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ance of this incontestible right, captures every American vessel bound to, or returning from, a port where her commerce is not favored; enflaves our seamen; and, in spite of our remonstrances, perf veres in thofe aggreffions.
To wrongs fo daring in character, and fo disgraceful in their execution, it is imposible that the people of the United States should remain indifferent. We must now tamely and quietly fubmit, or we must refilt by thofe means which God has placed within our reach.
Your committee would not cast a shade over the American name, by the expression of a doubt which branch of this alternative will be embraced. The occasion is now presented, when the national character, misunderstood and traduced for a time by forcign and domestic enemies, should be vindicated. If we have not rushed to the field of battle, like the nations who are led by te mad ambition of a single chief, or the avarice of a corrupted court, it has not proceeded from a fear of war, but from our love of justice and humanity. That proud spirit of liberty and inde. pendence, which sustained our fathers in the successful affertion of their rights against foreign aggression, is not yet funk. The patriotic fire of the revolution ftill burns in the American brtalt, with a holy and unextinguishable flame, and will conduct this na ion to thofe high deftinies, which are not less the reward of diguifici moderation, than of exalted valor.
But we have borne with injury until borbearance has ceafed to be a virtue. The sovereignty and independence of thefe States, purchafed and fan&tified by the blood of our fathers, from whom we received them, not for ourselves only, but as the inheritance of our pofterity, are deliberately and systematically violated. And the period has arrived when, in the opinion of your committee, it is the facred duty of Congress to call forth the patriotism and refources of the country. By the aid of these, and with the blufr. ing of God, we confidently trust we shall be enabled to procure that redress, which has been fought for by justice,by remonftrance an forbearance, in vain.
Your commetter, reserving for a future report those ulterior measures wbich in their opinion ought to be pursued, would at this time earnestly recommend, in the words of the President, “that the United States be immediately put into an armor and an attitude demanded by the crisis, and corresponding with the national spirit and expectations." And, to this end, they beg leave to submit, for the adoption of the house, the following relo. lutions :
1. Resolved, That the military establishment, as authorized by the existing laws, ought to be immediately completed, by filling up the ranks, anil prolonging the enlistment of the troops; and that, to encourage enlistments, a bounty in lands ought to be given, in addition to the pay and bounty now allowed by law.
2. That an additional force of ten thousand regular troops ought to be immediately raised, to serve for three years; and that a bounty in lands ought to be given to encourage enlistments.
3. That it is expedient to authorize the Prefident, under pro. per regulations, to accept the service of any number of volunteers, not exceeding fifty thousand, to be organized, trained, and held in readiness to act on such fervice as the exigencies of the goveronient may require,
4. That the President be authorized to order out, from time to time, fuch detachments of the militia as in his opinion the public service may require.
5. That all the vell is not now in service, belonging to the navy, and worthy of repair, be immediately fitted up and put in commiffion.
6. That it is expedient to permit our merchant vessels, own. ed exclusively by r fident citizens, and commanded and navi. gated folcly by citizens, to arm, under proper regulations to be prescribed by law, in self defence, against all unlawful proceed. ings towards them on the high feas.
[The foregoing report was read, and referred to a committee of the whole house, for Friday next.]
In the House, Friday, Dec. 6. The House resolved itself into a committee of the whole, (Mr. Macon from North-Carolina in the chair) on the report of the committee on Foreign Relations, made on Friday last.
The report having beep read
Mr. PORTER said, that the House was probably expecting from the Committee of Foreign Relations some explanation of their views in reporting the resolutions now under consideration, in addition to the general exposition of them contained in the report itself. The committee themselves felt that such explanations were due, inasmuch as they had only reported
in part, and had intimated their intention to follow up these resolutions, should they be adopted, by the recommendation of ulterior measures.
The Committee, Mr. P. said, after examining the various documents accompanying the President's message, were satisfied, as he presumed every member of the House was, that all hopes of accommodating our differences with Great Britain by negociation must be abandoned. When they looked at the correspondence between the two governments ; when they observed the miserable shifts and evasions (for they were entitled to no better appellation) to which Great Britain resorted to excuse the violations of our maritime rights, it was impossible not to perceive that her conduct towards us was not regulated even by her own sense of justice, but solely by a regard to the probable extent of our forbearance. The last six years had been marked by a series of progressive encroachments on our rights; and the principles by which she publicly upheld her aggressions, were as
mutable as her conduct. We had seen her one year aļvancing doctrines, which the year before she had reprobated. We had seen her one day capturing our vessels under pretexts, which on the preced. ing day she would have been ashamed to avow. Indeed, said Mr.P. she seems to have been constantly and carefully feeling our pulse, to ascertain what potions we would bear; and if we go on submitting to one indignity after another, it will not be long before we shall see British subjects not only taking our property in our harbors, but trampling on our persons in the streets of our cities.
Having become convinced that all hopes, from further negociation, were idle,' the committee, Mr. P. said, were led to the consideration of another question, which was....whether the maritime rights which Great Britain is violating were such as we ought to support at the hazard and expense of a war? And he believed he was correct in stating, that the committee was unanimously of the opinion that they were. The committee thought that the orders in council, so far as they go to interrupt our direct trade, (that is, the carrying of the productions of this country to a market in the ports of friendly patious, and returning with the proceeds of them) ought to be resist-dly war. How far we ought to go in support of what is comanonly called the currying trade, although the question was agitated in the committee, no definitive opinion was expressed. It was not deemed necessary, at this time, to express such an opinion, inasmuch as the injury we sustain by the inhibition of this trade is immerged in the greater one to our direct trade.
