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such a law to the contrary notwithstanding, the air would continue to circulate; the Mississippi, the Hudson, and the Potomac, would roll their floods to the ocean ; heavy bodies continue to descend, and the mysterious magnet hold on its course to its celestial oyn'osure.
Just as utterly absurd and contrary to nature is it to attempt to prohibit the people of New England, for any considerable length of time, from the ocean. Commerce is not only associated with all the feelings, the habits, the interests and relations, of that people, but the nature of our soil and of our coasts, the state of our population and its mode of distribution over our territory, render it indispensable. We have five hundred miles of sea-coast, all furnished with harbors, bays, creeks, rivers, inlets, basins, with every variety of invitation to the sea, with every species of facility to violate such laws as these. Our people are not scattered over an immense surface, at a solemn distance from each other, in lordly retirement, in the midst of extended plantations and intervening wastes ; they are collected on the margin of the ocean, by the sides of rivers, at the heads of bays, looking into the water, or on the surface of it, for the incitement and the reward of their industry.
Among a people thus situated, thus educated, thus numerous, laws prohibiting them from the exercise of their natural rights will have a binding effect not one moment longer than the public sentiment supports them. Gentlemen talk of twelve revenue cutters additional, to enforce the embargo laws. Multiply the number by twelve, multiply it by a hundred, join all your ships of war, all your gun-boats, and all your militia, - in despite of them all, such laws as these are of no avail, when they become odious to public sentiment. JOSIAH QUINCY (Nov. 28, 1808).
VI. — NATIONAL GLORY. We are asked what have we gained by the war? I have shown that we have lost nothing in rights, territory, or honor; nothing for which we ought to have contended, according to the principles of the gentlemen on the other side, or according to our own. Have we gained nothing by the war ? Let any man look at the degraded condition of this country before the war, the scorn of the universe, the contempt of ourselves, and tell me if we have gained nothing by the war.
Is there a man who would not desire a participation in the national glory acquired? Yes, national glory, which, however the expression may be condemned by some, must be cherished by every genuine patriot. What do I mean by national glory! Glory such as Hull, Jackson, and Perry, have acquired. And are gentlemen insensible to their deeds— to the value of them in animating the country in the hour of peril hereafter? Did the battle of Thermop'ylæ preserve Greece but once? Whilst the Missis sippi continues to bear the tributes of the Iron Mountains and the Alleghanies to her Delta and to the Gulf of Mexico, the 8th of January shall be remembered, and the glory of that day shall stimulate future patriots, and nerve the arms of unborn freemen in driving the presumptuous invader from our country's soil.
Gentlemen may boast of their insensibility to feelings inspired by the contemplation of such events. But I would ask, does the recollection of Bunker's Hill, Saratoga, and Yorktown, afford them no pleasure ? Every act of noble sacrifice to the country, every instance of patriotic devotion to her cause, has its beneficial influence. A nation's character is the sum of its splendid deeds; they constitute one common patrimony, the nation's inheritance. They awe foreign powers, they arouse and animate our own people.
Do gentlemen derive no pleasure from the recent transactions in the Mediterranean? Can they regard unmoved the honorable issue of a war in support of our nătional rights, declared, prosecuted, and terminated by a treaty, in which the enemy submitted to a carte blanche* in the short period of forty days? The days of chivalry are not gone. They have been revived in the person of Commodore Decatur, who, in releasing from infidel bondage Christian captives, the subjects of a foreign power, and restoring them to their country and friends, has placed himself beside the most renowned knights of former times. I love true glory. It is this sentiment which ought to be cherished; and, in spite of cavils, and sneers, and attempts to put it down, it will finally conduct this nation to that height to which God and nature have destined it.
VII. — IN FAVOR OF FREE TRADE.
SIR, next to the Christian religion, I consider free trade in its largest sense as the greatest blessing that can be conferred upon any people. Hear, sir, what Patrick Henry, the great orator of Virginia, whose soul was the very temple of freedom, says on this subject :
“Why should we fetter commerce? If a man is in chains, he * Pronounced kart blansh- the a in blansh having its sound as in father, and the n having a slightly nasal sound.
droops and bows to the earth, because his spirits are broken ; but let him twist the fetters from his legs, and he will stand erect. Fetter not commerce! Let her be as free as the air. She will range the whole creation, and return on the four winds of heaven to bless the land with plenty."
But it has been said that free trade would do very well if all nations would adopt it; but, as it is, every nation must protect itself from the effect of restrictions by countervailing measures. I am persuaded, sir, that this is a great, a most fatal error. If retaliation is resorted to for the honest purpose of producing a redress of the grievance, while adhered to no longer than there is a hope of success, it may, like war itself, be sometimes just and necessary. But if it have no such object, “it is the unprofitable combat of seeing which can do the other the most harm."
The case can hardly be conceived in which permanent restrictions, as a measure of retaliation, could be profitable. In every possible situation, a trade, whether more or less restricted, is profitable, or it is not. This can only be decided by experience; and if the trade be left to regulate itself, water wouid not more naturally seek its level, than the intercourse adjust itself to the true interest of the parties.
