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speak of it. But this much I will say, it was an event which po human foresight could have anticipated, and for which the administration cannot be justly censured. It was the parent of all the misfortunes we have experienced on land. But for it the Indian war would have been in a great measure prevented or terminated; the ascendency on Lake Erie acquired, and the war pushed on perhaps to Montreal. With the exception of that event, the war, even upon the land, has been attended by a series of the most brilliant exploits, which, whatever interest they may inspire on this side of the mountains, have given the greatest pleasure on the other. The expedition under the command of Governor Edwards and Colonel Russel, to Lake Peoria, on the Illinois, was completely successful. So was that of Captain Craig, who it is said ascended that river still higher. General Hopkins destroyed the prophet's town. We have just received intelligence of the gallant enterprise of Colonel Campbell. In short," sir, the Indian towns have been swept from the mouth to the source of the Wabash, and a hostile country has been penetrated far beyond the most daring incursions of any campaign during the former Indian
Never was more cool, deliberate bravery displayed than that by Newman's party from Georgia. And the capture of the Detroit, and the destruction of the Caledonia, (whether placed to a maritime or land account,) for judgment, skill, and courage on the part of Lieutenant Elliott, have never been surpassed.
It is alledged that the elections in England are in favor of the ministry, and that those in this country are against the war. If in such a cause (saying nothing of the impurity of their elections) the people of that country have rallied round their government, it affords a salutary lesson to the people here, who at all hazards ought to support theirs, struggling as it is to maintain our just rights. But the people here have not been false to themselves ; a great majority approve the war, as is evinced by the recent re-election of the Chief Magistrate. Suppose it were even true that an entire section of the Union were opposed to the war, that section being a minority, is the will of the majority to be relinquished ? In that section the real strength of the opposition has been greatly exaggerated. Vermont has, by two successive expressions of her opinion, approved the declaration of war. In New Hampshire, parties are so nearly equipoised, that out of thirty or thirty-five thousand votes, those who approved and are for supporting it, lost the election by only one
thousand or one thousand five hundred. In Massachusetts alone have they attained any considerable accession. If we come to New York, we shall find that other and local causes have influenced her elections.
What cause, Mr. Chairman, which existed for declaring the war has been removed? We sought indemnity for the past and security for the future. The Orders in Council are suspended, not revoked; no compensation for spoliations. Indian hostilities, which were before secretly instigated, are now openly encouraged; and the practice of impressment unremittingly persevered in and insisted upon. Yet the administration has given the strongest demonstrations of its love of peace, On the twenty-ninth of June, less than ten days after the declaration of war, the Secretary of State writes to Mr. Russell, authorizing him to agree to an armistice, upon two conditions only, and what were they? That the orders council should be repealed, and the practice of impressing American seamen cease, those already impressed being released. The proposition was for nothing more than a real truce ; that the war should in fact cease on both sides. Again, on he twenty-seventh of July, one month later, anticipating a possible objection to these terms, reasonable as they were, Mr. Monroe empowers Mr. Russell to stipulate in general terms for an armistice, having only an informal understanding on these points. In return, the enemy is offered a prohibition of the employment of his seamen in our service, thus removing entirely all pretext for the practice of impressment. The very proposition which the gentlemap from Connecticut (Mr. Pitkin) contends ought to be made, has been made. How are these pacific advances met by the other party? Rejected as absolutely inadmissible ; cavils are indulged about the inadequacy of Mr. Russell's powers, and the want of an act of Congress is intimated. And yet the constant usage of nations I believe is, where the legislation of one party is necessary to carry into effect a given stipulation, to leave it to the contracting party to provide the requisite laws. If they fail to do so, it is a breach of good faith, and becomes the subject of subsequent remonstrance by the injured party When Mr. Russell renews the overture, in what was intended as a more agreeable form to the British government, Loid Castlereagh is not content with a simple rejection, but clothes it in the language of insult. Afterwards, in conversation with Mr. Russell, the moderation of our government is misinterpreted and made the occasion of a
sneer, that we are tired of the war. The proposition of Admiral Warren is submitted in a spirit not more pacific. He is instructed, he tells us, to propose that the government of the United States shall instantly recall their letters of marque and reprisal against British ships, together with all orders and instructions for any acts of hostility whatever against the territories of his majesty or the persons or property of his subjects. That small affair being settled, he is further authorized to arrange as to the revocation of the laws which interdict the commerce and ships of war of his majesty from the harbors and waters of the United States. This mess
peace comes with one qualified concession in his pocket, not made to the justice of our demands, and is fully empowered to receive our homage, a contrite retraction of all our measures adopted against his master! And in default, he does not fail to assure us, the orders in council are to be forthwith revived. The administration, still anxious to terminate the war, suppresses the indignation which such a proposal ought to have created, and in its answer concludes by informing Admiral Warren, “ that if there be no objection to an accommodation of the difference relating to impressment, in the mode proposed, other than the suspension of the British claim to impressment during the armistice, there can be none to proceeding, without the armistice, to an immediate discussion and arrangement of an article on that subject.” Thus it has left the door of negotiation unclosed, and it remains to be seen if the enemy will accept the invitation tendered to him. The honorable gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Pearson) supposes, that if Congress would pass a law, prohibiting the employment of British seamen in our service, upon condition of a like prohibition on their part, and repeal the act of non-importation, peace would immediately follow. Sir, I have no doubt if such a law were to pass, with all the requisite solemnities, and the repeal to take place, Lord Castlereagh would laugh at our simplicity. No, sir, the administration has erred in the steps which it has taken to restore peace,
but its error has been, not in doing too little, but in betraying too great a solicitude for that event. An honorable peace is attainable only by
efficient war. My plan would be to call out the ample resources of the country, give them a judicious direction, prosecute the war with the utmost vigor, strike wherever we can reach the enemy, at sea or on land, and negotiate the terms of a peace at Quebec or at Halifax. We are told that England is a proud and lofty nation,
which, disdaining to wait for danger, meets it half way. Haughty as she is, we once triumphed over her, and, if we do not listen to the counsels of timidity and despair, we shall again prevail. In such a cause, with the aid of Providence, we must come out crowned with success; but if we fail, let us fail like men, lash ourselves to our gallant tars, and expire together in one common struggle, fighting for TREE TRADE AND SEAMEN'S RIGHTS.
[Mr. Clay resigned his seat in Congress on the 19th of January, 1814, having been appointed by President Madison a Commissioner to proceed to Gottenburg (afterward changed to Ghent) to meet Commissioners from Great Britain to negotiate a Treaty of Peace. The thanks of the House were tendered him on his retirement, for his able and impartial discharge of the duties of Speaker: Yeas 144, Nays nine-scarcely a sixth of the Federalists voting against it in that period of the bitterest party spirit and the most excited political feelings. He returned thanks in a brief and feeling address.
Mr. Clay repaired to Ghent, took a leading part in negotiating the Treaty,* and returned amid the enthusiastic acclamations of the whole country. During his absence he had been unanimously re-elected to Congress, but, some doubts being started of the legality of that election, he was unanimously elected over again upon his return. On taking his seat, he was at once chosen Speaker, by 87 yotes to 35 blanks and scattering; and again re-elected in 1818, by 140 votes to 6 for Gen. Samuel Smith, of Maryland, and again in 1819 by 148 to 7 scattering.]
* The following anecdote of Mr. Clay at Ghent is worth repeating :
Being on a tour through the Netherlands, preparatory to the negotiation, Hon. Henry Goulbourn, one of the British Commissioners, procured and sent him a file of London papers, containing accounts of the Burning of Washington by the Britisk troops, with a courteous epistle, stating that he presumed Mr. C. would be happy to re ceive the latest news from America. Mr. Clay returned his thanks for the civility, and in further acknowledgomont enclosed to Mr. G. a later file of Paris papers, containing accounts of the defeat of Bir George Provost at Plattuburgh, and the utter destruction of the British flotilla in the fight off that place!
ON INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, March 13, 1818.
[The subject of Internal Improvement, and of the aid which ought to be afforded it by the Federal Government, began deeply to agitate the public mind, soon after the close of our last War with Great Britain. New York commenced her gigantic undertaking, (as it then truly seemed,) and called upon Congress for assistance. Other sections also presented claims, and urged them with earnestness and force A report in favor of appropriating the bonus paid for her charter by the United States Bank to this purpose, was made by a Select Committee. The general question being under discussion, Mr. Clay addressed the House as follows :]
I have been anxious to catch the eye of the Chairman for a few moments, to reply to some of the observations which have fallen from various gentlemen. I am aware that, in doing this, I risk the loss of what is of the utmost value—the kind favor of the House, wearied as its patience is by this prolonged debate. But when I feel what a deep interest the Union at large, and particularly that quarter of it whence I come, has in the decision of the present question, I cannot omit any opportunity of earnestly urging upon the House the propriety of retaining the important power which this question involves. It will be recollected, that if unfortunately there should be a majority both against the abstract proposition asserting the power, and against its practical execution, the power is gone for ever—the question is put at rest so long as the constitution remains as it is; and with respect to any amendment, in this particular, I confess I utterly despair. It will be borne in mind, that the bill which passed Congress on this subject, at the last session, was rejected by the late President of the United States; that at the commencement of the present session, the President communicated his clear opinion, after every effort to come to a different conclusion, that Congress does not
contended for, and called upon us to take up the subject in the shape of an amendment to the Con