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in extenso, that they might see it in its ungarbled state, &c. But, having been contradicted in the statement he had made when up before, respecting the passage of the act of 1817, Mr. C. begged of the honorable, gentleman, before he disputed any statement of his (Mr. C.’s) to take the trouble to examine whether he was himself correct. If the gentleman would turn to the Journal, he would find that, on the question to engross the bill, there were sixty-three in the negative. . [Mr. Forsyth explained; the bill thus ordered to be engrossed was not that which finally passed, which came from the Senate.] If, Mr. CLAY continued, the gentleman would look over the list of names recorded in the negative, he would find the name of one of the present Cabinet, the Secretary of War. The yeas and nays had also been taken on the proposition to H. the bill indefinitely when it came back from the Senate; and, although owing to the period of the session, a smaller number voted on the bill, there were yet thirty-seven votes for postponement, to some sixty odd against it. But, said Mr. C. it seems, that in the remarks which I have submitted, I have made some reflections on the late President of the United States. No such thing. But was there not, he asked, a considerable alteration, since the act of 1817, in our posture in respect to the war between Spain and the Provinces. The Executive had since declared to the whole world that the condition of the United States is one of neutrality in regard to the contest. Not that only, but that the war carrying on is a civil war, and that we owe to both parties all the obligations of neutrality—the obligations due to a party in a civil war being very different from those due to a people in rebellion, and demanding therefore a different state of our laws. But, returning to the late President of the United States-no man, Mr. C. said, had a more #. sense of the exalted character and distinguished services of the gentleman to whom he thus alluded; but, whilst, said he, I am a Representative of the nation, I shall speak freely my sentiments, let them be in opposition to whom they may, whether the existing or any former Chief Magistrate of the United States. Mr. C. then called upon gentlemen to show that the act of 1794 was inapplicable to the existing conflict under the circumstances of the change of attitude, to which he had referred. The gentleman had contended it was not, because of a decision in the case of St. Domingo. That, Mr. C. said, was a case standing on insular ground, and totally different from the present. We admit the flag of the patriots: that President Madison did—we declare the contest to be a civil war: that President Monroe did—and commissioners have been sent there, if not with credentials, to hear and make representations. The Judiciary then would say, that the act of 1794 does include the case, and the act of 1817 would be superfluous and unnecessary, but for the further provisions contained in that act. Gentlemen had contended, that these further provisions were necessary, because it was proper to require bond and security from vessels

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departing from our ports, that they will not violate our neutral obligations without the territory of the United States. This proposition, Mr. C. could not reconcile with the admission he understood gentlemen to make, that acts committed out of our jurisdiction are acts of which foreign Powers must take care for themselves. The bonds required by the restrictive systems, which had been referred to, were not analogous to the present case; they stood on peculiar ground, the measures they were necessary to enforce having been required by our own policy, in defence of our own rights and interests, and were not an act of legislation for the benefit of a foreign Power, for whom we are under no obligation to legislate. The difference in the two cases was precisely the difference between legislating for ourselves and legislating for others. But it had been said that bonds are required even from privateers in war. That is because they have commissions, said Mr. C., and, acting under our authority, constitute a particular part of the force of the community, and the bond is required for our own sakes. Whilst on this subject, he said, he could not see the cause for all this anxiety on the part of gentlemen, lest the patriots should get hold of a vessel prepared for war, Were they not aware that the whole marine of the island of Cuba consists of vessels purchased from this country?. Ships are an object of commerce, condemned by no authority. It was particularly fitting, under present circumstances, that we should give every facility to the sale of our ships. Do we not know, said he, that owing to the condition of the world, our merchant vessels are cut out of employment, and that, unless we can sell them, they will rot at our wharves 7 Mr. C. laid it down as a principle, incontrovertible, that a ship, armed or not armed, was an object of commerce. Gentlemen would not deny, that the materials of armament might be separately sold, and afterwards combined. But the honorable gentleman from South Carolina had made one admission, which gives up the question, when he conceded that an armed ship might be fitted out—completely equipped-go to a foreign port, and afterwards go to war, with any belligerent whatever, without a violation of our neutrality. And yet such a course, admitted by the gentleman to be lawful, was expressly forbidden by the act of 1817. [Mr. Lowndes briefly explained, not admitting the principle Mr. C. considered him as ceding, in the latitude given to it by the Speaker.] Mr. C. said, he had conceived the principle to be fairly inferred from the course of the gentleman's argument; and he did not yet understand him as denying, that, after a vessel gets into a foreign port, and departs thence, our responsibility for its conduct ceases. And the gentleman had the other day admitted, in debate on another subject, the right of expatriation. Suppose, then, that any number of citizens of the United States should fit out an armed vessel to go to any port in Spanish America, and there expatriate themselves by becoming citizens of another country,

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might they not then engage in war under the flag of that country 3 Gentlemen would not deny it, and yet they would be forbidden to do so by the act of 1817. Mr. C. stated further objections to this act. For example, the collector of a port might detain any vessel, when the number of men, the nature of the cargo, or any other circumstance, induce him to suppose the vessel is intended for cruising, with a belligerent purpose. Mr. C. said he was opposed to vesting such discretionary power in any collector. The voyage may be intended to Lima, to China, or any distant port, and the voyage may be totally defeated, and heavy loss incurred, by a mere caprice of the collector. Mr. C. wished his honorable friend {. Johnson) to read a letter he had received from St. Bartholomews, stating that three vessels had arrived there from British ports, not only with skeletons of regiments, but with nearly o the men, on their way to join the patriots. Had these men, Mr. C. asked, been subjected to any bond and securityto any such onerous provisions as are contained in this bill? No, said he ; we alone, it seems, are to stretch our power to its limit to prevent our citizens from aiding in any manner the efforts of those who are struggling for liberty in the South; whilst Great Britain, in this respect, pursues a policy which we might worthily imitate. While at peace, he admitted, we §: to perform our obligations of neutrality; but they did not require the passage of bills with neutral titles, but with provisions favorable to one only of the belligerents. What, on the other hand, had Great Britain done? She had issued a proclamation which almost recognises the independence of the provinces, calling the contest awar between America and Š ain, and forbidding her citizens to engage in it, but requiring no bond and security #. them. No, said Mr. C., she has gone a step further than she has ever before gone: her citizens, who constitute a part of the armies of Spain, she has forbidden from fighting against the patriots. I wish we might imitate her example, and observe a real neutrality, instead of that which exists in name only, to the prejudice of one party and not of the other. In reference to the suggestions made by Mr. Lowndes respecting spoliations, Mr. C. asked, what success have we had in our applications for indemnity for spoliations? We are told, very good-naturedly, indeed, by the Secretary of State, in a late communication—I am sorry we have not the benefit of that letter—though, when we get it, I presume we shall find it a compilation of other works on the same subject—the Secretary of State tells us, very good-naturedly, that we have patiently waited for the settlement of our differences with Spain, and it will require no very great effort to wait a little longer. Very goodnatured, indeed 1 No change, say gentlemen, in the aspect of our relations with Spain 7 Yes, a most humiliating one, within the last three or four years. We were told by the President, in his message at the commencement of the session; and, ambiguous as the intimation was, hope clung

to it as promising a change; that a disposition had been shown on the part of Spain, to move in the negotiation. And what sort of a motion was it? A motion which has terminated in something like a perpetual repose, waiting till the passions, and prejudices of His Majesty of Spain may have time to subside. Admirable, Job-like atience, said Mr. CLAY. I thank my God, that do not possess it.

Let us, said Mr. C., in conclusion, put all these statutes out of our way, except that of 1794. When was that passed ? At a moment when the enthusiasm of liberty ran through the country with electric rapidity; when the whole country, en masse, was ready to lend a hand and aid the French nation in their struggle, General WAshingtoN, revered name! the Father of his Country, could hardly arrest this inclination. Yet, under such circumstances, the act of 1794 was found abundantly sufficient. There was, then, no gratuitous assumption of neutral debts. For twenty years that act has been found sufficient. But some keen-sighted, sagacious foreign Minister finds out that it is not sufficient, and the act of 1817 is passed. That act, said Mr. C., we find condemned by the universal sentiment of the country; and I hope it will receive further condemnation by the vote of the House this


(i. Lowndes rose to vindicate himself from the charge of inconsistency alleged against him by the Speaker; but which, he said, could not be properly established by taking a sentence or half a sentence from a speech, and founding an argument on it. The Speaker infers, said he, because I will not take measures to punish him who, without the jurisdiction of the United States, enters into a vessel armed by a foreign authority, and cruises on the property of foreign nations, that I must therefore be i. that a citizen of the United States, within the limits of the United States, in a vessel belonging to the United States, shall involve the Government in a responsibility for her acts, with equal impunity. r. L. submitted to the Committee, whether there was any resemblance between the two propositions.

Mr. Forsyth explained the difference as to facts between him and the Speaker. If what the Speaker had advanced, respecting the vote on the act of 1817, had been intended as argument, Mr. F. said, he had endeavored to show that there was no weight in it, by showing that the vote to which the ś had referred was not on the bill which actually passed, but on a bill reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations, which did did not pass. The member of the Cabinet, who had been referred to, voted against the last: mentioned bill, but in favor of that which passed into a law, and there was a very small minorit against it. With respect to the influence whic produced the passage of the act of 1817; if there was any felt, it was by the President, and to him must be imputed the blame; for to him the remonstrances of the foreign Ministers had been addressed, and he had brought the subject before Congress. With respect to the correspondence

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with the Ministers, on the call of the committee for facts of depredations by our cruisers, these paers had been shown to them. I have no recolection, said Mr. F., of every word in one of the official notes, but I am sure that the version which has been given of it is not correct. I very well recollect, although not particularly remembering the particular words or arguments, that the tone of the letter and its manner were perfectly respectful to the Government, and such as might have been expected from the character of the Minister. It was neither indecent nor disrespectful; in the letter which is published as a copy of that, there are passages both indecent and disrespectful. In reply to the suggestion, that even if the act of 1817 was required at the time it passed, it was no longer necessary, because of a change in our posture, Mr. F. said, he knew of no such change. As far as the independence of the provinces, or of any of them, was recognised at this moment, it had been at that day. If his memory was not, in this respect, treacherous, the President of the United States announced to the Spanish Minister, through the Secretary of State, in the correspondence between them laid before this House at the middle of the last session, that such was the relation in which we regarded them. This answer had been given to an application to exclude their flags from our ports. To show that his construction of the decision of the Supreme Court on the act of 1794, as aplied to the case of St. Domingo, was correct, Mr. ... quoted the words of the decision from Cranch’s Reports. In Massachusetts, the case referred to by the Speaker, was that of an indictment for piracy, from which the accused sought to shield himself by a commission from one of the Governments asserting their independence. The judges composing the court differed on points of law. One of the questions was, whether a commission emanating from any revolted colony, district, or people, whose independence was not recognised by the Executive authority of the United States, was valid. Here was a question, very different from the present one raised by the courts of the United States, and brought up for decision; it was not decided, because the counsel for the party was not present, or for some cause of that description. This point being doubtful, it was highly proper that the act of 1817 should have removed all doubt on the subject. Under the act of 1794, it was doubtful whether the commission of certain acts was an offence under our laws or not; and a long course of litigation before the courts would have been necessary before the question would have been settled. It was better to settle the question, and clear the law of all doubt. In this view, the act of 1817 was necessary, independently of all other considerations, and ought not to be repealed. Mr. Tucker, of Virginia, said, he would not have troubled the Committee, but that his views varied somewhat both from those of the Speaker and the Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Relations. He was averse to the repeal of the

entire act of 1817, but was in favor of the repeal of the two last sections of it; they were called the bond section and the collector's section. He stated why he was in favor of retaining the provisions of the act, except these two sections. That act had been framed with the view of extending the provisions of the act of 1794, prohibiting our citizens from taking part in a war between two independent nations, with whom we were at peace, to the case of the Spanish colonies and the mother country. The act spoke of “a foreign prince or state,” and there had been in our courts a decision which seemed to indicate the necessity of using some farther designation in order to take in the case of the Spanish colonies. The first section of the act of 1817 differs from that of 1794, in little else than the addition of the words “colony, district, or people,” after the words “prince or state.”. This amendment had been thought necessary last year. He had not been present when the bill was passed, and should perhaps have hesitated about passing any bill with views particularly to this contest. But there was a difference between passing the bill and repealing it. Spain could not complain of our leaving it undone. Her conduct had given her no peculiar claims upon us... He should, therefore, perhaps have voted against the law. But it is now a law; and to repeal at this time ..o. which extends to her the o of the act of 1794, might perhaps justly be considered as unfriendly and hostile. , And while he, therefore, viewed with as much interest as any gentleman the cause of the Spanish patriots, and viewed with as little approbation the course of the Spanish Government, he would avoid whatever might endanger the peace of the nation. He considered it our true policy to maintain peace if we can, without compromitting the dignity of the nation. It is not less our interest now to avoid being entangled in South American af. fairs, than it was to avoid, in 1794, being implicated in European quarrels. He was, therefore, disposed to maintain, by all proper means, the neutrality of the United States; but it should be a dignified neutrality, not involving ourselves in difficulties, nor shrinking from what was due to our own characterandstanding among the nations of the earth. It was partly with this view that he was opposed to the last sections of the act of 1817. Spain has not entitled herself to expect this Government to go farther than they did in 1794, for the preservation of its neutrality. These sections do go farther. A gentleman now within the walls of the House, (Mr. PREston,) who was in Congress in 1794, tells me the attempt was made to introduce similar provisions into the act of that year. It was opposed by the most intelligent merchants, as embarrassing and oppressive since it rendered it necessary that every Eas: Indiaman, going armed, should be compelled to give bond before she could sail. Mr. Fitzsimmons, a distinguished merchant, was mentioned as opposing it. The proposal failed in 1794. Can Spain expect us, in her favor, to go farther then we would go then? By no means. Let

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us then leave the first section of the act of 1817 in force, and repeal the two last sections. This places Spain and the colonies on the same footing, as other nations are by the act of 1794, Mr. T. had specific objections to these clauses. The bond clause must be inconvenient to East India merchants. An intelligent East India merchant tells me that it is considered as an inconvenient provision at this .. It must be inconvenient; it holds every merchant to security, (who, from the nature of his trade, is obliged to go armed,) merely because some vessels have been illegally fitted out. It runs counter to the principles of our laws, to hold all to security lest some should break the law. The other section, he said, was more objectionable. It authorizes a seizure by the collector, upon suspicion; it puts into his hands powers that belong to the Judiciary; they are ample powers. If there be just ground of suspicion, on affidavit, a judge may issue his warrant against the offender; for, if his vessel has been fitted out, and the intent is illegal, the of fence is completed before she sails. If there be not just ground of suspicion, the collector should not be permitted to seize; nor would I take the power of judging out of judicial hands, to place in the hands of the collector. Who is he 3 A person entitled to large emoluments in the case of condemnation of the vessel; an interested man, who, if he succeeds, requires a handsome sum, and, if he fails, applies to Congress to indemnify him, as he was acting in the line of his duty. He would repeat, that Spain had no right to expect us to introduce or to retain provisions so much at variance with correct principles, and which we did not think proper to introduce into the former laws for preserving our neutrality. Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, was opposed to this motion, though he had made up his mind to give a silent vote on it, but for the remarks of the gentleman who had just spoken, (Mr. TucKER.) He had the honor, he said, to be a member of the Committee of Foreign Relations at the last session, by whom the bill now called the act of 1817 was reported; and, as far as his recollection served him, if the Message of the President (which had been referred to) had not been submitted to that committee, they would have reported a bill nearly similar in its provisions to that which had passed. That letter, Mr. S. said ought to be better understood. The Minister o the King of Portugal had received information, which afterwards proved to be correct, that Commodore Taylor had issued orders to privateers from the ports of the United States to capture the vessels of Portugal; and he apprized the Department of State that such expeditions were fitting out. The fact was, Mr. S. said, that those vessels, going from ports of the United States, did actually take such vessels, carry them into Buenos Ayres, where the Government decided that there was no authority on the part of Commodore Taylor to issue any such orders. The letter from the Portuguese Minister, Mr. S. said further, was couched in respectful terms, such as appeared proper and consistent with a correct

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view of his duties as a foreign Minister. It had been intimated that the President had been induced to address a Message on this subject to Congress, by the teasing of a foreign Minister. Did gentlemen suppose the President a man of that character to yield to such importunities? No ; he was, in applying to Congress for more rigid provisions, mindful of his own country alone; and no reflection could justly apply to the President for his conduct on that occasion. His friend from Virginia, Mr. S., said, had an objection to the act of 1817, bottomed on the bonds to. by that act to be given in certain Cases. hat were those bonds? That an armed vessel, going from the ports of the United States, should not jeopardize the peace of the country. This it appeared had been represented to the gentleman from Virginia as a great inconvenience to persons engaged in the East India trade. I am myself, said Mr. S., engaged in that trade and a number of my constituents, and the constituents of various gentlemen here; and, if there be any inconvenience to them, why have they not remonstrated to this House against it? No such remonstrance has been forwarded; and yet, sir, the merchants are very mindful of their own convenience. One remonstrance had been presented from that class at the present session, representing that the fifteen days allowed by law was too short a time for discharging the cargo of a ship, and that the per diem allowance for all beyond that time ought to be modified or discontinued." This, Mr. Š, said, was a trifling incon. venience, and yet the merchants remonstrated against it. As to the inconvenience of giving bonds, Mr. S. said, he who has no wish to do an unlawful act will have no objection to give bonds, which give no other trouble than the signature of his own name and that of two sureties. In civil society, for the benefit of the whole, individuals must submit to such inconveniences, and the merchants had always cheerfully done it. Why did we so 7 asked Mr. S. Because it was our interest that those who are disposed to do illegal acts may be detected and arrested in their designs. We give bond, said he, for the register of our ship, and, if we sell the vessel abroad, are bound to return the register. We could sell our vessels to great advantage abroad, if we could sell the registers also; but the security of the Government requires us to give bond to return them. To such inconveniences, like those of the act of 1817, required by the general good, I have never known merchants to refuse to submit—it is not their character. With regard to the other section, which the gentleman had objected to, Mr. S. did not conceive it very important; but it was intended to prevent vessels from being prepared in our ports for a cruise in every i.o. except that their armament was not on deck, but ready to be put in a situation to make war immediately on leaving our ports. Such a vessel the collectors are authorized to detain; but from so doing gained no advantage, there being no forfeiture, &c.—so that they had no motive for pressing the execution of the strict letter of the law, and the

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power was not therefore subject to abuse, as had been supposed. The section, he said, had perhaps arisen from a circumstance which has cost the United States nearly two hundred thousand dollars—he referred to the case of the American Eagle, of New York, which vessel was supposed to be sold to one of the black Emperors, and had about her all the marks of such a destination; but, under the laws of the United States, was not condemned. That vessel was seized under a direct order of the Executive; but the collector had been adjudged to pay to the owner, for the seizure, $109,000 and interest, and Congress were bound to make good the money. If the section now objected to had then existed, this would not have happened. If a man means, fairly, his enterprise will be above board, and there is no fear of his being subjected to a suspicion of an intention to do an unlawful act; if he acts otherwise, he ought to be restrained by bonds from carrying his intention into effect. I am of opinion, said Mr. S., we have an undoubted right to build vessels fit for war, and send them abroad and sell them to whoever will buy them; but, when we do so, we ought to have cargoes not contraband of war on board of them. If they have an innocent cargo, they have no occasion for arms, and may go unmolested where they please. And was there anything in the act of 1817 to prohibit such a trade? No; it prohibited only the fitting out of vessels from our ports for the purpose of depredating on the commerce of nations with whom we are at peace. What, Mr. S. asked, was the nature of our differences with Spain 3 Was our claim on her for territorial possessions? No, he said, we possess the territory we claim, and it is for Spain to negotiate to dispossess us. Qur claim against her is for spoliations committed on our commerce by French privateers whom she permitted to fit out from her ports, and bring in our vessels for sale. For this we justly demand indemnity. And what, he asked, had Spain replied ? That we have a right to this indemnity, and she will pay it when she shall be able. Now, if a vessel, sailing out of our ports as a cruiser, obtains a commission we know not how, gives no bonds whatever, goes to sea and commences the capture of Spanish property, are we not responsible? In one case a vessel of that description sailed from our ports, and, without having visited any patriotic port, had captured an Indiaman and sent her into Buenos Ayres, where she sold for a million of dollars. That amount, Mr. S. said, he had been informed was already reclaimed from us. And, should we ask them to pay us for depredations on the property of our merchants, and refuse the same measure to them? Now, suppose that at that time bonds had been exacted, as by the provision of the act of 1817 so strongly objected to, with good and sufficient security, that vessel would not have gone out and involved the United States in heavy responsibilities by her unlawful acts. If, as had been said, up to the last year, the act of 1794 had been deemed sufficient by successive Congresses, why had that of 1797 been

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passed subsequently? And, after all the acts that could be passed, it would be found, Mr. S. said, that some loop-hole would still be left through which a man may creep. In reply to the Speaker's demand, why such sympathy with the Spanish Government, Mr. S. said, that our sympathies were for ourselves, our acts were intended to keep ourselves within the rules of conduct prescribed by national law for neutral Powers; to maintain our own dignity, and prevent our citizens from involving us in war. Of a war with the present power of Spain, he said, nobody would think much; but a rule applied to Spain might be applied, by illegal cruisers from our ports, to other Powers, with whom a conflict would not be so very convenient. The House had been told that such conduct was not cause of war: it might not perhaps create a war at this moment—but, said he, whenever the Power thus injured feels itself strong enough to make a war, you will find that it will be always found a sufficient cause. If, Mr. S. said, the United States do permit vessels to be owned and fitted out in our ports and harbors, commanded and manned by American citizens, and to sally out and depredate on the commerce of a nation at peace with us, without our taking due means to prevent it, if that nation be able, she will consider it cause of war. Suppose we should thus be brought into a war, which is not impossible, and that Spain should fit out, in the ports of England and of France, privateers which never have gone and never intend to go into Spanish ports for commissions, but should commence their depredations on our commerce the moment they leave the ports where they were fitted out; suppose that we remonstrate with these Powers, and tell them that the practice is inconvenient and injurious to us, and they give to us the answer which has been given on this floor—I want to know, if, with the powers the Speaker can bring into action on such subjects, he would not rouse the feelings of every man in this House to resent the injury, considering it as cause of war. What! he would say, shall we stand by and see our commerce plundered, and our merchants robbed at our very doors by people not at war with us? We ought, therefore, Mr. S. said, by every provision that was necessary, to prevent our citizens from embarking in these expeditions. . If the patriots ever have a commerce on the high seas, said he, on which depredation can be committed, we shall find our citizens fighting against one another; commissions will be taken from the Spanish monarch in the same manner as they now are from the patriots; and, money being the only object of those who engage in these expeditions, our citizens will be found in arms against each other, as either service may afford them the prospect of gain, &c. Mr. CLAY again rose. He directed his first observations to what had fallen from Mr. TUCKER. If the decision of the judicial authorities had been, that the case of the patriots did not come within the act of 1794, there would be much force in his argument for retaining the least

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