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Resolved, That it is expedient to admit all that tract effect of loading it with the imputations of wasteful ex| pense and comparative inefficiency.
of country, bounded north by a line drawn due east from the river Yazoo, where it unites with the Mississippi, to the river Chatahouchy, and down said river to the thirty-first degree of latitude; thence, along said degree of latitude, to a point opposite the river Perdido ;
thence to the confluence of said last mentioned river,
lates to the naval force of the United States and to the defence of our maritime frontier, made the
following report in part: “The committee to whom was referred so much of the President's Message of the 5th of November, 1811, as relates to the defence of the maritime frontier, report in part, that two communications from the Secretary of War, which accompany, this report, which were made in reply to the queries propounded by the committee, contain the best information on the subject which they have been able to collect. That one of them contains an enumeration of the permanent fortifications which have been completed or commenced, with remarks on the troops necessary to garrison them. That, for the completion of works already commenced, no further appropriation is requisite. But that some additional works are deemed necessary, the precise extent of which cannot at present be determined; for which, and for contingent objects of defence on our maritime frontier, in the event of hostilities, the committee recommend an appropriation of one million of dollars; and the committee for that purpose beg leave to report a bill entitled “a bill making further appropriation for the defence of our maritime frontier.”
..Mr. Cheves, from the committee to whom was referred so much of the President’s Message as relates to the Naval Establishment, made the following report:
That the subject referred to your committee in its several relations presents a question of the highest importance to the interests of the people of this country, inasmuch as it embraces one of the great and leading objects of their Government; that which, above all others, laid the foundation of the happy union of these States. Your committee need hardly say they mean the protection of maritime commerce; an interest which, though when superficially viewed, seems to af. fect only the Atlantic portions of the country, yet really
extends as far as the utmost limits of its agriculture,”
and can only be separated from it, in the opinion of your committee, by a total blindness to the just policy of Government. The important engine of national strength and national security which is formed by a naval force, has hitherto, in the opinion of the committee, been treated with a neglect highly impolitic, or supported by a spirit so languid, as, while it has pre
served the existence of the establishment, has had the
No system has hitherto been adopted, which, though limited by the dispensing security of the times, and the just economy of our Republican institutions, was yet calculated to enlarge itself gradually with the progress of the nation's growth in population, in wealth, and in commerce, or expand with an energy proportioned to a crisis of particular danger.
Such a course, impolitic under any circumstances, is the more so when it is demonstrably clear that this nation is inevitably destined to be a naval power, and that the virtue of economy, if no other motive could be found, would recommend a plan by which this force must be gradually increased, the necessary expenses diminished, and durability and permanency given to the strength which they may purchase.
That a naval, protection is particularly secured to the interest of commerce by our great political compact, is proved by that part of the Constitution which expressly gave to Congress the power “to provide and maintain a navy,” and is confirmed by the history of the times, and the particular circumstances which led, to its institution; but it is alike secured by the fundamental nature of all Government, which extends to
every interest under its authority a protection (if within
the nation's means) which is adequate to its preservation; nor is this protection called for only by the partial interests of a particular description of men or of a particular tract of country. A navy is as necessary to protect the mouths of the Mississippi, the channel through which the produce of the agriculture of the Western States must pass to become valuable, as the bays of the Chesapeake and Delaware, and more necessary than on the shores of the Eastern or the Southern States. * It has, indeed, been urged, your committee are aware, that a Naval Establishment is forbidden by the great and burdensome expenditures of public money which, it is said, will be required to support it, and by the inability of the country, by any expenditure to maintain a navy which can protect its maritime rights against the power of Great Britain. The first objection appears to your committee to be founded on a mistaken assumption of the fact; for in their opinion a naval force within due limits and under proper regulations will constitute the cheapest defence of the nation. The permanent fortifications necessary to the defence of the ports and harbors of the Union will cost, in the opinion of your committee, as much annually, if properly provided and garrisoned, as the naval force which, it is confidently believed, on the testimony of persons competent to decide, would be amply sufficient to prevent all attacks from reaching our shores. It will thus furnish the most appropriate, adequate, and cheap protection against a foreign enemy, and will at the same time be perfectly innoxious to the public liberty and the private morals of the country; dispense almost entirely with a standing army, so hostile to the genius of our free institutions, and remove the standing vices and evils of camps and garrisons from the cities on our seacoast; cherish a noble body of mariners, who in honorable peace will spread the sails of a prosperous and vivifying commerce on every sea, and in necessary war terribly avenge their country's wrongs. The other objection your committee suppose to be founded on an imperfect examination of the subject; for those who are best able to form opinions on this matter, from congenial professional pursuits, as well
as a particular knowledge of the marine of Great Britain, declare that she cannot, at any time, spare more than a very limited force for the American station : one which can be effectually resisted by an establishment which may be supported by this Government without a great direct expense, while in its effects it will greatly more than reimburse to the national wealth, the sums which may be drawn from it for this object; protect our harbors from insult, our coasting trade from spoliations, and give us the dominion of a sea on our borders which we ought to call our own, and defend with our cannon.
To detail all the reasons on which this opinion is founded, would, perhaps, not be in the power of your committee, who are in part governed by the opinions of men of experience and professional skill, (often among the best grounds of human faith, but not always equally communicable :) but the leading facts and principles on which it is founded, are too plain and obvious to labor under this difficulty. The history of all times proves the inability of Great Britain or any other Power to station a large force in remote seas; for, independent of the necessity which always exists for its presence in more proximate quarters, could the former nation place the whole of her thousand ships on our coast, she would be unable, in a state of hostility with the United States, competently to supply even a considerable squadron of them, for any duration of time, with the least regard to the efficiency of the service, and without a wasteful and ruinous expense: let those who hold a different opinion declare how and from whence?
To the defence of your ports and harbors and the protection of your coasting trade should be confined, in the opinion of your committee, the present objects and operations of any navy which the United States can or ought to have. In this view our advantages are great and manifest. Looking along our extended line of coast, from the northeastern to the southern extreme of our territory, we discover in quick succession ports and harbors furnishing in abundance every supply for active and constant service; in which to concentrate by mutual advice and information, which can be transmitted with the greatest certainty and speed, the forces of different stations, to attack the enemy in detail when his vessels may be scattered; and in which our ships may find refuge and security when approached by a force so much superior as to forbid a combat. To enter no further into details, it is obvious that, from these advantages, the power and efficiency of an American Navy must be double its nominal proportion to that of an assailing enemy. But your committee beg leave to observe, that it would be unworthy the magnanimity of the nation to look only at one Power, and forget that it stands in the relation of an independent sovereignty to other nations, against whom, unless man change his nature and cease to be violent and unjust, it may be necessary to array the national force on that element where the injury may be suffered and where alone it can be avenged or redressed. With this view your committee have not considered this subject with regard only to the practicable and advisable preparation for the present momentous crisis, which, whatever it may be, must be greatly inadequate, for the reasons already stated; but the object of the committee is to recommend a system which shall look to futurity, and though limited by the present situation and means of the country, have a capacity to be enlarged in proportion to the growing wealth, commerce, and population
of the nation. Your committee are, at the same time, not unaware that some of those who are unfriendly to a navy, ground their opposition rather upon its future
permanent establishment, than on its present expense.
But your committee will only observe, that the wisdom of that policy seems to reach as far beyond reasonable practicable views, as it will probably fall short of the attainment of its object. . To restrain the great energies of such a number, as this country possesses, of the best seamen the world ever beheld, and such a mass of tonnage as Great Britain herself has not boasted more than twenty years, will as much transcend the feeble efforts of the politician as it would be beyond his power to create them; they are formed by the high behest of beneficent nature, nurtured by our wise, free and happy, public institutions, and can only perish with the latter. - - * * Your committee, however, admit, that it will neither be politic nor practicable to swell the Naval Establishment of this country to the size of our desires or of our necessities; but a grudual increase of it is, in their opinion, within the most limited means, and within the obvious policy of our Government, and in attempting this some present addition will be made (too little— much too little, they lament) to the best strength of the nation, and as a measure of preparation for this crisis of danger. -With these observations, and with a full, detailed, and useful report of the Secretary of the Navy, in reply to questions propounded, by your committee, they beg leave to recommend, that all the vessels of war of the United States, not now in service, which are worthy of repair, be immediately repaired, fitted out, and put into actual service: - That ten additional frigates, averaging thirty-eight guns, be built; that a competent sum of money be appropriated for the purchase of a stock of timber, and that a dock, for repairing the vessels of war of the United States, be established in some central and convenient place. ” They also beg leave to report a bill, entitled “A bill concerning the Naval Establishment.” o
"Mr. Cheves then presented a bill concernin the Naval Establishment; which was twice rea and committed. -- . . . . . . . FOREIGN RELATIONS, The House resumed the consideration of the
The fifth resolution, yesterday adopted, respecting the Navy, was referred to the Committee of the Whole, to whom was this day committed the bill concerning the Naval Establishment; and the fourth, respecting authorizing the Executive to call out detachments of militia, was referred to the Committee of Foreign Relations to report a bill.
The House then proceeded to consider the sixth and last resolution reported by the committee, in the following words:
“6. That it is expedient to permit our merchant vessels, owned exclusively by resident citizens, and commanded and navigated solely by citizens, to arm under #. regulations, to be prescribed by law, in self-defence, against all unlawful proceedings towards
them on the high seas.”
Mr. WRight moved to amend the resolution, by adding thereto the following:
Wednesday, December 18.
Mr. RhEA presented petitions from Louisiana Territory, in favor of the second grade of Government.—Referred.
The consideration of the unfinished business of yesterday, respecting arming merchantmen, &c., was called for; when it was, on motion of Mr. RANDolph, ordered to lie on the table.
Mr. Portes, from the Committee on Foreign Relations, to whom was committed the bill from
the Senate, “completing the existing Military Es- |.
tablishment,” reported the same without amendment.—Committed to a Committee of the Whole to-morrow. On motion of Mr. JENNINGs, the Committee on the Public Lands were instructed to inquire into the expediency of establishing another district, for the disposal of the public lands, by a division of the district of Kaskaskia; to report by bill or otherwise. Mr. Macon, from the Committee of Ways and Means, presented a bill allowing additional compensation to the Postmaster General; which was read twice, and committed to the Committee of the Whole on the bill to continue in force, for a further time, the act fixing the salaries of certain officers of Government therein mentioned.
BATTLE on THE wabAsh.
Mr. ORMsby moved the following resolution: Resolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire whether any, and if any, what provision ought to be made by law for paying the officers and soldiers of the militia who served under Governor Harrison, in the late expedition against the Indians on the Wabash, to compensate them for the loss of horses, and for the relief of the widows and orphans of those who fell in the action of the seventh of November last; and that they have leave to report by bill or otherwise. The said resolution was read, and ordered to lie on the table. Mr. McKee moved the following resolution: Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to cause to be laid before this House such information as may be in the possession of the Government, and proper to be communicated, on the following points: 1. Any evidence tending to show whether any and what agency the subjects, either public or private, of any foreign Power, may have had in exciting the Indians on the Western frontier to hostility against the United States; 2. The evidence of hostility towards the United States, on the part of the Shawanee Prophet and his adherents, anterior to the commencement of the late camign against them, under the command of Governor arrison; *
3. The orders and authority vested in Governor Harrison by the United States, under which the late expedition against the Indians was carried on; and such other information relating to the subject, as, in the opinion of the President, may be proper to be communicated to this House.
The resolution was read, and ordered to lie on the table.
The House resumed the consideration of the report of the committee of conference made on. the 11th instant, together with the message from the Senate adhering to their amendments to the bill on this subject. • A motion was made by Mr. RANDolph, to refer the bill and report to a Committee of the Whole, and negatived. A motion was then made by Mr. Fisk, that this House do recede from their disagreement to the amendment of the Senate. After much debate, the question was determined in the affirmative–yeas 72, nays 62, as follows YEAs—William Anderson, Stevenson Archer, Daniel Avery, Ezekiel Bacon, Josiah Bartlett, William W. Bibb, Abijah Bigelow, Harmanus Bleecker, Adam Boyd, Elijah Brigham, Epaphroditus Champion, Martin Chittenden, Thomas B. Cooke, John Davenport, jr., Roger Davis, Samuel Dinsmoor, William Ely, James Emott, William Findley, James Fisk, Asa Fitch, Thomas R.
Gold, Charles Goldsborough, Isaiah L. Green, Bolling
Hall, Obed Hall, John A. Harper, John M. Hyneman, Richard Jackson, junior, Joseph Kent, Philip B. Key, Lyman Law, Peter Little, Robert Le Roy Livingston, Aaron Lyle, Alexander McKim, Arunah Metcalf, James Milnor, Sam’l L. Mitchill, Jonathan O. Moseley, William Paulding, jr., William Piper, Timothy Pitkin, jr., Benj'n Pond, Peter B. Porter, Elisha R. Potter, Josiah Quincy, William Reed, Henry M. Ridgely, Samuel Ringgold, William Rodman, Ebenezer Sage, Thomas Sammons, Ebenezer Seaver, Adam Seybert, Samuel Shaw, John Smilie, George Smith, Silas Stow, William Strong, Lewis B. Sturges, George Sullivan, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, Peleg Tallman, Uri Tracy, Charles Turner, jr., Pierre Van Cortlandt, jr., Laban Wheaton, Leonard White, William Widgery, and Robert Wright. NAxs—Willis Alston, jr., John Baker, David Bard, Burwell Bassett, William Blackledge, Thomas Blount, James Breckenridge, Robert Brown, William A. Burwell, Wm. Butler, John C. Calhoun, Langdon Cheves, James Cochran, John Clopton, Lewis Condit, William Crawford, John Dawson, Joseph Desha, Elias Earle, Meshack Franklin, Thomas Gholson, Peterson Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, Felix Grundy, Aylett Hawes, Jacob Husty, Richard M. Johnson, William R. King, Abner Lacock, Joseph Lefever, Joseph Lewis, junior, William Lowndes, Nathaniel Macon, George C. Maxwell, Thos. Moore, Archibald McBryde, William McCoy, Samuel McKee, James Morgan, Jeremiah Morrow, Hugh Nelson, Anthony New, Thomas Newbold, Thomas Newton, Stephen Ormsby, Joseph Pearson, Israel Pickens, James #. jr., John Randolph, John Rhea, John Roane, Jonathan Roberts, John Sevier, Daniel Sheffey, John Smith, Richard Stanford, Philip Sort, George M.Troup, Robert whitehill, David R. Williams, Thomas Wilson, and Richard Winn. so the House agreed to recede from their disa
greement to the Senate's amendment, which of course prevails, and the ratio is fixed at 35,000.
Thursday, December 19.
Mr. Baker presented two petitions of sundry inhabitants of the city and county of Washington, praying that the act of the State of Maryland, laying a tax on marriage licenses of four dollars may be revived in Washington county, in the District of Columbia, and that the money, thus collected may be applied to the use of schools.Referred to the Cémmittee for the District of Columbia. The SPEAKER laid before the House a resolution of the Legislature of the State of Vermont, ratifying and confirming an amendment proposed by Congress to the Constitution of the United States, concerning the acceptance of titles of nobility from foreign Powers, by citizens of the United States. . . Mr. PoindextER moved tion: Resolved, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the conduct of Harry Toulmin, Judge of the District of Washington, in the Mississippi Territory, and report whether, in their opinion, he has so acted, in his official capacity, as to require the interposition of the Constitutional powers of this House; and that said committee have power to send for persons and papers. The resolution was read, and ordered to lie on the table. Mr. RhEA presented a resolution of the Legislature of the State of Tennessee, disapproving of
the amendment proposed by Massachusetts to the,
Constitution of the United States, limiting the duration of any act laying an embargo within the United States; disapproving of the amendment proposed by Virginia to the said Constitution, respecting a removal from office of the Senators of the United States; disapproving of the amendment proposed by Pennsylvania to the said Constitution, for the erection of a tribunal to determine controversies between the General and State Governments; and approving of the amendment proposed by Congress to the said Constitution, concerning the acceptance of titles of nobility by citizens of the United States from foreign Powers,
A Message was received from the President of the United States, transmitting two letters received from Governor Harrison, of the Indiana Territory, reporting the particulars of the issue of the expedition under his command on the Wabash. The Message and letters were read, and referred to Mr. McKee, Mr. Sevier, Mr. Breckenridge, Mr. MoRRow, Mr. Alston, Mr. Lefever, and Mr. Maxwell, to consider and report thereon to the House. * *
The House proceeded to consider the report of the Committee on the Public Lands, made the 26th ultimo; and the resolutions therein contained were specially concurred in by the House, as follows: - -
