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FEBRUARY, 1803.

Mississippi Question.

SENATE.

upon the Constitution, and the weight of the peo- always entertained, even when they failed to conple in public measures? Are we to be reproached, vince, but because to that distraction of mind ihen, for not confiding to the Executive powers which sickness often produces, could alone be asthat belong to the Legislature ? Are we to be cribed the doubts expressed by that member, rereproached because we will not entrust powers in specting the views of the advocates of the original the hands of our friends which we refused to our resolutions. The difficulty of the opposers of the adversaries? He gloried in such reproach—he resolutions, would, he said, have been less, if the considered it as eulogium.

gentlemen who supported them had settled among But gentlemen ought not to persuade themselves ihemselves what was their object, and had ascerthat this mode of proceeding can impose upon the tained with whom we were to make war. To House or the public an opinion of their sincerity. both these points, Mr. D. said, tbe fullest and If gentlemen were really sincere, their conduct clearest answers had been given. Our object, would be of a very different character. If they says he is to obtain a prompi redress of injuries wished to show their confidence in the Executive immediately affecting our western brethren, who they would not patronise the calumnies which are look to us for decisive and effectual measures, and daily heaped upon him, in papers which derive have told us that a delay of remedy will be ruintheir support from their liberality, or that of their ous to them; and our views and wishes are to friends. They would, if sincere, repress that cal-take possession of the place of deposit guarantied umny, or withdraw their countenance from the by treaty, whether it be in the hands of the one papers which utter it. They would discounte- nation or the other, and to hold it as a security pance those infamous lies, many of which, from that the trade of so important a river should not having lived in the neighborhood of the President, be liable to similar interruptions in future. We he was enabled to say were groundless and infa- are not, as the gentleman from Virginia would mous calumnies. There is another way, sir, in insinuate, for rushing into a war, but we are for which those gentlemen may manifest their confi. repelling insults, and insisting upon our rights, dence in the President, and which the public good even at the risk of one. It was easy to foresee requires of them: it is, that they acquiesce in the that the opposers of the resolutions offered by the effort that he is making to obtain our rights, and honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, 'must security for those rights, by negotiation, and thereby resort to other means than fair argument, 10 jusadd to its chance of success. In this way their con- tify them in the course which they were about to fidence could have been shown in a manner use- pursue. Our most precious rights fagrantly vioful to our country; and it may not yet be too late. Iated, treaties perfidiously broken, the outlet or We have been told of other acts of hostilily on the road to market of half a million of our fellow-citipart of Spain, prior to the restriction of our right zens obstructed, our trade shackled, our country of deposit. This was evidently intended to irri- grossly insulted, were facts too notorious, and too tate the public mind, but his friend from New York outrageous to allow them the least plausible ground (Mr. Clinton) had very properly and justly re- of reasoning: Deprived of every other means of pelled that artifice; he had shown that this was attack, they have resorted to that of alarm. They a separate and distinct subject; that it had noth- charge us with a thirst for war, and enter into a ing to do with the New Orleans transactions. description of its horrors, as if they supposed that Though not at liberty to declare the source of his it was in our power to produce, or in theirs to information, yet he would assert that Spain has prevent it. That which requires the concurrence given indisputable evidence of a sincere disposi- of two parties, viz: contract or negotiation, they tion to do us justice for the injuries we sustained consider most easy; and war, which may always in our commerce during the late war. From the be produced by one party only, they consider as course of this discussion, it is evident that it was most difficult. Nay, sir, they do what is more intended, not to enforce conviction on the minds extraordinary and unpardonable, they shut their of this House, but to produce an effect out of doors. eyes to the fact that hostility has already been It was therefore important that no erroneous commenced against us. Attacked and insulted statement of an important fact should go abroad as we had been, do we now, asked Mr. D., call uncontradicted. A member from Delaware (Mr. for war? Let the resolutions give the answer. Wells) had said that our Government had re- They begin with a declaration of certain rights, ceived information from the Governor of New indisputable in their nature, indispensable in their Orleans that the right of deposit had been taken possession, to the safety, peace, and union of this away, in consequence of orders from the compe- country. Not a member opposed to us has content authority-meaning the Government of troverted them, except the honorable gentleman France or Spain. [Mr. Wells rose to explain.] from Maryland, (Mr. Wright.) He denied the The gentleman says he was not understood by truth of all except one of them, and even of a part

