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assuredly, by charging on you the odium of a long and protracted contest, and with much common place, and many good saws and sayings, of the miseries of bloodshed, and the savings and good husbandry of peace, and the comforts of a quiet life; but if you listen to this, you will be much deceived—not only deceived, but you will be beaten. Again, if the government of another country covers more ground in Europe, and destroys the balance of power, so as to threaten the independence of other nations, this is a cause of your interference. Such was the principle upon which we acted in the best times; such was the principle of the grand alliance; such the triple alliance; and such the quadruple; and by such principles has Europe not only been regulated, but protected. If a foreign government does any of those acts I have mentioned, we have a cause of war; but if a foreign power does all of them, forms a conspiracy for universal empire, keeps up an army for that purpose, employs that army to overturn the balance of power, and attempts the conquest of Europe—attempts, do I say?—in a great degree achieves it, (for what else was Bonaparte's dominion before the battle of Leipsic?) and then receives an overthrow, owes its deliverance to treaties which give that power its life, and these countries their security, (for what did you get from France but security?)—if this power, Isay, avails itself of the conditions in the treaties, which give it colonies, prisoners, and deliverance, and breaks those conditions which give you security, and resumes the same situation, which renders him capable of doing the same mischief; has England, or has she not, a right of war?
Having considered the two questions, that of ability and that of right, and having shown that you are justified on either consideration to go to war; let me now suppose, that you treat for peace —first, you will have a peace upon a war establishment, and then a war without your present allies: it is not certain that you will have any of them; but it is certain that you will not have the same combination, while Bonaparte increases his power, by confirmation of his title, and by further preparation; so that you will have a bad peace and a bad war. Were I disposed to treat for peace, I would not agree to the amendment, because it disperses your allies, and strengthens your enemy, and says to both, we will quit our alliance to confirm Napoleon on the throne of France, that he may hereafter more advantageously fight us, as he did before, for the throne of England.
Gentlemen set forth the pretensions of Bonaparte—gentlemen say, that he has given liberty to the press. He has given liberty to publication, to be afterwards tried and punished according to the present constitution of France, as a military chief pleases; that is to say, he has given liberty to the French to hang themselves. Gentlemen say, he has in his dominions abolished the slave trade—I am unwilling to deny him praise for such an act; but if we praise him for giving liberty to the African, let us not assist him in imposing slavery on the European. Gentlemen say, will you make war upon charactéro but the question is, will you trust a government, without one? What will you do if you are conquered, say gentlemen—I answer, the very thing you must do, if you treat—abandon the low countries. But the question is, in which case are you most likely to be conquered, with allies or without them? Either you must abandon the low countries, or you must preserve them by arms; for Bonaparte will not be withheld by treaty. If you abandon them, you will lose your situation on the globe, and, instead of being a medium of communication and commerce between the new world and the old, you will become an anxious station between two fires—the continent of America, rendered hostile by the intrigues of France, and the continent of Europe possessed by her arms. It then remains for you to determine, if you do not abandon the low countries, in what way you mean to defend them, alone or with allies. Gentlemen complain of the allies, and say, they have partitioned such a country, and transferred such a country, and seized on such a country. What! will they quarrel with their ally, who has possessed himself of part of Saxony, and shake hands with Bonaparte, who proposed to take possession of England? If a prince takes Venice, we are indignant; but if he seizes on a great part of Europe, stands covered with the blood of millions, and the spoils of half mankind, our indignation ceases; vice becomes gigantic, conquers the understanding, and mankind begin by wonder, and conclude by worship. The character of Bonaparte is admirably calculated for this effect—he invests himself with much theatrical grandeur; he is a great actor in the tragedy of his own government; the fire of his genius precipitates on universal empire, certain to destroy his neighbours or himself; better formed to acquire empire than to keep it, he is a hero
and a calamity, formed to punish
France, and to perplex Europe. 2"
The authority of Mr. Fox has been alluded to—a great authority, and a great man; his name excites tenderness and wonder—to do justice to that immortal person, you must not limit your view to his country; his genius was not confined to England, it acted three hundred miles off, in breaking the chains of Ireland; it was seen three thousand miles off in communicating freedom to the Americans: it was visible, I know not how far off, in ameliorating the condition of the Indian; it was discernible on the coast of Africa, in accomplishing the abolition of the slave trade. You are to measure the magnitude of his mind by parallels of latitude. His heart was as soft as that of a woman—his intellect was adamant—his weaknesses were virtues, they protected him against the hard habit of a politician, and assisted nature to make him amiable and interesting. The question discussed by Mr. Fox in 92, was, whether you would treat with a revolutionary government?—the present is, whether you will confirm a military and a hostile one? You will observe, that when Mr. Fox was willing to treat, the French, it was understood, were ready to evacuate the low countries. If you confirm the present government, you must expect to lose them. Mr. Fox objected to the idea of driving France upon her resources, lest you should make her a military government. The question now is, whether you will make that military government perpetual? I therefore do not think the theory of Mr. Fox can be quoted against us; and the practice of Mr. Fox tends to establish our proposition, for he treated with Bonaparte and failed. Mr.
Fox was tenacious of Engiand, and would never yield a iota of her superiority; but the failure of the attempt to treat was to be found, not in Mr. Fox, but in Bonaparte. On the French subject, speaking of authority, we cannot forget Mr. Burke—Mr. Burke, the prodigy of nature and acquisition: he read every thing, and saw every thing, he foresaw every thing—his knowledge of history amounted to a power of foretelling; and when he perceived the wild work that was doing in France, that great political physician, intelligent of symptoms, distinguished between the access of sever and the force of health: and what other men conceived to be the vigour of her constitution, he knew to be no more than the paroxysm of her madness, and then, prophet-like, he pronounced the destinies of France, and, in his prophetic fury, admonished nations. Gentlemen speak of the Bourbon family—I have already said, we should not force the Bourbon upon France; but we owe it to departed (I would rather say to interrupted) greatness, to observe, that the house of Bourbon was not tyrannical; under her every thing, except the administration of the country, was open to animadversion; every subject was open to discussion, philosophical, ecclesiastial and political; so that learning, and arts, and sciences, made progress —even England consented to borrow not a little from the temperate meridian of that government—her tourt stood controlled by opinion, limited by principles of honour, and softened by the influence of manners—and, on the whole, there was an amenity in the condition of France, which rendered the French an amiable, an enlighten
ed, a gallant, and accomplished race: over this gallant race you see imposed an oriental despotism; their present court has gotten the idiom of the East as well as her constitution; a fantastic and barbaric expression, an unreality, which leaves in the shade the modesty of truth, and states nothing as it is, and every thing as it is not: the attitude is affected, the taste is corrupted, and the intellect perverted. Do you wish to confirm this military tyranny in the heart of Europe?—a tyranny founded on the triumph of the army over the principles of civil government—an experiment to relax the moral and religious influences, and to set heaven and earth adrift from one another— an insurrectionary hope to every bad man in the community, and a frightful lesson of profit and power, vested in those who have pandered their allegiance from king to emperor, and now found their pretensions to domination on the merit of breaking their oaths, and deposing their sovereign. Should you do any thing so monstrous as to leave your allies in order to confirm such a system, should you forget your name, forget your ancestors, and the inheritance they have left you of morality and renown, should you astonish Europe by quitting your allies to render immortal such a composition, would not the nations exclaim, “You have very “providently watched over our
* confederated Europe is ready to : “march, you take the lead in the “desertion, and preach the peni“tence of Bonaparte and the po“verty of England.” t As to her poverty, you must not consider the money you spend in your defence, but the fortune you would lose if you were not defended—and further, you must recollect you will pay less to an immediate war, than to peace with a war establishment, and a war to
follow it—recollect further, that whatever be your resources, they must outlast those of all your enemies; and further, that your empire cannot be saved by a calculation: besides, your wealth is only part of your situation—the name you have established, the deeds you have achieved, and the port you have sustained, preclude you from a second place among nations; and when you cease to be the first, you are nothing.
General HARPER’s Sheech, in the Senate of the United States, .Aftril 4th, 1816. The bill “to establish a system of navigation for the United States,” being under consideration, Gen. Harper moved to recommit it to the committee of foreign relations, and to refer to the same committee the following resolutions, which he read in his place and laid on the table, viz. “Resolved, that provision ought to be made by law, for excluding gradually from the naval and merchant service of the United States, all persons other than native citizens, or citizens heretofore naturalized. w “Resolved, that provision ought to be made by law, for compelling merchant vessels of the United States to have on board a number of apprentices, in proportion to the tonnage of such vessels respectively.” His object, Gen. Harper said, in moving this recommitment, was to prevail on the senate if possible to remould the bill, so as to incorporate into it the new ideas contained in these resolutions: new he ‘meantas respected that bill, though no doubt very familiar within those
walls, and to well informed and reflecting men throughout the country: and as the motion, should it prevail, would gave a new shape to the bill, and a new character to our whole maritime system, a character which he deemed it of the highest importance to impart to that great branch of our policy, he thought it incumbent on him to state, somewhat at large, the leading considerations which in his opinion recommended this measure. He was sensible that neither those considerations nor the measure itself, were new to that house, or to the nation. They had often, no doubt, been the subject of reflection and discussion abroad, and sometimes of deliberation within those walls. But as he, not having then the honour of a seat in that body, had no part in those deliberations, he might perhaps be more readily excused for occupying some portion of its time, with his ideas concerning the great interests involved in the question. These resolutions, Gen. Harper said, and especially the first, which contained by far the most important principle, had two distinct objects, each recommended by con
siderations peculiar to itself, and both tending to the same great end, the honour, safety, and prosperity of the nation. The first was to preserve peace, as far as its preservation might depend on us, by excluding all foreign seamen from our merchant ships, and thus avoiding those collisions with the maritime powers of the world, which must of necessity arise from conflicting claims on the ocean to allegiance: the second, to prepare for war, by accelerating the production of a numerous class of native seamen; the most effectual mode of doing which, was to confine the navigation of our ships of war and merchant vessels, as these resolutions proposed to confine it, to our native citizens, and those heretofore naturalized among us. Such, he said, was the twofold object of his motion; to avoid contests with other nations, and especially with that between which and us, from similarity of language, appearance and pursuits, they were most likely to arise; and to make timely and effectual preparation for maintaining our rights, against all nations, and especially that great maritime power, with which in all probability we could not long avoid serious collisions if we would; and perhaps, judging from the temper of a large part of this nation, would not if we could. From these collisions the resolutions which he had submitted would in his opinion have a tendency to save us. So far their operation would be admitted, he presumed, to be highly beneficial. Every measure must be so, that tended by fair and honourable means, to narrow the ground and diminish the occasions of serious misunderstandings, with other powers. The effect indeed would be not complete. Neither this
measure nor any other could save us entirely from contests with a power, between which and this country so many fruitful and perennial sources of discord existed. But it was doing much to diminish the number of those sources, and to dry up one of the most fruitful. This he believed would be effected, by the resolutions under consideration. How they would produce that effect he would next proceed to consider. Every honourable gentleman who heard him, knew how the two nations, the United States and Great Britain, stood towards each other, in relation to their maritime policy and pretensions. The United States asserted it as a right, and had established it as a habit, to incorporate foreigners by naturalization into their political association, into the nation, and thus to withdraw them from their allegiance to their native governments. This practice extended to all the European states, but affected Great Britain more than any other nation, from obvious and well known causes. We went a step further; we had laid it down as a maxim, in our laws and foreign policy, that protection is due on the ocean to these naturalized foreigners, against their original governments, to the same extent as to our native citizens; and this protection we had repeatedly and in various forms promised to afford. We had held out to the subjects of every power, to the people of all nations, a promise of protection, against their native governments, on the ocean as well as on the land, provided they would conform \ to our laws of naturalization. Thus' the matter stood on our part. The foreign powers on the other hand, and particularly Great Britain, had from time immemorial