Front Page Titles (by Subject) APPENDIX.: WAR EXPENSES. - The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 3
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APPENDIX.: WAR EXPENSES. - Albert Gallatin, The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 3 
The Writings of Albert Gallatin, ed. Henry Adams (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1879). 3 vols.
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Those expenses may be arranged under three heads: 1st. Such as are of a permanent nature, and should be considered as belonging to the peace establishment of the country. 2dly. Those which should be adopted when there is an impending danger of war. 3dly. Those which actual war renders necessary.
To the first class belong all those which provide for objects that require considerable time to be executed, and cannot, without great difficulty, be accomplished pending a war. Such are fortifications, building ships of war, including steamers, accumulating materials for the same purpose, navy-yards, providing a sufficient artillery, and other important objects of the Ordnance Department. It may be taken for granted that government has done, or will do, all that is necessary and practicable in that respect.
The preparatory measures which should be adopted when there is danger of war are those respecting which the greatest variety of opinions must be expected. It has been repeatedly asserted that such is the structure of our government that it never will or can prepare for war till after it has actually commenced; that is to say, that, because Congress was dilatory in making effectual provision for carrying on the last war against Great Britain, and because the Administration, at the time when it was declared, was inefficient and not well calculated for conducting it, the United States are bound forever to incur, at the commencement of every war, the disasters of one or two years before they can be induced to put on their armor. The past is irrevocable, and of no other use than as far as it may teach us to avoid the faults that were formerly committed. When our government relies on the people for being sustained in making war, its confidence must be entire. They must be told the whole truth; and if they are really in favor of war, they will cheerfully sustain government in all the measures necessary to carry it into effect. The frank annunciation of the necessity of such measures is called “creating a panic.” It is not the first time that, under similar circumstances, the same language has been held. If there be no danger or intention of making war, those create a panic who proclaim a determination to assert the exclusive sovereignty of the United States over the whole contested territory, with the full knowledge that Great Britain has uniformly and explicitly declared that she would resist any such attempt. If, instead of telling the people the whole truth, the attempt to conceal from them the necessity of the measures requisite for carrying on the war should be successful, a reaction in the public sentiment will most certainly take place whenever it will have become impossible to delay any longer the heavy burden of taxation for which the nation had not been prepared.
I will not dwell on the necessary preparations of a military character, otherwise than by referring to some notorious facts.
The primary causes of the disastrous results of the campaign of 181 were the want of a naval force on the Lakes, and that of a sufficient regular force. Government had obtained a correct statement of the regular force of the British in Canada, with the exception of the garrison of Quebec. This last was estimated at about three thousand men, and could not be lessened without great inconvenience and some danger. The regular force at Montreal, St. John’s, and Three Rivers amounted to 1130 men; that in the whole of Upper Canada, to 720. The Act to raise an additional military force of 25,000 men was passed on the 11th of January, 1812. The selection of the officers was not completed before the termination of that year; the recruiting service was not organized in time; the enlistments for the regular army fell short of the most moderate calculation; and the total number recruited was so small as to render it impossible to strike a decisive blow on any one of the most important points, from Montreal upwards, insignificant as was the force by which they were defended. The Volunteer Act was also extremely unproductive. At that time the Treasury was amply supplied; and the want was not that of money but of a regular force.
Such force cannot be raised without money, and yet it will be admitted that it would be extremely difficult to induce Congress to lay internal taxes or duties before war was declared or certain. In order to provide means for having an additional regular force ready to act as soon as actual war takes place, a loan and Treasury notes must be resorted to. But it is deemed absolutely necessary that the internal taxes should be imposed simultaneously with the declaration of war, and that provision should be made for their immediate collection. With the exception of the Act for doubling the duties on importations, Congress did not pass any law for imposing any new taxes or duties till more than one year after the declaration of the last war; nor did it even lay a second direct tax in the year 1814. It was not till after public credit was ruined, after Treasury notes which were due had remained unpaid, and after Mr. Dallas had been placed at the head of the Treasury, that at last the laws for imposing a double direct tax, for increasing the rate of the existing internal duties, and for laying new ones were enacted. The peace was ratified immediately after; and, in point of fact, no more than 3,877,000 dollars were paid in the Treasury before the end of the war, on account of the direct tax and all other internal taxes or duties. There were received from the same sources 20,654,000 dollars in the years 1815, 1816, and 1817.
The preparatory measures necessary in order to insure an immediate collection of internal taxes, whenever the laws imposing such taxes shall have been passed, are those on which I may speak with confidence. These consist simply in a previous organization of the machinery necessary for the collection of every species of internal taxes and the assessment of a direct tax. The proper selection of the numerous officers necessary for the collection always consumes several months. A previous selection and appointment of those officers would obviate that difficulty, and would cost nothing, as though appointed they should receive no pay till called into actual service; this would be the natural consequence of the manner in which collectors are paid, this being a percentage on the money collected. The only other necessary measure in that respect is that the Secretary of the Treasury should, at the time of their appointment, supply the collectors with all the necessary forms of keeping and rendering their accounts.
The assessment in each State of the taxable property of every individual who possesses such property is the only operation which requires considerable time and causes a proportionate delay. This cannot be otherwise obviated than by making that assessment a preparatory measure, to be completed before actual war takes place.
In order to facilitate and hasten the process of assessment, I undertook, in the year 1812, to apportion the direct tax on the several counties and State districts in each State; and the Act of 2d August, 1813, which laid a direct tax of three millions of dollars, was passed in conformity with that apportionment. The process was easy for every State in which there was a direct State tax; but though derived from the best data that could be collected, it was defective and partly arbitrary for the States in which there was no State tax. As there is at present hardly any (if any) State which has not laid a direct State tax, this mode may be adopted for the proposed preparatory assessment. This will reduce the duty of the assessors to the assessment of the quota of each county or district on the several individuals liable to the tax, and the total expense of the assessment to a sum not exceeding probably two hundred thousand dollars. A more regular and correct assessment will, of course, be provided for with respect to the direct taxes which may be laid after the first year of the war.
The only objection is that of the expense, which would prove useless if the tax should not be laid, or, in other words, if war should not take place; but certainly this is too small an item to deserve consideration.
This organization, easy and cheap as it is, is all that is necessary in order to secure an immediate collection of a direct and other internal taxes and duties from the moment when they shall have been imposed by Congress.
The probable annual expenses which must be incurred in a war with England, and the resources for defraying them, are the next objects of inquiry.
It is extremely difficult to draw any correct inference from the expenses of the last war with England; the amount of the arrearages due on account of the military services at the time when the peace was ratified is not stated with precision in any of the public documents which I have seen. Although the laws show the number of men voted, that of those actually raised has never to my knowledge been officially stated. There can be no doubt that the want of a proper organization increased the amount of expenditure much beyond that which would have been sufficient under a regular and efficient system. This has undoubtedly been much improved; yet the expenses incurred in the Seminole war, compared with the number of men employed and that of the hostile Indians, show that either there are still some defects in the organization, or that there were great abuses in the execution.
The payments from the Treasury for the Military Department, embracing only those for the army proper, militia and volunteers, and exclusive of those for fortifications and the Indian Department, amounted for the year 1813 to 18,936,000 dollars, and for the year 1814 to 20,508,000 dollars. The disbursements for the navy are stated at 6,446,000 and 7,311,000 dollars for these two years respectively. By comparing the reports of the Secretaries of the Treasury of December, 1815, 1816, 1817, it would appear that the arrearages due on 1st January, 1815, exceeded ten millions of dollars; and it seems certain that the actual war expenses of 1814 could not have fallen short of 35 to 40 millions of dollars. It has been asserted that the regular force during that year amounted to 35,000 men.
The population of the United States has nearly trebled during the thirty-four years which have elapsed since that in which the last war against England was declared. Their wealth and resources have increased in the same ratio; and that, in case of war, these should be brought into action as promptly as possible admits of no doubt. Once engaged in the conflict, to make the war as efficient as possible will shorten its duration, and can alone secure honorable terms of peace. I have not the documents necessary for making an approximate estimate of the annual expenses of a war with Great Britain; and if I had, I could not at this time perform that amount of labor which is absolutely necessary in order to draw correct inferences. Taking only a general view of the subject, and considering the great difference of expense in keeping a navy in active service, between one of eight frigates and one of ten ships of the line, fourteen frigates and a competent number of steamers; that Texas and Oregon are additional objects of defence; that the extensive system of fortifications which has been adopted will require about fifteen thousand additional men, and that, in order to carry a successful and decisive war against the most vulnerable portion of the British dominions, a great disposable regular force is absolutely necessary; I am very sure that I fall below the mark in saying that after the first year of the war, and when the resources of the country shall be fully brought into action, the annual military and naval expenses will amount to sixty or seventy millions of dollars. To this must be added the expenses for all other objects, which, for the year ending on the 30th of June, 1845, amounted to near fifteen millions, but which the Secretary of the Treasury hopes may be reduced to eleven millions and a half. The gross annual expenses for all objects will be estimated at seventy-seven millions, to be increased annually by the annual interest on each successive loan.
In order to ascertain the amount of new revenue and loans required to defray that expense, the first question which arises is the diminution of the revenue derived from customs, which will be the necessary consequence of the war.
The actual receipts into the Treasury arising from that source of revenue were in round numbers for the years 1812, 1813, 1814, respectively, 8,960,000, 13,225,000, and 6,000,000 of dollars, and the net revenue which accrued during those three years respectively amounted to 13,142,000, 6,708,000, and 4,250,000 dollars. From the 1st of July, 1812, the rate of duties on importations was doubled, and in order to compare these receipts with those collected in peace time, they must be reduced for those three years, respectively, to 7,470,000,1 6,600,000, and 3,000,000; or, if the revenue accrued be compared (which is the correct mode), to 9,850,000,1 3,354,000, and 2,125,000 dollars. At that time the duties accrued were, on account of the credit allowed, collected on an average only six or eight months later, and the unexpected importations in the latter half of the year 1812 in American vessels which arrived with British licenses, subsequent to the declaration of war and to the Act which doubled the rate of duties, swelled considerably the receipts of the year 1813. It was only in 1814 that the full effect of the war on the revenue derived from that source was felt.
The diminution in the amount of American and foreign tonnage employed in the foreign trade of the United States is strongly exhibited by the following statement:
And it must be recollected that during the last nine months of 1814 Great Britain was at peace with all the other powers of Europe, and that these were therefore neutrals. Yet they hardly ventured to trade with us.
The amount of receipts into the Treasury derived from customs, as well as that of the revenue accrued, exceeded, during the eleven years 1801 to 1811, 132,700,000 dollars, being an annual average of about 12,000,000 dollars. During the same eleven years the average amount of tonnage employed in the foreign trade of the United States was 943,670 tons, of which 844,170 were in American and 99,500 in foreign vessels.
Thus, in the year 1814, the revenue derived from customs had been reduced to one-fourth part (to nearly one-sixth part, if compared according to the revenue accrued or amount of importations), the tonnage employed in the foreign trade of the United States to nearly one-ninth, and that of the American vessels employed in that trade to one-fourteenth part of their respective average amount during the eleven years of peace.
The small American navy did, during the last war with England, all and more than could have been expected. The fact was established to the satisfaction of the world and of Great Britain herself that the navy of the United States, with a parity of force, was at least equal to that of England. But the prodigious numerical superiority of the British navy rendered it impossible for a few frigates to protect the commerce of the United States, which was accordingly almost annihilated. We have now ten ships of the line and a proportionate number of frigates and smaller vessels. The great numerical superiority of the British navy still continues; and it cannot be doubted that, in case of war, every exertion will be made by the British government to maintain its superiority in our seas and on our coasts. Still, it is but a portion of her force that can be employed in that way, and, taking every circumstance into consideration, it may be confidently hoped that our commerce, though much lessened, will be partially protected by our navy. Although the actual diminution which will be experienced is altogether conjectural, I think that no great error is to be apprehended in estimating the revenue from customs, after the first year of the war, at about one-half of its present amount; and the whole revenue from that source, from the sale of lands and all the branches of the existing income, at fourteen millions of dollars; leaving to be provided for sixty to sixty-five millions, besides the interest on loans, which, for a war of three years, may be estimated at about six millions of dollars on an average. However energetic and efficient Congress and the Executive may be, the resources and strength of the nation can be but gradually brought forth; the expenses will therefore be less during the first year, after which the whole amount will be required and will be annually wanted. In reference, therefore, to the second year of the war—
The estimate of 5,000,000 dollars for the interest of the loans the second year after the war is founded on the supposition that the direct and other internal taxes or duties laid for the first year, together with the existing revenue and twenty-five millions borrowed by loans or Treasury notes, will be sufficient to defray the expense incurred prior to and during the first year of the war. The deficiency in the regular force for that year must be supplied by large drafts of militia, which will be as expensive at least as the regular soldiers whose place they will supply.
But it appears very doubtful whether such a large sum as forty-five millions can be raised annually by loans and Treasury notes. It is necessary in the first place to correct some erroneous opinions respecting the extent to which these notes may be kept in circulation and the legitimate objects to which they may be applied.
The Treasury notes were first introduced on my suggestion, which was no new discovery, since they are a mere transcript of the Exchequer bills of Great Britain. As these have been resorted to for more than a century, and have never become there a portion of the ordinary currency, the extent to which they may be used for other purposes is well ascertained, and bears always a certain ratio to the wealth of the country and to the revenue of the State. Whether issued to the bank as an anticipation of the revenue, or used by capitalists for short investments, the gross amount has rarely exceeded twenty millions sterling. Judging from past experience, the amount which may in time of war be kept in circulation at par in the United States falls far short of a proportionate sum.
The amount in actual circulation was less than five millions, and thus far they had been kept at par.
All the demands from the other Departments had been met by the Treasury, and there were but few, if any, outstanding arrears. Nothing had as yet been collected on account of the direct tax and of the internal duties. Besides the five millions of Treasury notes, there had been paid into the Treasury, in the years 1812 and 1813, $28,740,000 on account of war loans, and $22,283,000 from the customs. The balance in the Treasury amounted to $5,196,542 on the 31st December, 1813.
The amount of Treasury notes issued during the year 1814 amounted to near eight millions, and there had been paid off during the same year, including interest, $2,700,000, making an addition of about five millions and a half, and the total amount outstanding about ten millions and a half. The receipts during that year, on account of the direct tax and internal duties, amounted to $3,877,000, from war loans to $15,080,000, and from customs to only six millions. Before the end of the year government was unable to pay the notes which had become due. It is perfectly clear that if new notes could not be issued in lieu of those which had become due, it was because they had fallen below par, and therefore that the amount outstanding was greater than the demand for them. There was but one remedy, and it was very simple. A reduction in that amount must be made by funding at their market-price a quantity sufficient to re-establish the equilibrium. But all the banks west of New England had in the mean time suspended their specie payments. A period of anarchy in the currency of the country was the consequence, and lasted till those payments were resumed in the year 1817.
The result of the suspension of specie payments in England was that the notes of the Bank of England became, in fact, a legal tender and the standard of the currency. All the other banks were obliged to keep their own notes on a par with those of that bank; and all that was necessary in order to prevent a depreciation was to regulate the issues of the Bank of England so as to keep them at par with gold and silver. Nevertheless, the clamor for more currency prevailed; the bank found it very convenient and profitable to issue notes which it was not obliged to pay, and these finally depreciated twenty-five per cent. But in the United States the banks were under no other control than that of the several States respectively. The consequence was that we had fifty and more species of local currencies, varying in value in the different States or districts of country, and from time to time in the same district. The banks might with facility have resumed specie payments during the first year of peace. The efforts of the Secretary of the Treasury to induce them to resume proved unsuccessful, and the resumption did not take place till after a new bank of the United States had been organized.
We have had two general suspensions of specie payments, the last at a time of profound peace. I was then behind the scenes, had some agency in restoring specie payments, and may speak on that subject with knowledge and confidence. The obstacles came partly from the banks, principally from the debtor interest, which excites sympathy and preponderates throughout the United States. The misnamed Bank of the United States and the banks under its influence were, it is true, a formidable impediment, and this obstacle is now fortunately removed. Still the continuance of specie payments stands, whenever a crisis occurs, on a most precarious basis, and if any important place, especially New York, happened to break, all the banks through the United States would instantaneously follow the example. This is the most imminent danger to which the Treasury of the United States will be exposed in time of war, and what effect the Sub-Treasury system may produce in that respect remains to be tested by experience.
It is impossible to draw any inference respecting Treasury notes from what took place in the United States during the confused state of the currency in the years 1815 and 1816. The taxes were paid everywhere with the cheapest local currency, in Treasury notes only in the places where specie payments had been continued or where bank-notes were nearly at par. The depreciation of the Treasury notes was arrested by the fact that they might at all times be converted into a six or seven per cent. stock; but in that case they became assimilated to a direct loan. They never can become a general currency, on account of their varying value, so long as they bear an interest and are made payable at some future day. In order to give them that character, they should assume that of bank-notes, bearing no interest and payable on demand. It does not require the gift of prophecy to be able to assert that, as the wants of government increased, such notes would degenerate into paper money to the utter ruin of the public credit.
They may, however, be made a special currency for the purpose of paying taxes as gold and silver, and to the exclusion of any other species of paper currency. The amount which might be thus kept in circulation, in addition to that wanted for short investments, would be limited by the gross amount of the annual revenue, and bear but a small proportion to it; since one thousand dollars in silver or in any paper currency are sufficient to effect in one year fifty payments of the same amount.
Although the amount kept in circulation may fluctuate according to circumstances, the fundamental principle is that the issue of such notes is an anticipation of the revenue, which, after it has reached the maximum that may be kept in circulation without being depreciated, never can be increased. Be the amount ten or twenty millions, the anticipation may be continued, but not renewed; it is not an annual resource, but one the whole amount of which never can exceed that which may be kept in circulation. The operation consists in reissuing annually the amount which is paid off in the year. Whenever, owing to incidental fluctuations, the amount to be redeemed by the Treasury exceeds that which may be reissued, the difference must be immediately funded at the market-price of the notes, so as to keep them always at par or a little above par.
It is evident that if the direct tax and internal duties laid in August, 1813, had been imposed in July, 1812, and if the Acts of January, 1815, which increased both, had been enacted in August, 1813, there would have been an addition of at least eight millions to the revenue of the years 1813 and 1814; the Treasury notes which had become due would have been paid, public credit would have been maintained, and the amount of war loans lessened.
