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time, and on this occasion, it would be criminal to conceal a single thought which might influence their determination. We should now, Mr. Speaker, forget little party animosities; we should mingle minds freely, and, as far as we are able, commune with the understandings of each other: and the decision once made, let us become one people, and present an undivided front to the enemies of our country.
Republicans should never forget that some years ago, a set of men, of different politics, held the reins of this government, and drove the car of state ; they were charged with being friendly to standing armies in times of peace, and favorable to expensive establishments ; not for the purpose of opposing foreign enemies, but to encourage executive patronage, and to bring these forces to operate on the people themselves. These measures alarmed the republicans ; they remonstrated, they clamored, they appealed to the people, and, by a national sentence, the men then in power were taken down from their high places, and republican men were put in their seats.
If your minds are resolved on war, you are consistent, you are right, you are still republicans: but if you are not resolved, pause and reflect; for should this resolution pass, and you then become faint-hearted, remember that you have abandoned your old principles, and trod in the path of your predecessors.
According to my view of this subject, Mr. Speaker, we now stand on the bank; one movement more, the Rubicon is passed, we are in Italy, and we must march to Rome.
As a member of the committee, I feel no hesitation in saying, that if there be a member here, not determined to go with us to the extent of our measures, I prefer now to take my leave of him, rather than be deserted when the clouds darken, and the storm thickens. upon us.
This admonition I owed to candor--I have paid it, not because I doubted; my purpose is settled, my mind reposes upon it, I may be in an error--If I am, I hope my country will forgive me-- From my God I shall never need it, because he knows the purity of my motives.
I will now state the reasons which influenced the committee in recommending the measures now before us.
It is not the carrying trade, properly so called, about which this nation and Great Britain, are at present contending : Were this the only question now under consideration, I should feel great unwillingness, however clear our claim might be, to involve the nation in war, for the assertion of a right, in the enjoyment of which the community at large are not more deeply concerned. The true question in controversy, is of a different character ; it involves the interest of the whole nation ; it is the right of exporting the productions of our own soil and industry to foreign markets. Sir, our vessels are now captured when destined to the ports of France, and condemned by the British courts of admiralty, without even the pretext of having on board contraband of war, enemies' property, or having in any other
respect violated the law of nations. These depredations on our lawful commerce, under whatever ostensible pretences committed, are not to be traced to any maxims or rules of public law, but tɔ the maritime supremacy and pride of the British nation. This hostile and unjust policy of that country towards us, is not to be wondered at, when we recollect that the United States are already the second commercial nation in the world. The rapid growth of our commercial importance, has not only awakened the jealousy of the commercial interests of Great Britain, but her statesmen no doubt anticipate with deep concern, the maritime greatness of this republic.
The unjust and unprecedented demands now made by Great Britain, that we shall cause the markets of the continent to be opened to her manufactures, fully justifies the views I have sug. gested.
That we as a neutral nation should interfere between belligerents in their municipal regulations, will not be contended for by any one. From the course pursued by that nation for some years past, it evidently appears, that neither public law nor justice, but power alone, is made by her the test of maritime rights.
What, Mr. Speaker, are we now called on to decide? It is whether we will resist by force this attempt made by that government, to subject our maritime rights to the arbitrary and capricious rule of her will; for my part, I am not prepared to say, that this country shall submit to have her commerce interdioted or regulated, by any foreign nation. Sir, I prefer war to submission.
Over and above those unjust pretensions of the British government, for many years past they been in the practice of impressing our seamen, from merchant vessels ; this unjust and lawless invasion of personal dignity, calls loudly for the interposition of this government. To those better acquainted with the facts in relation to it, I leave it to all up the picture. My mind is irresistibly drawn to the west.
Although others may not so strongly feel the bearing which the late transactions in that quarter have on this subject, upon my mind they have great influence. It cannot be believed by any man who will reflect, that the savage tribes uninfluenced by other powers, would think of making war on the United States. They understand too well their own weakness, and our strength. They have already felt the weight of our arms; they know they hold the very soil on which they live as tenants, at sufferance : how then, sir, are we to account for their late conduct? In one way only ; some powerful nation must have intrigued with them, and turned their peaceful disposition towards us into hostilities. Great Britain alone, has intercourse with those northern tribes ; I therefore infer, that if British goid has not been employed, their baubles and trinkets, and the promise of support and of a place of refuge, if needful, have had their effect.
If I am right in this conjecture, war is not to commence by sea or land, it is already begun; and some of the richest blood of our country has already been shed. Yes, Mr. Speaker, in one individual has
fallen the honest man, the orator, and the soldier. That he loved his country none can doubt, he died to preserve its honor and its fame -I mean the late commander of the cavalry; you, sir, who have often measured your strength with his in forensic debate, can attest that he in a good degree, was the pride of the western country, and Kentucky claimed him as a favorite son. For this loss, with those who fell by his side, the whole western country is ready to march; they only wait for our permission : and, sir, war once declared, I pledge myself for my people they will avenge the death of their brethren.
Another consideration drawn from our past conduct demands the course we have proposed; in the year 1808, Congress declared that this nation had but three alternatives left....war, embargo, or submission. Since that time no advantageous change has taken place in our foreign relations; we now have no embargo, we have not declared! war ; I then say it, with humiliation produced by the degradation of my country, we have submitted ; Mr. Speaker, I derive no pleasure from speaking in this way of my country, but it is true, and however painful the truth may be, it should be told..
