Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

H. OF R.

The Loan Bill.

FEBRUARY, 1814.

exposure to a climate still more ruthless, and this, tism which had well nigh overwhelmed and extoo, in the performance of that duty which oughi tinguished every ray of freedom in Europe, have to have been assigned to the regular soldier, for dispelled the mist which has so long clouded our the want of that protection from the General atmosphere, and exposed to public view the tenGovernment which every State is entitled to by dency of our ill-fated policy. Yes, sir, for my the express letter of the Constitution.

country, and for the cause of humanity, I do re Early in the last year, representations were joice that the charm of Napoleon's invincibility made to the General Government of the exposed is broken, that the chains he had prepared for situation of the coast of North Carolina, and some mankind are rent asunder, and that his power is small aid ardently required; the application was about to become harmless, if not totally annihitreated with neglect or contempt; the just appre- lated. · A new birth has been given to liberty in hensions of danger on the part of our citizens Europe, and I trust it will be cherished with a were attributed io imaginary fears. Thus un- holy zeal. With ourselves, I no longer consider prepared and unprotected, the enemy came—the the unfortunate contest in which we are engaged, State was invaded-some of our towns taken pos- as involving the question of the guillotine ; no session of; what depredations were actually com- longer whether we “ shall or shall not be a peomitted I know not what might have been com- ple.” Many valuable lives may yet be lost in the mitted, I leave to gentlemen nearer the scene than prosecution of this war, the country may be overmyself to inform ihe House. Such was the gen- whelmed with a debt, which centuries of proseral alarm, and such the real danger, that the perity will scarcely enable our posterity to pay; militia, nearly as high as the centre of the State, much individual suffering and privation may be were called into service to repel this invasion; inflicted, and thousands of corrupt, and corrupted unarmed, unaccoutred, and unprovided as they sycophants of power may feed and fatten on the were, they flocked, as they always will do, to the public spoils; but the balance of power in Eustandard of defence; many of those worthy men rope restored and preserved, the good sense of were kept in service during the unhealthy months this nation must and will rid us of war; our of Autumn, exposed to a climate to them unna- liberties will outride the storm, and our Constitural and more terrible than the enemy; many of tution survive the wreck. Suppose the scene to them found in the swamps of Carolina untimely have changed, and Bonaparte at this moment graves.

giving law io the whole Continent-England, our At this very period, too, there were at different present enemy, might and probably would fall; rendezvous in the State several hundred regular she could noi long resist the colossal power of soldiers, lolling in their tents and fattening on the the mighty tyrant; what then would be our public spoils; these precious mercenaries were too fate? Is there a virtuous man among us, what sacred to be employed in the inglorious service of lover of his country, whose nerves are so strong defending the State; not a company were ordered as not to tremble at such a prospect? Our own to our relief; they were reserved for nobler pur country, the only then remaining nursery for poses ; they were destined for the glories and re- anything like the great principles of free Gov. wards of conquest, whilst the breasts of our re- ernment, would have fallen a prey to the great spectable citizens were made the medium for the spoiler. Our liberty alone would afford a suffibayonet of the enemy, in defence of our families cient temptation, and we should experience the and our homes. If ihis is what the gentleman reality of a tyrant's love. calls protection, I pray to be delivered from it. Some gentlemen of the majority, particularly The same gentleman has also reminded us of our the honorable member from Louisiana, (Mr. apprehensions and predictions in relation to our ROBERTSON,) shudder at the idea of England's exposed towns and seacoast. I will only remark, increased power and influence. It would have that those predictions have, to a considerable ex- been well for the country, had those gentlemen tent, unfortunately been realized; and that they calculated differently and more accurately the have not been fully so, is not owing to any effi- doctrine of chances, before we were involved in cient protection from the General Government. this war. What their calculations on the events That gentleman ought to be the last 10 talk of of Europe really were, I pretend not to say. The prophecies; he, if I mistake not, once turned pro- prospect was too big not to have been seen, and phet, and told this people, as an inducemeni to ought to have been regarded by all prudent poliembark them into this war, that Canada would ticians. I well know what were my own fears, be conquered in six weeks; this entitles the gen- and those of my political friends—the very retleman to a distinguished place among the false verse of what has come to pass. It cannot be prophets.

forgotten that the storm was gathering on the Mr. Chairman, however much this war was Continent, while the clouds were lowering here; justly deprecated in its origin, however disas- it burst upon Russia almost at the same moment irous and hateful it may have become in its pro- it flashed upon us; the legions of France poured gress, I acknowledge, with peculiar satisfaction, into Russia, while our forces marched towards that my apprehensions for the existence of my Canada. This extraordinary coincidence could country, iis laws, and institutions, have greatly not well have been the effect of accident or chance. subsided. The events in Europe, as unexpected Geptlemen could not but reflect on the conseas they have been sudden and glorious, have quences and the effect of our apparent co-operacleared the ancient horizon of the gloomy despo- tion. If they regret the result of the European

FEBRUARY, 1814.
The Loan Bill.

H. OF R. contest, they must have desired the success of compelled or seduced into a co-operation with Bonaparte ; they must have prepared themselves this great continental system, which, in the lanto encounter the scenes which I have but so fee. guage of Bonaparte, in order to be effectual must bly described, and which have filled my mind be complete. The history of the various decrees with so much “ secret dread and inward horror." and regulations by which this system was to

The present situation and prospects of Europe, bind up the commerce of the world, and the so far from threatening the existence of our practical conformity of this Government by its country, afford to my understanding the anima- embargoes, non-intercourses, non-importations, ting prospect of returning peace, and ought to &c., has been so fully and clearly stated by an stimulate our desires and efforts to restore its honorable gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. blessings. England, it is true, has now less to Bigelow) as to forbid even an attempt at repetifear; she may give more efficient protection to tion. The honorable gentleman, however, seemed her Canada possessions, and increase the annoy- to think, that while France demanded and enance of our exposed seacoast ; but her power 'is forced compliance from the nations on the Con. not essentially increased. Our country is in no tinent, in the most public, official, and dictatorial danger of being overrun; were this attempted, it style, there was no official document to prove would become the holy cause of defence, in that a similar demand was made on the Governwhich there would be no division ; in such a ment of the United States. cause, even “weakness would become strength.". It is true, sir, the public have not been peculiWere it necessary, security against the power of arly favored with oficial knowledge of our relaEngland would be found in those nations who tions with France, and as Congress only gets have lately redeemed themselves from the yoke such scraps and extracts as the Executive deems of Bonaparte. Can it be believed that the spirit fit to communicate, and some of them most sewhich animated the betrayed Spaniard, and cret and confidential, it is not a matter of surarmed him with all the energy of despair; the prise that such a record as the gentleman speaks spirit which nerved the arm of the Russian, and of should not be found on our tables in hæc kindled up a holy flame among the subjected na verba ; but, sir, we are not without evidence, tions of Europe, will be so easily extinguished ? and that, too, of the most public and positive That those nations who have thus successfully character, given by Bonaparte and his Ministers thrown off one tyrant, will immediately bend on this very point. Turn to the Berlin decree of their necks to another? Sir, I will not believe 1806, and the Milan decree of 1807; there you so meanly of them. They have an interest in will find all nations, without exception, required the proper limitations of power; they have an to conform to the maritime code of France, and interest in commerce and in the ocean; they denunciations, threatening the enraged vengeance bave an interest in our friendship and our pros- of France to alight on those who refuse or neperity. These considerations, while they tend to glect to comply. When the American Minister lessen the imagined power of England, offer ad- at Paris humbly asked whether the treaty which ditional inducements for us to desire peace; they then existed between this country and France imperatively demand that we should repeal the was thus to be violated, by including America in embargo, and the whole black catalogue of re- the scope of those decrees, the answer was at strictions on commerce, which serve only to im- first a litile equivocal, but soon became certain poverish your citizens, and make sport for your by the capture and condemnation of our vessels, enemies. All imaginable inducements for con- and the explicit declaration of Champagny "that tiouing your suicidal restrictions are now al an the law was general, and admitted of no excepend; all the ports of the Continent are now open tions." What demand could have been more to us and to Great Britain, she can neither be public than those decrees; what more explicit starved by our embargo, or thrown into insurrec-ihan their practical operations on our commerce, tion by our non-intercourse : repeal, then, your and what more official than the written declaraembargo; let our industry find its reward in the tion of the Minister of Foreign Affairs ? I ask hungry markets of Europe; this will give enter- gentlemen, what better testimony could we have prise to seamen, and raise the drooping spirits of given of prompt and ready acquiescence than by ihe laborer.

our embargo of December, 1807; the recommenIn reviewing the leading policy of the Ad-dation of which was the immediate consequence ministration for the last six or seven years, the of despatches from France, and not a knowledge mind is struck with the peculiar tendency (what of the Orders in Council of Great Britain ? This ever may have been the motives) of that policy self-destroying measure met the smiles and apto a direct and unequivocal co-operation with the probation of Bonaparte; he pronounced it a avowed objects of France. What has been the magnanimous resistance to the maritime tyranny great and primary object of France? The des of Great Britain. While this measure was construction of England. Despairing of effecting his tinued and enforced with vigor, it was applauded purpose by invasion, or the chances of ordinary by the great author of the continental system. combat, the tyrant of France conceived the gigan. Whenever the sufferings and clamors of our owa tic project of accomplishing the destruction of oppressed citizens caused a temporary relaxation, Great Britain by a total interdiction of her com- we were denounced and punished for disobedimerce with all other nations. All the great ence. I will not tax you, sir, with the disgusting Powers on the continent of Europe were either I recital of the multiplied and uniform declara

H. of R.

The Loan Bill.

FEBRUARY, 1814.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tions of the Emperor of France, and the lan- That we have been formally and officially reguage of all his State papers, showing the char- | quired to conform to the views and policy of acter of his continental system, and proving the France, I think I have fully established; how estimate placed by him on our compliance. far we have yielded to those and that policy by Those decrees are declared to be the fundamental our restrictive systems, and how far embraced law of his Empire; the flag is to be considered them by our war, I leave to history to decide, an extension of territory, and the nation which and the impartial world to judge. suffers it to be violated, forfeits its neutrality. Mr. Chairman : It is time we should pause ; it In March, 1811, (previous to a knowledge of our is time we should seriously reflect, wheiber any, unfortunate non-intercourse law of that month,) and what essential, practical, attainable good is the Emperor, in an address to his Council of to result from the prosecution of this war; the Commerce, thus expresses himself: "The fate of great object for which it was declared—the Orders American commerce will soon be decided. I in Council-has now ceased to exist. The queswill favor it if the United States conform them- lion of impressment alone remains; this quesselves to these decrees. In a contrary case their tion I do believe can be so arranged as to exempt vessels will be driven from my Empire. The our native seamen from abuse, and to give to commercial relations with England must cease." Great Britain reasonable security against the emThus, sir, we are not left to conjecture to know ployment of her seamen on board our public and what was the judgment of Bonaparte on those private vessels. The right asserted by Great who refused to give full effect to his continental Britain to impress her subjects from on board system. Io what light he considered our restricte our merchant vessels may remain undecided. ive system, and particularly the law of March, The abuses of which we complain have arisen 1811, may be collected from the following ex- in a great degree from the troubled state of the tract from the Mercure de France, a Parisian European world, and the peculiar inducements journal of high authority, published in April, which our merchant service held out for the em1811 ; after speaking of the measures adopted ployment of foreign seamen, and not solely from against England by the European allies of the assertion of an abstract principle-a princiFrance—" the Americans (says this journal) on ple which I may be permitted to say, is recog. their part, are establishing in the New World, Dised and practised on by France and every maranother continental system, which draws still itime nation of Europe. But, sir, if the right is closer the blockade to which England has sub- denied ; if the claim, set up by Great Britain, to jected herself by menacing France," &c. The impress her own subjects, is totally unfounded, French gazeltes all hold a similar language, and have we the power of compelliog her to abandon take it for granted that we have become mem-lit? Is there a gentleman in this House; is there bers of the Imperial League. These opinions an intelligent man in the nation, who does, or can emanate from the Emperor himself.

believe, that the abandonment of this right is to If further evidence of the demands of Bona- be extorted by the war in which we are engaged? parte on this country to conform to his system, I believe not,'sir. were necessary to prove that nothing short of It is not a little remarkable that we should now unconditional compliance, or war with England, be at war for an object which did not produce would appease him, I would refer to the corres- the declaration of war; for a principle which pondence of Mr. Barlow, our late Minister to was never even attempted to be adjusted by the France. When this gentleman submitted his present Administration, previous io the comproject for negotiation, and placed, as he says, mencement of hostilities, and which was totally our relations in a point of view both novel and overlooked or disregarded in the arrangement impressive, the Emperor did not know how he made with Mr. Erskine in 1809, and is not named could reconcile the provisions to the principles of in any of the conditions to our restrictive laws his great continental systern. But, sir, in the by which commerce and intercourse were to be absence of all other testimony on this subject, I restored with Great Britain. This perhaps exhave a document before me, the authenticiiy and bibits a phenomenon in the history of wars and official character of which is now no longer to be politics. Believing the question of impressment denied or questioned, which proves the most un susceptible of practical arrangement, I have alequivocal and formal demand on our Govern- ways deemed it unfortunate that the instructions ment to accede to the maritime confederation given to Messrs. Monroe and Pinkoey, in the atI allude to the celebrated letter of General Tur- tempted negotiation, during the Administration reau, late Minister of France, to Robert Smith, of Mr. Jefferson, required an absolute abandonEsq., late Secretary of State, dated June 14, ment of the righi, instead of leaving a discretion 1809. Among the least of the abominations con- with the Commissioners, or devising some equivtained in this letter is the following paragraph : alent by which the abstract right might have re“I have thought it was not incompatible with my

mained untouched, and reasonable security afduty to submit to the wisdom of your Government, forded against the complaints of both parties. the new chances, which the changes brought about in To show that our Government, in their negotiaEurope offer to the commercial interests of the United tions on the subject of impressment, uniformly States, and the inconveniences which may result from stickled for the abandopment of the right, instead their refusal to accede formally to the principles of the of attempting to regulate its exercise, I will re. maritime confederation."

fer to the instructions of Mr. Monroe, in 1804, and

[ocr errors]

FEBRUARY, 1814.

The Loan Bill.

H. OF R.

[ocr errors]

the correspondence which terminated in a treaty business almost, if not allogether, on as good a with Great Britain, signed by our Commission- footing as we should have done by treaty, had ers, Monroe and Pinkney, and an arrangement the project we offered them been adopied." on the subject of impressment, which those gen- This arrangement, (as I before stated,) was retlemen declared to be both safe and honorable to jected by our Executive, and whether the price the United States; but all of which, unfortu- of this war will purchase a better arrangement, nately, were rejected by Mr. Jefferson.

or give greater security to our seamen, is to my The first article in those instructions requires mind extremely problematical. from England the renunciation of the "claim to An honorable gentleman, (Mr. INGERSOLL,) I take from on board our vessels, on the high seas, will not say the principal Representative," but any person whatever, not in the military service certainly the principal speaking Representative of the enemy.” In the observations of Mr. Mad. from Pennsylvania, in an elaborate speech the ison on this article, he says: "Were the right of other day, passing the Orders in Council

, and Great Britain in this case not denied, the abuses scarcely glancing at the question of impressflowing from it would justify the United States ment, in his deep researches, brought forth a in claiming and expecting a discontinuance of new, and hitherto unforeseen cause for the war, its exercise. But the right is denied, and on the and an additional inducement for its continuance. best grounds.” In the progress of the discussions This discovery is found by that gentleman in on the subject of impressment, we are informed the violation of the principle that free ships by Monroe and Pinkney, “the British Commis: make free goods.” This principle may be consioners felt the strongest repugnance to a formal venient to France, or nations possessiog little renunciation of their claim io take from our ves- maritime strength, and who are frequently ensels, on the high seas, such seamen as should gaged in wars; but to us, who are capable of 'appear to be their own subjects; and they pressed being our own carriers, whose interest it is to upon us with much zeal, as a substitute for such have our own vessels employed in our own trade, an abandonment, a provision that the persons and not in that of other nations; and who are, composing the crews of our ships should be or may become, a great commercial and mari'furnished with authentic documents of citizen-time Power, such a principle cannot be desirable. • ship, the nature and form of which should be That it is not the established law of nations, I setiled by treaty; that these documents should have no hesitation in asserting. It is unnecescompletely protect those to whom they rela- sary; it would be worse than idle now to dis. ted," &c.

cuss the principle which the gentleman has so This proposition was rejected. Our Commis- much labored. Let it suffice to know that every sioners were asked to state what equivalent they Administration in this country has practised on could offer for securing to Great Britain the ser- the contrary doctrine, and no one of them convices of her seamen, if the right of impressment tended for the doctrine now advanced, as being were abandoned.

necessary for the interest of this country, or The only proposition in reply was, that pro- sanctioned by the law of nations. The treaty vision might be made for giving the aid of the made by Mr. Jay with Great Britain in 1794, local authorities of the United States to appre-contained no such principle. The celebrated inbend and restore deserters from their vessels; structions to Monroe and Pinkney, written by and that laws should be passed, to be reciprocal, the present Executive, and sanctioned by Mr. making it penal for the commanders of Ameri- Jefferson, expressly disclaimed such a principle. can vessels to take deserters from the public or For the satisfaction of the gentleman, (Mr. Inprivate vessels of Great Britain. This proposi- GERSOLL,) and that only, I might add the authortion only relating to cases of real desertion, was ity of Mr. Clay, one of ihe Commissioners inof course not deemed a sufficient equivalent. trusted with the negotiation to be opened at GotHad we then thought of going the length of teoburg, directly militating against the doctrine excluding British seamen from on board our free ships make free goods." Having menvessels,, (as has been since done by what is tioned the name of one of our negotiators, (Mr. called the seamen's bille) the result might have Clay:) I may be permitted here to observe, that been different. If indeed our Administration although I am noi without hope and expectation were disposed, at that time, to accept a treaty on of a favorable termination of the war, bottomed any terms.

on the propositions of the British Government, The British Commissioners having assured which have been acceded to by our AdministraMessrs. Monroe and Pinkney that their Govern- tion, I confess this hope and expectation is not ment was willing to do anything in its power to strengthened by the knowledge I have of the satisfy the United States on the ground of their sentiments of the gentleman to whom I have alcomplaints, which might be done without a luded; on the contrary, I do not conceive that relinquishment of their claim, they presented a any attainable treaty with Great Britain can be pole containing an arrangement on the subject of signed by that gentleman, consistently with his impressment, which was acceded to by our Com- declarations publicly uttered in this hall, and afmissioners, and of the contents of which they terwards deliberately written and published to the thus speak: "We persuade ourselves that by ac- world. That I may be distinctly understood, and cepting the invitation which it gives, and pro- avoid doing the least possible injustice to a genceeding in the negotiation, we shall place the Itleman who has his admirers, and who is not

H. OF R.

The Loan Bill.

FEBRUARY, 1814.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

present to hear me, I will not trust to my recol- Gottenburg ? No) "at Quebec or Halifax." lection for a recital of his opinions, but refer to a With such sentiments as these, am I not warspeech delivered by him on this floor, on the 8th ranted in saying that no attainable treaty can be of January, 1813.' From this speech it appears signed by Mr. Clay, without involving him in that Mr. Clay was one of those who would not the grossest inconsistency, or without a total revacknowledge that had the Orders in Council olution in his opinions? I trust, as the Adminisbeen repealed before the war was declared, the tration appears io have yielded, he will also bend declaration would not have been prevented ; after to circumstances. expressing this sentiment, he says, “I have no To return to the gentleman from Pennsylvahesitation, then, in saying that I have always nia, (Mr. INGERSOLL,) the peculiarity and contraconsidered the impressment of American sea- dictory character of whose remarks excited some men as much the most serious aggression.” What attention. He mentioned the treaty negotiated is meant by the term American seamen, is ex- by Mr. Jay in 1794, and approved by General plained in another part of this speech, and is Washington. His breast appeared to labor with made to comprehend all persons except enemies' denunciations against that ireaty, to which his subjects. Speaking of the British principle of lips refused to give utterance. One evil conseimpressment, he says, "What is this principle ? quence of that treaty, he remarked, was the dis• She contends that she has a right io the ser- pleasure of France, and our subsequent troubles vices of her own subjects. That in the exer- with that nation. Are considerations of so hucise of this right she may lawfully impress miliating a character, said Mr. P., to govern a nathem, even though she finds them in our ves- tion which boasts of its spirit and independence? • sels, on the high seas, without her jurisdiction. Are they to influence the ardent spirits whose

Now I deny that she has any right without her motto is "free trade and sailors' righis," and who jurisdiction to come on board our vessels, upon have now put everything dear to the country at ihe high seas, for any other purpose but in pur- hazard? Has it come to this, that peace with suit of enemies, or their goods, or goods contra- any other nation is not to be sought for, for fear band of war.” He then proceeds to say, “when of offending France ? I am not without my susnations are engaged in war, those rights in con- picions that this fear of offending France was not troversy, which are not acknowledged by the among the least of the causes for rejecting the treaty of peace, are abandoned.”

treaty of Monroe and Pinkney, in the year 1807, The British principle of impressment, being without even submitting it to the Senate. the right now in controversy, unless that princi- The violent, outrageous opposition to Jay's ple is surrendered by Great Britain, no treaty Treaty, under which this country enjoyed the (according to the doctrine of Mr. Clay) can be most unexampled prosperity, during its continumade without the abandonment of the object for ance, is sufficiently remembered, and recorded in which he says the war was declared, and is now the history of those times. Nothing but the god. prosecuted. Who is there among us su sanguine like influence of Washington could have allayed as to believe the British claim to impress her the storm of faction excited by those, and the own subjects from our merchant vessels will be friends of those, who now talk so much about abandoned? Is not the principle now substan- the dangers of opposition. The effigies of Mr. tially admitted, or at least the controversy waived Jay and other distinguished advocates of this by the Administration, in their acceptance of the treaty were burnt in various sections of the counproposition to negotiate on the basis of the pub- try, and even that of General Washington did fic law of nations, and the maritime rights of not escape those rude indecencies.* Mr. ChairGreat Britain? And is not the point of honor man, the opposition of those days was not, as now, substantially yielded by this House by what is confined to the honest and conscientious exprescalled the seamen's bill ?-a bill (although some sion of opinion, and the exposure of wicked men of ils provisions are extremely objectionable) and measures. No, sir, the Constitution formed which I voted for; and on the principles of which no barrier to Democratic fury. The laws were I rest with some confidence for an arrangement resisted, and the standard of rebellion reared on of the question of impressment. This bill met their ruins. The country was threatened with the decided disapprobation of Mr. Clay. He the revolutionary scenes of France, and the prethrew upon it an air of ridicule and declared tended Republicans were then as clamorous to "Lord Castlereagh would laugh at our simpli- embark hand and hand in the cause of France city;" he complained that the Administration as their successors are now for "free trade and had erred in the steps which it had taken to re- sailors' rights." How those scenes terminated, store peace, "not by doing too little, but in be- and how some of the principal actors have been traying too great'a solicitude for that event. rewarded, it is unnecessary to relate. An honorable peace (says the gentleman) is attainable only by an efficient war. My plan,

* I am confident I am not mistaken in stating that *(says he) would be to call out the ample resour- General Washington was burnt in effigy. The fact is ces of the country, give them a judicious direc- recorded in the publications of the day. But, as I am tion, prosecute the war with the utmost vigor, informed by the honorable Speaker (Mr. Cheves) and

strike where we can reach the enemy at sea or others, the effigy of General Washington was not 6 on land, and negotiate the terms of peace (at among those of Mr. Jay and others, which were burnt St. Petersburg ? No. At London? No. At l in Charleston, South Carolina, in the year 1794.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »