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ful pursuits, carried into captivity, and ignominiously confined on board of British Chips of war ; subject to be incarcerated ; compelled ingloriously to fight for principles, inconsistent with justice, repugnant to the feelings of freemen ?
Sir, our demands have been bottomed on justice-peace has been our object, which has been manifested by the numberless facrifices we have made ; and, fir, it is to be lamented that in the prosecution of this laudable design, the injustice of our ene. mies has suspended our ufual pursuits, and subjecled our com: merce to the rapacity of thof invaders of our rights. But, fir, the cup of forbearance is exhausted ; it is time to found the tocin of alarm-to gird on our swords, to prepare for action. Sir, to step one step further without 1hewing that fpirit of resentment becoming freemen, would be tos e national degradation stare us in the face ; would be to acknowledge ourselves unworthy of self.gov. ernment, to prepare for a state of vaflalage.
Mr. Speaker, by an examination of the correspondence between Mr. Foster and our government, it will be found that an explicit demand has been made of the revocation of the orders in council by our government, and a positive refusal on the part of Britain, or what is tantamount. Here, then, sir, we are completely at issue, and I know of no other way of deciding it than by battle or fubmiffion ; which of the two will be resorted to by the national councils, I am yet unable to determine ; but with the people, the former would be laid hold of with avidity, and supported with Spartan bravery.
Sir, we have heard much of the expense of a war, and have been told that the people would not support you in it. What, fir, a country fo extensive as America, so populous, abouncing in wealth, and, I trust, people patriotic, posle fing a full 1hare of national pride, anrl not be willing to be at the expense of supporting their rights? This is, in my mind, a preposterous idea; it is a kind of calculating policy that does not pervade this land of liber. ty. The people cannot estimate, in pounds, shillings and pence, the value of national honor and rights: they are fond of peace, but honor and interest bind them to oppose oppression and defend their rights, independent of the confideration of expenfe ; at least, I can vouch for those whom I have the honor to represent they are disposed to cherish economy as a principle of virtue in a republic; but, fir, at a time as perilous as the present, when our rights are invaded and our honor affailed, they would be willing that every Thilling should be drawn from the public chests, every cent from private purses, rather than fuccumb to tyranny. They are determined at the risk of their lives and fortun s, to transmit to pofterity unsullied, thos inestimable blessings of liberty and independence which was achieved by the valorous actions of their ancı ftors.
Sir, the most infatuated partizan of Britain cannot but fee in her conduct an ui:aquivocal proof of the rapacious and vindictive pol
icy which dictates hermeasures : all men must see that the flagrant injuries which we are now suffering from her, proceed from a general plan of piracy, from a disposition to ravish from us whatever may contribute to their convenience, independent of national law.
Mr. Speaker, the temporising and vibrating policy has had a tendency to unnerve patriotic arcor and to paralyze the national energie's. Sir, the di struction of our navigation and commerce; the annihilation of mercantile capital ; the extinction of revenue, the fe would be minor evils. A few years of f curity and exertion might repair them. But the humiliation of the American mind would be a lasting and mortal disease. Mental debaf ment is the greatest misfortune that can be fall a people. The most pernicious conf quince that a government can experience, is a conquest over, that just and elevated sense of its own rights which inspires a due sensibility to in!ult and injury, over that manly pride of character which prt fers peril or facrifice to the submission to oppreffion,and which considers national ignominy as the greatest of national calamities. Sir, as a respectable, numerous and wealthy nation, I am not sure but we have carried our moderation to a degree of criminality. Yet, fir, I acknoweledge moderation in all governments a virtue-in weak or young natior.s, it is often wile to take every chance by patience and address, to divert hostiïity, and fometimes to hold parley with insult and injury ; but to capitulate with oppreffion, or to surrender to it at discretion, is in any gov. ernment that has any power of resistance, as foolish as it is contemptible. Sir, the honor of a nation is its life. Duliberately to abandon it, is to commit an act of political suicide. Mr.Speaker, there is treason in the sentiment, avowed in the language of fome, and betrayed by the conduct of others, that we ought to submit to oppression or any kind of evils, rather than go to war with Eng. land—because, fay gentlemen, she is fighting the battles of the world, and is ke piny a more dangerons enemy from lis—that if we were to commit an act that would lead to war with G Britain, we would have in a short time the tyrant of France upon us, and would soon be in as wretched a situation as the peninsula of Spain. This, in my opinion, is not only dangerous, but daftardly doctrine. Sir, the people that can prefer disgrace to danger are prepared for a master, and deferve one ; but, thank God, the people of Amer. ica have not caught the panic-they are not so far loft to a fenfe of honor, or fo destitute of patriotism, as to prefer submission, abject acquiescence, to opprefsion, to war.
Mr. Speaker, all attempts to bring about an amicable adjustment of differences have failed-it would be folly in the extreme to depend on negociating any longer. We must determine on doing ourselves justice-there is no alternative left, but to repel aggreffion and defend our rights the resolution to do this is imposed on the government by a painful but irresistible neceffitythen, fir, is it not necessary to adopt these preparatory measures, to be in readiness for not only defensive but offensive operations ? Then I call on the manly spirit of American virtue, on all those who are Americans at heart, to bury animofities, to lay afide prejudices, which ore net bottomed on integrity and honor, to Itand forth for the honor and welfare of our common country; to be the defenders of those inestimable rights achieved by the valor of the heroes of '76. This is the time not to have it attributed to fear or bası-ness-the time for men of all parties to rally under the good old Whig standard.