The principal causes of the fall of public stocks during a war, and of the consequent necessity of borrowing on dearer terms, are a want of confidence in government and the large amount of stocks thrown in the market beyond the natural demand for them. The effect of this last cause is remarkably illustrated by the fluctuations in the price of the stocks of Great Britain, where it does not appear that there ever was a want of confidence in the ability and fidelity of government in fulfilling its engagements. The British three per cents. are now, and were before the war of American independence, and before those which had their origin in the French revolution, near par or at par. They fell gradually during the war of independence, and were as low as fifty-four in February, 1782. The long war with France was attended with the same result, and the three per cents. had fallen to fifty-five in July, 1812. Notwithstanding the deranged state of the finances of the United States in 1814, the American stocks had not fallen in the same proportion. Such great depreciation is the result of the long continuance of a war. No one can say what would have been its progress had the last war with England continued much longer.
There was not, however, at that time, at least in America, any want of confidence in the government; no one doubted that it would ultimately faithfully discharge all its engagements. Although the general government is in no way responsible for the errors of any of the individual States, it is nevertheless certain that the credit of the Union has been injured abroad by the failure of several of the States to fulfil their engagements, and that no expectation can be entertained of being able to borrow money in Europe. It is not less true that the Administration will cease to enjoy the confidence of American capitalists, if the measures it has recommended should be adopted and productive of war. No one can doubt that, if that event should take place, the Americans will fight in defence of their country, and none with greater zeal and bravery than the people of the Western States. During the last war their militia and volunteers flocked either to the Lakes, to New Orleans, or wherever there was danger; nor did they refuse to take part in offensive operations and to serve without the limits of the United States. But men cannot, either there or elsewhere, afford to render gratuitous services. Whether regulars, volunteers, or militia, they must be fed, clothed, transported, supplied with arms and artillery, and paid. There is as yet but very little active, circulating capital in the new States; they cannot lend; they, on the contrary, want to borrow money. This can be obtained in the shape of loans only from the capitalists of the Atlantic States. A recurrence to public documents will show that all the loans of the last war were obtained in that quarter.
Men of property are perhaps generally more timid than others, and certainly all the quiet people, amongst whom the public stocks are ultimately distributed, are remarkably cautious. Prudent capitalists, who do not speculate, and consider public stocks only as convenient and safe investments, will not advance money to government so long as it is controlled by men whom they consider as reckless and as entertaining rather lax opinions respecting public credit. Yet money will be obtained, but on much dearer terms than if public confidence was unimpaired. There will always be found bold speculators, who will advance it at a premium,—enhanced by the want of competition, and proportionate to the risks they may be supposed to incur. Independent of this, it is most certain that the rate of interest at which loans may be obtained will always be increased in proportion to their magnitude. The only ways by which these difficulties may be obviated, or at least lessened, are perfect fidelity in fulfilling the engagements of government; an economical, that is to say, a skilful application of the public moneys to the most important objects, postponing all those which are not immediately wanted or are of inferior real utility; and an increase of the amount of revenue derived from taxation. This has the double advantage of diminishing the amount to be borrowed and of inspiring confidence to the money-lenders. In all cases direct loans will be preferable to, and prove a cheaper mode of raising money than, the over-issues of Treasury notes.
The Act of July, 1812, which doubled the duties on importations, afforded a resource which, on account of the high rate at this time of those duties, cannot now be resorted to. Duties may, however, be levied on the importation of tea and coffee, and perhaps some other articles now duty free. Other modifications may be found useful; but it may be difficult to ascertain, even without any regard to protection, what are the rates of duties which should be imposed in time of war on the various imported articles, in order to render the revenue derived from that source as productive as possible.
It must also be observed that if, on account of the credit then allowed for the payment of duties on importations, the Treasury had, when the war of 1812 commenced, a resource in the revenue previously accrued but not yet collected, which does not now exist; on the other hand the United States were still encumbered with a considerable portion of the Revolutionary debt, and the payments on account of its principal and interest amounted, during the years 1812, 1813, 1814, to about $11,000,000, whilst the annual interest on the now existing debt is less than one million.
The direct tax of the year 1815 amounted to $6,000,000, and the revenue which accrued during the same year, on the aggregate of internal duties, as increased or imposed at the same time, amounted to about the same sum. That year is also the most proper for a comparative view of the revenue derived from each object. In the subsequent years the revival of business increased the amount derived from the duties connected with the commerce of the country much beyond that which could be collected in time of war; whilst, on the other hand, the excise on spirits was much less productive. The net revenue derived from internal duties which accrued during that year was in round numbers about—
The three last items were those added on Mr. Dallas’s recommendation to the first items laid in 1813, but the rate of which was increased also on his recommendation. The manufactured articles not before taxed, on which the new duties were laid, were pig and bar iron, nails; wax and tallow candles; hats, caps, and umbrellas; paper and playing-cards; leather, saddles, bridles, boots, and shoes; beer, ale, and porter; snuff, cigars, and manufactured tobacco. This was the boldest measure proposed by the Secretary, for these duties were from their nature intrinsically obnoxious. Yet no voice was raised against them; and so far from becoming unpopular, Mr. Dallas, by his courage and frankness, acquired a well-earned popularity. No stronger proof can be adduced of the propriety of telling the whole truth and placing an entire confidence in the people.
The only important measure omitted at that time was an Act of Congress ordering that all the Treasury notes actually due and not paid should be immediately funded at their nominal value; that is to say, that for every one hundred dollars in Treasury notes the same amount of funded stock should be issued as it was necessary to give for one hundred dollars in gold or silver. It was impossible to obtain a regular loan in time and on reasonable terms for the purpose of defraying the war expenses of the first six months of the year 1815. There was an absolute necessity for recurring to Treasury notes for that purpose, and the attention of the Treasury was forcibly directed to that object. But the first and fundamental element of public credit is the faithful and punctual fulfilment of the public engagements; and the payment of the Treasury notes, when becoming due, was as necessary as that of the interest of the funded debt, which never was suspended during the war. As an immediate and considerable issue of Treasury notes was absolutely necessary, it was not sufficient that they might be convertible into a funded stock which was already much below par, since that would be in fact an issue of depreciated paper. The Act should, therefore, have pledged the public faith that if the Treasury notes were not discharged in specie when they became due, they should be funded at their nominal value on the same terms as above stated. Mr. Dallas to great energy united pre-eminent talents, he wanted only experience; and I have no doubt that, had the war continued, he would within six months have adopted that course. If I have alluded here to this subject, it is on account of the primary importance, if placed hereafter in a similar difficult position, of adhering rigorously to those principles respecting the legitimate use of Treasury notes and the punctual discharge of every public engagement, which are absolutely necessary for the maintenance of public credit.
Since a direct tax of six millions could be raised thirty years ago, there can be no difficulty in raising one of nine millions at the very beginning of the war; this must be gradually increased, but would be most heavily felt if beyond eighteen millions. Should an equal sum be raised by internal duties, the annual loans wanted after the first year of the war would be lessened in the same proportion. The following estimate may assist in forming a correct opinion on that subject:
I have inserted only such articles as were heretofore taxed, and have no means of indicating such other as might be added or preferred; nor must I be understood as recommending any specially, or in reference to the rates of duties to be imposed on any one.
It has been generally asserted that men of property were averse to the war because the losses and burdens which it must occasion fall exclusively upon them; and that poor men were generally in favor of war because they had nothing to lose.
It is true that the first great loss caused by the war will fall immediately on those interested in the maritime commerce of the United States, either as owners, insurers, or in any way employed in it. Considering the imminent danger to which is exposed the immense amount of American property afloat on every sea, and the certain annihilation, during the war, of the fisheries, of the commerce with Great Britain, and of that with all the countries beyond Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, the American merchants may be alarmed at the prospect of a war, the necessity of which they do not perceive. But if the apprehension of immediate danger is more vividly felt, the calamitous effects of the war on the agricultural interests are not less certain. The price of all the products, of which large quantities are exported, must necessarily fall so low that all the farmers must lessen the amount and with it their income, whilst they must pay dearer for all the articles which they are obliged to purchase. The distinction between rich and poor is vague. The most numerous class in the United States is that of the men who are at the same time owners and cultivators of the soil, and who have but small properties and a very moderate income. Every diminution of this, whether from the want of a market or from any additional tax, is, in that and the corresponding class of mechanics, attended with the privation of the necessaries or comforts of life. The really rich, the capitalists who have independent incomes and are not obliged to engage in any of the active pursuits of life, may, in any calamitous season, accumulate less, or at most must retrench only some luxuries. Thus the unavoidable losses and burdens which are the consequences of a war fall with the greatest weight on those who derive their means of existence from the pursuits of industry, and whose industry alone contributes to the increase of the general wealth of the country.
But this is not all. Exclusive of those who, either as contractors or in some other way, are concerned with the large supplies wanted for the support of the army and navy, there is a class of capitalists who are enriched by the war. These are the money-lenders, who shall have been bold enough to take up the public loans; unless indeed it should be intended to break public faith and, on the return of peace, to question the obligation to pay them upon the pretence of their enormous profits. What these profits are may be again illustrated by the example of Great Britain.
It has already been seen that, whenever a war is one of long continuance, the British government may at first borrow at par, and ends by being compelled to sell its stock at the rate of fifty per cent. of its nominal value, which gives for the whole of the war loans an average of 75 per cent. In point of fact, that government received in the year 1812 less than 55 per cent.; for the money actually received consisted of bank-notes, which had then depreciated twenty per cent.; so that the money-lenders gave only that which was equivalent to forty-four per cent., in gold or silver, of the nominal value of the stock which they received. Besides receiving the interest on the nominal amount of the stock till the principal shall have been paid, they might shortly after the peace, and may now, receive from ninety-seven per cent. to par in gold or silver for that same stock for which they gave but forty-four. Thus, assuming the public debt of Great Britain at eight hundred thousand pounds sterling, not only was the whole of that capital destroyed by the wars; not only are the British people subject now, and it would seem forever, to a burden of taxes sufficient to pay the interest on that debt; but of the eight hundred millions thus consumed, only six hundred were received by the public, and the other two hundred millions made the rich capitalists who had advanced the money still richer.
There is another class of men who may occasionally derive wealth from a war. Privateering consists in robbing of their property unarmed and unresisting men engaged in pursuits not only legitimate but highly useful. It is nothing more nor less than legalized piracy. For this the United States are not responsible; and it must be admitted that the practice of all nations justifies them in resorting to those means in order to make the enemy feel the calamities of war. But the necessity of resorting to means immoral in themselves affords an irrefragable argument against precipitating the country into war for slight causes, indeed against any war which is not purely in self-defence.
It is equally untrue to assert that the poorer class of people, by which must be meant all the laborers, or generally those who live on their wages, have nothing to lose by the war.
In this and other large cities, for every thousand merchants or men of capital who may be injured or thrown out of business, there are ten thousand men living on wages, whose employment depends directly or indirectly on the commerce of those cities. The number of common laborers is proportionately less in the purely agricultural districts. But it is evident that in both a considerable number must be thrown out of employment either by the destruction of commerce or in consequence of the lessened value and quantity of the agricultural products. And it seems impossible that this should take place without affecting the rate of wages, than which a more afflicting evil could not fall on the community. There is no man of pure and elevated feelings who does not ardently wish that means could be devised to ameliorate the state of society in that respect, so as that those who live by manual labor should receive a more just portion of the profits which are now very unequally divided between them and their employers.
But even if the rate of wages was not materially affected, yet when it is said that the poor have nothing to lose by war, it must be because their lives are counted for nothing. Whether militia, regulars, or sailors, the privates, the men who actually fight the battles, are exclusively taken from amongst the poorer classes of society. Officers are uniformly selected from the class which has some property or influence. They indeed risk gallantly their lives, but with the hopes of promotion and of acquiring renown and consideration. According to the present system, at least of the regular army, it is extremely rare, almost impossible, that a private soldier should ever rise to the rank of an officer. In the course of a war thousands are killed, more die of diseases, and the residue, when disbanded, return home with habits unfavorable to the pursuits of industry. And yet it is asserted that they are predisposed for war because they have nothing to lose.
As yet, however, we have had recourse only to voluntary enlistments for raising a regular force; the pay or bounties must be increased in order to obtain a sufficient number; and thus far to become a private soldier has been a voluntary act. The calling of militia into actual service is a modified species of conscription, and it has also been deemed a sufficient burden to limit the time of that service to six months. Another plan is now contemplated by those who are so eager to plunge the country into a war. Fearing that the sufficient number of men may not be voluntarily raised, they propose that the militia should be divided into two portions; those belonging to the first class shall, if called into actual service, be bound to serve twelve months instead of six; and the other portion shall be liable to furnish a number of recruits for the army, not exceeding one-tenth part of their total number. This last provision seems to be borrowed from the Russian military code. The Emperor of Russia requires each village to supply him with a certain number of men in proportion to that of the male population. In time of war he requires at the rate of three men for each hundred males, which answers nearly to that of ten for every one hundred men enrolled in the militia; and he also grants to the serfs the same privilege intended to be allowed to a portion of the militia by the new project, that of selecting the recruits amongst themselves.
If it be any consolation, it is certain that, although we may not invade England, the evils arising from the war will be as sensibly and more permanently felt by Great Britain than by the United States. Her efforts must be commensurate with those of the United States, much greater by sea in order to be efficient, in every respect more expensive on account of her distance from the seat of war. Such is the rapidly progressive state of America, that the industry of the people will, in a few years of peace, have repaired the evils caused by the errors of government. England will remain burdened with additional debt and taxation.
An aged man, who has for the last thirty years been detached from party politics, and who has now nothing whatever to hope or to fear from the world, has no merit in seeking only the truth and acting an independent part. But I know too well, and have felt too much the influence of party feeling, not to be fully aware that those men will be entitled to the highest praise who, being really desirous of preserving peace, shall on this momentous occasion dare to act for themselves, notwithstanding the powerful sympathies of party. Yet no sacrifice of principles is required: men may remain firmly attached to those on which their party was founded and which they conscientiously adopted. There is no connection between the principles or doctrines on which each party respectively was founded and the question of war or peace with a foreign nation which is now agitated. The practice which has lately prevailed to convert every subject, from the most frivolous to the most important, into a pure party question, destroys altogether personal independence, and strikes at the very roots of our institutions. These usages of party, as they are called, make every man a slave, and transfer the legitimate authority of the majority of the nation to the majority of a party, and, consequently, to a minority of the sovereign people. If it were permitted to appeal to former times, I would say that, during the six years that I had the honor of a seat in Congress, there were but two of those party meetings called for the purpose of deliberating upon the measures proper to be adopted. The first was after the House had asserted its abstract right to decide on the propriety of making appropriations necessary to carry a treaty into effect, whether such appropriations should be made with respect to the treaty with England of 1794. The other was in the year 1798, respecting the course proper to be pursued after the hostile and scandalous conduct of the French Directory. On both occasions we were divided; and on both the members of the minority of each meeting were left at full liberty to vote as they pleased, without being on that account proscribed or considered as having abandoned the principles of the party. This, too, took place at a time when, unfortunately, each party most erroneously suspected the other of an improper attachment to one or the other of the great belligerent foreign nations. I must say that I never knew a man belonging to the same party as myself—and I have no reason to believe that there was any in the opposite party—who would have sacrificed the interests of the country to those of any foreign power. I am confident that no such person is to be found now in our councils or amongst our citizens; nor am I apt to suspect personal views, or apprehensive of the effect these might produce. My only fear is that which I have expressed,—the difficulty for honorable men to disenthrall themselves from those party sympathies and habits, laudable and useful in their origin, but which carried to excess become a tyranny, and may leave the most important measures to be decided in the National Councils by an enthusiastic and inflamed minority.
PEACE WITH MEXICO.
THE LAW OF NATIONS.
It seems certain that Mexico must ultimately submit to such terms of peace as the United States shall dictate. An heterogeneous population of seven millions, with very limited resources and no credit, distracted by internal dissensions and by the ambition of its chiefs, a prey by turns to anarchy and to military usurpers, occupying among the nations of the civilized world, either physically or mentally, whether in political education, social state, or any other respect, but an inferior position, cannot contend successfully with an energetic, intelligent, enlightened, and united nation of twenty millions, possessed of unlimited resources and credit, and enjoying all the benefits of a regular, strong, and free government. All this was anticipated; but the extraordinary successes of the Americans have exceeded the most sanguine expectations. All the advanced posts of the enemy, New Mexico, California, the line of the lower Rio Norte, and all the seaports which it was deemed necessary to occupy, have been subdued. And a small force, apparently incompetent to the object, has penetrated near three hundred miles into the interior, and is now in quiet possession of the far-famed metropolis of the Mexican dominions. The superior skill and talents of our distinguished generals and the unparalleled bravery of our troops have surmounted all obstacles. By whomsoever commanded on either side, however strong the positions and fortifications of the Mexicans, and with a tremendous numerical superiority, there has not been a single engagement in which they have not been completely defeated. The most remarkable and unexpected feature of that warfare is that volunteers, wholly undisciplined in every sense of the word, have vied in devotedness and bravery with the regular forces, and have proved themselves in every instance superior in the open field to the best regular forces of Mexico. These forces are now annihilated or dispersed, and the Mexicans are reduced to a petty warfare of guerrillas, which, however annoying, cannot be productive of any important results.
It is true that these splendid successes have been purchased at a price far exceeding their value. It is true that neither the glory of these military deeds nor the ultimate utility of our conquests can compensate the lamentable loss of the many thousand valuable lives sacrificed in the field, of the still greater number who have met with an obscure death or been disabled by disease and fatigue. It is true that their relatives, their parents, their wives and children find no consolation for the misery inflicted upon them in the still greater losses experienced by the Mexicans. But if, disregarding private calamities and all the evils of a general nature, the necessary consequences of this war, we revert solely to the relative position of the two countries, the impotence of the Mexicans and their total inability to continue the war with any appearance of success are still manifest.
The question then occurs, What are the terms which the United States have a right to impose on Mexico? All agree that it must be an “honorable peace;” but the true meaning of this word must in the first place be ascertained.
The notion that anything can be truly honorable which is contrary to justice will, as an abstract proposition, be repudiated by every citizen of the United States. Will any one dare to assert that a peace can be honorable which does not conform with justice?
