[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]
[blocks in formation]

An Address of Members of the House of Representatives of

the Congress of the United States, to their Constituents on
the subject of the War with Great Britain. Washington,

Fune, 1812
An Address of the House of Representatives of the Common-

wealth of Massachusetts to their Constituents, in relation to
the War with Great Britain. Printed by order of the House,
June 25, 1812.



SINCE the promulgation of the constitution of the United
States, no public document has issued from our press,
importance any way equal, to that of the two pamphlets here
announced. They form, together with the fatal and extraor-
dinary event to which they refer, an epoch in the American
annals;—an epoch by far the most momentous after the esta-
blishment of our independence. At a time when a war, which,
not to be productive of dangers and calamities still more
terrible than those usually incident to that state, requires pre-
eminently, the universal assent of the nation,-has been de-
clared, under constitutional forms, by the General government,
no less than thirty-four members of the popular branch of the
federal legislature, who, to say the least of them, are not sur-
passed in patriotism, integrity, and discernment by any others of
that body; who assisted at all the deliberations on the subject;
who have enjoyed the best possible opportunities of becoming




[ocr errors]

thoroughly acquainted with the national concerns, and the character and motives, of their associates in the management of those concerns, have conceived themselves bound to make a solemn appeal to the people, with respect to the measure, and to denounce it as “precipitate and ruinous” as unnecessary,

required neither by any moral duty, nor by any political expediency.”

The lower house too, of a state legislature, the most numerous, and commonly admitted to be the most enlightened of the Union; representing a principal member of our confederacy-an extensive population no less remarkable for sobriety of character, and strength of judgment, than for public virtue, and steady fortitude,-have, in like manner, deemed it incumbent upon them, in their corporate capacity, to make this war, the subject of a printed address to their constituents, in which they do not hesitate to qualify it, as "unnecessary, unjustifiable, and ruinous;" a wanton sacrifice of the best interests of the country;"-as "the consequence of passion and infatuation on the part

of the federal councils;” -as instance of incon. ceivable folly and desperation.".

Every consideration would oblige us to presume, that these protests were the result, of thorough persuasion and honest feeling, even were they not fraught with reasoning the most conclusive, and animated by language obviously that of the heart. The acknowledged sagacity of the authors, the rank which they hold in social life, the large stake which they have in the welfare of the country, their long devotion to the public service, preclude even the supposition, that they were prompted to the memorable step they have taken, by any other than the soundest views, and the purest motives. Such men, like all the rest of their species, may, in a certaip degree, be misled and biassed by private resentments, and the illusions of party prejudice, but can never labor under any sinister influence, so far, as to be transported into the extravagance of error and disloyalty, which this mode of opposition would imply, did it not spring,-as we are confident it does,—from the most unexceptionable sources.

Had we not, then, apart, the means of ascertaining the origin and character of this deplorable war,—were we not forced by facts and indications notorious and intelligible to us all, to adopt the opinions promulgated in these pamphlets,-we should be justifiable, when they come to us under such auspices, in yielding to their authority; or at all events, bound to give them, a most deliberate and respectful examination. We

« ForrigeFortsett »