would watch with double scruple and care, the uses made of the public resources by an administration not possessing my confidence, I could, by no means feel justified in withholding those resources, and suffering the government itself to fall into dissolution. I will not let my house go to decay, because I do not like the teInant. On the subject of the motives, the policy and the conduct of the war; the advantage and the glory of the peace, I had hoped to hear not a syllable within these walls, and certainly never intended myself to make them topics of discussion.—I was willing to consider the war as an evil gone by, to be remembered no more as a source of irritation and reproach; and recurred to only for its lessons of wisdom and experience.—l desired to look to the country in the actual situation in which we find her; to heal the deep wounds inflicted upon her; reanimate her powers and restore her strength. —My attention has not therefore been for a moment turned to the numerous considerations that belong to the questions of the war and the peace. But, sir, how has this moderation, for such I must call it, been received by the honourable speaker, who has this moment sat down—He has gone into an elaborate and animated justification, nay eulogium, of the causes of the war, and a magnificent display of the glory and advantages of the peace. And, sir, not satisfied with this, he has said the opposition, as he calls us, has not yet challenged either; and he challenges us to do so.-Sir, I feel most fully the rashness of taking up this challenge on the instant, unarmed, unprepared, and without a moment’s anticipation, that I

should be drawn into the contest. I will, however, venture upon it, taking the gentleman’s own positions for my guide; and hoping to refute him on the very points and grounds he has chosen to place himself, in relation to the gains of the peace particularly. Let me however premise that this peace had and has my hearty approbation, and most grateful I am to those who made it—God forbid, that I should reproach a measure which I solemnly and conscientiously believe, snatched my country from the very brink of the gulph of ruin. The federal government was at the last gasp of existence. But six months longer and it was no more. Yes, sir, trust me that, but for this providential peace you and I would not be here listening to proud declamations on the glory of the war; we should have heard nothing of a Congress, at this time, but as a thing that was; we should have had no profound plottings about a next president, no anxious longings for federal offices;–the general government would have dissolved into its original elements; its powers would have returned to the states from which it was derived; and they, doubtless, would have been fully competent to their own defence against any enemy.—Does not every body remember that all the great states, and I believe the small ones too, were preparing for this state of things, and organizing their own means for their own defence. When therefore I speak of our desperate condition, I speak only of the general government, and not of the country, of which I never did despair and never can —But, sir, as I believe that the strength, prosperity and happiness of this country, essentially depend upon the maintenance of the federal government, can I but be grateful for an event, which has preserved it—This source of approbation however, is obviously independent of the terms of this boastcd treaty, in which I see none of the advantages so boasted of; and, indeed, no excellence but the redemption from evil. The honourable speaker had boldly and distinctly put the question, “ What have we gained by . the war?” and imposed upon himself the task of exhibiting and proving these mighty gains. But to my astonishment, the whole of his argument was exerted to prove not, what we have gained, for not an item of gain was produced; but what we have not lost; and in those cases in which he admits loss, to show how that loss was produced. In what manner any gain is to be made out of this, I cannot conjecture—To begin with the fisheries —The gentleman has told us that our right in them, was held under the treaty of 1783; that in the late negotiation the British commissioners contended, that by our war we had forfeited all the rights held under former treaties, and among the rest the use of these fisheries. I do not understand from the gentleman that our commissioners assented to this doctrine, but rather that they made their objections to it. But still I cannot see how all this proves we have not lost the fisheries; and whether we lost them by the argument or the war; the only important fact remains unquestioned, that we have lost them. As our present enquiry, to which we are challenged, is into the gains of the war, it seems to me that the loss of the fisheries, however lost, cannot add much to the account of our gains. Thus a physician may give a most learned and unanswerable detail of the reasons why and how his patient

