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December, 1811.

Additional Military Force.


by the British 7 and observes, if this should take oil. you would not remain in power, or be the men who would end the war, &c. It might not be very important, said Mr. C., to the nation, whether the men now in power should long continue to enjoy it or not; or whether, in case there should be war, they or their successors should terminate it." Measures and not men is the maxim by which we ought to regulate our conduct; and #. successors should be equally or more competent to execute the important trusts reposed in them the nation would have nothing to apprehend from the change. trine to which he could not subscribe, that they

were to act contrary to what they believed their

duty, in order to avoid losing their places. But why this attempt, said Mr. C., to exaggerate the dangers and raise the fears of the citizens of New York and New Orleans? and to excite in the public mind apprehensions for the safety of those aces? This could answer no valuable purpose; its only effect would be to produce groundless alarms, and inflame, for a while, the public sensibility. There appeared no substantial grounds to be alarmed for the safety of either of those places. The position of New Orleans is such as renders it difficult of approach to an enemy, and, by the employment of proper means, capable of being successfully defended. The fortifications of New York are stated by those best informed on the subject to be in such a state of completion as would enable that place to resist any attack likely to be made upon it; and there is no rational ground to doubt that Government will employ the best means they possess for the security Fo otection of those places. The gentleman did indeed make a statement, said Mr. C., which, at the time, very much surrised me. It was, (as I took his words down,) “that he did know it was the intention of the former Administration in case of war, not to tect New Orleans, but let Great Britain take it; and that the Western people would be left to retake it themselves;” “that he did not know the intention of the present Administration on this subject, but believed it to be the same with that of the former.” - This appears to me, said Mr. C.; a charge of the most serious and alarming nature, and, if well-founded, would merit the most severe reprehension. But to establish it, under existing circumstances, would require strong and incontestable proofs. That the Government should, without any known inducement, abandon one of the most important places in the nation, and, without attempting its defence, suffer it to pass into the hands of an enemy, is, in itself, so improbable, and would argue so great a weakness, or what is worse, such political depravity, that if I had no knowledge of the transaction is: to, or of the persons then composing the Government, I could not, without the most convincing evidence, persuade myself to believe it. I should be forced to conclude that however sincerely the ntleman might believe what he stated, he must #. been misinformed on the subject, or have mistaken the views of the Administration. And *

It was, however, a doc

here it might seem natural to inquire, if the gentleman was, at the time, informed of designs entertained by the Administration, so derogatory to the character, as well as dangerous to the dignity of the nation, and so evidently ruinous to the Western portion of the Union, why he did not make them known to the public, or at least to those who were so deeply interested in guarding against their consequences? But, said Mr. C., in 1808–9, the time it is presumed alluded to, when some apprehensions were entertained for the safety of New Orleans, I was a member of the other House. It became my duty to ascertain, so far as circumstances rendered it proper, the measures intended to be adopted, and the means that were to be used for the protection of

that place, whose safety was so important to the

people I represented; and if confidence could be placed in the declarations ef those who then composed the Administration, (and their veracity, it is believed, has hitherto never been justly questioned,) it was their intention and solemn determination to defend it to the last extremity, in case it was attacked, by all the disposable force and means in their power. That this was their real intention appears sufficiently established by their subsequent conduct, in sending a considerable number of troops, as well as gunboats, to that place for the object alone of protecting it; and who were ordered to take such position as should be best calculated for that purpose. The destructive calamity experienced by those troops from the insalubrity of the climate, must be fresh in the recollection of all. But the uniform conduct of the late Executive, during the whole course of his administration, (of which unreserved candor was a distinguishing characteristic.) and in particular, the just regard he paid on all proper occasions to the best interests of the Western people, are of themselves more than sufficient to shield him against the imputation of the views now ascribed to him. I cannot, however, but express my regret that this statement, made at this time, should have the appearance of throwing a censure on the conduct of the late venerable President. He has retired, accompanied b the plaudits of his fellow-citizens, and the #. respect of the real friends to civil liberty throughout the world, to the shades of private life. oft. not suffer him to repose there undisturbed? I can hardly persuade myself it was intended by this statement to impeach the purity of his motives; but I cannot omit observing, that it appears to me a melancholy proof of the malignity of the human mind, that so many attempts should be made to sully the well-earned reputation of that illustrious statesman, whose fame will survive the lapse of ages, and glide down the tide of time unimpaired, while that of his enemies will vanish like the fleeting smoke, or descend with themselves to the tomb of oblivion. With regard to the present Administration, Mr. C. said, he did not know their particular views on this subject; he had, however, no reason to believe that they were such as the gentleman seemed to consider them. He could not for **

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Additional Military Force.

December, 1811.

a moment entertain the idea that they intended to abandon the protection of New Orleans, and he did not believe there was a single act of the Executive that would justify such a conclusion. The honorable member asserted this motion was in opposition to the spirit of the President's Message, and the measures therein recommended, &c.; he observed, the Secretary of War did indeed state, in conversation, to him, that ten thousand additional regular troops might answer the present purpose, but that he differed entirely in opinion with the Secretary on this subject, and gives you to understand that this inofficial statement, (as he chooses to call it,) which he consid

ers as coming from the Executive, was at vari

ance with his official communication sage, &c. . . - ğ. C. said he could not admit the correctness of the conclusions which the gentleman drew from his premises. It did not appear to him that this motion, or the statement alleged to have been made by the Secretary of War, was in opposition to, or at variance with, either the spirit of the Message, or the specific measures recommended therein. It is true, the honorable gentleman differed in opinion from the Secretary with regard to the number of regular troops necessary to effect the purposes intended; and it would seem the principal question was, whether on this subject the opinion of the former, who professed to have no knowledge on military affairs, or that of the latter, as the organ of the Executive, (as he was alleged to be,) deserved most weight, and ought to be most relied upon. Mr. C. said he had already stated the sense in which he understood the Executive recommendation on this subject, and endeavored to show the force proposed to be raised by this motion, connected with the other measures he wished adopted, was in conformity to the views presented by the Message. He would now, however, again recur to the words of the Message itself, and see if they furnished any just grounds for the gentleman's deductions and satirical strictures. The parts particularly alluded to are in the following words: “With this evidence of hostile inflexibility, in trampling on rights which no inde

in his Mes

‘pendent nation can relinquish, Congress will.

feel the duty of putting the United States into “an armor and an attitude demanded by the ‘crisis, and corresponding with the national spirit ‘and expectations. I recommend, accordingly, ‘that adequate provision be made for filling the ranks, and prolonging the enlistments of the * regular troops; for an auxiliary force to be en‘gaged for a more limited term; for the accept‘ance of volunteer corps, whose patriotic ardor “may court a participation in urgent services; “for detachments, as they may be wanted, of other ‘portions of the militia,” &c. ( . Here we see, said Mr. C., the specific measures officially recommended by the Executive, and may form an opinion of the spirit of his Message, to which allusion has been made. Let us now examine the measures proposed to be adopted by

those in favor of the present motion, an which

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are, with little variation, consistent with the state

ment, termed inofficial, said to be made by the Secretary of War. They are, to fill up the ranks of the present regular troops, for which a bill has already passed; to raise an additional |. auxiliary) force of nearly 17,000 men; and also, to authorize bringing into service such volunteer corps. and portions of the militia as the occasion, may require. This will make the auxiliary force much larger than the principal force, in aid of which it is required; and it would seem a fair construction of the words of the Message, as already stated

that the auxiliary force, as said to be suggested by the Secretary of War, should be equal only to the principal force; the whole regular force thus

provided would be nearly 27,000, which, with the

volunteers to be authorized, (who were undoubtedly considered by the Executive as an efficient part of the troops to be employed.) would put in the power of the Government a disposable force, exclusive of the militia, of at least 40,000 effective men. This force, which might be increased as circumstances should require, is certainly competent to accomplish all the attainable objects the most sanguine can have in view. In what respect, then, can these measures be considered in opposition to, or at variance with, either the spirit or language of the official communication ? . If the forces furnished be fully competent to effect the purposes for which they were required, will you not, then, have put the United States “into an armor and an attitude demanded by the crisis, and corresponding with the national spirit and expectations?” And will not all the objects of the Executive recommendation be complied with ? There does not, therefore, appear any ground whatever, except in the imagination of the gentleman, for the alleged variance between the official and responsible communication of the Executive, and that which has been termed inofficial and irresponsible. Nor was he able to perceive what public good could arise from statements evidently calculated, if not intended, to misrepresent the views of the Administration. He was himself convinced, from sources to him entirely satisfactory, the views of the Executive were really such as had been presented to the public by his. Message; such as they, ought to be, and such as would, if supported and promptly carried into effect by Congress, maintain the rights and vindicate the honor of the nation. It seems, however, you must raise the number of troops contained in the bill, whether they can be usefully employed or not; for the honorable gentleman says, if you raise less, Great Britain will not believe you are in earnest, or that you mean to use physical force, &c.; and further observed, she had in Canada seven thousand regular troops, and fourteen thousand militia, &c. I cannot, said Mr. C., subscribe to the doctrine that we are to raise a force greater than is competent to accomplish the substantial objects we have in view, for the purpose alone of convincing that nation we are in earnest—that is, that we mean what we say. This would appear to me beneath. the dignity of the Legislature, and derogatory to

December, 1811.

the national character. Besides, there is no reason to believe it would have the proposed effect; it would only waste unnecessarily your resources, without producing the least public advantage. There are some of your own citizens who pretend to believe you are not seriously determined to prosecute the avowed objects of your preparations; and the British Government, as usual, may probably take its tone from theirs. The use you make of your troops, as well as the decision and energy with which you act, and not the number you raise, will best prove your sincerity, and will alone probably convince {. nation that you are not only in earnest in your preparations, but that you know and will maintain your rights; and that you feel your wrongs, and will avenge them. With regard to the "forces Great Britain has in Canada, said Mr. C., there is no reason to believe, as already stated, the regular troops there exceed

six thousand, or that there could be more than

ten thousand militia brought into actual service. Suppose, however, the statement of the gentleman correct, would not double the number of your regular troops be sufficient, under all supposable disadvantages, to oppose the seven thousand British troops? And could not your volunteers successfully encounter Canadian militia? No one, it is presumed, would be willing to deny this. Upon what solid ground, then, can it be contended

that twenty-five thousand regular troops would

be necessary for that service 7 But the honorable gentleman says he has not much confidence in volunteers; that they will melt away like a ball of snow, &c. This doctrine, said Mr. C., is, as has been already stated,

of modern date among those professing to be Re

publicans; it was once considered rank Federal doctrine, which gave alarm to the friends of liberty, and contributed in a great degree to destroy their confidence in those avowing it. The militia have always been considered, by the most distinguished advocates of sound principles, the bulwark of our liberties, and, on emergencies, the guardians of our rights. Volunteers are the better sort of militia, and at least equally to be relied upon; they have, on many occasions during the Revolution, distinguished themselves by their patriotism and bravery. - Why should we now place no confidence in them, or insinuate they would desert their posts? Will they not serve out the time for which the then their places, i others? Mr. C. said, it was difficult to perceive how some of the arguments adduced by the honorable member could be reconciled; for, at the same time that he insists upon increasing your expenditures much beyond what he states to be the views of the Government, he gives you to understand that the person who has the direction of your revenue is not well qualified to provide the means necessary to meet such expenditures. If this be the case, it would seem a strong argument for circumscribing your expenses as much as practicable. He .# you the Secretary of the Treasury had the reputation of possessing great finan

