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Increase of the Navy.
in a phillipic against the Emperor of France, which I shall not repeat, but which was as well placed as it was justly merited; he asked, “if this was to be the state of your commerce after a war with Great Britain, what in the name of God were you going to war for 7” His colleague (Mr. SMith) rose immediately and said, this was not to be a war for commerce; it would be absurd to suppose the nation was now going to war for commerce-commerce had been abandoned long ago, the trade to France was worth nothing; and if the Orders in Council were off to-morrow, if the same system continued, the trade to France would be worth nothing. This was to be a war for honor—we are now going to fight for our honor! Yes, sir, part of this is too true, commerce has been abandoned, commerce has been made the scape-goat, on whose back have been piled all the crudities and follies of mistaken theory and visionary speculation, and thus laden, she has been sent adrift into the wilderness to be lacerated by every briar or bramble, that could rob her of her coat, or plant a thorn in her carcass. No country on earth, in the same period of time, and under sinilar circumstances, ever reaped one half the benefits from commerce which have been experienced by the United States. Without adverting to the effect it has had on the extension and embelishment of your populous cities—without adverting to the encouragement it has offered to your agriculture and to the settlement of your wilderness, which has been made to blossom like the rose, and in all which it has been in a high degree instrumental—look at the records of the Treasury, and you will there see, that commerce has into your public coffers, during the short period that has intervened since the adoption of the Federal Constitution, two hundred millions of dollars—a sum nearly three times as great as the national debt of the United States, the price of your independence, as it was funded at the commencement of the Federal Government. Sir, this is what commerce has done for you— what have you done for commerce? * In the year 1793, when Great Britain depredated upon your commerce, you had a man at the head of your Government who fought no battles with paper resolutions, nor attempted to wage war with commercial restrictions, although they were then pressed upon him. He caused it to be distinctly and with firmness made known to Great Britain, that if she did not both cease to violate our rights, and make us reparation for the wrongs we had sustained—that young and feeble as we then were, just in the gristle, and stepping from
the cradle of infancy, we would try the tug of
war with her. What was the consequence? Her depredations were stopped—we made a treaty with her, under which we enjoyed a high degree of prosperity. ... Our claims were fairly, heard, equitably adjudged, and the awards were honorably and punctually paid to the sufferers. In this instance you did something for commerce. Next came the war with Tripoli—the Barbary States preyed upon our commerce-you determined toresist, and despatched a small squadron to
the Mediterranean; this ought to have been considered as the germ of your future maritime greatness: the good conduct and bravery of that squadron, and the self-immolation of some of its officers, spread the renown of your nayal prowess to all quarters of the civilized globe. What did you in this instance? At the moment when victory had perched upon your standard—when you might have exhibited the interesting spectacle of
the infant Government of the United States hold
ing in subjugation one of the Powers of Barbary, to whom all Europe had been subservient—at this, moment, when conquest was completely within your grasp-civil agency stepped in-the laurel was torn from the brow of as gallant a chieftain as ever graced the plains of Palestine, and we ignominiously consented to pay a tribute, where we might have imposed one. - Then came the Louisiana convention; in which, after purchasing a disputed title to a Territory, and paying double what any other nation o have given for it, we were permitted by France to put our hands in our pockets and take out three millions of dollars more to pay to our own citizens their claims for property which she had lundered from them. How was this conducted?
uch in the same sort of spirit in which it was begun. Those of the claimants who were on the spot, or who had efficient agents there, who well understood the avenue to the back-stairs; who could delude others, and purchase for a song claims they were sure of having allowed; who could intrigue well, bribe well, and swear well, got fortunes; while the honest unsuspecting merchant, confiding in the correctness of his claim, and the integrity of his own conduct, got nothing; and, very probably, some of the latter, may now be seen wandering as beggars, through the streets of your populous cities, the pavement of which is made to echo, by the rattling of the chariot wheels of those who have defrauded them.
After this, you had the Berlin decree, the Orders in Council, the Milan decree, the Rambouillet decree, the depredations of Spain, the robberies even of the renegado black chief of St. Domingo, and the unprovoked and still continued plunder of Denmark, a nation of pirates from their origin. What cause of complaint has Denmark, or ever had Denmark, against us? Her most fond and speculative maritime pretensions.we have willingly espoused, and yet she continues daily to capture and condemn our vessels and cargoes, and contemptuously tells us, that the Government of the United States is too wise to go to war for a few merchant ships. And this we bear from a people as inferior to the United States in all the attributes of national power or greatness, as I am inferior to Hercules. Yes, sir, commerce has been abandoned, else why prohibit your merchants from bringing the property, to a sarge amount, which they have fairly purchased and paid for into the ports of our country, else why, by this exclusion, perform the double operation of adding to the resources of the enemy you are going to war with and impoverishing your own citizens.
all that ill-omened brood of measures, number that gentleman among their patrons and supporters. - Yes, sir, commerce has been abandoned, “deserted in her utmost need, by those her former bounty fed.” Yes, sir, she has been abandoned.
She has been left as a wreck upon a strand, or as
a derelict upon the waters of the ocean, to be burnt, sunk, or plundered, by any great or puny assailant who could man an oar, or load a swivel for her annoyance. What was the leading object of the adoption of the Federal Constitution in the Northern parts of the Union ? Most emphatically, it was for the protection of commerce. What was the situation of some branches of our commerce then? And what is it now 7 Look at the statement which was laid upon our tables about a fortnight st, and taken from the returns of the Treasury. hat effect has it had upon our fisheries, which were so nobly and successfully contended for by the American Commissioners who settled the Treaty of 1783; which, for a time, suspended
that Treaty; and which, both the duplicity and,
intrigue of France and the interest of England, strove to deprive us of of our fisheries, which were then considered, and still ought to be considered, as a main sinew of our strength, and a nursery for our seamen? . In the year 1791, when we were just emerging from a chaos of confusion, the export of dried fish was of the value, as then estimated, of - - - - - - $1,200,000 In the year 1811, it had diminished
nearly one-half, and was only - 757,000 The whale fishery, in oil and bone, in
1791, gave - - - - - 196480 In 1811, it had fallen off nearly two
thirds, and was only - - - 78,000
In 1808, the unfortunate embargo year, which did not commence, however, until nearly three months of the
custom-house year had elapsed - 2,550,000 In 1809 - - - - - - - 8,750,000 In 1810 - - - - - - - - - 10,750,000
In 1811, the last year, amid all our privations and embarrassments, it exceeded the export of any former year since the first settlement of the country, and amounted up to twice the export of the preceding year, to 20,391,000
And, the present year, the crops present a vastly more abundant harvest than the country ever before produced, with a glorious market to carry it to, not afforded, however, by France, for, of our vegetable export, she takes scarcely any ; but a market furnished almost exclusively by Great Britain for her own supply, and that of #. countries under her possession.
Now, if it has been shown that, if the Orders in Council were off to-morrow, you could get no new market for the great staple of the country, cotton; and it has been also shown, that the export of wheat, flour, and vegetable products, was never anything, near so great as at present; let the farmers and planters of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the Western States, tell what they are going to war for 7
Look at the same statement É. the situation of the export of our domestic manufactures:
Having increased more than three times since seventeen hundred and ninety-one, and giving also to the manufacturers a larger export than in any former year, in addition to their having, in many articles, the entire supply of the home market; thus affording to the manufacturers a much greater degree of encouragement than they ever before experienced. Let the manufacturers of Philadelphia, and other parts of the Union, also tell, then, what are they going to war for 3. If this be the situation of our domestic manufactures, and if our agriculture is in a high state of prosperity, except for a few articles which a war would not improve the demand for, and commerce is abandoned, it must follow, if we go to war, we must, as has been stated, go to war for our honor. Well, sir, this is a noble theme, perhaps, a boon worth contending for; it is the fruitful parent of many virtues; it is the germ of whatever adorns and sanctifies urbanity, courtesy, and confidence, in polished life. The honorable gentleman from Maryland, in the fervor of his imagination, possibly may think, “It were an easy task, To pluck bright honor from the pale-faced moon, Or dive into the bottom of the deep, Where fathom line ne'er sounded, And fetch up drowned honor by the locks; So he that brought her thence Might, without co-rival, wear all her dignities."
Increase of the Navy.
Sir, the feeling, if it exist, is creditable to him ; but I can assure him, if this be a contest for honor, he will not alone “fetch up drowned honor by the locks,” nor “without co-rival, wear all her dignities.”. In this contest, ten thousand gallant spirits will start with him in the race; ten thousand other gallant spirits will struggle with him for the of Where the fugitive has been for the last twelve years, I know not ; but whether she has been drinking salt and bitter tears in the fathomless caves of ocean, or wandering an outcast, deserted and forlorn, among the wilds beyond the Western mountains, it is equally our duty to welcome her return; we should consider it as the harbiner of better times—as the morning star of a new #". should make it a jubilee for the nation. The tutelary genius of America should receive her with open arms; should endeavor to make her teach us, in the high-wrought language of one of our native bards, to attempt, once again,
“Amid our own stars,
To inscribe a nation's name.” And in a war for honor, in the words of the same j over whose tomb the cypress has recently een suspended, should make us remember, as
regards more than one Power, that “Base submission, inviting both indignity and plunder, Like a worm, kills the oak that could have braved the
But, sir, it is more especially the part of honor to discriminate, to draw even nice distinctions— against whom, then, should commence this war of honor? Most unquestionably, in the first instance, against France. For, let me ask you, sir, without going far back, when General Turreau wrote his most insolent letter to the American Government, demanding an interdiction of the trade to St. Domingo, and you complied with it, where was your honor 7 When France undertook to deprive you of one of your most essential rights of sovereignty, and to declare war for you; to state that you were at war, and she would so consider you; and you remained quiet—where was your honor 7 When she told you that you were a nation without policy, without spirit, and without principle; that you were inferior to any assembly of the colony of Jamaica, and we still courted her—where was your honor 7 When she plunders, sinks, burns, and destroys, our vessels and cargoes; when she manacles and impresses our seamen, and marches them, like galley slaves, through her territories, and we only complain, that these are “the most distressing modes by which belligerents can exercise force in opposi
tion to right”—where is our honor? When we submit to that most infamous of all decrees—the Rambouillet decree, issued in May, 1810, to take place from March, 1809, by which a large amount of American property was seized, and never has been restored, under the pretence of balancing seizures in the United States which
never existed—where is our honor 7
when we were convinced of the fairness of the title, and took possession of it—when we put our doings on our own statute book, and promulgated them to the world—when we had done this, and observe a frown lowering upon the brow of an apostate Bishop, a wanderer from his country and his God—and we shrunk from a possession which we still claim—where was our honor 7 This is the foulest stain on the annals of your history; and, if the title be a fair one, the whole military force of the United States, if necessary, should be put in requisition to wipe it away, and to possess and defend the country in question. Sir, when Mr. Serrurier told us, in his letter of the 23d of July last, that His Majesty the Emperor of France, having an equal interest in all “of the States, desires that the relations of commerce should be common to all parts of the Federal territory”—when we were told this to our teeth, at the very moment, or shortly before, when the whole of New England, possessing half the seacoast; and nearly half the tonnage of the United States, was under the ban of his empire, under a bull of excommunication, and not permitted to ship to the value of a single cent of colonial produce to his empire, while permissions were given to New York, to Charleston, and, for aught I know, to Baltimore, and we made no reply, where was our honor ? Sir, I do not complain of the fact, but of the delusion with which we are perpetually shuffled; no, sir; on the contrary, so long as France pursues her present system of conduct toward us, I want no intercourse with her; would to God, so long as she thus treats us, there were a Chinese wall extending from the foundations of the great deep to the third Heavens, all round her empire, if such a one were necessary, to cut off all communication between her and us, until she is better disposed to do us justice. Thus, sir, although France unquestionably should be the first object of attack, yet adhering to the Republican principle, that the will of the majority, legally expressed, must govern, and the nation will not go to war with France, but will engage in a war with Great Britain; I am ready to admit that, in a war for honor, you have cause enough for war against Great Britain. I am no partisan of Britain in opposition to the interest or feelings of my own country. When one of her navy officers inflicted that most outrageous insult, upon us—the attack upon the Chesapeake—there was not a man in the nation who would have been willing to have gone further in anything, cursing and boasting excepted, to avenge it, than j. Nor did I ever contend for the sweeping, extended construction that was attempted to be given to her principle of blockade. Both these points are, however, now happily adjusted; an atonement has been made and accepted for the attack on the Chesapeake, which it would be the part of petulance and cowardice, to repine at, inasmuch as it would be a reproach on our own pusillanimity, for having
When, after paying double the price which any received what we ought not to have acceded to. other people would have given for a territory-l And the principle of blockade has been so expli
Increase of the Navy.
citly laid down in the recent correspondence of Mr. Foster, in conformity with the established recognised law of nations, as to make future cavil with regard to it impossible. I derived no pleasure from the bitter sarcastic retorts of Mr. Canning—in my estimation much better adapted to the flippant petulance of the teatable, than to the bureau of a statesman. Nor was I gratified by the diplomatic manoeuvring and evasions of the Marquis of Wellesley in reard to the appointment of a Minister to the to's. and a revocation of the Orders in Council, which, in my opinion, are equally indefensible in point of principle, whether they are attempted to be supported on the ground of retaliation, or that of self-preservation. I once thought Great Britain was contending for her existence; that dream has now completely passed away. And, how is it possible that a third and neutral party can make itself a fair object of retaliation for measures which it did not counsel, which it did not approve, which militate strongly with its interests, which it is and ever has been anxiously desirous to remove, which it has resisted by every means in its power which it thought expedient to use—and, of these means, the Government of the neutral party ought to be the sole judge; which it has endeavored to get rid of even at a great sacrifice! How is it possible that a neutral country, thus conducting, can make itself a fair object of retaliation for measures which it did not originate, which it could not prevent, and cannot control? The contrary doctrine may be contended for by the diplomatist in obedience to his instructions, by the statesman in conformity with what he considers the interestand the policy of his country; but that it should now be supported by any man of sober, unimpassioned mind, can, to my perceptions, be accounted for, only from the existence of a prejudice as gross as ignorance made drunk. Thus, sir, to my view, the Orders in Council are wholly unjustifiable, let them be bottomed either on the principle of retaliation or of selfpreservation; they might not be untenable, "if they could rest, which they never could do, on a revocation, a bona fide virtual revocation of the French decrees; for every gazette from the seaboard furnishes damning evidence of their existence; and almost every arrival in our ports
showers upon us proofs as thick as hail-stones in
a Summer's storm. Among others, look at the ship General Eaton, taken when bound from London to Charleston, in ballast, exclusively American; the memorial establishing the facts has been presented to the Senate by the gentleman from New Hampshire, (Mr. Cutts.) Look at the account of Captain Lefevre, who has just arrived at Norfolk, and whose vessel was burned at sea by a couple of French frigates that had sailed from France after the pretended abrogation of the French decrees, the captain of which told him he had orders to destroy all American vessels bound to or from a British port, but that if he ::::::: a British vessel, a vessel of their open, acknowledged, inveterate enemy, he could give
ment of which I hold in my hand, and which I
have been requested to present to the Senate. Its authenticity cannot be questioned; it comes from a highly respectable merchant whom I personally well know, (John Parker, Esq.,) and is supported by the process verbal, which I also have, and other evidence of the facts contained in it. It is the case of the brig Catharine, Captain Ockington, and, by the memorial, it appears that this vessel sailed from Boston on the tenth April, 1810, with a cargo consisting of coffee, sugar, cocoa, dye-woods, and cotton, bound to Gottenburg, in Sweden, and from thence to any other port in the Baltic, which on her arrival at Gottenburg would * to offer the most advantageous market. The vessel and cargo were exclusively owned by American citizens, and were furnished with every document required by our laws, or by the laws and usages of nations, including the most ample certificates from His Majesty the Emperor of France. On her passage to Gottenburg she was captured by a Danish privateer, and carried into Jahrsund, where, after a detention of ten months and five days, she was liberated, subject however to the payment of costs, on the ground that she was bona fide American property, and had not contravened either the law of nations or the modern law set-up by the Government of France, and enforced under its influence and authority in other countries of the continent of Europe. Thus liberated, after so long a detention, and at an expense of more than four thousand dol
lars, and thus furnished with the opinion of a
vigilant court that she was liable to no suspicion, the vessel departed from Jahrsund, and proceeded to Gottenburg, her original port of destination, where finding her cargo unsaleable, she proceeded for St. Petersburg, first stopping at Elsinore to pay the Sound duties, in order to prevent any possible pretence, either that she availed herself of enemy’s convoy, or that she had made any attempt to elude the laws of Denmark; and having there complied with all the regulations both of France and Denmark, and having, also had the good fortune to escape, being visited by British cruisers, the vessel sailed from Elsimore to St. Petersburg, when, on the 3d of May, 1811, she was captured by a French privateer, duly commissioned by the Emperor of France, FEBRUARY, 1812.
and carried into Dantzic. On her arrival at that port, she was put under the control of the Consul of France, and all her papers were forcibly taken by the said Consul, and sent to Paris, in order that legal process might be there instituted against her. In unloading the cargo, the most illegal conduct was adopted. Several of the crew were impressed for the service of His Imperial Majes: ty, and impediments were thrown in the way of the supercargo, by withholding his passports near two months, although he had applied for them to the American Chargé d'Affaires, to prevent his getting to Paris to defend the vessel and cargo. Thus situated, at a very early period the supercargo made known to Mr. Russell, the American Chargé d'Affairs at Paris, the circumstances of the capture, who applied to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, and received assurances from him, that he had made a favorable report of the case to the Emperor. Notwith: standing this perfect knowledge of the case, and the favorable report of the French Minister, the Council of Prizes, on the 10th day of September last, without hearing any plea or defence on behalf of the owners of the vessel and cargo, proceeded to the condemnation of them both; in which, after reciting that the Catharine had been captured by the French armed ship the Jenne Adolphe, and that she had been libelled on the ground “that part of the cargo came from Spanish and Portuguese colonies, and that, moreover, it consisted .# colonial articles, whose importation was prohibited by His Majesty’s decrees;” that she had been captured by the Danes, and acquitted by the Danish courts, and that she had arrived at Gottenburg, in which port an English cutter was then lying, but which had not hailed the Catharine; after reciting that another vessel had hailed her on her passage, the, officers of which had spoken the English language; that the captain, supercargo, and mariners, had all concurred in these facts; after reciting moreover a complete list of all the papers found on board the Catharine, which consisted of every document required by the law of nations, and the modern usages of France, all certified by the French Consul at Boston; the Council of Prizes proceeded to condemn both vessel, and cargo, valued at eighty-five thousand dollars, on the following pretences, if even such they may be called: that “the said brig had anchored at Gottenburg, at which port there was an armed English packet boat, and that this was an indication or proof–the cargo consisting also mostly of articles of colonial produce—that the same was in the interest of the enemy's commerce; that there was no reason to believe that she entered the Baltic without convoy; and if she were not disturbed by the numerous vessels of the enemy, it was because she was an enemy’s ship under an American mask;” and they then proceeded to condemn both vessel and cargo, and to decree that the capture was good and available. Thus, if an American vessel is cleared in a Danish court as being bona fide neutral property, but
Increase of the Navy.
decision on the case had been
subjected to the payment of costs, in a French court, the payment of these condemns her, bei. she ought to have been released without thern. If she has been met with going to, or coming from an English port, whether with a cargo or without, this is sufficient ground to capture or destroy her; if she has been spoken by a vessel from her own country in the English ło, or has entered a port where an English vesse should be lying at anchor, which did not even pay her so much attention as to hail her, she is to be condemned; if no proof is given that she
took convoy, it is alleged that no proof is fur
nished that she might not have taken it; if she is visited by a British ship she is condemned; and if she has not been visited, nor molested, she is: condemned, because her not being so disturbed is evidence she was in the interest of the enemy’s. commerce!" Nor has this been done by an inferior court, or by subordinate agents. The condemnation of the Catharine and cargo was decreed at Paris by the highest prize court on the 10th September, and was confirmed by the Emperor in person on the 14th, after a full knowledge of the cireumstances, and after a favorable romised by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs. Thus, sir, is situated our commerce as it respects France and such is the evidence of the virtual actua repeal of her decrees. . Still, sir, if we are going to war with Great Britain, let it be a real, effectual, vigorous war. Give us a naval force. This is the sensitive chord you can touch, and which would have more effect on her than ten armies. Give us thirty swift-sailing, well-appointed frigates; they are better than seventy-fours; two thirty-six-gun frigates can be built and maintained for the same expense as one seventy-four, and for purposes of
'annoyance for which we want them, they are
better than two seventy-fours; they are managed easier, ought to sail faster, and can be navigated in shoal water. We do not want seventy-fours; courage being equal, in line-of-battle ships, skill and experience will always insure success. We are not ripe for them; but butt-bolt the sides of an American to that of a British frigate, and though we should lose sometimes, we would win as often as we should lose. The whole history of the Revolutionary war, when we met at sea on equal terms, would bear testimony in favor of this opinion. Give us, then, this little fleet well appointed; place your Navy Department under an able and spirited Administration; give tone to the service. Let a sentiment like the following precede every letter of instruction to the captain of a ship of war—“Sir, the honor of the nation is in a degree attached to the flag of your
vessel; remember, that it may be sunk without
disgrace, but can never be struck without dishonor.” Do this; cashier every officer who strikes his flag, and you will soon have a good account of your Navy. This may be said to be a hard tenure of service; but, hard or easy, sir, embark in an actual, vigorous war, and in a few weeks,