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Great Britain. That was the very question present. ed by the Treaty
Great Britain professed to be so much offended by the character of certain of the proofs adduced in the American.Case, rigorously pertinent to the question as all those proofs were,—that she would not suffer any appropriate answer to those proofs to be brought forward in her Counter-Case or in her Argument: it was not compatible with self-respect,-it would be giving dignity to undignified arguments,—we were told by the British Press. Meanwhile, the very matter which the British Government could not conde. scend to notice was both material and important to such a degree as very much to inflame the temper and exercise the ingenuity of Sir Alexander Cockburn, the “representative” of Great Britain at Geneva.
Now, the American Case, if conceived in any other spirit than that of just and fair exposition of the precise issue,-question, that is, whether the British Government had or had not incurred responsibility for its want of due diligence in the matter of Confederate cruisers fitted out in the ports of Great Britain,-I say,
if the American Government, in the preparation of its Case, had not been animated by the spirit of perfect fairness and justness, it might have gone
into the inquiry of the political conduct of Great Britain in other times, and with reference to other nations, in the view of imputing to her habitual disregard of the law of nations in illustration of her present conduct toward the United States. We might have charged that, while her statesmen contend that they could do
nothing outside of an Act of Parliament, they had no such Act until 1819, and were therefore, prior to that time, confessedly impotent, and we might have added willfully so, to observe the duties of neutrality; we might have scrutinized her national history to select conspicuous examples of her acts of violence, in disregard of the law of nations, against numerous States, including ourselves; we might have appealed to every volume of international law in existence, from the time of Grotius to this day, and cited page
page to the conclusion of the unjust international policy of Great Britain; and we might have argued from all this to infer intentional omission of the British Gov. ernment to prevent the escape of the Alabama and the Florida.
But such arguments, you will say, would have been forced, remote, of doubtful relevance, and of a nature offensive to England. Be it so: they would, if you please, have been irrelevant, impertinent, offensive. And no such arguments are found in the American Case.
But such are the arguments which pervade the British Case, Counter-Case, and Argument, and the opinions of the British member of the Tribunal. Instead of defending its own conduct in the matter at issue, the British Government travels out of the record to find fault with the conduct of the United States at other times, and with respect to other nations. It presumes to take upon itself the function of personating Spain, Portugal, Nicaragua, and to drag before the Tribunal at Geneva controversies between
us and other States, with which that Teildunut hadht no possible concern,—which it could not pretend to. judge,--and of such obvious irrelevancy and impertinence that not one of the Arbitrators condescended to notice them except Sir Alexander Cockburn.
The presentation in the British Case of considerations of this order, worthless and absurd as argument, and wantonly offensive to the United States, was, in my judgment, an outrageous act, compared with which, in possible susceptibility of blame, there is nothing to be found in any of the affirmative documents presented by the American Government.
It was the cause of a singularly perverse incident, namely, complaint of the British Press against the American Argument for imputed unkindness in alluding to subjects, which had been forced upon our attention by the British Case.
I mention these circumstances for the purpose of showing how relatively unjust it was to impute of. fensiveness of spirit and language to the American Case in view of the much more objectionable things in the British Case; and for the further purpose of pertinently stating that it was undignified for Great Britain to complain of the manner in which the Agent or Counsel of the United States might see fit to argue our cause, as it would be for the American Gorernment to undertake to prescribe limits of discretion in this respect to the Agent or Counsel of Great Britain.
Thus, the 15th of April, looked forward to with so much apparent dread by the British Government,
passed away, leaving the great question unsettled, in what manner ultimately to deal with the claim for national losses preferred by the United States.
NEGOTIATIONS FOR A SUPPLEMENTAL TREATY.
A new series of events then happened, which occupied the period intervening between the 15th of April and the 15th of June.
It occurred to the two Governments that the diffi. culty might be disposed of by the exchange of diplomatic notes, which, in laying down a definite rule of reciprocal international right on the subject of such losses, should reserve or leave unimpaired the present pretensions of both Governments. The British Gov. ernment would not admit that it was the intention of the Treaty to cover national losses; the United States insisted that it was, and refused to do any act incompatible with this construction of the Treaty; and, therefore, they would not withdraw any part of the American Case, nor disavow the opinion that it was within the province of the Arbitrators to consider all the claims, and to determine the liability of Great Britain for all the claims, which had been put forward by the United States. But the American Government had not asked for pecuniary damages in its“Case" on account of that part of the claims called the indirect losses; it only desired a judgment there. on, which would remove them for all future time as a cause of difference between the two Governments. To hold that this class of claims was not disposed of by the Treaty,—that is, was not a subject for the con
sideration of the Tribunal of Arbitration,-was to infer that they remained open and unadjusted, and susceptible of being hereafter brought forward anew by the United States as an object of reclamation against Great Britain. One great inducement to the Treaty would thus be defeated, namely, the establishment of perfect concord and peace. In view of which it was thought expedient to endeavor to adjust the present dispute by informal stipulations on the part of the two Governments.
This well-intentioned effort failed, because of the persistent contention of the British Government that the Treaty excluded from the Arbitration the claims for national losses advanced by the United States.
Further reflection on the subject satisfied the American Government that nothing short of a new treaty could dispose of the question on the premises of the pending negotiation, it being clear that the President of the United States could not of himself withdraw claims which were in his opinion justified by the Treaty of Washington.
Thereupon the President requested of the Senate an expression of their disposition in regard to advising and consenting to the formal adoption of an article of treaty proposed by the British Government, to the effect of stipulating that he would make no claim on the part of the United States in respect of the socalled indirect losses before the Tribunal of Arbitration, in consideration of an agreement between the two Governments, the essence of which was set forth in a preamble to the effect that