There is no difficulty in discovering the principles by which the relations between civilized and Christian nations should be regulated and the reciprocal duties which they owe to each other. These principles, these duties, have long since been proclaimed, and the true law of nations is nothing else than the conformity to the sublime precepts of the gospel morality, precepts equally applicable to the relations between man and man and to the intercourse between nation and nation. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Love your enemies.” “As you would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” The sanctity of these commands is acknowledged, without a single exception, by every denomination of Christians, or of men professing to be such. The skeptical philosopher admits and admires the precept. To this holy rule we should inflexibly adhere when dictating the terms of peace. The United States, though they have the power, have no right to impose terms inconsistent with justice. It would be a shameful dereliction of principle on the part of those who were averse to the annexation of Texas to countenance any attempt to claim an acquisition of territory or other advantage on account of the success of our arms.
But in judging the acts of our government, it must be admitted that statesmen think a conformity to those usages which constitute the law of nations not as it should be, but as it is practically, sufficient to justify their conduct. And by that inferior standard those acts and our duties in relation to Mexico will be tested.
INDEMNITIES TO CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.
The United States had, and continue to have, an indubitable right to demand a full indemnity for any wrongs inflicted on our citizens by the government of Mexico in violation of treaties or of the acknowledged law of nations. The negotiations for satisfying those just demands had been interrupted by the annexation of Texas. When an attempt was subsequently made to renew them, it was, therefore, just and proper that both subjects should be discussed at the same time; and it is now absolutely necessary that those just claims should be fully provided for in any treaty of peace that may be concluded, and that the payment should be secured against any possible contingency. I take it for granted that no claims have been, or shall be, sustained by our government but such as are founded on treaties or the acknowledged law of nations.
Whenever a nation becomes involved in war, the manifestoes and every other public act issued for the purpose of justifying its conduct always embrace every ground of complaint which can possibly be alleged. But admitting that the refusal to satisfy the claims for indemnity of our citizens might have been a just cause of war, it is most certain that those claims were not the cause of that in which we are now involved.
It may be proper, in the first place, to observe that the refusal of doing justice in cases of this kind, or the long delays in providing for them, have not generally produced actual war. Almost always long-protracted negotiations have been alone resorted to. This has been strikingly the case with the United States. The claims of Great Britain for British debts secured by the treaty of 1783 were not settled and paid till the year 1803; and it was only subsequent to that year that the claims of the United States for depredations committed in 1793 were satisfied. The very plain question of slaves carried away by the British forces in 1815, in open violation of the treaty of 1814, was not settled and the indemnity paid till the year 1826. The claims against France for depredations committed in the years 1806 to 1813 were not settled and paid for till the year 1834. In all those cases peace was preserved by patience and forbearance.
With respect to the Mexican indemnities, the subject had been laid more than once before Congress, not without suggestions that strong measures should be resorted to. But Congress, in whom alone is vested the power of declaring war, uniformly declined doing it.
A convention was entered into on the 11th of April, 1839, between the United States and Mexico, by virtue of which a joint commission was appointed for the examination and settlement of those claims. The powers of the commissioners terminated, according to the convention, in February, 1842. The total amount of the American claims presented to the commission amounted to 6,291,605 dollars. Of these, 2,026,140 dollars were allowed by the commission; a further sum of 928,628 dollars was allowed by the commissioners of the United States, rejected by the Mexican commissioners, and left undecided by the umpire, and claims amounting to 3,336,837 dollars had not been examined.
A new convention dated January 30, 1843, granted to the Mexicans a further delay for the payment of the claims which had been admitted, by virtue of which the interest due to the claimants was made payable on the 30th April, 1843, and the principal of the awards and the interest accruing thereon was stipulated to be paid in five years, in twenty equal instalments every three months. The claimants received the interest due on the 30th April, 1843, and the three first instalments. The agent of the United States having, under peculiar circumstances, given a receipt for the instalments due in April and July, 1844, before they had been actually paid by Mexico, the payment has been assumed by the United States, and discharged to the claimants.
A third convention was concluded at Mexico on the 20th November, 1843, by the plenipotentiaries of the two governments, by which provision was made for ascertaining and paying the claims on which no final decision had been made. In January, 1844, this convention was ratified by the Senate of the United States with two amendments, which were referred to the government of Mexico, but respecting which no answer has ever been made. On the 12th of April, 1844, a treaty was concluded by the President with Texas for the annexation of that republic to the United States. This treaty, though not ratified by the Senate, placed the two countries in a new position and arrested for a while all negotiations. It was only on the 1st of March, 1845, that Congress passed a joint resolution for the annexation.
It appears most clearly that the United States are justly entitled to a full indemnity for the injuries done to their citizens; that, before the annexation of Texas, there was every prospect of securing that indemnity; and that those injuries, even if they had been a just cause for war, were in no shape whatever the cause of that in which we are now involved.
Are the United States justly entitled to indemnity for any other cause? This question cannot be otherwise solved than by an inquiry into the facts, and ascertaining by whom and how the war was provoked.
ANNEXATION OF TEXAS.
At the time when the annexation of Texas took place, Texas had been recognized as an independent power, both by the United States and by several of the principal European powers; but its independence had not been recognized by Mexico, and the two contending parties continued to be at war. Under those circumstances there is not the slightest doubt that the annexation of Texas was tantamount to a declaration of war against Mexico. Nothing can be more clear and undeniable than that, whenever two nations are at war, if a third power shall enter into a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, with either of the belligerents, and if such treaty is not contingent, and is to take effect immediately and pending the war, such treaty is a declaration of war against the other party. The causes of the war between the two belligerents do not alter the fact. Supposing that the third party, the interfering power, should have concluded the treaty of alliance with that belligerent who was clearly engaged in a most just war, the treaty would not be the less a declaration of war against the other belligerent.
If Great Britain and France were at war, and the United States were to enter into such a treaty with either, can there be the slightest doubt that this would be actual war against the other party? that it would be considered as such, and that it must have been intended for that purpose? If at this moment either France or England were to make such a treaty with Mexico, thereby binding themselves to defend and protect it with all their forces against any other power whatever, would not the United States instantaneously view such a treaty as a declaration of war, and act accordingly?
But the annexation of Texas by the United States was even more than a treaty of offensive and defensive alliance. It embraced all the conditions and all the duties growing out of the alliance; and it imposed them forever. From the moment when Texas had been annexed the United States became bound to protect and defend her, so far as her legitimate boundaries extended, against any invasion or attack on the part of Mexico; and they have uniformly acted accordingly.
There is no impartial publicist that will not acknowledge the indubitable truth of these positions; it appears to me impossible that they should be seriously denied by a single person.
It appears that Mexico was at that time disposed to acknowledge the independence of Texas, but on the express condition that it should not be annexed to the United States; and it has been suggested that this was done under the influence of some European powers. Whether this last assertion be true or not is not known to me. But the condition was remarkable and offensive.
Under an apprehension that Texas might be tempted to accept the terms proposed, the government of the United States may have deemed it expedient to defeat the plan, by offering that annexation which had been formerly declined when the government of Texas was anxious for it.
It may be admitted that, whether independent or annexed to the United States, Texas must be a slave-holding State so long as slavery shall continue to exist in North America. Its whole population, with hardly any exception, consisted of citizens of the United States. Both for that reason, and on account of its geographical position, it was much more natural that Texas should be a member of the United States than of the Mexican Confederation. Viewed purely as a question of expediency, the annexation might be considered as beneficial to both parties. But expediency is not justice. Mexico and Texas had a perfect right to adjust their differences and make peace on any terms they might deem proper. The anxiety to prevent this result indicated a previous disposition ultimately to occupy Texas; and when the annexation was accomplished, when it was seen that the United States had appropriated to themselves all the advantages resulting from the American settlements in Texas, and from their subsequent insurrection, the purity of the motives of our government became open to suspicion.
Setting aside the justice of the proceeding, it is true that it had been anticipated by those who took an active part in the annexation that the weakness of Mexico would compel it to yield, or at least induce her not to resort to actual war. This was verified by the fact; and had government remained in the hands with whom the plan originated, war might probably have been avoided. But when no longer in power, they could neither regulate the impulse they had given nor control the reckless spirits they had evoked.
Mexico, sensible of her weakness, declined war, and only resorted to a suspension of diplomatic intercourse; but a profound sense of the injury inflicted by the United States has ever since rankled in their minds. It will be found through all their diplomatic correspondence, through all their manifestoes, that the Mexicans, even to this day, perpetually recur to this never-forgotten offensive measure. And on the other hand, the subsequent Administration of our government seems to have altogether forgotten this primary act of injustice, and in their negotiations to have acted as if this was only an accomplished fact and had been a matter of course.
NEGOTIATIONS AND WAR.
In September, 1845, the President of the United States directed their consul at Mexico to ascertain from the Mexican government whether it would receive an envoy from the United States, intrusted with full power to adjust all the questions in dispute between the two governments.
The answer of Mr. De la Pena y Pena, Minister of the Foreign Relations of Mexico, was, “That although the Mexican nation was deeply injured by the United States through the acts committed by them in the department of Texas, which belongs to his nation, his government was disposed to receive the commissioner of the United States who might come to the capital with full powers from his government to settle the present dispute in a peaceful, reasonable, and honorable manner;” thus giving a new proof that, even in the midst of its injuries and of its firm decision to exact adequate reparation for them, the government of Mexico does not reply with contumely to the measures of reason and peace to which it was invited by its adversary.
The Mexican minister at the same time intimated that the previous recall of the whole naval force of the United States then lying in sight of the port of Vera Cruz was indispensable; and this was accordingly done by our government.
But it is essential to observe that whilst Mr. Black had, according to his instructions, inquired whether the Mexican government would receive an envoy from the United States with full power to adjust all the questions in dispute between the two governments, the Mexican minister had answered that his government was disposed to receive the commissioner of the United States who might come with full powers to settle the present dispute in a peaceful, reasonable, and honorable manner.
Mr. Slidell was, in November following, appointed envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary of the United States of America near the government of the Mexican republic; and he arrived in Mexico on the sixth of December.
Mr. Herrera, the President of Mexico, was undoubtedly disposed to settle the disputes between the two countries. But, taking advantage of the irritation of the mass of the people, his political opponents were attempting to overset him for having made, as they said, unworthy concessions. The arrival of Mr. Slidell disturbed him extremely; and Mr. Pena y Pena declared to Mr. Black that his appearance in the capital at this time might prove destructive to the government, and thus defeat the whole affair. Under these circumstances General Herrera complained, without any foundation, that Mr. Slidell had come sooner than had been understood; he resorted to several frivolous objections against the tenor of his powers; and he intimated that the difficulties respecting Texas must be adjusted before any other subject of discussion should be taken into consideration.
But the main question was whether Mexico should receive Mr. Slidell in the character of envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, to reside in the republic. It was insisted by the Mexican government that it had only agreed to receive a commissioner, to treat on the questions which had arisen from the events in Texas; and that until this was done the suspended diplomatic intercourse could not be restored and a residing minister plenipotentiary be admitted.
Why our government should have insisted that the intended negotiation should be carried on by a residing envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary is altogether unintelligible. The questions at issue might have been discussed and settled as easily, fully, and satisfactorily by commissioners appointed for that special purpose as by residing ministers or envoys. It is well known that whenever diplomatic relations have been superseded by war, treaties of peace are always negotiated by commissioners appointed for that special purpose, who are personally amply protected by the law of nations, but who are never received as resident ministers till after the peace has restored the ordinary diplomatic intercourse. Thus, the treaty of peace of 1783, between France and England, was negotiated and concluded at Paris by British commissioners, whom it would have been deemed absurd to admit as resident envoys or ministers before peace had been made.
The only distinction which can possibly be made between the two cases is that there was not as yet actual war between Mexico and the United States. But the annexation of Texas was no ordinary occurrence. It was a most clear act of unprovoked aggression; a deep and most offensive injury; in fact, a declaration of war, if Mexico had accepted it as such. In lieu of this, that country had only resorted to a suspension of the ordinary diplomatic relations. It would seem as if our government had considered this as an act of unparalleled audacity, which Mexico must be compelled to retract before any negotiations for the arrangement of existing difficulties could take place; as an insult to the government and to the nation, which must compel it to assert its just rights and to avenge its injured honor.
General Herrera was not mistaken in his anticipations. His government was overset in the latter end of the month of December, 1845, and fell into the hands of those who had denounced him for having listened to overtures of an arrangement of the difficulties between the two nations.
When Mexico felt its inability to contend with the United States, and, instead of considering the annexation of Texas to be, as it really was, tantamount to a declaration of war, only suspended the ordinary diplomatic relations between the two countries, its government, if directed by wise counsels and not impeded by popular irritation, should at once, since it had already agreed to recognize the independence of Texas, have entered into a negotiation with the United States. At that time there would have been no intrinsic difficulty in making a final arrangement founded on an unconditional recognition of the independence of Texas within its legitimate boundaries. Popular feeling and the ambition of contending military leaders prevented that peaceable termination of those unfortunate dissensions.
Yet, when Mexico refused to receive Mr. Slidell as an envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, the United States should have remembered that we had been the aggressors, that we had committed an act acknowledged, as well by the practical law of nations as by common sense and common justice, to be tantamount to a declaration of war; and they should have waited with patience till the feelings excited by our own conduct had subsided.
General Taylor had been instructed by the War Department as early as May 28, 1845, to cause the forces under his command to be put into a position where they might most promptly and efficiently act in defence of Texas in the event that it should become necessary or proper to employ them for that purpose. By subsequent instructions, and after the people of Texas had accepted the proposition of annexation, he was directed to select and occupy a position adapted to repel invasion as near the boundary-line—the Rio Grande—as prudence would dictate; and that, with this view, a part of his forces at least should be west of the river Nueces. It was certainly the duty of the President to protect Texas against invasion from the moment it had been annexed to the United States; and as that republic was in actual possession of Corpus Christi, which was the position selected by General Taylor, there was nothing in the position he had taken indicative of any danger of actual hostilities.
But our government seems to have considered the refusal, on the part of Mexico, to receive Mr. Slidell as a resident envoy of the United States as necessarily leading to war. The Secretary of State, in his letter to Mr. Slidell of January 28, 1846, says: “Should the Mexican government finally refuse to receive you, the cup of forbearance will then have been exhausted. Nothing can remain but to take the redress of the injuries to our citizens and the insults to our government into our own hands.” And again: “Should the Mexican government finally refuse to receive you, then demand passports from the proper authority and return to the United States. It will then become the duty of the President to submit the whole case to Congress, and call upon the nation to assert its just rights and avenge its injured honor.”
With the same object in view, the Secretary of War did, by his letter dated January 13, 1846, instruct General Taylor “to advance and occupy, with the troops under his command, positions on or near the east bank of the Rio del Norte. . . . It is presumed Point Isabel will be considered by you an eligible position. This point, or some one near it, and points opposite Matamoras and Mier, and in the vicinity of Laredo, are suggested for your consideration. . . . Should you attempt to exercise the right, which the United States have in common with Mexico, to the free navigation of this river, it is probable that Mexico would interpose resistance. You will not attempt to enforce this right without further instructions. . . . It is not designed, in our present relations with Mexico, that you should treat her as an enemy; but should she assume that character by a declaration of war, or any open act of hostility towards us, you will not act merely on the defensive if your relative means enable you to do otherwise.”
The Administration was therefore of opinion that this military occupation of the territory in question was not an act of hostility towards Mexico or treating her as an enemy. Now, I do aver, without fear of contradiction, than whenever a territory claimed by two powers is, and has been for a length of time, in the possession of one of them, if the other should invade and take possession of it by a military force, such an act is an open act of hostility according to the acknowledged and practical law of nations. In this case the law of nations only recognizes a clear and positive fact.
The sequel is well known. General Taylor, with his troops, left Corpus Christi, March 8 to 11, 1846, and entered the desert which separates that place from the vicinity of the del Norte. On the 21st he was encamped three miles south of the Arroyo, or Little Colorado, having by the route he took marched 135 miles, and being nearly north of Matamoras, about thirty miles distant. He had on the 19th met a party of irregular Mexican cavalry, who informed him that they had peremptory orders, if he passed the river, to fire upon his troops, and that it would be considered a declaration of war. The river was, however, crossed without a single shot having been fired. In a proclamation issued on the 12th, General Mejia, who commanded the forces of the department of Tamaulipas, asserts that the limits of Texas are certain and recognized, and never had extended beyond the river Nueces, that the Cabinet of the United States coveted the regions on the left bank of the Rio Bravo, and that the American army was now advancing to take possession of a large part of Tamaulipas. On the 24th March General Taylor reached a point on the route from Matamoras to Point Isabel, eighteen miles from the former, and ten from the latter place, where a deputation sent him a formal protest of the prefect of the northern district of the department of Tamaulipas, declaring, in behalf of the citizens of the district, that they never will consent to separate themselves from the Mexican republic and to unite themselves with the United States. On the 12th of April the Mexican general, Ampudia, required General Taylor to break up his camp within twenty-four hours, and to retire to the other bank of the Nueces River, and notified him that, if he insisted in remaining upon the soil of the department of Tamaulipas, it would clearly result that arms alone must decide the question; in which case he declared that the Mexicans would accept the war to which they had been provoked. On the 24th of April, General Arista arrived in Matamoras, and on the same day informed General Taylor that he considered hostilities commenced, and would prosecute them. On the same day a party of sixty-three American dragoons, who had been sent some distance up the left bank of the river, became engaged with a very large force of the enemy, and after a short affair, in which about sixteen were killed or wounded, were surrounded and compelled to surrender. These facts were laid before Congress by the President in his message of the 11th of May.
THE CLAIM OF TEXAS TO THE RIO DEL NORTE AS ITS BOUNDARY EXAMINED.
From what precedes it appears that the government of the United States considered the refusal of Mexico to receive a resident envoy or minister as a sufficient cause for war, and the Rio del Norte as the legitimate boundary of Texas. The first opinion is now of no importance; but the question of boundary, which was the immediate cause of hostilities, has to this day been the greatest impediment to the restoration of peace. I feel satisfied that if this was settled there would be no insuperable difficulty in arranging other pretensions.
