of France, which you denominate unjust and violent, may render it expedient for her to adopt. The United States have only to insist that a sacrifice of their rights shall not be among the number of those precautious.

In replying to that passage in your letter which adverts to the American act of non-intercourse, it is only necessary to mention the proclamation of the president of the United States, of the 21 of No. vember last, and the act of Congress which my letter of the 21st of September communicated, and to add, that it is in the power of the British government to prevent the non-intercourse from being enforced against Great Britain.

Upon the concluding paragraph of your letter I will barely observe, that I am not in possession of any document, which you are likely to consider as authentic, shewing that the French decrees are "abso lutely revoked upon the single condition of the revocation of the British orders in council;” but that the information, which I have lately received from the legation at Paris, confirms what I have already stated, and I think proved to your lordship, that those decrees are repealed and have ceased to have any effect, I will now trespass on you no farther than to suggest that it would have given me sincere pleasure to be enabled to say as much of the British orders in council and the blockades, from which it is impossible to distinguish them. I have the honor to be,

With great respect and consideration,

My lord,
Your lordship's most obedient humble servant,


[Documents to be continued.]

[Debates in Congress---Continued.]

In the House of Representatives. MR. DESHA'S SPEECH On the second Resolution reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations.

MR. Desha said Mr. Speaker, the report of the committee on Foreign Relations, of which the resolution now under consideration forms a part, is not what I thought would have been the most advisable to adopt, in order to meet the emergency ; not that I was for immediate war, as we are unprepared for that event ; but, sir, in addition to the force recommended, and authorising the arming the merchant vessels, I was for adopting a convoy system. But, sir, as the report is of a character different from the temporising policy here. tofore pursued, and one, if not decisive in itself, which will lead to something decisive ; and as I am now perfectly satisfied, that it is the intention of the government to follow it up by ulterior measures, calculated to prove the necessity of these preparatory steps, and as union under existing circumstances is all-important, as one of the committee I am bound to give it my support.

Sir, discovering no disposition on the part of Britain, to relax in her oppressions, or to make restitution for the damages we have sustained; but on the contrary a manifest disposition to persist in her lawless aggressions ; it therefore becomes necessary not to depend any longer on countervailing restrictive systems, but to adopt something of a character more energetic, and more congenial to the wishes of the American people. Sir, while I thought there was the most distant probability of obtaining justice by peace measures, I was an advocate for peace ; but, sir, when I see not the least prospect of a revocation of her destructive orders in council, of the releaseinent of our impressed countrymen, a relinquishment of the principle of impressment, nor restitution for damages, I am for assuming a war at. titude, consequently shall vote for the report of the committee, because I believe the force there contemplated will be an efficient force, and adequate to the purposes intended, to wit, the subjugation of the British North American provinces.

Sir, to enumerate the aggressions committed on our rights be Britain, the depredations on our commerce, the murder and impressment of our countrymen, and the indignities offered our flag, would be taking up your time unnecessarily-particularly, sir, as those enormities must be recent in the mind of every meinber present, and as it is time to lay aside the war of words and proceed to actions, I shall not detain you long with any remarks of mine.

Sir, remonstrances against atrocities have been made in vain ; experience has taught us that nothing can be expected from negotiations. We have been negociating for fifteen or twenty years, at an enormous expense, say half a million of dollars, and the causes of which we complained have regularly increased ; insult has been heaped upon injury, we have suffered ourselves to be buffetted, kicked, and treated with all kind of indignities, with impunity. Yes,sir, insult has been the result of all the late attempts at negociation ; for instaace, sir, Mr. Rose was sent for no other purpose than to gull the government; and because Erskine was disposed to do us justice in part, he was recalled and disgraced ; the conduct of the Copenhagen gentleman, Mr. Jackson, demonstrated that he was sent for the purpose of bullying the government--and pray, Mr. Speaker, what has Mr. Foster been sent for? Why, sir, in my opinion, for no other purpose than to operate as an opiate on the government ; to lull us tu sleep. As a proof of which, about the commencement of the session, a session convened by proclamation, which was naturally calculated to agitate the public mind, he comes forward with offers of reparation as he calls them, but which in my estimation is no more than a patch calculated to cover one corner of the wound the nation received, in that wanton and dastardly outrage, the attack on the Chesapeale; but, sir, in his soporifics I trust he will be disappointed. I hare no hesitation in saying, that when the letters from this minister to our government are examined by the people, that, independent of the artogance bordering on insolence, in which they are couched, so characteristic of that nation, they will have a different effect from that of conciliation; the illiberal and disingenuous demands made preliminary to the revocation of the orders in council, will have a tendency to rouse the public mind; they will be looked on with an · indignast frown by all real Americans.

Sir, we have been constantly annoyed, assaulted openly and insidiously; we have been plundered, oppressed and insulied; we thought it preferable to forbear while forbearance was possible, than to plunge into the evils of war, to redress the evil of plunder and partial and dastard like outrage ; we judged it better to abandon the wealth which the afflictions of the world held out to the avidity of commercial speculation, and consequently withdrew from the ocean, by the adoption of the embargo, a measure of all others the best calculated to meet the then emergency, and which wou'd, I have no hesitation in saying, have produced the desired effect'if we had have had firmDess enough to have adhered to it, and virtue and patriotism enough to have enforced it. But, sir, partyism was our ruin ; it proved that we had as much to fear from our domestic enemies as our foreign foes, and apparently the greatest evil we had to apprehend was in falling a victim to our own political dissensions occasioned by the deeply laid plans of our deadly foe, Britain. Sir, during the embargo times our domestic enemies, encouraged by a proclamation issucd under the authority of the king of England—I say, sir, those minions of royalty concentrating in the east, talk of the violation of laws as a virtue ; they demoralized the community by raising the floodgates of civil disorder ; they gave absolutions to felons, and invited the commission of crimes by the omission of duty. But, sir, the day of retribution is (I trust) not far distant, when those among us who to gain the favor of our enemy have betrayed their country, will sink into insignificance and contempt; the wages of iniquity will not shield them from due infamy.

Well, fir, in a tremor the embargo was laid aside, without the caufe being removed for which it was adopted, and a non-intercourse substituted in its place, which was also removed without zven giving it an experiment; and the causes of complaint not only existing, but regularly increasing. Then, sir, degradation, national abafement began to stare us in the face; then it was, fir, that we began not only to lose credit abroad, but respect at home.

The act of May 1st, 1810, was the next measure resorted to; which held out proposals to the two principal belligerents, that if either of them would refcind their orders or decre's destructive of our rights, against a given time, and the other party should fail to revoke within three months thereafter, that we would re-instate our restrictive system ; that is, the non importation, against the party so failing to revokc. Sir, this act was not marked with that manly character expected among a nation of freemen ; in fact it had the appearance of truckling to tyranny ; but, however it was marked with the character of pufillanimity, it proved that good may rise out of evil; not that I view the revocation of the French decrees as arising from any good disposition the French emperor had towards us, but because it suited his interest and convenience. Well, fir, however grating to the feelings of free. men this act might have been, it was instrumental in bringing about a revocation of those obnoxious measures, the Berlin and Milan de cries.

Sir, as to the revocation of thofe decrees, there are inconteftible proofs, proofs of such a nature that a man must be a sceptic indeed not to believe-But, fir, I will not detain you, by referring to the documents for proofs, as they are in the hands of every member. The President's proclamation is sufficient to establish the fact, agreeably to the act of May 1st, 1810 But if doubts still remained, the circumstance of there not having been a single American vessel condemned in any of the continental ports, since the first of November, 1810, must be satisfactory of the revocation of those decrees as far as they respect our neutral rights,confe. quently under this compact, public faith stands pledged, as far as refpects keeping up the non importation-and, fir, however im. politic the act was by which we were pledged, I am not for prof. trating national faith.

Well, fir, how has the other belligerent acted ? a government that has been eulogized by some gentlemen, and macle out a complete model of virtue, a nation great, virtuous and magnanimous. Why, fir, Britain, after her repeated declarations that her blockading system, and orders in council, were only intended as retal. iatory measures against her enemies, and should cease to operate on the date of the revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees, still persists in her iniquitous orders in council, in which the blockading system is merged, notwithstanding the date of the revocation of the French decrees took place upwards of a year ago. What does gentlemen think now of British faith? Can they repofe any longer implicit confidence in that corrupt government ? Certain. ly they ought not. Sir, henceforward we may consider British faith as proverbial as Carthagenian faith.

The report of the committee is not a recommendation of war, but it is, what will unquestionably lead to war, if our grievances are not redressed in a short time ; it is in my eftimation an effectual force to answer the contemplated and avowed purpofi--the subjugation of the British North American provinces. 'Sir, the prefent military establishment when filled up, is about ten thoufand; in addition to this, the committee considered that ten thou. fand regulars, together with the fifty thousand volunteers, would be an adequate force ; but, fir, fituated as we are, when war is in.


evitable, or an abandonment of our rights, and the prostration of pational character, I would not stickle on a few thousand, as I consider it better to have a few thousand more than is wanting, than to have one man under the necessary number. And, fir, would be willing to go further than is contemplated by the report; I would be willing to allow the volunteers a bounty in land in proportion to their time of service. I have said, fir, that the report of the committee would lead to war: and, sir, I would not be worthy of the name of a freeman of America, a friend to civil liberty, if I did not prefer war, with all its accompanying evils, to abitat submission.

Aliho', Mr. Speaker, I believe under existing circumstances, a war attitude necessary, or at least preparatory ft .ps calculated to meet that event; and although fituated as we are, I am for contending for the whole of our legitimate rights : yet,sir, I would not be willing to involve the country in war, in defence of the extenfive and circuitous carrying trade, separate from other causes; that is, that we should become carriers for the whole world, as govu rnment receive's no benefit froin this circuitous carrying trade, only as it is calculated to a grandize a few individuals engaged in it. I lhould be for holding fast the claim to the circuitous carrying trade, and would be willing to operate on our enemies by allopting countervailing restrictive fjstems. But, sir, I would not be willing, thai the good of the states, the gooil of the people, the agriculturists and mechanics, should be put at hazard to grat. ify the avarice and cupidity of a small class of men, who io fact may be called citizens of the world, attached to no particular country ; any country is their country where they can make the most money. But, fir, for what is an inherent right, for what I dei'm the legitimate or necessary carrying trade, the liberty of carrying our productions to foreign markets, and with the return cargo, in which agriculture is particularly interested, I would Gght in defence of.

Sir, we have come to a pretty pass indeed; for adopting mu. nicipal regulations we are threatened with retaliation. 'Mr. Fof. ter has had the audacity to charge our government with injustice, and after advising us to retrace our steps, says, that as our gov. ernment ftill persists in their injurious measures against the commerce of Great Britain, that his royal highness has been compel. led to look to measures of retaliation ; and, Mr. Speaker, they bave retaliated with a vengeance to it, by capturing and making prizes of all the American veff is coming within their grasp, not excepting those on our own coasts, and within our own waters. Sir,can we tamely look on and fee our citizens plundered, fee our right wrested from us ; rights, in the obtaining of which, so much virtue was displayed, and for which so much blood was shed, du. ring that fanguinary and remorseless war, carried on against us by Great Britain ; can we look on and fee ourselves plundered, and thousands of our fellow citizens impressed, taken from their law

« ForrigeFortsett »