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state of things such as this measure will produce, the argument is but half made; we all must be confident that such is our situation, that evils will attend any course we can take. That evils attend our present position is evident to every man; and evils incalculable must visit our country, if we continue to slumber, while rights so essential to our national importance, and individual prosperity, are sweeping away. It has been regretted by an honorable gentleman who yesterday addressed you, that “the object as well as the cause of war had not been defined before these preparations were made.” These are intimately connected together, and have become so familiar to every one as not to be capable of misunderstanding. The cause and object of this preparatory proceeding, seems perfectly well known in this House, and they are equally known to the people at large, whose interests and feelings are so much affected. If it was the understanding of that gentleman, the object should have been formally decided on by an act, or resolution of this House, as was the opinion of another gentleman from the same State, (Mr. RANDolph,) in his remarks some time ago, a slight view of our situation will point to the impolicy of such an order of proceeding. The nature of our military strength consisting, in times of peace, of militia– the great extent over which our population is scattered, and the freedom of discussion peculiar in this country as to matters of public notice, will at all times render it impracticable to put the country in a complete state of preparation for defence in a very short time. Without a single soldier enlisted; would it be prudent to invite the hostile acts of an enemy by making it known that we were determined to resist by force the infringements of our rights? . As to the various injuries, and insults which have been heaped on our country by the foreign belligerents, and which are yet increasing from Great Britain, they are topics sufficiently explained, and but too well understood. , It is admitted by every gentleman who has spoken on the subject, that we have a good cause of war with that nation, and that this cause has existed ever since the Orders in Council were issued. . Yet the honorable gentleman yesterday contended that the inhuman practice of impress. ing our seamen is not a sufficient reason for so serious a contest; that we permit foreigners naturalized to enter our ships, and therefore, as the doctrine of expatriation is abused, the British cruisers have a right to reseize their subjects, in doing which mistakes may sometimes be made. Can we in this way reconcile the cries of our citizens, our native citizens, consigned to slavery in the ships of another nation ? But supposing this cause, so shocking to humanity, to be unworthy of defence; the other ground, arising more from our interest, and which is admitted to be a good cause of war, cannot be weakened by it. We are asked by the same honorable member “why our nation has not long ago resisted by force the acts of the British Government, when the same cause then existed 7” If it was a ne
cessary consequence that because we have been too patient heretofore, we ought to continue so; it may be observed that our Government entered an early protest against the edicts of both belligerents, and have continued to press the justice of our claims for a repeal of them; and, finally, the proposition arising from the act of May, 1810, which we considered an appeal to their interests equally, had the effect of neutralizing one of them, so far as to cease offering us causes of war. And until then we had two enemies, each of whom was a nation the most formidable of the modern world, holding between them the seals of Europe. And not till February last, shortly before the close of the last Congress, did Great Britain single herself out against us. If policy, therefore, can be a consideration for greater forbearance, when we have two great enemies than when we have one only, we have this consideration for the difference to be observed in the mode of resistance, which, in point of strict right, might have been always vigorous since the year 1806. And certainly the honorable gentleman will allow us to calculate in this way, inasmuch as he has called on us to count the amount of loss we have sustained by the Orders in Council, to ascertain whether our rights infringed by them are worth defending. To show this, we are told of the amount of exports to France during the year 1807, from the entry in the custom-house books. From which it would appear, that our clearances of produce for French ports during that year, amounted only to a little more than two millions, while those for the English ports amounted to upwards of twenty-eight millions. I, confess I am but little conversant in commercial transactions, but I believe it is knowa from various causes, the clearances from our ports for those of France, in the year alluded to, were unusually small, and even bore a small proportion to the trade that actually did reach the French ports from ours. If so, the custom-house books could not be a fair criterion of the amount, even during that year. It is also worthy of notice that during the same year the blockade of the northern coast of France was in force, which must have had great influence on the result of that year's exports. Other causes might have operated during the period to which our attention has been called, as the Orders in Council have ever since done, to diminish the amount of our trade to many ports of the Continent of Europe. Our country, through every class of its citizens, feels sensibly the effects of that system of maritime plunder arising from the edicts of the belligerents, which has no parallel in the civilized world. It will be hard to convince us, contrary to the evidence of our own senses, that our losses are trivial. But suppose the object in dispute to have been as small as you please, even less than the expense of defending it, is it therefore a consequence that we are to abandon it? If we get in the habit of valuing our rights, to see whether they are worth the cost of defending, we may squander them all by retail. If this calculating principle had been the order of the day at
the eve of our Revolution, would the pitiful tax
on tea, the stamp act, &c., have been found to be sufficient ground for a seven years' war 7 No— it was the principle our ancestors contended for, and it is the principle now which we view as of most importance. The same honorable member has exposed the idea of contending against the Orders in Council as mere quixotism—as mere windmill attack—mere fighting against paper : I would ask if the seizure of our property bound to a lawful market is only paper? Is the practical enforcing of the blockades of an extensive coast, mere paper? If so, I will ask, whether on the same principle, the oppressive measures of that Government, which led to our independence, were paper. The next exception his imagination suggests, is to an argument in favor of this bill, which, I will venture to say, never existed but in imagination: “that to raise the military genius of the nation would be a sufficient object of war.” This ideal argument is assailed with as little mercy as Don Quixote ever attacked a windmill. , God knows, we have real cause enough for war without the aid of fancy! . It is rather unaccountable that a genius for chivalry had held in such ridicule the idea of defending national honor—a principle which he applauds in private life, but holds as not worthy a nation's while to contend for. And to prepare us for the degrading terms of submission to foreign usurpation, we are told that we have paid tribute to the Barbary Powers | Honor is a rule between equals only. If we have found it expedient to purchase terms from a Power but little removed above our Western savages, will it therefore follow that such terms are admissible between two civilized and independent States? Here honor is a principle so useful, that other blessings cannot long be useful without it. Again, we are asked, if we will attempt the “ideal project of contending for national law, which has long since been buried under French domination?” It is but too true that, belween the two belligerents, this great law has been trampled on and disregarded; but its principles, I hope, will forever survive, and I trust we will unite in the measure proposed, to vindicate and quicken its dying spirit. In this, much rests on us, we are the only nation on earth to whom this task is now intrusted. I view this period as one so eventful that any step we can take, may prove important, not merely in its immediate consequences, but during our history as a commonwealth. It is of lasting moment to a nation, aspiring to an equal and honorable rank among its neighbors, that none of its annals should be stained with the voluntary relinquishment of any of its rights. Precedent becomes as much a law in national concerns, as in our tribunals of justice. What we now abandon without spirited resistance, we need never expect to gain. History affords no instance of a nation securing, or successfully resisting encroachments on its sovereignty, when this resistance has been weak and timid. On the contrary, does not all experience show,
that in proportion as a nation is found regardless'
of injuries, even of minor consequence, in that
proportion have exactions been made upon it. The experience of England itself is a sufficient example of this fact. When a timid Monarch has held the reins of that Kingdom, encroachments were made with the greatest success—then it was that the Pope has always urged his pre
tensions—then have his bulls shaken the English
throne. By a vigorous resistance to the inroads which, are made on our essential rights, we may not only relieve the injured rights of our country, and repel the progress of lawless aggression, but afford a lasting memento to foreign nations that our liberties are not to be invaded. When in addition to this, it is considered that the right of carrying our produce to foreign markets; in a word, the right of regulating commerce, is one expressly sanctioned by our Revolutionary patriots in their Declaration of Independence, and supported by their valor in trying times; the duty on us becomes indispensable, to protect it unemcumbered for posterity, who have a fair claim to the valuable inheritance. But it is said that you cannot raise an army, and an example is drawn from the Army in 1798, under Mr. Adams's Administration. ith deference to those who have used this argument, and cast so much obloquy on the proposed army, I cannot see any analogy between that case and the present, either as to the apparent object, or the manner of service. What French territory lay adjacent to us at that day, or in reach of our Army? Or was it contemplated to carry our arms to the banks of the Rhine or the Danube 3 Although it is true that men of sober and industrious habits will seldom enlist in time of peace, to lie at some outpost, where the use of an army consists not so much in actual service, as in the mere idea of being ready for service—but let an occasion like the present offer, when it is known that the sovereignty of the country must be defended; the strength of the nation will immediately be nerved; we can then command the best and bravest youth of the country. It is at such times that military merit is first discovered. And here let me say to my worthy colleague (Mr. MAcon,) who some days ago expressed an apprehension lest a suitable character might not be found or selected to command the Army, that there is really no such danger, the occasion will produce such a character, as every other occasion of the kind has done. The military genius of our first Revolutionary hero might have slumbered unknown, but for an occasion which was to call it into useful exertion. The contemplated attack on the British Provinces adjoining us has been emphatically called “a war of offence.” Although the mode of warfare may be in the abstract view of it offensive, yet when it is considered as the only mode in our reach, for defending rights universally recognised and avowedly violated, its character is changed. In the present case, our property, in the course of a fair trade to a foreign market, is seized by the unlawful measures of Great Britain, (to say nothing of impressment and other indignities.) Our verbal remonstrances, and every attempt at negotiation, is found ineffectual; these injuries she is
still carrying on with marks of increased injustice on every sea where she finds our property or sea
men; we cannot meet her on that element—the
only point where we can reach her is the rich, and to her the all-important territories on our North. Has not the proposed measure therefore every essential characteristic of defence 2 The idea of a war for the purpose of conquest, is abhorrent to the American people, and foreign from the principles of their Government. . . But we are told that “Great Britain is fighting for the liberties of the world;” and again, that * she is not to be driven from the Baltic nor from anywhere else.” If the last expression has allusion to the naval feat by which the Danish fleet was swept away, it is a very unfortunate circumstance to be mentioned in the same speech with the former, for it is questionable whether there is to be found an incident, in point of perfidy and injustice, to equal it in the civilized world. And when was it that Great Britain commenced her career in the laudable purpose of universal emancipation? Was it in 1775? Was it on this pursuit that her campaigns were performed through our land 2 If she will only extend common justice to us, or rather let us alone, it is all the favor I would ask from her. As to any partiality between the two contending Powers, I hope there exists none in any Ather
ican, there is no reason why there should be any :
for every nation is governed by interest; we can calculate nothing on friendship from any. If it were a question at the early dawn of our Government, before the habits of our people were formed, whether it would not be to the nation's best interest to trust maritime commerce to other hands entirely for several ages, I am not prepared to answer in the negative And even now, as to the carrying trade proper, I am not inclined to view it as an object worthy of defence by war. But this direct trade, which carries the produce of our farmers to market, has been patronized by our Government under every Administration, and as the pursuits and habits of our citizens have under that system of things been formed, and as our country was growing under it in a degree unexampled, its protection has ceased to be at this day a question. Yet, this species of trade, all-important to the agricultural interest, is nearly extinguished. That every pacific policy has been tried in vain, is evident from the restrictive acts and the voluminous documents which have annually appeared, and which now load your mails to every corner of the Union. In these communications, the British Ministers express much concern for the misunder. standing between the two nations, while their conduct, the sole cause of misunderstanding, is continued, with multiplied marks of injustice." I say, the sole cause of misunderstanding, for what politician will say that the refusal to ratify a treaty, or the o an embargo, is any good cause of offence? And what cause of ..f. has proceeded from us? None. We have the solitary, honor of a Government unexampled for its good faith, and in this instance for its modera
tion; for during all the attempts at adjustment for years past, our property was sweeping from the ocean before our eyes. With this spectacle before us, are we to sit down cooly and calculate in dollars, cents, and mills, what will be the cost of defending ourselves? If this had been the cool philosophy of seventy-six, you and I would not have been here. And if we temporize, while energy and action alone can save, we may entail lasting evils on the nation. Mr. Lowndes.—Mr. Speaker, the late period of the debate will necessarily shorten the observations I had intended to make. I concur, indeed, entirely in the opinion expressed by the gentleman from North Carolina—that it is now unnecessary to prove that we have cause of war against England. The gentleman from Virginia, who yes. terday opposed the bill, conceded this point with as much prudence as candor. The value of the concession, however, was impaired by the remark that we have equal cause of war against France. That we had equal cause of war, sir, against France; that we have equal claims for indemnification against both Powers, Ifeel no disposition to deny. Both, have, indeed, been at war with us; but the easy distinction between their cases is this— that the one Power has terminated its differences with us by a treaty which we ourselves proposed, while the other continues without mitigation its war upon our commerce. In acknowledging, sir, that we have cause of war, the gentleman from Virginia denies its object to be either important or attainable. That any importance should be attached to the object on the score of honor, is described as a romantic notion. But in the policy which it dictates, an enlarged view of national interest, usually concurs with a nice sense of national honor.
an answer as to the expense at which they may
be worth defending. Let them be renounced and the loss will be felt, not for one year, but perhaps for the whole term of our existence as one nation. Let them be renounced, and every remaining right becomes more precarious by the encouragement which is offered for its infraction. Our object then, in resistance to England, is the preservation of that character, without which neutrality must be a burden. Its duties would be exacted and its rights forgotten. The importance of this character, even to our pecuniary interests, results from its effects in controlling the rapacity of foreign nations. It addresses itself to their prudence. It offers the only effectual corrective to that temptation of immediate interest which the belligerent must always feel in the plunder of the neutral. - * If this view of the object of the war be correct, the observations of the honorable gentleman in respect to the relative value of our export trade
to England and France, lose much of their im
portance. That his conclusions indeed are substantially erroneous, appear from his excluding from his statements (as he has himself remarked)
the whole amount of trade to such countries as, although completely under the dominion of France, are not within its old limits or those of the Netherlands. His conclusions are impugned by another fact, which every man equally must know—I mean that much of American produce shipped to England is consumed on the Continent.
The immediate, occasion of the war then, (if we attribute it to the interruption of our trade,) is greatly more important than the gentleman from Virginia has supposed it, and yet more important will be the effect of manly resistance on the character of the country—the effect of that character on our chances of future neutrality and prosperity.
But the importance of the object, if the object be unattainable, cannot, we are told, be a reason for pursuing it. If the object of the war be the defence of national character, it cannot be unattainable. But suppose it designed only to procure a revocation of the Orders in Council—has the
honorable gentleman given us a very consistent.
argument to prove that this effect cannot be produced 3 - He has told us, that we can do England little injury by sea, and even that we shall be unable to raise troops for the invasion of her provinces in our neighborhood. As to the injury which we may do her at sea, the number and enterprise of our seamen, the near approach to our coast, which the vessels engaged in her most valuable trade must make, and the general opinion of naval men, must determine the question. But that we shall be unable to raise the army proposed, or to occupy Canada in less than five years, is an assertion too humiliating to be admitted without proof. We have been told, indeed, that the troops are most easily raised in a country which is invaded ; but the opinion is contradicted by experience and reason. In the moment of invasion, every man is employed in attending to his property, in removing his family, or in securing them a home and subsistence. During the Revolutionary war, the greatest number of troops was, I think, enlisted in States which were safest from invasion. Our country will probably offeras large a proportion of its population now as then, and this will be a force amply adequate to the occasion. : But the gentleman from Virginia cannot see how our resistance on land can remove the English Orders in Council. He supposes, however, that this conduct of nations’ depends upon their interest, and -that even now it may be doubted whether the interests of England do not require a revocation of these orders. Now let our efforts be as weak as the gentleman has represented them, and they will produce to England some inconvenience and some diversion of her force. If it be doubtful, then, whether it be her interest to continue her orders while we patiently submit to them, it should seem certain that it must be her interest to repeal them when their continuance involves the additional inconveniences which
spectres which haunt but few imaginations out of this House. The ruin of our Constitution and of our seaports is to be the inevitable consequence of the war. But are these dangers peculiar to the war in which we expect to be involved 2 That war is in itself an evil, that it is not unattended by distress and bloodshed, we know. The honest statesman will avoid it, when he can do so without renouncing the honor and the essential interests of his country. When these require, he will meet it. . But, from the general evils of war, what conclusion does the gentleman draw 2 That we should never engage in is 7 Is it not strange, that, so practical a statesman, the denouncer of the romantic notion of a war of honor, should have indulged this vision of a perpetual peace? The danger to our Constitution is perhaps that which the gentleman considers the most alarming. A standing army offers an instrument which may at any time be employed against liberty. I am not afraid, sir, of terms. A standing army—a large regular force, maintained in time of peace, would
| be a just subject of public jealousy. But the
force proposed is not a standing army. It will be employed against a foreign enemy, or it will be disbanded. While engaged in war, the most timid politician will see it without alarm; and on the return of peace, the same cause will remove our fears for private security and public liberty. That cause is to be found in the bill upon your table-in the ample and wise provision for the future support of the soldier—in his freehold. The most jealous patriots of England have considered their militia, although a regular force, as the natural protector of public liberty, because its officers are required to possess a landed qualification. But this security for the good behaviour of the officers we extend to every soldier in the army. That these men should, at the conclusion of the war, leave their lands unvisited, to follow an ambitious General to a desperate and disgraceful conflict with their fellow-citizens, is impossible. From a military usurpation, such as the gentleman so much dreads, we were saved, he says, after the war of the Revolution, by the virtue of one man. To the merits of General WAshingtoN, my feelings and my judgment equally subscribe... He had a mind too great to be bribed by title or by power. If a Crown had been within his reach, he would have disdained it. But a Crown never was within his reach. The men who most loved and revered him, whose lives he might have commanded as the protector of his country, were incapable of becoming the slaves of any despot. I will not consent, sir, to demolish the fair fame of our Revolutionary Army, that its fragments may be employed in raising a monument even to WASHINGTON. The Constitution is as little endangered by the
influence, as "by the physical force, which this
army may give to Government. The body of electors throughout our country, is too numerous to be corrupted by commissions. In their expectations of office, there are always more candidates who fail than succeed. Disappointment will be stronger than gratitude.
