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sors of that science, who have borne the weight of public councils, and successfully endeavored to ennoble by their efforts the national character, it derives irresistible weight and authority. To Mr. Bayard's early adoption and active and vigorous pursuit of this profession, are to be ascribed, in no unimportant degree, the method of his arguments, and the logical accuracy of his inferences. In July, 1797, a short time after his appearance in Congress, Mr. Bayard was appointed one of a committee to prepare and report articles of impeachment against William Blount, a United States senator; and in the following session of that Congress he was a member of the committee to conduct the impeachment, and finally was elected chairman of that body. In the trial, Mr. Blount pleaded to the jurisdiction of the Senate, upon the principle that a senator is not a civil officer, within the meaning of the constitution; and that the courts of common law were “competent to the cognizance, prosecution, and punishment of the said crimes and misdemeanors, if the same have been perpetrated, as has been suggested and charged by the said articles.” The preliminary question growing out of this plea was to be discussed, and the direction of this delicate and interesting inquiry, was submitted to the chairman, and Mr. Harper, one of the managers. The subject underwent a laborious and ingenious discussion, in which the constitution was thoroughly sifted, and the doctrines of the common law of England bearing a remote or close analogy to the point in controversy, were made tributary to the talents of the respective advocates. The decision was adverse to the managers; a majority of fourteen to eleven senators deciding “that the matter alleged in the plea of the defendant is sufficient in law to show that this court ought not to hold jurisdiction of the said impeachment, and that the said impeachment is dismissed.” The efforts were abortive, because the cause was insupportable; but the exertion was not the less honorable, nor the display of genius and erudition the less brilliant, because success did not crown them. - John Adams, a short time previous to the expiration of his presidential term, appointed Mr. Bayard minister to the French republic, but owing to the delicate position in which he was placed, by the part he had taken in the contest which terminated in the election of Mr. Jefferson, he declined the proffered honor.” In a letter on this subject, addressed to a near relative and one of his earliest friends, he thus explained his motives for the refusal. “Under proper circumstances, the acceptance would have been complete gratification; but under the existing circumstances, I thought the resignation most honorable. To have taken eighteen thousand dol-. lars out of the public treasury, with a knowledge that no service could be rendered by me, as the French Government would have waited for a man who represented the existing feelings and views of this government, would have been disgraceful. Another consideration of great weight, arose from the part I took in the presidential election. As I had given the turn to the election, it was impossible for me to accept an office, which would be held on the tenure of Mr. Jefferson's pleasure. My ambition shall never be gratified at the expense of a suspicion. I shall never lose sight of the motto of the great original of our name.” +
* At the first election of President Jefferson, an extraordinary scene was displayed. The constitution provides, that “the person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such a majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President.” In that situation stood the candidates, and the election devolved of consequence upon the House of Representatives. No less than thirty-six times was the vote ineffectual, each party, equally zealous, and equally numerous, adhering to its candidate. The federalists of the House adopted, as they believed the less evil, the side of Mr. Burr, and persevered during so many abortive efforts to give him their votes. It was at length perceived, that a pertinacious adherence to this course of conduct might expose the country to greater embarrassment and difficulty than even the selection of a President who was considered dangerous; and some of the federalists determined to withdraw from him their opposition, without giving him direct countenance and support. They accordingly threw into the box blank votes; and the election of Mr. Jefferson was thus obtained. By a sacrifice of personal feeling and judgment, which required no ordinary firmness and magnanimity, Mr. Bayard, by this means, principally contributed to place in the Executive chair, the decided enemy of the men and measures that he personally approved; and removed to a distance, apparently insurmountable, the fulfilment, if they existed, of his own political aspirations. But the good of the country required it, and the sacrifice was made.—Analectic, vol. 7, page 339.
t Appendix of Sullivan's Familiar Letters on Public Characters. This work contains an able defence of the political course of Mr. Bayard.