The United States claim no other portion of the Mexican dominions unless it be by right of conquest. The tract of country between the Rio Nueces and the del Norte is the only one which has been claimed by both parties as respectively belonging either to Texas or to Mexico. As regards every other part of the Mexican possessions, the United States never had claimed any portion of it. The iniquity of acquiring any portion of it, otherwise than by fair compact freely consented to by Mexico, is self-evident. It is in every respect most important to examine the grounds on which the claim of the United States to the only territory claimed by both nations is founded. It is the main question at issue.
The republic of Texas did, by an Act of December, 1836, declare the Rio del Norte to be its boundary. It will not be seriously contended that a nation has a right, by a law of its own, to determine what is or shall be the boundary between it and another country. The Act was nothing more than the expression of the wishes or pretensions of the government. Its only practical effect was that emanating from its Congress, or legislative body, it made it imperative on the Executive not to conclude any peace with Mexico unless that boundary was agreed to. As regards right, the Act of Texas is a perfect nullity. We want the arguments and documents by which the claim is sustained.
On a first view the pretension is truly startling. There is no exception; the Rio Norte from its source to its mouth is declared to be the rightful boundary of Texas. That river has its source within the department, province, or state of New Mexico, which it traverses through its whole length from north to south, dividing it into two unequal parts. The largest and most populous, including Santa Fé, the capital, lies on the left bank of the river, and is therefore embraced within the claim of Texas. Now, this province of New Mexico was first visited and occupied by the Spaniards, under Vasquez Coronado, in the years 1540 to 1542. It was at that time voluntarily evacuated, subsequently revisited, and some settlements made about the year 1583; finally conquered in 1595 by the Spaniards under the command of Onate. An insurrection of the Indians drove away the Spaniards in the year 1680. They re-entered it the ensuing year, and after a long resistance reconquered it. This was an internal conflict with the aborigines; but as related to foreign powers, the sovereignty of the Spaniards over the territory was never called in question; and it was in express terms made the western boundary of Louisiana in the royal charter of the French government.
The conquest of the province by Onate took place five-and-twenty years prior to the landing of the Pilgrims in New England, and twelve years before any permanent settlement had been made in North America on the shores of the Atlantic by either England, France, Holland, Sweden, or any other power but that in Florida by Spain herself.
I have in vain sought for any document emanating from the republic or state of Texas for the purpose of sustaining its claim either to New Mexico or to the country bordering on the lower portion of the del Norte. The only official papers within my reach, in which the claim of Texas is sustained, are the President’s messages of May 11 and December 3, 1846, and these refer only to the country bordering on the lower part of the del Norte. The portion of the message of May 11, 1846, relating to that subject is as follows: “Meantime, Texas, by the final action of our Congress, had become an integral part of our Union. The Congress of Texas, by its Act of December 19, 1836, had declared the Rio del Norte to be the boundary of that republic. Its jurisdiction had been extended and exercised beyond the Nueces. The country between that river and the del Norte had been represented in the Congress and in the convention of Texas, had thus taken part in the act of annexation itself, and is now included within one of our Congressional districts. Our own Congress had, moreover, with great unanimity, by the Act approved December 31, 1845, recognized the country beyond the Nueces as a part of our territory by including it within our own revenue system, and a revenue officer, to reside within that district, has been appointed by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. It became, therefore, of urgent necessity to provide for the defence of that portion of our country. Accordingly, on the 13th of January last, instructions were issued to the general in command of these troops to occupy the left bank of the del Norte. . . .
“The movement of the troops to the del Norte was made by the commanding general under positive instructions to abstain from all aggressive acts towards Mexico or Mexican citizens, and to regard the relations between that republic and the United States as peaceful, unless she should declare war or commit acts of hostility indicative of a state of war. He was specially directed to protect private property and respect personal rights.”
In his annual message of December 8, 1846, the President states that Texas, as ceded to the United States by France in 1803, has been always claimed as extending west to the Rio Grande; that this fact is established by declarations of our government during Mr. Jefferson’s and Mr. Monroe’s administrations; and that the Texas which was ceded to Spain by the Florida Treaty of 1819 embraced all the country now claimed by the State of Texas between the Nueces and the Rio Grande.
He then repeats the Acts of Texas with reference to their boundaries; stating that “during a period of more than nine years, which intervened between the adoption of her constitution and her annexation as one of the States of our Union, Texas asserted and exercised many acts of sovereignty and jurisdiction over the territory and inhabitants west of the Nueces; such as organizing and defining limits of counties extending to the Rio Grande; establishing courts of justice and extending her judicial system over the territory; establishing also a custom-house, post-offices, a land office, &c.”
The President designates by the name of Texas the cession of Louisiana by France to the United States, and he again calls the territory ceded to Spain by the Florida Treaty of 1819 the Texas. He intimates that the claim of the United States to the territory between the Sabine and the Rio Norte was derived from the boundaries of Texas, and that by claiming as far west as this river, the United States did recognize that it was the boundary of the Texas. I really do not understand what is meant by this assertion.
The United States claimed the Rio Norte as being the legitimate boundary of Louisiana, and not of Texas. Neither they nor France had ever been in possession of the country beyond the Sabine. Spain had always held possession, and had divided the territory into provinces as she pleased. One of these was called Texas, and its boundaries had been designated and altered at her will. With these the United States had no concern. If their claim could be sustained, it must be by proving that Louisiana extended of right thus far. This had no connection with the boundaries which Spain might have assigned to her province of Texas. These might have extended beyond the Rio del Norte, or have been east of the Rio Nueces. There is not the slightest connection between the legitimate boundaries of Louisiana and those of the Spanish province of Texas. The presumed identity is a mere supposition.
It is not necessary to discuss the soundness of the pretensions to the Rio Norte asserted by Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Monroe, since they were yielded in exchange of Florida and some other objects by the treaty of 1819,—a treaty extremely popular at the time, and the execution of which was pressed with great zeal and perseverance.
Whenever ultimately ceded to Mexico, that republic fixed its boundaries as it thought proper. Texas and Cohahuila were declared to form a state, and the Rio Nueces was made the boundary of Texas. When Texas declared itself independent, it was the insurrection of only part of a state; for Cohahuila remained united to Mexico. But the Rio Nueces was the boundary between the department of Texas and the state of Tamaulipas. The whole contested territory lies within the limits of Tamaulipas, which never was, under the Mexican government, connected in any shape with Texas.
The question now under consideration is only that between the United States and Mexico, and in that view of the subject it is quite immaterial whether the acts of the United States emanated from Congress or from the Executive. No act of either recognizing the country beyond the Nueces as a part of the territory of the United States can be alleged against Mexico as a proof of their right to the country thus claimed. Any such act is only an assertion, a declaration, but not an argument sustaining the right. It is, however, proper to observe here that the port of delivery west of the Nueces, erected by the Act of Congress “To establish a collection district in the State of Texas,” was at Corpus Christi, a place which was in the actual possession of that State.
It must also be premised that, in the joint resolution for the annexation of Texas, the question of the boundary between it and Mexico was expressly reserved, as one which should be settled by treaty between the United States and Mexico.
The only arguments in the President’s message which sustain the right of Texas to territory beyond the Nueces are contained in those passages in which it is asserted that the jurisdiction of Texas had been extended and exercised beyond the Nueces; that the country between that river and the del Norte had been represented in the Congress and convention of Texas, had taken part in the annexation itself, and was now included within one of our Congressional districts.
But it is not stated in the President’s message how far beyond the Nueces the jurisdiction of Texas had been extended, nor what part of the country between that river and the del Norte had been represented in the Congress and convention of Texas, and was then included within one of our Congressional districts.
Now the actual jurisdiction beyond the Nueces never extended farther than the adjacent settlement of San Patricio, consisting of about twenty families. That small district, though beyond the Nueces, was contiguous to, and in the actual possession of, Texas. On this account it might be rightfully included within the limits which we were bound to protect against Mexican invasion.
But what was the country between this small settlement of San Patricio, or between Corpus Christi and the Rio del Norte, over which it might be supposed from the message that the jurisdiction of Texas had been extended, so as to be included within one of our Congressional districts? Here, again, Texas had erected that small settlement into a county called San Patricio, and declared that this county extended to the Rio del Norte. This, like all other declaratory acts of the same kind, was only an assertion, not affecting the question of right. The State of Texas might with equal propriety have declared that their boundary extended to the Sierra Madre or to the Pacific. The true question of right to any territory beyond the Mexican limits of the department of Texas depends on the facts, By whom was the territory in question actually inhabited and occupied? and had the inhabitants united with Texas in the insurrection against Mexico?
The whole country beyond the settlement of San Patricio and Corpus Christi till within a few miles of the del Norte is a perfect desert, one hundred and sixty miles wide by the route pursued by General Taylor, as stated by himself, and near one hundred and twenty miles in a straight line.
The only settled part of it is along the left bank of the del Norte, and but a few miles in breadth. This belt was settled, inhabited, and occupied exclusively by Mexicans. It included the town of Laredo, and Mexico had a custom-house at Brazos, north of the mouth of the river. Till occupied by the American arms it had ever been, and was at the time when invaded by General Taylor, a part of the department of Tamaulipas, and subject to the jurisdiction of the prefect of the northern district of that department.
In the course of the war between Mexico and Texas, incursions had been occasionally made by each party into the territories of the other. A Mexican officer had once or twice obtained temporary occupation of San Antonio, within the limits of Texas; and the Texans had on one occasion taken Laredo itself, and more than once had carried their arms not only to the left bank of the del Norte, but even beyond that river. In both cases the aggressive parties had been repulsed and expelled. The last Texan expedition of that kind took place in December, 1842, and terminated in their defeat at Mier.
That the country adjacent to the left bank of the river was exclusively in the possession of the Mexicans was well known to our government.
When General Taylor marched to the del Norte, he issued an order (No. 30), translated into the Spanish, ordering all under his command to observe with the most scrupulous respect the rights of all the inhabitants who might be found in peaceful prosecution of their respective occupations, as well on the left as on the right side of the Rio Grande. No interference, he adds, will be allowed with the civil rights or religious privileges of the inhabitants.
In June, 1845, General Taylor had been directed to select and occupy, on or near the Rio Grande del Norte, such a site as would be best adapted to repel invasion and to protect our western border. But, on the 8th of July following, the Secretary of War (Mr. Marcy) addressed the following letter to him:
“This Department is informed that Mexico has some military establishments on the east side of the Rio Grande, which are, and for some time have been, in the actual occupancy of her troops. In carrying out the instructions heretofore received you will be careful to avoid any acts of aggression unless an actual state of war should exist. The Mexican forces at the posts in their possession, and which have been so, will not be disturbed as long as the relations of peace between the United States and Mexico continue.”
On the 30th of July, 1845, the Secretary again addresses General Taylor as follows: “You are expected to occupy, protect, and defend the territory of Texas, to the extent that it has been occupied by the people of Texas. The Rio Grande is claimed to be the boundary between the two countries, and up to this boundary you are to extend your protection, only excepting any posts on the eastern side thereof which are in the actual occupancy of Mexican forces or Mexican settlements, over which the republic of Texas did not exercise jurisdiction at the period of annexation, or shortly before that event. It is expected, in selecting the establishment for your troops, you will approach as near the boundary-line—the Rio Grande—as prudence will dictate. With this view, the President desires that your position, for a part of your forces at least, should be west of the river Nueces.”
The Mexican settlements thus excepted are not those over which Texas did not claim jurisdiction, but those on the east bank of the Rio Grande over which Texas did not exercise jurisdiction at the period mentioned. The President had no authority to give up the boundary claimed by Texas; but it is clear that at that time, when war was not contemplated, the Administration was of opinion that, till the question was definitely settled, the occupancy by the Mexicans of the territory adjacent the left bank of the del Norte ought not to be disturbed. Neither the subsequent refusal by Mexico to receive a residing envoy nor the successes of the American arms have affected the question of right. The claim of Texas, whether to New Mexico or to the lower portion of the Rio Norte, was identically the same, as invalid and groundless in one case as in the other. Why a distinction has been made by the Executive has not been stated. The fact is that he has established a temporary government for New Mexico as a country conquered, and without any regard to the claim of Texas; whilst, on the other hand, he has permitted that State to extend its jurisdiction over the country lying on the left bank of the del Norte, which, like New Mexico, had been conquered by the arms of the United States. Not a shadow of proof has been adduced to sustain the pretensions of Texas to that district; and justice imperiously requires that it should, by the treaty of peace, be restored to Mexico.
It so happens that the boundary which may be traced in conformity with this principle is a natural one, and that, as a measure of expediency, none more eligible could have been devised. A desert of one hundred and twenty miles separates the most southwesterly Texan settlements of Corpus Christi and San Patricio from those of the Mexicans on the left bank of the del Norte, than which no boundary could be devised better calculated to prevent collisions hereafter between the two nations. It will be sufficient for that purpose to draw a nominal line through the desert, leaving all the waters that empty into the Rio Norte to Mexico, and all those that empty into the Rio Nueces to Texas, together with such other provisions respecting fortifications and military posts as may be necessary for the preservation of peace.
The line of the Rio Norte is one from which Mexico would be perpetually threatened, and from which their adjacent town on the eastern bank may be bombarded. Such an intolerable nuisance would perpetuate most hostile feelings. With such a narrow river as the Rio del Norte, and with a joint right of navigation, repeated collisions would be unavoidable.
Among these, when there was nothing but a fordable river to cross, slaves would perpetually escape from Texas; and where would be the remedy? Are the United States prepared to impose by a treaty on Mexico, where slavery is unknown, the obligation to surrender fugitive slaves?
Mexico is greatly the weaker power, and requires a boundary which will give her as much security as is practicable. It is not required, either for the preservation of peace or for any other legitimate purpose, that the United States should occupy a threatening position. It cannot be rationally supposed that Mexico will ever make an aggressive war against them; and even in such case the desert would protect them against an invasion. If a war should ever again take place between the two countries, the overwhelming superiority of the navy of the United States will enable them to carry on their operations wherever they please. They would, within a month, reoccupy the left bank of the Rio Norte, and within a short time effect a landing and carry the war to any quarter they pleased.
Must the war be still prosecuted for an object of no intrinsic value, to which the United States have no legitimate right, which justice requires them to yield, and which even expediency does not require?
It is an indisputable fact that the annexation of Texas, then at war with Mexico, was tantamount to a declaration of war, and that the comparative weakness of Mexico alone prevented its government from considering it as such.
Under these circumstances, it was evidently the duty of the United States to use every means to soothe and conciliate the Mexicans, and to wait with patience for an unconditional recognition of the independence of Texas, till the feelings excited by our aggression had subsided.
It has been shown that after Mexico had resorted, as a substitute for war, to the harmless suspension of the ordinary diplomatic intercourse, the attempt to make it retract that measure, before any negotiations for the restoration of harmony between the two countries should be entered into, was neither countenanced by the acknowledged law of nations, nor necessary for any useful purpose, nor consistent with a proper and just sense of the relative position in which the aggressive measure of the United States had placed the two countries. But that the refusal of Mexico to submit to that additional contumely should have been considered as an insult to the United States betrays the pride of power, rather than a just sense of what is due to the true dignity and honor of this nation.
It has been demonstrated that the republic of Texas had not a shadow of right to the territory adjacent to the left bank of the lower portion of the Rio Norte; that, though she claimed, she never had actually exercised jurisdiction over any portion of it; that the Mexicans were the sole inhabitants and in actual possession of that district; that, therefore, its forcible occupation by the army of the United States was, according to the acknowledged law of nations, as well as in fact, an act of open hostility and war; that the resistance of the Mexicans to that invasion was legitimate; and that therefore the war was unprovoked by them, and commenced by the United States.
If any doubt should remain of the correctness of these statements, let them be tested by the divine and undeniable precept, “Do unto others as you would be done by.”
If at this moment France was to contract a treaty of defensive and offensive alliance with Mexico, a treaty taking effect immediately and pending the war between the United States and Mexico, and binding herself to defend it with all her forces against any and every other power, would not the United States at once consider such a treaty as a declaration of war against them?
If, in lieu of declaring war against Great Britain in the year 1812, the United States had only suspended the ordinary diplomatic relations between the two countries, and Great Britain had declared that she would not enter into any negotiation for the settlement of all the subjects of difference between the two countries unless the United States should, as a preliminary condition, restore those relations, would not this have been considered as a most insolent demand, and to which the United States never would submit?
If the United States were, and had been for more than a century, in possession of a tract of country exclusively inhabited and governed by them, disturbed only by the occasional forays of an enemy, would they not consider the forcible military invasion and occupation of such a district by a third power as open and unprovoked war commenced against them? And could their resistance to the invasion render them liable to the imputation of having themselves commenced the war?
Yet it would seem as if the splendid and almost romantic successes of the American arms had for a while made the people of the United States deaf to any other consideration than an enthusiastic and exclusive love of military glory; as if, forgetting the origin of the war, and with an entire disregard for the dictates of justice, they thought that those successes gave the nation a right to dismember Mexico, and to appropriate to themselves that which did not belong to them.
But I do not despair, for I have faith in our institutions and in the people; and I will now ask them whether this was their mission; and whether they were placed by Providence on this continent for the purpose of cultivating false glory, and of sinking to the level of those vulgar conquerors who have at all times desolated the earth.
THE MISSION OF THE UNITED STATES.
The people of the United States have been placed by Providence in a position never before enjoyed by any other nation. They are possessed of a most extensive territory, with a very fertile soil, a variety of climates and productions, and a capacity of sustaining a population greater in proportion to its extent than any other territory of the same size on the face of the globe.
By a concourse of various circumstances, they found themselves, at the epoch of their independence, in the full enjoyment of religious, civil, and political liberty, entirely free from any hereditary monopoly of wealth or power. The people at large were in full and quiet possession of all those natural rights for which the people of other countries have for a long time contended and still do contend. They were, and you still are, the supreme sovereigns, acknowledged as such by all. For the proper exercise of these uncontrolled powers and privileges you are responsible to posterity, to the world at large, and to the Almighty Being who has poured on you such unparalleled blessings.
Your mission is to improve the state of the world, to be the “model republic,” to show that men are capable of governing themselves, and that this simple and natural form of government is that also which confers most happiness on all, is productive of the greatest development of the intellectual faculties, above all, that which is attended with the highest standard of private and political virtue and morality.