The orders in council, Mr. P. said, of which there seemed now to be no prospect of a speedy repeal, certainly none during the continuance of the present war, authorized the capture of our vessels bound to and from ports where British commerce is not favorably received ; and as that nation is at war with most of the civilized world, the effect was (as he understood from those who had much better information on the subject than he could pretend to) to cut up, at once, about three-fourths of our best and most profitable commerce. It was impossible that the mercantile or agricultural interests of the United States, which, on the question of a right to the direct trade, could never be separated, could submit to such impositions.
was his opinion, that going upon the ground of a mere pecuniary calculation, a calculation of profit and loss, it would be for our interest to go to war to remove the orders in conncil, rather than submit to them, even during the term of their probable continuance.
But there was another point in view in which the subject presented itself to the Committee and that was as regarded the character of the country. We were a young nation, and he hoped we cherished a little spirit and pride, as well as a great deal of justice and moderation. Our situation was not unlike that of a young man just entering into life, and who, if he tamely submitted to one cool, deliberate, intentional indignity, might safely calculate to be kicked and cuffed for the whole of the remainder of his life: or, if he should afterwards
endeavor to retrieve his character, he must do it at ten times the expedse which it would have cost him at first to support it. We should clearly understand and define those rights which as a nation we ought to support, and we should support them at every hazard. If there be any such thing as rights between nations, surely the people of the United States, occupying the half of a continent, have a right to nav. igate the seas, without being molested by the inhabitants of the little Island of Great-Britain.
It was under these views of the sudject that the Committee did not hesitate to give it as their opinion that we ought to go to war in opposition to the Orders in Council. But as to the extent of the var and the time when it should be commenced, there would be some diversity of sentiment in the House, as there was at first in the Committee.
That we can contend with Great-Britain, openly and even-handed, on the element where she injures us, it would be folly to pre. tend. Were it even in our own power to build a navy which should be able to cope with hers, no man who has any regard for the happiness of the people of this country would venture to advise such a measure. All the fame and glory which the British navy has acquired at sea, bave been dearly paid for, in the sufferings and misery of that ill-fated people at home-sufferings occasioned in a great measure by the expense of that stupendous establishment. But without such a navy the United States could make a serious impression upon Great Britain, even at sea. We could have within six months after a declaration of war, hundreds of privateers in every part of the ocean. We could harrass, if not destroy, the vast and profitable commerce which she is constantly carrying on to every part of this continent. We could destroy her fisheries to the north; we could depredate upon her commerce to the West India islands which is passing by our doors; we could annoy her trade along the coast of South America; we could even carry the war to her own shores in Europe.
But, Mr. P. said, there was another point where we could attack her, and where she would feel our power still more sensibly. We could deprive her of her extensive provinces lying along our borders to the north. These provinces were not only immensely valuable in themselves, but almost indispensable to the existence of Great Britain, cut off as she now is, in a great measure, from the north of Europe. He had been credibly informed that the exports from Quebec alone amounted, during the last year, to near six milions, and most of these too in articles of the first necessity-in ship timber and in provisions for the support of her fleets and armies. By carrying on such a war as he had described, at the public expense, on land, and by individual enterprize at sea, we should be able, in a short time, to remunerate ourselves tenfold for all the spoliations she had committed on our commerce.
It was with a view to make preparations for such a war, that the
committee had offered the resolutions on the table. Whether the means recommended were adequate to the object, or whether they were best adapted to the end, it would be for the House, when they came to discuss them separately, to determine. For himself, Mr. P. said, and he presumed such were the feelings of all the members of the committee) he should have no objections to any modifications of thein which might be agreeable to the Ilouse, so that the great object was s:ill retained. If these resolutions, or any others similar to them in object, should pass, it was then the intention of the committee, as soon as the forces contemplated to be raised should be in any tolerable state of preparation, to recommend the employment of them for the purposes for which they shall have been raised, unless Great Britain shall, in the mean time, have done us justice. In short, it was the determination of the committee to recommend open and decided war--a war as vigorous and effective as the resources of the country, and the relative situation of ourselves and our enemy, would enable us to prosecute.
The committee, Mr. P. said, have not recommended this course of measures without a full sense of the high responsibility which they have taken upon themselves. They are aware, that war, even in its best and fairest form, is an evil deeply to be deprecated: But it is sometimes, and on few occasions perhaps more than this, a necessary evil. For myself, I confess I have approached the subject not only with diffidence, but with awe : But I will never shrink from my duty because it is arduous and unpleasant; and I can most religiously declare that I never acted under stronger or more clear convictions of duty, than I do now in recommending these preparatory measures cor, than I shall ultimately in recommending war, in case Great Britain shall not have rescinded her orders in council, and made some satisfactory arrangements in respect to the impressment of our seamcn.
If there should be any gentlemen in the House who were not satisfied that we ought to go to war for our maritime rights, Mr. P. earnestly entrcated that they would not vote for the resolutions..Do not, said he, let us raise armies, unless we intend to employ them. If we do not mean to support the rights and honor of the country, let us not drain it of its resources.
Mr. P said, he was aware that there were many gentlemen in the House who were dissatisfied that the committee had not gone further and recommended an immediate declaration of war, or the adoption of some measure which would have instantly precipitated us into it. But he confusscd such was not his opinion. He had no idea of plunging ourselves headlong into a war with a powerful nation, or even a respectable proviace, when we had not three regiments of men to spare for that service. He hoped that we should not be influenced by the howlings of newspapers; nor by a fear that the spirit of the Twelfth Congress would be questioned, to abandon the plainest dictates of common sense and coinmon discretion.
[Debates to be continued.]