The expense of the war, sir, is another danger by which the mind of the honorable gentleman is oppressed. The estimate for the Peace Establishment of a former year, proved inadequate. Military movements had been unexpectedly reuired from it. And because a peace estimate is ound not to answer for war, the gentleman infers that a war estimate will be equally defective— nor was the difference (unless I am greatly mistaken) between the estimate and expenditure of the war alluded to, as great as has been supposed. The estimate was for the support of the Army. The expenditure was for the support of the Army, and for the purchase of arms, and for the building of fortifications. ... " s The ability of this country to support a much larger force than is proposed, results necessarily from its population and its wealth. By wealth I do not mean its income in money, but its large
surplus produce beyond the necessary consump
tion of its inhabitants. On this circumstance depends the number of troops which a nation may maintain. How can it be believed that the surplus produce of the United States is inadequate to the support, during war, of forty or fifty thousand men. With a favorable climate and fertile soil, and an industrious people, it should seem that this nation must be able to support in war, nearly as large a force, in proportion to its population, as any other State. Yet Sweden, with a
third of our population, with the severest climate |
and the most barren soil, has maintained larger armies than the honorable gentleman supposes the United States capable of supporting.” The expense of the Army, too, although the nation would be unable to bear it during war, will by, the operation of the funding system, be chiefly thrown on years of peace. Then it will diminish sensibly the profits of returning commerce. Yet, it is true, that in aid of loans, internal taxes must be resorted to, and these the honorable gentleman supposes that the people cannot be persuaded to
p Sir, the people have paid perhaps a third of their moneys to the experiments of the restrictive system, by submitting to exclusion from the trade of the rest of the world; they would probably pay yet more to the monopoly of England, and I wis not suppose that they can refuse any sacrifice of their fortunes to an honorable defence of their rights. * ,
But our seaport towns are to be laid in ashes. "We do not refrain however from all resistance to the Indians on our frontier, because they employ the scalping knife and the torture; and indignation rather than fear would be excited, if we believed England the incendiary which the honorable gentleman describes her. I do not yet believe it. She has not yet so far renounced the rules of civilized warfare, as to attack a town merely to destroy, without the intention or the power to retain it.
Such, sir, are the dangers to America which the honorable gentleman supposes that a war with England will involve. But there is yet, we are told, another danger, a danger to England
America, which cannot raise an army, and cannot pay one, which cannot injure her enemy at sea, nor in five years obtain possession of a country on its own borders, containing perhaps two or three hundred thousand inhabitants—America is to subvert the balance of Europe, and to destroy the nation which the same speech represented her as unable to resist. The Orders in Council, a continuance of which is required neither by the honor nor interest of England, our ineffectual hostility can furnish no motives to repeal. And from this ineffectual hostility we are to refrain, lest it subject her to France. Such arguments, sir, if they were not inconsistent, would yet be inadmissible. ... We must leave the case of British interests to British statesmen. Yet I pretend not to the courage which can view with indifference the power of that man who rules sixty millions of active and civilized Europeans, who directs by his sole will the whole
force of a people just escaped from the violence
of revolution, and uniting to the submission of slavery all the force and energy of freedom. But even although England should fall, though the trident and sceptre should be united in the hands of the French Emperor, the intelligent patriot would place his best hopes in the unbroken spirit of the country. “We should be most effectually prepared for subjection to France then, by submission to England now. Mr. HARPER—Mr. Speaker: My apology for troubling the House, in this late stage of the debate, is founded on the peculiar situation of myself and the people whom I have the honor to represent. We are on the frontier, neighbors to the Canadians, and kindred to a portion of them. From our connexions and vicinity we know them; we respect and revere their virtues; their fondness for tranquillity; their love of industry and the rural arts; and their veneration for the principles of civil liberty. Sir, doubtless these people wish the blessings of a free Government—I mean one altogether free, for in their present condition they enjoy no inconsiderable portion of liberty. They are secured in the inestimable blessing of a trial, by a jury of their peers—they are exempt from the horrors of an arbitrary judiciary; they are not liable to transportation and trial in a foreign country; and they cannot be taxed, but the assent of their own Representatives, freely
. elected by themselves.
Still, as their population consists principally of hardy, yeomanry, from the eight Eastern States, who have emigrated thither, who carried with them the principles in which they were nurtured and educated, and to which in active life they, while with us, were accustomed, they must revere the principles of our Revolution and Government, they must sigh for an affiliation with the great American family—they must at least in their hearts hail that day, which separates them from a foreign monarch, and unites them by holy and unchangeable bonds, with a nation destined to rule a continent by equal laws, flowing from the free will of a generous and independent people.
Sir, I hold these people in high estimation; if