During the debates on the Judiciary system, in the early part of the year 1802, Mr. Bayard took an active part. “On this memorable occasion,” says his biographer, “all parties united in paying homage to his abilities. It will not be invidious to remark, that in the constellation of talents that glittered in that transaction, none were more conspicuous than his. He was alike distinguished for the depth of his knowledge, the solidity of his reasoning, and the perspicuity of his illustration. On his own side of the House his range was pronounced to be “commensurate with the extent of his own mighty mind, and with the magnitude of the subject,” which was declared to be as awful as any on this side of the grave. On the part of the majority he was termed the Goliath of the adverse party, and sarcastically, but with truth, denominated the high priest of the constitution.” His speech on this occasion is included in this volume. In November, 1804, he was chosen by the legislature of Delaware, a senator of the United States, to fill a vacancy, and in February of the next year, was again elected to that dignified and honorable station, where he continued until the spring of the year 1813. During the session of Congress, he was generally at his post, the faithful supporter of the principles he brought with him into public life, and in the recess of legislative duty, he successfully pursued his professional labors, and maintained and increased the reputation he acquired at an early period of his life. In 1813, when the intelligence of the commencement of hostilities between the United States and Great Britain reached Europe, the Emperor of Russia offered his mediation to both nations. This offer was accepted by President Madison, and Mr. Bayard, Mr. Gallatin, and Mr. Adams, were appointed commissioners, “fully charged to conclude a peace upon the terms set forth in the declaration of war, and upon no others,” and directed to proceed immediately to St. Petersburg. Early in May the negotiators sailed from Philadelphia, and on the twenty-first of July following, they arrived at the Russian court. Alexander, the emperor, under whose auspices the negotiation was undertaken, was with his armies in Germany, and intelligence of the sentiments of the British Government on the terms proposed, was not yet received. Mr. Bayard concluding that the hopes of peace were blasted, left St. Petersburg and passed over into Holland, from thence to return to America. In the mean time Lord Cathcart had communicated to the Russian court the non-acceptance by the Prince Regent of the interposition of the emperor as to the question which constituted the principal object in dispute between the two States, and his readiness, nevertheless, to nominate plenipotentiaries to treat directly with the American envoys. The Bramble was despatched to America with the view of communicating these circumstances; and proposing at the same time London or Gottenburg as the scene of operations. The proposal was accepted, and Gottenburg was selected as neutral ground. New commissions were issued, and Mr. Clay and Mr. Russel were despatched to join the other members of the mission. Mr. Bayard was now in England, and the negotiations having been transferred from Gottenburg to Ghent, he immediately proceeded to that place, where he arrived on the twenty-seventh of June, 1814. Here he found Mr. Adams and Mr. Russel, and in a few days they were joined by Mr. Gallatin and Mr. Clay. The British commissioners did not arrive until the early part of August. During the delay occasioned by their absence, Mr. Bayard wrote thus to a friend in America: “Nothing favorable can be augured from the delay in sending their commissioners to the rendezvous agreed to at their instance as the seat of the negotiations. Our commissioners have all been here more than a month, and we have not yet heard that theirs are even preparing to quit London. We expect them daily, but so we have done for twenty days past, and so we shall till they arrive, or till we learn that they do not mean to come at all. I assure you, between ourselves, my hopes of peace are very slender. The Government of England affect to despise us, but they know we are a growing and dangerous rival. If they could crush us at the present moment, they would not fail to do it; and I am inclined to think that they will not make peace till they have tried the effect of all their force against us. An united, firm, and courageous resistance upon our part, alone, in my opinion, can furnish hopes of a safe and honorable peace to the United States. I wish I could present you with different views; but what does it avail to deceive ourselves? By shutting our eyes upon danger we may cease to see it, while in fact we are increasing it. What I doubt is, that if the olive branch be presented to us by one hand, a cup of humiliation and disgrace will be held out in the other; and although I should rejoice to carry the former to the United States, yet I never shall consent to be the bearer of the latter.” In a subsequent letter he writes: “No people are more easily elated or depressed by events than the English. We have nothing to hope but from vigorous and successful measures, so far as the war depends upon ourselves alone. The British force in America must be overcome and repelled, or the war must end in national disgrace.”
The day after the arrival of the British commissioners, the negotiations commenced, and on the twenty-fourth of December following, a treaty of peace was signed.
Mr. Bayard now visited Paris, where he remained until the ratification of the treaty. Soon after he was appointed minister to the Court of Russia. This office he declined, stating that “he had no wish to serve the administration, except when his services were necessary for the public good. In the late transactions he believed that to be the case, and therefore he had cheerfully borne his part. Peace being obtained, he was perfectly satisfied to resign the honors of diplomacy for the sweets of domestic life. Nothing could induce him to accept an appointment that would threaten to identify him with the administration party, without contributing essentially to his country's good. That was his primary and exclusive object. In all his reflections, he was principally affected by an anxious jealousy for the welfare, and an ardent affection for the people of his native land. It is difficult to conceive how an idea should have arisen, that he ever deviated in thought or action from the genuine principles of federalism. In every public display, in every private discussion, he was their warmest advocate. The whole course of his political pilgrimage, long and laborious as it was, may safely challenge a comparison with that of any statesman for undeviating consistency of conduct, and pure and enlightened patriotism.”
From Paris he intended to repair to England to assist in the formation of a commercial treaty, but he was prevented by a severe illness, which soon reduced him to a state of extreme debility and suffering. Anxious to reach his home, he sailed from England, and on the first of August, 1815, arrived in the Delaware. Five days after, he died, in the forty-ninth year of his age.”
* See Biographical Sketch of Mr. Bayard, in the Analectic, vol. 7, p. 833: Raleigh Star, 1815: Biographie Universelle: and Mr. N. Correlissen's Oration at Ghent, on the 13th of October, 1816. + The bill proposed, that “the act of Congress, passed on the 18th of February, 1801, entitled an act to provide for the more convenient organization of the Courts of the United States," and also, “an act passed on the 3d March, 1801, for altering the times and places of holding certain courts therein mentioned, and for other purposes,” should be repealed.
It also provided, that all the acts in force before the passage of the aforesaid acts, and which, by the same, were either amended, explained, altered or repealed, should be revised. The bill contained further provision for the disposition of the actions, writs, &c., then pending in any of the Courts of the United States, which were established by the aforesaid act of Congress of 1801.
: See Mr. Giles's Speech on this bill in the subsequent pages of this volume: also, the speech of Mr. Tracy at page 442, vol. 1, of this work.
hope, that if the divisions of party were not banished from the House, its spirit would be rendered less intemperate. Such were our impressions, when the mask was suddenly thrown aside, and we saw the torch of discord lighted and blazing before our eyes. Every effort has been made to revive the animosities of the House, and inflame the passions of the nation. I am at no loss to perceive why this course has been pursued. The gentleman has been unwilling to rely upon the strength of his subject, and has, therefore, determined to make the measure a party question. He has probably secured success, but would it not have been more honorable and more commendable, to have left the decision of a great constitutional question to the understanding, and not to the prejudices of the House ? It was my ardent wish to discuss the subject with calmness and deliberation, and I did intend to avoid every topic which could awaken the sensibility of }*. This was my temper and design when took my seat yesterday. It is a course at resent we are no longer at liberty to pursue. he gentleman has wandered far, very far, from the points of the debate, and has extended his animadversions to all the prominent measures of the former administrations. In followin him through his preliminary observations, necessarily lose sight of the bill upon your table. The gentleman commenced his strictures with the philosophic observation, that it was the fate of mankind to hold different opinions as to the form of government which was preferable. That some were attached to the monarchical, while others thought the republican more eligible. This, as an abstract remark, is certainly true, and could have furnished no ground of offence, if it had not evidently appeared that an allusion was designed to be made to the parties in this country. Does the gentleman suppose that we have a less lively recollection than himself, of the oath which we have taken to support the constitution; that we are less sensible of the spirit of our government, or less devoted to the wishes of our constituents? Whatever impression it might be the intention of the gentleman to make, he does not believe that there exists in the country an anti-republican party. He will not venture to assert such an opinion on the floor of this House. That there may be a few individuals having a preference for monarchy is not improbable; but will the gentleman from Virginia, or any other gentleman, affirm in his place, that there is a party in the country who wish to establish monarchy? Insinuations of this sort belong not to the Legislature of the Union. Their lace is an election-ground, or an alehouse. ithin these walls they are lost; abroad, they have had an effect, and I fear are still capable of abusing popular credulity. We were next told of the parties which have existed, divided by the opposite views of promoting executive power and guarding the rights
of the people. The gentleman did not tell us in plain language, but he wished it to be understood, that he and his friends were the guardians of the people's rights, and that we were the advocates of executive power. I know that this is the distinction of party which some gentlemen have been anxious to establish; but it is not the ground on which we divide. I am satisfied with the constitutional powers of the executive, and never wished nor attempted to increase them; and I do not believe, that gentlemen on the other side of the House ever had a serious apprehension of danger from an increase of executive authority. No, sir, our views, as to the powers which do and ought to belong to the General and State Governments, are the true sources of our divisions. I co-operate with the party to which I am attached, because I believe their true object and end is an honest and efficient support of the general government, in the exercise of the legitimate powers of the constitution. . . I pray to God I may be mistaken in the opinion I entertain as to the designs of gentlemen to whom I am opposed. Those designs I believe hostile to the powers of this government. State pride extinguishes a national sentinent. Whatever power is taken from this government is given to the States. The ruins of this government aggrandize the States. There are States which are too proud to be controlled; whose sense of greatness and resource renders them indifferent to our protection, and induces a belief that if no general government existed, their influence would be more extensive, and their importance more conspicuous. There are gentlemen who make no secret of an extreme point of depression, to which the government is to be sunk. To that point we are rapidly progressing. But I would beg gentlemen to remember, that human affairs are not to be arrested in their course, at artificial points. The impulse now given may be accelerated by causes at present out of view. And when those, who now design well, wish to stop, they may find their powers unable to resist the torrent. It is not true, that we ever wished to give a dangerous strength to executive power. While the government was in our hands, it was our duty to maintain its constitutional balance, by preserving the energies of each branch. There never was an attempt to vary the relation of its powers. The struggle was