Mississippi Question.

FEBRUARY, 1803. years ago, were as violently bent on peace? They ceits which have been put upon them, and are tell us, indeed, that there was a day when the now attempted again. They have on every occacharacter of America stood high, and when the sion marked one prevailing feature of conduct in poorest American individual could not be insulted the party which now wish to stir up war; against with impunity; and that those were the days of every aggression of Great Britain they shui their WASHINGTON. Gentlemen have very bad memo- eyes; in their sight the most flagrant acts of inries, or they perhaps choose to forget. Do those justice from that quarter are either justified or gentlemen forget Dorchester's speech to the In- palliated; in whatever situation we are placed, dians; do they forget the possession of our forts with respect to other Powers, the first consideraon the lakes, contrary to treaty, when the savage tion of this war party is, what is the interest of Indians were daily murdering our citizens on the Great Britain on the subject ? Every act of any frontier, instigated by the British, when neither Power not allied to Great Britain, or in any manage nor sex was spared ? What was the conduct of ner opposed to her, is magnified and aggravated; gentlemen then ? Those things happened in the and in all their speeches we are sure to hear, either days of Washington, and where was the redress in the form of a direct proposal, or an hearsay infound ? In war ? Did we march an army to Mon- sinuation, of an alliance offensive and defensive treal or Quebec ? Did we even seize upon our own with England; we are menaced and flattered alforts, in our own States, which they held ? No. ternately with accounts of her Navy; we are What then did Washington do, Mr. President? taught io believe her Navy can destroy us, if we Why, sir, he did no more than we mean to do maintain our own rights, or if we prefer treating now; with a thousandth part of the provocation with others; while, if we have difference with or injury, he negotiated. If any circumstances Powers to which England is opposed, we are injustified war, it was those. But even my friends vited to embark in a new crusade with her, and did not then propose to resort to arms-they pro- to lead the van of her battles. The people see posed a commercial war, in which no blood was all these things, they have felt them, and can no to be shed. But what did those gentlemen who longer be deceived. now bellow forth war? They opposed even a

Sir, while they guard against internal foes, the commercial retaliation ; they deprecated the dan- people are not indifferent to their rights, nor ungers of a war, and proposed negotiation, and sent willing to maintain them at every hazard. The an Ambassador.

business of New Orleans is in the hands of the The British Treaty was concluded—the gentle- Executive, and the people confide in their own men who now roar out war! war! then cried out choice. If his efforts fail by negotiation, the people peace! and eulogized that treaty. Yet, in the will not fail to unite with one voice and one arm iwenty-second article of that treaty, we find the at the call of the Government of their country. gentlemen have furnished another contradiction; Mr. Nicholas said, if this was an ordinary for that article says, that neither of the contract question, his indisposition would prevent his taking ing parties shall order or authorize any acts of re- any part in the discussion; but as the Representprisal against the other, on complaint of injury, ative of a State, more than one-third of whose until a statement thereof shall be presented to the territory lies on the Western waters, and which injuring party by the injured, verified by compe- has upon all occasions manifested the most anxtent proof, and demand satisfaction, and not then ious solicitude to preserve our right to the naviunless redress is refused, or unreasonably delayed. gation of the river Mississippi, he felt himself This treaty was concluded under Washington, bound to state to the Senate the reasons upon but it was also a part of a former treaty with Prus- which he considered the propositions of his friend sia, and of a subsequent treaty with the Dey of from Kentucky entitled to a preference to the Algiers; the twenty-second article of the treaty resolutions offered by the gentleman from Pennwith whom was to the same effect. And this also sylvania. However irksome it may be to him, he was a treaty concluded by Washington, and all will never shrink from the discharge of a public this was supported by the gentlemen who now duty from personal considerations. Upon the drive at war.

Where were Jupiter and Mars in present occasion, he would endeavor, as much as that day? they were napping in the arms of some possible, to avoid a repetition of what had been fuddled Bellona; while a grave Judge was sent said by others in favor of the amendment, and in from the Bench to the Court of St. James to kneel opposition to the original resolutions. To make before her Majesty of England, to kiss her sacred this the more certain, his observations should be hand, and to pray her most gracious intercession more in the form of a reply to what had been said with her magnanimous husband to spare our in support of the resolutions first offered, than a frontiers from the scalping knife, and have pity regular argument in favor of one proposition, or on us. This was called asserting our dignity in in opposition to the other. Had the gentleman those boasted days; we never heard of the poorest who introduced this discussion dealt frankly with individual meeting protection ; and the represent- the Senate, or understood the views of his own ative of our Republic was seen taking shelter un- friends, and at once informed us what nations he der the royal robe, and aping the pomp and vanity meant to go to war with, what the objects of the of a vicious court and corrupt nobility.

war were to be, and the extent of the proposed The people of America, Mr. President, have conquests, much time and trouble would have been had too much experience to be any longer de- saved. ceived. Their eyes have been opened to the de- When the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. FEBRUARY, 1803.

Mississippi Question.


Ross) opened his war project, his resentment ap- an expectation, and to depend upon future negotipeared to be confined wholly to Spain; his sole ation for forming connexions to carry us through object the securing the navigation of the Missis- it with success, would be a system of policy too sippi, and our right to a convenient place of de weak and childish ever to be pursued by an Amerpo op that river. We were told by that gentle- ican Congress. It would be to submit the interest, man, that we are bound to go to war for this right, and perhaps the honor of this country to a nation which God and nature had given the Western who would extort from us sacrifices as injurious as people. What are we to understand by this right, a disadvantageous peace would impose. And it given by God and nature ? Surely not the right must be obvious, that without the most discreet use of deposit, for that was given by treaty; and as of the power vested in Congress to make war, and to the right of navigation, that has been neither a perfect co-operation between the treaty-making suspended nor brought into question. But we are power and the Legislature, we shall subject our told by the same gentleman, that the possession country to the greatest difficulties in this way. He of New Orleans is necessary to our complete se- would say nothing of the present state of Europe, curity. Leaving to the gentleman's own con- to show that there may be an indisposition in any science to settle the question as to the morality of nation to go to war, nor of the rival and conflicting taking that place, because it would be convenient, interests of any nation with those of the United he would inform him that the possession of it States. Every gentleman has full information will not give us complete security. The island upon these subjects, and will appreciate them as of Cuba, from its position, and the excellence of they merit. its harbors, commands the Gulf of Mexico as com- The gentleman from Pennsylvania, probably pletely as New Orleans does the river Mississippi, distrusting the success of his measures, if they deand to give that complete security that he re- pended exclusively upon the act of the Intendant quires of the President, the island of Cuba must of New Orleans, has brought into view aggressions likewise be taken possession of. It has been shown committed upon our commerce during the late that the measures proposed by the gentleman from war, and which that gentleman knows are in a Pennsylvania, and he would again demonstrate train of adjustment, and could only have been it, if it was necessary, are calculated to bring mentioned by him with a view to produce the upon the Western country all the mischiefs that greatest possible degree of irritation against Spain. gentleman has depicted as resulting to them from Upon this part of his argument he would make å loss of the navigation of the river Mississippi. some further observations hereafter. As the disIf we are driven to war to assert our rights, the cussion advanced, new objects and new adversaWestern people must make up their minds to bear ries were successively developed, until, from the that loss during the war; for without a naval su- recovery of a commercial privilege, we were gradperiority, which we have not and cannot obtain, ually led on to the emancipation, and indirectly to or the possession of Cuba, we shall not be able to be the arbiters of the old and new worlds. avail ourselves of the navigation to any useful The gentleman from New York, finding the purpose. Although we may take possession of weight of argument against him, and that a resort the Floridas and New Orleans, it is from a con- to arms would not be justifiable upon the ground viction of its pernicious effects upon the Western taken by his friends, with a boldness and promptcountry, as well as other reasons, that he was itude that characterizes veteran politicians, has averse to appealing to arms as long as there is a not only assigned «new and different causes for prospect of attaining our object in another way. war, but new objects, and a new and more powIt has been said in this debate, that war cannot erful enemy to cope with. He no doubt felt the take place without the interference of Great Brit- force of the arguments that have been used to show ain, which he presumed is relied upon to give us the improbability that Spain would authorize an a naval superiority. This, Mr. President, would act that would produce a rupture with this country, be opening to us a new scene. At some period at the moment that she was parting with Louisior other we may find ourselves forced to seek al- ana, and when she could not possibly derive any liances with some Power that has a considerable advantage from the wrong that she could do us naval force; he could conceive a state of things by that act; and at a time when we know from that would make it prudent; but it certainly is unquestionable evidence that it is the desire of not our interest or policy to precipitate ourselves Spain to cultivate a good understanding with this into a situation that would make that a necessary country. He could give no credit to the suggesmeasure. We have been warned by the experi- tion, that the First Consul had required Spain to ence of other nations, and by the admonitions of take that step. He knew that character too well our most enlightened citizens, to avoid entangling to believe that he would attempt to throw a realliances, to keep ourselves clear of such a con- sponsibility upon others, for his measures, nor innexion with other nations as would probably make deed could it be shown that the First Consul would us a party to all their wars; and he trusted that be in any way benefited by it; he knows the Amerwhen a necessity did exist, if it ever should, there ican character too well to believe that any of the will be found wisdom enough in that department reasons that have been assigned by his friends who of our Government in whom the power of nego- have preceded him in this argument, would form tiation is vested to anticipate such a state of a justification for a declaration of war,

without a things.

previous demand for a redress of the wrongs that It seemed to him that to begin a war upon such we have sustained. He knows that our country.

Mississippi Question.

FEBRUARY, 1803. men, with a courage and perseverance that does Power; in short, what he has said of that counpromise success in any war, are at all times ready try is more likely to excite our commiseration when it is necessary to assert their rights with than our vengeance; accordingly, the gentleman arms, but that they will not be employed in wars from New York (Mr. Morris) disdains a conflict of ambition or conquest; and above all, he sees the with a nation that has been made the unwilling folly of going to war with Spain, and taking from instrument of doing us wrong. her a country that we should be obliged in honor He puts out of view all the considerations that and justice to give up to the French, perhaps the influenced his friend from Pennsylvania; by the instant after we had taken possession of it; for if sound of his voice he dispels the whole force that France would reinstate us in the rights and privi- his friend had brought up in martial array against leges that we hold under our new treaty with us—throws away the mask-and declares that Spain, I demand of the gentleman from New York, France, not Spain, is the nation we are go to war if he would wish this country to hold possession with. He would, as concisely as he could, reagainst France; and if he would, upon what ground capitulate to the House the principal reasons given he would justify it ?

by lbe gentleman for going to war with France. The cession was made to France before the in- The cession of Louisiana is a sufficient cause for jury done us by the Spanish officer; knowing war; upon that subject he had said enough this, we take the country; upon France demand to show its absurdity. We are told, and even by ing it of us, we should be bound by every princi- the gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Ross,) ple of honor and justice to give her possession, that it is necessary to prevent the French from upon her engaging to respect properly our rights. taking possession of that country, or they will seSpain, having injured us, surely will not justify duce the people in the western parts of these our committing an outrage of the most injurious States. This is the most extraordinary argument and insulting nature upon France. Would con- that ever was used, connected with what was the duct like this comport with the gentleman's ideas professed object of the resolutions under considof national honor, about which we have heard so eration. The object of the resolutions was said much in the course of this debate? Can it be, to be, to secure to those people the free navigathat an act, which, if perpetrated by an individu- tion of that river, and a convenient place of deal, would be robbery, can be justifiable in a na-posit for their produce. This measure can alone tion? And can it be justifiable in the eyes of be justified by a belief that we shall not be permen, who believe there is nothing so precious or miited to enjoy these important rights. This important as national honor ? Can ihe useful was at first said, but now it is openly avowed, ness or convenience of any acquisition justify us that there is no fear of that sort; and the gentlein taking from another by force what we have no man from New York, (Mr. MORRIS.) not satissort of right to ? If these things come within the fied with insinuating this, has told us, in plain pale of his (Mr. Morris's) laws of honor, for my terms, that France will not only permit the free country I disclaim all obedience to them! The navigation of the river, and the right of deposit, gentleman (Mr. Morris) bas said, that the ced- but that they will give such great and exclusive ing of a country by the possessor to another coun- advantages to the people in our western country, try, is a good cause for war to a nation in the as will put them at the disposal of France; so neighborhood of the country ceded. In this doc- that it is not to secure to our western brethren trine, he believed, the gentleman would find him- their rights that we are to go to war, but to preself unsupported by any authority, or by the prac-vent their having an extension of those rights. tice of nations; he would, on the contrary, find As a representative of a great number of western example constantly against him. Did Great Brit- people, he felt himself alarmed for their interests, ain make war on Spain or France when Louisi- when he connected this with what fell from the ana was ceded by the latter to the former ? No. gentleman, (Mr. Morris,)

when speaking of the How is such a war to terminate ? Should we be effects upon the Middle States of a cession of authorized to conquer, and hold it for ourselves ? Louisiana to France; he said that France would Or must we make war with Spain and France, give such a monopoly of the supply of their own until we can oblige the former to resume the islands, and the Dutch and Spanish islands, to the possession and government of the country? The western people, as would ruin the trade of the cession to France cannot give us a right; and to Middle States. Is it consisient, with a regard make war for the restoration of the country to to the western people, or to the union of the Spain, would be a madness unrivalled by any | States, to attempi to show that the prosperity of thing that has happened since the crusades for one part of the Union, is to cause the ruin of the recovery of the Holy Land. In this dilemma, another? Are not these observations calculated the gentleman from New York (Mr. Morris) 10 excite the jealousy of the Atlantic States abandons the ground taken by his friends, and, in- against the Western ? Fortunately, however, the stead of joining the gentleman from Pennsylva- gentleman (Mr. Morris) has used arguments so nia in charging the Spanish Government with contradictory, that it is impossible they should the blackest and most wanton perfidy towards produce an effect anywhere. In another part of this country, he speaks of that nation as disposed his speech he did say, if the French gained posto do everything that honor and good faith can session of Louisiana, that the western people require of her, but that she is humbled to the low-would never obtain the value of their produce est state of degradation by the force of a superior) that, in time of peace, there would be no purchase FEBRUARY, 1803.

Mississippi Question.



ers but French merchants, who had no capital ; In forty years, under the most favorable circumand that, in time of war, there would be no price, stances that a new country could be settled, we as their trade would be cut off. Surely that gen- have only a population of between five and six tleman can entertain very little respect for the hundred thousand souls, and this country is settled Senate, when he ventures to use arguments so by men who knew it perfectly-by 'men who contradictory and inconsistent with each other. either carried all their friends with them, or who As to the danger of the western people deserting knew that change of residence would not prevent and betraying their country, the suggestion de their frequently seeing and hearing from their served the severest reprehension.

nearest relatives. Can it be expected that any There were not in America, men more attach-country will be peopled as fast, from a nation at ed or more faithful to the Government of the the distance of three thousand miles, as our westUnited States than they were; and I will ven- ern country has been ? And yet we are taught ture to predict, from my knowledge of them, that to be apprehensive of a colony to be landed tothey will be the last to submit to the yoke of des- morrow or next day from Europe. Sir, if we are potism, let it be attempted to be imposed upon wise and true to ourselves, we have nothing to ihem by whom it may. If there is one part of fear from any nation, or combination of nations, America more interested than any other in pre. against us. We are too far removed from the serving the union of these States, and the press theatre of European politics, to be embroiled in ent Government, it is the western. Important them, if we act with common discretion. Friendas the Mississippi is to them, their free intercourse ship with us, is the interest of every commercial with the Atlantic States is more important-all and manufacturing nation. Our interest is not to their imports are received through that channel, encourage partialities or prejudices towards any: and their most valuable exports are sold, and will but to treat them all with justice and liberality. continue to be so, in the Atlantic States. The He should be sorry to reproach any nation-he same gentleman (Mr. Morris) says, we must would rather suffer former causes of reproach to line our frontier with custom-house officers, to be buried in oblivion ; and he was happy to perprevent smuggling. If there is any force in what ceive that prejudices which were incidental to he says upon this subject, we ought not only to the war that we had been forced into in defence take New Orleans and the Floridas, but Louisi- of our liberties, with a nation from which we are ana, and all the British possessions on the conti- principally sprung, were fast wearing off. Those

Another reason urged with great earnest- prejudices had been very powerfully revived, soon ness by the gentleman from New York (Mr. Mor- after our Revolution had established our independRIS) is, thai France, without this acquisition, is ence, by the aggressions of that nation. in various too powerful for the peace and security of the ways, more flagrant and atrocious than anything rest of the world—that half the nations that lately we have to complain of at this day. existed are gone-that those that are left are afraid The gentleman from Pennsylvania said that to act, and nation after nation falling at her nod- this is not an apposite case; that at that time there that, if France acquires the Floridas and New was no blockade. It is true there was not a blockOrleans, it will put England and Spain complete- ade of one of our ports, nor is there now, (the river ly in her power, giving to those places an import- Mississippi is open for the passage of our boats ance that they do not merit; and yet that gentle and vessels,) but we were injured, in a commercial man and his friends have repeatedly asserted that point of view, in a more material manner than we war would not result from our taking immediate should have been by the blockade of the Delapossession of those places ; indeed, they say, it is ware or the Chesapeake ; for all the countries the only way to avoid war. At one moment the (except Great Britain) to which it was desirable country is represented as so important as to make for us to trade were declared to be in a state of the First Consul the sovereign of the world ; at blockade, and all our vessels going to those counthe next, we are told that we may take it without tries were subject to seizure. Let gentlemen call any sort of risk, and without a probability that to mind what was the conduct of our Government either France or Spain will go to war with us at that time. The House of Representatives had for the recovery of a country so all-important to the subject under consideration, when the then them. In the language of the gentleman from President appointed an Envoy Extraordinary to Pennsylvania, I say, this idle tale may amuse demand satisfaction of Great Britain. What was children, but will not satisfy men.

the conduct of the members of the House of RepMr. President, we have nothing to fear from resentatives, who were acting upon the subject, the colony of any European nation on this conti- before it was known to them that the Executive nent; they ought rather to be considered as a had taken any measures to obtain satisfaction for pledge of the good conduct of the mother country the injury sustained ? Did they attempt to countowards us; for such possessions must be held teract the Executive ? No; they suspended all only during our pleasure.

Legislative discussions and Legislative measures. Can France, in fifty years, or in a century, es- And even the injuries done us by the actual invatablish a colony in any part of the territories now sion of our territory, the erection of fortifications possessed by Spain, that could resist the power of within our limits, the withholding the posts that the United States, even at this day, for a single belonged to us by treaty, and the robbery and abuse campaign ? What has been our progress since of our citizens on the high seas, did not provoke the year 1763, in settling our western country?l us to declare war, nor even to dispossess the inva

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ders of our territory of what actually belonged to his ingenuity as much to state the grouuds upon us. The Executive proposed to negotiate, and it which an expectation of the complete success of was thought improper to obstruct it. How gen- our Envoy might be founded, he would have been tlemen, who approved of the interference of the at least as usefully employed for his country as he Executive upon that occasion, can justify their has been in his attempt to show that it will not attempt to defeat the efforts of the present Admin- succeed, and he would have avoided the palpable istration to obtain redress for the injury that we contradictions of his own arguments that he has now complain of, they must answer to their con- run into. The gentleman himself, without intendsciences and their country. Fortunately for the ing it, has assigned sufficient reasons why we might United States, not only the President, but a ma-expect entire satisfaction. He has said, truly, that jority of both Houses of Congress, upon the pres- America, united, holds the command of the West ent occasion, have put themselves in the gap be- Indies in her hands. This must be known to all tween the pestilence and the people.

the nations that have colonies there; it must likeIt has been asked, in a triumphant tone, (and it wise be known to the proprietors of Louisiana and would seem as if gentlemen believed it could not the Floridas, that, circumstanced as we at present be answered,) what have you to give for the res- are, there will be perpetual sources of contention toration of those rights on the Mississippi which between them and us. Everything that has hapyou seek to recover and secure? For our rights, pened as to the Mississippi will be reacted as to sir, we disdain to barter; they are not to be the the great rivers that head in what is now the Missubject of negotiation. The business of our En sissippi Territory, and empty themselves into the voy, I presume, will be to demand their complete Gulf of Mexico, after passing through West Florrestoration, and indemnity for the privation; and ida. In the infancy of the colonies that may be if in this he should fail, we have a sure resort in settled in Florida or Louisiana, the mother coun. the bravery and patriotism of our countrymen, try can count upon nothing but expense, particuand the resources of our country. Have the gen-larly if they are io be the causes of perpetual quartlemen to learn at this day that the American rels with this country. In twenty years the poppeople are at all times ready to risk their lives and ulation of the United States will be nine or ten fortunes to assert their rights, and to preserve their millions of people; one-third of that population real honor; that they can readily distinguish be- will probably be on the Western waters. This tween the real calls of honor and the factitious will give a force in that quarter of the Union equal appeals that will be so frequently addressed to to that with which we contended with Great Brito them to answer particular purposes ? For our ain; and our united force will be such, that no rights, sir, I answer, we have nothing to give, but nation at the distance of three thousand miles will that we will risk everything to secure them. As be able to contend with us for any object in our to an extension of our territory, or acquiring com- neighborhood. These considerations, with a bemercial advantages that do not of right belong to lief that, if we are treated with justice and liberus, if any nation should be disposed to make us an ality, we shall never violate the rights of other offer of such, the gentlemen who have asked the nations, or suffer ourselves to be involved in the question know that we have the means of payment, wars that may take place among the great Europein several different modes, if we choose to resort an nations, are arguments that cannot be withto them.

stood, if the Governments of France and Spain Having answered the question that has been are in the hands of wise men; for they must see asked of us, the gentleman from New York (Mr. that they have nothing to hope from a contest Morris) will be so civil as to state to the Senate with us, and that a union of our force with a rival what we should have to give to the First Consul nation would be productive of very serious danto induce him to let us hold New Orleans, and to ger and inconvenience to them. Spain to prevail upon her to permit us to hold the Much has been said about confidence in the Floridas, after taking these places. Or, does the Executive. We have been challenged by the gengentleman believe that the First Consul would be tlemen on the other side of the House to run the more disposed to accommodate us after our com- race of confidence with them. His confidence mitting, as to him, an unprovoked insult and out- was as great in the present Executive as it could rage, than he would if we had given him no just or ought to be; but, much as he respected the Chief cause of complaint? Does the gentleman believe Magistrate, and those whom he has associated that the way to conciliate a man whom he has with himself in the Administration, he could not represented as magnanimous in some things, who go to the lengths of confidence to which some genhe describes as having conquered one-half the tlemen had suddenly.found themselves disposed to world, and as contemplating the subjugation of proceed. He did not choose to confide the power the rest; I say, sir, does the gentleman believe that of making war to the discretion of any man whatthe way to propitiate such a man is to insult and ever. That power, perhaps the most important injure him ? If , as the gentleman thinks, it is all- of all powers

, belonged to Congress, and to them important to this country to obtain the Floridas alone.' It would be treason against the Constituand New Orleans, there can be no doubt (if the tion to transfer it to other hands. If we have a thing is practicable) that we should be more likely right to do it for a month or a year, we have a right to succeed by negotiation, before any act of hostil to do it for twenty years. Shall we have to comity on our part, ihan afterwards.

bat this despotic disposition with gentlemen for'If the gentleman from New York had exerted I ever ? Is there to be no end to these attempts

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