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nations, should we in the same manner proportion our naval strength; on the basis of numbers, we are entitled to thirty ships-of-the-line and seventy frigates.
Some gentlemen are in favor of abandoning commerce to itself. Let commerce take care of itself, say they. If the merchant cannot pursue his occupation in safety and to advantage, let him quit it, retire from the seaports and take hold of the plough. As well might we tell our brethren of the West:-If the Indians harass you, and you cannot pursue your agricultural concerns, come here to our ports, and take to the smack and the fishing-line for support. No, sir, we are not to abandon our different occupations, but to be tected in them.
nothing past that this argument can be drawn. Where was ever a nation possessed of naval force, whose navy was ever wholly destroyed? Look to all the minor Powers of Europe; I mean minor in naval importance. They may have been partially injured, or greatly crippled, but none of them have been destroyed; although so much nearer to points of collision than we are.
Sir, we are a nation increasing with rapidity in wealth, numbers, and general prosperity. It will indeed be strange, if we expect as we grow great to gain respectability by our pusillanimity. No, sir, the only, or certainly the most sure way, of gaining the respect of other nations, is by pro-adopting the means that all nations adopt to become great; it is by our power that we are to be I hardly should think the request of our mer-respected, and our rights and liberties maintained. chants unreasonable, if they should hold to you language of this sort: All your revenue is derived from us; give us a naval defence in proportion to the amount of our tonnage, and to the revenue you receive from us. Such a naval defence would very far exceed a hundred large armed vessels. But such is not the demand; their request amounts to but a small part of what can be afforded; a gradual increase of our navy, the expense of which will hardly be felt; which will in part be paid by the additional revenue arising from additional defence and security. Much revenue has been sacrificed for want of naval defence, and hereafter, in proportion to the increase of our commerce will be the increase of our losses, unless that commerce be fostered by a protecting navy. Great Britain knows the nature of our Government, and its wishes to maintain peace; she expects we shall show our resentment, and seek our redress by the passing some species of non-intercourse act. Let us, sir, disappoint her; the disappointment will have a good effect.
Some gentlemen have supposed the present Executive of the United States unfriendly to commerce. The belief must be unfounded in correctness. No man can believe this after reading the President's report, made while he was Secretary of State. He is friendly to our commerce, and must be friendly to its protection.
A navy equal to that of Great Britain is neither needed nor expected by our merchants, who are anxious for a navy as the only efficient defence against all nations. In future times, if wars cannot be avoided, (and a power to wage war is the best security for peace,) when we may be opposed to England, the other Powers of Europe will be with us; when acting with England against other Powers our force will be irresistible. I believe, sir, that if ever the enormous and gigantic power of the British Neptune is to be curtailed, it must be the work of Americans. Yes, sir, our naval commanders are destined hereafter to reap laurels for victories obtained over British ships. When an armed neutrality was formerly projected, bad we then possessed a navy, we might probably have rendered much assistance in checking the naval power of England. They have become the tyrants of the ocean; they have a sway over the seas, far beyond what they ought to possess; it is necessary to lessen that power; and ought we not to yield our proportion of force for that purpose?
We talk much of favoring and protecting the rights of man. Has man no rights on the ocean? Have not our citizens rights on the water as well as on the land? We seem to have one right, and only one, on the water; it is, sir, the right to suffer and complain; we have abundance of this
There are many gentlemen, who, under the Ad-right. ministration preceding the present, were much opposed to the creation of a navy. They wish to preserve consistency, and hence continue their opposition. But, are not cases altered by circumstances? What might have been highly improper then, may be strictly proper and necessary
Gentlemen, and among others the honorable Speaker, have said that we are now about commencing a new system. Surely this is not a question about the creation of a navy. A navy we already have. It commenced under the former Administration; it has been continued by this. The question is, shall we or shall we not increase that navy to meet the exigency of our affairs?
It is said that a naval force tends to the provocation of insults and injuries; and unless it be im mense, it must soon be destroyed. It is from
Gentlemen may say that our debt will increase with our navy; and that we shall be unable to pay our national debt as soon as promised. The present Administration, or the present dominant party, if I may so call it, is pledged for the payment of the national debt within a limited time. Sir, I consider such pledge most impolitic. Surely, if we should be invaded, or, if any other great exigency should demand it, we should not hesitate to go millions in debt. This pledge, this promise, can be dispensed with then. And when more than now was there a call for dispensing with this impolitic engagement? When were our rights more insulted? England trampling on them; and Spain threatening to shut up our ports with half a dozen line of-battle ships. I will ask, suppose Spain or Great Britain should attempt to block up the Chesapeake, or the port of New York, what could be done? Our frigates could do noth
ing to resist the assault. No, sir, the whole of them would be incompetent to meet the foe. Nor must we always depend on the hostility of foreign nations towards each other, even for a partial de17 fence of our commerce. If we have an efficient force, we shall be respected, our commercial rights will be maintainable, and our alliance courted by other nations. Let us then set our shoulders to the burden; and in the hour of difficulty, if necessary, look round for friends and allies.
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If we ask, what plan of defence is urged by the usage of all other nations? the answer is obvious.
I have, sir, doubts of the efficacy of a non-importation act. While aiming to starve the manufacturers of England, let us advert to our own sufferings. We may starve the butcher and the baker, but shall we not injure our own health. What gainers shall we thereby be? or how will our merchants be redressed by such measures; how will An increase of the navy would also have a our farmers thus find markets? I might not obgood domestic effect. Many of our merchants ject to restrictions on importations, so far as is are opposed to the present Administration, erron- consistent with the preservation of peace; but no eously viewing it as inimical to commerce; but, further will I go till we are prepared for war. If 1 sir, the present Administration are friends to com- we do this, we may expect that commercial men mercial rights; has not diminished the navy, nor will patriotically submit; especially if they can look has it ever been the opinion of the Executive forward to the short time when the whole comthat it ought to be diminished. His communica-munity will submit to the expense of supporting tion relative to seventy-four-gun ships all under- that which is the principal support of all." stand.
Some have said that the liberties of a people were liable to be overthrown by a navy. I cannot discover that it has the least tendency that way. Generals have overthrown the liberties of nations, but I certainly never read of an admiral that made himself a despot. I believe history affords no such examples.
If it should be contended that the creation of a navy would lead to the odious and tyrannical practice of impressing seamen, I would ask what is the important difference between impressing men to go on board your armed vessels and fight your battles, and draughting men, to go. perhaps. into the front ranks of the warmest engagement? In either case, you compel men to fight where they do not wish. But I do not think there is any danger of our being under the necessity of ever entering on the practice of impressing. If it were now necessary to man thirty line-of battle ships, I have no doubt men enough would voluntarily come forward impatient for battle, and supply all our wants of this description. Our brave mariners have their feelings; they feel an indignation like that which the merchants feel, and like that which this House, I trust, also feels.
Sir, I must repeat that we are but one. I voted for the bill prohibiting intercourse with St. Domingo; I considered the bill as calculated to have a favorable effect on the Southern States. That bill may partially injure some persons at the Northward, concerned in trade with that island; but, in giving my vote, I was governed by the good of the whole. I hope, also, that gentlemen of agricultural habits in the Southern States will consider the subject of defensive measures with an | enlarged and national view.
There is no nation in the world so enterprising as America; no nation has so rapidly increased in commerce, and in new resources of commercial enterprise, as has this nation within the last fifteen years. Our prosperity, I had almost said our all, depends on commerce. You must not, you cannot, compel the merchant to abandon his pur suits; it is contrary to his right, and contrary to your interest; contrary to contract; therefore you must protect his rights.
We are becoming, sir, every day less the customers, and more the rivals of Great Britain. The means of defending our commerce must be eventually wholly naval. We need never fight Great Britain single-handed, but we want that kind of defence which is a protection not only against England, but against every other Power, and that kind of defence to which, after all our sufferings on the ocean, we shall be ultimately compelled to resort.
Some may object to naval coalitions, on the ground that such coalitions are generally fruitless and unsuccessful. But, sir, this has not always been the case. Did Britain always rule? No, sir; Spain and Holland have also had their day; and a De Ruyter and a Van Tromp have vanquished and triumphed as completely as have ever a Nelson or a Rodney.
I believe the best mode of protection will be line-of-battle ships and frigates; these will give greater security to our ports and harbors, than the erection of land batteries. I am not, however, opposed to gunboats; they may do much by way of defence in shallow waters, and may be useful anywhere, and are easily concentrated to a point. Much is expected from us by the nation; the only question can be, what manner of redress and defence shall be adopted; but, whatever may be the final decision on the important questions before us. I sincerely hope that a spirit of candor, liberality, and harmony, may actuate our proceedings, and lead us to a correct decision.
Mr. SLOAN.-I think the arguments of the gentleman who has just now taken his seat perfectly refutable by a single observation. I have not the spirit of prophecy, but I have the power of retrospection. Look at the Powers of Europe, whose naval forces are inferior to that of Great Britain; when did they ever gain a great victory over the English navy? Never. And judging from what is past, what will come, they never will conquer that enormous naval force.
Mr. EARLY.-The gentleman from Massachusetts fears we shall not divest ourselves of local feelings, in discussing and deciding on this subject. I apprehend he has no cause for this fear. This subject is one in which we are all nearly
equally interested. The Northern States have their Boston and New York; the Middle States their Philadelphia and Baltimore; the Southern States their Norfolk, Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah; and the Western States New Orleans: this cannot be a local question.
By the report of the Secretary of War, it appears that $1,500,000 have been expended on the different fortifications; and that three ports only are in a state of defence; Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. It also appears, by the report, $107,000 have been expended at Newport on fortifications, which are now greatly out of repair, and which, when repaired, can be of no service; there being three good channels by which vessels may enter the harbor, and these batteries being altogether unable to annoy an enemy's ship except in one channel.
We have expended $1,500,000 on fortifications, and not more than one-eighth part of that sum has had any good effect. I consider the sum of $150,000 as insufficient for any valuable purpose, nor do I believe that the annual appropriation of this sum for many years yet to come, would be of essential service in defending our ports at large. I should be in favor of this mode of defence, if I thought it would be of utility. If I thought the port of New York alone could be defended by the appropriation of the whole sum mentioned in the resolution, I would cheerfully vote for it; I would cheerfully vote for double that sum; four-fifths of the produce of the State I have the honor in part to represent (Georgia) goes to that port; $340,000 have been expended on the fortifications of that port, and the works are of no utility-a picaroon might pass to the city without much molestation. According to the report of the Secretary of War,
the harbor of New York cannot be defended on account of the width of the Narrows, or entrance into the port. Our ports are not susceptible of defence by land batteries. If they were, I should cheerfully vote for this, or much larger sums.
Mr. VARNUM spoke in favor of the resolution. Mr. CLINTON moved that the Committee should rise, to allow further time for examining the subject.
Mr. ELMER opposed, and Mr. MACON supported this motion, which was carried.
Mr. DAWSON gave notice that he would again call up the subject on Thursday next.
MONDAY, March 3.
The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, transmitting a report and sundry statements, prepared in pursuance of the resolutions of the House of the third, fifth, and seventh ultimo, which were read, and ordered to be referred to the consideration of a Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union.
The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter and report from the Postmaster General, on the petition of Henry Weist, referred to him by an order of the House, of the twenty-eighth ultimo, which were read, and ordered to lie on the table.
Mr. J. CLAY, from the committee appointed on the twenty-seventh ultimo, presented a bill authorizing the purchase of certain copies of the Journals of Congress, which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the whole House to-morrow.
Mr. THOMPSON called for the order of the day on the bill authorizing the erection of a bridge
over the Potomac.
Mr. G. W. CAMPBELLl moved to postpone the bill till Thursday. Motion lost-yeas 36, nays 43. Mr. C. then moved to postpone it till to-morrow.
Mr. SMILIE, and Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL, SUPported, and Mr. THOMPSON and Mr. Lewis opposed it.
Mr. GOLDSBOROUGH moved its postponement till Wednesday. On this last motion the House divided-yeas 44, nays 47.
On postponing the bill till to-morrow, the House divided-yeas 43. Lost; when the House resolv ed itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
A petition of sundry inhabitants of the county of Washington, in the District of Columbia, was presented to the House and read, praying, that that part of the county of Washington, now in the District of Columbia, which formerly made part of the county of Montgomery, in the State of Maryland, may be receded to the said State.
Ordered, That the said petition be referred to the Committee of the whole House, to whom was committed, on the twelfth ultimo, a motion to recede to the States of Maryland and Virginia the District of Columbia.
Mr. GREGG, from the Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred, on the twentyninth of January last, the petitions of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Assistants, of the city of Natchez; of the Board of Trustees of Jefferson College, in the Mississippi Territory; and of William Dunbar, of the said Territory, made a report thereon;
New York Slate Company-Merrimack River.
which was read, and referred to a Committee of the whole House on Monday next.
A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed the bill, entitled "An act for the relief of the Governor, Judges, and Secretary, of the Indiana Territory," with several amendments; and the bill, entitled "An act relating to bonds given by Marshals," with several amendments, to which they desire the concurrence of this House.
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that the importation of the former is continued. And can the petitioners reasonably expect that such extravagant high duties should be imposed on the importation of foreign slate as will amount to a prohibition of the article? The committee hope the petitioners have formed no such expectations. In the United States, no monopolies exist, and none ought ever to be permitted to exist. If a duty, amounting to a prohibition, enhanced in price, just so much as the difference may is laid on foreign slate, the American slate will be be between the old and new duty; indeed, it is fair Mr. SLOAN, from the committee to whom was referred the bill imposing a tax on slaves import-ence; having the whole market themselves, it might to presume, the price would go beyond that differed into the United States, reported a new bill. A be in the power of the manufacturers of slate, in this motion was made to reject it. Lost-yeas 24. country, to augment the cost of that article to the purOn making it the order for the 4th of July, mo- chaser beyond all reasonable bounds. ved by Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS, the House divided -yeas 34, lost. When the bill was made the order for Monday.
Mr. GREGG, said he had determined to move this day that the House should go into a Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, with the view of taking into consideration the resolution which he had some time since offered. [On a non-importation of British goods.] At the request, however, of some gentlemen, and inasmuch as the day was already considerably advanced, he said he would not make this motion to-day, but he gave notice he should make it to-morrow.
NEW YORK SLATE COMPANY. Mr. CROWNINSHIELD, from the Committee of Commerce and Manufactures, to whom was referred the petition of the Dutchess County Slate Company, in the State of New York, made the following report:
Imported slate is now charged with a duty of seventeen and a half per cent. ad valorem. In the opinion of the committee, no sufficient reason exists to recommend any addition to this duty. The interests of other persons than those who would be immediately benefitted by the augmentation of the price, are to be consulted in deciding on the merits of this question. The purchaser or consumer must ultimately pay the whole duty; he ought not to be prevented from buying foreign slate, if he prefers it to that of his own country. If the duty is raised considerably, the American manufacturer would have the entire command of the market, and would charge his own prices; competition would cease; the seller would be enriched, at the expense of the buyer, and having secured a monopoly to one class of manufacturers, others might expect similar favors. Such a policy cannot be approved in this country. However, notwithstanding the expression of these opinions, if the existing duty was not deemed to be sufficiently high to afford an advantage to the AmeriI can slate, (the charges on the importation of foreign slate being at the same time considered as adding greatly to the price,) the committee would probably have been induced to propose some addition, though not to the extent prayed for by the petitioners.
If Congress intended to raise the duties, generally, on articles imported from foreign countries, either with a view to new revenue, or as a further encouragement to domestic manufactures, the committee have no reason to suppose that slate would be omitted. As the committee are convinced that the manufacturers of slate are sufficiently protected already, and being perfectly satisfied that the increased or prohibitory duty on foreign slate would only enhance the price of the article, to their exclusive benefit, but to the manifest injury of the consumer, the following resolution is respectfully
The petitioners represent that, for four years past, they have been engaged in working and manufacturing slate, in the county of Dutchess, in the State of New York, and are proprietors of quarries containing an inexhaustible quantity, and of a quality superior to any heretofore discovered in this country. They have already advanced upwards of one hundred and twenty thousand dollars, as a capital stock, for carrying on the business, and employ a great number of workmen and laborers. The petitioners state that slate is now getting into general use, in most parts of the United States, and they seem to be of opinion that the interests of our citizens, and the credit of our country, require that we should no longer be under the necessity of importing it from Europe. With a view, therefore, of checking the importation of foreign slate, and as an encour-submitted: agement to our own, they solicit that additional duties may be imposed on all slate imported from Europe. They recommend that a specific duty should be imposed, in preference to an ad valorem duty, on account of the exceedingly low price at which the slate is procured from the quarries in Wales.
Resolved, That the Dutchess County Slate Company of New York be permitted to withdraw their petition.
The report was agreed to.
MERRIMACK. RIVER. The committee find the House decided on a similar Commerce and Manufactures, reported on the peMr. CROWNINSHIELD, from the Committee of application from the New York and Dutchess County Slate Company, at the last session of Congress. The tition of the merchants of Newburyport, reprereport was unfavorable to the petitioners, and the House senting the inconveniences experienced in naviconfirmed the decision of the committee, and refused gating the Merrimack, and praying a reimburseto impose any additional duty upon imported state. ment of the expenses incurred by them in the It does not appear that any new arguments have been erection of two piers for facilitating the naviurged, in the present petition, to induce the committee gation of said river. The report states the erectto change their former opinion on the subject. The ion of the piers to have been undertaken, and petitioners confess that the price of foreign slate is now the expenditure of money to have been made, inreduced as low as that of American, but they complain | dependent of the direction of the United States.
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Potomac Bridge—Chesapeake and Delaware Canal.
Mr. ELY thought there appeared on the face of the report strong reasons in favor of the prayer of the petitioners, and moved, for the purpose of considering the case, a reference of it to the Committee of the whole House.
Mr. CROWNINSHIELD was in favor of the same course, and observed that he had been in the committee in favor of the claim.
Mr. EARLY opposed this course, and supported the immediate concurrence of the House in the report, on the ground stated therein.
Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL advocated a reference of the report to a Committee of the whole House, and expressed his opinion in favor of the applica
Mr. JOHN C. SMITH spoke in favor of a reference to a Committee of the whole House.
Mr. BIDWELL spoke against such a reference, and in favor of the report.
Mr. SLOAN took the opposite side of the question.
On the question being taken, a reference to a Committee of the whole House obtained-yeas 59.
The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill for the erection of a bridge across the Potomac.
The question was taken on limiting the maximum of future tolls to twenty-four per centum per annum, and carried-yeas 47, nays 43.
A motion was made to limit the corporation to fifty years, which after considerable debate was rejected-yeas 29.
amendments, some of which were agreed to and others rejected, the Commitee rose and reported their agreement to the bill.
WEDNESDAY, March 5.
The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, communicating the nature and extent of the services rendered to the captive crew of the late frigate Philadelphia, by the Danish Consul at Tripoli, in pursuance of a resolution of the House, of the fifth ultimo; which was read, and referred to Mr. CLARK, Mr. RICHARDS, and Mr. TALLMADGE
A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed a bil!, entitled “An act for the punishment of counterfeiting the current coin of the United States, and for other purposes" to which they desire the concurrence of this House.
Mr. NICHOLSON, presented a petition from the members of the Board of Commissioners of the county of Washington, in the District of Columbia, representing that great inconveniences had arisen from that part of the act incorporating the City of Washington which exempts city property from taxation for county purposes, and representing sundry other circumstances which, in their opinion, require Legislative interposition.-Referred to a select committee of five members.
Mr. DAWSON presented a petition from a number of citizens of Washington county, District of Columbia, praying that the President may be authorized to permit an enclosure of the unoccupied public ground in the City of Washington, on the Uni-condition of its cultivation and improvement.Referred to the committee appointed on the petition of the Board of Commissioners.
A motion was then made for a transfer, after a certain number of years, of the bridge to the ted States, on their indemnifying the company, which was likewise disagreed to-yeas 18.
A motion was made to limit the corporation to ninety-nine years, which was not agreed to.
Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL moved a new section, rendering the company liable to all claims of indemnity for injuries arising to private property from any obstruction of the navigation of the Potomac by the erection of the bridge. This motion was lost-yeas 12.
Mr. EARLY moved a new section, making it the duty of the company to keep the channel at the draw of the same depth as it now is, and, if suffered to become shoal, imposing on them a penalty of dollars for every week it shall be so suffered to continue. Motion lost-yeas 37, nays
Mr. SLOAN moved an additional section that in case the bridge shall fall into decay or be broken down, the said company shall be bound to remove the said materials out of the channel of the river, so that the navigation may not be obstructed thereby. This motion was likewise disagreed to
CHESAPEAKE AND DELAWARE CANAL. Mr. GREGG, from the committee to whom was petition of the President and Directors of the referred, on the twenty-eighth of January last, the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Company, made the following report:
That it appears a company has been incorporated by the respective States of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, for the purpose of forming a navigable Chesapeake and Delaware: that in pursuance of the canal over the isthmus, which separates the bays of
Mr. GOLDSBOROUGH moved an amendment, re- respectively, a large number of subscriptions were several acts of incorporation, passed by the said States, quiring one hundred thousand dollars to be sub-made by divers citizens of the United States, and scribed previously to the company commencing board of president and directors were duly elected for their operations, which, after debate, was disa- carrying the project into effect. greed to-yeas 40, nays 56.
After the proposition of a great variety of other
That the said president and directors, in pursuance of their appointment, have procured skilful engineers,