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give up our right to export anything we make.
No man, said he, would willingly engage a highwayman; you would rather he should keep out of your way; but if he made an attack upon you, you would not suffer yourself to be robbed without resistance. Mr. M. sincerely hoped that war might be avoided, by Great Britain consenting to do us justice by the return of the Hornet; but if we engage in the war, he had no doubt that the spirit and perseverance with which it will be carried on will equal the long suffering and forbearance which we have shown before we were brought into this situation. From the day of our independence to the pres
ent, he believed that Great Britain had a nost.
inveterate hatred against this country. He did not believe anything of one nation having love for another; and the situation of that country and this has something peculiar in it. We were their colonies, and got clear of them; and so long as the present generation exists, they cannot love us. Nor do I imagine that the present ruler of France has any great love for us; the form of our Government is too free for him. • r. Mr. M. said, every restrictive measure having been resorted to in vain, and all our attempts at negotiation having failed, the nation is preparing for the last resort of Kings, and of Republics too.
But now we are told we cannot contend with |
Great Britain. But we must either contend with her, or surrender our right to export any of our surplus produce. But why not contend with her? Let the worst come to the worst, we know what to do... We once succeeded with paper money, and if we were driven to that necessity, we could succeed again with it. We have now manufactories of arms and munitions of war, and whether money could be raised or not, if ever this nation engages in war, she engages never to surrender her rights. Every war is an evil, and amongst the greatest of evils; but we are compelled to fight or give up what we have, except the return of the #. should alter the situation of things. No man. said Mr. M., would have more pleasure to see our differences accommodated with Great Britain than I should; but if this cannot be effected, we must change our situation; and though he could not vote for this bill, for the reasons which he had stated, he should go on with measures for putting the nation in a state of defence. It had been said, that standing armies are dangerous to liberty. He believed it; but war cannot be carried on without them. . The war which the United States are about to enter into is not of the character which has been given to it. He meant a war for the sake of conquest. Its object is to obtain the privilege of carrying the produce of our lands to a market. It is properly a war of
defence; but he believed no war, after it was entered into, continued long to be strictly of that character. - - - As to meeting Great Britain on the ocean, no one, contemplates that; as every cent expended in repairing the rotten hulks of our vessels would be thrown away as to the object of the war. . The House, rose at 5 o'clock, without taking the question on the passage of the bill.
Monday, January 6.
The SpeakER laid before the House a report from the Secretary of the Navy, in pursuance of a resolution of the House of the 26th ultimo re- . questing a statement of the vessels which had
been repaired since the year 1810, and the cost
thereof; which was ordered to be printed. Mr. GRUNDY, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was recommitted the bill to authorize the President of the United States to accept and organize certain volunteer o corps, reported the bill, with amendments; whi were read, and, together with the bill, committed to a Committee of the Whole on Wednesday next. * . . Mr. D. R. Williams said, by an act of 1808, a regiment of light infantry was directed to be raised. This was considered by the Secretary of War as horse artillery; but the bill did not provide for mounting them. He therefore introduced a bill supplementary to an act for raising, for a limited time, an additional military force; which was twice read and committed. - DISTRICT AND CIRCUIT courts. Mr. BLAckledge said, it was represented to him as necessary to make some alteration in the times of holding the District Courts of the United States. ... Indeed, he knew that it was impossible to hold them in a proper manner at present, as they were held at Wilmington, Newbern, and Edenton, and not more than ten days was allowed for the purpose. He therefore proposed the following resolution : * - “Resolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire. into the expediency of altering the times of holding the District Courts of the United States for the District of
North Carolina, and that they have leave to report by bill or otherwise.”
-- a *
Mr. B. said, it had also been represented to him that, at present, the law does not require any security to be given in cases of appeal from the Dis-, trict to the Circuit Courts. He, therefore, offered the following resolution:
“Resolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the expediency of requiring security to be given in cases of appeal from the District Courts of the United States to the Circuit Courts, and that they report by bill or otherwise.” -
The resolutions were agreed to, and committees of five members appointed upon each.
COMPENSATION OF REVENUE OFFICERs.
Mr. Bacon, from the Committee of Ways and Means, to whom was recommitted their report of
the thirtieth ultimo, on the several petitions of the collectors of the ports of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Plymouth, (Massachusetts,) and the naval of. ficer of the port of Philadelphia, made a supplementary report; which was read, and committed to the Committee of the Whole on the bill in addition to the act to establish the compensation of the officers employed in the collection of the duties on imports and tonnage. The report is as follows: - * * That, on a further investigation of the amount of emoluments received by those officers during the years 1808, 1809, and 1810, it appears that the net emoluments of the Collector of Philadelphia, from the 27th of August, 1808, when he entered upon his office, to the close of the year 1810, (including the half commissions paid to the estate of his predecessor,) amounted to the average sum of $3,262 02, annually ; those of the Collector of Baltimore, from the 13th of April, 1808, when he entered on his office, to the close of the year 1810, including the half commissions as aforesaid,
the Collector of Norfolk, from the year 1808 to the year 1810, both inclusive, including the half commissions as aforesaid, to the sum of $921, 82, annually; those of the Collector of Plymouth, for the same period, to $1,953 92, annually; and those of the Naval Officer of the port of Philadelphia, for the same period, to $2,802 29, annually. Under this view of the facts, the committee recommend to the House the adoption of the following resolution, in lieu of those recommended in their former report on this subject: . • That the prayers of the several petitions of the Collectors of the ports of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, Plymouth, (Massachusetts,) and of the Naval Officer of the port of Philadelphia, ought not to be granted. - ADDITIONAL MILITARY ForçE. The House resumed the consideration of the unfinished business of Saturday last, and the question depending at the time of adjournment on that day, to wit: that the bill from the Senate “to raise an additional military force,” do pass as amended? - - Mr. STANfond renewed the observations he had commenced before the adjournment on Saturday evening. He made his acknowledgments to the Speaker for calling him to order for a term, which was, perhaps, a less respectful epithet than should have been used upon the occasion. He was far from meaning to use language which should give offence, but he said he would claim the authority of the Chair to protect him from interruptions coming from other quarters of the House. - He proceeded, and stated that he had, before, expressed his regret at the circumstance of differing with his colleague (Mr. MAcon), upon any occasion, and more especially upon the present important one. The older, standing of his, colleague upon that floor, he said, placed him more in the relation of a political son than in that of any other; but if he were naturally, what he might be considered politically, he could by no means yield his assent to the present measure, or the doctrines growing out of it, fraught, as he
believed they were, with so much mischief to the real interests and happiness of the nation. He felt himself only at issue with his colleague as to the similitude between the crisis and causes of the war in 1798 and 1799 with France, and the present crisis and causes of the proposed war with Great Britain. He should not contend that the temperand violence of party had grown to the same extreme now as at, the former period. The circumstances under which Congress sat were very different; Congress then sat where there were streets, and alleys, and people; and now in a city of little else than old fields. Yet, however, the temper and intolerance of party zeal were by no means unlike that which prevailed at the former period; at any rate it may be said to be so in some parts of the country. His colleague's ill health of late had not, perhaps, allowed him to be as attentive to the oracles of the day as his better health had allowed him to be. As to party
- what were the signs of the times at to the average sum of $1,687 68, annually; those of intolerance, wer e sig
the present period? A gentleman, than whom a more candid, open, and honorable, supporter of the Administration was not in the House, although he had declared himself in favor of the force the Government had called for, because he refused to commit himself as to the ulterior measures of the Committee on Foreign Relations, and ventured to depict the evils of a war, and to deprecate its consequences, had passed through the ordeal of newspaper animadversion from Dan,
| in the North, to Beersheba, in the South. This
might be called a single case; but if it were necessary to point out other instances of party dereliction, persecution, and neglect, there were more than enough; and, among them, his colleague
| himself could not be otherwise than placed pretty
high in the list; and, although he might be indifferent as to anything of the kind which related to himself personally, that circumstaoce could form no mitigation of the spirit of the times. But he was aware that it was an invidious and unpleasant task to dwell upon subjects of this kind, and he would forbear. The sedition law had been cited to show the more violent character of the times at the former period, and alleged that it had been contrived to silence opposition to the measures of the day. He was willing to admit the worst that could be said of that law. But he considered the dumb rule, sanctioned at the present session, under the name of the previous question, as a more direct attack upon the liberty of speech, or what is the same thing, the privilege of debate and free discussion in this House, than the other had been upon the freedom of the press. The former contemplated
silencing the libels of the press; the latter came
home to ourselves, and went to put down a member in his place; to silence all debate, however interesting to his constituents. He had been mistaken the other day, in stating that a member could only speak at the “will and courtesy” of a majority of the House...The rule was worse than that; one-fifth of the House could arrest debate, and impose instant silence upon any subject. The sedition and alien laws had grown out of the war
and temper of those times, and he had taken occasion to state that like bills, and treason bills, too, were to be expected in the train of the many evils to grow out of the present proposed war. He had not intended to say that a treason bill ought not to pass, if we commence the war. Once involved in that state of things, it would not be expected that our own citizens would be allowed to supply and cherish the enemy with impunity. - - His colleague (Mr. Macon) had argued, that no one apprehended invasion from France in the years 1798 and 1799, and therefore, the armies then authorized were not to have been justified. This position could only be correct as it respected the Republican minority. They, doubtless, did not believe it; but the Government avowed their fears, and justified themselves in raising a regular army of only ten thousand men as a due precaution against such an event. As the majority,
they were responsible for the security of the
country, and no one had a right to say what they did or did not believe. Though we, who were the minority, an army-opposing minority, were, without any such fears or belief, how stood the facts? Our then Envoys to France, in their despatches to the Government, which are now on the files of the House, communicated conversations they had held with the underling agents of Talleyrand, which, under existing circumstances, went fully to authorize such apprehensions.— About this time, too, it was known that one of the finest armies that ever had been raised in France, had been sent upon some distant expedition, and no one knew where, for a considerable time. It was at length ascertained that it had gone to Egypt, with Bonaparte, at their head. But whether Federal distrusts and apprehensions, as to what the Government of France intended, or their agents might menace, were such as they
F. or not, it was not for him to say. But
e stood prepared to repeat what he had stated on the previous day, and could prove it, if necessary, upon the most unquestioned authority-authority entitled to the fullest Republican credence, he would state—that the French Directory did meditate sending a force to this country at that
time. He had stated what he did state delibersely, and had nothing to retract, on the subject. -
* We are informed that Doctor Logan is the authority above alluded to. The occasion of his visit to France at that time, and his interviews with that Government, and the characters near it, (says our informant) make him the best authority for such a piece of information. He affirms the observation to be correct, “that the French Directory in 1798 were not without some views of sending a military force to the United States, not with any intention of conquest, but as in Holland, in case of certain events, to support a party they considered devoted to the interest of France. The impression made on his mind at the time, resulted from conversation with the Marquis Lafayette, at Hamburg; with Mr. Schimmelpennick, the Batavian Minister at Paris; and with Mr. Merlin, the best informed, most active and influential member of the Executive Direc
Mr. S. then proceeded to draw his parallel between the crisis which produced the quasi war in 1798, with France, and the crisis which is now to carry us into a war with Great Britain; and declared that he could not, in his conscience, believe the ground and causes of the present war were equal, in either magnitude or character, to those of the former period. He would again, he said, beg leave to read, and bring to the view of the House one or two of the many outrageous decrees, or, arrets, of that Government in 1798. “The character of vessels,” say they, “in what ‘concerns their quality as neutral or enemy, shall ‘ be decided by their cargo; in consequence, eve‘ry vessel found at sea, fo in whole or in part ‘ with merchandise, coming from England or her possessions, shall be declared good prize, who‘ ever may be the proprietor of those productions, ‘or merchandise.” Under edicts of this kind, for there were others of a similar 'character, the French cruisers carried on a system of plunder and depredation, surpassing, to an “immense amount, anything we have experienced since from the British, or any other, Orders of Council. If it were otherwise, how comes it to pass that we are not shown to the contrary, and convinced of our errors 7 . The best answer is, it cannot be shown. Letit appear when it would, the amount of our injuries, at that period and the present, would bear but a poor comparison. - *
But, still, to show the more aggravated character of the former crisis, he would beg leave to read another of those French decrees, having reference to our seamen only. It declares, “every ‘person, native of friendly countries, allied to the * French Republic, or neutral, holding a commis‘sion, given by the enemies of France, or making * part of the crews of the vessels of war, or other * enemy vessels, shall, for that act alone, be de‘clared a pirate, and treated as such, without be‘ing allowed, in any case, to allege he was forced ‘by violence, menaces, or otherwise.”
Mr. S. said, thus, while the British take our sailors to make sailors of them, the French determine to take them and hang them; but whether this decree of the Republic had ever been put in execution or not, he had no recollection or knowledge, but it would, nevertheless, hold out the extreme career of folly and madness, into which that Government had gone at that time; and how
tory. The two latter gentlemen made particular inquiry respecting the disposition of the Republican party to receive the assistance of France. To such insinuations he uniformly declared that, however attached the citizens of the United States were to France, they were only so, as far as the Government of France acted with justice, and consistent with the principles of her Revolution, that, should she lose sight of these, and not only continue her depredations on our commerce, but should violate the territory of the United States, every citizen of our country would become her enemy; that the same spirit of independence, which influenced the citizens of the United States to oppose the armies of Britain in 1775, would engage them at all times to oppose the hostile attack of any other Government on earth.” -
much the commerce of the United States must have suffered under such a general system of lawless aggression and outrage. Could it have been found the policy of the United States to resort to war, the causes were fully sufficient to have justified it. But the Republicans denied the o, of war for commerce, raised a “clamor” against the predominant party for having gone into such a war, and ultimately succeeded to oust them and take their places. How, therefore, gentlemen of professed Republican principles have now found out the policy of going to war for commerce, and for a commerce, too, under far less embarrassment and annoyance from the British Orders of Council, than formerly under the French decrees, it would be for themselves to account and reconcile, and not for him. Situated, as the United States were at that time as a neutral nation with respect to the belligerents of Europe, he was one who condemned the policy of the war, and his experience went to confirm him in the belief that the present would be equally impolitic, and more injurious to the nation, as the present was to be a war of aggression and of foreign conquest. But, Mr. Speaker, said Mr. S., we have been told ail negotiation is now exhausted, and at an end; we have continued to entreat and supplicate the Government of Great Britain in vain. This, he said, was true, and could not be denied; but he would ask gentlemen if these things were not more degradingly true in 1798? Negotiation was