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of Actium be once fought, and the whole line | emperor. You have your choice. It depend of sea-coast will be at the mercy of the con- upon your election, whether you will be a free, queror. The Atlantic, deep and wide as it is, happy, and united people at home, or the light will prove just as good a barrier against his of your executive majesty shall beam across ambition, if directed against you, as the Medi- the Atlantic, in one general blaze of the public terranean to the power of the Cæsars. Do I liberty. mean, when I say so, to crouch to the invader? For my part, I never will go to war but in No, I will meet him at the water's edge, and self-defence. I have no desire for conquests— fight every inch of ground from thence to the no ambition to possess Nova Scotia—I hold mountains, from the mountains to the Missis- the liberties of this people at a higher rate. sippi. But after tamely submitting to an out- Much more am I indisposed to war, when among rage on your domicile, will you bully and look the first means for carrying it on, I see gentlebig at an insult on your fag three thousand men propose the confiscation of debts due by miles off?
government to individuals. Does a bona fide But, sir, I have yet a more cogent reason creditor know who holds his paper ? against going to war for the honor of the flag honest man ask himself the question? 'Tis in the narrow seas, or any other maritime hard to say whether such principles are more punctilio. It springs from my attachment to detestably dishonest, than they are weak and the principles of the government under which foolish. What, sir; will you go about with I live. I declare, in the face of day, that this proposals for opening a loan in one hand, and government was not instituted for the purposes a sponge for the national debt in the other? of offensive war. No; it was framed, to use If, on a late occasion, you could not borrow at its own language, for the common defence and a less rate of interest than eight per cent. when the general welfare, which are inconsistent the government avowed that they would pay with offensive war. I call that offensive war, to the last shilling of the public ability, at which goes out of our jurisdiction and limits, what price do you expect to raise money with for the attainment or protection of objects, not an avowal of these nefarious opinions ?-God within those limits, and that jurisdiction. As, help you! if these are your ways and means in 1798, I was opposed to this species of war- for carrying on war—if your finances are in fare, because I believed it would raze the con- the hands of such a chancellor of the exstitution to the very foundation; so, in 1806, chequer. Because a man can take an observaam I opposed to it, and on the same grounds. tion, and keep a log-book and a reckoning; can No sooner do you put the constitution to this navigate a cock-boat to the West Indies, or the use—to a test which it is by no means calen- East; shall he aspire to navigate the great vessel lated to endure, than its incompetency to such of state--to stand at the helm of public counpurposes becomes manifest and apparent to all. cils? “Ne sutor ultra crepidam." What are I fear, if you go into a foreign war for a cir- you going to war for? For the carrying trade. cuitous unfair carrying-trade, you will come out | Already you possess seven-eighths of it. What without your constitution. Have you not con- is the object in dispute? The fair, honest trade, tractors enough in this House? Or do you that exchanges the produce of our soil for forwant to be overrun and devoured by commis- eign articles for home consumption ? Not at saries, and all the vermin of contract? I fear, all. sir, that what are called the energy-men will You are called upon to sacrifice this necessary rise up again-men who will burn the parch- branch of your navigation, and the great agriment. We shall be told that our government cultural interest, whose handmaid it is, to jeopis too free; or, as they would say, weak and ardize your best interests, for a circuitous inefficient. Much virtue, sir, in terms. That commerce, for the fradulent protection of belligwe must give the President power to call forth erent property under your neutral flag. Will the resources of the nation; that is, to filch you be goaded by the dreaming calculations of the last shilling from our pockets—to drain the insatiate avarice, to stake your all for the prolast drop of blood from our veins. I am tection of this trade? I do not speak of the against giving this power to any man, be he probable effects of war on the price of our who he may. The American people must either produce; severely as we must feel, we may withhold this power, or resign their liberties. scuffle through it. I speak of its reaction on There is no other alternative. Nothing but the the constitution. You may go to war for this most imperious necessity will justify such a excrescence of the carrying-trade—and make grant. And is there a powerful enemy at our peace at the expense of the constitution. Your doors? You may begin with a first consul; executive will lord it over you, and you must from that chrysalis state he soon becomes an make the best terms with the conqueror that
you can. But the gentleman from Pennsylvania the ratio of their respective rates of interest, and not com- (Mr. Gregg) tells you, that he is for acting in pounded of principal and interest. Thus, if the three per this
, as in all things, uninfluenced by the opinion cents are at sixty, the true value of the six per cents. would of any foreign minister whatever-foreign, or, be one hundred and twenty , and of the eight per cents
. one I presume, domestic. On this head I am willing hundred and sixty, according to this novel financial dis- to meet the gentleman, am unwilling to be dice covery.