A proof that'I did so understand him, is, I of that one. His honorable friends from the westmade inquiries that enabled me to contradict, in ern country, who are in the habit of acting with the most positive manner, the information that I him, cannot thank him for such defence. The thought that gentleman had given to the Senate. formerly well applied words, “ Non tali auxilio

Mr. Dayton said, he lamented exceedingly the nec defensoribus istis egent,must be applicable indisposition of the honorable member from Vir- on this occasion, and it may be as well io leave ginia, (Mr. Nicholas.) not only because it had them with each other to settle the question of compelled him to abridge his arguments, which I their rights. But there is one article of the Mary

me.

SENATE.

Mississippi Question.

FEBRUARY, 1803.

land member's creed which ought not to escape tion that remedy, which, to delay, is almost as comment, because, if adopted, it would be fatal io fatal as to refuse. the Union. I understood him, said Mr. D., as Mr. Wright had not intended again to have stating that inasmuch as the produce which de- spoken in the present debate, but had been conscends the Mississippi hears a proportion of about strained to it by the misrepresentation of the gena twentieth only to the exports of the whole Union, tleman from New Jersey, (Mr. Dayton) who it was not reasonable to expect that the other por- had ventured to declare, that " he had said that tion should be endangered to protect that minor the commerce of the Mississippi was too insignifpart. If maxims like this were to actuate our icant for us to risk a war in its defence.” Was councils, short indeed would be the duration of it possible that gentleman could have misconour independence. Our enemies would have only ceived what he had said on that subject ? He to attack us by piecemeal, State by State, to make presumed not; his observations had been so far us an easy prey. The honorable member from from equivocal, that they had been pointed," that Maryland could not hope for even that gloomy the right of deposit“ was all important, and ought consolation which we heard of on a former meld to be secured at all hazard.” He feared there was ancholy occasion. He could not flatter himself a design to misrepresent; but that fact, the House that he and his State would be left to be the last for themselves would decide. victim.

It was well known that he had strenuously adBut, Mr. President, every other gentleman vocated the rights of foreign nations, secured to appears to admit the truth of the prefatory de- them by the law of natiuns, and by their existing claration of rights; they admit, 100, that if we treaties; that he had reprobated, as disgraceful, cannot be possessed of them otherwise, we must their violation ; that he had endeavored to stamp seize on them by force; but they refuse to give the infamous practice with merited obloquy, and the means and the power to the President, in to drag to condign punishment their infractors; whom they have told us, over and over again, and should it be said that he had a design to sacrithey repose implicit confidence. Is any one office the best interest of the Western people, (a the resolutions too imperative on the President, member of our Government,) secured io them by we will agree so to alter as to make it discretion- the Constitution he had sworn to support ; and ary, if desired by any gentleman on the other side; that only because he had preferred the pacific for without their leave, we cannot now amend measures that had been adopted, to a war! He our own resolutions.

feared the gentleman had been governed by the It is my consolation, Mr. President, said Mr. D., unworthy spirit of recrimination, because he had and it ought to be matter of triumph to my hon- detected his misstatement of the amount of exorable friend, the mover of these resolutions, that, ports from the Mississippi ; and had, by the prowhatever may be their fate, the introduction and duction of the official documents on that subject, discussion of them will have produced no little corrected his misrepresentations, which he conbenefit. They have brought forward gentlemen sidered to be his duty to correct, so that the House to pledge themselves, in their speeches, to employ might not act on false premises; and in this opinforce on failure of negotiation ; which, though ion be was in some measure confirmed, by the late, is better than never. They must be allowed gentleman's extraordinary attack yesterday on the the merit, too, of producing the resolutions which gentleman from New York, (Mr. Clinton,) for they offer as a substitute. These milk-and-water his firm opposition to the gentleman's war measpropositions of Mr. BRECKENRIDGE will at least ures; when, with great acrimony, he asked, where serve to show that something should be done, was that gentleman (Mr. Clinton) in 1776, when some preparation made; and therefore even to he was fighting the battles of his country?' " He these, feeble as they are, I will agree, if more can- was,” said he, “in the egg-shell, or in his mother's not be carried. But let the relative merits of the lap.” Was it a ground of reproof that a gentletwo be compared. Ours authorize to call out of man was not born before his iime? No; it was those militia nearest to the scene, and most inter- a perfect excuse; he could not, in that state, be ested in the event, a number not exceeding fifty expected to take a part in the glorious contést: thousand, and to give them orders to act, when but, I ask, where was his father? Did he not the occasion requires it, in conjunction with the hold a conspicuous rank in the armies of Ameriarmy and navy; theirs authorize an enrolment ca ? or have we forgotten that General Clinton of eighty thousand, dispersed over the whole Con- was one of the saviours of his country; and have tinent, without any authority to act with them, we not full proof that the son inherits his father's however pressing the danger, nor even to march virtues ? He, for his own part, had more than them out of their own State. Ours authorize once unsheathed his sword in support of Amerithe President to take immediate possession of some can independence; but he thought that the genconvenient place of deposit, as guarantied by trea- tleman from New Jersey and himself, would both ty, in order to afford immediate vent for the West- make a good bargain, could they exchange their ern produce, and relief to our suffering fellow-citi- revolutionary laurels with the gentleman from zens, and thereby put it out of the power of a New York, (Mr. Clinton,) for his bloom of Spanish Intendant, whether acting from caprice, youth, and the fifteen or twenty years’advantage or orders from his Court, to obstruct so important he had, by being an infant at the commencean outlet; theirs give no such authority, but leave ment of the American war. How different was to the slow progress and uncertainty of negotia- the treatment that the gentleman from New York

FEBRUARY, 1803.

Mississippi Question.

SENATE.

and himself had experienced, from what had been Austria, Russia, France, England, and almost all practised towards others during that debate! Yes-the other nations of Europe in a bloody and exterday, the honorable gentleman from Delaware pensive contest, from the evils of which some of (Mr. WHITE) made Bonaparte the King of Kings; those Powers have never extricated themselves, and the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Cocke) it loaded and fettered them with debt; and if we gave the gentleman from New Jtrsey, and his take the step proposed, we may, by rousing the friends, a rank among the gods. I wish he had jealousy of Europe, produce the same effect and prevailed on that gentleman, while exercising his the same consequences on ourselves. godlike attributes, like Jupiter of old, to have An honorable gentleman near me, (Mr. MORrained gold into our Treasury, and not by endea- ris,) was pleased to say, he was surprised to hear voring to foment unnecessary war, to drain it of the anecdote quoted from Count D'Estaing, that its treasure. This would have given him a rank national honor was national interest. Yet, sir, among patriots, greatly to be preferred to his rank after all the observations of the gentleman, he among the gods.

has admitted it, and contradicted himself. For Mr. Olcott declared, that though he should he, after painting Bonaparte in a variety of horvote for the original resolutions, he was as firmly rible shapes, as well as the nation he presides over, and decidedly opposed to war as any gentleman has declared the nation a noble one, whose interin' that House. He should have remained silent, est is Bonaparte's honor, and his honor their glory. had it not been so frequently asserted that war It makes no difference, sir, what this inierest conwas the object of those who supported the origi- sists of. Bonaparte's glory weighs as interestedly nal resolutions; and he rose to contradict that as- with him as any other object possibly could, and sertion, lest, by his silence, it might be supposed the gentleman has said his glory must shine-he he acquiesced in the charge of a desire for war- must conquer, or he is lost; is this, then, not his against wbich he protested.

interest, and a most powerful interest ?' A corMr. J. Jackson, of Georgia, was surprised to roboration of the assertion in the anecdote, that hear gentlemen still contend that war is not im- national honor is national interest, has been fully plicated in the resolutions of the gentleman from admitted and proved, by another gentleman from Pennsylvania. Although he was well aware that, Delaware, (Mr. WELLS), he has expressly deafter so full a discussion, little could be said that clared that the nations of Europe are only so long was important, yet he hoped to be indulged in a bound by treaty as they find it their interest ! very few observations, and he should be short in What then, sir, is our interest ? Is it to go to making them.

war? To copy the old systems of Europe ; to The best mode of examining the conduct of one involve ourselves in broils; to fetter our country nation towards another, where an injury bas taken with debt; to mortgage our posterity, and their place, and satisfaction is required, is io resort to funds ? Take a view of England, and the conseprivate life; for nations are sometimes neighbors, quence of her continued wars; a national debt of as well as persons. The arguments of gentlemen, between five and six hundred millions, which and the tenor of the resolutions, lead to taking she can never shake off but by the same means possession of the island of New Orleans prior to her neighbor, France, has adopted; a total downnegotiations, or peaceable steps to obtain redress. fall to the existing Goverument; a revolution Nations are bound by moral ties, and those of of principles; and, perhaps, in the general wreck, justice, as well as individuals; let us take a case the rise of a usurper. The time was, when he then from private life. The gentleman from felt himself the zealous advocate of the French New Hampshire (Mr. Olcotr) and himself both Revolution, and the noble sentiments of that nalay claim to a house; the servants of that gentle- tion; but that day had passed. He much doubted man possess it: instead of seeking legal and proper the benefit France will ever receive from her means to establish the right claim, he enters the Revolution ; and much more, any advantage the house, beats out that genileman's servants

, takes nations of the earth will derive from it. That napossession of his furniture, and then tells him, tion, sir, worked itself up, or was worked up, by " I am ready to come to an amicable settlement," the attempts of other nations, to divide her terrior leaves him to seek legal redress! Would jus- tory and enslave her, to such a pitch, as to overtice, would moral obligation permit this? Would leap the mark, and plunged the people into a situour laws permit it? No, sir; the law would turn ation much worse, in his opinion, than under the the aggressor out, and place the original and right guidance of the Bourbons. Shall we proceed in possessor in his former state, and then leave them this way; involve ourselves in debt, and make it to their proper course of redress. Should we not necessary to upset our Government and Constistand, in taking possession of New Orleans, in the tution, to get rid of it? He hoped and trusted eyes of the world, precisely in the situation of the not. We have the happiest-the best-would he aggressor in private life? We should, sir, and as be permitted to say, the only Constitution that perfectly unjustifiable. We should rouse ihe jea- secures national liberty, on earth! France has, lousy of Europe, and involve ourselves, in all it is true, what is called, a written constitution probability, in a war, the evils of which, or its ex. but, sir, is it binding? It is changing daily: and tent, cannot be calculated. What, sir, was the we'may venture to affirm, that the will of Bonaconsequence of the King of Prussia's taking pos- parte is the constitution of France. He did not session of Silesia under a dormant claim, in the wish to cast reflections on this or that nation, or seven years war, without negotiation? It involved this or that character. Every nation has a right

SENATE.

Mississippi Question.

FEBRUARY, 1803.

to seek its own happiness in her government, as of France, in the state in which the nation now is, she pleases; but he hoped we should not copy as he had before observed, with no other constituthem in their vices. He believed that no demo- tion, no other security, than the will of a Bonacratic Republic but our own exists, or can exist; parte for their liberties, and leave their own bappy and no other form of government than ours can constitutions and independence? No. Will they secure such a Republic. We have guards and join what the gentleman from Delaware has termsecurities, which no other Government possesses, ed the sluggish, inanimate Spaniard, and the slave or ever possessed. Our General and State gov- of France--a nation. I acknowledge, however reernments are checks on, and balance each other, vered in the fifteenth century, in the reign of and render innovation on our constitutions and Charles V., now governed by superstition and happy form of government, very difficult; and, bigotry, without a solitary spark of liberty withunder them, durable influence, usurpation, or ty-in herself, and trammelled by another nation ranny, are impossible. Let us beware, then, how without? They will not. Will they return to we take any steps which may tend to impair our Britain, which, to do her justice, is the only naConstitution, and thereby destroy our rights. We tion of the Old World where there is a vestige of are now the happiest people on earth, and, if uni- freedom, even in appearance, remaining; but ted, the force of Europe cannot injure us. where, from her situation, loaded and fettered with

He must be permitted here to declare, that he debt, her posterity disposed of at market, and their understood the gentleman from Delaware (Mr. rights and future revenues mortgaged-security White) as his friend from Tennessee, (Mr. An- of property or rights hang on the brink of revoluDERSON) did, in his argument of that morning, as tion, and which must not long hence take place, asserting that in case France got New Orleans, as it already has in France, if the debt is not wiped the Southern and Western people would be influ- off, at the risk of everything-every article, every enced by them. He was justified in noticing this necessary of life almost. being already taxed to circumstance, if not by the observations of the carry on her Government, and on trying occasions, gentleman from Delaware, by those which fell added to this, an income tax of ten per cent. on from the gentleman on his left

, (Mr. Morris.) the whole profits of their esta tes? Will the peoHe has positively asserted, that if the French ple of Georgia, or the West, go to her, sir, in this gained the Floridas, the affections of the Georgi- predicament, and leave their own happy Governans towards the United States would be weaken- ment, with, in comparison, little or no public debt, ed; that they would be influenced by the French and that daily paying off; without those odious principles, and that it would be found dictating taxes—the whole being not much above seventy the speeches on this floor. He spurned such an millions of dollars, whilst that of Britain is beunworthy idea from him. His countrymen have tween five and six hundreds of millions of pounds too much attachment to this happy Government; sterling, and which, at the best, their colonies they know that their independence, their rights, must sooner or later pay part of? They will not their properties, depend on it-depend on union go there, sir, they know the value of their own with their sister States, and no consideration on happy situation too well. Where then, will they earth would induce them to attach themselves to go? To any of the other nations of Europe ? No; any other Power. The idea is absurd, therefore, they are incapable of protecting them. Russia is that any gentleman representing Georgia will ever the only Power which could make a show of proshow, by his speeches on this floor, any French tection; and are our Western citizens prepared or other foreign influence.

for the knout, or the wilds of Siberia ? Sir, those His friend from Tennessee had spoken the truth fears are imaginary, they are groundless, they respecting the western inhabitants. Those sus- ought not to exist–ihe idea ought not to be startpicions ought not to prevail; it is not politic, nor ed, the thing ought not to be mentioned. The are they grounded. He could venture to go far- citizens either of Georgia or the Western States, ther; he believed that the Western States, at this cannot be torn from the Union by the exertions, the day, contain more of the soldiers of the Revolu- intrigues, or the force of any power in existence. tion, than all the Atlantic States together—they But while we are told so much of Genet, and are peopled by them, and their descendants; they his insidious practices in our Southern States, at cannot be torn from the Union—they will not be this great distance from the Executive, has no other colonized by any nation on earth; ihey are the Power attempted to intrigue and draw the affecsame men, now, they were during the Revolution; tions of your citizens from you, but France ? Yes, notwithstanding, after bearing the toils of the day sir, if masters are to be accountable for their 'serof trial, and losing their all, they were compelled vants, Britain has. He was, himself, notwithstandto quit their native States, and seek new lands ing all his predilection for the French nation, and beyond the mountains. Sir, they are attached to the French Revolution-which he now almost reyour happy Constitution; they fought to obtain gretted, for it has injured the cause they embarked your independence; they are of the same habits, in-he said, he was himself impressed with the imthe same manners, they have the same love of propriety of Mr. Genet's conduct, justified as it liberty with their fellow-citizens in the Atlantic was by the precedent of our own Ambassadors, States; and never will, unless driven from you, during the Revolutionary war, stirring up the desert you.

people of Holland, and intriguing with all the What inducement have they to join any other Governments of Europe, to induce a confederacy nation? Will they fling themselves into the arms against Britain. This, sir, was thought right and

FEBRUARY, 1803.

Mississippi Question.

SENATE.

justifiable by us, at that day; and we have there the scabbard, until their rights are restored to them fore no right to censure the French Ambassador, and redress is given for their wrongs. for following our steps; and no doubt he, and his The gentleman near him (Mr. Dayton) had nation, deemed his proceedings as proper, as we triumphantly claimed the merits of both the resothought ours.

lutions of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, and Yes, sir, Britain did the same. Mr. Liston was those of his friend from Kentucky, (Mr. Breckconcerned with Chisholm and others, in stirring ENRIDGE,) as belonging to his side of the Houseup the South and Southwestern citizens in the the latter having been produced, as be says, in same manner. He alluded to Blount's conspiracy. "consequence of the former, without which they A British frigate entered the ports of Georgia; her would not have been thought of; and he has told commander had his pocket full of commissions— us that he and his friends will vote for our resoluthey were offered to citizens of that State, now

tions, if they cannot carry their own. He was not alive to testify it. The object, sir, was to make a anxious as to which quarter of the House the stroke at Spain, and through her, the United States; merit of the resolutions shall be attached. He there was an intimate connexion between that plan had no objection to the gentleman and his friends and the recent speculation,* which, thank God, taking all the merit, provided they will do as he has happily failed; the territory, the object of that says, vote for those produced by his friend from speculation, was to have been seized at that mo- Kentucky, if they lose their own. Unanimity is ment, and ihe United States involved in war; it all we want; and unanimity, he flattered himself, was happily evaded. But how the leaders, Blount nay, was certain, from what has fallen from the and others, escaped punishment, is best known to gentleman, will take place on this occasion. This, the Senate of the United States at that time in ex- sir, has been an auspicious discussion-it ought to istence; no doubt satisfactory reasons appeared to be marked in the annals of united America-it them. which might not be deemed so by the citi- ought to be handed down to posterity, that the zens at large, who had no opportunity of judging Senate of the United States, with the same views, correctly of them. As to the persons concerned but different means of obtaining them, having rein that speculation, it is but justice to say, some ceived an injury from a neighboring nation, unanRepublicans were among them, but the majority, imously determined to try every peaceable method and a large one, were Federalists. Why then are

to obtain satisfaction, and in case of fail of we told so much of Genet’s intrigues

, and nothing negotiation for redress, to be prepared to assert of Mr. Liston's? Their plans were the same; nei- the rights of the nation, and to resort to the last ther of them succeeded ; and it is not in the power argument of politics, the ultima ratio. Our bond of the world to corrupt the citizens of the States of union has been styled by the politicians of Eufor whom so much apprehension is expressed.

rope, a rope of sand; let them continue to deceive He must advance that the resolutions of the gen. deception is harmless. Our form of government

themselves when such unanimity prevails, the tleman from Pennsylvania have in them the seeds of war, which it is our interest to avoid. Justice and individual ties prove the deception; and we ought to mark our steps, as well to ourselves as to

never ought to lose sight of an old Revolutionary foreign pations. We have, he agreed with the motto, on our rattlesnake money, “United we gentlemen on the other side, a right to call for jus

STAND, DIVIDED WE Fall." We ought not only tice; we have been injured. He insisted again, but we should imprint it on the minds of our

to be impressed with the truth of this ourselves, that Spain had no power to withdraw the right of youth, and thus hand it down to posterity. My deposit at New Orleans. She was as much bound life for the event, as long as this impression is to perform her part of the compact in the treaty made, and this unanimity as to foreign aggression vate life to perform his. Nations ought to be in- prevails, there is no nation. no power, no tyrant, fluenced by the same moral ties; for although he no despot, on earth, who will dare to violate your admitted that national honor in many shapes con

rights with impunity. sists in national interest, he did not carry his ideas late hour to trespass upon the exhausted patience

Mr. Clinton.—Í should not presume.at this so far as the gentleman from Delaware, as to say, of the Senate, were it not that a serious difference that treaties ought only to be binding so long as our interest led us to support them; this would as to fact exists between the gentleman from destroy all faith among the nations of the earth. Pennsylvania and myself—I call it serious, beLet us first negotiate; the people will be unani- cause it involves character—and I beg that what mous with us; they will be pleased to see us try future day, when time shall enable all who hear

I now say may be distinctly remembered, on some every peaceable method before a resort to arms; we shall be justified to the world, and avoid the jeal resolutions, the gentleman expressly stated that

me to determine between us. In introducing the ousies of Europe. Having tried this without shall happen, let the nation be which it may, we the assertion, I took the words down as they came effect, if we shall be forced to war, whenever this Spain bad refused to redress her spoliations on

our commerce. Astonished at the hardihood of shall be actuated by one heart, one soul, one arm; from his lips. I thought it my duty to contradict and, he repeated it

, that nation will find the Ame- them in the most pointed terms. Yesterday the rican people will draw the sword and fling away gentleman came forward in another shape, and

said that Spain has made no provision for the in* The Yazoo speculation.

juries sustained by our merchants, and that there

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