« PreviousContinue »
H. OF R.
suing letters of marque dependent on the events The House went into a Committee of the which in the opinion of the President should renWhole, on the bill from the Senate for interdict- der the commerce of the United States sufficiently ing commercial intercourse. &c. Mr. Masters's safe, &c. motion for striking out part of the eleventh section
Mr.J. G. JACKSON renewed his motion to strike being yet under consideration.
out the whole section, except the enacting clause. Mr.'J. G. Jackson moved to strike out the He acknowledged the justice of the arguments of whole of the section preceding the proviso, for the gentleman from Connecticut; but as a session the purpose of inserting the following amendment: of Congress would intervene, the objection to the “jf after Great Britain or France shall revoke such amendment which he intended to offer, would re
defect in detail would fall to the ground. The of their orders or decrees, laws, or edicts, as violate the lawful commerce and neutral rights of the United States, move the remainder of the gentleman's objections. of which revocation the President of the United States
Mr. RANDOLPH called for a division of the shall give public notice by proclamation fixing the time, motion at the same point as before. He said if which shall be at the expiration of fifty days from the the Senate had erred, the error was not to be remdate thereof, when the operation of this act and also of edied by the proposition submitted to the House. the act laying an embargo, &c. shall cease and deter- It was only putting a tortoise under the elephant; mine ; and the President of the United States shall at for the system would be liable to precisely the the expiration of the time limited in the said procla- same objections as the clause proposed to be mation issue letters of marque and reprisal against amended. Mr. R. went into an examination of the nation which shall continue in force its unlawful the amendment which Mr. Jackson read, to show edicts against the commerce of the United States." that this was the case. It was in fact the same
The reason he assigned for it was not a hostility point now which the House had under consideto the principle, but that, as the section now stood, ration a few days ago-a declaration of war in it gave the President a discretionary power to futuro, leaving it to chance as to whom and how judge of the time at which the commerce of the war was to be declared; with a mental reservaUnited States would be safe enough to warrant tion at the same time, that all this was mere pen, the withdrawing the embargo as relates to either ink, and paper. It was complying with the obPower, &c.
ject of those very belligerents whom it proposed Mr. Randolph called for a division of the io resist, viz: involving us in the war-setting the question on striking out, so as to take the ques- pation up to the highest bidder, the kindest keeper. tion distinctly on striking out the two clauses of Was this dignity? Was this the spirit of 76? the section.
He described this bill from the Senate as a new The question was taken on striking out the first alternative, never discovered by the Committee clause of the section, and negatived, 52 to 47. of Foreign Relations, who had some time ago
The question then recurring on striking out the presented three of them to the House. He spoke second clause, being precisely the motion of Mr. of the proceedings of the present session. li has MASTERS,
been said (observed Mr. R.) that this House has Mr. Dana objected to the clause for a variety been acting under a panic; and allusion has been of reasons, because it delegated to the President made to a particular quarter of the Union as the power which belonged to Congress only, by mak- cause of that panic. I trust, sir, that the members ing him judge of what "pledges and precautions” of this House will think it more honorable to were • suitable ;" that it authorized the employ themselves, if they are to be influenced by fear, ment of private force in a case in which the pub- and I hope they are not, to yield to the wishes lic force was not to be employed, which is a nov- of a great and respectable portion of the Union, elty; it contemplated not actual war but invited than, after having expressed a disposition to gratindividual enterprise; it was therefore a mere ify that section, to be whipped in by an editorial menace, going upon the principle that private paragraphist. It has been truly said that the vessels mighi be authorized to make reprisals Government of France was destroyed by the Parwhere the public force was not presumed to be liaments putting the galleries in the place of the employed; it was therefore a measure unworthy house, by legislating under the hisses or applauses of ihe Government, and unknown in the history of the galleries. This was a horrible state of of nations. The construction of the section too things. But if any body of men is to legislate was singular, and he was astonished that such a under hissings, where is the difference, whether bill should come from the Senate. It made no they come from the galleries, or, from really the regulations as to what disposition should be made most worthless part of the community? Wheof the property captured by these vessels, whether ther from an individual who arrogates to himself declared good prize or not, &c. It was a mere not merely the right, which as an individual and vague proposition, and unworthy of the Govern- freeman he has of judging of the conduct of this ment, as it proposed war by individuals while the House, but of prescribing what it should do? And nation shrunk from the contest. He objected when, sir, I indulge in these observations I feel a also to the condition on which letters of marque repugnance at comparing such an audience as I were to be issued—that on one nation's ceasing see around me to persons of that description. to wrong us, we should agree to fight another. The foreign difficulties in which we are now inHe objected to it too, because it transferred to the volved, Mr. R. attributed to our own oversight; President a legislative power, by making the is-to the rejection of a treaty which might have
H. OF R.
been formed. The renewal of Mr. Jay's treaty, violations of the embargo or of the proposed sysor the acceptance of that negotiated by Mr. Mon- tem, he observed that all laws restraining the acroe, would, he conceived, have placed the United tions of men would be more or less evaded ; this, States in a situation far preferable to that in which therefore, could be no argument against any
law it now found itself. But, instead of that, our Gov- proposed; the same objection would lie against a ernment had searched the volumes of Puffendorf, law for the punishment of murder. Mr. J. spoke Marten, Vattel, &c., and produced whole volumes for about half an hour. of diplomatic correspondence. He said he could The question was then taken on striking out almost wish that the curate and barber would the first clause of the section, and negatived_56 come into the library and make a bonfire of all to 48. the rubbish which had led us to this windmill ex. The question recurring on Mr. Masters's mopedition. With regard to our domestic difficul- tion for striking out the remainder of the section, ties, Mr. R. conceived that they were all of our relating to letters of marque and reprisal, own creation ; that they had been produced by Mr. Lyon spoke in favor of striking out the ill-judged conduct. He compared the present clause. and late situation of this country with that of Mr. D. R. Williams, viewing this section as a Great Britain under the administration of Lord measure contemplating further negotiation, was North. He said Congress were not now, like wholly opposed to it. It said to Britain,'" we Macbeth, in a situation where to go on was as will dismiss every other cause of quarrel with easy as to retreat. He expatiated on their pres- you, if you will revoke your Orders in Council.” ent difficulty; and condemned the policy which it told our poor sailors, incarcerated in their had prevented the House from agreeing to the “floating hells,” that we were ready to abandon proposition of Mr. CAITTENDEN, to repeal the em-them. The surrender to her of the right of imbargo at the commencement of the present session.pressment, and of even other rights previously in If they now intended to modify the embargo at contest, was offered as the purchase-money for all, he begged of gentlemen, for God's sake, for the revocation of the Orders in Council; and he the love of country, taking warning by the past er- blushed for his country, that such a proposition rors of their former inasters, (the Ministry of Lord should be seriously entertained in this House. North,) not to retain one ioia of that obnoxious He would declare war to-morrow most heartily. principle which had put this continent in an up- He would vote for a section for immediately isroar. "Rather than continue it, he would join any suing letters of marque and reprisal, but he would man in war, however averse he might be to war. not barter away our rights for the revocation of And he was opposed to war ; but, put the embargo the Orders in Council. If we were to submit, he in one scale and war in the other, he would take wished to do it in that way which should carry war—and why? Because foreign war was better so much destruction into the families of those than domestic war. He said that this nation coulu who cried out so loudly for the repeal of the emnot go to war with a formidable minority against bargo, that they would rally round the Govern. it. The bill before the Committee might bring on ment in support of the country's rights. war, though it was not intended. Yes, sir, said Mr. Eppes, too, was of opinion ihat there was he, it may bring us to ghting and to disgrace; no honorable course left for this country but emit is something like dressing ourselves up in a bargo or war; but a majority of the House havdough-face and winding-sheet to frighten others, ing overruled his opinion, he must acquiesce in who may blow our brains out at the moment we their decision. Bui he could not consent to adopt suppose them in the height of their terror. the measure proposed by this section, which, un.
Mr. J. G. Jackson observed that it was his der whatever aspect he could view it, appeared opinion that it would be more to the honor of the calculated to produce no effect but disgrace and nation to persevere in the embargo until they ruin to the country. It could only be used in one went to war; but the majority of the House-áp- of two ways, either as an instrument of negotia- . peared to be of opinion that neither course was tion or as a measure of war. Mr. E. used some proper. That being the case, he was willing to arguments to show that, as an instrument of nemake the ground as tepable as he could, so as to gotiation, proposing to each Power to pass over avoid downright submission. He replied to va- all former injuries if it would withdraw its last rious observations made by gentlemen who had infraction of our rights, and, besides so doing, to spoken on the subject. In relation to domestic go to war with its enemy; whatever might be difficulties, he should be as little influenced by the result, it could produce nothing but ruin and attacks through newspapers, as by popular meet-disgrace.' It reminded him of a physician paintings, eolisting the people with arms in their hands, ed blind, with a club in his hands, his patient on in opposition to the Government. In relation to one side and the disease on the other; striking at the treaty negotiated by Messrs. Monroe and random on each side, he killed the one to which Pinkney, he said that the rider attached to that chance directed the first blow. And as a measure treaty gave a license to the British Government of coercion, what was it? Not old-fashioned to pursue the very course which now produced downright war, but war depending on a continour difficulties, and Mr. Canning maintained that gency. It was a golden apple held up to the belto have been the construction of it. Mo, J. said ligerents to be adjudged to the swiftest in recedthat he was not yet prepared for burning the law ing. Upon the humor or whim of Talleyrand or of nations, and substituting force for law. As to Camping, when they received the proposal, aris.
H. OF R.
FEBRUARY, 1809. ing perhaps from an undigested dinner, was to Mr. D. R. Williams rose to rescue himself from depend our war with either France or England; an imputation of intending directly 10 harass the and we are to present ourselves as a courlesao to bill by this amendment, because he intended eventthe polluted embraces of England, or be fixed on ually to vote against it. He solemnly abjured any the imperial car, in either case bribing France or such an intention. Any member who would at England by going to war with the enemy of the this time make such a motion, with a view to one which should be the first to embrace our offer. embarrass the proceedings of the House, would Whichever should accept it, disgrace and ruin deserve a balter. Perceiving that a large majormust be the result. Rome, at one time, was said ity of this House was determined to repeal the to want nothing but a bidder; but Rome had its embargo, and not to fight, he had been induced to age of virtue. Mr. E. said that it seemed as if offer to the House that, which, to his understandwe, in our very infancy, had all the degeneracy ing, appeared the best plan that had been preof ihe latter days of old Rome. If there was not sented. Mr. W. offered many reasons against the firmness enough to take a manly attitude, he non-intercourse bill; amongst others, that, instead hoped the House would not take this thing as a of being coercive, it would operate as a premium substitute for it.
to the navigating interest of Great Britain; that Mr. Fisk was against striking out this clause. two years' continuance of it would be worth After some remarks in reply to Messrs. Ranmillions to Great Britain ; that it also injured DOLPH and Lyon, he said that he regretted ex. the agricultural interest of this country, laying ceedingly the situation in which the House was additional obstructions on the sale of its prodplaced ; that this clause should be stricken out- uce ; that it seemed as though, Jest the people for it would be virtually saying that they meant should believe the embargo was a wise measure, to take no honorable ground, that they would they were about to pursue the very course which submit. He believed that temporizing would would prevent the people from receiving a conruin the nation. As to opposition of the people viction of its protecting policy. The course which in the East to war on any terms, he said that, he proposed would at least prevent this evil, by excepting a few who had been opposed to the practically demonstrating to the people the effect Revolution, and who still longed for British do- of the Orders in Council and Decrees, which were minion, there were not many who would not join the causes of the embargo. their Government in a war against either Great Mr. Sloan regretted that this deceptive measBritain or France for the maintenance of our just ure was proposed, nominally contemplating a rights.
repeal of the embargo, but which would produce The question was then taken on striking out little or no benefit. He described the body politic that part of the bill from the Senate relating to to be laboring under a disorder, as an individual letters of marque and reprisal, and carried with a dreadful cancer. When he beheld the site
uation of this distressed country, he felt it his duty Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS then proposed his amend again to address the House, and call their attenment for substituting a discriminating duty of lion to the remedy. Instead of the inveterate
per cent. as a substitute for the non-importa- passion for war with the belligerents, which tion from Great Britain and France.
existed in a part of the House, he recommended The Committée immediately rose, without tak- another species of war-a war against the pasing a question, and obtained leave to sit again. sions-in which, though no friend to war, he had
no objection to engage as a volunteer. He agreed
with the gentleman from South Carolina, that, if FRIDAY, February 24.
this bill passed, it would be just what the Court On a motion made by Mr. Rhea, of Tennessee, of Great Britain would wish. Mr. S. said he that the House do now proceed to consider a re- should proceed in his remarks witbout any fear of solution proposed by him yesterday, and ordered falling under the late substitute for common law, to lie on the table, in the words following. to wit: viz: tar and feathers-even though he was prom
Resolved, That an order of this House of the eighteenth ised “a full suit of homespun from head to fool," instant, dir ing “ that, until the end of the present by some heroes of Philadelphia, and although he *session, the daily hour of meeting shall be ten o'clock; was well acquainted with the power and disposiand should a quorum not appear, the names of the tion of the Executives of some States to screen members shall be called, and those present noted in the offenders from punishment. Mr. S. stated FariJournal of each day,” be rescinded:
ous objections to the bill. If it were continued The question was taken thereupon, and passed long, there would be no occasion for employing a in the negative.
committee to inquire what disposition should be
made of the surplus money in the Treasury. He NON-INTERCOURSE.
was in favor of Mr. Williams's amendment, as The House went again into Committee of the tending to increase revenue. to promote union, Whole, on the bill from the Senate for interdict- and secure the happiness of the United States. ing commercial intercourse, &c. Mr. D. R. Wil Mr. Lyon also spoke against the non-intercourse LIAMS's amendment being under consideration, system, and in favor of Mr. Williams's amendviz: to strike out that part of the law relating to ment, at some length. Mr. L. was opposed to the non-importation, and insert a provision for dis- bill
, as tending to destroy revenue and navigation. criminating duties
He never had wanted a substitute for the en.
H. OF R.
bargo-one evil for another. But, rather than mainder of the session would be consumed in continue the embargo, he would take such a mod debating this bill, and that Congress would sepaification of this bill as that proposed by Mr. Wil-rate without removing the embargo at all. The LIAMS, or even the bill itself. The former plan consequence of such a procedure he deprecated. might be operative on Great Britan, whilst the He had been in hopes, that when the embargo was non-intercourse would be wholly inefficient. repealed, if a substitute was considered necessa
Mr. Taylor next spoke on the subject. He ry, it might be a measure which would benefit the considered the bill upon the table not to have the country, and not be equally obnoxious with the merit of resistance. "It was submission to trade embargo. He deprecated the effects produced by in the track pointed out by the Orders in Council. these laws on the people, and the consequence And yet, gentlemen said they would not submit. which must result from a further continuance of Could gentlemen so deceive themselves as not to them. He described the New England States. see that they were in fact submitting to the Brit. He concluded his observations by reading an ish Orders in Council ? It was a surrender of the extract from the Inaugural Speech of the present navigation of the world to Great Britain ; it made President of the United States, the sentiments her the carrier of our produce. That this was contained in which he fully approved. the effect, could not be concealed. It was won Mr. Gholson said that the bill on the table was derful thai, like the ostrich, hiding its head, and not a favorite plan with him; but, as he should supposing its whole body out of sight, gentlemen probably vote for it, he wished to rescue it from should thrust their heads into a bunch of bram- some of the imputations cast on it. Both the gen. bles, and suppose that they hid the effect of this tlemen from South Carolina (Mr. Taylor and system. Gentlemen said that they would not Mr. D. R. Williams) had advocated the resolulegalize a trade to Great Britain under the Orders tion reported by the Committee of Foreign Relain Council, at the same time that they authorize tions, proposing this very plan. As to the argua trade with her through the depois, ihe circuity ment ihai this bill operated to carry into effect of the voyage only tending to the benefit of Great the Orders in Council, the same objection might Britaiu, by giving to her the carriage of our prod- in the same manner be made to the embargo sysuce. Might not Sweden and Spain too wani a tem, of which both those gentlemen were strenulittle profit
, since monopoly was the order of the ous supporters. This argument, therefore, had no day, and impose duties at the entrepôts? It was weight. He denied that we submitted to British a great objection to this system, too, that it could taxation by this bill. For, supposing our produce not be maintained ; and he called upon the House to go to the entrepot, the British capitalist there, not to take a position like this, which their suc- purchasing it, would have to pay in Great Britain cessors might be obliged to abandon with disgrace. the tax on our produce destined for the Continent, France and England could see, as well as our instead of our paying it. In this way, therefore, selves, that the system could not be maintained; we did not as directly come under the operation and if they should accumulate injuries on our of the Orders in Council, as by trading direct to heads, the sinews of war being relaxed, we should Great Britain. Was there any American who not be in a situation effectually to resist. It was would be willing to resume our usual intercourse also throwing all advantages into the hands of with the belligerents, while all the black cataBritain, whilst France was deprived of any por- logue of our injuries were unatoned ? Surely not; tion-being submission to the one and opposition and yet, this appeared to be contemplated by the to the other. The exclusion from French ports, amendment of the gentleman from South Caro. too, would be severely felt by the planters of cot- lina. The discriminating duty would affect not ton; for, besides the loss of a market for such a the belligerents, but our own citizens; it would proportion of the crop, the glutting of the British fall wholly upon the consumers of our imports. market with so large a surplus would depreciate Sooner than trade thus, he would make a bonfire its value enormously. He called upon gentlemen of all our produce, as the gentleman himself had not at this time to give a monopoly to Britain at before proposed in ap eloquent speech. It would our own expense. Desirous to do equal justice to also be a direct submission to trade under the both nations, as we would not fight them, and to Orders in Council: it could not be denied. Comdo equal justice also to ourselves, and not to fol-merce must at some time be resumed. If we were low ihe very meanderings of the Orders in Coun- to have war, we must have some commerce. Let cil, he was opposed to the bill. He also objected gentlemen point out a system by which comto the phraseology of the bill: "Great Britain and merce could more honorably be pursued, in the France and their dependencies." Who was to present convulsive state of the world, than it could judge what nations were dependencies ?-whether under the proposed law; for, as it had been obthe term included Holland, Spain, and Portugal? served, in the course of the debate, it was easier In relation to Mr. Williams's amendment. he to find fault with a system than to invent one. considered it to be one which ihe United Siates Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS rose to rescue himselt could stand by-which would increase our reve- from any imputation of inconsistency. He had nue, and have some effect also on the interests of been extremely happy when the gentleman rose the belligerents. It would be better than any other to hear him avow his intention of rescuing the system proposed asa measure of resistance-would bill from some of the imputations cast on it, for benefit our merchants, and enrich the Treasury. really it was somewhat necessary, as no reasons
Mr. GARDNER was apprehensive that the re- had yet been offered in favor of the bill. But he
H. OF R.
denied that the gentleman had succeeded in his war was to be made, let it be declared according efforts. The resolution for non-intercourse, which to the Constitution. had been adopted at the commencement of the Mr. Williams's motion was then negatived, session, had been intended to go in aid of the em- 51 to 50. bargo; it did not contemplate a repeal of the em Mr. Cook renewed the motion to strike out the bargo as this bill did, and there was, therefore, no same part of the bill, for the purpose of inserting inconsistency in voting for that resolution and an amendment for arning our merchant vessels against this bill. As to the additional duty being as a substitute for it. In support of his motion, a burden, if the law passed as it now stood and Mr. C. urged a number of arguments. He was was executed, it deprived the people of the arti opposed to the non-intercourse system. There cle altogether; if not executed, the premium to was no fear of the arming system driving the nathe smuggler would amount, in some cases, to tion into war; for, whatever acts should be com500 per cent. instead of 50 or 25 per cent. And mitted by our armed vessels, would be the acts of unquestionably it could not be executed; for, not. individuals and not of the nation. He had heard withstanding ihe existence of actual war between from parts of the Union, from people not to be Great Britain and France, and all the revenue interested in or injured by such a course, cries for officers and military force of both, the British war, war, war! Ai whose expense ? Noi at theirs, market had always been supplied with French but of those on the margin of the ocean, who ali claret and Spanish wool. The gentleman from wished for peace. Mr. C. again deprecated the Virginia had endeavored to saddle bim and his continuance of the embargo, and expressed his friend (Mr. Taylor) with inconsistency because concurrence in opinion with Mr. RANDOLPH, that he could not defend the bill-for it could not be our Administration was pursuing a course somedefended.
what similar to that of Lord North under the Mr. Bacon, however he might be prepared to British Government. The course which he prourge arguments against the bill, said he could not posed would promote union, and again voite a in charity push the argument any further upon divided people. The following is the amendgentlemen ; for no gentleman had attempted to ment which Mr. C. proposed to insert: defend it except the gentleman from Virginia,
" And be it further enacted, That, from and after (Mr. Gholson) who, with the characteristic the twentieth day of May next, the merchant vessels gallantry of a young and active soldier, had done owned wholly bý a citizen or citizens of the United The best he could for it. Mr. B., however, only States, and navigated wholly by citizens of the United rose, as he had been alluded to as having an States, and not in any part laden with goods contraamendment in his possession, to read it to the band of war, and not bound to any port or place acHouse. Mr. B. read the following section as an tually blockaded and invested, and pursuing a comamendment, which, in connexion with other sec merce permitted by the laws of the United States, may tions containing details, he intended to propose be armed and equipped, and may defend their neutral if Mr. Williams's amendment should be carried: rights, by resisting the late decrees of France and ore
ders of Great Britain, which violate the long estab" And be it further enacted, That the commander lished rights of neutrality; and may repel by force any and crew of any merchant vessel of the United States, assault or hostility which shall be made or committed owned and navigated wholly by a citizen or citizens on the part of any French or British vessel of war, in thereof, may oppose and defend against any unlawful pursuance of such decrees or orders; and to subdue restraint or seizure not authorized by the customary and capture the same; and to retake any vessel of the and acknowledged law of nations, which shall be at, United States, owned, navigated, ladened, and bound tempted upon such vessel, or upon any other vessel
as aforesaid, which may have been captured pursuant armed and navigated as aforesaid, by the commander to such decrees or orders by any vessel sailing under or crew of any foreign armed vessel, and may repel by French or British colors, and acting or pretending to force any assault or hostility which shall be made or committed on the part of such foreign armed vessel from the French or British Governments.”
act by or under authority of such decrees or orders pursuing such attempt, and may subdue and capture the same ; and may also retake any vessel owned and Mr. Holland thought it would be belter at navigated as aforesaid, which may have been captured once to withdraw all our measures, to undo everycontrary to the customary and acknowledged laws of thing that had been done, than to adopt the gennations, by any foreign armed vessel.”
tleman's amendment. Of all others the system Mr. B. observed. however, even if the bill should of arming our merchant vessels was the most not be amended, he should vote for it, chiefly be futile that could be conceived. The merchants cause the term of its duration was limited, and would again come forward and call upon the it might produce a liule good.
Government to take up the cause. And was the Mr. J. G. Jackson conceived that the expe- Government again to be duped by them ? No; dient proposed was even worse than the non- for if the Government had done wrong, in his intercourse bill. He rose, however, to expose opinion it was by going too far for the support of the evil tendency of the amendment suggested by commerce; and their efforts were rewarded by Mr. Bacon, which contemplated giving to mer. the exclamations of the same people, who, bý chants the power to choose what allacks or seiz- their cries, had induced the Government so to do. ures they chose to consider unlawful, and thus Sooner than again attempt to protect them, if involve the United States with whom they chose. they deserted their own cause, he would leave He warned gentlemen against adopting it. If commerce and the rights of the seas to the mercy