Your forefathers, the founders of the republic, imbued with a deep feeling of their rights and duties, did not deviate from those principles. The sound sense, the wisdom, the probity, the respect for public faith, with which the internal concerns of the nation were managed made our institutions an object of general admiration. Here, for the first time, was the experiment attempted with any prospect of success, and on a large scale, of a representative democratic republic. If it failed, the last hope of the friends of mankind was lost or indefinitely postponed; and the eyes of the world were turned towards you. Whenever real or pretended apprehensions of the imminent danger of trusting the people at large with power were expressed, the answer ever was, “Look at America!”
In their external relations the United States, before this unfortunate war, had, whilst sustaining their just rights, ever acted in strict conformity with the dictates of justice, and displayed the utmost moderation. They never had voluntarily injured any other nation. Every acquisition of territory from foreign powers was honestly made, the result of treaties not imposed, but freely assented to by the other party. The preservation of peace was ever a primary object. The recourse to arms was always in self-defence. On its expediency there may have been a difference of opinion; that in the only two instances of conflict with civilized nations which occurred during a period of sixty-three years (1783 to 1846) the just rights of the United States had been invaded by a long-continued series of aggressions is undeniable. In the first instance war was not declared, and there were only partial hostilities between France and England. The Congress of the United States, the only legitimate organ of the nation for that purpose, did, in 1812, declare war against Great Britain. Independent of depredations on our commerce, she had for twenty years carried on an actual war against the United States. I say actual war, since there is now but one opinion on that subject; a renewal of the impressment of men sailing under the protection of our flag would be tantamount to a declaration of war. The partial opposition to the war of 1812 did not rest on a denial of the aggressions of England and of the justice of our cause, but on the fact that, with the exception of impressments, similar infractions of our just rights had been committed by France, and on the most erroneous belief that the Administration was partial to that country and insincere in their apparent efforts to restore peace.
At present all these principles would seem to have been abandoned. The most just, a purely defensive war, and no other is justifiable, is necessarily attended with a train of great and unavoidable evils. What shall we say of one, iniquitous in its origin, and provoked by ourselves, of a war of aggression, which is now publicly avowed to be one of intended conquest?
If persisted in, its necessary consequences will be a permanent increase of our military establishment and of executive patronage; its general tendency to make man hate man, to awaken his worst passions, to accustom him to the taste of blood. It has already demoralized no inconsiderable portion of the nation.
The general peace which has been preserved between the great European powers during the last thirty years may not be ascribed to the purest motives. Be these what they may, this long and unusual repose has been most beneficial to the cause of humanity. Nothing can be more injurious to it, more lamentable, more scandalous, than the war between two adjacent republics of North America.
Your mission was to be a model for all other governments and for all other less-favored nations, to adhere to the most elevated principles of political morality, to apply all your faculties to the gradual improvement of your own institutions and social state, and by your example to exert a moral influence most beneficial to mankind at large. Instead of this, an appeal has been made to your worst passions; to cupidity; to the thirst of unjust aggrandizement by brutal force; to the love of military fame and of false glory; and it has even been tried to pervert the noblest feelings of your nature. The attempt is made to make you abandon the lofty position which your fathers occupied, to substitute for it the political morality and heathen patriotism of the heroes and statesmen of antiquity.
I have said that it was attempted to pervert even your virtues. Devotedness to country, or patriotism, is a most essential virtue, since the national existence of any society depends upon it. Unfortunately, our most virtuous dispositions are perverted not only by our vices and selfishness, but also by their own excess. Even the most holy of our attributes, the religious feeling, may be perverted from that cause, as was but too lamentably exhibited in the persecutions, even unto death, of those who were deemed heretics. It is not, therefore, astonishing that patriotism carried to excess should also be perverted. In the entire devotedness to their country, the people everywhere and at all times have been too apt to forget the duties imposed upon them by justice towards other nations. It is against this natural propensity that you should be specially on your guard. The blame does not attach to those who, led by their patriotic feelings, though erroneous, flock around the national standard. On the contrary, no men are more worthy of admiration, better entitled to the thanks of their country, than those who, after war has once taken place, actuated only by the purest motives, daily and with the utmost self-devotedness brave death and stake their own lives in the conflict against the actual enemy. I must confess that I do not extend the same charity to those civilians who coolly and deliberately plunge the country into any unjust or unnecessary war.
We should have but one conscience; and most happy would it be for mankind were statesmen and politicians only as honest in their management of the internal or external national concerns as they are in private life. The irreproachable private character of the President and of all the members of his Administration is known and respected. There is not one of them who would not spurn with indignation the most remote hint that, on similar pretences to those alleged for dismembering Mexico, he might be capable of an attempt to appropriate to himself his neighbor’s farm.
In the total absence of any argument that can justify the war in which we are now involved, resort has been had to a most extraordinary assertion. It is said that the people of the United States have an hereditary superiority of race over the Mexicans, which gives them the right to subjugate and keep in bondage the inferior nation. This, it is also alleged, will be the means of enlightening the degraded Mexicans, of improving their social state, and of ultimately increasing the happiness of the masses.
Is it compatible with the principle of democracy, which rejects every hereditary claim of individuals, to admit an hereditary superiority of races? You very properly deny that the son can, independent of his own merit, derive any right or privilege whatever from the merit or any other social superiority of his father. Can you for a moment suppose that a very doubtful descent from men who lived one thousand years ago has transmitted to you a superiority over your fellow-men? But the Anglo-Saxons were inferior to the Goths, from whom the Spaniards claim to be descended; and they were in no respect superior to the Franks and to the Burgundians. It is not to their Anglo-Saxon descent, but to a variety of causes, among which the subsequent mixture of Frenchified Normans, Angevins, and Gascons must not be forgotten, that the English are indebted for their superior institutions. In the progressive improvement of mankind much more has been due to religious and political institutions than to races. Whenever the European nations which from their language are presumed to belong to the Latin or to the Sclavonian race shall have conquered institutions similar to those of England, there will be no trace left of the pretended superiority of one of those races above the other. At this time the claim is but a pretext for covering and justifying unjust usurpation and unbounded ambition.
But admitting, with respect to Mexico, the superiority of race, this confers no superiority of rights. Among ourselves the most ignorant, the most inferior, either in physical or mental faculties, is recognized as having equal rights, and he has an equal vote with any one, however superior to him in all those respects. This is founded on the immutable principle that no one man is born with the right of governing another man. He may, indeed, acquire a moral influence over others, and no other is legitimate. The same principle will apply to nations. However superior the Anglo-American race may be to that of Mexico, this gives the Americans no right to infringe upon the rights of the inferior race. The people of the United States may rightfully, and will, if they use the proper means, exercise a most beneficial moral influence over the Mexicans and other less enlightened nations of America. Beyond this they have no right to go.
The allegation that the subjugation of Mexico would be the means of enlightening the Mexicans, of improving their social state, and of increasing their happiness, is but the shallow attempt to disguise unbounded cupidity and ambition. Truth never was or can be propagated by fire and sword, or by any other than purely moral means. By these, and by these alone, the Christian religion was propagated, and enabled, in less than three hundred years, to conquer idolatry. During the whole of that period Christianity was tainted by no other blood than that of its martyrs.
The duties of the people of the United States towards other nations are obvious. Never losing sight of the divine percept, “Do to others as you would be done by,” they have only to consult their own conscience. For our benevolent Creator has implanted in the hearts of men the moral sense of right and wrong, and that sympathy for other men the evidences of which are of daily occurrence.
It seems unnecessary to add anything respecting that false glory which, from habit and the general tenor of our early education, we are taught to admire. The task has already been repeatedly performed, in a far more able and impressive manner than anything I could say on the subject. It is sufficient to say that at this time neither the dignity or honor of the nation demand a further sacrifice of invaluable lives, or even of money. The very reverse is the case. The true honor and dignity of the nation are inseparable from justice. Pride and vanity alone demand the sacrifice. Though so dearly purchased, the astonishing successes of the American arms have at least put it in the power of the United States to grant any terms of peace without incurring the imputation of being actuated by any but the most elevated motives. It would seem that the most proud and vain must be satiated with glory, and that the most reckless and bellicose should be sufficiently glutted with human gore.
A more truly glorious termination of the war, a more splendid spectacle, an example more highly useful to mankind at large, cannot well be conceived than that of the victorious forces of the United States voluntarily abandoning all their conquests, without requiring anything else than that which was strictly due to our citizens.
TERMS OF PEACE.
I have said that the unfounded claim of Texas to the territory between the Nueces and the Rio Norte was the greatest impediment to peace. Of this there can be no doubt. For if, relinquishing the spirit of military conquest, nothing shall be required but the indemnities due to our citizens, the United States have only to accept the terms which have been offered by the Mexican government. It consents to yield a territory five degrees of latitude, or near 350 miles, in breadth, and extending from New Mexico to the Pacific. Although the greater part of this is quite worthless, yet the portion of California lying between the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific, and including the port of San Francisco, is certainly worth much more than the amount of indemnities justly due to our citizens. It is only in order to satisfy those claims that an accession of territory may become necessary.
It is not believed that the Executive will favor the wild suggestions of a subjugation or annexation of the whole of Mexico, or of any of its interior provinces. And, if I understand the terms offered by Mr. Trist, there was no intention to include within the cessions required the province of New Mexico. But the demand of both Old and New California, or of a sea-coast of more than thirteen hundred miles in length (lat. 23° to 42°), is extravagant and unnecessary. The peninsula is altogether worthless, and there is nothing worth contending for south of San Diego, or about latitude 32°.
In saying that if conquest is not the object of the war, and if the pretended claim of Texas to the Rio del Norte shall be abandoned there cannot be any insuperable obstacle to the restoration of peace, it is by no means intended to assert that the terms heretofore proposed by either party are at this time proper. And I apprehend that the different views of the subject entertained by those who sincerely desire a speedy and just peace, may create some difficulty. There are some important considerations which may become the subject of subsequent arrangements. For the present, nothing more is strictly required than to adopt the principle of status ante bellum, or, in other words, to evacuate the Mexican territory and to provide for the payment of the indemnities due to our citizens. The scruples of those who object to any cession whatever of territory, except on terms unacceptable to the Southern States, might be removed by a provision that would only pledge a territory sufficient for the purpose, and leave it in the possession of the United States until the indemnities had been fully paid.
Was I to listen exclusively to my own feelings and opinions, I would say that, if the propositions which I have attempted to establish are correct, if I am not mistaken in my sincere conviction that the war has been unprovoked by the Mexicans and has been one of iniquitous aggression on our part, it necessarily follows that, according to the dictates of justice, the United States are bound to indemnify them for having invaded their territory, bombarded their towns, and inflicted all the miseries of war on a people who were fighting in defence of their own homes. If all this be true, the United States would give but an inadequate compensation for the injuries they have inflicted by assuming the payment of the indemnities justly due to their own citizens.
Even if a fair purchase of territory should be convenient to both parties, it would be far preferable to postpone it for the present, among other reasons, in order that it should not have the appearance of being imposed on Mexico. There are also some important considerations, to which it may not be improper to call at this time the public attention.
Our population may at this time be assumed as amounting to twenty millions. Although the ratio of natural increase has already been lessened from thirty-three to about thirty per cent. in ten years, the deficiency has been, and will probably continue for a while to be, compensated by the prodigious increase of immigration from foreign countries. An increase of thirty per cent. would add to our population six millions within ten, and near fourteen millions in twenty, years. At the rate of only twenty-five per cent. it will add five millions in ten, and more than eleven millions in twenty, years. That the fertile uncultivated land within the limits of the States admitted or immediately admissible in the Union could sustain three times that number, is indubitable. But the indomitable energy, the locomotive propensities, and all the habits of the settlers of new countries are such that not even the united efforts of both governments can or will prevent their occupying within twenty, if not within ten, years, every district as far as the Pacific, and whether within the limits of the United States or of Mexico, which shall not have previously been actually and bona fide occupied and settled by others. It may be said that this is justifiable by natural law; that, for the same reason which sets aside the right of discovery if not followed by actual occupation within a reasonable time, the rights of Spain and Mexico have been forfeited by their neglect or inability, during a period of three hundred years, to colonize a country which, during the whole of that period, they held undisputed by any other foreign nation. And it may perhaps be observed that, had the government of the United States waited for the operation of natural and irresistible causes, these alone would have given them, without a war, more than they want at this moment.
However plausible all this may appear, it is nevertheless certain that it will be an acquisition of territory for the benefit of the people of the United States and in violation of solemn treaties. Not only collisions must be avoided and the renewal of another illicit annexation be prevented, but the two countries must coolly consider their relative position, and whatever portion of territory not actually settled by the Mexicans and of no real utility to them they may be disposed to cede, must be acquired by a treaty freely assented to and for a reasonable compensation. But this is not the time for the discussion of a proper final arrangement. We must wait till peace shall have been restored and angry feelings shall have subsided. At present the only object is peace, immediate peace, a just peace, and no acquisition of territory but that which may be absolutely necessary for effecting the great object in view. The most simple terms, those which will only provide for the adjustment of the Texas boundary and for the payment of the indemnities due to our citizens, and, in every other respect, restore things as they stood before the beginning of hostilities, appear to me the most eligible. For that purpose I may be permitted to wish that the discussion of the terms should not be embarrassed by the introduction of any other matter. There are other considerations, highly important, and not foreign to the great question of an extension of territory, but which may, without any inconvenience or commitment, be postponed, and should not be permitted to impede the immediate termination of this lamentable war.
I have gone farther than I intended. It is said that a rallying-point is wanted by the friends of peace. Let them unite, boldly express their opinions, and use their utmost endeavors in promoting an immediate termination of the war. For the people no other banner is necessary. But their representatives in Congress assembled are alone competent to ascertain, alone vested with the legitimate power of deciding, what course should be pursued at this momentous crisis, what are the best means for carrying into effect their own views, whatever these may be. We may wait with hope and confidence the result of their deliberations.
I have tried in this essay to confine myself to the questions at issue between the United States and Mexico. Whether the Executive has in any respect exceeded his legitimate powers, whether he is for any of his acts liable to animadversion, are questions which do not concern Mexico.
There are certainly some doubtful assumptions of power and some points on which explanations are necessary. The most important is the reason which may have induced the President, when he considered the war as necessary and almost unavoidable, not to communicate to Congress, which was all that time in session, the important steps he had taken till after hostilities, and indeed actual war, had taken place. The substitution for war contributions of an arbitrary and varying tariff, appears to me to be of a doubtful nature, and it is hoped that the subject will attract the early attention of Congress. I am also clearly of opinion that the provisions of the law respecting volunteers, which authorizes them to elect their officers, is a direct violation of the Constitution of the United States, which recognizes no other land force than the army and the militia, and which vests in the President and Senate the exclusive power of appointing all the officers of the United States whose appointments are not otherwise provided for in the Constitution itself. (With respect to precedents, refer to the Act of July 6, 1812, chap. 461 (cxxxviii.), enacted with due deliberation, and which repeals in that respect the Act on same subject of February 6, 1812.)
THE GALLATIN GENEALOGY.
Du 6 avril, 1770.
Filiation des branches existantes de la Famille Gallatin depuis que cette Famille est établie à Genève.
1. Noble Jean Gallatin De Granges possédait des fiefs en Michaille riere Ardonne, Granges, Musinnens et Arlaud qui sont des villages dans la Michaille, appert des reconnaissances emphithéotiques passées en 1502 et 1503 en faveur de Jean Gallatin et de ses frères fils du dit, lesquels sont qualifiés de Nobles, Vénérables et Egrèges Hommes Seigneurs dans les dites reconnaissances reçues, Berterius de Saint Martin Notaire. Vid. A, No. 1.
2. Jean Gallatin, fils du dit, reçu Bourgeois de Genève en 1510, appert de ses lettres de Bourgeoisie, A, No. 2. Ce Jean Gallatin était Secrétaire du Duc de Savoye, Vicomte Palatin et Protonotaire Apostolique appert des pièces A, No. 3. Il avait épousé Pernette d’Entremonts, appert du contract de mariage passé à Thone le 26 avril, 1507, devant Egrège Guillaume Megex, notaire public, dans lequel on lit: “inter nobilem et egregium virum Joannem Gallatin Ducale Secretarium . . . ex una et nobilem Peronetam filiam Guillielmi de intermontibus.” Vid. A, No. 4.
3. Pierre Gallatin, fils du dit Jean, appert d’une reconnaissance par lui passée devant François Voirrier, notaire et commissaire, le 26 octobre, 1557, laquelle porte que la pièce reconnue a été acquise avant les guerres par Noble Jean Gallatin, père du dit Noble Pierre reconnaissant. Vid. cahier cotté x, No. 5. Le dit Pierre avait épousé Noble Jeanne Jordan appert d’un acte d’échange entre la dite dame et Noble Claude Gallatin dans laquelle elle agit comme tutrice de Claude et Marin Gallatin, ses enfans. François Panissot, Notaire. Vid. cahier x, No. 6.
4. Claude Gallatin, fils du dit Pierre et de la dite Jeanne Jordan, appert l’article ci-dessus, marié avec Jeanne De Roches, le 17 janvier, 1563, appert l’acte de célébration de leur mariage, cotté A, No. 7. Le dit Claude Gallatin était Secrétaire d’Etat de la République et il a été Seigneur Syndic.
5. Abraham Gallatin, fils du dit Claude et de la dite Jeanne De Roches, appert son extrait batistaire du 23 février, 1567. Vid. la pièce cottée N. Il épousa Dlle. Sara Villot, appert du contract de mariage, De Monthoux, notaire, le 25 avril, 1590. Vid. cahier x, No. 8. Il fut élu Seigneur Syndic en 1617.
6. Isaac Gallatin, fils du dit Abraham et de la dite Sara, sa femme, appert son extrait batistaire. Vid. la pièce cottée N. Comme encore appert du testament du dit Noble Abraham Gallatin, Seigneur Syndic, son père, fils de Noble Claude Gallatin, jadis aussi Seigneur Syndic, dans lequel testament le dit Isaac est institué héritier avec Pierre et Jérémie ses frères. Vid. cahier x, No. 9. Il épousa Madelaine Durant, comme appert de son contract de mariage, Et. De Monthoux, notaire, le 6 octobre, 1617. Il y est qualifié [fils] de feu Noble et honoré Seigneur Abraham Gallatin naguères décédé en charge de Seigneur Syndic, et où il est dit agir par l’avis de Noble Claude Gallatin son aïeul. Le dit Isaac fut neuf fois Seigneur Syndic, dont cinq fois premier. Il eut l’honneur d’être député par la République au Roy Louis XIII à Lyon en 1641 et au Roy Louis XIV à Dijon en 1650. Le contract de mariage du dit Isaac est au cahier x, No. 10.