Another reason operates on my mind : we stand pledged to the French nation to continue in force our non-importation act against Great Britain. Without a violation of national faith we cannot repeal it. What effects is the operation of this law producing? It is demoralizing our citizens ; men of commercial habits cannot easily change their course of life ; those who have lived in affluence and ease cannot consent to beg for bread; No, sir, they will violate this law; they will smuggle ; and, sir,- in politics, and in private life, if you wish men to remain virtuous, lead them not into temptation.
This restrictive system operates unequally, some parts of the Union enjoy the same advantages which they possessed when no dif. ficulties attended our foreign relations; others suffer extremely. Ask the northern man and he will tell you any state of things is better than the present; inquire of the western people why their crops are not equal to what they were in former years~ They will answer that industry has no stimulus left, since their surplus products have no markets. Notwithstanding those objections to the present restrictive system, we are bound to retain it-This, and our plighted faith to the French government, have tied the gordian knot; we cartout uhtie it, we can cut it with the sword.
This war, if carried on successfully, will have its advantages--We shall drive the British from our continent- they will no longer have an opportunity of intriguing with our Indian neighbors, and setting on the ruthless savage to tomahawk our women and children. That nation will lose her Canadian trade, and by having no resting place in this country, her means of annoying us will be diminished. "The idea I am now about to advance, is at war, I know, with the sentiments of the gentleman from Virginia; I am willing to receive the Canadians as adopted brethren; it will have beneficial political effects, it will
preserve the equilibrium of the government. When Louisiana shall be fully peopled, the Northern States will lose their power, they will be at the discretion of others, they can be depressed at pleasure, and this union might be endangered; I therefore feel anxious not only to add the Floridas to the south, but the Canadas to the north of this empire.
To you, Mr. Speaker, and to the members of this House, my thanks are duc, for the very patient attention you have paid to my embarrassed remarks.
Messrs. Cheves and Widgery spoke next at some length.
The House adjourned on motion of Mr. Grundy, who said, as Mr. Randolph did not possess that portion of health necessary for debate, he hoped it would be acceded to, for he wished to see him in the full plenitude of his powers.
[Debates to be continued.]
[Documents---Continued from No. 3.]
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster.
Department of State, Oct. 17, 1811. I have the honor to communicate to you a copy of two 'letters from the charge d'affairs of the United States at Paris, to their charge d'affairs at London, and a copy of a correspondence of the latter with the marquis of Wellesley on the subject. By this it will be sten, that Mr. Smith was informed by the marquis of Wellesley, that he should transmit to you a copy of the communication from Paris, that it might have full consideration in the discussions depending here.
Although an immediate repeal was to have been expected from your government, on the receipt of this communication, if the new proof which it affords of the French repeal was satisfactory; yet it will be very agreeable to learn that you are now authorized to concur in an arrangement that will terminate both the orders in council and the non-importation act. I have the honor to be, &c.
(Signed) JAS. MONROE. P. S. Hearing that you will not be in town for several days, this letter, and one bearing the date of the 1st of this month, which I had prepared, and intended to deliver to you on my return here, are forwarded by a special messenger.
Mr. Russell, Charge D'Affairs at Paris, to Mr. J. S. Smith,
Charge D'Affairs at London. SIR,
Paris, July 5, 1811. I observe by your letter of the 7th ultimo, your solicitude to obtain evidence of the revocation of the Berlin and Milan decrees.
On the sth of August last the duke of Cadore announced to general Armstrong, that these decrees were revoked, and that they would cease to operate on the 1st of November. Since the 1st of November these decrees have not, to my knowledge, in any instance been executed to the prejudice of the American property arriving since that time; on the contrary,the Grace AnnGreene, coming clearly within the penal terms of those decrees, had they continued in force, was liberated in December last, and her cargo admitted in April. This vessel had, indeed, been taken by the English, and re-taken from them; but as this circumstance is not assigned here as the cause of the liberation of this property, it ought not to be presumed to have operated alone as such.
Whatever special reasons may be supposed for the release of the Grace Ann Greene, that of the New-Orleans Packet must have resulted from the revocation of the French edicts.
The New Orleans Packet had been boarded by two English vessels of war, and had been some time at an English port, and thus doubly transgressed against the decrees of Milan. On arriving at Bordeaux, she was in fact seized by the director of customs, and these very transgressions expressly assigned as the cause of seizure. When I was informed of this precipitate act of the officer at Bordeaux, I remonstrated against it on the sole ground that the decrees, under which it was made, had been revoked. This remonstrance was heard. All further proceedings against the New Orleans Packet were arrested, and on the 9th of January, both the vessel and cargo were or. dered to be placed at the disposition of the owners, on giving bond. This bond has since been cancelled by an order of the government; and thus the liberation of the property perfected. The New Orleans Packet has been some time waiting in the Garonne, with her return cargo on board, for an opportunity only of escaping the English orders in council.
I know of no other American vessel arrived voluntarily in the empire of France or the kingdom of Italy, since the 1st of November, to which the Berlin and Milan decrees could be applied. I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
(Signed) JONA. RUSSELL.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Smith. SIR,
Paris, July 14, 1811. I had the honor to address to you, on the 5th instant, a brief account of the Grace Ann Greene and the New Orleans Packet. The proofs which these cases furnish, especially the latter, ought,