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the peace, by heavy fines and imprisonment. So that if Major L'Enfant is right in saying he had as much authority to pull down a house as to cut down a tree, still he would feel a difference in the punishment of the law.
But is he right in saying he had as much authority to pull down a house as to cut down a tree? I do not know what have been the authorities given him expressly or by implication, but I can very readily conceive that the authorities which he has received, whether from the President or from the commissioners, whether verbal or written, may have gone to the demolition of trees, and not houses. I am sure he has received no authority, either from the President or commissioners, either expressly or by implication, to pull down houses. An order to him to mark on the ground the lines of the streets and lots, might imply an order to remove trees or small obstructions, where they insuperably prevented his operations; but a person must know little of geometry who could not, in an open field, designate streets and lots, even where a line passed through a house, without pulling the house down.
In truth, the blame on Major L'Enfant, is for having pulled down the house, of his own authority, and when he had reason to believe he was in opposition to the sentiments of the President; and his fault is aggravated by its having been done to gratify private resentment against Mr. Carroll, and most probably not because it was necessary; and the style in which he writes the justification of his act, shows that a continuation of the same resentment renders him still unable to acquiesce under the authority from which he has been reproved.
He desires a line of demarcation between his office, and that of the commissioners.
What should be this line ? and who is to draw it? If we consider the matter under the act of Congress only, the President has authority only to name the commissioners, and to approve or disapprove certain proceedings of theirs. They have the whole executive power, and stand between the President and the subordinate agents. In this view, they may employ or dismiss,
order and countermand, take on themselves such parts of the execution as they please, and assign other parts to subordinate agents. Consequently, under the act of Congress, their will is the line of demarcation between subordinate agents, while no such line can exist between themselves and their agents. Under the deed from the proprietors to the President, his powers are much more ample. I do not accurately recollect the tenor of the deed ; but I am pretty sure it was such as to put much more ample power into the hands of the President, and to commit to him the whole execution of whatever is to be done under the deed ; and this goes particularly to the laying out the town : so that as to this, the President is certainly authorized to draw the line of demarcation between L'Enfant and the commissioners. But I believe there is no necessity for it, as far as I have been able to judge, from conversations and consultations with the commissioners. I think they are disposed to follow implicitly the will of the President, whenever they can find it out; but L'Enfant's letters do not breathe the same moderation or acquiescence; and I think it would be much safer to say to him, " the orders of the commissioners are your line of demarcation,” than by attempting to define his powers, to give him a line where he may meet with the commissioners foot to foot, and chicane and raise opposition to their orders whenever he thinks they pass his line. I confess, that on a view of L'Enfant's proceedings and letters latterly, I am thoroughly persuaded that, to render him useful, his temper must be subdued ; and that the only means of preventing his giving constant trouble to the President, is to submit him to the unlimited control of the commissioners; we known the discretion and forbearance with which they will exercise it.
XXV.–Opinion relative to certain lands on Lake Erie, sold by the United States to Pennsylvania.
December 19, 1791. The Secretary of State, to whom was referred, by the President of the United States, a letter from the Governor of Pennsylvania, with the documents therein mentioned, on the subject of certain lands on Lake Erie, having had the same under consideration, thereupon Reports :
That Congress, by their resolution of June 6th, 1788, directed the Geographer General of the United States to ascertain the quantity of land belonging to the United States between Pennsylvania and Lake Erie, and authorized a sale thereof.
That a sale was accordingly made to the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
That Congress, by their resolution of September 4th, 1788, relinquished to the said commonwealth all their right to the government and jurisdiction of the said tract of land ; but the right of soil was not transferred by the resolution.
That a survey of the said tract has been since made, and the amount of the purchase money been settled between the comptrollers of the United States and of the said commonwealth, and that the Governor of Pennsylvania declares in the said letter, to the President of the United States, that he is ready to close the transaction on behalf of the said commonwealth. That there is no person at present authorized, by law, to convey to the said commonwealth the right of soil, in the said tract of land.
And the Secretary of State is therefore of opinion that the said letter and documents should be laid before the legislature of the United States to make such provision by law for conveying the said right of soil, as they in their wisdom shall think fit.
XXVI.—Report relative to negotiations with Spain to secure the free navigation of the Mississippi, and a port on the same.
December 22, 1791. The Secretary of State reports to the President of the United States, that one of the commissioners of Spain, in the name of both, has lately communicated to him verbally, by order of his court, that his Catholic Majesty, apprized of our solicitude to
have some arrangement made respecting our free navigation of the river Mississippi, and the use of a port thereon, is ready to enter into treaty thereon at Madrid.
The Secretary of State is of opinion that this overture should be attended to without delay, and that the proposal of treating at Madrid, though not what might have been desired, should yet be accepted, and a commission plenipotentiary made out for the purpose.
That Mr. Carmichael, the present chargé de affaires of the United States at Madrid, from the local acquaintance which he must have acquired with persons and circumstances, would be an useful and proper member of the commission ; but that it would be useful also to join with him some person more particularly acquainted with the circumstances of the navigation to be treated of.
That the fund appropriated by the act providing the means of intercourse between the United States and foreign nations, will insufficiently furnish the ordinary and regular demands on it, and is consequently inadequate to the mission of an additional commissioner express from hence.
That, therefore, it will be advisable, on this account, as well as for the sake of despatch, to constitute some one of the ministers of the United States in Europe, jointly with Mr. Carmichael, commissioners plenipotentiary for the special purpose of negotiating and concluding, with any person or persons duly authorized by his Catholic Majesty, a convention or treaty for the free navigation of the river Mississippi by the citizens of the United States, under such accommodations with respect to a port, and other circumstances, as may render the said navigation practicable, useful, and free from dispute ; saving to the President and Senate their respective rights as to their ratification of the same; and that the said negotiation be at Madrid, or such other place in Spain, as shall be desired by his Catholic Majesty.
March 18, 1792.
The appointment of Mr. Carmichael and Mr. Short, as commissioners to negotiate, with the court of Spain, a treaty or convention relative to the navigation of the Mississippi, and which perhaps may be extended to other interests, rendering it necessary that the subjects to be treated of should be developed, and the conditions of arrangement explained :
The Secretary of State reports to the President of the United States the following observations on the subjects of negotiation between the United States of America and the court of Spain, to be communicated by way of instruction to the commissioners of the United States, appointed as before mentioned, to manage that negotiation. These subjects are,
1. As to boundary, that between Georgia and Florida is the only one which will need any explanation. Spain sets up a claim to possessions within the State of Georgia, founded on her having rescued them by force from the British during the late war. The following view of the subject seems to admit no reply :
The several States now comprising the United States of America, were, from their first establishment, separate and distinct societies, dependent on no other society of men whatever. They continued at the head of their respective governments the executive magistrate who presided over the one they had left, and thereby secured, in effect, a constant amity with the nation. In this stage of their government their several boundaries were fixed; and particularly the southern boundary of Georgia, the only one now in question, was established at the 31st degree of latitude from the Apalachicola westwardly; and the western boundary, originally the Pacific ocean, was, by the treaty of Paris, reduced to the middle of the Mississippi. The part which