7. Ezéchiel Gallatin, fils du dit Isaac et de la dite Madelaine Durant, appert son extrait batistaire du 23 septembre, 1630. Vid. la pièce No. N. Il épousa Françoise Sarrasin comme appert du contract de mariage, Pierre Gautier, notaire, le 3 aoust, 1659, où il est qualifié fils de Noble et honoré Seigneur Isaac Gallatin, Ancien Seigneur Premier Syndic. Vid. cahier x, No. 11. Il fut Seigneur Syndic en 1677.
8. Barthélemy Gallatin, fils du dit Ezéchiel et de la dite Françoise Sarrasin, appert son extrait batistaire du 14 aoust, 1662. Vid. la pièce No. N. Il épousa Dlle. Sara Dupan, appert de l’acte de célébration de mariage du 18 novembre, 1684. Vid. la pièce cottée O. Il fut fait Seigneur Syndic en 1723.
9. Ezéchiel Gallatin, fils du dit Barthélemy et de la dite Sara Dupan, appert son extrait batistaire cotté N. Il épousa Marie Sarrasin, appert l’acte de célébration de son mariage. Vid. la pièce cottée O. Il fut Professeur en Philosophie et Recteur de l’Académie. Il a eu pour fils Barthélemy Gallatin, appert l’extrait batistaire du dit à la pièce N, lequel est actuellement Colonel Commandant la seconde compagnie des Grenadiers à Cheval de S. M. le Roy d’Angleterre.
9. André Gallatin, frère du dit Ezéchiel, fils du dit Barthélemy et de la dite Sara Dupan, appert son extrait batistaire a la pièce N. Il a épousé Dlle. Françoise Sabonnadière. Vid. son contract de mariage reçu Fornet Notaire le 8 septembre, 1733, No. 12. Il est Seigneur Ancien Premier Syndic de la République. Il a pour frère Jaques Gallatin qui a été Capitaine Lieutenant dans le Régiment Suisse de la Cour au Chantre au service de France, mis dans le Conseil des Deux Cents en 1734.
10. Paul Michel Gallatin, fils du dit André et de la dite Françoise Sabonnadière, appert son extrait batistaire. Vid. la pièce cottée N.
8. Pierre Gallatin, fils du dit Ezéchiel et de la dite Françoise Sarrasin, appert son extrait batistaire à la pièce N. Mis au Conseil des Deux Cents en 1693. Auditeur en 1705. Marié à Eve Dupan, appert de l’acte de célébration de mariage. Vid. la pièce No. O.
9. Paul Gallatin, fils du dit Pierre et de la dite Eve Dupan, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il a épousé Marie Colladon, appert son contract de mariage, reçu par Duby, notaire, vid. No. 12. Il est actuellement Pasteur de l’Eglise de Genève et Principal de l’Académie.
10. Jean Louis et Jules Alexandre Gallatin, tous les deux fils du dit Paul et de la dite Marie Colladon, appert de leurs extraits batistaires à la pièce N.
4. Marin Gallatin, fils de Pierre Gallatin et de Jeanne Jordan, appert d’un acte d’échange cité ci-dessus, voyez No. 6. Il épousa Elisabeth, fille de feu Noble Jean de la Maisonneuve, appert de son contract de mariage, reçu Blondel, notaire, le 18 avril, 1569. Il est encore prouvé que le dit Marin Gallatin était frère de Claude Gallatin, Secrétaire d’Etat, par acte reçu Dubuisson notaire, vidimé par Bon et scellé du sceau de la République, vid. No. 13. Il a été Auditeur du droit et sommaire Justice de la République. Il a eu pour fils premièrement Louis Gallatin, appert son extrait batistaire No. N. Lequel Louis fut tué en 1602 à l’Escalade où il s’était très-distingué comme il est dit dans l’inscription sur pierre au Temple de Saint-Gervais.
5. Aimé Gallatin, fils du dit Marin Gallatin et de la dite Elisabeth de la Maisonneuve, appert son extrait batistaire à la pièce N. Il épousa Madelaine Humbert, appert de l’acte de célébration de son mariage, No. 32. Il est bien constaté que c’est bien le même Aimé Gallatin, fils de Marin, qui épousa Madelaine Humbert, premièrement par un contract de mariage en secondes noces avec Françoise Lullin, No. 17, où il est dit Auditeur et fils de Marin; et 2° par les contracts de mariages de ses fils où ils sont dit fils de Noble Aimé, Conseiller d’Etat, et de Madelaine Humbert; or il est certifié par les Regîtres publics que le dit Aimé Gallatin, Conseiller, est le même qui était Auditeur en 1631, et qui fut fait Conseiller en 1637.
6. Aimé Gallatin, fils du dit Aimé Gallatin, et de la dite Madelaine Humbert, appert son extrait batistaire. Vid. la pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Elisabeth Bordier, appert son contract de mariage, reçu Pierre Gautier notaire, le 30 mars, 1637. Il fut fait Conseiller du Conseil des Deux Cents en 1638. Son frère aîné Abraham fut Seigneur Syndic en 1653 et 1657.
7. Pierre Gallatin, fils du dit Aimé Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Elisabeth Bordier, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N, appert aussi d’un acte de cession, recu Deharsu notaire, le 26 aoust, 1680. Vid. No. 14. Il épousa Dlle. Jeanne Alleon, appert l’acte de célébration de son mariage, vid. pièce O, appert encore de son testament, reçu Grosjean notaire le 11 janvier, 1686. Vid. cahier x, No. 15.
8. Jaques Gallatin, fils du dit Pierre Gallatin et de la dite Jeanne Alleon, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N, appert aussi du testament du dit Pierre Gallatin son père cité ci-dessus. Vid. cahier x, No. 15. Il épousa Dlle. Susanne fille de feu Noble Philippe De Choudens De Grema, appert son contract de mariage, reçu Pasteur notaire le 19 mars, 1722, vid. No. 16.
9. Abraham Gallatin, fils du dit Jaques Gallatin et de la dite Susanne De Choudens, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Anne Pictet, appert son contract de mariage, reçu Flournois notaire le 23 février, 1757. Vid. No. 17. Il a été élu au Conseil des Deux Cents en 1758.
10. Gaspard Gabriel et Abraham Gallatin, tous deux fils du dit Abraham Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Anne Pictet, appert leurs extraits batistaires. Vid. la pièce N.
9. Pierre Gallatin, fils du dit Jaques Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Susanne De Choudens De Grema, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Camille Pictet, fille de Noble Jean Louis Pictet, Seigneur Syndic, appert son contract de mariage reçu Delorme notaire le 21 décembre, 1737. Vid. No. 18. La dite Dlle. Camille Pictet était fille de Catherine Gallatin, sœur de François Gallatin qui fut tué au siège d’Ostende, Capitaine de Grenadiers au Régiment Suisse de la Cour au Chantre, et fille de Abraham Gallatin que l’Empereur Joseph reconnut être d’ancienne Noblesse et extraction par lettres patentes de 1707. Vid. No. 19.
10. Jean Louis Gallatin, fils du dit Pierre Gallatin et de la dite Camille Pictet, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. pièce N. Il est actuellement premier lieutenant dans le régiment des Gardes Suisses au service de Sa Majesté Très-Chrétienne. Il a épousé Dlle. Susanne Elisabeth Sellon, fille de Mr. Jean François Sellon, ci-devant Ministre de la République auprès de S. M., appert son contract de mariage reçu Flournois notaire le 18 octobre, 1766. Jaques Gallatin, son frère, a été tué à l’affaire de Warbourg, où il était Sous-Lieutenant de la Compagnie De Gallatin au Régiment Suisse De Plantaz. Le dit Jean Louis Gallatin a encore un frère appellé Pierre, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N.
6. Louis Gallatin, fils du dit Aimé Gallatin, premier du nom, et de la dite Madelaine Humbert, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Victoria Carcassola, appert de son contract de mariage, reçu Pinault notaire le 5 aoust, 1638, No. 20. Il fut élu Conseiller au Conseil des Deux Cents en 1640.
7. Jean Gallatin, fils du dit Louis Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Victoria Carcassola, appert de son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il avait épousé Dlle. Françoise Gallatin, appert du contract de mariage et de l’extrait batistaire de son fils Jean ci-après cités, et il est justifié que Jean Gallatin qui dans le dit contract de mariage est dit avoir épousé Françoise Gallatin est le même dont il s’agit ici, soit par transaction reçue Lenieps notaire le 1 may, 1672; soit par le testament de Jean Carcassola, son grand-père, reçu Pinault notaire le 24 8bre, 1659. Vid. les dits testament et transaction, No. 21 et 22.
8. Jean Gallatin, fils du dit Jean Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Françoise Gallatin, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. pièce N. Il avait épousé Dlle. Barbe Gervaix, appert son contract de mariage cité ci-dessus, reçu Beddevole notaire le 4 avril, 1705. Il fut élu Conseiller au Conseil des Deux Cents en 1721.
9. Abraham Gallatin, fils du dit Jean Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Barbe Gervaix, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il a épousé Dlle. Louise Susanne Vaudenet, appert de l’acte de la célébration de son mariage du 7 avril, 1732. Vid. la pièce O. Il fut élu Conseiller au Conseil des Deux Cents en 1738. Il a été élu Auditeur en 1742, et il est actuellement Trésorier de la Chambre des Bleds.
10. Jean Gallatin, fils du dit Abraham Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Louise Susanne Vaudenet, appert son extrait batistaire. Vid. la pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Sophie Albertine Rolaz, appert son contract de mariage reçu Magnin notaire à Rolle le 16 janvier, 1755. No. 24.
11. Abraham Albert Alphonse Gallatin, fils du dit Jean Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Sophie Albertine Rolaz, appert son extrait batistaire. Vid. pièce N.
6. Jean Gallatin, fils du dit Aimé Gallatin, premier du nom, et de la dite Madelaine Humbert, appert de son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Gabrielle Chouët, appert son contract de mariage, reçu Jouvenon notaire le 1 9bre, 1647, vid. No. 25 au cahier x; a été élu Conseiller au Conseil des Deux Cents en 1649.
7. Abraham Gallatin, fils du dit Jean Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Gabrielle Chouët, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Camille Fatio, appert des conventions matrimoniales du 5 février, 1685. Vid. cahier x, No. 26; mis en Conseil des Deux Cents en 1684. C’est celui que l’Empereur Joseph reconnut de famille et extraction Noble par les lettres patentes citées ci-dessus, à l’article Pierre Gallatin.
8. André Gallatin, fils du dit Abraham Gallatin et de la dite Camille Fatio, appert son extrait batistaire. Vid. la pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Anne Sarrasin, appert de son contract de mariage, reçu Joly notaire le 6 avril, 1705. No. 27. Il a été fait Seigneur Syndic en 1737.
9. Jean Gallatin, fils du dit André Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Anne Sarrasin, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N; est entré au Conseil des Deux Cents en 1746.
9. Abraham Gallatin, fils du dit André Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Anne Sarrasin, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Marie Saladin, appert son contract de mariage, reçu Delorme notaire le 12 9bre, 1751. No. 28; mis en Deux Cents, 1752. Capitaine dans le Régiment Suisse de Baltazard, actuellement Jenner au service de S. M. T. C.
10. Gabriel Gallatin, fils du dit Abraham et de la dite Dlle. Marie Saladin, appert son extrait batistaire. Vid. la pièce O.
8. Jaques Gallatin, fils du dit Abraham Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Camille Fatio, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il a été fait Conseiller d’Etat en 1750. Il a fait héritier la Bourse de la famille Gallatin qui avait été fondée par François Gallatin son oncle, à l’imitation de plusieurs fondations semblables qui ont été faites à Berne sous les mêmes conditions.
8. François Gallatin, fils du dit Abraham Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Camille Fatio, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il a épousé Dlle. Elisabeth Bégon, appert son contract de mariage, reçu Fornet notaire le 15 février, 1732. No. 29. C’est celui qui a été tué au siège d’Ostende à l’attaque du chemin couvert, étant Capitaine de Grénadiers au Régiment de la Cour au Chantre, actuellement Jenner.
9. Jean Gallatin, fils du dit François Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Elisabeth Bégon, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il a été élu Conseiller au Conseil des Deux Cents en 1764. Il est actuellement Capitaine au Régiment Suisse de Jenner.
6. Pierre Gallatin, fils de Abraham Gallatin et de Dlle. Sara Villot, appert son extrait batistaire, vid. la pièce N. Il épousa Dlle. Catherine De Relinghen, appert du contract de mariage reçu Pinault notaire le 27 aoust, 1635. Vid. cahier x, No. 30.
7. Jean Antoine Gallatin, fils du dit Pierre Gallatin et de la dite Dlle. Catherine De Relinghen, appert d’acte de donation entre vifs passé par Dlle. Anne Catherine De Relinghen, veuve de Noble Pierre Gallatin, Ancien Procureur-Général de cette République, en faveur des Nobles Odet, Ferdinand et Jean Antoine Gallatin, ses fils. Le dit acte reçu Grosjean notaire le 24 7bre, 1664.
Nous Syndics et Conseil de la Ville et République de Genève certifions que la famille Gallatin nous aurait présenté Requête aux fins de commettre un des Seigneurs Secrétaires d’État pour collationner aux originaux les titres énoncés dans la Généalogie de la dite famille, et en expédier un certificat authentique de vérité, et qu’il nous plût y joindre une attestation sur le rang honorable que la dite famille a toujours tenu dans Genève. A laquelle Requête favorablement inclinants et ouï le rapport de Noble Lullin, Seigneur Conseiller et Secrétaire d’Etat nommé commissaire, nommé par Décret du 3 février, 1770, pour les fins requises, certifions que les titres énoncés dans la Généalogie de la famille Gallatin sont conformes aux originaux, et de plus que la dite famille a toujours tenu dans notre Ville un rang honorable et distingué, et que plusieurs des membres qui l’ont composé et la composent ont été revêtus des premiers emplois de l’Etat et en ont bien mérité. En foi de quoi nous avons expédié le présent certificat pour servir où besoin sera, sous notre sceau et seing de notre Secrétaire à Genève ce 6 avril, 1770.
Par mes dits Seigneurs Syndics et Conseil.
Extrait du Regître des affaires des particuliers de la République de Genève:
Nous Conseiller d’État soussigné, commis par arrêt de Nos Magnifiques et très-Honorés Seigneurs Syndics et Conseil de la Ville et République de Genève mis sur la requête à eux présentée par le Sieur Jean Louis Comte de Gallatin, Citoyen, en son nom et celui de sa famille, aux fins d’obtenir après due vérification des titres que la famille Gallatin et tous les individus qui la composent soyent qualifiés dans tous les actes publics du nom de De Gallatin qui est leur véritable nom. Le dit arrêt en date du 2 février, 1786, renvoyant le suppliant par-devant nous pour l’ouir plus particulièrement et rapporter:
Certifions que le dit Sieur Comte de Gallatin s’étant présenté par-devant nous, nous a exhibé les actes suivants, savoir:
1°. Un acte de quittance fait par Halasie Abbesse de Belle Combe à Noble Homme Messire Jean De Marcilliaco Chevalier de la somme de quinze livres viennoises léguées au dit Couvent de Belle Combe par feu Messire Faulcherius Gallatini Chevalier (miles) pour célébrer un anniversaire de quinze sols viennois le jour de son décès; du mois de juillet, 1258; scellé du sceau de la dite Abbesse. Original écrit en Latin sur parchemin scellé sur double queue de même du dit sceau (le sceau perdu).
Nos Halasia abbatissa de Bella Comba notum facimus universis presentes litteras inspecturis quod nos habuimus et recepimus ad opus conventus nostri a nobili viro Domino Johanne de Marcilliaco milite quindecim libras viennenses quas dictas quindecim libras viennenses Dominus Fulcherius Gallatini miles defunctus pro anima sua legavit conventui nostro de Bella Comba pro quodam anniversario quindecim solidos viennenses dicto conventui die obitus sui annualim faciendo quod anniversarium quindecim solidorum viennensium debitale assignamus et ascedimus de voluntate et consensu conventus nostri in manso quod vulgariter appellatur deuz Cayre. Remunerantes in hoc facto ex certa scientia exceptioni non numeratæ et non receptæ pecuniæ doli mali et metus causa epistolæ divi Adriani et legum de tempore quadrimestri et omni auxilio juris canonici et civilis.
In cujus rei testimonium presentibus litteris sigillum nostrum duximus apponendum et dicto Domino Johanni tradidimus ad majoris vinculum firmitatis. Datum anno domini millesimo ducentissimo quinquagesimo octavo mense Julii.
2°. Une transaction passée le 2 des nones de décembre, 1319, entre Magnifique Prince et Puissant Seigneur Guillaume Comte de Genevois et Humbert de Chastillon, Chevalier, Seigneur du dit lieu: dans laquelle sont mentionnés comme témoins le Seigneur Guillaume Gallatini, Chevalier, et Humbert Gallatini, son fils, Damoiseau (Domino Gallatini milite et Humberto Gallatini ejus filio Domicello). Original écrit en Latin sur parchemin auquel pend le sceau du Comte de Genevois.
Anno ab incarnatione Domini millesimo trecentesimo decimo nono, secunda nona Decembris per hoc presens publicum instrumentum cunctis appareat evidenter quod esset mota quæstio et dissentionis materia inter magnificum principem et potentem dominum Guillelmum comitem gebennensem ex parte una et Humbertum de Castellione militem dominum dicti loci ex altera super eo quod dictus dominus de Castellione dicebat et asserebat se et predecessores suos habere et antiquitus habuisse omnimodum usagium ad ardendum ad ædificandum ad pasturam animalium et ad omnia sibi necessaria in foresta de asseria ex concessione et dono antecessorum dicti domini comitis: præfato domino comite in contrarium asserente et dicente quod prædicta foresta sibi ac predecessoribus suis integrum spectaverit et pertinuerit spectatque et pertinet de jure et de consuetudine: Tandem post multas altercationes habitas hinc inde dictæ partes nomine suo et heredum suorum et successorum inter ipsas transigendo ad pacem et concordiam in hunc modum qui sequitur devenerunt. Videlicet quod præfatus dominus de Castellione habeat et habere debeat omnimodum usagium ad ardendum ad ædificandum ad pasturam animalium et ad omnia sibi necessaria in parte prædictæ forestæ prout sequuntur limitationes istæ: videlicet a parte de Chalung a rivo de Ciers recte tendendo per nantum de canali dictum daptem superius tendendo per dictum nantum usque ad quem terminum lapideum [surdum cruce signatum] positum in summitate dicti nanti et a dicto termino in summitate dicti nanti tendendo versus quemdam terminum positum juxta Orlas de Anteret a parte de Lornay et ab hinc recte tendendo versus quemdam terminum positum in summitate terrarum domini Guillelmi Gallatin militis et ab hinc recte tendendo versus quemdam terminum qui dividit superius montem terras Aymonis de Lornay domicelli et illorum de Anteret recte tendendo versus nantum domini de Chatagni et a monte de Chatagni usque ad Ciers et a quodam termino posito juxta quemdam lapidem surdum juxta fontem domini Crat et a dicto termino posito versus quoddam saxum et ab hinc recte tendendo versus quemdam terminum lapideum positum juxta nantum domini de Barbollion vel de Ernes et ab hinc recte tendendo versus quemdam nantum prout dividit dictos nantos insuperius montem dictum Chacellare et a monte dicto de Ventagny usque ad Ciers.
Quamquidem transactionem et concordiam dictæ partes nomine suo et successorum suorum omolgare expresse ratificare confirmare approbare promiserunt: videlicet dominus comes per juramentum suum tactis evangeliis sacrosanctis et sub obligatione et hypotheca bonorum suorum præmissa omnia in omnibus suis articulis rata grata et firma tenere et inviolabiliter observare et in contrarium non venire per se vel per alium in solidum vel in parte sed in contrarium venire volentibus si quod absit contradicere in judicio et extra de jure et de facto suis propriis sumptibus et expensis se opponere legitimum defensorem: Et vice versa dictus de Castellione per juramentum suum tactis evangeliis sacrosanctis et sub obligatione bonorum suorum universa et singula suprascripta rata grata habere tenere et inviolabiliter observare et contra prædicta seu aliquod de prædictis per se sive per alium in toto et in parte in posterum non venire nec alicui contravenienti in aliquo consentire. Præfatusque dominus comes tenore præsentium mandat et precipit castellanis suis judicibus ballivis procuratoribus et aliis officiariis suis et familiaribus tam præsentibus atque futuris quemcunque de præmissis et eorum cujuslibet prout superius est expressum dictum Humbertum heredes et successores suos uti ibidem omni impedimento cessante nec eum in præmissis impediant vel perturbent sed eum in prædicto usagio ab omnibus et contra omnes manuteneant et defendant. Remunerantes dictæ partes per eorum juramenta ut supra in hoc facto prout cuilibet earum competit actioni exceptioni in factum non cognitioni deceptioni lesioni et generaliter omni juri canonico et civili scripto et non scripto statutis et consuetudinibus exceptionique juris et facti per quæ possent contra præmissa vel aliquid de præmissis in aliquo contravenire. Actum est hoc apud Chalung testibus ad hoc vocatis et rogatis domino Roberto de Ravoyria milite domino Gallatini milite et Humberto Gallatini domicello ejus filio Guillelmo cacheti scutifero et Petro de Rumilli jurisperito. Et ego Johannes Faber de Attavilla clericus auctoritate imperiali notarius publicus curiæque domini comitis Gebennensis juratus qui præmissa rogatus feci hang cartam scripsi signo meo una cum signo communi prædicti domini comitis signavi et fideliter tradidi consignatam.
Nos præfatus comes ut prædicta omnia et singula suprascripta majorem obtineant roboris firmitatem sigillum nostrum præsenti publico instrumento duximus apponendum in testimonium veritatis. Et promitimus bona fide universa et singula pro nobis et successoribus nostris attendere adimplere et irrevocabiliter observare prout superius sunt expressa.
Datum die et anno quibus supra.
3°. Acte d’Hommage lige prêté par Noble Jean Gallatini d’Arlod, fils de feu Humbert Gallatini Damoiseau, à Messire Jean de Chatillon, Chevalier, de ce qu’il tenait de lui au territoire de Chatillon le 1 mars, 1334. Original en parchemin, écrit en Latin, auquel est jointe une copie collationnée le 15 janvier, 1776, par Spectable Rocca Commissaire-Général de la République de Genève; sur l’original représenté par Madame Gallatin veuve Pictet et expédiée sous le sceau de l’État, légalisée par le Résident de France, signée Hennin, avec le sceau.
4°. Testament de Noble Jean Gallatin d’Arlod, en date du 13 septembre, 1360, par lequel il ordonne sa sépulture dans l’Eglise d’Arlod et institue ses héritiers universels Nobles Henri et Pierre Gallatini ses neveux, enfans de feu Noble Guillaume Gallatini et de Noble Jeannette de Gingins (De Gingino) sa femme. Original écrit en Latin sur parchemin, signé de la marque de Jean Salanchi, clerc notaire juré de la cour de l’official de Genève.
Nos officialis gebennarum notum facimus universis presentes litteras inspecturis: Ex coram mandato nostro videlicet Johanne Salanchi clerico notario curiæque nostræ jurato ad hæc a nobis deputato presentibus etiam testibus infrascriptis: Personaliter constitutus Nobilis Johannes Gallatini parochiæ Arlodi sanus mente licet debilis corpore in bona [salute] tamen et bona memoria per Dei graciam existens attendens et considerans quod nihil est certius morte nihilque incertius hora mortis timens etiam mortis periculum volens sibi providere ne decederet intestatus ob hoc ad honorem et laudem Dei Patris Omnipotentis et beatæ gloriosæ Virginis Mariæ ejus filii matris [curiæ] que celestis et omnium sanctorum et sanctarum Dei de rebus et bonis suis juribus et actionibus mobilibus et immobilibus ad se quoquomodo pertinentibus sibi a Deo collatis suam ultimam voluntatem seu suum testamentum nuncupativum facit disponit et ordinat prout sequitur in hunc modum:
Imprimis animam suam recommendat altissimo suo creatori qui eum in ara crucis redemit suo sanguine precioso. Item vult et precipit clamores suos si qui sint de plano pacificari debita sua reddi legata et elemosinas suas persolvi per manus executorum suorum quos inferius nominabit. Item in ecclesia Arlodi eligit sepulturam suam ita tamen quod heredes sui infrascripti corpus ipsius Johannis testatoris faciant honorifice sepelire juxta et secundum statum. Item vult et precipit dominus testator quod celebrentur pro remedio animæ suæ et parentum suorum mille missæ per decem annos inchoandos a tempore et die sui obitus, videlicet quolibet anno centum missæ pro quibus celebrandis vult et precipit dari et solvi pro qualibet missa unum grossum valentem tres obolos ad voluntatem executorum.
Item luminare dictæ ecclesiæ Arlodi vult et precipit dari et solvi octo grossos de floreno semel. Item vult et precipit predictus testator quod triginti floreni familiaribus suis ipsius testatoris qui ipsi servitia hactenus reddunt dentur deliberentur et solvantur ad libitum et voluntatem dictorum suorum executorum. Item Nobiles Henricum et Petrum Gallatini nepotes suos carissimos liberos quondam Nobilis Guillemini Gallatini et Nobilis Johannæ de Gingino ejus uxoris heredes universales sibi instituit testator super nominatus equaliter et equali portione: hujus autem suæ ultimæ voluntatis executores suos facit constituit creat et ordinat idem testator videlicet Nobiles Andream de Glerens et Anthonium Gallatini quibus duobus exequatoribus suis aut uni ipsorum si ambi non possint aut nollent interesse similiter ac inviolabiliter dat donat cedit possidet et concedit plenam generalem et liberam potestatem ac speciale mandatum hanc suam ultimam voluntatem exequendi bona sua res et possessiones tenendi apprehendendi vendendi et alienandi auctoritate sua propria si necesse fuerit pro hac sua ultima voluntate exequendi clamores suos pacificandi debita sua et legata solvendi et generaliter omnia alia universa et sui gracia faciendi quæ dictus Johannes testator faceret aut facere posset et deberet si vivus esset. Hanc autem suam ultimam voluntatem solam et unicam revocata omnia alia et alias unquam fecit in scriptis vel sine scriptis vult valere predictus testator jure testamenti in scriptis et si non valet jure testamenti in scriptis vult quod valeat jure testamenti nuncupativi vel jure codicillorum et si non valet jure codicillorum vult valere secundum leges et canonicas sanctiones vel secundum quas consuetudines approbatas.
Rogans et requirens dictus testator testes presentes masculos et puberes ut ipsi de hac sua ultima voluntate seu testamento nuncupativo perhibeant testimonium veritatis loco et tempore competenti rogans insuper et requirens prædictus testator prelatum notarium et juratum ut ipse prædictam suam ultimam voluntatem seu testamentum suum nuncupativum redigat et inde faciat publicum instrumentum. In quorum omnium et singulorum robur fidem et testimonium ad preces et requisitionem prædicti testatoris nobis oblatas per relationem dicti jurati nostri cui super hiis fidem plenariam adhibemus sigillum dictæ curiæ nostræ hiis præsentibus litteris duximus apponendum. Acta fuerunt hæc Arlodi die septima mensis Septembris anno domini millesimo tercentesimo sexagesimo presentibus nobili Humberto de Villeta Jacobo Villerii de billiaco Petro de Arpignaco Johanne de treula hugene Rollandi de mocello petro benzerii et Johanne Dosiati Arlodi pro testibus vocatis et rogatis. Ego vero Johannes Salanchi Clericus dictæ curiæ domini officialis Gebennarum notarius et juratus premissis omnibus et singulis presens interfui una cum testibus superius nominatis presentique testamento seu ultimæ voluntati manu mea propria scriptæ subscripsi et signavi signo meo vocatus a dicto testatore specialiter et rogatus.
5°. Abergement fait le 29 octobre, 1402, par Noble Henri Gallatini des Granges (de Grangies) à François Tissot, d’un pré situé dans la paroisse d’Arlod, acquis autrefois par Noble Humbert Gallatini, Damoiseau, grandpère du dit Henri, par acte reçu par Perronnet Mistralis le 3 janvier, 1325. Expédition faite par Spectable Rocca, Commissaire-Général de la République de Genève, dûment collationnée et légalisée par le Magnifique Conseil et le Résident de France le 31 janvier, 1776.
6°. Testament de Agnès de Lenthenay, femme de Noble Henri Gallatini des Granges, du 21 juillet, 1397, dans lequel elle mentionne Anne Gallatini sa fille, et institue héritier Jean Gallatini son fils. Original écrit en Latin sur parchemin, signé de la marque d’Aymonet Joly, notaire qui avait reçu le dit testament.
7°. Ratification et approbation de Louis Duc de Savoye à une acquisition faite par Noble Jean Gallatini des Granges de certains héritages situés dans la paroisse d’Arlod mouvants en partie du fief et emphytéose de ce Prince; acte original écrit en Latin, du 28 juillet, 1455, daté de Chambéry, signé Lapart. Dans lesquelles lettres le Prince qualifie le dit Noble Jean Gallatini Dilectum scutiferum nostrum; Notre Ami Ecuyer; et lui fait remise des lods qui lui étaient dus en considération des services rendus au dit Prince et à ses prédécesseurs par le dit Jean Gallatini et ses prédécesseurs.
8°. Expédition originale sur papier, faite par Garnier et Colognier notaires environ l’an 1560 en faveur de Noble Jean François Colognier et de Claudine, fille de feu Noble Antoine Gallatini, sa femme, de reconnaissances stipulées par Pierre Hudrisseti de Mussel, les 8 mars, 1502, 14 septembre, 1502, ler mars, 1503, et 26 juin, 1503, en faveur des Nobles Claude, Pierre, Louis, et Jean Gallatini, enfants de feu Noble Jean Gallatini, de divers particuliers possédants divers fonds relevants des fiefs acquis des Nobles Bouziers d’Arlod par Noble Jean Gallatini leur père.
9°. Acte d’Hommáge de Noble Claude Gallatini fils de feu Noble Jean Gallatini, Ecuyer du Duc de Savoye, en faveur de Noble et Puissant Seigneur François de Gerbais (de Gerbasio) le 21 janvier, 1505, d’un fief Noble, Franc et Honoré, reconnu précédemment par Noble Henri Gallatini des Granges, son Ayeul. Le dit hommage fait à la manière des Nobles, ténorisée en détail. Original en parchemin signé de la marque du dit notaire.
10°. Lettres de Philibert Duc de Savoye données à Genève le 27 septembre, 1498, par lesquelles ce Prince retient Noble Jean Gallatini de Arlod pour l’un de ses Secrétaires. Original en parchemin signé Muthonis avec le sceau.
11°. Contract de Mariage entre Noble et Egrège Homme Jean Gallatini, Secrétaire Ducal, Juré de la Cour spirituelle de Genève, et Noble Perronnette fille de Noble Guillaume d’Entremonts (de Intermontibus), Bourgeois de Thone, stipulé à Thone le 26 avril, 1507, par Guillaume Megex, notaire public, dans lequel interviennent Nobles Claude et Louis Gallatini, comme frères et cautions de l’époux. Expédition faite ensuite d’une requête et d’un décret rapporté au No. 17. Signé Butini avec le sceau.
12°. Lettres données par Melchior de Guerrariis Comte Palatin., &c., en vertu du privilège au dit Melchior accordé par le Pape Leon X, par lesquelles il crée Vénérable Homme le Seigneur Jean Gallatini Citoyen de Genève (venerabilis vir Dominus Johannes Gallatinus civis Gebennensis), Notaire, Tabellion et Vicomte Palatin, avec pouvoir de créer 150 autres notaires et de légitimer 150 bâtards, &c. Original en parchemin, daté du 26 novembre, 1522.
N.B.—Il faut remarquer que le mot Burgensis n’étant pas Latin, les actes anciens employaient celui de Civis, d’autant plus que la différence qu’on fait à Genève entre les Citoyens et les Bourgeois n’était pas alors connue.
13°. Le Contract de Mariage de Noble Pierre fils de feu Noble Jean Gallatini et de Noble Perronnette d’Entremonts, avec Noble Jeanne fille de Noble et Egrège Etienne Jordan et de Noble Jeanne Gruel, du 15 décembre, 1539. Stipulé par Janus de Bossons. Expédition faite par extrait par Spectable Rocca Commissaire-Général et gardiateur des Archives de la République, légalisée le 6 février, 1757, par les Syndics et Conseil, signé De Chapeaurouge, avec le sceau en placard.
14°. Lettres de Philippe Duc de Nemours Comte de Genevois, par lesquelles ce Prince accorde aux Nobles Pierre, Louis et Claude Gallatini, fils de feu Noble Jean Gallatini, qu’il qualifie ses Amés (dilectos nostros), en Abergement perpétuel, divers biens qui avaient appartenu à feu Guillaume d’Entremonts, lesquels étaient tombés en commise, le dit Guillaume étant mort sans enfans mâles et n’ayant laissé que des filles. Datées d’Annecy le 6 mai, 1533. Signées Pélard.
15°. L’Histoire de Bresse et Bugey, &c., par Guichenon, imprimée à Lyon en 1650, dans laquelle au nombre des Gentilshommes qui rendirent foi et hommage au Roi François Ier lors de la réduction des Pays de Bresse, Bugey et Valromey à son obéissance, on trouve, “Pierre de Gallatin a fait le fief de toutes les rentes qu’il tient au mandement de St. Genis” le 2 mai, 1536, page 58 à 60.
16°. Plusieurs lettres en original sur papier, écrites par Pierre Gallatin à Louis Gallatin, son frère. Une entr’autres datée du 30 décembre, 1553, adressée: “à Noble Louis Gallatin mon cher frère à Thone,” signée Pierre Gallatin, nomme Jeanne sa femme, et dit: “Et quand à ce que par votre dite lettre, dites que le neveu Antoine désire avoer son cusin Claude, je vous promets que je serois très aise que vous le nous voulsissiés mander avec ses cusins Claude et Marin.”
17°. L’original d’un acte mentionnant une requête présentée le 15 juillet, 1594, au Tribunal de la Justice de Genève par Noble Antoine Gallatin, de laquelle ainsi que de l’expédition mentionnée au No. 11, il résulte que le dit Antoine se disait petit-fils des Nobles Jean Gallatin et Perronnette d’Entremonts, et demandait que des titres qui étaient entre les mains de Noble Claude Gallatin, son cousin, il lui en fût donné copie. Le dit acte contenant la copie des lettres de Secrétariat dont l’original est rapporté No. 10. Signé Butini avec le sceau.
18°. Un vieux papier d’ancienne écriture intitulé: Copie de la requête présentée au Sénat de Chambéry par les Nobles Ezéchiel de Gallatin et Isaac de Gallatin de Genève pour obtenir des extraits des lettres de Secrétaire d’Etat du Duc Philibert en 1498 en faveur de Jean de Gallatin, et de l’arrêt rendu par la Souveraine Chambre en 1607 en faveur de Antoine de Gallatin par lequel il est déclaré des anciens Nobles de Savoye.
19°. L’original d’un certificat accordé par les Syndics et Conseil de la Ville et République de Genève qui reconnaît la descendance des Gallatin existants à Genève et les déclare issus de Jean Gallatin fils de Jean Gallatin reçu Bourgeois de Genève le 17 décembre, 1510; dont les deux petit-fils Claude et Marin, fils de Pierre et de Jeanne Jordan (les mêmes qui sont mentionnés au No. 17), formèrent deux branches auxquelles appartiennent tous les individus de la famille aujourd’hui subsistante, comme il en conste par le détail généalogique contenu dans le dit certificat. Écrit sur parchemin. Donné à Genève le 25 avril, 1774. Signé De Rochemont. Expédition faite le 29 April, 1774. Signé J. De Chapeaurouge, avec deux sceaux.
20°. L’original d’un acte en parchemin intitulé: Généalogie de la Maison De Gallatin, originaire de Bugey, établie à Genève, dressée au mois d’avril, 1775, pour procurer à Messire Jean Louis de Gallatin, Colonel à la suite du Régiment Royal Deux Ponts, l’honneur de monter dans les Carosses du Roy et de suivre Sa Majesté à la chasse. Lequel acte, à ce que nous a déclaré le Sieur Comte De Gallatin, est l’ouvrage du Sieur Cherin Généalogiste des Ordres du Roy de France. Au quel acte est contenu le détail généalogique de la filiation et descendance et des titres des Nobles Gallatin dès Humbert Gallatin Damoiseau.
