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ted States-part of Georgia, of the old thirteen States-where citizens have been taken, not from our ships, but from our actual territory. When gentlemen bave taken the padlock from our mouths, I shall be ready to tell them what I will do, relative to our dispute with Britain, on the law of nations, on contraband, and such stuff.
the Chesapeake and the Hudson, will be invested by British squadrons. Will you call on the Count De Grasse to relieve them, or shall we apply to Admiral Gravina, or Admiral Villeneuve to raise the blockade? But you have not only a prospect of gathering glory, and what seems to the gentleman from Massachusetts, much dearer, profit, by privateering, but you will be able to make a con- I have another objection to this course of proquest of Canada and Nova Scotia. Indeed! Then, ceeding. Great Britain, when she sees it. will say sir, we shall catch a Tartar. I confess, however, the American people have great cause of dissatisI have no desire to see the Senators and Repre-faction with Spain. She will see by the documents sentatives of the Canadian French, or of the furnished by the President, that Spain has outraged tories and refugees of Nova Scotia, sitting on this our territory, pirated upon our commerce, and imfloor or that of the other House-to see them prisoned our citizens; and she will inquire what becoming members of the Union, and par icipa- we have done? It is true, she will receive no ting equally in our political rights. And on what answer. but she must know what we have not done. other principle would the gentleman from Massa- She will see that we have not repelled these outchusetts be for incorporating those provinces with rages, nor made any addition to our army and navy us? Or on what other principle could it be done -nor even classed the militia. No, sir not one under the Constitution? If the gentleman has of your militia generals in politics has marshalled no other bounty to offer us for going to war, than a single brigade. the incorporation of Canada and Nova Scotia with the United States, I am for remaining at peace. What is the question in dispute? The carrying trade. What part of it? The fair, the honest, and the useful trade that is engaged in carrying our own productions to foreign markets, and bringing back their productions in exchange? No, sir. It is that carrying trade which covers enemy's property, and carries the coffee, the sugar, and other West India products, to the mother country. No, sir, if this great agricultural nation is to be governed by Salem and Boston, New York and Philadelphia, and Baltimore and Norfolk and Charleston, let gentlemen come out and say so; and France is at war with England-suppose her let a committee of public safety be appointed from power on the continent of Europe no greater than those towns to carry on the Government. I, for it is on the ocean. How would she make her enone, will not mortgage my property and my lib-ery feel it? There would be a perfect non-conerty, to carry on this trade. The nation said so seven years ago-I said so then, and I say so now. It is not for the honest carrying trade of America, but for this mushroom, this fungus of war-for a trade which, as soon as the nations of Europe are at peace, will no longer exist, it is for this that the spirit of avaricious traffic would plunge us into
Although I have said it would be time enough to answer the question which gentlemen have put to me when they shall have answered mine, yet as I do not like long prorogations I will give them an answer now. I will never consent to go to war for that which I cannot protect. I deem it no sacrifice of dignity to say to the Leviathan of the deep-we are unable to contend with you in your own element, but if you come within our actual limits we will shed our last drop of blood in their defence. In such an event I would feel, not reason, and obey an impulse which never has, which never can deceive me.
ductor between them. So with the United States and England-she scarcely presents to us a vulnerable point. Her commerce is now carried on for the most part in fleets-where in single ships they are stout and well armed-very different from the state of her trade during the American war, when her merchantmen became the prey of paltry privateers. Great Britain has been too long at I am forcibly struck on this occasion by the re-war with the three most powerful maritime nations collection of a remark made by one of the ablest (if not the honestest) Ministers that England ever produced. I mean Sir Robert Walpole, who said that the country gentlemen (poor meek souls!) came up every year to be sheared-that they laid mute and patient whilst their fleeces were taking off-but that if he touched a single bristle of the commercial interest, the whole stye was in an uproar. It was indeed shearing the hog-"great cry and little wool,"
of Europe not to have learnt how to protect her trade. She can afford convoy to it all-she has eight hundred ships in commission, the navies of her enemies are annihilated. Thus this war has presented the new and curious political spectacle of a regular annual increase (and to an immense amount) of her imports and exports, and tonnage and revenue, and all the insignia of accumulating wealth, whilst in every former war, without exception, these bave suffered a greater or less dimBut we are asked, are we willing to bend the inution. And wherefore? Because she has driven neck to England; to submit to her outrages? No, France, Spain, and Holland from the ocean. Their sir. I answer, that it will be time enough for us to marine is no more. I verily believe that ten Envindicate the violation of our flag on the ocean, glish ships-of the-line would not decline a meeting when they shall have told us what they have done with the combined fleets of those nations. I forein resentment of the violation of the actual terri- warn the gentleman from Massachusetts and his tory of the United States by Spain-the true ter- constituents of Salem, that all their golden hopes ritory of the United States, not your new-fangled are vain. Iforewarn them of the exposure of their country over the Mississippi, but the good old Uni-trade beyond the Cape of Good Hope (or now
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look big at an insult on your flag three thousand miles off?