Sir, as to this idea of the regulation by government of the pursuits of men, I consider it as a remnant of barbarism, disgraceful to an enlightened age, and inconsistent with the first principles of rational liberty. I hold government to be utterly incapable, from its position, of exercising such a power wisely, prudently, or justly. Are the rulers of the world the depositaries of its collected wisdom? Sir, can we forget the advice of a great statesman to his son: “Go, see the world, my son, that you may learn with how little wisdom mankind is governed."
And is our own government an exception to this rule? Or do we not find here, as every where else, that
• Man. proud man,
Dressed in a little brief authority,
VIII, - EUROPEAN EXAMPLES.
A continuation of the preceding speech. The gentleman has appealed to the example of other nations, on the subject of free trade. Sir, they are all against him. They have had restrictions enough, to be sure, but they are getting heartily sick of them, and in England, particularly, would willingly get rid of them if they could. We have been assured, by the declaration of a minister of the crown, from his place in Parliament, " that there is a growing conviction, among all men of sense and reflection in that country, that the true policy of all nations is to be found in unrestricted industry.” Sir, in England they are now retracing their steps, and endeavoring to relieve. themselves of the system as fast as they can. Within a few years past, upwards of three hundred statutes, imposing restrietions in that country, have been repealed.
Sir, the experience of France is equally decisive. Bonaparte's effort to introduce cotton and sugar has cost that country millions; and, but the other day, a foolish attempt to protect the iron mines spread devastation through half of France, and nearly ruined the wine-trade, on which one fifth of her citizens depend for subsistence. As to Spain, unhappy Spain, fenced round with restrictions, her experience one would suppose would convince us, if any thing could, that the protecting system in politics, like bigotry in religion, is utterly at war with sound principles and a liberal and enlightened policy.
Sir, I say, in the words of the philosophical statesman of England, " leave a generous nation free to seek their own road to perfection.” Thank God, the night is passing away, and we have lived to see the dawn of a glorious day. The cause of free. trade must and will prosper, and finally triumph. The political economist is abroad; light has come into the world; and, in this instance, at least, men will not “prefer darkness rather than light."
Sir, let it not be said, in after times, that the statesmen of America were behind the age in which they lived; that they initiated this young and vigorous country into the enervating and corrupting practices of European nations; and that, at the moment when the whole world were looking to us for an example, we arrayed ourselves in the cast-off follies and exploded errors of the Old World, and, by the introduction of a vile system of artificial stimulants and political gambling, impaired the healthful vigor of the body politic, and brought on decrepitude and premature dissolution.
IX. - SMUGGLING CAUSED BY HIGH DUTIES. Tue gentleman complains of frauds upon the revenue, and fraudulent invoices, and smuggling; but it is his system which has produced these evils. Smuggling, from the very nature of
SMUGGLING CAUSED BY HIGH DUTIES.
things, must exist, when the duties exceed the risk and expense of the illicit intercourse. For a season, sir, the high moral sense of a young and uncorrupted people may oppose some obstacle to these practices. No government on earth can prevent them. Napoleon, in the plenitude of his power, was unable to maintain his continental system. His prohibitions and restrictions were constantly violated with impunity. Yes, sir, he who sported with kingdoms, who constructed thrones upon the ruins of empires, and appointed the officers of his household to fill them ; whose armies were his custom-house officers, who drew his cordons around the nations which he conquered, was utterly unable to put down the great principles of free trade. It has been well said, sir, “ that when all Europe was obedient to his nod, the smuggler disputed his commands, set at naught his edicts, laughed to scorn his power, and overthrew his policy.”
How is it with England, that sea-girt isle, surrounded with a thousand ships, and thirty thousand guardians of her revenue ? Sir, do we not all know that smuggling is there a profitable trade, and that the revenue laws of England are constantly violated with impunity?
And how is it in Spain? A modern traveler asserts that there are a hundred thousand persons in that unhappy country who live by smuggling, and that there are thirty thousand others paid by the government to detect their practice, but who are in a league with the offenders; and, as to the condition of things in our own country, the gentleman has told us a tale this day, which, if he be not himself deceived, shows what fearful progress these practices have already made.
The time was when smuggling was absolutely unknown any where in this country, as it still is in the Southern States. It is your protecting system which has introduced it. It is the natural consequence of high duties. The evil was foretold; and, as we predicted, it has come upon us. The protecting system has already, in the minds of many, removed the odium which formerly rested on this practice. It was but the last year that a distinguished senator rose up in his place here and held this language: Your tariff policy compels respectable men to violate your law; you force them to disregard its injunctions, in order to elude its oppressions." It was his perfect conviction that there was not a virtuous man throughout the Union who would now think it criminal to smuggle into the country every article consumed in it. And why? Because you force them to it in selfdefense.
Sir, when these sentiments shall become prevalent, what think