tated to by any minister at home or abroad. Is he willing to act on the same independent pardon me, but I did fear from all that I could footing? I have before protested, and I again see, or hear, that they might be prejudiced by protest
, against secret, irresponsible, overruling its advocates (under pretence of protecting our influence. The first question I asked when I commerce) in favor of this ridiculous and presaw the gentleman's resolution was, “Is this a posterous project- I rose, sir, for one, to plead measure of the cabinet?” Not an open de- guilty—to declare in the face of day that I will clared cabinet, but an invisible, inscrutable, not go to war for this carrying-trade. I will unconstitutional cabinet-without responsibil- agree to pass for an idiot, if this is not the ity, unknown to the constitution. I speak of public sentiment; and you will find it to your back-stairs influence, of men who bring mes-cost, begin the war when you will. sages to this House, which, although they do not Gentlemen talk of 1793. They might as well appear on the journals, govern its decisions. go back to the Trojan war.
What was your Sir, the first question that I asked on the sav- situation then? Then every heart beat high ject of British relations was, what was the with sympathy for France—for republican opinion of the cabinet ? What measures will France! I am not prepared to say, with my they recommend to Congress? (well knowing friend from Pennsylvania, that we were all ready that whatever measures we might take, they to draw our swords in her cause, but I affirm must execute them, and therefore that we that we were prepared to have gone great should have their opinion on the subject.)—My lengths. I am not ashamed to pay this comanswer was (and from a cabinet minister too), pliment to the hearts of the American people, “There is no longer any cabinet.” Subsequent even at the expense of their understandings. circumstances, sir, have given me a personal It was a noble and generous sentiment, which knowledge of the fact. It needs no com- nations, like individuals, are never the worse mentary.
for having felt. They were, I repeat it, ready But the gentleman has told you that we to make great sacrifices for France. And why ought to go to war, if for nothing else, for the ready? because she was fighting the battles of fur trade. Now, sir, the people on whose sup- the human race against the combined enemies port he seems to calculate, follow, let me tell of their liberty—because she was performing him, a better business; and let me add, that the part which Great Britain now, in fact, suswhilst men are happy at home reaping their tains—forming the only bulwark against uniown fields, the fruits of their labor and industry, versal dominion.—Knock away her navy, and there is little danger of their being induced to where are you? Under the naval despotism go sixteen or seventeen hundred miles in pur- of France, unchecked, unqualified by any ansuit of beavers, raccoons or opossums-much tagonizing military power-at best but a change less of going to war for the privilege. They of masters. The tyrant of the ocean, and the are better employed where they are. This tyrant of the land, is one and the same; lord trade, sir, may be important to Britain, to of all, and who shall say him nay, or wherefore nations who have exhausted every resource of doest thou this thing? Give to the tiger the industry at homembowed down by taxation properties of the shark, and there is no longer and wretchedness. Let them, in God's name, safety for the beasts of the forests, or the fishes if they please, follow the fur trade. They may, of the sea. Where was this high anti-Britannic for me, catch every beaver in North America. spirit of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Yes, sir, our people have a better occupation when his vote would have put an end to the -a safe, profitable, honorable employment. British treaty, that pestilent source of evil to Whilst they should be engaged in distant re- this country ? and at a time, too, when it was gions in hunting the beaver, they dread, lest not less the interest than the sentiment of this those whose natural prey they are, should begin people to pull down Great Britain and exalt to hunt them—should pillage their property, France. Then, when the gentleman might and assassinate their constitution. Instead of have acted with effect, he could not screw his these wild schemes, pay off your public debt, courage to the sticking-place. Then, England instead of prating about its confiscation. Do was combined in what has proved a feeble, innot, I beseech you, expose at once your knavery efficient coalition, but which gave just cause and your folly. You have more lands than you of alarm to every friend of freedom. Now, know what to do with-yon have lately paid the liberties of the human race are threatened fifteen millions for yet more. Go and work by a single power, more formidable than the them-and cease to alarm the people with the coalesced world, to whose utmost ambition, vast cry of wolf, until they become deaf to your as it is, the naval force of Great Britain forms voice, or at least laugh at you.
