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Senate of the United States,
ON THE 23d, 24th, & 25th FEBRUARY, 1803,
VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT OF DEPOSIT
ISLAND OF NEW ORLEANS.
BY WILLIAM DUANE.
COPY-RIGHT SECURED ACCORDING TO ACT OF CONGRESS.
233. e. 41
District of Pennsylvania, to wit:
BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the first day of June, in the twenty-seventh year of the Independence of the United States of America, William Duane, of the said district, hath deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as proprietor, in the words following, to wit:
" Mississippi Question. Report of a Debate in “ the Senate of the United States, on the 23d 24th, S and 25th February, 1803, on certain resolutions 6 concerning the violation of the right of deposit in " the island of New Orleans. By William Duane."
Inconformity to the act of Congress of the United States, intituled “ An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts, and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned"--and also an act entitled an act supplementary to an act entitled “ An act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of maps, charts and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned,” and extending the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching historical and other prints." (L. S.) D. CALDWELL, Clerk
of the District of Pennsylvania,
SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 14th, 1803.
THE Señate had been engaged in legislative business for some time....Mr. Ross rose after this business had been concluded, to present certain resolutions for their consideration, of which he had given notice on a former day....and spoke as follows: '.
Mr. Ross saíd, that although he came from a part of the country where the late events upon the Mississippi had excited great alarm and solicitude:; he had hitherto forborne the expression of his sentiments, or to bring forward any measure relative to the unjustifiable, oppressive conduct of the officers of the Spanish government at New Orleans. He had waited thus long in the hope that some person, more likely than himself to conciliate and unite the opinions of a majority of the senate, would have offered efficacious measures for their consideration. But seeing the session now drawing to a close, without any such proposition, he could not reconcile a longer silence, either to his own sense of propriety, or to the duty he owed to his constituents. He would
not consent to go home without making one effort, however feeble or unsuccessful, to avert the calamity which threatened the western country. Present appearances, he confessed, but little justified the hope, that any thing he might propose would be adopted; yet it would at least afford him some consolation hereafter, that he had done his duty when the storm was approaching, by warning those who had power in their hands of the means which ought to be employed to resist it.
He was fully aware that the executive of the United States had acted : that he had sent an envoy extraordinary to Europe. This was the peculiar province, and perhaps the duty of the President. He would not say that it was unwise in this state of our affairs to prepare for remonstrance and negociation, much less was he then about to propose any measure that would thwart negociation, or embarrass the President. On the other hand, he was convinced that more than negociation was absolutely necessary, that more power and more means ought to be given to the President, in order to render his negociations efficacious. Could the President proceed further, even if he thought more vigorous measures proper and expedient? Was it in his power to repel and punish the indignity put upon the nation? Could he use the public force to redress our wrongs ? Certainly not. This must be the act of Congress. They are now to judge of ulterior measures. They must give the power,
and vote the means to vindicate, in a becoming manner, the wounded honor and the best interests of the country.
Mr. R. said he held in his hands certain resolutions for that purpose,
and before he offered them to the senate, he would very fully explain his reasons for bringing them forward and pressing them with earnestness, as the best system the United States could now pursue.
It was certainly unnecessary to waste the time of that body in stating that we had a solemn explicit treaty with Spain ; that this treaty had been wantonly and unprovokedly violated, not only in what related to the Mississippi, but by the most flagrant, destructive spoliations of our commerce on every part of the ocean, where Spanish armed vessels met the American flag. These spoliations were of immense magnitude, and demanded the most serious notice of our government. They had been followed by an indignity and a direct infraction of our treaty relative to the Mississippi, which bore an aspect not to be dissembled or mistaken.
To the free navigation of that river we had an undoubted right from nature, and from the position of our western coun. try. This right, and the right of deposit in the island of New Orleans, had been solemnly acknowleged and fixed by treaty in 1795. That treaty had been in actual operation and execution for many years.... and now without any pretence of abuse or violation on our part, the officers of the Spanish government deny the right, refuse the place of deposit, and add the most offensive of all insults, by forbid. ding us from landing on any part of their territory ;-and shutting us out as a common nuisance.
By whom has this outrage been offered ? By those who have constantly acknowleged our right, and now tell us that they are no longer owners of the country! They have given it away....and because they have no longer a right themselves, therefore they turn us out, who have an undoubted right! Such an insult, such unprovoked malignity of conduct, no nation but this would affect to mistake. And yet we not only hesitate as to the course which interest and honor call us to pursue, but we bear it with patience, tameness, and
apparent unconcern. Sir, said Mr. R. whom does this infraction of the treaty and the natural rights of this country most intimately affect? If the wound inflicted on national honor be not sensibly felt by the whole nation, is there not a large portion of your citizens exposed to immediate ruin by a continuance of this state of things? The calamity lights upon all those who live upon the western waters. More than half a million of your
citi. zens are by this cut off from a market. What would be the language, what would be the feelings of gentlemen in this house, were such an indignity offered on the Atlantic coast? What would they say if the Chesapeake, the Delaware, or the bay of New York were shut up, and all egress prohibited by a foreign power? And yet none of these waters embrace the interests of so many as the Mississippi. The numbers and the property affected by shutting this river, is greater than any thing that could follow by the blockade of a river on the Atlantic coast. Every part of the union was equally entitled to protection, and no good reason could be offered why one part should be less attended to than another.
In the last year, goods to more than the value of two millions of dollars, had been carried into the western country. These goods were purchased on credit. The con