doubling it) to capture and confiscation-of their unprotected seaport towns, exposed to contribution or bombardment. Are we to be legislated But, sir, I have yet a more cogent reason against into war by a set of men, who in six weeks after going to war, for the honor of the flig in the nar its commencement may be compelled to take ref- row seas, or any other maritime punctilio. It uge with us up in the country? And for what? springs from my attachment to the Government A mere fungus-a mushroom production of war under which I live. I declare, in the face of day, in Europe, which will disappear with the first re- that this Government was not instituted for the turn of peace-an unfair trade. For is there a man purposes of offensive war. No! It was framed so credulous as to believe that we possess a capital (to use its own language) "for the common denot only equal to what may be called our own fence and the general welfare," which are inconproper trade, but large enough also to transmit to sistent with offensive war. I call that offensive the respective parent States the vast and wealthy war, which goes out of our jurisdiction and limproducts of the French, Spanish and Dutch colo- its for the attainment or protection of objects, not nies? It is beyond the belief of any rational being. within those limits, and that jurisdiction. As in But this is not my only objection to entering upon 1798 I was opposed to this species of warfare, bethis naval warfare; I am averse to a naval war with cause I believed it would raze the Constitution to any nation whatever. I was opposed to the naval its very foundation-so, in 1806. I am opposed to war of the last Administration, and I am as ready it, and on the same grounds. No sooner do you to oppose a naval war of the present Administra-put the Constitution to this use-to a test which tion. should they meditate such a measure. What! it is by no means calculated to endure-than its shall this great mammoth of the American forest leave his native element and plunge into the water in a mad contest with the shark? Let him beware that his proboscis is not bitten off in the engage ment. Let him stay on shore, and not be excited by the muscles and periwinkles on the strand, or political bears, in a boat to venture on the perils of the deep. Gentlemen say will you not protect your violated rights? and I say why take to water. where you can neither fight nor swim. Look at France-see her vessels stealing from port to port on her own coast-and remember that she is the first military Power of the earth, and as a naval people second only to England. Take away the British navy, and France to-morrow is the tyrant of the ocean.
This brings me to the second point. How far is it politic in the United States to throw their weight into the scale of France at this moment, from whatever motive-to aid the views of her gigantic ambition-to make her mistress of the sea and land-to jeopardize the liberties of mankind? Sir, you may help to crush Great Britain, you may assist in breaking down her naval dominion, but you cannot succeed to it. The iron sceptre of the ocean will pass into his hands who wears the iron crown of the land. You may then expect a new code of maritime law. Where will you look for redress? I can tell the gentle. man from Massachusetts that there is nothing in his rule of three that will save us, even although he should out-do himself, and exceed the financial ingenuity which he so memorably displayed on a recent occasion. No, sir, let the battle of Actium be once fought, and the whole line of seacoast will be at the mercy of the conqueror. The Atlantic, deep and wide as it is, will prove just as good a barrier against his ambition, if directed against you, as the Mediterranean to the power of the Cæsars. Do I mean (when I say so) to crouch to the invader? No! I will meet him at the water's edge, and fight every inch of ground from thence to the mountains-from the mountains to the Mississippi. But after tamely submitting to an outrage on your domicil, will you bully and
incompetency becomes manifest, and apparent to all. I fear if you go into a foreign war, for a circuitous, unfair carrying trade, you will come out without your Constitution. Have not you contractors enough yet in this House? Or, do you want to be overrun and devoured by commissaries, and all the vermin of contract? I fear, sir, that what are called "the energy men" will rise up again-men who will burn the parchment. We shall be told that our Government is too free; or, as they would say, weak and inefficient. Much virtue, sir, in terms! That we must give the President power to call forth the resources of the nation. That is, to filch the last shilling from our pockets-to drain the last drop of blood from our veins, I am against giving this power to any man, be he who he may. The American people must either withhold this power, or resign their liberties. There is no other alternative. Nothing but the most imperious necessity will justify such a grant. And is there a powerful enemy at our doors? You may begin with a First Consul. From that chrysalis state he soon becomes an Emperor. You have your choice. It depends upon your election whether you will be a free, happy, and united people at home, or the light of your Executive Majesty shall beam across the Atlantic in one general blaze of the public liberty.
For my part, I will never go to war but in selfdefence. I have no desire for conquests-no ambition to possess Nova Scotia. I hold the liberties of this people at a higher rate. Much more am I indisposed to war, when, among the first means for carrying it on, I see gentlemen propose the confiscation of debts due by Government to individuals. Does a bona fide creditor know who holds his paper? Dare any honest man ask himself the question? 'Tis hard to say whether such principles are more detestably dishonest, than they are weak and foolish. What, sir, will you go about with proposals for opening a loan in one hand, and a sponge for the national debt in the other? If, on a late occasion, you could not horrow at a less rate of interest than eight per cent, when the Government avowed that they would
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pay to the last shilling of the public ability, at at home reaping their own fields-the fruits of what price do you expect to raise money with an their labor and industry-there is little danger of avowal of these nefarious opinions? God help their being induced to go sixteen or seventeen you, if these are your ways and means for carry-hundred miles in pursuit of beavers, raccoons, or ing on war! if your finances are in the hands of opossums, much less of going to war for the privsuch a Chancellor of the Exchequer. Because a ilege. They are better employed where they are. man can take an observation, and keep a log-book This trade, sir, may be important to Britain, to and a reckoning; can navigate a cock-boat to the nations who have exhausted every resource of West Indies, or the East, shall he aspire to navi- industry at home, bowed down by taxation and gate the great vessel of State-to stand at the wretchedness. Let them, in God's name, if they helm of public councils? Ne sutor ultra crepidam. please, follow the fur trade. They may. for me, What are you going to war for? For the carrying catch every beaver in North America. Yes, sir, trade? Already you possess seven-eighths of it. our people have a better occupation-a safe, profWhat is the object in dispute? The fair, honest itable, honorable employment. While they should trade, that exchanges the product of our soil for be engaged in distant regions in bunting the beaforeign articles for home consumption? Not at all. ver, they dread lest those whose natural prey they You are called upon to sacrifice this necessary are should begin to hunt them, should pillage branch of your navigation, and the great agricul- their property, and assassinate their Constitution. tural interest-whose handmaid it is to jeop- Instead of these wild schemes, pay off your debt, ardize your best interests for a circuitous com- instead of prating about its confiscation. Do not, merce, for the fraudulent protection of belligerent I beseech you, expose at once your knavery and property under your neutral flag. Will you be your folly. You have more lands than you know goaded, by the dreaming calculations of insatiate what to do with, you have lately paid fifteen milavarice, to stake your all for the protection of this lions for yet more. Go and work them, and cease trade? I do not speak of the probable effects of to alarm the people with the cry of wolf, until war on the price of our produce. Severely as we they become deaf to your voice, or at least laugh must feel, we may scuffle through it. I speak at you. of its reaction on the Constitution. You may go to war for this excrescence of the carrying trade, and make peace at the expense of the Constitution. Your Executive will lord it over you, and you must make the best terms with the conqueror that you can. But the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. GREGG) tells you that he is for acting in this, as in all things, uninfluenced by the opinion of any Minister whatever foreign, or, I presume, domestic. On this point I am willing to meet the gentleman-am unwilling to be dictated to by any Minister, at home or abroad. Is be willing to act on the same independent footing? I have before protested, and I again protest against secret, irresponsible, overruling influence. The first question I asked when I saw the gentleman's resolution, was, "Is this a measure of the Cabinet ?" Not of an open declared Cabinet; but, of Gentlemen talk of 1793. They might as well an invisible, inscrutable, unconstitutional Cabi- go back to the Trojan war. What was your sit net, without responsibility, unknown to the Con- uation then? Then every heart beat high with stitution. I speak of back-stairs influence of sympathy for France, for republican France! I men who bring messages to this House, which, am not prepared to say, with my friend from although they do not appear on the Journals, gov- Pennsylvania, that we were all ready to draw cur era its decisions. Sir, the first question that I swords in her cause, but I affirm that we were asked on the subject of British relations, was, prepared to have gone great lengths. I am not What is the opinion of the Cabinet? What ashamed to pay this compliment to the hearts of measures will they recommend to Congress?the American people, even at the expense of their (well knowing that whatever measures we might take, they must execute them, and therefore, that we should have their opinion on the subject.) My answer was. (and from a Cabinet Minister too.) There is no longer any Cabinet." Subsequent circumstances, sir, have given me a personal knowledge of the fact. It needs no commentary. But the gentleman has told you that we ought to go to war, if for nothing else, for the fur trade. Now, sir, the people on whose support he seems to calculate, follow, let me tell him, a better business, and let me add, that whilst men are happy
Mr. Chairman, if I felt less regard for what I deem the best interests of this nation than for my own reputation, I should not, on this day, have offered to address you, but would have waited to come out, bedecked with flowers and boquets of rhetoric, in a set speech. But, sir, I dreaded lest a tone might be given to the mind of the com mittee-they will pardon me, but I did fear, from all that I could see or hear, that they might be prejudiced by its advocates, (under pretence of protecting our commerce) in favor of this ridicu lous and preposterous project; I rose, sir, for one, to plead guilty; to declare in the face of day that I will not go to war for this carrying trade. I will agree to pass for an idiot if this is not the public sentiment, and you will find it to your cost, begin the war when you will.
understandings. It was a noble and generous sentiment, which nations like individuals are never the worse for having felt. They were, I repeat it. ready to make great sacrifices for France. And why ready? Because she was fighting the battles of the human race against the combined enemies of their liberty; because she was performing the part which Great Britain now, in fact, sustains, forming the only bulwark against universal dominion. Knock away her Navy, and where are you? Under the naval despotism of France, unchecked and unqualified by any an
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tagonizing military power; at best but a change But, sir, why do I talk of Spain? There are of masters. The tyrant of the ocean, and the ty ant of the land, is one and the same, lord of all, and who shall say him nay, or wherefore doest thou this thing? Give to the tiger the properties of the shark, and there is no longer safety for the beasts of the forest or the fishes of the sea. Where was this high anti-Britannic spirit of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, when his vote would have put an end to the British treaty, that pestilent source of evil to this country? and at a time, too, when it was not less the interest than the sentiment of this people to pull down Great Britain and exalt France. Then, when the gentleman might have acted with effect, he could not screw his courage to the sticking place. Then England was combined in what has proven a feeble, inefficient coalition, but which gave just cause of alarm to every friend of freedom. Now the liberties of the human race are threatened by a single Power, more formidable than the coalesced world, to whose utmost ambition, vast as it is, the naval force of Great Britain forms the only obstacle.
no longer Pyrenees. There exists no such nation, no such being as a Spanish King, or Minister. It is a mere juggle, played off for the benefit of those who put the mechanism into motion. You know, sir, that you have no differences with Spain; that she is the passive tool of a superior Power, to whom, at this moment, you are crouching. Are your differences, indeed, with Spain? And where are you going to send your political panacea, resolutions and handbills excepted, your sole arcanum of Government, your king cure all? To Madrid? No-you are not such quacks as not to know where the shoe pinches to Paris. You know, at least, where the disease lies, and there you apply your remedy. When the nation anxiously demands the result of your deliberations, you hang your head and blush to tell. You are afraid to tell. Your mouth is hermetically sealed. Your honor has received a wound which must not take air. Gentlemen dare not come forward and avow their work, much less defend it in the presence of the nation. Give them all they ask, that Spain exists-and what then? After shrinkI am perfectly sensible and ashamed of the tres-ing from the Spanish jackall, do you presume to pass I am making on the patience of the Commit- bully the British lion? But here the secret comes tee; but as I know not whether it will be in my out. Britain is your rival in trade, and governed power to trouble them again on this subject, I must as you are by counting-house politicians, you beg leave to continue my crude and desultory ob- would sacrifice the paramount interests of the servations. I am not ashamed to confess that they country, to wound that rival. For Spain and are so. At the commencement of this session, we France you are carriers, and from good customreceived a printed Message from the President of ers every indignity is to be endured. And what the United States, breathing a great deal of na- is the nature of this trade? Is it that carrying tional honor, and indignation at the outrages we trade which sends abroad the flour, tobacco, colhad endured, particularly from Spain. She was ton, beef, pork, fish, and lumber of this country, specially named and pointed at. She had pirated and brings back in return foreign articles necesupon your commerce, imprisoned your citizens, sary for our existence or comfort? No, sir, it is violated your actual territory; invaded the very a trade carried on-the Lord knows where, or by limits solemnly established between the two na- whom ; now doubling Cape Horn, now the Cape tions by the Treaty of San Lorenzo. Some of of Good Hope. I do not say that there is no the State Legislatures, (among others the very profit in it-for it would not then be pursued— State on which the gentleman from Pennsylvania but it is a trade that tends to assimilate our manrelies for support.) sent forward resolutions pledgners and Government to those of the most coring their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, in support of any measures you might take in vindication of your injured rights. Well, sir, what have you done? You have had resolutions laid upon your table, gone to some expense of printing and stationery-mere pen, ink, and paper, that's all. Like true political quacks, you deal The first thing that struck my mind, when this only in handbills and nostrums. Sir, I blush to resolution was laid on the table, was unde derivasee the record of our proceedings; they resemble tur? A question always put to us at school. nothing but the advertisements of patent medi- Whence comes it? Is this only the putative facines. Here you have "the worm-destroying ther of the bantling he is taxed to maintain, or, lozenges," there Church's cough drops ;" and, indeed, the actual parent, the real progenitor of to crown the whole, Sloan's vegetable specific," the child? Or, is it the production of the Cabian infallible remedy for all nervous disorders and net? But, I knew you had no Cabinet, no sysvertigoes of brain-sick politicians; each man ear- tem. I had seen despatches relating to vital meanestly adjuring you to give his medicine only a sures laid before you the day after your final defair trial. If, indeed, these wonder-working nos-cision on those measures, four weeks after they trums could perform but one-half of what they promise, there is little danger of our dying a poInical death, at this time at least. But, sir, in politics as in physics, the doctor is ofttimes the Imost dangerous disease; and this I take to be our case at present.
rupt countries of Europe. Yes, sir, and when a question of great national magnitude presents itself to you, it causes those who now prate about national honor and spirit to pocket any insult; to consider it as a mere matter of debit and credit; a business of profit and loss, and nothing else.
were received; not only their contents, but their very existence, all that time unsuspected and unknown to men whom the people fondly believe assist with their wisdom and experience at every important deliberation. Do you believe that this system, or rather this no-system, will do? I am
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free to answer it will not, it cannot last. I am not serve attention in deciding it." Here, sir, is an so afraid of the fair, open, Constitutional, respon- apology of the writer for not disclosing the whole sible influence of Government, but I shrink intu- extent of his learning, (which might have overitively from this left-handed, invisible, irresponsi-whelmed the reader) is the admission that a ble influence, which defies the touch, but pervades change of circumstances, ("in the course of comand decides everything. Let the Executive come merce,") has made (and, therefore, will now jusforward to the Legislature; let us see while wetify) a total change of the law of nations. What feel it. If we cannot rely on its wisdom, is it any more could the most inveterate advocate of Engdisparagement to the gentleman from Pennsylva-lish usurpation demand? What else can they nia to say that I cannot rely upon him? No, sir, require to establish all, and even more than they he has mistaken his talent. He is not the Pali contend for? Sir, there is a class of men-we nurus on whose skill the nation, at this trying know them very well-who, if you only permit moment, can repose their confidence. I will have them to lay the foundation, will build you up, step nothing to do with his paper, much less will I by step, and brick by brick, very neat and showy, endorse it, and make myself responsible for its if not tenable arguments. To detect them, it is goodness. I will not put my name to it. I assert only necessary to watch their premises, where that there is no Cabinet, no system, no plan; that you will often find the point at issue surrendered, which I believe in one place, I shall never hesi-as in this case it is. tate to say in another. This is no time, no place, Again: Is the mare liberum anywhere asserted for mincing our steps. The people have a right in this book, that free ships make free goods? No, to know; they shall know the state of their af-sir; the right of search is acknowledged; that fairs; at least, as far as I am at liberty to commu- enemy's property is lawful prize, is sealed and denicate them. I speak from personal knowledge. livered. And, after abandoning these principles, Ten days ago there had been no consultation; what becomes of the doctrine that a mere shifting there existed no opinion in your Executive de- of the goods from one ship to another, the touchpartment; at least, none that was avowed. On ing at another port, changes the property? Sir, the contrary, there was an express disavowal of give up this principle, and there is an end of the any opinion whatsoever, on the great subject be-question. You lie at the mercy of the conscience fore you; and I have good reason for saying that none has been formed since. Some time ago, a book was laid on our tables, which, like some other bantlings, did not bear the name of its father. Here I was taught to expect a solution of all doubts, an end to all our difficulties. If, sir, I were the foe-as I trust I am the friend of this nation-I would exclaim, "Oh, that mine enemy would write a book!" At the very outset, in the very first page, I believe, there is a complete abandonment of the principle in dispute. Has any gentleman got the work? [It was handed by one of the members.] The first position taken is the broad principle of the unlimited freedom of trade between nations at peace, which the writer endeavors to extend to the trade between a neutral and a belligerent Power, accompanied, however, by this acknowledgment: "But, inasmuch as the 'trade of a neutral with a belligerent nation, might, in certain special cases, affect the safety of its antagonist, usage, founded on the principle of necessity, has admitted a few exceptions to 'the general rule." Whence comes the doctrine of contraband, blockade, and enemy's property? Now, sir, for what does that celebrated pamphlet, "War in Disguise"-which is said to have been written under the eye of the British Prime Min-time. ister-contend, but this "principle of necessity?" And this is abandoned by this pamphleteer at the very threshold of the discussion. But, as if this were not enough, he goes on to assign as a reason for not referring to the authority of the ancients, "that the great change which has taken 'place in the state of manners, in the maxims of war, and in the course of commerce, make it pretty certain" (what degree of certainty is this?) "that either nothing will be found relating to the 'question, or nothing sufficiently applicable to de
of a Court of Admiralty. Is Spanish sugar, or French coffee, made American property, by the mere change of the cargo, or even by the landing and payment of the duties? Does this operation effect a change of property? And when those duties are drawn back, and the sugar and coffee re exported, are they not (as enemy's property) liable to seizure upon the principles of the "Examination of the British doctrine," &c.? And, is there not the best reason to believe, that this operation is performed in many, if not in most cases, to give a neutral aspect and color to the merchandise?
I am prepared, sir, to be represented as willing to surrender important rights of this nation to a foreign Government. I have been told that this sentiment is already whispered in the dark, by time-servers and sycophants. But, if your Clerk dared to print them, I would appeal to your Journals. I would call for the reading of them, but that I know they are not for profane eyes to look upon. I confess that I am more ready to surrender to a naval Power a square league of ocean, than to a territorial one, a square inch of land within our limits; and I am ready to meet the friends of the resolution on this ground at any
Let them take off the injunction of secrecy. They dare not. They are ashamed and afraid to do it. They may give winks and nods, and pretend to be wise, but they dare not come out and tell the nation what they have done. Gentlemen may take notes if they please, but I will never, from any motive short of self-defence, enter upon war. I will never be instrumental to the ambitious schemes of Bonaparte, nor put into his hands what will enable him to wield the world, and on the very principle that I wished success to