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of which he himself was a member.
So soon as the Committee on our Foreign Relations was appointed, we were forcibily impressed with the serious and highly responsible station you had assigned us; to that committee, consisting of nine members only, were not only the eyes of this House but of the nation turned; and from us, in this, the most troubled season our world has ever known, was it expected, that a course of measures would be recommended, calculated to protect the interests of seven millions of people. Under this impression, Mr. Speaker, we deemed it a duty to take time for deliberation; we thought it better to encounter the charge of having acted in a tardy and dilatory way, than to take a rash step, by which this nation might be plunged into difficulties, from which it could not be easily extricated. We therefore took the necessary time to weigh the arguments both for and against the measures we have recommended; and, as far as we were able, we surveyed the consequences which were to follow from the course we proposed. We foresaw, Mr. Speaker that our countrymen were to fall in the mediated conflict, and that American blood was to stream afresh. Nor were we unmindful of the expenditure of public treasure. And, sir, what cost me more reflection than everything else was the new test to which we are to put this Government. We are about to ascertain by actual experiment how far our Republican institutions are calculated to stand the shock of war, and whether, after foreign danger disappeared, we can again assume our peaceful attitude, without endangering the liberties of the people.
Against these considerations, weighty in themselves, your committee felt themselves constrained to decide, influenced by existing circumstances of a character too imperious to be resisted: these I will enumerate before I sit down. My business at present is to address a particular portion of the members of this House—I mean, sir, the Republican members—and although what I am about to say might be deemed impolitic on ordinary subjects of legislation, yet, at this time and on this occasion, it would be criminal to conceal a single thought which might influence their determination. We should now, Mr. Speaker, forget little party animosities, we should mingle minds freely, and, as far as we are able, commune with the understandings of each other; and, the decision once made, set us become one people,
He, sir, at
and present an undivided front to the enemies of
tile and unjust policy of that country towards us, \
is not to be wondered at, when we recollect that the United States are already the second commercial nation in the world. The rapid growth of our commercial importance, has not only awakened the jealousy of the commercial interests of Great Britain, but her statesmen, no doubt, anticipate with deep concern, the maritime greatness of this Republic. * The unjust and unprecedented demands now made by Great Britain, that we shall cause the markets of the Continent to be opened to her manufactures, fully justifies the views I have suggested. . . That we as a neutral nation should interfere between belligerents in their municipal regulations, will not be contended for by any one. From the course pursued by that nation for some |. past, it evidently appears, that neither pubic law nor justice, but power alone, is made by her the test of maritime rights. What, Mr. Speaker, are we now called on to decide? It is, whether we will resist by force the attempt, made by that Government, to sub: ject our maritime rights to the arbitrary and capricious rule of her will; for my part I am not prepared to say that this country shall submit to have her commerce' interdicted or regulated, by any foreign nation. Sir, I prefer war to submission. o Over and above these unjust pretensions of the British Government, for many years past they have been in the practice of impressing our seamen, from merchant vessels; this o and lawless, invasion of personal liberty, calls loudly for the interposition of this Government. To those better acquainted with the facts in relation to it, I leave it to fill up the picture. My mind is irresistibly drawn to the West. Although others may not strongly feel the bearing which the late transactions in that quarter have on this subject, upon my mind they have great influence. It cannot be believed by any man who will reflect, that the savage tribes, uninfluenced by other Powers, would think of making was on the United States. They understand too well their own weakness, and our strength. They have already felt the weight of our arms; they know they hold the very soil on which they live as tenants at sufferance." How, then, sir, are we to account for their late conduct 7 . In one way -only; some powerful nation must have intrigued with them, and turned their peaceful disposition towards us into hostilities. Great Britain alone has intercourse with those Northern tribes; ‘I therefore infer, that if British gold has not been employed, their baubles and trinkets, and the promise of support and a place of refuge if necessary, have had their effect. If I am right in this conjecture, war is not to commence by sea or land, it is already begun ; and some of the richest blood of our country has already been shed. Yes, Mr. Speaker, in one individual has fallen, the honest man, the orator, and the soldier. That he loved his country none can doubt—he died to preserve its honor and its