21°. L’original d’une Généalogie intitulée: Gallatin à Genève; écrit sur papier, contenant les détails généalogiques de la filiation et descendance et des titres des Nobles Gallatin de Genève dès Guillaume Gallatin, Chevalier, et Humbert Gallatin, son fils, Damoiseau, vivants en l’an 1319; le dit cahier signé à chaque page en abrégé D’Hozier de Serigny et terminé par une attestation de vérification du dit Antoine Marie D’Hozier de Serigny Chevalier Juge d’Armes de la Noblesse de France, Duplessis avec le sceau du dit Sieur Hozier.
22°. Un paquet contenant plusieurs diplômes, lettres ministérielles, brevets, &c., accordées à divers individus de la famille Gallatin, entrautres un brevet obtenu de Sa Majesté Très-Chrétienne, en faveur du Sieur Jean Louis de Gallatin, Chevalier de l’Institution du Mérite Militaire, Colonel attaché au Régiment Royal Deux-Ponts, Chambellan du Due régnant de ce nom, qui le fait et crée Comte, ensemble ses enfans et descendans mâles nés et à naître en légitime mariage, dans lequel brevet est fait mention des patentes et reconnaissance de Noblesse accordées à Abraham Gallatin bisayeul du Comte par l’Empereur Joseph en 1707, et des lettres du feu Roi accordées au dit Comte de Gallatin et aux chefs des trois autres branches de sa famille au mois de janvier, 1771, qui les reconnaissent pour Nobles d’ancienne extraction, et leur en assurent en France le rang et les prérogatives, dans lequel brevet est encore fait mention des ayeux du dit Comte Jean Louis de Gallatin, savoir Humbert Damoiseau, au commencement du 14e Siècle, douzième ascendant du Comte, et qui fut père de Jean, Ecuyer du Duc de Savoye, &c. Le dit brevet original en parchemin daté de Fontainebleau le 20 octobre, 1776. Signé Louis, et plus bas St. Germain avec le sceau.
Dans tous lesquels brevets, lettres, &c., les individus de la famille Gallatin auxquels ils sont adressés sont tous nommés De Gallatin.
Et le dit Sieur Comte De Gallatin Nous a représenté qu’il constoit des actes produits, ci-devant ténorisés, que leur Famille était connue sur le pied de Noblesse de Chevallerie dès l’an 1258 auquel tems vivait Faulcher Gallatini Chevalier.
Qu’il remonte par titres authentiques et non-interrompus jusqu’à Guillaume Gallatini Chevalier (son treizième ascendant) vivants l’un et l’autre en 1319.
Que Pierre De Gallatin qu’il prouve avoir été de la même famille et son septième ascendant, est appellé dans l’Histoire de Bresse De Gallatin en l’an 1536.
Que si ses ayeux n’ont pas pris autrefois à Genève le nom de De Gallatin auquel leur naissance et leurs titres leur donnaient droit, il prouve qu’ils l’ont porté en pays étrangers, comme il paraît tant par l’histoire de Bresse que par la copie d’une requête au Sénat de Chambéry ci-devant citée.
Que tous les brevets, diplômes, lettres patentes de Sa Majesté Très-Chrétienne qu’il nous représente, nomment tous les individus de cette famille auxquels ils sont adressés De Gallatin.
De tout quoi il résulte que cette Famille d’Ancienne Noblesse, nommée Gallatini dans les actes antérieurs à la Réformation, a été nommée à Genève Gallatin, mais avait cependant conservé le nom de De Gallatin en France et en Savoye, suivant l’usage de ces pays-là.
Qu’aujourd’hui il importe aux individus de cette Famille de faire cesser cette diversité dans la manière d’écrire leur nom. C’est pourquoi ils se sont réunis pour obtenir l’agrément du Magnifique Conseil pour signer et faire écrire à l’avenir uniformément leur nom De Gallatin, afin de rendre les actes de mariages et baptêmes et autres actes publics faits à Genève concordants pour l’avenir avec ceux qui sont faits en France, et de pouvoir rendre raison par l’arrêt qui interviendra de la différence qui existe pour le passé entre ces différens actes, requérant pour cet effet qu’il plaise au Magnifique Conseil leur accorder acte comme quoi la famille des Gallatin, Citoyens de Genève, auxquels sera accordé la permission de signer et faire écrire leur nom De Gallatin, est bien la même famille que celle qui est issue de Jean fils de Jean Gallatin reçu Bourgeois en l’an 1510. Obtint le 5 avril, 1774, un certificat du Magnifique Conseil qui atteste sa filiation et descendance du dit Jean Gallatin.
Nous Conseiller soussigné, ayant examiné attentivement les titres cidevant mentionnés et à Nous produits, les avons trouvés en forme authentique et probante. Ils nous ont paru fortifiés encore par la double production qui en a déjà été faite dans les années 1775 et 1776 par-devant les Généalogistes des Ordres du Roi de France et Juge d’Armes de la Noblesse de France, Messieurs Cherin et d’Hozier de Serigny, et par le résultat qu’ils ont produit, en procurant à Messieurs De Gallatin l’honneur d’être présentés à Sa Majesté Très-Chrétienne, de la suivre à la chasse et de monter dans ses carosses, ainsi que par le brevet de Comte accordé au Sieur Jean Louis de Gallatin dans lequel la filiation que ses titres établissent est rappelée, cependant nous avons apporté à leur examen la même attention que si leur authenticité n’eût encore été reconnue de personne. Nous y avons joint toutes les recherches qui nous ont paru propres à nous assurer de la vérité. Et nous avons reconnu qu’il est évidemment prouvé:
Qu’il existait en 1258 un Faulcher Gallatini qualifié Chevalier, qualification qui n’appartenait alors qu’à la Noblesse bien reconnue.
Qu’en 1319 un Guillaume Gallatini prit le titre de Chevalier, et son fils Humbert celui de Damoiseau (titre également affecté aux seuls gentilshommes jusqu’à ce qu’ils eussent reçu l’ordre de Chevalerie) en présence d’un Prince Souverain et d’autres gentilshommes qui n’auraient vraisemblablement pas souffert qu’ils eussent usurpé des qualifications si éminentes s’ils n’y avaient pas eu un droit incontestable.
Que cet Humbert Gallatini Damoiseau, fils de Guillaume, paraît bien être le même Humbert Gallatini Damoiseau qui fut père de Jean et Guillaume Gallatini, mentionnés et rappelés dans les actes qui concernent ses descendans, et dans lesquels on voit une parfaite conformité de titres, concordance de dates, identité de pays et de fiefs possédés par le dit Humbert.
Que Jean, fils de Humbert Gallatini Damoiseau, connu par divers actes de reconnaissances, ayant fait héritiers Henri et Pierre Gallatini ses neveux, fils de Guillaume Gallatini son frère, et de Jeannette de Gingins sa femme, cela établit incontestablement la filiation de ces Nobles Henri et Pierre fils de Guillaume et petits-fils de Humbert Gallatini Damoiseau. Et cet Henri Gallatini qui fut Seigneur des Granges et qui épousa Agnès de Lenthenay est bien évidemment le même Henri mentionné au testament de Jean fils de Humbert, puisque dans un acte de 1402 il est dit petit-fils de Humbert Gallatini Damoiseau.
Que Henri Gallatini eut de Agnès de Lenthenay sa femme un fils nommé Jean Gallatini qui fut écuyer du Duc de Savoye et fut père des Nobles Claude, Pierre, Louis et Jean Gallatini. Filiation évidemment prouvée par les actes produits qui établissent que ces quatre gentilshommes étaient frères, petits-fils de Noble Henri Gallatini, et qu’ils possédaient et reconnaissaient les fiefs et héritages par le dit Henri possédés.
Que Noble Jean Gallatini qui épousa Perronnette d’Entremonts est bien évidemment le même Jean, fils de Jean et petit-fils de Henri, puisque dans son contract de mariage on voit qu’il était frère de Claude et de Louis Gallatini qui furent ses cautions et qu’on le voit d’ailleurs posséder ainsi que ses descendans les fiefs et biens du dit Henri son ayeul.
Que du mariage de Jean Gallatini avec Perronnette d’Entremonts nacquirent Pierre Gallatini auteur de la famille des Gallatin de Genève, et Louis Gallatini établit à Thone, dont un fils nommé Antoine Gallatin dans sa requête au Tribunal de la Justice à Genève en 1594 se dit petitfils de Jean et de Perronnette d’Entremonts, et cousin de Noble Claude Gallatin, Conseiller d’Etat, entre les mains duquel, comme aîné de la famille, se trouvait l’original du contract de mariage de Jean avec Perronnette d’Entremonts, dont le dit Noble Antoine obtint copie. Ce qui prouve évidemment que la famille Gallatin de Genève, issue de ce Noble Claude et de Marin son frère, fils de Pierre, est véritablement issue de Jean Gallatini et de Perronnette d’Entremonts.
Les actes produits et le certificat du Magnifique Conseil accordé en 1774 établissent que c’est ce même Jean, fils de Jean Gallatin, reçu bourgeois en 1510, qui fut l’auteur de la famille Gallatin subsistante à Genève. Le Regître du Conseil s’exprime en ces termes:
“Egregius vir Johannes Gallatini filius quondam Johannis Gallatini Notarius de Arlodo parochiæ Sancti Leodegarii Burgensis creatus pro et mediante viii fl.” En marge: “Burgensis;” et au-dessus d’une écriture plus récente: “Jean Gallatin.” Regître du Conseil dès 1508 à 1511, page 158, verso; à la date du mardi, 17 décembre, 1510.
Les actes produits lient donc incontestablement ce Jean, fils de Jean, à Henri son grand-père, comme ils lient aussi cet Henri, fils de Guillaume, à Humbert Gallatini, Damoiseau, son ayeul.
En sorte qu’il nous a paru évidemment et incontestablement prouvé que Jean Gallatini, Bourgeois de Genève en 1510, et tige des Gallatin de Genève, lequel épousa Perronnette d’Entremonts, était fils de Jean Gallatini, écuyer du Duc de Savoye, lequel était fils de Henri Gallatini qui épousa Agnès de Lenthenay, lequel était fils de Guillaume Gallatini qui épousa Jeannette de Gingins, lequel était fils de Humbert Gallatini Damoiseau, lequel Humbert paraît avoir été fils de Guillaume Gallatini Chevalier, vivant en l’an 1319.
* * * * * * * * *
Quoique le nom soit toujours écrit en Latin Gallatini, cela ne prouve point qu’en Français il dût être De Gallatin. C’était l’usage de mettre presque toujours les noms au génitif. Le De se rendait en Latin par la sillabe dé; De Gingins, dé Gingino; d’Entremonts, dé Intermontibus, &c. En Français ce mot De n’était pas non plus un attribut inséparable de la Noblesse; plusieurs roturiers portent des noms qui commencent par De. Et plusieurs grandes et anciennes maisons dans différens pays n’ont pas joint cette syllabe à leur nom, lorsque ce nom n’était pas celui d’une terre à jurisdiction. On connaît par exemple un Geraud Bastet et non pas De Bastet, tige des Ducs d’Uzès, premiers Pairs de France, dont les descendans prirent les noms De Crusol et d’Uzès, à mesure que ces grands fiefs entrèrent dans leur maison par des alliances. Il est même contre la bonne règle de joindre cette syllabe de à tout autre nom qu’à celui d’un fief à jurisdiction, mais cet usage a prévalu parcequ’il est vrai qu’en France la plupart des grandes maisons ne connaissent d’autre nom que celui d’un fief anciennement par elles possédé, et que parmi la Noblesse récente on substitue volontiers le nom d’un fief à celui que l’on portait avant l’annoblissement. En Allemagne les lettres d’annoblissement portent expressément le droit de joindre la syllabe de au nom de l’annobli. En Espagne le Dom est ajouté aux noms des Nobles; c’est ce qui a rendu cet usage presque général, excepté cependant en Angleterre et en Italie.
Quant aux Gallatin il paraît bien prouvé qu’ils ont porté très-anciennement le nom de De Gallatin en France et en Savoye. Pierre De Gallatin mentionné dans Guichenon en l’an 1536 est évidemment leur aïeul. Ezéchiel et Isaac Gallatin qui étaient de la même famille (Ezéchiel était le bisaïeul de Monsieur le Conseiller Gallatin) s’intitulaient De Gallatin pardevant le Sénat de Savoye et nommaient De Gallatin cet Antoine, fils de Louis, qui avait présenté cette requête mentionnée au No. 18, et qui avait été reconnu en Savoye comme étant des anciens Nobles de Savoye.
Nous avons même trouvé dans les minutes de Bon, notaire, un acte en date du 13 mars, 1602, dans lequel on mentionne un Noble François De Gallatin, établi à Saint Genis d’Aulte, Capitaine d’Infanterie au service de Son Altesse, lequel par les titres de la famille paraît avoir été arrièrepetit-fils de ce Claude, fils de Jean, et frère de Pierre, de Louis, et de Jean qui épousa Perronnette d’Entremonts. D’ailleurs l’on ne peut pas savoir s’il n’a point existé dans ce pays-ci où dans tout autre quelque fief du nom de Gallatin possédé par les premiers auteurs de cette maison.
Enfin depuis longtems les brevets, diplômes, lettres, &c., obtenus par les individus de cette famille les nomment tous De Gallatin. Les rôles même du gouvernement ont quelquefois porté ce nom pour quelques-uns d’eux dans ces derniers tems.
De tout quoi il nous a paru résulter que ceux qui composent aujourd’hui la famille Gallatin sont fondés à ajouter à leur nom la syllabe De comme étant issus de Pierre De Gallatin vivant en 1536, et prouvant que leur famille a pris autrefois ce nom en Savoye. Les raisons de convenance qui leur font désirer aujourd’hui un changement que leurs aïeux avaient regardé avec indifférence sont les inconvéniens que pourraient entraîner cette diversité dans la manière d’écrire leurs noms, résultante de l’usage établi en France qui leur a fait donner le nom de De Gallatin dans des actes de la plus grande importance.
Ce qui mérite, à ce qu’il nous paraît, que Messeigneurs veuillent les autoriser à signer et faire écrire leur nom uniformément à l’avenir De Gallatin, puisqu’ils y ont au moins autant de droit que pourraient leur en donner des lettres d’annoblissement récentes.
Et en outre leur accorder cette acte comme quoi ceux auxquels cette faveur est concédée et qui en conséquence s’appelleront à Genève De Gallatin, ne feront qu’une seule et même famille avec la famille Gallatin qui obtinrent en 1774 du Magnifique Conseil un certificat de filiation et descendance.
En foi de tout quoi Nous avons dressé et signé notre présent verbal à Genève les an et jour susdits.
Signé Naville, Conseiller.
Du 18 décembre, 1786.
Nous Syndics et Conseil de la Ville et République de Genève, savoir faisons: Que sur la requête à nous présentée par le Sieur Jean Louis Comte de Gallatin, Citoyen, en son nom et celui de sa famille, aux fins d’obtenir après due vérification de titres que la famille Gallatin et tous les individus qui la composent soyent qualifiés dans tous les actes publics du nom de De Gallatin qui est leur véritable nom: Nous aurions renvoyé par notre décret daté du 2 février, 1786, le dit Sieur Comte de Gallatin par-devant Noble Naville, Seigneur Conseiller d’État notre très-cher frère pour l’ouïr plus particulièrement et rapporter.
Au rapport duquel Seigneur Conseiller Commissaire et par la vue d’actes authentiques et probants, il nous est clairement apparu que la famille des Gallatin citoyens de cette ville est issue de Pierre Gallatin et de Jeanne Jordan, fils de Jean Gallatin reçu bourgeois de Genève le 7 décembre, 1510, lequel Pierre Gallatin est nommé dans l’Histoire de Bresse Pierre De Gallatin à l’occasion d’un Hommage par lui fait au Roi François premier pour les censes qu’il tenait en fief au mandement de St. Genis; que le dit Pierre De Gallatin, fils du dit Jean Gallatin bourgeois de Genève, avait pour mère Dame Perronnette fille de Noble Guillaume d’Entremonts; que le dit Jean Gallatin était fils de Jean Gallatin, Ecuyer du Duc de Savoye; que le dit Jean Gallatin était fils de Henri Gallatin Seigneur des Granges et de Dame Agnès de Lenthenay; que Henri Gallatin était fils de Guillaume Gallatin et de Dame Jeannette de Gingins; que Guillaume Gallatin était fils de Humbert Gallatin Damoiseau vivant en l’an 1319, lequel paraît avoir été fils de Guillaume Gallatin Chevalier; et qu’au milieu du treizième siècle vivait un Faulcher Gallatin, Chevalier; enfin que quelques-uns des descendants de Jean Gallatin, bourgeois de Genève, ont porté en Savoye le nom de De Gallatin; comme le tout est plus amplement contenu et détaillé au verbal dressé et signé et à nous présenté par le dit Seigneur Conseiller Commissaire sous la date du 17 novembre, 1786.
A ces causes Nous Syndics et Conseil faisant droit sur la requête du dit Sieur Comte de Gallatin, vu les titres par icelui produits et par les motifs contenus au rapport du Seigneur Conseiller par nous commis, avons autorisé et autorisons par les présentes tous les individus de la famille Gallatin issus de Jean Gallatin reçu bourgeois de Genève le 7 décembre, 1570 (conformément à l’acte généalogique par nous à eux accordé le 25 avril, 1774), à signer et faire écrire uniformément à l’avenir leur nom De Gallatin; leur accordant acte comme quoi ceux auxquels cette concession est par nous maintenant faite, sont bien de la même famille que ceux auxquels nous avions accordé le certificat de descendance sus-mentionné sous le nom Gallatin; leur accordant en outre copie du verbal du dit Seigneur Conseiller Commissaire; en foi de quoi nous leur avons octroyé le présent acte et le leur avons fait expédier sous notre sceau et seing de notre Secrétaire. Donné à Genève le dix-huit décembre, 1786.
Par mes dits Seigneurs Syndics et Conseil.
Signé De Rochemont.
[1 ]Estimated for 1812.