not only tried and supplicated in vain, but our negotiators themselves treated with the utmost indig nity and insult. When their despatches arrived and were published, communicating these indignities, they pervaded the Union like the late earthquake, and shook everything political to the centre. What the Republican minority in Congress would not deign to feel, the people felt for them; and when the elections came round, every State gave way, not before Federal, except the good Old Dominion, Virginia, and the State of Kentucky, then called the chicken of Virginia. These were the only two States in the Union able to breast up against the storm. When the elections of this ear came on, Georgia gave way; South Caroina was then, as she is now, with her usual talents, contending for honor and for standing aromies, to support it; North Carolina, too, sent up her homage of respect and confidence to the General Government; the States of Maryland. Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, added new strength and violence to the times; and all New England, without the exception of a State, were in unison, the decided supporters of the war. Mr. S. said, so similar was the spirit of the former and present times, that all the difference he could perceive was, that the order of the business was inverted. Virginia and Kentucky, then the great opposition States to a war for commerce, were now the great leading States for the resent war for commerce. He might well ask is colleague now, if there were as many as two States opposed to the present war? He did not
know himself, but there was certainly not more than two or, perhaps, three, and they the smallest States in the Union. There seemed scarcely anything in the causes, and even circumstances, of the present war, that did not bear a strong likeness to the former. Mr. S. said, in order to show the principles and the doctrine that Virginia then advocated, he would claim the indulgence of the House, while he read a few passages from the proceedings of her Legislature. The following resolutions passed in 1799, and are said to have flowed from the pen of the present President:
“Resolved, That the General Assembly do, and will always behold with indignation depredations on our commerce, insults on our citizens, impressments of our seamen, or any other injuries, committed on the people or Government of the United States, by foreign nations.” -
“Resolved, nevertheless, That our security from invasion, and the force of our militia, render a standing army unnecessary; that the policy of the United States forbids a war of aggression; that our whole reliance ought to be on ourselves, and, therefore, that, while we will repel invasion at every hazard, we shall deplore and deprecate the evils of war for any other cause.”
These resolutions were followed up with an address to the people of Virginia, inculcating the same doctrines in the ablest manner, and of these five thousand copies were ordered to be printed, and circulated through the State. It would not be amiss, he hoped, to read a paragraph or two.
“A lover of monarchy,” says the address, “who opens the treasures of corruption, by distributing emolument among devoted partisans, may, at the same time, be approaching his object, and deluding the people with professions of republicanism. He may confound monarchy and republicanism, by the art of definition. He may varnish over the dexterity which ambition never
fails to display, with the pliancy of language, the se
duction of expediency, or the prejudices of the times. And he may come at length to avow, that so extensive a territory as that of the United States can only be governed by the energies of monarchy; that it cannot be defended, except by standing armies; and that it cannot be united, except by consolidation.”
The more obnoxious measures are then stated, and the address thus winds up : “Pledged, as we are, fellow-citizens, to these sacred engagements, we yet humbly and fervently implore the Almighty Disposer of events to avert from our land war and usurpation, the scourges of mankind; to permit our fields to be cultivated in peace ; to instil into nations the love of friendly intercourse ; to suffer our youth to be educated in virtue, and to preserve, our morality from the pollution invariably incident to habits of war; to prevent the laborer and the husbandman from being harassed by taxes and imposts; to remove from ambition the means of disturbing the commonwealth ; to annihilate all pretexts for power afforded by war; to maintain the Constitution, and to bless our nation with tranquillity, under whose benign influence, we may reach the summit of happiness and glory, to which we are destined by nature and nature's God.”
To this, said Mr. S., instructions to all her Senators and Representatives in Congress were superadded, urging them to procure a revision of
the act suspending commercial intereourse with lown merchants for spoliations her cruisers had
France, as having had the effect to reduce the price of tobacco, a principal staple of the State, from ten to three dollars; to procure also a reduction of the Army; prevent an augmentation of the Navy, and to effect a proportionate reduction of the taxes. These views were all seconded in Kentucky, and the doctrines of peace carried farther, perhaps, than Virginia herself had carried them. The zeal and the talents with which she enforced her opposition to the measures of the day could scarely have been surpassed upon any occasion. It is certain the celebrated resolutions of that State against the alien and sedition, laws, were couched in language more strong and decided than appeared from any other quarter. As to these things, Mr. Speaker, said Mr. S., yourself, and other gentlemen from the State would be able to bear witness.” But while these things were passing in these two solitary Republican States, as then they used to be termed, what part was the minority in Congress acting? They were all alive to the peace, and, as they believed, to the true and permanent interest of the nation, and at a moment when a declaration of war was expected from the majority; they preoccupied the floor, and laid a resolution on the table, in these words: “Resolved, That it is inexpedient to resort to war with the French Republic.” This, too, was accompanied with another, requesting the President to institute a new mission to France. The cry was then, as it is now, that this was the doctrine of “submission,” and “non-resistance,” that it would be crouching to our enemy, which the honor and independence of the country forbade. Mr. Adams, however, did commission the other Envoys to France. They were received, and succeeded to form a treaty. And the great, solid, and permanent, interest of the United States prevailed over what was then deemed the bubble idea of honor, and, had not been since called up to assume a serious aspect until, the present time. - But, sir, said Mr.S., the British Orders in Council are to be contrasted with the French decrees. It would be acknowledged they both exhibit to us a deliberate system of plunder, and though, alike in their effects upon our commerce, and were alike violations of all usage among civilized nations, disposed to be just, he did not believe gentlemen would contend those of the French were less violent or outrageous in either the letter or execution. For his part, he believed they were far more so. That French depredations at that, time exceeded those of the British at any subsequent period, there can be no question. Mr. S. said, he held in his hand some proof of the extent of French depredations, which, he said, gentlemen would not have it in their power to deny as authentic. He then referred to the convention of 1803, between France and the United States, where she stipulated that we should pay, as part of the purchase of Louisiana, $3,750,000 to our
* General Desha was understood to be in the Chair of the Legislature of Kentucky at the time.
committed upon them. This sum was now known not to have been sufficient, and that her spoliations had far exceeded that amount. He would ask gentlemen to show that, under the Orders in Council, half that amount had been seized and condemned. It was not enough to say that the principle was the same, whether one or fifty vessels had been unjustly captured and condemned— that would not be denied. A single act of wanton, wilful injustice on the part of a nation, might be justified as a good cause of war, as in the case of the attack on the Chesapeake; yet the policy of such a war, on the part of the United States,
might be questioned, and, in that case, was not
justified under Mr. Jefferson, although a case of insult, which was superadded to the very wrongs for which we are now-to go to war. Under the greater wrongs and insults we are taught to forbear—the true “policy of the United States forbidding a war of aggression”—under the lesser, we are to fight for our honor, according to the new solicv. . " ** p ". abuses we have suffered under the British system of impressment, said Mr. S., was a just source of complaint, and a grievance seriously to be regretted by every feeling American; but, under all circumstances, it was not deemed a sufficient cause of war, under General Washington, when it commenced, nor under Mr. Adams, nor under Mr. Jefferson, when carried to its greatest extreme, Mr. S. then turned to the last report upon the subject, made in April, 1810, where it appeared nine hundred and three was the amount of the returns, of which “two hundred and eighty-seven had been discharged on application, thirty were duplicates, thirty-four had voluntarily entered,” and, among the rest, some were found “totally ignorant of the United States;” some desertions,” some “taken in privateers,” and some “with fraudulent and "erased protections.” He had appealed to this report, he said, with no other view than to show that a great proportion of the complaints on this subject proceeded from persons not citizens of the United States, and therefore not entitled to our protection ; and, withal, to show the great number of their subjects we are in the constant habit of employing on board of our vessels, and the extreme difficulty the subject presented as a matter of negotiation between the two countries. Under these circumstances, we knew it had not been deemed a good and sufficient cause of war, under General Washington’s Presideney, nor under any subsequent Administration, until the present. It had been always hoped the matter might be negotiated and arranged in some amicable way. Mr. Monroe, Mr. S. trusted, would be received as good authority upon the subject, at this time of day. A paragraph or two from the letter, explanatory of his rejected treaty, would serve to show that. Mr. Jefferson was not disposed, even to the last of his Administration, to break the 'peace of the country on that ground: “The impressment of seamen (says Mr. Monroe in that letter) from our merchant vessels, is a topic which