Resolved, That provision ought to be made by law for the appointment of commissioners, on the part of the United States, to act with such commissioners
the following resolu
as the Commonwealth of Virginia may appoint, to ascertain, and finally determine and fix the Western boundary line of the Virginia military tract, according to the true intent and meaning of the condition of the deed of cession from Virginia to the United States, touching the military reservation between the rivers Scioto and Little Miami. Resolved, That provision ought to be made by law to prevent the issuing of patents on surveys executed in virtue of Virginia military warrants, west of the boundary line designated by the act of Congress of the 23d March, one thousand eight hundred and four. • Resolved, That, in the event of the said existing boundary line being found by the said commissioners to exclude landsbelonging to the Virginia military tract, the said commissioners shall ascertain the quantity and quality of the land so excluded, and shall have power to locate other unappropriated lands equal in quantity and quality ; which lands shall be liable to location under Virginia military land warrants, from and after the - day of - - Ordered, That a bill be brought in, pursuant to the said resolutions; and that the Committee on the Public lands do prepare and bring in the same. On motion by Mr. Burwell, Resolved, That the President of the United 'States be requested to cause to be laid before this House, by the proper officers, a statement of the capital employed in the Indian trade ; the amount of annual purehases, sales, and articles, received in payment; together with the number, names, and salaries, of agents employed, the places where stationed, and specifying, as far as practicable, the state of the trade at each place for the last four years. - * * Messrs. Burwell and BLEEcker were appointed a committee to present the said resolution to the President. -
* Foreign RELATIONs.
The House resumed the consideration of the sixth resolution, reported by the Committee of Foreign Relations, in the following words: “6. That it is expedient to permit our merchant vessels, owned exclusively by resident citizens, to arm, under proper regulations, to be prescribed by law, in self-defence, against all unlawful proceedings towards them on the high seas.” - * : Mr. Findley withdrew his motion to postpone the same to the first Monday in March. Mr. WRight withdrew the amendment he had proposed, and moved to strike out these words: “in self-defence against all unlawful proceedings against them on the high seas.” Mr. ARcher.—The sixth resolution of the Committee of Foreign Relations being now on its passage, I must express my sorrow that I am compelled to obtrude my humble observations upon the fatigued patience of the House, and the more exhausted patience of the nation. As I shall vote against the resolution, I feel it to be my indispensable duty to detail to the House the reasons by which my vote shall be actuated. Many honorable members may, perhaps, conceive that it would be more proper for me to reserve my remarks for the bill, when it shall be reported; but, sir, I have ever held it to be my sacred duty to
oppose, even in its incipient state, every measure which may be hostile to the rights, or dangerous
to the interests of my country, lest, by not seem
ing to oppose, my conduct should be construed into an encouragement of such a measure. For what purpose, sir, let me ask, have we adopted the resolution preceding this 2 Was it for the purpose of destroying the Government? Was it that the members #. . should sheath their swords in the bowels of the liberties of their country 7. Who will impute to this body so disgraceful a motive? Are you about to raise a standing army, not for the purpose of making ..". for war, but with a view of intimi. ating, Great Britain to recede from her unjust infractions of our neutral rights? Do not think that she will be intimidated by any preparations which you can make, however formidable they
may be. . She knows, too well, your conduct:
heretofore, to believe you are in earnest. . She knows that, many years ago, you resolved to resist, but that this honorable determination terminated in an empty resolution. She knows, too well, that you have been, heretofore, prodigal in words, and parsimonious in spirited action. I do not set myself up for a prophet; but, mark me, if it be not true, that Great Britain will not do you justice till you carry the war out of this hall into the heart of her colonial territories. .
Under the firmest conviction, then, as I am, that war between the United States and Great Britain—if we have any respect for our honor as a nation—will be an event of inevitable consequence, I have in vain searched for the reasons which would induce us to authorize our merchant vessels to arm against all unlawful molestations on the high seas. As the resolution is, in its nature, general, every man must see, on the contrary, the dangers necessarily attendant upon the adoption of such a measure. You are now on the very verge of war, and you should, there. fore, be careful not to multiply your enemies. You may, by possing this resolution, make France your enemy. You may enlist Denmark and other Powers of Europe against you. This is an event which would be deeply deprecated; and, that it should happen, is nothing improbable; for your merchants, armed as they !". in defence of their commerce, may select the nation who is to be your enemy. If they are molested in their commerce, whether lawful or unlawful, they will be disposed to resist. At any rate, they will be the
judges of the juncture when their interests may
call for the interposition of force, and will exercise that force according to their own whims and caprices. They sail on the ocean clothed with national authority, and for their actions, whether lawful or unlawful, you will be compelled to answer. Sir, I respect the highly honorable occupation of a merchant, but am not disposed to earry that respect so far as to give my sanction to the adoption of a measure which may jeopardize the peace, and endanger the interests o
try. If this resolution were to authorize an arming against Great Britain alone, this argument would have no effect; but as it has a view to a
general arming against all nations, this reasoning is conclusive on my mind, and must operate in the same way upon all men who will give the subject a dispassionate consideration. The consequences of such a measure are plain and obvious. Now, let us examine whether there exists any reason sufficiently powerful to outweigh these considerations. What is the object, and the only one too, as stated by the honorable chairman of the Committee of Foreign Relations, (Mr. Porter.) for the adoption of this measure ? Your vessels will be armed and prepared for privateering the moment war shall be declared. Why, sir, do you think the merchants will believe that you really intend to go to war 3 And, if they doubt upon this subject, do you suppose they will be so regardless of their own interests as to expend their capital in fitting out privateers, when no absolute certainty exists that war is your object, or your serious intention ? - It would, certainly, be an object of no inconsiderable moment to have privateers prepared to harass and disturb the commerce of Great, Britain in the event of war. If this be your object, you are taking a very improper course to obtain it. Is such be your object, take some decided and energetic step which will convince even the incredulous that you will resort to the sword to obtain justice, and your end will soon be effected. But, do not depress the hopes and temporizing system. What is the spirit that breathes in the five resolutions which have been adopted—resolutions which were in entire accordance with my feelings? Is it not a spirit of war? Do they not bear a hostile aspect? Are they not calculated to induce Great Britain to believe that forbearance on our part has terminated, and that we are resolved, unless she speedily extend to us full and ample justice, to decide the contest by the sword? Have you anything to hope, by operating upon the minds of the rulers of that nation, a conviction that you are boasti p longer ? If you do entertain such a o you, do not adopt this measure—a measure which will show her the fluctuation of our opinions, and the repugnancy of our plans; a measure which will lull to sleep her fears of war, and convince her not only of your indecision, but of your timidity to unsheath your sword in defence of rights clear and undisputed, and in avenging injuries too glaring for the dignity and honor of a nation to submit to. Are the wishes of this nation to be unattended to ? Ought we not to relieve its anxieties? Or, are we to tantalize their hopes with energy in one law and imbecility in another ? Are the merchants to be told we will protect their commerce 7 By what ? By granting them a right which nature has already given to them? Is commerce to be protected by abridging the natural rights of the people? Is this measure no abridgement of their rights 3 Does it not confine the legality of arming to resident citizens alone? Look at the measure as you please, it is a dead letter. Is this the period of
of the nation by sanctioning this tame, imbecile,