Abbildungen der Seite

H. OF R.

Military Courts.

MARCH, 1808.

of the mere say so of the person who uttered this, no occason for it--let each man act upon his own and equally sensible of the little weight that my ground." And yet, this alleged inconsistency in opinion would have in this House, opposed to his opposition is a reason for inferring that no opponaked assertion, for the gentleman did not con- sition ought to be made. It is expected, it seems, descend to tell us how the bill does not enlarge the that those who with so little success have attemptpowers of military courts. Yet, I aver that it does. ed to make proselytes from the majority, should And as I feel myself under the necessity (from at least convert each other. Suppose it done, the which that gentleman is happily exempt) of sup- result is still the same. For if one gentleman porting my opinions in this House by reason, (or oppose the bill for one reason and I for another, perhaps as the gentleman would chouse rather to whether he embraces my opinion or I his, we are style it, by “clamor,") I will proceed to state why, both still in opposition; unless indeed the arguI am extremely happy, if the epithet was intended ments are so balanced as by a sort of political equafor me, that I am able to clamor loud enough to tion to annihilate each other, or, like bodies of be heard in this spacious Hall, when I say that equal momentum, meeting in opposite directions, this bill does increase the power of the military both fall to the ground-thus leaving each party court, inasmuch as it subjecis to its commands the without any opinion whatever. It is urged that person of the citizen, heretofore exempt from them, an objection on the score of accommodation to by giving the military authority not merely the witnesses being removed, by reducing the sphere aid of the civil, but committiog the civil author- of personal attendance to one hundred miles, opity, as it were, into its custody. The civil author-position should cease. But, from what quarter did ity is the mere puppet of the military court in that objection come? From a gentleman who, bringing the witness before it; and this was one now that he has obtained his amendment, may, of my principal objections to the bill yesterday- and probably will, support the bill. Certainly that one which has since been illustrated and enforced gentleman has not been so unreasonable as to cavil much more ably than I could pretend to do it. against his own proposition. But does it follow This bill was brought in for the express purpose that this very amendment, so desirable to him, of providing for an existing defect of power in mil. may not be a cause of exception to another ? itary courts; and shall we be told, by those too Depositions, it is said, may be the means of who have presented it as a remedy for that defect, saving the life of an innocent man--and as they that it contains no such remedy-that it does not may save, so also they may take it away, and, enlarge their power! But this clamor i hat we are therefore, we object to them. The tone of voice "clamoring" against public measures, and against and the expression of countenance of a witness this bill as one of them, is totally lost upon me. is oftentimes more important than the naked It is not the first time that I have heard the charge words which he ulters. It is for this that the law -not within these walls, but within the walls of requires the witness to be confronted with the Congress. I recollect ihe time--perhaps the gen- accused, and subjects him to cross-examination. ileman himself recollects it; we then sat in Phil. But moreover, an artful and intriguing man, if adelphia-when, on an occasion not uplike the depositions be admitted, has an opporiunity to present, a learned gentleman, who now presides screen his guilt, or certainly may protract his trial upstairs, in the other House, (Mr. MARSHALL,) | to any indefinite period of time. accused me of “clamoring" against a bill that went Bui it is said, that you do not propose to give to enlarge the privileges of the military at the ex- the military, authority over the person of the citi. pense of those of the citizen. It has always been zen to bring him before them, in the first instance, the fashion with those " who feel power and for- nor to punish him for disobedience in the second get right,” to speak of all opposition to their un- that the process is civil, and the punishment to be lawful measures as a mere popular catch; and if inflicted by the civil court. Upon this reasoning the gentleman should ever get out of the major- the most terrible and infernal court that ever exity, (a case, indeed, hardly supposable,) he will isted, a religious court martial, may be justifiedfind this artillery turned against himself; as in a the loquisition! The holy fathers never imbrue fortress it is always turned, by those who have their hands in the blood of their victims; not they. gained possession, against those excluded from it. Their monkish garments are never stained with It is a coarse instrument, which the most clumsy such heretical dye. They only hand over the may wield. But it seems that these if clamors' wretch to the civil authority, and the secular arm are at war with each other, since some oppose the is raised to inflict their merciful sentence. Now, bill on this ground, some on that. And the gen- in like manner, suppose an obstinate witness handtleman (Mr. Nicholas) asks, how are these con- ed over by the military to the civil power, in this tradictory arguments to be reconciled ? I thought case the 'mere pandar, the cat's-paw (tó use a that, although not a very great while, he had stiil coarse but strong illustration) of the court martial. been long enough in opposition to know that it is He has stood mute, for instance, in their dread the chief benefit of that unhappy and proscribed presence. Shall the poor wretch suffer the pubstate, that measures may be opposed on differ-ishment said to have been inflicted in times of ent grounds, whilst those who support them must yore upon those who stood mute before a civil do it consistently. I have often heard it said iribunal? Shall he undergo the peine forte et by my worthy friend, (Mr. Macon) in former dure, with a weight upon his breast, giving him to times, when caucusses were upon the tapis, and drink of the ditch water nearest the jail, or rather enforced by the necessity of concert, "There is nearest to the halberts, and there left iill be ex

MARCH, 1808.

Military Courts.

H. OF R.

pires factibes is said to have before the old commin

to be totally inefficient, the chief objection to it law practice, (although for the honor of humanity will be the precedent-the principle which it esI hope it never was,) and yet the old punishment tablishes. But I had rather see it stified in its is hardly more monstrous than the new crime. I birth, than dying a lingering death from inherent do trust, however, that the courts of the United natural defect; a burden on our statute book. States will be found not to possess a mere discre- But we are told, over and over again, that this tion upon this subject, but to be under the obliga- bill is for the benefit of the militia. And I think tion of a solemn duty to refuse their aid in carry-one gentleman (to whom I really did not pay ing this unconstitutional and tyrannous law into very strict attention—as I could not conceive effect; and I venture to say that, should it pass, what relation the reports previous to the Presispirits would not be wanting sufficiently inde- dential election, seven years ago, or even the empendent to give them an opportunity of resisting bargo itself, although a more recent occurrence, the encroachment. It is impossible (whatever could have to this subject,) mentioned some proargument it may be supposed io afford for his im- visions in his native state giving power to courts peachment, or removal) that any judge of the martial. How long is it since the State of MaryUnited States can so far prostitute his function land had a regular army? What are State courts and his oath, as to punish a man for contempt- martial ? Almost civil tribunals, really for the not of him nor of his court whence the process benefit of the militia. But if it were proved that nominally issues, but of an arbitrary tribunal, to there exists an extremely oppressive regulation in which the person of the citizen cannot be lawfully a particular State, even although worse (which I subjected, but by his voluntary consent.

do not admit the one cited to be) than that conAmong the various objections to the details of tained in this bill, it is no more to the purpose this bill (and I am almost ashamed to mention than that, because by the law of South Carolina mine, after what we have heard) it is not the a witness may, as we are told, be committed to least with me, that when a freemaó is summoned close jail if he cannot give security for his appear. --a freeman, not a slave who has sold himself to ance, therefore, this bill ought to pass; nor can I be shot at for six pence a day-when a freeman is any more comprehend the argument, that because summoned before a court of law, by a subpæna the military code ought to be intensely severe in duces tecum, and gets into that court, he has not proportion as the people are free, therefore, we merely the aid of counsel, but is under the protec- should extend to the soldier the privileges of the tion of the court itself. He may object to pro- citizen. I can neither agree with the premises, ducing the paper in question, and state his reasons nor with the conclusion. Of one thing I am certherelor, upon which ti!e court must decide; not tain, that few men (I was about to have said no according to its arbitrary will, but by fixed, known man) can agree to both. principles of law, and upon that decision, accu- But when our militia are in actual service, how rately reported by professional men, the reputa- are courts martial to affect them? How are they tion of the judge is staked, not only as a man of to be tried? By their friends by their kinsmenlearoing but of integrity. If it be not evidence, by their neighbors—by their own officers; I might ' or if it tend to criminate the possessor, the court will say, and I do say, your articles of war to the connot compel him to produce it. But by this bill a trary notwithstanding-by. their equals. For I man goes (ex parte) to a judge, and satisfies him believe that when the militia are in actual service ibat you have some paper in your possession rela- l it would be more than any man's life is worth, tive to the point in dispåte; and upon his state- whatever be his rank, to attempt to govern them ment the judge issues his subpena duces tecum- by these articles of war-by the bloody scourge, to bring the paper before his court? Not at all. which may with impunity be whirled over the It is not ducere but ferre. You are not to bring heads of hapless slaves, of beings who have but to carry-and fetch and carry at the beck of sold their blood for halfpence-and sold it well military despotism. You are to be carried with too-base as the metal given in exchange for it. your papers into a court martial, where, without the regular army consists not of men like the the benefit of counsel, or law, your pockets may militia, but of the scouring of jails and lazarettos, be rummaged--rifled of their contents, whether not your own merely, but of Europe. On this evidence or not. This is a distinction which I subject I never had but one opinion, and I will meant to have taken yesterday between the mili- express it as long as it is agitated. This bill contary subpæna and the civil one; that when you cerns the militia! I am myself a militiaman and get into the court martial you are ruled by no ought not to be blind to my own benefit. The principles of law, for they are not bound to know militia have nothing to do with it; it was not inihem.' A military man does not implicate his tended for them—it is for men of different, totally character by pot having the qualifications neces- different character-men more susceptible of dissary for a judge-and accordingly, the civil court cipline; and that perhaps is the reason why, with becomes the blind instrument, whereby papers some, the militia is not a favorite instrument of may be forcibly extorted by the military tribunal, defence. Our substantial farmers and planters, which, if the parties were in the presence of the and their sturdy sons, cannot be managed like civil court, it would not suffer to be produced in brute cannot be driven by this favorite evidence. This is not only a supposable case, but discipline-discipline indeed with a vengeance must and will happen, if there be any efficiency in and I trust in God they never will. this bill. If, on the contrary, it should turn out It is a matter of very great surprise to me that

