ment for war which was afforded by the attack on the Chesapeake. He had always entertained the opinion, he said, that Mr. Jefferson on that occasion took the correct, manly and frank course, in saying to the British government —your officers have done this—it is an enormous aggression—do you approve the act, do you make it your cause or not? That government did not sanction the act; it disclaimed it, and promptly too— and, although they for a long time withheld the due redress, it was ultimately tendered. If Mr. Jefferson had used his power to carry the country into a war at that period, it might have been supported by public opinion during the moment of fever, but it would soon abate and the people would begin to ask, why this war had been made without understanding whether the British government avowed the conduct of its officers, &c. If the threatening aspect of our relations with England had entered into the consideration which had caused the increase of the army at that time, Mr. C. said, there were considerations equally strong at this time, with our augmented population, for retaining our present force. If, however, there were no threatenings from any quarter, if the relative force of European nations, and the general balance of power existing before the l’rench revolution were restored; if South America had not made the attempt, in which he trusted in God she would succeed, to achieve her independence; if our affairs with Spain were settled, he would repeat, that ten thousand men would not be too great a force for the necessities of the country, and with a view to future emergencies. He had taken the liberty the

other day to make some observations which he might now repe. as furnishing auxiliary considerations for adopting a course of pro dence and precaution. He had the . said, that our affairs with Spa a were not settled, &c.; that the S, . nish minister was reported to he made some inadmissible demand of our government. The fact turned out, Mr. C. said, as he had presented it. It appeared that what was then rumour was now fact; and Spain had taken the ground not only that there must be a discussion of our title to that part of Louisiana formerly called WestFlorida (which it might be doubted whether it ought to take place) but had required that we must surrender the territory first, and discuss the right to it afterwards. Besides this unsettled state of our relations with Spain, he said, there were other rumours—and he wished to God we had the same means of ascertaining their correctness, as we had found of ascertaining the truth of the rumour just noticed—it was rumoured that the Spanish province of Florida had been ceded, with all her pretensions, to Great Britain. Would gentlemen tell him, then, that this was a time when any statesman would pursue the hazardous policy of disarming entirely—of quietly smoking our pipes by our fire sides, regardless of impending danger? It might be a palatable doctrine to some, but he was persuaded was condemned by the rules of conduct in private life, by those maxims of sound precaution by which individuals would regulate their private affairs. Mr. C. said, he did not here mean to take up the question in relation to South America. Still it was impossible not to see that, in the progress of things, we might be call

eu on to decide the question whester we would or would not lend -hem our aid. This opinion he “oldly declared—and he entertaind it, not in any pursuit of vain łory, but from a deliberate con“ition of its being conformable to is best interests of the country— hat, having a proper understanding with foreign powers—that understanding which prudence and a just precaution recommended—it would undoubtedly be good policy to take part with the patriots of South America. He believed it could be shown that, on the strictest principles of public law, we have a right to take part with them, that it is our interest to take part with them, and that our interposition in their favour would be effectual. But he confessed, with infinite regret, that he saw a supineness on this interesting subject throughout our country which left him almost without hope, that what he believed the correct policy of the country would be pursued. He considered the release of any part of America from the dominions of the old world, as adding to the general security of the new.—He could not contemplate the exertions of the people of South America, without wishing that they might triumph and nobly triumph. He believed the cause of humanity would be promoted by the interposition of any foreign power which should terminate the contest between the friends and enemies of independence in that quarter, for a more bloody and cruel war never had been carried on since the days of Adam than that which is now raging in South America—in which not the least regard is paid to the laws of war, to the rights of capitulation, to the rights of prisoners, nor even to the rights of kindred. I do not,

said Mr. C. offer these views expecting to influence the opinions of others: they are opinions of my own. But, on the question of general policy, whether or not we shall interfere in the war in South America, it may turn out that, whether we will or will not choose to interfere in their behalf, we shall be drawn into the contest in the course of its progress. Among other demands by the minister of Spain, is the exclusion of the flag of Buenos Ayres and other parts of South America from our ports. Our government has taken a ground on this subject, of which I think no gentleman can disapprove—that all parties shall be admitted and hospitably treated in our ports, provided they conform to our laws whilst among us. What course Spain may take on this subject, it was impossible now to say. Although I would not urge this as an argument for increasing our force, said Mr. C. I would place it among those considerations which ought to have weight with every enlightened mind in determining upon the propriety of its reduction. It is asserted that Great Britain has strengthened and is strengthening herself in the provinces adjoining us. Is this a moment when in prudence we ought to disarm? No, sir. Preserve your existing force. It would be extreme indiscretion to lessen it. Mr. C. here made some observations to show that a reduction of the army to from four to five thousand men, as had been suggested, would not occasion such a diminution of expense as to authorize the rejection of the report, or any essential alteration in the amount of revenue, which the system proposes to raise from internal taxes, and his colleague (Mr. M'Kee) appeared equally hostile to all of them. Having however, shown that we cannot in safety reduce the army, Mr. C. would leave the details of the report in the abler hands of the honourable chairman, (Mr. Lowndes) who, he had no doubt, could demonstate, that with all the retrenchments which had been recommended, the government would be bankrupt in less than three years, if most of these

taxes were not continued. He

would now hasten to that conclusion, at which the committee could not regret more than he did, that he had not long since arrived. As to the attitude in which this country should be placed, the duty of congress could not be mistaken. My policy is to preserve the present force, naval and military; to provide for the augmentation of the navy; and if the danger of war should increase, to increase the army also. Arm the militia, and give it the most effective character of which it is susceptible. Provide in the most ample manner, and place in proper depots, all the munitions and instruments of war. Fortify and strengthen the weak and vulnerable points indicated by experience. Construct military roads and canals—particularly from the Miami of the Ohio to the Miami of Erie; from the Sciota to the Bay of Sandusky; from the Hudson to Ontario; that the facilities of transportation may exist of the men and means of the country to points where they may be wanted. I would employ on this object a part of the army; which should also be employed on our line of frontier, territorial and maritime, in strengthening the works of defence. I would provide steam batteries for the Mississippi, for Borgne and Ponchartrain, and for the Chesapeake, and for any part ef the north or east where they

might be beneficially employed. In short, said Mr. C. I would act, seriously, effectively act, on the principle that in peace we ought to prepare for war; for I repeat, again and again, that in spite of all the prudence exerted by the government, and the forbearance of others, the hour of trial will come. These halcyon days of peace, this calm will yield to the storm of war, and when that comes, I am for being prepared to breast it. Has not the government been reproached for the want of preparation at the commencement of the late war? And yet the same gentlemen who utter these reproaches, instead of taking counsel from experience, would leave the country in an unprepared condition. He would as earnestly commence the great work, too long delayed, of internal improvement. He desired to see a chain of turnpike roads and canals from Passamaquoddy to New Orleans; and other similar roads intersecting the mountains, to facilitate intercourse between all parts of the country, and to bind and connect us together. He would also effectually protect our manufactories. We had given at least an implied pledge to do so, by the course of administration. He would afford them protection, not so much for the sake of the manufacturers themselves, as for the general interest. We should thus have our wants supplied when foreign resources are cut off; and we should also lay the basis of a system of taxation, to be resorted to when the revenue from imports is stopt by war. Such, Mr. Chairman, is a rapid sketch of the policy which it seems to me it becomes us to pursue. It is for you now to decide, whether we shall draw wisdom from the past, or neglecting the lessons of recent experience, we shall go on headlong without foresight, meriting and receiving the reproaches of the community. I trust, sir, notwithstanding the unpromising appearances sometimes presenting themselves, during the present session, we shall yet do our duty. I appeal to the friends around me—with whom I have been associated for years in public life—who nobly, manfully vindicated the national character by a war, waged by a young people, unskilled in arms, singlehanded, against a veteran power; a war which the nation has emerged from, covered with laurels; let us now do something to ameliorate the internal condition of the country; let us show that objects of domestic no less than those of so

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reign policy receive our attention;

let us fulfil the just expectations of the public, whose eyes are anxiously directed towards this session of Congress; let us, by a liberal and enlightened policy, entitle ourselves, upon our return home, to that best of all rewards, the grateful exclamation, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

Sheech of Mr. Hopkinson, on the Revenue discussion, in answer to Mr. Clay. My participation in the counsels of the country, is of such recent date that I may feel astonishment at occurrences which excite no surprize in more experienced politicians. The course which the business now under discussion has taken, appears to me a phenomenonin legislation. This Congress, sir, assembled after the conclusion of a war, which had called for vast efforts and expenditures, and accumulated a very heavy debt—at Vol. I.

the commencement of the session the usual committees for the arrangement of the public business were appointed; and amongst the rest, most prominent and most important, the committee of ways and means—it was the duty of this committee to examine into the state of the finances of the nation; to make accurate estimates of its wants; a judicious examination of its means; and fairly and impartially to apply the one to the necessities of the other—the committee then appointed, in due time, and it is presumed on due consideration, made their report upon these high matters to the house; and the debate we are now engaged in arises out of that report.— In the usual course of parliamentary affairs, it was doubtless to have been expected, that the opposition, if any, to the estimates and means thus furnished by the avowed friends of the administration, would have come from what, I find, is called “ the opposition.” But no such thing—we, on this side of the house, sat patient and silent, prepared to take our share of the burthen, and endure our portion of the suffering.—As far as we can judge, from the indications in our knowledge, the system then matured and delivered, would have, generally at least, been adopted and carried into operation—when, behold, the storm of opposition rises, not with the opposition, but the declared friends and supporters of the administration, and of those measures which have called for these extraordinary burthens and supplies!—I should have supposed that these gentlemen would have been willing to forget local interests, to surrender subordinate opinions, and united heartily in the great work of paying the national debt, and provided 2 F

for future expenditures—but, I beg it may be distinctly remembered, that the first assault upon the reported system of fin. ance,—that assault which goes to its vitality, and opened a breach which others, still declared friends of the administration, have widened, was made by the honourable gentleman from Kentucky, the speaker of the house.—A motion was made by that gentleman to reduce the land tax, from three to two millions—this motion failed— not disheartened by the defeat, he followed up the attempt, by a blow infinitely more deadly to the whole scheme, by moving that the land tax should be an annual tax, while every other tax reported is perpetual, and the whole together declared to be a fermanent system of taxation. In this the gentleman was successful, and so great a part as three millions of a permanent system, has assurance of existence but for a single year. If this unfortunate, and I may say ill-judged movement, shall throw the whole into confusion, and the government is thereby embarrassed, the public faith impeached, and the public establishments pinched, let it be remembered from whence these evils have flowed; let them be traced to their true source, the friends of the administration, and not the “opposition.”—When the honourable speaker had made this first step, it was natural to expect that some other gentleman of the same side, should be ambitious to step before him, and accordingly we find that his colleague proposes to abolish altogether this odious land tax, and strike it out of the system; and of course to throw these three millions upon the shoulders of those who have been, or may be kind enough to take the rest of the burthen.—Is this deal

ing fairly and equitably by all? But, sir, the cause of wonder does not stop here—the greater wonder is yet untold—no sooner does the honourable speaker suggest his essential, his vital change in this system of finance, than the honourable chairman of the conmittee, by whom it was reported, surrenders it at discretion, without an effort to defend, or struggle to preserve it.—Can it be expected that we in the opposition, however well disposed, can retain our confidence in a system thus solemnly reported as the matured work of knowledge and deliberation, and thus abandoned as the plaything of a child.—I know not the reasons which have determined the honourable chairman to this course; his intelligence and candour oblige me to believe, he can give a satisfactory explanation of it; but until it is given, I must pause in my confidence. For myself, sir, I assure you most seriously, that I took my seat here with a fixed intent to give all the aid in my power to extricate the country from her difficulties, and provide for her future support; to place the resources of the nation fairly and liberally at the disposal of those the people have chosen to govern them; and to suffer no feelings of my own in relation to the administration to interfere with the conscientious discharge of my duty as an American legislator. But how must I hesitate in the course which would bring me to these results, when I find those who are appointed to lead the way, and are presumed to have all the information necessary for the purpose, halting and receding in their steps, and uncertain whether the path lies in this or in o that direction; in fact differing among themselves as to the measures to be pursued.—While I

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