fame—I mean the late commander of the cavalry;
you, sir, who have often measured your strength \ with his in forensic debate, can attest that he in a good degree, was the pride of the Western country, and Kentucky claimed him as a favorite son. For his loss, with those who fell by his | side, the whole Western country is ready to march; they only wait for our permission; and sir, war once declared, I pledge myself for my people—they will avenge the death of their brethren. . Another consideration drawn from our past conduct demands the course we have proposed. In the year 1808, Congress declared that this nation had but three alternatives left-war, embargo, or submission; since that time no advantageous
change has taken place in our foreign relations; /
we now have no embargo, we have not declared war. I then say it, with humiliation, produced by the degradation of my country, we have submitted. Mr. Speaker, I derive no pleasure from speaking in this way of my country, but it is true, and, however painful the truth may be, it should be told. Another reason operates on my mind; we stand pledged to the French nation to continue in force our non-importation law against Britain; without a violation of national faith we cannot repeal it. What effects is the operation of this law producing?. It is demoralizing our citizens;
men of commercial habits cannot easily change
their course of life; those who have lived in affluence and ease cannot consent to beg for bread. No, sir, they will violate this law, they will smuggle; and, sir, in politics, as in private life, if you wish men to remain virtuous, lead them not into temptation. his restrictive system operates unequally ; some parts of the Union enjoy the same advantages which they possessed when no difficulties attended our foreign relations; others suffer extremely. Ask the Northern man, and he will tell you that any state of things is better than the present; inquire of the Western people why their crops are not equal to what they were in
former years, they will answer that industry has
nostimulus left, since their surplus products have no markets. Notwithstanding these objections to the present restrictive system, we are bound to retain it—this, and our plighted faith to the French Government, have tied the gordian knot; we cannot untie it; we can cut it with the swo This war, if carried on successfully, will have its advantages. We shall drive the #. from our Continent—they will no longer have an apportunity of intriguing with our Indian neighbors, and setting on the ruthless savage to tomahawk our women and children. That nation will lose r Canadian trade, and, by having noresting place in this country, her means of annoying us will diminished. The idea I am now about to adance is at war, I know, with sentiments of the : from Virginia: I am willing to re
ive the Canadians as adopted brethren; it will ave beneficial political effects; it will preserve the equilibrium of the Government. When Louisiana shall be fully peopled, the Northern
TUEsday, December 10. Another member, to wit: JAMEs Cochran, from North Carolina, appeared and took his seat. Mr. MoRRow, from the Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill from the Senate “for the relief of Thomas O’Bannon,” reported the same without amendment; and it was ordered to be read the third time to-morrow. . . * Mr. Gholson, from the Committee of Claims, made a report on the petition of Jared Shattuck, referred the twenty-sixth ultimo; which was read, and referred to a Committee of the Whole on the first Monday in January next. . Mr. Newton, from the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures, made an unfavorable report on the petition of Thomas Fishbourn Wharton; which was read, and concurred in." On motion of Mr. HARPER, the Committee of Ways and Means were instructed to inquire into the expediency of allowing an additional compensation to the Postmaster General; and that they have leave to report by bill, or otherwise. An engrossed bill for the relief of John Burnham was read the third time, and passed. An engrossed bill to authorize the laying out a public road from the line established by the Treaty of Greenville, to the North Bend, in the State of Ohio, was read the third time, and passed. - .* - The bill from the Senate, “To authorize the surveying and marking of certain roads, in the State of Ohio, as contemplated by the Treaty of Brownstown, in the Territory of Michigan,” was read the third time, and passed. '
sPANISH AMERICAN coloniEs.