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Additional Military Force. -

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cial talents; but he inquired what evidence he had ever *. of a capacity to devise ways and means to bring money into the Treasury, and said he believed none; and added, that his (the Secretary’s) talents had induced us to get rid of the direct tax, and of the salt tax, &c. The financial talents of the gentleman at the head of the Treasury Department are too well known, said Mr. C., to be made at this time the subject of investigation, or require new proofs to support them. Every man, in any tolerable degree conversant with the proceedings of your Government for the last fifteen or twenty years, must possess sufficient data to enable him to form an opinion for himself on this subject. He must, however, be permitted to declare, Mr. C. said, this was the first time he had heard the talents or financial capacity of that officer, since he came into the Government, brought into question by any gentleman of known standing and information. The sources from which your revenue must arise, are in their nature neither numerous nor very complex, and must be obvious to most, if not all men of any tolerable information. Duties on importations, and the proceeds of your public lands, constitute the sources on which you must principally rely, unless you resort to internal taxation, which the course pursued by gentlemen will probably require. The Secretary had no power to draw money from any other sources than those provided by law. H. could not create new sources of revenue; he could recommend the imposition of new taxes, in order to bring money into the Treasury; but the extent of your expenditures hitherto; it appears, did not require it; and Mr.

C. said he sincerely wished, as did, he believed,

the great majority of the nation, that this might long be the case—that there might be no call for the exertion of his great financial talents to invent new modes of squeezing money out of the people's pockets without their being sensible of it, to replenish your exhausted Treasury; for, whatever may be the nature of taxes, they must be ultimately paid by the people; and the inquiry can only be with regard, to the mode in which they may be induced most willingly to make the required contributions. This is the art that would, above all others, answer the gentleman's idea of great financial capacity—that is, the capacity to bring money into the Treasury. But it is believed that the only opportunities afforded that officer, according to our present fiscal arrangements, of exercising financial capacity, consist in skilfully conducting the collection of the revenue from the sources created or established by law, and managing it afterwards with correctness and economy to meet the public demands; and those important duties, it seems admitted, have been satisfactorily performed; for the gentleman says, that that ... has annually made you very lucid

reports on your finances, showing the receipts and

expenditures, &c. n relation to the repeal of taxes ascribed to the Secretary of the Treasury, the honorable gentleman must have labored under a mistake. He stated, the repeal of the direct tax; he probably


meant of the indirect taxes; the former was imposed for a year only, and the law expired before that officer came into the Government; the indirect taxes were repealed afterwards; and though from the information he, Mr. C., had obtained on the subject, that officer had no agency whatever in such repeal, he believed the measure was very generally approved of by the Republicans throughout the §. He could speak with more certainty relative to the repeal of the salt tax, being then a member of the other House, and in a situation that made it his particular duty to attend to that subject; and it was then distinctly understood, the Secretary of the Treasury did not approve of the measure, (as will sufficiently appear from his official reports;) that he considered that tax not an oppressive one. at the same time that it was productive and collected without any extraordinary expense; the Executive, however, recommended the repeal of it, and after several unsuccessful attempts, the measure at length succeeded. The Secretary of the Treasury cannot, therefore, be considered in any respect"whatever responsible for the repeal of those taxes; and it must appear very extraordinary that, after a great majority of the nation has so long unequivocally approved that measure, it should now be brought forward as evidence of the incapacity or misconduct of that officer. The honorable gentleman says, the inexecution of the embargo produced its repeal, &c.; and that this was occasioned by the Executive refusing to accept the means offered him by. Congress to enforce the execution of it; and strongly insinuates all this was produced by the influence of the Treasury Department, through the Executive. The repeal of the embargo, Mr. C. said, was a subject on which he did not wish to enter. It was always to him the most unpleasant that could present itself. It had at the time met with all the feeble resistance that was then in his power (weak as his state of health was) to oppose to it. . He considered it a measure which not only damped, but chilled the spirit of the nation, and impressed a stain on its character, to wash out which would probably require much of its best blood. It was not, however, the inexecution of the embargo that occasioned its repeal, nor was it the influenee of the Treasury or Executive Departments. It was the fatal panic with which certain members in both Houses were seized, in consequence of the clamorous, threats of the opposition in certain quarters of the Union, that produced that effect. The plan of the Executive undoubtedly was, (as he understood it from himself at the time;) to continue and enforce the embargo, combined with the non-intercourse, until the extraordinary session proposed to be held in the following May; which would give time for that measure to have its full effect on the belligerents; would add but little to the pressure felt by our own citizens, and would afford all the chances of avoiding war, arising from the probability of those Powers being induced to rescind their unjust edicts, and again respect neutral rights. Should this favorable change in their conduct, however, not take place,

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it was understood to be the opinion of the Executive, that war ought then immediately to succeed, and substitute the embargo. The nation then would have been prepared for the event; its forbearance would have been sufficiently evinced; it would have possessed all its own resources unimpaired, and had also within its power more than twenty millions of the property and treasures belonging to one of its expected enemies, which might justly be made to contribute to support the war that should be thus forced upon us. The spirit of the nation was not only unbroken and

firm, but rising with the growing danger of the

crisis, and its character stood high at home and abroad; but the fatal proposition to repeal the embargo, like a demon, or the evil genius of the nation, presenting itself, paralyzed, as if by enchantment, the best concerted measures, and dissi

pated all those sair prospects. It always appeared

to him, Mr. C. said, as placing the National Legislature (he would not say the nation) in the same situation that the unwarrantable desertion of his post, in the day of danger, would place an individual. He had often been surprised at the numerous attempts made, in and out of Congress, by some of those very persons who voted for the

repeal of the embargo, to charge unjustly, in his

opinion, the whole responsibility of that measure on the Administration. But he could not comprehend upon what ground the honorable gentleman from Virginia, who himself introduced and supported the measure, could at this day expect to transfer the odium of it to the Executive and Treasury Department. - The members of the National Legislature are undoubtedly accountable to the people for the laws passed by their votes; and it must be with a very bad grace they ascribe their enactment to the influence of others. The honorable gentle

man informed you, he proposed to issue letters of

marque and reprisal as a substitute for the embargo, as being in his opinion better calculated than that, measure to maintain the honor and promote the interests of the nation, &c. Mr. C. said, he understood the provision alluded to, in a sense very different from that stated by the gentleman. Its true meaning would, however, be best understood by recurring to the provision itself. It is found in the 11th section of the nonintercourse bill, as passed by the Senate in 1809, in the following words: “That the President of

the United States be, and he hereby is author

‘ized, in case either France or Great Britain shall so revoke or modify her edicts, as that they ‘shall cease to violate the neutral commerce of ‘the United States, to declare the same by proc‘lamation, after which the trade of the United ‘States suspended by this act, and by the act ‘laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in ‘the ports and harbors of the United States, and ‘the several acts supplementary thereto, may be ‘renewed with the nation so doing, and to cause ‘to be issued, under suitable pledges and precautions, letters of marque and reprisal against the ‘mation, thereafter continuing in force its unlaw‘ful edicts against the commerce of the United

December, 1811.

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* States.”. The latter part is the provision alluded to, which was stricken out in the House of Representatives. It is clear, said Mr. C., that by this provision, no authority was intended to be given the President to issue letters of marque and reprisal, except in the event of one of the two great, belligerents revoking its unlawful edicts, and the same being declared by-proclamation, &c., upon which he was authorized to issue letters of marque and reprisal against the other, who should thereafter continue in force its unlawful edicts, &c. If both refused to revoke their edicts, there was no authority to be given to issue letters of marque and reprisal against either; and in that event, the provision would have been a dead letter, or indeed worse, as its menacing appearance might have a tendency to irritate, though it was in no respect calculated to make any serious impression. It appeared to him at the time a very extraordinary measure, and the most impolitic and dangerous that could have been proposed, and he would venture to assert, you might in vain search for its likeness in the annals of nations; it was, in fact, putting it in the power of one belligerent to declare war for you, or determine when you should declare it against the other; and at the same time, enabling the other—who would know, if she did not accede to the terms proposed, war would be the consequence—to take advantage of the situation in which you would place yourself, and, in case she determined not to revoke her edicts, make the first attack upon you, when you would first learn such was her determination from the mouths of her cannon, by the seizure of your ships, and the bombardment of your towns... It would also be holding out a threat to the belligerents, which would be more likely to enlist their pride on the side of persevering in their measures, than to induce them to change them, and this is, said Mr. C., the very wise and important measure said to be intended as a substitute for the embargo! “To maintain the honor and promote the interest of the nation, and the: rejecting of which occasioned the British Government to disavow the arrangement with Mr. Erskine!” Mr. C. said he could hardly persuade himself that the honorable gentleman was serious in this statement. It was the first time he had ever heard any importance attached to that measure. It was in itself too crude and inconsistent with national policy to claim or receive public notice at home or abroad; its existence was probably never known in Great Britain, and its rejection could certainly have had no agency in the disavowal of the arrangement with Mr. Erskine. The premature repeal of the embargo, combined with the great events then unfolding themselves in Europe, no doubt, produced the disavowal of that arrangement. Among the many extraordinary materials pressed into this discussion, was a paragraph from a newspaper published in Quebec, read by the gentleman, it is presumed as a o of his speech. This was not a comment on the President's Message,

(as it was stated by the gentleman to be,) but a - * * * *

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petty effort, of the most stupid kind, to censure, by anticipation, what the writer supposed the essage, which he had not seen, would contain. Mr. C. said he would not deign to remark on the contents of that production, nor sully the discussions of the Senate, by again bringing before them matter, in his opinion, so indecorous, as well as frivolous and irrelevant. He noticed it only to express his surprise that the honorable member, contrary, as he believed, to his usual praetice, should so far descend from the respect due himself and the National Legislature, as to introduce on this floor a scurrilous paragraph from a petty newspaper, published in a neighboring dependent colony of a foreign Power, the object of which was to reflect on the proceedings, though not then known, of his own Government. The honorable gentleman has told you that in *76, when {.." population was but about two millions, you had more than forty-six thousand regular troops in service; and now, when your population is more than threefold, and your pecuniary resources greatly increased, it is proposed to raise thirty-five thousand only, and yet an alarm is made about supporting them, &c.; and he asks “If we are at the maximum of our capacity; and whether an occasion does not exist to call out a force as great as our capacity would enable us?” &c. - Mr. C. o according to the information he had obtained on the subject, the forty-six thousand men in service in 1776, were not all regular troops, but including all descriptions of troops then employed under public authority. He could not, however, perceive how the number employed in 1776 should regulate the number now to be raised. The object then was, to shake off the shackles of slavery that enchained the people of this country, and were about being rivetted on them with additional severity. It was a great effort to resist the oppression of a powerful nation, having at the time, and claiming the right to hold the actual government of the country; and possessing a disposable force, which it was known she intended to employ for the subjugation of the people of this country, much greater than their population or means could be supposed equal to resist. The question, then, with the American people, was not what force would be necessary to bring into service, but what force the exertion of their utmost energies could oppose to their powerful enemy. , Such is not the question at this time; no one denies, the ability of the nation to bring into actual service, and also provide for their support, if the occasion required it, not only thirty-five thousand, but one hundred thousand men. Seven millions of people, with. the pecuniary resources of this country properly managed, could not be really oppressed by the employment and support of one hundred, thousand men for such term as it is reasonable to suppose the war would continue. But the question now ought to be, what number of troops, and of what description, is requisite to accomplish, in due time, and with sufficient certainty, the objects you have in view, and

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