Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

every man must feel it in his pocket, is not in his heart, that the soil is touched, is violated. The violation reaches to the fireside of every man in the nation, and the violators ought to find that the day of retribution is come. But, it is said, this war will not do; it will not be popular; that the provocations in 1798 were greater than they now are, and yet the old Republicans opposed the war of that day. It was not his intention to follow the gentleman (Mr. STANFord) through his long details of those times. He was unwilling now to excite feelings long since buried. It appeared to him that this entleman’s opposition was induced by a singuar cause indeed. It seems we have adopted a new rule at the present session—one not practised on in 1798; and as there was no war then, it will be out of order to resort to it now.

[Mr. STANFord explained, that he had not said

there was no war, then, but that he had been opposed to the war.] He thought (continued Mr. Williams) it was not material to inquire whether the provocation was greater in 1798 than now ; but whether the present causes of war can no otherwise be removed; and if not, is war therefore necessary and just 7 But, if we must look back into the amount of our losses then ; if gentlemen must be met upon their miserable calculations of pounds, shillings, and pence, let us examine the statements of the gentleman from North Carolina; if I mistake him I shall be glad to be corrected. I understood him to say the proof was indisputable, that the injuries then were greater than ... present, because, in the Louisiana treaty, there was a stipulation for the payment of more than three millions of dollars to American citizens, being the amount of depredation on our commerce by France ; and that this sum far exceeded the losses sustained by the Orders in Council. The gentleman is unfortunate in his comparison. Although there are no documents in the possession of the House which show the number of captures under the Orders in Council, from the best estimate he could make, and from the opinion of practical men in the House, that amount falls far short of the recent captures that are every hour increasing. Since the decision of Sir Wisliam Scott, in the case of the Fox, ninety others he spoke from memory) had been condemned. he average value of these vessels and cargoes is considered low at fifty thousand dollars, and in the aggregate far exceed the losses he has alluded to. When it is remembered, that, during the operation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, American merchants withheld their shipments to France— for after the case of the Horizon every one was alarmed—it is very evident that the orders have been as deadly as in such circumstances they could be. Is other proof required? Look to the insurance offices; they will not insure against captures under the Orders in Council for less than a war premium. Why, asked the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Sherrey,) shall we raise an army now, when we refused to do it in 1798? Was it because we were

w

then out, but are now in? The sheer politician, the man who seeks a seat in this House for what he can get, no one can more heartily despise than himself. Such are the wretches who alone are affected by the circumstance of in and out ; but the men who come here to represent and promote the interest of the country—who ask, who seek, who wish for nothing for themselves—cannot be

influenced by any such unworthy considerations.

Argument upon this point is superfluous. He appealed to the gentleman himself for the fact. He could not but consider the inducements to avoid the war of 1798 to be very different from such as present themselves now. What was our situation then? Does it bear the least resemblance to the present? We then enjoyed a prosperous trade with Great Britain, which the gentleman states to be to that of France as thirty-two to two. Neutrality was then practicable; we were in fact reaping the golden fruits of neutral trade. While all its rich streams were pouring into our country from every part of the world, we were then growing rich and great; it surely was inexpedient to go to war; we could gain nothing by it; it was madness. Do these circumstances exist now. But the people were jealous of the Army in 1798. He wished he could speak of the transactions of those days without alluding to the facts calculated to excite unpleasant feelings. This was not his object. Why were they jealous? They saw that the army was palpably useless, or worse. It was impossible to employ it against France; not so against themselves. The alien and sedition laws; the doctrine of the necessity of humbling in dust and ashes a great democratic State, filled them with alarms; they feared their then rulers intended to change the Government, and that the Army was the instrument to effect that purpose. The volunteers, too, were opposed— their Praetorian bands—because the power vested in the States, in relation to them, was contravened. The States were robbed of the absolute right to officer them; he said robbed, as that power which is wisely given to the States as a counterpoise to the physical force of the General Government, was unconstitutionally taken from them and given to the President alone. He understood the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Sheffey) to say, we were going to war for a mere phantom; for, if the orders were repealed to-morrow, the trade to France was not worth having. What are the orders worth 3 said he. Nothing; they were only paper and ink. The deep inroad that horrible system has made on the

character and interest of his country ought not

to be so considered. Is it possible there should be one man left in the nation who can think the revocation of a principle which not only shuts the continent of Europe against your commerce, but warrants its extension through every species and grade of injury and insult, only paper and ink! It may be easy for the gentleman, who estimates national honor as a bubble, to contemplate the Orders in Council with perfect indifference; but, for himself, he could not see in them any