to maintain the constitutional powers of the executive. The wild principles of French liberty were scattered through the country. We had our jacobins and disorganizers. They saw no difference between a king and a President, and as the people of France had put down their king, they thought the people of America ought to put down their President. They, who considered the constitution as securing all the principles of rational and practicable liberty, who were unwilling to embark upon the tempestuous sea of revolution in pursuit of visionary schemes, were denounced as monarchists. A line was drawn between the government and the people, and the friends of the government were marked as the enemies of the people. I hope, however, that the government and the people are now the same; and I pray to God, that what has been frequently remarked, may not, in this case, be discovered to be true, that they, who have the name of the people the most often in their mouths, have their true interests the most seldom at their hearts. The honorable gentleman from Virginia wandered to the very confines of the federal administration, in search of materials the most inflammable and most capable of kindling the passions of his party. He represents the government as seizing the first moment which presented itself, to create a dependent monied interest, ever devoted to its views. What are we to understand by this remark of the gentleman? Does he mean to say, that Congress did wrong in funding the public debt? Does he mean to say, that the price of our liberty and independence ought not to have been paid : Is he bold enough to denounce this measure as one of the federal victims marked for destruction? Is it the design to tell us, that its day has not yet come, but is approaching; and that the funding system is to add to the pile of federal ruins? Do I hear the gentleman say, we will reduce the army to a shadow, we will give the navy to the worms, the mint, which presented the people with the emblems of their liberty and of their sovereignty, we will abolish—the revenue shall depend upon the wind and waves, the judges shall be made our creatures, and the great work shall be crowned and consecrated by relieving the country from an odious and oppressive public debt? These steps, I presume, are to be taken in progression. The gentleman will pause at each, and feel the public pulse. As the fever increases, he will proceed, and the moment of delirium will be seized to finish the great work of destruction. The assumption of the State debts has been made an article of distinct crimination. It has been ascribed to the worst motives; to a design of increasing a dependent monied interest. Is it not well known, that those debts were part of the price of our Revolution—that they rose in the exigency of our affairs, from the efforts of the particular States, at times when the federal arm could not be extended to their relief? Each State was entitled to the protection of the Union, the defence was a common burden, and every State had a right to expect, that the expenses attending its individual exertions in the general cause, would be reimbursed from the public purse. I shall be permitted further to add, that the United States, having absorbed the sources of State revenue, except direct taxation, which was required for the support of the State governments, the assumption of these debts was necessary to save some of the States from bankruptcy.
The internal taxes are made one of the crimes of the federal administration. They were imposed, says the gentleman, to create a host of dependants on executive favor. This supposes the past administrations to have been not only very wicked, but very weak. They lay taxes in order to strengthen their influence. Who is so ignorant as not to know, that the imposition of a tax would create an hundred enemies for one friend? . The name of excise was odious; the details of collection were unavoidably expensive, and it was to operate upon a part of the community least disposed to support public burdens, and most ready to complain of their weight. A little experience will give the gentleman a new idea of the patronage of this government. He will find it not that dangerous weapon in the hands of the administration, which he has heretofore supposed it; he will probably discover that the poison is accompanied by its antidote, and that an appointment of the government, while it gives to the administration one lazy friend, will raise up against it ten active enemies. No! The motive ascribed for the imposition of the internal taxes, is unfounded as it is uncharitable. The Federal administration, in creating burdens to support the credit of the nation, and to supply the means of its protection, knew that they risked the favor of those upon whom their power depended. They were willing to be the victims, when the public good required. The duties on imports and tonnage furnished a precarious revenue; a revenue at all times exposed to deficiency, from causes beyond our reach. The internal taxes offered a fund less liable to be impaired by accident; a fund which did not rob the mouth of labor, but was derived from the gratification of luxury. These taxes are an equitable distribution of the public burdens. Through this medium the western country is enabled to contribute something to the expenses of a government which has expended and daily expends such large sums for its defence. When these taxes were laid, they were indispensable. With the aid of them it has been difficult to prevent an increase of the public debt. And notwithstanding the fairy prospects which now dazzle our eyes, I undertake to say, if you abolish them this session, you will be obliged to restore them, or supply their place by a direct tax, before the end of two years. Will the gentleman say, that the direct tax was laid in order to enlarge the bounds of patronage? Will he deny, that this was a measure to which we had been urged for years by our adversaries, because they foresaw in it the ruin of federal power? My word for it, no administration will ever be strengthened by a patronage united with taxes which the people are sensible of paying. We were next told, that to get an army an Indian war was necessary. The remark was extremely bald, as the honorable gentleman did not allege a single reason for the position.