10th Con. Ist Sess. -58

H. of R.

Military Courts.

MARCH, 1808.

the first President of the United States—it is im- seph Calhoun, George W. Campbell, Richard Cutts, possible to pass over the name of that man with John Dawson, Josiah Deane, Joseph Desha, John W. out some expression of respect, and yet it is im- Eppes, William Findley, James Fisk, Meshack Frankpossible to express not merely what we ought, lin, Peterson Goodwyn, Isaiah L. Green, John Heister, but even what we feel-I say it is a matter of William Helms, James Holland, David Holmes, Bensurprise to me that this great and good man, who jamin Howard, Daniel Ilsley, Richard M. Johnson, Walso long presided at the helm of this Government, ter Jones, William Kirkpatrick, Nehemiah Knight, and in its infancy, the most arduous period of it, John Lambert, John Love, Robert Marion, William too; who waged a bloody war on the frontier, McCreery, John Montgomery, Nicholas R. Moore, Jereboth with militia and regulars-for then our situa- miah Morrow, John Morrow, Roger Nelson, Thomas tion was different from what it is now-we were Porter, John Rhea of Tennessee, Matthias Richards,

Newbold, Thomas Newton, Wilson C. Nicholas, John weak and the enemy was strong-with all his Ebenezer Seaver, Dennis Smelt, John Smilie, Jedohonest prejudices in favor of military life (for no diah K. Smith, John Smith, Henry Southard, Clemman more highly respects the real soldier than I ent Storer, John Taylor, George M. Troup, Daniel C. do, whatever I may think of those who sell their Verplanck, Jesse Wharton, Robert Whitehill

, Isaac birthright of freedom for a mess of pottage-a Wilbour, Alexander Wilson, and James Witherell. bare subsistence) with all his well-founded mili- Nars-Lemuel J. Alston, William Blackledge, tary partialities, and no man had stronger, should Thomas Blount, Epaphroditas Champion, Martin Chihave conducted this Government for eight years, tenden, Joseph Clay, Matthew Clay, George Clinton, and that then it should have fallen into che hands jr., John Clopton, Howell Cobb, John Culpepper, Samof a successor, of whom I will say no more than uel W. Dana, John Davenport, junior, Daniel M Durthat he had a very strong penchant for military ell, James Elliot, William Ely, Francis Gardner, Edforce; (as the books of our Treasury unfortunately win Gray, John Harris, William Hoge, Robert Jenkins, will show) whether he was calculated to figure James Kelly, Joseph Lewis, jun., Edward St. Loe Live at the head of an army, it is not necessary to say: ermore, Edward Lloyd, Matthew Lyon, Nathaniel that during all this time and under such circun. Macon, Josiah Masters, William Milnor, Daniel Montstances, it should never have been discovered gomery, jun., Thomas Moore, Jonathan 0. Mosely, until to-day that this power was necessary to

Gurdon S. Mumford, Timothy Pitkin, jun., Josiah courts martial. How happens it that this great Samuel Riker, John Rowan, James Sloan, Samuel

Quincy, John Randolph, John Rea of Pennsylvania, truth has slept so long? We waged a seven years' Smith, Richard Stanford, William Stedman, Samuel active war against Great Britain, and yet this im- Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, John Thompson, Abram portant truth never started into light under a Trigg, Jabez Upham, Archibald Van Horn, Killian K. Washington or Montgomery. It was destined to Van Rensselaer, David R. Williams, and Marmaduke be ushered in under far different auspices. I wish Williams. to be understood as having no reference to any of Resolved, That the title be, "An act concernthe co-ordinate authorities about us. If I were ing Courts Martial and Courts of Inquiry." disposed to take a range in that direction, which I certainly am not, ample opportunity has been afforded me by one of the friends of the bill, who

MONDAY, March 14. has declared to you that the reputation of the

Mr. Van Horn presented a petition of sundry Executive, as well as of the Commander-in-Chief, inhabitants of Washington county, in the District is staked upon the trial, to which this bill is in- of Columbia, praying that so much of an act of tended to be auxiliary. A declaration of this sort, Congress, passed the third of May, one thousand coming from a different quarter, would have met eight hundred and two, as directs that no writ of with a very different reception from this, then, capias ad satisfaciendum shall issue within the almost slumbering assembly. Made by certain said District, in any case where the sum does not gentlemen it would have roused a spirit of gen- exceed twenty dollars, may be repealed, for the eral asperity. I, however, deny it—I do not be reasons therein specified. The said petition was lieve it; I will not believe that the character of read, and ordered to be referred to the standing the President of the United States depends upon Committee for the District of Columbia, apthe trial, so often bandied about this House. I pointed on the twenty-seventh of January last. should be sorry that it did: or rather I ought to Mr. Macon said, he held in his band a resolution rejoice; for certainly no man's reputation could on a subject which he wished to present to the be in safer custody' than the reputation of the consideration of the House. It was, to direct President in such a case would be. It would be a committee of the House to inquire into the in the hands of those who are the breath of his propriety of allowing a larger discount for prompt nostrils, who live and breathe and have their very payment of the purchase money for public lands. existence and being in the sunshine of his favor, The present discount was eight per cent., not and over whose decisions he must finally exercise so great as the profit which was derived from complete and efficient control.

some stock of the United States; and thus an Mr. Fisk supported the bill and Mr. J. CLAY inducement was offered to withhold payment. opposed it, when the question was taken and the It seemed to him that it would be good policy at bill passed-yeas 61, nays 42, as follows: this time to allow a greater discount for payment YEAS–Evan Alexander

, Willis Alston, jr., Ezekiel of ready money. Influenced by these reasons he Bacon, David Bard, Joseph Barker, Burwell Bassett, offered the following resolution: John Boyle, William A. Burwell, William Butler, Jo- Resolved, That the Committee on Public Lands be

March, 1808.

The Mint-Foreign Relations.

H. OF R.

instructed to inquire into the expediency of allowing a The House concurred with the term of five greater discount to purchasers of public lands, for prompt years for its further continuance at Philadelphia, payment, and that they have leave to report by bill or after some observations of Mr. Lewis against it, otherwise.

58 to 28. And the bill was ordered to a third readThe resolution was then agreed to, without a ing to-morrow. division.


Mr. QUINCY.-It is my intention to offer a resoOn motion of Mr. GARDNER, the House went lution to be considered and adopted by this House. into a Committee of the Whole, 52 to 35, on the Its object is information concerning important bill to prolong the continuance of the Mint at public relations. And when it is recollected, that Philadelphia.

ihree times during the present session, motions, Mr. Love moved that the Committee rise, having a similar object, have been refused even report progress, and ask leave to sit again. consideration by the House, I shall not need an

The motion was supported by Messrs. Love, apology, if, availing myself of the common priviLewis, Key, and Nelson, and opposed by Messrs. lege, I make a preliminary elucidation of the Alston, Milnor, LIVERMORE, J. Clay, Smilie, principles which ought to induce the adoption of Kelly, and SOUTHARD.

such a resolution. The supporters of this motion wished the At a period like the present, when the least exHouse to rise in order to give time for procuring perienced eye can discern the clouds on our horicalculations, &c., to show the policy and expe- żon, and when every individual feels in his own diency of removing the Mint from Philadelphia embarrassments, and sees in those of others, ruin to Washington. The arguments in favor of this spreading over the country; if any principle be motion were nearly the same as those in favor of clear-if there be any, to which every man, of the continuance of the seat of Government at whatever party, must be compelled to assent, it is, Washington; in addition to that, the advantage that the official information, existing within the of water for carrying on the works was stated, country, touching any of our legislative duties, and which could not be had in Philadelphia. An should' be in the possession of this House. We objection to the passage of this bill also was, that ought to rest content with the concealment of a law is now in existence for prolonging the Mint nothing which can throw light on our path, and at Philadelphia till the 4th of March next; and aid us under the burden of a great legislative reby now continuing that law it would appear that sponsibility. This is no time for the reinements of gentlemen were afraid to trust the merits of its Constitutional delicacy. If we have reason to continuance at Philadelphia to an inquiry which think that we are suffered to remain in ignorance might be had in the meanwhile.

of important facts, there ought to be no further The opponents of the motion contended that delay in asking for the communication of them. a removal from Philadelphia would be impolitic This is the twentieth week of our session. If it in the extreme, inasmuch as bullion could not be be ever to have a close, its period cannot be far had at Washington; that the banks there were distant, certainly it will not be considered untoo limited in their operations; that the United timely to ask ourselves these questions--what is States now possessed property in Philadelphia, the state of our information concerving our forhouses, vaults

, &c., which could not be disposed eign relations, derived from official sources ?. In of to advantage; that the superintendents and what respect is it complete ; and in what is it deworkmen were residents at Philadelphia, probably ficient ? ' In replying to these ques:ions, I shall would not remove, and others certainly could not elucidate the principles of the resolution I mean be had at the seat of Government; that the ex- to offer. pense of removal, also, of materials, machinery, &c., When we take a view of those two great nations, and the erection of others here, would create a both of which so deeply interfere with our intervery great expenditure of money by the United ests, and so cruelly affect our rights, it is impossiStates. It was also contended that the law for ble not to perceive a remarkable difference in the the continuance of the Mint at Philadelphia ex- state of our information concerning our relations pired on the 4th of March last.

with each. Respecting Great Britain almost every The motion for rising of the Committee was thing, respecting France almost nothing, has been negatived by a large majority.

officially divulged. As to the former, there is Å motion was made by Mr. J. Clay to strike scarcelý any information we can ask, which we out of the bill 1809, the time at which the bill do not already possess. As to the latter, there is provides that the further prolongation shall com- scarcely any, of which we are not in want. So mence, and insert 1808, as the law was supposed far as it respects this House, (for on the degree of to have expired on the 4th of March last.- knowledge, which it is permitted the nation on Carried.

this subject to obtain, I say nothing) all the great The Committee rose and reported the bill as points of controversy with Great Britain, except amended; when the House agreed to consider what relates to the rejected treaty, have been comthe report, 64 to 23.

municated. Portions of the instructions of our Mr. Love moved that the further consideration Government to the American Minister; their deof the report of the Committee of the Whole be velopment of the negotiations and their view of postponed till to-morrow.-Negatived, yeas 29. the motives and principles of conduct of the Bri

H. OF R.

Foreign Relations.

MARCH, 1808.

tish Ministers; even the official replies of these past, and guilty of new injuries to us, obstructed Ministers as to the affair of the Chesa peake, to the Mobile, threatened the Mississippi, and with the remonstrances of ours, have not been withhol- her regular troops invaded the old territories of den. But altogether different is the state of things, the United States, carrying away our citizens in relation to France. Here all our informa- and their property. In all this annual develoption is the most scanty and meager. We have ment of our public relations, I observe but one only very unsatisfactory and partial explanations omission. There is no mention of France. Yet of her policy or her decrees. And we have not then, as now, she was the chief arbiter among the had communicated to us any of the correspon- nations of Europe; theopen ally of Spain; and in dence of our Minister at Paris, with the Ameri- various particulars, both her conduct and her can Government, touching either the one or the claims materially affected our rights. I should other, or illustrative of any of his sentiments, con- not notice this omission were it not characteristic. cerning the projects of France. In stating this The same occurs, in every other annual Message distinction between the state of our official knowls of the President, from that time to the present. edge respecting these nations, I would not be un- In none of them is there any direct allusion, much derstood, as at this time uttering a complaint, or less statement of our relations with France. Yet as impeaching the motives of the Executive in Tunis and Tripoli, the Barbary Powers, and our developing on the one side, and withholding on Indian neighbors, occupy a wide space, and make the other. Grant the ignorance, in which we a distinguished figure in all these communications. have been kept, as to our French relations, has I would not be thought to notice this omission thus far been wise, ought we to be content to re- for the purpose of asserting it was wise, or the main in it any longer ? If it can be made proba-contrary, nor yet to excite any suspicion of imble, much more if it can be made certain, that proper motives; but I state it' merely as a fact important information is in the possession of our materially evincing our want of official light on Government, which, from its nature, must have a the subject to which the resolution I offer refers. material influence on our deliberations, can we Happy would it be if the subsequent discoveries fulfil our duly, if we fail, in a Constitutional way, of the same session allowed us to believe that to make an exertion to obtain it ?

France even then was wholly inattentive to our With Great Britain we have now a specific nego- national course, and neither interfered with our tiation depending, and there may be reasons of State interests, por attempted to exert any influence at such a moment for refraining to give immedi- over them. But we are not permitted to indulge ate publicity to our relations with her. But, with such a delusion. In the succeeding month, by a France, no such negotiation exists. The decrees call from the Senate for documents concerning of the French Government'are public acts. Offi- the complaints of France against the trade of St. cial explanations of those decrees ought to have Domingo, it was discovered that, previous to that been demanded, and doubtless bave been given. Message, 'difficulties did exist between that Gore Mr. Armstrong's views of the disposition and in- ernment and ours relative to the exercise of our teptions of that Government, must have been commercial rights. The character of the French transmitted to ours. It is impossible that there Minister's language to our Government, commushould be, in the pature of things, any good rea- nicated in the Message of the 10th of January, son why this information should be concealed 1806, I shall not pretend to describe, but I will from this House; even supposing that it might cite some passages from his letters to our Secrebe wise to withhold it from the public.

tary of State contained in that Message. ConI fear the House do not realize the utter defi- cerning our trade with St. Domingo, Mr. Turreau ciency of our official knowledge, in this direction; says: "The only way open for the redress of these we are in the habit of collecting facts and state complaints, is to put an end to the tolerance ments from letters and newspapers, and other gen- which produces them." And again : “ Your sieral sources. We confound the result of these, lence towards me, and that of your Government with that which flows to us through official chan- ' towards Congress, imposes upon me the duty of nels; from which we ought to draw the great recalling to your recollection the said official certainties, on which should rest our public con- note, and of renewing to you my complaints upon duct. To enable the House to possess a general' an abuse as shocking as contrary to the law of view of our official knowledge on this side, I shall nations.” It is very remarkable that Mr. Turrecur to the first_session of the Ninth Congress, reau himself makes the silence of our Goveraand notice the Executive communications from ment to Congress” on the relations of his pation that period. Our foreign relations began about a subject of official complaint. Even the French that time materially to alter, from a peace to a Minister is not satisfied that his great nation should war aspect. At the opening of that session, in make no figure in this Annual Message. December, 1805, the Presideniof the United States, He proceeds: "France ought to expect from by annual Message, told us, that private armed the amity of the United States, and His Majesty ships, like pirates, were plundering our property, charges me, sir, to request, in his naine, that they and committing on our citizens acts of atrocious 'interdict every private adventure which, under barbarity; thai public armed stips were hovering any pretext whatever, may be destined' to St. upon our coast and annoying our commerce; that Domingo.” And, last of all. Mr. Turreau, that new principles had been interpolated into the law a firm determination of his master's mind might of nations; that Spain, refusing compensation for Inot be mistaken by our Secretary of State, tells


[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »