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which you have authorized. On a low calculation, it will give to the country fifty millions of dollars of capital, which will enrich its citizens, fertilize its soil, and greatly benefit its manufac. turing interests. I repeat, sir, it will aid instead of depressing our manufacturing establishments. With the advantages of light taxation, cheap subsistence, a population to consume our manufac. tures, with many neighboring markets and abundance of the necessary raw materials, why has not this country already superseded Great Britain to the extent of these demands? Nothing has prevented it but the want of capital. Increase your capital and you will soon have flourishing manufacturing establishments; for they require three times as much capital as commercial establishments; and more of course than has heretofore been at liberty to be diverted to that channel. If you throw upon the country a flood of capital,
and then close your ports so as to preclude the
employment of the capital in commerce, manufacturing establishments will thrive. that nothing depresses them but the want of capital; and in support of this, I appeal to the gentleman from Philadelphia whether the duration of the late embargo was not the era of the effectual commencement of their manufacturing establishments. It was, and it operated thus beneficially to manufactures by locking up in our country the capital previously employed in commerce. We shall not benefit England, then, by this measure so much as ourselves. To her it will facilitate her merchants in the mode of paying her debts; to us, it will secure the payment of a vast debt to our merchants, which might otherwise be wholly lost. But it is said that this measure will elevate the spirit of the British nation. I apprehend this argument to be erroneous. What, sir, will be its effect in this particular 7 It will convince Great Britain and her subjects of the great importance of the friendship of America as a customer. If it produce a benefit to her by elevating the spirit of the people while enjoying the advantage, it will depress them on the other hand when it is torn from them, and inspire them with a disgust to a war in support of her injustice towards us. It will have a greater effect in this respect than a victorious battle. It will show them and make
about to engage in an arduous and calamitous war, when it is also recommended by such an accession of revenue. Double duties will give to our manufacturers an advantage they have never heretofore possessed ; and is there a single gentleman in the House who would say that we should close our ports forever to encourage manufactures? Such a measure would not be effectual— but would it be wise to depress three-fourths, nine-tenths, of the community to benefit one 3 Such a policy, if pursued, would make the country poor and miserable in the experiment to make it independent. Our manufacturers ought not to ask, and if they ask they ought not to receive, such a protection as would prove the destruction of commerce and agriculture. But the spirit of the people of the United States, we are told, will be depressed by it—the people will believe we are not serious in our intention to go to war. Really, sir, if we have not within us that firmness which will sustain us against difficulties of this kind; if we are to be blown about from pole to pole by every zephyr which we mistake for popular sentiment, there is an end to our proceedings. But if we have within ourselves firmness enough to carry us through ; if the people are disposed to support us, they will look with tenderness even on our errors. We must put out of view considerations of this kind. We must believe the people as resolved as ourselves, and that they will have the good sense to see that securing individual property and increasing the national wealth cannot operate national injury. Look at the arguments which are presented to you in support of a measure. If they satisfy your mind of its propriety, trust to the people, among whom good sense is more generally diffused throughout every part of this country than in any other on earth, for an approbation of your conduct. If the reasons in favor of a measure are insufficient, reject it; but, if otherwise, trust to the people, who will as readily as yourself discover the force of the arguments which had influenced your mind. The people will immediately themselves feel the advantages and benefit of this measure, and will see the wis! dom and forecast of the policy which induced its adoption. I believe we have now in Great Britain a capital equal to the whole amount of
them feel the evil of a war with us. On balan- our banking capital. Now, sir, if any gentleman cing the evil and benefit to us to be produced by will look at our towns and see, how they have this measure on the spirit of the people of Eng- flourished; look at the stately buildings which Importation of British Goods.
land, we shall find the scale to preponderate in our favor. How will this measure affect our manufacturing establishments 7 Will it affeet them injuriously 7 No, sir. It is intended to submit to the consideration of the Committee amendments leading to the adoption of double duties an all importations of foreign goods. These duties are intended as a war system; and believing the country on the eve of war, I have thought it almost madness or folly—I mean no disrespect to the House or any member of it, but it has appeared to me to be almost madness or folly, not to possess the country of all its capital at the moment we are
have risen, at the forests which have fallen, and the cultivation which gladdens our fields under the influence of this power—he will see all this benefit resulting from the employment of a sum not greater than that which will remain in the hands of our enemy at the commencement of an arduous war with that enemy. On the verge of |* war with one nation and in a state which is certainly equivocal, to say no more, with another, we must look with apprehension at the power of both; and this youngest nation it is proposed shall commence a war, bereft of a large portion of her resources which she leaves in the grasp of sie enemy. The people have eyes to see and
ears to hear, and will approve the redemption of this property from its present peril. This argument will stand of itself. The measure now before us is wise in itself; and, besides being intrinsically proper, it is one of which the people will not fail immediately to seel the benefit. It is not only wise, sir, but it will be popular. Mr. Boy D.—Mr. Chairman, I wish to make some observations in favor of the Committee rising, and against the bill. Sir, should not this multitude of words be answered ? And shall unlimited and confident assertions pass for reason and argument 2 The gentlemen just sat down (Mr. LowNDEs and Mr. Cheves) have dealt largely in assertions, all of which remain to be proved, before they are entitled to that weight and importance that they assume. They, in support of the bill, say that it is bottomed on strict justice and sound undeniable policy; and a suitable and proper prelude to war. They also state that the property in England, purchased and paid for before the issuing of the President's proclamation, amounts to many millions—fifty, if I remember right. Now, sir, I ask, where is the proof of this fact to be found 7 To my mind, it is not probable, that there was bought and paid for under the then existing circumstances more than one fifteenth part of that sum. But I will suppose that we are to be referred to petitions, artfully and ingeniously expressed, and by men unknown to us, and for the purpose of obtaining an exemption from the operation of law, and a bounty for their non-conformity. No, sir, not so I trust. My maxim is, be true to yourselves, and observe stability and firmness in the execution of your laws. Let me ask, what nation or people will or can have confidence in a Government under such versatile and unstable conduct 7 You have taken the treatymaking power out of the hands of the President into your own, by passing a law directing him to offer to both the belligerents certain propositions of equal tenor, and that the Power refusing to relinquish her orders or decrees after the acceptance of the terms by the other should be interdicted by proclamation, (what is now called the non-intercourse.) This he did, and in conformity to your own deliberate proposition and law. And, let me ask, what was your law intended for ? I will say, to obtain and secure your commercial rights, and most assuredly in favor of and for merchants. And was not that law notorious to them 7 And if they, as merchants, choose to risk their property, pray who is to blame? Must you repeal your law to cover or excuse their presumption ? But the supporters of the bill say it is because it is American property; therefore, they would repeal the law. They also say, it is calculated to increase American manufactures, and to augment our capital, and thereby enable us to go to war. This is archly political, and too refined for me. It is my opinion, that in the present state of England and the practice of custom house proofs, that under a repeal of the
law we would receive (if indeed it could be got
in) to the amount of one hundred millions worth
of their manufactures. But how are you to get it in 2 Those gentlemen say, it is a prelude to war. Suppose your orders sent out to ship the goods bought and paid for, and to be bought (for such is the plan,) will not England know that you are to declare war against her, and seize them before they arrive in this country, when at the same time you tell them that you will declare war in sixty or ninety days at furthest ? I think that they would, all but what belonged to their own agents coming under British license, and will have more of that sort in motion than any other. But I will suppose that they should get in safe, contrary to all probability; would it not inundate the country with their goods to the total destruction of our infant manufactories, and furnish those same good and innocent people, the merchants, with an opportunity to filch from the hard earnings of our cultivators at least fifty per cent... if war, one hundred—should war, as they assert, take place? And this is their way of favoring American manufactures | Sir, this does not comport with my idea of independence, and encouragement to our infant establishments; no, sir, it is precisely the reverse, these gentlemen to the contrary notwithstanding. To me, sir, it appears, that if the bill should pass, we should furnish Great Britain with a large capital; relieve her starving mechanics, and bankrupt manufacturers, and enable them to get off their hands a great quantity and at this time perishing goods. It has also been said, in support of this bill, as well as others, that all our restrictive measures have only injured ourselves, and have had no sensible operation on England, and now we are about to take a manly attitude. This again is assertion—what saith fact? Let me mention one, and see whether it will not be as good as assertions without proofs. I allude to the embargo and non-intercourse. It brought Great Britain to the acknowledgment of our rights, by the arrangement made by Mr. Erskine, their minister; and, in my opinion, would now do so if properly applied. A word about our consistency of conduct. We have been more than five months in session, talking loudly of war; by our conduct inviting our merchants to double their diligence in shipping off all our surplus produce; and I understand that they have improved the time beyond example, exporting perhaps nothing short of a year's supply to the British in Spain, Portugal, and their West India possessions; I may add their navy. And now, when you have given that nation that you have marked out for an enemy one year's full supply, by which you have enabled her to wage that war with you that she could not otherwise have done, at least without much greater embarrassment than she will now experience, then lay an embargo for sixty or ninety days, and let your merchants lose by a partial repeal of the non-intercourse. It seems that it is not quite all that we are to help them to ; but put their manufactures in a situation to enable them to pay their taxes, feed themselves, and support their Government. Let me ask, by what it is that the Government of Britain is sup
ported 3 Is it not by her manufactories and commeree ? And are not manufactures the foundation of this commerce? I have said that you have furnished her with one year's supply for all her great purposes, and now stop short and lay an embargo, (what you ought to have done five months since, if you intended war as the mode of obtaining our rights,) and say that we have a great deal of money due to us. , Let us get home our property and then-well, what are you going to get 2 Money? No no, that is rather a scarce article with her at this time. But we will get it in goods, it is said; the country needs then). Is not this to tell her that you cannot do without her; and at a time when you will declare war too? All this may be unanswerable argument of the supporters of the bill. But, sir, it does not square with my ideas either of consistency, good policy, or justice. Sir, nothing but the manner and positive mode of the speakers in favor of the bill called me up. I had not intended to obtrude any observations of mine on the committee; and am sensible that what I have said is but illy connected. But, sir, I will add. that no Government can stand long, or be respected abroad or at home, that has not stability and confidence in itself, and stability and firmness in its laws. No, sir, pursue this unstable way, temporizing on the spur of every accidental occasion, and you never will have your laws regarded. I hope that the Committee will reject the bill. The Committee then rose, reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again.
FRIDAY, April 10. Mr. DiNsmoor presented a letter addressed to him by Lemuel Fling, of the State of New Hampshire, stating that his son, Calvin Fling, a native citizen of the United States, has been impressed on board a British ship of war, and soliciting the interference of Congress, in effecting the release of his said son.—Referred to the committee appointed yesterday on the letter of Jonathan Coleman. Mr. MilNor presented a protest signed by ThoInas Hewett, late master of the American ship Asia, of Philadelphia, protecting against the plundering and burning of that vessel, which was done by order of the commander of a squadron of French ships of war, on the seventeenth of January last.—Ordered to lie on the table. Mr. Gholson, from the Committee of Claims, presented a bill to authorize the payment of certain certificates, credits, and pensions, and for other purposes; which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the Whole on Monday next. Mr. Gholsox, from the same committee, made a report on the petition of Amy Dardin; which was read, and referred to a Committee of the Whole on Wednesday next. Mr. MoRRow, from the Committee on the Public Lands, to whom was referred the bill from the Senate “giving further time for registering
claims to land in the Eastern district of the Territory of Orleans,” reported the same without amendment, and the bill was ordered to be read the third time to-morrow. The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to purchase or lease the old City Hall, in the city of New York. The bill was reported without amendment, and ordered to be engrossed, and read the third time to-morrow. A bill from the Senate “to enlarge the limits of the State of Louisiana” was read the third time and passed. A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have passed the bill “supplementary to ‘an act for arming and equipping the whole body of the militia of the United States,” with amendments; in which they desire the concurrence of this House. The amendments proposed by the Senate to the bill “supplementary to an act making provision for arming and equipping the whole body of the militia of the United States,” were read. and, together with the bill, ordered to lie on the table. Mr. MoRRow, from the Committee on the Public Lauds, to whom was referred the bill from the Senate “to provide for designating, surveying, and granting, the military bounty lands,” reported the same with amendments, which were read and, together with the bill, committed to a Committee of the Whole to-morrow.
IMPORTATION OF BRITISH GOODS.
The order of the day for the House to resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill to authorize the importation of goods, wares, and merchandise, under certain circumstances, from Great Britain, her colonies, or dependencies, being called for—
Mr. Pleas ANTs said he had no scruple in declaring that his mind had been in a greater state of doubt as to the propriety of this measure, and
what ought to be done in relation to it, than per
haps as to any other measure, which had been agitated during the present session. We are, said he, in a singular situation, in which we found ourselves at the commencement of the session. After all the deliberation which a large majority of this House have bestowed on that situation, and after the consideration of a number of propositions of the most important nature, it has appeared to be the determination of a large majority of this body, and of a majority in the other branch of the Legislature, to follow a certain course. Every step taken at the present session has had that object in view. In this state of things, a state in which we shall remain until a bold step be taken to the point to which the attention of all is directed, we find before us a bill contemplating a measure, the expediency of adopting which is at least yery doubtful. The arguments of the gentleman from South Carolina yesterday have thrown my mind into a state of suspense as to this measure. The advantages to be derived from it were clearly pointed out yesterday. But there are two sides to the
question, and I do not hesitate to say it is calculated to make an impression on the present state of things greater than is generally imagined. I have imparted my doubts on this subject freely to other gentlemen, many of whom seem to entertain the same sentiments. Nothing, sir, shall make me, for any partial interest, depart from the course which I have laid down for my conduct this session. The great question to my mind is, will this measure be a departure from this course or not ? I am in doubt. I hope for good consequences on the one hand, but fear for bad ones on the other. A very general impression has been produced on foreign Governments, and indeed on this people also, that our councils are so vibratory, so oscillating, that we are incapable of carrying into effect our own resolves. It is of the utmost importance to us that that impression should be done away, almost at any hazard. It is the interest of no party, but of the whole people, that our own character should be fixed; that we should no longer be the sport of foreigners, nor an object of distrust to our own citizens. How shall we effect this important, this desirable object 7 To my mind there appears but one course; and that course has been pursued with a consistency and determination which has given pleasure to my heart. I shall not now, sir, undertake to state to the House the reasons which induce me to believe the passage of this bill a measure of doubtful propriety. Everything I now propose is to request the House to pause before they adopt it. It is a most serious question. I doubt exceedingly whether any single act we could do, unless an open abandonment of our intention to go to war, could be so well calculated to mar the great object we have in view. For which reasons, sir, I move that the further consideration of this bill be postponed to Monday week. Mr. Lowndes said he had expected this motion to be supported on the grounds of its importance and the necessity of deliberate action; and he had therefore been surprised to find that it was argued on the inexpediency of the bill. Mr. L. said he should assent to the motion just made, and stated the reason why he should do so. He owed it to himself, he said, to state that his first opinion was unshaken. Without designing to trench on the rules of decorum properly observed in the House, he must say he was astonished at what appeared to him the blindness of the policy which required the rejection of this bill. Confirmed as he was in the opinion he yesterday expressed in favor of this measure, he was only induced to refrain from pressing its decision by the single consideration that, if decided without further opportunity for reflection, it might not be carried. If he believed that it would be carried through all the branches of the Legislature, he should urge its immediate adoption. Whatever might be its unpopularity elsewhere, he must, confiding in the good sense of the community, believe that feeling would be temporary. When the bill should be well understood, he had hopes it would meet a more favorable reception
than now greeted it; and with that view alone consented to the postponement. Mr. RhEA said, if he had not heard the observations made by the gentleman from South Carolina, who has last spoken, his voice would not have been heard on this subject; but having heard it intimated that they who would reject this bill are pursuing a blind policy, and that a number wish to retreat from this question, and understanding, from what the gentleman has said, that he still advocates the measures contained in the bill, he, Mr. R., was inclined to make a motion which would go to the principle of this bill, and also will give an opportunity to gentlemen who favor this bill to defend it. A retreat from this bill is not desired. It would, indeed, be a matter of the highest gratification, if a question could be raised on this bill at present which would go directly to its merits; that mode of meeting it would be preferred, rather than this side-wind way; but that, at present, cannot be obtained, and such motion as will meet it indirectly only can be had. They who desire to reject this bill are charged with pursuing a blind policy. If, said Mr. R., to reject this bill be blind policy, then to enact the non-intercourse law was blind policy, and every law made during the present session to maintain the rights of this nation are the effects of the same blind policy; and if this be correct, it will be proper at once to repeal the non-importation law, and all the laws made during this session, which go to the vindication of the rights of this nation, and then for Congress to adjourn and go home as soon as possible, and leave the nation to itself. But, sir, will this House agree to do this 2 Certainly not. That mode of proceeding would blast this nation with foul disgrace and infamy, and consign it to certain ruin, and subjugation to destruction. Prompt decision on this bill is necessary ; and the sooner it meets the disapprobating vote of the House, so much better will it be. If the bill is suffered to remain on the table, the question will remain in doubt; and more difficulties will arise. Mr. R. then moved that the order of the day, together with the bill, be postponed indefinitely. - This bill ought to be acted on promptly, and the motion to postpone indefinitely, ought to prevail. So that, when the information of the proceedings of yesterday does arrive in England, information of the proceedings of this day may also arrive at the same time; and thereby prevent a second loud laugh, and the scornful sneer of a foreign British Minister, whose pacific care has seldom. indeed, if ever, been extended to the United States. Mr. WRight—Mr. Speaker, I feel it my duty to oppose the bill now under consideration, therefore, I second the proposition for its indefinite postponement, whereby it will be dismissed for the present session. Sir, I ask the honorable gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Lowndes,) if it is not a direct violation of the faith of the United States plighted to France, “that no goods, wares, or merchandise, the growth, produce, or manufacture of Great Britain, should be imported
into the United States, on her revocation of her Berlin and Milan decrees, or so modifying them, that they should cease to violate the neutral commerce of the United States;” which fact has been verified by the President's proclama. tion, who has a right, on France violating her compact, by proclamation, to declare the same, whereby the manufactures of France, also, will be interdicted from being imported into the United States? Mr. Speaker, can we suppose the President has not all the information relative to the conduct of France that we have 2 Or do we want confidence in his honestly discharging his duty in this case ? I, for my part, have the fullest confidence ; why, then, usurp his Executive functions? But, sir, if France had violated her compact, whereby we should be discharged from it, would that justify us in good faith to ourselves to pass this law 3 No, sir, I think not; two wrongs never made a right; we ought to impose the same restrictions on the commerce of both, and not because we ought to punish France, cease to punish Great Britain ; this, sir, is a groundless pretext for authorizing our merchants to import British goods, whereby Great Britain would be greatly relieved from the distress of her manufacturers, and our restrictive system repealed as to her for a time. Sir, would merchants be benefitted? No, sir, they would be paid their debts in British goods; their accounts thus settled and their goods captured, I have no doubt. But, sir, why feel so sensitively for the merchant, when the agriculturist is sacrificing so much by an embargo law, for which I voted as a precursor to a speedy war? But this, sir, is a peace measure, a retracing our steps, a perfect submission, in my judgment. Sir, if this bill passes, I hope we shall strike the American flag, now flying on the top of the Capitol, and hoist a white one—take off all restrictions, adjourn and go home, and inform our people that they are taken off, and that our merchants may arm and shift for themselves, that we are unable to protect them. Mr. SEYBERT said, if, as he apprehended, the rules of the House would preclude, during the present session, the further consideration of the subject now before the House, he should vote against the motion made by the gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. RhEA.) and in favor of that of the gentlemen from Virginia, (Mr. PLEAs ANts.) With the latter gentleman, he considered this question all-important; with him, he admitted it had two sides, both of which were well worthy of investigation. He did not hesitate to declare, that, originally, he was in favor of the principle contained in the bill; but that, on further reflection, he had many doubts to satisfy, and for this purpose, wished a temporary postponement. He did not desire to precipitate the House into a premature decision; he had been informed this morning, that the Hornet had arrived in the Chesapeake bay; many reports were prevalent as to the conduct of France; he wished to satisfy himself on this point. He was considerably moved on this question when he brought to recollection the declarations of Mr. Whitbread, and other mem
bers of the British Parliament, relative to the bill to permit the importation of British manufactures into the United States. Again : The conduct of our merchants seems to be irreconcilable. When the news arrived in our seaport towns that an embargo was about to be laid, every nerve was exerted to get off our vessels with full cargoes. How inconsistent is this conduct, when they say they have already so much at hazard in Europe. Surely this was adding to their difficulties. He concluded, by hoping the resolution of the gentleman from Virginia would prevail. Mr. CALHoun thought the motion to postpone, for a few days, ought to prevail. This, he said, was a mere difference of opinion between those who had the same object in view; and, whatever might be the zeal of the gentlemen from Maryland and Tennessee on the great question of war, he could assure the gentlemen that they were not a whit before his honorable colleague, (Mr. LowNDEs,) who was as determined as any gentleman on this floor or in the nation. Mr. C. expressed his hope that the motion for indefinite postponement would not be pressed. He, for one, entertained doubts on the question, which was one that certainly admitted of doubt. It is certainly proper that our property abroad should be drawn in, in the event of war. The state of public sentiment here and in England ought also to be regarded. The question was a difficult one. He hoped more respect would be shown to his colleague’s sentiments than to postpone the bill indefinitely; it was proper always to yield a little to each other. w Mr. Blackledge.—Mr. Speaker: From the silence which had been observed both in this House and such circles as I have been in out of its walls, upon the subject of the bill under discussion, ever since it was first reported, I had hoped, and I believe the public were of opinion, that it would not be again stirred. I confess I had almost forgotten it, and was not a little surprised, when, on yesterday morning, I found many of my most intimate political friends expressing a determination on that day to take up the bill; and giving it as their opinion, that it ought to be passed. Conscious that the motives of the gentlemen who expressed this opinion were as pure as my own; that our views in all the great and leading measures of the session, calculated to place our country in a situation to vindicate its violated rights and honor, had been the same, I suspected that my views of this subject might not have been correct, and therefore paid the strictest attention to the arguments of its two able advocates while they were delivering, and have given them since all the attention which the time would allow. The result of the most attentive examination I have been able to give the subject and the arguments advanced in favor of it is, that the measure is calculated to afford our enemy advantages infinitely greater than ourselves, and, therefore, as both the gentlemen admit, I, at least, ought not to vote in favor of it. And believing that if it is to be passed at all it should be done with as little delay as possible, in order that those whom it is intended