died; but I have never heard that the argument restored him to life or satisfied any body that he was not dead. The honourable speaker however, has endeavoured to comfort us for this gain, by reminding us, that the same argument which deprived us of the fisheries, took from the enemy the navigation of the Mississippi, which he held under a former treaty. If this set off were even of a sufficient value to compensate for our loss, and one gentleman thinks it essentially more valuable, I still cannot see how it could aid the main point of this discussion which is to display our gains by war, and to place the loss of the fisheries on the list. But unfortunately for this comfort, the gentleman has been candid enough to inform us that our commissioners actually offered to renew the Mississippi right to the British, if they would renew our right to the fisheries—the offer was rejected; and proves at least, that our commissioners thought the fisheries worth the navigation of the river; and that the British commissioners did not think that navigation worth the fisheries. The next attempt made by the honourable gentleman in displaying our gains by the war, was on the subject of the impressment of seamen; this great bone of contention. What is the argument to show that we have gained any thing here? The gentleman sets out with alluding to a letter, which has appeared in the papers, and excited mueh clamour with some people, written by a distinguished gentleman in the opposition, as the honourable speaker describes him. Now, says the speaker, the writer of this letter fully adopts and justifies the British doctrine on the subject of impressment; and if the gentlemen in the opposition hold the same opinions,


surely it is not for them to complain that the treaty has done nothing in relation to it—This is the argument.—Now in the first place I deny that it is fair to urge upon us on this floor, the sentiments or opinions of a letter, by whomsoever it may have been written. I am not now called upon to express any opinion upon the principles held hy the respectable writer of that letter; at present I protest against the members on this floor being called upon to be judged by a document of that description. But that the honourable gentleman may have the full benefit of this circumstance, I will agree that the opposition maintain the doctrines of that letter. What inference can be drawn from it to prove that the treaty in question has gained any thing on that subject? We have no right to complain—be it so—But is any thing gained by this?—Is the American seaman more secure than he was before; or the American doctrine better established? If indeed the gentlemen who went to war for this principle have changed their opinion of it; if they also agree with the writer of this letter on the subject, I admit their justification of a treaty, which if it does not surrender, at least leaves it as it was, is full and complete; for why should they ask a principle to be recognized in a treaty, which they are convinced is erroneous, and ought to be abandoned.—But if, on the other hand, these gentlemen adhere to their old opinions; if they still deny the right to search our vessels for British sailors and to take such as they find there; if in short they still hold the principles, the recognition of which was the declared cause and object of the war, then indeed I cannot see how a war or a treaty which has gained nothing on this point can be considered

either successful or glorious. Certainly we can reckon nothing here in our account of gains. But we are told such a change took place in the affairs of Europe, as to stop the practice of impressment—And this is all we need be concerned about. If it be so, we owe it confessedly, not to the success of our war, or the skill of our treaty, but to a change in the affairs of Europe, over which we had no control, and for which we can honestly claim no credit. How then is it an item in the account of our gain by the war and the treaty? we should have had the same gain in the same way, and at the same time, if we had had neither the war nor the treaty. But I must beg leave to correct the honourable gentleman in this part of his argument. A mere abstinence from the practice of impressment was not all the American government asked and contended for; but an explicit relinquishment of the principle under which it was defended. Let me refer to the official declarations of the cabinet, that the war would be in vain, without an express recognition of our firincifile; let me also refer to the speeches on the floor of Congress, of the honourable speaker himself, in which in the strongest language, he maintains the same ground. Besides, if a cessation of the practice was all that was required, why did an arrangement fail?—why was a treaty rejected, which would have prevented the abuse of the principle, and secured us from the dangcrs of the practice. At least however, says the honourable speaker, we are in statu quo, we stand as well on this subject as we did before the war—We have given up nothing. To this however I cannot assent; and, if I did, I do not see how it would prove a gain by the war.—How is the fact? Do we stand as strong on this point as we did before we took up arms for it? I think not—Whatever may have been the strength of our claim before the war, it is weaker now. When a nation makes this last, this dread appeal in support of an asserted right, and then concludes the war by a voluntary treaty with out obtaining the right or any recognition of it, the right is weakened by the unsuccessful attempt, followed by a voluntary abandonment, if not of the right, at least, of any acknowledgment of it—I may liken it to the case of an individual, who brings suit for a debt he alleges to be due to him, or a piece of land he claims as his own— If after the commencement of the trial he prosecutes it not to issue, but suffers a non-suit, and gives up his suit, if not his cause, nobody will think as well of his right as before. The man who abandons the prosecution of an asserted right, will excite much distrust of the right itself, and even of his own confidence in it. We do not therefore stand in statu quo, on the question of impressment. The next subject of gain, introduced by the honourable gentleman as resulting from the joint operations of the war and the peace, is, in relation to the islands in Passamaquoddy bay. We have lost nothing here, says he; we have merely agreed that each party shall hold in that bay what he might be possessed of at the date of the treaty; and the right be afterwards settled by commissioners—Besides, says the honourable speaker, we, (the American negociators,) had every reason to believe that the valour and patriotism of Massachusetts, would not only have rescued her own soil from the possession of the enemy, but have also taken possession of the island of —,

and, in this case, we should have been the gainers by this arrangement; that as to the first branch of this argument we have lost nothing, because the right is not surrendered, but to be hereafter ascertained—Is it not undeniable, that we have, at least, lost the possession, which is transferred to the enemy until the right shall be determined; and all the advantages to be derived, even in the arbitration, by this possession? Has not a large portion of the citizens of the United States, in the mean time, been handed over to a new master, and a new government? and, more than all this, does any body believe, but for this war, Great Britain would ever have troubled herself or us about those islands; or drawn into question the boundaries, as they have been received by both parties for so many years? In point of fact, therefore, in sober truth, we have, by this war, and this treaty, lost the right, * if hereafter, it shall be decided against us; because, but for the war, it would never have been submitted to any question or decision. As to the expectations that were entertained by our commissioners of the conquests to be made by Massachusetts, I can see no just foundation for them. The arms and resources of all the United States being placed at the disposal of the general government, whose duty it is to defend every state from invasion and conquest, the expectation would have been, and more reasonable if it had been, applied to the general government, and not to the government of the state whose territory was occupied by the enemy. The expectation, however, apply it where you will, was disappointed; the possession of that portion of our country is lost;

the right, at least, brought into

unnecessary doubt and jeopardy; and, under these circumstances, I cannot reckon the result among the gains of the war. But, leaving these matter-of-fact calculations, the honourable gentleman has expatiated upon a wider field of gain by the war—the gloRY that has been acquired. I do not exactly understand how those gentlemen who declared and produced the war, make out their claim to all the glory that was acquired by it. The war was made by the men in power—by the existing administration; and I can trace none of the glory to their foresight; their wisdom, or their personal agency—The glory is due to the valour, the patriotism, the self-denial of our citizens, who met and repelled the dangers that surrounded them, and not to the administration that brought them upon us; and, in many instances, perhaps a majority, the men who acquired this glory for their country were men utterly opposed to the war, to those who made it, and to the policy that produced it. Sir, I am not insensible of national glory; I hope I never shall be—It is the spring of national virtue; the source of high achievements: the people who disregard it are incapable of great actions, and unworthy of honour. But still, I have never understood, that the acquisition of glory is a legitimate cause of war; or an admitted justification of it; and therefore our glory cannot be taken as a gain of one of the objects of the war; which is the true point of enquiry now. In order that this blaze of glory may show the brighter by contrast, the honourable speaker has painted in strong colours, the degraded situation of our country, at the period of declaring war— Our character was sunk almost to

infamy; we had become the scorn and contempt of all Europe, and there was no nation so pitiful and weak that it did not insult and tread upon us. If this be true, and I am not disposed to question it, let me ask the honorable gentleman, who made it so!—Washington raised the reputation of the United States to a pitch of envied honour, and left them covered with true glory—He is guiltless. In the hands of Mr. Adams, it faded a little, but was not extinguished— then followed Mr. Jefferson, with whom, the honourable speaker has informed us, his friends came into power—and they have held it ever since—To what purpose he has told us himself. . Thus, sir, I close the examination of the honourable gentleman’s account of the gains of the war; and, be it as it is, I repeat, that I heartily rejoice at the treaty he made for us; not becausé it is good in itself, but because it snatched us from infinitely greater evils. I have rashly ventured, on the in

stant, upon a reply to the argu

ment of the gentleman, which deserved, and, perhaps, required, a much more deliberate and careful refutation. Permit me flow to offer a few observations on the subject of the tax immediately under consideration. I repeat my entire willingness to put the resources of the country, fairly and justly, but with proper caution and accountability, at the disposal of those the people have chosen to trust with the administration of their affairs. It is better that unfit men should have the means necessary to govern, than that the government should perish for want of means. I repeat, too, that if the administration shall be drawn into any straight or difficulty for these supplies, it must

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