[ocr errors]

JANUARY, 1812.

thing that was not perfectly loathsome. Sir, we have talked so long about trade—about what ought and ought not to be granted—it seemed we had forgotten what it ever had been. Let us look back a little; perhaps when we are sensible of what we have lost, we may be willing to make the greater efforts to regain it. I am apprized, sir, that the theory of the balance of trade between nations, taken from custom-house books, (we have no other authority,) has constantly, and, perhaps, will continue to deceive the wisest statesmen; but, so far as our reports from the Treasury go to show the amount of actual imorts and exports, they may be safely relied on. hat, sir, was the state of our commerce in 1804? Upon an average of the years 1802, 1803, and 1804, it stood thus: To the British dominions, in Europe, (Gibraltar excepted.) we annually exported, of domestic products, $16,430,000; of foreign merchandise, $2260,000; making an aggregate of exports, $15,690,000; but the amount of our imports, from the same places, was $27,400,000; leaving a balance in favor of Great Britain of $11,710,000; but notwithstanding the exportation of cotton had increased in 1804 to $6,200,000, the exports of that year were only $13,200,000, while the importation had been swelled to the enormous amount of $27,600,000; leaving a balance against us, for that year, $14,200,000. The balance in favor of Great Britain, in our trade to British India, is stated at $8,500,000, which, added to that of her European dominions, constitute a balance in her favor of $15,240,000. It is to this point he wished to call the gentle. man's attention. How is that balance obtained 7 If he will attempt to account for it indisputably, he must find the Orders in Council are not merely paper and ink. Again, sir, the importations from all parts of the world, during the same period, were, from British dominions, $35,970,000; from the Northern Powers, Prussia and Germany, $7,094,000; from Holland, France, Spain, and Italy, (now France,) $25,475,000; from the dominions of Portugal, $1,083,000; from China and other native Powers of Asia, $4,856,000; from all other places, $838,000; making an aggregate of $75,316,000. The exports for the same period, and to all other parts of the world, were, of domestic produce, $39,928.000; of foreign merchandise, $28,533,000; of these amounts there were exported to the countries over which the French dominion is now extended, of domestic produce, $12,183,000, and of foreign merchandise, $18,495,000; making the aggregate exports to those places, $30,673,000; the aggregate imports amounting to $25,475,000, leaves a balance in our favor of $5,203,000; while, at the same time, the balance was on the trade to British dominions, $15,240,000 against us. Sir, what has become of this commerce? He entreated the gentleman to inform us how this immense balance was to be settled when all the commerce of the country, to other places than British, was cut off? Every ractical man knows, the gentleman himself must now, that the profits of the trade now destroyed by the Orders in Council are necessary to make

[ocr errors]

Additional Military Force.

maintain that trade.

[ocr errors]

up the deficit of our exports to Great Britain. The gentleman states the exports of domestic produce to France at $2,700,000; to Great Britain at $32,000,000; of course, said he, to go to war for the revocation of the Orders in Council would be to barter a trade of thirty-two millions for one of two millions seven hundred thousand dollars. So that, by the same process of reasoning, had the orders destroyed the whole trade to French dominions, it would be still more unwise to resist them, as the trade to Great Britain would be in a still greater proportion than thirty-two to two... Is it possible the gentleman should not see that, by his argument, the greater the injury suffered from the Orders in Council, the greater would be their justification ? [Mr. Sheffey explained, that he had stated the exports to France were only $2,700,000, previous to the existence of the Orders in Council, and therefore could not have been reduced to that sum by those orders. He was satisfied the gentleman from South Carolina did not mean to mistake him.] The gentleman (continued Mr. Williams) does me justice; to misrepresent him is the farthest thing from my intention. But, Mr. Speaker, there is no difference in point of fact between the gentleman from Virginia and myself, however we may differ about terms. Sir, that trade was destroyed by British agency, and it is altogether immaterial whether the destruction was effected by her blockade of France, or by this or that Order of Council; the injury is received, the destruction is effected, the principle is the same. Sir, the injury is not confined to the reduction of the trade to France only, but affects that to Great Britain also, so far as its profits are necessary to But what is the condition of the commerce with Great Britain now, which he estimates at 32,000,000? Truly miserable. The great staples of your country, wheat and flour excepted, (observe they are not articles of permanent export to Great Britain,) had better be thrown off the wharf than shipped there. Let me suppose the gentleman to be engaged in a particular branch of commerce; that his sales are restricted to a market glutted with from three to ten times the amount of its consumption, would not his ruin be inevitable? How is tobacco afsected? Export 75,000 hogsheads to any place where only 15,000 are consumed, and the effect is obvious. Inquire into the state of the cotton market; where is the crop of 1810? A curse to him who meddled with it ! Where is that of 1811? Rotting at home in the hands of the grower, waiting the repeal of the Orders in Council. Sir, I know, I feel these to be some of the effects of those orders; yet they must not be resisted, it would be to barter a trade of thirty-two: for two! They are mere paper and ink But we are going to war for honor; that it: seems is a mere bubble. It was astonishing to hear that gentleman, who himself cherishes as high notions of honor as other men, should seek to destroy it in his own country. That which is: sacred in an individual, cannot be less so in a na

[ocr errors]

tion. Is that proud virtue, that exalted attribute, without which there is neither value nor patriotism in the individual, to be treated with disrespect, to be utterly discarded, when the great concerns of the nation are under consideration ? Of what is the nation composed ? Of brutes, sir, or men; high-minded, honorable men 7 He presumed he could offer no outrage so great to that: entleman as the slightest imputation, on his onor, and shall that which graces the character of a gentleman. be scouted from this House 7 Shall we, who hold our honor, dearer than life and all its blessings, consider that of the nation as a bubble 7 Miserable indeed will be our condition, when there shall be “nothing level in our cursed natures, but villany direct.” Sir, the gentleman preaches a dangerous doctrine; it goes to sap the foundations of society, to embitter the sweetest endearments of life. “We have travelled far on the high road to ruin, when individuals are taught to calculate their interests to be at variance with those of the nation or its Government. Such doctrine must destroy us, But, said the gentleman, if honor is not a matter of calculation, why pay the tribute to the Barbary Powers? He hoped to be excused, when he declared himself mortified to see that gentleman stoop to such an argument; it is destitute even of originality. hen the embargo was laid, every species of contumely was cast upon all who approved it." We were accused of crimes, with a prodigality of abuse that was never before witnessed. That we had abandoned their rights to the ocean—that our seamen had been shamefully sacrificed—that our Eastern navigating interest had been treacherously destroyed. The embargo was at length given up, and the non-intercourse law was: adopted. That, too, was wrong, says the gentleman; then non-importation was resorted to— still wrong. He prayed the gentleman to say what would be right. If he will neither stay at home to avoid injury, nor, fight when it is inflicted abroad, what will he do? Sir, I am for fighting! No, says the gentleman, let us have no war, now you have selected your enemy, by purchasing of Napoleon the privilege of going to France. Is that a fair statement of the fact 7 that gentleman cannot believe it. He is too honorable himself deliberately to suspect others of such dastardly conduct. He defied the gentleman to look back upon the conduct of the Administration, and point out any terms which had been offered to France, in the smallest degree, more favorable than have been offered to England. Were not the same terms offered to both, and always first to England? Is there any man who doubts that the same identical terms which France has accepted have been rejected by England? How then can it be said we pur#. of France any right whatever? He did not think the gentleman could be guilty of believing such an insinuation. It is not true. But the reverse is the fact. The Administration did, at one time, offer more favorable terms to Great Britain than to France. He alluded to the offer

