« FöregåendeFortsätt »
Additional Military Force.
should still be continued, he believed it would degenerate into something of a very different character, and would receive a very different denomination from the public. Mr. G. begged the Senate, to turn its attention to the means of resistance now actually in Canada, which would probably be opposed to the contemplated force. From the best information he could obtain, the British had at this time in Canada from seven to ten thousand regular troops, and from twelve to fifteen thousand well appointed, well furnished militia, drawn from a population of nearly three hundred thousand souls. If, therefore, your troops, could be ready to act in the Spring before the breaking up of the ice, and before the British could throw further succors into that country, it appeared to him there would be very good employment for twenty thousand men in subduing this force and population; and, if undertaken with fewer men, a failure of the enterprise would probably be the consequence. Besides, sir, we should recollect that Great Britain is the same Great Britain we encountered in 1775, 1776, &c.; and although some gentlemen seemed to suppose that she was fully occupied with her European war; that she was impoverished, fighting for her existence, &c., and of course had at command very little disposable force, he viewed the subject very differently.
It is true Great Britain is engaged with a formidable enemy; but hitherto she has greatly the advantage in the war. Where has she lost one inch of territory? What acquisitions of territory and population has she not made, both in the East and West Indies? What obstacles is she now opposing to the occupation of the Southern Peninsula by her enemy? So far from her popula
tion being diminished at home, it appeared io be
greatly increased by the last census, notwithstanding all the distresses and starvations we have heard of, &c. Count the number of French and English prisoners, and you will find that Great Britain had the advantage of perhaps ten to one. Her fleet is unrivalled; of course left more free to act than at any time during the Revolutionary war. He, therefore, concluded that we should have to contend now with the same Great Britain we did then, with renovated powers and resources. Yet to this Power it is proposed to oppose only ten thousand additional troops. Mr. G. said it was uncertain how long Great Britain might keep her army upon the Peninsula; but whenever it shall be withdrawn, either by choice or necessity, she will have a formidable disposable force in numbers, skill, and bravery; and whether she withdraws that army or not, you will find that she will command a respectable force for the protection of Canada, if you wait for the breaking up of the ice, which now envelopes all the avenues of that country. Time, therefore, is all-important, and not a moment for preparations ought to be lost.
France, it is true, has astonishingly aggrandized herself during the existing war in Europe; but it has been done at the expense of other na
tions, not of Great Britain. Great Britain has had her share of the spoils also. Let us then not undervalue our enemy. Sir, this project of limiting our efforts to ten thousand men, seems to be too much upon the plan of a scarecrow, and it appears to be regarded in that light by some gentlemen. He said Great Britain was the last nation on earth, that he would undertake to frighten with scarecrows; besides, even upon the scarecrow plan, he should suppose that
twenty-five thousand men would be better than
ten thousand. Mr. G. said he disliked this project extremely, from another consideration, which it forcibly impressed upon his mind. It must evidently have been recommended by that same spirit and policy which had heretofore relied upon the chapter of accidents for success, and not upon our own energies and resources. It seems to have been founded on the hope that Great Britain would recede without an effort on our part. It is a fallacious hope. The hope itself will always defeat its own object, by avoiding the means to insure its own success. Mr. G. said we had enjoyed a long course of prosperity, but we ought not to calculate upon perpetual exemption from the common calamities of nations. When days of adversity shall arrive, we should meet them with becoming fortitude and energy. . He deprecated that spirit which appeared to be longing and whining after prosperity that is passed, as if it feared to look adversity in the face. Mr. President, when adversity comes, you must look her in the face; yes, sir, you must stare her out of countenance; you must meet her with courage, and with means sufficient to subdue her. Mr. President, if after we have been solemnly called together to receive communications of great and weighty matters, and after our meeting have been told that our independence is at hazard, that there is actual war, both in character and effect, upon our lawful commerce, brought home to the threshold of our territory; that rights are trampled upon, which no independent nation can rel ... when, in short, our wrongs are painted in such glowing terms, as to have set the whole nation on fire—if, after all this, we should taper down to providing ten thousand men to subdue such a crisis, would it not be a wonderful discovery in the art of sinking? Would it not under value the resources and energies of the nation? Would it not insult and deceive the national spirit and expectations? Whether he viewed this subject in reference to the interests of the nation, or the party in power, he should †. protest against this little miserable policy of resorting to means so utterly incompetent to the objects. He cautioned the party in power now, as he often had done before, against longer sporting with the national sensibility, the national character, and the national interests. Mr. G. said, in making the calculations of the degree of force required, the committee was precluded from taking into the estimate any auxiliary force to be derived from the militia; because an impression appeared to be almost universally entertained, that Congress could not constitutionally
command the services of the militia beyond the limits of the United States; of course, the regular force must be proportionally augmented. He said, although he believed he stood single and alone, he protested against this doctrine. He did not propose now to examine this question, because it would be useless. He would, however, read the clause of the Constitution, which gave to Congress the power of calling forth the militia, and make one or two remarks on it. Congress shall have power “to provide for calling forth the militia, to execute the laws of the Union, to supo insurrections, and repel invasions.” The rst object for which the militia may be called forth, is to execute the laws of the Union. A law declaring war, is a law of the Union; and if the war is to be carried on beyond the limits of the United States. it is still a law to be executed, although beyond the limits of the United States; and he could see no reason why the militia could not be called forth to execute it. Indeed, it is one of those laws to the execution of which force is indispensably and properly applicable; and if the laws can have a legitimate influence beyond the limits of the United States, the power of Congress over the militia must be co-extensive" with the laws, which are thus required to be executed. He would only observe further, that when this subject was more particularly brought into discussion upon a former occasion, it was said, that even in Great Britain, the militia could not be ordered out of Great Britain; no, not even to Ireland. But it should now be recollected, that since that time, the British Parliament, without even a question as to the right, has ordered British militia to Ireland, and Irish militia to Great Britain. Twenty-six regiments are said to be transposed at this time. Mr. G. said, that in considering the peculiar geographical situation of the United States, with colonies at each end of them, belonging to powerful distant nations, with which we may be often brought into collision, it would be unfortunate for the United States if the militia bordering on the lines of separation could not be called forth for any purpose of chastisement, or any other object the Government might have in view, in relation to those colonies or their respective mother countries. If such be the unfortunate organization or interpretation of the Constitution, an amendment for remedying so important a defect ought to be instantly proposed and adopted. Its inconvenience is now sensibly felt, in precluding all reliance upon that important auxiliary force. Gentlemen, however, purpose to remedy this defect, by a volunteer force. Mr. G said, he would not reject, nor did he mean to disparage, this species of force. But, from the nature of its organization, it cannot be suited to offensive war,
nor to the occupation of a country after it should,
be taken. He had been told too, by military gentlemen, without exception, that it was always found to be the most expensive and least efficient force. He hardly expected to have heard it relied upon for the contemplated object, by the honorable mover, because-he thought gentlemen con
Additional Military Force.
curred with the other experienced military gentlemen in these respects. Mr. G. said, upon an impartial view of all the considerations he had the honor to suggest, he thought it was demonstrated, that the force proposed was not more than competent to the objects of the Government; and that a smaller number would correspond neither with the national spirit nor expectations. He would therefore proceed to consider, whether the number proposed exceeded the national capacity to furnish. It will appear, said Mr. G., from the census lately taken, that the population of the United States is perhaps not less than seven and an half millions of souls. Now, sir, this must be a population of a most extraordinary character, and under the influence of a government of a most extraordinary organization, if it cannot command the services of thirty five thousand men, upon the most extraordinary exigencies. But we are not without a memorable experiment upon the population and Government of the United States, at a former period. In 1775, 1776, we commenced the Revolutionary war with Great Britain, with a population very little, if at all, exceeding two millions of souls.” Let us see the number of regular troops, not merely voted, but actually brought into the field, and paid for their services during the whole of that war. They are as folTotal in pay, in 1775, 27,443; in 1776, 46,891; in 1777, 34,820; 1779, 27,699; 1780, 21,. 015; 1781, 13,292; 1782, 14.256; 1783, 13,476. These are the regular troops actually in pay, exclusive of militia. . In making this comparative estimate, he was willing, in these degenerate days, to give two, nay three for one, over the population of 1775 and 1776; and it would appear, that the committee had not drawn upon the existing population beyond moderation. With a double, nay threefold population; with more than quadrupled pecuniary resources; with a capacity for furnishing munitions of war above one hundred sold, the committee proposed to draw upon the existing population for thirty-five thousand regular troops in the whole. i. 1776 there were actually in the field and paid, forty-six thousand eight hundred and ninety-one regular troops, exclusive of militia. Great Britain, with a population of but little more than double that of the United States; laboring too under a debt of more than seven hundred millions of pounds sterling, has, at this time, in her land and naval service, perhaps, three hundred thousand men; yet an alarm seems to be produced here by a proposition to call into the service of the United States thirty-five thousand men. This too for repelling the aggressions of the same Great Britain we encountered in 1775 and 1776; and for the same cause. Yes, sir; it is as much a question of independence now, as it was then. It was then a question, whether Great Britain should impose a tax of
- Population of the United States, at four several periods, viz.: 1780, 2,051,000; 1790, 3,929,326; 1800, 5,308,666; 1810, 7,239,903.
three pence per pound on tea, when in our colonial state. It is now a question whether Great Britain shall regulate by force the whole of our commerce, in contempt and violation of the laws of nations, when we affect to be in an independent state. If, sir, our fathers had condescended to calculate the costs of a tax of three pence on a ound of tea, compared with the costs of the war or achieving out independence, as some of their sons are now doing with respect to the value of our commerce submitted to the regulation of Great Britain, we should not now have it in our power to degrade their memories, by the proflite abandonment of the independence achieved or us by the profusion of their blood and treasure. And what, sir, became of the forty-six thousand eight hundred' and ninety one men raised to oppose Great Britain in 1776? We know they were often compelled to fly before superior British forces, and by the waste of the war and short enlistments, were reduced in 1783, to 13,476. Yet we seem now to be willing to fall into this same fatal error—and for what? and for what cause ? From groundless and visionary fears of the possible influence of regular troops upon our liberties. But, sir, these fears come too late. They should have come upon us long ago. It is too late to say, we are more afraid of the means of annoyance, than the enemy to be annoyed. We ought to have submitted long ago. We have now taken the ground of resistance, and cannot recede. He hoped that the considerations urged the other day upon this subject, were sufficient to demonstrate the fallacy of these alarms, and their unfortunate tendency in relation to the public welfare in the present state of our affairs. Upon these views of the whole subject, he trusted that the Senate would concur with the committee in opinion, that the number of men recommended is not too great for the purposes of the
Government, nor beyond the convenient abil
ities of the United States. Mr. G. said, he would now proceed to the ten
derest point of this discussion—the decrepit state
of the Treasury Department. Mr. G. said, he did not think this the true standard for estimating the national resources, nor energies; nor for estimating the means necessary for repelling aggressions upon our national rights; nor is it the one recommended in the President's responsible Message. But the honorable mover had said it demanded and ought to receive our first attention. He complained, too, that Mr. G. had said the objects at stake were too great for counting the costs. Mr. G. said this was not precisely the view he had before presented on this part of the subject. The opinion he expressed was, that there would be an economy in furnishing means sufficient to effect your objects; that the costs could not be deemed excessive, which would insure success; but if you dealt out your means so sparingly as to fail of your object, it would then become prodigal waste and profusion of economy. To this opinion he still adhered; and he thought there never was an occasion where the remark would apply with more force and propriety than at present. The
gentlemen who express so much concern for the Treasury Department, tell us that the gentleman
at the head of that Department possesses the
most splendid financial talents, &c. Mr. G. said, he hoped he did; and he was not disposed to detract aught from this impression; but he could not help remarking that he should feel more confidence in that gentleman's financial reputation, if it were founded more on facts, and less on rumor and anticipation. The honorable Secretary’s financial reputation was made to his hands by others. He had little or no share in it. He has annually given us the most lucid views of the amount and manner of revenue received at the Treasury, which was provided by others, and the manner in which it has been disbursed for the purposes of the Government. But this is no difficult task, and is no evidence of financial skill, which he understood to consist in the faculty of getting the most money into the Treasury,’ with the least inconvenience to the contributors. He was not disposed, however, to complain of this inactivity on the part of the honorable Secretary, because the Government had never called upon him for greater exertions, and, perhaps, had no.
occasion to have made such a call, until about
three years ago. But, sir, what does this gentleman tell us, upon whose, splendid talents we all rely 2 That the national resources are equal to all the national exigencies. In his last report, he says, in substance, there can be no doubt of the ability and the will of the nation to furnish all the necessary supplies. If, then, reliance can be placed on his splendid financial talents, only give them scope for action; apply them to the national
ability and will; let them perform the simple task
of pointing to the true us operandi; and what reason have we to despair of the Republic? What reason have we to doubt of the abundance of the Treasury supplies 2 Until now the honorable Secretary has had no scope for the demonstration of his splendid financial talents. Of all the revenues receivable at the Treasury, he knew of but one fund for which we are indebted to the suggestion of that gentleman. That is what is called the Mediterranean fund ; and that is annually resented to us in a very awkward and crooked orm. But, against this may be placed the repeal of the salt tax; one of the most improvident measures ever adopted by this or any other Government. He presumed the Secretary, at least, yielded his assent to that measure. Mr. G. said, he was extremely opposed to this measure at the time of its adoption; had twice reported against it, as the chairman of a committee, to whom the subject was referred; and he believed it was twice rejected by this honorable body. - His single vote, he believed, turned the scale. He should have. perseyered in his opposition, notwithstanding the popular cry raised at the time; but he yielded at length to an imposing claim urged on him by many members of the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives was peculiarly intrusted by the Constitution with the power of raising revenue; and it could hardly be considered as correct in a single individual, in the other branc
of the Legislature, to put his veto to a measure, in relation to revenue, which was recommended by so large a majority of that branch, to whose discretion all subjects of revenue were intrusted in a peculiar manner. To this claim, and the very high respect he entertained for the House of Representatives, he yielded a reluctant consent, upon condition that the repeal should be postponed until one month after the meeting of the next session of Congress, and that the House of Representatives would again review and consider the subject. The month elapsed without re-enacting the law, and the tax ceased. Mr. G. said he never gave a vote more against the convictions of his own judgment than he did on that occasion, although the motive was one which he conceived ought to exempt him from censure. If gentlemen will now multiply the roduct of that tax, by the number of years since it was taken off, they would find it would have produced all the sums which have since been called for by loans, provided no greater expenditures had been incurred by the Government than have taken place. Besides the diminution of Treasury funds, it has had the most baneful influence upon the salt works which had been established under its protection, and which would, under the influence of the same protection, in a very short time, have rendered us independent of foreign nations for the supply of this article of the first necessity. He was not disposed, however on these accounts, to distrust the splendid financial talents of the honorable Secretary; although
candor compelled him to acknowledge that he
should feel more confidence in them, if it were not for the unwillingness evidently manifested by that gentleman himself, during the last three years, in affording their usefulness to the Government, in times which imperiously demanded their full and prompt exertions. - Mr. G. said the recession of the Treasury Department from the trying difficulties of the nation during that period, must be evident to every impartial observer; and he believed he was acquainted with circumstances which amounted to a knowledge that all the measures which have dishonored the nation, during the same time, are, in a great degree, attributable to the indisposition of the late and present Administration to press on the Treasury Department, and to disturb the o and repose of the gentleman at the ead of it. That the inexecution of the embargo is properly attributable to that cause, he had no doubt; and notwithstanding all the clamor upon that subject, its in execution produced its repeal. The Executive refused to incur the expense, and accept the means necessary for its effectual execution; which, he believed, would have been readily and zealously granted by Congress upon the Executive request, at any moment. When we were driven from that measure by the inexecution of the law, this honorable body proposed a substitute, in his judgment infinitely better calculated to retrieve the honor and promote the interest of the nation, than the embargo itself. It was done too against the known and anxious
• Additional Military Force.
SENATE. opposition of the Executive, acting, he believed, under the same unfortunate influence. This measure consisted in presenting to the aggressing belligerents an impartial and honorable proposition for accommodation; and in the event of its rejection, to issue letters of marque and reprisal against the refusing nation. This measure was so strongly and obviously recommended by the peculiar circumstances under which we were coercively placed by both the belligerents, that he was astonished at the anxious opposition it received; and to the success of that opposition, after the embargo was abandoned, may clearly be traced all our present sufferings and degradations. Both the belligerents had determined that we should be no longer neutral; and had adopted the most injurious measures in relation to us, to coerce us into the war; each urging us to war against its enemy. What was the proper and manly reply to these aggressing nations? Here is a proposition of accommodation to each of you; if either accepts, we pledge ourselves to issue letters of marque and reprisal against the other, it refusing the accommodation. This was the very situation in which each wished to place us against its enemy; and of course both would probably have accepted the proposition; one or other certainly would; and if the acceptance of one before the other would have produced a state of hostilities against the other, it would have been of very short continuance; because neither of them would find any interest in a war against us, and each wished us to take a part in the war, not against itself, but against its enemy; and perhaps the accommodation would not be the less durable for having been sealed with blood. This measure was not opposed upon its intrinsic merits nor demerits, but it required to be backed with other measures of preparation and expense, and hence the real cause of its failure. The practical understanding of the rejection of this measure, both at home and abroad, was submission to the belligerent aggressions; or, in other words, notwithstanding ; our previous patriotic speeches and resolutions, we were determined not to resist by force. And what has been the result of this conviction on the part of the belligerents, of submission on our part? Great Britain immediately disavowed an arrangement made by Mr. Erskine, under the influence of instructions given under a contrary conviction, a conviction produced by the measures of this body, and by a report made by a gentleman, then a member of the House of Representatives, and whom he then saw with pleasure on this floor, and a resolution adopted in consequence of that report. This resolution declared our determination to resist the belligerent aggressions, with only two dissentient votes. The measures of this House, without any declaration, were calculated to produce the same conviction. In this state of things Mr. Erskine received his instructions, and a satisfactory arrangement with Great Britain was the consequence; but the moment Great Britain found we had receded from
Additional Military Force. ”
in hostile inflexibility. How did France act upon being apprized of this improvident and fatal recession ? Her Emperor immediately seized and confiscated all your property within his control; and his Minister officially told us that he would have expected something more from a Jamaica Assembly It is not to be presumed that Great Britain and France acted in concert upon this unfortunate occasion; and, therefore, the analogous conduct of each must be proof positive of the practical understanding and effect of our deprecated recession. It was a declaration of submission, as far as submission consists in refusing resistance by force. The Government seems now sensible of this fatal error, and is determined to retrieve it; but, he was sorry to observe, with measures as inefficient upon the principle of resistance by force, as were commercial restriction, in a substitution of that principle. . And when we look for the causes of this deplorable inefficiency, they resolve themselves, as heretofore, into tenderness for the Treasury Department, &c. Mr. G. said, that whilst upon this most unpleasant part of the subject, he wished to be indulged in a few observations upon the state of our public debt; because this subject, in the hands of a skilful financier, had been the most efficient weapon for beating down all the measures which he believed were best calculated to support the character and promote the interests of #. country. Mr. G. said it had always given him pleasure to see that debt in a rapid state of reduction, and he had at all times given his aid to facilitate that object. * . * We had, however, experienced the effects of a debt, of above $80,000,000, now reduced to perhaps $40,000,000, yet this difference of the amount of debt had never been felt by society. It had produced no sensible effect upon the common intercourse amongst men in their pecuniary affairs. He asked every gentleman to reflect and recollect, whether,
in his pecuniary arrangements, he ever took into
his calculations the present, compared with the former state of the public debt 2 For his part, he said, he should never have known of the reduction of the debt, but for the annual Treasury Report. The reason why a debt of eighty millions of dollars is not felt in the United States, is, that the amount is so entirely within their ability. Now, sir, is it not infinitely better to restore the debt to its former amount, or more, when we know from experience how little influence it has on society, and that influence will necessarily be diminished in proportion to our increase in wealth and population, than to surrender the smallest attribute of the national sovereignty 2 Mr. G. said, before he concluded, he begged permission to observe, that particular individuals supposed they had an interest in imputing to him a wish to involve this nation in a war with Great Britain, and had accordingly reproached him with the most unworthy epithets. e said, no gentleman present wished for peace, or deprecated war with Great Britain, more than himself. He said, he hoped he was not blind to his own interests, nor the interests of those inhabiting the same
scene of country with himself. It was imperiously their interest, not only to preserve peace with Great Britain, but a free commercial intercourse with her. Grain was the principal product for exportation in that part of the country; Great Britain was almost at all times in want of that article, and was at this moment giving very high prices for it. The country was generally in a very prosperous condition, in consequence of this state of things, and it could not be desirable to change it. But he never could see the incompatibility between the desire of preserving peace, and a preparation to meet unavoidable war. It appears now to be almost universally agreed that if this course had been heretofore pursued, it would have insured peace; and if war should now come, it would be in consequence of the fatal rejection of the proposed measures of preparation for war. In fact, there is no sounder maxim, than that a preparation for war was the surest means of preserving peace. If in this moment, in consulting his own and the nation's interest, in the preservation of peace, he were called on to decide merely in reference to that object, whether we should now raise thirty thousand men (his favorite number) or ten thousand, or no men at all, he would certainly prefer the thirty thousand. If you had thirty thousand men on the confines of Canada, Great Britain would then believe you were in earnest. She would know that after that force was raised, it must be applied to its objects, and she would of course begin to calculate its consequences. If she found that the inconveniencies of opposing such a force, would not becompensated for by her hostile aggressions, she would probably abandon them. If she thought that b the chances of war an obedient and friendly colony might be converted into an enemy's country, it would afford a great inducement to her to avoid the war. If she found a hostile population approaching Halifax, the inducement would be increased ; for that is the point nearest her heart; and she would risk much in its protection. It is important to her, as a protection to her West Indies, &c. Besides, the war would deprive her of her best commercial customer, &c., &c. These and similar considerations might induce her to prefer peace. Without presenting a competent military force, perfectly prepared and placed in a situation for action, none of these inducements for the preservation of peace will be presented to the British Cabinet. But if disregarding these considerations, she should prefer war, no gentleman can seriously conclude that even thirty thousand additional troops can be too many for the purposes of war. * Note—Observe the chronological statement of the following facts, and mark the obvious course of cause and effect. . . House of REPREs ENTATIves–Dec. 13, 1808. The question was taken on agreeing to the following resolution, to wit: “Resolved, That the United States cannot without a
sacrifice of their rights, honor and independence, submit to the late edicts of Great Britain and France.”