The Senator from Massachusetts has put a case
calculated to sflect our feelings. How hard would
it be, says hr, lor a man to be aroused from his bed
at midnight, to be torn from the arms of his wife
and young child, and commanded, upon bis alle
giance, to join an invading force; and then, after
having acted under this compulsion, to be subjected
to punishment if made a prisoner of war ! But
this, all must perceive, is a mere fancy sketch, and
has no application to the ca?e of McLeod. His
was a voluntary offence—there was no command
—no compulsion. He was a volunteer, and was
instigated by his own evil impulses alone to jcin
the expedition, and comra it the crime of murder,
for which, according to the law of nations, if he
should be found guilty, be has forfeited his life to
the offended laws of New York.
The object of all human punishment is to pre
vent crime; and it is ceiuin that such lawless at
tacks on the sovereignty of an Independent nation
•will be most effectually prevented, it the persons
engaged in them know that they will certainly be
punished under the_laws of the nation which they
have attacked. This is the clear principle of pub
lic law. When you arrest any such assailant,
•who has voluntarily invaded your territory, and wil
fully taken the life of one of your citizens, mercy
teaches you that yon oupht to hang him for mur
der, as an example to all others who might be wil
ling to offend in the same manner. If this were
your known determination, we should never more
suffer from such lawless expeditions as that of

Captain Drew. We should thus save our
from murder and rapine, and the two natio
all the horrors and cruelties of actual wa
side of the question is that of true hu
The punishment of a single offender at I
would thus save the lives of thousand: of i
victims hereafter.
Oar Government ought to have taken a
stand upon this principle. I regret that th
not done it. Let an insurrection again br
in Canada, and we shall reap the bitter t
the Secretary's blunder. The inferior ofi
the British Government all along the bor
be sending expeditions acrois oar frcatiei
will plunder and murder our citizens, ui
pretence of defending their Canadian po;
against the attacks of the insurgent.-. Tbii
done, if for no other purpose but that of ui:
their zeal and devotion to their sovereign,
ample of the capture of the Caroline, and
HIT:-, rewards, and approbation which ha
bestowed upon the captors, will animate
undertake similar enterprises.
Had the Secretary of State firmly resi:
demand of the British Government to si
McLeod, and let it be known that those enj
such enterprises should always be pnnishe
our laws, we should have experienced nc
difficulty.
Even if McLeod had been a regular sol<
acted under the command of his superior
this would not have relieved him from put
under our laws; although it might have
strong appeal to our feelings of mercy. -1
many instances on ihe records of British
justice, in which soldiers have been held ji
for disobeying the illegal commands of tl
cers. In such a case as that of the incu^
our territory for the purpose of capturing ••
line, they might have said we will follow
battle any where against the enemies of o
try, but we shall not obey your comm;i
vade a neutral and friendly nation, •will
our sovereign is at peace. In such a case,
that it would be much more just to punish
cer who gave the command than the salt
obeyed, though in regard to the question c
there would be no difference.
The case, imagined by the Senator from
chuiells would be a hard one; bur there is
ship of that kind in the case of Mc.Leod.
vaded our territory of his own accord—'
mined to follow Captain Drew to the dev:.
ought not to prevent him from reaching
of destination. If it should appear on
that he was tha murderer of Durlee, he ot
hung. The judgment of all mankind v
prove the sentence, and the whole civiliz
would -ay amen to this act of justice.
[Mr. BENTON from his seat here ?aid " ,
Even Sir Robert Peel, h;gh Tory as he
'ate debate in ihe House of Common.*, did
demn the conduct of the authorities of Ni
towards McLeod. On the contrary, he
that he would give no opinion whatever n
his arrest and imprisonment.
Having thus endeavored to demonstrat
principle of public law required the Sec

a surrender McLeod on the demand of the
i j.i«anw:n', we now come to the most imIpoiu of the discussion; I refer to the Secreudnet and bearing throughout the whole
cc.
cast fouanate in having such an advocate
Seaar irom Virginia. The devoted friendjitch appears to exist between these gentleIRaiads oae of the language of the poet.
in
~Two bodie* with one aoul inspired."
.'Sesaior has pronounced a truly brilliant en• oiks friend, the Secretary. Let us inquire
SIR 4at«u\oey is justified by the facts.
heaoage has been committed on, our national
KeuRy ia tine of peace—an outrage of such
tgrtvated character as to have justified an
eelaK declaration of war on oar pan; and
u bate «e been loUl by the British Minister?
istanjasticf, he has never, like Senators on
i'oi, tkjii'fndtil ihat McLeod ought to be snrdered, tetwise lie capture of the Caroline was
act of vat against ike United State?. This was
aim thought to save the Secretary from conisalioi for yieidiBg to the demand of the Bri
i Gorerament. It u ridicolous to pretend that
rtXBJeri between the two countries. Mr. Fox
His to eo net) subterfuge. On the contrary, > i >
u vt can ascertain his view;, the justifies the
njE upon a principle which no American Se
tt woakJ dare to defend. He has very modestitfsraed as, in substance, that wo were too
MM; to preserve oar neutrality in the civil war
Efc fured in Canada, and ibat, therefore, it
aar Eteesory for her Majesty's Government
KrfctB tts daty for as. To ase his own mild
1 eaftrate language—
r> sxt "ijftf tie Teacl <the Caroline) wai destroyed
H2j^>fcj a LTUC, within the territory of a friendly
tt ir -Jst 1rvrvi\j power had been depiireil through orerM roaaca! noieaee, of the UK of IK proper authority
[tut^ctcon of territory.''

fajaore, he justifies this invasion of our terit by aUading to the examplt of Gineral Jack^firing the Florida war. But is there any
ii*l Between th< two cases?
fke Spanish authorities in Florida honestly con
ed laat .bey had not sufficient power to restrain
i Iiian= irom crossing our frontier and cornSag depredations on our territory; and it was
•Kid after this humiliating confession had been
if, laas General Jackson pursued these Indians
«! cm fine into the Spanish territory. This
> Kl d«ae until we could say to the Governor
fcnia- Von acknowledge that you cannot comw.Ji tae stipolations of the treaty between us,
eirjtfeach party to restrain the Indians within
i own Units, by force, from committing bosti• aeainst the other party, and, therefore, the
tecisi law of self preservation justifies us in
taming that duty for you. Besides, the terrir«f the Setainoles was wild and unsettled, ami
itei Boainally under the jurisdiction of Spain.
b< yet the British Minister compare; the Go»s»at cf the United States and the State of
• York to the Colonial Spanish Government,
«* was too feeble even to protect itself, and
tia the capture and burning of the Caroline
I Border of Darfee by (he example of General

Jackson in pursuing the barbarous Seminolei
across the Spanish line!
Thus stood the question when Mr. Fox addressed
the official communication of the British Govern
ment to the Secretary of State on the Id h March
last. Now, Senators may talk as much as they please
about the high tone assumed by Mr. Webster in his
letter of the 24tb April; but the whole question be*
tireen the two Governments had been virtually
ended on the 15th March, when Mr. Webster an
nounced to Mr. Fox his determination to comply
with the demands of the British Government, so
far as that was in his power. This annunciation
was made by delivering to Mr. Foi a copy of the
Secretary's instructions to the Attorney General.
The British Government, after having kept one
remonstrance, in the case of the Caroline, before
them unanswered for three yearn, put their vela
upon it, and said in substance to Mr. Webster, "we
justify the act." In the late debate upon this sub
ject in the House of Commons, Loru John Russel
proclaimed to the werld that Lord Palmerston had
informed the A,merican Minister at Loadon "that
the 11 rillsh Gtttrnment hod jtutificd the deitruclton of
Ike Caroline." On this question, it does not appear
that they even granted us a hearing. Our able
and eloquent remonstrance, sustained as 'it was by
abundant testimony, was disposed of in half a sen
tence; and Mr. Webster was barrly informed ibat
this outrage was a justifiable employment of force.
The British Government thus, in effect, declared, in
their letter to the Secretary, that they approved of
what McLeod had done; and they assumed the re
sponsibility of the outrage, even to the sending the
Caroline adrift, with living men en board, to be
swept over the falls of Niagara.
. In common civility, they ought to have confined
themselves to the simple demand of McLeod 's sur
render upon the principle avowed in Mr. Fox's
communication, and left our remonstrance against
the capture and destruction of the Caroline for t'utuie negotiation. This question would then have
been left open, and our Secretary would have bad
a pending subject on which to wri'e his April let
ter. But such a course would not have comported
with the character of this proud and arrogant mo
narchy.
The communication then proceeds to reiterate
the demand of McLeod's surrender, and threatens
us with the serious consequences which must fol
low our refusal. How have the Senators on the
opposite side treated this plain and palpable threat?
The Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. CBOATB]
did not allude to it at all; and this was his most
prudent course. The Senator from ConnectianC
[Mr. HUNTINGTOII] explainedit away in a summarymanner, by stating that the serious consequences
to which Mr. Fox alluded in his letter were not
war against the United State?, but simply those
which would result from disputing what he deemed
a settled point in the law of natioas! The Sena
tor himself could not forbear from smiling, whilst
placing this construction upon the threat. This
example shows how certainly even a gentleman oC
great ingenuity must be lost, whenever he attempts
to explain away clear and plain language convey
ing a direct and precise meaning. This threat can'
never be explained away by any human ingenuitjr

14
Sir, it was w« who had canse to threaten—it
was we who ought to have demanded from the
British Government the surrender of IBS captors
of the Caroline and the murderers of American
citizens on that fatal expedition, that they might be
tried and puniihed under the laws which tl.ey had
•violated. We owed it to ourselves and to our
character before the world to make this demand
the very moment when the British Government
rfirst justified the onlrage 10 Mr. Webster. Bat in
stead of in: , when one of there miserable bandiis
•was arrested within our territory upoa his own
boastful acknowledgment that he was guilty, the
British Government at once interpose to save him
from trial and from punishment; and they, instead of
us, become the actors. The British minister, in
effect, tells Mr. Webster, "we cannot rtgard the
Tights of your ^vereign and independent States; it
is the Government of ibe United Stales which we
Jiold responsible; we therefore demand of you the
release of McLeod from the custody cf the Slate of
New York, ami wcenireal you deliberately to con
sider the serious consequences which must follow
from yourretu?al."
Mortal man, in civil life, never had a more g!oTious opportunity of distinguishing himself than
•was presented to the American Secretary of Slate
on this occasion. Had he then acted as became
the great nation whose representative he was, he
would have won ihe gratitude of his country and
enrolled his name among our most illustrious
statesmen. The opinion of mankind would have
justified a high one on his part towards the British
Government; and I verily believe that such a tone
•would have been the most effectual mode of pre
serving peace between Ihe two nations. We had
drunk th« cup of forbearance to its last dregs, and
•we ought then to have du-p'ayed a little of tbat pa
triotic indignation which the conduct of the British
Government wa« so well calculated to excite. A
small portion of the spirit of the elder William Pin
•would have impelled the Secretary to pursue the
proper and polnic course tor his country as well as
for his own fame.
The British Government ought to have been
told that we could never yield to a threat. They
ought to have been told by the American Secreta
ry, "yon must first withdraw this threat before we
eandoeventl.at which we belive lobe justice." This
is the conduct whirh honorable men pursue to
wards each oiher, and it is the conduct required
from a gr-at nation by the public opinion of the
jrorld.
Although this is the tone which the Secretary
ought to have a^umedj yet I might have forgiven
him even if he had taken as higb ground as was
occupied by his own political friends in the Legis
lature of New York, before they knew of the ex
istence of the threat. The position which they
assume, in th«ir address to the people, is "that the
subject of Methods' gnilt or innocence is one ex
clusively belonging 10 the court and jury of the
State; that, like all "ther persons accused of crime,
be must have a fair nial, enjoy a legal deliverance,
if innocent, and >uffer the punishment of his
crimes if guilty; an I 'hat neither the British Go
vernment, nor '.he Government of the United
States, nor the Government of this Siate, ooghj to

be allowed to interfere in any manner wit!
the regular course of legal proceeding: in
case."
An answer such as this would at leait
raved us from disgrace. But, sir, what wi
course of the Secretary? In relation to it, I
not now repeat what I have said on a f<
occasion.
After admitting in the strt
terms that McLeod ought to be immed
surrendered, the Secretary, "with a moi
care, lest any thing might be done agains
contrary to law," to use the language of :fc
nator from South Carolina, [Mr. PBESTON,
spatches the Attorney General to Lockport.
what purpose? To tee that McLeod is saved
the violence and injustice of whom? Of the hi
judicial tribunal of the sovereign State of
York.
Could not McLeod, if he were innocent,
justified himself without the actual interfere!
onr Attorney General? He had employed
counsel, and he was sustained by the Brni .1
vernment. Wonld not the court haveadmilte
legal evidence in his favor without tbemissi
Mr. Crittcnden? Why, then, send him all the
to Lockport to exercise this ''motherly care"
McLeod, which he did not need, even if hi
deserved it? His life was in no danger, if he
Innocent, or if the opinion expressed by the ;'
Government and the American Secretary 01
point of international law be correct; tat
in- were in danger, no human power known I
laws and Constitution of our country, could
fully withdraw him from the jurisdiction cl
court.
In answer to the British Minister, the Seen
in effect, says: "Your demand is just. Me
ought to be surrendered, and if ibis were it
power, I would surrender him in a moment,
fortunately, he is not confined under the antk
of a court of the United States. If be *<
should at once have a nolle protect entered i
favor. I cannot withdraw him from the jar
lion of ihe sovereign State of York; bnt I
use every effort in my power for his relief. I
send the Attorney General of the United Sta
his assistance; and I now express as strong at
nion as you could desire, that under the law c
lions, the Supreme Court of New York are I
to throw open his prison doors, and let him r
large."
Upon these assurances which the British \
ter received within three days after the dale (
demand, in the form of instructions from ;
crelary to the Attorney General, he listed en
satisfied. He had gained his point. Oar Go
ment had cowered before him, and this last ai
submission has capped the climax.
Armed at all points, the Attomey General
directed to see that a writ of error should be
to ihe Supreme Court of the United States frot
judgment of the court in New York, in cas
defence of McLroJ fhonld be overruled.
If there be any law in existence which a
nz-s such an appeal from the jndgment of tbi
preme Coart of one of the sovereign States (
Union, in a case of murder peculiarly «
the jurisdiction of its own laws, I do cot knoi

15
t< The Secretary of State is a great lawyer,
Mr. BCCHANIN. Yes, sir, General Jackson, in
di 33 researches he may possibly have dis- a public message 10 Congress did use very strong
Eifjch a law; bat yet I venture to assert that language in regard to Franc?, as he had a right to
t :'niko of the Supreme Court of New York, do. He did assume a very lofty tone, and thus, I
feKiibror against McLeod, will be final. I believe, prevented war. But mark the difference.
hi^adto learn the opinion of the Senator This was in a message to a co-ordinate branch of
jiC«m!CUcnt [Mr. HBNTIKGTOH] on this M,I - onr own Government; and was not addressed in
HTX ts a profoand and able jurist.
the form of a diplomatic note to the French Go
Jv aeai'.er from Soath Carolina [Mr. PRES vernment.
I '.i- taken me to task for stating that, under I have not mistaken the language of the Senator
rt'tsmsUDCei of the case, the Secretary of from Virginia. The words were: "I hav« held
Ik >a« not to have expressed the opinion, in an- language like this (of Mr. Fox) to a proud and
fc-jiMr. Fox, that McLeod was entitled to his haughty nation."
CMS under the law of nations. He asks, why Another precedent cited by the S«nator was the
ccli-he Secretary have concealed his opinion, language addressed by this same Mr. Fox to Mr.
« tsreed with Mr. Fox in his view of the sub- Forsyth; but he has forgotten to state whit was
li
Mr. Forsyth's answer. Mr. Forsyth at least gave
5u*, ar, whi'.st I admit that onr diplomacy him a Rowland fur his Oliver, and did not pass it
£i: ??sr 10 tee, a* it ever has been, frank, open, by, as Mr. Webster has done, without any notice.
ioitd; jet I should not have responded to This is one great difference between the two cases.
r Fi i. uut McLsod onght to be discharged n ri Bat there is still another. The expression used by
nse ,i.x of nations, for two reasons, either of Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth is not near so strong as
thit which he used to Mr. Webster; and in his note
fca 1 dennunpV? sufficient.
li the first place, this very question was then, to Mr. Foisyih he expressfy declared that he was
i -'i.'i if, pending* before a 'judicial tribunal in not authorized 10 pronounce the dec-sinn of his
i> York, having exelaMve jurisdiction over the Government cpon our remonstrance in the case of
Her. Under such circumstances, a prudent man tb« Caroline. The British Government had not
li : hate awaited the decision. Ifthe court should hen decided, as they have done nuw, to turn a deaf
kt a opmioB from the Secretary, as I think they ear to onr complaint. Mr. Forsyth replied
p^be, a» well as the President, will be placed that no discussion of the question here could be
i Bo«t awkward dilemma, in regard to onr rela- useful, as the negotiation had been transferred to
tt »i!i the British Government. If the court London; whilst he informed him that the opinion,
•ii msat npoa hanging McLeod, whilst the Se.- so strongly expressed by him, [in ihe case of the
la.'j iias already decided that he ought to go aroline,] "would hardly have been hazarded had
e been possessed of the carefully collected testi
t, «u position will be trnly embarrassing.
k :ae second place—I, at least, would never mony which had been piesented to his Govern
tt caressed such an opinion to Mr. Fox, in the ment in support of our demand" for reparation.
Mf a positive threat. It would have been VIr. Forsyth's conduct, whether in public or pri
pwa, ii aK conscience, for the Secretary lo have vate life, will afford but a bad precedent to sustain
jt -Justice will be done to McL:od. If not the doctrine of submission.
17, ke w.ii be acqoiued; and on his trial he will The Senator from South Carolina [Mr. PRESTOH]
K:B? fall benefit of that principle of the law of has informed us that he had many precedents to
ks; 7bicb you assert. If guilty of a crime ustify the language of Mr. Fox; but he took care
to cite one of them. He considers il question
IB« i3e laws of New York, the Government of
\ Cuied States cannot interfere, because that able whether the language of Mr. Fox amounted to
teis scvereign, and ha; an uncontrollable right a threat or not, but triumphantly exclaims that if
ttaioater her own criminal justice, according Fox did threaten, "Webster defies back again."
Defies back again ! Is this the coune which a
ter two pleasure."
fca: we »hoald submit to the insolent threats of proud Government ought to pursue? Defies back
kr ii'icni, because other nations have thus sub- again ! Can insulting language be avenged in thisMi b aot a rale which any American citizen manner?
'.in noigni.*e. Unhappy, indeed, must be the
But when did Mr. Webster defy back again?
: Senators, when they are driven to cite Not until his letter of the 24ih April, which was
nnt
written until six: weeks after the threat. The
ts for the purpose of sustaining the
, and justifying England. The honora- whole question had then been settled, so far as the
from Virginia [Mr. RIVES] informs ns British Government was concerned, forty days bek else If had used similar language in a tore. It had all been adjusted to their entire satis
ric note. I doubt not that he did; I have faction when this "defiance back again" was uteeuon of ii, although I once considered it tered; and this defiance might have betn mudvlueh I owed to him to examine carefully louder and stronger than it was, wiihont disturbing;
i* rcrre*pondcnce with the French Govern- their equanimity.
We had demanded reparation for the outrage on,
Bi! even if the Senator has used language
tfa»t of Mr. Fox to a proud and haughty the Caroline. The Bri ish Government had de
i Lie France, is that any reason why we layed for three long year* even to give any answer
to language in i insulting from any to our demand. But when McLecd was arrested,
that Government, through their minister, avowand
• 11 the face of the'earth ?
explained, bat the Reporter did not justify this outrage—demand his release, and
threaten ns with the consequences in cas; we should.
•3 ex

16
refuse. Our Secretary at once yields, admits that
we hare no right to try and punish McLeod, and
sends the Attorney General to New York to obtain
his release.
Now, Mr, if the Secretary had responded to the
high lone of patriotic feeling which ptrvades this
country, he never would have met the demand and
the threat of the British minister in this manner.
He should have said, "The American Government
demanded reparation from you three years ago for
the capture of the Caroline. I now reiterate that
demand, and I estreat the British Government 'to
take into its most deliberate consideration the se
rious nature of the consequences which must en
sue1 from their refusal." Instead cf this, what does
the American Secretary do? He treats the affair
of the Caroline as though it were still a pending
question, and had not been decided by the British
•Government, satisfies the British minister in regard
to MtLeod, and takes forty days to write a chap
ter for effect to satisfy the people of this country.
But no where through this long es«ay does he even
allude to the threat, though he had yielded to it.
This letter, of ihe 24th April, will probably never
ewn be noticed by the British ministry, unless we
should now make a new and positive demand for
reparation. The Secretary may write, and write,
and write again, as many long and able arguments
as he pleases; it this be all, they will not move the
Britiih Government. The difference between u«
if, that they act, whilst we discuss; and as long as
we do what they please, they will suffer us to write
what we please.
But how has the Secretary "defied back again?'"
The Senator from South Carolina [Mr. PRESTON]
has read some of this language of defiance from
the letter of the 24th April. "All will see," says
the Secretary, "that if such things are allowed to
occur, they must lead to bloody and eiispeia ed
war.'' When, sir, do you suppose this bloody
war of the Secretary will commenci? Will it be
on the mxtjourtk of Jvly, or some fourth nfjuly, or
any fourtknf July in atlfutwe tint? Again: "This
Republic is jealous of iis rights, and among others,
and most especially, of the right of the absolute
immunity of its territory against aggression from
abroad; and these rights it is the duty and determi
nation of this Government fully, and at all times,
to maintain, whilst it will at the same time as scru
pulously refrain from infringing on the rights of
others." This, then, is the defiance back again of
which the Senator from South Carolina vaunts.
•Let me tell that Senator that it is not these vague
and unmeaning generalities, however beautifully
expressed, which will produce any effect upon the
British Government. It is the demand—the posi
tive demand of atonement for the Caroline outrage,
and the expression of a stern and unalterable pur
pose to obtain it at any hazard, which can alone
induce them to reconsider their determination and
yield to justice.
The Senator from Virginia [Mr. Rives] asks me
whether I suppose that the man whose death w«
are all now deploring, and in memory of whom this
chamber is- now hong in black, would have submitted
to an insulting threat from the British Government? I
most certainly think not. However ranch I may
•have differed in political opinion from the late

President, I believe he never would have k
ingly acted as his Secretary has done. Hi
been informed that Mr. Fox's letter thioo.)
was in a tone most arrogant and imperiousit commenced with a demand of McLeod, jus
the capture of the Caroline, and ended win-, a
tition of this demand, and a threat in case it
refused—I honestly believe that his only rep
this threat would have been, "No: never '
submit c ;t"i to consider the case, until this t!
shall be iwithdrawn."
It was almost impossible, however, that Ge
Harrison could have given any auention to
subject. Mr. Fox's letter was dated on Fi
the 12th of March, and Mr. Webster answe
in the form of instructions to Mr. Critiend
Monday the ISih March. But two days
vened, and one of them was the Sabbaih.
what were the circumstances in which that
was then placed whose death we now m
When he should have been permitted by ihosi
elevated him to the Presidency to review c
and deliberately the great interests of the coi
they were bunting him even to the death it
suit of cffice. He was not suffered to enjoy
ment's time for quiet and reflection; and at I
sunk into the grave under their persecution,
tertain a proper respect for the memory of G
Harrison. I believe his course towards
u-li Minister would have been that < f a
American, had he enjoyed the leisure neces;
examine the subject. He never would havi
plied with an insolent demand, or submitted
insolent threat.
If John Tyler approves the course of the
tary, as has been intimated by the Secaioi
Virginia, he has taken special care not toe
his approbation of i; in his message. Whi
he say upon the subject?
"A correspondence has taken place between the Sec
State and the Minister of her Britannic Majesty accredit
Government, on the subject of Alexander McLeod's in
a ml imprisonment, copies of which are herewith comix
to Congress.
'•In addition 10 what appears from these papers, i
proper to state thai Alexander McLeod has been hea
Supreme Court ol the r?uue of New York on his ir.01
discharged from imprisonment, and that the dec;s:«
court lus not as yet been pronounced."
TUeseare the only passages in the message in wh
ludes to the affair. Do they contain any apprubatK
Secretary's arrangement? Is there the slightest e:
from which it may be inferred that Mr. Tyler was sati*
it? On the contrary, would it not appear that he his c
and purj.oseiy refrained from giving any opinion on
jectf Oesides, he was al Williamsburg, and not in 1
ton, when Mr. Webster determined on his couiw, i
his instructions to the Attorney General. Mr. Tyie1
must avow distinctly thai these instructions meet his
lion, before I shall believe the fact. Until th.e>n I si
there has been some mistake in this matter.
1 have thus presented my views on a question whi
fiom the manlier in which it has been managed, rnai
ally lead to a warwilh Great Britain. The spirit ot 1
try will now demand an atonement for the violatu
territory, for the burning of the Catoline, anj desti
human life on that melancholy occasion. Prudence
ness, and a determined spirit, rr.ay yet induce the B
vernmentto yield to the demands of justice. The
people will now never be satisfied until the proper ^
shall be made. If the Secretary had refused 10 > ii
haughty pretensions of that Government, and irifoii
that McLeod must be tried, and if found guilty must t
ed. all might have passed away without serious dilfir
having yielded to their demand for the surrender of M
people will now insist that they shall yield to our d
atonement for the outrage «n th'e Caroline.