Mr. Mitchill, from the committee appointed on that part of the President's Message which relates to the Spanish American Colonies, made a report, in part, thereon; which was read, and referred to a Committee of the Whole on the state
been communicated to you.
of the Union. The report is as follows:
*The committes to whom was referred so much of the President's Message as relates to the Spanish American colonies, have, in obedience to the order of the House, deliberately considered the subject before them, and directed a report, in part, to be submitted to the consideration of the House, in the form of a public declaration, as follows: Whereas several of the American Spanish provinces have represented to the United States that it has been found expedient for them to associate and form Federal Governments upon the elective and representative plan, and to declare themselves free and independent— Therefore, be, it Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That they behold, with friendly interest, the establishment of independent sovereignties by the Span
‘ish provinces in America, consequent upon the actual
state of the monarchy to which they belonged; that, as neighbors and inhabitants of the same hemisphere, the United States feel great solicitude for their welfare;
and that, when those provinces shall have attained the
condition of nations, by the just exercise of their rights, the Senate and House of Representatives will unite with the Executive in establishing with them, as sovereign and independent States, such amicable relations and commercial intercourse as may require their Legislative authority. House of REPREs ExTATIves, Dec. 5, 1811. Sin: In behalf of the committee appointed to consider so much of the President's Message of the 5th of November as relates to the Spanish American provinces, I beg leave to inquire whether it is known to our Government that any of those provinces have declared themselves independent, or that material changes have taken place in their political relations. It is not expected, however, that my request will be understood to extend to those communications which, in the opinion of the Executive, it would be improper to disclose. Be pleased, sir, to accept the assurances of my high consideration and respect. * * . - SAMUEL L. MITCHILL. . Hon. JAMEs Mox Roz. - DEPARTMENT of STATs, Dec. 9, 1811. SIR : I have the honor to transmit to you, in compliance with the request contained in your letter of the 5th instant, a copy of the declaration of independence made by the provinces of Venezuela. This act was
communicated to this Government by order of the Con
gress, composed of deputies from those provinces, assembled at Caraccas. It is not ascertained that any other of the Spanish provinces have, as yet, entered into similar declarations; but it is known that most, if not all of them, on the continent, are in a revolutionary state. The progress made in that direction by some of them will best appear in the documents which have already - I have the honor to be, &c. JAMES MONROE. Hon. SAMUEL L. Mitchill, &c. * *
The Secretary of State to Messrs. Armstrong and - * Bowdoin.
: DEPARTMENT of STATE, March 13, 1806. GENTLEMEN : I have duly received from time to time your several letters, bearing dates the 3d July, the 10th and 15th August, the 10th September, the 3d and 25th October, and the 26th November.
Previous to the arrival of Mr. Skipwith with your despatches of September 10, our affairs with Spain had undergone the particular consideration of the President, with a reference as well to the change in the state of things in Europe as to the approaching session of Congress; and it had been determined—1. That the manner in which the negotiations at Madrid had been closed by Spain forbade any application whatever to her for a renewal of them; 2. That the case should be presented to Congress, for such provisions as it might be thought to require on their part: 3. That, in the meantime, you should be charged to place before the French Government the necessity to which Spain, by refusing to concur in a diplomatic adjustment of her controversies with the United States, had reduced the latter, of seeking justice by those ulterior measures which the occasion called for. It had also been determined by the President, with a view to enable the French Government, if it should be so disposed, to hasten by its mediating influence on Spain the change in her councils necessary to an amicable adjustment with the United States, and to bring Spain forward for the purpose, that you should be furnished with the terms which Spain might obtain from the United States.
On the receipt of your communications by Mr. Skipwith, the ideas disclosed by the French Government were considered as forming a sufficient basis for an anticipating provision by Congress, such as was made in reference to the convention of the 30th of April, 1803; and it was accordingly determined, in pursuance of that example, to await the meeting of Congress, and lay the subject before them. This was done; and the act and resolutions, of which copies are enclosed, were the result of their discussions; a result which has been delayed by the forms of proceeding, and some variances of opinion on the occasion, longer than might have been wished. ,
I now enclose the outline and substance of a conven
tional arrangement adapted to the views expressed by .
Congress, and such as the President authorizes you to conclude. You will lose no time in imparting it to the French Government in the manner you may deem most expedient; letting it know, at the same time, that no direct communication on the subject has been made to the Spanish Government; that after the reception given by Spain to the overtures made through an extraordinary mission to Madrid, followed by her military and menacing indications within and near the controverted territories, as explained in the annexed extracts, the United States, though ready to meet Spain in negotiation under the auspices of a common friend, do not consider it belonging to them to court a further negotiation in any form; that, consequently, the steps necessary on the part of Spain must be the result either of her own reflections, or of the prudent council which France may undertake to give her. - The President leaves to your own management the expression of those sentiments, which, without any improper condescensions on the part of the United States, will best conciliate the French Government to our objects. The ascendency which it will have over that of Spain, if no change of circumstances intervene, and the preference of an amicable termination of our differences with Spain to an appeal to force, require that every honorable use should be made of the occasion which seems to offer itself. . Should the Emperor still be absent, without authority in any hands at Paris to take measures in concert with you for instituting the business, it must remain with
you to decide according to the probable course of his movements on the most expedient and expeditious mode of holding the necessary communications with his cabinet. Rather than risk a delay which may lose a favorable crisis, it may be even advisable to repair to his military quarters. This is a step, however, to which there may be so many objections, that it will require very strong considerations to recommend it.
As soon as any authority at Paris shall be ready on the part of Spain, you will enter on the subject, and press it to a conclusion with as much celerity and decision as circumstances will justify. The terms stated as your guide require little explanation more than accompanies the several articles. The object with the United States is to secure West Florida, which is essential to their interest, and to obtain East Florida, which is important to them, procuring, at the same time, equitable indemnities from Spain for the injuries for which she is answerable, to all which the proposed exchange of territory and arrangement of the western boundary may be made subservient. The desire manifested by the House of Representatives in the resolution herewith enclosed, that such an exchange and arrangement may be found sufficient, without any price in money, will engage all your attention and exertions. If the exchange stated in the resolution with the Sabine river for our western boundary below the ridge, dividing the waters running into the Mississippi from those running into the gulf westward of the mouth of that river can be obtained, the exchange will be satisfactory, especially if accompanied with a reasonable provision for the indemnities due from Spain to citizens of the United States. If the exchange can be obtained even without this last provision, or including the territory eastward of the Perdido, or any pecuniary payment for the territory westward thereof, it is not to be rejected; but in that case it will be extremely desirable to make the authorized establishment of an interval of territory, not to be settled for a given period, subservient to a provision for indemnities.
In order to determine the price and the payments to Spain for the cession of territory, and to provide indemnities for the spoliations and other injuries for which Spain is responsible, you will add to the preceding articles others proper on those subjects. For the several modifications which will best comport with the convenience of our Treasury, and the sentiments of the Secretary of that Department, I refer to copies of a letter and paper from him, herewith enclosed, stating to you generally for your guide—l. That the sum to be made payable to Spain for her cession is not to exceed five millions of dollars; 2. That as little as possible, and in no event more than two millions, are to be paid prior to the delivery of possession or the ratification; 3. That as ample a provision as possible be made for indemnities, either by constituting a board of commissioners for settling them, or by a sum in gross, sufficient to cover their probable amount, which is not less than four millions of dollars, and distributable by the United States to such claimants, and in such proportions, as may be decided upon under their authority. This last mode of providing for the object will be much the best, if the sum in gross be equal to the amount of claims, likely to be allowed by a Board of Commissioners; 4. It is particularly desirable that, in defining the cases to be indemnified, the terms should be such as will embrace those where French subjects or citizens, as well as those where Spanish subjects were the wrong doers. If a sum in gross be stipulated, it may be expected that
Spain will not object to a definition which will authorize the United States to apply it to both cases, especially if terms be chosen which will not expressly designate the contested French cases; 5. In defining the cases, it will be proper to have in view those of every description which exist—more particularly depredations on the high seas, and unjust or unlawful injuries within the Spanish jurisdiction, whether in Old Spain or her colonies; in a word, all injurious acts, either to the United States or to her citizens, for which the Spanish nation is responsible, according to the principles of justice, equity, treaty, or the law of nations. I have the honor to be, &c. - JAMES MADISON.
P. S.–Particular care must be taken in case a convention shall be made which does not provide for the spoliations, or for the portion of them, subsequent to the convention of August, 1802, to guard against an abandonment, either express or constructive, of the just claims of our citizens on that account. J. M.
w PROJECT OF A convention. The United States and His Catholic Majesty being desirous of terminating amicably all controversies now subsisting between them, and of providing more effectually for the maintenance of their future harmony, have appointed, &c.: ARTICLE 1.-Spain, acknowledging and confirming to the United States West Florida, cedes to them forever the same and 'East Florida, with the islands and waters thereon respectively depending; or if unattainable in that form, Spain cedes and confirms forever to the United States East and West Florida, with the island waters thereon respectively depending. . . . Observations on Article 1.-The object in these forms of expressing the cession, is, to date that of West Florida as far at least as to the Perdido, from the date of the cession of Louisiana by France, and thereby invalidate the intervening sales of land, which it is understood have taken place corruptly or unfairly, to a very great extent. If Spain should appear to acquiesce in a more explicit acknowledgment of our right under the French convention as far as the Perdido, it may be well to divide the territory eastward of the Mississippi by a reference to that river, instead of referring to it as divided into East and West Florida. Ant 2.-Possession of the said territory shall be delivered to a person or persons authorized by the United States to receive the same, within days or less if practicable, after the exchange of the ratifications of this convention. With the said territory shall be delivered all public property, excepting ships and military stores, as also all public archives belonging to the same. Sec. 2. Within ninety days after delivering possession, or sooner, if possible, the Spanish troops shall evacuate the territory hereby ceded. Sec. 3. The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be entitled to the same incorporation into the United States, and to the same protection in their religion, their liberties, and their property, as were stipulated to the inhabitants of the territory ceded to the United states by the treaty of the 30th of April, 1803, with the French Republic. SEc. 4. With the same motives in view which led to the seventh and eighth articles of the treaty above mentioned, it has been agreed between the contracting parties that the ships of France and Spain shall enjoy, in the ports of the hereby ceded territory, until the term
of the twelve years therein mentioned shall be expired, the same privileges as to trade and duties as are therein stipulated, and during the same space of time no other nation shall have a right to the same privileges in the ports of the hereby ceded territory. Sec. 5. In future, and forever after the expiration of the said term of twelve years, the vessels of Spain shall be treated upon the footing of the most favored nations in the ports of the hereby ceded territory, Art. 3.-The boundary between the territory of the United States on the western side of Mississippi, and the possessions of Spain, shall be the Colorado, (or the Gaudaloupe, if attainable,) from its mouth to its most northerly source; thence, a right line to the nearest high lands, enclosing all the waters running directly or indirectly into the Mississippi or Missouri, and along the said highlands as far as they border on the Spanish dominions. Observations on Article 3.−Although it may not be amiss to urge the claim of the United States to the Rio Bravo, and to propose that for the boundary, it is not expected that one more westwardly than the boundary delineated in this article will be favored by France or admitted by Spain. Ant, 4–It is agreed that a space extending thirty leagues on each side of the said boundary shall be kept by the parties respectively unsettled for the term of years; or so A space between the said boundary and some boundary beginning with a river eastward of the Colorado, and westward of the Sabine; or, A space between the said boundary, and the boundary beginning with the Sabine, and running thence from the source of the Sabine, a straight line, to the confluence of the rivers Osage and Missouri; and from the said confluence, a line running parallel with the Mississippi, to the latitude of its most northernmost source; and thence a meridian to the northern boundary of Louisiana. Observations on Article 4—These descriptions of a barrier interval are to be successively yielded according as Spain may be willing to cede therefor her territory eastward of the Mississippi, or to abate in the sum of money to be paid for East Florida, or to be liable in her engagements and provisions for indemnifying our eitizens. It being impossible to foresee the various modifications and combinations which the subject may take in the course of negotiation, much must necessarily be left to your own judgment. It is to be understood that, in no event, the country eastward of the Sabine and the line from its source as above referred to, is to be included in the unsettled interval. • Ant, 5–IHere was inserted a copy of the provisions contained in the project of 1804, as to the interval not to be settled.]