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since the adoption of the present constitution; maintained an expensive and successful war with the Indians; a war with the Barbary powers; a quasi war with France; sustained the charges of suppressing two insurrections, and extinguishing upwards of forty-six millions of the public debt. In revenue it has, since the year 1789, yielded one hundred and ninety-one millions of dollars. During the first four years after the commencement of the present government, the revenue averaged only about two millions annually; during a subsequent period of four years, it rose to an average of fifteen millions annually, or became equivalent to a capital of two hundred and fifty millions of dollars, at an interest of six per centum per annum.
And if our commerce is re-established, it will, in the course of time, nett a sum for which we are scarcely furnished with figures in arithmetic. Taking the average of the last nine years, (comprehending, of course, the season of the embargo,) our exports average upwards of thirty-seven millions of dollars, which is equivalent to a capital of more than six hundred millions of dollars, at six per centum interest, all of which must be lost in the event of a destruction of foreign commerce. the abandonment of that commerce is also involved the sacrifice of our brave tars, who have engaged in the pursuit from which they de rive subsistence and support, under the confidence that government. would afford them that just protection which is due to all. They will be driven into foreign employment, for it is vain to expect that they will renounce their habits of life.
The spirit of commercial enterprise, so strongly depicted by the gentleman from New York, (Mr. Mitchell,) is diffused throughout the country. It is a passion as unconquerable as any with which nature has endowed us. You may attempt indeed to regulate, but you cannot destroy it. It exhibits itself as well on the waters of the western country as on the waters and shores of the Atlantic. I have heard of a vessel built at Pittsburgh having crossed the Atlantic and entering a European port (I believe that of Leghorn.) The master of the vessel laid his papers before the proper custom officer, which, of course, stated the place of her departure. The officer boldly denied the existence of any such American port as Pittsburgh, and threatened a seizure of the vessel as being furnished with forged papers. The affrighted master procured a map of the United States, and, pointing out the Gulf of Mexico, took the officer to the mouth of the Mississippi-traced the course of the Mississippi more than a
thousand miles to the mouth of the Ohio; and conducting him still thousand miles higher, to the junction of the Alleghany and Monon gahela—" There,” he exclaimed, “ stands Pittsburgh, the port fron which I sailed!” The custom-house officer, prior to the production of this evidence, would have as soon believed that the vessel har performed a voyage from the moon.
In delivering the sentiments which I have expressed, I conside myself as conforming to a sacred constitutional duty. When tl power to provide a navy was confided to Congress, it must have bet the intention of the convention to submit only to the discretion of the body the period when that power should be exercised. That perio has, in my opinion, arrived, at least for making a respectable beginning And whilst I thus discharge what I conceive to be my duty, I deriv great pleasure from the reflection that. I am supporting a measure ca culated to impart additional strength to our happy Union. Diversifier as are the interests of its various parts, how admirably do they har monize and blend together! We have only to make a proper use o. the bounties spread before us, to render us prosperous and powerfu Such a navy as I have contended for, will form a new bond of cor nexion between the States, concentrating their hopes, their interest and their affections.
ON THE NEW ARMY BILL.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, JANUARY 8,
[WAR was declared against Great Britain on the 18th of June, 1812, and military operations commenced on our Northern frontier, which resulted at first in a series of unexpected and disgraceful disasters to our arms. In the midst of these reverses the election of President came on, and the supporters of the War narrowly escaped being defeaied by the choice of De Witt CLINTON, the Peace candidate, over the incumbent, James Madison. Congress having re-assembled, the majority immediately applied itself to the adoption of measures calculated to revive the drooping spirits and re-invigorate the arms of the country. First among these was a Bill to Increase the Army, by raising twenty additional regiments. The Bill being under discussion in Committee of the Whole, Mr. Clay engaged in the debate, addressing the House on the general topics involved, and the merits of the War, as follows:]
I was gratified yesterday by the recommitment of this bill to a Committee of the Whole House, from two considerations ; one, since it afforded me a slight relaxation from a most fatiguing situation ; and the other, because it furnished me with an opportunity of presenting to the Committee my sentiments upon the important topics which have been mingled in the debate. I regret, however, that the necessity under which the Chairman had been placed of putting the question, precluded the opportunity I have wished to enjoy, of rendering more acceptable to the Committee any thing I might have to offer on the interesting points on which it is my duty to touch. Unprepared, however, as I am to speak on this day, of which I am the more sensible, from the ill state of my health, I will solicit the attention of the Committee for a few moments.
I was a little astonished, I confess, when I found this bill permitted to pass silently through the Committee of the Whole, and not selected, until the moment when the question was about to be put for its third reading, as the subject on which gentlemen in the opposition chose to lay before the House their views of the
interesting attitude in which the nation stands.
It did appear to me, that the Loan bill, which will soon come before us, would have afforded a much more proper occasion, it being more essential, as pro viding the ways and means for the prosecution of the war. But the gentlemen had the right of selection, and having exercised it, no matter how improperly, I am gratified, whatever I may think of the character of some part of the debate, at the latitude in which, for once, they have been indulged. I claim only, in return, of gentlemen on the other side of the House, and of the Committee, a like indulgence in expressing my sentiments, with the same unrestrained freedom. Perhaps, in the course of the remarks which I may feel myself called upon to make, gentlemen may apprehend that they assume too harsh an aspect; but I have only now to say, that I shall speak of parties, measures, and things, as they strike my moral sense, protesting against the imputation of any intention, on my part, to wound the feelings of any gentleman.
Considering the situation in which this country is now placeda state of actual war with one of the most powerful nations on the earth-it may not be useless to take a view of the past, and of the various parties which have at different times appeared in this country, and to attend to the manner by which we have been driven from a peaceful posture, to our present warlike attitude. Such an inquiry may assist in guiding us to that result, an honorable peace, which must be the sincere desire of every friend to America. The course of that opposition, by which the administration of the government has been unremittingly impeded for the last twelve years, is singular, and, I believe, unexampled in the history of any country. It has been alike the duty and the interest of the administration to preserve peace. It was their duty, because it is necessary to the growth of an infant people, to their genius, and to their habits. It was their interest, because a change of the condition of the nation brings along with it a danger of the loss of the affections of the people. The administration has not been forgetful of these solemn obligations. No art has been left unessayed; no experiment, promising a favorable result, left untried, to maintain the peaceful relations of the country. When, some six or seven years ago, the affairs of the nation assumed a threating aspect, a partial non-importation was adopted. As they grew more alarming, an embargo was imposed. It would have accomplished its purpose, but it
the altar of conciliation. Vain and fruitless attempt to propitiate! Then came along non-intercouse; and a general non-importation followed in the train. In the mean time, any indications of a return to the public law and the path of justice, on the part of either belligerent, are seized upon with avidity by the administration—the arrangement with Mr. Erskine is concluded. It is first applauded, and then censured by the opposition. No matter with what unfeigned sincerity, with what real effort administration cultivates peace, the opposition insist that it alone is culpable for every breach that is made between the two countries. Because the President thought proper, in accepting the proffered reparation for the attack on a national vessel, to intimate that it would have better comported with the justice of the king, (and who does not think so ?) to punish the offending officer, the opposition, entering into the royal feelings, sees, in that imaginary insult, abundant cause for rejecting Mr. Erskine's arrangement. On another occasion, you cannot have forgotten the hypocritical ingenuity which they displayed, to divest Mr. Jackson's correspondence of a premeditated insult to this country. If gentlemen would only reserve for their own government, half the sensibility which is indulged for that of Great Britain, they would find much less to condem. Restriction after restriction has been tried -negotiation has been resorted to, until further negotiation would have been disgraceful. Whilst these peaceful experiments are undergoing a trial, what is the conduct of the opposition? They are the champions of war; the proud, the spirited, the sole repository of the nation's honor; the men of exclusive vigor and energy. The admin istration, on the contrary, is weak, feeble, and pusillanimous—“ in capable of being kicked into a war.” The maxim, “ not a cent for tribute, millions for defence,” is loudly proclaimed. Is the administration for negotiation? The opposition is tired, sick, disgusted with negotiation. They want to draw the sword and avenge the nation's wrongs. When, however, foreign nations, perhaps, emboldened by the very opposition here made, refuse to listen to the amicable appeals, which have been repeated and reiterated by the administration, to their justice and to their interests--when, in fact, war with one of them has become identified with our independence and our sovereigity, and to abstain from it was no longer possible, behold the opposition veering round and becoming the friends of peace and commerce. They tell you of the calamities of war--its tragical events--the squandering away of your resources--the waste of the public treasure,