the only obstacle. I am perfectly sensible and Mr. Chairman, if I felt less regard for what ashamed of the trespass I am making on the I deem the best interests of this nation, than patience of the committee; but as I know not for my own reputation, I should not, on this whether it will be in my power to trouble them day, have offered to address you; but would again on this subject, I must beg leave to conhave waited to come out, bedecked with tinue my crude and 'desultory observations. I flowers and bouquets of rhetoric, in a set am not ashamed to confess that they are so. speech. But, sir, Í dread lest a tone might be At the cominencement of this session we regiven to the mind of the committee-they will I ceived a printed message from the President of
the United States, breathing a great deal of rival. For Spain and France you are carriers national honor and indication of the outrages and from customers every indignity is to be we had endured, particularly from Spain. She endured. And what is the nature of this was specially named and pointed at. She had trade? Is it that carrying-trade which sends pirated upon your commerce, imprisoned your abroad the flour, tobacco, cotton, beef, pork, citizens, violated your actual territory, invaded fish, and lumber of this country, and brings the very limits solemnly established between back in return foreign articles necessary for our the two nations, by the treaty of San Lorenzo. existence or comfort ? No, sir; 'tis a trade Some of the State legislatures (among others carried on, the Lord knows where or by whom: the very State on which the gentleman from -now doubling Cape Horn, now the Cape of Pennsylvania relies for support) sent forward | Good Hope. I do not say that there is no resolutions pledging their lives, their fortunes, profit in it—for it would not then be pursuedand their sacred honor, in support of any but 'tis a trade that tends to assimilate our measures you might take in vindication of manners and government to those of the most your injured rights. Well, sir, what have you corrupt countries of Europe. Yes, sir; and done? You have had resolutions laid upon when a question of great national magnitude your table-gone to some expense of printing presents itself to you, causes those who now and stationery-mere pen, ink, and paper, and prate about national honor and spirit, to pocket that's all. Like true political quacks, you deal any insult—to consider it as a mere matter of only in handbills and nostrums. Sir, I blush to see debt and credit, a business of profit and loss the record of our proceedings; they resemble and nothing else. nothing but the advertisements of patent med- The first thing that struck my mind when this icines. Here yon have the “Worm-destroying resolution was laid on the table was, “unde deLozenges,” there, “Church's Cough Drops, ": rivatur?” a question always put to us at school and, to crown the whole, “Sloan's Vegetable –whence comes it? Is this only the putative Specific,” an infallible remedy for all nervous father of the bantling he is taxed to maintain, disorders and vertigoes of brain-sick politicians; or indeed the actual parent, the real progenitor each man earnestly adjuring you to give his of the child? or is it the production of the cabimedicine only a fair trial. If, indeed, these net? But I knew you had no cabinet; no syswonder-working nostrums could perform but tem. I had seen despatches, relating to vital one half of what they promise, there is little measures, laid before you, the day after your danger of our dying a political death, at this final decision on those measures, four weeks time at least. But, sir, in politics as in physic, after they were received ; not only their con
! the doctor is ofttimes the most dangerous dis- tents, but their very existence, all that time, ease—and this I take to be our case at present. unsuspected and unknown to men, whom the
But, sir, why do you talk of Spain? There people fondly believe, assist, with their wisdom are no longer Pyrenees. There exists no such and experience, at every important deliberation. nation—no such being as a Spanish king or Do you believe that this system, or rather this minister. It is a mere juggle played off for the no system, will do? I am free to answer it will benefit of those who put the mechanism into not. It cannot last. I am not so afraid of the motion. You know, sir, that you have no dif- fair, open, constitutional, responsible influence ferences with Spain—that she is the passive of government; but I shrink intuitively from tool of a superior power, to whom, at this mo- this left-handed, invisible, irresponsible influment, you are crouching. Are your differences ence, which defies the touch, but pervades and indeed with Spain? And where are you going decides every thing. Let the executive come to send your political panacea (resolutions and forward to the legislature ; let us see whilst we handbills excepted), your sole arcanum of gov- feel it. If we cannot rely on its wisdom, is it ernment—your king cure-all ?—To · Madrid ? any disparagement to the gentleman from PeneNo-you are not such quacks as not to know sylvania to say that I cannot rely upon him? where the shoe pinches-to Paris. You know No, sir, he has mistaken his talent. He is not at least where the disease lies, and there apply the Palinurus on whose skill the nation, at this your remedy. When the nation anxiously trying moment, can repose their confidence. I demands the result of your deliberations, yon will have nothing to do with this paper; much. hang your heads and blush to tell. You are less will I endorse it, and make myself responafraid to tell. Your mouth is hermetically sible for its goodness. I will not put my name sealed. Your honor has received a wonnd to it. I assert that there is no cabinet, no syswhich must not take air. Gentlemen dare not tem, no plan. That which I believe in one place, come forward and avow their work, much less I shall never hesitate to say in another. This defend it in the presence of the nation. Give is no time, no place for mincing our steps. The them all they ask, that Spain exists, and what people have a right to know; they shall know then? After shrinking from the Spanish jack- the state of their affairs—at least, as far as I am all, do you presume to bully the British lion ? at liberty to communicate them. I speak from But here it comes out. Britain is your rival personal knowledge. Ten days ago, there had in trade, and governed, as you are, by counting- been no consultation; there existed no opinion house politicians: you would sacrifice the para- in your executive department; at least, none inount interests of your country, to wound that that was avowed. On the contrary, there was
an express disavowal of any opinion whatsoever, | ing at another port, changes the property? Sir, on the great subject before you: and I have give up this principle, and there is an end to good reason for saying, that none has been the question. You lie at the mercy of the conformed since. Some time ago a book was laid science of a court of admiralty. Is Spanish on our tables, which, like some other bantlings, sugar, or French coffee, made American propdid not bear the name of its father. Here I was erty by the mere change of the cargo, or even taught to expect a solution of all doubts; an by the landing and payment of the duties ? end to all our difficulties. If, sir, I were the Does this operation effect a change of property? foe, as I trust I am the friend, to this nation, I And when those duties are drawn back, and the would exclaim, “Oh! that mine enemy would sugars and coffee re-exported, are they not, as write a book.” At the very outset, in the very enemy's property, liable to seizure upon the first page, I believe, there is a complete aban- principles of the “examination of the British donment of the principle in dispute. Has any doctrine,” &c. And is there not the best reason gentleman got the work? (It was handed by to believe, that this operation is performed in one of the members.) The first position taken, many, if not in most cases, to give a neutral is the broad principle of the unlimited freedom aspect and color to the merchandise ? of trade, between nations at peace, which the I am prepared, sir, to be represented as wilwriter endeavors to extend to the trade between ling to surrender important rights of this nation a neutral and a belligerent power; accompanied, to a foreign government. I have been told that however, by this acknowledgment: “But, in- this sentiment is already whispered in the dark, asmuch as the trade of a neutral with a belliger by time-servers and sycophants; but if your ent nation might, in certain special cases, affect clerk dared to print them, I would appeal to the safety of its antagonist, usage, founded on your journals !—I would call for the reading of the principle of necessity, has admitted a few them; but that I know they are not for proexceptions to the general rule.” Whence comes fane eyes to look upon. I confess that I am the doctrine of contraband, blockade, and ene- more ready to surrender to a naval power a my's property? Now, sir, for what does that square league of ocean, than to a territorial one celebrated pamphlet, “War in Disguise," which a square inch of land, within our limits; and I is said to have been written under the eye of am ready to meet the friends of the resolution the British Prime Minister, contend, but this on this ground, at any time. Let them take off "principle of necessity.” And this is abandoned the injunction of secrecy. They dare not. They by this pamphleteer, at the very threshold of the are ashamed and afraid to do it. They may give discussion. But as if this were not enough, he winks and nods, and pretend to be wise, but they goes on to assign as a reason for not referring dare not come out, and tell the nation what they to the authority of the ancients, that “the great have done. Gentlemen may take notes, if they change which has taken place in the state of please; but I will never, from any motives short manners, in the maxims of war, and in the of self-defence, enter upon war. I will never be course of commerce, make it pretty certain "- instrumental to the ambitious schemes of Bona(what degree of certainty is this ?)** that either parte; nor put into his hands what will enable nothing will be found relating to the question, him to wield the world; and on the very prinor nothing sufficiently applicable to deserve at- ciple that I wished success to the French arms, tention in deciding it." Here, sir, is an apology in 1793. And wherefore ? Because the case is of the writer for not disclosing tha whole extent changed. Great Britain can never again see of his learning (which might har: overwhelmed the year 1760. Her continental influence is the reader), in the admission, that a change of gone for ever. Let who will be uppermost on circumstances (“in the course of commerce") the continent of Europe, she must find more has made, and, therefore, will now justify, a total than a counterpoise for her strength. Her race change of the law of nations. What more could is run. She can only be formidable as a marithe most inveterate advocate of English usur- time power: and even as such, perhaps not long. pation demand? What else can they require to Are you going to justify the acts of the last adestablish all, and even more than they contend ministration, for which they have been deprived for? Sir, there is a class of men (we know them of the government, at our instance? Are you very well), who, if you only permit them to lay going back to the ground of 1798–9 ? the foundation, will build you up, step by step, I ask of any man who now advocates a rupand brick by brick-very neat and showy, if not ture with England, to assign a single reason for tenable arguments. To detect them, 'tis only his opinion, that would not have justified a necessary to watch their premises, where you French war in 1798. If injury and insult abroad will often find the point at issue totally surren- would have justified it, we had them in abunddered, as in this case it is. Again : is the “mare ance then. But what did the republicans say liberum” any where asserted in this book that at that day? That under the cover of a war free ships make free goods ? No, sir; the right with France, the executive would be armed with of search is acknowledged ; that enemy's prop- a patronage and power which might enable it to erty is lawful prize, is sealed and delivered. master our liberties. They deprecated foreign And after abandoning these principles, what war and navies, and standing armies, and loans, becomes of the doctrine, that a mere shifting of and taxes. The delirium passed away—the good the goods from one ship to another, the touch sense of the people triumphed-and our differences were accommodated without a war. And have nothing, or next to nothing, to fear-tc what is there in the situation of England that the aggrandizement of one against which you invites to war with her? 'Tis true she does have every thing to dread. I look to their not deal so largely in perfectibility, but she sup- ability and interest-not to their disposition. plies you with a much more useful commodity- When you rely on that, the case is desperate. with coarse woollens. With less professions in- Is it to be inferred from all this, that I would deed, she occupies the place of France in 1793. yield to Great Britain ? No; I would act toShe is the sole bulwark of the human race wards her now, as I was disposed to do towards against universal dominion. No thanks to her France in 1798-9—treat with her; and for the for it. In protecting her own existence, she same reason, on the same principles. Do I say insures theirs. I care not who stands in this treat with her? At this moment you have a situation, whether England or Bonaparte-I negotiation pending with her government. With practise the doctrines now, that I professed in her you have not tried negotiation and failed, 1798. Gentlemen may hunt up the journals if totally failed, as you have done with Spain, or they please—I voted against all such projects rather France. And wherefore, under such cirunder the administration of John Adams, and I cumstances, this hostile spirit to the one, and will continue to do so under that of Thomas this (I won't say what), to the other? Jefferson. Are you not contented with being But a great deal is said about the laws of nafree and happy at home? Or will you surren- tions. What is national law, but national power der these_blessings, that your merchants may guided by national interest? You yourselves tread on Turkish and Persian carpets, and burn acknowledge and practise upon this principle the perfumes of the east in their vaulted rooms? where you can, or where you dare; with the Gentlemen say, 'tis but an annual million lost, Indian tribes, for instance. I might give anoand even if it were five times that amount, what ther and more forcible illustration. Will the is it compared with your neutral rights ? Sir, learned lumber of your libraries add a ship to let me tell them a hundred millions will be but your fleet, or a shilling to your revenue? Will a drop in the bucket, if once they launch with it pay or maintain a single soldier? And will out rudder or compass, into this ocean of foreign you preach and prate of violations of your warfare. Whom do they want to attack-Eng- neutral rights, when you tamely and meanly land? They hope it is a popular thing, and submit to the violation of your territory? Will talk about Bunker's Hill, and the gallant feats you collar the stealer of your sheep, and let of our revolution. But is Bunker's Hill to be him escape that has invaded the repose of your the theatre of war? No, sir, you have selected fireside ; has insulted your wife and children the ocean—and the object of attack is that very under your own roof? This is the heroism of navy which prevented the combined fleets of truck and traffic—the public spirit of sordid France and Spain from levying contributions avarice. Great Britain violates your flag on the upon you in your own seas—that very navy high seas. What is her situation ? Contendwhich, in the famous war of 1798, stood be- ing, not for the dismantling of Dunkirk, for tween you and danger.
Quebec, or Pondicherry, but for London and Whilst the fleets of the enemy were pent up Westminster—for life. Her enemy violating, in Toulon, or pinioned in Brest, we performed at will, the territories of other nations—acquirwonders, to be sure ; but, sir, if England had ing thereby a colossal power, that threatens the drawn off, France would have told you quite a very existence of her rival. But she has one different tale. You would have struck no med- vulnerable point to the arms of her adversary, als. This is not the sort of conflict that you are which she covers with the ensigns of neutrality. to count upon, if you go to war with Great She draws the neutral flag over the heel of Britain. Quem Deus vult perdere prius de- Achilles. And can you ask that adversary to mentat.” And are you mad enough to take up respect it at the expense of her existence ?—and the cudgels that have been struck from the in favor of whom?—an enemy that respects no nerveless hands of the three great maritime neutral territory of Europe, and not even your powers of Europe ? Shall the planter mortgage own? I repeat that the insults of Spain tohis little crop, and jeopardize the constitution wards this nation have been at the instigation in support of commercial monopoly, in the vain of France : that there is no longer any Spain. hope of satisfying the insatiable greediness of Well, sir, because the French Government do trade? Adininister the constitution upon prin- not put this into the Moniteur, you choose to ciples for the general welfare, and not for the shut your eyes to it. None so blind as those benefit of any particular class of men. Do you who will not see. You shut your own eyes, meditate war for the possession of Baton Rouge, and to blind those of other people, you go into or Mobile, places which your own laws declare conclave, and slink out again and say—"a great to be within your limits? Is it even for the fair affair of State !”—C'est une grande affaire trade that exchanges your surplus products, for d'Etat! It seems that your sensibility is ensuch foreign articles as you require ? No, sir, tirely confined to the extremities. You may be 'tis for a circuitous traffic-an ignis fatuus.” pulled by the nose and ears, and never feel it; And against whom? A nation from whom you but let your strong box be attacked, and you have any thing to fear? I speak as to our lib- are all nerve—“Let us go to war!” erties. No, sir, with a nation from whom you I they called upon me only for my little peculium