[blocks in formation]

different; those to Great Britain most favorable. It was apprehended France would accept the terms offered to Great Britain, without affording that security to commerce which was consider

a just equivalent for the repeal of the embargo. England herself selected the situation in which she is placed. The difference between the tone of supplication at London, and remonstrance at Paris, is, indeed, palpable. Have we not bowed, and begged, and entreated, for accommodation, until our then-Minister at London had been charged by many, though not by him, with a prostitution of his functions and character; with disgracing the nation by his supplications ! Did not every man in the community see that the Administration had done everything in their power to obtain a repeal of the Orders in Council, and yet because France has accepted, and England refused the terms of adjustment, it is talked of as the purchase of a right! When the arrangement with Mr. Erskine was effected, did any one then condemn the Administration for having purchased of Great Britain the privilege of going to her dominions 7. On the contrary, were not all rejoiced and anxious to share the credit of that arrangement? Sooner or later, sir, we must fight or be sacrificed ; the sooner we begin, in my

| opinion, the better. But we must not resist the

injustice and tyranny of Great Britain—she is fighting, said the gentleman, for her existence! for the liberties of the world! Sir, if her existence depends upon the ruin of my country, then, I say, down let her go. He thought the gentleman was as wide from the fact here as in any other argument. It is impossible, from the very nature of our commerce with her, that it should weaken, much less destroy her. A trade, which consists in the exportation of raw materials and the necessaries of life, receiving its returns, principally, in her own manufactures, must necessarily advance her interest and invigorate her strength. If she would abandon her mad policy against us, that same spirit of enterprise, which extended into every region of the world, seeking the means whereby to cancel that balance in her favor, before alluded to, would again pour, its rich and tributary streams into all her dominions. Under such a state of things he would rejoice as much as any man to see her arm strengthened; but if that arm is to continue lifted against his country, he cared not how soon it was leprosied and destroyed. * . She is contending for the liberties of the world ! he would as soon have expected to hear that the Devil had espoused the cause of Christianity So far from fighting for the liberties of the world, the standard of freedom had never been raised in any country without her attempting to pull it down. If it was not foreign to his purpose, he could trace her footsteps, wherever she moved. marked by blood and desolation; all the miseries of war and revengeful massacre have travelled in her train into every region inhabited by man. For whose fell cupidity were so many human hecatombs sacrificed in India? For whose more fell

to suspend the embargo. The terms then were

ambition did she wage war on infancy and inno

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

cence in the West? For whom does the savage ell now wake the sleep of the cradle? England! indisputably, to extend and secure the blessings of liberty to the world ! The gentleman had said, if the war on which we are about to enter be just, we have not the means to carry it on. His worthy colleague (Mr. LowNdes) had rendered it perfectly unnecessary for him to meet this argument; he would, therefore, only observe, that if the war be just and necessary, it ought to be commenced; if commenced, it must be ..". out of the question. The power of maintaining it will find no limitation as long as you can raise a revenue sufficient to pay the interest of the debt you may incur in prosecuting the war. Sir, it is worse than idle to talk about war without a disposition to provide the means of carrying it on by taxes; they are inseparable. For his part he was ready. to vote them, and he had no doubt that the people, knowing that the Administration had done everything in their power, and more than was called #!"; any other consideration than a love of peace, to avoid war, would sustain it as long as the resources of the nation were applied with spirit and faithfulness; at all events let us do our duty and leave the rest to them. But, if your means be sufficient, said the gentleman, your physical force is inadequate." If this army is employed without the limits of the United States, we are threatened with war on our Eastern frontier; our towns will be burnt—our cities sacked. Can the gentleman estimate the patriotism of freemen less than the obedience of slaves? Is the physical force of the owner of the American soil less than that of the mercenary hireling of Europe? Do you doubt? Call up the great spirits of the patriot dead—appeal to the unbroken valor of the living-to those men, the sterling excellence of whose virtues bore them triumphant through the unequalled, horrors of the Revolution He could not believe that seven hundred thousand freemen in arms, were inadequate to sustain any war in defence of their just and dearest rights. But it is said, if our means and physical force were inadequate to the war, our objects cannot be obtained by it. wise. It appeared to him much easier to settle the terms of a new peace, than to patch up the old quarrel. When he considered the limited extent of our demands, and the nature of the pressure on the enemy, he could not but believe our objects would be attained. What are our demands? What have we been so long seeking, rather begging—for we have begged negotiation? Truly, Mr. Speaker, in two short words, “hands off!” We io. sir, we never have asked of her any boon, any sacrifice whatever. “Hands off” is the only term or stipulation that we sue for; fulfilled, she would bind this nation to her fate. But what is the nature of the pressure and injury that we can inflict 3 They are to her deep and dangerous. We also must suffer; but, thank God, we can stand it. The appetite of revenge is keen and steady ; in most men inextinguish

Mr. W. said he thought other

able. It was not wanting, however it may have been provoked, to enable individual enterprise to wage a war, if not of absolute ruin, certainly of vital injury to her commerce, not only “before our doors,” in the West Indies, under the heights of Dover, but to the Indian ocean. Deprive the West Indies of the supplies of our necessaries of life and of lumber, and their profitable cultivation would be too much diminished not to be considered. Take our raw materials from her manufactures, and they are injured, not merely to the amount of the enhanced price of such articles, but to the entire loss of their whole exports to this country. Is such an injury too trifling for her consideration ? The conquest of her, North American Colonies, too, must be felt. Yes, sir, conquest—for they must inevitably fall. The gentleman may depreciate the physical force of an American army as much as he pleases; but rely upon it, whenever the storm of war is poured on Canada and Halifax, it will, sweep with the resistless impetuosity of Niagara. But, if you wage' a successful war, says the gentleman, the Army will probably overthrow the Constitution, as mone but General WASHINGTo N could have prevented the Army of the Revolution from subverting the liberties it had conquered. Mr. W. declared that observation was to him truly painful; he wished such an insinuation against such an army could have been spared. Sir, that army was true to the core. It is not probable that such a band, of patriots—the only army that ever did give liberty to a country-could have imagined its destruction. To this fact the letters of Newburg were conclusive. Those letters were alone wanting to finish the purity of its character, Suppose therowere two, or even three, traitors in a camp, does it follow that the whole army must necessarily be polluted ? No, sir. So far was he from believing the liberties of the country were in danger from the Army, he would say, there never was a pe. riod, during the whole Revolutionary war, when the great WAshingtoN himself, justly as he has been described “the sauctuary o a nation's best love,” could have been a successful usurper. It was as impossible as that such a black project should enter his virtuous mind. He felt the profoundest gratitude, even adoration, if it were justifiable for man, to that inestimable body of men who achieved the liberties we enjoy. Their arduous toils—their hardships—his feelings were too much excited to go on. He believed he could never have stood here a freeman but for that army. , o, If, sir, we are to take counsel of the gentleman from Virginia, we are in a most awful situation; notwithstanding the proud glories of the Revolution, we must submit to every indignity— every daring infraction of our rights. It would seem we are destitute of resources; without means to support the war; even our physical force is inadequate; but, was it adequate, wo the means ample, they must not be exerted; the Government would be subverted; the veil of the

temple of the Constitution would be rent in

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

twain. Although the best interests of this nation are crushed beneath the paw of the British lion; we must not resist; he then is wisest who can soonest bow, with all the stupid serenity of servitude, and take the yoke! Every faculty of my soul, said Mr. W., is indignant at this counsel, and for one, I say, I will not submit ! The question was now taken on the passage of the bill, and determined in the affirmative—yeas 94, nays 34, as follows: * *

YEAs—Willis Alston, William Anderson, Stevenson Archer, Daniel Avery, Ezekiel Bacon, David Bard, Josiah Bartlett, Burwell Bassett, William W.' Bibb, William Blackledge, Harmanus Bleecker, Thos. Blount, Robert Brown, William A. Burwell, William Butler, John C. Calhoun, Langdon Cheves, Matthew Clay, James Cochran, John Clopton, Lewis Condit, William Crawford, Roger Davis, John Dawson, Joseph Desha, Samuel Dinsmoor, Elias Earle, James Emott, William Findley, "James Fisk, Meshack Franklin, Thomas Gholson, Thomas R. Gold, Isaiah L. Green, Felix Grundy, Bolling Hall, Obed Hall, John A. Harper, Aylett Hawes, John M. Hyneman, Richard M. Johnson, Joseph Kent, William R. King, Abner Lacock, Joseph Lefever, Peter Little, Robert Le Roy Livngston, William Lowndes, Aaron Lyle, George C. Maxwell, Thomas Moore, William McCoy, Samuel McKee, Alexander McKim, Arunah Metcalf, James Milnor, Samuel L. Mitchill, James Morgan, Jeremiah Morrow, Hugh Nelson, Anthony New, Thomas Newton, Stephen Ormsby, William Paulding, jr., Israel Pickens, William Piper, Benjamin Pond, Peter B. Porter, Josiah Quincy; William Reed, Samuel Ringgold, John Rhea, John Roane, Jonathan Roberts, Ebenezer Sage, Thomas Sammons, Ebenezer Seaver, John Sevier, Adam Seybert, Samuel Shaw, George Smith, John Smith, William Strong, George Spillivan, Peleg Tallman, John “Paliaferro, Uri Tracy, George M. Troup, Charles Turner, jun., Pierre Van Cortlandt, David R. Williams, William Widgery, Richard Winn, and Robert Wright.

NAxs—Abijah Bigelow, Adam Boyd, James Breckenridge, Elijah Brigham, Epaphroditus. Champion, Martin Chittenden, John Davenport, jun., William Ely, Asa Fitch, Jacob Husty, Richard Jackson, jun., Philip B. Key, Lyman Law, Joseph Lewis, jun., Nathaniel Macon, Archibald McBryde, Jonathan O. Moseley, Thomas Newbold, Joseph Pearson, Timothy Pitkin, jun., Elisha R. Potter, John Randolph, William Rodman, Daniel Sheffey, John Smilie, Richard Stanford, Philip Stuart, Silas Stow, Lewis B. Sturges, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, Laban Wheaton, Leonard White, and Thomas Wilson.

Tuesday, January 7.

Mr. BAcon, from the Committee of Ways and Means, presented a bill making an appropriation for the expenses incident to the six companies of mounted rangers, during the year 1812; which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the Whole to-morrow. . -

Mr. Gholson, from the Committee of Claims, presented a bill for the relief of the Board of Commissioners west of Pearl river; which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the Whole on Monday next. . .

Mr. Lewis, from the Committee for the Dis.

[ocr errors]

ict of Columbia, presented a bill to incorporate the Trustees of the Georgetown Lancaster School Society: which was read twice and committed Committee of the Whole on Monday next. r. Newton, from the Committee of Commeice and Manufactures, presented a bill to authorize the importation of goods, wares, and merchahdise, under certain circumstances, from Great Britain, her colonies, or dependencies; which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the Whole on Friday next. Mr. N. said, the Committee of Ways and Means had for some time delayed making a report upon these petitions, waiting to see the course which Congress would take in relation to our differences with Great Britain. Finding the United States are about to take a manly attitude and to maintain their national rights with firmness and spirit, they conceive that all goods, wares, and merchandise, that were purchased or contracted for by our merchants in the British dominions, anterior to the second of February last, ought to be permitted to be imported into the United States, and therefore directed their chairman to report this bill. A Message was received from the President of the United States, enclosing a report from the Director of the Mint for the last year, in which it is stated that the supply of silver bullion had never before been more abundant, than it had been for the greater part of the year.—Ordered to be printed. The House next went into Committee on the bill to empower the Secretary of the Treasury to decide upon the case of the Eliza Ann, of New York; which, being gone through, was reported to the House, and ordered to a third reading.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[graphic]
[graphic]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »