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cumstances which attended it; his account and that of the Amer. ican commodore differ very materially with respect to some of the most important features of the transaction ; but in this they agree, that the chace which brought on the action commenced on the part of commodore Rodgers; for it cannot be maintained that the advance made by captain Bingham for the purpose of ascertaining if the fail defcried by him was his majesty's ihip Guerrier, which it appears he had orders to join, was for the purpose of chaling, even if that could be urged as a plea by the American command er. As soon as he found his signals unanswered, he bore away, until, to his infinite surprife, he found himself the object of the strange veffel's eager purluit and hostile attitudes. What could be commodore Rodgers' intention is not apparent. That he could not discover at the distance of 70 or 100 yards that the ship before him was a fluth deck floop, tho' it was but a little after 8 o'clock, on the 16th of May; that he could not make out her colors at half past 6 o'clock ; that his guys were double thotted, and that with the security he poffiffcd from the great force and superior failing of the ship under his command, and the circumstance of belonging to a neutral nation, he did not rather hold off during the night if he wished to speak the sloop, than by running under her stern in a menacing attitude, incur the risk of provoking a misunder. standing, must appear unaccountable to the comprehension of every unprejudiced person, and will, I am sure, fir, seem to you a fufficient reason, if there were no other, to warrant my demanding that an examination be instituted into his conduct, with a view to suitable fatisfaction being afforded to his majesty for the loss of fo many of his subjects fo wantonly flaughtered, and for - the insult offered to his flag. But should captain Bingham's charge es be brought home to commodore Rodgers of his having refuled to state the name of the nation he belonged to, though asked to do fo on their nearing each other in the dark, and of having fired a broadfide into the floop without provocation, which might at once have funk so small a vessel, I am convinced I need only ap. peal to the justice of the American government for shat government to see in its proper light the magnitude of the outrage, and offer to his majesty every reparation
that can appear due. It is with great pleasure, fir, that I avail myself of this opportu. nity to acknowledge the promptness with which you came for. ward with the assurances alluded to in the first part of this letter, and the readiness which you shewed to receive any communications from me in regard to the unhappy occurrence which forms the lubject of the remainder. I have the honor to be, &c. &c. (Signed)
AUG. J. FOSTER.
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster.
Department of State, July 16, 1811.
It is very satisfactory to find that you received the communication which I had the honor to make to you, in our first interview, on the subject of your enquiry, relative to that unfortunate oc. currence, in the amicable spirit it was intended. Altho' the excitement, which had been produced by previous and recent ago gressions, particularly by the impresent of American citizens from A.nerican vessels, even on the coast of the United States, was great, yet no order had been given by the government for the recovery by force of any citizen so impressed, from any British ship of war. The orders given to the commanders of the frig. ates, and other armed vessels of the United States, were for the protection of their coast, and of their commerce within the legitimate limits.
I need not repeat to you, fir, the sincere regret of this govern. ment, that such an encounter took place, and more especially that it should have produced the unfortunate consequences which attended it. I have the honor to be, &c.
(Signed). JAS. MONROE, [Documents to be continued in No. 6.]
[Debates continued.] On the second Resolution reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations.
December 10. The order of the day being called for, the Speaker observed, that the gentleman from Virginia on the right of the chair was entitled to the floor.
Mr. Randolph said, that if any other gentleman had any observations to make on the question, he would feel obliged to him if he would offer them then ; as he was much exhausted with the fatigues of the morning, and would be glad of a little time to recruit his wasted strength and spirits-After a' considerable pause, no gentleman having manifested a disposition to speak,
Mr. Randolph rose. He expressed his sense of the motive which induced the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Grundy) to move the adjournment, yesterday, and of the politeness of the House in granting it; at the same time declaring that in point of fact he had little cause to be thankful for the favor, well intended as he knew it to have been, since he felt himself even less capable of proceeding with his argument, than he had been on the preceding day.
It was a question, as it had been presented to the House, of PEACE
In that light it had been argued; in no other light could he consider it, after the declarations made by the committee of Foreign Relations. Without it.tending any'disrespect to the chair, he must be permitted to say, that if the decision yesterday was correct, “That it was not in order to advance any arguments against the resolution, drawn from the topics before other committees of the House" .--the whole debate, nay, the report itself on which they were acting, was disorderly ; since the increase of the military force was a subject at that time in agitation by the select committee raised on that branch of the president's message. But it was impossible that the discussion of a question broad as the wide ocean of our foreign concerns---involving every consideration of interest, of right, of happiBess and of safety at home---touching, in every point, all that was dear to freemen, “ their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor !"... could be tied down by the narrow rules of technical routine. The committee of Foreign relations had indeed decided that the subject of arming the militia (which he had pressed upon them as i dispensable to the public security) did not come within the scope of their authority. On what ground, he had been and still was unable to see, they had felt themselves authorized (when that subject was before another committee) to recommend the raising of standing armies, with a view (as had been declared) of immediate war :---a war not of defence, but of conquest, of aggraodisement, of ambition : a war foreign to the interests of the country, to the interests of humanity itself.
He knew not how gentlemen, calling themselves Republicans, could advocate such a war. What was their doctrine in 1798---99, when the command of the army, that highest of all possible trusts in any government, be the form what they may, was reposed in the bosom of the father of his country !--the sanctuary of a nation's love-the only hope that never came in vain : when other worthies of the revolution-Hamilton, Pinckney, and the younger Washington ; ment of tried patriotism, of approved conduct and valor, of untarnished honor, held subordinate command under him. Republicans were then unwilling to trust a standing army, even to his hands who had given proof that he was above all human temptation. Where is now the revolutionary hero to whom you are about to confide this sacred trust? To whom will you confide the charge of leading the flower of our youth to the heights of Abraham ? Will you find him in the person of an acquitted felon? What! then you were unwilling to vote an army where such men as have been named held high command ! when Washington himself was at the head did you then shew such reluctance, and feel such scruples, and are you now nothing loth, fearless of every consequence? Will you say that your provocations were less then than now? When
your direct commerce was interdicted, your ambassadors hooted with derision from the French court-tribute demanded - actual war waged upon you.
Those who opposed the army then, were indeed denounced as the partizans of France ; as the same men---some of them at least---are
now held up as the advocates of England : those firm and undeviating republicans, who then dared, and now dare, to cling to the ark of the constitution, to defend it even at the expense of their fame, rather than surrender themselves to the wild projects of mad ambition. There was a fatality attending plenitude of power. Soon or late,some mania seizes upon its possessors---they fall from the dizzy height through the giddiness of their own heads. Like a vast estate, heaped up by the labor and industry of one man, which seldom survives the third generation. Power, gained by patient assiduity, by a faithful and regular discharge of its attendant duties, soon gets above its own origin. Intoxicated with their own greatness the federal party fell. Will not the same caution produce the same effects now, as then? Sir, you may raise this army, you may build up this vast structure of patronage, this mighty apparatus of favoritism ; but--“lay not the flattering unction to your souls”---you will never live to enjoy the succession. You sign your political death warrant.
Mr. Randolph here adverted to the provocation to hostilities from shutting up the Missisippi by Spain in 1803 ; but more fully to the conduct of the House in 1805---6, under the strongest of all imagin. able provocatives to war---the actual invasion of our country. He read various passages from the President's public message of December 3, 1805.
“ Our coasts have been infested and our harbors watched by private armed vessels ; some of them without commissions, some with illegal commissions, others with those of a legal form, but committing acts beyond the authority of their commissions.” [These, Mr. R. stated to have been Spanish and French corsairs, fitted out chiefly in the western ports of Cuba---the English cruizers complained of in the same message, having regular commissions and carrying them into port for adjudication.] “ They have captured in the very entrance of our harbors, as well as on the high seas, not only the vessels of our friends coming to trade with us, but our own also. They have carried them off under pretext of legal adjudication, but not daring to approach a court of justice, they have plundered and sunk
them by the way, or in obscure places, where no evidence could * arise against them; maltreated the crews, and abandoned them in the open sea, or on desert shores, without food or covering."
"With Spain our negociations for a settlement of differences have not had a satisfactory issue. Spoliations during the former war, for which she had formally acknowledged herself responsible, have been - refused to be compensated but on conditions affecting other claims,” (those for French spoliations carried into Spanish ports]“ in no wise connected with them. Yet the same practices are renewed in the present war, and are already of great amount. On the Mobile, our commerce passing through that river, continues to be obstructed by arbitrary duties, and vexatious searches. Propositions for adjusting amicably the boundaries of Louisiana have not been acceded to. While hotever the right is unsettled, we have avoided changing the
stāte of things, by taking new posts or strengthening ourselves in the disputed territories, in the hope that the other powers would not, by a contrary conduct, oblige us to meet their example, and endanger conflicts of authority, the issue of which may not be easily controlled. But in this hope we have now reason to lessen our confidence. Inroads have been recently made into the territories of Orleans and the Missisippi.”—[Bourbon county-part of the State of Georgia-of the good old thirteen States !) “Our eitizens have been seized, and their property plundered, in the very ports of the former which had been actually delivered up by Spain, and this by the regular officers and soldiers of that government. I have therefore found it necessary to give orders to our troops on that frontier, to be in readiness to protect our citizens, and repel by arms any similar aggressions in future."
Mr. R. said, that on the 6th of December, (three days afterwards) a secret message was received from the President, which was referred to a committee of which it was his fate to be chairman. Its complexion might be gathered from the report upon it, for the message itself is not inserted in the secret Journal, since ordered to be printed. He read the report.
“The committee have beheld, with just indignation, they hostile spirit manifested by the court of Madrid towards the government of the U. States, in withholding the ratification of its convention with us, although signed by its own minister, under the eye of his sovereign, unless with alterations of its terms, affecting claims of the U. States, which, by the express conditions of the instrument itself, were reserved for future discussion ; in piratical depredations upon our fair commerce ; in obstructing the navigation of the Mobilc; in refusing to come to any fair and amicable adjustment of the boundaries of Louisiana ; and in a daring violation, by persons acting under the authority of Spain, and, no doubt, apprized of her sentiments and views of our undisputed limits, which she had so solemnly recognised by treaty.
“ To a government having interests distinct from those of its people, and disregarding their welfare, here is ample cause for a formal declaration of war, on the part of the U. States, and such, did they obey the impulse of their feelings alone, is the course which the committee would not hesitate to recommend: but to a government identified with its citizens, too far removed from the powerful nations of the earth for its safety to be endangered by their hostility, peace must always be desirable, so long as it is compatible with the honor and interest of the community.
“Whilst the United States continue burthened with a debt which annually absorbs two thirds of their revenue, and duties upon imports constitute the only resource from which that revenue can be raised, without resorting to systems of taxation not more ruinous and
oppressive than they are uncertain and precarious, the best interests of the Union cry aloud for peace. When that debt shall have