Sir, my view is, if an honorable adjustment of differences between this government and the government of Great Britain does not take place against next spring, by a revocation of the ordi rs in council, a reltasi-ment of our impressed American seamen, togeth. er with a relinquishment of the principle of impressment, and am. ple reparation for damages, that we grant letters of marque and reprisal, and by a system of privateering cut up their commerce ; and as I hope to fee the day when the British will have no Halifax on this continent, to find captured American vessels to for adjudication and condemnation, that we make a descent on their N. American poffeffions, by which we shall check their influence, particularly over the savages, by cutting off all communication with those hostile barbarians on our borders. Sir, I am not so paffive as to subscribe to the doctrine advanced yesterday in a lengthy harange, which in fubftance amounts to a recommenda. tion of patience and resignation as the remedy against oppreffion. I know that war is to deprecated; that it ought to be made the last resort, so as to preserve national honor, which ought to be deemed paramount to every other consideration ; but, fir, as much as I deprecate a state of war, I have never been taught to consider it the greateft of evils : our ancestors did not consider it fo ; ihey not only broke to pieces the chains that were forging, but they cut asunder the ties which had bound them, and launched into an ocean of uncertainty ; fuccess crowned their efforts; they difpel. led the thick clouds of oppression, and shook off the fetters of defpotism-and, sir, have their descendants become so degenerate as to suffer them to be rivetted on again, by an abandonment of inherent rights, and truckling at the feet of tyranny? I trust not. I Aatter myself that the national councils will awaken from their political Numberings ; that they will act worthy of themselves, and up to the expectations of the people.
[Debates to be continued.]
No. 12.] TWELFTH CONGRESS....FIRST Session.
[Debates in Congress---Continued.]
In the House of Representatives. On the second Resolution reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations.
MR. TROUP rose to make an effort to put an end to the debate; a debate in which the great mass of the House were enlisted on one side, against the solitary gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Randolph) on the other. I trust, sir, the period has arrived, when the House will feel itself bound by the imperious calls of the country to act, and to act promptly. I am ready to go heart and hand with the advocates of the resolution--all I ask is, that they will lead with prudence and discretion; deliberate when deliberation is useful, act when action is necessary. But if the spirit of debate, as in former times has seized upon us; if idle verbiage and empty vociferation are to take place of manly and energetic conduct, I enter at this early stage of the proceeding my solemn protest. I cannot, I will not share the responsibility of this ruinous course. Indeed, sir, so concious do I feel of the evil, nay of the danger to the country from the course which has been adopted, I shall be constrained to call for the previous question, unless my friends shall interpose the more pleasant corrective; their own good sense to stop it. I know, sir, they have been impelled by the most honorable sentiments, the most generous passions, patriotism, honor, zeal for their country, rage against her oppressors. They are good reasoners, they are eloquent-but of what avail is argument, of what avail is eloquence, to convince, to pursuade, whom? Ourselves, the people. Sir, if the people are to be Teasoned into awar now, it is too soon, much too soon to begin it. If their representatives here are to be led to it by the flowers of rhetoric, it is too soon, much too soon to begin it.
When the honorable chairman of the committee (Mr. Porter) of Foreign Relations reported the resolutions, I had hoped he would have made a motion to go into conclave, or if that had not been deemed advisable, that at least the resolutions taken up with open doors, would have been treated as a system of defensive measures called for by the exigency of the times, and affording no just ground of complaint to any power which might please to consider itself the object of them. Such a course would have been not less consistent with the report of the committee itself, than with the letter and spirit of the President's message. The President himself would have been fortified by it. When the British minister called, as he will undoubtedly upon the President, to demand the causes of these warlike preparations, he might have been answered Sir, they are no
other than what they purport on the face of them, to be a system of defence on the part of the American government, called for by the state of the world; or if he pleased, he might have said, called for by the attitude which his Britannic majesty had assumed, the propriety of which no nation had a right to question. But instead of this, what had been done? Why, at the very outsrt, we have been told the measures were intended as measures of offensive hostilitv—that the army as to be raised to attack Canada; nothing short of it; all the advocates of the resolution declared it. Now, sir, could a more public or formal declaration of war have been made-contrary to the practice of all nations we declare first and make preparations afterwards-More magnanimous than wise, we tell the enemy when we will strike, where we will strike,and how we will strike--Do we mean a mere bravado?' Impossible0 man who knows the advocates of the resolution would suspect it; but we hope the enemr will recele; she may; but if she should not,let gentlemen look to the consequences, let them look well to the character of that enemy; is he feeble, spiritless, destitute of resources, without courage, without honor?No, sir, with two hundred and fifty thousand regular3 and all the munitions of war in store, his fleets and transports manned, equipped and provisioned; their sails bent to every wind, they ask but 120 days to reinforce Quebec, to fortify Montreal, to guard the passes into Canada, to march the supernumeraries to Boston ; here we sit in idle debate. Sir, I do contend most seriously, the 10,000 regulars can march from Canada to Boston in defiance of the mi itia of Massachusetts, well armed and organized as I know them to be. Well, sir, suppose this should happen-and more wonderful things have happened what will be said? what will my friend from Virginia say to the first victims of the war ?, Why, he will say, “ this is no war of mine ; I exerted all my strength to turn these people from their mad and desperate career !" The gentleman from Virginia exonerates himself from all responsibility by the very act of opposition; but what can be said of us, the advocates of the resolution, to whom all responsibility attaches ? That "we had not finished our war speeches !" That“ we could not begin to raise men until we had finished them !" Sir, believe me, the people of this country want no such speeches--they will go to war, because they believe war is necessary to the preservation of their honor and substantial interest; they want men and arms to defend them not words : If gentlemen persevere in the debate, I will call the previous question. The safety if the state, after what has been said and done, demands it, and all other considerations must yield to that.
MR. MACON considered the present, from the turn the debate had taken, the most important question which had come before the national government for many years past, because it was evidently discussed as a war question, though the real question before the House, if adopted, did not declare war : It was not now a question