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Title: Abridgement of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856 (4 of 16 vol.)
Author: Various
Language: English
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                                OF THE

                         DEBATES OF CONGRESS,

                          FROM 1789 TO 1856.




                               VOL. IV.

                               NEW YORK:
              D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 346 & 348 BROADWAY.

      Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by
                       D. APPLETON AND COMPANY,
 in the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District
                             of New York.




MONDAY, November 7, 1808.

Conformably to the act, passed the last session, entitled "An act to
alter the time for the next meeting of Congress," the second session of
the tenth Congress commenced this day; and the Senate assembled at the
city of Washington.


  GEORGE CLINTON, Vice President of the United States and
  President of the Senate.

  NICHOLAS GILMAN and NAHUM PARKER, from New Hampshire.

  TIMOTHY PICKERING, from Massachusetts.





  JOHN CONDIT and AARON KITCHEL, from New Jersey.

  SAMUEL MACLAY, from Pennsylvania.

  SAMUEL WHITE, from Delaware.

  WILLIAM B. GILES, from Virginia.

  JAMES TURNER, from North Carolina.

  THOMAS SUMTER and JOHN GAILLARD, from South Carolina.

  WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD, from Georgia.

  BUCKNER THRUSTON and JOHN POPE, from Kentucky.

  DANIEL SMITH, from Tennessee.

  EDWARD TIFFIN, from Ohio.

JAMES LLOYD, jun., appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State
of Massachusetts, to supply the place of John Quincy Adams, resigned,
took his seat in the Senate, and produced his credentials, which were
read, and the oath prescribed by law was administered to him.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary acquaint the House of Representatives
that a quorum of the Senate is assembled and ready to proceed to
business; and that Messrs. BRADLEY and POPE be a committee on the part
of the Senate, together with such committee as may be appointed by the
House of Representatives on their part, to wait on the President of
the United States and notify him that a quorum of the two Houses is

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
a quorum of the House is assembled and ready to proceed to business;
and that the House had appointed a committee on their part, jointly
with the committee appointed on the part of the Senate, to wait on the
President of the United States and notify him that a quorum of the two
Houses is assembled.

_Resolved_, That JAMES MATHERS, Sergeant-at-Arms and Doorkeeper to
the Senate, be, and he is hereby, authorized to employ one assistant
and two horses, for the purpose of performing such services as are
usually required by the Doorkeeper to the Senate; and that the sum
of twenty-eight dollars be allowed him weekly for that purpose, to
commence with, and remain during the session, and for twenty days after.

On motion, by Mr. BRADLEY,

_Resolved_, That two Chaplains, of different denominations, be
appointed to Congress during the present session, one by each House,
who shall interchange weekly.

Mr. BRADLEY reported, from the joint committee, that they had waited on
the President of the United States, agreeably to order, and that the
President of the United States informed the committee that he would
make a communication to the two Houses at 12 o'clock to-morrow.

TUESDAY, November 8.

SAMUEL SMITH and PHILIP REED, from the State of Maryland, attended.

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

  _To the Senate and House of
          Representatives of the United States_:

    It would have been a source, fellow-citizens, of much
    gratification, if our last communications from Europe had
    enabled me to inform you that the belligerent nations, whose
    disregard of neutral rights has been so destructive to our
    commerce, had become awakened to the duty and true policy of
    revoking their unrighteous edicts. That no means might be
    omitted to produce this salutary effect, I lost no time in
    availing myself of the act authorizing a suspension, in whole,
    or in part, of the several embargo laws. Our Ministers at
    London and Paris were instructed to explain to the respective
    Governments there, our disposition to exercise the authority in
    such manner as would withdraw the pretext on which aggressions
    were originally founded, and open the way for a renewal of that
    commercial intercourse which it was alleged, on all sides,
    had been reluctantly obstructed. As each of those Governments
    had pledged its readiness to concur in renouncing a measure
    which reached its adversary through the incontestable rights
    of neutrals only, and as the measure had been assumed by
    each as a retaliation for an asserted acquiescence in the
    aggressions of the other, it was reasonably expected that
    the occasion would have been seized by both for evincing the
    sincerity of their professions, and for restoring to the
    commerce of the United States its legitimate freedom. The
    instructions of our Ministers, with respect to the different
    belligerents, were necessarily modified with a reference to
    their different circumstances, and to the condition annexed by
    law to the Executive power of suspension requiring a degree of
    security to our commerce which would not result from a repeal
    of the decrees of France. Instead of a pledge therefore of a
    suspension of the embargo as to her, in case of such a repeal,
    it was presumed that a sufficient inducement might be found in
    other considerations, and particularly in the change produced
    by a compliance with our just demands by one belligerent, and
    a refusal by the other, in the relations between the other
    and the United States. To Great Britain, whose power on the
    ocean is so ascendant, it was deemed not inconsistent with
    that condition to state, explicitly, on her rescinding her
    orders in relation to the United States, their trade would be
    opened with her, and remain shut to her enemy, in case of his
    failure to rescind his decrees also. From France no answer has
    been received, nor any indication that the requisite change
    in her decrees is contemplated. The favorable reception of
    the proposition to Great Britain was the less to be doubted,
    as her Orders of Council had not only been referred for their
    vindication to an acquiescence on the part of the United
    States no longer to be pretended, but as the arrangement
    proposed, whilst it resisted the illegal decrees of France,
    involved, moreover, substantially, the precise advantages
    professedly aimed at by the British Orders. The arrangement
    has, nevertheless, been rejected.

    This candid and liberal experiment having thus failed, and
    no other event having occurred on which a suspension of the
    embargo by the Executive was authorized, it necessarily remains
    in the extent originally given to it. We have the satisfaction,
    however, to reflect, that in return for the privations imposed
    by the measure, and which our fellow-citizens in general
    have borne with patriotism, it has had the important effects
    of saving our mariners, and our vast mercantile property,
    as well as of affording time for prosecuting the defensive
    and provisional measures called for by the occasion. It has
    demonstrated to foreign nations the moderation and firmness
    which govern our councils, and to our citizens the necessity of
    uniting in support of the laws and the rights of their country,
    and has thus long frustrated those usurpations and spoliations
    which, if resisted, involved war, if submitted to, sacrificed a
    vital principle of our national independence.

    Under a continuance of the belligerent measures, which, in
    defiance of laws which consecrate the rights of neutrals,
    overspread the ocean with danger, it will rest with the wisdom
    of Congress to decide on the course best adapted to such a
    state of things; and bringing with them, as they do, from
    every part of the Union, the sentiments of our constituents,
    my confidence is strengthened that, in forming this decision,
    they will, with an unerring regard to the essential rights
    and interests of the nation, weigh and compare the painful
    alternatives out of which a choice is to be made. Nor should
    I do justice to the virtues which, on other occasions, have
    marked the character of our fellow-citizens, if I did not
    cherish an equal confidence that the alternative chosen,
    whatever it may be, will be maintained with all the fortitude
    and patriotism which the crisis ought to inspire.

    The documents containing the correspondences on the subject
    of foreign edicts against our commerce, with the instructions
    given to our Ministers at London and Paris, are now laid before

    The communications made to Congress at their last session
    explained the posture in which the close of the discussions
    relating to the attack by a British ship of war on the frigate
    Chesapeake, left a subject on which the nation had manifested
    so honorable a sensibility. Every view of what had passed
    authorized a belief that immediate steps would be taken by the
    British Government for redressing a wrong, which, the more it
    was investigated, appeared the more clearly to require what
    had not been provided for in the special mission. It is found
    that no steps have been taken for the purpose. On the contrary,
    it will be seen, in the documents laid before you, that the
    inadmissible preliminary, which obstructed the adjustment,
    is still adhered to; and, moreover, that it is now brought
    into connection with the distinct and irrelative case of the
    Orders in Council. The instructions which had been given to our
    Minister at London, with a view to facilitate, if necessary,
    the reparation claimed by the United States, are included in
    the documents communicated.

    Our relations with the other powers of Europe have undergone
    no material changes since our last session. The important
    negotiations with Spain, which had been alternately suspended
    and resumed, necessarily experience a pause under the
    extraordinary and interesting crisis which distinguishes her
    internal situation.

    With the Barbary Powers we continue in harmony, with the
    exception of an unjustifiable proceeding of the Dey of
    Algiers towards our Consul to that Regency. Its character and
    circumstances are now laid before you, and will enable you to
    decide how far it may, either now or hereafter, call for any
    measures not within the limits of the Executive authority.

    Of the gun boats authorized by the act of December last, it
    has been thought necessary to build only one hundred and three
    in the present year. These, with those before possessed, are
    sufficient for the harbors and waters most exposed, and the
    residue will require little time for their construction when it
    shall be deemed necessary.

    Under the act of the last session for raising an additional
    military force, so many officers were immediately appointed as
    were necessary for carrying on the business of recruiting; and
    in proportion as it advanced, others have been added. We have
    reason to believe their success has been satisfactory, although
    such returns have not yet been received as enable me to present
    you a statement of the number engaged.

    The suspension of our foreign commerce, produced by the
    injustice of the belligerent powers, and the consequent losses
    and sacrifices of our citizens, are subjects of just concern.
    The situation into which we have thus been forced has impelled
    us to apply a portion of our industry and capital to internal
    manufactures and improvements. The extent of this conversion
    is daily increasing, and little doubt remains that the
    establishments formed and forming will, under the auspices of
    cheaper materials and subsistence, the freedom of labor from
    taxation with us, and of protecting duties and prohibitions,
    become permanent. The commerce with the Indians, too, within
    our own boundaries, is likely to receive abundant aliment from
    the same internal source, and will secure to them peace and the
    progress of civilization, undisturbed by practices hostile to

    The accounts of the receipts and expenditures during the year
    ending on the thirtieth day of September last, being not yet
    made up, a correct statement will hereafter be transmitted from
    the Treasury. In the mean time, it is ascertained that the
    receipts have amounted to near eighteen millions of dollars,
    which, with the eight millions and a half in the Treasury at
    the beginning of the year, have enabled us, after meeting the
    current demands, and interest incurred, to pay two millions
    three hundred thousand dollars of the principal of our funded
    debt, and left us in the Treasury, on that day, near fourteen
    millions of dollars. Of these, five millions three hundred and
    fifty thousand dollars will be necessary to pay what will be
    due on the first day of January next, which will complete the
    reimbursement of the eight per cent. stock. These payments,
    with those made in the six years and a half preceding, will
    have extinguished thirty-three millions five hundred and eighty
    thousand dollars of the principal of the funded debt, being
    the whole which could be paid or purchased within the limits
    of the law and our contracts; and the amount of principal
    thus discharged will have liberated the revenue from about
    two millions of dollars of interest, and added that sum
    annually to the disposable surplus. The probable accumulation
    of the surpluses of revenue beyond what can be applied to the
    payment of the public debt, whenever the freedom and safety
    of our commerce shall be restored, merits the consideration
    of Congress. Shall it lie unproductive in the public vaults?
    Shall the revenue be reduced? Or, shall it not rather be
    appropriated to the improvements of roads, canals, rivers,
    education, and other great foundations of prosperity and union,
    under the powers which Congress may already possess, or such
    amendment of the constitution as may be approved by the States?
    While uncertain of the course of things, the time may be
    advantageously employed in obtaining the powers necessary for a
    system of improvement, should that be thought best.

    Availing myself of this, the last occasion which will occur, of
    addressing the two Houses of the Legislature at their meeting,
    I cannot omit the expression of my sincere gratitude for the
    repeated proofs of confidence manifested to me by themselves
    and their predecessors since my call to the administration,
    and the many indulgences experienced at their hands. The
    same grateful acknowledgments are due to my fellow-citizens
    generally, whose support has been my great encouragement under
    all embarrassments. In the transaction of their business I
    cannot have escaped error. It is incident to our imperfect
    nature. But I may say with truth my errors have been of the
    understanding, not of intention, and that the advancement
    of their rights and interests has been the constant motive
    for every measure. On these considerations I solicit their
    indulgence. Looking forward with anxiety to their future
    destinies, I trust that, in their steady character, unshaken by
    difficulties, in their love of liberty, obedience to law, and
    support of the public authorities, I see a sure guarantee of
    the permanence of our Republic; and retiring from the charge
    of their affairs, I carry with me the consolation of a firm
    persuasion that Heaven has in store for our beloved country
    long ages to come of prosperity and happiness.

                                                          TH. JEFFERSON.

  NOVEMBER 8, 1808.

The Message and papers were in part read, and one thousand copies
ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate.

A confidential Message was also received, with sundry documents therein
referred to, which were read for consideration.

WEDNESDAY, November 9.

JESSE FRANKLIN, from the State of North Carolina, attended.

FRIDAY, November 11.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
the House have appointed the Rev. Mr. BROWN a Chaplain to Congress, on
their part, during the present session.

MONDAY, November 14.

JOSEPH ANDERSON, from the State of Tennessee, and ANDREW MOORE, from
the State of Virginia, attended.

WEDNESDAY, November 16.

ANDREW GREGG, from the State of Pennsylvania, attended.

MONDAY, November 21.

                             _The Embargo._

This being the day fixed for the discussion of the following
resolution, offered by Mr. HILLHOUSE:

    _Resolved_, That it is expedient that the act, entitled "An
    act laying an embargo on all ships and vessels in the ports
    and harbors of the United States," and the several acts
    supplementary thereto, be repealed; and that a committee be
    appointed to prepare and report a bill for that purpose:

Mr. HILLHOUSE opened the debate. When the reporter entered the Senate
chamber, Mr. H. had been speaking for a few minutes, and was then
discussing the effect which the embargo had had upon France, and
the light in which it was viewed by her rulers. He alluded to the
declaration of satisfaction at the measure, contained in a late French
exposé, and made many observations tending to show that it was not a
measure of hostility or coercion, as applied to France.

On England it had little or no effect. Her resources were immense. If
deprived of a supply of grain here, she could obtain it elsewhere. The
Barbary Powers were at war with France and at peace with England, who
might thence obtain wheat in any quantity she pleased. Great Britain,
he said, was a nation with the whole world before her; her commerce
spread over every sea, and she had access to almost every port and
clime. Could America expect to starve this nation? It was a farce, an
idle farce. As to her West India Islands, they raised Indian corn;
all their sugar plantations could be converted into corn-fields, and
would any man say that they would starve because they could not get
superfine flour? Was this a necessary of life without which they could
not subsist? On the contrary, a great proportion of the American people
subsisted on it, and enjoyed as good health as if they ate nothing
but the finest of wheat flour. The moment people understood that they
could not get their necessary supplies from a customary source, they
would look out for it in another quarter, and ample time had been given
to them to make arrangements for this purpose. A man of the first
respectability in the town in which Mr. H. lived, had been there during
this embargo, under the President's permission. What accounts did he
bring? Why, that the trade in corn-meal and live cattle, articles of
great export from Connecticut, and comprising not only the product of
that State, but of parts of the neighboring States, would be entirely
defeated; that, where they had formerly sent a _hundred_ hogsheads of
meal, they would not now find vent for _ten_; and that, from South
America, where cattle had, in times past, been killed merely for their
hides and tallow, cattle in abundance could be procured. Were these
people to be starved out, when they could actually purchase cheaper now
from other places than they had formerly done from us? No; the only
consequence would be, and that too severely felt, that we should lose
our market; the embargo thus producing, not only present privation and
injury, but permanent mischief. The United States would have lost the
chance of obtaining future supplies, they would have lost their market,
and ten or twenty years would place them on the same footing as before.
Mr. H. said the West Indians would have learnt that they can do without
us; that they can raise provisions cheaper on their own plantations
than we can sell them; and knowing this, they would never resort to us.
Though we might retain a part of this commerce, the best part would be
lost forever. The trade would not be worth pursuing; though this might
answer one purpose intended by the embargo, and which was not expressed.

Having considered the article of provisions as important to various
parts of the Union, Mr. H. said he would now turn to another article,
cotton. It had been very triumphantly said, that the want of this
article would distress the manufacturers of Great Britain, produce a
clamor amongst them, and consequently accelerate the repeal of the
Orders in Council. Mr. H. said he would examine this a little, and
see if all the evil consequences which opened on him at the time of
the passage of the embargo law were not likely to be realized. He had
hinted at some of them at that time, but the bill had gone through
the Senate like a flash of lightning, giving no time for examination;
once, twice, and a third time in one day, affording no time for the
development of all its consequences. This article of cotton was
used not only by Britain, but by France and other nations on the
Continent. Cotton, not being grown in Europe, must be transported by
water carriage. This being the case, who would now be most likely to
be supplied with it? Not the Continental Powers who have so little
commerce afloat nor any neutrals to convey it to them; for the United
States were the only neutral which, of late, traded with France, and
now the embargo was laid, she had no chance of getting it, except by
the precarious captures made by her privateers. To Great Britain, then,
was left the whole commerce of the world, and her merchants were the
only carriers. Would not these carriers supply their own manufacturers?
Would they suffer cotton to go elsewhere, until they themselves were
supplied? America was not the only country where cotton was raised;
for he had seen an account of a whole cargo brought into Salem from
the East Indies, and thence exported to Holland, with a good profit.
Cotton was also raised in Africa, as well as elsewhere; and this wary
nation, Great Britain, conceiving that the United States might be so
impolitic as to keep on the embargo, had carried whole cargoes of the
best cotton seed there for the purpose of raising cotton for her use.
Great Britain had possessions in every climate on the globe, and cotton
did not, like the sturdy oak, require forty or fifty years to arrive at
maturity; but, if planted, would produce a plentiful supply in a year.
Thus, then, when this powerful nation found America resorting to such
means to coerce her, she had taken care to look out for supplies in
other quarters; and, with the command of all the cotton on the globe
which went to market, could we expect to coerce her by withholding
ours? Mr. H. said no; all the inconvenience which she could feel from
our measure had already been borne; and Great Britain was turning her
attention to every part of the globe to obtain those supplies which
she was wont to get from us, that she might not be reduced to the
humiliating condition of making concession to induce us to repeal our
own law, and purchase an accommodation by telling us that we had a
weapon which we could wield to her annoyance. Mr. H. wished to know of
gentlemen if we had not experience enough to know that Great Britain
was not to be threatened into compliance by a rod of coercion? Let us
examine ourselves, said he, for if we trace our genealogy we shall find
that we descend from them; were they to use us in this manner, is there
an American that would stoop to them? I hope not; and neither will that
nation, from which we are descended, be driven from their position,
however erroneous, by threats.

This embargo, therefore, instead of operating on those nations which
had been violating our rights, was fraught with evils and privations
to the people of the United States. They were the sufferers. And have
we adopted the monkish plan of scourging ourselves for the sins of
others? He hoped not; and that, having made the experiment and found
that it had not produced its expected effect, they would abandon it, as
a measure wholly inefficient as to the objects intended by it, and as
having weakened the great hold which we had on Great Britain, from her
supposed dependence on us for raw materials.

Some gentlemen appeared to build up expectations of the efficiency
of this system by an addition to it of a non-intercourse law. Mr.
H. treated this as a futile idea. They should however examine it
seriously, and not, like children, shut their eyes to danger. Great
Britain was not the only manufacturing nation in Europe. Germany,
Holland, France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy, manufactured more or
less, and most of them had colonies, the exclusive supply of whose
manufactures they had heretofore reserved to themselves. While we
had enjoyed the carrying trade, we had supplied the deficiency in
navigation of those nations; and all the inconvenience felt for the
want of it ceased because we stepped in and aided them. This trade had
been cut up, and perhaps it was not a trade which the energies of the
nation should be embarked in defending. Who was there now to supply
all these various colonies that used to be supplied by us? None but
England, the sole mistress of the ocean. Whose products, then, would
Great Britain carry? Would she carry products of other nations, and let
her own manufacturers starve? No; and this exclusion from the colonies
of other manufactures, and leaving her merchants the sole carriers of
the world, produced a greater vent for her manufactures than the whole
quantity consumed in the United States.

This, however, was arguing upon the ground that the United States
would consume none of her manufactures in case of a non-intercourse.
Mr. H. said he was young when the old non-intercourse took place,
but he remembered it well, and had then his ideas on the subject.
The British army was then at their door, burning their towns and
ravaging the country, and at least as much patriotism existed then
as now; but British fabrics were received and consumed to almost as
great an extent as before the prohibition. The armies could not get
fresh provisions from Europe, but they got them here by paying higher
prices in guineas for them than was paid by our Government in ragged
continental paper money. When the country was in want of clothing,
and could get it for one-fourth price from the British, what was the
consequence? Why, all the zealous patriots--for this work of tarring
and feathering, and meeting in mobs to destroy their neighbor's
property, because he could not think quite as fast as they did, which
seemed to be coming in fashion now, had been carried on then with great
zeal--these patriots, although all intercourse was penal, carried
on commerce notwithstanding. Supplies went hence, and manufactures
were received from Europe. Now, what reliance could be placed on this
patriotism? A gentleman from Vermont had told the Senate at the last
session, that the patriotism of Vermont would stop all exportation
by land, without the assistance of the law. How had it turned out?
Why, patriotism, cannon, militia, and all had not stopped it; and
although the field-pieces might have stopped it on the Lakes, they
were absolutely cutting new roads to carry it on by land. And yet the
gentleman had supposed that their patriotism would effectually stop it!
Now, Mr. H. wanted to know how a non-intercourse law was to be executed
by us with a coast of fifteen hundred miles open to Great Britain by
sea, and joining her by land? Her goods would come through our Courts
of Admiralty by the means of friendly captors; they would be brought
in, condemned, and then naturalized, as Irishmen are now naturalized,
before they have been a month in the country.

Mr. POPE said it had been his opinion this morning that this resolution
should have been referred to that committee, but after what had been
said, it was his wish that some commercial gentleman, whose knowledge
of commercial subjects would enable him to explore the wide field taken
by the gentleman from Connecticut, would have answered him. He had
hoped, at this session, after the Presidential election was decided,
that all would have dismounted from their political hobbies, that
they would have been all Federalists, all Republicans, all Americans.
When they saw the ocean swarming with pirates, and commerce almost
annihilated, he had hoped that the demon of party spirit would not
have reared its head within these walls, but that they would all have
mingled opinions and consulted the common good. He had heretofore been
often charmed with the matter-of-fact arguments of the gentleman from
Connecticut; but on this day the gentleman had resorted to arguments
from newspapers, and revived all the old story of French influence,
in the same breath in which he begged them to discard all party
feelings and discuss with candor. The gentleman had gone into a wide
field, which Mr. H. said he would not now explore, but begged time
till to-morrow, when he would endeavor to show to the nation and to
the world that the arguments used by the gentleman in favor of his
resolution were most weighty against it. If patriotism had departed
the land, if the streams of foreign corruption had flowed so far that
the people were ready to rise in opposition to their Government, it
was indeed time that foreign intercourse should cease. If the spirit
of 1776 were no more--if the spirit of commercial speculation had
surmounted all patriotism--if this was the melancholy situation of the
United States, it was time to redeem the people from this degeneracy,
to regenerate them, to cause them to be born again of the spirit of
1776. But he believed he should be able to show that the proposition of
the gentleman from Connecticut hardly merited the respect or serious
consideration of this honorable body. Mr. P. said he had expected
that in advocating his resolution the gentleman would have told the
Senate that we should go to war with Great Britain and France; that
he would have risen with patriotic indignation and have called for a
more efficient measure. But to his surprise, the gentleman had risen,
and with the utmost _sang froid_ told them, let your ships go out,
all's well, and nothing is to be apprehended. Mr. P. said he would not
go into the subject at this moment; he had but risen to express his
feelings on the occasion. He wished the subject postponed, the more
because he wished to consult a document just laid on their table, to
see how the memorials presented a short time ago from those whose cause
the gentleman from Connecticut undertook to advocate, accorded with the
sentiments he had this day expressed for them.

Mr. LLOYD said he considered the question now under discussion as one
of the most important that has occurred since the adoption of the
Federal Constitution. It is a subject, said Mr. L., deeply implicating,
and perhaps determining, the fate of the commerce and navigation of
our country; a commerce which has afforded employment for nearly a
million and a half of tons of navigation; which has found occupation
for hundreds of thousands of our citizens; which has spread wealth and
prosperity in every region of our country, and which has upheld the
Government by furnishing the revenue for its support.

A commerce which has yielded an annual amount of exports exceeding one
hundred millions of dollars; an amount of exports three times as great
as was possessed by the first maritime and commercial nation of the
world at the commencement of the last century, when her population was
double that of the United States at this time; an amount of exports
equal to what Great Britain, with her navy of a thousand ships, and
with all her boasted manufactures, possessed even at so recent a period
as within about fifteen years from this date; surely this is a commerce
not to be trifled with; a commerce not lightly to be offered up as the
victim of fruitless experiment.

Our commerce has unquestionably been subject to great embarrassment,
vexation, and plunder, from the belligerents of Europe. There is no
doubt but both France and Great Britain have violated the laws of
nations, and immolated the rights of neutrals; but there is, in my
opinion, a striking difference in the circumstances of the two nations;
the one, instigated by a lawless thirst of universal domination, is
seeking to extend an iron-handed, merciless despotism over every
region of the globe; while the other is fighting for her _natale
solum_, for the preservation of her liberties, and probably for her
very existence.

The one professes to reluct at the inconvenience she occasions you by
the adoption of measures which are declared to be intended merely as
measures of retaliation on her enemies, and which she avows she will
retract as soon as the causes which occasion them are withdrawn. The
other, in addition to depredation and conflagration, treats you with
the utmost contumely and disdain; she admits not that you possess the
rights of sovereignty and independence, but undertakes to legislate
for you, and declares that, whether you are willing or unwilling, she
considers you as at war with her enemy; that she had arrested your
property, and would hold it as bail for your obedience, until she knew
whether you would servilely echo submission to her mandates.

There is no doubt that the conduct of these belligerents gave rise to
the embargo; but if this measure has been proved by experience to be
inoperative as it regards them, and destructive only as it respects
ourselves, then every dictate of magnanimity, of wisdom, and of
prudence, should urge the immediate repeal of it.

The propriety of doing this is now under discussion. The proposition is
a naked one; it is unconnected with ulterior measures; and gentlemen
who vote for its repeal ought not to be considered as averse from, and
they are not opposed to, the subsequent adoption of such other measures
as the honor and the interest of the country may require.

In considering this subject, it naturally presents itself under three
distinct heads:

1st. As it respects the security which it gave to our navigation, and
the protection it offered our seamen, which were the ostensible objects
of its adoption.

2dly. In reference to its effect on other nations, meaning France and
Great Britain, in coercing them to adopt a more just and honorable
course of policy towards us: and,

3dly. As it regards the effects which it has produced and will produce
among ourselves.

In thus considering it, sir, I shall only make a few remarks on the
first head. I have no desire to indulge in retrospections; the measure
was adopted by the Government; if evil has flowed from it, that
evil cannot now be recalled. If events have proved it to be a wise
and beneficial measure, I am willing that those to whom it owes its
parentage should receive all the honors that are due to them; but if
security to our navigation, and protection to our seamen, were the
real objects of the embargo, then it has already answered all the
effects that can be expected from it. In fact, its longer continuance
will effectually counteract the objects of its adoption; for it is
notorious, that each day lessens the number of our seamen, by their
emigration to foreign countries, in quest of that employment and
subsistence which they have been accustomed to find, but can no longer
procure, at home; and as it regards our navigation, considered as part
of the national property, it is not perhaps very material whether it
is sunk in the ocean, or whether it is destined to become worthless
from lying and rotting at our wharves. In either case, destruction
is equally certain, it is death; and the only difference seems to be
between death by a _coup de grace_, or death after having sustained the
long-protracted torments of torture.

What effect has this measure produced on foreign nations? What effect
has it produced on France?

The honorable gentleman from Connecticut has told you, and told you
truly, in an exposé presented by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs
to the Emperor, that this measure is much applauded: it is called a
magnanimous measure of the Americans! And in a conversation which is
stated to have passed recently at Bayonne, between the Emperor of
France and an American gentleman, it is said, and I believe correctly,
that the Emperor expressed his approbation of the embargo. I have no
doubt that this is the fact; the measure is too consentaneous with his
system of policy, not to be approbated by him. So long as the extreme
maritime preponderancy of Great Britain shall continue, with or without
the existence of an American embargo, or with or without the British
Orders in Council, France can enjoy but very little foreign commerce,
and that little the Emperor of France would undoubtedly be willing to
sacrifice, provided that, by so doing, he could insure the destruction
of a much larger and more valuable amount of British and American

It is therefore apparent, that this measure, considered as a coercive
measure against France, is nugatory in the extreme.

What, sir, are, or have been its effects on Great Britain?

When the embargo was first laid the nation were alarmed. Engaged in
a very extended and important commerce with this country, prosecuted
upon the most liberal and confidential terms, this measure, whether
considered as an act of hostility, or as a mere municipal restrictive
regulation, could not but excite apprehension; for most of our writers,
in relation to her colonies, had impressed the belief of the dependence
of the West India settlements on the United States for the means of
subsistence. Accordingly, for several months after the imposition of
the embargo, we find it remained an object of solicitude with them,
nor have I any doubt that the Ministry, at that time, partook of
the national feeling; for it appears, so late as June, that such a
disposition existed with the British Ministry, as induced our Minister
at the Court of London to entertain the belief, and to make known to
his Government the expectation he entertained, that an adjustment would
take place of the differences between this country and Great Britain.

But, sir, the apprehensions of the British nation and Ministry
gradually became weaker; the embargo had been submitted to the
never-erring test of experience, and information of its real effects
flowed in from every quarter.

It was found that, instead of reducing the West Indies by famine, the
planters in the West Indies, by varying their process of agriculture,
and appropriating a small part of their plantations for the raising of
ground provisions, were enabled, without materially diminishing their
usual crops of produce, in a great measure to depend upon themselves
for their own means of subsistence.

The British Ministry also became acquainted about this time (June)
with the unexpected and unexampled prosperity of their colonies of
Canada and Nova Scotia. It was perceived that one year of an American
embargo was worth to them twenty years of peace or war under any other
circumstances; that the usual order of things was reversed; that in
lieu of American merchants making estates from the use of British
merchandise and British capital, the Canadian merchants were making
fortunes of from ten to thirty or forty thousand pounds in a year,
from the use of American merchandise and American capital: for it is
notorious, that great supplies of lumber, and pot and pearl ashes, have
been transported from the American to the British side of the Lakes;
this merchandise, for want of competition, the Canadian merchant bought
at a very reasonable rate, sent it to his correspondents in England,
and drew exchange against the shipments; the bills for which exchange
he sold to the merchants of the United States for specie, transported
by wagon loads at noon-day, from the banks in the United States, over
the borders into Canada. And thus was the Canadian merchant enabled,
with the assistance only of a good credit, to carry on an immensely
extended and beneficial commerce, without the necessary employment, on
his part, of a single cent of his own capital.

About this time, also, the revolution in Spain developed itself. The
British Ministry foresaw the advantage this would be to them, and
immediately formed a coalition with the patriots: by doing this, they
secured to themselves, in despite of their enemies, an accessible
channel of communication with the Continent. They must also have
been convinced, that if the Spaniards did not succeed in Europe, the
Colonies would declare themselves independent of the mother country,
and rely on the maritime force of Great Britain for their protection,
and thus would they have opened to them an incalculably advantageous
mart for their commerce and manufactures; for, having joined the
Spaniards without stipulation, they undoubtedly expected to reap their
reward in the exclusive commercial privileges that would be accorded
to them; nor were they desirous to seek competitors for the favor of
the Spaniards: if they could keep the navigation, the enterprise, and
the capital of the United States from an interference with them, it
was their interest to do it, and they would, from this circumstance,
probably consider a one, two, or three years' continuance of the
embargo as a boon to them.

Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, said he was not prepared to go as largely
into this subject as it merited, having neither documents nor papers
before him. He would therefore only take a short view of it in his
way, and endeavor to rebut a part of the argument of the gentleman
from Massachusetts, and perhaps to notice some of the observations of
the gentleman from Connecticut. He perfectly agreed with the latter
gentleman that this subject ought to be taken up with coolness,
and with temper, and he could have wished that the gentleman from
Connecticut would have been candid enough to pursue that course which
he had laid down for others. Had he done it? No. In the course of
the discussion, the gentleman had charged it upon some one, he knew
not whom, that there was a disposition to break down commerce for
the purpose of erecting manufactures on its ruins. If this was the
disposition of those who had advocated the embargo, Mr. S. said he was
not one to go with them, and perfectly corresponded with the gentleman
in saying that such a plan would be extremely injurious; that possibly
it could not be enforced in the United States; and that, if it could,
merchants would conceive themselves highly aggrieved by it. But the
gentleman's ideas had no foundation. Mr. S. said he had before seen
it in newspapers, but had considered it a mere electioneering trick;
that nothing like common sense or reason was meant by it, and nobody
believed it. The gentleman surely did not throw out this suggestion by
way of harmonizing; for nothing could be more calculated to create heat.

The gentleman last up, throughout his argument, had gone upon the
ground that it is the embargo which has prevented all our commerce;
that, if the embargo were removed, we might pursue it in the same
manner as if the commerce of the whole world was open to us. If the
gentleman could have shown this, he would have gone with him heart and
hand; but it did not appear to him that, were the embargo taken off
to-morrow, any commerce of moment could be pursued. Mr. S. said he
was not certain that it might not be a wise measure to take off the
embargo; but he was certain that some other measure should be taken
before they thought of taking that. And he had hoped that gentleman
would have told them what measure should have been taken before they
removed the embargo. Not so, however. A naked proposition was before
them to take off the embargo; and were that agreed to, and the property
of America subject to depredations by both the belligerents, they would
be foreclosed from taking any measure at all for its defence. For
this reason this resolution should properly have gone originally to
the committee on the resolution of the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr.

Mr. S. said he was not prepared for a long discussion, he should take
but a short view. He would not go back to see which nation had been
the first offender. He was not the apologist of any nation, but, he
trusted, a fervent defender of the rights, honor, and interests of
his own country. By the decrees of France every vessel bound to or
from Great Britain, was declared good prize. And still further; if
spoken alone by any British vessel, they were condemned in the French
prize courts. When a vessel arrived in the ports of France, Mr. S.
said, bribery and corruption were made use of in order to effect her
condemnation. Every sailor on board was separately examined as to
what had happened in the course of the voyage; they were told, you
will have one-third of the vessel and cargo as your portion of the
prize-money, if you will say that your vessel has touched at a British
port or has been visited by a British cruiser. Of course then, by the
decrees of France, all American property that floats is subject to
condemnation by the French, if it had come in contact with British
hands. Were gentlemen willing to submit to this: to raise the embargo,
and subject our trade to this depredation? Yes, said the gentleman
from Connecticut, who was willing, however, that our ships should arm
and defend themselves. Mr. S. said that he had hoped the honorable
gentleman would have gone further, and said not only that he would in
this case permit our vessels to defend themselves, but to make good
prize of any vessel which should impede the trade admitted by the laws
of nations. But the gentleman had stopped short of this.

By the orders in Council, now made law, (said Mr. S.,) all
neutrals--all _neutrals_, this is a mere word _ad captandum_, as it
is well known there is no neutral commerce but American--all American
vessels, then, bound to France, or countries in alliance with her, are
made good prize in the British courts. When bound to any part of the
continent of Europe, or any possessions in Turkey or Asia, they are a
good prize, Sweden alone excepted. We are then permitted to trade--for
it is a permission to trade, since we must acknowledge ourselves
indebted to her for any she permits--we are graciously permitted to go
to Sweden, to which country our whole exports amount to $56,157! This
petty trade is generously permitted us as a boon, and this boon will
be struck off the list of permission, the moment any difference arises
between Great Britain and Sweden. I am aware, sir, that gentlemen will
say this may require explanation. I will give it to them. Great Britain
says you shall not trade to any of the countries I have interdicted
till you have my leave; pay me a duty and then you may go to any port;
pay me a tribute, and then you shall have my license to trade to any
ports you choose. What is this tribute? Not having the documents before
me, I may make an error of a fraction, but in the principle I am
correct. On the article of flour, they tell us, you may bring flour
to Great Britain from America, land it, and, if you re-export it, pay
into our treasury two dollars on every barrel. For every barrel of
flour which we send to Spain, Portugal, or Italy, where the gentleman
from Massachusetts has correctly told us much of it is consumed, little
of it being used in Great Britain or France, you must pay two dollars
besides your freight and insurance. And this tribute is to be paid for
a permission to trade. Are gentlemen willing to submit to this?

On the article of wheat, exported, you must pay in Great Britain a
duty of, I believe, two shillings sterling a bushel, before it can be
re-exported. On the important article of cotton they have charged a
duty on its exportation of nine pence sterling per lb., equal to the
whole value of the article itself in Georgia or South Carolina. This is
in addition to the usual import duty of two pence in the pound. Thus,
if we wish to go to the Continent, we may go on condition of paying
a tribute equal to the value of the cotton, in addition to risk or
insurance. It is generally understood that two-thirds of the cotton
exported by us, may be consumed in England, when all her manufactures
are in good work. On the remaining third the people of the Southern
country are subject to a tribute--on twenty millions of pounds, at the
rate of 17 cents per pound. Let this be calculated, and it will be seen
what tax we must pay for leave to sell that article.

The English Orders had told us we might trade as usual with the West
India Islands; but now, believing no doubt that this Government has
not strength or energy in itself to maintain any system long, what has
she done? Proclaimed a blockade on the remaining islands of France, so
that we are now confined to British islands alone! We are restricted
from trading there by blockade, and what security have we, that if
the embargo be taken off--for I wish it were off: no man suffers more
from it, in proportion to his capital, than I do; but I stand here the
Representative of the people, and must endeavor to act in such a manner
as will best secure their interests; and I pledge myself to join heart
and hand with gentlemen to take it off, whenever we can have a safe and
honorable trade--that, from our submitting to these interdictions, as
a right of Great Britain, she may not choose to interdict all trade,
she being omnipotent, and sole mistress of the ocean, as we were told
by the gentleman from Connecticut. I have seen a late English pamphlet,
called "Hints to both Parties," said to be by a ministerial writer,
to this effect: that Great Britain, having command over all the seas,
could and ought to exclude and monopolize the trade of the world to
herself. This pamphlet goes critically into an examination of the
subject; says that by a stroke of policy she can cut us off from our
extensive trade; that she has the power, and, having the power, she
ought to do it.

TUESDAY, November 22.

                             _The Embargo._

Mr. MOORE said the gentleman from Connecticut had asked if the embargo
had been productive of the consequences expected to result from it
when passed? Had it not been more injurious to the United States than
to foreign nations? It is certainly true (said Mr. M.) that it has
not been productive of all the effects expected by those who were its
advocates when it passed, but it has not had a fair experiment. The law
has been violated, and an illicit commerce carried on, by which the
belligerents have received such supplies as to have partially prevented
its good effects.

The publications throughout the United States, and thence in England,
that the embargo could not be maintained, have induced the belligerents
to believe that we wanted energy, and that we are too fluctuating
in our councils to persevere in a measure which requires privations
from the people. Under these circumstances, it appears to me that the
embargo has not had a fair trial. I have ever been of opinion that
the only warfare which we could ever carry on to advantage, must be
commercial; and, but for evasions and miscalculations on our weakness,
we should before this have been suffered to pursue our accustomed trade.

It has been asked whether the embargo has not operated more on the
United States than on the European Powers? In estimating this, it will
be proper to take into consideration the evils prevented, as well as
the injury done by the embargo. If the embargo had not passed, is it
not certain that the whole produce of the United States would have
invited attack and offered a bait to the rapacity of the belligerent
cruisers? If a few have accidentally escaped them, it is no evidence
that, if the embargo had not been laid, the whole would not have
been in the hands of the belligerents. That both belligerents have
manifested hostilities by edicts which prostrated our commerce, will
not be denied by any gentleman. Great Britain, on a former occasion,
passed an order, sent it out secretly, and before our Minister was
officially notified, it was in full operation. Their late orders
included all our commerce which was afloat. Was it not to be expected
that such would have been the policy of Great Britain in this case, and
such our proportionate loss, if the embargo had not been laid, and thus
snatched this valuable commerce from their grasp?

WEDNESDAY, November 23.

                             _The Embargo._

Mr. CRAWFORD said that one of the objects of the gentleman from
Connecticut was, no doubt, to obtain information of the effects of the
embargo system from every part of the United States. This information
was very desirable at the present time, to assist the Councils of the
nation in an opinion of the course proper to be pursued in relation
to it. A Government founded, like ours, on the principle of the will
of the nation, which subsisted but by it, should be attentive as far
as possible to the feelings and wishes of the people over whom they
presided. He did not say that the Representatives of a free people
ought to yield implicit obedience to any portion of the people who may
believe them to act erroneously; but their will, when fairly expressed,
ought to have great weight on a Government like ours. The Senate had
received several descriptions of the effects produced by the embargo
in the eastern section of the Union. As the Representative of another
extreme of this nation, Mr. C. said he conceived it his duty to give
a fair, faithful, and candid representation of the sentiments of the
people whom he had the honor to represent. It was always the duty of a
Representative to examine whether the effects expected from any given
measure, had or had not been produced. If this were a general duty,
how much more imperiously was it their duty at this time! Every one
admitted that considerable sufferings have been undergone, and much
more was now to be borne.

Gentlemen have considered this subject, generally, in a twofold view,
(said Mr. C.,) as to its effects on ourselves, and as to its effects
on foreign nations. I think this a proper and correct division of the
subject, because we are certainly more interested in the effects of
the measure on ourselves than on other nations. I shall therefore thus
pursue the subject.

It is in vain to deny that this is not a prosperous time in the United
States; that our situation is neither promising nor flattering. It is
impossible to say that we have suffered no privations in the year 1808,
or that there is a general spirit of content throughout the United
States; but I am very far from believing that there is a general spirit
of discontent. Whenever the measures of the Government immediately
affect the interest of any considerable portion of its citizens,
discontents will arise, however great the benefits which are expected
from such measures. One discontented man excites more attention than a
thousand contented men, and hence the number of discontented is always
overrated. In the country which I represent, I believe no measure is
more applauded or more cheerfully submitted to than the embargo. It has
been viewed there as the only alternative to avoid war. It is a measure
which is enforced in that country at every sacrifice. At the same time
that I make this declaration, I am justified in asserting that there is
no section of the Union whose interests are more immediately affected
by the measure than the Southern States--than the State of Georgia.

We have been told by an honorable gentleman, who has declaimed with
great force and eloquence against this measure, that great part of the
produce of the Eastern country has found its way into market; that
new ways have been cut open, and produce has found its way out. Not so
with us; we raise no provisions, except a small quantity of rice, for
exportation. The production of our lands lies on our hands. We have
suffered, and now suffer; yet we have not complained.

The fears of the Southern States particularly have been addressed by
the gentleman from Connecticut, by a declaration that Great Britain,
whose fleets cover the ocean, will certainly find a source from which
to procure supplies of those raw materials which she has heretofore
been in the habit of receiving from us; and that having thus found
another market, when we have found the evil of our ways, she will turn
a deaf ear to us. By way of exemplification, the gentleman cited a
familiar example of a man buying butter from his neighbors. It did not
appear to me that this butter story received a very happy elucidation.
In the country in which he lives there are so many buyers and so
many sellers of butter, that no difficulty results from a change of
purchasers or customers. Not so with our raw material. Admitting that
Britain can find other markets with ease, there is still a great
distinction between this and the gentleman's butter case. When a man
sells butter he receives money or supplies in payment for it. His wants
and wishes and those of his purchasers are so reciprocal, that no
difficulty can ever arise. But Great Britain must always purchase raw
materials of those who purchase her manufactures. It is not to oblige
us that she takes our raw materials, but it is because we take her
manufactures in exchange. So long as this state of things continues,
so long they will continue to resort to our market. I have considered
the gentleman's argument on this point as applied to the feelings of
the Southern country. No article exported from the United States equals
cotton in amount. If then we are willing to run the risk, I trust no
other part of the United States will hesitate on this subject.

Another reason offered by the gentleman from Connecticut, and a
substantial one if true, is, that this measure cannot be executed. If
this be the case, it is certainly in vain to persevere in it, for the
non-execution of any public law must have a bad tendency on the morals
of the people. But the facility with which the gentleman represents
these laws to have been evaded, proves that the morals of the evaders
could not have been very sound when the measure was adopted; for a man
trained to virtue will not, whatever facility exists, on that account,
step into the paths of error and vice.

Although I believe myself that this measure has not been properly
executed, nor in that way in which the situation of our country might
reasonably have induced us to expect, yet it has been so far executed
as to produce some good effect. So far as the orders and decrees remain
in full force, so far it has failed of the effect hoped from it. But
it has produced a considerable effect, as I shall attempt to show

In commenting on this part of the gentleman's observations, it becomes
proper to notice, not an insinuation, but a positive declaration that
the secret intention of laying the embargo was to destroy commerce; and
was in a state of hostility to the avowed intention. This certainly
is a heavy charge. In a Government like this, we should act openly,
honestly, and candidly; the people ought to know their situation,
and the views of those who conduct their affairs. It is the worst of
political dishonesty to adopt a measure, and offer that reason as a
motive for it which is not the true and substantial one. The true and
substantial reason for the embargo, the gentleman says he believes,
was to destroy commerce, and on its ruins to raise up domestic
manufactures. This idea, I think, though not expressly combated by
the observations of the gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. WHITE,) was
substantially refuted by him. That gentleman, with great elegance and
something of sarcasm, applied to the House to know how the Treasury
would be filled in the next year; and observed that the "present
incumbent of the Presidential palace" would not dare to resort to
a direct tax, because a former Administration had done so and felt
the effects of it, insinuating that the present Administration did
not possess courage enough to attempt it. Now, I ask, if they dare
not resort to a direct tax, excise laws, and stamp acts, where will
they obtain money? In what way will the public coffers be filled? The
gentleman must acknowledge that all our present revenue is derived from
commerce, and must continue to be so, except resort be had to a direct
tax, and the gentleman says we have not courage enough for that. The
gentleman from Connecticut must suppose, if the gentleman from Delaware
be correct, that the Administration seeks its own destruction. We must
have revenue, and yet are told that we wish to destroy the only way in
which it can be had, except by a direct tax; a resort to which, it is
asserted, would drive us from the public service.

But we are told, with a grave face, that a disposition is manifested to
make this measure permanent. The States who call themselves commercial
States, when compared with the Southern States, may emphatically be
called manufacturing States. The Southern States are not manufacturing
States, while the great commercial States are absolutely the
manufacturing States. If this embargo system were intended to be
permanent, those commercial States would be benefited by the exchange,
to the injury of the Southern States. It is impossible for us to find a
market for our produce but by foreign commerce; and whenever a change
of the kind alluded to is made, that change will operate to the injury
of the Southern States more than to the injury of the commercial
States, so called.

But another secret motive with which the Government is charged to have
been actuated is, that this measure was intended and is calculated
to promote the interests of France. To be sure none of the gentlemen
have expressly said that we are under French influence, but a resort is
had to the exposé of the French Minister, and a deduction thence made
that the embargo was laid at the wish of Bonaparte. The gentleman from
Connecticut told us of this exposé for this purpose; and the gentleman
from Massachusetts appeared to notice it with the same view.

Now we are told that there is no danger of war, except it be because
we have understood that Bonaparte has said there shall be no neutrals;
and that, if we repeal the embargo, we may expect that he will make
war on us. And this is the only source from whence the gentleman could
see any danger of war. If this declaration against neutrality which
is attributed to the Gallic Emperor be true, and it may be so, his
Gallic Majesty could not pursue a more direct course to effect his own
wishes than to declare that our embargo had been adopted under his
influence. And unless the British Minister had more political sagacity
than the gentleman who offered the evidence of the exposé in proof of
the charge, it would produce the very end which those gentlemen wished
to avoid--a war with Great Britain; for she would commence the attack
could she believe this country under the influence of France. I would
just as much believe in the sincerity of that exposé, as Mr. Canning's
sincerity, when he says that his Majesty would gladly make any
sacrifice to restore to the commerce of the United States its wonted
activity. No man in the nation is silly enough to be gulled by these
declarations; but, from the use made of them, we should be led to think
otherwise, were it not for the exercise of our whole stock of charity.
Now, I cannot believe that any man in this nation does believe in the
sincerity of Mr. Canning's expressions, or that Bonaparte believes
that the embargo was laid to promote his interest. I cannot believe
that there is any man in this nation who does candidly and seriously
entertain such an opinion.

The gentleman from Massachusetts says it is true that a considerable
alarm was excited in England when the news of the embargo arrived
there; that they had been led to believe, from their writers and
speakers, that a discontinuance of their intercourse with this country
would be productive of most injurious consequences; but that they were
now convinced that all their writers and statesmen were mistaken, and
that she can suffer a discontinuance of intercourse without being
convulsed or suffering at all. To believe this requires a considerable
portion of credulity, especially when the most intelligent men affirm
to the contrary. In the last of March or the first of April last, we
find, on an examination of merchants at the Bar of the British House of
Commons, that the most positive injury must result from a continuance
of non-intercourse. It is not possible that our merchants on this
side of the water, however intelligent they may be, can be as well
acquainted with the interests of Great Britain as her most intelligent
merchants. This alarm, however, the gentleman has told us, continued
through the spring and dissipated in the summer. It is very easy to
discover the cause of the dissipation of this alarm. It was not because
the loss of intercourse was not calculated to produce an effect, but
it proceeded from an adventitious cause, which could not have been
anticipated--the revolution in Spain; and there is no intelligent man
who will not acknowledge its injurious effects on our concerns. No
sooner did the British Ministers see a probability that the struggle
between the Spanish patriots and France would be maintained, than they
conceived hopes that they might find other supplies; and then they
thought they might give to the people an impulse by interesting the
nation in the affairs of Spain, which would render lighter the effects
of our embargo. This is the cause of the change in Mr. Canning's
language; for every gentleman in the House knows that a very material
change took place in it in the latter part of the summer. If then
the embargo has not produced the effects calculated from it, we have
every reason to believe that its failure to produce these effects
has been connected with causes wholly adventitious, and which may
give way if the nation adheres to the measure. If, however, there be
any probability that these causes will be continued for a long time,
we ought to abandon it. I am not in favor of continuing any measure
of this kind, except there be a probability of its producing some
effect on those who make it necessary for us to exercise this act
of self-denial. When I first saw the account of the revolution in
Spain, my fears were excited lest it should produce the effect which
it has done. As soon as I saw the stand made by the Spanish patriots,
I was apprehensive that it might buoy up the British nation under
the sufferings arising from the effects of their iniquitous orders,
which, compared with the sufferings which we ourselves have borne,
have been as a hundred to one. If there be evidence that the effects
of this measure will yet be counteracted by recent events in Spain,
I will abandon it, but its substitute should be war, and no ordinary
war--I say this notwithstanding the petitions in the other branch of
the Legislature, and the resolutions of a State Legislature which have
lately been published. When I read the resolutions, called emphatically
the Essex resolutions, I blush for the disgrace they reflect on my
country. We are told there that this nation has no just cause of
complaint against Great Britain; and that all our complaints are a mere
pretext for war. I blush that any man belonging to the great American
family should be so debased, so degraded, so lost to every generous and
national feeling, as to make a declaration of this kind. It is debasing
to the national character.

How are these orders and decrees to be opposed but by war, except
we keep without their reach? If the embargo produces a repeal of
these edicts, we effect it without going to war. Whenever we repeal
the embargo we are at war, or we abandon our neutral rights. It is
impossible to take the middle ground, and say that we do not abandon
them by trading with Great Britain alone. You must submit, or oppose
force to force. Can arming our merchant vessels, by resisting the whole
navy of Great Britain, oppose force to force? It is impossible. The
idea is absurd.

By way of ridiculing the embargo, the gentleman from Connecticut, in
his familiar way, has attempted to expose this measure. He elucidated
it by one of those familiar examples by which he generally exemplifies
his precepts. He says your neighbor tells you that you shall not trade
with another neighbor, and you say you will not trade at all. Now
this, he says, is very magnanimous, but it is a kind of magnanimity
with which he is not acquainted. Now let us see the magnanimity of
that gentleman, and see if it savors more of true magnanimity than our
course. Great Britain and France each say that we shall not trade with
the other. We say we will not trade with either of them, because we
believe our trade will be important to both of them. The gentleman says
it is a poor way of defending the national rights. Suppose we pursue
his course. Great Britain says we shall not trade to France; we say
we will not, but will obey her. We will trade upon such terms as she
may impose. "This will be magnanimity indeed; this will be defending
commerce with a witness!" It will be bowing the neck to the yoke.
The opposition to taxation against our consent, at the commencement
of the Revolution, was not more meritorious than the opposition to
tribute and imposition at the present day. I cannot, for my soul,
see the difference between paying tribute and a tacit acquiescence
in the British Orders in Council. True, every gentleman revolts at
paying tribute. But where is the difference between that and suffering
yourself to be controlled by the arbitrary act of another nation? If
you raise the embargo you must carry your produce to Great Britain and
pay an arbitrary sum before you can carry it elsewhere. If it remains
there, the markets will be glutted and it will produce nothing. For it
appears, from the very evidence to which I have before alluded, that at
least four-fifths of our whole exports of tobacco must go to England
and pay a tax before we could look for a market elsewhere, and that
out of seventy-five thousand hogsheads raised in this country, not
more than fifteen thousand are consumed in Great Britain. Where does
the remainder usually go? Why, to the ports of the Continent. I ask,
then, if the whole consumption of Great Britain be but fifteen thousand
hogsheads, if an annual addition of sixty thousand hogsheads be thrown
into that market, would it sell for the costs of freight? Certainly
not. The same would be the situation of our other produce.

The gentleman from Delaware (Mr. WHITE) has said, that, by repealing
the embargo, we can now carry on a safe and secure trade to the extent
of nearly four-fifths of the amount of our domestic productions. There
is nothing more delusive, and better calculated to impose on those
who do not investigate subjects, than these calculations in gross. If
the gentleman will take the trouble to make the necessary inquiries,
he will find that instead of Great Britain taking to the amount he
supposes of our domestic productions, she takes nothing like it. It
is true that a large proportion of our domestic exports is shipped
ostensibly for Great Britain; but it is equally true that a very large
proportion of these very exports find their way into the continental
ports. For the British merchants in their examination before the
House of Commons, already alluded to, say that three-fourths of their
receipts for exportation to the United States have been usually drawn
from the Continent; and that even if the embargo was removed and the
Orders in Council were continued, they must stop their exportation,
because the continental ports would be closed against American vessels;
because their coasts swarm with English cruisers, the French must know
that the American vessels attempting to enter have come from an English
port. That they had facilities of conveyance to the Continent prior to
the Orders in Council, the merchants acknowledged; and when requested
to explain the mode of conveyance, they begged to be excused. No doubt
every gentleman has seen these depositions, or might have seen them,
for they have been published in almost every paper on the Continent.
They have opened to me and to my constituents a scene perfectly new.
They tell you that the Berlin decree was nothing. Notwithstanding that
decree, they had a facility of conveying produce into the continental
ports; but the Orders of Council completely shut the ports of the
Continent against the entrance of American vessels. On this point there
was no contrariety of opinion; and several of these merchants declared
that they had sent vessels to the Continent a very few days before the
date of the Orders of Council. This clearly shows that any conclusion
to be drawn from the gross amount of exports must be fallacious, and
that probably three-fourths ought to be deducted from the gross amount.
This statement of the gentleman from Delaware, which holds out to
the public the prospect of a lucrative trade in four-fifths of their
exports, will certainly have a tendency to render them uneasy under
the privations which they are called upon to suffer by the iniquitous
measures of foreign nations. Although the statement was extremely
delusive, I do not say that the gentleman meant to delude by it. This,
however, being the effect of the gentleman's assertion, I am certainly
warranted in saying that the evidence of the British merchants
who carry on this trade, is better authority than the gentleman's

But admit, for the sake of argument, and on no other ground would I
admit it, that these gross statements are correct; and that, at the
time the embargo was adopted, these Orders in Council notwithstanding,
the trade of the United States could have been carried on to this
extent. What security have we, if the embargo had not been laid, after
submitting and compromitting the national dignity and independence,
that the British aggressions and Orders in Council would have stopped
at the point at which we find them? Have we not conclusive evidence to
the contrary? Are we not officially notified that the French leeward
islands are declared by proclamation in a state of blockade? And do
we not know that this is but carrying into effect a report of the
committee of the British House of Commons on the West India Islands, in
which this measure is recommended, and in which it is stated that His
Britannic Majesty's West India subjects ought to receive further aid by
placing these islands in a state of blockade? I can see in this measure
nothing but a continuation of the system recommended last winter in
this report, and published--for the information of the United States, I

If the embargo should be repealed, and our vessels suffered to go out
in the face of the present orders in Council and blockading decrees and
proclamations, Mr. C. said, they would but expose us to new insults and
aggressions. It was in vain to talk about the magnanimity of nations.
It was not that magnanimity which induced nations as well as men to
act honestly; and that was the best kind of magnanimity. The very
magnanimity which had induced them to distress our commerce, would
equally induce them to cut off the pitiful portion they had left to us.
In a general point of view, there was now no lawful commerce. No vessel
could sail from the United States without being liable to condemnation
in Britain or France. If they sailed to France, Mr. C. said, they were
carried into Britain; if they sailed to Britain, they were carried into
France. Now, he asked, whether men who had any regard to national honor
would consent to navigate the ocean on terms so disgraceful? We must be
cool calculators, indeed, if we could submit to disgrace like this!

The last reason offered by the supporters of the present resolution,
Mr. C. said, may properly be said to be an argument _in terrorem_. The
gentleman from Massachusetts says, by way of abstract proposition, that
a perseverance in a measure opposed to the feelings and interests of
the people may lead to opposition and insurrection; but the gentleman
from Connecticut uses the same expressions as applicable to the
embargo. It may be a forcible argument with some gentlemen, and most
likely may have had its effect on those who intended it to produce an
effect on others. But I trust that this House and this nation are not
to be addressed in this way. Our understandings may be convinced by
reason, but an address to our fears ought to be treated with contempt.
If I were capable of being actuated by motives of fear, I should be
unworthy of the seat which I hold on this floor. If the nation be
satisfied that any course is proper, it would be base and degrading
to be driven from it by the discordant murmurs of a minority. We are
cautioned to beware how we execute a measure with which the feelings
of the people are at war. I should be the last to persist in a measure
which injuriously affected the interest of the United States; but no
man feels more imperiously the duty of persevering in a course which
is right, notwithstanding the contrary opinion of a few; and though I
may regret and respect the feelings of these few, I will persist in
the course which I believe to be right, at the expense even of the
Government itself.

Mr. MITCHILL said he was not prepared to vote on the question of
repealing the embargo laws, in the precise form in which it had been
brought before the Senate. There was as yet a want of information; for
certain additional documents, expected from the Executive, had not yet
been communicated, and the select committee to which the part of the
Message concerning the foreign relations of the country was lately
referred, had not brought forward a report. He would have been better
pleased if the proposition had been so framed as to have expressed
indignation at the injuries our Government had received from foreign
nations. Then he would cheerfully have given it his concurrence. But
now, when those who are willing to do something, though not exactly
what the motion proposes, are made to vote directly against a removal
of the existing restrictions upon our commerce, their situation is
rather unpleasant; indeed, it is unfair, inasmuch as they must either
give their assent to a measure, to the time and manner of which they
may be averse, or they must vote negatively in a case which, but
for some incidental or formal matter, would have met their hearty
approbation. He could, therefore, have wished that the question had
been presented to the House in such terms as to afford an opportunity
of expressing their sense of the wrongs our nation had endured from
foreign Sovereigns, and of the restrictions laid upon American commerce
by their unjust regulations, as well as on the further restrictions
that, under the pressure of events, it had been thought necessary for
our own Legislature to impose.

I now come to the year 1806, an eventful year to the foreign commerce
of our people. An extravagant and armed trade had for a considerable
time been carried on by some of our citizens with the emancipated or
revolted blacks of Hayti. The French Minister, conformably to the
instructions of his Government, remonstrated against this traffic as
ungracious and improper; and under an impression that our citizens
ought to be restrained from intercourse with the negroes of Hispaniola,
Congress passed an act forbidding that altogether. This was the second
time that our Government circumscribed the commercial conduct of its
citizens. It was also during this year that memorials were forwarded
to the Executive and legislative branches of our Government by the
merchants of our principal seaports, stating the vexations of their
foreign commerce to be intolerable, and calling in the most earnest
terms for relief or redress. These addresses were mostly composed with
great ability; it seemed as if the merchants were in danger of total
ruin. Their situation was depicted as being deplorable in the extreme.
The interposition of their Government was asked in the most strenuous
and pressing terms; and your table, Mr. President, was literally loaded
with petitions. The chief cause of this distress was briefly this:
These citizens of the United States were engaged during the war in
Europe, in a commerce with enemies' colonies not open in time of peace;
by this means, the produce of the French West Indies was conveyed under
the neutral flag to the mother country. Great Britain opposed the
direct commerce from the colony to France through the neutral bottom.
The neutral then evaded the attempt against him by landing the colonial
produce in his own country, and after having thus neutralized or
naturalized it, exported it under drawback for Bordeaux or Marseilles;
this proceeding was also opposed by the British, and much property was
captured and condemned in executing their orders against it. Their
writers justified their conduct by charging fraud upon the neutral
flag, and declaring that under cover of them a "war in disguise" was
carried on, while on our side the rights of neutrals were defended with
great learning and ability in a most profound investigation of the

This same year was ushered in by a proclamation of General Ferrand,
the French commandant at St. Domingo, imposing vexations on the trade
of our citizens; and a partial non-importation law was enacted against
Great Britain by Congress about the middle of April. But these were not
all the impediments which arose. Notices were given to the American
Minister in London of several blockades. The chief of these was that
of the coast, from the Elbe to Brest inclusive, in May. And here,
as it occurs to me, may I mention the spurious blockade of Curaçoa,
under which numerous captures were made. And lastly, to complete the
catalogue of disasters for 1806, and to close the woful climax, the
French decree of Berlin came forth in November, and, as if sporting
with the interests and feelings of Americans, proclaimed Great Britain
and her progeny of isles to be in a state of blockade.

Hopes had been entertained that such a violent and convulsed condition
of society would not be of long duration. Experience, however, soon
proved that the infuriate rage of man was as yet unsatisfied, and had
much greater lengths to go. For early in the succeeding year (1807),
an order of the British Council was issued, by which the trade of
neutrals, and of course of American citizens, was interdicted from the
port of one belligerent to the port of another. And in the ensuing
May, the rivers Elbe, Weser, and Ems, with the interjacent coasts
were declared by them to be in a state of blockade, and a similar
declaration was made on their part to neutrals in regard to the
straits of the Dardanelles and the city of Smyrna. But these were but
subordinate incidents in this commercial drama; the catastrophe of the
tragedy was soon to be developed. "On the 22d of June, by a formal
order from a British Admiral, our frigate Chesapeake, leaving her port
for a distant service, was attacked by one of these vessels, which had
been lying in our harbors under the indulgence of hospitality, was
disabled from proceeding, had several of her crew killed, and four
taken away." Immediately the President by proclamation interdicted
our harbors and waters to all British armed vessels, and forbade
intercourse with them. Under an uncertainty how far hostilities were
intended, and the town of Norfolk being threatened with an immediate
attack, a sufficient force was ordered for the protection of that
place, and such other preparations commenced and pursued as the
prospect rendered proper.

In furtherance of these schemes, a proclamation was published, holding
all their absent seamen to their allegiance, recalling them from
foreign services, and denouncing heavy penalties for disobedience. The
operation of this upon the American merchant service would have been
very sensibly felt. Many British born subjects were in the employ of
our merchants, and that very Government, which claimed as a British
subject every American citizen who had been but two years a seaman in
their service, refused to be bound by their own rule in relation to
British subjects who had served an equal term on board the ships of
the United States. But this was not all. The month of November was
distinguished by an order retaliating on France a decree passed by her
some time before, declaring the sale of ships by belligerents to be
illegal; and thus, by virtue of concurrent acts of these implacable
enemies, the poor neutral found it impossible to purchase a ship either
from a subject of Great Britain or of France. That season of gloom was
famous, or rather infamous, for another act prohibiting wholly the
commerce of neutrals with the enemies of Great Britain, and for yet
another, pregnant with the principles of lordly domination on their
part, and of colonial vassalage on our, by which the citizens of these
independent and sovereign States are compelled to pay duties on their
cargoes in British ports, and receive licenses under the authority of
that Government, as a condition of being permitted to trade to any part
of Europe in possession of her enemies.

This outrageous edict on the part of Britain was succeeded by another
on the side of France, equalling, or if possible, surpassing it in
injustice. In December came forth the decree of Milan, enforcing the
decree of Berlin against American trade; dooming to confiscation every
vessel of the United States that had been boarded or even spoken to by
a Briton, and encouraging, by the most unjustifiable lures, passengers
and sailors to turn informers. The abominable mandate was quickly
echoed in Spain, and sanctioned by the approbation of His Most Catholic
Majesty. It has been executed with shocking atrocity. In addition to
other calamities, the property of neutrals has been sequestered in
France, and their ships burned by her cruisers on the ocean.

Such, Mr. President, was the situation of the European world, when
Congress deemed it necessary to declare an embargo on our own vessels.
Denmark and Prussia, and Russia, and Portugal, had become associated or
allied with France; and, with the exception of Sweden, the commerce of
our citizens was prohibited, by the mutually vindictive and retaliating
belligerents, from the White Sea to the Adriatic. American ships and
cargoes were declared the prize and plunder of the contending powers.
The widely-extended commerce of our people was to be crushed to atoms
between the two mighty millstones, or prudently withdrawn from its
dangerous exposure, and detained in safety at home. Policy and prudence
dictated the latter measure. And as the ocean was become the scene
of political storm and tempest, more dreadful than had ever agitated
the physical elements, our citizens were admonished to partake of
that security for their persons and property, in the peaceful havens
of their country, which they sought in vain on the high seas and in
European harbors. The regulations, so destructive to our commerce,
were not enacted by us. They were imposed upon us by foreign tyrants.
Congress had no volition to vote upon the question. In the shipwreck of
our trade, all that remained for us to do, was to save as much as we
could from perishing, and as far as our efforts would go, to prevent a
total loss.

I touch, with a delicate hand, the mission of Mr. Rose. The arrival
of this Envoy Extraordinary from Britain was nearly of the same date
with an order of his Government, blockading Carthagena, Cadiz, and
St. Lucar, and the intermediate ports of Spain, and thereby vexing
the commerce of American citizens. The unsuccessful termination of
his negotiation has been but a few months since followed by a refusal
on the part of his Government to rescind its orders, that work so
much oppression to our commerce, on condition of having the embargo
suspended in respect to theirs. And the French Ministry has treated
a similar friendly and specific overture, from our Executive, with
total disregard. In addition to all which we learn, from the highest
source of intelligence, that the British naval commander at Barbadoes
did, about the middle of October, declare the French leeward Caribbean
Islands to be in a state of strict blockade, and cautioning neutrals to
govern themselves accordingly, under pain of capture and condemnation.

THURSDAY, November 24.

                             _The Embargo._

Mr. GILES addressed the Senate:

Mr. President: Having during the recess of Congress retired from the
political world, and having little agency in the passing political
scenes, living in a part of the country, too, where there is little or
no difference in political opinions, and where the embargo laws are
almost universally approved, I felt the real want of information upon
the subject now under discussion. I thought I knew something of the
general objects of the embargo laws, and I had not been inattentive to
their general operations upon society, as far as I had opportunities of
observing thereupon.

When I arrived here, and found that this subject had excited so much
sensibility in the minds of many gentlemen I met with, as to engross
their whole thoughts, and almost to banish every other topic of
conversation, I felt also a curiosity to know what were the horrible
effects of these laws in other parts of the country, and which had
escaped my observation in the part of the country in which I reside. Of
course, sir, I have given to the gentlemen, who have favored us with
their observations on both sides of the question under consideration,
the most careful and respectful attention, and particularly to the
gentlemen representing the eastern section of the Union, where most of
this sensibility had been excited. I always listen to gentlemen from
that part of the United States with pleasure, and generally receive
instruction from them; but on this occasion, I am reluctantly compelled
to acknowledge, that I have received from them less satisfaction and
less information than usual; and still less conviction.

It was hardly to have been expected, Mr. President, that after so
many angry and turbulent passions had been called into action, by
the recent agitations throughout the whole United States, resulting
from the elections by the people, to almost all the important offices
within their gift, and particularly from the elections of electors for
choosing the President and Vice President of the United States, that
gentlemen would have met here perfectly exempt from the feelings which
this state of things was naturally calculated to inspire. Much less was
it to have been expected, sir, that gentlemen who had once possessed
the power of the nation, and who, from some cause or other, had lost
it; (a loss, which they now tell us they _but too well remember_, and
I fear, might have added, _too deeply deplore_,) gentlemen too, sir,
who at one time during the electioneering scene had indulged the fond
and delusive hope, that through the privations necessarily imposed upon
our fellow-citizens, by the unexampled aggressions of the belligerent
powers, they might once more find their way to office and power, and
who now find themselves disappointed in this darling expectation--it
was not at all to be expected, sir, that these gentlemen should now
appear here, perfectly exempt from the unpleasant feelings which
so dreadful a disappointment must necessarily have produced. It was
a demand upon human nature for too great a sacrifice; and however
desirable such an exemption might have been at the present moment, and
however honorable it would have been to those gentlemen, it was not

But, sir, I had indulged a hope that the extraordinary dangers and
difficulties pressed upon us by the aggressing belligerents, attended,
too, with so many circumstances of indignity and insult, would have
awakened a sensibility in the bosom of every gentleman of this body,
which would have wholly suppressed, or at least suspended, these
unpleasant feelings, until some measures, consulting the general
interests and welfare of the people, could have been devised, to meet,
resist, and if possible, to subdue the extraordinary crisis. But,
sir, even in this hope, too, I have been totally disappointed. I was
the more encouraged in this hope, when upon opening this debate the
gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. HILLHOUSE) seemed sensible of this
sacred obligation, imposed by the crisis; when he exhorted us, in
conducting our deliberations, utterly to discard the influence of party
spirit. It would have given me great pleasure, sir, if the gentleman
had afforded us a magnanimous example of a precept so admirably suited
to the present state of things. But in this too, sir, I have been
unfortunately disappointed. That gentleman's observations consisted
almost exclusively of retrospective animadversions upon the original
objects and horrible effects of the embargo laws, without seeming to
think it was worth his attention to favor us with any reflections
upon the prospective course of measures which the people's interests,
the public safety, and general welfare, so imperiously demand. That
gentleman represented the embargo laws as mere acts of volition,
impelled by no cause nor necessity; whilst the British orders, and
French edicts, were scarcely glanced at, and certainly formed the least
prominent feature of his observations. He represented these laws as a
wanton and wicked attack upon commerce, with a view to its destruction,
whilst he seemed scarcely to have recollected the extraordinary dangers
and difficulties which overspread the ocean--indeed, sir, he described
the ocean as perfectly free from dangers and difficulties, unruffled
by any storms, and that we had nothing to do but to unfurl our canvas
to the wind, that it would be filled with prosperous gales, and wafted
to the ports of its destination, where it would be received with open
arms of friendship and hospitality. I wish, sir, with all my heart, the
gentleman could but realize these dreaming visions; their reality would
act like a, magic spell upon the embargo laws, and dissipate them in a
moment! But, alas! sir, when we come to look at realities, when we turn
our eyes upon the real dangers and difficulties which do overspread
the ocean, we shall find them so formidable, that the wisdom of our
undivided counsels, and the energy of our undivided action, will
scarcely be sufficient to resist and conquer them. To my great regret,
sir, we now see, that the United States cannot even hope to be blessed
with this union of mind and action, although certainly their dearest
interests demand it.

Mr. President, perhaps the greatest inconvenience attending popular
governments, consists in this: that whenever the union and energy
of the people are most required to resist foreign aggressions, the
pressure of these aggressions presents most temptations to distrusts
and divisions. Was there ever a stronger illustration of the truth
and correctness of this observation than the recent efforts made
under the pressure of the embargo laws? The moment the privations,
reluctantly but necessarily imposed by these laws, became to be felt,
was the moment of signal to every political demagogue, who wished
to find his way to office and to power, to excite the distrusts of
the people, and then to separate them from the Government of their
choice, by every exaggeration which ingenuity could devise, and every
misrepresentation which falsehood could invent: nothing was omitted
which it was conceived would have a tendency to effect this object.
But, Mr. President, the people of the United States must learn the
lesson now, and at all future times, of disrespecting the bold and
disingenuous charges and insinuations of such aspiring demagogues. They
must learn to respect and rally round their own Government, or they
never can present a formidable front to a foreign aggressor. Sir, the
people of the United States have already learnt this lesson. They have
recently given an honorable and glorious example of their knowledge in
this respect. They have, in their recent elections, demonstrated to
the nation and to the world that they possess too much good sense to
become the dupes of these delusive artifices, and too much patriotism
to desert their Government when it stands most in need of their support
and energy.

The gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. HILLHOUSE) has made the most
strict, and I had almost said, uncharitable scrutiny into the objects
and effects of the embargo laws, in the delusive hope, I presume,
of obtaining a triumph over his political adversaries. I propose to
follow the gentleman, in a fair and candid comparison of information
and opinions upon this subject; and I shall do so in the most perfect
confidence, that whenever a thorough examination of the objects and
effects of the embargo laws shall be made known, and the merits of the
measure fully understood, that there is not a man in the United States
who will not applaud and support the Administration for its adoption,
who has the uncontaminated heart of an American throbbing within his

Sir, I have always understood that there were two objects contemplated
by the embargo laws. The first, precautionary, operating upon
ourselves. The second, coercive, operating upon the aggressing
belligerents. Precautionary, in saving our seamen, our ships, and
our merchandise, from the plunder of our enemies, and avoiding the
calamities of war. Coercive, by addressing strong appeals to the
interests of both the belligerents. The first object has been answered
beyond my most sanguine expectations. To make a fair and just estimate
of this measure, reference should be had to our situation at the time
of its adoption. At that time, the aggressions of both the belligerents
were such, as to leave the United States but a painful alternative
in the choice of one of three measures, to wit, the embargo, war, or
submission. I know that this position has not been admitted, though but
faintly denied in the discussion. I shall however proceed upon this
hypothesis for the present, and in the course of my observations will
prove its correctness by the statements of the gentlemen in favor of
the resolution.

Before the recommendation of the measure, the laudable and provident
circumspection of the Administration had obtained tolerably correct
estimates of the amount and value of the ships and merchandise
belonging to the citizens of the United States then afloat, and the
amount and value of what was shortly expected to be afloat; together
with a conjectural statement of the number of the seamen employed in
the navigation thereof.

It was found that merchandise to the value of one hundred millions of
dollars was actually afloat, in vessels amounting in value to twenty
millions more. That an amount of merchandise and vessels equal to
fifty millions of dollars more, was expected to be shortly put afloat,
and that it would require fifty thousand seamen to be employed in the
navigation of this enormous amount of property. The Administration was
informed of the hostile edicts of France previously issued, and then in
a state of execution, and of an intention on the part of Great Britain
to issue her orders, the character and object of which were also
known. The object was, to sweep this valuable commerce from the ocean.
The situation of this commerce was as well known to Great Britain as
to ourselves, and her inordinate cupidity could not withstand the
temptation of the rich booty she vainly thought within her power. This
was the state of information at the time this measure was recommended.

The President of the United States, ever watchful and anxious for the
preservation of the persons and property of all our fellow-citizens,
but particularly of the merchants, whose property is most exposed
to danger, and of the seamen whose persons are also most exposed,
recommended the embargo for the protection of both; and it has
saved and protected both. Let us now suppose, for a moment, that
the President, possessed of this information, had not apprised the
merchants and seamen of their danger, and had recommended no measure
for their safety and protection; would he not in that case have merited
and received the reproaches which the ignorance or ingratitude
of merchants and others have so unjustly heaped upon him, for his
judicious and anxious attentions to their interests? It is admitted
by all, that the embargo laws have saved this enormous amount of
property, and this number of seamen, which, without them, would have
forcibly gone into the hands of our enemies, to pamper their arrogance,
stimulate their injustice, and increase their means of annoyance.

I should suppose, Mr. President, this saving worth some notice. But,
sir, we are told that instead of protecting our seamen, it has driven
them out of the country, and into foreign service. I believe, sir, that
this fact is greatly exaggerated. But, sir, suppose for a moment that
it is so, the Government has done all, in this respect, it was bound to
do. It placed these seamen in the bosoms of their friends and families,
in a state of perfect security; and if they have since thought proper
to abandon these blessings, and emigrate from their country, it was
an act of choice, not of necessity. But, what would have been the
unhappy destiny of these brave tars, if they had been permitted to
have been carried into captivity, and sent adrift on unfriendly and
inhospitable shores? Why, sir, in that case, they would have had no
choice; necessity would have driven them into a hard and ignominious
service, to fight the battles of the authors of their dreadful
calamities, against a nation with which their country was at peace.
And is the bold and generous American tar to be told, that he is to
disrespect the Administration for its anxious and effectual attentions
to his interests? for relieving him from a dreadful captivity? Even
under the hardships he does suffer, and which I sincerely regret,
every generous feeling of his noble heart would repel the base attempt
with indignation. But, sir, the American seamen have not deserted
their country; foreign seamen may and probably have gone into foreign
service; and, for one, I am glad of it. I hope they will never return;
and I am willing to pass a law, in favor of the true-hearted American
seamen, that these foreign seamen never should return. I would even
prohibit them from being employed in merchant vessels. The American
seamen have found employment in the country; and whenever the proper
season shall arrive for employing them on their proper element, you
will find them, like true birds of passage, hovering in crowds upon
your shores.

Whilst considering this part of the subject, I cannot help expressing
my regret that, at the time of passing our embargo laws, a proportion
of our seamen was not taken into the public service; because, in my
judgment, the nation required their services, and it would have been
some alleviation to their hardships, which the measure peculiarly
imposed upon them, as a class of citizens, by affecting their immediate
occupation; and the other classes, as well as the public Treasury,
were able to contribute to their alleviation; and I am willing to do
the same thing at this time. Indeed, its omission is the only regret
I have ever felt, at the measures of the last Congress. I like the
character--I like the open frankness, and the generous feelings of the
honest American tar; and, whenever in my power, I am ready to give, and
will with pleasure give him my protection and support. One of the most
important and agreeable effects of the embargo laws, is giving these
honest fellows a safe asylum. But, sir, these are not the only good
effects of the embargo. It has preserved our peace--it has saved our
honor--it has saved our national independence. Are these savings not
worth notice? Are these blessings not worth preserving? The gentleman
from Delaware (Mr. WHITE) has, indeed, told us, that under the embargo
laws, the United States are bleeding at every pore. This, surely, sir,
is one of the most extravagant effects that could have been ascribed
to these laws by the frantic dreams of the most infatuated passions.
Bloodletting is the last effect that I ever expected to hear ascribed
to this measure. I thought it was of the opposite character; but it
serves to show that nothing is too extravagant for the misguided zeal
of gentlemen in the opposition. I have cast my eyes about in vain to
discover those copious streams of blood; but I neither see nor hear any
thing of them from any other quarter. So far from the United States
bleeding at every pore, under the embargo, it has saved them from
bleeding at any pore; and one of the highest compliments to the measure
is, that it has saved us from the very calamity which the gentleman
attributed to it; but which, thanks to our better stars and wiser
counsels, does not exist.

Mr. President, the eyes of the world are now turned upon us; if we
submit to these indignities and aggressions, Great Britain herself
would despise us; she would consider us an outcast among nations; she
would not own us for her offspring: France would despise us; all the
world would despise us; and what is infinitely worse, we should be
compelled to despise ourselves! If we resist, we shall command the
respect of our enemies, the sympathies of the world, and the noble
approbation of our own consciences.

Mr. President, our fate is in our own hands; let us have union and
we have nothing to fear. So highly do I prize union, at this awful
moment, that I would prefer any one measure of resistance with union,
to any other measure of resistance with division; let us then, sir,
banish all personal feelings; let us present to our enemies the
formidable front of an indissoluble band of brothers, nothing else is
necessary to our success. Mr. President, unequal as this contest may
seem; favored as we are by our situation, and under the blessing of a
beneficent Providence, who has never lost sight of the United States
in times of difficulty and trial, I have the most perfect confidence,
that if we prove true to ourselves, we shall triumph over our enemies.
Deeply impressed with these considerations, I am prepared to give the
resolution a flat and decided negative.

FRIDAY, November 25.

JOHN MILLEDGE, from the State of Georgia, attended.

WEDNESDAY, November 30.

                             _The Embargo._

Mr. PICKERING.--Mr. President: I am aware, sir, of the consequences
of advancing any thing from which conclusions may be drawn adverse to
the opinions of our own Administration, which, by many, are conceived
to be indisputably just. Merely to state these questions, and to
mention such arguments as the British Government may, perhaps, have
urged in their support on her side, is sufficient to subject a man to
the popular charge of being under British influence, or to the vulgar
slander of being a "British tory." He will be fortunate to escape the
accusation of touching British gold. But, sir, none of these things
move me. The patrons of the miscreants who utter these slanders know
better, but are, nevertheless, willing to benefit by the impression
they may make on the minds of the people. From an early period of my
life I was zealously engaged in every measure opposed to the attempts
of Great Britain to encroach upon our rights, until the commencement
of our Revolutionary war; and during its whole continuance, I was
uninterruptedly employed in important civil or military departments,
contributing all my efforts to bring that war to a successful

I, sir, am not the advocate of wrong-doers, to whatever country
they belong, whether Emperors, or Kings, or the Administrators of a
Republic. Justice is my object, and Truth my guide; and wherever she
points the way I shall not fear to go.

Great Britain has done us many wrongs. When we were Colonies, she
attempted to deprive us of some of our dearest birth-rights--rights
derived from our English ancestors, rights which we defended, and
finally established, by the successful conclusion of the Revolutionary
war. But these wrongs, and all the wounds of war, were intended to be
obliterated and healed by the treaty of peace, when all enmities should
have ceased.

Great Britain wronged us in the capture and condemnation of our vessels
under her orders of 1793, and she has made reparation for these
wrongs, pursuant to a treaty, negotiated on practical principles by a
statesman who, with liberal views and real candor, sought adjustment
and reparation.

MONDAY, December 12.

                   _Enforcement of the Embargo Laws._

Mr. GILES, from the committee appointed the 11th of November last, on
that part of the Message of the President of the United States which
relates to the embargo laws, and the measures necessary to enforce
due observance thereof, made a further report, in part, of a bill to
authorize and require the President of the United States to arm,
man, and fit out for immediate service, all the public ships of war,
vessels, and gunboats of the United States; and the bill was read, and
passed to the second reading.

The bill is as follows:

    "_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
    the United States of America, in Congress assembled_, That the
    President be, and he is hereby, authorized and required to
    cause to be fitted out, officered, manned, and employed, as
    soon as may be, all the frigates and other armed vessels of the
    United States, including gunboats; and to cause the frigates
    and armed vessels, so soon as they can be prepared for active
    service, respectively to be stationed at such ports and places
    on the seacoast as he may deem most expedient, or to cruise
    on any part of the coast of the United States, or territories

    "SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That, for the purpose of
    carrying the foregoing provision into immediate effect, the
    President of the United States be, and is hereby, authorized
    and required, in addition to the number of petty officers,
    able seamen, ordinary seamen, and boys, at present authorized
    by law, to appoint, and cause to be engaged and employed as
    soon as may be, ---- midshipmen, ---- corporals of marines,
    ---- able seamen, ---- ordinary seamen and boys, which shall
    be engaged to serve for a period not exceeding ---- years,
    but the President may discharge the same sooner, if in
    his judgment their services may be dispensed with; and to
    satisfy the necessary expenditures to be incurred therein, a
    sum not exceeding ---- dollars be, and the same is hereby,
    appropriated, and shall be paid out of any moneys in the
    Treasury not otherwise appropriated."

SATURDAY, December 17.

The credentials of MICHAEL LEIB, appointed a Senator by the State of
Pennsylvania, were presented and read, and ordered to lie on file.

                     _Enforcement of the Embargo._

The Senate resumed the bill making further provision for enforcing the

Mr. GOODRICH rose, and addressed the Senate as follows--

Mr. President: This bill, making further provision for enforcing the
embargo, requires all our attention. We are not on ordinary business.
An embargo for an indefinite period, over a great country like ours,
abounding in rich staples and domestic products, and carrying on in
its own vessels an extensive and profitable commerce, is a phenomenon
in the civilized world. We are about entering on the second year
of this novel measure, and even in defiance of the lessons which
experience teaches, that without producing any beneficial results, it
is embroiling the choicest interests of the nation. On foreign powers
it has made no impression, and its ruinous effect on our own country,
we see in the waste of private property and public revenue; in the
discontents of our citizens; in the perplexed state of the public
councils, and the increasing difficulties that are fast gathering
round the Government. The friends of the embargo say, that it has been
evaded and violated, but that when strictly enforced, it will compel
foreign nations to respect our rights. Under these impressions, the
system is to be maintained. To enforce it, the powers of the Government
are to be put in array throughout our country, especially in places
where discontents are manifested; and an extension is to be given to
that system of arbitrary seizures of vessels, goods, merchandise,
and domestic products, on suspicion of their being intended for
exportation, which came in with the embargo laws, and has attended
their execution.

In all this, sir, I see nothing that is to conciliate the conflicting
opinions and passions of our citizens, and restore concord amongst
them. I see nothing that will invigorate the public councils, and
resuscitate the dormant spirit and resources of the nation. To me
it seems that the Administration, without presenting to public view
any definite object or course, are pressing forward our affairs into
a chaos of inextricable difficulties. And I cannot but regard this
bill as holding a prominent place among the measures leading on that
unfortunate issue.

This bill bears marks of distrust entertained by the Government of
the people, or a considerable portion of them, and of the State
authorities; it places the coasting trade under further and vexatious
restraints, as well as its general regulations under the control of the
President. It intrenches on the municipal polity of the States, and
the intercourse of the people in their ordinary business. And, what
above all will wound the public sentiment, for the accustomed and mild
means of executing the laws by civil process through the tribunals of
justice, it substitutes military powers to be called out and exercised,
not in aid, but in place, of the civil authorities.

The coasting trade is placed under the regulation of the President by
this bill:

1st. Collectors may refuse permission to put a cargo on board of any
ship, vessel, or boat, in any case where they have their own personal
suspicions that it is intended for foreign exportation, and in every
case which may be comprehended within the scope of any general
instructions, issued by command of the President. But there is a
proviso as to coasting vessels uniformly employed in the navigation of
bays, sounds, rivers, and lakes, which shall have obtained a general

2d. General permissions may be granted to the last-mentioned vessels,
under such general instructions as the President of the United States
may give, when it can be done without danger of the embargo being
violated, to take on board such articles as may be designated in such
general permission or permissions.

By these general instructions, the President may prescribe the kind and
quantity of exports from, and imports into the individual States, and
from and to the particular districts within a State. He may suspend
them in part or in whole.

The power of issuing general instructions now proposed to be given
to the President by law, he exercised in the recess of Congress,
and in my opinion, without law. The Governor of Massachusetts was
authorized to give certificates, or licenses for the importation
of flour into that State; and, under general instructions from the
President, without personal suspicion of his own, the collector at
Charleston, in South Carolina, detained a vessel; which called forth
the independent exercise of the judicial power of the circuit court
in that State, to control the President's instructions. I am sensible
the Administration and its friends have an arduous task in executing
the embargo; difficulties beset them on every side; difficulties
inherent in the measure itself, and not to be overcome by accumulating
rigorous penalties, and an extension of the Executive power. The power
to regulate commerce is vested in Congress, and by granting it to the
President, do we not transfer to him one of the most important and
delicate of the legislative powers? What State would have adopted the
constitution, if it had been foreseen that this power would be granted
to any man, however distinguished by office?

The sections I have considered, principally affect merchants and
seafaring men in their business, at stores, custom-houses, about
wharves, ships, and vessels. But other sections take a wider range, and
intrench on the ordinary concerns of the great body of the people, by
the powers they give for unreasonable and arbitrary searches for, and
seizures of their property.

Collectors of the customs throughout the United States, by the tenth
section, are empowered to take into custody specie, or any articles
of domestic growth or manufacture, under these circumstances, when
deposited in unusual places, in unusual quantities, in places where
there is reason to believe they are intended for exportation in
vessels, sleighs, or other carriages, or in any manner apparently
on their way towards the territories of foreign nations, or a place
whence such articles are intended to be exported. And, when taken into
custody, they are not permitted to be removed without bonds being given
for their being relanded in some place whence, in the opinion of the
collector, there is no danger of their being exported.

Without warrant founded on proof, from suspicion only, may this
unbounded license be exercised. Our houses, heretofore our castles, and
the secure abodes of our families, may be thrown open to the visits
of collectors to search for and seize our money and goods, whenever
instigated by suspicion, prejudice, resentment, or party spirit.

No place is to be protected; the people may every where be exposed,
at home, on the way, and abroad. Specie and goods thus seized without
warrant, and on suspicion only, are not to be removed unless and
until bond with sureties shall be given for landing or delivering the
same in some place of the United States, whence, in the opinion of
the collector, there shall not be any danger of such articles being
exported. These provisions strike at the vital principles of a free
government; and are they not contrary to the fourth and sixth articles
of amendments to the constitution? Are not these searches and seizures,
without warrant, on the mere suspicion of a collector, unreasonable
searches and seizures? And is not a man thereby to be deprived of
property without due process of law?

The military may be employed by such person as the President may have
empowered. He may designate, at certain places in the States, persons
to call out such part of the land or naval forces of the United States,
or of the militia, as may be judged necessary. Those will be selected
who are most convenient and in all respects qualified to act in the
scenes to which they may be called. In these appointments the Senate is
to have no concurrence. They are to be Presidential agents for issuing
requisitions to the standing army, for militia, and not amenable to
any tribunal for their conduct. Heretofore a delicate and respectful
attention has been paid to the State authorities on this subject. The
requisitions of the General Government for the militia have been made
to the Governors of the States; and what reason is there for taking a
different course to enforce the embargo?

Under our present system have not insurrections been suppressed,
rebellions quelled, and combinations and resistance against lawful
authority overcome, by the force of the General Government in
co-operation with the State Governments? Is not the authority of
the marshals competent to the execution of the laws? I see no cause
for these arrays of the military throughout the country, and the
unrestrained license that is to be given to its operations. It is a
fundamental principle of a free government, "that the military be kept
in subordination to the civil power," and never be put in motion until
those be found incompetent to preserve the public peace and authority.
But, by the provisions of this bill, these Presidential agents may
call out the standing army or militia, or part of them, to follow in
the collector's train, to seize specie and goods in houses, stores,
and elsewhere, and generally for executing the embargo laws. And
even the public peace, so far as respects the suppressing armed and
riotous assemblages of persons resisting the custom-house officers in
the exercise of their duties, it would seem can no longer be confided
to the States, and it is thought necessary to surround custom-house
officers with bands of the standing army or militia.

The bill before us is bottomed on a report of the Secretary of the
Treasury. How often were his strenuous remonstrances, and those of
the chairman of the committee who reported the bill, (Mr. GILES,)
formerly heard against the extension of the Executive patronage and
influence; the interference of the General Government in the local
policy of the States, and, the ordinary concerns of the people; and,
above all, against standing armies? Then no such Executive prerogatives
were claimed as this bill contains; no such attempts made as here are
made for intrenchments on the internal policy of the States, and the
ordinary concerns of the people; and then our army, small in comparison
with the present establishment, was kept aloof from the affairs of the
State, and the persons and property of the citizens. Our country was
happy, prosperous, and respected. The present crisis is portentous.
Internal disquiets will not be healed, nor public sentiment controlled,
by precipitate and rash measures. It is time for the public councils
to pause. This bill, sir, ought not to pass. It strikes at the vital
principles of our republican system. It proposes to place the country
in a time of peace under military law, the first appearance of which
ought here to be resisted with all our talents and efforts. It proposes
to introduce a military despotism, to which freemen can never submit,
and which can never govern except by terror and carnage.

TUESDAY, December 20.

                     _Enforcement of the Embargo._

Mr. GILES said, I am sensible that I owe an apology to the Senate, as
chairman of the committee, for not having made an exposition of the
objects and principles of the bill, reported for consideration, at an
earlier stage of the discussion. This omission has not in the smallest
degree been influenced by any apprehension, that these principles are
indefensible; but, in some degree, from a desire to screen myself,
as much as possible, from intermixing in discussions; a task which
is never agreeable, but is at present peculiarly distressing and
afflicting to my feelings. I also thought that the session had already
been sufficiently fruitful of discussions intimately connected with the
bill before us; and that the public interests, at this time, required
action. I know, too, sir, that I owe an apology to the Senate, for the
great number of amendments which, under their indulgence, has been
made to this bill after it was first presented to their consideration.
But, sir, you will find some apology in the intrinsic difficulty
and delicacy of the subject itself, and also in the disposition
manifested by the committee, to give to the objections made by the
opponents of the bill, that respectful attention to which many of
them were certainly entitled, and to accommodate its provisions, as
far as possible, to the views of those gentlemen. After every effort,
however, to effect this object, it still appears that the bill presents
temptations for addressing the popular sensibility too strong to be
resisted by gentlemen in the opposition. They have, accordingly,
with great zeal and ability, described the provisions of the bill as
dangerous and alarming to the rights and liberties of the people.
This, sir, is the common course of opposition, and applies to every
strong measure requiring the exercise of much Executive discretion. I
think, however, I shall be able to show that there is no new principle
contained in the provisions of that bill; but that every provision it
contains is amply justified by precedents in pre-existing laws, which
have not been found to be so destructive to the rights of the people,
as gentlemen strenuously insist similar provisions in this bill will
be, if they receive the sanction of law. In performing this task, I
shall bring into view only such parts of the bill as have been objected
to by gentlemen, presuming that, as their objections have evidently
been the result of great industry and deliberation, all other parts of
the bill remain unobjectionable. I shall also, perhaps, avoid some of
the observations respecting minute details; apply my remarks generally
to principles; and thus bring my observations and replies into as short
a compass as possible.

The gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. GOODRICH) commenced his remarks
by declaring the embargo to be a permanent measure, deprecating its
effects, as ruinous at home and ineffectual abroad. These observations
have been repeatedly made by others, and already replied to by several
gentlemen, as well as myself; and I am strengthened in the correctness
of those replies by all the further reflections I have been enabled
to bestow upon them. This part of the subject will, therefore, be
passed over without further notice, except to remark, that perhaps
one of the causes of the inefficacy of the measure abroad, has been
the unprincipled violations of its provisions at home; and the great
and leading object of the present bill is to prevent such violations.
Upon this part of the subject I am happy to find that one of its most
strenuous and judicious opposers (Mr. HILLHOUSE) has candidly informed
the Senate, that the provisions of the bill are admirably calculated
to effect that object--and if in their practical operation they should
realize the character anticipated by that gentleman, I shall feel no
regret for that portion of labor I have bestowed upon them. Indeed, I
shall congratulate the committee as well as myself in having been so
fortunate as to find a competent remedy for so great an evil.

The gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. GOODRICH) informs us, that
the public councils are pressing on to measures pregnant with the
most alarming results. I hope the gentleman is mistaken in his
apprehensions, and I should have been much pleased if the gentleman had
been good enough to point them to a better course; but, sir, he has
not done so, nor has any gentleman on the same side of the question.
Indeed, sir, it would give me great pleasure to do something that would
be agreeable to our Eastern friends; but, unfortunately, amidst all the
intrinsic difficulties which press upon us, that seems to be not among
the least of them. The gentlemen themselves will not explicitly tell us
what would produce the effect--and I am inclined to think that nothing
short of putting the Government in their hands would do it. Even this
would not be exempt from difficulties. The gentlemen from that part
of the United States are nearly equally divided among themselves
respecting the proper course of measures to be pursued, and there is
an immense majority in every other part of the United States, in favor
of the measures proposed; we are therefore surrounded with real and
intrinsic difficulties from every quarter, and those of a domestic
nature are infinitely the most formidable, and most to be deprecated.
Indeed, sir, under present circumstances, the administration of
the Government cannot be a pleasant task; and, in my judgment, it
requires a great effort of patriotism to undertake it, not on account
of external pressures, but on account of internal discontents,
stimulated, too, by so many artful intrigues. But for these unfortunate
circumstances, every gentleman would feel an honorable pride in
contributing his efforts to devise measures for repelling foreign
aggressions, and he would court the responsibility attached to his
station. I would not, Mr. President, give up a scintilla of that
portion of the responsibility which the crisis imposes on me. Indeed,
sir, to have the honor of bearing my full share of it, is the only
inducement I have at this moment for occupying a place on this floor.
Without that consideration I should now be in retirement. But when I
turn my eyes upon internal divisions, discontents and violations of
law, and am compelled to think of measures for their suppression, it
produces the most painful sensations and distressing reflections.

The great principle of objection, the gentlemen tell us, consists
in the transfer of legislative powers to the Executive Department.
This is an old an abstract question, often heretofore brought into
view, and leads to endless discussion. I think I shall be able to
show that the bill introduces no new principle in this respect, but
only applies an established principle to new practical objects. The
general principle of the separation of departments is generally
admitted in the abstract; but the difficulties in this discussion
arise from applying the principle to practical objects. The great
difficulty exists in the attempt to fix on the precise boundary
line between legislative and Executive powers in their practical
operation. This is not possi-[1] You might attempt the search for the
philosopher's stone, or the discovery of the perpetual motion, with
as much prospect of success. The reason of this difficulty is, that
the practical objects and events to which this abstract principle is
attempted to be applied, are perpetually varying, according to the
practical progression of human affairs, and therefore cannot admit of
any uniform standard of application. This reflection might have saved
the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. LLOYD) the trouble of reading to
us the constitution or bill of rights of Massachusetts, in which the
principle of separation of departments is very clearly and properly
laid down, and which will be very readily assented to in the abstract,
but which forms no part of the question in dispute. It cannot,
however, escape observation, that this principle is not laid down,
even in the abstract, in the Constitution of the United States; and,
although it is the leading principle of the constitution, and probably
was the principal guide in its formation, it is nevertheless in several
respects departed from.

This body partakes essentially both of the legislative and Executive
powers of the Government. The Executive Department also partakes of
the legislative powers, as far at least as an approbation of, and a
qualified negative of the laws extend, &c. I make these observations,
however, not in derogation of the general principle of the separation
of powers among the several departments, so far as is practicable, but
merely to show that there must necessarily be some limitations in its
practical operation. Perhaps the best general rule for guiding our
discretion upon this subject will be found to consist in this: That
legislation ought to extend as far as definition is practicable--when
definition stops, execution must necessarily begin. But some of
the particular provisions of this bill will furnish more precise
illustrations of my opinions upon this question; it will, therefore, be
waived until I shall come to their consideration.

I will now proceed to examine the more particular objections urged
against the detail of this bill. Its provisions respecting the coasting
trade are said to be objectionable in the following respects:

First objection: The penalty of the bonds required, is said to be
excessive. To enable us to decide correctly upon this point, the object
proposed to be effected, and the penalty required, should be considered
in reference to each other. The object is to prevent, by means of
coasting vessels, domestic articles from being carried abroad. Flour,
for instance, to the West Indies. The price of that article here is
less than five dollars; in the West Indies it is said to be thirty
and upward. The penalty of the bonds required is six times the amount
of the value of the vessel and cargo. Is any gentleman prepared to
say a smaller penalty will effect the object? I presume not. Indeed,
the committee were disposed to put it at the lowest possible point,
consistently with an effectuation of the object; and probably it is
rather too low for that purpose. As to the penalty, according to the
tonnage of vessels, it is believed no alteration in the existing
laws is made in that respect. These penalties will appear the more
reasonable, when it is recollected, that through the indulgence given
of the coasting trade, most of the violations of the embargo laws have
been contrived and effected.

Second objection: The collectors may be influenced by party spirit in
the exercise of their discretion. It is hoped that this will not be the
case, and if it were, it would certainly be much to be regretted. It
may, however, probably happen, and is one of the inconveniences of the

Third objection: The high penalties of the bonds will drive many
persons of small means from their accustomed occupations. They will
not be able to procure the competent security for their prosecution.
It is not to be presumed that this will be the effect to any great
extent. If the owner is known to be honest, and has in view legal and
honest objects, I have very little apprehension of his not being able
to get the security required. But here the question recurs, are these
apprehended inconveniences of such a nature as to render it necessary
to abandon a great national object, for the accommodation of a few
individuals who are affected by them? Is the last effort to preserve
the peace of the nation, to be abandoned from these considerations? I
should conclude, certainly not.

The next objections are made to the seventh section of the bill, which
provides that stress of weather, and other unavoidable accidents at
sea, shall not be given in evidence in a trial at law to save the
penalty of bonds given as security against the violation of the embargo
laws. It is known that, through pretexts derived from this permission,
at present, most of the violations of these laws have been committed
with impunity--it is, therefore, important to the future execution of
the laws, to take away these pretexts. But it is objected that this
regulation manifests a distrust of oaths. It does, of what is called
custom-house oaths; their violation is already almost proverbial; it
does not, however, produce nor encourage this profligacy; it takes
away the temptation to it. It is further said, it impairs the trial by
jury--very far from it; the trial by jury still exists; this provision
only regulates the evidence to be produced before the jury. Gentlemen
state particular hardships which may take place under this regulation.
It is easy to state possible hardships under any general regulation;
but they have never been deemed sufficient objections to general
regulations producing in other respects beneficial results. This bill,
however, contains a provision for relief in all cases of hardships
under the embargo laws. The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to
grant relief in all such cases. This power, vested in the Secretary,
is also objected to. It is said to manifest a distrust of courts, and
to transfer their powers to the Secretary of the Treasury. Whatever
may be my distrust of some of the courts of the United States, I can
say that consideration furnished no inducement to this provision. It
is a power not suited to the organization of courts, and it has for
a long time been exercised by the Secretary of the Treasury without
being complained of. Congress proceeded with great caution on this
subject. On the third day of March, 1797, they first introduced this
principle into their laws in relation to the collection of the revenue;
and, after an experiment of nearly three years, on the eleventh day
of February, 1800, they made the law perpetual. This will appear from
the 12th section of this bill, which merely borrows this provision
from pre-existing laws. It introduces no new principle whatever. This
doctrine is carried still further, by an act passed the 3d of March,
1807, in the eighth volume of the laws, page 318:

    "An Act to prevent settlements being made on lands ceded to the
    United States, until authorized by law.

    "And it shall moreover be lawful for the President of the
    United States to direct the Marshal, or officer acting as
    Marshal, in the manner hereinafter directed, and also to
    take such other measures, and to employ such military force
    as he may judge necessary and proper, to remove from lands
    ceded, or secured to the United States by treaty, or cession
    as aforesaid, any person or persons who shall hereafter take
    possession of the same, or make or attempt to make a settlement
    thereon, until authorized by law."

Here the President is authorized to use the military force to remove
settlers from the public lands without the intervention of courts; and
the reason is, that the peculiarity of the case is not suited to the
jurisdiction of courts, nor would their powers be competent to the
object, nor, indeed, are courts allowed to interfere with any claims
of individuals against the United States, but Congress undertakes
to decide upon all such cases finally and peremptorily, without the
intervention of courts.

This part of the bill is, therefore, supported both by principle and

While speaking of the distrust of courts, I hope I may be indulged in
remarking, that individually my respect for judicial proceedings is
materially impaired. I find, sir, that latterly, in some instances,
the callous insensibility to extrinsic objects, which, in times past,
was thought the most honorable trait in the character of an upright
judge, is now, by some courts, entirely disrespected. It seems, by some
judges, to be no longer thought an ornament to the judicial character,
but is now substituted by the most capricious sensibilities.

WEDNESDAY, December 21.

                     _Enforcement of the Embargo._

Mr. POPE spoke in favor of the bill.

And on the question, Shall this bill pass? it was determined in the
affirmative--yeas 20, nays 7, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Condit, Crawford, Franklin, Gaillard,
    Giles, Gregg, Kitchel, Milledge, Mitchill, Moore, Pope,
    Robinson, Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, Smith of
    Tennessee, Sumter, Thruston, Tiffin, and Turner.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Gilman, Goodrich, Hillhouse, Lloyd, Mathewson,
    Pickering, and White.

WEDNESDAY, December 28.

The VICE PRESIDENT being absent by reason of the ill state of his
health, the Senate proceeded to the election of a President _pro
tempore_, as the constitution provides; and STEPHEN R. BRADLEY was

FRIDAY, January 6, 1809.

RETURN JONATHAN MEIGS, jun., appointed a Senator by the General
Assembly of the State of Ohio, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the
resignation of JOHN SMITH, and, also, for six years ensuing the third
day of March next, attended, and produced his credentials, which were
read; and the oath prescribed by law was administered to him.

TUESDAY, January 10.

JAMES A. BAYARD, from the State of Delaware, attended.

MONDAY, January 16

The credentials of MICHAEL LEIB, appointed a Senator by the Legislature
of the State of Pennsylvania, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the
resignation of SAMUEL MACLAY, were read, and ordered to lie on file.

THURSDAY, January 19.

MICHAEL LEIB, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
Pennsylvania, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of the
Honorable SAMUEL MACLAY, attended, and the oath prescribed by law was
administered to him.

TUESDAY, January 24.

             _Foreign Intercourse--the Two Millions Secret
                  Appropriation--Florida the object._

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

  _To the Senate of the United States_:

    According to the resolution of the Senate, of the 17th instant,
    I now transmit them the information therein requested,
    respecting the execution of the act of Congress of February 21,
    1806, appropriating two millions of dollars for defraying any
    extraordinary expenses attending the intercourse between the
    United States and foreign nations.

  JANUARY 24, 1809.

                                                          TH. JEFFERSON.

The Message and documents were read, and one thousand copies thereof
ordered to be printed for the use of the two Houses of Congress.

    In compliance with the resolution of the Senate, so far as
    the same is not complied with by the report of the Secretary
    of the Treasury of the 20th instant, the Secretary of State
    respectfully reports, that neither the whole nor any portion of
    the two millions of dollars appropriated by the act of Congress
    of the 21st of February, 1806, "for defraying any extraordinary
    expenses attending the intercourse between the United States
    and foreign nations," was ever authorized or intended to be
    applied to the use of either France, Holland, or any country
    other than Spain; nor otherwise to be applied to Spain than
    by treaty with the Government thereof, and exclusively in
    consideration of a cession and delivery to the United States of
    the territory held by Spain, eastward of the river Mississippi.

    All which is respectfully submitted.

                                                          JAMES MADISON.


MONDAY, January 30.

The VICE PRESIDENT having retired, the Senate proceeded to the election
of a President _pro tempore_, as the constitution provides; and the
Hon. JOHN MILLEDGE was appointed.

THURSDAY, February 2.

The credentials of SAMUEL WHITE, appointed a Senator by the Legislature
of the State of Delaware, for six years, commencing on the 4th of March
next, were read, and ordered to lie on file.

TUESDAY, February 7.

             _Examination and Count of Electoral Votes for
                     President and Vice President._

Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, from the joint committee appointed to ascertain
and report a mode of examining the votes for President and Vice
President, and of notifying the persons elected of their election, and
for regulating the time, place, and manner, of administering the oath
of office to the President, reported in part the following resolution,
which was read and agreed to:

    _Resolved_, That the two Houses shall assemble in the Chamber
    of the House of Representatives, on Wednesday next, at 12
    o'clock; that one person be appointed a teller on the part
    of the Senate, to make a list of the votes as they shall be
    declared; that the result shall be delivered to the President
    of the Senate, who shall announce the state of the vote, and
    the persons elected, to the two Houses assembled as aforesaid;
    which shall be deemed a declaration of the persons elected
    President and Vice President, and, together with a list of the
    votes, to be entered on the Journals of the two Houses.

_Ordered_, That Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, be appointed teller on the part
of the Senate, agreeably to the foregoing resolution.

A message from the House of Representatives brought to the Senate "the
several memorials from sundry citizens of the State of Massachusetts,
remonstrating against the mode in which the appointment of Electors
for President and Vice President has been proceeded to on the part of
the Senate and House of Representatives of said State, as irregular
and unconstitutional, and praying for the interference of the Senate
and House of Representatives of the United States, for the purpose of
preventing the establishment of so dangerous a precedent."

The message last mentioned, referring to the memorials of sundry
citizens of the State of Massachusetts, was read.

_Ordered_, That the message and memorials lie on the table.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
the House agree to the report of the joint committee "appointed to
ascertain and report a mode of examining the votes for President and
Vice President, and of notifying the persons elected of their election,
and to regulate the time, place, and manner of administering the oath
of office to the President," and have appointed Messrs. NICHOLAS and
VAN DYKE tellers on their part.

WEDNESDAY, February 8.

The two Houses of Congress, agreeably to the joint resolution,
assembled in the Representatives' Chamber, and the certificates of the
Electors for the several States were, by the President of the Senate,
opened and delivered to the tellers appointed for the purpose, who,
having examined and ascertained the number of votes, presented a list
thereof to the President of the Senate, which was read, as follows:

  James Madison.  = JMn
  George Clinton. = GC
  C. C. Pinckney. = CCP
  James Monroe.   = JMe
  John Langdon.   = JL
  Rufus King.     = RK

  |    STATES.    |For President.|   For Vice-President.   |
  |               +----+----+----+-----+----+----+----+----+
  |               | JMn|  GC| CCP|   GC| JMn| JMe|  JL|  RK|
  |New Hampshire  |  --|  --|   7|   --|  --|  --|  --|   7|
  |Massachusetts  |  --|  --|  19|   --|  --|  --|  --|  19|
  |Rhode Island   |  --|  --|   4|   --|  --|  --|  --|   4|
  |Connecticut    |  --|  --|   9|   --|  --|  --|  --|   9|
  |Vermont        |   6|  --|  --|   --|  --|  --|   6|    |
  |New York       |  13|   6|  --|   13|   3|   3|    |    |
  |New Jersey     |   8|  --|  --|    8|    |    |    |    |
  |Pennsylvania   |  20|  --|  --|   20|    |    |    |    |
  |Delaware       |  --|  --|   3|   --|  --|  --|  --|   3|
  |Maryland       |   9|  --|   2|    9|  --|  --|  --|   2|
  |Virginia       |  24|  --|  --|   24|    |    |    |    |
  |North Carolina |  11|  --|   3|   11|  --|  --|  --|   3|
  |South Carolina |  10|  --|  --|   10|    |    |    |    |
  |Georgia        |   6|  --|  --|    6|    |    |    |    |
  |Kentucky       |   7|  --|  --|    7|    |    |    |    |
  |Tennessee      |   5|  --|  --|    5|    |    |    |    |
  |Ohio           |   3|  --|  --|   --|  --|  --|   3|    |
  |Totals         | 122|   6|  47|  113|   3|   3|   9|  47|

The whole number of votes being 175, of which 88 make a majority.

Whereupon the President of the Senate declared JAMES MADISON elected
President of the United States for four years, commencing with the
fourth day of March next; and GEORGE CLINTON Vice President of the
United States for four years, commencing with the fourth day of March

The votes of the Electors were then delivered to the Secretary of the
Senate; the two Houses of Congress separated; and the Senate returned
to their own Chamber.

On motion, by MR. SMITH of Maryland,

_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be requested
to cause to be delivered to JAMES MADISON, Esq., of Virginia, now
Secretary of State of the United States, a notification of his election
to the office of President of the United States; and to be transmitted
to GEORGE CLINTON, Esq., of New York, Vice President elect of the
United States, notification of his election to that office; and that
the President of the Senate do make out and sign a certificate in the
words following, viz:

    _Be it known_, That the Senate and House of Representatives
    of the United States of America, being convened at the city
    of Washington, on the second Wednesday in February, in the
    year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and nine, the
    underwritten, President of the Senate _pro tempore_, did, in
    presence of the said Senate and House of Representatives, open
    all the certificates and count all the votes of the Electors
    for a President and Vice President of the United States.
    Whereupon, it appeared that JAMES MADISON, of Virginia, had
    a majority of the votes of the Electors as President, and
    GEORGE CLINTON, of New York, had a majority of the votes of
    the Electors as Vice President. By all which it appears that
    JAMES MADISON, of Virginia, has been duly elected President,
    and GEORGE CLINTON, of New York, has been duly elected Vice
    President of the United States, agreeably to the constitution.

    In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the
    seal of the Senate to be affixed, this ---- day of February,

And that the President of the Senate do cause the certificate aforesaid
to be laid before the President of the United States with this

TUESDAY, February 21.

The credentials of JOSEPH ANDERSON, appointed a Senator for the State
of Tennessee, by the Executive of that State, from and after the
expiration of the time limited in his present appointment, until the
end of the next session of the Legislature thereof, were presented and
read, and ordered to lie on file.

                 _Franking Privilege to Mr. Jefferson._

The bill freeing from postage all letters and packets to Thomas
Jefferson was read the second time, and considered as in Committee of
the Whole; and no amendment having been proposed, on the question,
Shall this bill be engrossed and read a third time? it was determined
in the affirmative.


Mr. TIFFIN, from the committee, reported the bill to interdict the
commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain
and France, and their dependencies, and for other purposes, correctly
engrossed; and the bill was read the third time, and the blanks
filled--section three, with the words _twentieth_ and _May_ in two

On motion by Mr. BRADLEY, the words, "or being pursued by the enemy,"
were stricken out of the first and third sections, by unanimous consent.

Mr. LLOYD addressed the Senate as follows:

Mr. President: When the resolution on which this bill is founded was
brought forward, I had expected it would have been advocated--as a
means of preserving peace--as a menace to the belligerents, that a more
rigorous course of conduct was about to be adopted towards them, on the
part of the United States, provided they continued to persist in their
injurious decrees, and Orders in Council--as giving us time to prepare
for war--or as a covert, but actual war, against France and Great

I feel indebted to the honorable gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. GILES,)
for not only having very much narrowed the consideration of this
subject, but for the open, candid, and manly ground he has taken,
both in support of the resolution and the bill. I understood him to
avow, that the effect must be war, and that a war with Great Britain;
that, notwithstanding the non-intercourse attached to this bill,
the merchants would send their vessels to sea; those vessels would
be captured by British cruisers; these captures would be resisted;
such resistance would produce war, and that was what he both wished
and expected. I agree perfectly with the gentleman, that this is the
natural progress, and must be the ultimate effect of the measure; and I
am also glad, that neither the honorable Senate nor the people of the
United States can entertain any doubts upon the subject.

I understood the gentleman also to say, that this was a result he had
long expected. Now, sir, as there have been no recent decrees, or
Orders in Council issued, if war has been long looked for, from those
now in operation, I know not what excuse those who have the management
of our concerns can offer to the people of the United States, for
leaving the country in its present exposed, naked, and defenceless

What are our preparations for war? After being together four-fifths
of the session, we have extorted a reluctant consent to fit out four
frigates. We have also on the stocks, in the navy yard and elsewhere
scattered along the coast, from the Mississippi to the Schoodick, one
hundred and seventy gunboats, which, during the summer season, and
under the influence of gentle western breezes, may, when in commission,
make out to navigate some of our bays and rivers, not, however, for
any effectual purposes of defence, for I most conscientiously believe,
that three stout frigates would destroy the whole of them; and of the
enormous expense at which this burlesque naval establishment is kept
up, we have had a specimen the present session, by a bill exhibited
to the Senate, of eight hundred dollars for medical attendance,
on a single gunboat for a single month, at New Orleans. If other
expenditures are to be made in this ratio, it requires but few powers
of calculation to foretell that, if the gunboats can destroy nothing
else, they would soon destroy the public Treasury.

We have also heard of a project for raising fifty thousand volunteers,
which has, I believe, been very properly stifled in its birth, and we
have appropriated, during the present session, one hundred and fifty
thousand dollars towards the erection, repairing, and completion of our
fortifications. A sum about equal to the expenditure of the British
Government for six weeks, or two months, on a single fortress in the
Province of Canada, and which sum, with us, is to put into a state
of defence, against the naval power of Great Britain, an exposed and
accessible maritime frontier of two thousand miles in extent!

In contemplating war, it is also proper to advert to the state of
the Treasury. Under such an event, and with any serious preparation
for war or actual prosecution of it, the present funds would soon be
exhausted. How soon cannot be stated, because the amount of them cannot
be accurately ascertained. A part, and a considerable part, of the
money now on hand, does not belong to the public. It is the property
of the merchants; it is deposited in the Treasury as in a bank, to be
checked for, whenever that commerce, which Mr. Jefferson, in his Notes
on Virginia, most emphatically says, our country _will have_, shall be
again reopened.

And thus situated, what are the projects offered for replenishing
the public coffers in future? It is the duty of the Secretary of the
Treasury to develop the resources of the nation, and to point out new
sources of supply, whenever the usual channels are impeded. He has
designated three modes. The first, if executed, embraces, in my view,
and I am sorry to say it, a marked violation of the public faith. It
is the suggestion of stopping drawbacks on merchandise, which, in many
instances, the merchants, from a reliance on the stability of your
laws, and the integrity of the Government, have imported expressly for
exportation, and not for domestic use or consumption in this country,
and which exportation you have prevented them, alike contrary to their
inclinations and their interests, from making for a longer period than
ever was known or endured in any other nation.

The second project is one which, in my opinion, would do little honor
to the genius of any man. It is a sweeping project for doubling, at
the moment, the duties on every description of imported merchandise,
on which a duty is now payable. Without notice to the merchant,
without inquiry, without discrimination, without distinction between
the necessaries of the poor man and the luxuries of the rich one;
between the indispensable raw materials of the manufacturer and the
useless decorations of fashion. By which, bohea tea and Madeira wine,
brown sugar and cosmetics, coaches and carpenters tools, are all, by a
single stroke of the pen, raised in the same ratio; and a duty of 100
per cent. on the present rates, without favor or affection, equally
recommended to be imposed on the whole of them.

The third project is certainly not a novel one; it is simply that
of shifting the burden off our own shoulders on to those of our
successors: it is that of borrowing money on loans.

I have been, sir, among those who have respected the intelligence and
acuteness of the Secretary of the Treasury. I have thought the office
very ably filled; nor has my estimation of his talents been diminished
from the few personal conferences I have had with him since I have been
in this city; but if his fame rested on no firmer a basis than the
reports made to Congress the present session, in relation to enforcing
the embargo laws, and to our fiscal concerns, then an infant's breath
might easily burst the bubble. At any rate, it may very truly be said,
that if such are our preparations for commencing, and our resources for
continuing a war, they are those which will serve neither to inspirit
ourselves, nor to frighten our enemies.

If we are to have war, with whom is it to be prosecuted--not in terms
I mean, but in fact? Certainly not with France. Her few possessions
in the West Indies have probably, by this time, ceased to belong to
her, and between her European territories and the United States a gulf
intervenes, a power is interposed, which neither the Emperor of the
West nor the King of the two Americas can either fathom or resist.

It then appears, if we are to have war, it is to be a covert war with
the two belligerents, but in reality an actual war with Great Britain
alone, and not a war with both France and Great Britain, as the face of
this bill seems to import.

If this be the determination of our Government, and the war is to
commence at a future day, and not instantly, what is the course which
policy would dictate to this country to pursue? Certainly not a
prohibition of the importation of her manufactures. A long period of
years must elapse before we can furnish for ourselves many articles
we receive from her even of the first necessity, or those which,
from habit, have become such to us. We should, therefore, sedulously
endeavor, not only to guard against exhausting our present stock, but
to adopt every means in our power to replenish it.

It would be expedient to throw wide open the entrance of our ports
for importations, to overstock as much as possible the United States
with British manufactures. This would procure for us a double
advantage; it would promote our own accommodation, by giving us the
means of commencing and prosecuting war with fewer privations, and
it would powerfully tend to unite the interests of a certain class
of the inhabitants of that country with our own--for, as the mass of
importations from Great Britain are made on long credits, should a war
ensue before such credits are cancelled, it is obvious that, until the
conclusion of the war, those debts could not be collected, and this
circumstance alone, to a certain extent, might operate as a preventive
check to war, or, at any rate, would secure in the bosom of the British
nation a party whose interests and feelings would be intimately
connected with a speedy return of peace.

By adopting a non-intercourse antecedent to a state of war, our own
stock of supplies becomes exhausted, the British merchants have time
and notice given them to collect, or alienate, by assignment, their
debts in this country. A warning is given them to buckle on their
armor; their good disposition towards us is not only changed, but
embittered, and the very persons who, in the one case, might possibly
prevent a war, or be instrumental in effecting the restoration of
peace, would, in the other, probably be among the most willing to
rush into the contest, from the impulse of temper, and from the
conviction that their own circumstances would not be deteriorated by
its consequences.

A non-intercourse would also be attended with great hazard and
disadvantage. It would be as well understood by others as by ourselves;
it could alone be considered as the precursor of war; and the blow
would be struck, not when we were prepared, but when our opponents were
ready for the contest; and should this bill go into operation, it is
very possible that during the ensuing summer, some of our cities may
exhibit heaps of ruins and of ashes, before expresses could convene at
the seat of Government even the heads of our departments.

Another evil would arise, and that a permanent one; whether a
non-intercourse eventuated in war or peace, it would materially and
adversely affect both the habits of the people and the revenue of the
State. Many of the articles which are now imported from Great Britain
are indispensable for our comfort, and some of them for our existence.
The people cannot do without them: the consequence must be, that,
instead of being regularly imported, the articles will be smuggled into
this country, and thereby the price not only becomes greatly enhanced
to the consumer, but the duties are wholly lost to the Government.

Hitherto, the revenue of the United States, arising from impost, has
been collected with a degree of integrity and punctuality highly
honorable and unexampled in the history of commercial nations. This
successful collection of duties has not however been effected by the
employment of swarms of revenue officers, spies, and informers, as in
other countries; it has been infinitely more effectually secured, by
an honorable pride of character, and that sentiment of affection which
was naturally excited in the hearts of freemen towards the Government
of their choice, and a Government under which, in the main, they have
experienced much prosperity. But barriers of this description, like
other high-toned sentiments of the mind, being once broken down, can
with difficulty be restored, and the chance of materially impairing
this, in reality, "cheap defence of nations," should, in my opinion, of
itself, afford a sufficient reason for the rejection of all measures of
doubtful policy.

In a country nearly surrounded by, and everywhere intersected with
navigable waters, encompassed by a frontier beyond the ability of ten
Bonapartean armies to guard, and inhabited by a race of men unrivalled
for hardihood and enterprise, and at present in a state of poverty, the
temptation of great prices will be irresistible--for there is no truism
in morals or philosophy better established than the commercial axiom,
that demand will ultimately furnish a supply.

There are, undoubtedly, periods in the history of a nation, in
which a contest would be both honorable and indispensable, but it
should ever be the result of great deliberation, and in an extended
republic, perhaps, of necessity. That government is most wise and most
patriotic, which so conducts the affairs of the nation over which it
presides, as to produce the greatest ultimate good; and when a nation
is attacked at the same time by two assailants, it is no reflection on
its honor or its bravery, to select its opponent; and on principles of
reciprocity, independently of those of interest, the first aggressor
would undoubtedly be entitled to the first notice.

Who then has been the first aggressor? I answer, France. The Berlin
Decree is in a great measure the cause of our present difficulties.
In justification of France in doing this, I know gentlemen resort to
the convention between Russia and Great Britain in 1793, to prohibit
a supply of grain to France; but this is by no means sufficient
justification to France, even without referring to a decree to the same
effect issued in May of the same year by France, while she was ignorant
of the secret stipulation between Russia and Great Britain.

For a long period, and among most of the maritime nations of Europe,
the right of inhibiting a supply of provisions to an enemy, was tacitly
acquiesced in, or expressly admitted. This practice existed even
so long ago as the Mithridatic war, and has probably been followed
up, without an interval at any one time of fifty years, from the
commencement of the Christian era to the present day. This attempt,
therefore, of Great Britain to injure France, formed no excuse for
France to attempt to injure Great Britain by violating the commerce of
the United States.

On the 31st of December, 1806, the British Government formally
notified the American Government, that Great Britain would consider an
acquiescence in the Berlin Decree on the part of neutral nations, as
giving to her (Great Britain) the right to retaliate in the same way
against France.

Had the American Government, at this period, manfully and explicitly
made known its determination to support our rights at all hazards, I
have no belief that our present difficulties would ever have existed.

In May succeeding, advices were received of French privateers, under
this decree, depredating upon American vessels in the West Indies; and
during the same month the ship Horizon, in distress, was thrown by the
act of God on the French coast, and was seized under the same authority.

In November, 1807, the British, in conformity with their notice,
issued their retaliating order. A prior Order in Council of January,
1807, had been issued, but this only affected vessels trading between
different ports of France, or between ports of France and her allies;
a trade always obnoxious to suspicion, and one which during war must
ever be expected in a great degree to be restricted, and which is also
interdicted by a standing law of the French Government, passed in 1778,
and confirmed by the present Emperor.

Then followed in succession, on the part of France, the Milan and
Bayonne decrees. The last of which dooms an American vessel to
condemnation from the exercise of a right universally acknowledged to
belong to belligerents, and one which the neutral has no possibility of
preventing, that of being spoken with by an enemy cruiser, which from
her superior sailing there was no possibility of avoiding. In point of
principle, this is the most outrageous violation of neutral rights ever
known, and this, too, took place under the existence of a treaty made
within a few years by the same person who issued these very decrees.
While with Great Britain we have no treaty, and whose orders are
expressly bottomed upon and limited in duration by the French decrees,
and issued after having given twelve months' notice of her intention to
oppose them in this way, and the Orders in Council are even as yet not
co-extensive in principle with the French decrees.

I have, in taking this brief view, confined myself exclusively to the
decrees and orders of the two Governments, without adverting to other
causes of complaint on either side. I consider myself as warranted in
doing this, from the American Government having explicitly taken this
ground, and made known that, on the removal of the decrees and orders,
it would, on our part, remove the embargo, and restore the accustomed
intercourse between the two countries.

From this consideration of the subject, it irresistibly follows, that
France was the first aggressor on us, in issuing her decrees--that in
point of principle, they are much more outrageous violations of right
than the British Orders in Council--that the latter originate from, and
co-exist only with the former, and that France should of consequence be
the first object of our vengeance.

The effects of a war with one or the other nation, would be as
distinctly perceptible. With France it would make no difference to us.
For as long as she continues her decrees, commerce with her could not
be prosecuted--no man would be mad enough while her coast is lined,
and the ocean covered with British cruisers, to send his vessel to
France, where she would meet with certain condemnation for being even
seen and spoken with by a British frigate. With France, therefore,
the actual difference arising from passing this bill, and declaring a
non-intercourse, would be next to nothing.

With Great Britain the effects would be reversed. No one now doubts
her ability or disposition to carry her orders into effect, nor her
preparation to extend the theatre of war. If we commenced war upon
France, as she would be the common enemy of both nations, there is
no doubt in my mind that our differences with Great Britain would be
favorably settled, that the commerce of the world, excepting as it
respects France and her allies, would be again open to us, and that
a trade, which has hitherto employed nearly seventy millions of our
capital, might be again accessible to the industry and enterprise of
our citizens.

Reverse this picture, admitting that you have a war with Great Britain,
what will be its consequences? If your citizens are united, you can
capture Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick; when you have effected
this, what remains next to be done? You have reached the _ne plus
ultra_ of your ability. Thenceforward your ports are hermetically
sealed. Privateering, from the convoy system adopted by Great Britain,
could not be successfully prosecuted; no food for enterprise remains,
and thus you would remain, five, ten, or fifteen years, as the case
might be, until the wisdom and good sense of the nation predominated
over its passion, when an accommodation would be made with Great
Britain, following her example with regard to her West India conquests,
restoring the captured provinces, enriched by American population and
industry, and giving us perhaps a treaty still less favorable than the
much execrated instrument of 1794, which, bad as it was said to be, has
proved a _cornucopia_ of wealth to our country, if it produced nothing
less than a thirteen years' peace, and which, to my view, is vastly
preferable to its abortive successor of the year eighteen hundred and

The question was now taken on the passage of the bill, and determined
in the affirmative--yeas 21, nays 12, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Condit, Franklin, Gaillard, Giles,
    Gregg, Howland, Kitchel, Leib, Mathewson, Meigs, Milledge,
    Mitchill, Moore, Pope, Robinson, Smith of Maryland, Smith of
    New York, Smith of Tennessee, Thruston, and Tiffin.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Bayard, Crawford, Gilman, Goodrich, Hillhouse,
    Lloyd, Parker, Pickering, Reed, Sumter, Turner, and White.

So it was resolved that this bill pass, and that the title thereof be,
"An act to interdict the commercial intercourse between the United
States and Great Britain and France, and their dependencies, and for
other purposes."

FRIDAY, February 24.

                          _Additional Duties._

The bill, entitled "An act for imposing additional duties upon all
goods, wares, and merchandise, imported from any foreign port or
place," was read the third time as amended.

Mr. LLOYD moved to postpone the further consideration of this bill
until the first Monday in June next; and addressed the chair as follows:

Mr. President: After the observations which I have before made, sir,
on this bill, and the detailed consideration which was given to it
yesterday, I should not again rise, were the subject not a commercial,
and an exceedingly important one; nor is it now my intention to make
more than a few remarks, and these the Senate will probably think
entitled to more than usual respect, when I inform them they will
principally be, neither my own, nor wholly accordant with my opinions.

This bill can only be advocated upon the ground that a war is about
to ensue, and that, to prepare the public Treasury to sustain the
prosecution of such war, this proposed duty is necessary. My purpose
is to cite some authorities to show that neither the one nor the other
is either expected or necessary; and the authorities I shall adduce
to prove this, are those to which the Senate is accustomed to pay the
highest respect.

    [Here Mr. Lloyd quoted from Mr. Gallatin's Treasury reports, to
    show that he deemed loans preferable to taxes if war ensued,
    and that there was revenue enough until the next winter.]

Now, sir, it is clear, from the showing even of this honorable
gentleman whose calculations are received with so much respect here,
that whether there is peace, war, or embargo, our resources are yet
abundant to carry us on, at least until the next winter; and as we are
to meet again in three months, it follows that the present undigested
project must be worse than useless.

To all this mass of evidence and authority against both the necessity
and policy of laying this duty, I have only to add a few observations
to show that it will, in its operation, be both unequal and unjust.

It is well known that permanent duties, except on their first
imposition, are paid by the consumer; but whenever duties are to be
of short duration, as in the present instance, or until the stocks of
merchandise prior to the assessment of the duty are run off, the price
does not rise in ratio with the duty, and that, of consequence, the
whole, or part of the duty, is thus much of loss to the merchant. This,
in a degree, cannot be avoided, nor is it even a subject of complaint,
where due notice has been given of the intention to lay the duty; but
if it be imposed without notice, or giving time for preparation, then
the interest of the merchant is sacrificed.

The basis of all commerce is calculation; what calculation can be found
for distant enterprises when the data are perpetually shifting? If a
merchant rests on the stability of the laws of the Government, and
sends away his vessel, and on her return finds a new duty of 50 per
cent. imposed, which, for the circumstance of it, the consumer does not
pay, his whole calculations are defeated, and he pockets a loss instead
of a profit for his industry.

Commerce is very probably as well understood in England as any where.
In that country new duties on imports are imposed with great caution;
whenever contemplated, the subject is generally a long time under
consideration, sometimes hanging over from one session to another. The
Ministry make it a point frequently to consult committees of merchants
from most of the principal seaports in the kingdom. The result is,
the subject is well considered; and, when the duties are imposed,
they are submitted to with cordiality and cheerfulness. Mr. Pitt,
in the latter part of his life, always adopted this mode. He did not
think it condescension to consult merchants on subjects with which
they were better acquainted than himself. In the early part of his
administration, I have understood, he rashly imposed some additional
and heavy duties on imported merchandise; the consequence was, the
revenue diminished, and smuggling increased. With his characteristic
vigor he determined to stop it, and lined the coast with luggers,
revenue cutters, and frigates; still the revenue did not increase.
He consulted the merchants--they told him the articles were taxed
beyond their bearing; he manfully retraced his steps, and took off the
additional duty--and immediately smuggling did not pay its cost--his
luggers, cutters, and frigates, became useless, and the revenue
advanced to its ancient standard. This is one among many memorable
instances that might be adduced to show that an unwise augmentation of
duties is very far from producing an increase of revenue.

There is another view of the subject on which I shall say a few words.
This new duty will operate as a bounty to monopolizers, forestallers,
and speculators. Gentlemen are not aware of the avidity with which
mercantile men have regarded the proceedings of this session. I am
told that, within half an hour after the question was taken, about
a fortnight since, in the other House, ten expresses started for
different parts of the United States. It is notorious that English
and West India goods, and most articles of foreign merchandise in
the United States, have been bought up by speculators; it is now in
the hands of a few persons; by passing this law, you discourage new
importations, and enable the present holders to grind the poor, by
extorting high prices for the articles they hold, from a want of
competition in the market. From all these views of the subject, and
from the sentiments I have quoted from the President, Mr. Gallatin, and
General Smith, it is apparent that this measure is unwise, unnecessary,
and impolitic.

I am unwilling, sir, to take up the time of the Senate; but, however
unavailing may be the efforts of my friends and myself, I wish to have
it recorded that I was neither ignorant of the very injurious operation
of this bill upon my constituents, nor unwilling to endeavor to prevent
it. I therefore ask the indulgence of the Senate, that the ayes and
noes may be taken when this question is decided.

And on the question, it was determined in the negative--yeas 10, nays
19, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Bayard, Bradley, Gilman, Hillhouse, Lloyd,
    Mitchill, Parker, Pickering, Reed, and White.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Anderson, Condit, Crawford, Franklin, Gaillard,
    Gregg, Howland, Kitchel, Leib, Meigs, Milledge, Moore, Pope,
    Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, Smith of Tennessee,
    Sumter, Thruston, and Turner.

On motion, by Mr. SMITH, of Maryland, the further consideration of the
bill was postponed to Monday next.

FRIDAY, March 3.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
the House disagree to the first and fourth amendment of the Senate
to the bill, entitled "An act further to amend the several acts for
the establishment and regulation of the Treasury, War, and Navy
Departments, and making appropriations for the support of the Military
Establishment and the Navy of the United States for the year 1809;" and
they agree to the other amendments to the said bill.

                _Oath of Office to the President elect._

The PRESIDENT communicated to the Senate the following letter from the
President elect of the United States:

                   CITY OF WASHINGTON, March 2, 1809.

    SIR: I beg leave, through you, to inform the honorable the
    Senate of the United States, that I propose to take the oath
    which the constitution prescribes to the President of the
    United States, before he enters on the execution of his office,
    on Saturday the 4th instant, at twelve o'clock, in the Chamber
    of the House of Representatives.

    I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, sir, your
    most obedient and most humble servant,

                                                          JAMES MADISON.


                 _President pro tempore of the Senate_.

                    _Five o'clock in the Evening._


Mr. MITCHILL, from the committee, reported that they had waited on
the President of the United States, who informed them that he had no
further communications to make to the two Houses of Congress.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary notify the House of Representatives that
the Senate having finished the business before them, are about to

The Secretary having performed that duty, the Senate adjourned without


  _The President of the United States_

               _to ----, Senator for the State of ----_:

    Certain matters touching the public good requiring that the
    Senate should be convened on Saturday, the fourth day of March
    next, you are desired to attend at the Senate Chamber, in the
    city of Washington, on that day; then and there to deliberate
    on such communications as shall be made to you.

                                                          TH. JEFFERSON.

  WASHINGTON, Dec. 30, 1808.

SATURDAY, March 4.

In conformity with the summons from the President of the United States,
the Senate assembled in the Chamber of the House of Representatives.


  JOHN MILLEDGE, from the State of Georgia, President _pro

  NICHOLAS GILMAN, and NAHUM PARKER, from New Hampshire.

  TIMOTHY PICKERING, from Massachusetts.

  CHAUNCEY GOODRICH, from Connecticut.

  ELISHA MATHEWSON, from Rhode Island.

  STEPHEN R. BRADLEY, from Vermont.

  JOHN SMITH, from New York.

  AARON KITCHEL, from New Jersey.

  ANDREW GREGG, from Pennsylvania.

  JAMES A. BAYARD, from Delaware.

  PHILIP REED, from Maryland.

  WILLIAM B. GILES, from Virginia.

  JAMES TURNER, and JESSE FRANKLIN, from North Carolina.

  THOMAS SUMTER, and JOHN GAILLARD, from South Carolina.

  WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD, from Georgia.

  BUCKNER THRUSTON, and JOHN POPE, from Kentucky.

  DANIEL SMITH, from Tennessee.

  EDWARD TIFFIN, from Ohio.

JOHN LAMBERT, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
New Jersey for six years, and SAMUEL SMITH, appointed a Senator by the
Executive of the State of Maryland, attended, and their credentials
were read.

JAMES LLOYD, junior, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the
State of Massachusetts, attended, stating that he was elected, but not
in possession of his credentials.

JOSEPH ANDERSON, from the State of Tennessee; RICHARD BRENT, from the
State of Virginia; JAMES HILLHOUSE, from the State of Connecticut;
MICHAEL LEIB, from the State of Pennsylvania; RETURN J. MEIGS, from the
State of Ohio; JONATHAN ROBINSON, from the State of Vermont; SAMUEL
WHITE, from the State of Delaware, severally attended.

The oath required by law was administered to the Senators above
mentioned, in the six years' class, respectively, except to MR. BRENT.

The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES attended, and communicated the


    Unwilling to depart from examples of the most revered
    authority, I avail myself of the occasion now presented, to
    express the profound impression made on me by the call of my
    country to the station, to the duties of which I am about to
    pledge myself by the most solemn of sanctions. So distinguished
    a mark of confidence, proceeding from the deliberate and
    tranquil suffrage of a free and virtuous nation, would, under
    any circumstances, have commanded my gratitude and devotion,
    as well as filled me with an awful sense of the trust to be
    assumed. Under the various circumstances which give peculiar
    solemnity to the existing period, I feel that both the honor
    and the responsibility allotted to me are inexpressibly

    The present situation of the world is, indeed, without a
    parallel, and that of our own country full of difficulties. The
    pressure of these, too, is the more severely felt, because they
    have fallen upon us at a moment when the national prosperity
    being at a height not before attained, the contrast, resulting
    from the change, has been rendered the more striking. Under
    the benign influence of our Republican institutions, and the
    maintenance of peace with all nations, whilst so many of them
    were engaged in bloody and wasteful wars, the fruits of a just
    policy were enjoyed in an unrivalled growth of our faculties
    and resources. Proofs of this were seen in the improvements
    of agriculture; in the successful enterprises of commerce; in
    the progress of manufactures and useful arts; in the increase
    of the public revenue, and the use made of it in reducing the
    public debt; and in the valuable works and establishments every
    where multiplying over the face of our land.

    It is a precious reflection that the transition from this
    prosperous condition of our country, to the scene which has
    for some time been distressing us, is not chargeable on any
    unwarrantable views, nor, as I trust, on any involuntary errors
    in the public councils. Indulging no passions which trespass
    on the rights or the repose of other nations, it has been the
    true glory of the United States to cultivate peace by observing
    justice; and to entitle themselves to the respect of the
    nations at war, by fulfilling their neutral obligations with
    the most scrupulous impartiality. If there be candor in the
    world, the truth of these assertions will not be questioned;
    posterity, at least, will do justice to them.

    This unexceptionable course could not avail against the
    injustice and violence of the belligerent powers. In their
    rage against each other, or impelled by more direct motives,
    principles of retaliation have been introduced, equally
    contrary to universal reason and acknowledged law. How long
    their arbitrary edicts will be continued, in spite of the
    demonstrations that not even a pretext for them has been given
    by the United States, and of the fair and liberal attempt to
    induce a revocation of them, cannot be anticipated. Assuring
    myself, that, under every vicissitude, the determined spirit
    and united councils of the nation will be safeguards to its
    honor and its essential interests, I repair to the post
    assigned me with no other discouragement than what springs from
    my own inadequacy to its high duties. If I do not sink under
    the weight of this deep conviction, it is because I find some
    support in a consciousness of the purposes, and a confidence in
    the principles which I bring with me into this arduous service.

    To cherish peace and friendly intercourse with all nations
    having correspondent dispositions; to maintain sincere
    neutrality towards belligerent nations; to prefer, in all
    cases, amicable discussion and reasonable accommodation of
    differences, to a decision of them by an appeal to arms;
    to exclude foreign intrigues and foreign partialities, so
    degrading to all countries, and so baneful to free ones; to
    foster a spirit of independence, too just to invade the rights
    of others, too proud to surrender our own, too liberal to
    indulge unworthy prejudices ourselves, and too elevated not
    to look down upon them in others; to hold the union of the
    States as the basis of their peace and happiness; to support
    the constitution, which is the cement of the Union, as well in
    its limitations as in its authorities; to respect the rights
    and authorities reserved to the States and to the people, as
    equally incorporated with, and essential to the success of, the
    general system; to avoid the slightest interference with the
    rights of conscience or the functions of religion, so wisely
    exempted from civil jurisdiction; to preserve, in their full
    energy, the other salutary provisions in behalf of private
    and personal rights, and of the freedom of the press; to
    observe economy in public expenditures; to liberate the public
    resources by an honorable discharge of the public debts; to
    keep within the requisite limits a standing military force,
    always remembering that an armed and trained militia is the
    firmest bulwark of Republics; that without standing armies
    their liberty can never be in danger, nor with large ones
    safe; to promote, by authorized means, improvements friendly
    to agriculture, to manufactures, and to external as well as
    internal commerce; to favor, in like manner, the advancement
    of science and the diffusion of information, as the best
    aliment to true liberty; to carry on the benevolent plans which
    have been so meritoriously applied to the conversion of our
    aboriginal neighbors from the degradation and wretchedness of
    savage life, to a participation of the improvements of which
    the human mind and manners are susceptible in a civilized
    state;--as far as sentiments and intentions such as these can
    aid the fulfilment of my duty, they will be a resource which
    cannot fail me.

    It is my good fortune, moreover, to have the path in which
    I am to tread lighted by examples of illustrious services,
    successfully rendered in the most trying difficulties, by
    those who have marched before me. Of those of my immediate
    predecessor it might least become me here to speak. I may,
    however, be pardoned for not suppressing the sympathy with
    which my heart is full, in the rich reward he enjoys in the
    benedictions of a beloved country, gratefully bestowed for
    exalted talents, zealously devoted, through a long career, to
    the advancement of its highest interest and happiness.

    But the source to which I look for the aids which alone can
    supply my deficiencies, is in the well-tried intelligence and
    virtue of my fellow-citizens, and in the counsels of those
    representing them in the other departments associated in the
    care of the national interests. In these my confidence will,
    under every difficulty, be best placed, next to that which
    we have all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and
    guidance of that Almighty Being whose power regulates the
    destiny of nations, whose blessings have been so conspicuously
    dispensed to this rising Republic, and to whom we are bound
    to address our devout gratitude for the past, as well as our
    fervent supplications and best hopes for the future.

After which, the oath prescribed by law was administered to the
_President of the United States_, by the Chief Justice.

The President of the United States then retired, and the Senate
repaired to their own chamber.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. ANDERSON and BAYARD be a committee to wait on
the President of the United States, and notify him that the Senate are
ready to receive any communications that he may be pleased to make to

MONDAY, March 6.

FRANCIS MALBONE, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
Rhode Island, for six years, commencing on the 4th instant, attended,
and produced his credentials, which were read.

The credentials of RICHARD BRENT, appointed a Senator by the
Legislature of the State of Virginia, for six years, commencing on the
4th instant, were read.

The oath required by law was administered to Messrs. BRENT and MALBONE,

On motion, by Mr. ROBINSON,

_Resolved_, That the Secretary of the Senate be authorized to pay,
out of the contingent fund of this House, to George Thomas, Walter
Reynolds, and Tobias Simpson, the sum of fifty dollars each, in
addition to their annual compensation.

Mr. ANDERSON reported, from the committee, that they had waited on the
President of the United States, who informed them that he should this
day make a communication to the Senate.

Soon after, a communication was received from the President of the
United States, submitting sundry nominations to office, which were
mostly confirmed.

TUESDAY, March 7.


After the consideration of Executive business, Messrs. BAYARD and
REED were appointed a committee to wait on the President of the
United States, and notify him that, unless he may have any further
communications to make to them, the Senate are ready to adjourn.

Mr. BAYARD reported, from the committee, that they had waited upon
the President of the United States, who informed them that he had no
further communications to make to them. Whereupon,

The Senate adjourned without day.


[1] Missing line.





MONDAY, November 7, 1808.

This being the day appointed by law for the meeting of the present
session, the following members of the House of Representatives
appeared, and took their seats, to wit:

    _From New Hampshire_--Daniel M. Durell, Francis Gardner,
    Jedediah K. Smith, and Clement Storer.

    _From Massachusetts_--Ezekiel Bacon, Joseph Barker, Orchard
    Cook, Richard Cutts, Josiah Deane, William Ely, Isaiah L.
    Green, Daniel Ilsley, Edward St. Loe Livermore, Josiah Quincy,
    Ebenezer Seaver, William Stedman, Jabez Upham, and Joseph B.
    Varnum, (the Speaker.)

    _From Rhode Island_--Isaac Wilbour.

    _From Connecticut_--Epaphroditus Champion, Samuel W. Dana, John
    Davenport, jr., Jonathan O. Mosely, Timothy Pitkin, jr., Lewis
    B. Sturges, and Benjamin Tallmadge.

    _From Vermont_--Martin Chittenden, James Elliot, and James Fisk.

    _From New York_--John Blake, jr., John Harris, Reuben
    Humphreys, William Kirkpatrick, Gurdon S. Mumford, Samuel
    Riker, John Russell, Peter Swart, John Thompson, James I. Van
    Allen, Killian K. Van Rensselaer, and Daniel C. Verplanck.

    _From New Jersey_--Adam Boyd, William Helms, John Lambert,
    Thomas Newbold, James Sloan, and Henry Southard.

    _From Pennsylvania_--David Bard, Robert Brown, William Findlay,
    John Heister, William Hoge, William Milnor, Daniel Montgomery,
    jr., John Porter, John Pugh, John Rea, Matthias Richards, John
    Smilie, Samuel Smith, and Robert Whitehill.

    _From Maryland_--Charles Goldsborough, William McCreery, John
    Montgomery, Nicholas R. Moore, and Archibald Van Horne.

    _From Virginia_--Burwell Bassett, William A. Burwell, John
    Clopton, John Dawson, John W. Eppes, James M. Garnett, Peterson
    Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, David Holmes, John G. Jackson, Joseph
    Lewis, jr., John Love, John Morrow, Thomas Newton, John Smith,
    Abram Trigg, and Alexander Wilson.

    _From Kentucky_--Joseph Desha, Benjamin Howard, and Richard M.

    _From North Carolina_--Willis Alston, jr., William Blackledge,
    Thomas Blount, John Culpeper, Nathaniel Macon, Lemuel Sawyer,
    and Richard Stanford.

    _From Tennessee_--George W. Campbell, John Rhea, and Jesse

    _From South Carolina_--Lemuel J. Alston, William Butler,
    Joseph Calhoun, John Taylor, and David R. Williams.

    _From Georgia_--William W. Bibb, and George M. Troup.

    _From Ohio_--Jeremiah Morrow.

    _From the Mississippi Territory_--George Poindexter, Delegate.

Two new members, to wit: NATHAN WILSON, returned to serve in this
House as a member for New York, in the room of David Thomas, who
hath resigned his seat, and THOMAS GHOLSON, jr., returned to serve
as a member from Virginia, in the room of John Claiborne, deceased,
appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats in the House.

And a quorum, consisting of a majority of the whole number, being
present, a message was received from the Senate, informing the House
that a quorum of the Senate is assembled, and ready to proceed to
business; the Senate have appointed a committee on their part, jointly
with such committee as may be appointed on the part of this House,
to wait on the President of the United States, and inform him that
a quorum of the two Houses is assembled, and ready to receive any
communications he may be pleased to make to them.

The oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United
States was then administered to Mr. NATHAN WILSON and Mr. GHOLSON, by
Mr. SPEAKER, according to law.

_Ordered_, That a message be sent to the Senate to inform them that a
quorum of this House is assembled, and ready to proceed to business;
and that the Clerk of this House do go with the said message.

The House proceeded to consider the resolution of the Senate for the
appointment of a joint committee of the two Houses to wait on the
President of the United States and inform him that a quorum of the two
Houses is assembled, and ready to receive any communication he may
be pleased to make to them: Whereupon, the House agreed to the said
resolution; and Mr. MACON, Mr. QUINCY, and Mr. MCCREERY, were appointed
the committee on their part.

Mr. MACON, from the joint committee appointed to wait on the President
of the United States, and inform him that a quorum of the two Houses is
assembled, reported that the committee had performed that service; and
that the President signified to them he would make a communication, in
writing, to this House, to-morrow at twelve o'clock, by way of Message.

TUESDAY, November 8.

Several other members, to wit: from Pennsylvania, JACOB RICHARDS; from
Virginia, MATTHEW CLAY, and WALTER JONES; and from South Carolina,
ROBERT MARION, appeared, and took their seats in the House.

A new member, to wit, SAMUEL SHAW, returned to serve in this House as
a member from the State of Vermont, in the room of James Witherell,
who has resigned his seat, appeared, produced his credentials, was
qualified, and took his seat in the House.

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have
resolved that two Chaplains, of different denominations, be appointed
to Congress for the present session, who shall interchange weekly; to
which they desire the concurrence of the House.

The House proceeded to consider the foregoing resolution of the Senate,
and it was agreed to.

The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from the Governor of the
State Of Pennsylvania, enclosing a letter to him from JOSEPH CLAY, the
Representative for the district composed of the city and county of
Philadelphia, and county of Delaware, in the said State, containing
his resignation of a seat in this House; also a proclamation of the
said Governor, and a certificate of the election of BENJAMIN SAY, to
serve as a member for the said district and State, in the room of the
said Joseph Clay; which were read, and referred to the Committee of

WEDNESDAY, November 9.

Another member, to wit, ROBERT JENKINS, from Pennsylvania, appeared,
and took his seat in the House.

The House proceeded in the reading of the documents accompanying the
President's Message; which being concluded, on motion of Mr. DAWSON,
they were referred, together with the Message, to a Committee of the
Whole on the state of the Union, and ordered to be printed.

On the question as to the number to be printed, it was moved by Mr.
FISK, and seconded by Mr. DANA, that ten thousand copies be printed.
Negatived by a considerable majority.

Five thousand copies were then ordered to be printed.

The House was then cleared and the doors closed for the purpose of
reading the confidential part of the President's Message.

THURSDAY, November 10.

Several other members, to wit: from Virginia, WILSON CARY NICHOLAS and
JOHN RANDOLPH; and from North Carolina, JAMES HOLLAND, appeared and
took their seats in the House.

The House then proceeded, by ballot, to the appointment of a Chaplain
to Congress, for the present session, on the part of the House; and
upon examining the ballots, a majority of the votes of the whole House
was found in favor of the Rev. OBADIAH BROWN.

FRIDAY, November 11.

Two other members, to wit: from Massachusetts, SAMUEL TAGGART; and from
Maryland, JOHN CAMPBELL, appeared, and took their seats in the House.

A new member, to wit, RICHARD S. JACKSON, returned to serve in this
House, as a member for the State of Rhode Island, in the room of
Nehemiah Knight, deceased, appeared, produced his credentials, was
qualified, and took his seat in the House.

MONDAY, November 14.

Several other members, to wit: from New York, JOSIAH MASTERS; from
Maryland, PHILIP B. KEY; and from North Carolina, THOMAS KENAN,
appeared, and took their seats in the House.

TUESDAY, November 15.

Another member, to wit, JAMES KELLY, from Pennsylvania, appeared, and
took his seat in the House.

WEDNESDAY, November 16.

Another member, to wit, ROGER NELSON, from Maryland, appeared, and took
his seat in the House.

A new member, to wit, BENJAMIN SAY, returned to serve in this House as
a member from the State of Pennsylvania, in the room of Joseph Clay,
who has resigned his seat, appeared, produced his credentials, was
qualified, and took his seat in the House.

                        _Miranda's Expedition._

Mr. MCCREERY presented the petition of thirty-six American citizens,
confined at Carthagena, in South America, under the sentence of
slavery. The petition was read as follows:

    VAULTS OF ST. CLARA, CARTHAGENA, September 16, 1808.

    _To the honorable the Congress of the United States of America,
    in Congress assembled_:

    The petition of thirty-six American citizens confined at
    Carthagena, South America, under sentence of slavery, humbly

    That we, your petitioners, were brought from New York in
    the armed ship Leander, Thomas Lewis, commander, on the 2d
    of February, 1806, together with a number of others, mostly
    inhabitants of that State and city, under the most specious
    engagements of their country; to establish which, they beg
    leave to state that Colonel William Smith, then Surveyor of
    the port of New York, William Armstrong, Daniel D. Durning,
    and John Fink, butcher, of the city of New York, declared they
    were authorized to enlist a number of men to go to New Orleans,
    to serve as guards to the United States mails, and a number
    of others as mechanics. Some backwardness on the part of your
    petitioners to engage being discovered by William Smith, he
    read passages from letters to prove his authority, and several
    paragraphs from newspapers to convince them of the validity
    of their engagements. William Armstrong and Daniel D. Durning
    were appointed to command them, and were to accompany them to
    the city of Washington, where they were to receive clothing and
    accoutrements, and thence to New Orleans. The ship Leander,
    owned by Samuel G. Ogden, and formerly in the St. Domingo
    trade, was procured for the conveyance of your petitioners
    to the city of Washington, for which purpose she was hauled
    down to the watering place, where your petitioners went on
    board her the 1st day of February, 1806, and the next day (the
    2d) the ship put to sea. Shortly after, Miranda, under the
    name of Martin, and a number of persons hitherto unknown to
    your petitioners, appeared on board, in the character of his
    officers; which, for the first time, awakened strong suspicions
    in the breasts of your petitioners that they had been entrapped
    into the power of wicked and designing men, and that, too,
    when retreat was impracticable. From New York your petitioners
    were carried to Jacmel, in the island of St. Domingo, where
    they were exercised in military duty, under the most arbitrary
    stretch of power, by Miranda and his officers. At Jacmel
    several attempts to escape proved abortive, from the vigilance
    of our oppressors, they having procured guards to be stationed
    in all the passes leading from Jacmel to other parts of the
    island, where your petitioners might expect to receive aid and
    protection from their countrymen. At Jacmel two schooners were
    hired, on board of which your petitioners were sent, under the
    care of a number of officers, whose wariness still remained
    unabated; and on the 27th March, 1806, the ship, accompanied by
    the two schooners, proceeded towards the coast of Terra Firma,
    where, after touching at the island of Aruba for refreshments,
    she arrived on the 28th of April, when two armed vessels hove
    in sight, which after some manoeuvring the ship engaged but
    soon ran away, leaving the two schooners to be captured. They
    were carried into Porto Cabello, where your petitioners were
    proceeded against as pirates, a number of warlike implements
    being found on board, which were placed there without the
    knowledge of your petitioners. And on the 12th July following,
    the process against us closed at Caraccas, sentencing ten, whom
    they considered to be criminally engaged, to be hanged and
    beheaded, and the remainder (your petitioners) to eight and ten
    years' slavery on the public works at Omoa, Bocca Chica, and
    the island of Porto Rico. Your petitioners were all sent to
    this place, where those sent to Bocca Chica were put to work,
    chained two-and-two, and the residue, in double irons and close
    confinement, strongly guarded, waiting for an opportunity to
    be sent to their respective places. Upon several occasions
    your petitioners were told by William Armstrong, Thomas Lewis,
    and others, that they were sent out by the Government of the
    United States. To prove to the satisfaction of your honorable
    body the truth of the above statement, your petitioners beg
    you will examine Robert Laverty, John Stagg, John Ritter,
    Matthew Morgan, Richard Platt, Adam Ten Brook, and John Miller,
    of New York, who were under the same engagements with your
    petitioners. Francis White and Thomas McAllister, butchers in
    the Bear market, New York; Mr. Brinkerhoff, tavern keeper,
    near the Bear market; David Williams, John Garret, and a Mr.
    Kemper, weighmaster, whose son was executed at Porto Cabello,
    were present when all or most of your petitioners were engaged,
    and can prove beyond all doubt that your petitioners could
    have had no other idea than that of entering into the service
    of the United States. Captain Bomberry, of the ship Mary, of
    Baltimore; Captain Israel, of the brig Robert and Mary; Captain
    Waldron, of the schooner Victory; and Captain Abbot, of the
    brig Charleston Packet, all of Philadelphia, were eye-witnesses
    to the tyranny and oppression under which your petitioners
    labored while at Jacmel. When the crew of the Bee, one of the
    schooners which was chartered by the Leander, refused to go in
    her, a number of officers from the ship, with Lewis at their
    head, came on board the Bee, and, after beating and cutting
    the men with sticks and sabres in the most brutal manner,
    dragged them on board the Leander, put them in irons under a
    strong guard, and kept them there until the moment of sailing,
    when they were sent on board the Bee, with orders to keep near
    and to leeward of the ship. Another man, who had effected his
    escape from a French privateer, and found his way to Jacmel,
    with the hope of getting a passage home in some of his country
    vessels, was seized at the instance of Thomas Lewis, commander
    of the Leander, and captain under Miranda, thrown into prison,
    and compelled to go in the expedition, or to starve in jail.

    Your petitioners are confident, that, when your honorable
    body becomes thoroughly acquainted with the circumstances of
    art and deception which betrayed them into the expedition,
    the destination of which they had no knowledge until it was
    too late to retreat, you will not only punish such of their
    betrayers as are within reach of your power, but will adopt
    proper measures to restore your unfortunate petitioners to
    liberty and their families. We beg leave to mention that
    Jeremiah Powell, who was an officer of high confidence in the
    expedition, was pardoned without hesitation by the Spanish
    monarch, on the application of his father. Your petitioners
    have embraced many opportunities to convey to your honorable
    body the prayer of a petition, but, from the length of time
    elapsed since they sent off their last, and not hearing of any
    measures being adopted in their favor, they fear none ever
    arrived; and by the present opportunity several copies of
    this petition have been transmitted to gentlemen residing in
    different parts of the United States, with the hope that some
    of them may arrive safe.

    Your petitioners cannot for a moment believe that the United
    States will suffer officers under her constitution to kidnap
    her citizens into expeditions and services fitted out and
    maintained by a foreign outlaw against powers with which she
    is at amity and peace, under the specious pretence of engaging
    them into the service of their country, without punishing the
    aggressors, and using every effort to regain her citizens.
    Such is the case of your unfortunate petitioners, who entreat
    you as children would a parent, to relieve them from total
    destruction, on the brink of which they have been thrown by the
    practise of frauds and villanies hitherto unheard of.

    A short time since, a British ship of war arrived at this
    place, the commander of which, (Edward Kittoe, Esq.,) upon
    being applied to by nine of our companions, who declared
    themselves to be British-born subjects, and being made
    acquainted with the circumstances which led to our capture,
    immediately sent on a petition to the Viceroy of this Kingdom
    in behalf of us all, but particularly for such as are British
    subjects, whom we expect will eventually be liberated. Nothing
    but humanity and a strong desire to relieve distress could have
    induced Captain Kittoe to this step, who, we are confident, as
    much as ourselves, regrets its failure of success, and to whom
    we feel every way indebted, and shall ever recollect it with
    gratitude and thanks.

    When your petitioners remonstrate against any harsh treatment
    of these people, they invariably ask, "Why don't your country
    liberate you?--it rests solely with them."

    Your petitioners feel confident, from the justness of their
    claim to the interference and protection of the constituted
    authorities of their country, measures will be adopted to
    restore them to liberty; and having no doubt but your honorable
    body will afford them that protection which citizens have a
    right to claim from their country, your petitioners beg that
    your honorable body will convey them an answer, and your
    petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.

    Robert Saunders, Benjamin Davis, Henry Sperry, Joseph Hickle,
    Ellery King, William Long, Daniel Newbury, Wm. Cartwright,
    Samuel Tozier, James Hyatt, Abram Head, Robert Stevenson,
    Samuel Price, Robert Reins, Hugh Smith, Benjamin Nicholson,
    Geo. Ferguson, Wm. Pride, Pompey Grant, David Heckle, Bennett
    B. Negus, John Moore, John M. Elliot, Henry Ingersoll, John
    Parcels, John Hayes, David Winton, Matthew Buchanan, Alexander
    Buchanan, Jas. W. Grant, John Edsall, Thomas Gill, Joseph
    Bennett, Phineas Raymond, Peter Nautly, Stephen Burtis.

CARTHAGENA, August 12, 1808.

    On my arrival at this place, I was applied to in behalf of the
    unfortunate men captured under the orders of General Miranda,
    who are under sentence of transportation to the different
    public works at Omoa, Porto Rico, &c., among whom are several
    British subjects, (whose names are inserted below.) I am well
    aware of the enormity of their crime, as I understand they were
    taken without colors or papers; but, as a British officer, I
    consider it a duty to plead for those in distress, wherever
    they may be found; and I trust, from the known lenity of your
    Excellency's character, I shall not plead in vain. The men in
    question are originally of British descent, and are allied to
    my nation by many ties. They have no Consul--no Minister--to
    prefer the prayer of their petition to your Excellency, having
    been prevented by the war between our nations from making known
    their situation to the President of the United States. Suffer
    me, therefore to address your Excellency, and beg for their
    release, on a solemn promise that they will never be found
    again in arms on a similar occasion. As I am the hearer of
    welcome tidings to the inhabitants of the province under your
    Excellency's command, make me also the hearer of them to the
    unhappy sufferers now confined in Carthagena. It is true, I am
    unauthorized to make this request in the name of the British
    Government for the men in general, but I am convinced the step
    will be approved; and if your Excellency will lend a favorable
    ear to my petition the circumstance will not pass unnoticed
    on their part; at all events, your Excellency will have the
    prayer of many individuals for your eternal happiness, and
    among them will be found (not the least fervent) those of your
    Excellency's most humble servant,

                                                          EDWARD KITTOE,
                                       _Com. H. B. M. ship Sabina_.

    P. S.--If my request for the liberation of all General
    Miranda's men is by your Excellency deemed unreasonable or
    improper, I beg to confine it particularly to such as are
    British subjects: that is an indispensable duty I owe to them
    and my country.

    _Names of British subjects under sentence of transportation at

John Moore, Peter Nautly, John Hayes, Thomas Gill, Joseph Bennett,
James Grant, Samuel Tozier, Robert Stevenson, and Hugh Smith, (a boy.)

_Territorial Governments._

                           ORDINANCE OF 1787.

Mr. POINDEXTER, from the committee appointed on the subject, reported a
bill concerning the power of the Territorial Governments. [The object
of it is to take away from Governors of the Territories the power of
proroguing or dissolving their Legislatures.]

The bill was twice read; and

Mr. POINDEXTER observed, that as the bill must stand or fall on its
principle, and could not want amendment, he should wish to dispense
with the usual course of reference to a Committee of the Whole, and
that it should be engrossed for a third reading.

Mr. TROUP hoped the House would not be precipitated unadvisedly into a
decision of a question of this kind; that they would not break in upon
a system which had served them so well without maturely deliberating
upon it. The ordinance for the government of the Territories he
considered as constitutional law, and it should be viewed and treated
with as much delicacy as the constitution of the General Government
itself. It had served them well, it had nurtured the Territories from
infancy to maturity, and he hoped the house would not innovate on the
system, but for the most substantial reasons. He therefore wished this
bill to take the course of all other business, and go to a Committee of
the Whole.

Mr. POINDEXTER said it was not his object to exclude deliberation by
his motion; as the day for its third reading might be fixed a fortnight
hence, if the gentleman from Georgia wished it. He knew the difficulty
of getting up such bills when committed to a Committee of the Whole;
he also knew that in a few days the House would be engaged in great
national concerns, which would occupy their entire attention to the
exclusion of other business of minor importance. The gentlemen seem
to think (said Mr. P.) that to leave to the Governors of Territories
of the United States powers which are fitted but for the Sovereigns
of Europe, is highly decorous; whilst I think they should be spurned
from the statute book. The gentleman is mistaken when he says that we
should view the ordinances in the same light as the constitution; they
are mere statutes. Placed by the constitution under the particular care
of Congress as the Territories are, the ordinances enacted for their
government are mere statutes, subject to the revision of Congress, as
other laws are.

Mr. PITKIN said the ordinances for the government of the Territories
had been framed with great deliberation, and should always be
considered as a compact between the General Government and its
Territories. Whether an alteration could or could not be made without
their consent, he would not undertake to say. He thought therefore in
this case the usual rule should not be violated, for it was well known
that no amendment could be received on the third reading of a bill.

Mr. TROUP said the gentleman from the Mississippi Territory had totally
mistaken his object. It was not procrastination that he wanted, but
a mature consideration of the question, whether on this day or on
this day fortnight. When he had considered the ordinance as a compact
equally sacred with the constitution of the United States, and as
unalterable without the consent of the parties to it, it was then that
he considered this a question of such great and signal importance that
he wished time for deliberation. And when he said this, he expressed
the opinion of a man than whom no man in the country was more deeply
read in its constitution--St. George Tucker--who had described it
as a compact unalterable, but with the consent of both parties. The
gentleman would take away from the Territorial Governors the power to
prorogue and dissolve the Assemblies. What would then be the state of
the Territorial Legislatures? They would (said Mr. T.) be as completely
independent of the General Government as the General Government is,
I hope, of Great Britain at this moment. Retain the qualified veto,
and take away the power to prorogue and dissolve, and what will be
the consequence? The moment a misunderstanding takes place between
the Legislature and Executive, legislation is at an end; and where
legislation ends, revolution begins, and there is an end of government.

Mr. POINDEXTER said, at the suggestion of several gentlemen, he should
consent to a reference of the bill to a committee, as he did not wish
now to hasten the discussion. But the gentleman was mistaken if he
supposed that taking away the power to prorogue, would deprive the
Governors of their veto on laws. The Governors had an unqualified veto
on the acts of the Legislature. The gentleman said, (observed Mr. P.,)
that take away the power of prorogation, and if a misunderstanding
arise between the Governor and the Legislature, there is an end of
legislation. That is now the fact. If there be any misunderstanding
between them, the Governor sends the Legislature home; and I agree
with the gentleman from Georgia, "where legislation ends, revolution
begins." In this situation, I wish to take some power from the Governor
and place it in the people, which would render the Government more
congenial to the spirit of the constitution and of the people of the
United States. But I waive discussion and consent to reference.

The bill was made the order of the day for to-morrow.

THURSDAY, November 17.

Another member, to wit, DENNIS SMELT, from Georgia, appeared, and took
his seat in the House.

                         _Foreign Relations._

Mr. MACON said, already had many resolutions been submitted to the
consideration of the House on the subject of our foreign relations,
and the embargo; some for a total and some for a partial repeal of
it. As none of the motions had met his entire approbation, and as he
considered this as one of the most important questions that could
come before the House, he wished to submit to the House two or three
propositions; which he wished to take a course different from that
which had been given to the others on the same subject.

I have been astonished (said Mr. M.) to see so many resolutions on the
subject of the embargo, and none contemplating its entire continuance.
Is the American nation ready to bow the neck? Are we ready to submit
to be taxed by Great Britain and France, as if we were their colonies?
Where is that spirit which for this reason separated us from the
nations of Europe? Where is that spirit which enforced a simple
resolution of the old Congress, not then binding upon the people, as
a law from Heaven? Is it extinct? Is it lost to this nation? Has the
love of gain superseded every other motive in the breasts of Americans?
Shall the majority govern, or shall a few wicked and abandoned men
drive this nation from the ground it has taken? Is it come to this,
that a law constitutionally enacted, even after a formal decision in
favor of its constitutionality, cannot be enforced? Shall the nation
give way to an opposition of a few, and those the most profligate part
of the community? I think the stand we took last year was a proper one;
and I am for taking every measure for enabling the nation to maintain
it. Just as our measure is beginning to operate, just as provisions are
becoming scarce in the West Indies and elsewhere, notwithstanding the
evasions of our law, we are called upon to repeal it. I should not have
made this motion at this time, had it not been for the petition just
presented. When I stand here, sir, charged by a part of the community
with being one of "the enemies of the people," notwithstanding I am
willing to commit the petition, treating it with that respect which I
conceive to be due from us to the prayer of any portion of the people,
I wish my sentiments on this subject to be seen.

A proclamation has been issued by one of the belligerents since the
passage of our embargo law, sir. Look at it. What says it? Clearance
or no clearance, we will receive any neutral vessel into our ports;
and, in speaking of neutrals, recollect that there is no nation in the
civilized world that has a claim to the title, except ourselves. This
proclamation then tells our citizens, "Evade the laws of your country,
and we will receive and protect you." This is the plain English of it.

If the mad powers of Europe had entered into compact to injure us as
much as they could, they could not have taken a more direct course to
it. I consider them both alike, and the measures I would take would
place them both on the same footing. I have made my resolutions as
general as possible, to give all latitude to the committee.

Mr. M. then read his resolutions as follows:

    "_Resolved_, That the committee appointed on that part of the
    President's Message which relates to our foreign relations, be
    instructed to inquire into the expediency of excluding by law
    from the ports, harbors, and waters of the United States, all
    armed ships and vessels belonging to any of the belligerent
    powers having in force orders or decrees violating the lawful
    commerce of the United States as a nation.

    "_Resolved_, That the same committee be instructed to inquire
    into the expediency of prohibiting by law the admission into
    the ports, harbors, and waters of the United States, any
    ship or vessel belonging to or coming from any place in the
    possession of any of the above-mentioned powers, and also the
    importation of any goods, wares, and merchandise, the growth,
    produce and manufacture of the dominions of any of the said

    "_Resolved_, That the same committee be instructed to inquire
    into the expediency of amending the act laying an embargo, and
    the several acts supplementary and additional thereto."

On the subject of the first of these resolutions (said Mr. M.) it might
be proper to interdict the entrance of all armed vessels, although I
have confined the interdiction to the belligerents. A certain time
might be fixed on which the second should go into operation.

I have thought proper, sir, to bring forward all these resolutions
together to show my own opinion on what ought to be done. It is time
for those who think the embargo a lawful and proper measure, to come
forward and declare it. No other person having as yet thought proper
to do it, I have now done it. I believe the embargo was right; that it
was right to pass laws to enforce it; and believing this, I feel no
hesitation in avowing it. Time has been when the impressment of our
seamen was cried out against by a large majority of Congress. Now the
cry is, that we will not let them go out and be taken. For if they
go out they must be taken. Neither of the two great powers of Europe
have shown the least disposition to relax their measures; neither
I hope shall we. I believe we have but three alternatives--_war_,
_embargo_, or _submission_. The last I discard; this nation never would
submit; nor are there many people in it that would. That is out of the
question; then, the only question is, whether in the present state of
the world, the embargo or war is the best for us? Arm your merchantmen,
as has been proposed, send them out, and you have war directly? If we
are to have war, I should rather have it openly, and let the nation
know that we mean it. I am for the embargo yet. I am told flour is from
thirty to fifty dollars a barrel in the West Indies; I am also told
that wheat is fourteen shillings sterling a bushel in England. This
must have an effect, if adhered to, through Spain and Portugal. France,
if she carries her armies into that country, cannot support them. Nor
can Spain support her own armies, and at the same time those Great
Britain sends there; for where war is waged, almost all agriculture is
destroyed; and it only requires firmness in us to force them both by
this measure to acknowledge our rights. If I am mistaken in my opinion,
I wish that measure to be adopted which may best maintain our rights
and independence.

It is not the embargo which causes the pressure on the people. No, sir,
it is the orders and decrees of England and France. Take a license from
England, and you may trade, but on no other terms. Let an officer of
the British fleet visit your vessel, and France will condemn it. These
are the things which destroy commerce. The country in which I live
feels the measure as much as any; there are agriculturists, and their
crops remain unsold; and if they will do without the principal, and
resist imposition by withholding their produce, those who make a profit
by the freight of our produce, may afford to lose that profit. Can
any man tell what would be the consequence of war, in these times? In
common war some regard is had to the laws of nations by belligerents,
and they fight each other. In the present war the belligerents
disregard the laws of nations, and fight every one but one another.

Mr. QUINCY said he wished the last resolution to be separated from the
first, as the House would be committed by its adoption. Not that he
wished to avoid a discussion of that subject, for he wished for nothing
so much as that the House would permit them to go into a discussion
of the subject in Committee of the Whole. [Mr. MACON consented that
the last resolution should lie on the table.] Mr. Q. said he wished
to press a discussion on the subject of the embargo; for such was the
state of public opinion in the Northern part of the Union, that but
one general sentiment prevailed, that the embargo would be immediately
raised. Instead of postponing the subject from day to day, he only
wished it to come before the House that gentlemen might understand one
other, and put an end to the doubts that now existed.

The first and second resolutions offered by Mr. MACON were agreed to
without a division. The third was ordered to lie on the table--yeas 78.

FRIDAY, November 18.

             _Territorial Governments.--Ordinance of 1787._

On motion of Mr. POINDEXTER, the House resolved itself into a Committee
of the Whole, on the bill concerning Territorial Governments.

The bill having been read--

Mr. BIBB said, that if the House were now called upon for the first
time to pass an ordinance for the government of the Territories of
the United States, he should attach very little importance to the
decision of the present question. But he considered it not now an
abstract question of expediency, but as one of great moment, from the
circumstances with which it was connected. He denied the right of the
House to pass the bill; and if they had not the right, it was surely
unnecessary to argue the question on the ground of policy. It would be
recollected that the Mississippi Territory was formerly the property
of the State of Georgia, and ceded by that State to the United States
on certain conditions, _one of which was that the ordinance for the
government of the Territory Northwest of the Ohio should be the basis
of the government of the Mississippi Territory_.[2] If this, said
he, be one of the conditions of a compact between the United States
and Georgia, surely the United States have no right to infringe it
without the consent of Georgia; and I, as one of her Representatives,
formally protest against the passage of this bill. It may be said that
Georgia is very little interested in the abstract question, whether the
Governor should or should not have the power of prorogation; but, if a
right exists to alter one part of the ordinance without the consent of
Georgia, it certainly implies a power to alter it in every part.

Mr. POINDEXTER said he would state the reasons for which he had
introduced the bill, and which would, he hoped, insure it the sanction
of the committee. I will, in the first place, said Mr. P., advert to
that part of the ordinance which is proposed to be amended by the
bill under consideration. In the ordinance for the government of the
Northwestern Territory will be found this article: "The Governor shall
have power to prorogue and dissolve the General Assembly, when, in
his opinion, it shall be expedient." The bill proposes to take away
this power, as being arbitrary and oppressive in the extreme, and
incompatible with the Constitution of the United States. This ordinance
was passed previous to the adoption of the Federal Constitution, and if
it had been the subject of consideration subsequent to its adoption,
this provision had never been inserted, giving to Governors of
Territories a power paramount to any power possessed by the President
of the United States. Take away this power and a Governor will still
have left the power of negativing all acts, so that none can pass
without his assent; and, being the agent of the General Government, he
would give consent to no law incompatible with the interests of the
United States.

It has been said that the ordinance cannot be altered without the
common consent of the parties to it, and that the State of Georgia
must be called upon to give its assent before the Congress can alter
it. There are two parts of this ordinance; the first contains the form
of government, and the second several articles of compact which are
declared unalterable but with common consent. After reciting the form
of government, the ordinance says:

    "The following articles shall be considered as articles of
    compact between the original States and the people of the
    States in the said Territory, and forever remain unalterable,
    unless by common consent, to wit."

[Here follow six articles.] The ordinance declares that which follows
the declaration to be unalterable, but by common consent; it follows
of consequence that that which precedes the declaration is alterable.
Independent of this reasoning, which cannot be refuted, at every
session since we have been a Territory, there have been laws passed
altering the ordinance in some shape or other. For example, the
ordinance requires two judges to hold a court; and, in a variety
of instances, Congress has legislated with respect to the form of
government of the Territory. I had supposed that the articles of
agreement between the United States and Georgia had become obsolete,
with respect to the imagined necessity of the consent of Georgia to
legislation on the subject of the Territory. It was urged at the last
session with all the eloquence which the gentlemen from Georgia are in
so great a degree possessed, and disregarded; for it was decided by
both Houses that the United States had a right to rule the Territory
without the consent of Georgia.

The Constitution of the United States says that Congress shall "have
power to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations
respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United
States." Can an agreement arising from the exercise of this power,
supersede the right of exercising the power expressly delegated by the
constitution itself? Certainly not.

On the ground of policy I presume that there is no gentleman who will
contend that the power of which I wish to deprive the Governors, ought
to be retained. The gentleman from Georgia himself says, that if he
were about to frame an original ordinance, he would not think of such
a power. As the opinion of Judge Tucker has been referred to on one
subject, I will refer to it on the subject of prerogative. Let it be
recollected, that the power to prorogue and dissolve is one of the
highest prerogatives of the King of England: that it crept into the
governments of his colonies, and thence into this ordinance, previous
to the adoption of the constitution. It now remains for the United
States to say, whether they will copy after Great Britain, and because
it is a high prerogative, give the Governors of the Territories of
the United States the same powers as she gives to her Territorial
Governors. I trust it will be expunged.

    "The title 'prerogative,' it is presumed, was annihilated in
    America with the Kingly Government." "This definition (of
    prerogative) is enough to make a citizen of the United States
    shudder at the recollection that he was born under a government
    in which such doctrines were received as catholic," &c.

This is the opinion of Judge Tucker. Is not this sufficient to induce
us to take away from Governors this prerogative? Is not this feature
modelled after the feature in the Government of England? Certainly;
and that it is transferred from her Colonial Government, I can show by
the present ordinance for the government of Canada, [to which Mr. P.
referred.] It is the same principle, and we have copied it.

I will not object to retain this power, if any gentleman can show any
advantage to be gained by it. I will suppose an extreme case; that any
of the Territories designed to commit treason, and the Legislature were
to pass an act giving it their sanction; (and they have shown less
treasonable disposition than some of the elder States, if we may judge
from occurrences of a few years past)--could not the Governor put his
negative on this law? There could be no such law without his consent.
It is therefore entirely unnecessary, in any possible case, to give the
Governor the arbitrary power of dissolving the Legislature.

There is a special reason which has operated upon my mind as forcibly
as the general reason in favor of the bill on the table. In the
Territory which I have the honor to represent, we have been nearly
twelve months without any Legislature. The Governor thought proper
to dissolve the Assembly without any reason given, for the ordinance
does not bind him to assign reasons for his acts. Within a few days, a
new Council has been chosen, which may again be dissolved as soon as
it meets, and the Territory again left without a Legislature, and no
reason assigned for the procedure. Is it possible that this Government
will sanction such arbitrary practices? If it does, it will be the
first case since the Revolution in which such a procedure has been
sanctioned. I beg leave to refer gentlemen to the glorious year 1776.
I beg them to revert to that instrument, in which all the sins of our
political father, George III., were delineated, and they will find that
one of the charges against him was that he permitted his Governors to
dissolve the Legislatures from time to time. Are we prepared to ingraft
these arbitrary principles into our constitution, and cherish them
when practised in so arbitrary a manner? Instead of this ordinance
being passed with deliberation, it must have passed originally _sub
silentio_, and been adopted for all the new Territories without any
discussion at all; for, if the principle had been investigated,
it would never have been enacted into a law. In the Declaration
of Independence it is stated that "he (George III.) has dissolved
Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing, with manly firmness,
his invasions on the rights of the people." Here we see that, at that
day, we complained of the arbitrary exercise of power, and I hope that,
at this day, we shall give it a death-blow. If any gentleman wishes
to retain it, let him show a single possible case in which it can
properly be exercised--never, but to gratify the ambition or caprice
of an individual. The people elect Representatives and send them to
legislate; if they do not please the Governor, he can say, "gentlemen,
go to your homes--I dissolve you." Can there be any necessity for this?
But I will not detain the House longer, except to express a hope that
the committee will not rise, unless it be to report the bill.

Mr. TROUP said he would state, in as few words as he could, his
objections to the passage of the bill. It was only the day before
yesterday that this bill had been introduced into the House, proposing
to alter one part of the ordinance. To-day, a petition came from
another territory to alter another part of it. Before they adjourned,
it was ten thousand to one that not a remnant of the ordinance would be
left, with their good will.

I have before stated it as my opinion, said he, that the articles of
the ordinance are a compact between the people of the States and of the
territories, unalterable but with the consent of both parties. With the
permission of the House, I will read the opinion of Judge Tucker on
this subject:

    "Congress, under the former confederation, passed an ordinance
    July 13, 1787, for the government of the territory of the
    United States northwest of the Ohio, which contained, among
    other things, six articles, which were to be considered as
    articles of compact between the original States and the people
    and States of said territory, and to remain unalterable, except
    by common consent. These articles appear to have been confirmed
    by the sixth article of the constitution, which declares,
    that all debts contracted and engagements entered into,
    before the adoption of the constitution, shall be as valid
    against the United States under the constitution as under the

In this case there are not only two but three parties to the
articles--the United States, the State of Georgia, and the people of
the Territories. You will recollect, as my colleague properly stated
to you, that the right of soil and jurisdiction of this territory
was originally in the people of Georgia. Of course Georgia had power
to prescribe for the territory what form of government she pleased,
provided it was republican. By the articles of cession, the right of
soil and jurisdiction was ceded to the people of the United States,
_on the express condition that the articles of the ordinance should
form the government of the Mississippi Territory, and that they should
not be governed otherwise_. The inference inevitably is, that the State
of Georgia would not have ceded but upon the express condition; and
this inference is the more inevitable, inasmuch as, in this clause,
Georgia has made an express exception to a particular article in the
ordinance;[3] from which, I say that Georgia intended that no other
alteration should be made.

What was the policy of the ordinance, and what the object of its
framers? Why, assuredly, to render the governments of the Territories
dependent on the Government of the United States. And how was it
to be effected? By making the Territorial Legislature in a great
degree dependent on the Governor, and him absolutely dependent on the
Federal Executive. The moment we make the Legislature of a Territory
independent of its Executive, we make it independent of the Federal

And again, as my colleague has correctly told you, if you have a right
to repeal one part of the ordinance, you have a right to repeal another
part, and so overturn the whole system at a blow. If so, what will be
the effect on the articles of cession and agreement between you and
Georgia? I will tell you. By the articles of cession you reserve to
yourself the right of disposing of the territory; you also agree to
pay Georgia one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars out of
the product of the first sales of the land. Suppose you transferred to
the independent Legislature of the Mississippi Territory the right to
dispose of this Territory, what security has Georgia for the payment
of her one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars? Moreover,
I feel every disposition to treat with respect the people of the
Mississippi Territory, and particularly as I perceive that they approve
of that course of our Government, in which I most heartily concur; yet
I must say that a large majority of the people have a landed interest
distinct from that of the Government of the United States. Take away
from the Governor his power to prorogue and dissolve, leave him the
veto, and there will soon be collision. The Legislature passes an act;
the Governor puts his veto on it. The Legislature stands out, and the
Governor will not yield, and eventually you may, perhaps, have to
decide the question of territorial property by the sword. Recollect,
that upward of six thousand people have gone over in the present year,
with every apparent intention to force a settlement against your
interest and that of Georgia. I am very glad that the military have
received orders to disperse them. I trust that they will be dispersed,
and that every man who stands forth in resistance will be put to the

But the gentleman from Mississippi Territory is certainly mistaken
as to one point. He seems to consider the Constitution of the United
States as giving to the people of the Territories the same rights as
the people of the States. _It is a mistaken idea, neither warranted
by the letter or spirit of the constitution._ For although the
constitution has declared that the people of one State are entitled to
all the rights and privileges of another, yet it has not declared that
the people of the Territories have the same rights as the people of the
States. In another part of the constitution it is, indeed, expressly
declared that Congress shall make all laws for the disposal of the
Territories; but there is a salvo, that all acts done and contracts
made previous to the adoption of the constitution, shall be as binding
as if done afterward. The articles of the ordinance were enacted
previously, and are consequently binding under the constitution. It
cannot be controverted, that they were wisely adopted, and have been
salutary in their operation. They were framed by the Congress of '87,
composed of men whose integrity was incorruptible, and judgment almost
infallible. These articles, from that time to this, have remained
unaltered, and carried the Territories through difficulties, almost
insuperable, to prosperity. And now, for the first or second time, an
alteration is proposed, the consequence of which cannot be foreseen,
without any evidence that it is either necessary or expedient.

The population of every new country must necessarily be composed of a
heterogeneous mixture of various tempers, characters, and interests.
In a population thus composed, it would be highly ridiculous to expect
that love of order and obedience to law would always predominate.
Therefore the old Congress wisely reserved to itself the right to
control them; to give the Governor power, when a Legislature became
disorderly, to dissolve them; and for the exercise of this power he is
accountable to the General Government.

The gentleman from Mississippi wishes us not to treat the Territories
as children, whose wild extravagances may require correcting by the
indulgent hand of their parents, but as the equals of the States,
without any other reason than that which he states to be the situation
of the people of his Territory. They will next wish us to admit them
into the Union before their population will authorize it; tell us that
that Territory does not grow fast enough, and we must demolish the
system for their convenience.

Mr. T. adverted to the representation made by Mr. POINDEXTER, of the
state of things now existing in the Mississippi Territory. If such were
the situation of the Territory, and Mr. T. said he sincerely regretted
it, he could put the gentleman in a way of settling the dispute in a
regular and constitutional way, and which would be the most prudent and
advisable. Certainly, in this dispute, one of the parties must be right
and the other wrong. They had nothing to do but prefer their complaints
before the proper authority, and, if they were there substantiated,
they would obtain redress of their wrongs. If, on the contrary, the
people were wrong and the Governor right, the wisdom of this part of
the ordinance would be proved beyond question.

Mr. POINDEXTER observed that the gentleman from Georgia had set out
with telling the House that if the Legislature were made independent
of the Governor, they could pass any law they pleased respecting land
titles. The gentleman could not have looked at the ordinance, for
there was an express provision that the Legislature should "never
interfere with the primary disposal of the soil by the United States
in Congress assembled, nor with any regulations Congress may find
necessary for securing the title in such soil," &c. Independent of
this, it is control sufficient if the Governor have a veto on the
laws. The gentleman has told you, said Mr. P., that these articles are
unalterable but with common consent. When up before, I read that part
which is unalterable. It is the articles of ordinance and not the form
of government; and to this Judge Tucker refers when he speaks of it.
The gentleman has said, that the situation of the people would not be
bettered by taking away the power, if the veto were left. In my opinion
it would be ameliorated. Let the Governor retain his veto, but let
them remain in session, and pass laws, that the General Government may
see whether such laws are worthy of rejection or of approbation. Now,
if the Governor discovers them about to pass a law or do an act he
does not like, he sends them home. Lop off a little of this Executive
power, and let the Legislature pass laws which he may negative, and the
General Government will have an opportunity of seeing that the Governor
will not consent to proper laws. Trust your Executive and distrust the
people, and you sap the foundation of the Government. Whatever leads
to the conclusion that the people are always wrong and the Executive
right, strikes at the root of republican institutions.

The gentleman has spoken of the wildness and extravagance of the
people of the Mississippi Territory. Does he recollect the invasion
of the Spaniards two years ago? That, at a few days' notice, at the
requisition of the Commander-in-chief, a detachment of two hundred and
fifty militia were sixty miles on their march? When an arch traitor
from the East designed to sever the Union, the people of the Territory,
without call, assembled near the city of Natchez, and arrested the
traitor. These proceedings cannot be exceeded even by the spirit or
prudence of the State of Georgia. I hope the indignation of this House
will be displayed at these insinuations against the motives of people
who have manifested the greatest patriotism. In respect to the late
measures of the General Government, no people feel them more severely
than the people of Mississippi, and no people better support them.
There may be symptoms of wildness and extravagance, but they show a
submission to the laws and measures of the Union.

The gentleman talks of tender parents. If he considers the State of
Georgia as one of our tender parents, I protest against it. Although
she be one of our parents, there has been no proposition ever made
on this floor, for the good of the Territory, which has not met the
opposition of that State. But these are subjects on which I will not

The gentleman has stated that a number of people have gone over to the
Mississippi Territory to settle lands, against the express provisions
of the law. That, under the pretext of a purchase from an Indian,
named Double Head, people have gone over to settle lands, is true;
but from where? From Georgia. They are citizens of Georgia; people
nurtured by this tender parent into a state of manhood, and unwilling
to participate longer in the tender cares of the State of Georgia. They
have been, very properly, ordered to be driven off by military force,
because they have infringed a law of the United States. But these
things do not touch the present question. I now propose to take away a
power which has been, by mistake, incorporated into the constitution of
a free people.

Mr. BIB said that the State of Georgia had never undertaken to
legislate for the Mississippi Territory; but there was a compact
existing between the United States and Georgia, and he called upon the
United States to adhere to it. They dared not violate it, except they
could violate the most solemn compact--the constitution.

Mr. TROUP observed that it had been said this power of the Governor
was a badge of slavery copied from the British Constitution. That in
many things they had been copied too far, he agreed; but as to this
prerogative, it was no such badge of slavery, and was found not only
in the articles of the ordinance, but in the constitutions of various
States, qualified in a greater or less degree. Mr. T. quoted the
constitutions of New York and Massachusetts, both which States had been
considered republican. Massachusetts, to be sure, was a little wavering
now, but he hoped she had not quite gone over to the enemy yet. These
constitutions gave a qualified prerogative to the Governor of the State.

The committee now rose--58 to 36.

Mr. TROUP moved that the further consideration of the bill be postponed
indefinitely--[equivalent to rejection.]

Mr. POINDEXTER calling for the yeas and nays on the motion, it was
decided--yeas 57, nays 52, as follows:

    YEAS.--Lemuel J. Alston, Willis Alston, jun., Ezekiel Bacon,
    David Bard, William W. Bibb, William Blackledge, John Blake,
    junior, Adam Boyd, Robert Brown, Joseph Calhoun, John
    Campbell, Martin Chittenden, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport,
    jun., William Ely, William Findlay, Francis Gardner, Charles
    Goldsborough, Edwin Gray, John Heister, William Hoge, Richard
    S. Jackson, Robert Jenkins, Walter Jones, James Kelly, William
    Kirkpatrick, John Lambert, Joseph Lewis, jun., Robert Marion,
    William McCreery, William Milnor, Nicholas R. Moore, Jonathan
    O. Mosely, Gurdon S. Mumford, Wilson C. Nicholas, Timothy
    Pitkin, junior, John Porter, Josiah Quincy, John Randolph,
    Matthias Richards, Samuel Riker, John Russell, Dennis Smelt,
    Henry Southard, William Stedman, Lewis B. Sturges, Peter Swart,
    Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, John Taylor, George M.
    Troup, Jabez Upham, James I. Van Allen, Daniel C. Verplanck,
    Robert Whitehill, David R. Williams, and Nathan Wilson.

    NAYS.--Joseph Barker, Burwell Bassett, William A. Burwell,
    William Butler, Matthew Clay, John Clopton, John Culpeper,
    John Dawson, Josiah Deane, Joseph Desha, Daniel M. Durell,
    James Elliot, John W. Eppes, James Fisk, Meshack Franklin,
    Thomas Gholson, jun., Peterson Goodwyn, Isaiah L. Green, John
    Harris, William Helms, James Holland, David Holmes, Benjamin
    Howard, Daniel Isley, Richard M. Johnson, Nathaniel Macon,
    Daniel Montgomery, junior, John Montgomery, Jeremiah Morrow,
    John Morrow, Roger Nelson, Thomas Newbold, Thomas Newton,
    John Pugh, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee,
    Jacob Richards, Benjamin Say, Ebenezer Seaver, Samuel Shaw,
    James Sloan, John Smilie, Jedediah K. Smith, John Smith,
    Samuel Smith, Richard Stanford, Clement Storer, John Thompson,
    Archibald Van Home, Jesse Wharton, Isaac Wilbour, and Alexander

So the bill was postponed indefinitely.

MONDAY, November 21.

Another member, to wit, JOHN BOYLE, from Kentucky, appeared, and took
his seat in the House.

                    _Naturalized British Subjects._

Mr. HOWARD presented a petition of sundry inhabitants of the State
of Kentucky, stating that the King of Great Britain having, by his
proclamation of the sixteenth of October, one thousand eight hundred
and seven, claimed the allegiance of all persons who may have been born
in his dominions, and were not inhabitants of the United States of
America at the period of their Revolution, and disregarding the laws
of naturalization in other countries, hath authorized the impressment
into his service of his pretended subjects, and treated as traitors
such as may have taken up arms against him in the service of their
adopted country; the petitioners being, at the present time, precluded
from the privilege of following commercial pursuits on the high seas in
safety, therefore pray that such measures be adopted by Congress as may
effectually resist the unjust assumption of power claimed and exercised
by a foreign nation; and pledging themselves to support with their
lives and fortunes whatever steps may be taken, or acts passed, by the
General Government, for the welfare of the Union.--Referred to Mr.
HOWARD, Mr. JOHN MORROW, and Mr. HARRIS, to examine the matter thereof,
and report their opinion thereupon to the House.

                        _Miranda's Expedition._

Mr. LOVE, from the committee to whom was referred, on the sixteenth
instant, the petition of thirty-six citizens of the United States now
confined at Carthagena, in South America, under sentence of slavery,
made a report thereon; which was read, and ordered to be referred to a
Committee of the whole House to-morrow.

The report is as follows:

    That it appears, from the statement of the petitioners, that,
    in February, 1806, they sailed from New York on board the
    Leander, a ship owned by Samuel G. Ogden, the command of which
    was, after getting to sea, assumed by General Miranda.

    That, from New York, the said ship sailed to Jacmel, where
    the said Miranda procured two schooners, on board which the
    petitioners were placed, which, together with the Leander,
    sailed, under the command of Miranda, about the last of March,
    in the same year, for the northern parts of South America, and
    arrived on the coast of Terra Firma in the latter part of April

    That, upon their arrival on the said coast, the two schooners,
    on board which the petitioners were embarked, were captured by
    two Spanish armed vessels; the ship Leander, with Miranda on
    board, having made her escape.

    That the petitioners, together with ten others, were convicted
    by a Spanish tribunal, at Porto Cabello, of the crime of
    piracy, from the circumstances of suspicion which attached to
    their situation, and not from any act of that kind committed
    on the high seas; that the ten others above mentioned were
    sentenced to death, and the petitioners some to eight, others
    to ten years' slavery, which they now are suffering; some
    chained together, others closely confined under heavy irons and
    a guard, destined to other places and to similar punishment.

    The petitioners state that they were entrapped into the service
    of the said Miranda, on the said expedition, by assurances made
    at the time of their engagements, that they were to be employed
    in the service of the United States, and under the authority
    of the Government. For the truth of their statement, and a
    confirmation of the charges they make against certain persons
    of having thus deceived and betrayed them into an involuntary
    co-operation in the design of fitting out an armament against
    a nation in amity with the United States, they refer to the
    testimony of several persons, said to be inhabitants of the
    city of New York, and to have had proposals made to them
    similar to those by which the petitioners were induced to
    engage on board the Leander.

    The petitioners also state that no opportunity was offered
    them of escaping from the service of the said Miranda and his
    associates; that they were restrained under the most rigorous
    discipline, and at Jacmel, the only place where an opportunity
    of escape might have been probable, they were strictly guarded
    to prevent it. For the truth of this they refer to certain
    captains of vessels then at Jacmel belonging to the ports of
    Philadelphia and Baltimore.

    The committee further report that the foregoing statements of
    the petitioners are unaccompanied by any competent testimony
    in support of them, and, at the same time, are uncontradicted
    by any opposing circumstances; they are of opinion that a very
    strong probability of the petitioners not having been guilty
    of the crime of wilfully engaging in the unlawful expedition
    of Miranda attends their application: first, because the
    petitioners have made a detailed statement of facts relative
    to the deception practised on them, referring to such species
    of evidence as to render their contradiction easy, if not
    founded in truth, and thus lessen their claim on their country,
    and diminish their hopes of liberation: second, because it is
    presumed they were proven to the Spanish tribunal before which
    they were convicted to have been offenders in a secondary
    degree, those who were proven to have been more heinously
    guilty having been sentenced to suffer death.

    The committee, however, are of opinion that, should the
    petitioners have been guilty of a crime against the United
    States by a voluntary or otherwise culpable infraction of its
    laws, the dictates of humanity no less than the principles
    of justice, ought to influence the Legislature of the United
    States to adopt the proper means of restoring them to their
    country, in order that they may expiate the offence by a
    punishment suited to but not transcending the magnitude of
    their crime.

    The committee, therefore, beg leave to submit the following
    resolution for the consideration of the House.

    _Resolved_, That the President of the United States be
    requested to adopt the most immediate and efficacious means
    in his power to obtain from the Viceroy of Grenada, in
    South America, or other proper authority, the liberation
    of thirty-six American citizens, condemned on a charge of
    piracy, and now held in slavery in the vaults of St. Clara, in
    Carthagena, and that the sum of ---- dollars be appropriated
    for that purpose.

TUESDAY, November 22.

Two other members, to wit: from New York, PHILIP VAN CORTLANDT, and
from South Carolina, RICHARD WYNN, appeared, and took their seats in
the House.

                     _Additional Revenue Cutters._

Mr. NEWTON called for the order of the day on the bill authorizing the
President to employ twelve additional revenue cutters.

The House having resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole,

Mr. NEWTON rose to state that the Committee of Commerce and
Manufactures had understood, from the proper authorities, there was a
necessity for the proper execution of the revenue laws, that the force
under the direction of the Treasury Department should be considerably

Mr. DANA inquired whether any written information touching the
necessity there might be for twelve revenue cutters had been received
by the committee--any letter from the Secretary of the Treasury? He
thought it was necessary, if so, that it should be submitted to the

Mr. NEWTON replied that there had been no written communication from
the proper Department to the committee. They had not thought it
essential, having also understood that the Secretary of the Treasury
was particularly occupied. However, he had taken the shortest method,
by waiting upon the Secretary himself, and had received the information
before alluded to. He had understood that the probable expense of each
cutter would be about $10,000, or $120,000 for the whole, each cutter
to carry about twenty men.

Mr. QUINCY thought that the correct mode of proceeding would require
other than mere verbal information. Respect for themselves should
induce gentlemen not to act without official communication upon the
subject. They could not, upon any other conditions, agree to so great
an augmentation of the force under the direction of the Treasury
Department. There had, heretofore, been but ten cutters employed.
There were never more than ten when commerce was at its height and the
revenue flourishing. But now, the House was called upon to vote twelve
additional cutters, when we are without revenue, without commerce, and
there is no information of an official nature before the House upon
which it might act.

Mr. NEWTON could not see that it was of any consequence to the House,
whether there had been a written communication to it upon the subject,
so that the information came through the proper organ, from the proper
authority. It was necessary, in times of difficulty like the present,
to act with spirit and promptitude. The laws should be executed with
the greatest strictness; and it was always wise to take time by the

Mr. BLACKLEDGE said that the expense of building the cutters would be
defrayed by the detection of goods attempted to be smuggled. There had
already been many condemnations. They were taking place every day. And
it was to support the laws that these cutters had been called for.

On the motion of Mr. NEWTON, that the committee rise and report the
bill, it was carried--yeas 47, nays 46.

THURSDAY, November 24.

Another member, to wit, BARENT GARDENIER, from New York, appeared, and
took his seat in the House.

MONDAY, November 28.

Another member, to wit, MATTHEW LYON, from Kentucky, appeared, and took
his seat in the House.

                          _Foreign Relations._

On the motion of Mr. CAMPBELL, the House resolved itself into a
Committee of the Whole, on the report of the committee on the subject
of our foreign relations.

The first resolution, in the following words, having been read:

    _Resolved_, That the United States cannot, without a sacrifice
    of their rights, honor, and independence, submit to the late
    edicts of Great Britain and France:

Mr. CAMPBELL opened the debate. He said that ill health had hitherto
prevented and might hereafter prevent him from giving that attention
to the subject which the all-important crisis would seem to require;
it was, however, his duty to bring the subject before the House. The
committee having in their report presented to the House the view in
which they had considered the subject referred to them, and the reasons
generally which induced them to present these resolutions to the
House, he said it was not his intention at this time to enter into a
discussion of their merits. Those reasons had been deemed sufficient
by the committee to justify them in presenting these resolutions to
the House; and as the objections to this, if any there were, could not
be foreseen, he would not attempt to anticipate them. According to
the view which he himself had taken of the first resolution, it could
require no discussion, it was too clear to require demonstration, and
too self-evident to need proof of its propriety. It might indeed seem
to require an apology from the committee for presenting a proposition
which every American must long since have determined for himself.
When the question had been first presented to his consideration, it
had appeared to him that it was totally superfluous, and to be doing
little more than announcing to the world that the United States were
still independent; but on further consideration, it had been deemed by
the select committee of some importance that in the present critical
situation of the United States, they should fix on some point at which
all would meet. After a perusal of the documents laid before the House
at the opening of the session, Mr. C. said it had been supposed that
no one would hesitate in declaring his indignation at the flagrant
violations and encroachments on our rights by the belligerent powers,
while it had been supposed that some difference of opinion might
exist as to the mode of resistance. After it was once determined
that they would not submit, that they would repel aggression, it
had been supposed that they might, with greater probability of
unanimity, discuss the course proper to be pursued. With a view to
this the committee had presented this resolution to the House. It was
expected that all would unite in it and prove to the world that the
Representatives of every portion of the American people were determined
to maintain their rights, for the belligerent powers really seemed to
suppose that the American people had forgotten them, and had therefore
assumed the right of prescribing the course of conduct which we should
pursue. To submit to regulations of foreign powers, which limited the
conduct of the American people, and prescribed the rules by which they
were to be governed, which pointed out the very ports to which they
should or should not go, which fixed the tribute or tax which they
should pay, would be not only to abandon their dignity and honor, but
to surrender, shamefully surrender our independence. Mr. C. said he
would not take up the time of the committee in showing that the Orders
of Council of Great Britain and the Decrees of France, were, on the
part of those nations, an assumption of power to give laws to this
country, in direct violation of our neutral rights, and an encroachment
on our sovereignty. This would require no argument. The real question
is, said he, shall we govern ourselves or be controlled by the will
of others; shall we become tributary or not, shall we submit or be
independent? And to the committee he cheerfully left the decision of
this question.

Mr. MUMFORD next addressed the Committee of the Whole. He observed,
that although he had the honor of being one of the Committee of Foreign
Relations, who framed the report under consideration, he dissented from
that report in some respects. We had now arrived at a momentous crisis
in the affairs of our country, and he hoped the House would deliberate
with that firmness and moderation which became the Representatives of
the free and independent people they had the honor to represent on
this all interesting concern. However they might differ on smaller
points of minor importance, yet when the best interest of the country
was at stake, he hoped they would unite in some mode to secure our
rights and promote the interests of the United States. The proposition
which he had the honor to move a few days ago, was consonant in some
degree to the instructions offered by our Ministers to Great Britain
and France, offering to remove the embargo in relation to either
that should rescind their obnoxious decrees. Neither of them having
receded, Mr. M. said he would continue the embargo in relation to them
both. Nay, further, he would inflict the severest penalties on any
one who should receive a license or voluntarily pay tribute to either
of them. He considered them both alike. He wished to see the country
placed in a complete posture of defence; but he could not see any good
reason why we should not trade with those nations who were willing to
receive us on friendly terms, and to trade with us on the principles of
reciprocity and mutual interests. This would not compromit the honor of
the nation. Even admitting that it might possibly lead to war, which he
doubted, he was convinced that the citizens of this country would rise
_en masse_ in support of that commerce which neither France nor England
had any right to interdict. He did presume, with all the zeal of some
gentlemen for irritating measures, it was not seriously contemplated
to declare war against all mankind; he was for having at least a few
friends in case of need. What was our situation now? The President of
the United States had told them, after speaking of France and England,
that "our relations with the other powers of Europe had undergone no
material change since the last session." This being the case, our
commerce was open with them all except France and Great Britain and
their dependencies.

Mr. QUINCY.--Mr. Chairman, I am not, in general, a friend to abstract
legislation. Ostentatious declaration of general principles is so
often the resort of weakness and of ignorance, it is so frequently the
subterfuge of men who are willing to amuse, or who mean to delude the
people, that it is with great reluctance I yield to such a course my

If, however, a formal denunciation of a determination to perform
one of the most common and undeniable of national duties, be deemed
by a majority of this House essential to their character, or to the
attainment of public confidence, I am willing to admit that the one now
offered is as unexceptionable as any it would be likely to propose.

In this view, however, I lay wholly out of sight the report of the
committee by which it is accompanied and introduced. The course
advocated in that report is, in my opinion, loathsome; the spirit
it breathes disgraceful; the temper it is likely to inspire neither
calculated to regain the rights we have lost, nor to preserve those
which remain to us. It is an established maxim, that in adopting a
resolution offered by a committee in this House, no member is pledged
to support the reasoning, or made sponsor for the facts which they have
seen fit to insert in it. I exercise, therefore, a common right, when
I subscribe to the resolution, not on the principles of the committee,
but on those which obviously result from its terms, and are the plain
meaning of its expressions.

I agree to this resolution, because, in my apprehension, it offers a
solemn pledge to this nation--a pledge not to be mistaken, and not to
be evaded--that the present system of public measures shall be totally
abandoned. Adopt it, and there is an end of the policy of deserting
our rights, under pretence of maintaining them. Adopt it, and we can
no longer yield, at the beck of haughty belligerents, the right of
navigating the ocean, that choice inheritance bequeathed to us by our
fathers. Adopt it, and there is a termination of that base and abject
submission, by which this country has for these eleven months been
disgraced, and brought to the brink of ruin.

That the natural import and necessary implication of the terms of this
resolution are such as I have suggested, will be apparent from a very
transient consideration. What do its terms necessarily include? They
contain an assertion and a pledge. The assertion is, that the edicts
of Great Britain and France are contrary to our rights, honor, and
independence. The pledge is, that we will not submit to them.

Concerning the assertion contained in this resolution I would say
nothing, were it not that I fear those who have so long been in the
habit of looking at the orders and decrees of foreign powers as the
measure of the rights of our own citizens, and been accustomed, in
direct subserviency to them, of prohibiting commerce altogether, might
apprehend that there was some lurking danger in such an assertion.
They may be assured there can be nothing more harmless. Neither Great
Britain nor France ever pretended that those edicts were consistent
with American rights; on the contrary, both these nations ground those
edicts on the principle of imperious necessity, which admits the
injustice done at the very instant of executing the act of oppression.
No gentleman need to have any difficulty in screwing his courage up to
this assertion. Neither of the belligerents will contradict it. Mr.
Turreau and Mr. Erskine will both of them countersign the declaration

With respect to the pledge contained in this resolution, understood
according to its true import, it is a glorious one. It opens new
prospects. It promises a change in the disposition of this House. It is
a solemn assurance to the nation that it will no longer submit to these
edicts. It remains for us, therefore, to consider what submission is,
and what the pledge not to submit implies.

One man submits to the order, decree, or edict of another, when he does
that thing which such order, decree, or edict commands; or when he
omits to do that thing which such order, decree, or edict prohibits.
This, then, is submission. It is to take the will of another as the
measure of our rights. It is to yield to his power--to go where he
directs, or to refrain from going where he forbids us.

If this be submission, then the pledge not to submit implies the
reverse of all this. It is a solemn declaration that we will not do
that thing which such order, decree, or edict commands, or that we will
do what it prohibits. This, then, is freedom. This is honor. This is
independence. It consists in taking the nature of things, and not the
will of another, as the measure of our rights. What God and Nature has
offered us we will enjoy, in despite of the commands, regardless of the
menaces of iniquitous power.

Let us apply these correct and undeniable principles to the edicts of
Great Britain and France, and the consequent abandonment of the ocean
by the American Government. The decrees of France prohibit us from
trading with Great Britain. The orders of Great Britain prohibit us
from trading with France. And what do we? Why, in direct subserviency
to the edicts of each, we prohibit our citizens from trading with
either. We do more; as if unqualified submission was not humiliating
enough, we descend to an act of supererogation in servility; we abandon
trade altogether; we not only refrain from that particular trade
which their respective edicts prescribe, but, lest the ingenuity of
our merchants should enable them to evade their operations, to make
submission doubly sure, the American Government virtually re-enact
the edicts of the belligerents, and abandon all the trade which,
notwithstanding the practical effects of their edicts, remain to us.
The same conclusion will result, if we consider our embargo in relation
to the objects of this belligerent policy. France, by her edicts, would
compress Great Britain by destroying her commerce and cutting off her
supplies. All the continent of Europe, in the hand of Bonaparte, is
made subservient to this policy. The embargo law of the United States,
in its operation, is a union with this continental coalition against
British commerce, at the very moment most auspicious to its success.
Can any thing be more in direct subserviency to the views of the French
Emperor? If we consider the orders of Great Britain, the result will
be the same. I proceed at present on the supposition of a perfect
impartiality in our Administration towards both belligerents, so far as
relates to the embargo law. Great Britain had two objects in issuing
her orders. First, to excite discontent in the people of the continent,
by depriving them of their accustomed colonial supplies. Second, to
secure to herself that commerce of which she deprived neutrals. Our
embargo co-operates with the British views in both respects. By our
dereliction of the ocean, the continent is much more deprived of the
advantages of commerce than it would be possible for the British navy
to effect, and by removing our competition, all the commerce of the
continent which can be forced is wholly left to be reaped by Great
Britain. The language of each sovereign is in direct conformity to
these ideas. Napoleon tells the American Minister, virtually, that
we are very good Americans; that, although he will not allow the
property he has in his hands to escape him, nor desist from burning
and capturing our vessels on every occasion, yet that he is, thus far,
satisfied with our co-operation. And what is the language of George
the Third, when our Minister presents to his consideration the embargo
laws? Is it _Le Roi s'avisera_? The King will reflect upon them. No;
it is the pure language of royal approbation, _Le Roi le veut_. The
King wills it. Were you colonies he could expect no more. His subjects
as inevitably get that commerce which you abandon as the water will
certainly run into the only channel which remains after all the others
are obstructed. In whatever point of view we consider these embargo
laws in relation to these edicts and decrees, we shall find them
co-operating with each belligerent in its policy. In this way, I grant,
our conduct may be impartial; but what has become of our American
rights to navigate the ocean? They are abandoned, in strict conformity
to the decrees of both belligerents. This resolution declares that we
shall no longer submit to such degrading humiliations. Little as I
relish, I will take it, as the harbinger of a new day--the pledge of a
new system of measures.

WEDNESDAY, November 30.

                          _Foreign Relations._

Mr. RICHARD M. JOHNSON.--I am more than astonished to see this House
inundated by every mail with publications, from the East, declaring
that we have no cause of complaint against Great Britain; that we
should rescind the proclamation of interdict against British armed
vessels; that we should repeal the non-importation law; that the
embargo should be taken off as to Great Britain; that we should go
to war with France; that punctilio prevents a settlement of our
differences with Great Britain; inviting the people to violate and
disregard the embargo, to put the laws and the constitution at
defiance, and rise in rebellion.

These considerations induced me to examine this matter, and to prove
to every honest American, what we all believe in this place, that
the object of one power, is to destroy our neutrality and involve
us in the convulsing wars of Europe; and the object of the other,
a monopoly of our commerce, and the destruction of our freedom and
independence. Let evidence as conclusive as holy writ put the enemies
of this insulted country to shame. We are informed by our Minister
in London, (Mr. Monroe,) in a communication dated August, 1807, that
a war party of powerful combination and influence existed in Great
Britain, who wanted to extend their ravages to this country; that we
could not make calculations upon the justice of Great Britain; that
in her many assumptions of power and principle she would yield but
from the absolute necessity. Who is this war party? The British navy,
to whom we have opened our ports, and extended all the hospitalities
of a generous nation; while in the enjoyment of which that very navy
waged war against our unoffending citizens. The ship owners, the
East and West India merchants, and what cause have they for war? The
enterprising citizens of the United States have been their rivals and
superiors in a lawful and profitable commerce; and, lastly, political
characters of high consideration. These compose this war party. In
January, 1804, in an official communication of Mr. Madison, Mr.
Monroe is charged with the suppression of impressment as his primary
object; 2d, the definition of blockade; 3d, the reduction of the
list of contraband; 4th, the enlargement of our trade with hostile
colonies. The negotiation opens, and what is done? With industry and
exertion our Minister was unable to bring the British Cabinet to any
amicable arrangement. Lords Hawkesbury, Harrowby, Mulgrave, and Mr.
Fox, succeeded each other, and every attempt to negotiate was in vain.
Each of them brings expressions of good will and good disposition
towards the United States, and a wish for amicable arrangement. But
these professions and dispositions evaporate in invitations to the
country and the city--in promises and procrastinations. To-day we
are amused with a conversation at the foreign office, which animates
with a lively hope--to-morrow hope is swallowed up in despair--and
the third day announces some new injury. Affairs on the continent now
call the attention of the British Ministry, and with every disposition
of good will there must be a pause. In this amicable pause business
required that our Minister should go to Old Spain; but upon his return
to England, what astonishment seized his mind at the sad spectacle
the changing scenes presented. Under the old rule of '56, and other
interpolations upon public law, our merchant vessels are swept from the
bosom of the ocean without notice, by British cruisers, and carried
into British ports for condemnation. But why this change? A coalition
had been formed in the North against France. British gold effected it.
Russia and Austria had combined against France, and here the hopes of
England rested.

But we all know her hopes were blasted. This is the reason why the
blow was aimed, and your commerce sacrificed. The remonstrances of our
Minister could not keep pace with new aggressions. This temporizing
policy of England, and the destruction of our commerce, buried party
spirit in America for the moment, and produced an indignant protest
against her conduct from the great commercial cities in the Union,
in which their lives and their property were pledged to support the
Government in measures of just retaliation. And on this occasion the
merchants of Boston requested the President to send a special Envoy to
England, to give a greater solemnity to our claims of indemnity and
future security. The cause of the merchants became a common cause,
and the non-importation law was enacted, and Mr. Pinkney sent as a
special Minister, agreeably to request. Let the commercial interest
cease to complain. It is for them principally that we now suffer.
These deeply-inflicted wounds upon the commerce of America, ingulfed
for a moment the consideration of the primary object of Mr. Monroe's
mission--the impressment of seamen--and it would seem, that when our
Minister pressed one great subject of complaint, some greater outrage
was committed to draw our attention from the former injury. Thus the
unavailing exertions of our Minister for upwards of two years at the
Court of St. James, eventuated in an extraordinary mission, and the
non-importation law; a measure of retaliation, and which rendered us
less dependent upon a foreign Government for such articles as can be
manufactured at home. To bring further evidence of British hostility,
let us attend a little to the Administration of Mr. Fox. He came into
office about the 1st of February. On the 31st of May, information
was received in London of the extra mission of Mr. Pinkney. Mr.
Monroe, therefore, had an opportunity of about four months with Mr.
Fox to settle our differences, without any interruption, not even
the ideal one which has been suggested, as giving a temporary stay
to the negotiation, viz: the waiting the arrival of Mr. Pinkney. The
United States had a right to expect something like justice from this
able Minister, because he entertained a sincere desire to conciliate
the friendship of this nation by acts of justice. But in this just
expectation we were disappointed. The hostility of other members of the
Cabinet with whom he was associated, was the real cause of difficulty,
joined perhaps with his sudden indisposition and death. Mr. FOX
acknowledged our right to the colonial trade; he promised to stop the
capture and condemnation of our merchant vessels; but when pressed to
answer our complaints in writing, he promised, but broke that promise,
and ultimately refused to give any orders with respect to the capture
and condemnation of our vessels. Thus the golden apple was presented to
our grasp, and then snatched forever from our sight.

Now let the committee attend to the chapter of negotiation, which
produced the rejected treaty. First, the subject of blockade is
proposed, and a definition demanded. We denied the doctrine of paper
breastworks, spurious and illegitimate blockades, to be executed in
every sea by the British Navy, of which our neutral rights were the
victims. Such as the blockade of the coast of Europe from the Elbe to
Brest, of the Elbe, the Weiser and Ems. The whole coast of Old Spain,
of the Dardanelles, and Smyrna, and of Curaçoa. Upon this subject,
Great Britain would yield nothing.

2. No duty can be laid upon American exports, but Great Britain imposes
a duty of four per cent. upon her exports to the United States, under
the name of a convoy duty; by which duty the citizens of the United
States pay to Great Britain an annual amount of $1,300,000; but upon
this unfriendly discrimination she will yield nothing.

3. Upon the search of merchant vessels she would yield nothing.

4. Upon the colonial trade she imposed new restrictions. She would
yield nothing; a trade which produced the United States revenue to the
amount of $1,300,000 per annum; and furnished exports from the United
States of $50,000,000 annually.

5. Upon the West India trade she would yield nothing, and upon the East
India trade she imposed new restrictions.

6. Upon the impressment of seamen, the subject was too delicate; she
was fighting for her existence; she would yield nothing.

7. Upon the mutual navigation of the St. Lawrence, so important to the
Northern States, they would yield nothing; but would demand a monopoly
of the fur trade, and influence over the Indians within our own limits.
Thus ended the chapter of negotiation.

I turn with indignation from this to a new species of injury, involving
the events connected with and preceding the President's proclamation
interdicting the armed vessels of Great Britain from our waters. I
allude to the conduct of the officers of the British navy, and the
evident connivance of the British Government. I will only mention three
prominent cases:

1st. The Cambrian, and other British cruisers, commanded by Captain
Bradley, who entered the port of New York, and in defiance of the
Government arrested a merchant vessel, and impressed into the ships of
war a number of seamen and passengers, refused to surrender them upon
demand, and resisted the officers, served with regular process of law
for the purpose of arresting the offenders.

2d. The case of the Leander, Capt. Whitby, with other British armed
vessels, hovering about New York, vexing the trade of that port,
arresting a coasting vessel of the United States by firing a cannon,
which entered the vessel and killed John Pierce. The murder of Pierce,
a fact so notorious, could not be proved in a sham trial in England,
though the most unexceptionable characters are sent as witnesses from
the United States; and not even an explanation is made to satisfy
this country for the murder of a citizen. Call upon the citizens of
New York, who saw the body of their slaughtered countryman; ask the
mourning relatives of the murdered Pierce, whether he was slain or not!
But from this tragic scene we must turn to one of a deeper hue.

3d. The attack upon the Chesapeake. This vessel had just left the
shores of Virginia, leaving the British ship of war, the Leopard,
enjoying the hospitalities of our laws. The Chesapeake was bound to
the Mediterranean in defence of our rights. One hundred and seventy
American tars were on board, who had undertaken this honorable
enterprise. Unsuspicious of harm, while their rough cheeks were
bedewed with tears in parting from their friends and country, their
powder-horns empty, rods mislaid, wads too large, guns not primed--all
was confusion. In this unhappy moment the messenger of death comes.
The unfortunate Barron refuses to permit his men to be mustered by any
but an American officer. His Government had given the command. This
is the provocation. The vessel is attacked, and, without resistance,
eight are wounded, three are killed, and four taken and carried into
British service, one of whom has been hung as a malefactor in Nova
Scotia. It has been said that the Goddess of Liberty was born of the
ocean. At this solemn crisis, when the blood of these American seamen
mingled with the waves, then this sea nymph arose indignant from the
angry billows, and, like a redeeming spirit, kindled in every bosom
indignation and resentment. A nation of patriots have expressed
their resentment, and the sound has reached the utmost bounds of the
habitable world. Let a reasoning world judge whether the President's
proclamation was too strong for this state of things, and whether it
should be rescinded without atonement.

Do the wrongs of this nation end with this outrage? No. Clouds thicken
upon us; our wrongs are still increased; during the sensibility of this
nation, and without atonement for the attack upon the Chesapeake, on
the 16th October, 1807, a proclamation issues from the British Cabinet
respecting seafaring persons, enlarging the principles of former
encroachments upon the practice of impressment. This proclamation makes
it the indispensable duty of her naval officers to enter the unarmed
merchant vessels of the United States, and impress as many of the
crew as a petty and interested naval officer may without trial point
out as British subjects. The pretension is not confined to the search
after deserters, but extended to masters, carpenters, and naturalized
citizens of the United States--thus extending their municipal laws
to our merchant vessels and this country, and denying us the right
of making laws upon the subject of naturalization. The partners of
British and Scotch merchants can cover their property and their
merchandise from other nations under the neutral flag of the United
States to Leghorn, Amsterdam, Hamburg, &c. But the patriotic Irishman
or Englishman who has sought this protecting asylum of liberty, are not
secured by our flag from the ruthless fangs of a British press-gang.
And at this very moment our native citizens and adopted brethren, to
a considerable number, are doomed to the most intolerable thraldom in
the British navy by this degrading practice. There the freedom of our
citizens depends upon the mercy of naval officers of Great Britain;
and, upon this subject, every proposition for arrangement is trampled
down by these unjust pretensions. Information was just received of the
execution of the Berlin Decree, when the papers from every quarter
announced the existence of the British Orders in Council, making a
sweeping dash at our rightful commerce. Something must be done. The
events which been have retraced, all pressed upon us. The treatment
of our Minister, and his unavailing exertions; the result of the
negotiation which gave birth to the rejected treaty; the memorials of
the merchants; the outrageous conduct of the British naval officers
upon our seaboard; the connivance at their conduct by the British
Government; the proclamation of October 16, 1807; the execution of the
Berlin Decree, and the Orders in Council. These considerations required
the arm of Government, and at this inauspicious period, when the
clouds which had so long threatened and darkened our political horizon
gathered to a thick and horrible tempest, which now seemed about to
burst upon our devoted nation, the embargo snatched our property
from the storm, and deprived the thunderbolt of its real calamities.
The effects of this measure at home and abroad, notwithstanding its
inconveniences, will best attest the wisdom of the measure, which
will be increased in its efficacy by a total non-importation law.
As a measure of coercion upon other nations, I not only have the
strongest hopes, but also a rational confidence in it, founded upon
the most conclusive evidence. The misrepresentations in this country,
the violations of the embargo, and the hope of changing the parties
in the United States, or of producing a separation of the States;
these miscalculations have destroyed entirely the efficacy of this
measure, and been a main cause why Great Britain has not relaxed in her
injustice towards America. And if we can rigidly enforce this system,
my confidence is undiminished, my faith strong, that the United States
will have reasonable terms offered to them. Yet the violators of your
laws have been the great cause why the present state of things has been
protracted. They are as infamous as the cowboys in the Revolution, who
embodied themselves to feed our enemies with the only cow of a weeping
widow, or a poor soldier who was fighting for his country. The commerce
of the United States with the West Indies, the Continent of Europe,
and Great Britain, will present to this committee the evidence upon
which this faith is bottomed. The United States have furnished the
West Indies with the essentials of existence, and also have afforded a
market for the colonial produce of those islands. In fact, they cannot
live without provisions from the United States in the present state of
the world. These islands have been reduced to wretchedness and want
already, notwithstanding the violations of the embargo, and flour, we
learn, has been as high as $20, $30, $40, $50, and $60 per barrel. The
vast importance of these possessions alone, to the mother country,
might have been sufficient to have produced a settlement of our
differences, if other considerations had not prevented. Attend to the
trade with England and the continent previous to the Orders in Council.
The annual exports of British manufactures to the United States amount
to twelve million pounds sterling. In exchange for these manufactured
articles, Great Britain receives to the amount of four million pounds
sterling in tobacco, cotton, wheat, and the substantials of life.
The eight millions which remain due must be paid in money or bills.
To raise this money, the American merchants carry to the Continent
of Europe produce of the United States to the amount of this eight
millions, which is sold, and the amount remitted to the merchants in
London to pay the debts of our merchants. This trade is now destroyed
by the Orders in Council, and not the embargo--for this very measure
has saved our vessels from capture, our merchandise from condemnation,
and our seamen from impressment.

THURSDAY, December 1.

Another member, to wit, THOMAS MOORE, from South Carolina, appeared,
and took his seat in the House.

JESSE B. THOMAS, the delegate from the Indiana Territory, returned
to serve in the room of BENJAMIN PARKE, who hath resigned his seat,
appeared, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.

TUESDAY, December 6.

                          _Foreign Relations._

The report of the Committee on Foreign Relations being again before the
House, and the question still on the first resolution--

Mr. GHOLSON said: Mr. Speaker, were I to yield to my embarrassment on
the present occasion, I should not trespass on your indulgence. But
when I reflect upon the great national importance of the question now
before the House, and upon the high responsibility which its decision
must attach to me as one of the Representatives of the people; I am
impelled, from considerations of duty, to assign to you the reasons by
which I am influenced.

It has been said, sir, with great truth, that the present is an
extraordinary crisis. It seems indeed to have been reserved for the
age in which we live, to witness a combination of political events
unparalleled in the annals of time. Almost the whole civilized world
has been within a few years convulsed by wars, battles, and conquests.
Kingdoms and empires have been revolutionized; and we behold a vast
continent assuming a new aspect under a new dynasty. Those laws which
from time immemorial have prescribed and limited the conduct of
nations, are now contemptuously prostrated, innocent neutrality is
banished from the ocean, and we hear a grim tyrant asserting himself
the sovereign of the seas. Thus the most essential part of the globe is
attempted to be partitioned between two domineering rival belligerents.
Sir, it would have been a subject of the sincerest felicitation if our
happy country could have been exempt from this universal concussion.
But we are fated to share evils in the production of which we have had
no participation. In inquiring, Mr. Speaker, into the causes of these
evils and the policy by which we are to be extricated from them, I am
conscious of two things--of my utter incompetency to the elucidation
of so great a subject, and of the unavoidable necessity of touching
upon ground already occupied by gentlemen who have preceded me in this

When, sir, I recur to the resolutions reported by the Committee of
Exterior Relations, I find one which proposes resistance to the edicts
of Great Britain and France; and another which recommends a system of
non-intercourse between the United States and those countries.

In hearing the first resolution treated as an abstract proposition, my
astonishment has been not a little excited. I have always understood
an abstract proposition to be the assertion of some general principle
without any specific application. Here is a distinct position, with
a direct reference to particular orders and decrees. The resolution
therefore is itself specific and appropriate, to use the apt terms of
the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. DANA). But before we can determine
upon the propriety or impropriety of the resolutions, to me it appears
indispensable that we should examine attentively and minutely, not only
the situation of this country in relation to France and Britain, but
also the injuries and aggressions they have committed upon our neutral

In doing this I regret extremely that I shall wound the delicate taste
and exquisite sensibility of my learned colleague (Mr. RANDOLPH), who
addressed you yesterday. I shall take no pleasure in the retrospection
which seems so much to disgust that gentleman; but I do not know how
else to find justification for the measures we, I trust, shall pursue,
and to expose the profligacy of our enemies. The regular discussion of
the first resolution would seem naturally to lead us to a review of
the edicts of Great Britain and France. When we say we will not submit
to their edicts; it cannot be amiss, although I acknowledge, sir, the
undertaking is an unpleasant one, to inquire into the nature and extent
of those edicts; I therefore will endeavor, within as narrow limits as
possible, to exhibit to the view of the indignant American, the various
wanton aggressions which have been committed by both these powers upon
his commercial rights. And, sir, whenever we look for the chief source
of our difficulties, we must turn towards Great Britain. Then let us
examine the principal items in her account.

On 8th June, 1793, the British Government issued an Order of Council
to stop and detain for condemnation, vessels laden with corn, flour,
or meal, and bound to France, whose people were then almost in the act
of starving, and of course we were deprived of an excellent market for
those articles.

On 6th November, 1793, an order issued to stop and detain ships laden
with the produce of, or carrying provisions to, the colonies of France.

On 21st March, 1799, she issued a proclamation declaring the United
Provinces in a state of blockade, and thereby excluding neutral
commerce without any actual investment.

On 16th May, 1806, a proclamation declaring the blockade of the coast
from the Elbe to Brest, inclusive.

On 7th January, 1807, an order prohibiting neutral vessels from trading
from one port to another of the enemy or his allies.

On 11th May, 1807, a proclamation declaring the blockade of the coast
between the Elbe, Weser, and Ems.

On 11th May, 1807, a proclamation declaring the blockade of the
Dardanelles and Smyrna.

In October, 1807, a proclamation, ordering British officers to impress
from American vessels all such of their crews as might be taken _or
mistaken_ for British subjects.

On 11th November, 1807, Orders in Council were issued interdicting
all neutral commerce to any port of Europe from which the British
flag was excluded; directing that neutrals should trade to such ports
only, under British license and with British clearances--that all
ships destined before the issuing of the orders to any of the said
ports, should go into a British port, and that all vessels having
"certificates of origin" should be lawful prize.

On 11th November, 1807, an Order in Council was issued, declaring void
the legal transfer of vessels from the enemies of Britain, to neutrals
or others.

In 1808, various acts of Parliament have been passed, carrying the
orders of the 11th of November, 1807, into execution. They impose a
specific tax on a variety of articles of American merchandise allowed
to be re-exported to the continent of Europe, for example, on tobacco,
12_s._ 6_d._ sterling per cwt.; on indigo, 2_s._ per lb.; pork, 17_s._
6_d._ per cwt.; cotton, 9_d._ per lb.; and on all other articles
not enumerated in the act, a duty of forty per cent. is exacted on

On 8th January, 1808, a proclamation issued declaring the blockade of
Carthagena, Cadiz, and St. Lucar, and all the ports between the first
and last of these places.

In the Autumn of 1808, in order that plunder might commence from the
very moment of the expected repeal of the embargo, the French West
India islands were declared in a state of blockade.

I will forbear, sir, at this time from commenting on the habitual
impressment of American citizens, by Great Britain; the illegal
condemnation of American vessels under what they call the rule of
1756; the spurious blockades of British commanders, and the consequent
spoliations on our commerce. Nor will I detain the House by relating
the story of Captain Bradley, commander of the Cambrian, who in the
face of the city of New York, and in contempt of the civil authority of
the United States, dragged your citizens into slavish captivity. The
case too of the British ship Leander may remain untold--the enormity
of that transaction is written in indelible characters, with the blood
of our countrymen. The invitation of the British Ministry to your
merchants to violate the embargo, and the burning of a friendly ship
of war (the Impetueux) in your own waters, are circumstances too light
to be noticed. I feel no disposition, either, to portray the affair of
the Chesapeake. The ghosts of the murdered are yet unavenged for that
horrid and perfidious deed!

I will now advert, sir, to the principal injuries committed by France
on the neutral commerce of the United States. They consist in the
execution of three decrees, to wit:

The Berlin decree of the 21st November, 1806, declaring the British
islands in a state of blockade, and that no vessel having been at or
coming directly from England or her colonies, shall enter at a French

The Milan decree of the 17th December, 1807, declaring lawful prize
every vessel that has suffered the visit of an English vessel,
submitted to an English voyage, or paid duty to the English Government;
and also, every vessel coming from the ports of England and her

The Bayonne decree of April, 1808, which subjects, as it is said, and
I believe not doubted, all American vessels found upon the high seas
since the embargo, to capture and confiscation.

Here, Mr. Speaker, I will end the black catalogue of iniquitous
outrages and restrictions upon neutral commerce--restrictions which
are acknowledged to depend for their support upon no other ground
than that of retaliation. Whilst I protest against the principle of
retaliating upon an enemy through the medium of a friend, yet these
orders and decrees have no claim even to that principle. Because France
and Britain both agree that the right of retaliation does not accrue
before the neutral has acquiesced in the aggressions of the enemy. We
have never acquiesced in the aggressions of either, and therefore, upon
their own reasoning, ought not to be liable to the operation of the
principle for which they unjustly contend. But, sir, can we quit this
subject without looking more particularly at the consequences which
result from this series of injuries?

In reviewing the conduct of Great Britain towards this country, we
perceive a continuation of encroachments, designed only for the utter
destruction of our commerce. This disposition is manifest in every
order and proclamation she has issued since the year 1793. If this
were not her object, why such a continued system of illegitimate
blockades? Why so many vexatious restrictions upon neutral trade,
tending to destroy competition on our part in the continental markets?
I might trace the scheme a little further back, and ask, whence the
outrages? the orders of June and November, 1793, which produced Jay's
treaty? A treaty which I am sorry to say, did not guarantee to us
mutual and reciprocal rights, and which was no sooner ratified than
violated by British perfidy. But, sir, I will not speak of trivial
matters, like these; they are of no consequence when we reflect upon
other topics. The pretended blockade of almost every port upon the
Baltic; the blockade of the eastern and southern coasts of the North
Sea, unaccompanied by any naval force; the nominal investment of the
ports on the south of the British channel, and on the European coast
of the Mediterranean sea; the occlusion of the Black Sea, by the
blockade of the Dardanelles and Smyrna, and in fine the blockade of
all the places from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Arctic Ocean, are
acts which, notwithstanding their unexampled enormity in themselves,
sink into perfect insignificance, when we consider the base attempts
meditated by the orders of November, 1807, and the consequent statutes
of Parliament, to reduce this country again to a state of colonial
slavery! Sir, at the very thought of these infamous orders and acts of
the British Government, I feel emotions of indignation and contempt,
to repress which would be dishonorable. What, sir? American vessels to
be arrested in a lawful commerce, upon "the highway of nations;" to be
forcibly carried into British ports, and there either condemned, or
else compelled before they can prosecute their voyage to take British
clearances and pay a British tax! And if the owner of the cargo shall
be unable to pay the amount of tax, he has the consolation left him of
seeing his property burnt! Sooner would I see every vessel and every
atom of our surplus produce make one general conflagration in our own
country. For what purpose was the Revolution, in which the blood and
treasure of our ancestors were the price of independence, if we are
now to be taxed by Britain? The highest authority in the Union cannot
constitutionally tax the exports, which are in part the products of
the labor of the American people; yet the British Government has
presumptuously undertaken to do it. I, sir, for one must protest
against any thing like submission to this conduct. But let us see what
we should get by submission. So far from gaining, it will be easy to
demonstrate, that if we were to submit, we should be only remunerated
with disgrace and ruin.

WEDNESDAY, December 7.

Mr. SAY presented memorials from sundry late officers in the
Pennsylvania line of the Revolutionary army, stating that, from the
peculiar circumstances of the memorialists, they have been compelled
to dispose of the certificates of pay and commutation granted them
for military services rendered to the United States; and praying such
relief in the premises as to the wisdom and justice of Congress shall
seem meet.

Mr. WHARTON presented a petition from sundry late officers of the
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina
lines of the said Revolutionary arm, to the like effect.

The said memorials and petition were read, and ordered to lie on the

Mr. DURELL moved that the House do come to the following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That it be the duty of the Clerk of this House to
    furnish the Representatives in Congress from each State in the
    Union, for the time being, and the Delegates from each of the
    Territories thereof, with one copy of every public document,
    including the laws and journals printed by order of the House,
    to be by them transmitted to the principal seminary of learning
    in each State and Territory, respectively.

The resolution was read, and, on motion of Mr. BACON, ordered to lie on
the table.

                          _Foreign Relations._

The House then resumed the consideration of the first member of the
first resolution reported on Thursday last, from the Committee of the
Whole, which was depending yesterday at the time of adjournment, in the
words following, to wit:

    "_Resolved_, That the United States cannot, without a sacrifice
    of their rights, honor, and independence, submit to the late
    edicts of Great Britain."

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL concluded his observations of yesterday, as given
entire in preceding pages.

Mr. QUINCY.--Mr. Speaker, I offer myself to the view of this House
with a very sensible embarrassment, in attempting to follow the
honorable gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. CAMPBELL)--a gentleman who
holds so distinguished a station on this floor, through thy blessing,
Mr. Speaker, on his talents and industry. I place myself with much
reluctance in competition with this, our great political Æneas, an
illustrious leader of antiquity, whom, in his present relations, and
in his present objects, the gentleman from Tennessee not a little
resembles; since, in order to evade the ruin impending over our
cities--taking my honorable colleague (Mr. BACON) by one hand, and the
honorable gentleman from Maryland (Mr. MONTGOMERY) by the other (little
Iülus and wife Creusa)--he is posting away into the woods with Father
Anchises and all the household gods.

When I had the honor of addressing this House a few days ago, I
touched this famous report of our Committee of Foreign Relations
perhaps a little too carelessly; perhaps I handled it a little too
roughly, considering its tender age, and the manifest delicacy of its
constitution. But, sir, I had no idea of affecting very exquisitely
the sensibilities of any gentleman. I thought that this was a common
report of one of our ordinary committees, which I had a right to
canvass or to slight, to applaud or to censure, without raising any
extraordinary concern, either here or elsewhere. But, from the general
excitement which my inconsiderate treatment of this subject occasions,
I fear that I have been mistaken. This can be no mortal fabric, Mr.
Speaker. This must be that image which fell down from Jupiter, present
or future. Surely, nothing but a being of celestial origin would raise
such a tumult in minds tempered like those which lead the destinies of
this House. Sir, I thought that this report had been a common piece of
wood--_inutile lignum_--just such a piece of wood as any day-laborer
might have hewed out in an hour, had he health and a hatchet. But
it seems that our honorable chairman of the Committee of Foreign
Relations, _maluit esse Deum_. Well, sir, I have no objections. If the
workmen will, a god it shall be. I only wish, that when gentlemen bring
their sacred things upon this floor, that they would blow a trumpet
before them, as the heathens do, on such occasions, to the end that all
true believers may prepare themselves to adore and tremble, and that
all unbelievers may turn aside, and not disturb their devotions.

I assure gentlemen that I meant to commit no sacrilege. I had no
intention, sir, of canvassing very strictly this report. I supposed,
that when it had been published and circulated, it had answered all the
purposes of its authors, and I felt no disposition to interfere with
them. But the House is my witness that I am compelled, by the clamor
raised on all sides by the friends of the Administration, to descend to
particulars, and to examine it somewhat minutely.

My honorable colleague (Mr. BACON) was pleased the other day to
assert:----Sir, in referring to his observations, on a former occasion,
I beg the House not to imagine that I am about to follow him. No, sir;
I will neither follow nor imitate him. I hang upon no man's skirts;
I run barking at no man's heel. I canvass principles and measures
solely with a view to the great interests of my country. The idea of
personal victory is lost in the total absorption of sense and mind in
the impending consequences. I say he was pleased to assert that I had
dealt in general allegations against this report, without pointing out
any particular objection. And the honorable chairman (Mr. CAMPBELL) has
reiterated the charge. Both have treated this alleged omission with no
little asperity. Yet, sir, it is very remarkable, that, so far from
dealing in general allegations, I explicitly stated my objections.
The alternatives presented by the report--war or suspension of our
rights, and the recommendation of the latter, rather than take the
risk of the former, I expressly censured. I went further. I compared
these alternatives with an extract from an address made by the first
Continental Congress to the inhabitants of Great Britain, and attempted
to show, by way of contrast, what I thought the disgraceful spirit
of the report. Yet, these gentlemen complain that I dealt in general
allegations. Before I close, sir, they will have, I hope, no reason to
repeat such objections. I trust I shall be particular, to their content.

Before entering upon an examination of this report, it may be useful
to recollect how it originated. By the third section of the second
article of the constitution, it is declared that the President of the
United States "shall, from time to time, give to Congress information
of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such
measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." It is, then, the
duty of the President to recommend such measures as in his judgment
Congress ought to adopt. A great crisis is impending over our country.
It is a time of alarm, and peril, and distress. How has the President
performed this constitutional duty? Why, after recapitulating, in a
formal Message, our dangers and his trials, he expresses his confidence
that we shall, "with an unerring regard to the essential rights and
interests of the nation, weigh and compare the painful alternatives
out of which a choice is to be made," and that "the alternative chosen
will be maintained with fortitude and patriotism." In this way our
Chief Magistrate performs his duty. A storm is approaching; the captain
calls his choice hands upon deck; leaves the rudder swinging, and sets
the crew to scuffle about _alternatives_! This Message, pregnant with
nondescript alternatives, is received by this House. And what do we?
Why, constitute a great Committee of Foreign Relations, and, lest they
should not have their attention completely occupied by the pressing
exigencies of those with France and Great Britain, they are endowed
with the whole mass--British, Spanish, and French; Barbary Powers and
Indian neighbors. And what does this committee do? Why, after seven
days' solemn conclave, they present to this House an illustrious
report, loaded with alternatives--nothing but alternatives. The cold
meat of the palace is hashed and served up to us, piping hot, from our
committee room.

In considering this report, I shall pay no attention to either its
beginning or its conclusion. The former consists of shavings from old
documents, and the latter of birdlime for new converts. The twelfth
page is the heart of this report; that I mean to canvass. And I do
assert, that there is not one of all the principal positions contained
in it which is true, in the sense and to the extent assumed by the
committee. Let us examine each, separately:

    "Your committee can perceive no other alternative but abject
    and degrading submission, war with both nations, or a
    continuance and enforcement of the present suspension of our

Here is a tri-forked alternative. Let us consider each branch, and
see if either be true, in the sense assumed by the committee. The
first--"abject and degrading submission"--takes two things for granted:
that trading, pending the edicts of France and Great Britain, is
submission; and next that it is submission, in its nature, abject and
degrading. Neither is true. It is not submission to trade, pending
those edicts, because they do not command you to trade; they command
you _not_ to trade. When you refuse to trade, you submit; not when you
carry on that trade, as far as you can, which they prohibit. Again, it
is not true that such trading is abject and disgraceful, and that, too,
upon the principles avowed by the advocates of this report. Trading,
while these edicts are suspended over our commerce, is submission,
say they, because we have not physical force to resist the power of
these belligerents; of course, if we trade, we must submit to these
restrictions, not having power to evade or break through them. Now,
admit, for the sake of argument, (what however in fact I deny,) that
the belligerents have the power to carry into effect their decrees
so perfectly; that, by reason of the orders of Great Britain, we are
physically disabled from going to France; and that, by the edicts of
France, we are in like manner disabled from going to Great Britain.
If such be our case, in relation to these powers, the question is,
whether submitting to exercise all the trade which remains to us,
notwithstanding these edicts, is "abject and degrading."

In the first place, I observe, that submission is not, to beings
constituted as we are, always "abject and degrading." We submit to the
decrees of Providence--to the laws of our nature. Absolute weakness
submits to absolute power; and there is nothing in such submission
shameful or degrading. It is no dishonor for finite not to contend
with infinite. There is no loss of reputation if creatures, such as
men, perform not impossibilities. If then it be true, in the sense
asserted by some of the advocates of this report, that it is physically
impossible for us to trade with France and Great Britain and their
dependencies, by reason of these edicts, still there is nothing "abject
or degrading" in carrying on such trade as these edicts leave open to
us, let it be never so small or so trifling; which, however, it might
be easily shown, as it has been, that it is neither the one nor the
other. Sir, in this point of view, it is no more disgraceful for us
to trade to Sweden, to China, to the Northwest coast, or to Spain and
her dependencies--not one of which countries is now included in those
edicts--than it is disgraceful for us to walk, because we are unable to
fly; no more than it is shameful for man to use and enjoy the surface
of this globe, because he has not at his command the whole circle of
nature, and cannot range at will over all the glorious spheres which
constitute the universe.

The gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. CAMPBELL) called upon us just now to
tell him what was disgraceful submission, if carrying on commerce under
these restrictions was not such submission. I will tell that gentleman.
That submission is "abject and disgraceful" which yields to the decrees
of frail and feeble power, as though they were irresistible; which
takes counsel of fear, and weighs not our comparative force; which
abandons the whole, at a summons to deliver up a part; which makes the
will of others the measure of rights, which God and nature not only
have constituted eternal and unalienable, but have also endued us with
ample means to maintain.

My argument on this clause of the report of the committee may be
presented in this form: either the United States have or they have not
physical ability to carry on commerce in defiance of the edicts of both
or of either of these nations. If we have not physical ability to carry
on the trade which they prohibit, then it is no disgrace to exercise
that commerce which these irresistible decrees permit. If we have
such physical ability, then, to the degree in which we abandon that
commerce which we have power to carry on, is our submission "abject and
disgraceful." It is yielding without a struggle; it is sacrificing our
rights, not because we have not force, but because we have not spirit
to maintain them. It is in this point of view that I am disgusted with
this report. It abjures what it recommends; it declaims, in heroics,
against submission, and proposes, in creeping prose, a tame and servile

It cannot be concealed, let gentlemen try as much as they will, that
we can trade, not only with one, but with both these belligerents,
notwithstanding these restrictive decrees. The risk to Great Britain
against French capture scarcely amounts to two per cent.; that to
France against Great Britain is unquestionably much greater. But,
what is that to us? It is not our fault, if the power of Britain on
the ocean is superior to that of Bonaparte. It is equal and exact
justice between both nations for us to trade with both, as far as it
is in our power. Great as the power of Britain is on the ocean, the
enterprise and intrepidity of our merchants are more than a match for
it. They will get your products to the Continent in spite of her
navy. But suppose they do not; suppose they fail, and are captured in
the attempt; what is that to us? After we have given them full notice
of all their dangers, and perfect warning, either of our inability or
of our determination not to protect them, if they take the risk, it
is at their peril. And, upon whom does the loss fall? As it does now,
through the operation of your embargo, on the planter, on the farmer,
on the mechanic, on the day-laborer? No, sir; on the insurer--on the
capitalist--on those who in the full exercise of their intelligence,
apprised of all the circumstances, are willing to take the hazard for
the sake of the profit.

I will illustrate my general idea by a supposition. There are two
avenues to the ocean from the harbor of New York--by the Narrows, and
through Long Island Sound. Suppose the fleets, both of France and
Great Britain, should block up the Narrows, so that to pass them would
be physically impossible, in the relative state of our naval force.
Will gentlemen seriously contend that there would be any thing "abject
or disgraceful," if the people of New York should submit to carry on
their trade through the Sound? Would the remedy for this interference
with our rights be abandoning the ocean altogether? Again: suppose,
that instead of both nations blockading the same point, each should
station its force at a different one--France at the mouth of the Sound,
Britain at the Narrows. In such case, would staying at home, and
refusing any more to go upon the sea, be an exercise of independence
in the citizens of New York? Great philosophers may call it "dignified
retirement," if they will. I call it, and I am mistaken if the people
would not call it, "base and abject submission." Sir, what in such a
case would be true honor? Why, to consider well which adversary is
the weakest, and cut our way to our rights through the path which he
obstructs. Having removed the smaller impediment, we should return
with courage, strengthened by trial and animated by success, to the
relief of our rights, from the pressure of the strongest assailant.
But, all this is war; and war is never to be incurred. If this be the
national principle, avow it; tell your merchants you will not protect
them; but, for Heaven's sake, do not deny them the power of relieving
their own and the nation's burdens, by the exercise of their own
ingenuity. Sir, impassable as the barriers offered by these edicts
are in the estimation of members on this floor, the merchants abroad
do not estimate them as insurmountable. Their anxiety to risk their
property, in defiance of them, is full evidence of this. The great
danger to mercantile ingenuity is internal envy--the corrosion of
weakness or prejudice. Its external hazard is ever infinitely smaller.
That practical intelligence which this class of men possesses, beyond
any other in the community, excited by self-interest--the strongest of
human passions--is too elastic to be confined by the limits of exterior
human powers, however great or uncommon. Build a Chinese wall, and
the wit of your merchants, if permitted freely to operate, will break
through it or overleap it, or undercreep it.

    ------------"mille adde catenas
    Effugiet tamen, hæc sceleratus vincula Proteus."

The second branch of the alternatives under consideration is equally
deceptive--"War with both nations." Can this ever be an alternative?
Did you ever read in history, can you conceive in fancy, a war of two
nations, each of whom is at war with the other, without a union with
one against the other immediately resulting? It cannot exist in nature.
The very idea is absurd. It never can be an alternative, whether we
shall find two nations each hostile to the other. But it may be, and
if we are to fight at all, it is a very serious question, which of the
two we are to select as an adversary. As to the third branch of these
celebrated alternatives, "a continuance and enforcement of the present
system of commerce," I need not spend time to show that this does not
include all the alternatives which exist under this head--since the
committee immediately admit, that there does exist another alternative,
"partial repeal," about which they proceed to reason.

The report proceeds. "The first" (abject and degrading submission)
"cannot require any discussion." Certainly not. Submission of that
quality which the committee assume, and with the epithets of which they
choose to invest it, can never require discussion at any time. But,
whether trading under these orders and decrees be such submission,
whether we are not competent to resist them in part, if not in whole,
without a total abandonment of the exercise of all our maritime rights,
the comparative effects of the edicts of each upon our commerce and
the means we possess to influence or control either, are all fair and
proper subjects of discussion; some of which the committee have wholly
neglected and none of which have they examined, as the House had a
right to expect.

The committee proceed "to dissipate the illusion" that there is
any "middle course," and to reassert the position before examined,
that "there is no other alternative than war with both nations, or
a continuance of the present system." This position they undertake
to support by two assertions. First, that "war with one of the
belligerents only, would be submission to the edicts and will of the
other." Second, that "repeal in whole or in part of the embargo, must
necessarily be war or submission."

As to the first assertion, it is a miserable fallacy, confounding
coincidence of interest with subjection of will; things in their
nature palpably distinct. A man may do what another wills, nay, what
he commands, and not act in submission to his will, or in obedience to
his command. Our interest or duty may coincide with the line of conduct
another presumes to prescribe. Shall we vindicate our independence at
the expense of our social or moral obligations? I exemplify my idea
in this way. Two bullies beset your door, from which there are but two
avenues. One of them forbids you to go by the left, the other forbids
you to go by the right avenue. Each is willing that you should pass
by the way which he permits. In such case, what will you do? Will
you keep house forever, rather than make choice of the path through
which you will resume your external rights? You cannot go both ways
at once, you must make your election. Yet, in making such election,
you must necessarily coincide with the wishes and act according to
the commands of one of the bullies. Yet who, before this committee,
ever thought an election of one of two inevitable courses, made under
such circumstances, "abject and degrading submission" to the will of
either of the assailants? The second assertion, that "repeal in whole
or in part of the embargo must necessarily be war or submission,"
the committee proceed to maintain by several subsidiary assertions.
First--"a general repeal without arming would be submission to both
nations." So far from this being true, the reverse is the fact; it
would be submission to neither. Great Britain does not say, "you shall
trade with me." France does not say, "you shall trade with me." If this
was the language of their edicts, there might be some color for the
assertion of the committee, that if we trade with either we submit.
The edicts of each declare you shall not trade with my adversary. Our
servile knee-crooking embargo says, "you shall, therefore, not trade."
Can any submission be more palpable, more "abject, more disgraceful?" A
general repeal without arming, would be only an exercise of our natural
rights, under the protection of our mercantile ingenuity, and not under
that of physical power. Whether our merchants shall arm or not, is a
question of political expediency and of relative force. It may be very
true that we can fight our way to neither country, and yet it may be
also very true, that we may carry on a very important commerce with
both. The strength of the national arm may not be equal to contend with
either, and yet the wit of our merchants may be over-match for the
edicts of all. The question of arming or not arming, has reference only
to the mode in which we shall best enjoy our rights, and not at all
to the quality of the act of trading during these edicts. To exercise
commerce is our absolute right. If we arm, we may possibly extend the
field beyond that which mere ingenuity would open to us. Whether the
extension thus acquired be worthy of the risk and expense, is a fair
question. But, decide it either way, how is trading as far as we have
ability, made less abject than not trading at all?

I come to the second subsidiary assertion. "A general repeal and arming
of merchant vessels, would be war with both, and war of the worst kind,
suffering the enemies to plunder us, without retaliation upon them."

I have before exposed the absurdity of a war with two belligerents,
each hostile to the other. It cannot be true, therefore, that "a
general repeal and arming our merchant vessels," would be such a war.
Neither if war resulted, would it be "war of the worst kind." In my
humble apprehension, a war, in which our enemies are permitted to
plunder us, and our merchants not permitted to defend their property,
is somewhat worse than a war like this; in which, with arms in their
hands, our brave seamen might sometimes prove too strong for their
piratical assailants. By the whole amount of property which we might
be able to preserve by these means, would such a war be better than
that in which we are now engaged. For the committee assure us, that the
aggressions to which we are subject, "are to all intents and purposes a
maritime war, waged with both nations against the United States."

The last assertion of the committee, in this most masterly page is,
that "a partial repeal must from the situation of Europe, necessarily
be actual submission to one of the aggressors, and war with the other."
In the name of common sense, how can this be true? The trade to Sweden,
to Spain, to China, is not now affected by the orders or decrees of
either belligerent. How is it submission, then, to these orders for us
to trade to Gottenburg, when neither France nor Britain command, nor
prohibit it? Of what consequence is it to us what way the Gottenburg
merchant disposes of our products, after he has paid us our price? I am
not about to deny that a trade to Gottenburg would defeat the purpose
of coercing Great Britain, through the want of our supplies, but I
reason on the report upon its avowed principles. If gentlemen adhere to
their system, as a means of coercion, let the Administration avow it as
such, and support the system, by arguments, such as their friends use
every day on this floor. Let them avow, as those friends do, that this
is our mode of hostility against Great Britain. That it is better than
"ball and gunpowder." Let them show that the means are adequate to the
end; let them exhibit to us, beyond the term of all this suffering,
a happy salvation, and a glorious victory, and the people may then
submit to it, even without murmur. But while the Administration support
their system only as a municipal regulation, as a means of safety
and preservation, those who canvass their principle are not called
upon to contest with them on ground, which not only they do not take,
but which, officially, they disavow. As partial repeal would not be
submission to either, so, also, it would not be war with either. A
trade to Sweden would not be war with Great Britain; that nation is
her ally, and she permits it. Nor with France, though Sweden is her
enemy, she does not prohibit it. Ah! but say the committee, "a measure
which would supply exclusively one of the belligerents, would be war
with the other." This is the State secret; this is the master-key to
the whole policy. You must not only do what the letter of these orders
prohibits, but you must not sin against the spirit of them. The great
purpose is, to prevent your product from getting to our enemy, and
to effect this you must not only so act as to obey the terms of the
decrees, but keeping the great purpose of them always in sight, you
must extend their construction to cases which they cannot, by any rule
of reason, be made to include.

Sir, I have done with this report. I would not have submitted to the
task of canvassing it, if gentlemen had not thrown the gauntlet with
the air of sturdy defiance. I willingly leave to this House and the
nation to decide whether the position I took in the commencement of
my argument is not maintained; that there is not one of the principal
positions contained in the 12th page, the heart of this report, which
is true, in the sense and to the extent assumed by the committee.

It was under these general impressions that I used the word
"loathsome," which has so often been repeated. Sir, it may not have
been a well chosen word. It was that which happened to come to hand
first. I meant to express my disgust at what appeared to me a mass of
bold assumptions, and of illy-cemented sophisms.

I said, also, that "the spirit which it breathed was disgraceful"
Sir, I meant no reflection upon the committee. Honest men and wise
men may mistake the character of the spirit which they recommend, or
by which they are actuated. When called upon to reason concerning
that which, by adoption, is to become identified with the national
character, I am bound to speak of it as it appears to my vision. I
may be mistaken. Yet, I ask the question: is not the spirit which it
breathes disgraceful? Is it not disgraceful to abandon the exercise of
all our commercial rights, because our rivals interfere with a part;
not only to refrain from exercising that trade which they prohibit,
but for fear of giving offence, to decline that which they permit? Is
it not disgraceful, after inflammatory recapitulation of insults, and
plunderings, and burnings, and confiscations, and murders, and actual
war made upon us, to talk of nothing but alternatives, of general
declarations, of still longer suspension of our rights, and retreating
farther out of "harm's way?" If this course be adopted by my country,
I hope I am in error concerning its real character. But to my sense,
this whole report is nothing else than a recommendation to us of the
abandonment of our essential rights and apologies for doing it.

Before I sit down, I feel myself compelled to notice some observations
which have been made in different quarters of this House on the remarks
which, at an early stage of this debate, I had the honor of submitting
to its consideration. My honorable colleague (Mr. BACON) was pleased
to represent me as appealing to the people over the heads of the whole
Government, against the authority of a law which had not only the
sanction of all the legislative branches of the Government, but also
of the Judiciary. Sir, I made no such appeal. I did not so much as
threaten it. I admitted, expressly, the binding authority of the law.
But I claim a right, which I ever will claim, and ever will exercise,
to urge, on this floor, my opinion of the unconstitutionality of a law,
and my reasons for that opinion, as a valid ground for its repeal.
Sir, I will not only do this, I will do more. If a law be, in my
apprehension, dangerous in its principles, ruinous in its consequences,
above all if it be unconstitutional, I will not fail in every fair and
honorable way to awaken the people to a sense of their peril; and to
quicken them, by the exercise of their constitutional privileges, to
vindicate themselves and their posterity from ruin.

My honorable colleague (Mr. BACON) was also pleased to refer to me,
"as a man of divisions and distinctions, waging war with adverbs,
and dealing in figures." Sir, I am sorry that my honorable colleague
should stoop "from his pride of place," at such humble game as my poor
style presents to him. Certainly, Mr. Speaker, I cannot but confess
that, "deeming high" of the station which I hold; standing, as it
were, in the awful presence of an assembled people, I am more than
ordinarily anxious, on all occasions, to select the best thoughts in
my narrow storehouse, and to adapt to them the most appropriate dress
in my intellectual wardrobe. I know not whether, on this account, I
am justly obnoxious to the asperity of my honorable colleague. But,
on the subject of figures, sir, this I know, and cannot refrain from
assuring this House that, as on the one hand, I shall, to the extent
of my humble talents, always be ambitious, and never cease striving to
make a decent figure on this floor; so, on the other, I never can be
ambitious, but, on the contrary, shall ever strive chiefly to avoid
cutting a figure like my honorable colleague.

The gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. TROUP,) the other day, told this House
that, if commerce were permitted, such was the state of our foreign
relations, none but bankrupts would carry on trade. Sir, the honorable
gentleman has not attained correct information in this particular.
I do not believe that I state any thing above the real fact, when
I say that, on the day this Legislature assembled, one hundred
vessels, at least, were lying in the different ports and harbors of
New England loaded, riding at single anchor, ready and anxious for
nothing so much as for your leave to depart. Certainly, this does
not look much like any doubt that a field of advantageous commerce
would open, if you would unbar the door to your citizens. That this
was the case in Massachusetts I know. Before I left that part of the
country, I had several applications from men, who stated that they
had property in such situations, and soliciting me to give them the
earliest information of your probable policy. The men so applying, I
can assure the House, were no bankrupts; but intelligent merchants,
shrewd to perceive their true interests; keen to pursue them. The same
honorable gentleman was also pleased to speak of "a paltry trade in
potash and codfish," and to refer to me as the Representative of men
who raised "beef and pork, and butter and cheese, and potatoes and
cabbages." Well, sir, I confess the fact. I am the Representative, in
part, of men, the products of whose industry are beef and pork, and
butter and cheese, and potatoes and cabbages. And let me tell that
honorable gentleman, that I would not yield the honor of representing
such men, to be the Representative of all the growers of cotton and
rice, and tobacco and indigo, in the whole world. Sir, the men whom I
represent, not only raise those humble articles, but they do it with
the labor of their own hands, with the sweat of their own brows. And
by this, their habitual mode of hardy industry, they acquire a vigor
of nerve, a strength of muscle, and spirit of intelligence, somewhat
characteristic. And let me say to that honorable gentleman, that the
men of whom I speak will not, at his call, nor at the invitation of any
man or set of men from his quarter of the Union, undertake to "drive
one another into the ocean." But, on the contrary, whenever they once
realize that their rights are invaded, they will unite, like a band of
brothers, and drive their enemies there.

The honorable gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. JOHNSON,) speaking of the
embargo, said, that this was the kind of conflict which our fathers
waged; and my honorable colleague (Mr. BACON) made a poor attempt to
confound this policy with the non-intercourse and non-importation
agreement of 1774 and 1775. Sir, nothing can be more dissimilar. The
non-intercourse and non-importation agreement of that period, so far
from destroying commerce, fostered and encouraged it. The trade with
Great Britain was indeed voluntarily obstructed, but the enterprise of
our merchants found a new incentive in the commerce with all the other
nations of the globe, which succeeded immediately on our escape from
the monopoly of the mother country. Our navigation was never suspended.
The field of commerce at that period, so far from being blasted by
pestiferous regulations, was extended by the effect of the restrictions

But let us grant all that they assert. Admit, for the sake of argument,
that the embargo, which restrains us now from communication with all
the world, is precisely synonymous with that non-intercourse and
non-importation which restrained us then from Great Britain. Suppose
the war, which we now wage with that nation, is in every respect the
same as that which our fathers waged with her in 1774 and 1775. Have
we from the effects of their trial any lively hope of success in
our present attempt? Did our fathers either effect a change in her
injurious policy or prevent a war by non-intercourse? Sir, they did
neither the one nor the other. Her policy was never changed until
she had been beaten on our soil, in an eight years' war. Our fathers
never relied upon non-intercourse and non-importation, as measures
of hostile coercion. They placed their dependence upon them solely
as means of pacific influence among the people of that nation. The
relation in which this country stood at that time with regard to
Great Britain, gave a weight and a potency to those measures then,
which in our present relation to her, we can neither hope nor imagine
possible. At that time we were her Colonies, a part of her family. Our
prosperity was essentially hers. So it was avowed in this country.
So it was admitted in Great Britain. Every refusal of intercourse
which had a tendency to show the importance of these then colonies
to the parent country, of the part to the whole, was a natural and a
wise means of giving weight to our remonstrances. We pretended not
to control, but to influence, by making her feel our importance. In
this attempt we excited no national pride on the other side of the
Atlantic. Our success was no national degradation, for the more we
developed our resources and relative weight, the more we discovered
the strength and resources of the British power. We were the component
parts of it. All the measures of the Colonies, antecedent to the
Declaration of Independence, had this principle for their basis. As
such, non-importation and non-intercourse were adopted in this country.
As such, they met the co-operation of the patriots of Great Britain,
who deemed themselves deviating from none of their national duties,
when they avowed themselves the allies of American patriots, to drive,
through the influence of the loss of our trade, the ministry from
their places, or their measures. Those patriots did co-operate with
our fathers, and that openly, in exciting discontent, under the effect
of our non-intercourse agreements. In so doing, they failed in none
of their obligations to their sovereign. In no nation can it ever be
a failure of duty to maintain that the safety of the whole depends
on preserving its due weight to every part. Yet, notwithstanding the
natural and little suspicious use of these instruments of influence,
notwithstanding the zeal of the American people coincided with the
views of Congress, and a mighty party existed in Great Britain
openly leagued, with our fathers, to give weight and effect to their
measures, they did not effect the purposes for which they were put into
operation. The British policy was not abandoned. War was not prevented.
How then can any encouragement be drawn from that precedent, to support
us under the privations of the present system of commercial suspension?
Can any nation admit that the trade of another is so important to her
welfare, as that on its being withdrawn, any obnoxious policy must be
abandoned, without at the same time admitting that she is no longer
independent? Sir, I could indeed wish that it were in our power to
regulate not only Great Britain, but the whole world, by opening
or closing our ports. It would be a glorious thing for our country
to possess such a mighty weapon of defence. But, acting in a public
capacity, with the high responsibilities resulting from the great
interests dependant upon my decision, I cannot yield to the wishes of
lovesick patriots, or the visions of teeming enthusiasts; I must see
the adequacy of means to their ends. I must see, not merely that it is
very desirable that Great Britain should be brought to our feet, by
this embargo, but that there is some likelihood of such a consequence
to the measure, before I can concur in that universal distress and ruin
which, if much longer continued, will inevitably result from it. Since,
then, every dictate of sense and reflection convinces me of the utter
futility of this system, as a means of coercion, on Great Britain, I
shall not hesitate to urge its abandonment. No, sir, not even although,
like others, I should be assailed by all the terrors of the outcry of
British influence.

Really, Mr. Speaker, I know not how to express the shame and disgust
with which I am filled, when I hear language of this kind cast out upon
this floor, and thrown in the faces of men, standing justly on no mean
height in the confidence of their countrymen. Sir, I did, indeed, know
that such vulgar aspersions were circulating among the lower passions
of our nature. I knew that such vile substances were ever tempering
between the paws of some printer's devil. I knew that foul exhalations
like these daily rose in our cities, and crept along the ground, just
as high as the spirits of lampblack and saline oil could elevate;
falling, soon, by native baseness, into oblivion, in the jakes. I knew,
too, that this species of party insinuation was a mighty engine, in
this quarter of the country, on an election day, played off from the
top of a stump, or the top of a hogshead, while the gin circulated,
while barbecue was roasting; in those happy, fraternal associations
and consociations, when those who speak, utter without responsibility,
and those who listen, hear without scrutiny. But little did I think,
that such odious shapes would dare to obtrude themselves, on this
national floor, among honorable men;--the select representatives, the
confidential agents of a wise, a thoughtful and a virtuous people. I
want language to express my contempt and indignation at the sight.

So far as respects the attempt which has been made to cast such
aspersions on that part of the country which I have the honor to
represent, I beg this honorable House to understand, that so long
as they, who circulate such insinuations, deal only in generals and
touch not particulars, they may gain among the ignorant and the stupid
a vacant and a staring audience. But when once these suggestions
are brought to bear upon those individuals who in New England have
naturally the confidence of their countrymen, there is no power in
these calumnies. The men who now lead the influences of that country,
and in whose councils the people on the day when the tempest shall come
will seek refuge, are men whose stake is in the soil, whose interests
are identified with those of the mass of their brethren, whose private
lives and public sacrifices present a never-failing antidote to the
poison of malicious invectives. On such men, sir, party spirit may
indeed cast its odious filth, but there is a polish in their virtues
to which no such slime can adhere. They are owners of the soil; real
yeomanry; many of them men who led in the councils of our country in
the dark day which preceded the national independence; many of them
men who, like my honorable friend from Connecticut on my left, (Mr.
TALLMADGE,) stood foremost on the perilous edge of battle; making
their breasts in the day of danger a bulwark for their country. True
it is, Mr. Speaker, there is another and a much more numerous class,
composed of such as through defect of age can claim no share in the
glories of our Revolution; such as have not yet been blest with the
happy opportunity of "playing the man" for their country; generous sons
of illustrious sires; men, not to be deterred from fulfilling the high
obligations they owe to this people by the sight of foul and offensive
weapons. Men who, with little experience of their own to boast, will
fly to the tombs of their fathers, and questioning, concerning their
duties, the spirit which hovers there, will no more shrink from
maintaining their native rights, through fear of the sharpness of
malevolent tongues, than they will, if put to the trial, shrink from
defending them through fear of the sharpness of their enemies' swords.

When Mr. QUINCY had concluded, the House adjourned without taking a

THURSDAY, December 8.

On motion of Mr. NEWTON, that the unfinished business of yesterday,
depending at the time of adjournment, do lie on the table; and that
the House do now resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
amendatory bill authorizing the President to employ an additional
number of revenue cutters: and the question being taken thereupon, it
was resolved in the affirmative.

The House accordingly resolved itself into the said committee; and,
after some time spent therein, the bill was reported without amendment,
and ordered to be engrossed, and read the third time to-day.

                          _Foreign Relations._

The House then resumed the consideration of the first member of the
first resolution reported on Thursday last from the Committee of the
Whole, which was depending yesterday at the time of adjournment, in the
words following, to wit:

    "_Resolved_, That the United States cannot, without a sacrifice
    of their rights, honor, and independence, submit to the late
    edicts of Great Britain."

Mr. KEY said that it was with much regret that he had seen the
course which the debate on the first resolution had taken; as the
propositions contained in that resolution met his entire and full
approbation, he could have wished that instead of the discussion which
had taken place, a silent, dignified vote, the spontaneous effect of
feeling and judgment, had at once passed. It would have been a better
course, would have had a better effect, and kept the American mind
from the impression which the protraction of the discussion must have
occasioned, when taken in connection with the subject. A view however
of the embargo had been gone into in respect to its past effects at
home, and its probable future effects at home and abroad. As that
course had been adopted, he said he should find an apology for the
time which he should occupy, in the present eventful crisis, and the
interest it universally excited.

I did myself believe (said Mr. KEY) that the first resolution was an
abstract proposition, and I still think so, although gentlemen consider
it special; but surely a special proposition may be an abstract one.
That which I consider an abstract proposition, is one out of which no
future legislative proceedings can grow; but I agree that the crisis
well warrants an expression of the public voice.

I shall take up the report and resolutions as a system, not with a view
to condemn the report at all, for I take it as gentlemen wish it to be
considered. I understand the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. BACON)
as stating that the committee on our foreign relations had said nothing
of the embargo. It was not necessary, Mr. Speaker, that they should,
for the embargo law continues in operation until repealed. But surely
it must be recollected that the Committee on Foreign Relations in
their resolutions seemed to consider the system which they recommend,
as including a continuance of the embargo; and I trust I meet the
committee on fair and firm ground, when I consider their assent to be
implied to the continuance of the embargo, and that it is their opinion
that the measures which they recommend, united with the embargo, form
an efficient system proper for the American people to adopt at this
time. I shall necessarily therefore endeavor to answer gentlemen who
have considered the embargo as a wise measure for the American people;
that they are competent to bear it; and that it will, if guarded more
sedulously, yet work out the political salvation of our land.

That the embargo is a measure severely felt by our country at large,
and by some portions of it to a very eminent degree, cannot be
denied. I did not expect to hear its effects contradicted; but they
have been in some measure softened by the honorable chairman of the
committee. I think the pressure of this measure great, and in some
places requiring all the exertion of patriotism to support it. And as
a proof of it, the members on this floor from different parts of the
Union have only contended which section suffered most. A member from
Massachusetts, (Mr. QUINCY,) because he conceives that thirty millions
of dollars have been lost to the Eastern country by the measure, hence
concludes that the Eastern country suffers most. The gentlemen from
the Southern country say that they raise seventy millions of pounds
of cotton, of which but ten millions are consumed at home, and the
whole of the residue remains on hand; and that having seven-tenths
of their produce unsold, conceive that they most sensibly feel the
weight of this affliction in their country. A member from Virginia (Mr.
RANDOLPH) will not yield the palm of oppression to either. "I live
(said the gentleman) in the centre of the tobacco country, whether
you draw the line from East to West, or from North to South. We are
not less pressed than others, for we have no vent for this article
so obnoxious in itself, but which the taste of mankind has rendered
necessary." Now, with great deference to all these gentlemen, I say
that my country suffers most. The Southern country possesses its
staples, which but remain on hand; their value only diminished by the
non-export. Tobacco and cotton may be preserved without material injury
for a length of time. We know that at the close of the Revolutionary
war tobacco bore a greater price than previous to its commencement,
and amply remunerated the holders. But I represent an agricultural
country. What can resuscitate wheat devoured by the fly? What restore
flour soured in the barrel? Our produce perishes, the subject is
destroyed. So far therefore as I represent an extensive and fertile
farming district, I will not yield the palm of pressure to the cotton
and tobacco country. So great has been the feeling of the people that
it has wrought a wondrous change in the State which I have the honor to
represent; not in men who are either deluded or deceived, as intimated
by the gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. CAMPBELL,) but men who, by the
pressure of the embargo itself, have been driven to reflection, and by
reflection removed the film from their eyes, and thereby seen their
true interests more distinctly. In the course of the last Winter, the
Legislature of the State of Maryland, believing that the Orders in
Council justified the embargo, and that it was a wise measure, approved
of it. Succeeding elections have taken place, and the present House of
Representatives tells you that it is most ruinous and oppressive. Such
certainly are its effects in the State of Maryland; and I should illy
represent my own district, if I did not so declare. Gentlemen will say
that I should rather be pleased with the change than regret it; but, so
help me God, Mr. Speaker, I am much less anxious what description of
citizens administers the affairs of the country, than that they should
be well administered; that it should protect the liberty, give to
labor its just reward, and promote the happiness and prosperity of the

But it is alleged, by the honorable chairman of the committee, (Mr.
CAMPBELL,) that this is a delusion; that the people do not comprehend
the subject; for that it is the Orders in Council which have produced
our embarrassments, and not the embargo. Here then, sir, I am precisely
at issue with that learned and honorable gentleman. I contend that the
pressure on the people is caused by the embargo, and not by the Orders
in Council. However speculative theorists may reason, there is proof
abroad, and stubborn facts to contradict their reasoning. Test the
market from Boston to Savannah, as to the price which you may get at
ninety days credit, the embargo being continued, or on condition that
the embargo be repealed in thirty days. Is there no difference in the
price under these circumstances? I know well from experience, and the
whole country knows, that if the embargo be now taken off, the price
of every species of produce will rise fifty per cent. The depreciation
in price then flows from the embargo. Remove it and they will give you
more; keep it on and they will give you less. These are stubborn facts,
and every man who has gone to the market will attest their correctness.
You may reason as you please; but there is not a farmer that can be
reasoned out of his senses, especially when they are sharpened a
little by necessity. I hold these facts to be more conclusive than any
abstract reasoning to prove that the embargo does work a diminution
in the value of the articles which we have for sale. If this be the
case, it results, sir, that we must ascribe to the operation of that
measure the loss our country now so greatly feels. Our citizens are
not so uninformed as the gentleman from Tennessee imagines. He thinks,
and I agree with him, that the public voice will be generally right
when the people are well informed. They have seen all the official
communications which have been published, and are competed to judge
whether the Orders in Council justified the embargo, and whether, if
the embargo had not been laid, they would have wrought that effect
which we now so sensibly feel. Instead of being deluded, sir, their
eyes are open, and the film removed; and they see that the embargo
was not justified by necessity, and as far as their opinion has been
expressed, that it was impolitic and unwise.

The gentleman seems to think that the country cannot feel much because
it feeds well; but we may feel and feed at the same time. It is plenty
that we complain of. Our surplus is touched by this torpedo, the
embargo, and is thereby rendered useless. But gentlemen say that if
the embargo were now taken off, we could not trade; and a calculation
has been entered into by the gentleman from Tennessee in opposition
to one made by me at the last session. I have not seen my calculation
for months, sir; it is before the public--the gentleman's statement
will go to the same tribunal, and I am willing to commit my slender
reputation to the country for the accuracy of mine, and let the people
judge between us. The gentleman tells you that we have no commerce to
resort to which would be either safe or profitable. It is strange we
cannot confide the decision of this question to commercial men--for
what commercial man would undertake a voyage which shall be attended
with certain ruin? I had thought that men of great experience and
information, and whose knowledge was sharpened by interest, might be
safely confided in. But merchants, whose habits of life have led them
to calculate, whose information extends to every part of the world,
are not to be trusted with the prosecution of their own interest, but
we must kindly take it in hand for them! Sir, I contend that commerce
had better be left free for merchants to find a market, which every one
knows they would do, from their eagerness now to ship. If they could
not export with safety, or profit, they would lay a voluntary embargo,
ten thousand times better than a coercive one; the very necessity of
coercion shows that our merchants would sail, were it not for the
embargo. I contend that the embargo is ruinous and oppressive. Need I
say any thing further on the subject? Look at the country. The courts
of justice shut in one of the Southern States; executions suspended in
a State contiguous to this; and Maryland reduced to the same necessity,
from the circumstance of there being no market for our produce. So
great is the pressure that the people have it not in their power to pay
their ordinary debts; and how eloquent is the fact that in a moment
of peace (for certainly there is not war) we are compelled to arrest
the current of justice. The legislative acts depict the situation
of the country more strikingly than volumes of argument. The State
Legislatures know the inability of their citizens to pay, and hold out
a kind hand to assist them.

In point of revenue how does it work? The honorable chairman of
the committee, (Mr. CAMPBELL,) in a speech of great learning and
investigation, told us that the Treasury never was more full. I wish
the documents were before the House to convince us of it. But did an
atom of it flow in from the operation of the embargo? If there be such
a surplus, it only shows the beneficial operation of the system pursued
anterior to the embargo. What is to fill your Treasury now, if the
people cannot sell their products? What will in this case become of
your source of wealth in the Western country? The people can neither
buy lands, nor buying, pay for them. Where is the impost duty which
has supported the Government, and sunk to a considerable degree the
national debt? The moment you prevent all importation, there is an
utter extinction of impost revenue; and at home a physical inability to
produce any from the people at large. We are a rich country, abounding
in the necessaries of life; we have money's worth, but no money.
Nor can our people by any practical means raise money to defray the
expenses of State Governments, much more of that of the United States.
I am in the country, sir; I cannot collect my rents, my neighbors
cannot sell wheat or tobacco. All is stopped. I ask then what physical
ability we have to discharge the State taxes, or any other? We have
no other way of getting money but through the sale of our produce.
Gentlemen say that our revenue would fall just as short, supposing the
embargo to be raised. That is begging the question, sir. They assume
that for a truth which they ought to prove in the first instance. Leave
commerce open, and you will soon have money in return for our produce,
or that which will procure it. Revenue is the life of Government, and
let me suppose gentlemen to be sitting here thirteen months hence, on
the first of January, 1810. Where is your revenue then to come from?
You have dried up every source of the national wealth. What must you
do? Either borrow or raise money by direct taxation. There is no doubt
what must be resorted to; and it was touched with great ability, though
slightly touched, by the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. RANDOLPH,) as
to the consequences which must grow out of such a system of direct
taxation. This species of taxation is consonant to the genius of the
country, to the habits of our people--it comes too close to the pocket
of the agriculturist, and is besides a source of revenue which ought
to belong exclusively to the States. I hold it as a political truism,
that upon the sovereignty and independence of each State, as guarantied
by the constitution, do our liberties depend. I know that some of the
ablest men in America opposed the adoption of the Federal Constitution
on this ground: that the General Government being raised and supported
on external matters only, if the time should ever arrive at which
foreign commerce should cease, and internal taxes be resorted to, that
great would be the conflict between the officers of the State and
General Governments, which would ultimately end in the prostration of
State rights. Gentlemen call the embargo, in silken phrase, a temporary
suspension of commerce. I will call it by its own name; it is better
known to the people by it. I contend that the embargo now laid is a
perpetual embargo, and no member of this House can constitutionally
say it is otherwise; for the immediate Representatives of the people
have so played the game as to leave the winning trump out of their own
hands, and must now have a coincidence in opinion both of the Senate
and of the President of the United States to effect its repeal. If
the whole of this body were to consent to a repeal, and a majority of
the Senate, yet the President might resist them both. Is there any
limitation to the law on the statute book? No; but there is a power
given to the President to suspend it in the whole or in part, in the
event of certain contingencies. Have those contingencies happened? Are
they likely to happen? No, sir; and these are the views which I take of
the subject. America, anxious to get red of this burden, has proffered
to take it off, if either of the two belligerents would relax their
edicts in our favor in relation to such one, keeping it on in relation
to the other. What says the sarcastic British Minister? Why, sir, that
they have no cause of complaint; that it was laid by the President as
a precautionary measure; and they were told by our Minister that it
was not to be considered as a hostile measure. What says France? She
gives us no answer, say gentlemen. Aye, sir--and is that true? Have we
indeed received no answer? I think we have one that wounds our feelings
as deeply as the answer of Mr. Canning. It is the situation of our
Minister abroad, who says he dare not ask for an answer, because the
asking it might be injurious to our cause. What, have we a Minister
abroad, and is he afraid or unwilling to make a proposition to the
Government where he is resident? Surely, sir, that state of things
furnishes as definite an answer as any that could be given. We have no
hopes that either will remove its edicts. Sir, I consider the embargo
as a premium to the commerce of Great Britain. Gentlemen say that she
is a great power, a jealous power, and possessed of a monopolizing
spirit. If these views be correct, by annihilating our commerce, do we
not yield the seas to her, and hold out an inducement to her forever to
continue her orders in force? What prospect is there that the embargo
will be removed? It cannot now be got rid of by a vote of this House.
We are saddled with it. If we cast our eyes to proceedings elsewhere
constitutionally held on the same subject, we shall find that it is to
remain still farther to oppress and burden the people of this country
with increased rigor.

As a measure of finance it has laid the axe to the root. The tree is
down that bore the golden fruit, and will not again grow till we ease
ourselves of this measure. In a fiscal point of view I cannot then for
my life think it a wise or provident measure. But as a preparation for
war, it is still worse; because it produces a deficiency of that out
of which war alone cannot be sustained. Instead of having money for
your surplus produce, it rots upon your hands; instead of receiving
a regular revenue, we have arrested its course, and dried up the
very source of the fountain. As to preparation at home, which is the
only preparation contemplated to make, what or whom is it against?
Against France? She cannot come here. Or against England, who, with
the monopoly of commerce which you leave her to enjoy, has no object
further to annoy you? I believe, as a preparation for war, the best
expedient would be to get as much money as we could, to send out our
surplus produce and bring back the supplies necessary for an army if
to be raised at all--to arm and discipline the militia. A raising of
the embargo would be a preparation for war--it would bring us articles
of the first necessity for our surplus. But on a continuation of the
embargo, things must progress from bad to worse.

Another thing, sir; I do not now mean to take a constitutional
view of the subject--but will not gentlemen pause and reflect on
the continuance of the embargo? It is well known that the General
Government grew out of a spirit of compromise. The great authors of
that instrument were well acquainted with the term embargo. A temporary
embargo for the purpose of sending out a squadron or concealing an
equipment, was well understood. But I ask every one who hears me, if
a question had been agitated in convention to give Congress a power
to lay an embargo for one or two years, if the Eastern or commercial
States would have agreed to it? Does any man believe it? No man who
knows the country can believe it. With what sedulous anxiety did they
say, in a negative provision of the constitution, that Congress should
not lay an export duty! You are prohibited the minor power of taxing
exports, and yet you stop exports altogether for an indefinite term. It
is utterly inconceivable, that the States interested in commerce should
have given their assent to any such powers so self-destructive. If
they had given them, they ought to be most clear; not by implication,
but most manifest. The exercise of powers counteracting principles
most dear to every part of the community, ought to be assumed with the
utmost caution. Under that view, except the measure be most wise in
itself and its effects most clear, the Government ought not to continue
the embargo. But why is it to be continued? We have taken some view
of its effects at home. Let us see what effects may be expected to
be produced by it abroad. An honorable gentleman told us an hundred
millions were saved by having the embargo, a sum nearly equal to the
whole exports of the United States for one year, excluding the capital
employed. The first two or three seizures of vessels, sir, would have
sent an alarm abroad, and the danger been so imminent, they would have
voluntarily retired from destruction. There are no reasonable data from
which to infer that one hundred millions of our property could at any
one time have fallen a prey. Some few vessels might have been taken,
but the rest would have escaped the grasp of the power which harassed

I will now examine the character of this measure; for upon my word,
sir, it seems a political nondescript, though we feel its effects so
severely. The President tells you it is a measure of precaution only;
and yet we are told by the gentlemen that it is a species of war,
which America can best use to coerce the two greatest powers on the
earth, commanding land and sea, to truckle at our feet. I know not
how gentlemen can place our connection with foreign nations in such a
predicament; whilst the President officially holds out to the world
that the embargo was a peaceful measure, gentlemen now say that it
is a coercive one, a sort of quasi war. I recollect a gentleman at
the last session making an estimate of the West Indies being worth an
hundred millions to Britain, and predicting that before the measure
was ninety days known in the West Indies, it would bring that nation
to our feet, that it would act as a great political lever, resting
its fulcrum on Jamaica, and move all Europe to our wishes. Double the
number of days have elapsed, and they hold out insulting language. How
then can we trust to the future predictions of gentlemen? Their error
arises from a want of knowledge of the country; a little experience is
worth all the theory in the world. In the years 1774-'5, an honorable
feeling adopted a non-exportation and non-importation agreement, more
faithfully executed by patriotism than any law since made or enacted;
for every family refused to use an article which was not raised within
the bosom of its own country. Did it produce starvation in the West
Indies? No, sir; the politicians of that day did not so calculate.
They knew the resources of those islands, and told them that if they
would convert a part of their sugar plantations into corn-fields, they
would not suffer. We are now in the habit of overvaluing ourselves and
undervaluing our enemies. Come the day when it will, we shall have no
ignoble foes to meet.

In the Revolutionary war how did England stand--how her islands? For
several years she was at war with America, with Holland, with Spain,
with France, whose fleets in the East and West Indies were often
equal, sometimes superior to her own, and an armed neutrality in the
North--during this period a French fleet blockaded the Chesapeake,
and aided the capture of Cornwallis, and threatened the British
islands--but how was this conflict with the world sustained? Were the
islands starved during these years? did they fall? No, sir; the British
nation braved the storm, and was only conquered by her sons--America
was victorious and independent; but Europe retired discomfited. Sir,
America can again prove victorious, but it must be by other measures
than embargoes--destructive only at home and without effect abroad.

It is said that one reason why the embargo has not pressed so hard on
Great Britain as it might, is, that it has not been so tightly drawn as
it may be; that our citizens have evaded it. And, sir, if I have not
any geographical knowledge of the country, tighten the cords as you may
by revenue cutters and gunboats on the seaboard, and collectors and
military on land, they will escape both. Interest, ever alert, will
avail itself of our extensive coast and elude the law.

But gentlemen say they are not accountable for the failure in England,
from another cause--the language of the public papers and pamphlets of
the anti-embargoists. The enemy, we are told, has been induced to hold
out under the idea that America will yield. Sir, would Great Britain
rely for her oracles on the newspapers or pamphlets of this country?
Have those causes wrought on her a perseverance in her measures? I
wonder, sir, that, in the anxiety to find causes, gentlemen never
cast their eyes to official documents--to a very important State paper
issued on this side the Atlantic--saying that the marshals and civil
force were not adequate to enforce the embargo. When the President's
proclamation arrived in England, no doubt could have remained of
the effect of the embargo. Another public record accompanied it--an
act of one of the States arresting executions for debt during the
continuance of the embargo, and for six months afterwards. With these
public documents before them, the British nation would be more apt
to judge, and more correctly judge, of the internal situation of the
country, than from all the periodical publications of the day put
together. Pamphlets also have been written in this country, of which
it is said the British Ministry have availed themselves, to induce
their people to believe that the United States are not capable of
suffering. I believe we are. The people of America are as patriotic as
any on earth, and will respect the laws, and must be made to respect
them. They will obey them from principle; they must be made to obey
them if they do not; for, while a law is in existence, it must be
enforced. But I am somewhat surprised that gentlemen who talk of
opposition publications in this country, as influencing England, should
derive all their political data from British newspaper publications
or opposition pamphlets. British opposition papers and pamphlets are
with them the best things in the world; but nothing said here must be
regarded there as correct. Even Mr. Baring has been quoted, who is a
commission merchant, to the greatest extent perhaps known in the world.
The Louisiana purchase of fifteen millions was nothing to him as a
commission merchant. The next writer referred to, is Mr. Brougham,
brought before Parliament, to assert the rights of a body of merchants
confined almost exclusively to the continental trade. He came forward
on their account, and the fact was demonstrated, notwithstanding his
exertions, that the Orders in Council did not, but the prior French
decrees did, curtail that commerce. So the majority thought and acted
on that supposition. If the continuance of the embargo, then, does not
produce a change in the policy of Great Britain, by its operation on
the West Indies, if they resort to documents in this country, or even
to speeches on this floor, they will probably continue the conflict
of suffering as long as we are able to endure it, and continue our
measures. For my opinion is, sir, that the extent of our seaboard
affords such opportunities for evasion, that, unless we station
cutters within hail of each other, on our whole coast, they will not
be competent to carry our laws into effect. It will be benefiting the
British colonies at the expense of our own country.

The continuance of our measures may be productive of another
consequence, attended with more serious mischief than all others
together--the diversion of trade from us to other channels. Look at
both sides of the case. If Great Britain holds on, (and my predictions
are not fulfilled, or she will persevere,) she will look for other
resources of supply, that, in the event of a war, she may not be
essentially injured. She will endeavor to arrange her sources of
supply, so that no one nation refusing to deal with her shall have
it in their power materially to impair her interests. As to cotton,
large quantities of this article were formerly drawn from the West
Indies. The destruction of the sugar estates in St. Domingo gave a
new direction to cultivation. They ceased to grow in many of the
West India islands that article which they formerly had raised to
a considerable extent, (cotton,) and which, if the increased labor
employed in the sugar estates, now adequate to the supply of Europe, be
not profitable, they will again cultivate. The Brazils will assist to
take a sufficient quantity for consumption, (and, as well as my memory
serves me, they produce seventy or eighty thousand bags annually;) and
South America will add her supplies. I grant that we can now undersell
these countries; but I beg gentlemen to pause before they drive England
into a change of commercial habits, which in the hour of future peace
may never be fully restored, and thus inflict deep and lasting wounds
upon our prosperity. Sir, we are told that we are to produce great
effects by the continuance of the embargo and non-intercourse with this
nation. Do gentlemen who were in the majority on the subject of the
embargo when laid (for I was anxious then that at least foreign nations
might come and give us what we wanted in exchange for our product)
recollect their argument against permitting foreign vessels to come
and take our produce; that it was privilege all on one side; that it
would be nominal to France, while England would be the sole carrier?
Now, sir, as to the non-intercourse system--how does that operate?
France has no commerce--cannot come here--and therefore is not injured
by her exclusion from our ports. It operates solely on England. If the
argument was then correct, to avoid the measure because it operated to
the sole benefit of England, what shall we think of the non-intercourse
measure which operates solely against her? In a commercial view,
therefore, and in point of interest, this country will be deeply
benefited by a removal of the embargo.

But, gentlemen say that the honor of the country is at stake; that
a removal of the embargo would be submission to Great Britain, and
submission to France. How is our honor affected by removing it? We say
we will not trade--with whom? With them alone? No, sir; the embargo
says we will not trade with anybody. All nations, when they find it
convenient, can pocket their honor for profit. What is it we do for a
license to go into the Mediterranean? Do we not pay an annual tribute
to Algiers for liberty to navigate the sea safer from its corsairs?
Have we not an undoubted right to navigate the Mediterranean? Surely;
and yet we pay annually a tribute for permission to do it--and why?
Because the happiness and interest of the nation are promoted by it.
In a monarchy, the Prince leads his subjects to war for the honor of
his mistress, or to avenge a petty insult. But, what best consults
the honor of a Republican Government? Those measures which maintain
the independence, promote the interest, and secure the happiness of
the individuals composing it. And that is the true line of honor
which, if pursued, shall bring with it the greatest benefits to the
people at large. I do not know, sir, strictly speaking, whether the
destruction of any commercial right is destructive to the independence
of the country; for a nation may exist independent, and the happiness
of the people be secured, without commerce. So, that the violation of
commercial rights does not destroy our independence. I acknowledge
that it would affect the sovereignty of the country and retard its
prosperity. But, are not the measures which have been adopted,
submission? No train of argument can make more clear the fact, that,
withdrawing from the ocean for a time is an abandonment, instead of
an assertion, of our rights. Nay, I think I have the authority of
the committee for it, for I speak of submission as applicable to the
measure recommended by the committee. They say, that "a permanent
suspension of commerce, after repeated and unavailing efforts to obtain
peace, would not properly be resistance; it would be withdrawing from
the contest, and abandoning our indisputable right freely to navigate
the ocean." If a permanent embargo, after repeated offers of peace,
would not properly be resistance, but an abandonment of our rights,
is not a temporary embargo--and this has been a year continued--an
abandonment for the time? Unquestionably it is. So long as it
continues, it does abandon our rights. And now I will show that it is
submission, and not resistance. I maintain that the embargo, aided by
the second and third resolutions of the committee, does complete an
abandonment of our maritime rights, and is a submission to the orders
and decrees.

Of what nature are the rights in contest? They are maritime rights,
and not territorial; and, to be used, must be exercised exterior to
the limits of our territory. Whatever measures are confined within our
territorial limits, is not an assertion or enjoyment of our exterior
rights. Their enjoyment must be abroad, consisting of the actual use of
them. If, then, all our measures be confined within our jurisdictional
limits, they cannot amount to an enjoyment of the rights exterior to
those limits. I will illustrate this, to every man's comprehension.
There is a street in Georgetown, through which every one has a right
to pass--it is a highway. A merchant, with whom I have dealt for many
years, because I purchase some articles of another merchant, says I
shall not go through that street. I cross over, and his enemy says
I shall not pass by him. I retire home and call a consultation of
my friends. I tell them that I have entered into resolutions, first,
that, to submit to this will be an abandonment of my right to pass and
repass. Well, what then, say my friends? Why, I declare I will neither
go nor send to either of their houses--have no intercourse with them.
Well, what then? Why, I will buy a broadsword and pair of pistols,
and lock my door and stay at home. And do I enjoy my right of walking
the street by making myself a prisoner? Surely not, sir. Now, this is
precisely our case, under these resolutions. We say, that to submit,
would be a wound on our honor and independence. We call a consultation.
What is the result of it? We say we will have no intercourse with the
nations injuring us, nor with any other; and, lastly, that we will arm
and defend ourselves at home. And, I ask, is this resistance? Is it an
enjoyment of our rights, or a direct, full submission? Is it not an
abandonment of those rights to which we are entitled?

It has been said, that the little portion of commerce which would
remain unaffected by the belligerent edicts, would belong to us as a
boon from England, were we to prosecute it. I do not understand it in
this light. Our right to navigate the ocean is inherent, and belongs
to us as a part of our sovereignty; but, when interdicted from any one
place, if we go to another, we certainly do not accept that commerce
as a boon. I might as well say, if a man interdicted me from going
down one street in Georgetown, that I accept a boon from him in going
down another. This is certainly not the case. The trading to these
places is exercising our original right, not interfered with; and, so
far as those orders and decrees do not operate, we could carry on a
legitimate trade, flowing from our indisputable right, as a sovereign
nation, to navigate the ocean. It does seem to me then, sir, that the
residue of our trade might be carried on without submitting to the
belligerent edicts. But, an honorable gentleman (Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL)
asked me, yesterday, if we were to permit our enemies to take any part,
whether they would not take the remainder? This, like the horse's
tail in Horace, would be plucked, hair by hair, till it was all out.
True, sir, this might possibly happen. But, what have we done? Why,
we have cut the tail off, for fear all the hair should be taken out.
We have ourselves destroyed all that portion of our trade which the
belligerents have not interdicted.

Taking the whole into view, then, I think that the continuance of the
embargo, as an assertion of our rights, is not an efficient mode of

But gentlemen say, in a crisis like the present, when each individual
ought to contribute his mite, it is very easy to find fault; and they
ask for a substitute. I want no substitute. Take off the embargo. That
is what I want. But when called upon in this manner, I cannot help
looking around me to the source whence I expected higher and better
information. The crisis is awful. We are brought into it by the means
recommended by the head of our foreign relations. I think the President
advised the embargo. If he did not, he certainly advised the gunboats
and the additional military force. In these minor measures, which have
been in their consequences so interesting, there was no want of advice
or responsibility. Why then, in this awful crisis, shall we not look to
the same quarter? The responsibility is left on us. We anti-embargoists
show that things would not have been thus, had our advice been taken;
and, not being taken, we have little encouragement to give more. Our
advice is on the journals. We said, let us have what commerce we can
get, and bring home returns to stimulate our industry. I believe the
declarations of gentlemen when they say that they are friendly to
commerce; but their fondness for it is the embrace of death. They say
they will protect it; but it is strange that they should begin to
protect it by abolishing it. I contend that their measures have not
answered the purposes of protection, but on the contrary they have
been prejudicial to it; and I trust in their candor that they will
join us in giving elasticity to commerce, and removing this pressure.
The interests of commerce and agriculture are identified; whenever
one increases, the other extends. They progress _pari passu_. Look
at your mercantile towns; and wherever you find one, like a pebble
thrown into water, its influence extends in a circle more or less
remotely, over the whole surface. Gentlemen from the agricultural
country vote to support commerce, because it increases the value of
their own product; they are not so disinterested as they suppose, and
I believe the best way is to consider the two inseparable. As I am at
present disposed, could I not obtain a total repeal, I would prefer a
resolution laid on the table by a gentleman (Mr. MUMFORD) from one of
the largest commercial cities in the Union, and who must be supposed to
know the opinion of commercial men. I can scarcely with my knowledge
or understanding point out any thing; but if I have not capacity to be
one of the _ins_, I can readily perceive whether the present system be
adequate or not. I would let our vessels go out armed for resistance;
and if they were interfered with, I would make the dernier appeal. We
are able and willing to resist; and when the moment arrives, there
will be but one heart and hand throughout the whole Union. All will be
American--all united for the protection of their dearest rights and

Mr. LYON opposed the report in a speech of an hour.

Mr. DESHA said he had been particularly attentive to the whole of the
debates during the very lengthy discussion of this important subject,
and, said he, I am at a loss how to understand gentlemen, or what
to conclude from their observations. Am I to conclude that they are
really Americans in principle? I wish to do so; and I hope they are;
but it appears somewhat doubtful, or they would not tamely give up
the honor of their country by submitting to French decrees and British
Orders in Council--that is, by warmly advocating the repeal of the
embargo, without proposing something as a substitute. Do gentlemen
mean an abject acquiescence to those iniquitous decrees and Orders in
Council? Do gentlemen mean that that liberty and independence that
was obtained through the valorous exertions of our ancestors, should
be wrested from our hands without a murmur--that independence, in the
obtaining of which so much virtue was displayed, and so much blood
was shed? Do they mean that it should be relinquished to our former
masters without a struggle? Gentlemen assign as a reason why the
embargo should be removed, its inefficacy--that it has not answered
the contemplated purpose. I acknowledge that as a measure of coercion
it has not come entirely up to my expectations. It has not been as
efficient as I expected it would have been. But what are the reasons
why it has not fully come up to the expectations of its supporters, as
a measure of coercion? The reasons are obvious to every man who is not
inimical to the principles of our Government, and who is not prejudiced
against the present Administration. Was it not for want of unanimity
in support of the measure? Was it not in consequence of its having
been wantonly, shamefully, and infamously violated? and perhaps winked
at by some who are inimical to the principles of our Government; but
who have had address and ingenuity sufficient to procure themselves
to be appointed to office, and in which situation they have obtained
a certain influence, and by misrepresentations as well as clamorous
exertions have, in many instances, led the unwary astray, and caused
the measure to become unpopular in some parts of the country? By
improper representations and fallacious statements of certain prints,
apparently, and I might add, undoubtedly, hostile to civil liberty
and free Government, and advocates of British policy; by the baneful
opposition of British agents and partisans, together with refugees
or old tories, who still recollect their former abject standing, and
who have never forgiven the American independence, and who, in all
probability, are doing all in their power at this time to assist their
master George the Third in bringing about colonization and vassalage
in this happy land--by keeping up party spirit to such a height,
that the tyrant of the ocean was led to believe that he had a most
powerful British party in the bosom of our country--and that, by an
extraordinary opposition made to the embargo, we would become restless,
and could not adhere to a suspension of commerce--consequently would
have to relax, and fall into paying tribute, under the Orders of
Council, to that corrupt Government, Britain. These are part of the
reasons why the embargo, as a measure of coercion, has not proved
completely efficacious; and had it not been for this kind of conduct,
our enemies would have been brought to a sense of justice, an amicable
adjustment of differences would have taken place. By this iniquitous
conduct they have tried to wrest from the hands of Government an
engine, the best calculated of all others that could have been
imagined, to coerce our enemies into a sense of justice, and bring
about reciprocity of commerce, that most desirable object, a system of
all others the best suited to the peaceful genius of our Government.
But if it has not been entirely efficacious as a measure of coercion,
it has been particularly serviceable in many instances--by keeping us
out of war, which is at all times to be deprecated by civilized men,
by preserving our citizens from becoming victims of British tyranny
on board their war ships, and securing an immense amount of American
property that was sailing on the ocean, supposed to amount in value to
between sixty and a hundred millions of dollars, the principal part
of which would inevitably have fallen into the voracious jaws of the
monster of the deep, or into the iron grasp of the tyrant Napoleon--by
which, if we are involved in war, we have preserved the leading sinews,
wealth; and above all, for preventing us from becoming tributary to
those piratical depredators, whose inevitable determination is to
monopolize the whole trade of the world, by which they rob us of our
inherent rights. If gentlemen had come forward with propositions to
adopt any thing as a substitute for the embargo, that would have
prevented us from the degradation of submission, or from falling into
the hands of those monsters of iniquity, they no doubt would have met
with support. The friends of this measure are not so particularly
attached to it, but what they would willingly exchange it for one that
was less sorely felt, less oppressive, and one that would preserve
national honor, and bring about a redress of grievances; as it was with
extreme regret that they had to resort to the measure of the embargo,
and which could only be warranted by the necessity of the case. I am as
anxious for the repeal of the embargo as any gentleman in this House,
or perhaps any man on the continent, whenever it can be done consistent
with the honor and welfare of the nation. The citizens of Kentucky,
whom I have the honor to represent, feel its effects in common with
their fellow men throughout the continent; but their patriotism is such
that they bear it with cheerfulness, and magnanimity, and very justly
consider it as a preventive of greater evils. I think that a retrograde
step at this time would have the appearance of acquiescence, and be
calculated to mark the Government with pusillanimity; therefore I
deprecate war, believing as I do, that in a Government constructed like
ours, war ought to be the last alternative, so as to preserve national
honor. As such it would perhaps be advisable to adopt something like
the second resolution that is under consideration, which, in addition
to the embargo, would amount to a complete non-intercourse--which if
systematically adhered to must produce the desired effect. If it
should not, it will at least give time to make preparations for a more
energetic appeal, which may probably have to be the result. But let it
not be understood, because I am for avoiding war, as long as it can be
avoided upon honorable terms, that I am against going to war when it
becomes actually necessary. No, sir, my life and my property are at all
times at my country's command, and I feel no hesitation in saying that
the citizens of Kentucky, whom I have the honor to represent, would
step forward with alacrity, and defend with bravery that independence
in which they glory, and in the obtaining of which some of the best
blood of their ancestors was spilt; for the degradation of tribute
they would spurn with manly indignation. I would even agree to go
further. From my present impression, I would agree to a recall of
our Ministers from both England and France, and to a discharge of
theirs; and have no intercourse with the principal belligerents until
they learned to respect our rights as an independent nation, and laid
aside that dictatorial conduct which has for years been characteristic
of those European despots; for I am almost certain, under existing
circumstances, that our Ministers in neither England nor France can do
us any possible service, and that their Ministers here can, and in all
probability do a great deal of harm, by fomenting division and keeping
up party spirit, at a time, too, when unanimity is of the utmost

As to our commerce being driven from the ocean, I am not disposed to
take a lengthy retrospect, or to examine minutely in order to discover
which of our enemies, England or France, was the first aggressor; it
is sufficient for me that both France and England have done nearly
all in their power to harass and oppress us in every imaginable way.
I am not the apologist of either France or England. I am an American
in principle, and I trust whenever it is thought necessary to call my
energies into action I shall prove myself to be such, by defending
and protecting the rights and independence of my own country, from
any encroachments, let them come from what quarter they may. By those
iniquitous decrees of France, all vessels bound to or from England
are deemed lawful prize, and if spoken by an English ship they were
condemned in the prize courts of France. When a ship arrived in any
of the French ports, bribery and corruption was practiced; in order
to succeed in her condemnation, a separate examination of the crew
would be resorted to, as to the events that happened on the voyage;
offers made of one-third of the ship and lading as their portion of
the prize money, if they would give information of their vessel having
touched at any of the ports of England, or that any English cruiser
had visited her on the voyage. Consequently, by the French decrees,
all property afloat belonging to the Americans was liable to seizure
and condemnation. Are gentlemen, possessing the feelings of Americans,
prepared to submit to such degradation? Are they prepared to say the
embargo shall be raised, while our commerce is subjected to this kind
of depredation? I trust not.

As respects the British Orders in Council, all American vessels bound
to French ports, or to any of the allies of the French, are considered
good prize in the courts of Britain. England says you must not carry
on any trade to any of the places that I have interdicted, without
obtaining my leave--pay me a duty, and then you shall be permitted to
go to any port--by paying me a tribute you may trade to any port you
please. Degrading to freemen! Britain in her goodness says, you shall
have the liberty to bring flour from the United States of America to
England, land it, and re-export it, by paying two dollars on every
barrel into my coffers. On cotton, which is certainly a very important
article, a duty is charged on its exportation of about nine pence per
pound sterling; nearly equal to the full value of that article in the
parts of America where it is raised, exclusive of the import duty,
which is two pence in the pound. Therefore, if our traders wish to go
to the Continent of Europe, the condition is, a tribute must be paid
nearly equal to the value of the cargo, exclusive of the insurance and
risk. If I mistake not, about two-thirds of the cotton exported from
this country is made use of in England; on the balance a tribute must
be paid of about nine pence sterling per pound, which is about twenty
millions of pounds--on a calculation the sums will be found to be
enormous--purely for the liberty of selling cotton; as also high and
oppressive duties on other articles. If these impositions are submitted
to, I pronounce your liberties gone--irretrievably lost--a blot made
in the American political character, never to be obliterated. No man
possessing an American heart will submit to the degradation of paying
tribute to any nation on earth, nor suffer the freemen of America to be
taxed without their consent. Will gentlemen say the embargo law must be
repealed, and suffer our commerce to flow in its usual channel, while
the decrees of France and the British Orders in Council are enforced,
by which they would not only be liable to seizure and condemnation,
but what is more degrading, pay a tribute of many millions of dollars
annually, too degrading to be thought of with patience? We received
liberty in its purity from our heroic ancestors--it is a duty incumbent
on us to transmit it to posterity unsullied, or perish in the

But, sir, it has been said that the people of the East would not bear
the continuance of the embargo any longer--that they would force their
way in trade; hinting, I presume, that they would openly rebel against
your laws if they were not allowed to pursue their usual course in
commerce, by which they subscribe to those nefarious Orders in Council,
which is tribute of the most degrading kind. Who are these people of
the East that have the hardihood to insinuate any thing like rebellion
against the laws of the land, or that would wish to degrade themselves
so far as to pay tribute? It cannot be the descendants of the heroes
of '76, that bravely stepped forth and fought against a tyrant for
liberty! It cannot be the descendants of those brave fellows that
struggled on the brow of Bunker's Hill for independence! No. It must
be the descendants of refugees or old tories, or otherwise it must be
British agents or partisans; for no man possessing the feeling that
an American ought to feel, would throw out such threats, or degrade
himself by coming under tribute. If patriotism has left the land of
freedom--if it has taken its flight from the mild and peaceful shores
of Columbia--if foreign influence and corruption has extended itself
so far that the people are disposed to rebel against the Government of
their country--if the dissemination of foreign gold has had the baneful
effect of suppressing all noble and patriotic sentiments, it is indeed
time that foreign intercourse should cease. If the spirit of commercial
speculation and cupidity had surmounted all patriotism, it is time that
more energetic measures should be resorted to, in order that the chaff
might be separated from the wheat; in a word, that traitors might be

Mr. NELSON said it was with very considerable reluctance that he rose
to make a few remarks on this subject, after the very lengthy and very
eloquent discourse of the gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. KEY.) I did not
intend, said he, to have troubled the House upon this question; but as
I am a man who generally speaks off-hand, it is necessary for me to
answer the arguments of any gentleman promptly, if I intend to do it
at all. For this reason I rise to do away some false impressions which
may have been made by the gentleman's eloquence on the House, and on
the by-standers, in the galleries, for I must say that his speech was
better calculated for the galleries than for the sober members of this
House. The gentleman commenced his argument with stating, what I do not
believe, with due submission, is true in point of fact, that, although
at their last session the Legislature of Maryland passed resolutions
approving the embargo, yet another election having taken place, the
present Legislature have passed contrary resolutions.

Mr. KEY said he had spoken of the House of Representatives of Maryland,
and not of the Legislature.

Mr. NELSON said the House of Representatives have, to be sure, passed
resolutions bottomed on the same principles as those on which the
gentleman himself has spoken, and which I have heard echoed in the
electioneering campaign from almost every stump in the district in
which I live. Whilst the gentleman was on this subject, I wish he
had told us of the philippic these resolutions got from the Senate
of Maryland. The fact is not, as I understood the gentleman to say,
that the Legislature of Maryland have passed resolutions disapproving
the measures of the Government. But the gentleman intimates that the
politics of Maryland have undergone a great change, and that the party
formerly uppermost, is now under. Sir, the question which turned out
the old members of the Legislature in the county where I live, was
not the embargo system, but a question as to a State law. The militia
system was the stumbling-block which caused many of the old members
to be turned out, and thus the opposite party got the ascendency in
one branch of the Legislature of Maryland. But, since that election,
another has taken place for members of Congress; and how has that
turned out? Why, sir, that gentleman and two other anti-embargoists
are elected, whilst six men, who have always approved of it, are also
returned; making six to three. Does this prove a change? No, sir. But
we have had another election since that. Out of eleven electors, nine
men are returned as elected who have approved this system of measures.
Does this prove that the embargo was the cause of the change of the
politics of the Maryland Legislature? I think not, sir.

But the gentleman has said that the embargo, and not the Orders in
Council and decrees, has destroyed the commerce of this country. I do
not know, after all the arguments which I have heard, if the gentleman
listened with the same attention as I did, how he could make such an
assertion. When our ports are blockaded, and all the world is against
us, so that, if the embargo was raised, we could go nowhere with
perfect freedom, can gentlemen say that the embargo has ruined our
commerce? Is it not these acts which have shut us out from a market?
The gentleman says we may trade to England. Yes, sir, we may, provided
we will pay all such duties as she chooses, and go nowhere else. And
would not the doing this place us in precisely the same situation as
we were in before the Revolution? England says we may trade with her,
paying heavy import and export duties, but says we shall go nowhere
else. If you go anywhere else, she says you shall go by England,
take a license, and pay a duty, and then you may trade. Is it to be
supposed that the people of the United States will agree to this? Are
they reduced to that situation, that they will become the vassals of a
foreign power--for what? Why, sir, for the prosecution of a trade with
that foreign power, who, if her present impositions be submitted to,
may cut up our trade in any manner she pleases; for, through our trade,
she will raise a revenue to almost an equal amount with the value of
your whole produce carried hence. She levies a higher tribute on some
articles than the article itself is worth, and this trade the gentleman
wants to pursue. He wants no substitute; "take off the embargo," says
he, "and let us trade." Sir, if we could trade upon equal terms, I,
too, should say, "take off the embargo, and let us trade." But if we
cannot trade, except under the license of a foreign power, I say it
would be ruinous to us. And has it come to this, for all the arguments
go to this, that the American people, for the sake of pounds,
shillings, and pence, for the sake of hoarding up a few pence, are to
give up their independence, and become vassals of England and France?
I hear nothing from the gentleman about the _honor_ of the nation. It
would appear as if gentlemen on the other side of the House are willing
to sell their country if they can put money in their pocket. Take off
the embargo, they cry--for what? money. Pay tribute--for what? money.
Surrender your independence--for what? all for money, sir. I trust
the people have a different feeling from these gentlemen. The people
love money, sir; but they love liberty and independence much better.
If money had been the sole object, the Revolution would never have
happened; and if that be our sole object now, the blood spilt and money
spent in our Revolution was all in vain. But the gentleman says, that
our honor is not concerned; that Republics have none; that their honor
is to pursue that course by which they can make the most money.

Mr. KEY said that he did not say that the honor of the nation was
money; but that the line of conduct was most honorable which best
secured the happiness and independence of the people.

Mr. NELSON.--I ask pardon of the gentleman if I misrepresented him;
because the gentleman's argument was quite vulnerable enough, without
my making it more so than it really was. I did understand the gentleman
to say, and had he not contradicted me, should still believe so,
that the honor of the Republic is precisely that which brings the
most riches to the nation. But I ask, whether the line of conduct
recommended by that gentleman be such a one as would be proper to
secure and take care of the independence of the people? Is it to secure
the independence of the people, to suffer a foreign nation to impose
upon them any terms which it thinks proper? Is it for the honor or
happiness of this nation that we should again pass under the yoke of
Great Britain? Is it for the honor of the nation to remove the embargo,
without taking any other measure, and to bear with every indignity? No,
sir; and yet the gentleman tells you, "take off the embargo, I want
no substitute." I did not suppose, sir, that gentlemen who oppose our
measures (for I have great charity for them) would openly tell us to
take off the embargo, and trade as foreign nations choose to dictate.

But the gentleman talks about the pressure of the embargo. That it does
press hard is beyond doubt. It is an evil thing in itself; something
like the dose a doctor gives us; it is a disagreeable thing in itself,
but it cures your complaint. Thus the embargo is a disagreeable thing;
but if we swallow it, however disagreeable, it may bring the political
body to health. The gentleman gilds the pill he would give us; but it
is a slow poison that would creep upon us, and bring on a distemper
heretofore unknown to us, that sooner or later would carry us to the
grave. We take off the embargo, and trade on their terms; what will be
the consequence? Will they not forever hereafter compel us to trade as
they please? Unquestionably. And is it not better to submit to some
inconveniences, eventually to insure a free trade?

The gentleman says that, if produce be offered for sale, on condition
that the embargo be raised, it will bring a higher price than if on a
certainty that the embargo is to be continued. No doubt, sir, when the
embargo is taken off, a momentary spur will be given to exportation;
but how long will it continue? It will last but a very few weeks.
Produce will soon be reduced to its proper level in the market. Take
flour, for instance, the principal article raised for exportation in
the gentleman's district and mine. It would rise, on a removal of
the embargo, to ten or twelve dollars; and how long would that price
last? It would be a thing of a day, and to the people who live in our
districts of no sort of consequence; it would be of no benefit but to
those who have flour at the market; to the merchants who have bought
it up at a low price. Before the honest farmer can bring his produce
to market, the great price will be all over; and though no embargo
affects it, will be down to its present price, of four or five dollars;
so that, although a removal of the embargo would reduce the price
of produce at first, I cannot see how gentlemen would make that an
argument for taking off the embargo. If the gentleman can show that the
price will continue, and that we can traffic without dishonor, then,
sir, would I cordially join hands with him to take off the embargo.

But the gentleman says, that the pressure is so very great that some
of the States have passed laws for suspending executions. I know not
what has been done in other States on this subject, nor what has been
done in my own. If the gentleman has any information on the subject,
I should like to hear it. A bill was before the House of Delegates
for that purpose, but I did trust in God that it would be unanimously
rejected. That such a law would pass in Maryland I never had an idea,
because it is totally unnecessary. There are fewer men confined in jail
for debt on this day than there ever were before for sixteen years that
I have been in the practice of the law in that State. No man has gone
to jail but those who, to use an emphatic expression, have _broken into
jail_, who were too idle to work to pay their debts; who would get a
friend to put them into jail, if they could get no other; and who stay
there awhile, and then come out new men. This being the case, there can
be no reason for shutting the courts of justice there.

On the subject of revenue, I can only say, that at present there
appears to be no deficiency of money in the Treasury. It is very
certain that if this embargo and non-intercourse system be continued
long, our Treasury will run short, and we shall have no means of
filling it but by loans or direct taxation. But I trust and hope that
before the money already in the Treasury is fairly expended, if we
pursue our object we shall get over our embarrassments. Rather than
pursue this subject much further, I would not only arm our merchantmen
at sea, but our citizens on the land, and march to the North and East,
and see if we could not do them some injury in return for all that we
have received from them, even if we should do ourselves no good by it.
It would do me some good to be able to do them some injury. I confess
I do not like this Quaker policy. If one man slaps another's face, the
other ought to knock him down; and I hope this will be our policy.

But the gentleman says that the President recommended this measure
to Congress as a measure of precaution. I do believe that, at the
time the embargo was laid, it was done as a measure of precaution,
and the President viewed it in that light. After its having answered
every purpose as a measure of precaution, I am for continuing it as a
measure of coercion. For, whatever gentlemen say about turning sugar
plantations into cotton-fields, if the embargo be rigidly enforced,
that we shall distress the West Indies very considerably, I do believe.
I am unwilling to involve this country in a war if I can avoid it,
but I am still more unwilling to take off the embargo and embrace the
proposition of my colleague: for I have no idea of a free trade being
permitted to us. In any country a war is to be deprecated; in this
country particularly, where every thing depends on the will of the
people, we ought to be well aware that war meets the approbation of the
people. We might make many declarations of war without effect, unless
the people follow us. We try every method to obtain honorable peace;
and if we do not succeed, the people will go with us heart and hand to

I shall enter into no calculations on this subject, sir. When the great
question is presented to us whether we will submit or maintain our
independence, we must determine either to do one or the other: that
nation is not independent which carries on trade subject to the will
of any other power. Then, to my mind, the only question is, shall we
defend ourselves, or shall we submit? And on that question I will make
no calculations. If a man submits, of what use are calculations of
money, for it may be drawn from him at the pleasure of his master? Let
us have as much trade as we may, if we can only carry it on as others
please, we need not calculate about money. We shall be poor, indeed;
and, having lost our independence, we shall not even have money in
return for it. But this nation will not submit, sir, nor will any man,
who is a real American, advocate such a doctrine.

As to the embargo, Mr. N said he was not wedded to it. If any better
system were devised, he would give up the present system and embrace
the better one, let it come whence it would.

The House adjourned without taking a question.

FRIDAY, December 9.

Mr. LEWIS presented a petition of the President and Directors of the
Washington Bridge Company, praying a revision and amendment of an act
passed at the last session of Congress, entitled "An act authorizing
the erection of a bridge over the river Potomac within the District of
Columbia."--Referred to the Committee for the District of Columbia.

Mr. JEREMIAH MORROW, from the Committee on the Public Lands, presented
a bill to revive and continue the authority of the Commissioners of
Kaskaskia; which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the
Whole on Monday next.

An engrossed bill to authorize the President to employ an additional
number of revenue cutters was read a third time: Whereupon, a motion
was made by Mr. DURELL that the said bill be recommitted to the
Committee of Commerce and Manufactures, farther to consider and report
thereon to the House: it passed in the negative.

The main question was then taken, that the said bill do pass, and
resolved in the affirmative--yeas 90, nays 26, as follows:

    YEAS.--Evan Alexander, Lemuel J. Alston, Willis Alston, jun.,
    Ezekiel Bacon, David Bard, Joseph Barker, Burwell Bassett,
    William W. Bibb, William Blackledge, John Blake, jun., Thomas
    Blount, Adam Boyd, John Boyle, Robert Brown, William Butler,
    Joseph Calhoun, George W. Campbell, Matthew Clay, John Clopton,
    Richard Cutts, John Dawson, Josiah Deane, Joseph Desha, Daniel
    M. Durell, William Findlay, James Fisk, Meshack Franklin,
    Francis Gardner, Thomas Gholson, jun., Peterson Goodwyn, Edwin
    Gray, Isaiah L. Green, John Harris, John Heister, William
    Helms, James Holland, David Holmes, Benjamin Howard, Reuben
    Humphreys, Daniel Ilsley, Richard M. Johnson, James Kelly,
    Thomas Kenan, Philip B. Key, William Kirkpatrick, John Lambert,
    Edward Lloyd, John Love, Robert Marion, William McCreery,
    William Milnor, Daniel Montgomery, jun., John Montgomery,
    Nicholas R. Moore, Thomas Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, John Morrow,
    Gurdon S. Mumford, Roger Nelson, Thomas Newbold, Thomas Newton,
    Wilson C. Nicholas, John Porter, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John
    Rhea of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Matthias Richards, Samuel
    Riker, Benjamin Say, Ebenezer Seaver, Samuel Shaw, Dennis
    Smelt, John Smilie, Jedediah K. Smith, John Smith, Samuel
    Smith, Richard Stanford, Clement Storer, Peter Swart, John
    Taylor, John Thompson, George M. Troup, James I. Van Allen,
    Archibald Van Horne, Daniel C. Verplanck, Jesse Wharton, Robert
    Whitehill, Isaac Wilbour, Alexander Wilson, and Richard Wynn.

    NAYS.--John Campbell, Martin Chittenden, John Culpeper, John
    Davenport, jun., James Elliot, William Ely, Barent Gardenier,
    William Hoge, Richard Jackson, Robert Jenkins, Joseph Lewis,
    jun., Edward St. Loe Livermore, Nathaniel Macon, Josiah
    Masters, Jonathan O. Mosely, Timothy Pitkin, jun., John
    Russell, James Sloan, William Stedman, Lewis B. Sturges,
    Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, Jabez Upham, Philip Van
    Cortlandt, David R. Williams, and Nathan Wilson.

_Resolved_, That the title be, "An act to authorize the President to
employ an additional number of revenue cutters."

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have
passed a bill, entitled "An act farther to amend the judicial system of
the United States;" to which they desire the concurrence of this House.

                           _Foreign Affairs._

The House resumed the consideration of the unfinished business
depending yesterday at the time of adjournment--the report of the
committee still under consideration.

Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS said: It has become very fashionable to apologize to
you, sir, for every trespass which a gentleman contemplates making on
the patience of the House, and I do not know but in ordinary cases it
may be very proper; but the present question is certainly such a one
as exempts every gentleman from the necessity of making any apology
whatever. I shall offer none, and for the additional reason, that I
have given to every member who has spoken the utmost of my attention.

Upon this question, which presents itself in every point of view too
clear to admit of a single doubt; equally unsusceptible of sophistical
perversion or misrepresentation; a question which involves a political
truism, and which is undenied; a debate has grown out of it, embracing
the whole foreign relations of this country. I shall not attempt
to follow the gentlemen in the course which they have pursued, but
will confine my observations to a justification of the embargo, and
to the proof, that the orders and decrees of the belligerents, and
not the embargo, as was said by the gentleman from Maryland, (Mr.
KEY,) have produced the present embarrassments. Bad as our situation
was at the close of the last session, it has now become infinitely
worse. The offer to suspend the embargo laws, for a suspension of the
Orders in Council, made in a sincere spirit of conciliation, has been
contemptuously rejected, those orders justified, and an extension of
their operation threatened: this is a state of things insufferable.
At a crisis of this sort, the importance of which every gentleman
acknowledges, I deem it proper that every man who feels an ardent love
of country should come forward to save that country, to rescue his
sinking parent from the jaws of pollution. The effort should be, who
shall render our common country the most good; who will be foremost
in the ranks; we should not shrink behind the irresponsible stand of
doing nothing, ready to raise ourselves upon the mistakes of others;
perhaps, the virtuous misfortunes of our political brothers. I am
willing to take my share of the responsibility of asserting the wisdom
of the original imposition of the embargo, and the correctness of its
present and future continuance. Gentlemen have been frequently called
upon, while they make vehement declamation against the embargo, to
say what they wish in its stead; they declare the utmost hostility to
the measure, and yet they offer no substitute. Can they for one moment
forget, that upon this question as upon every other national subject,
we must all hang together or be hung separate! It inevitably follows
from the organization of our Government, that this is the fact.

I consider the original imposition of the embargo, as wise in a
precautionary point of view; and notwithstanding all that has been
said, and eloquently said, by the gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. KEY,)
I believe it was called for by the most imperious public necessity.
Every one must know, that had it not been for the embargo, millions
of property, and (what is worse) thousands of our seamen, must have
fallen a sacrifice to the cupidity of belligerent cruisers. No need
of calculations on this subject--I shall not stop to enter into one.
I appeal to the common sense of the nation and of this House, whether
or not the orders and decrees were calculated to have swept from the
ocean all our floating property and seamen. But, no, say gentlemen,
the seamen are not saved; and here we are amused with the old story,
new vamped, of the fishermen running away. The seamen gone, sir!
This is a libel on their generous and patriotic natures. Where are
they gone? Every man who ventures such an allegation, is bound to
prove it; because it is, if true, susceptible of proof. Surely, sir,
the assertion, or even proof, that British or other foreign seamen
have left your service, does not establish that American seamen have
deserted their country. The British seamen gone! I am glad of it, sir.
I wish there had never been one in our service; and if there is an
American tar who would, in the hour of peril, desert his country, that
he would go also. The thing is impossible sir; every vessel which has
sailed from the United States since the imposition of the embargo, has
passed under such a peculiar review before the officers of the revenue,
that had any number of American seamen shipped themselves, proofs of
their departure might, and certainly would, have been had. Read the
intelligence from Nova Scotia; it informs us that none but English
sailors have arrived there. I call upon gentlemen then to show how,
where, and when, an American seaman has left his country, except in the
pursuit of his ordinary vocation.

If the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. KEY) will apply to his political--I
beg pardon--to his mercantile barometer, the insurance offices, he
would find that, after the operation of the Orders in Council was
known, insurance could not have been effected at Baltimore to the
Continent of Europe for 80 per cent., and not at London, on American
property, for 90 guineas per cent. The proof of this is before me.
Does not this prove that so much danger existed on the ocean that
it was next to impossible to pass without seizure and condemnation?
And surely he will not contend that this advance of premium was
caused by the embargo? If the embargo then has saved any thing to
the country--and that it has there can be no doubt--exactly in the
proportion that it has saved property and seamen to you, it has
lessened the ability of the enemy to make war upon you, and what is
primarily important, lessened the temptation to war. The rich plunder
of your inoffensive and enlarged commerce, must inevitably have gone to
swell the coffers which are to support the sinews of war against you.
The reaction thus caused by the embargo, is in your favor, precisely
to the amount of property and men which it has saved to you from your

But we are told that the enterprising merchant is deprived of an
opportunity--of what? Of ruining himself and sacrificing the industry
of others. Has any capitalist said he would venture out in the present
tempest which blackens the ocean? No, sir, they are your dashing
merchants; speculators, who, having nothing to lose and every thing to
gain, would launch headlong on the ocean, regardless of consequences.
No commerce can be now carried on, other than that which is subservient
to the Orders in Council. I appeal to the gentleman from Rhode Island
(Mr. JACKSON)--no man is better informed on this subject--would he
venture his property on the ocean in a trade contravening those orders?
I would ask him further, would Brown and Ives, merchants, as remarkable
for their prudence as for their enterprise, and for their capital as
either; would they send their vessels to the Continent of Europe? I
believe their opinion would corroborate the opinion of Mr. Gray.

The mercantile distresses have been described, with every possible
exaggeration, as insufferable. The real distress, sir, is quite
sufficient, without any undue coloring. I regret extremely, indeed,
sir, from my heart and soul, I lament that the embargo should be
considered as falling heavier on the merchant than on the planter.
If I know my own heart I would share with them to the last loaf. But
compare their situation now with what it would have been if their whole
property had been swept away. Compare their present situation with that
which must have been the necessary consequence of the seizure of all
the floating, registered tonnage of the United States, and which would
have happened, but for the embargo. Their vessels are now in safety;
if the embargo had not been laid they would have lost both vessel and
cargo. They must have either imposed an embargo on themselves, or
exposed their capital to total destruction.

Another reason why I approve of the embargo, and which, really to my
mind, is a very consolatory reason, is, it has at least preserved us
thus far from bloodshed. I am one of those who believe the miseries of
this life are sufficiently numerous and pressing without increasing
either their number or pungency by the calamities inseparable from war.
If we had put the question to every man in the nation, the head of a
family, whether we should go to war or lay an embargo, (the only choice
we had,) nineteen out of twenty would have voted for the embargo. I
believe, sir, the people of the United States confiding their honor
and national character to your guardianship, would this day decide
the same question in the same way. The people have nothing to gain by
war, nothing by bloodshed; but they have every thing to lose. From
this reason results another, equally satisfactory; we are still free
from an alliance with either of the belligerents. Upon a loss of peace
inevitably follows an alliance with one of those two powers. I would
rather stake the nation on a war with both, than ally with either.
No, sir, I never will consent to rush into the polluted, detestable,
distempered embraces of the whore of England, nor truckle at the
footstool of the Gallic Emperor.

But the embargo has failed, it has been triumphantly asserted on one
side of the House, and echoed along the vaulted dome from the other. If
it has, it is no cause of triumph; no, indeed, sir; but it is a cause
of melancholy feelings to every true patriot, to every man who does
not rejoice in the wrongs of his country. Why has the measure failed
of expected success? The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. KEY) used an
argument incomprehensible to me, as an argument in his favor; on my
side it is indeed invincible. He has established it was the evasion
of the laws which prevented their being effectual. He tells you that
certain evaders of the laws have so risen up in opposition to them,
that the President of the United States was obliged to issue his
proclamation in April last; that this proclamation told the British
Cabinet the people had rebelled against the embargo--but I will pass
over the subject; it imposes silence on me, because it must speak
daggers to the hearts of some men.

My friend from Virginia (Mr. RANDOLPH) urged one argument against the
embargo, which, to be sure, is a most serious one. He asked if we
were prepared to violate the public faith? I hope not, sir. I beg to
be excused for asking him (for I know he scorns submission as much as
any man) if submission will pay the public debt? To that gentleman's
acute and comprehensive mind, the deleterious consequences of the
present system of the belligerents to our interests, must be glowing,
self-evident. He will see that their present measures carry destruction
to the most valuable interests, and are subversive of the most sacred
rights of the people; and if they are submitted to, every thing dear
to an American must be afflicted with the slow, lingering, but certain
approaches of consumption. I had rather go off at once. I have no
opinion of a lingering death. Rather than the nation should be made to
take this yoke, if so superlative a curse can be in store for us, may
the hand of Heaven first annihilate that which cannot be nurtured into
honor. I had much rather all should perish in one glorious conflict,
than submit to this, so vile a system.

But we are told, that the embargo itself is submission. Indeed, sir!
Then, with all my heart, I would tear it from the statute book, and
leave a black page where it stood. Is the embargo submission? By
whom is it so called? By gentlemen who are for active offence? Do
these gentlemen come forward and tell you that that the embargo is
submission? No such thing, sir. My memory deceives me, if any man who
voted for the embargo thinks it submission. They are the original
opponents of the embargo who call it submission, and who, while they
charge you with the intention, are by every act and deed practising it
themselves. It is incorrect, sir. Every gentleman who has spoken, and
who has told you that the embargo is submission, has acknowledged the
truth of the resolution under consideration; it has not been denied by
a single individual. Suppose then we were to change its phraseology,
and make it the preamble to a resolution for repealing the embargo, it
will then read: "whereas the United States cannot without a sacrifice
of their rights, honor, and independence, submit to the late edicts of
Great Britain." Therefore resolved, that the embargo be repealed, and
commerce with Great Britain permitted. Do these two declarations hang
together, sir? That, because we cannot submit to the edicts of the
belligerents, we will therefore open a free trade with them? The first
part of the proposition is true, no man has denied it; the addition
which I have made to it then, is the discordant part, and proves the
embargo is not submission. I wish to know of gentlemen, whether trading
with the belligerents, under their present restrictions on commerce,
would not be submission? Certainly, sir. Is then a refraining from so
doing, submission? In a word, is resistance submission? Was the embargo
principle considered submission in the days of the stamp act? Did the
nation call it submission when it was enacted under General Washington?
Was it so considered by the Republicans, when resorted to for redress
against the primary violations in 1793? Or was it ever contended that
had not the embargo been raised, the terms of Jay's treaty would have
been worse? Do gentlemen of the "old school" undertake to say that the
Father of their country submitted then to George III.? I hope not,
sir. If the embargo was not submission under George Washington, it is
not under Thomas Jefferson. Again, I ask, were the principles of the
embargo submission in 1774-'5-'6? But it has been replied, it is not
meet that the remedies of that day should be applied to the present
case. Why not, sir? The disease was the same; and lest gentlemen have
forgotten what it was, I will tell them how the old Congress described
it: "You exercised unbounded sovereignty over the sea, you named the
ports and nations to which alone our merchandise should be carried, and
with whom alone we should trade." Draw the parallel, sir, and if the
remedy of that period will not suit the present crisis, let us look
out for others. I will not stop here; I am willing to go further; I
would carry fire and sword into the enemy's quarters; but I would first
exhaust every means to preserve peace.

You will excuse me, sir, for giving an opinion in this place, which,
perhaps, some gentlemen may think does not result from the subject
immediately before us. I will tell you what description of people in
the United States are most anxious that the embargo should not be
repealed. It is a new sect, sir, sprung up among us--ultra-federalists.
They are the persons, in my belief, who are most desirous the embargo
should be continued. They see that upon its removal a war with Great
Britain follows. An alliance with her is the object nearest their
hearts--not a resistance of the wrongs and insults practised by her.
If this embargo be submission, if non-intercourse be submission, if
a prompt preparation for war be submission, I ask them what is it to
sit still and do nothing? Do you mean to submit? Come out and tell the
nation whether you will or will not resist the Orders in Council--let
us know it--it is desirable that we should know it--it will conduce to
the public weal.

I, for one, sir, will vote to continue the embargo, because I do still
consider it a coercive measure--as the most deadly weapon we can use
against Great Britain. I am induced to consider it so, when I take
a view of what is the nature of our products--what is the nature of
her exports and imports--what is the nature of her wants, and what
her capacity and means of supply. Look at the West Indies, where the
embargo has a decided ascendency over every other measure you can
adopt. You will find that her colonial and navigation system has, in
that quarter, never been maintained since the Revolution. Perhaps
I ought, in presuming to speak further about the West Indies, to
apologize to the gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. KEY,) not indeed for
his very courtly conduct, because if a man is ignorant, he does not
like to be told of it. The gentleman will be pleased to pardon me,
if I blunder on in my ignorant way, and talk a little more of that
part of the world. [Mr. KEY explained that he had not intended any
reference to the gentleman from South Carolina in his remarks.] I am
extremely obliged to the gentleman for his explanation. Entertaining
great respect for his talents, I am happy to find, upon such authority,
the charge is neither applicable nor intended. The colonial system has
been always regarded as essential to all the vital interests of Great
Britain. Every relaxation of that system has excited murmurs and great
discontent in the mother country, and yet they have been constantly
produced by the wants of the colonies. Would they have been permitted
in favor of the United States, could those wants be supplied from any
other quarter? I must contend, then, that their profitable existence
depends upon an intercourse with the United States, notwithstanding
every thing which has been said to the contrary. I do not mean to
involve the idea of absolute starvation; much less to insinuate that
the embargo is so coercive as to humble Great Britain at our feet;
far from it--but I do say, from the nature of their products, their
profitable existence depends upon us. There are not contained within
the whole British empire at this time, whatever they may have been
previous to the American Revolution, supplies for the home and colonial
consumption. Will gentlemen tell us from whence they are to procure
the principal articles of provisions and lumber? I might rest the
argument in safety on these articles alone; these are essential, and
of our produce. All the evasions of the embargo have been made with
a view to that supply; enforce it, and from whence will they procure
the article of lumber? It bears a higher price and is more scarce in
Great Britain, even in ordinary times, than in the West Indies. The
opinion that Nova Scotia and Canada were adequate to that supply, has
been long since abandoned. The articles of their produce require a
constant supply of our materials, some of them cannot be procured from
any other part of the world; of the lumber received, we have heretofore
furnished ninety-nine parts out of one hundred. But we are told they
can raise corn. Who denies it? I will grant to gentlemen all they ask
on that point, and add, too, that their corn is actually more valuable
per bushel than that of this country; but when their labor and industry
is directed to that object, what becomes of their cotton, sugar, and
coffee cultivation? What becomes of the immense revenues derived from
those sources? Gentlemen must not forget that at least one-third of
her revenue accruing from commerce, is derived from the West India
trade alone. I do not know that I should be wrong, if I were to say
from coffee and sugar only. If you drive them to the cultivation of
corn for subsistence, they must necessarily abandon the cultivation of
their most valuable staples. And do gentlemen believe Great Britain is
willing to sacrifice all these considerations to a refusal to do you
justice? We do not require justice, for all we ask of her is to abstain
from plundering us. We say to her "hands off;" we wish not to come into
collision with you; let us alone. These sacrifices will not be much
longer hazarded, unless indeed she is deluded into a belief that she
has sufficient influence, in this country, to excite disaffection and
insurrection, and thereby remove the cause of pressure.

Another objection with me to removing the embargo is, it will betray a
timid, wavering, indecisive policy. If you will study the sentiments
contained in Mr. Canning's note, you will find they afford a lesson
of instruction which you ought to learn and practise upon: "To this
universal combination His Majesty has opposed a temperate, but a
determined retaliation upon the enemy; trusting that a firm resistance
would defeat their project; but knowing that the smallest concession
would infallibly encourage a perseverance in it." I beg the House to
draw instruction from this otherwise detestable paper--it preaches
a doctrine to which I hope we shall become proselytes. A steady
perseverance in our measures will assist us almost as much as the
strength of them.

I conceive the supplies necessary for the maintenance of the war with
Spain and Portugal will fairly come into the calculation. It has become
the duty and interest of Great Britain to maintain the cause of Spain
and Portugal--she has made it so. Where will those supplies be drawn
from? Does she produce them at home? Certainly not; for it cannot be
forgotten that the average importation of flour alone at Liverpool is
ninety thousand barrels annually. The Baltic is closed against her.
The demand must be great; for Spain and Portugal in times of peace
have regularly imported grain for their own consumption. And here I
will observe, there is no attribute in my nature which induces me to
take sides with those who contend for a choice of masters. So far as
they are fighting for the right of self-government, God send them
speed; but at this peculiar crisis I think it extremely important
that our sympathies should not be enlisted on the side of either of
the contending parties. I would, therefore, from Spain and Portugal
withhold our supplies, because through them we coerce Great Britain.

But that pressure which Great Britain feels most, is most alive to, is
at home. The last crop is short, and injured in harvesting; wheat is
fourteen shillings the bushel, and rising. Her millions of poor must be
supplied with bread, and what has become almost equally important, she
must furnish employment for her laborers and manufacturers. Where can
the necessary supply of cotton be procured? For, thank God! while we
are making a sacrifice of that article, it goes to the injury of Great
Britain who oppresses us, and whose present importation is not equal to
one-half her ordinary consumption. If the manufacturer is to be thrown
out of employ, till that raw material which is now the hypothesis of
the day, is produced from Africa, the ministry who are the cause of
it will not long rule the destinies of that nation. No, sir, I am not
alarmed about supplies of cotton from Africa. Nor am I to be frightened
out of the embargo by a fear of being supplanted in the market, from
that quarter; they must be but little read indeed in political economy,
who can dread a competition with barbarians, in the cultivation of the

Another strong inducement with this House to continue and enforce the
embargo is, that while it presses those who injure us, it preserves
the nation in peace. I see no other honorable course in which peace
can be maintained. Take whatever other project has been hinted at,
and war inevitably results. While we can procrastinate the miseries
of war, I am for procrastinating; we thereby gain the additional
advantage of waiting the events in Europe. The true interests of
this country can be found only in peace. Among many other important
considerations, remember, that moment you go to war, you may bid
adieu to every prospect of discharging the national debt. The present
war of all others should be avoided; being without an object, no man
can conjecture its termination; for as was most correctly observed
by my friend, (Mr. MACON,) the belligerents fight everybody but one
another. Every object for which the war was originally begun and
continued to 1806, has since that time become extinct. The rupture
in the negotiations of that day was made not on points affecting
directly the British interest, but grew out of the indirect concern
she felt in maintaining those urged by Russia, which Power, having
since declared war against Great Britain, has obliterated the then only
existing object of the war. Embark in it when you please, it will not
procure you indemnity for the past; and your security for the future
must ultimately depend on the same promises, which you can obtain by
peaceable means. I have no disposition, sir, to hazard the interest of
my country in a conflict so undefined, so interminable!

But, say gentlemen, it is certainly not submission to trade to those
ports which the edicts of the belligerents have not prohibited us from
trading with. Granted--I will not enter into a calculation on the
subject, as to how much importance the trade would be of to us. The
chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means has told you it would be
contemptible in amount; but, sir, I say this, because I consider it
expedient to continue the embargo, to withhold our supplies from those
who need them, I will not permit you to go to those countries. Repeal
the embargo in part! No, sir. Give merchants one single spot anywhere
out of the jurisdiction of your own country, as large as the square
of this House, and they would carry away the whole of our surplus
produce. Give them a little island on which to place the fulcrum of
their lever, and Archimedes-like, they will move your whole trade.
Let them go to Demarara, to Gottenburg, or any other burg, and it is
to the whole world. But the trade to Spain and Portugal has been held
up as highly profitable to the merchants of the United States. The
gentlemen who venture this opinion have not, perhaps, considered the
subject with all the attention it is entitled to. It appears to me to
be demonstrable from the documents, and the knowledge of circumstances
which we possess, that Great Britain, with the extension of plunder
the Orders in Council warranted, is not satisfied. She was not content
that she had laid a snare whereby she intercepted our whole commerce
to Europe. She then permitted us (no doubt from extreme moderation)
to trade with the French colonies, taking care, at the same time, to
force a direction of that trade in a channel which could not fail to
yield a tributary supply to her exchequer. She has now interdicted, by
orders secretly issued, that commerce also. The language of Cochrane's
proclamation cannot be misunderstood. What a harvest he would have
reaped from the robbery of your merchantmen, had the embargo been
raised, as was expected by the British Cabinet, at the commencement of
the session. The Orders in Council would have taken all your property
going to continental Europe, and those of the Admiralty would have
swept the West India traders. I believe the idea of enjoying a free
trade to Spain and Portugal is altogether illusory. Mr. Canning has
told us, not _in totidem verbis_, but certainly in effect, that we
should be permitted to trade with those countries, only under the
Orders in Council. In answer to the proposition made by Mr. Pinkney
to suspend the embargo as to Great Britain, for a suspension of the
Orders in Council as to the United States, the British Minister replied
in the most peremptory manner possible. Here let me observe, that had
that suspension been agreed to, the embargo would have co-operated with
the Orders in Council against France. It would have been even much
more efficacious than those orders, inasmuch as our own regulations
would have interdicted all commerce with France. The professed object
of the Orders in Council, retaliation on the enemy, cannot therefore
be real--they originated, as they have been executed, in a spirit of
deadly hostility against us. That the operation of those orders would
be extended to Spain and Portugal, should the embargo be repealed in
part, I infer from this positive assertion of the British Secretary:
"It is not improbable, indeed, that some alterations may be made in
the Orders in Council, as they are at present framed; alterations
calculated not to abate their spirit or impair their principle, but
to adapt them more exactly to the different state of things which has
fortunately grown up in Europe, and to combine all practicable relief
to neutrals with a more severe pressure upon the enemy." Here is not
only a denial of suspension, but a threat that alterations will be
made, (no doubt in tender mercy to us,) not to abate their spirit,
but to adapt their operation more extensively to our ruin. What is
the state of things alluded to? Let every gentleman who seeks after
truth, candidly inquire for himself, what is the state of things which
Mr. Canning considers has so fortunately grown up in Europe. Can it
be any thing but the revolutions in Spain and Portugal? If the Orders
in Council are not to be impaired, but their operation rendered more
applicable to the present state of things, _a fortiori_, you are to be
cut off from the South of Europe, in the same manner as you are from
France and her dependencies. And are you ready to repeal the embargo
under such a threat as this? This note, sir, is sarcastic to the last
degree; in it I read insult added to the atrocious injuries my country
has received; there is but one part of it which can be looked at with
patience, and that is the valuable admonition I have read.

Some gentlemen have gone into a discussion of the propriety of
encouraging manufactures in this country. I heard with regret the
observations of the gentleman from Virginia on this subject. I will
be excused by him for offering my protest against those sentiments.
I am for no high protecting duties in favor of any description of
men in this country. Extending to him the equal protection of the
law, I am for keeping the manufacturer on the same footing with the
agriculturist. Under such a system, they will increase precisely in
that proportion which will essentially advance the public good. So far
as your revenue system has protected the interests of your merchants,
I am sincerely rejoiced; but I can consent to no additional imposition
of duty, by way of bounty to one description of persons, at the expense
of another, equally meritorious. I deplore most sincerely the situation
into which the unprecedented state of the world has thrown the
merchant. A gentleman from Massachusetts has said, they feel all the
sensibility for the mercantile interest, which we feel for a certain
species of property in the Southern States. This appeal is understood,
and I well remember, that some of their representatives were among the
first who felt for our distressing situation, while discussing the bill
to prohibit the importation of slaves. I feel all the sympathy for
that interest now, which was felt for us then; but I ask if it is not
sound policy to encourage the patriotism of our merchants to support
still longer the sacrifices, which the public exigencies call for, with
spirit and resolution? If they should suffer most from our present
situation, it is for their immediate advantage that we are contending.
I must be allowed in continuation to say, that, although I do not
profess to be one of the exclusive protectors of commerce, I am as
willing to defend certain rights of the merchant, as the rights of the
planter. Thus far I will go; I will assist in directing the physical
strength of the nation to the protection of that commerce which
properly grows out of the produce of the soil; but no further. Nor am
I therefore disposed to limit the scene of his enterprise. Go up to
Mocha, through the Dardanelles, into the South seas. Search for gums,
skins, and gold, where and when you please; but take care, it shall be
at your own risk. If you get into broils and quarrels, do not call upon
me, to leave my plough in the field, where I am toiling for the bread
my children must eat, or starve, to fight your battles.

It has been generally circulated throughout the Eastern States, in
extracts of letters, said to be from members of Congress, (and which I
am certainly sorry for, because it has excited jealousies, which I wish
to see allayed,) that the Southern States are inimical to commerce.
So far as South Carolina is concerned in the general implication, I
do pronounce this a gross slander, an abominable falsehood, be the
authors who they may. The State of South Carolina is now making a most
magnanimous sacrifice for commercial rights.

Will gentlemen be surprised when I tell them, South Carolina is
interested, by the suspension of our trade, in the article of cotton
alone, to an amount greater than the whole revenue of the United
States? We do make a sacrifice, sir; I wish it could be consummated. I
should rejoice to see this day all our surplus cotton, rice, flour and
tobacco burnt. Much better would it be to destroy it ourselves, than
to pay a tribute on it to any foreign power. Such a national offering,
caused by the cupidity and oppression of Great Britain, would convince
her she could not humble the spirit of freemen. From the nature of her
products, the people of South Carolina can have no interest unconnected
and at variance with commerce. They feel for the pressure on Boston,
as much as for that on Charleston, and they have given proofs of that
feeling. Upon a mere calculation of dollars and cents--I do from my
soul abhor such a calculation where national rights are concerned--if
South Carolina could thus stoop to calculate, she would see that she
has no interest in this question--upon a calculation of dollars and
cents, which, I repeat, I protest against, it is perfectly immaterial
to her whether her cotton, rice, and tobacco, go to Europe in English
or American vessels. No, sir, she spurned a system which would export
her produce at the expense of the American merchant, who ought to
be her carrier. When a motion was made last winter for that kind of
embargo which the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. KEY) was in favor of;
for he says he gave his advice to do that very thing, which if adopted
would cut up the navigation interest most completely, (an embargo on
our ships and vessels only;) South Carolina could have put money in
her pocket, (another favorite idea with the gentleman,) by selling her
produce to foreigners at enormous prices; her representatives here
unanimously voted against the proposition; and her Legislature, with
a magnanimity I wish to see imitated throughout the United States,
applauded that vote--they too said they would unanimously support
the embargo, at the expense of their lives and fortunes. She did not
want an embargo on our ships, and not on produce. No, sir; she knows
we are linked together by one common chain--break it where you will,
it dissolves the tie of union. She feels, sir, a stroke inflicted on
Massachusetts, with the same spirit of resistance that she would one
on Georgia. The Legislature, the representatives of a people with whom
the love of country is indigenous, told you unanimously, that they
would support the measures of the General Government. Thank God, that
I am the Representative of such a State, and that its representatives
would not accept of a commerce, even at the advice of a gentleman
from Maryland, which would profit themselves at the expense of their
Eastern brethren. Feeling these sentiments, I cannot but say, in
contradiction to what fell from the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr.
GHOLSON,) I should deplore that state of things which offers to the
merchant the lamentable alternative, beggary or the plough. I would
say to the merchant, in the sincerity of my heart, bear this pressure
with manly fortitude; if the embargo fails of expected benefit, we will
avenge your cause. I do say so, and believe the nation will maintain
the assertion.

It is with reluctance I feel compelled, before I resume my seat, to
make a few observations in reply to what fell from the gentleman from
Maryland (Mr. KEY) yesterday. The gentleman commenced his address by
contradicting the statements made by a gentleman from Massachusetts,
and my worthy friends from Virginia and Georgia, (Messrs. RANDOLPH and
TROUP.) He told you their districts could not feel the embargo most,
as it was in his the sufferings were most severe. I shall not waste
the time of the House by an inquiry into the truth of this assertion;
nor, sir, will I enter into a competition of this sort. I aim at a
distinction far more glorious. The State I represent in part, bears
the embargo the best. This it is my pride to boast of. There, sir,
there are no murmurs, no discontent at the exertions of Government
to preserve the rights of the nation. And as long as respect for the
honor, and a hope of the salvation of the country exists, so long will
they bear it, press as hard as it may.

The gentleman told you, in speaking of the Maryland elections, that the
film is removed from the eyes of the people, and that in discerning
their true interests, they saw it was the embargo, and not the Orders
in Council, which oppresses them. He must feel confident indeed in the
knowledge that he is two years in advance of his constituents, or he
would not have ventured such an assertion. [Mr. KEY explained that he
had said the film was removed, and the people saw that their distress
arose more from the embargo than from the Orders in Council.] Mr.
WILLIAMS continued: I have no intention to misrepresent the gentleman,
but I understood him to say that the Orders in Council did not affect
the continental market, but the Berlin decree; that the embargo caused
all the pressure at home; that the Orders in Council had no part in
producing that measure, and therefore I infer as his opinion, that
the Orders in Council have not injured us. [Mr. KEY said that the few
observations which he had made on this subject, were in reply to the
gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL,) that the people should
be no longer deluded. In answer to this Mr. K. said he had observed
that the people were not deluded--that the film was removed from their
eyes, and that he then had gone on to show that the depression of
produce arose from the embargo. But that he never had meant to say that
the Berlin decree and Orders in Council were not injurious, because
they lopped off a large portion of our commerce.]

I understood the gentleman to say (observed Mr. W.) that it was very
strange we would not trust our merchants upon the subject of the
embargo, who were the best judges. I wish to represent the gentleman's
sentiments correctly, and shall not consider him impolite, if I have
misstated him, should he again stop me. Why, sir, is it strange? Are
the merchants the guardians of the public honor? This I conceive to
be the peculiar province of Congress, because to it alone has the
constitution confided the power to declare war. Will the gentleman
trust the merchants with the guardianship of his own honor? No, sir,
he chooses to protect it himself. And would he advise the nation to
pursue a course disgraceful, and to which he would not expose himself?
I will not trust the merchants in this case, nor any other class of
men; not being responsible for the national character, they will trade
anywhere, without regard to principle. So true is this, Dessalines felt
no uneasiness when informed of the law prohibiting all intercourse
with St. Domingo; he replied, "hang up a bag of coffee in hell, and
the American merchant will go after it." I am not sure that, in the
evasions of the embargo, some of them have not already approached
near its verge: certain I am, that, in a fair commerce, such is the
enterprise and perseverance of their character, they will drive their
trade as far as it can be driven. No, sir, I will not trust the
merchant now, because he would do the very thing which the gentleman
seems to wish, trade under the Orders in Council.

The embargo should be removed, because, says the gentleman, it has
operated as a bounty to the British trade. I should be disposed to
doubt this, if for no other reason than a knowledge of who advocates
its removal. Before the embargo was laid, agricultural labor in the
British West India islands, particularly on sugar estates, could
scarcely support itself. I refer the gentleman to the documents printed
by order of Parliament, and the memorials of the agent of Jamaica. He
will find that the planters are in a distressed situation, not from
their failure in the cultivation of the soil, but from the enormous
duties on their produce in the mother country. Are the extravagant
prices of articles of the first necessity, superadded to their former
embarrassments, to operate as a bounty on their trade? I should be
extremely gratified if the gentleman will inform us what would have
been the amount of bounty on the trade, if evasions of the embargo
had not taken place. If the price of flour has been sixty dollars per
barrel, and other articles in proportion, what would have been the
price had there been no evasions of the law? They could not have been
procured at all: and yet we are told the embargo is a bounty on British
trade! When the gentleman was, I had like to have said, justifying
the Orders in Council, he should have favored us with a vindication
of the _smuggling_ proclamation also. Such a degree of corruption and
of immorality never before, in any one paper, disgraced a civilized
nation. The citizens of a country, at peace and in amity, enticed to
evade their own laws! Is such an act calculated to induce the belief
that the embargo operates as a bounty on British trade?

I shall not enter upon another question stirred by the gentleman,
the constitutionality of the embargo law; the subject has become so
stale, that even he could scarcely make it interesting. It has been
laid asleep--a solemn adjudication has taken place and put it at
rest. But the gentleman will excuse me for observing he made a most
unfortunate allusion in the course of his argument. He said it was
strange that, not having the power delegated to us to tax exports, we
should undertake to prohibit them. The Orders in Council, which if the
gentleman did not justify, he was certainly very tender of, do exercise
that very power of taxing our exports, which by the constitution we are
prohibited, and that too when they are destined to a government equally
sovereign and independent with that of Great Britain.

We have been referred by the gentleman to the history of the
Revolution, and after a kind of encomium on the resources of Great
Britain, the triumphs of her navy and her present imperious attitude,
he demanded to know if we can expect she will yield to us now, when
during the Revolution she maintained a war against the whole world, at
the same time that she kept us at bay seven years and succeeded with
every nation but her own sons--will she truckle at our feet now? The
gentleman knows we do not seek to make her truckle at our feet; we wish
her no injury; we ask of her no boon whatever; we only entreat her to
let us alone; to abstain from wanton, unprovoked acts of oppression.
What is the object of this language? Is it to tell us she never will
redress our wrongs; or is it to divert us from a prosecution of our
rights? The contest was very different with her at that time from
what it is now. She then contended against the dismemberment of her
Empire. Will the gentleman say she values the principles of the Orders
in Council, as she did the sovereignty of her colonies? What will the
gentleman discover, by examining the history of the period he referred
to? England, at that time, when France, Spain, Holland, and the United
States, were opposed to her, when the armed neutrality in the north of
Europe assailed her, when all these brought the principle of embargo
to bear upon her, was nearer ruin than she ever was before or since. I
refer him to Playfair's tables for the year 1781; there he will find
the very principle proven, for which we are now contending. Does Great
Britain now prize the plunder of your merchantmen, the impressment
of your seamen, insult to your national flag, as much as she did the
sovereignty of the soil? Certainly not; and yet she must, precisely the
same, or she will not hold out now as she did then. When I recollect
that her necessary annual expenditure is greater than the gross rent
of all the landed property in her kingdom; that the armed neutrality
affected her so materially, that the same principle is brought into
operation again; that by withholding our custom, our supplies, our raw
materials, we must necessarily destroy a large portion of her revenue,
I cannot but hope she will see her own interest in redressing our
injuries. This is all we contend for, allow the experiment to be made;
if not, at least propose some better remedy.

But said the gentleman, at the close of the Revolutionary war we alone
triumphed over the arms of Great Britain; defeat befell all the rest of
the world. I will not contest that point with him, as he is old enough
to speak from experience.

We were informed by the gentleman, that it was the Berlin decree, and
not the Orders in Council, had destroyed our trade to the Continent
of Europe. Here too we are directly at points. The gentleman has not
made himself master of his case, or has totally mistaken his evidence.
I hold a document in my hand which, perhaps, the gentleman may object
to, as coming from the opposition party in Great Britain; it is the
depositions of sundry merchants of great wealth and respectability,
taken before the British House of Lords, on the subject of the Orders
in Council. Here Mr. W. read from the depositions the following
questions and answers:

    "If the American embargo were removed, and the Orders in
    Council still continued in force, in that case would the
    witness resume his shipments?

    "To a very small amount.

    "For what reason?

    "Because I do conceive, that there would be such great
    impediments, indeed a total annihilation of trade from the
    United States of America to the Continent of Europe, that
    I could not expect to receive any returns for the goods I
    sent out; and another reason would be my apprehension that a
    war between the United States and this country would be the
    consequence of those Orders in Council.

    "What is the reason that the Orders in Council prevent the
    witness sending our cotton goods in ships in ballast?

    "I believe I stated my apprehension that they might produce
    a war between the two countries; another reason was, I could
    not expect to get remittances, and a total annihilation of the
    trade between the United States of America and the Continent
    of Europe, from whence a great part of my remittances must be

    "If the American embargo in general were taken off, and the
    Orders in Council to be continued, would his trade in that case

    "I certainly should feel no inducement to export goods to
    America while the orders continued.

    "Why not?

    "I should apprehend that hostilities between this country and
    America would be the consequence of continuing the Orders in

    "Would the Orders in Council have any other effect as to
    discouraging the trade?

    "They would have considerable effect in regard to our

    "In what manner?

    "By bringing all the produce of America to this country, they
    must occasion such a vast glut in the market, that the produce
    would be worth little or nothing.

    "In what degree would it affect the dealers in those
    commodities brought to this country, as to their remittances to
    this country?

    "The consequence I apprehend would be, that great parts of the
    bills must go back protested; because the produce, for which
    the bills are drawn, would sell for scarcely the value of the
    freight and charges.

    "Does the witness conceive, from his knowledge of the
    American trade, that if the whole of the American produce,
    which according to an average of years had been carried to
    the Continent of Europe, and to Great Britain, was now to be
    imported into Great Britain alone, and the Orders in Council
    to continue; whether it would be possible to export from Great
    Britain to the continent, so much of the American produce as
    should prevent a glut of the American produce remaining in the

    "I think it would be impossible.

    "Have you lately written to your correspondents in America
    respecting shipments of American produce to this country?

    "I have.

    "To what effect have you so written?

    "I have written that in case of submission to these Orders of
    Council, in case such a thing should take place, to suspend all

    "Did you give this advice to your American correspondents, upon
    the supposition that America would acquiesce in the Orders in

    "Certainly not, I stated it as a thing by no means likely; but,
    as there is nothing impossible in this world, that if it were
    so, not to move; that in case they were acquiesced in, not to
    attempt any business."

Considering (continued Mr. W.) these are the sentiments (delivered
under the sacred obligation of an oath) of that very description of men
who the gentleman believes are the best judges and ought to be trusted,
I am warranted in saying, they prove his position wholly unfounded. The
gentleman's project last year was to lay the embargo on our ships and
vessels, and to dispose of our produce, the effect of which would have
been destruction to our own vessels, constant encouragement to those of
Great Britain. I beg him to remember, that if two or three years hence,
he should not stand as high with the American merchants as he could
wish, it may be fairly attributed to this friendly protection of their
immediate interests, which he would have extended to them.

The gentleman was equally unfortunate in saying, the destruction of
St. Domingo had caused such a demand for sugar, that the cultivation
of cotton in the British West India islands had been abandoned; he is
not well versed on the subject, the fact not being as he has stated it.
However great an impetus the destruction of St. Domingo may have given
to the cultivation of sugar and coffee, in the British West Indies,
it certainly had no effect in any way on that of cotton, the quantity
of that article formerly exported from thence being too small to have
any influence whatever. Our cotton will never be supplanted from that
quarter. Could the sugar estates be converted to cotton plantations,
so depressed has been their situation, that conversion would have been
long since effected. Nor, sir, is it true that the cultivation of
cotton in the British West India islands has been abandoned; on the
contrary, it has been regular though slow in its increase, compared
with that of coffee. Crops of that kind are frequently precarious,
owing to a natural enemy of the plant in those islands, and therefore
the cultivation has not kept pace with the demand.

I heard the gentleman with pain and mortification, I repeat it,
with pain and mortification I heard him declare that nations like
individuals should pocket their honor for money. The act is base in an
individual, in a nation infinitely worse. The gentleman was corrected
by his colleague (Mr. NELSON) on this subject. He evidently, to my
apprehension, expressed an opinion, that money was to be preferred to
honor. He told us that honor in arbitrary governments was identified
with the monarch, who went to war for his mistress; that in republics
honor consisted in the opportunities afforded to acquire wealth, and
by way of illustration said, we pocketed our honor for money in paying
tribute to the Barbary Powers, for the security of a paltry trade. Does
the gentleman mean to assimilate a tribute exacted by Great Britain
with that paid to Algiers? Or does he mean to be understood as advising
us, because we purchase peace with barbarians, involving no honorable
consideration, to barter for a pecuniary reward, with Great Britain,
our rights, our honor, and our independence? Detestable as this
inference is, it results from his arguments. Repeal the embargo, throw
open your trade to Great Britain; you can put money in your pocket
by it. I want no substitute. Sir, if my tongue was in the thunder's
mouth, then with a passion would I shake the world and cry out treason!
This abandonment of our rights, this sacrifice of our independence,
I most solemnly abjure. Astonished indeed am I, that a gentleman so
eloquent, so well qualified to uphold the honor and dignity of his
country, should so abandon them! Is it possible such doctrine should
be advocated on the floor of Congress? Has it come to this? Was it for
this the martyrs of the Revolution died? Is this great continent and
the free millions who inhabit it, again to become appendages of the
British Crown? Shall it again be held, in its orbit by the attractive,
the corruptive influence of the petty island of Great Britain? No.
Sooner may you expect the sun with all the planetary system will rush
from their shining spheres, to gravitate round a pebble. Remember,
sir, it is no longer a contest singly about the carrying trade, or
the impressment of seamen, or the insult to the national flag, but
all united with the rights and attributes of sovereignty, even to
the violation of the good old United States. You stand on the verge
of destruction, one step, one movement backwards will stamp your
character with indelible disgrace. You must now determine whether you
will maintain the high station among nations, to which the virtues,
the spirit of the people have elevated you, or sink into tributary
vassalage and colonization. By all your rights, your duties, your awful
responsibility, I charge you "choose ye this day whom ye will serve;
but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Mr. CULPEPER spoke in opposition to the report.

Mr. COOK moved to adjourn. Mr. J. G. JACKSON called for the yeas and
nays on the motion; but a sufficient number did not rise to justify the
taking them. Motion to adjourn negatived. Mr. COOK renewed the motion,
observing that he had some remarks to make, which might occupy the
House some time.--Carried, 54 to 50, and the House adjourned.

SATURDAY, December 10.

Mr. LEWIS, from the Committee for the District of Columbia, presented a
bill supplementary to the act, entitled "An Act for the establishment
of a Turnpike Company in the county of Alexandria, in the District of
Columbia;" which was read twice, and committed to a Committee of the
Whole on Monday next.

The bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act further to amend the
judicial system of the United States," was read twice, and committed to
Mr. MARION, Mr. HOLLAND, and Mr. KELLY, to consider and report thereon
to the House.

Mr. NELSON, from the committee appointed the eleventh ultimo, on so
much of the Message from the President of the United States as relates
to the Military and Naval Establishments, presented a bill authorizing
the appointment and employment of an additional number of navy
officers, seamen and marines; which was read twice, and committed to a
Committee of the Whole on Monday next.

                          _Foreign Relations._

The House again proceeded to the consideration of the first resolution
of the report made by the Committee of Foreign Relations.

Mr. COOK addressed the House at considerable length.

Mr. R. JACKSON said: Mr. Speaker, not having been in the habit of
public speaking, it is with great diffidence I rise, to make any
observations on the resolutions now under consideration, after so
much has been said upon the subject. But, sir, knowing the deep stake
that the portion of citizens which I have the honor to represent, and
the United States at large, have in the present embarrassed state of
our political affairs, was I to remain silent, sir, I should feel as
if I was guilty of treachery to their interests. I shall not attempt
to follow gentlemen in their arguments who have gone before me in
the debate, but confine myself to making such observations on the
resolutions and the state of our political affairs, as appear to me to
be necessary and proper. By the first resolution we are called upon to
declare "that the United States cannot, without a sacrifice of their
rights, honor and independence, submit to the late edicts of Great
Britain and France." Why we are called upon to make this declaration,
I cannot conceive. I do not see the use of it, unless it is considered
by the committee as a kind of test act, which they think ought to be
administered to every member of the House to ascertain whether they are
of sound principles or not. I do not like such abstract propositions;
I think them useless, as nothing can come from them in a legislative
way; no bill can be formed from it; however, I do not see anything at
present to prevent me from voting for it. By the second resolution we
are called upon to declare "that it is expedient to prohibit, by law,
the admission into the ports and harbors of the United States of all
public or private armed or unarmed ships or vessels belonging to Great
Britain or France, or to any other of the belligerents having in force
orders or decrees violating the lawful commerce and neutral rights of
the United States; and also the importation of any goods, wares, or
merchandise, the growth, produce, or manufacture of the dominions of
any of the said powers, or imported from any place in the possession of

Here, sir, I shall take the liberty to dissent from the committee, for
I do not think it to be expedient to join them in such a resolution as
this. For I would ask, what are we to promise to ourselves from such
a system as this; what will be the probable effects of it? Will it
compel the great belligerent Powers to do us justice for past injuries
and secure us for the future? If I thought it would, I would most
cheerfully vote for it. But, sir, I have no reason to suppose it will,
for we have now had considerable experimental knowledge of the effects
of the embargo system, both as it respects ourselves and foreign
powers, and we have found from experience, that, as a coercive measure,
it has had no effect. It has not compelled France or England to do
us justice, or to rescind their unlawful edicts and decrees, issued
against neutral commerce. And those nations having now experienced
the effects of the embargo for nearly one year, whatever alarm it
might have given them, when first laid on, that alarm has ceased. And
we have it from high authority, that France cares nothing about it,
and that in England, owing to the great events now passing in Europe,
it is forgotten. And shall we still, with all this information and
experience, adhere to this system, and still think we can legislate
France and England into a comitance to do us justice, and bring them
to the bar of justice in this way? Far be it from me to censure any
one for the part they have taken in endeavoring to maintain the rights
of our country, and giving security to the interest of our citizens.
But, sir, I think, in the business of legislation, that the same line
of conduct ought to be pursued, that we would pursue in the common and
ordinary proceedings of life; for should any of us undertake to do any
thing, suppose it be to get a vessel afloat that had been stranded,
and the means employed were totally inadequate to its accomplishment,
should we not abandon those means and try some other? We have tried the
embargo, and found it altogether ineffectual, and we have no reason to
suppose, that by a further continuance of it, it will answer any of the
purposes for which it was intended.

I will now take some view, as it appears to me, of what has been,
and will be the effect of the embargo, if continued, as it respects
ourselves. The burden of it has already been very great, on a large
proportion of our citizens. It has been grievous, and very sore. For
how otherwise can it be, when we consider that all the navigation
business, from one end to the other of these United States, is totally
stopped, excepting a small remnant of our coasting trade, and that
remnant under very great embarrassments; and all that numerous class of
our citizens, dependent on commerce, deprived of their usual means of
gaining a livelihood, and in consequence thereof thousands of them have
been obliged to live on their former earnings, and consume that little
property they had treasured up for their future support? And if the
embargo is continued, the inevitable consequence must be, bankruptcy
to many of our merchants, and absolute distress, misery, and want, to
a large proportion of our citizens who live in the seaport towns, and
great embarrassments to all classes of citizens throughout our country.
And if this system is continued, we must incur the hazard of having
civil commotions in our country, for experience has proved, that when
great distress prevails among the people, and that distress arises from
political measures, which the people are divided in sentiment upon,
the hazard is very great that civil commotions will take place. Some
gentlemen have undertaken to show how much we have already lost by the
embargo. But I shall not go into any calculation of this sort, for I
am convinced that it defies calculation; it is impossible to follow it
into all its turnings and windings. It is enough for me to know that
the loss is immense, and that we have received such a shock by it, that
it will require a long time to come, to recover from it. Gentlemen have
also endeavored to point out such parts of the Union as they think are
suffering the most by the embargo. There is no doubt but that it does
bear harder upon some portions than on others, and that it is unequal
in its operation. But, sir, my idea is, that it bears the hardest upon
that part of our citizens where they are the most dependent on commerce
for their living; and this being the case, in nearly as great a degree,
perhaps, with the citizens of Rhode Island as in any part of the Union,
it follows that my constituents are suffering as much as any portion
of the United States.

But, sir, its pressure is upon the whole country, and it carries
misery throughout our land; and if continued, the distress occasioned
by it must still be much greater than it has been, and will become
intolerable in some parts of the Union, and the consequences may be
dreadful to the nation. And as to its effects on France or England, for
myself, I am of opinion, that the Emperor of France and King of Italy
is well pleased with it, for, as it is observed by Mr. Canning, "it
certainly comes in aid" of his grand design of destroying the commerce
of the English, and trying to give that nation the consumption of the
purse; and, until he is satisfied with that speculation, he will wish
us to keep on the embargo. And since Spain and Portugal have refused
any longer to be under the control of Bonaparte, and have bid him and
all his hosts defiance, and have connected themselves with the English,
I believe the English care nothing about the embargo, but would give us
their free leave to keep it on forever; for, sir, it gives the greatest
activity to their colonies of Canada and Nova Scotia, and must be
the means of increasing their settlements with astonishing rapidity.
Experience has already proved to them, that their colonies in the West
Indies can be maintained without us, and Spain and Portugal and their
colonies having become open to them, to vend their manufactures, and
with what can be smuggled into the continent and into our country, in
spite of all the laws that can be made against it, will furnish them
market enough; and our navigation being all laid up, and out of the
way, their ships will obtain great freights from Spain and Portugal to
the colonies, and from the colonies back to the mother country; and
in consequence of our retiring into a state of dignified retirement,
as it has been called, they will have nearly the whole trade of the
world in their own hands. And it appears to me, sir, in every point
of view that I can place the subject, if we continue the embargo, it
will operate to distress ourselves a hundred times more than it will
anybody else. I will now, as I have heard the call so frequently made,
that, if you do not like this system, point out a better, and if it
appears so, we will adopt it--I will, therefore, point out what appears
to me a better line of conduct for the United States to pursue, and if
I am so unfortunate as not to find a man in this House of my opinion,
I cannot help it, for I feel myself constrained, from a sense of duty
to my suffering constituents, to inform this House and the nation,
that I wash my hands of it, and protest against it. I therefore, sir,
with great deference to superior abilities, propose that the law
imposing an embargo on all ships and vessels of the United States,
and all the laws supplementary thereto, be immediately repealed, and
that we authorize our merchants to arm their vessels, under proper
regulations, in defence of our legitimate and lawful commerce; that
the Government from time to time afford the commerce of the country
such protection as may be found necessary and prudent. If this was
done, I have no doubt but that the citizens of the United States would
soon be relieved from their present embarrassments and distress. This,
sir, would produce a circulation in the body politic, our planters and
farmers would immediately find a sale for their surplus produce, our
merchants would find employ for their vessels, and all that numerous
class of citizens who have heretofore been engaged in the active and
busy scenes of commerce, would again find employ in our seaports. In
lieu of beholding dismantled ships covered with boards and mats, we
should see in them spars and rigging aloft, and the ports whitened
with their sails, and again hear the cheering sound of industry. But
it has been said that if the embargo was removed and our merchants
should send their vessels to sea, most of the property would be taken
by one or other of the great belligerent powers, and thus be lost to
our country; and that we have so little trade left that it is not worth
our notice. But let us examine this, and see if it be so. Could we not,
sir, in the present state of the world, trade to England, Scotland, and
Ireland, to Sweden, Spain, and Portugal, to some of the islands in the
Mediterranean, and some of the Turkish ports on that sea; to nearly all
the ports in the East and West Indies, to both sides of the continent
of South America, and some other places, and have the obstruction
occasioned by the embargo laws removed from our own coast? Is all this
trade of no importance to trading people? Gentlemen have gone into
statements to show, from our former trade, how much of our domestic
produce could be exported to the different parts of the world, under
the present embarrassments, occasioned by the great belligerent powers;
but for myself I put no confidence in such statements. I consider trade
may in some measure be compared to water; if the channel it has been
used to run in becomes obstructed, it will find new channels to vent
itself in. For instance, sir, suppose we should adopt the resolution
offered by the gentleman from New York (Mr. MUMFORD). He mentioned
that we could trade to the little Swedish island of St. Bartholomews,
in the West Indies. Now suppose we should look over our former exports
to this island in any one year, what should we find the amount to be?
I do not know, sir, perhaps one hundred thousand dollars, but double,
triple it if you please, and what comparison would it bear with the
amount that would be shipped there under his system? Would it not
immediately become a distributing point for the whole of the West
India Islands, and the amount increased to an astonishing degree, when
compared with what used to be exported there? And so it would be in
other parts of the world. The articles will go where they are wanted,
in a greater or less degree; and if they cannot be carried directly,
they will find their way in an indirect manner. And as to the danger
of the property being captured and confiscated, I think our merchants
and underwriters are the most competent to judge of that. They do not
wish the Government to become guardians for them in this respect. All
they wish for Government to do is to let them manage their own affairs
in their own way; and the Government to afford the commerce of the
country as much protection as shall be for the real interest of the
whole nation. Have we not seen, in the summer past, with what eagerness
the merchants in the United States availed themselves of the special
permission granted to fit their vessels in ballast, and go abroad to
collect debts? And was not every old and obsolete claim hunted up that
existed in the country, to make out the amount necessary to avail
themselves of this permission? Is not this proof that the merchants
did not consider the risk very great? And were not several hundred
sail of vessels fitted out under this permission; and have they not
nearly all returned back to the United States in safety? Many of these
vessels were insured to the West Indies, out and home, at premiums
of about eight and nine per cent., and this in the midst of the
hurricane season. This proves that the underwriters did not estimate
the political risk at more than two or three per cent., for the natural
perils in time of profound peace would be considered equal to six per
cent. And the calculation of the underwriters has proved correct, for
they have made money by the business. And was our embargo removed, I am
of opinion that the premiums of insurance would not be more than six
or seven per cent. to any port in Great Britain, and about the same to
Spain and Portugal. This, if correct, proves that the political risk
is not considered to be very great by those who are the best judges of
it. But, sir, it appears to me there are many gentlemen in this House
who think it will not do to trade, until all political risk is removed
out of the way. If we wait for this, we shall never trade any more, for
the natural perils of traversing the ocean always exist, and always
remain nearly the same, allowing for the variation of the seasons. And
the political perils always exist, but they vary according to the state
of political affairs among the nations of the world. But, sir, I have
repeatedly heard it said, and the same thing is expressed in the report
of the committee, that our situation is such, that we have no other
alternative than a war with both Great Britain and France, submission,
or a total suspension of our commerce.

The committee have, sir, after a long statement, brought our affairs
up to this point, and I do not like any of the alternatives out of
which they say we must make a choice, for I do not believe that we are
reduced to this dilemma; and I will not agree to go to war with both
England and France, nor will I agree to submit, or to totally suspend
our commerce. But I will agree to give our merchants liberty to arm
their vessels, under proper regulations, in defence of our legitimate
commerce, and leave it to them to send their vessels for trade where
they please; and if any of them are so unwise as to trust their
property to France, or to any ports in Europe where the French control,
let them fight their way there if they choose. I see no other course,
sir, that we can pursue, that will be so much for the interest and
honor of our country, as the one pointed out. The American people are a
cool, calculating people, and know what is best for their interest, as
well if not better than any nation upon earth, and I have no idea that
they will support the Government in a ruinous war with England, under
the present existing circumstances, nor in measures depriving them of
all trade and commerce.

Mr. MUMFORD then offered a few observations in answer to the remarks
of Mr. GHOLSON of Virginia. During the discussion, six different
motions were made for an adjournment, the last of which, offered by Mr.
GARDENIER, was carried--yeas 58, nays 48.

TUESDAY, December 13.

On motion of Mr. THOMAS,

_Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to inquire into the
expediency of dividing the Indiana Territory; and that they have leave
to report by bill or otherwise.

_Ordered_, That Mr. THOMAS, Mr. KENAN, Mr. BASSETT, Mr. TAGGART, and
Mr. SMILIE, be appointed a committee pursuant to the said resolution.

On motion of Mr. THOMAS, the resolutions of the House of
Representatives of the Indiana Territory, which were read and ordered
to lie on the table on the fourteenth ultimo, were referred to the
select committee last appointed.

Mr. MARION, from the committee to whom was referred, on the tenth
instant, the bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act further to
amend the Judicial System of the United States," reported the bill to
the House without amendment: Whereupon the bill was committed to a
Committee of the Whole to-morrow.

The bill sent from the Senate, entitled "An act for the relief of
Andrew Joseph Villard," was read twice and committed to a Committee of
the Whole to-morrow.

On motion of Mr. ALEXANDER,

_Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to inquire whether any, and
if any, what farther provision ought to be made by law, prescribing
the manner in which the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings
of one State, shall be proved and given in evidence in another State,
and the effect thereof; and that they have leave to report by bill or

JACKSON, Mr. KEY, and Mr. QUINCY, be appointed a committee, pursuant to
the said resolution.

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate have
passed a bill, entitled "An act supplemental to an act entitled 'An act
for extending the terms of credit on revenue bonds, in certain cases,
and for other purposes;'" also, a bill, entitled "An act to change the
post route from Annapolis to Rockhall, by Baltimore to Rockhall;" to
which they desire the concurrence of this House.

                          _Foreign Relations._

The following is Mr. GARDENIER'S speech entire:

Mr. Speaker: I had intended to defer the delivery of my sentiments upon
the second resolution, until that resolution should come before the
House. But the course which the debate has taken, has produced a change
in my original intention.

That the first resolution is an unnecessary one, because no clear,
definite, practical results can flow from it, appears to me
self-evident. Are the people of this country suspected of an intention
to abandon their rights or their independence? Indeed, sir, they are
not. Why then is it, that we are called upon to make a new declaration
of independence? Or was the Administration conducted in such a manner
as to make the firmness and patriotism of the nation itself doubted
abroad? Even I, sir, who am not suspected of a blind confidence in our
rulers, will not advance such a charge.

The true question is not, Is the matter expressed in this abstract
proposition true? But, Is it necessary that a resolution containing
it should be passed by this House? I agree with the gentleman from
Tennessee (Mr. CAMPBELL) that it would be no less ridiculous to pass
this resolution than to pass one that the sun shines. Allowing both to
be true, both are equally unnecessary to be embodied in a resolution of
this House. Begin this system of abstract legislation, and where are
you to stop? Sir, it partakes too much of the character of disturbed,
revolutionary times. To such a blasphemous height was this notion of
voting abstract propositions, or declarations, or truisms (call them
what you will) carried at one time in France, that their Convention
very gravely decreed "that there was a God!" This was a self-evident
truth; and being so could not become more so by being decreed. And
if the edicts of Great Britain and France go to the destruction of
our "rights, honor and independence," our voting that such is their
operation, makes it neither more nor less true.

But, it is said, a select committee have placed the resolution before
us, and we are bound to vote whether the assertions it contains are
true or false. Why, sir, if I should offer a resolution that at this
moment the sun shines, and some one should second me, would it be
contended that this House ought gravely to proceed to the question?
and if any member should say, "I vote against this resolution because
it is too true to be made more so; and because, therefore, I think it
unnecessary to be passed," that he, sir, should be considered blind?

Again, gentlemen, some too with whom I am in the habit of acting,
say, at the worst, the resolution is harmless--it ties you down to
no specific course, and therefore you may as well vote for it; that
to vote against it, will afford a handle against our popularity--that
the resolution itself is an artful one--a trap set to catch the
Federalists, as it will hold them up to suspicion, if they vote against
it--for the vote will appear upon the Journals, when the argument is
not to be found there. Well, sir, if it be in truth a trap to catch
poor Federalism in, I, for one, sir, am willing to be caught. I never
deceived the people whom I have the honor to represent, either by
giving a vote to the propriety of which my judgment was opposed, or by
professing opinions which I did not entertain; and, sir, I trust in God
I never shall. The applause of my constituents is dear to me. But I
would rather strive to deserve it--than, not deserving it, to receive
it. Yes, sir, my course shall be always a plain one--a straightforward
course. I have not acquired the confidence of my constituents by
increasing their delusions. I have always labored to disperse them.
At my first election to this House, a decided majority of them were
opposed to my politics. The thought has often distressed me. But the
cause of that distress exists no longer. And, therefore, sir, I will
go on discharging my duty with the most scrupulous obedience to my
judgment, and where the weight of a hair ought to turn the scale, it
shall turn it.

But if I had no other objection against this abstract "harmless"
resolution, there is one which would be decisive: I would reject it on
account of "the company it keeps." The committee, for reasons which
I shall not stop to disclose, have thought it important to introduce
this, by way of propping the second one. That second one, sir, the
undoubted object and inevitable tendency of which my whole soul recoils
from, which I abhor and deprecate, as fatal to the prosperity and
happiness of my country--as the grave of its honor--and I fear I do
not go too far when I add, of its independence! that resolution is not
alone submission to France; but, under the pretence of resisting her
infractions of the laws of nations, her violations of the sacred rights
of hospitality, her laughing to scorn the obligation of treaties--it
makes us submit to all--to encourage a perseverance in all. Nay, sir,
it throws the whole weight of our power into her scale, and we become
not only the passive, but, to the whole extent of our means, the
active instruments of that policy which we affect to abhor. This, sir,
unhappily, is capable of the most clear demonstration; and, in the
proper place it shall appear so. I enter now upon the discussion of
the second resolution. And although I am aware how little professions
of sincerity and embarrassment are generally regarded, and, indeed,
how little they ought to be regarded, yet I cannot approach this awful
subject without declaring that I feel as if I was about to enter
the sanctuary of our country's independence; and I tremble with the
same fearful distrust of my powers, the same distressing perplexity
which would embarrass me if I had entered the labyrinth in which was
concealed the secret of that country's honor, prosperity and glory. I
do feel, sir, that we should enter upon the discussion of this question
divested of all the prejudices and passion of party--no less than all
foreign predilections and animosities--with clean hearts, sir; yes,
hearts seven times purified, to prepare them for the discharge of the
sacred, the holy duties of this awful crisis. He who can come to this
debate with other motives than to save his country, placed as it is on
the brink of a dreadful precipice, deserves to be heard nowhere but in
the cells of the Inquisition. The sound of his voice should never be
suffered to pollute the Hall of the Representatives of the American
people. But he who, thinking that he has traced the causes and the
progress of our misfortunes, and that he may, perhaps, point the nation
to a path which may lead it back to the prosperous position it has been
made to abandon, would be a traitor to the State, if any considerations
could keep him silent.

In my view, sir, we have gone on so long in error--our affairs have
been suffered to run on, year after year, into so much confusion, that
it is not easy to say what should be done. But if it is magnanimous to
retract error, certainly it is only the performance of a sacred duty,
which their servants owe the people, to abandon a system which has
produced only disappointment and disasters hitherto, and promises only
ruin and disgrace in future.

The time, sir, has been, when the Government was respected at home and
abroad, when the people were prosperous and happy, when the political
body was in high, in vigorous health; when America rejoiced in the
fulness of her glory, and the whole extent of the United States
presented a scene unknown in any other country, in any other age.
Behold now the mournful contrast, the sad reverse! We are "indeed
fallen, fallen from our high estate!" The nation is sick--sick at
heart. We are called upon to apply a remedy; and none will answer which
shall not be effectual. No quack prescriptions will answer now. And
the cure, to be effectual, must not persevere in a course which has
not only produced no good, nor promises any; but which has brought the
patient (if I may use the figure of the gentleman from Maryland, Mr.
NELSON) to his present forlorn condition. Such a perseverance may seem
to argue great hardihood, or, if you please, spirit; but, after all, it
is nothing but the desperate frenzy of a losing, half-ruined gamester.

It becomes, therefore, at last, indispensable to take a retrospective
view of our affairs. And, if in taking this view, we should find the
cause of our disasters, we must not fear to contemplate it, to hold it
up; and, having grown wise by experience, we must not be prevented by
false pride, from profiting by it; we must not shrink from the exercise
of a virtue because it is also an imperious duty. And I hope that no
gentleman who hears me is unwilling to sacrifice the popularity of the
Administration to the salvation of the country.

Permit me then, sir, to go back to that period in our history which
immediately preceded the adoption of our present form of Government.
What was then our condition? The people were poor--for there was no
commerce to assist agriculture--there was no revenue for general
objects. Many States were hardly able to collect enough for State
purposes. And, of course, there was no such thing as public credit,
although there was an immense floating debt. We had no reputation
abroad--there was no confidence even at home. But, sir, we had a
WASHINGTON, and we had the pupils of WASHINGTON, men whom he knew to
be faithful in the Cabinet, for he had found them faithful in the
darkest stages of the Revolution. The nation, happily, had not been
deluded--they knew their friends by their deeds--they had not yet
yielded to the sweet fascination of the seductive popular declamations
of these latter times. Men were known by what they did, not by what
they said. These men, sir, had the sagacity to discover the secret
springs of our prosperity and happiness and glory. And they were able
to strike them with a powerful hand, and with a powerful hand they did
strike them; and, instantly, as if by enchantment, the scene changed.
Suddenly, agriculture raised her drooping head, for commerce beckoned
her to prosperity. Your people began to pay their debts and to become
rich. Public credit was restored; the Treasury began to fill readily.
Sources of revenue were explored, certain of continually increasing,
equally certain of being never exhausted, except by folly and madness.
Indeed, sir, so perfect was the financial machinery that it admitted
of no improvement. It required no more skill in the successors of the
illustrious Hamilton to make this instrument "discourse most excellent
music," than it would a child to play a hand-organ. An end was put to
our Indian wars; our Algerine captives were redeemed--our reputation
was established abroad, and the United States assumed their just rank
among the nations of the earth! This was, indeed, a work worthy of
the illustrious patriots who achieved it. It was the result of that
profound practical wisdom, which, never yielding to the deception
of brilliant theory, saw the public interest with a clear eye, and
pursued it with a firm and steady step; and it was no wonder that it
was successful. Let me add, too, that all this was accomplished without
taxation being felt by the people.

But this great prosperity was not without interruption. It received a
stroke, sir, deep and dangerous, and almost mortal, from the tremendous
system of spoliations commenced by Great Britain in 1793. Misfortunes
cast themselves across the path of nations as well as individuals.
They are often unavoidable, and no nation can hope to be always exempt
from them. The wisdom of the human mind is displayed in putting an
end to them in private affairs, and in public that statesman only is
great who can overcome and disperse them, who, though he cannot avert
the bolt, can prevent the ruin it threatens. At the period of which
I speak, we had such statesmen. Yes, sir, the alarm was depicted on
every countenance--though the nation staggered to its centre under the
severity of the blow it had received, yet was the Administration equal
to the dreadful emergency--it had brought the nation into existence
and prosperity, and it was equal to the preservation of both. And they
showed it not by venting their rage in idle reproaches, but by applying
efficient remedies to the diseases of the country.

Let it be remembered that justice was to be obtained from Great
Britain; from that power which is now represented and held up to our
indignation as "proud, unprincipled, imperious, and tyrannical;" and
which certainly was at least as much so then; for then she had on her
side all Europe engaged in combination against France, and France
was alone as England is now. In short, she was then on the continent
of Europe what France is now. Yet, from this same country did our
Government succeed in obtaining not only reparation for the spoliations
committed, but a surrender of the Western posts also. I repeat, sir,
all this was accomplished when Great Britain was not less imperious in
disposition, but more formidable in power than she is now. And surely
all this ought to appear strange and wonderful indeed to those who have
been deluded into the idea that, when Great Britain was struggling,
gasping for existence, the same thing was impossible: that has with
ease, and under more inauspicious circumstances, been accomplished,
which the men now in power pretend they have attempted in vain. Still
strange as it may seem to them, it is a fact--it is history. Well, sir,
how was this miracle brought about? By a process very plain and simple.
The Administration was sincerely desirous of peace; and that single
object in their eye, they exerted their abilities to obtain it and
consequently did obtain it. The instructions of the Minister breathed
a desire of peace--of reconciliation upon terms compatible with the
honor of both nations. The Administration did not send with their
Minister a non-importation act, a proclamation, or a permanent embargo,
by way of exhibiting their love of peace. The refinement in diplomacy
which sends with the negotiator a new cause of quarrel for the purpose
of accelerating the adjustment of an old one, was not yet invented.
No, sir, Mr. Jay, (and the name of that stern, inflexible patriot and
Republican, I always repeat with delight and veneration, because he is
a patriot and a Republican)--

[Here Mr. UPHAM took the advantage of a pause made by Mr. G. to observe
that, as the gentleman appeared considerably exhausted, &c., he would
move an adjournment, which was taken by ayes and noes and lost--ayes
47, noes 65--Mr. G. voting in the affirmative.]

Mr. G. continued.--Mr. Jay had no disposition to bully the British
Government into justice; he had no objection that they should have all
the merit of returning voluntarily to a sense of justice, provided his
country might have the benefit of substantial reparation. The stern
sage of the Revolution became the courteous ambassador, and, appealing
"to the justice and magnanimity of His Britannic Majesty," he demanded
redress and he obtained it. The British Government saw that ours was
sincerely disposed to be at peace with them, and, pursuing the natural
direction of their interests, there was no difficulty in making peace.
Our plundered merchants were compensated--paid, sir, _bona fide_. We
did not purchase redress; we did not pay for the surrender of the
Western posts, which were our right, and out of the purchase money
indemnify a portion of our own citizens. No; the payment was to all;
and in right old-fashioned "British gold," all counted down on the
nail. I wish that I could, with equal truth, say the same thing of more
modern treaties.

And now, sir, compensation being made by Great Britain for the
spoliations on our commerce, the Western posts being surrendered, a
commercial treaty being established, the dark cloud which obscured our
prospects being dispersed, the sun of our prosperity once more burst
forth in all its radiance, and again all was well.

I care not what were the objections of the day, begotten in the brain
of faction, and cherished in mobs; under the treaty we were prosperous
and happy, and that one fact is enough for me. Bad as the treaty was
represented to be, and the worst feature of it most probably was,
that it was a British Treaty--bad as it was, the continuance of its
existence has been precisely co-extensive with the progress of our
prosperity--it made our people rich and happy; and, bad as it was, they
would have cause to rejoice indeed if the present Administration had
furnished them with just such another.

France saw with uneasiness the return of a good understanding between
America and Great Britain. And she, in her turn, let loose her plunders
upon our commerce. Again the wisdom of our Government was called into
action, and again it produced the most happy result. What did they
do? An embassy was despatched to France, redress was demanded, but
the Ministers were not received, nor could be, till a _douceur_--a
tribute--was paid. From a nation which returned such an answer, redress
could not be expected; and there was an end of negotiation. Britain
and France had acted toward us with equal injustice--the disposition
of our Government, its desire of peace, was the same with both. Its
conduct was the same to both, but France would not even hear our
demands. The American Government were at no loss how to act. The
case was a plain one. One nation robs another--that other demands
reparation--prevarication is the reply. It requires no skill to
see, in such a case, that, to coax the offender into reparation is
impossible. Accordingly, our Government did not hesitate as to the
course it should pursue; they did not wait to be spurred on by any
Government to an assertion of their rights; they would not leave it
one moment doubtful whether they had the disposition and the courage
to assert them. They proceeded immediately to annul the French Treaty,
to pass non-intercourse laws; they built ships of war, and sent them
upon the ocean, to protect our commerce. They were not so obstinate but
that they could receive instruction, even from the author of the "Notes
on Virginia," who, in that work, so judiciously recommends a navy.
Our little armament picked up the French cruisers, great and small;
the coast, the sea, was soon cleared of them. And our commerce again
visited every clime in safety.

I will here remark, sir, that, during all this time, the staple
commodities (particularly of the Northern States) suffered no
diminution, but an increase in price. Well, sir, France very soon
discovered that she had nothing to gain, and we nothing to lose by
such a state of things. Even then, when she had some naval power, she
discovered this. She was, therefore, very soon disposed to change it. A
treaty was patched up, in the end, and something like the appearance of
redress provided for.

Now, sir, for the result. A former Administration were able to settle
our differences with Great Britain, although she governed all Europe,
although she was unjust, haughty, and imperious. Now the same thing is
said to be impossible! A former Administration were able, after a fair
negotiation had failed, to bring France, who had then some maritime
power, on her marrow-bones. And now, when she has none, again the
same thing is impossible! How happens all this? Sir, I am afraid your
Administration have committed most capital mistakes. They have been
unwilling to learn wisdom from the experience and success of their
predecessors. I do fear, and I shall be obliged to prove, that, on
the one hand, they have been actuated by, certainly they have never
(following the example of a former Administration) manifested a sincere
disposition to accommodate our difficulties with Great Britain. And,
on the other hand, they have in no instance shown to France that bold
front which, in more unpromising times, brought the terrible Republic
to her senses. These two errors, these wilful, wanton aberrations from
established policy, are the true causes of all our misfortunes. It is
owing to them that we have, if we believe the Administration sincere,
two enemies who are already at war with each other, and we, the only
instance of the kind since the creation of the world, are to step out a
third and distinct belligerent, a sort of Ishmaelite belligerent; our
hand against every nation, and every nation's hand against us. We are
in a situation which defies hope, one in which we have but a single
miserable consolation, that though it promises nothing but ruin, yet
it is so ridiculous, so ludicrous, that we can but smile at it.

These remarks are extorted from me a little out of their order. I
return to the period of the restoration of peace between the United
States and France.

The Administration now (1801) passed into the hands of other men. They
received a country, rich, prosperous, and increasing in prosperity.
A people contented and happy; or discontented only with those who
had been the authors of their prosperity. They received a Treasury
full and overflowing, giving a vigor and a spring to public credit
almost unknown before, and to the reputation of the country a dignity
unsullied; they found us in peace and friendship with all nations,
our commerce whitening every sea, and rewarding agriculture for all
its industry, and every one sitting in peace under his own vine and
fig tree. Our country presented to the animated philanthropist one
uninterrupted display of liberty, of gaiety, and of felicity. Oh!
happy, happy period of our history--never, never, I fear to return.
And, if ever truth dropped from the lips of man, it was when the
nation was declared to be in "the full tide of successful experiment."
Never were the destinies of a nation in more wonderful prosperity
committed to men. That prosperity had been acquired at a price no less
unparalleled, at the expense of the destruction and disgrace of those
whose wisdom and energy had produced it.

The new men, sir, were not required to bring order out of confusion;
that had been done already.

They were not called upon to lay the deep and strong foundations of
national prosperity and happiness; that had been done already.

They were not enjoined to "multiply" the talents committed to their
stewardship; that was unnecessary--they were merely commanded to
preserve them undiminished.

They were not required to create a paradise--but to keep uninjured that
which was committed to their guardianship.

They promised, indeed; they were so rash, in the fulness of their
exultation, as to promise to do more; but folly alone could believe
them; and for breaking this promise I forgive them, for to do more
was impossible. And if they had but preserved unimpaired, if they had
not totally destroyed the inestimable treasures intrusted to them, I
would have endeavored to overcome my resentment, my indignation, and my

In performance of their lofty promises, in disregard of sacred duties,
what have they done? In what condition do they leave the country,
which, eight years since, "in the full tide of successful experiment,"
fell into their hands? They present to us, sir, the gloomy reverse of
all it was. The people discontented and distressed--all becoming daily
more and more poor--except, indeed, that class of rich speculators,
whose wealth and whose hearts enabled them to prey upon the wants of
their countrymen. The despair and dismay of 1786 are returned! The
prosperity of twenty years is annihilated at one stroke! The sources
of revenue are dried up. The Treasury, indeed, may be now full--but it
must continually diminish--and, without its usual supply, it must soon
be empty. We have still some credit. But how long, sir, can that be
maintained, when it is known that we have no longer the means, allowing
us to possess the disposition, to fulfil our pecuniary engagements?
When you cannot collect a cent upon imposts, and dare not lay a
direct tax, how far you will be able to obtain money on loan, is, to
say the least of it, very questionable. But, I will hasten to finish
the contrast I was about to make. Commerce, sir, has perished, and
agriculture lies dead at her side--for these twin sisters must flourish
or die together. No nation in the world is our friend--our paradise is
becoming a wilderness; our soil is stained with the blood of our own
citizens; and we look around us, in vain, for one solitary benefit to
compensate us for all the dreadful effects of the present system.

Perhaps, sir, I may be answered: "Though all you have said be true,
though our former prosperity exists no longer, it is ungenerous, it
is unjust to impute the change to the agency of the Administration.
What has happened could not be prevented." Though such a rebuke were
reasonable, I will still insist that the Administration, if they
deserve no censure, are certainly entitled to no praise, and can ask
for no confidence. If they have not been the authors of the public
calamities, they have not, like their predecessors, discovered the
ability to prevent them from coming thick upon us. If their hearts are
honest, their heads have not discovered much soundness. No set of men,
however ignorant, however stupid, could have placed the country in a
worse or a more deplorable situation. The truth is plain and palpable.
Judging of the wisdom of the Administration by the result of its
measures, I cannot sing praises to them for their skill and ingenuity
in diplomacy. No, sir; I delight in that diplomacy which makes the
poor rich; which makes industry prosperous; which spreads contentment
through the land, and happiness among the people. I delight in the
diplomacy, whose skill and wisdom can be read in the countenance of
my countrymen, and makes the face of my country the evidence of its
prosperity. I like not, I abhor that diplomatic skill which can be
found only in a book! which has produced nothing but calamity, and
whose praise is written in the blood of my countrymen.

But, sir, how happens it that we still remain under the distresses
occasioned by the belligerents? Is there, indeed, a physical
impossibility of removing them? From Great Britain, and that, too, when
she had the whole continent on her side, we could once obtain justice,
not only for the past, but security for the future. From France, too,
we could once obtain justice, but now we can gain justice from neither.
What change, sir, has occurred in the state of things to produce this
strange impossibility? Our commerce is more an object to Great Britain
now, than it was formerly--and France can oppose to us no resistance
on the ocean. And yet no remedy can be found for our calamities! Sir,
I will not be the dupe of this miserable artifice. What has been done
once can be done again by employing the same means.

The Administration have committed greater errors. They have conducted
all their affairs in such a style as to leave Great Britain no room
to doubt that, when they asked for peace, they wanted it not. To this
cause may be traced all our difficulties, so far as they proceed from
that power. As it regards France, I fear that they have not acted the
proper, the manly part. In short, sir, they have not pursued toward
England the policy which saved us in 1795, nor toward France the policy
which was successfully opposed to French rapacity and French obstinacy
in '93.

I think an error was committed, when, affecting to desire an amicable
arrangement with Great Britain, instead of treating with her as a
nation not to be intimidated, much less bullied, the non-importation
act was passed. For, sir, if she was so proud, so haughty, so
imperious, as some gentlemen delight to describe her, then to bring her
to justice by assuming an attitude of menace, was evidently impossible.
When, therefore, you passed the non-importation act, under a pretence
that it would be a successful auxiliary to friendly negotiation, what
could you expect but to alarm the pride, and the haughtiness, and
imperiousness of that nation? And, doing that, how could you expect an
amicable result? No, sir, it was not, and it could not be expected.
You obtained a treaty indeed--but it was from a Fox Ministry. Yet such
as it was, it was not so good as a Jay's Treaty, and the Executive
rejected it without so much as laying it before the Senate.

In support of the embargo system, gentlemen say, if we suffer our
commerce to go on the ocean, or wherever it goes, it will be crippled
either by France or Great Britain. Although this is not true in the
extent laid down, yet it will hold tolerably true as respects the
European seas. From what gentlemen are pleased to represent as the
impossibility of sailing the ocean with safety, result (say they) the
propriety and necessity of the embargo system. And they say, it is
not the embargo, but the decrees and orders which are the true cause
of all we suffer; that the embargo, so far from being the cause of,
was advised as a remedy for the evils we endure. Well, sir, for the
sake of the argument, be it as they say. Has the embargo answered? Is
there any probability, the slightest indication, that it will answer?
Has it operated, to any perceptible extent, except upon ourselves,
during the twelvemonth it has been in existence? If, then, neither the
remembrance of the past, nor the prospect of the future, gives the
least encouragement to hope, why will gentlemen persist in the system?
And that too, sir, at an expense to their own country so enormous
in amount? Will they go on obstinately amid all the discontents, or
clamors (as gentlemen in very anti-republican language call the voice
of the people) in the Eastern and Northern States? And that from mere
obstinacy--an obstinacy not encouraged by the least glimmering of hope?
If I could be pointed to a single fact, produced by the operation of
the embargo, which would prove that it had any other effect on the
disposition of Great Britain than to irritate--or any other on France
than to please, than to encourage her to a perseverance in that system
of injustice which we pretend to oppose, but to the policy of which
we give all our support with an infatuated wilfulness, and which,
therefore, increases the hostility Great Britain has felt from the
measure--if they could show me, sir, that the embargo will bring either
to terms, I would abandon the opposition at once, and come heart and
hand into the support of your measures. The other day, the gentleman
from South Carolina (Mr. WILLIAMS) almost persuaded me that it ought to
operate upon Great Britain; but I looked and I found it did not, and I
was convinced it would not.

But, have gentlemen reflected that, if all the evils were drawn from
Pandora's box, to vex Great Britain, you could have hit on none so
well calculated to call out all her resistance, and all her obstinacy,
as this same expedient, the embargo! If she yields to us, under the
pressure of such a system, she discloses to us the secret of her
independence! Sir, the embargo is war; it was intended as such against
Great Britain. And she understands its meaning and its character too
well for us to disguise it, under a pretence of its being a mere
precautionary municipal measure. Its efficacy as a coercive measure has
been too often and too loudly boasted of in this House, to make its
real object a secret to her. Nay, in so far as the great and prominent
feature of war is coercion; in so far as war is always intended to
make the adversary yield that which he will not yield voluntarily;
in so far, are the embargo and the non-importation act WAR. Each was
intended to coerce Great Britain to yield to us points which it had
been ascertained she would not yield voluntarily. It was a system of
coercion, a new-fangled sort of philosophical experimental war; novel,
to be sure, in its character, but, to all substantial purposes, war.
Instead of bloodshed, there was to be ink shed--instead of bayonets,
pens--instead of the bloody arena, huge sheets of paper! Whenever Great
Britain shall yield to the coercion of the non-importation, embargo, or
non-intercourse system, she virtually tells the people of the United
States, "we are in your power whenever you choose to make a claim
upon us, whether just or unjust; threaten us with an embargo and a
non-intercourse, and you bring us to your feet." Does any gentlemen
believe, even allowing the pressure of the embargo to be great upon
her, that she can yield, that she can afford to yield? That she can
admit that we have her always perfectly in our power? Sooner would she
give up in battle--sooner would she see her soldiers retreating before
our bayonets; sooner would she see her armies perish under our valor,
than acknowledge herself the slave of this magic wand. Her children
might grow to be men, and she might try the fortune of another day; the
hair of Samson might grow on again, and his strength be renewed; but
in yielding to the chance of the embargo, she places her existence in
our hands, and becomes dependent upon our will for the existence of her
sovereignty. Sir, the King of England cannot, he dare not, yield to our

But, sir, he has not told us that he considers our embargo hostile
to him; nor has our Government ever told him that it was; such a
declaration has never been put to paper. No, sir; when you look into
the correspondence, it would seem that the embargo was never intended
as a coercive measure, nor even understood so by Great Britain. Every
thing on both sides is conceived in a sincere spirit of "friendship."
Our non-importation act, our proclamation, our embargo, are all
acts of friendship and kindness toward Great Britain, for aught we
find there. And Great Britain issues her Orders in Council in a
reciprocating spirit of amity toward us. She is not offended with our
non-importation act, nor our embargo. Not at all. Her orders are not
intended to harm us. She means nothing in the world, but simply to
retaliate upon France--and she is sorry that almost the whole force
of the blow falls upon us, but it is unavoidable. She, by the laws
of nations, has as perfect a right to retaliate upon France as we
have to make our innocent municipal regulations--and she is full as
sorry that her retaliation system should wound us, as we are that
our municipal regulations should incommode her. Sir, this diplomatic
hypocrisy (begun, I acknowledge, by us) is intolerable. Sir, there
is not one word of truth in the whole of it, from beginning to end.
The plain state of the case is this: Anterior to the non-importation
act, the British Treaty had expired--there were points of dispute,
particularly concerning the impressment of seamen, which could not
be adjusted to the satisfaction of our Government. In this state of
things, either we ought to have gone to war, or we ought not. If we
had intended to do so, stronger measures should have been resorted to
than a non-importation act. If we had not intended to do so, the act
should never have been passed. Those who passed it could have but one
of two objects in view; either to coerce Great Britain to the terms we
demanded--or, by vexing and irritating her, to raise up in due time
an unnecessary fictitious quarrel, which (as this country is known to
be extremely sensitive of British aggression) might ultimately end
in a real old-fashioned war. No men could have been so weak as to
calculate upon the first result. As to the other, the wisdom of the
calculation is pretty strongly proved by the situation in which we
now find ourselves. Sir, this is the whole mystery--and it must be
explored--it must be exposed. We must understand the real character of
our controversy with Great Britain--the real character, intent, and
aim, of the different measures adopted by us and by her, before we
can hope to heal the wounds our peace has received, or to restore the
prosperity we have been unnecessarily made to abandon. I know, sir, how
difficult it is to overcome matured opinions or inveterate prejudices;
and I know, too, that, at this time, the individual who shall venture
to lay open "the bare and rotten policy" of the time, makes himself the
butt of party rancor, and strips himself to the unsparing "lacerations
of the press." But these are considerations too feeble to deter me from
my duty.

[Mr. G. appearing much exhausted, and Mr. QUINCY having intimated to
the House that Mr. G. suffered under a pain in the side, moved for an
adjournment. The SPEAKER inquired whether Mr. G. yielded the floor? Mr.
G. replied, he had himself little inclination to continue his remarks,
but the House appeared so eager to hear him, (a laugh,) he hardly knew
what answer to make. However, he said, he would give the floor. The
House then adjourned.]

The object, sir, of our present deliberations is, or ought to be, to
relieve our country from the distresses under which it groans; to do
this, we should be prepared to legislate with a single eye to the
welfare and happiness of the nation. It is of the first necessity that
we should deliberate with calmness, if we mean to apply an effectual
remedy to the diseases of the State. In the remarks which I had the
honor to make yesterday, I was constrained to draw a contrast between
the measures and prosperity of former times and those of the present
times. Under circumstances of the same character, we were formerly
able to overcome our misfortunes. Now we are not. And I did this for
the purpose of impressing upon the House an opinion, that if the
Administration had practised upon the principles of their predecessors,
all had been well; or, that if retracing their steps, or relinquishing
the path of error and misfortune, they would still be the learners of
wisdom and experience, it would not even now be too late to retrieve
the affairs of the country. If I know my own heart, I did not make the
comparison from any invidious purposes; but merely to turn the minds of
gentlemen back to former times; that they might reflect upon the perils
and calamities of those times, and the means by which an end was put
to them; but in doing this, I could not avoid paying the tribute of
deserved praise and of sincere gratitude to the men under whose agency
we prospered abundantly. In contrasting the conduct of the present with
that of the former Administration, I meant to subserve no purposes of
party. Nay, sir, I could have much desired to have been spared the
necessity of presenting that contrast before the nation. I could have
wished to have avoided these references, lest I might excite party
feeling in others; lest I might appear to be governed by them myself.
But truth could not be attained by any other course, and I have been
compelled to take it.

The first resolution, contained in the following words, was divided, so
as to take the question first on the part in italic:

    "Resolved, _That the United States cannot, without a sacrifice
    of their rights, honor, and independence, submit to the late
    edicts of Great Britain_--and France."

The question was then taken on the first clause of this resolution, and
carried--yeas 136, nays 2.

The question being about to be put on the remaining part of the
resolution, viz: on the words "and France"--

The question then recurred on the second member of the first
resolution; and the same being taken, it was resolved in the
affirmative--yeas 113, nays 2.

The main question was then taken that the House do agree to the said
first resolution as reported to the Committee of the Whole, in the
words following, to wit:

    "_Resolved_, That the United States cannot, without a sacrifice
    of their rights, honor, and independence, submit to the edicts
    of Great Britain and France:"

And resolved in the affirmative--yeas 118, nays, 2.

SATURDAY, December 17.

A division of the question on the resolution depending before the House
was then called for by Mr. DAVID R. WILLIAMS: Whereupon, so much of the
said resolution was read, as is contained in the words following, to

    "_Resolved_, That it is expedient to prohibit, by law, the
    admission into the ports of the United States of all public or
    private armed or unarmed ships or vessels belonging to Great
    Britain or France, or to any other of the belligerent powers
    having in force orders or decrees violating the lawful commerce
    and neutral rights of the United States."

The question then recurring on the first member of the original
resolution, as proposed to be divided on a motion of Mr. D. R.
WILLIAMS, and hereinbefore recited, a division of the question on the
first said member of the resolution was called for by Mr. GARDENIER,
from the commencement of the same to the words "Great Britain," as
contained in the words following, to wit:

    "_Resolved_, That it is expedient to prohibit, by law, the
    admission into the ports of the United States of all public or
    private armed or unarmed ships or vessels belonging to Great

The question being taken that the House do agree to the same, it was
resolved in the affirmative--yeas 92, nays 29.

A farther division of the question was moved by Mr. ELLIOT, on
the said first member of the resolution, on the words "or France,"
immediately following the words "Great Britain," hereinbefore
recited: And the question being put thereupon, it was resolved in the
affirmative--yeas 97, nays. 24.

And on the question that the House do agree to the second member of the
said second resolution, contained in the words following, to wit:

    "Or to any other of the belligerent powers having in force
    orders or decrees violating the lawful commerce and neutral
    rights of the United States:"

It was resolved in the affirmative--yeas 96, nays 26.

The question then being on the residue of the said resolution contained
in the following words:

    "And, also, the importation of any goods, wares, or
    merchandise, the growth, produce, or manufacture, of the
    dominions of any of the said powers, or imported from any place
    in the possession of either:"

The question was taken, and resolved in the affirmative--yeas 82, nays

The main question was then taken that the House do agree to the said
second resolution, as reported from the Committee of the whole House,
and resolved in the affirmative--yeas 84, nays 30, as follows:

    YEAS.--Lemuel J. Alston, Willis Alston, jun., Ezekiel Bacon,
    David Bard, Joseph Barker, Burwell Bassett, William W. Bibb,
    William Blackledge, John Blake, jun., Thomas Blount, Adam
    Boyd, John Boyle, Robert Brown, William A. Burwell, William
    Butler, Joseph Calhoun, George W. Campbell, Matthew Clay,
    Joseph Clopton, Richard Cutts, John Dawson, Joseph Desha,
    Daniel M. Durell, John W. Eppes, William Findlay, Jas. Fisk,
    Meshack Franklin, Francis Gardner, Thomas Gholson, jun.,
    Peterson Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, Isaiah L. Green, John Heister,
    William Helms, James Holland, David Holmes, Benjamin Howard,
    Reuben Humphreys, Daniel Ilsley, John G. Jackson, Richard M.
    Johnson, Walter Jones, Thomas Kenan, William Kirkpatrick, John
    Lambert, John Love, Nathaniel Macon, Robert Marion, William
    McCreery, John Montgomery, Nicholas R. Moore, Thos. Moore,
    Jeremiah Morrow, John Morrow, Roger Nelson, Thos. Newbold,
    Thomas Newton, Wilson C. Nicholas, John Porter, John Rea of
    Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Matthias
    Richards, Benjamin Say, Ebenezer Seaver, Samuel Shaw, Dennis
    Smelt, John Smilie, Jedediah K. Smith, John Smith, Henry
    Southard, Richard Stanford, Clement Storer, John Taylor, George
    M. Troup, James I. Van Allen, Archibald Van Horne, Daniel C.
    Verplanck, Jesse Wharton, Robert Whitehill, Isaac Wilbour,
    David R. Williams, Alexander Wilson, and Richard Wynn.

    NAYS.--Evan Alexander, John Campbell, Epaphroditus Champion,
    Martin Chittenden, John Culpeper, Samuel W. Dana, John
    Davenport, jun., Jas. Elliot, William Ely, Barent Gardenier,
    John Harris, Richard Jackson, Robert Jenkins, James Kelly,
    Philip B. Key, Joseph Lewis, jun., Matthew Lyon, Josiah
    Masters, William Milnor, Jonathan O. Mosely, Timothy Pitkin,
    jun., Josiah Quincy, John Russell, James Sloan, L. B. Sturges,
    Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, Jabez Upham, Philip Van
    Cortlandt, and Killian K. Van Rensselaer.

And on the question that the House do concur with the Committee of
the Whole in their agreement to the third resolution, in the words
following, to wit:

    _Resolved_, That measures ought to be immediately taken for
    placing the country in a more complete state of defence:

It was unanimously resolved in the affirmative.

On motion of Mr. GEORGE W. CAMPBELL,

_Ordered_, That the second resolution be referred to the committee
appointed on so much of the Message from the President of the United
States, at the commencement of the present session, as respects our
relations with foreign powers, with leave to report thereon by way of
bill or bills.

On motion of Mr. GEORGE W. CAMPBELL,

_Ordered_, That the third resolution be referred to the committee
appointed, on the 8th ultimo, on so much of the said Message from the
President of the United States as relates to the Military and Naval
Establishments, with leave to report thereon by bill, or bills.

MONDAY, December 19.

                        _Miranda's Expedition._

Mr. LOVE called for the order of the day on the report of the committee
on the subject of the thirty-six persons confined in Carthagena, South
America. The following is the resolution reported by the committee:

    _Resolved_, That the President of the United States be
    _requested to adopt the most immediate and efficacious means
    in his power to obtain_ from the Viceroy of Grenada, in
    South America, or other proper authority, the liberation
    of thirty-six American citizens, condemned on a charge of
    piracy, and now held in slavery in the vaults of St. Clara, in
    Carthagena, and that the sum of ---- dollars be appropriated to
    that purpose.

Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS moved to postpone the consideration of the subject
indefinitely. Negatived--50 to 36.

The House then went into a Committee of the Whole on the subject--39 to

Mr. LOVE moved to amend the resolution by striking out the words in
italics, and inserting "authorized to request."--Carried, ayes 54.

Those gentlemen who supported this resolution in the debate were
opposed it were Messrs. D. R. WILLIAMS, TAYLOR, SMILIE, MACON, and

The gentlemen who opposed the resolution, among other objections,
contended that an agreement to the resolution would but involve the
Government in difficulty without answering any good purpose; that
it would in fact be aiding the attempt of a certain party to prove
that the General Government had some connection with this expedition
originally, which it certainly had not; that the facts set forth in
the petition were wholly unsupported by evidence; that these persons
had engaged themselves in a foreign service; that they had become weary
of the privileges of freemen, and had entered into a hostile expedition
against a foreign country, and, in so doing, had been taken, condemned
for piracy, and immured as a punishment for that offence; that the
British Government, having been at the bottom of this business, was
the proper power to release these persons, and indeed had applied
to the Spanish commander for the purpose; that even were the United
States bound by the laws of justice or humanity to intercede for these
persons, they knew not to whom to make application, and would probably
meet with a refusal, perhaps a rude one, if any judgment could be
formed from the present situation of our affairs with Spain; that if
gentlemen wished for objects on which to exercise their humanity, they
might find them in the lacerated backs of our impressed seamen, without
extending it to criminals. In reply to an observation of Mr. LYON,
that if we did not get these men Great Britain would do so, and employ
them to extend her naval force, Mr. MACON replied, if she did, she was
welcome to keep them; but she was in the habit of supplying her navy
with seamen from our vessels, without the trouble which the acquisition
of these men might occasion her.

In reply to these objections, and in support of the resolution, the
humanity of the House was strongly appealed to. It was urged that the
Government could in nowise be involved by an appeal to the generosity
of the provincial government; that these men had not wilfully committed
piracy, but had been deluded under various pretences to join the
expedition; that they had joined it under a belief that they were
entering into the service of the United States; that, even admitting
them to have been indiscreetly led to join the enterprise, knowing
it to be destined for a foreign service, yet, that they had been
sufficiently punished by the penalty they had already undergone; that
it was wholly immaterial what inference any persons might draw from
the conduct of the United States in this respect, as to their concern
with the original expedition; that such considerations should have no
weight with the House; that if these poor fellows were guilty, they had
repented of it; and Mr. NELSON quoted on this point the Scriptures,
to show that there should be more joy over one sinner that repenteth,
than over ninety and nine who have no need of repentance. In reply to
an intimation that it was not even ascertained that they were American
citizens, Mr. BACON observed that one of them had been born in the same
town in which he was, and was of a reputable family.

The resolution was negatived by the committee--49 to 31.

The committee rose and reported the resolution, which report the House
agreed now to consider--ayes 57.

The question of concurrence with the committee in their disagreement to
the resolution, was decided by yeas and nays, 50 to 34.

On motion, the House adjourned.

TUESDAY, December 20.

A new member, to wit, JOSEPH STORY, returned to serve in this House,
as a member for the State of Massachusetts, in the room of Jacob
Crowninshield, deceased, appeared, produced his credentials, was
qualified, and took his seat in the House.

WEDNESDAY, December 21.

                      _Captain Pike's Expedition._

On motion of Mr. J. MONTGOMERY, the House resolved itself into a
Committee of the Whole, on the bill making compensation to Z. M. Pike
and his companions.

[The first section of this bill grants to Captain Pike and his
companions a certain quantity of land. The second section allows them
double pay during the time they were engaged in exploring the western

Mr. STANFORD moved to strike out the first section of the bill; which
was negatived--53 to 38.

The second section was stricken out--42 to 35.

A considerable debate took place on this bill, in which Messrs.
MONTGOMERY, LYON and ALEXANDER supported the bill, and Messrs. MACON,

The bill being gone through, was reported to the House.

SATURDAY, December 31.

                  _Division of the Indiana Territory._

Mr. THOMAS, from the committee appointed on the thirteenth instant, to
inquire into the expediency of dividing the Indiana Territory, made a
report thereon; which was read, and committed to a Committee of the
Whole on Monday next. The report is as follows:

    That, by the fifth article of the ordinance of Congress for
    the government of the Territory of the United States Northwest
    of the river Ohio, it is stipulated that there shall be formed
    in the said Territory no less than three, nor more than five
    States; and the boundaries of the States, as soon as Virginia
    shall alter her act of cession, and consent to the same, shall
    become fixed and established, as follows:

    The Western State shall be bounded by the Mississippi, the
    Ohio, and Wabash rivers; a direct line drawn from the Wabash
    and Post Vincennes, due north, to the Territorial line between
    the United States and Canada, and by the said Territorial line
    to the Lake of the Woods and Mississippi.

    The middle State shall be bounded by the said direct line, the
    Wabash, from Post Vincennes to the Ohio; by the Ohio, by a
    direct line drawn due north from the mouth of the Great Miami,
    to the said Territorial line, and by the said Territorial line.

    The Eastern State shall be bounded by the last-mentioned direct
    line, the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and the said Territorial line:
    _Provided, however_, and it is further understood and declared,
    that the boundaries of these three States shall be subject so
    far to be altered, that if Congress shall hereafter find it
    expedient, they shall have authority to form one or two States
    in that part of the said Territory which lies north of an east
    and west line drawn through the southerly bend or extreme of
    Lake Michigan. And whenever any of the said States shall have
    sixty thousand free inhabitants therein, such State shall be
    admitted by its delegates into the Congress of the United
    States on an equal footing with the original States, in all
    respects whatever, and shall be at liberty to form a permanent
    constitution and State Government: _Provided_, the constitution
    and government so to be formed shall be republican, and in
    conformity to the principles contained in these articles;
    and, so far as it can be consistent with the general interest
    of the Confederacy, such admission shall be allowed at an
    earlier period, and when there shall be a less number of free
    inhabitants in the State than sixty thousand.

    By the aforesaid article, it appears to your committee that the
    line fixed as the boundary of the States to be formed in the
    Indiana Territory is unalterable, unless by common consent;
    that the line of demarcation, which the Wabash affords between
    the eastern and western portion of said Territory, added to
    the wide extent of wilderness country which separates the
    population in each, constitute reasons in favor of a division,
    founded on the soundest policy, and conformable with the
    natural situation of the country. The vast distance from the
    settlements of the Wabash to the present seat of Territorial
    government, renders the administration of justice burdensome
    and expensive to them in the highest degree. The superior
    courts of the Territory are, by law, established at Vincennes;
    at which place suitors, residing in every part of the
    Territory, are compelled to attend with their witnesses, which,
    to those who reside west of the Wabash, amounts almost to a
    total denial of justice. The great difficulty of travelling
    through an extensive and loathsome wilderness, the want of food
    and other necessary accommodations on the road, often presents
    an insurmountable barrier to the attendance of witnesses;
    and, even when their attendance is obtained, the accumulated
    expense of prosecuting suits where the evidence is at so remote
    a distance, is a cause of much embarrassment to a due and
    impartial distribution of justice, and a proper execution of
    the laws for the redress of private wrongs.

    In addition to the above considerations, your committee
    conceive that the scattered situation of the settlements over
    this extensive Territory cannot fail to enervate the powers of
    the Executive, and render it almost impossible to keep that
    part of the Government in order.

    It further appears to your committee, that a division of
    the said Territory will become a matter of right under the
    aforesaid article of the ordinance, whenever the General
    Government shall establish therein a State Government; and
    the numerous inconveniences which would be removed by an
    immediate separation, would have a direct tendency to encourage
    and accelerate migration to each district, and thereby give
    additional strength and security to those outposts of the
    United States, exposed to the inroads of a savage neighbor,
    on whose friendly dispositions no permanent reliance can be

    Your committee have no certain data on which to ascertain the
    number of inhabitants in each section of the Territory; but,
    from the most accurate information they are enabled to collect,
    it appears that west of the Wabash there are about the number
    of eleven thousand, and east of said river about the number of
    seventeen thousand, and that the population of each section is
    in a state of rapid increase.

    Your committee, after maturely considering this subject,
    are of opinion that there exists but one objection to the
    establishment of a separate Territorial Government west of the
    river Wabash, and that objection is based on the additional
    expense which would, in consequence thereof, be incurred by
    the Government of the United States. But, it is also worthy of
    observation, that the increased value of the public lands in
    each district, arising from the public institutions which would
    be permanently fixed in each, to comport with the convenience
    of the inhabitants, and the augmentation of emigrants, all of
    whom must become immediate purchasers of these lands, would far
    exceed the amount of expenditure produced by the contemplated
    temporary government.

    And your committee, being convinced that it is the wish of
    a large majority of the citizens of the said Territory that
    a separation thereof should take place, deem it always just
    and wise policy to grant to every portion of the people of
    the Union that form of government which is the object of
    their wishes, when not incompatible with the constitution of
    the United States, nor subversive of their allegiance to the
    national sovereignty.

    Your committee, therefore, respectfully submit the following

    _Resolved_, That it is expedient to divide the Indiana
    Territory, and to establish a separate Territorial Government
    west of the river Wabash, agreeably to the ordinance for the
    government of the Territory of the United States northwest of
    the river Ohio, passed on the 13th day of July, 1787.

Mr. THOMAS, from the same committee, presented a bill for dividing the
Indiana Territory into two separate governments; which was read twice
and committed to a Committee of the Whole on Monday next.

A motion was made by Mr. WYNN, that when this House adjourns, it will
adjourn until Tuesday morning, eleven o'clock: And the question being
taken thereupon, it was resolved in the affirmative--yeas 60, nays 45.

MONDAY, January 9, 1809.

Another member, to wit, JOHN ROWAN, from Kentucky, appeared, and took
his seat in the House.

                         _Naval Establishment._

The amendments of the Senate to the bill sent from the House for
employing an additional number of seamen and marines, were taken up.
[The amendments propose the immediate arming, manning, &c., all the
armed vessels of the United States.]

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL expressed a hope that the House would disagree to
the amendments. The President was already authorized by law to fit out
these vessels, whenever, in his opinion, the public service should
require it; and the expense which would attend them was a sufficient
argument against it, if no urgent occasion existed for their service,
which he believed did not.

Mr. STORY entertained a very different opinion from that of the
gentleman from Tennessee. In case of war there must be some ships of
war of one kind or other; and it would take six months at least to
prepare all our ships for service. At present they were rotting in
the docks. If it were never intended to use them, it would be better
to burn them at once than to suffer them to remain in their present
situation. He believed if out at sea they might be useful and would be
well employed. Why keep them up at this place, whence they could not
get out of the river perhaps in three weeks or a month? He believed
that a naval force would form the most effectual protection to our
seaports that could be devised. Part of our little navy was suffered
to rot in the docks, and the other part was scarcely able to keep the
ocean. Could not a single foreign frigate enter almost any of our
harbors now and batter down our towns? Could not even a single gunboat
sweep some of them? Mr. S. said he could not conceive why gentlemen
should wish to paralyze the strength of the nation by keeping back our
naval force, and now in particular, when many of our native seamen
(and he was sorry to say that from his own knowledge he spoke it)
were starving in our ports. Mr. S. enumerated some of the advantages
which this country possessed in relation to naval force. For every
ship which we employed on our coasts, he said, any foreign nation must
incur a double expense to be able to cope with us. The truth was, that
gentlemen well versed in the subject, had calculated that it would
require, for a fleet competent to resist such a naval force as the
United States might without difficulty provide, four or five hundred
transport ships to supply them with provisions, the expense of which
alone would be formidable as a coercive argument to Great Britain. He
wished it to be shown, however small our naval force, that we do not
undervalue it, or underrate the courage and ability of our seamen.

Mr. COOK followed Mr. STORY on the same side of the question. He
compared the nation to a fortress on which an attack was made, and
the garrison of which, instead of guarding the portal, ran upon the
battlements to secure every small aperture. He thought their attention
should first be directed to the gates, and that a naval force would be
the most efficient defence for our ports.

Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS called for the yeas and nays on the amendments.

Mr. SMILIE said that raising a naval force for the purpose of resisting
Great Britain, would be attacking her on her strong ground. If we were
to have a war with her on the ocean, it could only be carried on by
distressing her trade. Neither did he believe that these vessels of
war would be of any effect as a defence. They did not constitute the
defence on which he would rely. If we had a navy, it would form the
strongest temptation for attack upon our ports and harbors. If Denmark
had possessed no navy, Copenhagen would never have been attacked. The
only way in which we could carry on a war on the ocean to advantage,
Mr. S. said, would be by our enterprising citizens giving them
sufficient encouragement. Were we to employ a naval force in case of
war, it would but furnish our enemy with an addition to her navy. He
hoped the House would disagree to the amendments of the Senate and
appoint a committee of conference.

Mr. DANA said that the amendments sent from the Senate presented a
question of no small importance to the nation. Without expressing
any opinion on the question, it appeared to him to be at least of
sufficient importance to be discussed in Committee of the Whole. Coming
from the other branch of the Legislature, and being so interesting to
the nation, he wished that it might be discussed fairly and fully; and,
therefore, moved a reference to a Committee of the Whole.

Messrs. DANA, TALLMADGE, and STORY, urged a reference to a Committee of
the Whole on account of the great importance of the subject, on which a
full discussion would be proper; and Messrs. MACON, G. W. CAMPBELL, and
HOLLAND opposed it, because the seamen proposed by the original bill
were now wanted, and the subject of the amendment was already referred
to a Committee of the Whole in a distinct bill. Motion lost, 58 to 55.

Mr. MACON observed, that the immediate expense of this arrangement, if
agreed to, would be at least five or six millions of dollars, and but
four hundred thousand were appropriated by the bill. When he compared
this bill with the report of a select committee made to the House of
Representatives, he said he was astonished. A part of that report was
a letter from the Secretary of the Navy, in which the very number
(two thousand) contained in the bill as it went from this House, was
desired. Mr. M. adverted to the observation of Mr. STORY, that it would
cost Great Britain as much to keep one frigate as it would cost us to
keep two. He thought the expense would be about equal. The expense
of the transportation of provisions would be counterbalanced by the
difference of expense between the pay of the British and American
seamen, the latter being double of the former generally. He objected
to this bill from the Senate because no estimate accompanied it. He
thought they would go far enough if they gave the departments all that
they asked. This House had indeed as much right to judge of the force
requisite, as any other department; but he did not wish to be called
upon to supply a deficit in the appropriation, which never failed to
occur even in the ordinary appropriations for the Navy Department.
Give the four hundred thousand dollars asked for, and the deficit in
the appropriation will be at least ten times the amount of the sum

Mr. COOK contended strenuously in favor of a naval force. He detailed
the advantages which would accrue to the nation from a few fast
sailing frigates. He said they were essentially necessary to defence.
He expatiated on the difficulty with which any foreign power could
maintain a force on our coast.

Mr. HOLLAND did not profess to have much knowledge on this subject, but
he said it did not require much to overthrow the arguments of gentlemen
on the subject. What defence a few frigates would be to the extensive
coast of this country, he could not understand. There certainly never
had been a time when this country should rely on a maritime force as a
sufficient protection. Indeed, he said, if we had fifteen or twenty or
more sail-of-the-line, he should hesitate much before he would go to
war with Great Britain, because these would undoubtedly be lost. Our
power of coercion was not on the ocean. Great Britain had possessions
on this continent which were valuable to her; they were in the power
of the United States, and the way to coerce her to respect our rights
on water, would be attacking them on land. He said he certainly did
not undervalue the disposition and prowess of our seamen; and it was
because he valued them, that he did not wish them to go into an unequal
contest, in which they must certainly yield. Gentlemen might understand
naval matters; but it was no reason that they should therefore
understand the efficiency of a naval force. There was sufficient
evidence in history to warn the United States against it.

Mr. TROUP said he rose but for the purpose of stating facts which
struck him as being applicable to the subject before the House. He
referred chiefly to an extract of a letter written to himself and
published in the paper of to-day. [Mr. T. then read the extract which
appeared in the National Intelligencer on the 9th instant.] In addition
to these facts, letters had been received, in the course of this
morning, containing further particulars, which he begged leave to state
to the House. After the officer (commander of a British armed vessel)
had been forced on board his vessel, and while lying in our waters and
within our jurisdiction, he had fired several shots at pilot-boats,
passing and repassing, had been very abusive, and threatened the town
with what he called vengeance; and, in addition to these facts, letters
had reached Savannah from Liverpool, giving satisfactory information
that vessels of fifteen or twenty guns had been fitted out for the
purpose of forcing a cotton trade with South Carolina and Georgia.
This information, Mr. T. said, came from unquestionable authority.
And it was because he was unwilling that the people of this country
should longer submit to the abuse of British naval officers; because
he was unwilling that they should be exposed to the insolence of
every British commissioned puppy who chose to insult us; because he
was unwilling that armed vessels should force a cotton trade, when
every man knew that nine-tenths of the people of Georgia would treat
as traitors the violators of the embargo; it was for this reason that
he was disposed to vote for the amendments from the Senate. The great
objection which had been taken to them was the expense which they would
produce. Economy, Mr. T. said, was a good thing in time of peace; but
if this contracted spirit of economy predominated in our war councils,
if we were forced into a war, so help him God, he would rather at
once tamely submit our honor and independence than maintain them in
this economical way. If we went to war, we ought not to adopt little
measures for the purpose of executing them with little means; neither
should we refuse to adopt great measures, because they could not be
executed but with great means. It was very true that, in war as well as
in peace, calculation to a certain extent was necessary; but, if they
once resolved on an object, it must be executed at whatever expense.
He was no advocate for standing armies or navies, generally speaking;
but, in discharging his duties here, he must be governed by the
circumstances of every case which presented itself for his decision,
and then ask himself, Is it wise, politic, and prudent, to do this or
omit that? He said he would never go back to yesterday to discover what
he had then said or done, in order to ascertain what he should now do
or say. Political conduct must depend on circumstances. What was right
yesterday might be wrong to-day. Nay, what was right at the moment he
rose to address the House, might, ere this, be palpably wrong. Conduct
depended on events, which depended on the folly or caprice of men;
and, as they changed, events would change. It might have been a good
doctrine long ago that this country ought to have a navy competent to
cope with a detachment of the British navy; it might have been good
doctrine then, but was shocking doctrine now.

At that time England had to contend with the navies of Russia, Denmark,
France, Holland, Spain, &c. Now England was sole mistress of the ocean.
To fight her ship to ship and man to man, and it was impossible that
gentlemen could think of fighting her otherwise, if they fought her
at all, we must build up a huge navy at an immense expense. We must
determine to become less agricultural and more commercial; to incur
a debt of five hundred or a thousand million of dollars, and all the
loans and taxes attendant on such a system, and all the corruption
attendant on them. He should as soon think of embarking an hundred
thousand men for the purpose of attacking France at her threshold, as
of building so many ships to oppose the British navy. It was out of the
question; no rational man could think of it. But that was not now the
question. It was, whether we would call into actual service the little
navy we possessed. It was not even a question whether we would have a
navy at all or not. If that were the question, he would not hesitate
to say that even our present political condition required a navy to
a certain extent, to protect our commerce against the Barbary Powers
in peace, and in time of war for convoys to our merchantmen. He only
meant a few fast-sailing frigates, such a navy as we have at present,
for the purpose of harassing the commerce of our enemies also. He
therefore thought our present naval force ought to be put in service.
As far as the appropriation ($400,000) would go, it would be employed;
but if Congress should hereafter see cause to countermand or delay the
preparation, they would have it in their power to do so by refusing a
further appropriation.

Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS said it was his misfortune to differ with gentlemen
upon all points on the subject of the navy. He was opposed to it from
stem to stern; and gentlemen who attempted to argue in favor of it as a
matter of necessity, involved themselves in absurdities they were not
aware of. When money had been appropriated for fortifications, there
had been no intimation that it would be necessary to prop them up with
a naval force. If our towns could not be defended by fortifications, he
asked, would ten frigates defend them? The gentleman from Massachusetts
(Mr. STORY) had even gone so far as to say that a single gunboat could
sweep one-half of our harbors. If a single gunboat could now sweep
most of our harbors, Mr. W. said he should like to know what eleven
hundred and thirty vessels of war could do, even when opposed by our
whole force of ten frigates! The gentleman from Massachusetts had said
it would be cheaper to keep these vessels in actual service than in
their present situation. Mr. W. said he supposed that the gentlemen
meant that they would rot faster in their present situation than if
they were at sea. He said he was for keeping them where they were, and
would rather contribute to place them in a situation where they would
rot faster. Mr. W. combated the arguments that employing the navy would
afford relief to our seamen, and that the maintaining a navy on our
coast would be more expensive to an European power than the support of
a larger naval force by us. And he said we should never be able to man
any considerable fleet except the constitution were amended to permit
impressments, following the example of Great Britain.

The gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. STORY) had said that except we
begun with this bill, and got his fast-sailing frigates, we should
never regain our rights. If that were really the case, Mr. W. said he
was ready to abandon them. He considered that the sort of maintenance
of our rights adverted to by the gentleman from Massachusetts, would be
destructive to those rights. Gentlemen must have forgotten that when
Hamburg was in the greatest state of prosperity, she did not possess
even a single gunboat. Why! there was not wealth enough in this whole
nation, if every one were to carry his all, thus to maintain our rights
against the navy of Great Britain. If we were carried into a war, and
every thing really seemed to be tending that way, we must rely upon
the enterprise of our citizens; and that, when set at liberty, would
be found more desperate than the navy of any country. When we arrived
at the end of the Revolutionary war we had but one frigate, and the
best thing we ever did was to give that one away. The State of South
Carolina had not yet got clear of the curse. She embarked one frigate
in the general struggle, and she had not rid herself of the debts
incurred by it yet. Private enterprise must be depended upon. The
people from the Eastward had shown in the last war what they would do.
When vessels were loaded with sugar they would fight like bull-dogs for
it. He recollected a story, he said, of one of our privateers being
beat off by a Jamaica man, whom they attacked. The captain not liking
to lose the prize, and finding his crew disheartened, told them she was
full of sugar. "Is she?" said they, "by G--d; let us at them again."
They scarcely ever failed in their enterprises.

In allusion to the case at Savannah, Mr. W. regretted that an insult
should be offered to the people of the country. The insult at Savannah
had by this time been redressed, he had no doubt. He had no information
to induce him to believe so, but the knowledge that the sloop-of-war
Hornet was stationed off Charleston, and of course cruised near the
place. The Hornet was perfectly adequate to drive any vessel of twenty
guns out of our waters. She was one of the best vessels of the United
States, and as well officered as any. [Mr. TROUP observed that the
Hornet was off Charleston. Now, he wanted a frigate at Savannah.]
Mr. W. said that Savannah was the very place where gunboats would
be perfectly effectual. He meant to make no reflection against the
proposer of the gunboat system, but he did against those who had
only given one-half of the system, and omitted the other--the marine
militia. And now, when an attack was menaced at Savannah, gentlemen
wanted a frigate! If nine-tenths of the people were opposed to the
evasions of the embargo law, Mr. W. said it would not be evaded. The
evaders would be considered as traitors--as the worst of traitors. As
to preparing a force for the protection of navigation, the gentleman
from Georgia must well know that the whole revenue of the United States
would not be competent to maintain a sufficient number of vessels to
convoy our merchantmen.

Mr. W. concluded by saying, that he wished the nation to be protected,
and its wrongs to be redressed; but when he reflected that at Castine
the soil had been most abominably violated, he could not view the
insults in our waters as being equal to it; for, said he, touch the
soil and you touch the life-blood of every man in it.

Mr. DURELL considered the present subject as one of the most important
which had been introduced at this session. It would indeed be
difficult to reason gentlemen into a modification of a principle to
which they were opposed throughout; but he trusted that this House was
not generally so disposed. He believed that a large majority of the
House were at the present moment in favor of embargo or war, because
the House had been so distinctly told by a committee on our foreign
relations, that there was no alternative but submission; and almost
every gentleman who had the honor of a seat within these walls, had
committed himself on the subject, either to persevere in the embargo
or resort to war. What would be the object of a war? Not the right of
the soil, not our territorial limits, but the right of navigating the
ocean. Were we to redress those wrongs, those commercial injuries, on
the land? Not altogether, he conceived. Would it be good policy, he
asked, to let our means of carrying on war on the ocean rot in our
docks, and not make use of them? These vessels would also be useful as
a defence. Why then should they not be manned and put in readiness for
service? It was said that we could not cope with the British navy. Mr.
D. said this argument proved too much, if it proved any thing. If he
did not feel perfectly comfortable in a cold day, should he therefore
divest himself of all clothing? Why send out the sloop of war Hornet,
alluded to by the gentleman last up--why rely upon it for redressing
the insult at Savannah, if naval force was useless? It was no reason,
because Great Britain had more vessels than we, that we should not
use what we had. Indeed, those gentlemen who objected to naval force,
appeared to be mostly from the interior, and of course could not
properly estimate its value.

Mr. SAWYER was wholly opposed to the amendments from the Senate. The
objection to this particular increase of naval force on the score
of expense, was not to be disregarded. He called the attention of
gentlemen to the state of the Treasury. The expense of this system
would be three millions; and when this sum was added to other sums
which would be requisite if measures now pending were adopted, it would
render it necessary for Congress now to borrow money on the credit
of posterity. The expedient of direct taxation would not be resorted
to. It had already been the death-blow to the political existence of
one Administration. This Government, he said, was founded on public
opinion, and whenever the approbation of the people was withdrawn, from
whatever cause, the whole superstructure must fall.

Mr. S. dwelt at some length on the disadvantage of loans. He said,
if this nation was destined to raise a navy for the protection of
commerce, it should have begun earlier, in the year 1793, when such
outrageous violations had been committed on our commerce. The expense
of such an establishment would have far exceeded the amount in value
of captures made since that period. He concluded, from a number of
observations which he made on this subject, that, on the score of
the protection of trade, it would not be proper to fit out a navy.
This proposition, he said, was the mere entering-wedge. The system
was either unnecessary, or would be wholly futile in practice. Our
seamen would cost us at least double of what is the expense of her
seamen to Great Britain; and it required her utmost exertions to
pay the interest of the enormous debt with which her unwieldy navy
had saddled her. He therefore certainly thought that an attempt to
justify it on the score of profit would not succeed. He deprecated the
extension of Executive patronage, which would result from an increase
of the Naval Establishment. Need he go back, he asked, to the time
when the black cockade was necessary, in some parts of the country, to
secure a man from insult from the officers of the navy? He wished to
limit the Executive patronage; to adhere closely to the maxims of our
forefathers. By sending out a navy, too, he said, we should volunteer
to support the ascendency of the British navy, become the mere jackals
of the British lion. Mr. S. went at some length into an examination of
the former Administration in relation to a navy. There was nothing, he
observed, in the nature of our Government, or of our foreign relations,
to require a navy. If we could not carry on foreign commerce without
a navy, he wished to have less of it and more of internal commerce,
of that commerce which the natural advantages of the country would
support between different parts of it. If we were to build a navy for
the protection of foreign commerce, we should throw away our natural
advantages for the sake of artificial ones. He was in favor of the
embargo at present. There was more virtue in our barrels of flour as
to coercion than in all the guns of our navy; and we had lately given
our adversaries a supplementary broadside, which he hoped would tell
well. Mr. S. stated the origin and progress of navies at some length,
commencing with the Republic of Genoa. Our chief reliance as to defence
must be on our militia. So little did Great Britain now rely on her
navy for defence of her soil, that she had called upon every man in
the country to be at his post, if danger came. Other nations might
be justified in supporting a naval force, because they had colonies
separated from them by the sea, with whom they were obliged to have
means of intercourse, but we had not that apology for a navy. Mr. S.
concluded his observations, after speaking near an hour, not, he said,
that he had gone through the subject; but, as it was late in the day,
he yielded the floor to some other gentleman.

Mr. J. G. JACKSON said, that gentlemen should not be influenced,
in discussing the present question, by a belief that they were now
discussing the propriety of raising a naval force for offensive
purposes. This was not the question. It was only whether, at this
crisis, the House would employ a little force for the purpose of
resisting attacks made on our territory at home. The gentleman from
South Carolina (Mr. WILLIAMS) had said that an attack on the soil
touched the life-blood of every man in it. Yes, Mr. J. said, it did;
whether the invasion was on our jurisdiction, on land or water, it
touched equally the life-blood of the nation. He would as soon resist
an attack on our territorial jurisdiction on sea as on land. It made
no difference with him whether a foreign frigate came up to the piles
of Potomac bridge and fired over into the town, or whether its crew
came on shore and assaulted us with the bayonet. The territory, he
said, was equally invaded in either case. Were we not to resist Great
Britain because of her 1,130 sail of armed vessels? This would amount
to a declaration that we must succumb to her, because she could at
any time send a squadron sufficient to destroy our naval force at a
single blow. This was the tendency of the argument. Mr. J. said it
would be more honorable to fight, while a single gun could be fired,
notwithstanding her overwhelming force. This mode of reasoning had a
tendency to destroy the spirit of the people. He would never consent
to crouch before we were conquered; this was not the course of our
Revolutionary patriots, and he trusted it was one which we should not
follow. He would rather, like the heroic band of Leonidas, perish in
the combat, although the force of the enemy was irresistible, than
acknowledge that we would submit. This naval force was not, however,
intended to cope with the navy of Great Britain, but to chastise the
petty pirates who trespassed on our jurisdiction; pirates, he called
them, because the British Government had not sanctioned their acts.
It had not justified the murder of Pierce, or asserted the right of
jurisdiction claimed by an officer within the length of his buoys, &c.,
because, if she had, it would have then been war. For this reason he
wished our little pigmy force to be sent on the ocean, notwithstanding
the giant navy of Great Britain. Some gentlemen had opposed this on the
score of expense. Our most valuable treasure, Mr. J. said, was honor;
and the House had almost unanimously declared that it could not submit
without a sacrifice of that honor.

SATURDAY, January 21.

                            _Extra Session._

On motion of Mr. SMILIE the House resolved itself into a Committee of
the Whole on the bill to alter the time of the next meeting of Congress.

Mr. J. G. JACKSON moved to strike out the "fourth" Monday in May, and
insert the "last," stating as a reason, that as the Virginia elections
took place in April, the Representatives could not arrive here in time.

Mr. MACON wished a division of the question so as first to strike out,
with a view to insert "September," instead of May. The motion to strike
out was negatived--62 to 35. It was supposed that this question tried
the principle of the bill.

The committee rose and reported the bill.

Mr. D. WILLIAMS moved to strike out May for the purpose of inserting

Mr. MILNOR hoped the motion would not be agreed to. If the new Congress
could commence its session on the 4th day of March next, he said
he should think it extremely proper that it should do so. And, if
he could think that the majority would fix an earlier day than the
fourth Monday of May for the meeting, he should vote for the present
motion. He agreed with gentlemen that this was a momentous crisis;
that the country was in a situation of extreme difficulty and danger.
It appeared to him, therefore, that Congress, who were the guardians
of the public welfare; to whom were confided the destinies of the
nation, so far as the nation could control them, should be constantly
in session, till a more favorable state of affairs took place. It was
possible, but was it probable that any event would occur to alter our
situation for the better? There was no hope that the belligerents
would recede from their injurious restrictions on our commerce. It
was not probable that any thing would occur which would do away the
necessity of an extra session. The present Congress having determined
to persevere in the embargo and the present system of measures a while
longer, the peace and welfare of the country required that a different
system should be adopted. The present had been sufficiently tested, and
would never produce those effects anticipated from it. It was proper
that an early opportunity should be given to the next Congress to
approve the present system, or give it up and adopt some other in its

Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS said he was opposed to Congress coming here at the
time proposed. Why should they come here then? He wished some one to
answer, and let him understand why they were coming. In his opinion
there was every possible objection to such a procedure. On the fourth
day of March, a new President comes into power. Is it not presumable
that the President would choose to have some communication with our
Ministers abroad before the meeting of Congress? Could any man say that
it was not proper that he should have it? Mr. W. said he hoped that
the President would send special messengers, unfashionable as that
policy was. If you are willing to wait for a declaration of war till
the fourth Monday in May, will there be any necessity of declaring it
before the first Monday in June or July? You have suffered the public
mind to assuage in its resentment, and I very much doubt, that before
a full experiment be made of the embargo, it will be wholly allayed.
It has been said through the nation, and indeed avowed on this floor,
that the Administration does not wish for peace. Having failed to take
hold of the affair of the Chesapeake for a declaration of war, you have
nothing now to give the people that interest which I hope they always
will have in a declaration of war. Suppose you were to send special
Ministers, and they were to be treated as our Ministers to France were
under a former Administration, would not this treatment make every man
in the nation rally around you? Would it not prove beyond doubt that
the Administration was sincere in its wishes for peace? Undoubtedly it
would. Why are your Ministers now loitering in foreign Courts? With a
hope of accommodation, sir, I would send other Ministers there, and if
they failed of immediate accommodation, would order them all home. If
they are compelled to return, you will have the whole nation with you,
which you must have when you go to war.

Mr. J. G. JACKSON replied to Mr. WILLIAMS. The gentleman had asked
emphatically why Congress should convene here in May. Occurrences of
every day, said Mr. J., are presenting themselves in such a way as
to render it highly important and necessary that some other ground
should be taken. Are we to adhere to the embargo forever, sir? I have
said, and again say, that a total abandonment of the ocean would be
submission. I think, by passing this bill, we give the nation a pledge
that it shall be the _ne plus ultra_, which shall give to foreign
nations time to revise their conduct towards us, and will give them
time to consider whether or not they will have war with us. The
gentleman wants a special mission. Sir, are we to continue in this
state any longer? Shall negotiation be spun out further? No man can
doubt the capacity of our Ministers abroad, and their disposition to
represent their Government correctly. The doors are shut in the face
of our Minister at the Court of St. James, and worse than shut at the
Court of St. Cloud--for, from the latter, contemptuous silence is all
the answer we have received, if indeed silence can convey an answer.
Are we to renew negotiation, then, when every circumstance manifests
that it would be useless? Need I refer to what took place the other
day--I allude to the publication of a letter by Mr. Canning, in a
highly exceptionable manner, through Federal presses, or presses more
devoted to the interests of that country than any other? One universal
burst of indignation accompanied the publication of that letter in this
House. And are we, under such circumstances, to renew negotiation by
extra missions? I conceive that the cup of negotiation and conciliation
is exhausted to the dregs, and that we should but further degrade
ourselves by sending further extra missions. It has been stated to me
that a proposition had actually been reduced to writing by a member of
this House the other day for sending away foreign Ministers and calling
our Ministers home, and I am sorry that the proposition was not offered
to the House, for, under present circumstances, it might not have been
improper to have adopted it.

Mr. SMILIE said, if there were no other reason, the present suspension
of commerce, and discontents at home, were sufficient reasons for
calling Congress earlier than the first Monday in December. When the
new Administration should come into office, it was proper that they
should have an opportunity of meeting Congress as early as possible. It
was his opinion that, at the next session, a change of measures would
take place. What would be the substitute for the present measure he
could not say; but, at this time, he must say that he could see no way
of avoiding war. With regard to extra missions, he really had no idea
of a measure of that kind. If there should be any other means to secure
the interest and honor of the nation but war, he hoped in God that it
would be adopted, but he did not now see any such prospect.

Mr. RHEA, of Tennessee, said it was of no importance in the
consideration of the present question what the next Administration
should think or do. He wished that there could be an understanding with
foreign nations for our good, but he much doubted such a result. He
would not undertake to say whether war, or what other measure, ought to
be adopted at the extra session; but, it was his opinion, that Congress
ought to meet, and he should vote against every proposition going to
defeat the object of the bill. Although this nation had not immediately
retaliated the attack on the Chesapeake, would any man rise on this
floor and say that the act of dishonor was done away because the House
refused immediately to avenge it? He believed not; and, as long as
it remained unatoned, it was cause for this nation to act. The only
question for the House now to determine was this: Are there reasons to
induce gentlemen to believe that a meeting of Congress is necessary on
the fourth Monday of May next? As it appeared to him that such reasons
did exist, he said he was bound on his responsibility to vote for the

Mr. DURELL asked if gentlemen meant to continue the embargo forever. He
believed somewhat in the doctrine that an explosion might take place
under it in a certain portion of the country. Gentlemen said an extra
session was, therefore, necessary to save the nation. Mr. D. asked
if the nation was to be saved by long speeches? He had seen almost
two whole sessions of Congress pass away, the one of six months, the
other of three, and the nation in the same situation still, and still
told, in long stories, from day to day, that it was in a critical
situation. He had no idea that the nation was to be saved by much
speaking. He did firmly believe, that more than forty-eight hours would
not be necessary to pass all laws to meet the impending crisis. If a
declaration of war was thought proper, this would be sufficient time
for it; if an extraordinary mission, as suggested by the gentleman from
South Carolina, forty-eight hours would be time enough for the House to
decide on recommending it. The present was a state of suspense, from
which the nation ought to be removed, and he was unwilling to prolong
this state by the passage of the bill.

Mr. BURWELL said he was one of those who would vote for an earlier
meeting of Congress than usual. In Great Britain, in whose government
there were some features approximating to ours, there was always an
uneasiness, lest the Parliament should not meet often enough. Whence
could be the objection to Congress meeting at an earlier day? If
the public sentiment was not then prepared for war, it would not be
adopted. It appeared to him that an early session, instead of producing
mischief, would essentially contribute to tranquillize the minds of
the people. If peace was attainable, we must have peace; but if not,
we have no choice but war. The gentleman from South Carolina suggests
the propriety of sending a special mission, said Mr. B. Let me ask him,
if Administration should not take this course, whether it would not
be perfectly proper that Congress should be in session? Certainly it
would. With respect to a special mission, Mr. B. said he was perfectly
at a loss to conceive what could be the nature of any proposition which
could be made to Great Britain. A proposition had already been made to
her, in effect, to go to war with her against France, and insultingly
refused; for no other interpretation could be made of the offer to
suspend the embargo, if she would rescind her Orders in Council, except
Mr. Canning chose to misunderstand everything that could be said.
Unless gentlemen would point out some new proposition, which could
be made to Great Britain or France, he could not see the propriety
of the course recommended. As to the continuance of the embargo, Mr.
B. said it seemed to be perfectly well understood by every man, that
when the Government determined on that course, it did not determine to
persevere in it eternally. If it could be made manifest to him that any
particular favorable consequence would be produced by postponing the
session beyond the fourth Monday in May, he might be induced to accede
to it. As to the disposition of the Administration to preserve peace,
could the gentleman conceive it possible to remove the impressions of
those who were determined not to be convinced? This nation had sued for
peace, but in vain; they had offered to give up almost every thing in
contest, if Great Britain would yield a thing which neither Mr. Canning
nor any other member of the British Government ever said they had a
right to do, and which was only justified on the ground of necessity.
There was therefore no plausibility in the assertion that peace had not
been earnestly sought for.

Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL said that if nothing occurred between this time and
the time proposed by the bill for the next meeting of Congress, which
would particularly render a change necessary, he was yet of opinion
that it would be then necessary to change our situation; for this
reason: that at that period, time sufficient would have elapsed to give
us information as to what ground Great Britain would take, after she
had heard of the position which Congress had maintained. After that
ground was taken, Congress would know how to act. I never voted for
the embargo as a permanent measure, said Mr. C., nor did I ever use an
expression which would authorize such a supposition; nor do I suppose
that any other gentleman entertained such an idea. As to a special
mission, I should as soon think of sending a special messenger to the
moon as to Great Britain or to France, for the cup of humiliation is
exhausted already, and I will never put it in their power to offer us
another cup.

Mr. MACON said he had not intended to have said any thing, but that the
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. BURWELL) had broached a doctrine which he
did not approve--that this Government was like that of Great Britain.

Mr. BURWELL explained that he had said that the Governments were, in
some of their features, alike.

Mr. MACON said that the reason of the fear in Great Britain that the
Parliament would not meet often enough, was extremely obvious. The only
voice which the people had was in the House of Commons, and they wanted
them to be always in session, to keep the King and nobility off from
them. In Great Britain the King dissolved Parliament at his pleasure.
Here, he said, there was no power to dissolve Congress. Indeed, there
was no similarity in the two Governments. He said he had no fear of any
mischief being done by Congress meeting earlier; but he was opposed
to their meeting earlier, because they would do more good by staying
away. Could any man say what would take place between this day and the
third of March? And yet the House were now called on to determine on
an extra session. He was for giving such time, after the deliberations
of the present session closed, as that Great Britain might see what
we had done, and consider whether she would retract or go to war, for
if she did not retract, war must be the consequence. Mr. M. said he
would give every opportunity for peace; he would not be for hurrying
the matter. He had no opinion that Congress being in session would have
any effect on the people. The cry of an intention to destroy commerce
was not to make him do a single thing which he would not otherwise do.
No man can believe that we who raise produce should wish it to lie on
our hands, as is now our situation. It is maritime rights for which we
contend. For these we planters are making sacrifices, and we know it.
As to the grower it is immaterial in point of interest into what ship
or wagon his produce goes; but he is contending for the interests of
his mercantile brethren. A great deal has been said about repealing
the embargo to put an end to discontents. Let gentlemen beware of it,
lest in trying to please everybody, they please nobody. Let us do what
is right, that is the only ground for us to take. Whenever we begin to
temporize, that principle is abandoned. I disagree with the gentleman
from Tennessee as to the expediency of continuing the embargo; I do not
believe that it would be inexpedient to try it beyond May. I believe
we ought to try it beyond September. This is my opinion. What effect
do gentlemen expect that the embargo will have had in May? Not more
than at this moment. While every day from that time till September, it
will be more and more effectual. I never voted for it as a permanent
measure; but my opinion was, as I stated it, that it might be necessary
to hold on to it for one, two, or three years. I might be wrong, but
this was my opinion then, and I have not changed it. As to an extra
session, I have never thought of it; but I am willing to leave it to
the Executive. It has been so suddenly suggested, however, that I would
not undertake to decide positively on the subject. I should rather
incline to let them send to us now; we have sent to them long enough.
As to the people being tired of the embargo, whenever they want war in
preference to it, they will send their petitions here to that effect.
When gentlemen from the Eastern States say, that the people there
are tired of it, perhaps they speak correctly. As to all the talk of
insurrections and divisions, it has no effect on me. When the sedition
law was passed under the former Administration, it was said that the
people would not bear it. I thought then as now, that the elections
would show their disapprobation, and that they would manifest it in
that way alone. When the people are tired of the embargo, as a means
of preserving peace, they will tell you so, and say, "Give us war!"
But none have said so; and yet, sir, I know well that myself and some
others are blamed for our adherence to this measure. I can only say,
that it is an honest adherence. I do believe that the continuance
of that measure, with the addition of a bill now on your table,
(non-intercourse bill,) is the best thing you can do; and if I thought
that Congress would declare war in May, I should be much more averse to
meeting then than I am now; but I do not believe it will.

The question was now taken on the motion of Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS to
strike out the words "fourth Monday in May," and lost.

No other amendment being offered to the bill, it was ordered to be
engrossed for a third reading. The bill being brought in engrossed, a
motion was made that the same be read the third time to-morrow: and the
question being put thereupon, it passed in the negative.

A motion was then made by Mr. SMILIE, that the bill be now read the
third time; and the question being taken thereupon, it was resolved in
the affirmative.

The said bill was, accordingly, read the third time: Whereupon, Mr.
SPEAKER stated the question from the chair, that the same do pass? And,
the question being taken, it was resolved in the affirmative--yeas 80,
nays 26.

MONDAY, February 6.

                        _Presidential Election._

Several petitions having been presented, in addition to those
heretofore stated, against the mode in which the late election in the
State of Massachusetts was conducted--

Mr. BACON offered the following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That the Clerk of this House do carry to the
    Senate the several memorials from sundry citizens of the
    State of Massachusetts, remonstrating against the mode in
    which the appointment of Electors for President and Vice
    President has been proceeded to on the part of the Senate
    and House of Representatives of said State, as irregular and
    unconstitutional, and praying for the interference of the
    Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, _for
    the purpose of preventing the establishment of so dangerous a

Mr. J. G. JACKSON said he saw no objection to the resolution, or even
to going farther than it proposed. The constitution had declared that
the election of Electors in each State should be held in such manner
as the Legislature should direct; and, he said, he never could consent
to the doctrine that any set of men, without the authority of law,
could make an election of Electors. He believed that the case was not
provided for; and as the present case could not vary the general result
of the Presidential election, gentlemen appeared not to be disposed to
interfere in it. But, he hoped it would operate on the House to induce
them to consider the propriety of providing some mode of hereafter
distinguishing between legal, and illegal or surreptitious election.

Mr. VAN HORNE moved to strike out the words in _italic_, as he
understood them as committing the House to express an opinion on the
subject of the petitions. Motion lost--yeas 18.

_Opening and Counting the Electoral Votes for President and Vice

Mr. NICHOLAS offered the following order:

    _Ordered_, That a message be sent to the Senate to inform them
    that this House is now ready to attend them in opening the
    certificates and counting the votes of the Electors of the
    several States, in the choice of a President and Vice President
    of the United States, in pursuance of the resolution of the two
    Houses of Congress of the 7th instant; and that the Clerk of
    the House do go with the said message.

Mr. RANDOLPH said it had sometimes been the case, he did not say it
had been the practice, that this House had met the other branch of the
Legislature in their Chamber, for the purpose of counting the votes; in
which cases, very properly indeed, this House being in the Chamber of
the Senate, the President of that body had taken the chair. Mr. R. said
he now understood that it was proposed, without any vote of this House
for the purpose, that the President of the Senate was to take the chair
of this House; that the Speaker was to leave the chair, to make way
for the President of another body. To this, he, for one, could never
consent. I conceive, said he, that such a proceeding would derogate,
very materially, from the dignity, if not from the rights of this body.
I can never consent, Mr. Speaker, that any other person than yourself,
or the Chairman of the Committee of the whole House, should take the
chair, except by a vote of the House. I hope, therefore, that this
matter may be well understood. I conceive it to be a respect which we
owe to ourselves, and to the people, whose immediate representatives we
are, never to suffer, by a sort of prescriptive right, the privileges
of this House to be in anywise diminished, or its dignity to fade
before that of any other assembly of men whatever.

Mr. NICHOLAS said he was as unwilling as any other gentleman to
surrender the privileges of the House. When assembled as the House
of Representatives, he agreed that none but the Speaker should take
the chair; but, on the occasion of counting out the votes, he did not
consider the House of Representatives to be formed as a distinct body.
In meeting on this occasion, he said, it always had been usual, since
the establishment of the Government, for the Vice President of the
United States, or the President _pro tempore_ of the Senate, to take
the chair. There was, also, a propriety in this course, because, by
the constitution, the Vice President is to open the votes. For twenty
years the practice had been that the President of the Senate presided
in joint meeting.

Mr. NICHOLAS moved, in order to do away any difficulty in this case,
that when the members of the Senate were introduced, the Speaker should
relinquish the chair to the President of the Senate.

Mr. DAVENPORT supported this motion. He had no doubt of the propriety
of the President of the Senate presiding at a joint meeting, more
especially, as he was the person designated by the constitution for
counting out the votes.

Mr. RANDOLPH said that if this course were taken, the Senate ought to
be notified of this act of courtesy on the part of the House; if not,
it might appear that the President of the Senate took the chair as a
matter of right. He said he knew that, to many persons, matters of this
sort appeared to be of minute importance, but in every thing touching
the privileges of this House, as it regarded the claims of the other
co-ordinate branches of the Government, he would stickle for the ninth
part of a hair. It was well known that, in England, the privileges of
the Commons had been gained inch by inch from the Kings and Nobles by
a steady perseverance; and that man must have very little knowledge of
mankind, indeed, who was not persuaded that those privileges might be
lost, as they were gained, by gradual and imperceptible encroachment on
the one hand, and tacit yielding on the other. This was not a matter of
great consequence in itself; but power always begot power. It was like
money, he said; any man could make money who had money. So any man, or
body of men, who had power, could extend it. I have no objection, said
Mr. R., very far from it, to the constitutional exercise of the powers
and privileges of the Senate. Let their President count the votes, sir;
there is a very good chair for him in which the Clerk now sits. But,
on what principle is he to come into the House with the consciousness
that he has a right to throw you out of the chair, sir, and take
possession of it? I have no idea of suffering a man to come through
those folding-doors with such a sentiment. If he comes into this House,
he comes from courtesy, and cannot assume your chair, Mr. Speaker, as
a matter of right, but as a favor. And, if the President of the Senate
takes possession of your chair as a favor, it ought to be announced to
the Senate as such; for, the mere vote on our side amounts to nothing,
provided that he, and the body over whom he presides, come into this
House under the knowledge, (without an intimation from us,) that you
are to leave your chair, and he is to take possession of it.

Mr. SMILIE observed that there was no fear of the privileges of this
body being encroached upon by any other, for there was a written
constitution, prescribing the powers of each body; and, at the same
time that it was proper to be careful of their own rights, he said
the House should be careful not to infringe on the rights of the
other body. In respect to this question, there was a case in point.
In one instance while Congress sat at Philadelphia, the Senate had
come into the Representatives' Chamber to count out the votes, and
the President of the Senate had taken the chair as a matter of right.
We, said Mr. S., are sitting as a convention of the two Houses, for
a special purpose, viz: to count out the votes. Who is properly the
presiding officer in this case? Unquestionably the officer directed by
the constitution to open the votes. And I consider the Speaker of the
House, on this occasion, as acting in the same capacity as any other
member of the House.

After some further observations on the subject from Messrs. MASTERS,
LYON, and MACON, the motion of Mr. NICHOLAS was agreed to--yeas 98.

Mr. RANDOLPH then moved that the Senate be acquainted, by message, of
this arrangement. Agreed to--yeas 73.

The resolution first offered by Mr. NICHOLAS was then agreed to.

On the suggestion of Mr. VAN DYKE, it was agreed that the members
should receive the Senate standing and uncovered.

The time for counting the votes having arrived, the members of
the Senate, preceded by their Sergeant-at-Arms, entered the
Representatives' Chamber, Mr. MILLEDGE, the President _pro tempore_,
took the Speaker's chair, and the members took their seats on the right
hand of the chair. The tellers were ranged in front, and the Clerks
of each House on the right and left of the tellers. The President of
the Senate opened the electoral returns, one copy of which was handed
to the teller of the Senate, Mr. S. SMITH, who read it; the tellers
of the House, Messrs. NICHOLAS and VAN DYKE, comparing the duplicate
returns handed to them.

When this business, which occupied about two hours, was concluded, the
tellers handed their report to the President of the Convention, who was
proceeding to read it, when

Mr. HILLHOUSE observed that the returns from one of the States appeared
to be defective, the Governor's certificate not being attached to it.
He thought that this might be as proper a time to notice it as any.

Nothing farther being said on the subject, however, the President of
the Senate read the following statement of the votes, as reported by
the tellers:

    (For the statement of the votes see Senate proceedings of the
    same day, _ante_, p. 27.)

THURSDAY, February 9.


Mr. TAYLOR said it would be recollected that, in the course of the
public business of this session, a resolution reported by a committee
on our foreign relations arising out of a motion of a member from North
Carolina, for the purpose of interdicting commercial intercourse with
such belligerents as had in force decrees or edicts against the lawful
commerce of the United States, had been agreed to and referred to the
same committee, who had reported a bill for non-intercourse. This bill
in fact, however, comprised but one-half of the whole subject embraced
by the words "non-intercourse." The bill as reported to this House
provided for the non-importation of the goods, wares, and merchandise,
the growth and manufacture of these particular countries. That (said
he) may be readily accounted for, from the circumstance that the House
was then actually engaged in passing a law for the enforcement of the
embargo, the committee therefore having only in view the other part of
the question, so as to complete a non-intercourse. After that bill was
reported, a gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. RHEA,) in order that the
whole might be incorporated into one, offered a resolution for that
purpose. I did think it unnecessary at that time; but as the course of
business seems to look towards a repeal of the embargo, in order that
the whole subject of non-intercourse may be incorporated in the bill
before the House, I move that the Committee of the Whole be discharged
from the consideration of the bill, and that it may be referred to a
committee, in order that it may be made in fact what the title imports
it to be, completely, a bill for non-intercourse between this country
and those nations having in force decrees affecting our neutral rights.

The Committee of the Whole was discharged from the further
consideration of the bill, ayes 72.

The effect of the votes of this day, is to refer to the Committee on
Foreign Relations, composed of Messrs. G. W. CAMPBELL, NICHOLAS, BACON,
propositions for the repeal of the embargo, for arming the merchant
vessels, for non-intercourse, for excluding armed vessels from our
waters, and for declaring the first capture made in violation of the
neutral rights of the United States to be a declaration of war, &c.,
with leave to report by bill.

The chief argument in favor of this general reference was, that these
propositions might be merged in one bill which should present a general
system, and thus render less complicated the proceedings of the House
on these resolutions. The main arguments against it were, that it would
destroy all that had already been done in Committee of the Whole, and
probably present a system at length to the House which would not be
approved, and thus produce no other effect at this late period of the
session than to protract discussion; and also that it would encourage
that speculation now going on in the mercantile towns, and be ruinous
to many men of moderate capitals who had embarked their all in the
purchase of produce, in the certainty that the embargo would be raised
on the 4th of March.

TUESDAY, February 14.

                          _Additional Duties._

The House resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bill
for imposing additional duties on all goods, wares, and merchandise
imported into the United States.

[This bill provides "that an additional duty of ---- per centum on the
permanent duties now imposed by law upon goods, wares, and merchandise,
imported into the United States from foreign ports or places, shall
be laid, levied and collected upon all goods, wares, and merchandise,
which shall, after the thirty-first day of January, 1809, be imported
into the United States from any foreign port or place; _and a farther
addition of ten per centum shall be made to the said additional duty
in respect to all goods, wares, and merchandise, imported in ships or
vessels not of the United States_; and the duties imposed by this act
shall be levied and collected in the same manner, and under the same
regulations, mode of security, and time of payment, respectively, as
are already prescribed by law, in relation to the duties now in force
on the importation of articles imported from any foreign port or place.
That this act shall continue in force until the first day of April,
1810, and no longer: Provided that the additional duties laid by this
act, shall be collected on such goods, wares and merchandise, as shall
have been imported previous to the said day."]

WEDNESDAY, February, 15.


On motion of Mr. NICHOLAS, the House resolved itself into a Committee
of the Whole on the bill for interdicting commercial intercourse
between the United States and Great Britain and France, and for other

Mr. MILNOR moved to strike out the first section of the bill, with a
view to try the principle of the non-intercourse system. In support of
this motion, he alleged the impossibility of carrying the system into
effect; for he conceived that the embargo had been ineffectual from the
impossibility of carrying it into complete effect, and the proposed
system would be as difficult to enforce. He thought that it would be
impossible to carry a non-intercourse system into effect, as long as
vessels were permitted to go to sea. He had many other objections to
this bill, among which were these: that, although it raised the embargo
only in part, the permission to vessels to go out, would render the
provision for a partial embargo nugatory; that, if the bill were to
pass in its present shape, it was to be doubted whether any revenue
officer of the United States would understand the duty enjoined on
him by it; that a time only two days previous to the meeting of the
next Congress was fixed upon as the day upon which the non-importation
should go into operation, and thus the bill appeared to manifest a
distrust of that Congress, who certainly would be more competent than
the present Congress to decide on its propriety at that time; that a
non-intercourse between these countries, would but compel our citizens
to pay a double freight to and from the entrepôt, without producing
any other effect than injuring our own citizens; that goods from these
countries, although their importation were interdicted by law, would be
introduced nevertheless; that the extent of the territory and seacoast
of the United States was so great that all efforts to interdict the
importation of goods must be ineffectual, for they would be introduced
contrary to law; thus depriving the United States of the revenue which
would be derived from them, if their importation were permitted by
law. Rather than accept this system, Mr. M. thought it would be better
that this country should remain yet longer under the pressure of the
embargo, which he had no doubt must be repealed early in the next

Mr. QUINCY entered at considerable length into an examination of
the system of coercion on foreign nations, by means of commercial
restrictions. The idea of the efficacy of this system, he traced to
a deeper root than any Administration under this Government. It was
an error of the American people, originating in a period antecedent
to the Revolution; it grew out of our colonial regulations. It began
to be a favorite belief with the people, antecedent to the year 1760,
and was then fostered by the patriots of that day, the idea being
also encouraged by the patriots of England. Mr. Q. entered into a
comparative statement of the exports from and imports to Great Britain
from America at two different periods, viz: the nine years preceding
the year 1775, and the nine years succeeding it, with a view to show
that the average imports into Great Britain from all the world,
during the nine years' peace with this country, amounted to about
one-thirteenth more than the average imports during the same period of
war; and the exports diminished, nearly in the same proportion. From
his statements on this head and a comparison of the present relative
situation of the two countries, Mr. Q. drew the inference that this
supposed means of coercing the European powers, did not exist. He
deemed it peculiarly unfortunate that a confidence in this power of
coercion had so long existed, as it had prevented the United States
from making preparations which they otherwise might have made. He hoped
the idea would now cease. In relation to our present situation, he
recommended a plain remedy, comprised in two words: "Follow nature."
What did she first dictate for remedying any complaint? The removal
of all obstructions on her operations. Mr. Q. therefore recommended
the removal of the embargo, the repeal of the non-importation act,
and the abandonment of the non-intercourse system. He wished "peace
if possible; if war, union in that war;" for this reason, he wished
a negotiation to be opened unshackled with those impediments to it
which now existed. As long as they remained, the people in the portion
of country whence he came, would not deem an unsuccessful attempt at
negotiation to be cause for war; if they were moved, and an earnest
attempt at negotiation was made, unimpeded with these restrictions,
and should not meet with success, they would join heartily in a war.
They would not, however, go to war to contest the rights of Great
Britain to search American vessels for British seamen; for it was a
general opinion with them that if American seamen were encouraged,
there would be no occasion for the employment of foreign seamen. A
removal of the embargo, without adopting any other measure, until the
event of negotiation had been tried, Mr. Q. said, would first prevent
any collision with the belligerents which might tend to embarrass
negotiation; and, secondly, would give an opportunity to the country
to ascertain what would be the practical operation of these orders and
decrees, on our commerce; and give an opportunity to the next Congress
to shape its measures according to their actual effect. If commerce did
not suffer, the knowledge of this fact would supersede the necessity
of any other measure, and peace would follow of course; if, on the
contrary, a general sweep was made of all the property afloat, it would
unite all parties in a war. Mr. Q. concluded a speech of two hours in
length, by lamenting the state of the country, and invoking the spirit
which "rides the whirlwind and directs the storm," to guide the nation
to a happy result.

Mr. NICHOLAS replied to the observations of Mr. QUINCY on the subject
of the legal opposition to the embargo laws in Massachusetts. He said
if the laws of the nation were to be resisted in the manner in which
he lamented to say that he saw it contemplated in one part of the
community, it became the duty of this Legislature to meet it; it was
not compatible with their duty to shrink from it. He could not consent
that thirteen or fourteen States should submit to one. As men vested
with certain powers by the constitution, Congress could not transfer
the powers to any State Legislature or to any town. In relation to
negotiating with measures of coercion in existence, Mr. N. asked, when
did the violations of our rights commence? So long ago that the precise
time could not be fixed. When did our coercive measures commence? In
1806. Mr. N. noticed the negotiators during whose Ministry abroad these
injuries had commenced, and continued. Mr. King, Mr. Monroe, and Mr.
Pinkney, all honorable men, had successively represented the United
States in Great Britain. And could any thing be gathered from any thing
they had ever written or said, to induce a belief that this Government
had not acted with sincerity? There was the most conclusive evidence
to the contrary. Mr. N. said, he would ask nothing of Great Britain or
France that would tend to sacrifice their honor; and he wished, when
gentlemen dwelt so much on the regard of foreign nations for their
national character, that they would respect a little the character of
our own country.

Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS said he had been decidedly in favor of issuing
letters of marque and reprisal at once; he believed it would have cut
off all that fungus matter now deteriorating the body politic--for the
people of New England were as patriotic as any, and when the choice
was between their own and a foreign country, they would cling to their
own. It was the hot-bed politicians who stirred them up; and it was
necessary to do something promptly to put an end to their intrigues.
Mr. W. disliked the non-intercourse system throughout. If he could
not get war, or a continuance of the embargo, he wished, inasmuch as
Great Britain and France had each interdicted us from going to the
other, to declare that neither their armed nor unarmed ships should
contaminate our waters. This was a system which required no exertion
of patriotism to carry into effect, which could excite no animosities
between the North and South. In relation to the non-intercourse, he
believed that it could not be enforced, and used a variety of arguments
to show that it could not. If it could be enforced, he believed it
would be prodigiously partial. If the embargo was to be taken off, and
war not to be substituted; if the nation was to submit, he wished to
do it profitably. If the embargo were raised as to a single spot, it
was raised entirely to all effectual purposes. Then let your vessels
go, said he, without let or hindrance; let them go and be burnt; your
merchants will then feel that the embargo was a shield spread over
them, and will come back to your protection, like the prodigal son,
and unite like brethren in the common cause. Mr. W. said, his plan was
to interdict the entrance of our ports to belligerent vessels, armed
or unarmed, and lay a tax of fifty per centum on their manufactures.
Great Britain must, then, either go to war or treat with us. If she was
inclined to go to war in preference to revoking her Orders in Council,
let her do so. But he was inclined to believe that she would treat.
If she seized our vessels, however, the effect would be inevitable.
Division amongst us would be done away, all would unite heart and hand
in war. Mr. W. replied to a number of the observations of Mr. QUINCY,
particularly in relation to his position that all obstructions ought to
be removed with a view to negotiation. He asked, what security had the
United States, if they did all this, if they submitted to such abject
humiliation, that Great Britain would treat? Was it to be expected that
she would treat more liberally with us, when we solicited as slaves,
than she would while we magnanimously contended for our rights? The
gentleman from Massachusetts, when repeating his creed, had forgotten
a part, viz: "Unfurl the banners of the Republic against the imperial
standard!" This would complete a project he had lately seen proposed
from the East; and, as to its application, coinciding with the wishes
over the water, would be just such a project as Mr. Canning might
dictate. "Revoke your proclamation, remove the embargo," and "unfurl
the republican banners against the imperial standard." Mr. W. concluded
a speech of an hour and a half in length, with giving notice that he
should move to amend the bill, when the present motion was decided,
by striking out all that part of it relating to non-intercourse, and
inserting a provision interdicting the entrance of our harbors to any
vessels of Great Britain and France, and imposing an additional duty on
all goods imported from those countries.

When Mr. W. concluded, the committee rose, and obtained leave to sit

THURSDAY, February 16.

                          _Additional Duties._

The House resolved itself into a committee of the Whole, on the
bill for imposing additional duties on all the goods, wares, and
merchandise, imported into the United States.

The bill was amended so as to take effect "from and after the passage

The proposition offered by Mr. D. R. WILLIAMS, when the bill was before
under consideration, was withdrawn.

Mr. COOK renewed the proposition, viz: to confine the duties to be
increased, to goods imported from Great Britain and France, and the
colonies of either; and spoke an hour and a half in support of his
motion, and in opposition to the non-intercourse system. He was
in favor of discriminating duties, because he was opposed to the
non-intercourse, which he considered the best means of depressing
our navigating interest and advancing that of Britain; because the
produce of the United States would be carried to some place of depot
in the vicinity, and thence be carried to Europe in British bottoms,
while a large proportion of American shipping would be inactive. He
thought that, under the arming system, we could trade with at least as
much honor and with much more profit than under the non-intercourse
system. He contended that the non-intercourse system was precisely
calculated to destroy that moral principle which had heretofore so
strictly enforced our revenue laws; that the system of restriction
was partial, operating so equally on the people of the South, that no
individuals particularly suffered from it, while in the North and East
individuals were ruined by it, and thus a general distress produced;
that it would be the most discouraging act to the mercantile interest,
ever passed by the Government, for it would throw the trade in all
the produce kept in the country by the embargo into foreign hands at
the expense of the American merchant; that the system could not be
enforced with so extensive a frontier and seacoast as we possess; that
it was a measure calculated to produce irritation on foreign nations,
without having the least coercive effect; that it was a political
suicide, without the consolation of company in it. Mr. C. was, with his
constituents, in favor of further negotiation, and a firm assertion of
our rights, which, if refused to be acknowledged, he would maintain. It
was high time to abandon visionary schemes and impracticable projects,
and to pass good, plain, common sense laws. He believed that this
discrimination of duties and arming our merchant vessels would be such
a law. He spoke more than an hour and a half.

Mr. C.'s motion was negatived by a very large majority. The committee
then rose, and reported the bill.

The amendments made in Committee of the Whole were severally agreed to
by the House; and, on the question that the bill be engrossed for a
third reading, Mr. LIVERMORE called for the yeas and nays. There were
for it 85, against it 27.


The House again resolved itself into a Committee of the Whole, on the
bill for interdicting commercial intercourse.

Mr. MILNOR'S motion for striking out the first section being under

Mr. NICHOLAS rose and addressed the Chair as follows:

Mr. Chairman: I shall not conceal or disguise my opinion; it has been
and continues to be, that when the embargo shall cease, war will be
the only proper and honorable course for this country to pursue, if
reparation shall not have been made for the injuries we have received.
Under this conviction, I proposed a resolution limiting the duration
of the embargo, and authorizing, at the same time, the issuing of
letters of marque and reprisal. I trust, sir, I shall be pardoned for
expressing the deep regret and affliction I feel for the failure of
a measure so important in my judgment, to the best interests of my
country. I voted for the embargo as a precautionary and as a coercive
measure. In its first character, its wisdom must be admitted by
all. Its effects as a coercive measure would, I believe, have been
equally certain, if the misconduct of some of our own people, and
the revolution in Spain, had not impeded its action. Unless we were
determined to persevere in our claims for redress, and to assert our
rights, the embargo, even as a measure of precaution, was unnecessary.
It gave no protection to our property abroad, it gave it no security
on its way home, it only preserved it after its return. When the
injuries of which we complain were inflicted, our choice was between
submission and resistance. We determined to resist, and commenced our
resistance by laying an embargo, with the hope that it might of itself
induce the belligerents to do us justice; and if this expectation were
disappointed, that we might prepare for war, by preserving in our own
possession our essential resources--men and money. If resistance was
not our determination, I do not hesitate to say, that the embargo was
unwise and unnecessary. If we intended ultimately to abandon our rights
without another effort, we should have suffered less both in reputation
and in property, by immediate submission, than by now receding from the
ground we have taken. I do not believe that a single supporter of the
embargo looked to it as the last resort of this country. For myself,
I disclaim the impression, and declare that I was ready to abandon it
for war, when its primary objects should be attained, and its coercive
power fairly tested. I have stated that I considered the return of our
citizens, the security of our property, and the employment of time
in preparation for war, as the great and more certain effects of the
embargo. All these advantages we have derived from it. I believe it
is time to change our measures, and to place our future reliance upon
Providence, and upon the energies and valor of our citizens. Upon this
point, however, I think with a minority. There has been a vote of this
House against immediate war. Under these circumstances what ought I to
do? I must either vote against every expedient which falls short of
what I deem the most proper course, or assent to that which accords
most with what I think right. If it were my individual concern, I
should certainly rely upon my own judgment: but when every thing dear
to my country is at stake, I cannot justify to myself a pertinacious
adherence to a proposition already rejected by a great majority, which
would hazard the loss of a measure, the best, in my opinion, that
can be obtained. After having offered what I thought the best, and
seen it rejected, I think with the gentleman from South Carolina,
that I am at liberty, and that it is my duty, to unite with others in
support of attainable measures which appear to me to be conducive to
the interest of the country. The bill upon your table appears to me to
be such a measure. It maintains our attitude towards the belligerents
better than any measure which I have heard proposed, and if it be not
the most effectual resistance, at least, it is not submission. It
continues our solemn protest against their violations of our rights;
it takes new, and in some respects, stronger grounds against them.
It excludes from our waters, ports, and harbors, all their vessels,
public and private; it excludes from our country all their products
and manufactures; and forbids our citizens to debase and degrade their
country by a commercial intercourse which would stain and pollute them
with the payment of an ignominious tribute to a foreign nation. It
reserves the great question to be decided by the next Congress, which
will be informed of the wishes of the American people; who can best
determine how far they will submit to have their rights trampled on,
at the will and pleasure of foreign nations. By keeping the question
open for their discussion, I have the utmost confidence that our
rights, honor, and independence, will be maintained. The gentleman from
Pennsylvania asked yesterday, why not repeal the embargo laws, and
provide for the enforcement of this system by a new law? In addition
to the reasons I have stated, I will mention another, which has great
weight. We are told that one of the States of this Union is about to
pass a law, imposing penalties on persons employed in the execution
of those laws within that State. I will never consent, under these
circumstances, to adopt any measure which might wear the aspect of
yielding to a threat like this. No man laments more sincerely than I
do, that the Legislature of any State should take such a step, but I
think it of the utmost importance that the Government of the United
States should maintain its authority, and that it should be ascertained
whether its measures may at any time be embarrassed by the Legislatures
of one or more States, or its laws annulled by their authority. Such
could not, I believe, have been the impression either of the people
or of the States when the General Government was formed; and if this
conduct be persevered in or submitted to, it will, in effect, supersede
the Government, and must speedily terminate in its dissolution. I
hope and trust that the wisdom and patriotism of the Legislature of
Massachusetts will not permit such a law to be enacted. Otherwise,
I do not doubt that the people at the Spring elections, will choose
men solicitous to heal, by every means within their power, the wounds
inflicted on the constitution. It is a painful duty to notice this
subject. I have ever been devoted to the Union of the States. I would
cherish and support it at every hazard, and would sacrifice to its
preservation every thing but the rights and liberties of one section,
in compliance to the wishes of another. On such conditions it would
be vassalage, not union. To yield in the present instance, would be
yielding the Government to a minority. It is not practicable, however,
to act upon the subject during the present session, nor do I wish it.
I have the utmost confidence in the people of Massachusetts, and have
no doubt but that their good sense will apply the proper corrective. If
they do not, it will then remain for the other States, after giving to
the subject the solemn and deliberate consideration which it merits, to
decide whether they have a Government or not, whether it is compatible
with their happiness and interests to preserve a Government whose acts
are binding on them only who are willing to obey them; whether they
will submit that the public officers of the United States shall be
punished for the faithful performances of their duty.

I have confined my observations within as narrow limits as possible.
It is not now necessary to speak of our injuries, of the necessity of
resistance, nor even of the superior advantages of any particular mode
of resistance; for it is, I believe, a very prevalent opinion in this
House, as well as with the nation, that we have already deliberated
enough, and that it is incumbent on us to act. I will, therefore, very
briefly notice some objections I have heard to the bill. It is urged
that our products will find their way to Great Britain and France,
but certainly to Great Britain, by circuitous routes, and that we
shall derive less profit from them on that account, than if a direct
intercourse were permitted. This cannot be denied, nor is there a man
who would not prefer a free trade with the whole world, if it could
be enjoyed upon equal and honorable terms, to a commerce so limited
and shackled as ours is at this time by the belligerent edicts. The
question is not now how we can most advantageously avail ourselves of
a momentary commerce, but how we can assert the national sovereignty,
and best secure the permanent interests of the United States. No
gentleman, I presume, will contend that it is better for us to permit
a disgraceful intercourse with any nation, than to endure a temporary
privation, until we can trade on fair and honorable terms. Gentlemen
cannot delude themselves with any expectation of advantage from the
commerce now allowed to us. The two most valuable products of this
country must ruin and beggar those interested in their culture--I mean
cotton and tobacco. It is well known that the quantity of tobacco
annually produced, is fully equal to the annual consumption, and that
we have now two crops on hand; while the edicts of Great Britain and
France are continued, it would be folly to cultivate this plant, and it
is more or less true of every other product of our soil. If we were at
war with these nations, our products would reach them through the same
circuitous channels into which they will be forced by this law, but
certainly that consideration would not be deemed a good argument for
permitting direct intercourse with our enemies. As to the difficulty
of excluding their products and manufactures, it is very possible that
we may not be able to do it entirely, but I am satisfied that we shall
do it essentially. The great avenue through which British goods can be
most easily smuggled into this country is Canada, and that, I doubt
not, will soon be closed if the edicts be not rescinded. The present
state of things cannot long continue; I have no hesitation in saying
that it ought not, and that the next Congress must either abandon the
contest, or resort to more effectual means for the maintenance of our
rights than commercial restrictions and prohibitions. The gentleman
from South Carolina, whose eloquence I admire, and whose patriotism
I honor, speaks of this measure as submission, and considers that
which he proposed as resistance--not indeed as the measure of his
choice, but as the one which is next to it in his estimation. It
must be obvious to the House, and I am sure it will be equally so to
the gentleman himself, that if his system would be resistance, the
course indicated by the bill has in that view superior merit. The
gentleman acknowledges the principal advantage of his plan to consist
in this, that it would deprive British vessels of the transport of
our produce; if it can be shown that this object will be accomplished
more effectually by the bill in its present form than by the proposed
alteration, it is fair to expect for it his support. If this plan were
adopted, Great Britain would regain her full share of the transport of
our produce by augmenting the duties in favor of her own bottoms to
an amount that would be an indemnity for a short voyage, by opening
the port of Halifax, and another port at St. Mary's, to our vessels,
and all that would then remain to our own vessels would be the profits
of the coasting trade from our harbors to those ports of deposit.
If I believed this course the most honorable and effectual mode of
resisting, I would willingly embrace it; but, sir, I can never consent
to any plan by which a direct commercial intercourse is to be produced
between this country and Great Britain and France, while their edicts
continue in force. Nor will I ever abandon the hope and belief that
my countrymen possess the manly spirit of independence, the honorable
pride and character which will disdain to barter for gold, or for a
miserable fragment of commerce, those rights which were purchased by
the valor and the blood of their fathers.

The question was taken on striking out the first section of the bill
and negatived--yeas 24.

SATURDAY, February 18.

Another member, to wit, MARMADUKE WILLIAMS, from North Carolina,
appeared and took his seat in the House.

                    _Clarkson's History of Slavery._

The SPEAKER laid before the House a letter from Thomas P. Cope,
offering to the acceptance of Congress, in behalf of the American
Convention for promoting the abolition of slavery and improving
the condition of the Africans, lately assembled in the city of
Philadelphia, a book, entitled "Clarkson's History of Slavery," which
is requested to be deposited in the Library of Congress. The said
letter was read; whereupon a motion was made by Mr. MILNOR, that the
House do come to the following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That the Speaker be requested to acknowledge the
    receipt and acceptance of "Clarkson's History of Slavery,"
    presented by the American Convention for promoting the
    abolition of slavery, and improving the condition of the
    Africans; and that the said work be deposited in the Library.

And the question being put thereupon, it was resolved in the
affirmative--64 to 16.


Mr. CLOPTON said: Mr. Chairman, being one of those who are not willing
to exchange the embargo for the system of non-intercourse now proposed,
I move you to strike out this section of the bill. In making this
motion, sir, I cannot say that I entertain much hope of success,
although indeed I do sincerely wish that the motion may prevail. It has
been uniformly my opinion, sir, and still is, that the embargo ought
to be adhered to until a majority of the great body of the people of
the United States should prefer war itself to a longer continuance of
it. I cannot perceive any middle course between those two alternatives,
which can truly maintain the honor of the nation; and shall this
nation descend from that ground to any degree of submission, either
openly or covertly, to any nation on earth? God forbid, sir. Forbid it
every thing that is dear and valuable to us as members of a free and
independent nation!

Long indeed has our country sought the establishment of neutrality, but
sought it honorably. The great and prominent object with the United
States, as to their exterior relations, always has been to maintain
peace--but to maintain it honorably and consistently with the rights
of the nation. In pursuit of this object Great Britain will receive
the principal benefit of the trade, notwithstanding the prohibitions
of this bill. If American vessels are permitted to go out at all, most
of them will go, if not to British ports, to some particular ports,
as has been observed, from whence Great Britain will finally receive
their cargoes; and in a short time, perhaps, upon cheaper terms than
they could be obtained for in our own ports; and I do not know what is
to secure them from capture when bound to other ports, if they fall in
with British cruisers, unless indeed they should go into British ports,
pay the detestable tribute and accept licenses; and the law will be
abundantly evaded by smuggling into the country articles of British
manufacture--and no doubt, many of French manufacture too. Besides,
sir, the consequence of this measure very probably will be war at last,
and at no distant period; a war, too, which will commence under great
disadvantages to our own country.

In this situation of things, Mr. Chairman, under this accumulation of
injuries, the measure of embargo was resorted to--a measure having
in view a counteraction to the whole system of aggression carried on
against the United States--a measure which has been pursued as a means
of bringing about a relinquishment of that atrocious system on the
part of the belligerents, and a redress of injuries inflicted on us,
together with the preservation of peace. This measure has been thus
far pursued for these great purposes; and it has been patiently borne
with to this day, by the nation at large, the partial discontents which
have appeared in some particular parts of the country only excepted.
The nation at large has cheerfully acquiesced in the privations,
the inconveniences, and the difficulties incident to such a state
of things. It has exhibited a memorable example of self-denial in
sustaining this situation, with a view to obtain redress of wrongs
and recognition of its maritime rights, without a sacrifice of peace.
With this object, fair and honorable negotiation has been resorted
to from time to time for a series of years. By this means redress of
wrongs has been repeatedly sought, and sought in vain. By this means
the Government of the United States has exercised itself to procure
relinquishment of outrages and violation of our neutral rights; but as
often have all its efforts proved unavailing. No wrong redressed--no
cessation of outrage yet appeared: on the contrary more numerous and
more aggravated ones followed in quick succession. A long series of
injurious acts, the offspring of new and (if possible) more atrocious
principles than what constituted the pretended ground of former
outrages, were pressed with accumulating weight into the train of
former outrages, insomuch that those which followed after, taken
along with those which had preceded, made up a combined system which
threatened to sweep from the ocean almost every particle of canvas, and
all the floating property of this great Republic.

These, sir, are the objects for which this measure has been thus far
and so patiently pursued. Great and momentous objects, and worthy of a
great and magnanimous nation! Why, then, should it be now determined
at all events to abandon this measure? Why should it be so determined,
at a period of all others most propitious to the embargo, if continued
and executed--a period, of all others, I think, best calculated
to give it effect by this House manifesting a firm disposition to
adhere to it? For, sir, I consider this as the most critical period,
which could possibly arrive, as to the real effect of the embargo.
I consider it as the most important period, at which the conduct of
this House might render that measure effectually coercive, if it
ever can be made so at all--and why, sir, do I think so? Because,
in the first place, I conceive it cannot even be a question whether
the British Government has not calculated on the discontents, which
appeared in some particular parts of the Union, so as to derive at
least some expectation therefrom that those discontents might make such
impression on Congress as to induce them to raise the embargo in the
course of this session. Those discontents, no doubt, excited grateful
expectations of its removal. It is perfectly natural to suppose that
such events taking place in any part of this country must have produced
calculations of that sort. I cannot but believe, sir, that they have
looked forward to the period of this session, with anxious solicitude,
to mark the temper of Congress in relation to this very interesting
subject; and, as they must have presumed that Congress could not view
such serious events with indifference, some expectation that the effect
might be so strong as to induce a repeal of the system could scarcely
fail to be the conclusion. Such conclusion was to be expected, even if
the extent of dissatisfaction had been fairly reported to them--even
had it been in no degree misrepresented. But, sir, there are a thousand
chances to one that the reports, which conveyed the information to that
country, greatly exaggerated the facts--that the picture was drawn in
much stronger colors than were consistent with the real truth--that
the instances of discontent were stated not only to have been deeper
in their nature than they really were, but that a much larger number
of persons had partaken of it than really did--that a spirit of
disaffection had spread itself far and wide. Not a shadow of doubt
rests on my mind, sir, that, in all respects whatever, the unpleasant
occurrences to which I have alluded, were greatly magnified. With these
circumstances others have combined to render the embargo inefficacious
as yet, or at least to prevent it from having its full effect. It is
to be recollected, sir, that very soon after the law laying an embargo
was passed efforts were made to render it unpopular and to excite
dissatisfaction. Dissatisfactions were not only excited; but many
unprincipled persons found means to evade the law and make exportations
contrary to its provisions. Under a combination of circumstances,
then, so encouraging to the hopes of the British Government as those
must have appeared to them, the continuance of their Orders in Council
until the temper of Congress, during this session, could be known to
them, is not much to be wondered at. The hope of ultimate success in
rendering our commerce tributary to them, which those circumstances, no
doubt, contributed not a little to inspire, with such a government, was
of itself sufficient ground to induce a continuance of those orders.
Long experience of British policy, which the United States have had,
justifies this opinion. Long experience of a systematic design in that
government to shackle our commerce and subject it to their arbitrary
restrictions, leaves no room to doubt of their disposition to pursue
that design until the conduct of this Government should convince them
of its total inefficacy to produce the object sought for. The slightest
prospect of succeeding in their design, however delusive that prospect
might be, keeps up their hopes until the delusion vanishes. It remains,
then, for the Congress of the United States, at this very interesting
crisis, to dispel that delusion by a firm adherence to this measure,
and thus to disperse every gleam of hope which may have resulted from
the circumstances of discontent which had appeared, and the evasions
of the law which took place in the country. At this truly critical
period, to which their anxious attention has been directed, let this
body manifest an inflexible perseverance, and demonstrate to them
that all their hopes, founded on those or any other circumstances,
are vain indeed. Let it be demonstrated to them that this Government
cannot only resolve upon, and carry into effect, measures of energy,
though attended with inconveniences and difficulties, but that it
can pursue such measures so long as they shall be deemed expedient
for the object in view. Let every declaration and every conception
concerning the American character, as a nation, in respect to its
cherishing an overweening attachment to gain, so as to be willing to
submit to indignities for the sake of it, be completely falsified. Let
it be demonstrated, beyond a possibility of doubt, that there exists
not in the great body of the people of this country any love of gain
comparable to the love of real national independence and freedom;
that this love of national independence and freedom animates the true
American soul far beyond any other sentiment, and that, in support of
it, the greatest sacrifices of interest are cheerfully acquiesced in.
But, sir, what will be the inference drawn from this measure proposing
a repeal of the embargo, as it does, after it shall have been adopted.
Will it not justify assertions, that this Government has not stability
or firmness enough to carry into effect energetic measures, or such
as check the current of wealth for any considerable time from flowing
into the country? Such assertions, or assertions to that effect, have,
I believe, been frequently made; and they have been often repelled by
words as slanderous reproaches on the Government. Sir, let us not take
from them the demerit of being slanderous, by affording any ground for
the justification. But I fear, sir, I greatly fear, that a repeal of
the embargo laws, as now proposed, will go far towards justifying such

This is a period of our political existence, Mr. Chairman, which
renders firmness in the councils of the nation peculiarly requisite.
The crisis is vastly momentous and trying, and attended with
circumstances, both from within and from without, which strongly call
for decision in the Legislature. The existence of the Government seems
almost to depend upon their firmness and decision. Whilst the members
of this body respect the rights of individuals, let them consider
the consequence of being driven from a measure of great importance by
the conduct of a small part of the community. It is the duty of each
part equally to respect and obey the laws; and if apprehension of the
consequence of a faction, clamoring against the acts of the Government,
should deter it from pursuing its course, such would be an alarming
manifestation of its weakness. Sir, I fear for the Government, almost
to trembling. I feel emotions which I cannot express. It is at a point
of awful trial and responsibility. The system which, it appears, is
about to be abandoned, will be exchanged for a miserable one, which, on
our return to our homes, will not draw on us many smiles.

The motion of Mr. CLOPTON was negatived, 59 to 35.

Mr. MILNOR moved to amend the same section so as to strike out the
exception, and making the repeal of the embargo total.

Mr. VARNUM supported this motion. If the non-intercourse system
was to prevail, he thought it made much more intelligible to the
revenue officers by repealing the embargo laws, and enacting the
non-intercourse as a new system throughout. He spoke in favor of the
repeal of the embargo laws, stating the evasions which had taken place,
and that these evasions had not been confined to any particular section
of the Union. He observed that a partial repeal of the embargo would
destroy all the coercive effects of the measure, inasmuch as produce
would be let out, and would find its way to every quarter of the world.
Mr. V. observed that were the amendments agreed to, he should be ready
to go with gentlemen in any other practicable measure which they would
select for maintaining our rights.

The motion of Mr. Milnor was negatived, 57 to 53.

The committee then rose and reported the bill; and the House adjourned
without considering the report.

FRIDAY, March 3.


A message was received from the Senate, stating that they had appointed
a committee in conjunction with such committee as should be appointed
by the House, to wait on the President of the United States, and inform
him that they had concluded the business pending before them, and were
ready to adjourn. A committee was appointed on the part of this House
to join the committee of the Senate.

Mr. SMILIE offered the following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That the thanks of this House be presented to
    JOSEPH B. VARNUM, in testimony of their approbation of his
    conduct in the discharge of the arduous and important duties
    assigned to him whilst in the Chair.

Mr. ROWAN moved that it be postponed indefinitely. Messrs. ROWAN and
LYON supported the motion; and Messrs. EPPES and JACKSON opposed it.

The resolution passed, 68 to 9.

The SPEAKER returned his acknowledgments to the House for this tribute
of their approbation, as follows:

    _Gentlemen of the House of Representatives:_

    The kind expression of your approbation of my conduct, in the
    discharge of the duties which you have been pleased to assign
    me as Speaker of the House, affords me that consolation which
    an approving conscience alone can surpass. You will please,
    gentlemen, to accept my thanks for the liberality and candor
    which you have uniformly manifested towards me: and be assured,
    that the friendly aid which I have experienced from you in
    the discharge of my official duty, has made a deep impression
    on the affections of my heart, which length of time cannot

Mr. CUTTS, from the committee appointed to wait on the President,
reported that they had performed that duty, and that the President had
informed them that he had no further communication to make.

And the House adjourned _sine die_.[4]


[2] This ordinance of the Congress of the confederation, which became
the basis of all the Territorial governments, was sanctioned by the
Congress of the Union at its first session, with certain provisions
added to it in order to give it full effect under the constitution. The
following are the terms of this enactment:--

    "WHEREAS that the ordinance of the United States in Congress
    assembled, for the government of the Territory northwest of the
    river Ohio may continue to have full effect, it is requisite
    that certain provisions should be made, so as to adapt the same
    to the present Constitution of the United States. THEREFORE,
    _Be it enacted_, &c., That in all cases in which, by the said
    ordinance, any information is to be given, or communication
    made by the Governor of the said territory to the United States
    in Congress assembled, or to any of their officers, it shall
    be the duty of the said Governor to give such information,
    and to make such communication to the President of the United
    States; and the President shall nominate, and by and with the
    consent of the Senate, shall appoint all officers which by the
    said ordinance were to have been appointed by the United States
    in Congress assembled, and all officers so appointed shall be
    commissioned by him; and in all cases where the United States
    in Congress assembled, might, by the said ordinance, revoke any
    commission or remove from any office, the President is hereby
    declared to have the same power of revocation and removal. SEC.
    2.--_And be it further enacted_, That in case of the death,
    removal, resignation, or necessary absence of the Governor of
    the said Territory, the secretary thereof shall be, and he is
    hereby, authorized and required to execute all the powers, and
    perform all the duties of the Governor, during the vacancy
    occasioned by the removal, resignation, or necessary absence of
    said Governor."

This act of Congress, passed to give full effect to this ordinance by
adapting its working to the new Federal Constitution, was among the
earliest acts of the Federal Congress, being number eight in the list
of acts passed at the first session of the first Congress; and classes
with the acts necessary to the working of the new government. As such
it was modified; and as such preserved and applied to successive
Territories, as governments for them were given. That ordinance is, in
fact, the basis of all the Territorial governments, and is extended to
each of them by name, with such modifications as each one required; and
its benefits secured in their deeds of territorial cession by Georgia
and North Carolina. Thus, the fifth clause in the first article of the
Georgia deed of cession, dated April 24th, 1802, stipulates: "That
the Territory thus ceded shall form a State, and be admitted as such
into the Union, as soon as it shall contain 60,000 free inhabitants,
or at an earlier period, if Congress shall think it expedient, on the
same conditions and restrictions, with the same privileges, and in
the same manner, as is provided in the ordinance of Congress of the
13th day of July, 1787, for the government of the Western Territory
of the United States; which ordinance shall, in all its parts,
extend to the Mississippi Territory contained in the present act of
cession, that article only excepted which forbids slavery." The deed
of cession from North Carolina, for the Territory since forming the
State of Tennessee, and dated December ----, 1789, is equally express
in claiming the benefits of this ordinance; so that, made before the
constitution, it has been equally sanctioned by Congress and by States
since. Virginia sanctioned it immediately after its enactment, and
before the commencement of the present Federal Government, to wit, on
the 30th day of December, 1788. The ordinance being thus anterior to
the constitution, was not formed under it, but under the authority
of owners--sovereign owners--exercising the right of taking care of
their own property, subject only to the conditions and limitations
which accompanied its acquisition. And thus the Territories have been
constantly governed independently of the constitution, and incompatibly
with it, and by a statute made before it, and merely extended as a
pre-existing law to each Territory as it came into existence.

[3] The 6th, being the Anti-slavery article.

[4] This was the end of Mr. Jefferson's administration; and,
notwithstanding the purchase of Louisiana, (the annual interest on
the cost of which had to be paid,) and the greatly extended frontier
which required to be guarded, the system of order and economy which he
cherished enabled him to carry on the government (until the privations
of the embargo and non-intercourse) without increase of duties,
and with a moderation of cost which should form the study and the
imitation of succeeding administrations. The duties remained at the
same moderate rates as before--the _ad valorems_, 12-1/2, 15, and 20
per centum; the specifics (increased in number) were not increased in
rate; the free list not only remained undiminished, but was happily
augmented by the addition of salt. The average of the _ad valorems_
was still about 13 per cent., and almost all fell upon the 12-1/2
per centum class--the importations under the other two classes being
inconsiderable, _to wit_, only about half a million, ($520,000,)
subject to the 20 per centum; and only a little over nine millions
under the 15 per centum; while the imports under the 12-1/2 per centum
class amounted to above thirty-six millions of dollars. The articles
used by the body of the people fell into this class, (the other two
classes embracing articles which might be called luxuries,) so that
12-1/2 per centum upon the value may be considered as the duty which
fell upon the country. The expenses of collection still remained at
about 4 per centum, and the revenue cutter service (there being but
little temptation to smuggle under such low duties) cost but a trifle;
and the specific list being considerable, the number of custom house
officers and agents was inconsiderable. The revenue collected from the
_ad valorem_ duties was about seven millions of dollars; that from
specifics about nine millions--leaving sixteen millions for the net
revenue. Of that sum the one-half (just eight millions) went to meet
the interest, and part of the principal, of the public debt. Of the
remainder there went to the military and Indian departments about two
and three-quarter millions; to the navy about one million; to tribute
to Algiers, (masked under the name of foreign intercourse,) two hundred
thousand dollars; and to the civil list, embracing the whole machinery
of the civil government, with all its miscellaneous expenses, about
nine hundred thousand dollars--leaving some two millions surplus
after accomplishing all these objects. It was a model administration
of the government. Mr. Jefferson's administration terminated the
3d of March, 1809, but its fair financial working ceased two years
before--with the breaking up of our commerce under the British orders
in council, and the decrees of the French emperor, and the measures
of privation and of expense which the conduct of Great Britain and of
France brought upon us. The two last years of his administration were
a strong contrast to the six first, and a painful struggle against
diminished revenue and increased expenses, injuries and insults from
abroad, and preparation for war with one of the greatest powers in
the world, while doing no wrong ourselves, and only asking for what
the laws of nations and of nature allowed us--a friendly neutrality,
and exemption from the evils of a war with which we had no concern.
Preparation for war was then a tedious and expensive process; embargo,
non-intercourse, fortifications, ships, militia, regular troops. All
this is now superseded by railroads and volunteers, ready at any moment
to annihilate any invading force; and by privateers, ready to drive the
commerce of any nation from the ocean.





MONDAY, May 22, 1809.

Conformably to the act passed at the last session, entitled "An act to
alter the time for the next meeting of Congress," the first session of
the eleventh Congress commenced this day, and the Senate assembled in
their chamber, at the city of Washington.


  GEORGE CLINTON, Vice President of the United States, and
  President of the Senate.

  NICHOLAS GILMAN and NAHUM PARKER, from New Hampshire.

  TIMOTHY PICKERING, from Massachusetts.



  JONATHAN ROBINSON, from Vermont.

  JOHN LAMBERT, from New Jersey.

  ANDREW GREGG and MICHAEL LEIB, from Pennsylvania.

  SAMUEL WHITE, from Delaware.

  SAMUEL SMITH, from Maryland.

  WILLIAM B. GILES, from Virginia.

  JESSE FRANKLIN and JAMES TURNER, from North Carolina.

  JOHN GAILLARD, from South Carolina.

  BUCKNER THRUSTON, from Kentucky.

  RETURN JONATHAN MEIGS, jr., from Ohio.

JOSEPH ANDERSON, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
Tennessee, for the term of six years, commencing on the fourth day of
March last; and OBADIAH GERMAN, appointed a Senator by the Legislature
of the State of New York, for the term of six years, commencing on the
fourth day of March last, severally produced their credentials, which
were read; and the oath prescribed by law having been administered to
them, they took their seats in the Senate.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary acquaint the House of Representatives
that a quorum of the Senate is assembled and ready to proceed to

_Resolved_, That each Senator be supplied, during the present session,
with three such newspapers, printed in any of the States, as he may
choose, provided that the same be furnished at the usual rate for the
annual charge of such papers: and, provided also, that if any Senator
shall choose to take any newspapers other than daily papers, he shall
be supplied with as many such papers as shall not exceed the price of
three daily papers.

_Resolved_, That James Mathers, Sergeant-at-Arms and Doorkeeper to
the Senate, be, and he is hereby, authorized to employ one assistant
and two horses, for the purpose of performing such services as are
usually required by the Doorkeeper to the Senate; and that the sum
of twenty-eight dollars be allowed him weekly for that purpose, to
commence with, and remain during the session, and for twenty days after.

Messrs. ANDERSON and GILMAN were appointed a committee on the part
of the Senate, together with such committee as may be appointed by
the House of Representatives on their part, to wait on the President
of the United States and notify him that a quorum of the two Houses
is assembled and ready to receive any communications that he may be
pleased to make to them.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
a quorum of the House is assembled, and that the House have elected
JOSEPH B. VARNUM, Esq., one of the Representatives for the State of
Massachusetts, their Speaker, and are ready to proceed to business.
The House of Representatives have appointed a committee on their part,
jointly with the committee on the part of the Senate, to wait on the
President of the United States, and notify him that a quorum of the two
Houses is assembled and ready to receive any communications that he may
be pleased to make to them.

TUESDAY, May 23.

Mr. ANDERSON reported, from the joint committee, that they had waited
on the President of the United States, and that the President of the
United States informed the committee that he would make a communication
to the two Houses at 12 o'clock this day.

JAMES LLOYD, jr., appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State
of Massachusetts, for six years, commencing on the fourth day of March
last, attended and produced his credentials; which were read.

                         _President's Message._

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

  _Fellow-citizens of the Senate
        and House of Representatives_:

    On this first occasion of meeting you, it affords me much
    satisfaction to be able to communicate the commencement of a
    favorable change in our foreign relations, the critical state
    of which induced a session of Congress at this early period.

    In consequence of the provisions of the act interdicting
    commercial intercourse with Great Britain and France, our
    Ministers at London and Paris were, without delay, instructed
    to let it be understood by the French and British Governments
    that the authority vested in the Executive to renew commercial
    intercourse with their respective nations would be exercised in
    the case specified by that act.

    Soon after these instructions were dispatched, it was
    found that the British Government, anticipating from early
    proceedings of Congress, at their last session, the state
    of our laws, which has had the effect of placing the two
    belligerent powers on a footing of equal restrictions,
    and, relying on the conciliatory disposition of the United
    States, had transmitted to their legation here provisional
    instructions, not only to offer satisfaction for the attack on
    the frigate Chesapeake, and to make known the determination
    of His Britannic Majesty to send an Envoy Extraordinary, with
    powers to conclude a treaty on all the points between the two
    countries; but, moreover, to signify his willingness, in the
    mean time, to withdraw his Orders in Council, in the persuasion
    that the intercourse with Great Britain would be renewed on the
    part of the United States.

    These steps of the British Government led to the
    correspondence and the proclamation now laid before you, by
    virtue of which the commerce between the two countries will be
    renewable after the 10th day of June next.

    Whilst I take pleasure in doing justice to the councils of
    His Britannic Majesty, which, no longer adhering to the
    policy which made an abandonment by France of her decrees
    a prerequisite to a revocation of the British orders, have
    substituted the amicable course which has issued thus happily,
    I cannot do less than refer to the proposal heretofore made on
    the part of the United States, embracing a like restoration
    of the suspended commerce, as a proof of the spirit of
    accommodation which has at no time been intermitted, and
    to the result which now calls for our congratulations, as
    corroborating the principles by which the public councils have
    been guided during a period of the most trying embarrassments.

    The discontinuance of the British orders, as they respect the
    United States, having been thus arranged, a communication of
    the event has been forwarded in one of our public vessels
    to our Minister Plenipotentiary at Paris, with instructions
    to avail himself of the important addition thereby made to
    the considerations which press on the justice of the French
    Government a revocation of its decrees, or such a modification
    of them as that they shall cease to violate the neutral
    commerce of the United States.

    The revision of our commercial laws, proper to adapt them to
    the arrangement which has taken place with Great Britain,
    will doubtless engage the early attention of Congress. It
    will be worthy, at the same time, of their just and provident
    care, to make such further alterations in the laws as will
    more especially protect and foster the several branches of
    manufacture, which have been recently instituted or extended by
    the laudable exertions of our citizens.

    Under the existing aspect of our affairs, I have thought
    it not inconsistent with a just precaution, to have the
    gunboats, with the exception of those at New Orleans, placed
    in a situation incurring no expense beyond that requisite for
    their preservation and conveniency for future service, and to
    have the crews of those at New Orleans reduced to the number
    required for their navigation and safety.

    I have thought, also, that our citizens, detached in quotas
    of militia, amounting to one hundred thousand, under the act
    of March, one thousand eight hundred and eight, might not
    improperly be relieved from the state in which they were held
    for immediate service. A discharge of them has been accordingly

    The progress made in raising and organizing the additional
    military force, for which provision was made by the act of
    April, one thousand eight hundred and eight, together with the
    disposition of the troops, will appear by a report which the
    Secretary of War is preparing, and which will be laid before

    Of the additional frigates required by an act of the last
    session to be fitted for actual service, two are in readiness,
    one nearly so, and the fourth is expected to be ready in the
    month of July. A report which the Secretary of the Navy is
    preparing on the subject, to be laid before Congress, will
    show, at the same time, the progress made in officering and
    manning these ships. It will show, also, the degree in which
    the provisions of the act relating to the other public armed
    ships have been carried into execution.

    It will rest with the judgment of Congress to decide how
    far the change in our external prospects may authorize any
    modifications of the laws relating to the Army and Navy

    The works of defence for our seaport towns and harbors have
    proceeded with as much activity as the season of the year and
    other circumstances would admit. It is necessary, however,
    to state that the appropriations hitherto made being found
    to be deficient, a further provision will claim the early
    consideration of Congress.

    The whole of the eight per cent. stock remaining due by the
    United States, amounting to five millions three hundred
    thousand dollars, had been reimbursed on the last day of the
    year 1808. And, on the first day of April last, the sum in the
    Treasury exceeded nine and a half millions of dollars. This,
    together with the receipts of the current year on account
    of former revenue bonds, will probably be nearly, if not
    altogether, sufficient to defray the expenses of the year.
    But the suspension of exports, and the consequent decrease of
    importations, during the last twelve months, will necessarily
    cause a great diminution in the receipts of the year one
    thousand eight hundred and ten. After that year, should our
    foreign relations be undisturbed, the revenue will again be
    more than commensurate to all the expenditures.

    Aware of the inconveniences of a protracted session, at the
    present season of the year, I forbear to call the attention
    of the Legislature to any matters not particularly urgent. It
    remains, therefore, only to assure you of the fidelity and
    alacrity with which I shall co-operate for the welfare and
    happiness of our country; and to pray that it may experience
    a continuance of the Divine blessings by which it has been so
    signally favored.

                                                          JAMES MADISON.

The Message and papers accompanying it were read and five hundred
copies thereof ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate.


JOHN CONDIT, appointed a Senator by the Executive of the State of New
Jersey, in the place of Aaron Kitchel, resigned, took his seat, and his
credentials were read; and the President administered the oath to him
as the law prescribes.

JOHN POPE, from the State of Kentucky, attended.

Mr. GILES submitted the following motion for consideration:

    _Resolved_, That so much of the President's Message as
    relates to a revision of our commercial laws, for the purpose
    of adapting them to the arrangement which has taken place
    with Great Britain, be referred to a select committee, with
    instructions to examine the same and report thereon to the
    Senate; and that the committee have leave to report by bill or

FRIDAY, May 26.

JENKIN WHITESIDE, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State
of Tennessee, for two years, commencing on the fourth of March last,
in place of Daniel Smith, resigned, took his seat, and his credentials
were read; and the President administered the oath to him as the law

RICHARD BRENT, from the State of Virginia, attended.

MONDAY, May 29.

                  _Senator Samuel Smith, of Maryland._


The PRESIDENT laid before the Senate a letter from Mr. Smith of
Maryland, stating that being appointed by the Executive of that State
a Senator in conformity with the constitution, until the next meeting
of the Legislature, which will take place on the 5th day of June next,
he submits to the determination of the Senate the question, whether an
appointment under the Executive of Maryland, to represent that State in
the Senate of the United States, will or will not cease on the first
day of the meeting of the Legislature thereof? and the letter was read;
and, after debate, it was agreed that the further consideration thereof
be postponed until to-morrow.


STEPHEN R. BRADLEY, from the State of Vermont, attended.

                       _Batture at New Orleans._

Mr. GILES presented the memorial of Edward Livingston, of New Orleans,
stating that, for a long time prior to the 25th January, 1804, he was
in peaceable possession of a parcel of land called the Batture, in
front of the suburb of St. Mary's, in the city of New Orleans. That,
on the 25th of January, he was forcibly removed by the Marshal of the
district, under the orders of the President of the United States,
notwithstanding an injunction had been granted by the superior court
against the execution of the warrant; and praying that the possession
may be restored to him, and that such measures may be pursued as the
wisdom of Congress may devise, for providing a legal decision on the
title of the United States, if it shall be supposed they have any, to
the property in question; and the memorial was read, and referred to
and report thereon.


              _Non-Intercourse Act--Extended to all public
                            armed Vessels._

Mr. GILES offered the following amendment to the first section, to be
inserted after the word "assembled:"

    "That the provisions of the two first sections of the act,
    entitled 'An act to interdict the commercial intercourse
    between the United States and Great Britain and France, and
    their dependencies, and for other purposes, shall extend to all
    public armed ships and vessels of all foreign nations, and the
    same shall be, and are hereby, continued and made permanent,
    subject, nevertheless, to any modifications and regulations
    which may hereafter be made by treaty."

Mr. G. said he felt himself constrained to move this amendment at
this time, because he found it impossible to avoid a consideration of
the subject involved in it, although he had heretofore hoped that it
would not necessarily pass in review during the present session. He
said this necessity arose from the limitation of these sections of the
act at the last session. The connection of these sections with the
commercial non-intercourse system, was contrary to his opinion at that
time; he then wished the subject to be taken up and acted upon in a
separate bill, and made the permanent law of the land. His opinion then
gave way to the respect he felt for the opinion of others. This will
appear from the resolution he then moved, "to extend the interdiction
to the public armed ships and vessels of all foreign nations." In
consequence of connecting that subject with the general commercial
non-intercourse, and limiting its duration with that act, it was now
rendered a very delicate question. His proposition, however, was, to do
now, what it was right to have done at the last session. He said that
the proposition was founded upon the principle, that the United States
had as absolute and unqualified a right to exclusive jurisdiction over
the marine leagues usually attached to independent nations, as to their
territorial jurisdiction, and as a consequence from that principle,
foreign nations had no more right to send armed ships within our
acknowledged marine jurisdiction, than they had to send an army within
our territorial jurisdiction. This proposition is, therefore, merely
municipal, formed upon an unquestionable right, and it is dictated by
the same spirit of impartiality as that which dictated the original
non-intercourse law. Indeed, it appeared to him the only impartial
course now left us, as it respects the belligerents. It ought to
preserve the most perfect impartiality, which, Mr. Canning so justly
tells us, "is the essence of neutrality."

Mr. G. said it could not escape observation, that, in the overtures
made by the British Cabinet for the revocation of the Orders in Council
of the 7th of January and the 11th of November, the obligation to
protect our neutral rights against France, heretofore offered on the
part of our Government, in case of her perseverance in her hostile
edicts, had been entirely overlooked, or unconditionally dispensed
with. He said he derived much satisfaction from this liberal conduct on
the part of the British Government, because it manifested a confidence
in the honor and firmness of our Government, which must be peculiarly
gratifying to every American; but it rather increased than lessened
the obligation to persevere in protecting our neutral rights against
French aggressions, if they should be persevered in, contrary to his

The motive or ground of resisting the aggressions of France cannot,
under this overture, be mistaken. In the former case, it might have
seemed as if the resistance was dictated by a stipulated obligation
to Great Britain to make it in this; it can only be dictated by a
just sense of our own honor, character, and interests, which is
left perfectly uncontrolled by the British overture. As this latter
motive is the more honorable, it ought to be the more scrupulously
adhered to and enforced. He had no hesitation in saying he had
uniformly been influenced by this motive alone, entirely disconnected
with any stipulated obligation to Great Britain; and under this
influence, alone, he would be found at all times as ready to resist
the aggressions of France, as he had at any time been those of Great
Britain, if they should, unfortunately, be persevered in; but, at the
same time, he wished to take away every pretext for such perseverance,
by persevering in a conduct of the strictest and most scrupulous
impartiality toward all the belligerents.

At the last session he had supposed, under the general interdiction
of all foreign armed vessels, some regulations and modifications, as
exceptions from the general rule, might be made by law, but further
reflection had satisfied him that the preferable mode was by treaty.

He would state two or three reasons for this preference:

1. It will tend to avoid collisions with all foreign nations.
Regulations made by law might not suit the views of foreign nations,
whereas their consent would be necessary in treaties.

2. It will give us the aid of a stipulated obligation on the part of
the foreign nation making the treaty, to enforce the arrangement. In
the case of Great Britain this consideration is of great importance.
Its importance results from the strength of her navy, compared with the
weakness of ours.

3. By treaty we may obtain what the lawyers call a _quid pro quo_. We
may want, at some future time, the use of some British ports, which she
would readily give for the use of ours. He said he would act liberally
with her in this respect; and, he believed, considering Great Britain
now at war, and the United States at peace, it would rather accelerate
than retard the expected negotiation. He said he was as much opposed to
throwing any impediment in the way of the expected negotiation as any
gentleman in the United States.

Great Britain cannot, and will not complain. The municipal right now
proposed to be carried into effect, is admitted by Great Britain in its
broadest extent, and will not be disputed by Mr. Canning at the present
moment. This will appear from Mr. Canning's declarations in the debates
of the last session of Parliament. He said he did not know whether it
was correct to read newspapers in evidence, to ascertain the opinions
and expressions of the speaker, but if the Senate would be content with
this species of evidence, contained in a Ministerial paper, he would
read it for their information. Mr. G. then read the following extract
of Mr. Canning's speech, taken from a British Ministerial paper:

    _Extract from Mr. Canning's speech in Parliament._

    "At the time the application for a compromise had been made by
    the American Government, there was an order in force excluding
    British ships of war from the American ports, while French
    ships of war were admitted into them; and, consequently, if
    the terms offered by America had been accepted, our commerce
    would have been permitted to America without a ship of war to
    protect it, while the French commerce would be excluded, at
    the same time that French ships of war would be admitted if
    they could succeed in getting there. The ports of America would
    become nests for French privateers against British commerce.
    As to the tendency of the measures in agitation in America, he
    could afford the right honorable gentleman some consolation, by
    assuring him that they would not have all the ill consequences
    he seemed to apprehend. A circumstance appeared by the report
    of the committee of Congress, though clothed in hostile
    language, which, if made known to His Majesty's Government in
    amicable terms, might have led to the acceptance of the terms
    proposed. The circumstance he alluded to was the resolution
    for excluding from American ports the ships of war not of
    Great Britain, but of the belligerents. The Americans, in
    their character of neutrals, had unquestionably a right to
    exclude the ships of war of both belligerents from their
    ports, but could not confine them exclusively to those of one
    of the belligerents without a violation of that impartiality
    which is the essence of the neutral character. Yet, when that
    proposition should be disposed of, the whole of the difficulty
    would not be surmounted, as much would still remain to be
    accommodated. Another point, in which fault had been charged
    upon his conduct with respect to America, was his having stated
    that the system would not be given up while the smallest link
    of the confederation against Great Britain existed."

It will be observed that two important conclusions may be deduced from
these observations: 1. That the exercise of this municipal right is
unquestionable. 2. That Mr. Canning's objection to its former exercise
by proclamation was to its limitation, not its extension.

His objection is to its exercise against Great Britain exclusively and
not against her enemies. At the time of making his speech, Mr. Canning
thought the interdiction was extended to all the belligerents; in which
case, so far from complaining of its exercise, he says it would furnish
an inducement to an accommodation, and his instructions to Mr. Erskine
were, no doubt, given under this expectation. This was the ground
taken by the report of the committee of the House of Representatives,
in the last session, and the Senate went further, by extending the
interdiction to the public armed ships of all foreign nations; those
of peace as well as those of war. This gave the transaction more
strongly the character of a mere municipal regulation. This principle
was narrowed down, in this bill, to apply merely to Great Britain
and France, and left out altogether the other belligerent powers.
Mr. Canning will probably be much surprised at this limitation; and
conceive hostility more pointed than he had anticipated; some of the
points may, however, be a little blunted by including France, the most
operating and unmanageable of her enemies. He said he did not wish to
go one atom beyond Mr. Canning's opinion upon this occasion. He took
great pleasure in concurring with Mr. Canning upon this point. It
was the first instance in which he had concurred in opinion with the
gentleman; but he hoped it would not be the last, especially when the
opinion favored the rights and promoted the interest of the United

Mr. Canning must have acted under this impression when he agreed to
make the honorable reparation he had done for the unauthorized attack
upon the Chesapeake, without requiring a previous revocation of the
interdiction of British ships. As this revocation was not demanded nor
promised, the arrangement now ought to be made on general principles of
justice. He said, without feeling or expressing any regret at any thing
he had said or proposed at the last session, he was now as willing
as any gentleman to reciprocate the temper lately manifested by the
British Government, so opposite in its character and tendency from that
manifested by the Cabinet for several years preceding. He said that no
gentleman had yet manifested an intention of removing the interdiction
upon British armed ships, until she had actually executed her promise
of reparation; and, if the execution of the promise were to precede
the revocation of the interdiction, the mode of revocation by treaty,
as pointed out by his proposition, would be nearly contemporaneous
with that proposed by gentlemen, if now enacted into a law, and it
would have an evident advantage, as it respected the feelings of Great
Britain. The mode recommended by gentlemen is founded upon a want of
confidence in the promise of Great Britain, and an ungracious demand
for its execution, as preliminary to the revocation, while the mode
pointed out by treaty, is founded upon a confidence in the promise;
and, without requiring its execution, will insure our own safety by
the mere exercise of municipal right; a right which is unquestionable;
vouched to be so by Mr. Canning, and the exercise of which is impartial
toward all nations, by extending its provisions equally to all. He
said that almost all the injuries and insults sustained by the United
States from public armed ships of the belligerents within our waters,
were attributable to an inattention to the exercise of this right, and,
relax the interdiction when you may, without a stipulated obligation
on the part of the belligerents, to respect your neutrality, and your
marine jurisdiction, they will be renewed and continued.

The principle contended for is not new. It has been before the Senate
several times, and was adopted at the last session in its broadest
extent, as will appear from the following resolution, which he then
had the honor of moving. It does not appear from the Journals of the
Senate, that there was any opposition to the following resolution,
which was adopted on the 15th of February last:

    "The Senate resumed the consideration of the motion made on
    the 8th instant, that provision ought to be made by law for
    interdicting all foreign armed ships from the waters of the
    United States; and having agreed thereto, ordered that it be
    referred to Mr. Giles, Mr. Smith of Maryland, Mr. Crawford," &c.

He said he was extremely happy to find the spirit of harmony and
conciliation which had hitherto characterized the Senate, and he should
endeavor to preserve and continue it; and, while he was strongly
impressed with the propriety and policy of the amendment, yet he
was willing to listen to any other which might be more agreeable
to gentlemen, provided it was founded upon a principle of strict
impartiality toward the belligerents, which he could not be induced to
depart from under any circumstances.

When Mr. G. had concluded, the further consideration of the subject was
postponed until to-morrow.

FRIDAY, June 2.

PHILIP REED, from the State of Maryland, attended.

STANLEY GRISWOLD, appointed a Senator by the Executive of the State
of Ohio, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Edward
Tiffin, was qualified, and took his seat.

JOHN SMITH, from the State of New York, attended.

MONDAY, June 5.

                      _Death of Senator Malbone._

Mr. MATHEWSON announced the death of his colleague, FRANCIS MALBONE,
who deceased yesterday morning.

On motion of Mr. LLOYD,

    _Resolved_, That the Senate will attend the funeral of
    FRANCIS MALBONE, this afternoon, at five o'clock, from his
    late residence; that notice thereof be given to the House
    of Representatives, and that a committee be appointed for
    superintending the funeral.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. LLOYD, GILMAN, and WHITE, be the committee.

On motion, by Mr. LLOYD,

    _Resolved, unanimously_, That the members of the Senate, from
    a sincere desire of showing their respect to the memory of
    FRANCIS MALBONE, deceased, late a member thereof, will go
    into mourning for him one month, by the usual mode of wearing
    a crape round the left arm; and that a sum not exceeding one
    hundred and fifty dollars be applied out of the contingent
    fund for placing a neat slab or monument, with a suitable
    inscription, over his tomb.

On motion of Mr. LLOYD,

    _Resolved_, That, as an additional mark of respect to the
    memory of FRANCIS MALBONE, the Senate now adjourn.

And the Senate adjourned.

TUESDAY, June 6.

                _Senator Smith's pro tem. Appointment._

Mr. GILES submitted a resolution, which was amended, and is as follows:

    _Resolved_, That the Honorable SAMUEL SMITH, a Senator
    appointed by the Executive of the State of Maryland to fill
    the vacancy which happened in the office of Senator for that
    State, is entitled to hold his seat in the Senate of the United
    States during the session of the Legislature of Maryland,
    which, by the proclamation of the Governor of said State, was
    to commence on the 5th day of the present month of June; unless
    said Legislature shall fill such vacancy by the appointment of
    a Senator, and this Senate be officially informed thereof.

On motion, by Mr. ANDERSON, to amend the motion, by striking out all
after the word "Resolved," and inserting:

    "That any Senator of this body, who holds a seat under an
    Executive appointment, cannot, according to the provisions of
    the Constitution of the United States, be entitled to continue
    to hold his seat as a member of this body, after the meeting of
    the Legislature of the State from which such Senator may be a

And a division of the motion for amendment was called for, and the
question having been taken, on striking out, it passed in the negative;
and the motion for amendment having been lost, the original motion was
agreed to--yeas 19, nays 6, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Brent, Franklin, Gaillard, German,
    Giles, Gilman, Goodrich, Griswold, Hillhouse, Lambert,
    Mathewson, Meigs, Pope, Robinson, Smith of New York, Thruston,
    White, and Whiteside.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Bradley, Leib, Lloyd, Parker, Pickering, and


JAMES A. BAYARD, from the State of Delaware, attended.


WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD, from the State of Georgia, attended.

MONDAY, June 12.

                  _Exiled Cubans, with their Slaves._

On motion, by Mr. GILES,

    _Resolved_, That a committee be appointed to inquire whether it
    be expedient and proper, at this time, to make any provision
    by law for remitting the penalties and forfeitures incurred by
    the violations of some of the provisions of the act, entitled
    "An act to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or
    place within the jurisdiction of the United States, from and
    after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one
    thousand eight hundred and eight," so far only as relates to
    the introduction of slaves into certain ports of the United
    States, who were lately forcibly expelled from the island
    of Cuba with the French inhabitants thereof; and that the
    committee have leave to report by bill or otherwise.

_Ordered_, That Messrs. GILES, BRADLEY, ANDERSON, CRAWFORD, and
FRANKLIN, be the committee.

MONDAY, June 19.

                            _Exiled Cubans._

On motion, by Mr. GILES,

    _Resolved_, That the President of the United States be
    requested to cause to be laid before the Senate such
    information as he may deem proper to communicate respecting the
    unfortunate exiles lately expelled from the Island of Cuba,
    and who may have arrived, or are expected to arrive within the
    jurisdiction of the United States; and, also, respecting any
    propositions which may have been made to him by the Minister
    Plenipotentiary of France, for the purpose of facilitating
    the removal of any of the said exiles, with their slaves, and
    other effects, from the United States, to any place within the
    dominions of France.

FRIDAY, June 23.

                        _Foreign Armed Vessels._

Mr. LEIB, from the committee, appointed on the 20th instant, to inquire
into the expediency of providing by law for the exclusion of foreign
armed vessels from the ports and harbors of the United States, made
report; which was read, as follows:

    "That, in the opinion of this committee, such an interdiction
    is within the just and neutral rights of the United States,
    and, under other circumstances, would be highly expedient and
    proper. So long as a neutral nation shall confine itself to
    strict measures of impartiality, allowing no benefit to one
    belligerent, not stipulated by treaty, which it shall refuse
    to another, no cause whatever is afforded for exception or
    complaint. The right to admit an armed force into a neutral
    territory belongs exclusively to the neutral; and when not
    guarantied by treaty, as is oftentimes the case, such admission
    compromises the neutrality of the nation, which permits to one
    belligerent alone such an indulgence.

    "As a measure of safety as well as peace, it is incumbent
    upon the United States to carry into effect such a provision.
    So long as we are without a competent force to protect our
    jurisdiction from violation, and our citizens from outrage, and
    our flag from insult, so long ought no asylum to be given, but
    in distress, to the armed vessels of any nation. The committee
    will not bring into view the many injuries and insults which
    the United States have sustained from the hospitable grant
    of their ports and harbors to belligerents; nor the facility
    which has thereby been afforded to them to lay our commerce
    under contribution. It is sufficient to remark, that great
    injuries have been sustained, and that imperious duty requires
    arrangements at our hands to guard our country in future from
    similar aggressions.

    "The United States are, at this moment, under no obligation to
    withhold restraints, within their power, upon the admission
    of foreign armed vessels into their ports; but the committee
    are too strongly impressed with the propriety of avoiding
    any legislative interference at this time, which, by any
    possibility, might be construed into a desire to throw
    difficulties in the way of promised and pending negotiations.
    They are desirous that a fair experiment may be made to adjust
    our differences with the two belligerent nations, and that
    no provisions be interwoven in our laws which shall furnish
    a pretext for delay, or a refusal to yield to our just and
    honorable demands.

    "Calculating that the overtures which have been made by Great
    Britain will be executed in good faith, the committee are
    willing to believe that the stipulated arrangements will be
    of such a character as to guard our flag from insult, our
    jurisdiction from aggression, our citizens from violation,
    and our mercantile property from spoliation. Under these
    impressions, which the committee have stated as briefly as
    possible, they beg leave to submit to the consideration of the
    Senate the following resolution, viz:

    "_Resolved_, That the further consideration of the subject be
    postponed until the next session of Congress."

SATURDAY, June 24.

The bill freeing from postage all letters and packets from Thomas
Jefferson, was read the second time, and considered as in Committee
of the Whole; and no amendment having been proposed, on the question,
Shall this bill be engrossed and read a third time? it was determined
in the affirmative.

MONDAY, June 26.

The VICE PRESIDENT being absent, the Senate proceeded to the election
of a President _pro tempore_, as the constitution provides; and the
honorable ANDREW GREGG was elected.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary wait on the President of the United
States, and acquaint him that the Senate have, in the absence of the
Vice President, elected the honorable ANDREW GREGG President of the
Senate _pro tempore_.

TUESDAY, June 27.

                            _Public Credit._

The bill, entitled "An act supplementary to the act, entitled 'An act
making further provision for the support of public credit, and for the
redemption of the public debt,'" was read the third time as amended.

On motion, by Mr. HILLHOUSE, to postpone the further consideration
thereof until the first Monday in November next, it was determined in
the negative--yeas 9, nays 15.


On the question, Shall this bill pass as amended? it was determined in
the affirmative--yeas 17, nays 9, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Anderson, Brent, Condit, Franklin, Gaillard,
    Giles, Gregg, Lambert, Leib, Mathewson, Meigs, Parker, Pope,
    Robinson, Smith of New York, Turner, and Whiteside.

    NAYS.--Messrs Bayard, Crawford, German, Gilman, Hillhouse,
    Lloyd, Pickering, Reed, and White.

                     _Six o'clock in the Evening._


_Resolved_, That Messrs. POPE and BRENT be a committee on the part of
the Senate, with such as the House of Representatives may join, to wait
on the President of the United States, and notify him that, unless
he may have any further communications to make to the two Houses of
Congress, they are ready to adjourn.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary acquaint the House of Representatives
therewith, and request the appointment of a committee on their part.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
the House have appointed a committee on their part, to wait on the
President of the United States, and notify him of the intended recess
of Congress.

Mr. POPE, from the committee, reported that they had waited on the
President of the United States, who informed them that he had no
further communications to make to the two Houses of Congress.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
the House, having finished the business before them, are about to

_Ordered_, That the Secretary inform the House of Representatives that
the Senate, having finished the business before them, are about to

The Secretary having performed that duty, the PRESIDENT adjourned the
Senate, to meet on the fourth Monday of November.



  _New Hampshire._--Nicholas Gilman, Nahum Parker.
  _Massachusetts._--Timothy Pickering.
  _Connecticut._--James Hillhouse, Chauncey Goodrich.
  _Rhode Island._--Elisha Mathewson, Francis Malbone.
  _Vermont._--Jonathan Robinson, Stephen R. Bradley.
  _New York._--John Smith.
  _New Jersey._--John Lambert, John Condit.
  _Pennsylvania._--Andrew Gregg, Michael Leib.
  _Delaware._--Samuel White, James A. Bayard.
  _Maryland._--Samuel Smith, Philip Reed.
  _Virginia._--William B. Giles, Richard Brent.
  _North Carolina._--Jesse Franklin, James Turner.
  _South Carolina._--John Gaillard.
  _Georgia._--William H. Crawford.
  _Kentucky._--Buckner Thruston, John Pope.
  _Tennessee._--Joseph Anderson, Jenkin Whiteside.
  _Ohio._--Return Jonathan Meigs, jr., Stanley Griswold.





MONDAY, May 22, 1809.

This being the day appointed by law for the meeting of the present
session, the following members of the House of Representatives
appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats, to wit:

    _From New Hampshire_--Daniel Blaisdell, John C. Chamberlain,
    William Hale, Nathaniel A. Haven, and James Wilson.

    _From Massachusetts_--Ezekiel Bacon, William Baylies, Richard
    Cutts, William Ely, Gideon Gardner, Barzillai Gannett, Edward
    St. Loe Livermore, Benjamin Pickman, junior, Josiah Quincy,
    Ebenezer Seaver, William Stedman, Jabez Upham, Joseph B.
    Varnum, and Laban Wheaton.

    _From Rhode Island_--Richard Jackson, junior, and Elisha R.

    _From Connecticut_--Epaphroditus Champion, Samuel W. Dana, John
    Davenport, Jonathan O. Mosely, Timothy Pitkin, junior, Lewis
    B. Sturges and Benjamin Tallmadge.

    From Vermont--William Chamberlin, Martin Chittenden, Jonathan
    H. Hubbard, and Samuel Shaw.

    _From New York_--James Emott, Jonathan Fisk, Barent Gardenier,
    Thomas R. Gold, Herman Knickerbacker, Robert Le Roy Livingston,
    John Nicholson, Peter B. Porter, Ebenezer Sage, Thomas Sammons,
    John Thompson, Uri Tracy, and Killian K. Van Rensselaer.

    _From New Jersey_--Adam Boyd, James Cox, William Helms, Jacob
    Hufty, Thomas Newbold, and Henry Southard.

    _From Pennsylvania_--William Anderson, David Bard, Robert
    Brown, William Crawford, William Findlay, Robert Jenkins, Aaron
    Lyle, William Milnor, John Porter, John Rea, Matthias Richards,
    John Ross, George Smith, Samuel Smith, and Robert Whitehill.

    _From Maryland_--John Brown, John Campbell, Charles
    Goldsborough, Philip B. Key, Alexander McKim, John Montgomery,
    Nicholas R. Moore, Roger Nelson, and Archibald Van Horne.

    _From Virginia_--Burwell Bassett, William A. Burwell, Matthew
    Clay, John Dawson, John W. Eppes, James Breckenridge, Thomas
    Gholson, junior, Peterson Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, John G. Jackson,
    Walter Jones, Joseph Lewis, junior, John Love, Thomas Newton,
    John Randolph, John Roane, Daniel Sheffey, John Smith, James
    Stephenson, and Jacob Swoope.

    _From North Carolina_--Willis Alston, junior, James Cochran,
    Meshack Franklin, James Holland, Thomas Kenan, William Kennedy,
    Nathaniel Macon, Archibald McBride, Lemuel Sawyer, Richard
    Stanford, and John Stanley.

    _From South Carolina_--Lemuel J. Alston, William Butler, Joseph
    Calhoun, Robert Marion, Thomas Moore, John Taylor, and Robert

    _From Georgia_--William W. Bibb, Howell Cobb, Dennis Smelt, and
    George M. Troup.

    _From Kentucky_--Henry Crist, Joseph Desha, Benjamin Howard,
    Richard M. Johnson, Matthew Lyon, and Samuel McKee.

    _From Tennessee_--Pleasant M. Miller, and John Rhea.

    _From Ohio_--Jeremiah Morrow.

                       _Election of Speaker, &c._

A quorum, consisting of a majority of the whole number, being present,
the House proceeded, by ballot, to the choice of a Speaker.

Messrs. N. R. MOORE, CUTTS, and PORTER, were appointed tellers of the

Mr. N. R. MOORE reported that the result of the ballot was, that there

For Joseph B. Varnum, 60; Nathaniel Macon, 36; Timothy Pitkin, junior,
20; Roger Nelson, 1; C. W. Goldsborough, 1; blank ballots, 2.

Mr. VARNUM having 60 votes, it was submitted to the decision of the
House by the tellers whether the blank ballots could be considered as
votes; if not, there being but 118 votes, Mr. VARNUM having 60, had a

Mr. W. ALSTON conceived that there could be no doubt on the subject;
that blank pieces of paper could not be considered as votes. He
instanced the case which occurred in the famous balloting for President
in the year 1801; at which time, after a number of ballotings, the
State of Maryland, which was divided, gave in four blank votes, and
thus decided the election.

Mr. MACON thought there could be no question on the subject; he also
recollected the case of the Presidential election instanced by his
colleague, and was of opinion that blank ballots could not be counted.
He hoped that the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. VARNUM) would be
conducted to the Chair.

Mr. RANDOLPH said this was no ordinary question which the House were
about to determine, at the instance of his friend, (Mr. MACON,) in
his opinion, in a very irregular manner; and Mr. R. said that he was
certain, if his friend were not himself implicated in the question,
he would have been one of the last men in the House to give such a
decision against himself; but perhaps this was a peculiarity in his
friend's character. Are we, gentlemen, (said Mr. R.,) to have a Speaker
of the House of Representatives without any election? The committee
have not reported that one of the persons voted for had a majority of
the whole number of votes even; on the contrary, they have expressly
reported that no one had a majority. And will the House consent in
this manner to choose a Speaker to preside over this body, and perhaps
eventually over the destinies of this nation?--for perchance the
Speaker might become President of the United States. With respect to
the precedent in the case of the election of the President of the
United States, there was not, he said, the smallest analogy between
the two cases. What was that case? It was on a question whether or not
there should exist in this country a Government, that this device had
been used, after some forty or fifty ballotings. In order to give a
President to the United States, certain gentlemen had thought proper
not to vote at all. But, said Mr. R., is time now so precious? Is the
Secretary of the President of the United States knocking at the door
for admittance? Is the enemy at the gate? Is there not time, I beseech
you, gentlemen, to proceed in the regular mode to the election of our
officers? Or, shall we, to avoid the trouble of writing a name twice,
establish a precedent, which, if established, may put an end to this
Government, which is founded on the principle that the majority shall
govern? Mr. R. said he was more free in expressing his ideas, because
he believed that a second ballot would not affect the result; and
he put it to his friend (Mr. MACON) to say whether he himself would
consent to take the Chair on the vote of a minority. He said he knew
him too well; he would not consent to it. He conceived that there was
no question before the House, that they had not elected their Speaker;
and that it was their business to proceed to an election. They were
certainly competent, he said, to elect the officers of their own body;
and he hoped they would do it _more majorum_--after the fashion of
their ancestors.

Mr. STANFORD denied that the case which had been cited from the
Presidential election in 1801 had any bearing on the present
question. That was a case in which, a State being divided, one-half
the representation voted blank, and left to the other half of the
representation the right of voting for the State. As, at the same time,
a gentleman now from Kentucky, (Mr. LYON,) then the only representative
present from Vermont, had, by his single vote, his colleague being
absent, decided the vote of that State, he thought there was no analogy.

Mr. RANDOLPH moved that the House proceed to ballot a second time for

The Clerk having put the question, it was carried--67 to 43.

Mr. MACON said he certainly felt a sense of gratitude towards those
who had voted for him; but he should be obliged to them to vote for
some other person. He had rather remain on the floor of the House than
be placed in the Chair. He had experienced the difficulties of the
situation; besides, by an illness during last winter, his lungs had
been so affected that he did not feel himself adequate to the task.
As his declining the situation might be unexpected to some gentlemen,
to accommodate them he would ask a postponement of the ballot for a
time. He considered the office of Speaker of the House as one of the
most honorable in the nation. Perhaps none was more so, after that
of President and Vice President. Notwithstanding this, were there a
probability of his being chosen, he must decline being placed in the

The House then proceeded to a further ballot; and Mr. N. R. MOORE
reported the result to be:

For Mr. Varnum, 65; Mr. Macon, 45; Mr. Pitkin, 6; Mr. Howard, 1; Mr.
Nelson, 1, and Mr. Goldsborough, 1.

Mr. VARNUM having a majority of votes was declared elected, and
conducted to the Chair; whence he addressed the House as follows:

    "_Gentlemen of the House of Representatives_:

    "The continued manifestation of the national confidence
    in me, expressed by the Representatives of the people on
    this occasion, fills my heart with grateful sensibility. In
    obedience to the call of my country, I accept the office
    assigned me, and will endeavor to discharge the duties of it
    according to the best of my abilities, and agreeably to the
    wishes of the House."

The SPEAKER having been sworn, the oath to support the Constitution of
the United States was by him administered to the members, by States.

The House then proceeded to the choice of a Clerk, by ballot. The votes
having been counted, there were--

For Patrick Magruder, 63; Daniel Brent, 38; Nicholas B. Van Zandt, 14;
William Lambert, 7, and Mr. Scott, 1.

Mr. Magruder having a majority of votes, was declared to be re-elected.

Mr. GEORGE POINDEXTER having appeared and produced his credentials, as
the Delegate from the Mississippi Territory of the United States, the
oath was administered to him by the Speaker.

Mr. MACON, from the joint committee appointed to wait on the President
of the United States, reported that the committee had performed the
service assigned to them, and that the President signified that he
would make a communication to Congress, to-morrow at twelve o'clock.

A message was received from the Senate, informing the House that that
body was formed, and ready to proceed to business; and that they had
appointed a committee to wait on the President of the United States, in
conjunction with such committee as the House should appoint, to inform
him that they were ready to receive any communication he might have to

On motion of Mr. J. G. JACKSON, a committee was appointed to act with
the committee of the Senate. Messrs. MACON and JACKSON were named as
the committee.

The House, after hearing a memorial from Joseph Wheaton, stating
his services, and praying a reinstatement in the office of
Sergeant-at-Arms, from which he had been ejected, proceeded to the
choice of a Sergeant-at-Arms. The whole number was 122, of which Thomas
Dunn had 80. He was therefore declared to be re-elected.

On balloting for a Doorkeeper, the whole number of votes was 116, of
which Thomas Claxton had 115. He was therefore declared re-elected.

On balloting for an Assistant Doorkeeper, there were--

For Benjamin Burch, 68; Jesse Edwards, 50.

Mr. Burch was therefore elected.

Mr. DAWSON.--Before we adjourn, it will be necessary to fix on some
hour at which we shall meet; that hour heretofore has been eleven; but,
as the mornings are now long, as some of the reasons which caused the
present sessions have probably ceased, as the select committees will
have but little to do, and every gentleman must be anxious to end the
session and return home, I would prefer an earlier hour, and therefore
offer the following resolution:

    _Resolved_, That unless otherwise directed, the hour of meeting
    during the present session shall be at ten o'clock in the

Agreed to, 52 to 39; and the House adjourned.

TUESDAY, May 23.

Several other members, to wit: From Massachusetts, SAMUEL TAGGART; from
New York, VINCENT MATTHEWS; from Pennsylvania, DANIEL HEISTER; and from
North Carolina, JOSEPH PEARSON, appeared, produced their credentials,
were qualified, and took their seats.

The Journal of yesterday's proceedings having been read--

Mr. RANDOLPH moved to amend it, so as to record the precise state of
the two ballots for a Speaker, with a view to a correct understanding
of the case, if it should ever be drawn into precedent hereafter.

After a discussion of nearly two hours on the subject of the
decision of yesterday, and the analogy betwixt it and the case of
the Presidential election of 1801, Mr. RANDOLPH'S motion was agreed
to--ayes 70.

                         _President's Message._

The Message of the President of the United States was received,
agreeably to the intimation given by the President yesterday to the
committee appointed to wait on him. The Message having been read,
was referred to a Committee of the whole House on the State of the
Union, and 5,000 copies ordered to be printed of the Message, with the
documents accompanying it. [See Senate proceedings of this date, _ante_
page 117, for this Message.]


                   _Swedish and Portuguese Vessels._

Mr. NEWTON offered a resolution to instruct the Committee of Commerce
and Manufactures to inquire into and report on the expediency of
permitting vessels of those nations with whom intercourse was
permitted, to take cargoes, &c. He stated to the House that at present
vessels of Sweden and Portugal, with whom intercourse is permitted,
could not load and depart; and on this subject a letter was read
from the Secretary of the Treasury to the Committee of Commerce and

Mr. BURWELL said there was another subject connected with the
resolution, which ought to be taken into consideration. The
proclamation of the President declares that on the 10th of June
next, the operation of the non-intercourse law, as relates to Great
Britain, shall cease. It went into operation on the 20th of this
month. Of course there were many vessels on the coast which could not
get in before the 20th of May. He submitted it to the Chairman of
the Committee, whether it would not be proper at once to do away all
restriction, because the policy of its existence had ceased in relation
to Great Britain from the restoration of harmony with her; and if the
goods on our coast were not permitted to be regularly landed, they
might be smuggled in, and injure the revenue. He thought it would be
proper to inquire into the expediency of doing away at once, by law,
all interdiction of commerce.

Mr. NEWTON said he had no objection to act on the subject mentioned
by his colleague, but he did not conceive it to be connected with the
present motion.

Mr. NEWTON'S motion having been agreed to, he immediately reported
"a bill respecting the ships or vessels owned by citizens of foreign
nations with whom commercial intercourse is permitted."--Twice read,
and referred to a Committee of the whole House to-morrow.

                         _Non-Intercourse Act._

Mr. LIVERMORE said that he did not distinctly hear all that fell from
the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. BURWELL,) but, from what he had
heard, he apprehended that it was on a subject of great importance.
There were many vessels on the coast, which, were they to enter our
harbors, would fall within the description of the 4th, 5th, and 6th
sections of the non-intercourse act. From the happy commencement of the
settlement of our differences with Great Britain, he did not believe
it was the design of any gentleman that the non-intercourse should be
enforced in this particular. He therefore offered a resolution for
suspending the act, as follows:

    _Resolved_, That it is expedient that the operation of so
    much of the act, entitled "An act to interdict the commercial
    intercourse between the United States and Great Britain and
    France, and their dependencies," as inhibits the importation of
    goods from Great Britain and its dependencies, be suspended
    until the tenth day of June next.

FRIDAY, May 26.

Another member, to wit, ROBERT WEAKLEY, from Tennessee, appeared,
produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat.

                         _Vote of Approbation._

Mr. RANDOLPH said that for the last eight years or thereabouts an
alteration had taken place in the manner of doing business at the
commencement of each session of Congress. He said he recollected when
the first Congress under the administration of Mr. Jefferson had met
at this place, instead of Congress being opened as heretofore by the
President in person and by a speech, a note in these words had been
received by the Speaker, enclosing a Message from the President:

"DECEMBER 8, 1801.

    "SIR: The circumstances under which we find ourselves at this
    place rendering inconvenient the mode heretofore practised, of
    making by personal address the first communications between
    the Legislative and Executive branches, I have adopted that
    by Message, as used on all subsequent occasions through the
    session. In doing this I have had a principal regard to the
    convenience of the Legislature, to the economy of their time,
    to their relief from the embarrassment of immediate answers on
    subjects not yet fully before them, and to the benefits thence
    resulting to the public affairs. Trusting that a procedure
    founded in these motives will meet their approbation, I beg
    leave through you, sir, to communicate the enclosed Message."

It is unnecessary, I believe, (said Mr. R.,) to state that the hint
contained in the Message that no answer was to be expected, was
taken by the House; and from that day no answers have been given to
the Message of the President at the opening of Congress. It would
ill become me, sir, who so highly approved then, and who so highly
approve now the change introduced by communicating to the two Houses
by message instead of by speech, to say any thing that might imply a
disapprobation of it. I like it, sir. To tell the truth, the style
of communicating by speech was more in the style of the opening of
the British Parliament by the king. I therefore like the mode of
communication by message. But I am not so clear, though we were then
half-right, that we were wholly right; though on this subject I do not
mean to give a definite opinion. No man can turn over the journals of
the first six Congresses of the United States without being sickened,
fairly sickened, with the adulation often replied by the Houses of
Congress to the President's communication. But nevertheless the answer
to an address, although that answer might finally contain the most
exceptionable passages, was in fact the greatest opportunity which the
opposition to the measures of the administration had of canvassing and
sifting its measures; and, in my mind, whatever goes to take away this
opportunity, goes so far to narrow down the rights of the minority or
opposition, commonly so called, and in fact to enlarge the rights of
the majority and the administration party so called; and I beg leave
not to be understood as speaking of the state of parties at this time,
but of that which has always existed. This opportunity of discussion of
the answer to an address, however exceptionable the address might be
when it had received the last seasoning for the Presidential palate,
did afford the best opportunity to take a review of the measures of
the administration, to canvass them fully and fairly, without there
being any question raised whether the gentlemen were in order or not;
and I believe the time spent in canvassing the answer to a speech was
at least as well spent as a great deal that we have expended since we
discontinued the practice. I do not say that any answer is proper or
ought to be given; but I do believe that when this House goes into a
Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, it is for purposes
a little more elevated than to dissect the Message of the President
of the United States, or to strip it up and transfer it to select
and standing committees. If that be the whole object of going into a
Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union, I can see no reason
for having any such committee, nor why the Message should not be taken
in the first instance, dissected by the knife of the operator most in
the fashion of the day, and referred to different committees. And it
has a tendency to cast a sort of ridicule on our proceedings, when this
august assembly resolves itself into a Committee of the Whole on the
state of the Union, and resolves that the Message shall be referred
to such and such committees; and would induce shallow observers to
believe that in fact there is little or no use for such a committee.
But whatever may be my opinion on the subject of opening the two Houses
by message, I do think that there are occasions, and that this is one,
on which it behooves this assembly to express its opinion on the state
of public affairs. I will not recall to your recollection, sir, because
perhaps, and most probably it passed over your mind without making
any impression, that some time during the last session of Congress, I
stated that if the gentleman in whose hand the reins of Government were
about to be placed did not even tolerably perform the task assigned
to him, some allowance ought to be made for the state in which he
found the nation. And, sir, when I see the situation of the country
so materially changed for the better, am I and is this House to sit
still and regard it but as newspaper talk of the day, and express no
opinion on it? And what is our opinion? It is either in approbation or
disapprobation of the conduct of the Executive. In my opinion it is
due to the Executive that he have an expression of sentiment on this
subject. In the part of the country in which I live, dinners have been
given, feasts have been held, and the song and toast have passed round
in commemoration of the event: and is this House to be insensible,
and to leave the President of the United States in ignorance or doubt
whether his conduct has or has not received the sanction of their
approbation? Or is he to get that information from inofficial sources?
I hope not. I hope he will get it from ourselves. I therefore move you--

    "That the promptitude and frankness with which the President
    of the United States has met the overtures of the Government
    of Great Britain, towards the restoration of harmony and free
    commercial intercourse between the two nations, meets the
    approbation of this House."

Mr. FINDLAY said that this proposition contemplated a novelty in the
legislative proceeding of this country. Where would it end if the House
were now to make a solemn resolution approving of the conduct of the
President? The answer returned to the speech of the King in monarchical
Governments committed the House making it to all that was contained
in it. The practice in this country had been long considered an evil;
indeed, he thought he could show by the journals one instance in which
the discussion of a single section in an answer occupied the House
fourteen or fifteen days. It was a practice, too, which introduced at
the very opening of the session all that irritation that commonly arose
in the course of a session. Mr. F. said he supposed there was not a
member in the House but did approve of the President's exercise of the
authority vested in him. He presumed that they approved equally also
of the same offer heretofore made to the Court of London. If the House
were to approbate the conduct of one President, they must approbate
that of others; and the conduct of the different administrations under
the constitution might be brought into view. Mr. F. was totally against
this motion, or any other of the kind.

Mr. DANA said that at the present time he should certainly not be for
adopting the resolution. The adopting it at this time would certainly
not comport with the object professed by the mover, which he had
understood to be, to present a question on which there might be a
general view of the conduct of the Executive in relation to the object
in question. If the object was to bring up the question in a regular
form, that gentlemen might express themselves fully in relation to
our affairs, it was very proper that this subject should be discussed
in Committee of the Whole on the state of the Union. For himself,
Mr. D. said that he thought the mode of answering speeches might do
very well in such a Government as this, and whatever might be said of
economy of time, by an attention to the actual expense, it would be
found that in fact very little time was lost by it. At the last session
of Congress a committee had reported a resolution to which there was
but two dissentients; the discussion occupied nearly three weeks. All
agreed as to the result, but gentlemen combated each other's arguments.
And undoubtedly, Mr. D. said, the rapidity with which the Message was
shot through a Committee of the Whole, was rather a farcical piece of
business--and, indeed, it was not without some little surprise that,
when he had come to the House this morning, he found the whole subject
disposed of.

Mr. W. ALSTON said, that when a resolution like the one proposed was
presented to him, the substance of which met his approbation, if he
was compelled to vote directly upon it, he would rather vote for it
than against it. But if it were the object to bring before the House
a discussion upon the Message of the President, and to return an
answer to his Excellency's most gracious Message, he should certainly
be opposed to it. If ever there had been one particular part of the
conduct of the former administration which had met the approbation of
the Republicans of this country generally, it was the discontinuance of
this practice. The result of the alteration was, that although more was
done during the sessions of the Republican Congresses, they terminated
them three or four weeks sooner than ever had been done before. As to
the opportunity which the answers afforded for debate, could any one
say that sufficient latitude had not been taken in debate? Had not
gentlemen even called others by name, and introduced every subject on
any question? Mr. A. said he was pleased with what had been done, and
he could not vote that he was not pleased; but he was certainly opposed
to entering into a full discussion, at the opening of each session, of
every thing which was to come under the consideration of the House.
If they were to take up this resolution, they might as well take some
abstract act of Mr. Adams's, he being still living, and discuss his
political life. WASHINGTON, at least he hoped, having departed from us,
would be permitted to rest in peace.

Mr. BACON said that with other gentlemen, he could not but regret
that this proposition had been brought forward. If he were brought
to vote upon it, he need not tell the House that he should cordially
vote for it; but it was really one of the last observations which he
had expected to have heard from any gentleman that we wanted field for
debate. He had thought that the grievance was the other way; that the
cause of complaint was, that they consumed too much time in debate. He
said he should certainly vote for the resolution, were it brought to
a direct vote; but, for the purpose of placing before the House the
view of the subject which he entertained, he should take the liberty
to move an amendment to it, and then move to refer it to a Committee
of the Whole. The amendment was in these words, proposed to be added
to the motion:--"And furnishes an additional proof of the spirit of
accommodation on the part of the Government of the United States, which
has at no time been intermitted."

Mr. J. G. JACKSON moved that the whole subject be postponed

Mr. RANDOLPH said that as an indefinite postponement was considered as
tantamount to a rejection--for it prevents a renewal of the subject
during the session, and a rejection does nothing more, as the House
had heretofore had a woful experience in the case of certain very
pertinacious petitioners; and, as he was afraid, they would again
have from a certain body of petitioners, who, he presumed, had not
entirely given up their hopes of quartering themselves on the public
property--an indefinite postponement, then, being equivalent to a
rejection, he certainly was opposed to the rejection of his own motion.
He could not have believed that this motion would have been rejected
by the House, though he said he had certainly calculated on its being
opposed by those who condemned the promptitude and frankness with
which the President had proceeded to restore, as far as depended on
him, the intercourse between the two nations. It is this part of the
conduct of the President of the United States, said Mr. R., on which
I mean to give an opinion--"By the President of the United States,
a proclamation"--and in that proclamation, in my opinion, he has
deserved well of his country. I ask the gentleman from Pennsylvania,
(Mr. FINDLAY,) if he is near enough to hear me in this vast room,
when have I proposed bringing in review the whole measures of former
administration; when have I proposed an answer to an address to the
two Houses? I have proposed no such thing, sir, although my motion is
nearly tantamount to it; because it so happens that the only act of
which we have any knowledge, except the laying up the gunboats in dry
dock, which I also most cordially approbate, is this very thing. Now,
I have not the slightest objection, if the gentleman chooses, that the
honorable and worthy gentleman from Massachusetts should insist on a
_venire_ on the conduct of any former President of the United States,
but I beg myself to be excused from serving on it. As an unqualified
juror, I choose to except myself; for, really, as to one of those
Presidents, his career does not yet seem to be finished. It would
seem as if he meditated another batch of midnight judges, and another
midnight retreat from the Capital. I do, therefore, except to myself
as a juror as to him or any other President. _De mortuis nil nisi
bonum._ Agreed, sir. Let the good that men do live after them, and the
evil be interred in their graves. But, I would ask the gentleman from
Connecticut, and the gentleman from Pennsylvania, also, if this be one
of their abstract propositions? How abstract, I pray you? Or, if it
be one of those unmeaning propositions, the discussion of which could
answer no good to this House? It would be idle in us now to be trying
Mr. Adams on the merits of the sedition law, the eight per cent. loans,
or any other such act. It would answer no purpose; and it would be
equally idle and futile to pass any opinion on the merits or demerits
of the first four or last four years of the late administration, for
this plain reason, the question bolts upon you, _cui bono_? What
earthly good can result from it? But is that the case in relation to
the Executive, on whose future dispositions rest the best interests of
this nation? Is that a mere idle discussion? And is it come to this? Is
this House so sunk in the Executive opinion, (I trust not, sir; I abhor
the idea,) that its approbation of a great course of national policy is
to pass for nothing; is it to have no influence on the conduct of the
Executive of the United States? This, sir, is taking higher doctrine
than was ever advanced by those who wished to see the President open
Parliament by a speech from the throne. It is taking higher ground than
the Minister of that country from which the precedent was derived.
The weight of the House of Commons is felt too sensibly there for
their inclinations not to be sounded by motions from their Chancellor
of the Exchequer, and their members of opposition, in relation to
the great course of foreign affairs. And, sir, shall we now be told
that it is a mere matter of moonshine, a thing of no moment, whether
this House really does approve the conduct of the Administration of
the Government of the United States, or disapproves it? Praise, in
my opinion, properly and not prodigally bestowed, is one of the best
resources of a nation. Why is this House called upon, and I am sorry
to say it is, too often, and too lightly, to give its sanction to the
conduct of individuals in the public service, if its approbation is
estimated so trivially? No, sir; this is a great question which I have
presented to you, and gentlemen may hamper it with as many amendments
as they please; they cannot keep the question out of sight. Some may be
_against_ it because they are _for_ it; some because it does harm, and
some because it does no good. The question cannot be kept out of sight;
it has been presented to the American people and they have decided it,
decide you how you may.

With respect to the gentleman's amendment, I need not tell him,
I presume, that I shall vote most pointedly against it, because,
in my opinion, it does not contain the truth. The gentleman from
Massachusetts (Mr. BACON) will be among the last of the members
of this House to attribute to me an improper sentiment in regard
to him, when I say that it does not contain the truth. If the
gentleman from Massachusetts chooses, in imitation of another Eastern
nation--not those who tried their Kings after they were entombed,
but those who consigned to one common grave the living and the dead;
if he be willing to attach the sound, healthy body of the present
Administration--healthy so far, and, I trust, fortifying itself against
contagions--to the dead corpse of the last, let him. He shall not have
my assistance in doing it; nor have I the least desire to draw a marked
distinction between the two Administrations. The gentleman will hardly
suspect that I am seeking favor at court. My object is plain. It is
to say to the President that, in issuing that proclamation, he has
acted wisely, and we approve of it. I know, sir, that there are men
who condemn the conduct of the President in issuing the proclamation;
and why? They say he was precipitate. Where was the necessity, they
will tell you, of declaring that the Orders in Council will _have been_
withdrawn? This is the language of objection. There _is_ a difference
of opinion subsisting in this country on these two points. There _are_
men who condemn this proclamation, and men who condemn the construction
given by the Executive to the non-intercourse law. I approve both. I
wish the President of the United States to have the approving sentiment
of this House, and to have that approbation as a guide to his future
conduct; and I put it to the gentleman from Massachusetts whether it
be fair to mingle it with the old, stale, refuse stuff of the embargo?
No, sir; let him not put his new wine into old bottles. There _is_ a
difference of opinion in this country. The President of the United
States stands condemned by men in this nation, and, as I believe,
in this House, for having issued that proclamation, and put that
construction on the non-intercourse law. I wish to see by how many he
is thus condemned. I do not wish to see the question shirked--to see
it blinked. If there be a majority of the House, as I believe there
is, in favor of the conduct of the President, I wish him to have that
approbation expressed as a guide to his future, and a support to his
present conduct. It is due to him. Sir, have I moved you a nauseous,
sickening resolution, stuffed with adulation? Nothing like it; but, a
resolution that the promptitude and frankness with which the President
of the United States has met the overtures of the British Government
towards a restoration of the ancient state of things between the two
countries--the state prior to the memorable non-importation act of
1806--meets the approbation of this House. Either it does, or it does
not. If it does, let us say so. If it does not, let us say so. If
gentlemen think this House never ought to express an opinion, but leave
the President to grope in the dark as to our views, or get them through
inofficial channels, I presume the previous question will be taken, or
motion made that the resolution lie upon the table. The gentleman from
Pennsylvania says, shall we go back, and approve of what he conceives
to be similar conduct of the late President of the United States in
relation to the embargo? I hope not, sir. But if a majority of this
House choose to do so, let them. I shall say no. But, why mingle two
subjects together, on which there does exist--and I am afraid it
will leak out on this very vote of indefinite postponement--so very
material a difference of opinion in different parts of the House? For
example: I do not think of the offer about the embargo as the gentlemen
from Massachusetts and Pennsylvania think; and I think it probable
that those two gentlemen do not think of this proclamation and the
construction given to the non-intercourse law, as I think. And why
should we make a sort of hotch-potch of two subjects, on which we do
not think alike, for the purpose of getting us all united against
both? It is an old adage, and a very homely one, perhaps too much so
for the delicate ears of this assembly, that if you put one addled egg
into a pudding, you may add fresh ones, _ad infinitum_, but you can
never sweeten it. And, sir, I defy the gentleman from Massachusetts,
with all his political cookery, by pouring out of the jar of our
present situation into the old mess, to sweeten it.

In the year 1806, we passed that miserable old non-importation act,
which last session we repealed; and really, sir, we got rid of it with
an adroitness which pleased me exceedingly. Never was an obnoxious
measure more handsomely smothered by its avowed friends. Gentlemen said
it was merged in the non-intercourse act, and therefore, as a matter
of indifference, they would repeal it; and when the non-intercourse
act shall expire by its own limitation, at the end of this session, or
be suspended by the President's proclamation, as it is in relation to
Great Britain, there is an end of both; and thus, the old measure, the
old, original sin to which we owe our first difficulties, was as much
gotten rid of as if a majority of this House had declared it an unwise
measure, and therefore repealed it. I do recollect to have heard one
gentleman (Mr. EPPES) say, that unless the section repealing this law
were stricken out, he should be compelled to vote against the bill.
He conjured the House to cling to the old non-importation act as the
last vestige and symbol of resistance to British oppression; but the
House was deaf to his call, and the non-importation act was plunged
beneath the wave, never, I trust, to rise again. When, therefore, the
late President of the United States made an offer to Great Britain to
suspend the embargo as to her, provided she would withdraw her Orders
in Council, I will suppose that she had accepted that offer. In what
situation would she have stood in relation to the United States? Her
fine cloths, her leather, her watches, her this and her that, would
have been prohibited admittance into this country under the old
non-importation act of 1806, which would have been in force. That
act, in point of fact, had no operation on her adversary. Her ships
would have been prohibited the use of our waters, while the ships of
war of her enemy were admitted. Did that make no difference? That,
sir, would have been the situation of the two countries, provided
she had accepted the offer to suspend the embargo as to herself--the
old non-importation act in operation, her ships of war excluded, and
her rival's admitted. I pray you, was not that the condition of the
country when Mr. Rose arrived? Was there not some difficulty, under
the proclamation, in the admission of the Statira frigate, bearing
that Minister into our waters? And were not French ships of war then,
and have they not since been riding quietly at Annapolis, Norfolk,
and elsewhere? Has not, in fact, the gallant Captain Decatur taken
our own seamen out of one of them? And yet, sir, the offer at that
time made by us has been identified with the negotiation between Mr.
Secretary Smith and Mr. Erskine. What then was her situation? The
non-importation act in force, _her_ ships _excluded_ and those of
France _admitted_, and nothing in force in relation to France except
the embargo. What is now the situation of affairs? Trade with her is
restored to the same situation, in point of fact, in which it stood
when Congress met here in 1805 and 1806--at the memorable first session
of the ninth Congress, which generated the old non-importation act
of 1806. Her ships of war are admitted into our waters, her trade
is freed from embarrassment, while the ships of her adversary are
excluded and the trade between us and her adversary forbidden by law.
While, therefore, I am ready and willing to approve the conduct of the
present Administration, it is not because I conceive that they have
effected any thing so very difficult--that they have obtained any such
mighty concession--but, because they have done their duty. Yes, sir;
we all recollect that the objections made to the treaty negotiated by
Mr. Monroe, and Mr. Pinkney, on two great leading accounts: 1st. That
it contained no express provision against the impressment of seamen.
Is there any provision now made? No, sir. The next objection to the
treaty was the note attached to it by Lords Holland and Auckland.
What, sir, did gentlemen on this floor say was the purport of this
note? That its object was to put us in a state of amity in respect to
Great Britain, at the expense of the risk of collision with France.
On account of this note, the treaty and the treaty-makers have been
politically damned. And yet, we are now, in point of fact, in that very
situation, in relation to the two nations, in which it was said that
the British Commissioners, by the note, aimed to place us, and which
was a sufficient reason, according to the arguments of gentlemen, for
rejecting the treaty. The note was a sort of lien, gentlemen said,
that would put us in a state of hostility with regard to France, and
amity with regard to England. We refused to give our bond, for such
it was represented (however unjustly) to be, to be sure, sir; but
we have paid the money. We have done the very thing which gentlemen
say the note aimed to induce us to do. We have put ourselves in a
situation endangering collision with France, and almost insuring amity
with England. We have destroyed the old non-importation act. The
non-intercourse act is suspended as to her. Trade is again free. There
is nothing now to prohibit her ships, whether for commerce or war, from
coming into our waters, whilst our trade with France is completely cut
off, and _her_ ships excluded from our waters. I cannot too often call
the attention of the House to this fact, on which I am compelled to
dwell and dilate to get rid of this merciless motion, which kills while
it professes to cure. When Mr. Rose came into this country, French
ships of war were freely admitted; English ships were excluded.

As "the physician, in spite of himself," says in one of Moliere's best
comedies, _on a changé tout cela_--the thing is wholly reversed. We
are likely to be on good terms with England, maugre the best exertions
of some of our politicians. Trade with Great Britain is unshackled,
her ships are admitted, trade with France is forbidden; and French
ships excluded, as far as it can be done by paper. Now, in the name of
common sense, what more could Mr. Canning himself want, than to produce
this very striking and sudden change in the relations between the two
countries? For a long time previous, it was the ships of England that
were excluded, while those of her adversaries were admitted. And we
know that we could not have touched her in a more jealous point than
in her navy. Things are now reversed--we have dexterously shuffled the
non-importation act out of the pack, renewed trade with her, admitted
her ships, and excluded those of France. And what, I ask this House,
has the British Minister given us in requital for this change of our
position in relation to him and his rival belligerent? The revocation
of the Orders in Council--this is the mighty boon. For, with respect to
his offer in relation to satisfaction for the attack on the Chesapeake,
he made that offer to Mr. Monroe spontaneously, on the spur of the
occasion, and there is not a doubt in my mind but that we had nothing
to do but to receive it at that time, provided the instructions of our
Minister had permitted him to receive it; but, perchance, sir, if he
had received it, we might have been at this day discussing his message,
and not the message of another President. All that Mr. Canning has
given this country is a reiteration of his offer to make reparation
for the affair of the Chesapeake, and his withdrawal of the Orders
in Council; and to what did they amount? So soon as you, by your own
law, cut off your trade with France, he agrees to revoke the orders
interfering with it. Mr. Canning might as well have withdrawn blank
paper. They had nothing left to operate upon. The body upon which they
were to operate was destroyed by our own act, to wit, the trade of
France. And, sir, while I compliment the present state of things, and
the conduct on the part of our Government which has led to it, I cannot
say that we have greatly overreached Mr. Canning in this bargain, in
making an exchange of the old non-importation act with the admission
of English, and exclusion of French ships and trade, for the Orders
in Council. Mr. Canning obtained as good a bargain out of us as he
could have expected to obtain; and those gentlemen who speak of his
having heretofore had it in his power to have done the same, did not
take into calculation the material difference between the situation
in which we now stand, and the situation in which we before stood--to
say nothing at all of Great Britain's having taken a stand against the
embargo, having declared that she had nothing to offer in exchange for
it; that we might keep it as long as we pleased. If she had accepted
our offer, as I before stated, the old non-importation law would have
been in operation, her ships of war would have been excluded, whilst
those of France were admitted. Now, the non-importation act is not in
force, her ships are permitted to enter our waters, and those of France
excluded. And what has this sarcastic Minister of Great Britain given
us in exchange? The Orders in Council, which had completely ceased to
operate by the cutting off of the trade between us and France. Let
me state this argument in a shape most favorable to ourselves, and
least so to the British Government. I speak as to argument; for, as to
friendship between nations, there is no friendship in trade. We ought
to get the best bargain out of them that we could, and it was the duty
of their Minister to get the best out of us. Let us throw out of view
the exclusion of French ships and French commerce. Is the removal of
the non-importation act, and the admission of British vessels, nothing?
What has Mr. Canning given you in return? The Orders in Council--and
what were they worth to him? Not a straw.

Mr. HOLLAND said he had no doubt that the President had done his duty
in the case referred to in the proposition under consideration; and
as he had entertained no doubt but the President would, on this and
every other occasion, do his duty, he said he felt no excessive joy on
the occasion. It was only an ordinary act of duty well performed, and
therefore he was not willing to distinguish it from those numerous acts
which he trusted would be, as they had heretofore been performed, by
the Executive. Were he the author of the proposition, he should have
many scruples as to the propriety of offering such a one. Were the
precedent to be set by the passage of this resolution, the House might
hereafter witness a struggle on the floor to determine who should be
first to come forward with a proposition expressive of approbation.
The human mind might be so operated upon that the Executive might feel
himself under an obligation to promote the person bringing forward such
a motion. I, said Mr. H., would be one of the last to introduce such a
motion were I a friend to the President; and if I were not a friend to
the President, I would not bring it forward, lest it should be thought
that I was courting favor in his eyes. But why, sir, should this House
give an expression of approbation of the President? Because, we are
told, it may be a guide to him hereafter. Let this House be careful how
it acts, and attend to its own duties. The President does not stand in
need of this kind of support. I never will step forward as a member
of this House, to excite him to his duty by a vote of this kind. I
believe he possesses an attachment to his duty sufficient to induce him
to perform it. I believe that the voice of the people of the United
States is such, in relation to the present and late President, that
they believe they were well disposed to do their duty, and that they
have done their duty; but it does not follow that we ought to express
our approbation as to any particular act. The gentleman himself says
that the President has only done his duty. Is it not surprising, then,
that we are called upon to give him the approbation of this House? What
would be inferred from this procedure? Why, that it is so seldom our
Presidents have done their duty, that, in the very first instance in
which they have done it, the House of Representatives had discovered
and applauded it. If the gentleman thinks so, I wholly disagree with
him. If our officers do their duty properly, they will receive the
thanks of the nation; and where is the propriety of singling out for
approbation or disapprobation this particular act? I see none. It is
asked, will you leave the President of the United States to grope in
the dark, and not let him know whether he has received our approbation
or not? And is the President to judge from the thanks of the House
that he has done his duty? How is he to know that they have expressed
their sense of his conduct from proper motives? Would he not be right
to suspect those who vote for, and more especially those who bring
forward such a proposition, of improper motives? He would be left still
worse to grope in the dark. It has been said that former Presidents
have been deceived in consequence of votes of approbation; and the
same would again occur. On every ground I am opposed to the passing
such resolutions on principle, and shall therefore vote for indefinite
postponement. It was indefinitely postponed.


                            _Sedition Law._

Mr. STANFORD said he had risen to offer a resolution, which he wanted
to have offered immediately after that which had been offered by the
gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. RANDOLPH,) and adopted by the House, on
the subject of prosecutions for libel at common law; but not being
able to get the floor, he would now beg leave to move his by way of
instruction to the same committee. That committee, Mr. S. said, had
been charged with an inquiry into what prosecutions for libel at common
law had been instituted in the courts of the United States, which he
hoped the committee would duly make, and lay before the House. Thus the
House would see what system of persecution, if any, had been resorted
to, and cherished by the late Administration or its friends, in any
part of the United States; and he equally hoped some remedy might
be devised at this time, the beginning of a new Administration, to
obviate any like occurrence in future. But, said Mr. S., let it not be
that any thing be done partially. While we are about to bring to our
view all the cases of prosecution for libel under the common law, we
are not likely to know any thing about prosecutions for libel which
had occurred under the sedition law, and that too under a different
Administration. We have not authorized any such inquiry. That abuses
have occurred under both, is but too probable, and I think it will
be liberal, as it is just and fair, to make the inquiry more general
on the subject. If any citizen has been oppressed or injured by such
prosecutions, let it be known, and let justice be done him; even now,
if with propriety any way can be devised to do so. Inquiry, however, is
all that is asked for the present.

It may be perceived, said Mr. S., and if not, I wish it should be
understood when I speak of justice being done, that I speak with
rather peculiar reference to a gentleman of this House, who has been
a principal sufferer under the well-known sedition law. I think it
never too late to do justice, under whatever circumstances or motives
of policy it may have been withheld for a time. I trust no gentleman
will, upon this occasion, suspect me of a design to excite any party
feelings. It certainly is not my wish, whatever may be the effect.
The resolution I am about to offer is not so framed, nor would it
necessarily involve the question of the constitutionality of the law.
I feel persuaded, therefore, that the different gentlemen of the House
may, from a spirit of liberality and fair concession, indulge the
inquiry asked for.

But, sir, said he, since the other inquiry has been gone into, it
cannot be unfair to say that the majority of the House owe it to
themselves to extend the inquiry, as well to cases of prosecution
under the sedition law, as to those under the common law; and I shall
be permitted to say also, they owe it as well to the feelings and
sufferings of the gentleman to whom I have alluded. Whatever may be the
aspect of political opinions and parties now, it is known to you, sir,
and a few others on this floor, that to him much is due for the present
ascendency of the majority; perhaps to no one more, to the extent of
his sphere of action and influence. In the famous contested election
for President in this House, eight or nine years ago, he gave the vote
of a State, which sufficed to decide the contest; and more especially
so, if the blank votes of the State of Maryland could have rendered
that vote doubtful. But, however such considerations may or may not
avail, nothing is more clear to me than that the inquiry should be
indulged on the most liberal principles.

    _Resolved_, That the committee, appointed to inquire into what
    prosecutions for libels at common law have been instituted
    before the courts of the United States, be instructed to
    inquire what prosecutions for libels have been instituted
    before the courts of the United States under the second section
    of the act entitled "An act in addition to an act, entitled 'An
    act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United
    States,'" passed the 14th day of July, 1798, and the expediency
    of remunerating the sufferers under such prosecutions.

Mr. SAWYER moved to amend the resolution by adding, at the end of it,
the words "and that the committee also inquire whether any and what
private compensation has been made to such suffering persons."

Mr. MACON said he did not know how the committee could go about
to make such an inquiry as that contemplated by the amendment. The
gentleman must be well satisfied that the Government could not
rightfully inquire into transactions between individuals.

Mr. DANA said that he had no particular objection to meet this inquiry.
As to the disclosure of facts as to the reimbursement by individual
contribution, it might be amusing, if this House had authority to
make it. He said he should like to know who contributed to the relief
of James Thompson Callender, when he was prosecuted; but he had some
doubt whether it was proper to enter into any inquiry or whether it
was proper to pass the resolution pointing to the remuneration of
sufferers under the sedition law. He should have supposed that it
might be proper to leave it at large for the committee to report. He
said he had certainly no objection to inquire, though he conceived
that prosecutions at common law and under the sedition law were
essentially different; because, supposing the Congress of the United
States to pass such a law, the courts of the United States might take
cognizance of it; but, without such a law, it did not belong to the
judiciary to extend its care to the protection of the Government from
slander. Such was the decision of Judge Chase, (said Mr. D.,) who
decided that the court had no jurisdiction at common law in suits for
libel; and the Supreme Court of the United States never did decide
the question. The strong contrast is this: that while there was a
description of men who said that no prosecution could be had at common
law for libel, nor under the statute which modified the common law
so as to allow the truth to be given in evidence--who, while they
excited indignation against this statute, should afterwards undertake
to institute prosecutions at common law where there was no limitation
in favor of the defendant. There is this difference in the cases: that
we find practice precisely different from professions. I do not say
that the heads of departments were instrumental in instituting these
prosecutions; but it marks some of the subordinate men who were active
in making professions. I am very willing that the proposed inquiry
should be made; but I cannot see the propriety of our undertaking to
give any opinion as to remunerating those who suffered.

Mr. STANFORD said:--Mr. Speaker, I would ask if my colleague's motion
of amendment can be in order? It is no concern of this House, or of
the Government, what private contributions may have been made to the
gentleman from Kentucky; and, if it was, the inquiry is impossible.
[The SPEAKER said, not being able to enter into the views of the mover
of the amendment, he considered the motion in order.] Then, said Mr.
S., if my colleague is anxious to know what he could not otherwise
know, I will tell him I had contributed a small sum to the gentleman
from Kentucky, as a sufferer in what was then considered a common
cause; but, upon his return to his seat in the House, he could not
brook the idea of such a contribution, and returned the amount to
myself I know, and to others I believe. My colleague would do well
to tell us how much he contributed. It was well known contributions
were made in a quarter not far from him; and if he did not, I am
well persuaded it was not for the want of sympathy on his part, or
extreme zeal in the democratic cause; for I am confident I have seen
as much or more seditious matter from under his pen, than I ever saw
from under that of the gentleman from Kentucky. Be that, however, as
it may, I am for one willing, if no constitutional difficulty can be
shown, to remunerate the sufferers--at least to take such money out
of the treasury, and restore it to its original, rightful owners; and
if it cannot be consistently done, why the inquiry can do no harm.
But, indeed, we have great examples in the case before us. Did not
the late President, when he came into place, refuse to let such money
come into the treasury in the case of the worthless Callender? As
the proper authority, he thrust it from him as unworthy the coffers
of his country; and did not his doing so meet general approbation? I
confess it met mine most cordially, and I believe it did that of my
colleague also. Have we not, moreover, the best recorded proof that the
present President holds similar opinions on this subject? His splendid
opposition to the sedition law is the proof to which I allude, and is,
in my mind, conclusive on this subject. But if it were not, where is
the impropriety of an inquiry? The House will be better able to decide
when the whole matter shall come fairly before them.

Mr. QUINCY said this appeared to be a proposition to aid a single
individual; and, by the amendment, gentlemen who had aided that
individual were anxious to prevent him from gaining more than he had
paid. It was a kind of application to the House to repay to those
persons who relieved the sufferers under the sedition act, the sums
which they had paid. If this were the object, Mr. Q. suggested whether
it would not be proper for them to come forward and lay their claim in
the ordinary form before the House.

Mr. SAWYER said he was, as he always had been, willing to contribute
his mite to the relief of the sufferers; but he did not wish to see
them remunerated from the public treasury.

Mr. LYON.--I have for some time been in suspense whether I ought, or
ought not to make any observations on the subject before the House;
delicacy on the one hand bids me be silent, while a duty I owe to
myself, to my family, and to the nation, requires (that since my
particular case has been alluded to) the members of this House and the
public should be made acquainted with many of the circumstances of
that case, which have either never come to their knowledge, or have
long been buried up among the consumed heap of political occurrences,
disputations and publications of these days. Besides, sir, I have
it in my power to throw much light on the subject of the inquiry
wished for, by the gentleman from North Carolina, (Mr. SAWYER,) who
has proposed the amendment under consideration, and I will assure the
gentleman that I shall not be backward in doing so. It is true, sir,
that I was unjustly condemned to pay a fine of one thousand dollars and
to suffer an ignominious imprisonment of four months in a loathsome
dungeon--the common receptacle of felons, runaway negroes, or the
vilest malefactors--and this when I was the Representative of the
people of Vermont in this House of Congress. It cannot be said there
was no other room in the prison, there were rooms enough; yes, sir, one
of my judges during my imprisonment, found another room in the same
jail to be imprisoned for debt in, until he gave bonds for the liberty
of the yard. To heighten the picture exhibited by official tyranny, and
to add to the cruel vexation of this transaction, I was carried out
of the county in which I lived, fifty miles from my family, kept six
weeks without fire in the months of October and November, nearly the
whole of which time the northwest wind had free admittance into the
dungeon, through the same aperture that admitted the light of heaven
into that dreary cell. And let it be asked, in these days of the mild
reign of republicanism, for what crime was all this extraordinary, this
ignominious punishment inflicted?

I hold a copy of the indictment in my hand, which includes the charge
against me. I will not trouble the House with a recital of the
technical jargon and tedious repetition of words, of course, which
constitute the bulk of such instruments. No, sir, but I will read the
identical words of the charge, which says, that on the 20th of June,
1798, Matthew Lyon wrote a letter to Alden Spooner of Windsor, Vermont,
in which he said, "as to the Executive, when I shall see the efforts
of that power bent on the promotion of the comfort, the happiness, and
accommodation of the people, that Executive shall have my zealous and
uniform support. But whenever I shall, on the part of the Executive,
see every consideration of the public welfare swallowed up in a
continual grasp for power, in an unbounded thirst for ridiculous pomp,
foolish adulation, and selfish avarice--when I shall behold men of real
merit daily turned out of office for no other cause but independence of
sentiment--when I shall see men of firmness, merit, years, abilities,
and experience, discarded in their application for offices for fear
they possess that independence; and men of meanness preferred for the
ease with which they take up and advocate opinions the consequence of
which they know but little of--when I shall see the sacred name of
religion employed as a state engine to make mankind hate and persecute
one another, I shall not be their humble advocate."

This is the whole of my crime, and what do those words amount to. Who
is here that hears these words, but what approves the sentiment they
contain? What do I say in these words, other, or more, or less, than
that when the Executive is doing right, I will support him--when doing
wrong I will not be his humble advocate? This ought to be the creed
of every member who enters these walls. Was there to be an oath or
abjuration added to the constitutional oath to be taken by the members
of this House, can any person who hears me, devise a better, or one
more proper? Could any person who really thought Mr. Adams quite clear
from all those improprieties, as merely possible from the nature of
man, mentioned in my letter, have thought of my libelling the President
by this declaration? I presume not, sir. Yet this, my crime, received
one of the condemnations which you are called upon by this motion to
constitute an inquiry into--an inquiry I cannot persuade myself will be
refused. The letter, sir, was an answer to a violent invective against
me, published in the same paper a short time before, in which besides
a number of other charges against me, it was imputed to me as a crime
that I acted in opposition to the Executive.

I did not begin the altercation. A person who was a friend to the
Adams Administration, in the act of libelling me, (one of the
constituted authorities,) ushered the Executive into his performance.
My character, ever dearer to me than life, was concerned. I deigned
to answer him, after expostulating with him on my right as one of the
constituted authorities of the nation to exercise my own judgment in
my official conduct, and showing that my merely differing with the
Executive proved no more than that the Executive differed with me. I
incidentally proceeded in the words for which I was indicted, the very
words I just now read. I was charged with neither more nor less as
coming from my pen. As if to outrage every principle of law and every
sentiment of decency and propriety, this indictment, founded on the
sedition law passed on the 14th day of July, 1798, charges me with
having in Philadelphia on the 20th of June prior, written a letter
to Alden Spooner of Vermont, which contained those words I have been
reciting. My letter was produced in court and carried the Philadelphia
post-mark of some day in the same June, I do not recollect which day;
Judge Patterson himself admitted this fact, and that it was out of my
power and control in the June before the sedition law was passed. Thus
the indictment, which was the foundation of the barbarous treatment I
received, carried on its front its own condemnation; but this defect
was remedied by the ingenuity of the party judge, who dexterously
mingled his assertions that the crime was cognizable under the common
law, with his admonitions to a pliant jury not to be deterred from
finding a verdict where the man who wrote was a member of Congress, and
knew the sedition law was about to be passed, and probably hurried his
letter to evade the law.

It may be said, sir, that I was charged in the indictment with
publishing a copy of a letter, from an American diplomatic character
in France, to a member of Congress, commonly called the Barlow letter.
I was so, and there was a third count in the indictment for aiding
and abetting in the publication of said letter. The words selected
as seditious were as follow: "The misunderstanding between the two
governments has become extremely alarming: confidence is completely
destroyed; mistrust, jealousy, and a wrong attribution of motives, are
so apparent as to require the utmost caution in every word and action
that are to come from your Executive; I mean if your object is to avoid
hostilities. Had this truth been understood with you before the recall
of Monroe, before the coming and the second coming of Pinkney, had it
guided the pens that wrote the bullying speech of your President, and
the stupid answer of your Senate, in November last, I should probably
have had no occasion to address you this letter; but when we found him
borrowing the language of Edmund Burke, and telling the world that
although he should succeed in treating with the French, there was no
dependence to be placed on their engagements; that their religion or
morality was at an end, and they had turned pirates and plunderers;
and it would be necessary to be perpetually armed against them, though
you were at peace, we wondered that the answer of both Houses had not
been an order to send him to a madhouse! Instead of this, the Senate
have echoed his speech with more servility than ever George the Third
experienced from either house of Parliament." No proof appeared on the
trial of my printing, or aiding or abetting in printing, or circulating
a printed copy of this famous letter. I had read the copy of the letter
in company, but the advocates of the sedition law would never admit
that such reading was punishable by that law. The printer who printed
the letter, swore that he had been anxious to get the letter from me,
and that I had refused to suffer it to be printed, and repelled every
attempt to persuade me to the printing; that he had obtained the copy
of the letter in my absence. The fact was, that my wife was persuaded
by a gentleman who is now a member of this House, that the Republican
cause and my election (which was pending) would be injured if the
letter was not published; and, as I understood, she gave it to him, the
letter was printed, and that gentleman had some of the copies before
I came home. I suppressed the remainder of the edition. The judge,
finding no proof to support this part of the charge, directed the jury
to find a verdict of guilty generally, as there could be no doubt of my
being guilty on the first count. I had acknowledged my having written
the letter to Alden Spooner. They did so. I will not detain the House
by going into a detail of the manner in which that jury was packed.
After all the care and management in the original selection, there
was one man on it whose honesty my persecutors feared; and, to get him
off, a wretch falsely swore that the summoned juryman had expressed
to him something like an opinion that I could not be found guilty.
I will not here dwell upon the judge's denial to me of a challenge
upon the jury--as great a crime as any Judge Chase was charged with.
I look for an investigation of this business when all the features
of it shall come fairly to public view. Should that investigation be
refused at this time, I shall not fail to look for it at some future
time. I can never forgive the unjust stigma that has been placed on
my character; and should justice be refused me during my whole life,
I will leave it with my children and theirs to seek it. When my
enemies wounded my feelings, robbed me of my property, and affected
temporarily my reputation, I consoled myself that my friends would
soon be in power, and they would make every thing right. My wounded
honor would be consoled; the wound would be healed--a share at least
of the property of which I had been deprived, would be reimbursed.
How cruelly have I been thus far disappointed! Generous men, at the
time I suffered, said it is enough for you to bear the mortification
of the temporary insult--we will share with you the loss of property.
Under this impression much money was collected, the greater part of
which went to relieve oppressed Republican printers--it has all been
charged to me. I never asked, nor would I have received a cent of this
gratuity, could I have avoided it without insulting the benevolent
views of the good man (Gen. Stevens Thompson Mason, deceased) who set
the subscription on foot. That good man gave me a list of those to
whom he considered me beholden, and the amount; while the thing was
fresh in every one's mind I made a compliment, which he considered
ample, and more than ample, to every one of those on that list that was
within my reach; to those few that remain on that list uncompensated,
I feel beholden and much indebted. As the thing has grown old, and as
I have come in contact with those gentlemen, I have felt myself in an
embarrassed, awkward situation, from which I wished to be relieved by
being able to say to them, the public have restored your money--here
it is--it is yours, not mine. Judging other men to have feelings like
myself, I am at a loss how to get rid of the obligation I feel, in any
other way than the restoration of their money when it comes in a way
they cannot refuse it. From this source my anxiety for the restoration
of the money unjustly taken from me, arises more than any other; and
on every review of the subject, I am bound to say that I have been
more cruelly treated by the neglect of a duty to which my friends had
pledged themselves, when they declared me innocent and patriotic,
than by enemies who thought me guilty, and found me goading them in
their progress toward the destruction of the liberty and republicanism
of this country. As if to make their cruelty more insupportable,
insult is added to the injury, by daily insinuations that I am bound
by gratitude to stand by those who call themselves Republicans, in
all their projects, right or wrong. Before I was elected a member of
Congress from the State of Kentucky, I sent to a member of this House,
who had promised me to bring it forward, a petition to be laid before
the House of Representatives for redress in this case. He returned the
petition to my son in a letter, which I have in my hand--in which he
says, "I am sorry and ashamed that I have not presented the petition.
I have not wrote to your father, and confess I am ashamed; pray you,
the first time you write to Colonel Lyon, do endeavor to make an excuse
for me." Such I believe was the impression of most of those I had acted
with in the reign of terror, as we called it; but that impression has
been wearing off, it seems, while my feelings have been every day
increasing in their poignancy at their neglect of a duty, to which they
had solemnly pledged themselves, while they were struggling with their
adversaries for pre-eminence and power. Happily the awful silence which
surrounded this extraordinary business has been broken. I consider this
a prelude to investigation and a correct issue; and, let the event of
the vote now about to be taken be what it may, I shall not despair.

I shall at this time say no more on this subject than to declare
I wish not to have my case singled out for reparation. I wish the
investigation general; the provision for remuneration general, to all
who suffered under the lash of that unconstitutional sedition law.

Mr. SAWYER'S amendment was negatived without a division.

Mr. ROSS rose to propose another amendment to the resolution. It was a
fact, he said, well known in almost every part of the United States,
that the people in the district from which he had just been returned,
had suffered as much in the cause of democracy as that of any other;
that they had presented as firm a barrier to Federal oppression, and
perhaps had as just claims as any other people in the United States
to remuneration for losses in the cause. It was well known that at
the time that high-handed measures were taken in this country, an
insurrection had taken place in Pennsylvania, commonly known by the
name of the Hot-water Insurrection; that it occurred in consequence
of the oppression of the law for the collection of a direct tax.
Many persons who had opposed the law, under the idea of its being
unconstitutional, were prosecuted, punished, and some of them, in
consequence of those prosecutions and the sentence resulting from them,
expired in prison. To some who remained after the aspect of the affairs
of the country was changed, mercy was extended by the United States;
but to those whose prosecutions and convictions were of an earlier
date, lenity was not extended; they were compelled to pay their fines
before they could be relieved from imprisonment. Mr. R. declared his
object in rising to be, to move to amend the resolution in such a
way as to instruct the committee to inquire whether any, and if any,
what compensation and remuneration should be made to the persons who
suffered and were punished in consequence of an act to lay and collect
a direct tax in the United States.

Mr. DANA said the gentleman's amendment contemplated remunerating those
who suffered by their opposition to a statute. He would propose an
amendment to inquire into the propriety of remunerating those who had
suffered by their submission (not by their opposition) to the several
acts respecting the embargo, certainly so much more meritorious conduct
than that of opposition. As respected the whole of this subject,
he said he was very free to declare that as regarded those who had
been prosecuted at common law in the State of Connecticut, who had
certainly been at very considerable expense, their defence perhaps
having cost them several thousand dollars, yet, on the principle of
correct legislation, he had not the least idea of remunerating them.
Where shall we stop, said Mr. D., if we tread back on the steps of each
other? We shall have opportunity enough for censure in reviewing our
conduct. Perhaps it might be as well to draw the veil of oblivion over
past transactions, and learn from experience to err no more.

Mr. JOHNSON said, that however much the act laying a direct tax was
disapproved, and arose from measures which were improper, yet he had
never deemed it an unconstitutional law, as he had the sedition law. He
should therefore vote against the amendment and for the resolution.

Mr. GARDENIER suggested to the gentleman from Pennsylvania, since
he had brought the subject before the House, the propriety of going
the whole length of his principle. To my mind it is very clear, said
he, that if those who oppose the law are to be remunerated, for what
it cost them in consequence of prosecution, you must go only on
the principle that the direct tax never ought to have been laid at
all. If the law was right, it was improper to oppose it. If it was
improper, perhaps according to modern democracy, it might be proper
to oppose it by force. That, to my mind, is a very dangerous doctrine
for legislators to broach; it is a doctrine to which I myself can
never agree, for it is making Government a nullity. The suggestion
which I wish to make is this: that if those men who suffered in the
Hot-water Insurrection are to be remunerated, it is no more than fair
that those should be remunerated who have quietly paid this tax. They
were at least respectful to the laws. The committee therefore ought
to be instructed to inquire into the propriety of repaying to the
several contributors in the various States the direct tax, collected
from them, unless there be something so admirable, so lovely, so
worthy of encouragement in insurrection, that those concerned in it
have peculiar claims to encouragement by Government. If that be the
case, the gentleman stopped at the proper point. If there was nothing
in insurrection, however, which the Legislature would feel it proper
to cherish, the gentleman should either go the whole length of his
principle or not touch it at all.

Mr. ROSS said he had not undertaken to state any principle at all.
His object was to refer the subject to a committee to decide upon. He
had not said that he considered the original resolution to contain a
correct principle; it was a point left for the committee to consider
and for the House to determine on. But if it was a correct principle
that those who suffered under the sedition law should be remunerated,
he said he had no hesitation in saying that his constituents, who had
suffered as materially and as much as any for the democratic interest
in this country, should be placed on the same ground as those who
were asking for the favor of the House for no better reason; and when
the gentleman calls upon me, said Mr. R., to go the whole length of
a principle which he states, it is calling upon me to do that which
is consequent on a principle which I have not assumed. The gentleman
from Kentucky conceives that there is a difference between the cases
alluded to in my amendment and the cases arising under the sedition
law. Where is the difference, sir? In both cases they were laws of the
United States: in both cases the judges of the courts of the United
States were authorized to proceed. In neither of the cases did they
decide the law unconstitutional. If, then, persons were punished by
the sedition law in its full operation, carried into effect by the
constituted authorities, where, I ask, is the distinction between that
and any other law? To all the purposes of legality, that law is as much
legal as that under which the direct tax was instituted. Whether the
law under which a direct tax was collected, was constitutional or not,
has it not as equally received the disapprobation of the Republicans
of the United States as the sedition law? If then it was the object of
the democratic party to rid the country of such a law as much as of the
sedition law, I ask whether those who suffered under each law have not
equal claims? There can be no legal claim upon the House under either
law; but we know that it was the hardy yeomanry who presented a firm
phalanx to the irresistible torrent of injurious laws of the Federal
Administration, and who gave the present party the ascendency, and many
of them have not, as the gentleman from Kentucky has been, compensated
for their suffering by a long continuance in an honorable and lucrative
office which he enjoys by the confidence of his constituents.

Mr. POTTER declared himself at a loss to know whether the House was
sitting here as a branch of the Legislature to pass laws, or as a body
to remunerate those concerned in the violation of them. The House sit
here to make laws and not to encourage those who resisted them; but if
they determined to give premiums for the violations of laws, they had
better depart home at once.

Mr. RHEA wished the House to get rid of this motion and the amendment
as speedily as possible. If the House were to go on as it had commenced
the session, the whole time of the House would be spent about nothing,
discussing propositions which could not possibly produce good to the
nation. He therefore moved to postpone the whole subject indefinitely.

Mr. MACON said he had been in hopes when this motion had been made,
that it would be one of the happy days of the House; that the question
proposed would occupy the whole day in debate, and that all would
agree in it at last. As to comparing this case with that of the direct
tax, it was notorious that the discussion on the sedition law and the
public opinion also took a very different turn from that which it
took on any other law. The whole discussion (said Mr. M.) as well as
I recollect, turned upon the constitutionality of the law. Then, if
it is still believed that the law was unconstitutional, I leave it to
gentlemen to say whether it can be viewed in the same light as a law,
the constitutionality of which is not disputed. In the one case, trials
took place for speaking and writing; in the other case for opposing
the execution of a law. I wish this question to be settled for this
reason: In all governments where liberty and freedom have existed,
parties also have had existence. Thinking honestly produces parties.
That those gentlemen who were in power when the sedition law was
passed, should step a little too far, was not so much to be wondered
at as that those who came after them should do so; because they were
making the first experiment of the instrument. I then believed, and
do still believe, that the law was unconstitutional. Taking up this
question, the original resolution of my colleague is that remuneration
should be made to those people who suffered under it; but seeing that
the question with respect to the constitutionality of the law had
always been matter of dispute, it proposes that a committee shall
inquire into the subject. The House is no farther committed by passing
this resolution, than to consent to the inquiry being made. I submit
it to the candor and reflection of gentlemen of all parties, whether
this thing, in a national point of view, can produce any evil--on
the contrary, may it not produce good? All that has been said about
the direct tax laws can have no other effect than to draw off the
attention of the House from the true question before them. The question
on this law, in my mind, is a different one from any other law which
has been passed. I feel no hesitation in acknowledging that it is my
opinion that all the sufferers ought to be remunerated, both those
who suffered under the sedition law, and those who suffered under
the common law. It is the business of all parties to settle amicably
as they can any subject of contention between persons of different
political persuasions. If this first resolution should be referred
to a committee, and they report that the law was unconstitutional,
I will venture to pronounce that no majority will ever again make a
law of that kind. If, sir, the sufferers under the sedition law did
suffer contrary to the constitution, ought not their expenses to be
reimbursed? On the subject of contribution, I know that that party to
which I was attached, did contribute, and did consider it an honorable
cause. I was willing (and there are gentlemen in this House who know
it) to open my purse when a man of a very different political creed
from myself, Peter Porcupine, was oppressed. I care not of what party a
man be, that is oppressed. I can prove that the party opposed to me in
politics have also subscribed. It is all no more than the subscriptions
for printing speeches which are occasionally made in the House, in
which gentlemen of all parties unite. Suppose that the whole fine in
any particular case had been paid by individual subscription, what has
the Government to do with that? Will it be contended, because an old
soldier who received a pension also received individual contributions,
that the pension should be taken from him, or that the Government is
thereby acquitted of what it owed him? Surely not; the Government
has nothing to do with transactions between individuals. As to the
particular gentleman brought into this discussion, I believe that every
man that contributed any thing towards paying the fine levied on him,
was remunerated to his satisfaction. I have thought proper to state
these opinions of mine, and to avow myself in favor of reimbursing the
sufferers. But before I sit down, I must say that my opinion of modern
democracy is very different from that of the gentleman from New York.
I consider it as neither leading to insurrection, rebellion, nor any
such thing. I believe that the true principle of every modern democrat,
is, that the law constitutionally made is supreme, and is to be obeyed;
that it has nothing to do with riots, rebellion, and insurrection.
I know very well, and shall not deny it, that there are times when
insurrection is a holy thing, but it is not peculiarly attributable
to democracy. With us, election puts every thing to rights; and on
them every man of pure democratic principles depends. It is doubtful
whether the question of the constitutionality of the sedition law can
be settled in a more easy way, and in a mode less liable to irritation,
than that proposed by my colleague. If the committee report as I wish,
it is well; if not, it settles the question forever; and it is surely
desirable that the question should be settled. However gentlemen may
differ, as to the principle proposed to be investigated, they might
with propriety vote for the inquiry, as it is the ordinary course of
every day. I do not consider this as proposing to give a premium to
violators of the laws. I know that much depends in this world on names;
and that if you give any man or thing a bad name, whether merited or
not, it is difficult to get rid of it. I hope the House will not be
deterred from this inquiry by any name attempted to be given to it.
It is proper that this question should be settled; and if considered
now, it will be settled by a body which did not partake of the heats
of those times, and when, to say the least of it, there is a little
division in the great parties of the nation; and it seems to me that
the gentleman who moved it has been fortunate in the selection of his
time. Eight years have elapsed, a new President is just inducted, and
the question is now brought up for our decision. I am sorry that any
member of this House should make a motion with no other view but for
procrastination. I do not believe that my colleague who made this
motion is more in the habit of procrastinating the public business
than other members of the House; and I was in hopes that there would
have been no dissentient voice to his motion. He only asks of you to
let the inquiry be made. He does not ask a single member of the House
to commit himself upon the question, but merely asks that a committee
may be permitted to inquire into it; and this, it seems to me, is
no extraordinary request. I hope that the resolution, without being
trammelled with any extraneous matter, will be passed.

Mr. KEY said he should vote for indefinite postponement of the
resolution. What good purpose could its adoption answer, unless the
House had the power to take money from the Treasury of the United
States for the purpose of remunerating any person who had suffered?
Had Congress that power? He apprehended not. He could see no such
power amongst those delegated to Congress. The gentleman from North
Carolina admitted the House were under no obligation to remunerate the
sufferers; and if the gentleman would turn to the rules laid down for
the definition of the powers of Congress, he would see that there was
no authority to draw money from the Treasury for this purpose. Under
that view of the constitution, Mr. K. said he must vote for indefinite

Mr. MACON asked under what clause of the constitution Captain Murray
and others had been remunerated? Under what clause money paid into the
Treasury had been returned in various instances? The right to take,
gave the right to return that which was taken. In many instances this
principle had been practised on. There was no law to authorize the
punishment of a man for robbing the mail; but it was derived from the
power of establishing post roads. The power of refunding money was one
which had been often exercised.

Mr. GARDENIER was in favor of an inquiry. It was not only proper
that an inquiry should be made, but it was the bounden duty of the
House to make it. A member of the House in his place had stated facts
which if true undoubtedly entitled him to their interference. Our
duty (said Mr. G.) is imperative. The case of the gentleman does not
rest upon the question whether the sedition law was constitutional or
unconstitutional, but upon the fact that he was not a proper object for
the exercise of that law. For, if the statement made be correct, he was
punished for uttering a creed which would not be improper for every
member of the House; and I will say that subsequent events have shown
the sincerity with which the gentleman did make it; that he had kept
his promise most religiously; that it was not applicable to those men,
or that time, any more than to the present, but was a creed on which
he practised before and ever since, so far as his political course is
known to me. It is a case in which the privileges of the members of
this House are materially concerned. If under the sedition law for a
letter written by a member of this House to his constituents, giving
his view of public measures, he has been punished, it concerns the
safety of this House that complete and perfect remuneration should
be made. It is as important that every member should be permitted to
speak freely to his constituents, as that he should without restraint
address the Chair of the House. It was a case, therefore, which never
ought to have been the subject of a judicial investigation, much less
considered as a crime. The gentleman at the time followed the dictates
of his conscience. To his conscience and his God alone should he be
responsible. Sir, should we refuse an inquiry into this case, when we
know that the fine of James Thompson Callender, for one of the most
atrocious libels ever written in the United States, was remitted? When
we know that it was remitted by the President of the United States,
after the money had been received by the proper receiving officer
of the United States, when it had passed out of the hands of James
Thompson Callender into the hands of the officer of Government, and
was, to all intents and purposes, in the Treasury of the United States,
because there is no such thing as a treasury in which money is actually
deposited--for a libel, too, in which the great Father of his Country
was treated with a shameless indignity, which could not but have gone
to the heart of every man? When the President of the United States was
in that libel called a hoary-headed incendiary, should that fine be
returned, and shall a gentleman in this House be fined and imprisoned
for that which was not even improper? Shall we not restore to him that
which others have been suffered to retain, and for which we have not
brought to question him who restored it after it was in possession
of the receiving officer of the United States--in fact, after it was
in the Treasury? Let us not be guilty of this inconsistency. If the
sedition law has gone to the tomb of the Capulets, and I believe it
has, I am not one who wishes to bear up against the people's voice;
the Government is theirs, and when they speak we obey. If under that
law the Government has received money for an act which really, if the
statement of the gentleman be true, could scarcely be considered an
offence within the purview of that law, will you not give it back
to him? Either give back the money in the case, or take measures to
recover that money which was given back in the other. I am not for
making fish of one and flesh of another. Whilst on this subject I will
declare that I never did consider the sedition law as unconstitutional.
Congress were competent to pass it. But, that parties will sometimes
in the ardor of their course exceed the limits of discretion, and do
violence to the milder feeling of the community in which they live,
has been proved in the Adams Administration, and in that which has
lately disappeared; and when they have cooled down, it is but rendering
justice to the sense of the country to acknowledge their errors. No,
sir, I am satisfied that all prosecutions for libels on the Government
should be at least very hesitatingly sustained. You cannot draw a
precise line by which you shall limit the right of investigation. The
two things are so blended together that you cannot separate them. You
must either make the Government supreme or the people supreme. I am
for the latter. As Dr. Johnson makes Lord Chesterfield say, liberty
and licentiousness are blended like the colors in the rainbow; it is
impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins. Licentiousness
is a speck on the eye of the political body, which you can never touch
without injuring the eye itself. I hope and trust that with this
investigation will be connected an inquiry into the prosecutions at
common law in Connecticut. I have seen in the State of New York, but
not under the present Administration, a defendant coming into court,
begging only to be permitted to prove that what he had said was true;
I have seen also an Attorney-General rise to prevent it: I have seen
the truth smothered on the trial by men who were as clamorous against
the sedition law as any loud-mouthed patriot in the country. I have
seen them bringing almost to the block the victim who may only wish to
prove the truth of what he said--which was denied him. I mention this
to show that where parties are contending against each other, where
there is a majority on one hand and a minority on the other, that which
appears on paper proper for the protection of the Government, turns out
to be for the oppression of the minority. In the nature of parties it
cannot be otherwise. Therefore, in my opinion, the Government of the
United States cannot render a greater service than by declaring it will
not be accessary to any diminution of the rights of the citizen; that
free investigation shall in all cases be permitted. Mr. G. made some
further observations on the particular case of Mr. LYON, and concluded
by expressing his hope that the resolution would pass.

The question that the resolution be postponed indefinitely, was decided
by yeas and nays--yeas 69, nays 50.

MONDAY, May 29.

Several other members, to wit: from Massachusetts, ORCHARD COOK; and
from Pennsylvania, BENJAMIN SAY and JOHN SMILIE, appeared, produced
their credentials, were qualified, and took their seats.


JULIAN POYDRAS appeared, produced his credentials, was qualified, and
took his seat, as the Delegate for the Territory of Orleans.

Mr. MCKIM presented a petition of thirty-five American citizens
confined at Carthagena, in South America, under sentence of slavery,
stating that, through means of falsehood and deception, they were
induced to engage in the unlawful expedition of Miranda, fitted out
from the city of New York, in the year one thousand eight hundred and
six, and that they were captured by the Spaniards, and condemned to
slavery, and praying that Congress will take their distressing case
into consideration, and effect their release and return to their native
country.--Referred to Mr. MCKIM, Mr. SAY, Mr. EMOTT, Mr. ROANE, and Mr.
COCHRAN, to examine the matter thereof, and report the same, with their
opinion thereupon, to the House.

MONDAY, June 5.

Two other members, to wit: EZEKIEL WHITMAN, from Massachusetts,
and RICHARD WYNN, from South Carolina, appeared, produced their
credentials, were qualified, and took their seats in the House.

A message from the Senate informed the House that the Senate, having
been informed of the death of the Honorable FRANCIS MALBONE, one of the
Senators from the State of Rhode Island, have directed the same to be
communicated to this House.

On motion of Mr. POTTER,

_Resolved, unanimously_, That this House will attend the funeral of
FRANCIS MALBONE, Esquire, late a member of the Senate of the United

_Resolved, unanimously_, That this House do wear mourning on the left
arm for the space of one month, in testimony of their respect for the
memory of the deceased.

TUESDAY, June 6.

Another member, to wit, WILSON C. NICHOLAS, from Virginia, appeared,
produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.


Another member, to wit, ERASTUS ROOT, from New York, appeared, produced
his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.

FRIDAY, June 9.

Another member, to wit, NICHOLAS VAN DYKE, from Delaware, appeared,
produced his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the House.

MONDAY, June 12.

                        _Mississippi Territory._

The SPEAKER presented a petition enclosed to him from a number of
inhabitants of the district east of Pearl river, in the Mississippi
Territory, praying for the division of the Territory.

Mr. POINDEXTER moved that the petition lie on the table. It would
perhaps be disrespectful to the petitioners to reject it, although its
contents would merit that course. There were three parties who must,
by the ordinance for the government of the Territory, consent before
the Territory of the Mississippi could be divided. One party was the
Mississippi Territory, the other the State of Georgia, and the third
the United States. Neither of these parties had consented. There was,
therefore, an absolute interdiction to all legislation on the subject;
and the House could, with as much propriety, refer a petition from a
State to be exempt from general taxation, or to recede from the Union,
as to refer this petition.

Mr. BURWELL said he felt himself bound to oppose the motion for its
lying on the table. If the request was wholly improper, the report of a
committee to that effect would settle the question at once.

Mr. BIBB was in favor of the motion; though, had a motion been made to
reject it, he should have voted against it.

Mr. MACON was in favor of a reference of the petition. No harm could
arise from an inquiry into it.

Mr. TROUP admitted the correctness of the remarks of the delegate from
the Territory, but wished the petition to be referred to a committee
for the purpose of an inquiry as well into the amount of population in
that country as into its quality; whether it was lawful or unlawful.
There were certain facts connected with this subject, perhaps not
generally known to the House. In the course of last year, he had
understood that a great many persons, amounting to perhaps three or
four thousand, had crossed the Tennessee river, and fixed themselves
on its banks, not only contrary to law, but the impression was that
they had set out in defiance of the law, and had even gone so far as to
organize themselves into military associations for the purpose.

Mr. POINDEXTER observed that there had been a settlement contrary to
the existing law on Tennessee near about a year ago; but that they were
ordered to be driven off by the military force, except they would take
permission to reside as tenants at will. Some had done so, and some had
been driven off.

Mr. TROUP said he knew that orders had been given to remove them,
but of their removal and dispersion he had not heard. He said he had
further understood that there were, in the county of Madison alone,
two or three thousand intruders, and many of them settled on Indian
lands, whose owners they excited to hostilities. There was another
fact, of which the House might keep possession. Among these intruders
was one of the name of Harrison, he believed, who claimed under what
was called the Tennessee Yazoo claims, and who settled on the land
with his retainers, and deliberately began to apportion it among them.
Whether he had been dispossessed, Mr. T. said he did not know. It
was absolutely necessary to ascertain the situation of that country,
and therefore he should vote for the reference of the petition to a

The petition was ordered to lie on the table--67 to 27.

TUESDAY, June 13.

                        _Miranda's Exhibition._

The House went into Committee of the Whole on the following resolution,
reported by the committee appointed to consider the petition of
thirty-six citizens concerned in Miranda's expedition, and now confined
in the vaults of Carthagena, South America:

    "_Resolved_, That the President of the United States be
    requested to adopt the most immediate and efficacious means
    in his power to obtain the liberation of the prisoners, if it
    shall appear to his satisfaction that they were involuntarily
    drawn into the unlawful enterprise in which they were engaged;
    and that ---- dollars be appropriated for that purpose."

Mr. MCKIM observed, that he believed nothing further would be necessary
for the attainment of this object than an application by the Government
of the United States; he then moved to fill the blank in the resolution
with such a sum ($3,500) as would defray the expense of sending a
vessel there and clothing the prisoners previous to their return.

Mr. RANDOLPH said he believed there would be no better time than on
this motion to express the disapprobation which he felt of the report;
for he was unwilling in his representative capacity, to give one cent
of the public money for bringing back into the bosom of the body
politic these unfortunate but guilty men. He knew how invidious a task
it was to appear to lean to the side of inhumanity; he knew how very
natural it was for the mind of man to relent after the commission of a
crime, and to see nothing in a culprit but his misfortunes, forgetting
his guilt; but there were occasions, and he took this to be one, where
to lean apparently to the side of humanity is an act of as great
injustice and cruelty to society as the Legislature can commit. What
were the House about to do? To make an appropriation of money for an
extraordinary purpose of foreign intercourse. Was not the President
of the United States already invested with power to negotiate with
the Spanish Government on this, as well as with any other Government
on any subject? Was the President of the United States presumed to
have turned a deaf ear to the cries of our suffering countrymen in
captivity in a foreign nation? Mr. R. said this was not like a question
of redeeming our countrymen from slavery in Barbary or Tripoli; but it
was a question whether this Government would lend its countenance to
that class of men who were concerned in the expeditions of Miranda and
Aaron Burr. He for one said, that he would not consent to it; and that
those persons who, above the dull pursuits of civil life, had enlisted
under these leaders, might take for him, however he might feel for
their situation as men, the lot which they themselves had selected. He
said he considered them as voluntarily expatriated from this country,
and among the articles of commerce and manufacture, which it might be
contemplated to encourage by bounty and premiums, he confessed for one,
that the importation of such citizens as these was not an article of
traffic which would meet with any encouragement from him. So far from
being afraid of any ill consequences resulting from the sparseness of
our population, he was afraid that our population, (and experience has
tested the fact,) sparse as it was in number, in quality was redundant.
We have been told, said Mr. R., and I believe it, that but the other
day the Foreign Office in Great Britain cast its eyes on Colonel Burr,
and that they either did commit him--I understand that he was committed
and stood so for some time, and was only released on condition of
quitting the country--that they either did commit or threaten to
imprison that unfortunate man. I want to know, sir, if he had stood
so committed, in what respect his case, in a political point of view,
would have stood contradistinguished from that of these petitioners?
I can see no difference but such as, in my mind, would have operated
to his advantage. There is an equality of guilt, but on his part a
superiority of intellectual character which would have rendered him, if
there is to be an accession to the State by bringing back to its bosom
those who have voluntarily thrown themselves out of the protection of
the country, a more valuable acquisition, or rather a less valuable
loss, than these unfortunate men.

It appears to me, sir, that in passing this resolution we shall hold
up a premium to vice; for, if this proposition be agreed to, when some
new Miranda or Burr comes forward with his project, he will tell his
conspirators that they will have nothing more to do, should the matter
turn out adversely, than to put up a face and tell Congress that they
were involuntarily drawn into it. An extraordinary mode, to be sure, of
volunteering to go against their will. These _involuntary_ volunteers
will be told they will have nothing to do but throw the whole weight
of the blame on the original mover of the expedition, and Congress
will tax their fellow-creatures--who, poor souls, had not enlarged
and liberal minds, and were content with the dull pursuits of civil
life--for redeeming them, clothing them, and bringing them back again
to society. I wish the committee to take the thing into consideration.
As men and Christians our conduct is to be governed by one rule; as
representatives of the people other considerations are proper. There
is, in the proposed interference, no justice; there may be much mercy,
but it is a mercy which carries cruelty, if not deliberate, the most
pernicious of all possible species of cruelty, along with it. Suppose
these men had been arrested and tried in this country, what would have
been their lot? It is difficult for me to say. I am no lawyer; but I
suppose, under the mild institutions in some of our States, they would
have been condemned to hard labor for life. In what do they differ, to
their advantage from other felons? In nothing. Who would step forward
to rescue them from that punishment due to their crime if convicted by
our own courts? Nobody. Everybody would have said that they deserved
it. Now, on the contrary, having escaped the hand of justice in this
country, and fallen into the grasp of the strong hand of power in
another country, we are not contented to let them reap what they have
sown; we are not contented to leave them in the hands of justice. I
believe that there exists a proper disposition in the Executive to
interfere, where American citizens are wrongfully treated abroad.
And, shall we come forward and open the public purse, and assume on
ourselves the responsibility of that act which the President refuses
to do, and thus share among us the imputation, such as it may be,
which society chooses to cast upon us in consequence of it, instead of
letting it fall singly and individually upon him, in case he chooses
to incur it? No, sir. I have no disposition to pass this resolution to
take the responsibility upon myself. In short, I should have been glad,
if instead of telling us that these men are unfortunate and miserable,
(for who are so unfortunate and miserable as the truly guilty?) that
the members of that committee, or the respectable chairman himself, had
come forward and shown the claim of these petitioners to the peculiar
patronage of the country. So far from any disposition to bring them
back, I would allow a drawback or bounty on the exportation of every
man of similar principles.

Mr. EMOTT said, that as he had been a member of the committee whose
report was now under consideration, he felt the propriety of making a
few observations to show the expediency of adopting the resolution. In
order to obtain the release of these miserable and deluded men, it was
necessary that the Government should interfere, because the Spanish
Government never would release them till such application was made. The
only money necessary to be paid was not to the Spanish Government, but
to defray the expense of bringing back the prisoners. It was not to buy
their liberty, but to employ a person to go there to request it.

It had been said that the President had power to attempt the release of
these persons without any resolution of the House. Mr. E. said he would
not enter into that consideration. He knew, if the President had the
power, that he had not chosen to exercise it; and if the House could
find from the statement of the situation of these men that they ought
to be relieved, they should not refrain from expressing their opinion,
merely because the President had the power and would not exercise it.

It might be necessary, Mr. E. said, to call to the minds of the
committee the situation of these men. They were persons employed by
Miranda, in his expedition, who, he undertook to say, did not know that
they were going on any expedition contrary to the laws of the country.
When taken, they had been tried by the Spaniards on a charge of piracy,
and condemned to lie in a dungeon for a term of years. They prayed the
Congress for its interposition in their behalf.

It had been said that these men knowingly engaged in this expedition.
Mr. E. said he believed that they did not; but, admitting, for a
moment, that this was the case; that they did know the pursuit on
which they were entering, they should not, for that reason alone, be
suffered to lie in prison. Let it be understood, said Mr. E., that this
expedition, whatever it was, was carried on, in the face of day, in the
city of New York, and that equipments of the vessels and enlistments
were made without interruption in the face of day. And would these
persons believe that they were going on an unlawful expedition? They
might have enlisted from the best motives; and, supposing that they had
enlisted under the knowledge that they were going on an expedition, yet
seeing that it was carried on in open day without interruption from the
Government, he much doubted whether these poor men ought to be suffered
to lie in prison.

But, putting motives aside, these men declare that they did not
understand the nature of the service for which they were engaged; and
this statement the committee who made the report had brought themselves
to believe. Let it be recollected that these unfortunate individuals
were lying in prison; and, although they had, by some means, forwarded
a petition here, they could not attend in person to urge their claim
to relief by proofs presented to the House. The persons who procured
these men to go on this expedition certainly would not be very willing
to come forward and give testimony; because, by so doing, they might
criminate themselves and render themselves liable to the operation
of the laws of their country. Considering that these persons were
removed thousands of miles from us, that they were unfriended, and
that the persons who alone could prove that their intent was innocent,
would not come forward for fear of criminating themselves, he thought
these men were entitled to commiseration, and he believed that it
was in his power to show two or three circumstances which would
convince the House that they had no knowledge of the nature of this
expedition. The first circumstance was the extreme improbability
that these men would have engaged in this expedition, if the nature
of it had been explained. Had Mr. Smith or General Miranda gone to
these men and said, "we are going on an expedition against the laws
of the country, and, if taken, you will be punished under the laws
of one country or the other," it is extremely improbable that they
would have engaged. It is not likely that Miranda or Mr. Smith avowed
their purposes, and told them that they were going on an expedition
hostile in its nature, and against the laws of the country, because its
object was to revolutionize a nation in amity with the United States.
It is impossible that these men should have known the nature of the
expedition, when it was not known to the Government here, however
public. This circumstance, to me, is conclusive, to show that these
young men did not know it. There might have been persons who did; if
you please, Mr. Ogden, who furnished the ship, or others, but it is
impossible to believe, that these men, who were mere soldiers for
carrying on the expedition, knew the nature of it. I am convinced that
these persons, all privates--for the officers were executed--did not
know why they did enlist, or that the corps was for the purpose to
which it was actually designed.

I have said, and perhaps every person here knows, that the whole of the
business was carried on in the face of day. Here were General Miranda
and Mr. Smith coming to the seat of Government, and back to New York,
procuring clothes, enlisting men. Can it be conceived that all this
could have been carried on, if General Miranda had not meant to conceal
it from the Government? But it is in my power to furnish something more
than mere conjecture on this subject. The committee will recollect that
a greater part of this transaction took place at New York. There the
men were to rendezvous, there the vessel was furnished, and to that
State most of the young men who are now in South America did belong.
In that State this matter was the subject of judicial investigation.
Mr. Smith and Mr. Ogden were indicted. I will read a part of the
evidence given on the trial, which will satisfy any one, at least it
has satisfied me, that these men had no hand in it. Mr. Fink, who was
produced as evidence on the part of the Government to convict Mr.
Smith, was the person who was intrusted with enlistments.

On the same trial there was one of the persons who has actually
enlisted who deposed that the same information which Peter Rose
received was given to others. This man also was a private in the
expedition, and swears that the person who employed him told him that
he was to be employed in the service of the Government; that he was to
be carried to Washington by water and thence to New Orleans. The men
who now petition Congress are persons who are placed precisely in the
same situation. We find, in the course of the trial, that the person
employed to enlist the men, declares that the person employing him
refused to tell him for what purpose they were to be enlisted, and, of
course, he could not inform those whom he enlisted.

Mr. E. said he had already remarked the extreme difficulty under
which these persons labored, that they were at a distance of several
thousand miles from this country, incarcerated, and friendless. He had
satisfied his mind that they had engaged in this business unknowingly
and unwillingly--and, what was now asked of the Government? That they
should expend large sums of money for the purpose of buying them out?
No. All that the Spanish Government wanted, he undertook to say, was,
that a request should be made by the Government of this country for
those men; and all the money required for this service, was money
enough to send an agent there and facilitate his return.

Nothing had been said by him, Mr. E. remarked, of the peculiar
sufferings of these men; but there were representations enough, to
show that they were chained naked in a dungeon, without clothing, and
without wood. Some had died and others must die. He hoped, therefore,
for the reasons which he had given, that the committee would be
satisfied that these men were not guilty of crime. If not guilty, he
hoped there could be no doubt that they were a proper subject for the
interference of the Government.

Mr. BACON observed that the conclusion which the gentleman from
Virginia (Mr. RANDOLPH) had drawn, rested upon the idea that the men
were guilty. If they were guilty, they certainly should not receive the
benefit of the interposition of the Government of the United States.
They had no claim on the United States when considered as criminals,
or as men who had voluntarily engaged in this service. The report
of the committee did not state this to be the case. I acknowledge,
said Mr. B., that they are guilty in some respects, having innocently
transgressed the laws. If they are guilty in the eye of justice, I
contend they ought not to have relief. The report of the committee
states, that, under a persuasion that the facts set forth by the
petitioners were true, they were induced to submit this resolution.
The committee had evidence, which they deemed competent, to prove that
these men were not guilty men. In what respect, then, are they to be
compared to Aaron Burr? No man will say that he did not proceed on his
expedition with his eyes open, or that he could plead ignorance. The
fact in relation to these men appears to be that they were inveigled;
that their offence was involuntary, not as respected engaging in
what they thought the service of the United States, but as to going
abroad, for against their consent they were forced into the service.
Therefore, with great truth, it might be said that they were scourged
to the service. If this was the fact, as the committee appear to have
believed, I ask, in what their case differs from that of men taken
captives by the Algerines? Those men taken by the Algerines are engaged
in lawful commerce; these poor men are engaged in an unlawful act, but
not knowing it to be unlawful, and believing it to be correct, they
are as innocent, in fact, as those who act innocently. The gentleman
says, suppose they were to return to their country, would they not be
punished? If the facts, as they state them, are correct, as I believe
them to be, I do not believe that they would be punished. The law does
not punish a man because he does not act, but for the _quo animo_ with
which he does it.

Mr. TAYLOR said if he could view this subject in the light in which
it had been viewed by most of its advocates, and particularly by the
gentleman from North Carolina, (Mr. PEARSON,) he should think it
was the duty of this Government to make exertion for the release of
these people; but even then he should inquire whether any exertion in
their favor would not rather do them an injury than a service; for it
would be recollected that every gentleman who had spoken seemed to
consider the mercy which was asked to depend upon and to be bestowed
by the United States. Were I a Spaniard, and attended the debate in
this House, I should think that gentlemen in favor of the resolution
contemplated an infraction of the rights of the nation before whose
courts, and by whose laws, these men were condemned. These fine appeals
to mercy and humanity would apply well before the power possessing the
right to bestow mercy, but are not applicable to the feelings proper
to be exercised on this occasion by this House. I say that it is one
of the attributes of Government to punish those who have infringed or
broken the laws of the country. These people have been condemned by a
Spanish tribunal; it is by that Government alone that mercy is to be
shown; and an exertion by this House in attempting to bestow mercy upon
these people is an infringement of that right. I challenge gentlemen
to show me an instance in the annals of diplomacy of a like nature
with this proposition. I recollect one instance, but I have heard no
gentleman propose to go so far. Oliver Cromwell, when a member of the
British Commonwealth, was imprisoned by the inquisition, ordered his
admirals to draw up before the harbor and demand his release. This
is the only case I have met with in the course of my reading, of an
attempt by one nation to relieve criminals condemned by another nation
under its own laws. If this view be a just one, it certainly becomes
a matter of great delicacy. If this Government had never been by the
most secret whisper implicated (unjustly, as I firmly believe) in
this transaction, still it would have been a subject of the greatest
delicacy for the Government of the United States to interfere. What
will the Government of Spain, Junta, King, or Governors of Spanish
provinces to whom you apply, say to you on this subject? Why they will
say--"We have long suspected, we have heard from your own quarter,
that you were implicated in this expedition; you now give us proof;
you have come forward in an unprecedented manner and interfered in a
case with which you have no business, a case which is fully embraced
by the sovereignty which we ourselves exercise over our own courts."
Will it not at once be inferred that these assertions throughout the
United States had been true, and that this Government was implicated
or concerned, or, to use the words of yesterday, that this Government
had connived at such an expedition? You will but render the sufferings
of these people more rigorous. It is not to be conceived, although the
gentleman from Massachusetts and others have acquitted the Government
of participation, that the Spanish Government will do so also. Why,
even in our cool and calm situation, you see that suspicion of the
connivance of the Administration is not yet quite done away--and do you
suppose, sir, that the Spaniards, against whom repeated expeditions
have been made, at a distance from those sources whence conviction
might flash upon their minds, will form the same opinion of the subject
that we do? Fear forms a bias on their mind; and we form a conviction
on the side on which we feel interested.

Gentlemen, in order to induce us to grant pardon to these men, which
we have no power to do, have told us that they are innocent; because,
forsooth, they themselves have said so. I recollect, sir, once in a
conversation with a most eminent barrister in the State in which I
live, who had often performed the duty of counsellor and advocate in
our State, he informed me that in a practice of thirty years, in the
course of which he had been concerned in the cases of many culprits, on
many, nay, on all occasions, he put this plain question to his client:
"I am your counsel; it is necessary for me, in order to make the best
possible defence of your cause, to make the best statement in your
favor, to know whether you are guilty or not." He declared that he had
never yet met with a man who acknowledged that he was guilty. I believe
that this disposition to appear innocent, is inherent in human nature.
It is natural for these men to say that they are not guilty; they
said so to the court before whom they were tried. Why were they not
liberated? Why was not that mercy which is so pathetically called for
bestowed on them by that tribunal before whom the case was examined?
If they are the immaculate and almost sainted victims which they are
described to be, why did not the court which heard the testimony on
both sides of the question bestow that clemency asked of us? I should
presume, that when all the circumstances came out before the court,
they were not favorable to the petitioners; and it is a respect due
from this Government to the acts of that Government that such a
construction should be put upon this matter. If we are to distrust the
acts of the Spaniard, because, as we are told, he is vindictive and
cruel, he might justly say that we have not done to others as we would
be done by.

We should place the President of the United States in a very unpleasant
situation indeed by requiring him to demand these men, if we would not
also be willing to go to war for them. As our navy is now afloat I
would propose as an amendment to the project, if gentlemen are serious
in their determination to rescue these men, that our fleet shall sail
before Carthagena and compel the Spanish Governor or Junta to give them
up. This is the only mode of interfering with a matter of this kind,
which is sanctioned by precedent, as I have before stated.

It would seem, sir, as if the passing scenes of this world were
entirely forgotten. The British Government has been suspected of
having connived at this expedition as well as the Government of the
United States. They have received Miranda into their bosom; and on the
examination on the trial of Sir Home Popham, it did appear that he had
received orders to sail for a particular port of that continent to
create a diversion of an attack expected to be made in another part
of it. But what have the British Government done on the subject? Have
they not considered it a delicate one? Have they not in their conduct
given us the most sound and wholesome advice on the subject? Although
I believe these men were employed to answer a purpose all-important
to her, yet she has not extended towards these sufferers in her own
cause that clemency which is asked at our hands. These men who were
suffering in her employ, demonstrably acting in furtherance of her
interest, have not met with the clemency of the Government; and the
case is more strong when it is recollected that since the capture of
these men, although previously at war with Spain, Great Britain was
not only at peace but in alliance with that nation. With all these
favorable circumstances, when but a hint from the British Ministry in
favor of these people might have released them, yet being so delicate a
subject that it has not been touched by them, shall we, who have been
crusading and exerting every nerve for the releasement of our seamen,
and with all our efforts have been unsuccessful, shall we start on a
fresh crusade for these men, when the efforts of the Government in the
other cause, in so noble, so just, and so humane a cause, have as yet
proved unavailing? Shall we engage in a contest for these people, who
are acknowledged justly to be in the power and under the sentence of
the courts of another nation, whilst the honest American tar, guiltless
of harm, is writhing under the lash of every boatswain on board a
man-of-war? If you will go on and reform the whole world, begin with
one grievance first; to use a homely phrase, do not put too many irons
in the fire.

Sir, if the Spanish nation has any feeling for its sovereignty, it
would spurn your request. Only suppose that nation to possess the
same feelings which actuate every breast in this House; which actuate
the American people. Suppose the claim of Mr. Burr to citizenship in
Britain, on the ground of once a subject always a subject, had been
recognized by the British Government. Suppose that he was suffering in
chains in some of your prisons, and because they had heard that Mr.
Burr might have been innocent, the British Government had asked his
release, would not the people of America have spurned the request as
an indignity to the nation? And may we not suppose that these proud
Spaniards, as they are called, may have feelings of a like nature? I
believe, sir, that the course proposed would only add rigor to their
sufferings, weight to their chains.

Mr. LIVERMORE asked if the committee which made this report had not
before it evidence that certain British subjects concerned in Miranda's
expedition had been liberated on the application of some officers of
that nation? If they had it would be a fair answer to the eloquent
speech of the gentleman from South Carolina.

Mr. RANDOLPH said he did not think that the information asked for by
the gentleman was at all material to this case. It was a matter of no
consequence at all, as respected the statement made by the gentleman
from South Carolina on (he had no doubt) very good grounds. What,
said Mr. R., has been the situation of Great Britain in relation to
Spain? Great Britain, at the time the expedition was undertaken, was
an enemy of Spain--was at actual war with Spain--and therefore in a
subject of Great Britain it might have been highly meritorious to annoy
Spain, either at home or in her colonies to the utmost extent in his
power, without any direct authority from his Government. Subsequently
to that time, however, Great Britain has become the ally of Spain in
consequence of the revolution; and at that time Great Britain obtained
from persons exercising the authority of government in Spain the
release of these prisoners, which it is perfectly natural Spain should
then have granted. But suppose, instead of that change having taken
place in the relations between Great Britain and Spain, Bonaparte had
quietly succeeded in putting King Joseph on the throne of Spain and
the Indies, and applications had then been made; or suppose that the
application had been deferred until now, and the power of the House
of Bonaparte was as complete over the colonies in South America as we
have every reason to believe it is over the European possessions of
the mother country, would the British subjects in that case have been
released? It is an unfortunate circumstance that no question can be
agitated in this House and tried upon its own merits; that every thing
which is, has been, or may be, is to be lugged in on the question
before us, to the total exclusion of the merits of the case, and in
this way, instead of a session of three and six months for doing the
business of the nation, if every question is to be tried in the manner
in which it appears to me this has been, we may sit to all eternity and
never get through it.

I lay no claim to greater precision than other men; but really I
cannot perceive what kind of relation, what kind of connection exists
between most of what I have heard on this subject, and the true merits
of the case. Gentlemen get up and abuse the Spanish Government and
people, and what then? Why, it appears all this is preliminary to
our making an humble request of this Government and people that they
shall grant us a particular boon. To be sure, sir, all this time we
do plaster ourselves unmercifully--we lay it on with a trowel--and
gentlemen seem to think that if we sufficiently plaster ourselves,
our President, and people, and be-devil every other Government and
people, it is sufficient to illuminate every question. And this is the
style in which we speak to Governments perfectly independent of us!--A
very wise mean, to be sure, of inducing them to grant the pardon of
these people as a favor to us. Sir, it would be a strange spectacle,
to be sure, when this Minister that is to be, this sort of anomalous
messenger whom you are going to send, I know not exactly to whom;
whether to the Junta, or persons exercising the power of government in
the provinces, or to the Government in Europe; when this Minister goes
to Carthagena or elsewhere, if he should carry to the Viceroy along
with his credentials a file of papers containing the debates on this
question. Why, sir, like Sir Francis Wronghead, we appear all to have
turned round. My honorable friend, the gentleman from South Carolina,
(Mr. TAYLOR,) spoke of the crimes of these men. Gentlemen on the other
side, who wish them to be pardoned, tell you of nothing but of their
innocence, and the injustice of those who condemn them and now have
them under punishment. Two more such advocates as have appeared in
favor of this proposition would damn the best cause ever brought before
any House or any court in Christendom. The gentleman from New York,
(Mr. EMOTT,) who spoke yesterday, certainly very pertinently, and very
handsomely, tells the House that in this case no other money than that
of the United States, will be received; that with a sort of Castilian
fastidiousness, those persons acting for the Government of Spain will
not touch any money which shall not be offered in the quality of
public money. I believe no such thing; and moreover, I wish it to be
distinctly understood that the question of money is not the question
with me; and that to suppose it necessary for the Government of the
United States to interfere for the purpose of raising so pitiful a sum
as $3,500 for the relief of these unfortunate men, whose situation I
most seriously deplore, is a libel upon the charity of this country. I
believe, notwithstanding the public impression on this subject against
the petitioners, that the money could be raised in half an hour in any
town in the United States. I believe it might be raised in that time
in the city of Washington. It is not a question of the amount of money
wanted; it is, whether the Government of the United States shall lend
its countenance to persons situated as these unfortunate people are?
Sir, had we at that time been at war with Spain, as Great Britain,
something might be said in favor of these persons. But we were not at
war with Spain, and these men knew it; and I believe they knew at least
as well as I know, that when a man is recruited for _public service_,
as they say they thought to be their case, he is immediately taken
before a justice of the peace and sworn. This part of the ceremony,
however, is not stated to have taken place. To be sure, sir, the
gentleman from New York (Mr. EMOTT) said, I believe, every thing that
could be said in favor of those unfortunate people, and really almost
convinced me that we ought to make this interference; but unfortunately
for him and for his cause, other advocates rose up in its favor and
placed the subject in a situation not only as respects the majority of
this House, but as respects that Government with whom intercession is
to be made, which will completely foreclose any attempt at relieving
the sufferers. It is not possible that the majority of this House, or
that the Spanish Government, can be affected in any other manner than
with disgust and indignation at such stuff. The gentleman from New York
told us that these were ardent young men, who were anxious to go to
Caraccas for the purpose, I think, of correcting the despotism which
existed in that country; or otherwise, political Quixotes. This, I take
it, will operate little in their favor with the Spanish Government,
however it may in ours. I confess I feel very little sympathy for
those who, overlooking their own country, and the abuses in their own
Government, go in search of political adversaries abroad--go a tilting
against political despotisms for the relief, I suppose, of distressed
damsels compelled to live under them.

The question was now taken, and the votes being affirmative 62,
negative 61, the SPEAKER voted in the negative--the votes then being
equal, the question was lost.

MONDAY, June 19.

                     _The Batture at New Orleans._

The House proceeded to consider the resolution submitted by Mr. MACON,
on the sixteenth instant, in the words following, to wit:

    "_Resolved_, That so much of the message of the President of
    the United States of the seventh of March, one thousand eight
    hundred and eight, as relates to the batture in the suburbs
    of St. Mary's, adjoining New Orleans, and the documents
    accompanying it, together with the petitions of Edward
    Livingston, and the petitions of the citizens of New Orleans
    on the same subject, and the documents which accompanied the
    same, be referred to the Attorney-General of the United States,
    and that he be instructed to receive and collect such other
    testimony as may be necessary to ascertain the title of the
    United States to the before-mentioned batture, and that he
    be directed to report to this House, at the next session of
    Congress, his opinion as to the validity of the claim of the
    United States to the said batture."

Mr. BURWELL thought that this was not the proper course to pursue;
but that the course recommended at the last session was the one, viz:
to give the petitioners the right of appeal from the decision of the
Orleans court to the Supreme Court, or to give the United States
the same right, should the decision be against them. He could see
no advantage in the procrastination now proposed, nor any injury to
the United States or the city of New Orleans, in the course which he
advocated. He doubted, although the letter of the law of 1807 might
cover this case, whether it was ever intended that that law should
operate as this had done. My intention, said he, in voting for it, was
that it should apply exclusively to the Western lands, commonly called
the Yazoo lands, and such other lands as were occupied by hundreds who
might be formidable from their numbers. To undertake jurisdiction on
questions of property is taking upon ourselves the functions of another
department of the Judiciary. The case involves important points of
law--and let me ask, whether the gentlemen in this House are so well
read in law as to be able to decide such an important point as this? It
does appear to me that on all the questions of private property arising
in the United States, where the question of right is not to be brought
before this House, we ought to consult the convenience of the parties
by promoting dispatch. On the question whether this property belong to
the United States or to the petitioners I am completely ignorant. Nor
would I have it inferred that I believe the petitioner to have a right
to the property; I take it that the claim of the United States must
be good, or the inhabitants of Orleans would not be so zealous in the
support of it.

Mr. POYDRAS asked for the reading of a letter which he had received
from the Governor of Orleans Territory, which was accordingly read. The
letter states, that if it were possible that the committee to whom Mr.
Livingston's claim was referred could now visit New Orleans, they would
be convinced that the batture, now covered with water, was in fact the
bed of the river, and, therefore, could not be private property. Mr. P.
stated the history of this piece of alluvion at some length, and the
circumstances under which it had always been deemed public property.

Mr. SHEFFEY said that before passing this resolution, gentlemen ought
to ascertain what the Attorney-General could do in this case. He
could not compel the attendance of witnesses, or collect testimony of
circumstances which occurred a hundred years ago; and unless he could
do this, it was impossible he could examine the title, for testimony
as to facts was essential to enable him to form a correct opinion.
What influence could the opinion of the Attorney-General have? Was
the right of the citizen to fall prostrate before such an _ex parte_
opinion or statement as that might be? If it was not to have influence,
why thus evade a decision on the prayer of the petitioner? If it was
to have any influence, it must be a pernicious one, because founded on
_ex parte_ testimony. Would the House go into the merits of the case
on this opinion, when obtained without affording an opportunity to the
party interested to prove that the law was not correctly expounded nor
the facts correctly stated? Surely not. If they did not, if they heard
opinions on both sides, they converted this House into a judiciary
tribunal. Was this body calculated for that branch of Government?
No; this, Mr. S. said, is a Government of departments, each of which
ought to be kept separate. What, sir! is this a question of right
between the United States and an individual, and we are about to take
it into our own hands, to wrest it from the constitutional authority,
and decide it ourselves? I hope we shall not; and, therefore, I am
against this proposition. What does the Attorney-General state in his
report? Aware of the impropriety of his deciding, he tells you--what?
That the usual course, where the rights of the United States have been
involved, has been to appoint commissioners to hear and decide. Here
the Attorney-General tells you it is not proper for him to decide. And
I should never wish to see the case in which the Attorney-General's
opinion is to give authority for dispossessing an individual of his
property; for if it can be done in one case it may be in every case.
Any individual may be driven from his property by military force,
and then his title be decided by an ill-shapen, one-sided statement
and opinion of the Attorney-General. Against such a decision I do
protest. Is it because you have power on your side, sir, that you will
not submit to a judicial decision of this question? If there be a
controversy about a right, there ought to be a judicial decision.

I, sir, have been unable to see how an individual having property, in
which he was put in possession in 1804 or '5 by a judicial decision,
could be disposed of it by the act of 1807, the operation of which was
limited to acts done hereafter, that is, after the passing of that act
in 1807. That law too speaks of "lands ceded to the United States."
Was the batture ceded to the United States? I say not, because it was
private property before the United States possessed the sovereignty of
the country. By the treaty of 1803 with the Government of the United
States, the rights and property of the inhabitants of Louisiana was
secured to them. What then is the inference from this state of the
case? That the United States got possession illegally, in defiance of
judicial authority. I am sorry to see that the judicial authority has
been set at defiance, and the Presidential mandate carried into effect
at the point of the bayonet, right or wrong. This was the case. Those
who were put in possession were ousted by military force. Let me not be
understood as throwing odium on the Executive; far from it. I believe
the Executive acted conscientiously, but upon an _ex parte_ statement.
The President was never told that the case had been judicially
investigated. Those facts were taken for granted, on the other hand,
which did not exist, and those which formed the foundation of the true
merits of the case, were withheld.

Mr. POYDRAS spoke at some length in reply to Mr. SHEFFEY, and in
defence of the title of the United States. The batture had many years
ago been considered as public property, and no one who examined the
circumstances of the case could for a moment doubt it. He said that it
had never been claimed as private property until after it came into the
possession of the United States. He hoped the rights of the public and
of the people of New Orleans would not be trampled upon to grant the
petitioner his prayer.

Mr. MACON said that he was himself in favor of giving the right of
the United States to the property to the people or corporation of New
Orleans, and letting them and the individual contest it. There was
nothing new, however, in the reference of a subject to the Head of a
Department, whose opinion would have no more weight than reason, and
so far only ought it to have weight. Mr. M. said he had no more desire
to interfere with the judiciary than either of the gentlemen who had
spoken. If provision was made for trying this case, must it not be
extended to all others? In order to do justice, it must be done to all.
Had not a special court been refused in relation to a property of much
greater value than this? Before Congress made a special court for a
certain case, they ought to look at the consequences. It was departing
from the general system of the nation to appoint a court for a special
case. Perhaps there was something in this case which differed from
other cases: but he doubted whether it would warrant the appointment
of a special court. Mr. M. said he saw no other way of treating this
subject but by letting it go before the courts already organized. If
the right was in the petitioner, be the consequences what it might, the
city of New Orleans had no right to take it away from him.

Mr. TROUP observed that this case was probably one which would fall
under the old maxim, _nullum tempus occurrit regi_ or _reipublicæ_.
It appeared to him that there was a constitutional difficulty in this
case, which did not appear to have suggested itself to the mind of
any gentleman. First, has the United States a claim, either real or
disputed, to this territory? Whether disputed or otherwise, provided
the claim be asserted on its part, the question is, has the Congress
of the United States a power to decide the validity of that claim? And
if it has, is it proper so to decide it? What is the subject-matter in
dispute? Public property; and what species? Landed. Then the question
results, has Congress a right, in order to determine its title, to
refer it to any tribunal whatever? I contend not; the right to public
property was originally in the people of this country; they could never
be divested of their great public right to the landed property of the
nation, but by their express consent. They did give that right to the
Congress of the United States, in declaring that it should have power
to dispose of and make all needful rules and regulations concerning
public territory. Would it have had that power, if this right had
not been expressly delegated? I know that, under the old Articles of
Confederation, Congress did undertake to legislate as to property; but
it was always questionable whether they had a right to do so--and this
was not the only point on which Congress did exercise powers which were
brought into question. The right to determine claims to public property
is not only guarantied exclusively to Congress by the constitution, but
the practice has been invariably pursuant to it; it was so in 1807.
The Government not only asserted its right in the first instance, but
asserted its power to enforce the right at the point of the bayonet.
If the public have always been in possession of a certain property,
the man who enters on it without their consent is a trespasser on that
property. Upon this view of the subject, there is a constitutional
difficulty on which the House should decide, before it entertains a
motion for delegating a power to decide this question to any tribunal
or commission whatever.

Mr. BOYD said, admitting all the gentleman had said to be true, his
observations did not apply to this case. He had spoken of the right
to public property. The question now was, whether this was public
property or not; if it were certainly public property, on which ground
the gentleman rested his argument, there could be no question on the
subject. It was asked only before they decided between the individual
and the United States on the right to land, not confessedly public
property, but claimed as such, that fair investigation should be had.
Mr. B. disclaimed the power of deciding judicially upon the subject; it
was a right which he had never thought of this House claiming. A delay
of justice was a denial of it. The individual petitioning had been in
possession of the property; it had been taken from him by force, and
he now asked a trial of his title before a competent court--and this
opportunity, Mr. B. said, he ought to have as speedily as possible.

Mr. RANDOLPH said he should vote against that report. He said it was
no part of his intention to deliver any opinion on the merits of the
claim, although he had devoted not a little of his time to the study of
that question, for two reasons: first, that it would be a prejudicated
opinion, inasmuch as that was not the question which the House were
called upon to decide, even if it were competent to decide it. I am
extremely sorry, said he that the law of 1807 has been brought into
view of this House by my friends from North Carolina and Georgia, and
for this reason: that that law has no bearing at all on the present
question. Its object was wholly different from that to which it has
been misapplied. What, sir, was the object of that law? To defend
against a conspiracy, I may properly term it--against the lawless
violence of confederated associations, a vast property. How has it
been applied? Not to a great public property, but to a speck of land,
to which, as I understand it, a single individual, or at most three
or four, put in a claim. Such an application as that of the law in
question was never intended by the Legislature; and, if applied to such
a property as the batture, and to the case of a single individual,
may be applied to the property of every man in society. What is the
doctrine of my friend from Georgia? That the public are always supposed
to be in possession of the national domain. True, sir, and it is also
true that those who enter upon it and endeavor to appropriate it to
themselves, are trespassers, and as such, may be resisted by force. But
that is not the case in the present question--very far from it--for the
public never had been in possession of the property in question.

Without attempting to enter into the merits of the real title to the
land in question, let us take it on the ground of the right of the
citizen. A citizen comes before this House, and complains that he
is dispossessed of his common right by arbitrary power. If, after a
cause has been heard by a court, and a citizen put in possession of
a property, by a decree of that court, he is dispossessed of it by
military violence, where, if not before this House, is he to prefer
his claim for redress? There is no court before which he can go,
because the court which is the last resort in this case has already
unavailingly given its decision. There is no court of appeal, no
superior tribunal, and if there were, and a decree of the Supreme
Court obtained in his favor on the appeal, what is any decree to avail
against armed men--against muskets and bayonets? But this is not the
only reason why I am sorry that the act of 1807 has been brought in to
apply to this case. It is because, if this House can be once prevailed
upon to consider this case as analogous to the Yazoo case, many most
injurious consequences must follow therefrom. The first is, that that
odious and supremely infamous claim will be put upon a ground which
it is by no means entitled to occupy; and I entreat my friend from
Georgia, and those whose minds are unalterably made up on the Yazoo
question, not to give their enemies such a prize as they must have
on us, if we agree to confound the Yazoo claim with that before the
House. There is no sort of analogy between them. On the other hand,
sir, supposing the right to be in the United States, I beg gentlemen
not to create so forcible an interest against the rights of the United
States as will infallibly be embodied against it if we confound the
two. I have no idea of giving the Yazoo men such a handle. Again, let
us suppose, if we can suppose it, that the right is in the petitioner;
may it not, supposing a great majority of the House to be against the
Yazoo claim--we do not know how they are disposed--may it not create an
unjust bias against the petitioner? So that in whatever aspect we view
it, it is not only impolitic, but, what is worse, extremely unjust to
attempt to identify the two cases. And, sir, it is a matter of curious
speculation, that while the act of 1807 has been brought into operation
in the case of a solitary individual and a little speck of property to
which it was not intended to apply, even supposing the case in question
to to have arisen subsequently to the passage of that act; that,
although it has been misapplied in this case, it has not been applied
to the case to which it was intended to apply, and for which it was
enacted; for, if I understood my friend from Georgia a few days ago,
some hundreds or thousands of intruders have set themselves down on
the public lands, and the public force has never been employed against
them. On the contrary, the artillery of Government has been brought
into play against a single individual. It was, indeed, said that these
intruders had agreed to remain as tenants at will; but, let them remain
till they are sufficiently strong, and they will give you another
chapter in the history of Wyoming; for, after they are sufficiently
strong to hold territory, although the arm of Government has been
applied successfully to oust a single individual put in possession by a
decree of a court, you will find it nerveless to expel these men.

With regard to the doctrine _nullum tempus occurrit reipublicæ_, it is
a dangerous doctrine, if carried to the extent to which I apprehend my
friend from Georgia would carry it. I venture to say that the abuse
of that doctrine in the celebrated case of Sir John Lowther and the
Duke of Portland, which created one general sentiment of indignation
in the British nation--an attempt under that maxim to deprive a
subject, hostile to the Court, of property of which he had been long
in possession, for the purpose of transferring it to a minion of the
Court--that case, with all its aggravated enormities, does not come
up to the case before the House; and I speak without reference to the
question whether the petitioner has a right or not to the property in
this case. The question of right is not before the House, and that
question, decide which way you will, can have no sort of weight in
the vote which the House ought to give. The question is this: Having
been long in possession of a piece of land, the title deeds destroyed,
records burnt, and possession the only title you have to show, an
attempt is made to dispossess you of the property; a decree of court
confirms your right; if the individual, under these circumstances, can
be turned out of possession by main force and strength, and that, too,
military force, there is an end in the right to property of every man
in the country. Sir, I have been astonished, and grieved and mortified,
to see so little sensation created in this nation by the procedure in
question. It strikes at the root of every thing dear to freemen. There
is an end of their rights.

What, then, is this case? An individual comes before us, and says, that
after having been put in possession of a piece of land, (I speak not of
the validity of his title; it is not concerned in this question,) he
was dispossessed by military force of this property. These two facts I
do not understand any member of this House to deny. And what does he
claim? He claims of you, as the guardians of the rights of every man in
society, _justice_. And where do you send him? To the Attorney-General.
I will suppose that in the Lowther and Portland case, the Duke of
Portland had been referred to the Attorney-General. Would the English
nation have endured it? No, sir. Much less would they have endured,
military as the nation is becoming by the introduction of large
standing armies, that he should have been dispossessed of his property
by an armed military force, at the fiat of the Crown. The question
is, what should be done? Sir, what should not be done is perfectly
clear. It ought not to be done that the petitioner should be sent to
the Attorney-General, who has already given an opinion on his claim,
though that is very immaterial, which opinion it seems we cannot find.
If I understand any thing of this Government, however, it ought to be
on record, and this return of _non est inventus_ ought not to have
been received. All that we have to do, it appears to me, is to make a
provision, in the nature of a declaratory law, not amending the act of
1807, but, declaring what the law is; and we ought to quiet the rights,
and the mind too, of every man in society, by declaring that, by the
act of 1807, it was not intended to authorize the President of the
United States to interpose the bayonet between the courts of justice
and the individual. This power never has been given, never was intended
to be given.

Mr. GOLD said that this was one of the most important subjects that
had ever been brought before the House. He did not mean to enter into
the merits of the case. The gentleman from Virginia had very clearly
expressed all those sentiments which every man must feel on hearing
the history of this case; and as regarded the ground taken, of _nullum
tempus occurrit_, the gentleman had repelled it very properly--and
indeed in that country whence the maxim had been derived, whenever it
was attempted to be put in force against ancient possessions, it had
been executed with great difficulty. It is in the very teeth of _Magna
Charta_, which says that a freeman shall not be dispossessed of his
freehold without a better right is ascertained. There are a variety of
forms by which the right is guarded. If I, said Mr. G., understood the
gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. TROUP,) he considers it a sacrifice of
the rights of the United States to permit a decision on its property to
pass into the hands of third persons. Even in England the prerogative
is not carried so far. The Crown has frequently consented that the
right of Government should pass into the hands of third persons, viz:
of commissioners, for the purpose of investigation.

I will not trouble the House with lengthy remarks on this subject. I
can hardly advert to it without feeling all that has been much more
eloquently expressed by the gentleman from Virginia than it is in my
power to express it. Let gentlemen look around and see if they can find
a precedent for this transaction. And when we consider it, every man's
feelings must be operated upon too strongly to permit him to argue. The
course suggested by the gentleman from Virginia must prevail, or we no
longer live under a Government of laws, and those principles on which
it is founded are destroyed. The man ousted must be put in possession,
must be restored to the possession of the property which the hand of
violence has wrested from him; and I hope that a proposition to this
effect in a proper shape will be presented.

Mr. GHOLSON said he thought it would better become the character of
this assembly to discuss every subject with calmness and deliberation,
and on its own merits, than to endeavor to influence the decision by
an appeal to the passions. It was important that such a course should
be pursued, whether with reference to a great political principle
or to the interest of the individual whose rights were said to have
been wantonly prostrated at the Executive will. I (said Mr. G.) have
been early taught, and the doctrine has grown with my years, that the
right of property is not one of the least consideration in a free
constitution. It is of a nature so sacredly inviolable that, when
clearly ascertained, I would never encroach upon it by any means but
through the regular constituted authority. It would have been under
this impression that, had I been a member of the Legislature when the
law of 1807 was introduced into the statute book, I should have been
opposed to it. But receiving all the sanctions of a law, and as such
containing a rule of conduct in certain specified cases, what was
the Executive to do? Was he to set at defiance the law of the land?
A doctrine like this can never be contended for. It seems, however,
that to satisfy gentlemen the President should have refused to carry
this law into execution, which I acknowledge does usurp judicial
authority.--[Mr. RANDOLPH said that his ground was that the President
had not executed the law. If a law were ever so unconstitutional, the
President having signed it, it would become his duty to carry it into
effect. But he denied that he had carried it into effect.] Upon that
point, continued Mr. G., my colleague and I are at issue. I rise not to
discuss the merits of the claim, which I have no disposition to do. I
rise to defend the late President of the United States, to endeavor,
to the extent of my feeble powers, to place this question in a proper
point of view. If the President of the United States has gone beyond
the letter of the law, which itself tends to encroach on the rights
of the citizen, I would be the last person to justify him in thus
trespassing on the dearest rights of a freeman. But it is very easy
to show that he has not exceeded the express provisions of the law in

The act of 1807 contains two clauses having a bearing on the subject;
the first ascertaining the character of the persons to be ousted,
and the second providing the means of ousting them. The President is
authorized to exercise this power, either where property was previously
in possession, in which case he is to give notice, or where it was
subsequently entered on, in which case he is not required to give
notice. It is easy to show that this is one of the cases contemplated
by that act. It is well known that the feudal law did exist in
Louisiana, previous to its acquisition by the United States, and that
by that law alluvion does accrue to the Crown. Now, if the feudal law
did exist, and by that law alluvion did accrue to the Crown of France,
does it not follow that the same right did accrue to the United States
by the deed of cession from France, who owned the territory? If the
claimant was in possession when this act passed, it became the duty of
the President of the United States to give him three months' notice
previous to his removal; if not, no such notice was necessary. On this
point I need only refer to the fact that it was not so early as the
passage of the act, indeed not till the 23d of May, that the claimants
came into possession. They were quieted in possession, so far as the
rights of the United States were not concerned, on the 23d of May, 1807.

The decision of the corporation court of New Orleans is relied on as
giving a title to the petitioner. That that decision did at all affect,
in the remotest possible degree, the right of the United States, is
a position which no man acquainted with the principles of law will
contend for. The decision cannot affect the right of the United States,
because it was not contested or defended before that court.

It is said that the feudal law does not exist in France. From time
immemorial it has existed all over Europe. That it exists at this time
in this country there can be no doubt. The right to lands is allodial,
but is inherent in the Government. Is it denied that the Government can
take property from an individual, making him compensation therefor?
If the right to land be indefeasible, could the Government run a
road through it? It certainly could not. I wish it to be distinctly
understood that I do not attempt to say where the real right to the
property in question does reside. But I do say, that, according to the
treaty of cession, it did become the Government of the United States to
exercise the power which the President under the law of 1807 did make
use of.

If there has been any violation of right, it was in the passage of
the law under which the President acted. It was such a one as, under
present persuasion, I could not have voted for, even to remove a Yazoo
purchaser. I would even give to such a one his right to a fair trial.
I would not have agreed to pass it, for a reason given a day or two
ago, that the right to trial by jury is inalienable; it is a right
which descends to us with our other birth-rights; it is one without
which liberty is but a name. It was an unfortunate circumstance that
such a law did pass. But if the Legislature thought proper to enact
such a law, let them not, in the name of the great God, throw the blame
on their instrument, on the President, who was innocent of fault, and
bound to carry the statute into effect. There is undoubted proof that
the President only acted in pursuance of the statute. The retroactive
part of the statute is the most horrible feature in it.

But it is said that this is an extreme case, that this small spot was
selected as the object of Executive vengeance. I am informed that in
almost every instance of intrusion on the public lands, settlement was
made by individual claimants. I would rather give up fifty times the
value of land of the United States than to encroach against law on that
of any individual. It was not the execution of the law which encroached
on the rights of the citizen, but the law itself. I would ask, how can
it be contended to the contrary? Who was in possession of the land when
the law passed? It had been used as public property, and had every
requisite to that character; and as such, when any one took possession
of it, the President would not have done his duty under the act of
1807, had he not caused them to be removed.

MONDAY, June 26.


On motion of Mr. SMILIE, the House resumed the consideration of the
report of the Committee of the Whole, on the bill from the Senate,
to revive and amend certain parts of the act interdicting commercial

Mr. DANA said the amendment moved to the amendment of the gentleman
from Virginia (Mr. SHEFFEY) went to give a construction to the bill
which would operate as a complete exclusion of the vessels of both
powers until a satisfactory adjustment of all existing differences
shall have taken place. What, said Mr. D., is the situation in which
we are now placed? On what principle is it that British ships were
first excluded and on which their exclusion was confirmed by the
non-intercourse law? They were originally excluded by the proclamation
of the President of the United States in consequence of the attack
on the Chesapeake. The President of the United States now in office
has declared his acceptance of the proffered terms of satisfaction
for that outrage. And, after that, is it proposed that we shall
continue the measure of hostility when the cause alone which led to
it is completely done away? I should suppose that in the very act of
adjustment, which took place between the British Minister and the
American Secretary, it is implied that we should do nothing further
on this subject. The President of the United States has accepted the
satisfaction offered; he has declared those terms, when performed, to
be satisfactory. And are gentlemen considering the restoration of the
seamen taken from the Chesapeake as a reason why we should continue the
interdict? If we examine this subject fairly, the great principle of
reparation was disavowed of the claim to search our armed vessels, and
a homage to our rights. That matter must be deemed to be settled, if
the President of the United States had authority to settle it. If the
President had not power to settle it, this furnishes strong evidence
that the vote of approbation of his conduct was a proper proposition.

As to the interdiction by the non-intercourse act, I apprehend that
was founded on the violation of our neutral rights by the belligerent
powers, the President of the United States being authorized to renew
trade whenever the edicts violating our lawful commerce should be
revoked. Whether or not the President has done right in accepting the
assurance instead of the fact, gentlemen have considered it unnecessary
for them to express any opinion upon it. If there be no edict affecting
our lawful commerce in force by one belligerent, the interdict is at
an end in point of fact in relation to that one. The question of the
affair of the Chesapeake is settled, if the President had power to
settle it; and as to the other cause of interdiction, the President has
declared that the British orders will have been revoked on the 10th
of June. Has the President acted correctly or not? If he has acted
correctly in taking the assurance for the fact, the very principle of
the non-intercourse is at an end as respects one of the belligerents,
and there can be no ground for the exclusion of British armed vessels.

Mr. TAYLOR said he thought the gentleman from Connecticut used the
word hostility in relation to this measure of including British armed
vessels from the United States. Now, I believe, sir, said Mr. T., that
if we go to the opinions entertained, not by the President of the
United States, but entertained and expressed in the very foundation
of the arrangement which was made, it will be found that the very
hostility intended to be produced by the President's proclamation
ceased at the moment when we passed the non-intercourse act in which
we excluded the vessels of both the belligerents. The hostility was
in the admission of the armed vessels of one, and excluding those of
the other. It ceased by the non-intercourse law, and so satisfactory
was this law of the last session, that it was the very foundation on
which the overture was made which ended so much to the satisfaction
of this nation. So that, in fact, when we perpetuate the order of
things produced by that act, we do not perpetuate the state of things
produced by the interdictory proclamation of the late President. It was
matter of satisfaction to the British Government, as expressed by their
Minister here, that the quality of hostility in the exclusion of her
vessels was taken away by the non-intercourse law. Have we promised,
in the negotiation which has taken place, that we will commit an act
of hostility against France for the boon which we have received from
the hand of Great Britain? No, sir; and yet, if we take the definition
of Mr. Canning, as to excluding the vessels of one belligerent and
receiving those of the other, according to the mode proposed by the
amendment, without the sentence moved to be admitted to it, it will in
fact be agreeing to go to war with France. According to the opinion
of Britain, promulgated not only to this Government but to the world
according to the demonstration made by the British Government, you
will undertake a measure of active hostility against France; for what?
For any great boon that this Government has received from the hands of
Great Britain? No, sir. If all the promises were fulfilled to their
full extent, we should then receive but justice at her hands. It was
acknowledged, too, in the discussion which took place, that any nation,
particularly a neutral nation, has a right to exclude the armed vessels
of both belligerents; but that, on the contrary, the state now proposed
to be produced, the exclusion of one and admission of the other, is an
act of hostility of the party excluded. As I would not be compelled by
the utmost ill usage by either belligerent to take part with the other
against that one, neither will I take a consent or refusal from one or
the other to do us justice as a motive for alliance, or a war which
shall compromit our neutrality. I now speak of both, for both have used
us as ill as was in their power. As kicks and cuffs have not compelled
us to take part with them, neither shall caresses or fawning, for we
will mete out an equal measure of justice to both. I consider the state
of things produced by the non-intercourse as totally distinct from that
produced by the proclamation of our late illustrious President.

Mr. FISK.--It was my intention not to have troubled the House with
any remarks on the bill now under consideration. I could readily have
reconciled it to my feelings to have given a silent vote in favor of
the bill, had not so many and various objections been made against
it. But as it seems to be objectionable, and susceptible of so many
amendments, in the opinion of so many gentlemen, the House will indulge
me, while I offer the reasons which will govern my vote.

This bill for which we were convened, has, during the time we have
been here, received as yet but a small portion of our attention; and
it is so important that upon its passage, and the principles it shall
embrace, may depend the destinies of our country. It deserves our
immediate and most serious attention. I hope it may be coolly and
dispassionately examined, and treated according to its real importance.
Its principles have been carefully and scrupulously investigated by
the committee who reported it, or a bill similar in its provisions, of
which committee I had the honor to be a member.

The language is plain; public ships are not interdicted. There is
but one question to be decided in disposing of this bill, and that
is respecting public ships; for I believe all will agree to renew
the non-intercourse act as respects France. The question is, what
regulation shall we make respecting public ships, and one of three
courses is to be pursued? Shall we exclude both, admit both, or

There are many who would be willing to exclude the armed ships of every
foreign power from our harbors and waters. And considering what we have
suffered by admitting them, it may be well questioned whether it would
not be the best policy of this nation to interdict them by a permanent
law. Yet many gentlemen object to this, as being inexpedient at this
period. It is said, and it is the principal argument urged against it,
that it might embarrass our impending negotiations with Great Britain
to interdict her public ships by this act. As I feel as much disposed
for an amicable adjustment of our differences with that nation as
any member of this House, and would be as unwilling to embarrass the
negotiation, I would not insist on this interdiction.

It is also said that England has made reparation, or agreed to make
reparation, for the aggression which caused the interdiction of her
public ships, and that as the cause no longer exists the interdiction
should cease. _Be it so_; and may we never have fresh cause to renew it!

But, say gentlemen, we must not now recede from the ground we have
taken with respect to France, we must discriminate. Let us for a moment
view the ground we have taken--not only as relates to France, but
England also.

We are not at war with either of the belligerents. Our Ministers
at their respective Courts are endeavoring to negotiate, and by
negotiation to obtain redress for the injuries of which we complain,
and whatever precautionary measures we might adopt would not be deemed
a violation of our neutral character, so long as those measures were
equally applicable to both the belligerents. We could not be deemed to
have taken part with either to the prejudice of the other, while no
other was benefited by our measures. While British public ships were
interdicted, and our embargo existed, an offer was made to both the
belligerents to resume our trade--the same equal terms were tendered to
both. The nation refusing is left without a cause of complaint against
us, for resuming our trade with the nation accepting the offer.

Before either nation does accept, America changes her position. The
embargo is abandoned, and a general interdiction of the public ships
of England and France, and a non-intercourse with these nations and
their dependencies, is substituted. By this non-intercourse act, the
particular interdiction is merged in a general regulation. This was
to exist until the end of the next session of Congress only. This was
virtually saying, that the proclamation interdicting British public
vessels from our waters for a particular aggression shall be revoked;
and a general municipal regulation, over which the President shall have
no control, shall be substituted in its stead. It was then, in order to
preserve our neutral character, necessary that this rule should embrace
both the belligerents. It may be said, and has indeed been frequently
said, that the reason of extending this restriction to France, was
her having burnt our vessels and imprisoned our seamen. But never, at
least in the history of diplomacy, have cause and effect been more
distant and unconnected. France, on the high seas, burns our vessels,
and in her own territories imprisons our seamen. We, at the distance
of three thousand miles, interdict our ports and waters to her public
ships, which do not or dare not come within five hundred leagues of
the line of our interdicted territory, and this is to retaliate for
the aggression. Can this interdiction be defended on this ground? It
cannot. There must have existed some other reason. It was to preserve
our relations with the belligerents in that state that should be
consistent with our professions of neutrality.

Had the interdiction been confined to British vessels by this law,
what would Great Britain have said to this discrimination? In vain
might we have told her that we meant to preserve our neutral character,
and not to take a part with her enemies in the war against her. Our
acts would have been directly opposed to our professions. With this
discriminating, permanent, municipal law, could we expect Great Britain
to treat with us as a neutral? If we did, we should be disappointed.
If, then, it be inexpedient to make this discrimination against
Great Britain, how is it less so, when directed against France? We
are to admit British and exclude the French. And, are we to endeavor
to negotiate, as neutrals, with France, upon this ground, with any
reasonable prospect of success? It is desirable that the commercial
intercourse between this country and France should be restored. Peace
and free trade is the interest and the object of America. While we
throw wide open the door of negotiation to England, why should we shut
it against France? While we facilitate negotiations with the British,
why should we embarrass and prevent the same with the French? I wish
to leave the Executive and treaty-making powers of our Government free
and unshackled, to enter on negotiation with both these Governments,
under every advantage of success which we can give. On what ground can
this discrimination be defended? You adopt this measure. Our Minister
at Paris is requested to explain it. Is there any advocate for this
discrimination in this House, who can conceive the grounds upon which
our Minister or our Government are to justify this measure with our
relations of neutrality? It cannot be defended. I am not for yielding
to either nation, but, let our conduct be consistent, impartial, and
defensible. If then, we are to be involved in a war with either, the
resources of the country and the hearts of our citizens will support
the Government, and we need not be afraid of the world. But those men,
or that Administration that will, upon a mere useless, punctilious
point of etiquette, commit the peace and happiness of this country to
the ravages of war, will meet the indignation, and feel the vengeance
of the intelligent citizens of the country. This temerity would meet
its merited punishment. The people of America can see, and will judge
for themselves; they can readily discern the difference between shadow
and substance; they are neither to be deceived or trifled with,
especially on subjects of such immense moment to their liberties and

Mr. BURWELL said he deemed it in some degree his duty to make some
remarks on the bill before the House. He intended to vote against
both the amendments proposed to the bill. I think (said Mr. B.) that
if my colleague who moved the first amendment, (Mr. SHEFFEY,) had
taken that view of this subject which might have been presented to his
mind, he would not have found such error in the course proposed to be
pursued. He seems to have taken another ground, when by the clearest
demonstration it might have been shown that the system proposed is
one of impartiality to the belligerent powers of Europe. It will be
recollected by gentlemen of this House, that at the time the exclusion
of French armed ships took place, it was upon the express ground that
the British Government objected to come to an accommodation with us,
because we excluded her vessels and nominally admitted those of her
enemy. On that ground I venture to say that the exclusion took place;
because, at the time that it took place, it was considered a measure
absolutely favoring Great Britain, yet not injuring France by a nominal
prohibition of the entrance of her vessels. It was stated that there
was not perhaps in the course of a year a single French public armed
vessel in the harbors of the United States. Have we any French frigates
now in our seas? None. Is there any probability that there will be any?
No, sir; for France having now lost her West India Islands, if her
vessels are freely admitted, it is probable that there would not, in
the course of five years, be a single French vessel within our waters.
As the exclusion would be perfectly nominal, I would not adopt any
thing to prevent a settlement of our differences with France. I am not
now sanguine in my belief that we shall settle our differences with
her; for every one acquainted with that Government knows, I fear, that
it is not to be diverted from its object by any arrangement we may
make. But I would do away every possible justification that could be
urged by France for not meeting our overtures for peace. This conduct
would produce at home more union among our citizens; and, when our
rights are attacked without a pretence for their infraction, there
can be but one sentiment in the nation. I have always determined to
admit British vessels as far as my vote would go; and should the
House determine to exclude French vessels I should still vote for the
admission of English vessels, because their former exclusion has been
so artfully managed by the British Government, and the doctrine has
been so admitted by the presses in this country, as to give rise to the
most unjustifiable conduct ever pursued by one nation towards another.
As to the idea advanced by the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr.
TAYLOR,) that, if we do admit them to take possession of our waters,
they will take advantage of the privilege to our injury in negotiation,
it has no force with me, for this plain reason; that, although the
exclusion of them from our waters was not carried into execution by
physical force, yet they did not enter our waters, which they might
have done, in defiance of the proclamation. And why did they not?
Because, I presume, they had no desire to rouse the indignation of this
nation by an open violation of the laws of the land.

If, sir, you wish to gain the advantage of union at home, take away
every pretext for the violation of your rights. Let me ask if it be not
better to admit them? By so doing you give up a principle which does
not benefit you, and receive an accession of physical strength by union
at home. I do not say that every one will be satisfied, because I have
no doubt England has agents in the country, but so few in number as to
be unworthy of notice. If Great Britain, on the other hand, attacks us
when we have taken away every possible ground of collision and violates
her promise, the people in every part of the country will be satisfied
that her deliberate object is to destroy our commerce. We should have
no more of those party divisions which have distracted us for some
months past.

It cannot be said that we are bound by any part of the negotiation to
admit English vessels. I have seen nothing of the kind, if it exist;
and I call upon gentlemen to point it out. Why do it, then? It may
be considered a concession; and certainly manifests that disposition
which we feel to settle all the points of difference in agitation
betwixt us. And here I beg leave to say that, according to the most
explicit declarations of the British Minister, you would not give the
smallest umbrage by pursuing that course. On this subject Mr. B. quoted
a speech of Mr. Stevens in the British Parliament. If we were to be
governed by reference to expressions which existed in that country of
our partiality to France, it did appear to him that this speech was
entitled to weight, because it justified the course proposed by the
bill, and stated a position which the British Government admitted
was all that could be required from a neutral State. From this speech
it appeared that placing the two belligerents on an equal footing
was all that was required. Did not this bill completely come up to
their wishes? Did it not interdict all trade with France under the
most severe and heavy penalties? Mr. B. said he did not wish it to be
understood that he would shape his conduct by the wishes of the British
Ministry; but, as it had been said that the bill was somewhat hostile
to that country, he had quoted the speech of a ministerial member to
show that no such inference could be drawn. The same person, in his
speech, also states, said Mr. B., that the reason why our offer in
August last was not accepted, was, that, if it had been accepted, such
was the situation of the law, that a commerce might always be carried
on with the enemy; that, through the ports in Europe, her enemy might
be as efficiently supplied as if the embargo did not exist in relation
to him. But, sir, what is now the state of things? If it is possible
to operate on France by commercial restrictions, let me ask if this
bill will not accomplish that object? Let me ask if an American vessel
under it can go to any port of France? It not only cuts off direct
intercourse, but prohibits the importation of the products of France;
and any attempt to carry on a circuitous commerce must be ineffectual,
inasmuch as the produce will be liable to seizure when it comes into
the ports of the United States.

If, according to the ideas of the British Government itself, this
state of things be a sufficient resistance to France, let me ask of
gentlemen how they can infer a partiality to France? What more can you
do? If you exclude the armed vessels of France, though it may display
a disposition to injure her, I defy any gentleman to show that it
can, in the smallest degree, coerce or affect her. Let me call the
attention of gentlemen to the present situation of Europe. If accounts
lately received are to be credited, we may calculate on the universal
control of the French Emperor over the ports of Europe. Is it to our
advantage to be excluded from the trade of the continent? Is it not
known that all the surplus product of the agriculture of this country
finds its vent on the Continent of Europe? Is it not known that, of
the whole of our tobacco, seven out of eight parts are consumed on
the continent? That of our cotton, at least one-half finds its market
there? Does not flour find a great proportion of its consumption on
the continent? This cannot be denied. Then, let me ask of gentlemen,
whether it be so much to our advantage to exclude this trade; and, if
not, why we should take a step which can do France no injury, but which
may, and probably would, be made a pretext for cutting off so valuable
a part of our trade? With respect to partiality to France, let me call
upon the gentleman from Virginia, or any other, to show if, from the
conduct of the United States, and such thing can be inferred. Look at
our relative situation. Have we opened our ports to her traders? Have
we renewed commercial intercourse with her? Let me ask, which have we
placed in the best situation, France or England? Every gentleman must
answer--England. Whilst she gets all our commerce, her enemy is wholly
excluded from any participation in it.

Another argument has been used against discrimination, viz: that France
has no public armed ships. If this is the case, gentlemen need not
be alarmed; for, if they cannot come here, we need not be afraid of
their resentment, because we will not admit them. But we know that
her cruisers can steal out of their ports, go into foreign seas,
and destroy our trade in spite of the ships of Great Britain. If an
American vessel has British property on board, or has been spoken by a
British cruiser, a French public armed vessel is bound to make prize
of her. This being the case, let us for a moment consider the subject
as respects ourselves. Our feelings ought to be for ourselves and our
country. Here is a nation having public ships, having a right to come
into your ports. Does it comport with our honor and dignity to admit
into our ports and harbors the very vessels destroying our commerce?
Not to go into an inquiry what has been the fact heretofore, but what
may be now--if you pass a law that a French frigate may come into your
waters and partake of your hospitalities, where is the obligation
that it may not take advantage of the opportunity to make its prey
more sure by watching it in port and then going out and entrapping
it? If, from the intoxication of the man who rules the destinies of
the nations of Europe, he does not feel disposed to treat with us on
terms of reciprocity, that circumstance should have no effect on our
measures. But the question on that point is no doubt already settled;
time sufficient has been allowed for the vessel to go and receive an
answer to the instruction sent to our Minister. I certainly would so
far respect myself as to fulfil what I conceive to be good faith toward
both, without respect to the wish or dictation of either.

As to the amount of produce sent to the continent, it cannot be great.
Some few may have adventured there on desperate voyages; but that there
is much property in jeopardy, I cannot believe, for France is known to
be, in respect to mercantile property, the lion's den, easy of access,
but impossible to return. Those, therefore, who have risked their
property must have been extremely rash.

If the French Government would do us justice, I should be glad; if
not, we must abide by the consequences. We must not do improper things
because they will not do us justice. It is proper that we should
assert what we conceive to be our rights. I believe, however, that the
question of peace with France will not turn on this bill. I believe the
point to be already settled. If it be not, and the exclusion of French
armed vessels would be an impediment to it, the same objection would
be valid against the whole bill.

Mr. HOLLAND asked the indulgence of the House whilst he stated a few
reasons why he should vote for the amendment under consideration.
It had been asked whether it was consistent with the honor of this
nation to admit French ships within our waters. Mr. H. said he would
answer, that, as things now stood, he did not consider it consistent
with our honor and dignity so to do; and the reason why was, that
that Government had done sundry injurious acts towards this nation
for which it had not made reparation, nor even intimated an intention
of doing so. He therefore answered that it was inconsistent to admit
the vessels of France within our waters. It was in consequence of
injuries which they had done, according to my conception, that I voted
for their exclusion. I was not influenced to vote for the prohibition
of the ships of France from coming into our waters by any desire to
produce an equality in our relations with the belligerents. It was no
impression of that kind that influenced my vote; and yet I voted that
French ships of war should not come into our waters. It was not the
opinions of editors of newspapers, or the clamors of individuals, that
influenced my vote, and I hope they never will. I think that every
gentleman, on taking his seat in this House, should consider himself
beyond suspicion. The only question for consideration of the members of
this House, when a measure is presented to them, is the expediency of
it; and on that ground alone I voted for the exclusion of French ships
or of British ships. I was chiefly influenced to vote for the exclusion
of British armed ships by the variety of acts committed in our waters,
and the great disposition which she had shown to commit the most wanton
acts of treachery. I can say for myself that my conduct was only
partially influenced by the acts of British officers within our waters;
I had in view a variety of other acts committed against the rights of
the people of this country. Supposing the affair of the Chesapeake to
have been authorized, I never wish to see the British ships of war
within our waters, till they recede from the right of impressment.
I wish the British Government to know that it was the determination
of the major part of the citizens of the United States to resist her
till she surrendered that right. I think it was a sacrifice of the
dignity of the United States to receive British vessels so long as they
committed those acts. It was therefore that I voted to exclude them.

It is said, by the gentleman last up, that we are at peace with Great
Britain. Does it follow, from that, that they are entitled to all the
rights of hospitality that one nation could possibly show to another?
Certainly not. We ought yet to hold up some indication that we are
not perfectly reconciled to them. When they abandon the outrageous
principles which govern that nation with respect to neutrals; when
they abandon the practice of impressment; when they make restitution
for spoliations of our trade; we will hold the hand of fellowship to
them. It is not enough for me to hear the British Minister say that
an Envoy Extraordinary is to come out and settle all differences. I
have heard something like this long ago. I heard that a Minister was
to be sent out to make reparation for the affair of the Chesapeake.
We have experience on this subject. Have we forgot that every thing
which accompanied that mission was evidence that the British Government
was not sincere, and that it did not intend to accommodate? When I
see an abandonment by Great Britain of the principles destructive
to neutrality, I can consent to admit that nation to the rights of

Mr. JOHNSON observed, that, to say any thing on this subject, after
the time which had been already consumed, and the speeches which had
been made, was contrary to a rule which he had laid down for his own
conduct. But his excuse would be found in the introduction into the
House of a proposition, which, it was said, proposed to place us on a
neutral ground. Nothing, said Mr. J., is dearer to me than neutrality
as to our foreign relations; but, the bill submitted to the House by
the committee of which I had the honor to constitute one, and which is
the same with that now before us, so far from being in hostility to
Great Britain, and partiality to France, I contend, is a concession to
Great Britain, at the same time that I admit that it is not hostility
to France. The admission of the belligerent vessels into our waters, so
far from being hostility to Great Britain, is concession. I bottom the
remark upon the fact, that, at this moment, as many and as heavy causes
of complaint exist unsettled between this Government and Great Britain,
as between this Government and that of France. If then, the same causes
exist to exclude from our waters the vessels of both, I ask whether
the admission of both will not be an actual benefit and concession to
Great Britain, and a nominal benefit to France? And, still, it is to
go forth to the nation that we are about to commit an act which will
sink the nation, from the elevated situation in which it is now placed
by our former measures! I hope that we shall continue to convince the
world that the United States of America are incapable of other than
neutral conduct. Is it a fact, that greater injuries exist from France
than from Great Britain? What injuries have been received from France?
Have they been committed within our waters? Has our hospitality been
violated and our officers insulted in our very ports by the vessels
of France? or is her hostility merely commercial? It is of the latter
description. Is it not admitted that we may lawfully exclude or admit
the vessels of both belligerents? If you admit the vessels of one
nation with whom you have cause of difference, and exclude those of
another nation with whom you have only the same cause of difference, I
ask whether you do not commit the dignity of the nation, and jeopardize
its peace?

I will put this question to gentlemen: what has Britain done which
would require a discrimination as to her public vessels? She has
rescinded her Orders in Council. And what have we done in return? Have
we done nothing? Has Great Britain held out the hand of friendship, and
have we refused to meet her? Has she withdrawn her Orders in Council,
and have we insisted on a continuance of our commercial restrictions?
I have understood that she has done nothing but rescinded her Orders
in Council, and we have renewed intercourse with her therefore. I am
more astonished at the proposal to discriminate, when we see that, at
this moment, orders are in existence blockading countries to which
your merchants have, long ago, taken out clearances, in violation of
stipulations which Britain had proposed to us. When she has violated
our rights, I am more astonished that gentlemen should wish to go
beyond this letter of the law. And, let the consequence be what it may,
it would result to the benefit of this nation that we should not be
influenced by idle fears of imaginary dangers. My better judgment tells
me we should exclude the armed vessels of both nations; but the general
sentiment appears to be against it. It is asked of us, why admit the
vessels of France, whilst injuries which she has done us are unatoned
for? And, I ask, sir, why, then, admit the vessels of England standing
in the same relation to us? I only make these remarks as going to show
that we ought to be strictly neutral. If, sir, you wish to take part
in the broils of Europe, embody your men, and send them over to the
disposal of England at once, and let her send them to Spain or Austria.
But, if you would remain neutral, either admit or exclude the armed
vessels, as you would armies, of both belligerents.

I had thought, sir, not only from the acts of our Government, but from
conversing with gentlemen, that we hailed the present as an auspicious
moment, as a political jubilee; I had thought that we had been on the
verge of war with the two most powerful nations of the earth, but
that our situation was changed, and that, at the same moment we now
offer the only asylum to the victims of European wars. And are you now
about again to jeopardize the peace of this nation, without any cause

The exclusion of French and British armed vessels at the last session,
may be taken on this ground. It was a defensive war, not only for the
injuries we had received, but in expectation of actual hostility. Has
it occurred? No, sir. Would you have excluded British vessels since
1793, for taking the vessels engaged in your lawful trade, and for
impressing your seamen? You did not do it; and it was not for that
alone that you did it at the last session, but for other causes, which
have nearly or quite disappeared.

I have done, sir. I shall not vote for any proposition which makes a
difference between France and Great Britain; not that I am afraid of
the conscripts of Napoleon, or the navy of George III. But I cannot
consent to adopt a course which will again obscure with clouds our
political horizon.

Mr. SMILIE said, that if he now took up five minutes of the time of
the House, he could not excuse it to himself; and he should not have
risen, but to explain the reasons for the course which he should take.
As to the amendment, to that he could never agree. The question which
the Legislature often had to decide, was not what was best, but what is
practicable. Now, he thought it a happy circumstance that parties in
the other House had united on this subject. However we may differ as
to local affairs, said he, I think it good policy, if it can be done
without a sacrifice of principle, to meet in concert on measures of
external relations. What may be the effect, if you introduce either of
these two principles into this bill? We know that, if this bill does
not go to the Senate till to-morrow, if amended, a single member of the
Senate can, according to their rules, prevent the bill from passing
altogether. My opinion is, that it is our duty to pass the bill in its
present form. If any material alteration be made in the bill, I believe
it will not pass. If it does not, all that has taken place between this
country and Great Britain is at an end. And I hope that this reason
will induce gentlemen to permit the question to be taken.

Mr. J. G. JACKSON said he had intended, before the day had so far
progressed, to have explained to the House the motives by which he
was actuated in relation to the bill. He said he would still take
the liberty of stating to the few members present, (the House being
very thin,) why he offered the amendment to the amendment. It will
be recollected, said Mr. J., that the other day I stated that a
construction had been given to the law contemplated to be re-enacted
by the bill on the table, which, notwithstanding the renewal of
intercourse, excluded armed vessels from our waters; and, for the
purpose of doing away completely that construction, I moved an
amendment which, gentlemen conceiving it unnecessary, I withdrew. If
gentlemen are correct in the opinion which they advanced, and which
induced me to withdraw that motion, they cannot, consistently, vote for
the amendment of my colleague providing an exception to a provision
which the bill does not contain. Where is the necessity of a proviso if
the law does not bear such a construction? Is the Executive to infer
from the proviso that something exists in the law which the friends
of the proviso declare does not exist? The amendment proposed by my
colleague provides for the admission of the armed vessels of those
nations with whom commercial intercourse _shall_ have been (not _has_
been) permitted. Are you, by this phraseology, about to devolve upon
the President a discretionary power, holding the scale of national
honor in one hand, and the injury and atonement in the other, to decide
which nation shall be thus favored, when it is conceded on all hands
that the admission of the armed vessels of one nation and the exclusion
of those of the other, is an act _ipso facto_ of hostility?

Gentlemen have observed that there ought to be an exclusion of French
and admission of English armed ships, and that any other course would
be an acquiescence in the views of "_sister_ France," and hostility
to England. This language, sir, does not help the cause which the
gentleman advocates. What must be the effect of such insinuations?
They must excite feelings which, I am happy to say, have not been
displayed on this floor during the session. Might it not be retorted,
as a natural consequence, that gentlemen who wish to admit British
and exclude French ships, and thus serve the interest of England, are
desirous of subserving the views of _mother_ Britain? The attachment to
_sister_ France on the one hand, is about as great as the attachment
to _mother_ Britain on the other. I believe it has been emphatically
declared to the nation that we would not go to war for existing
differences. If, however, gentlemen, since the last session, have so
materially altered their ideas of the policy proper in relation to one
belligerent, let us go to war openly; I am not for using the stiletto,
or for stabbing in the dark.

The interdict of British armed vessels from entering our ports was not
on account of the affair of the Chesapeake only. It is unnecessary
now to repeat the cause which led to it. If gentlemen will turn to
the letter of Mr. Madison to Mr. Rose, they will find the causes
detailed. Since that time other injuries have been committed; and
it has been justly observed that the burning the Impetueux was an
insult to the sovereignty of this nation scarcely less than the affair
of the Chesapeake. If we permit hostility from one belligerent to
another within our territory, we become party to the war, as we do,
by admitting the enemy even to pass through our territory to attack
another nation. It is in vain to say that a nation preserves a neutral
attitude, when it permits one of the belligerents repeatedly to violate
its sovereignty. If there be as much injury unatoned on the part of
Britain as on the part of France, then a discrimination will be a
departure from the ground which we took last session, that both should
be excluded. And the President had no power over that part of the law.
Inasmuch as we know that Great Britain has the command of the ocean,
and that a French ship of war cannot, without a miracle, escape across
the Atlantic, we, in fact, by the operation of the bill as it came from
the Senate, admit English and exclude French ships.

We throw open our ports and admit the thousand ships of Britain,
without opening our eyes to the consequences which have heretofore
resulted from so doing. And shall we now refuse admission to the
vessels of France? It is indeed difficult to say what led to their
exclusion; for it has been with truth observed that the non-intercourse
bill had not an advocate in the House. It was something like throwing
all our discordant opinions into one crucible, and after fusion,
extracting what was expected to be gold, but which all called dross.
When gentlemen speak of their zeal to maintain the ground taken last
winter, I beg of them to recollect their own speeches, from which it
will be found that the bill was so obnoxious to them that they would
not even extend its operation to the next winter, and that it was with
difficulty that it was extended to the end of the present session.

Gentlemen ask, has there not been a satisfactory adjustment of our
differences with Great Britain? I deny it. What is the expression
of the British Envoy on which gentlemen rely, and on which they are
about to sit down quietly under the vine and fig tree? "In the mean
time, with a view to contribute to the attainment of so desirable an
object, His Majesty would be willing to withdraw his orders," &c. In
the mean time, still persisting in the principle of taxing our exports,
a right denied even to us by the constitution. It is to be hung up
_in terrorem_, to be let loose upon us hereafter, if we shall not do
every thing which is required of us. There is a marked cautious style
of language in this letter, which shows that Great Britain in fact has
promised nothing. She does not say that she will repeal or revoke her
orders, but that in the mean time she will withdraw them; and, sir,
in the mean time she has withdrawn them, and substituted other orders
or proclamations equally obnoxious. This is reason sufficient for not
going beyond the letter of the agreement; which however I will consent
to do, by admitting instead of excluding British armed vessels.

When Mr. J. G. JACKSON concluded, Mr. SHEFFEY, in order to obtain a
direct question on his own amendment, adopted Mr. JACKSON'S rider to
it, as a part of his own motion, and called for a division of the
question, taking it first on his own amendment as first moved.

Some doubt arising whether it was correct thus to act, according to
the rules of the House, Mr. MACON produced a precedent in which he had
himself done the same in the case of a motion for the repeal of the
second section of the sedition act, nine or ten years ago.

Mr. TAYLOR said that, as the House had decided that they would not
discriminate between the admission of British and French public
vessels, he wished to try the question on the exclusion of both. He
made a motion having in view that object; which was decided without
debate, fifteen for it, one hundred against it, being a majority of
eighty-five against the exclusion, at this time, of the public vessels
of both belligerents.

Mr. MONTGOMERY observed that the decision of the courts of the United
States had been that, after a law had expired, they had dismissed
all suits pending for the recovery of penalties incurred under the
act. He conceived that this bill should have a saving clause, that
penalties and forfeitures incurred under it, should be recoverable and
distributable after the act itself had expired. He therefore moved an
amendment to that effect.

TUESDAY, June 27.


The bill to revive and amend certain parts of the act "interdicting
commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain and
France, and their dependencies, and for other purposes," was read the
third time.

Mr. PICKMAN hoped that he should be excused for making a few
observations at this stage of the bill, not having before partaken of
the debate. He said he felt a strong objection to the bill, because it
admitted French vessels into our ports and harbors. Gentlemen had asked
why a discrimination should be made. He answered, that the reasons for
this conduct were to his mind very plain. He had considered the outrage
on the Chesapeake as a gross violation of our rights and of the law of
nations, and he believed no one had felt more indignation at it than
he did. But that was now atoned for. I consider (said Mr. P.) that the
Orders in Council are repealed; that Great Britain has stipulated to
send on an envoy with instructions to negotiate for a settlement of all
differences. I consider these things as done, because I consider the
faith of the British nation as solemnly pledged to do them; for, if it
had not been, the United States would not have been justified in taking
the attitude which we have taken.

It has been said, that since the arrangement here has taken
place, Great Britain has modified her Orders in Council in a most
exceptionable manner. I admit that this modification was posterior
in point of date to the arrangement here; that is to say, that the
proclamation of the President of the United States was issued on the
19th, and that the orders were modified on the 29th of April; yet, in
strict propriety, the new orders may be said to have issued before the
arrangement, because it was before it was known. Viewing the subject
in this light, I do not believe that the modification of the Orders in
Council did proceed from the arrangement here; and I now declare that
if such modification as has been made is to be considered as rescinding
the orders, according to the stipulation made with Mr. Erskine, I
should consider it a mere mockery. I do, however, consider it in a very
different light, and have no doubt that the Government of Great Britain
will adopt such modification of their orders as they have stipulated to
do. These are my ideas, and on this ground I did and do still believe
that we ought to have made a discrimination, because I consider one
nation to have complied with the conditions of the non-intercourse act,
whilst the other has not varied its position.

Mr. MACON said he was against admitting the armed vessels of either
belligerents into our waters. He would place our foreign relations
precisely in the state in which the President had left them, saying
neither yea or nay on the subject of their armed vessels, leaving it
where it had been left by both the parties to the late arrangement. He
should have been glad that the same disposition had been manifested
towards us by France as by Great Britain; but because there had not
he would do nothing towards her to prevent it. Some gentlemen had
conceived that an indiscriminate admission would be more advantageous
to France than to Great Britain. Mr. M. said he did not agree with
gentlemen in this; for Great Britain had Canada and her West India
Islands, to which she was in the habit of sending out vessels; whilst
France, having no possessions on the American coast, had no occasion
for our hospitality.

Mr. M. said he sincerely hoped that we should now act, as we had
heretofore done, so as to give to neither of the belligerents cause
to charge us with partiality. He was decidedly of opinion that we
ought to leave both nations in the same state as they were left by
the President's proclamation. He had no doubt that Great Britain
would send a Minister to negotiate. But what was left, as to her, for
the surrender or repeal of which she had any anxiety? Nothing. As to
France, she would have no shipping at sea, so long as the war lasted
in Europe, unless an event took place which he hoped would not. You
give France a right to enter your waters, said he, and take away any
inducement she might have had to rescind her decrees. I believe the
passage of the bill will extend the difficulties of the nation. I know
it is not a very pleasant thing to be opposed to the evident sentiment
of a majority of the House; but it is the bounden duty of those who
think as I do to vote, as I shall, against the bill.

Mr. TAYLOR said it appeared to be desired on all hands that nothing
should be done by the House to embarrass the negotiation; and he
presumed that the majority, in the different stages of this bill,
had been actuated by that wish. If, said Mr. T., I could see the
present measure in the light in which its friends appear to view it, I
certainly should be in favor of it. But, when it is recollected that
your legislative acts have been held out to your fellow-citizens and to
foreign nations, promising a perseverance in our restrictive measures
against such nation as shall continue to oppress our commerce by her
unlawful edicts, I consider our faith as pledged to the nation, that,
according to the recession of one belligerent, or perseverance of the
other, we were to shape our course.

The gentleman from Virginia aimed a side blow at those who, in the
discussion of this subject, had spoken of the ground which we have
taken. On the effects supposed to be produced by the non-intercourse,
I had a right to say _we_. The sense of the House was taken distinctly
as to a repeal of the embargo, on the first report of the Committee of
Foreign Relations. It was then that the principle was decided, and it
was that act which was taken hold of across the Atlantic, and made the
ground of the instructions which came out by Mr. Oakley to the British
Envoy here, and on which the arrangement did take place. Now, though
the gentleman seems unwilling that any part of the House should say
_we_, I vindicate the claim which I have to use it. In fact, I would
claim for the mover of the original proposition to this House for the
interdiction of armed vessels, the gentleman from North Carolina, (Mr.
MACON,) the merit of the late negotiation, if it attach anywhere. But I
am not willing to carry on the copartnership. I will not now say _we_.
I, who voted for the motion going to give power to the President of
the United States to issue letters of marque and reprisal against that
nation which persevered in its edicts after the other had withdrawn
them, am not willing, on the passage of this bill, to say _we_, as by
it you admit instead of continuing the exclusion against armed vessels,
where, instead of a recession, injuries have rather been added. When
gentlemen are asked why they have admitted French vessels, in our
present situation in relation to France, after the temper displayed and
the votes given at the last session on the subject, theirs must be a
feeling in which I would not participate, and therefore I will not say

Mr. DANA observed that, by the Journals of the Senate, it appeared that
this bill had been unanimously passed by that body. This unanimous
vote of the Senate might be regarded as a consideration to operate
very strongly on the minds of members of the House, as respected the
propriety of adopting the present bill; it certainly must have weight
in favor of a measure, when it was found that men differing widely in
political opinions joined in voting for it. I, said Mr. D., have myself
very strongly felt the force of this consideration. But you know, sir,
that the rules of proceeding and order established in this House do not
admit of our urging in debate the conduct of the Senate of the United
States as a motive for deciding the opinion of this House. Why is it
out of order? Because the excellence of our constitution is, that the
Legislature shall consist of two Houses, each of which shall act on
its own ideas of propriety. If it is not proper to mention the conduct
of the Senate in debate, it is not proper to suffer it to overthrow
our opinions. In this view I feel myself bound, with all due deference
to the Senate, to examine this subject for myself. I cannot but feel
the weight of that vote; but I cannot forget that the bill respecting
the writ of habeas corpus was once passed in that House, and rejected
unanimously in this, without being permitted to be read a second time.

On examining this bill, sir, I do not find that its various provisions
appear to constitute one whole, to conform with any system of policy,
or to be consistent with the principles of any man in this country.
It is certainly not the course which I would have chosen; it is not
consistent with the course marked out at the last session of Congress.
I was certainly not in favor of the embargo; I disapproved of that
system; and when I saw the non-intercourse system, I considered that
as retaining the embargo principle, but not with so much precision. I
consider this bill to be receding from a weak position. If the embargo
was a decisive measure, it ought to have been taken more completely
at the outset than it was. But it failed. The non-intercourse was
abandoning one part and retaining another of the system. This bill
was abandoning a part of the non-intercourse system and retaining a
part. When I look at it, I see nothing in it at which any portion
of American citizens can rejoice or be proud of; nothing of a firm,
dignified, matured, sound, consistent policy, to be maintained on
general principles against all the world. Am I then required to vote
for a measure of this kind? If, with my friend from Massachusetts (Mr.
QUINCY) I could suppose that voting for a system which I did not like
would destroy it, I should vote for it. For, if I understand him, he
dislikes the whole, and therefore will vote for this part of it. The
whole would die at the end of this session; but to show his anxiety for
its death he must keep it alive till the next session of Congress. I
was very much pleased with a great part of his remarks; I approbated
his premises, but his conclusions appeared to be directly the reverse
of the proper result. But as he is a gentleman of strong powers of
mind, he may well be able to draw a conclusion which I cannot.

Gentlemen have alluded to the declarations of the Emperor of France in
relation to his decrees. When Bonaparte talks of the freedom of the
seas, does he mean the same idea which we attach to these words when
we use them? When he talks of the principles of maritime law, does he
mean the same as we? On the subject of maritime law, has he not stated
things which before were unheard of? Certainly, sir. On the contrary,
I have always understood the claims of the United States as a neutral
nation to be, not to assert new pretensions, but to assert such claims
as they may think reasonable with respect to principle, and such as
have been formerly admitted in practice.

With respect to the bill before you, there has been one argument used,
and an imposing one certainly, provided that it appeared completely
founded in fact. It is said this bill is considered as comporting with
the views of the Executive Government of the country; and that the
Executive has acted so well in conducting the preliminary arrangement
for removing certain obstacles to negotiation, that on the whole we
ought to assist his administration. On this subject, sir, I have to
observe that we are utterly without official evidence on this point.
We have no evidence whatever, of an official nature, that this bill
comports with the Executive views. If we have, it is to me unknown. We
have not, during the present session, had any report in detail from the
Committee of Foreign Relations. If that committee had made a report,
stating facts and reasoning as the basis of the bill, I might consider
that committee as having consulted the Executive of the country, and as
having adopted its disposition as the basis of its proceedings. But,
as we have no such thing, are we to suppose that there are certain
gentlemen in the House who are organs of communication of the Executive
wishes? Have we any other evidence of the disposition of the Executive
in relation to this bill than that certain gentlemen are in favor of
it? If, on this subject, the opinion of the Executive should properly
decide our judgment, ought we not to have had some official exposition
of the views of the Government? As we have no such information, we
are to examine whether this bill comports with the arrangement made
with Great Britain. But, as to that, I beg leave to be deemed as not
considering myself pledged by that arrangement merely. As to myself, as
an American, I am by no means gratified that we should contend with one
nation because another does us justice. A stipulation of that kind I
should consider as degrading to my country.

In my remarks therefore, I disclaim owing any thing for any boon which
Great Britain may have given us, because I do not consider it as a boon
that they have ceased to injure us. But in the face of the world such
declarations have been formally made by the Congress of the United
States. The fact is known to ourselves, to our countrymen, to such
portions of the foreign world as may take an interest in our concerns.
And in comparing this bill with those declarations, will it be possible
to conceive that we are consistent? When you had differences with both
the belligerents, what was your language? You talked as though you
would throw the gauntlet to the globe, as though you would stretch out
your arm and smite the world. When an adjustment is made with one of
those powers, what is your language? Really, sir, the difficulty under
which the Government formerly labored was said to be this: that if we
went to war with both nations.--[Mr. D. quoted a part of the report of
the Committee of Foreign Relations of last session on this subject.]
I consider this part of the report, said he, as proceeding upon
assumptions which are erroneous, and founded upon grounds untenable
and inaccurate. But as to this report, which appeared to receive the
approbation of a majority of the members of the House, it seems to
be clear from it, that were it not that you were so equally wronged
by both belligerents, and that both persisted, you certainly would
have engaged in war with one; but that, as a treble war was rather a
difficult plan, it was best to continue the restrictive system.

What is the declaration made to the British Minister at this place,
by our Secretary of State, on this subject? Is it pretended to enter
into any stipulations with Great Britain as to our conduct? No, sir; it
is that our measures are adopted on the principle that the Government
would assert the rights of our country against any power on the globe,
without any reference to pledges. On this point I would call the
attention of the House to a sentence which is the most extraordinary
surely that ever was put together. And, unless it be a dash of the
pen, like that of the brush of the painter who painted at one dash a
perfect horse, it must have been the elaborate labor of twenty-four
hours; in either case not detracting from the skill of the author of
it. The sentence is as follows: "As it appears at the same time, that,
in making this offer, His Britannic Majesty derives a motive from the
equality, now existing, in the relations of the United States, with
the two belligerent powers, the President owes it to the occasion, and
to himself, to let it be understood, that this equality is a result,
incident to a state of things, growing out of distinct considerations."
If any mortal, from the depth of his knowledge, can specifically tell
what this means, he may pass for an oracle. It proceeds upon this idea:
that in making our arrangements at the last session we did not mean, as
respects saying that whatever nation insulted us we would resent it,
to please Great Britain alone, but equally to please any other nation
whatever. If the saying this was an annunciation by our Government to
the British Government, that in making this arrangement we are not
making any stipulation in respect to France, but you and the world
may know that whoever invades our rights shall meet with resistance,
adequate to the crisis, if the Government can find means to accomplish
it. If the paragraph be thus considered, we may respect the declaration
itself, and admire the skill with which it is so worded as to convey
nothing offensive in the expression. In this view, I am willing to
admit it, because it conduces to the reputation of the Government
and of the Secretary of State, who in this business appears to have
conducted with the frankness of a man of talents, and the manner of a
practical man of sense. I consider this bill as not corresponding with
the resolutions of last session, as not corresponding with the general
sentiment in regard to the non-intercourse law when it passed; nor with
the general sentiment fairly to be collected from the correspondence of
our officers with the British Minister.

If it be asked, what other system would be proper, I acknowledge it to
be a question of difficulty. But, for myself, I think I would say that
I would prefer an armed neutrality; not such a one as distinguished
the confederacy in the Baltic, not one to assert new pretensions;
but one temperate in its claims, specific in its object. And I could
really wish that in the present state of the world we should turn our
attention to a system of policy which shall be founded on general
principles, and at least say what are the rights which as neutrals we
claim, and what the pretensions to which as neutrals we will submit;
and if our legislation were of that character, we never should be
embarrassed as we are. We pass a law that if edicts of the belligerents
be revoked or modified, trade shall be renewed. Now, the edicts then in
existence might be revoked, and others substituted, and the law would
be complied with. The whole system has been constituted too much in
reference to particular cases.

But I have one further objection to this bill, viz: that by it you do
permit trade with French trading vessels, thus. There is no prohibition
to the furnishing supplies to French vessels. The French vessels,
going to sea, go armed and under the authority of their Government;
and coming into the ports of this country may be supplied with any
thing they wish without an infraction of the letter of the law. Let
any public armed vessel come into the waters of the United States, and
they may purchase whatever they please. There is no law to prohibit
it, nor any authority placed in the Government of the United States to
prevent them from purchasing. The state of the case now is, that your
vessels shall not be cleared out to carry any thing to France, but your
boats and every thing that sails may be employed to carry provisions to
French armed ships in your harbors, and they may be completely loaded.
If this be the intention of gentlemen, I have nothing further to say;
if it be not their intention, they will have in this case, as they
have had in others, a very great experience of the disadvantages of
undertaking to chop up law.

From these general views of the subject, sir, I am opposed to the
passage of the law.

Messrs. PITKIN and QUINCY stated their reasons for voting against the

And on the question, "Shall the bill pass?" it was decided in the
affirmative--yeas 72, nays 15, as follows:

    YEAS.--Lemuel J. Alston, Willis Alston, jr., William Anderson,
    Ezekiel Bacon, William W. Bibb, Adam Boyd, John Brown, Robert
    Brown, William A. Burwell, Joseph Calhoun, John Campbell,
    Howell Cobb, James Cochran, Orchard Cook, James Cox, Richard
    Cutts, John Dawson, Joseph Desha, James Emott, J. W. Eppes,
    William Findlay, Jonathan Fisk, Gideon Gardner, Thomas Gholson,
    jr., Peterson Goodwyn, Thomas R. Gold, Daniel Heister, William
    Helms, Jacob Hufty, Robert Jenkins, Richard M. Johnson, William
    Kennedy, Herman Knickerbacker, Robert Le Roy Livingston,
    John Love, Matthew Lyon, Aaron Lyle, Robert Marion, Vincent
    Matthews, Samuel McKee, William Milnor, John Montgomery,
    Nicholas R. Moore, Thomas Newton, Joseph Pearson, John Porter,
    Peter B. Porter, Josiah Quincy, John Rea, of Pennsylvania,
    John Rhea of Tennessee, Matthias Richards, John Roane, Ebenezer
    Sage, Thomas Sammons, Daniel Sheffey, John Smilie, George
    Smith, Samuel Smith, Henry Southard, John Stanley, James
    Stephenson, Jacob Swoope, John Thompson, Uri Tracy, Nicholas
    Van Dyke, Archibald Van Horne, Robert Weakley, Laban Wheaton,
    Robert Whitehill, Ezekiel Whitman, Robert Witherspoon, and
    Richard Wynn.

    NAYS.--Daniel Blaisdell, John C. Chamberlain, S. W. Dana, John
    Davenport, jr., William Ely, William Hale, Nathaniel A. Haven,
    James Holland, Jonathan H. Hubbard, Edward St. Loe Livermore,
    Nathaniel Macon, Timothy Pitkin, jr., John Ross, Richard
    Stanford, and John Taylor.

Absent, 54 members.


                         _Emigrants from Cuba._

On motion of Mr. MARION, the House resolved itself into a Committee of
the Whole on the bill for the remission of certain fines and penalties.

[This bill provides for the remission of penalties incurred by the
captains and owners of vessels which have been compelled to take on
board emigrants from Cuba, with their slaves, the landing of the latter
in the United States having, under present laws, forfeited the vessels
and cargoes and fined the persons concerned.]

Mr. MARION observed that he had, a day or two ago, presented petitions
from persons bringing in slaves, amongst which were some documents,
one of which was the opinion of the district court of South Carolina,
by which it appeared that, if the bill passed in the present shape, no
relief would be afforded by it; for, it had not appeared on the trial
that the _slaves_ were forcibly expelled from the island, though the
_owners_ were. He therefore moved an amendment to include slaves owned
by persons who were expelled from the island.--Motion agreed to without

Mr. M. then moved to add a proviso: "_And provided, also_, that such
slaves shall have been brought in at the same time as their owners,
respectively."--Agreed to.

Mr. ROSS observed that a former act on the subject of the importation
of slaves said, that it should not be lawful to bring into the United
States any negro, mulatto, or person of color, with intention to sell
the same or hold them as slaves. The present case appeared to him to
be one in direct violation of that law. Under the act of 1807, it had
become the duty of the court to examine whether it was the intention of
the parties to infringe or violate the laws. After a fair examination
by a court, under a desire to relieve those interested, and a failure
of every attempt to show that they were compelled to take on board
these slaves, was the House about to sit in judgment and reverse the
decision? Mr. R. said that provision was also made in the bill as to
slaves that may hereafter arrive in the United States, giving a power
to the President of the United States, at his discretion, to set aside
the law. What reason could there be for enacting this law, if the
principles of the law of 1807 were correct? If it was intended, by a
side blow, to repeal that law, he had rather see it done at once; and
not, whilst in appearance we had such a law, to give the President a
dispensing power over it. It was said that the persons concerned in
bringing them in were distressed. How distressed? Only because they
could not prove they were compelled to bring them into the country.
Mr. R. said he did not wish to irritate the feelings of gentlemen from
any portion of the Union, but he was sorry to see a bill introduced to
unsettle what he conceived to be a valuable provision, enacted some
sessions ago.

Mr. NEWTON said he felt as much repugnance as the gentleman from
Pennsylvania to touch that law; but, if the gentleman would consider
that this was a case of a peculiar nature, attended with singular
circumstances, he would withdraw his objection. And he verily
believed, that had the Legislature foreseen what had taken place,
they would certainly have inserted a provision to meet the case which
had occurred. Let it be recollected, said he, that the unfortunate
Frenchmen driven on our coast, were some time ago driven from
St. Domingo, and were obliged to take shelter at Cuba. Since the
commencement of the war in Spain, Cuba has almost witnessed the same
scenes as St. Domingo. These people were forced to leave the island
in distress, and take what portion of property they could collect.
They could not go to France, because no vessels of that country were
permitted to touch at the island of Cuba, neither could they go to
the French islands in the West Indies. There was no country open to
them but America. The American captains, then, were forced to take
the French on board, and with them, a few body servants; and, under
the former law, these vessels are seized, and liable to forfeiture,
our merchants to suffer the loss of vessel and cargo, and the poor
emigrants to lose all their little property. Let it be recollected
that the law of 1807 does not interfere with the State rights on the
subject. This bill only goes so far as to remit all fines and penalties
incurred by the captains of vessels, and release the property which
would otherwise be condemned, and relieve the perfectly innocent
merchants who would otherwise suffer. Let us say to these unfortunates,
as Dido to Æneas, when he was exiled from Troy: "I have suffered
misfortune myself, and therefore know how to extend the hand of relief
to others."

Mr. MARION said that if the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. ROSS)
thought that he had a wish or intention to increase the number of
slaves, he was much mistaken. The laws of South Carolina prohibited the
bringing these slaves, or any other, into the State; yet they had been
brought there, and the persons bringing them there must give security
that they would have them carried out of the State. Now, by the
non-intercourse law, the State was prevented from sending them away;
they would, of course, remain here till the law permitted them to be
sent off, for they could go nowhere but to France and her dependencies,
France being at war with all the rest of the world. Mr. M. said that
there were several captains now in jail under sentence of court for
having brought those people into the country; he submitted to the House
whether, under the circumstances of the case, the captains had not good
reason to suppose that they would not be subject to the penalty of the
law. The law prohibiting the importation of slaves was of a highly
penal nature, and different from all other laws of that nature, having
no clause in it giving a power of remission of penalties; and this bill
was guarded in such a manner that no evil could arise.

Mr. MACON said it was certainly true that the Southern country wanted
no more slaves. The sole object of the bill was to get them away.
However desirous the people might be to hold that property, there could
be no fear of their wanting them from the West Indies.

Mr. MONTGOMERY said it was peculiarly necessary to pass this bill to
get rid of the immense number of slaves brought into New Orleans;
for every one must know that they were not wanted there. They were
too numerous to continue there, and this bill was intended to make
provision for their exportation.

Mr. NEWTON produced a letter from the collector of New Orleans on this

Mr. TAYLOR said it never could have been the intention or spirit of
the law of 1807 to increase our population in free blacks. It was
not to set free the people of this description that the law had been
passed, but to prevent them from being brought here at all. For even
in Pennsylvania he had no doubt the gentleman would be content to have
no further population of this sort. Mr. T. said that he knew that
in the Southern States there was an extreme aversion to receiving
an additional free black population. The intent of this bill, so
far from being in hostility to the law quoted by the gentleman from
Pennsylvania, was in furtherance of it. It was to remove them out of
the country.

Mr. ROSS said that it was strange that the House should have a bill
before it contemplating the removal of a certain description of persons
out of the country, when nothing of the kind appeared on the face of
it. If that was its intention, there should be a condition that the
persons bringing in these slaves should carry them out again.

Mr. NEWTON observed that unless this law passed, the inevitable
consequence must be that the negroes must remain here. He did not want
them, they brought principles which it was known would not promote our
interest or happiness.

    The committee then rose and reported the bill.

Mr. NEWTON moved a new section for the relief of Foster and Girard, of
New York, whose ship had been forfeited under the law prohibiting the
importation of slaves.--Agreed to.

And the bill was ordered to a third reading, and subsequently passed
without opposition.

                           _Evening Session._

Mr. ROOT reported that the committee had waited on the President
according to order, who was pleased to say that he had no further
communications to make.

About nine o'clock, all the bills having been enrolled and signed,
a motion was made to adjourn, and carried; and the SPEAKER, after
wishing the members of the House a pleasant journey home, and a happy
meeting with their friends, adjourned the House to the fourth Monday in
November next.



_New Hampshire._--Daniel Blaisdell, John C. Chamberlain, William Hale,
Nathaniel A. Haven, James Wilson.

_Massachusetts._--Ezekiel Bacon, William Baylies, Richard Cutts,
Orchard Cook, William Ely, Gideon Gardner, Barzillai Gannett, Edward
St. Loe Livermore, Benjamin Pickman, jr., Josiah Quincy, Ebenezer
Seaver, Samuel Taggart, William Stedman, Jabez Upham, Joseph B. Varnum,
Laban Wheaton, Ezekiel Whitman.

_Rhode Island._--Richard Jackson, jr., Elisha E. Potter.

_Connecticut._--Epaphroditus Champion, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport,
Jonathan O. Mosely, Timothy Pitkin, jr., Lewis B. Sturges, Benjamin

_Vermont._--William Chamberlin, Martin Chittenden, Jonathan H. Hubbard,
Samuel Shaw.

_New York._--James Emott, Jonathan Fisk, Barent Gardenier, Thomas E.
Gold, Herman Knickerbacker, Robert Le Roy Livingston, Vincent Matthews,
John Nicholson, Gurdon S. Mumford, Peter B. Porter, Ebenezer Sage,
Thomas Sammons, Erastus Root, John Thompson, Uri Tracy, Killian K. Van

_Pennsylvania._--William Anderson, David Bard, Robert Brown, William
Crawford, William Findlay, Daniel Heister, Robert Jenkins, Aaron Lyle,
William Milnor, John Porter, John Rea, Benjamin Say, Matthias Richards,
John Ross, George Smith, Samuel Smith, John Smilie, Robert Whitehill.

_New Jersey._--Adam Boyd, James Cox, William Helms, Jacob Hufty, Thomas
Newbold, Henry Southard.

_Delaware._--Nicholas Van Dyke.

_Maryland._--John Brown, John Campbell, Charles Goldsborough, Philip
Barton Key, Alexander McKim, John Montgomery, Nicholas R. Moore, Roger
Nelson, Archibald Van Horne.

_Virginia._--Burwell Bassett, James Breckenridge, William A. Burwell,
Matthew Clay, John Dawson, John W. Eppes, Thomas Gholson, jr., Peterson
Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, John G. Jackson, Walter Jones, Joseph Lewis, jr.,
John Love, Thomas Newton, Wilson Carey Nicholas, John Randolph, John
Roane, Daniel Sheffey, John Smith, James Stephenson, Jacob Swoope.

_North Carolina._--Willis Alston, jr., James Cochran, Meshack Franklin,
James Holland, Thomas Kenan, William Kennedy, Archibald McBride,
Nathaniel Macon, Joseph Pearson, Lemuel Sawyer, Richard Stanford, John

_South Carolina._--Lemuel J. Alston, William Butler, Joseph Calhoun,
Robert Marion, Thomas Moore, John Taylor, Robert Witherspoon, Richard

_Georgia._--William W. Bibb, Howell Cobb, Dennis Smelt, George W. Troup.

_Kentucky._--Henry Crist, Joseph Desha, Benjamin Howard, Richard M.
Johnson, Matthew Lyon, Samuel McKee.

_Tennessee._--Pleasant M. Miller, John Rhea, Robert Weakley.

_Ohio._--Jeremiah Morrow.

_Mississippi Territory._--George Poindexter.

_Orleans Territory._--Julian Poydras.




MONDAY, November 27, 1809.

Conformably to the act passed at the last session, entitled "An act to
fix the time for the next meeting of Congress," the second session of
the eleventh Congress commenced this day; and the Senate assembled, in
their Chamber, at the city of Washington.


  NICHOLAS GILMAN, from New Hampshire.

  TIMOTHY PICKERING, from Massachusetts.

  CHAUNCEY GOODRICH, from Connecticut.

  from Vermont.

  JOHN LAMBERT, from New Jersey.


  WILLIAM B. GILES, from Virginia.

  JAMES TURNER, from North Carolina.

  South Carolina.


  from Ohio.

The number of Senators present not being sufficient to constitute a
quorum, the Senate adjourned to 11 o'clock to-morrow morning.

TUESDAY, November 28.

The Senate assembled--present as yesterday; and OBADIAH GERMAN, from
the State of New York; JAMES HILLHOUSE, from the State of Connecticut;
ELISHA MATHEWSON, from the State of Rhode Island; and NAHUM PARKER,
from the State of New Hampshire, severally attended.

ANDREW GREGG, President _pro tempore_, resumed the chair.

The PRESIDENT communicated a letter from the Surveyor of the Public
Buildings, stating the difficulties that have prevented the entire
completion of the permanent Senate Chamber; which letter was read.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary acquaint the House of Representatives
that a quorum of the Senate is assembled, and ready to attend to

_Ordered_, That Messrs. GILMAN and GAILLARD be a committee on the part
of the Senate, together with such committee as may be appointed by
the House of Representatives on their part, to wait on the President
of the United States, and notify him that a quorum of the two Houses
is assembled, and ready to receive any communications that he may be
pleased to make to them.

_Ordered_, That the Secretary acquaint the House of Representatives

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
the House have appointed a committee, on their part, jointly with such
committee as may be appointed on the part of the Senate, to wait on the
President of the United States, and notify him that a quorum of the two
Houses is assembled, and ready to receive any communications that he
may be pleased to make to them.

_Resolved_, That James Mathers, Sergeant-at-Arms and Doorkeeper to
the Senate, be, and he is hereby, authorized to employ one assistant
and two horses, for the purpose of performing such services as are
usually required by the Doorkeeper to the Senate; and that the sum
of twenty-eight dollars be allowed him weekly for that purpose, to
commence with, and remain during the session, and for twenty days after.

Mr. GILMAN reported, from the joint committee, that they had waited on
the President of the United States, agreeably to order, and that the
President of the United States informed the committee that he would
make a communication to the two Houses to-morrow, at 12 o'clock.

WEDNESDAY, November 29.

JAMES LLOYD, from the State of Massachusetts, attended.

                         _President's Message._

The following Message was received from the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED

    _Fellow-citizens of the Senate, and of the House of

    At the period of our last meeting, I had the satisfaction
    of communicating an adjustment with one of the principal
    belligerent nations, highly important in itself, and still more
    so, as presaging a more extended accommodation. It is with deep
    concern I am now to inform you, that the favorable prospect
    has been overclouded by a refusal of the British Government to
    abide by the act of its Minister Plenipotentiary, and by its
    ensuing policy towards the United States, as seen through the
    communications of the Minister sent to replace him.

    Whatever pleas may be urged for a disavowal of engagements
    formed by diplomatic functionaries, in cases where, by the
    terms of the engagements, a mutual ratification is reserved;
    or where notice at the time may have been given of a departure
    from instructions; or, in extraordinary cases, essentially
    violating the principles of equity; a disavowal could not have
    been apprehended in a case where no such notice or violation
    existed; where no such ratification was reserved; and, more
    especially, where, as is now in proof, an engagement, to be
    executed, without any such ratification, was contemplated by
    the instructions given, and where it had, with good faith, been
    carried into immediate execution on the part of the United

    These considerations not having restrained the British
    Government from disavowing the arrangement, by virtue of
    which its orders in council were to be revoked, and the event
    authorizing the renewal of commercial intercourse having thus
    not taken place, it necessarily became a question of equal
    urgency and importance, whether the act prohibiting that
    intercourse was not to be considered as remaining in legal
    force. This question being, after due deliberation, determined
    in the affirmative, a proclamation to that effect was issued.
    It could not but happen, however, that a return to this state
    of things, from that which had followed an execution of the
    arrangement by the United States, would involve difficulties.
    With a view to diminish these as much as possible, the
    instructions from the Secretary of the Treasury, now laid
    before you, were transmitted to the collectors of the several
    ports. If, in permitting British vessels to depart without
    giving bonds not to proceed to their own ports, it should
    appear that the tenor of legal authority has not been strictly
    pursued, it is to be ascribed to the anxious desire which was
    felt, that no individuals should be injured by so unforeseen
    an occurrence: and I rely on the regard of Congress for the
    equitable interests of our own citizens, to adopt whatever
    further provisions may be found requisite for a general
    remission of penalties involuntarily incurred.

    The recall of the disavowed Minister having been followed by
    the appointment of a successor, hopes were indulged that the
    new mission would contribute to alleviate the disappointment
    which had been produced, and to remove the causes which had so
    long embarrassed the good understanding of the two nations.
    It could not be doubted that it would at least be charged
    with conciliatory explanations of the step which had been
    taken, and with proposals to be substituted for the rejected
    arrangement. Reasonable and universal as this expectation
    was, it also has not been fulfilled. From the first official
    disclosures of the new Minister, it was found that he had
    received no authority to enter into explanations relative to
    either branch of the arrangement disavowed, nor any authority
    to substitute proposals, as to that branch which concerned the
    British orders in council. And, finally, that his proposals
    with respect to the other branch, the attack on the frigate
    Chesapeake, were founded on a presumption, repeatedly declared
    to be inadmissible by the United States, that the first step
    towards adjustment was due from them; the proposals, at the
    same time, omitting even a reference to the officer answerable
    for the murderous aggression, and asserting a claim not less
    contrary to the British laws and British practice, than to the
    principles and obligations of the United States.

    The correspondence between the Department of State and this
    Minister will show how unessentially the features presented
    in its commencement have been varied in its progress. It
    will show, also, that, forgetting the respect due to all
    governments, he did not refrain from imputations on this, which
    required that no further communications should be received
    from him. The necessity of this step will be made known to His
    Britannic Majesty, through the Minister Plenipotentiary of the
    United States in London. And it would indicate a want of the
    confidence due to a Government which so well understands and
    exacts what becomes foreign Ministers near it, not to infer
    that the misconduct of its own Representative will be viewed in
    the same light in which it has been regarded here. The British
    Government will learn, at the same time, that a ready attention
    will be given to communications, through any channel which may
    be substituted. It will be happy, if the change in this respect
    should be accompanied by a favorable revision of the unfriendly
    policy which has been so long pursued towards the United States.

    With France, the other belligerent, whose trespasses on
    our commercial rights have long been the subject of our
    just remonstrances, the posture of our relations does not
    correspond with the measures taken on the part of the United
    States to effect a favorable change. The result of the several
    communications made to her Government, in pursuance of the
    authorities vested by Congress in the Executive, is contained
    in the correspondence of our Minister at Paris, now laid before

    By some of the other belligerents, although professing just
    and amicable dispositions, injuries materially affecting our
    commerce have not been duly controlled or repressed. In these
    cases, the interpositions deemed proper, on our part, have
    not been omitted. But, it well deserves the consideration of
    the Legislature, how far both the safety and the honor of the
    American flag may be consulted, by adequate provisions against
    that collusive prostitution of it by individuals, unworthy
    of the American name, which has so much favored the real or
    pretended suspicions, under which the honest commerce of their
    fellow-citizens has suffered.

    In relation to the powers on the coast of Barbary, nothing has
    occurred which is not of a nature rather to inspire confidence
    than distrust, as to the continuance of the existing amity.
    With our Indian neighbors, the just and benevolent system
    continued towards them, has also preserved peace, and is more
    and more advancing habits favorable to their civilization and

    From a statement which will be made by the Secretary of
    War, it will be seen that the fortifications on our maritime
    frontier are, in many of the ports, completed, affording the
    defence which was contemplated; and that a further time will
    be required to render complete the works in the harbor of New
    York, and in some other places. By the enlargement of the
    works, and the employment of a greater number of hands at the
    public armories, the supply of small arms, of an improving
    quality, appears to be annually increasing, at a rate, that,
    without those made on private contract, may be expected to go
    far towards providing for the public exigency.

    The act of Congress providing for the equipment of our vessels
    of war having been fully carried into execution, I refer to
    the statement of the Secretary of the Navy for the information
    which may be proper on that subject. To that statement is added
    a view of the transfers of appropriations, authorized by the
    act of the session preceding the last, and of the grounds on
    which the transfers were made.

    Whatever may be the course of your deliberations on the subject
    of our military establishments, I should fail in my duty in not
    recommending to your serious attention the importance of giving
    to our militia, the great bulwark of our security and resource
    of our power, an organization the best adapted to eventual
    situations, for which the United States ought to be prepared.

    The sums which had been previously accumulated in the Treasury,
    together with the receipts during the year ending on the 30th
    of September last, and amounting to more than nine millions
    of dollars, have enabled us to fulfil all our engagements,
    and to defray the current expenses of our Government, without
    recurring to any loan. But the insecurity of our commerce, and
    the consequent diminution of the public revenue, will probably
    produce a deficiency in the receipts of the ensuing year, for
    which, and for other details, I refer to the statements which
    will be transmitted from the Treasury.

    In the state which has been presented of our affairs with the
    great parties to a disastrous and protracted war, carried on in
    a mode equally injurious and unjust to the United States as a
    neutral nation, the wisdom of the National Legislature will be
    again summoned to the important decision on the alternatives
    before them. That these will be met in a spirit worthy of the
    councils of a nation conscious both of its rectitude and of its
    rights, and careful as well of its honor as of its peace, I
    have an entire confidence. And that the result will be stamped
    by a unanimity becoming the occasion, and be supported by every
    portion of our citizens, with a patriotism enlightened and
    invigorated by experience, ought as little to be doubted.

    In the midst of the wrongs and vexations experienced from
    external causes, there is much room for congratulation on
    the prosperity and happiness flowing from our situation at
    home. The blessing of health has never been more universal.
    The fruits of the seasons, though in particular articles
    and districts short of their usual redundancy, are more
    than sufficient for our wants and our comforts. The face of
    our country every where presents the evidence of laudable
    enterprise, of extensive capital, and of durable improvement.
    In a cultivation of the materials, and the extension of useful
    manufactures, more especially in the general application
    to household fabrics, we behold a rapid diminution of our
    dependence on foreign supplies. Nor is it unworthy of
    reflection, that this revolution in our pursuits and habits
    is in no slight degree a consequence of those impolitic
    and arbitrary edicts, by which the contending nations, in
    endeavoring, each of them, to obstruct our trade with the
    other, have so far abridged our means of procuring the
    productions and manufactures of which our own are now taking
    the place.

    Recollecting, always, that, for every advantage which may
    contribute to distinguish our lot from that to which others are
    doomed by the unhappy spirit of the times, we are indebted to
    that Divine Providence whose goodness has been so remarkably
    extended to this rising nation, it becomes us to cherish a
    devout gratitude, and to implore, from the same Omnipotent
    source, a blessing on the consultations and measures about to
    be undertaken for the welfare of our beloved country.

                                                          JAMES MADISON.

  NOVEMBER 29, 1809.

The Message and documents therein referred to were read, and five
hundred copies of the Message, and also five hundred copies of the
Message together with five hundred copies of the documents, were
ordered to be printed for the use of the Senate.

On motion, by Mr. GOODRICH,

    _Resolved, unanimously_, That the members of the Senate, from
    a sincere desire of showing their respect to the memory of the
    Honorable SAMUEL WHITE, deceased, late a member thereof, will
    go into mourning for one month, by the usual mode of wearing a
    crape round the left arm.

THURSDAY, November 30.

PHILIP REED, from the State of Maryland, attended.

JOHN CONDIT, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
New Jersey, in the place of Aaron Kitchel, resigned, produced his
credentials, which were read; and, the oath prescribed by law having
been administered to him, he took his seat in the Senate.

MONDAY, December 4.

RICHARD BRENT, from the State of Virginia, and WILLIAM H. CRAWFORD,
from the State of Georgia, severally attended.

SAMUEL SMITH, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
Maryland from the 15th of November, 1809, to the 4th of March, 1815,
produced his credentials, which were read; and the oath prescribed by
law having been administered to him, he took his seat in the Senate.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that
the House concur in the resolution of the Senate of the 30th of
November, for the appointment of Chaplains, and have appointed the Rev.
JESSE LEE Chaplain on their part.

TUESDAY, December 5.

                        _The British Minister._

Mr. GILES, from the committee appointed on the first instant, reported
in part the following resolution; which was read the first time, and
passed to the second reading:

    _Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
    United States of America in Congress assembled_, That the
    expressions contained in the official letter of Francis James
    Jackson, Minister Plenipotentiary of his Britannic Majesty
    near the United States, dated the 23d day of October, 1809,
    and addressed to Mr. Smith, Secretary of State, conveying the
    idea, that the Executive Government of the United States had
    knowledge that the arrangement lately made by Mr. Erskine,
    his predecessor, on behalf of his Government, with the
    Government of the United States, was entered into without
    competent powers on the part of Mr. Erskine for that purpose,
    were highly indecorous and insolent; that the repetition of
    the same intimation in his official letter dated the 4th of
    November, 1809, after he was apprised, by the asseveration of
    the Secretary of State, that the Executive Government had no
    such knowledge, and that if it had possessed such knowledge
    such arrangement would not have been entered into on the part
    of the United States, and after also being officially apprised
    that such intimation was inadmissible, was still more insolent
    and affronting; and that, in refusing to receive any further
    communications from him in consequence of these outrageous and
    premeditated insults, the Executive Government has manifested
    a just regard to its own dignity and honor, as well as to the
    character and interest of the American people.

    That the letter signed Francis James Jackson, headed
    "Circular," dated the 13th of November, 1809, and published
    and circulated through the country, is a still more direct
    and aggravated insult and affront to the American people and
    their Government, as it is evidently an insidious attempt
    to excite their resentments and distrusts against their own
    Government, by appealing to them, through false or fallacious
    disguises, against some of its acts; and to excite resentments
    and divisions amongst the people themselves, which can only
    be dishonorable to their own characters and ruinous to their
    own interests; and the Congress of the United States do hereby
    solemnly pledge themselves to the American people and to the
    world to stand by and support the Executive Government in its
    refusal to receive any further communications from the said
    Francis James Jackson, and to call into action the whole force
    of the nation if it should become necessary in consequence of
    the conduct of the Executive Government in this respect to
    repel such insults and to assert and maintain the rights, the
    honor, and the interests of the United States.

                   _Privileges of Foreign Ministers._

Mr. GILES, from the same committee, also reported the following bill,
which was read and passed to a second reading:

    A bill to prevent the abuse of the privileges and immunities
      enjoyed by Foreign Ministers within the United States.

    _Be it enacted, &c._, That if any foreign Ambassador, Minister,
    or other person, entitled to enjoy within the United States
    the privileges and immunities of a foreign Minister, shall
    have committed, or may hereafter commit, any such act as by
    the laws and usages of nations would justify the President
    of the United States in ordering such offending Ambassador,
    Minister, or other person as aforesaid, out of the District
    of Columbia, or out of the Territories of the United States;
    or in sending him home to his Sovereign, or to some place
    or territory within his Sovereign's jurisdiction; in every
    such case where the President of the United States shall
    deem it proper and expedient to exercise his constitutional
    authority, in either of these respects he shall be, and is
    hereby authorized and empowered to cause a warrant to be issued
    and signed by the Secretary of State, directed to any civil
    officer of the United States, authorized to serve process, or
    any military officer under the authority of the United States,
    commanding him to provide for and enforce the departure of such
    Ambassador, Minister, or other person offending as aforesaid,
    taking due precautions to avoid improper or unnecessary
    violence in executing such warrant. And all officers, civil
    and military, under the authority of the United States, are
    hereby required and enjoined to be obedient to such warrant.
    And in case any officer, civil or military, to whom such
    warrant shall be directed, shall fail, or unreasonably delay to
    execute the same, every officer so offending shall be deemed
    guilty of a high misdemeanor, and shall be punished by fine
    and imprisonment before any court of the United States having
    cognizance of the offence. _Provided_, That the fine shall not
    exceed ---- dollars, nor the imprisonment be for a longer time
    than ---- years.

Mr. GILES gave notice that he should call for the consideration of this
subject on Thursday next.

FRIDAY, December 8.

                        _The British Minister._

The resolution reported by Mr. GILES, approving the conduct of the
Executive in refusing to hold any further communication with Mr.
Jackson, was taken up in the Senate as in Committee of the Whole. The
resolution having been read,

Mr. GILES rose, and spoke as follows:

Mr. President: Before I proceed to perform the duties enjoined upon me
as chairman of the committee who reported the resolution before you,
permit me to express my regret that the consideration of a subject
which justly excites so much sensibility should have been delayed, even
only one day, on my account; and be assured, sir, that nothing less
than an indisposition, sufficient to justify it, would have caused
me to have been absent from my place yesterday. Perhaps, sir, I owe
an apology to the Senate at this time for entering into this debate
under a state of hoarseness, which must necessarily disqualify me, in
some degree, from discharging my duty on the present occasion. But,
sir, it is a subject of great consolation to me, to reflect that I am
fortunately favored with associates on the committee, either of whom
could perform the task I am now engaged in better than myself, and some
of whom will certainly do me the favor of correcting any errors I may
unintentionally commit, or supplying any omissions I may inadvertently

Although it appears to me that the propriety and urgency of the
resolution now under consideration must be strongly addressed, both
to the judgment and sensibility of every gentleman who has carefully
attended to the distribution of powers under our constitution, and who
has also carefully attended to the correspondence which gave rise to
the resolution, yet, in a case of so much delicacy, it would naturally
be expected, and is a respect due to the Senate, from the chairman of
the committee, to present to it at least some of the general motives
which induced the committee to report the resolution at this time.

It is to be observed, Mr. President, that our constitution is peculiar
in the organization and distribution of its powers; and in no respect
is it more peculiar than in the distribution of the particular powers
embraced by the resolution. In all other Governments known to us, the
same department which possesses the power to receive and negotiate
with foreign Ambassadors and other public Ministers, also possesses
the power to make war. It has been thought wise in our constitution to
separate these powers. With a simplicity of language, and a solidity of
wisdom almost peculiar to our constitution, the President is invested
with the power to receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers;
thus using the broadest terms in granting this power, without even an
attempt at limitation or specification; evidently with a view that all
the incidental or consequential powers might flow from this general
expression to the department thus invested with this general power.
It was easy to foresee (and no doubt the framers of our constitution
did foresee) that the multiplicity and diversity of cases which would
arise in the course of various diplomatic manoeuvres and negotiations,
would set at defiance all attempts to limit or specify the powers of
the department, in this respect, to which these powers were confided,
and to be exercised on the part of the United States; and, therefore,
every attempt of that kind was wisely avoided, leaving to the President
to exercise his authority upon his own responsibility, to be regulated
by the only established standard amongst nations, to wit: the laws and
usages of nations. For, it never can be presumed, sir, that the wise
sages who framed our excellent constitution could for a moment have
tolerated the idea that the Ministers of foreign nations residing near
the Government of the United States, should possess greater privileges
and immunities than the Ministers of our Government residing near
foreign Courts. Of course, the same laws--to wit, the laws and usages
of nations--were left reciprocally to govern in every reciprocal case.

But, sir, notwithstanding the President is invested with the power "to
receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers," and, as I think, all
other incidental or consequential powers applicable to the various
agencies with such Ambassadors and other public Ministers, yet Congress
is invested with the power, without limitation or qualification, "to
declare war." Now, sir, it must be obvious to every understanding,
that these several powers are so intimately connected, and may be so
dependent upon each other, that the exercise of the power conceded
to the President may consequentially involve the necessity of the
exercise of the power conceded to Congress, as in the case now under
consideration. The refusal of the Executive to receive any further
communications from His Britannic Majesty's Minister, (Mr. Jackson,)
may consequentially involve us in war with Great Britain; or, in other
words, may serve as a pretext for Great Britain to make war upon us, if
she should conceive it her interest to do so, which I think not very
improbable. Hence arises, in my judgment, the propriety and urgency of
expression of the Congressional opinion upon this Executive act, and
a declaration of the Congressional will as to the course of conduct
Congress will pursue under any consequences which may flow from, or
possibly be attributed to, this Executive act.

I conceive, sir, that the expression of this opinion, and the pledge
of a solemn declaration, by Congress, are due to the people, because
the people have the greatest interest in the character of their
Government; and in no part of its attributes have a deeper interest
than in its efficacy to resist and impel injuries and insults from
foreign Governments. The people, also, are the mediate or immediate
electors of Congress, and as such have a right to expect and demand
that Congress will execute all their duties, and will never shrink from
their constitutional responsibility in any case; and, last of all, in a
case of so high and solemn a character as the one under consideration.

This course of conduct is essentially due to the Executive. The
President ought to know whether, with the indispensable co-operation
of Congress, he ought to proceed with dignified moderation and
intelligence to assert and maintain the rights, the honor, and the
interests, of the American people; or whether, for the want of that
co-operation, he shall with shame and confusion of face be compelled
to retrace his steps, and leave to Congress to abandon these high
attributes of the nation, and, with their degradation, to record their
country's ruin and disgrace. No, sir, it is not possible that an
American Congress does exist, or can ever exist, that would not spurn
from themselves every vestige of an idea that they could be brought,
under any circumstances, to perform so degrading and dishonorable
a task. It is imperiously demanded by the dignity and candor of
Congress itself. What, sir, shall the exercise of one of the highest
constitutional functions of Congress be brought into question, and
every individual in the nation engaged in expressing an opinion on
it; and shall Congress alone stand aloof, for fear of incurring a
responsibility imposed on them by the constitution? Shall Congress
stand by as idle spectators, and see a contest before the people,
between the President and a foreign Minister, and feel no interest and
take no share in such an unprecedented scene, especially when one of
their highest constitutional functions may be affected by it! No, sir.
Congress must speak--Congress must act. Congress never can shrink from
its constitutional responsibility. It is due to the dignity--it is
demanded from the candor--of Congress.

Above all, sir, it is important to the United States as a nation, that
the Congressional will should be proclaimed upon this delicate and
solemn occasion. It is of importance, it may be of the last importance,
to the United States, that Great Britain should know, before she
decides upon this subject, what is the Congressional will in relation
to it. Whether she will be called upon to act against an united,
harmonized Government and people--or whether she shall have for her
prey, a divided people and a discordant Government.

Do you believe, Mr. President, that the conduct of Great Britain would
be very different under these different conditions of the people and
Government of the United States? Let me ask you this question, sir:
would you not, sir, if you were Prime Minister of Great Britain,
consulting her interest alone, pursue a very different course of
conduct under this different state of things? Let every gentleman put
the question to himself; and the answer of every one would be the same.
Why then, sir, do we not unanimously take the ground here which, if we
were called upon to act in an opposite hostile character, would most
certainly deter us from persevering in that hostile character against
the United States? Sir, if there had been any doubt upon this subject,
our late experience ought to have removed it; for, sir, I have no
hesitation in saying, and with pain at heart I shall be compelled to
show it in the course of this debate, that, in my judgment, our present
embarrassments are too much to be ascribed to our former manifestations
of indecision, to our unfortunate dissensions and divisions. Sir,
whenever I approach this sorrowful and awful subject, my heart feels as
if it were bleeding at every pore, when I am compelled to reflect, and
to believe, that this our beloved and happy country may shortly become
a bleeding victim, from wounds--if not inflicted by the hands of her
own sons, at least by their unhappy divisions and dissensions. Yes,
sir, with a full knowledge of what is past, and strong presages of what
is to come, is it not deplorable to be compelled to think, that, in a
very few months, perhaps in a still shorter time, American blood must
be shed, to repel the hostile spirit of Great Britain, now rendered too
manifest to every understanding; and worse than all, sir, to wash away
the stains of our own unfortunate divisions and dissensions; and is it
not wonderful, as it is deplorable, that the virtuous and patriotic
American people, and sometimes called the most enlightened in the
world, with the experience of the horrible consequences, through all
ages, of the divisions of a people amongst themselves, should permit
themselves from the same cause, to fall a prey to the same inevitable

Look, Mr. President, through all history, from the first dispute
between Cain and Abel, down to the late disastrous dissensions between
the Spanish branch of the Bourbon dynasty, and find if you can, sir, a
single instance of a people who gained any advantage from dissensions
among themselves, and especially, sir, when they carried them so far,
as to join a foreign against their country's standard! I believe,
sir, not one solitary instance of this kind stands recorded. Nor is
it possible or practicable in any state of human affairs--because in
all cases, the foreign interference in the internal concerns of its
neighbors is always for its own and never for its neighbor's benefit.
With these monitory lessons before our eyes, and a full conviction
of their truth upon our hearts, is it not wonderful, that we should
voluntarily give up ourselves victims to the same calamities? But, sir,
gentlemen may ask, where is the remedy? How can we make a sacrifice
of our own opinions? Sir, the case is a plain one. Let gentlemen
exercise their opinions and persevere in their arguments at all times
respecting our internal concerns, as well before as after the measures
are adopted; let them, respecting our foreign relations, urge their
arguments with a zeal proportioned to the magnitude of the subject;
they will be pleasurably received, and respectfully considered; but
after the Government has taken its attitude against a foreign nation,
it would be going too far to desert its standard, and to join that of
the enemy. It is then time for opinion to pause and reflect, whether
any consequence can be worse, or more disgraceful, than joining a
foreign against its country's standard? Whether it would not be better,
more patriotic, more virtuous, to support your country even in a
supposed unwise course of policy, than to join a foreign standard, and
use it to correct and change the course of policy thus disapproved?

Sir, in a contest between your own and a foreign nation, it never can
be wrong to join the standard of your own country; nor right to join
the standard of your enemy. Then, sir, here is a rallying point. It
is a plain and obvious one. No understanding can mistake it. No heart
can disapprove it. It is our own Government. Let that be the rallying
point. There never can be a more propitious moment than the present for
casting into oblivion all former irritations and dissensions. There
can never be a plainer case presented to the human understanding.
There never were more urgent considerations in favor of the course
recommended. Whether we respect their repulsive effects upon British
hostility or their harmonizing effects among ourselves, they appear to
me to be equally strong and persuasive. May I not then, sir, indulge
the pleasing hope, that the resolution before you will be received
as the signal of unanimity in Congress, and joyfully hailed in that
character through the whole of this great and extended country? Sir,
does it not manifest a strange perverseness in the human character,
for us to observe that, when it is perfectly at our option, we should
choose to distress and injure ourselves by irritations and resentments,
rather than delight ourselves with union and harmony and mutual good
offices? Especially, sir, when the latter choice would command the
respect, if not excite the alarm of our enemy. For, sir, do you believe
that if Great Britain saw the strong arm of this nation stretched out
to oppose her unjust spirit of hostility, guided in all its operations
by one undivided will, she would so readily encounter its powerful
influence, as if she saw it paralyzed in all its efforts from the want
of a unity of will and action? No, sir, we undervalue our energies and
importance, if we were to suppose that her conduct would be the same
in both of these situations; or that she is at all indifferent to the
course of conduct now to be pursued by us. Let us then all unite, sir,
in this proposition, and disappoint her mistaken calculations upon
her influence in this country. I verily believe, that union is all
that is wanting to appease her hostile spirit towards us. But perhaps,
sir, every gentleman present will admit, and it appears to me that no
human being can deny, that if the facts stated in the resolution be
supported by the correspondence upon which it is founded, that then
every gentleman would readily assent to the resolution. But, sir, it
is possible, although it appears to be scarcely possible, that some
gentlemen may doubt whether the facts stated in the resolution be
supported by the correspondence or not. This I admit is a fair though
delicate inquiry, and I will therefore immediately proceed to the
examination of that question--and I beg the most critical attention of
the Senate in the course of the investigation.

I will now proceed, Mr. President, to inquire whether the facts stated
in the resolution are supported by the correspondence upon which it
is founded? In performing this task, I propose to read the whole
of the correspondence which I conceive bears any material relation
to the subject of the resolution, and no other; although the whole
may not be entitled to, nor receive any animadversions from me, yet
as my sole object is to get at the true exposition and meaning of
the correspondence, if I should unfortunately omit, misconceive, or
misinterpret any material part of it, I shall have the consolation to
reflect, that, by presenting the whole, the means of my correction
in either case will be presented to the Senate and the world, if the
observations I propose now to make should ever find their way out of
the walls of this Chamber. I shall also present this correspondence in
its responsive order, which will be found to be indispensable to the
due comprehension of some of its most essential parts.

Permit me, then, sir, to call your attention first to the letter of
Mr. Jackson to Mr. Smith, dated the 11th October, 1809, pages 32,
33, of the printed documents. For, sir, although this letter is not
mentioned in the resolution, yet it furnishes the original offensive
insinuations, and is referred to and reiterated in the letter of the
23d October, which is noticed in the resolution, and therefore the
offensive expressions of the letter of the 11th are entitled to, and
shall receive, the most accurate and critical attention and analysis.

    [Here the exceptionable passages were read.]

Now, sir, after thus stripping this extraordinary sentence of all
its disguises, and translating it into plain English, to what does
it amount? Why, sir, certainly and unquestionably to this:--You, Mr.
Smith, Secretary of State of the United States, have entered into an
arrangement with my predecessor, Mr. Erskine, under such scandalous and
dishonorable circumstances as could only lead to a disavowal of it; and
you yourself were so well apprised of them, and so conscious of their
inevitable operation, as even to think it unreasonable to complain of
the disavowal. I defy gentlemen to give to this offensive paragraph
any other fair and correct interpretation; and if this be the fair and
correct one, can you conceive, sir, of an insult more outrageous and
premeditated? And will you not be surprised, sir, to be told that the
insult does not stop here; that, as offensive as it already appears,
it does not stop here; that it is still further aggravated? Yes, sir,
Mr. Jackson, not content with making this extraordinary and insolent
communication in its ordinary form, underscores the words "could
only," containing the point or gist of the insult, thus aggravating
the act, either by the distrust thus manifested of Mr. Smith's mental
perceptions; or by letting Mr. Smith know, that the insult was known
to, and intentionally given by Mr. Jackson; for the underscoring
could not have had any other object in view. In this impudent act of
underscoring, Mr. Jackson reminds me, sir, of a set of miserable,
conceited pretenders to wit, who, having great confidence in the
acuteness of their own mental perceptions, and very little in that of
their hearers, will kindly and compassionately explain the point of wit
to their hearers, before they approach it in the recital of the story,
to prepare and qualify the hearers' minds to join in the laugh intended
to be produced by it. Yes, sir, this underscoring was as much as saying
to Mr. Smith, I am afraid that I have so nicely wrapped this insult in
the veil of mysteries and disguises, that it may escape observation
from the obtuseness of your mental perception, but am determined it
shall not. I have underscored it for you; you shall look at it; you
shall know that I, Mr. Jackson, understand and mean it. I have wrapped
it up in mystery and disguise to be sure, but I will rend the veil,
I will make an eyelet hole for you, that you shall look through, and
behold the insult in all its front of grossness and impudence.

But, sir, if Mr. Jackson had then known, as well as he now does, the
dignified character, the high sensibility, and the correct intelligence
of the Secretary of State, he would have found it more honorable
to himself to have spared his insult altogether, or at least might
have spared himself the trouble of underscoring. Sir, I conceive this
insult so gross and outrageous that I am surprised how the Executive
Government could reconcile it to itself to proceed another step in the
communications with Mr. Jackson. Certainly, sir, proceeding beyond
this point manifests on the part of the Executive great moderation,
great forbearance, and a condescension scarcely excusable; and, sir,
I am perfectly sure, that nothing could have induced it to consider
such gross intimations argumentatively, but the ardent and sincere
desire which has invariably actuated the present, as well as the last,
Administration to preserve peace and cultivate harmony and a good
understanding with Great Britain. And, sir, we shall see, in the course
of this investigation, how it has been requited for this, as well as
for all former acts of moderation, forbearance, and condescension.

Let me now, sir, select out of the quotation another extraordinary
expression, for a few animadversions, in the following words: "But the
very act of substitution evidently shows that those original conditions
were in fact very explicitly communicated to you, and by you, of
course, laid before the President for his consideration."

It is somewhat curious to observe what stress Mr. Jackson placed
through the whole of his correspondence, upon what he is here pleased
to term "the very act of substitution," and demonstrates to every
impartial mind how slender are the pretexts with which Mr. Jackson
is furnished, to apologize for, or rather to equivocate about the
disavowal of Mr. Erskine's arrangement. Let me, therefore, inquire,
in what this horrible act of substitution, as Mr. Jackson would
make it appear, consists? Why, sir, simply in this: That the three
inadmissible conditions mentioned in one of the despatches to Mr.
Erskine, were verbally communicated to Mr. Smith, and insisted upon
by Mr. Erskine, and that Mr. Smith, in rejecting those conditions
verbally, and with great propriety and frankness, told Mr. Erskine
what conditions he might obtain. Mr. Erskine, upon a review of all
his letters of instructions, finding it impossible to obtain his, the
three conditions first proposed, conceived himself fully empowered
to propose those which possibly might have been intimated to him
by Mr. Smith in conversation; and the arrangement was accordingly
and promptly made between these two gentlemen on the part of their
respective Governments. And now let me ask you, sir, what is there
dishonorable, unfair, or even unusual in this proceeding, which is
the whole amount of Mr. Jackson's "very act of substitution." Sir, it
is very easy to see, that Mr. Jackson keeps his ingenuity constantly
upon the stretch respecting this very act of substitution, evidently
with a view of producing an impression by the insinuation, that the
Executive Government of the United States had more than its share
in that arrangement, and, in fact, was concerned in a dishonorable
and scandalous combination with his predecessor, Mr. Erskine, for
the purpose of producing the arrangement. Which insinuation, if
true, must represent Mr. Erskine as a fool, a knave, or a traitor,
or all three, and our Executive Government still further lost to
every honorable sentiment, and utterly destitute of even the most
ordinary understanding. An insinuation so insidious and affronting,
cannot fail to excite the indignation and contempt of every patriotic
heart in America. But, fortunately for the Executive Government,
Mr. Erskine's previous explanation of this point to our Government
strips the transaction of every shadow of a shade of a doubt, of which
Mr. Jackson perhaps was not apprised at the time he was employed in
devising the gross insinuation. Yes, sir, this was one miserable effort
of Mr. Jackson to reproach our Executive Government for an act, for
which it merited, and universally received, the sincere applause and
grateful thanks of the American people. It restored the Executive, as
it ought to have done, to universal confidence, and utterly rooted out
every doubt of its sincerity in its diplomatic intercourse with Great
Britain, under which some of our misled and mistaken citizens, for a
while, unfortunately labored. For the moment terms were proposed on
the part of Great Britain, which could, with honor or propriety, be
accepted by the United States: they were frankly and promptly accepted
by the Executive, regardless of all consequences from any other
quarter. Sir, there is another part of this quotation which requires a
few animadversions.

I allude, sir, to the first solemn declaration made to this Government
by Mr. Jackson, respecting the despatch, in which the conditions were
prescribed to Mr. Erskine. It is in the following words:

    [Here Mr. GILES read the paragraphs from Mr. Jackson's letter,
    which charged that Mr. Erskine had shown to Mr. Smith,
    Secretary of State, the inadmissible conditions laid down in
    Mr. Canning's despatch; and then read Mr. Erskine's statement
    that he had not shown that part of Mr. Canning's despatch, and
    giving the reason why he had not done it.]

It is to be observed from this quotation, in the first place, sir,
that Mr. Erskine explicitly disavows ever having shown the Executive
Government the despatch containing the inadmissible conditions; and
thus entirely exculpates it from the odious imputation attempted to be
thrown on it by Mr. Jackson, and for this respectful forbearance to our
Government, he is certainly entitled to the applause of his own. In the
next place, Mr. Erskine explicitly states that the despatch in question
contained but one part of his instructions, and that he thought that,
from the spirit at least of his several letters of instructions, he
was fully authorized to make the arrangement he had done. And I think
there is very little doubt but he had--that Mr. Erskine still thinks
so, there can be no doubt--for he nowhere says he is now convinced
that his powers were incompetent--he only says, that the disavowal by
His Majesty is a painful proof to him, that he had formed an erroneous
judgment of His Majesty's views and the intentions of his instructions.
Whether or not he had formed an erroneous view of His Majesty's views,
or the intention of his instructions, I imagine, will depend very
much upon the point of time to which the judgment he had formed is
referable. If it be referred to the time of Mr. Oakley's mission, I am
inclined to think he had neither formed an erroneous judgment of His
Majesty's views, nor the intentions of his instructions; but, if he
refers to the time of the disavowal, then I think it pretty certain,
he had formed an erroneous judgment of both--for I have no doubt but
His Majesty's views at least had completely changed between these
two periods of time, and the real cause of this change, and of the
disavowal itself, is to be looked for in the occurrences which took
place, both in Europe and in the United States, during that interval.
No, sir, the want of powers on the part of Mr. Erskine is not the true
cause of the disavowal. I will now venture to conjecture the true
cause, and, if it be the right one, the case will be a plain one, and
all equivocations in the explanations rendered unnecessary. To do this,
sir, I must call your attention to the state of events in Europe and
in the United States, at these different periods of time. Mr. Oakley's
mission was immediately after the British Government was apprised of
the precipitate retreat of Sir John Moore's army from Spain, and the
fortune escape of the remains of it from Corunna. The affairs of Spain,
which had before excited such high expectations in the British Cabinet,
were given up as hopeless, &c. Contemporaneously with a knowledge of
these events, the British Government was also informed of the measures
of resistance against her outrageous aggressions, contemplated by
Congress; which she then believed would certainly be carried into
effect, &c. Such was the state of things at the time of sending the
despatches by Mr. Oakley. At the time of the disavowal, a new coalition
had been formed, Austria had boldly entered into the war against
France, and the Spaniards had been animated into further efforts at
resistance, which excited new hopes of success, &c.

In this country, too, sir--it pains my heart to be compelled to recite
the circumstances--our contemplated measures of resistance had been
relaxed, and the whole country exhibited such scenes of divisions
and disaffections as paralyzed in some degree the movements of the
Government. I wish, sir, I could throw a shade of oblivion over
these unfortunate scenes, or recollect them only as they furnish the
strongest argument. Indeed, sir, they point with an infallible index
to the course it now becomes us to pursue. Yes, sir, it is to these
changes in the state of things, you are to look for the real causes
of the disavowal, and not to the want of competent instructions on
the part of Mr. Erskine; and it would have been more dignified on the
part of the British Government to have told us so at once. She would
then have said to us, the state of things is changed; at the time of
giving the instructions, I was depressed from a combination of untoward
events; I am now flushed with new hopes of elevation and of triumph.
Besides, you have convinced me that you are untrue to yourselves--that
you will shrink from the assertion and support of your own rights--if
you will not, I am not bound to respect them, &c. I was then down, I
am now up, and therefore I cannot grant you, in a spirit of triumph,
what I solemnly promised in a spirit of despondency--I now find this
the most favorable moment for establishing my favorite doctrine of the
despotism of the ocean; and I cannot, and will not deprive myself of
the advantage merely to avoid the imputation of bad faith. Yes, sir,
this would have been a much more correct and dignified course on the
part of Great Britain than the miserable effort made by Mr. Canning
in devising an ingenious mental retort, for converting the bad faith
of his own Government, in the disavowal of the arrangement, into a
reproach upon ours, for the circumstances under which that arrangement
was pretended to have been made. It is true, sir, that in the one case
there would have been an admission of _mala fides_, which is basely
attempted to be avoided by a miserable subterfuge in the other; but,
then the British Cabinet would have had the consolation of having
told the truth, taken the responsibility upon themselves and set us
at defiance; and we should have been left to our own remedy, with
a perfect understanding of the case. She would, also, have had the
plea of necessity, the old-fashioned plea of tyrants, and, indeed, of
everybody else, who has no better; but this is not Mr. Canning's mode
of doing business; he chooses to act by tricks and contrivances; and,
in the case of the disavowal, by a mental retort, flowing solely from
his own visionary mental conceits, without a fact or pretext for its

Mr. President, I am told that Mr. Canning is a professed punster.
But, sir, I would not condescend to make the observation here, had he
not, after heaping upon us, during the whole of his administration,
every injury and insult in his power, at the close of it placed us
in a ludicrous situation by imposing on us an obligation, in a grave
and serious concern to the nation, of expounding his equivoques,
and unriddling his riddles. I really feel some condescension in
being compelled, in my place, to hunt out for his and Mr. Jackson's
meaning, through a transition of sentences, a collocation of words,
and a shifting of verbiage. And indulge me, sir, with remarking, that
I conceive the situation of a nation never can be more disastrous,
calamitous, and lamentable, than when its great and serious affairs are
placed in the hands of a parcel of punsters. For, sir, men of minds
of that description are too much employed in the pleasing amusement of
looking out for coruscations of wit and sentiment, to have any leisure
for the more dull and unpleasurable business of observing and marking
the great occurrences in human affairs, and of devising means of giving
them a direction favorable to their own views, or to their country's
interests. No, sir, this is too dull and plodding a pursuit for men
of such light, flitting, brilliant imaginations, and if ever they
unfortunately undertake it, they soon find the woful misapplication
of talents. If, sir, any illustration were wanting of the correctness
of these observations, it could nowhere be found better than in an
attentive review of the historical events which occurred during the
late British administration--the administration of the energetic,
the brilliant, the sarcastic, the facetious, the joking Mr. Canning.
He has carried his joking propensities far indeed. It may be truly
said he jests at scars indeed--at scars of the blackest disgrace and
ruin inflicted upon his bleeding country--upon a great nation, which
probably would have received, and certainly merited, a better fate,
if it had fortunately placed its destinies in better hands. Sir, it
appears to me, that all the military enterprises during his whole
administration, from the abominable attack on Copenhagen, down to the
last expedition against the islands of Zealand, were nothing more than
belligerent puns and conundrums. It has been constantly announced that
some grand, secret expedition was on hand, and each succeeding one
grander than the preceding, until the last expedition to Walcheren,
which was the grandest of all; and, when the secret really came out, it
appeared either that the object was abominable or contemptible, and the
means of executing even the contemptible object, upon experiment, were
generally found incompetent. Yes, sir, probably these enterprises have
cost the British nation the lives of fifty thousand brave officers and
soldiers, and I will not undertake to count the millions of dollars.
Sir, the same little-minded course of policy has also been uniformly
manifested during the same time against the United States; and in no
respect more than in the disavowal of Mr. Erskine's arrangement--in
avoiding to avow the real motives for it--and in the uncandid attempt
to convert the bad faith of the British Government into a reproach
upon our own; and this was to be done by an ingenious mental device,
prettily conceived by Mr. Canning, and adroitly executed by Mr.
Jackson, who, if not equal to Mr. Canning in the mysterious art of
punning, I think can be very little way behind his prototype in the
art of equivoques. Sir, the disavowal, in my judgment, was not for the
want of competent powers. Too great a share of the real cause of the
disavowal, unfortunately, is attributable to ourselves, and now is the
moment to relieve ourselves from the imputation.

Sir, it is painful for me to be so often compelled to question the
candor of any gentleman, particularly one clothed with the high
functions of Minister Plenipotentiary of His Britannic Majesty; but
permit me to ask you, sir, how it is possible for Mr. Jackson not to
conceive that offence would be taken at his offensive insinuations
after Mr. Smith's letter of the 1st of November, telling him in strong
and decisive terms that offence had been taken at them? or how can Mr.
Jackson reconcile it to himself to say that in adhering to these gross
insinuations, he did not intend to give offence? Let me ask you, sir,
what else he did, or could intend? For my part, I can see nothing else
that he could either rationally intend or expect. Here then, sir, is
another false or fallacious disguise thrown out before the people of
the United States, as will always be the case in every appeal to them,
calculated, or evidently intended, to excite their resentments and
distrusts against their own Government.

Now, sir, upon the most critical review of this exposition, is there a
single gentleman present, who is not prepared to say, that the facts
stated in the resolution are fully justified by the correspondence?
And if they be, sir, what inducement can possibly prevent unanimity on
the present occasion? Surely those, who wish peace with Great Britain,
will find unanimity upon this occasion the most likely to deter from
war; and surely, sir, every gentleman must feel and see that the
declarations contained in the resolution are imperiously due to the
dignity and honor of our own Government, as well as to our respect for
the people and ourselves. Sir, what would be the effect of passing by
unnoticed these gross and insidious insults to both the people and
Government? Why, sir, foreign Ministers would begin to conceive, that
an appeal to the people was amongst the most sacred of their privileges
and immunities. The frequency of them already is almost sufficient
to establish and sanctify the rule. The cases of Genet, Yrujo, the
publication of Mr. Canning's letter in one of the Boston newspapers,
&c., never received sufficient animadversions from Congress; and if
this most aggravated case of all should pass over unnoticed, I should
not be surprised to see Mr. Jackson during the present winter set
himself up as a British President in New York, contesting the point
of jurisdiction before the people, with the American President at
Washington; whilst Congress, regardless of their own constitutional
powers, &c., should stand by and behold the extraordinary scene in a
state of perfect neutrality. Sir, is it possible that Congress can so
far forget their duties to the people and their respect for themselves?
Independently of the obvious propriety of this proceeding in itself,
have we, sir, no examples of the course of conduct recommended by the
resolution? Let me remind you, sir, of the case of Count De Palm in the
British Parliament. In that case, sir, the Count De Palm presented a
memorial to the British King by the express order of his Government,
complaining of the misrepresentation of facts made in the King's
speech to Parliament, which complaint the British historians admit
was well founded. After presenting the memorial, he caused it to be
published and circulated through the country, etc. What, sir, was
the conduct of the British Parliament and nation upon that occasion?
Sir, the Parliament unanimously entered into resolutions expressing
the highest indignation at the insolent procedure; and presented an
address to His Majesty requesting him to order the Count De Palm out
of the country immediately. Sir, I will not trouble the Senate with
reading the proceedings of the House of Commons upon this memorable
occasion; because I presented them to the Senate last winter in the
case of the publication of Mr. Canning's letter in the Boston paper,
and I, therefore, presume they are now fresh in the recollection of
every gentleman. And what, sir, was the conduct of the opposition
in the British House of Commons, when their King and country were
insulted by a foreign Minister? Did they hold back, did they attempt
to paralyze the proceedings of their Government in resenting this
conduct and retrieving its wounded honor and dignity? No, sir, they
were Englishmen, and felt the indignity to themselves! They were
patriots, and could not see their Government and nation insulted with
indifference! They stepped forward, sir, and were the first to move
the resolution and address. The proceeding was unanimous; and what
benefit did the British nation receive from this unanimous and prompt
proceeding? Why, sir, from the year 1726 to the present time, the
insult has not, I believe, been repeated, and probably never will again.

Sir, how honorable, how patriotic, was this course of conduct to the
British opposition! How honorable and laudable would be its imitation
here! Especially, sir, when union is all that is wanting to make us
happy and victorious. Why then, sir, should we not have union, when it
is so easy and efficacious a remedy for all our difficulties? Sir, the
nation expects it; the nation has a right to demand it. May I not then
hope, sir, that the hitherto dominant spirit of party will now yield
to an occasion, so obvious, so urgent, so honorable! Sir, I cannot
express to you the pleasure I should feel at my heart, if I could see
all irritations banished, and harmony and mutual good will universally
pervading all political scenes and all social intercourse. That the
present occasion may be improved to this desirable end, is the most
fervent prayer of one, who, in the present delicate, interesting crisis
of the nation, feels a devotion for his country beyond every thing else
on this side of Heaven!

After Mr. GILES concluded, the question was taken on the passage of the
resolution to a third reading. There were twenty-four members present,
besides the President _pro tem._; of whom twenty voted in favor of it.
It was ordered to be read a third time on Monday next.

MONDAY, December 11.

Mr. GILMAN, from the committee, reported the resolution relating to the
official correspondence between the Secretary of State and Francis J.
Jackson, Minister Plenipotentiary of His Britannic Majesty, correctly
engrossed; and the resolution was read the third time.

On the question, Shall this resolution pass? it was determined in the
affirmative--yeas 20, nays 4, as follows:

    YEAS.--Messrs. Bradley, Brent, Condit, Crawford, Gaillard,
    German, Giles, Gilman, Gregg, Griswold, Lambert, Leib,
    Mathewson, Meigs, Parker, Pope, Reed, Smith of Maryland,
    Sumter, and Turner.

    NAYS.--Messrs. Goodrich, Hillhouse, Lloyd, and Pickering.

MONDAY, December 18.

JOHN SMITH, from the State of New York, attended.

THURSDAY, December 21.

JOSEPH ANDERSON, from the State of Tennessee, attended.

TUESDAY, December 26.

JESSE FRANKLIN, from the State of North Carolina, attended.

THURSDAY, December 28.

CHARLES TAIT, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State
of Georgia, in the place of John Milledge, resigned, produced his
credentials; which were read, and, the oath prescribed by law having
been administered to him, he took his seat in the Senate.

TUESDAY, January 2, 1810.

JAMES A. BAYARD, from the State of Delaware, attended.

THURSDAY, January 4.

JENKIN WHITESIDE, from the State of Tennessee, attended.

FRIDAY, January 12.

ALEXANDER CAMPBELL, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the
State of Ohio, in place of Edward Tiffin, resigned; and CHRISTOPHER G.
CHAMPLIN, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of Rhode
Island, in the place of Francis Malbone, deceased; severally produced
their credentials, which were read. And the oath prescribed by law
having been administered to them, they took their seats in the Senate.

TUESDAY, January 23.

                           _Naval Armament._

The Senate resumed the third reading of the bill authorizing the
fitting out, officering, and manning, the frigates belonging to the
United States.

THURSDAY, February 1.

The PRESIDENT communicated a letter from the Governor of the State of
Kentucky, enclosing a certificate of the appointment of HENRY CLAY a
Senator of the United States, in place of Buckner Thruston, resigned.
And the certificate was read, and ordered to lie on file.

MONDAY, February 5.

HENRY CLAY, appointed a Senator by the Legislature of the State of
Kentucky, in the place of Buckner Thruston, attended, and the oath
prescribed by law having been administered to him, he took his seat in
the Senate.

THURSDAY, February 22.


Mr. GILMAN, from the committee, reported the amendments to the bill,
entitled "An act respecting the commercial intercourse between the
United States and Great Britain and France, and for other purposes,"
correctly engrossed; and the bill was read the third time as amended.

Mr. CLAY.--Mr. President: At all times embarrassed when I have ventured
to address you, it is with peculiar diffidence I rise on this occasion.
The profound respect I have been taught to entertain for this body, my
conscious inadequacy to discuss, as it deserves, the question before
you, the magnitude of that question, and the recent seat I have taken
in this House, are too well calculated to appall, and would impel me to
silence if any other member would assume the task I propose attempting.
But, sir, when the regular troops of this House, disciplined as they
are in the great affairs of this nation, are inactive at their posts,
it becomes the duty of its raw militia, however lately enlisted, to
step forth in defence of the honor and independence of the country.

I voted yesterday against the amendment offered by the gentleman from
Maryland, because, while that vote did not pledge me for the ultimate
passage of the bill, it would have allowed me to give it my support
if no better proposition was tendered. I do not like the bill as sent
from the House of Representatives. It was a crazy vessel, shattered and
leaky; but it afforded some shelter, bad as it was. It was opposition
to the aggressive edicts of the belligerents. Taken from us without a
substitute, we are left defenceless, naked, and exposed to all the rage
and violence of the storm.

Sir, have we not been for years contending against the tyranny of
the ocean? Has not Congress solemnly pledged itself to the world not
to surrender our rights? And has not the nation at large in all its
capacities of meetings of the people, State, and General Government,
resolved to maintain at all hazards our maritime independence? Your
whole circle of commercial restrictions, including the non-importation,
embargo, and non-intercourse acts, had in view an opposition to the
offensive measures of the belligerents, so justly complained of by
us. They presented _resistance_--the _peaceful_ resistance of the
law. When this is abandoned without effect, I am for resistance by the

No man in the nation wants peace more than I; but I prefer the troubled
ocean of war, demanded by the honor and independence of the country,
with all its calamities and desolation, to the tranquil and putrescent
pool of ignominious peace. If we can accommodate our differences
with one of the belligerents only, I should prefer that one to be
Britain; but if with neither, and we are forced into a selection of
our enemy, then am I for war with Britain, because I believe her prior
in aggression, and her injuries and insults to us were atrocious in
character. I shall not attempt to exhibit an account between the
belligerents of mercantile spoliations inflicted and menaced. On that
point we have just cause of war with both. Britain stands pre-eminent
in her outrage on us, by her violation of the sacred personal rights
of American freemen, in the arbitrary and lawless imprisonment of our
seamen, the attack on the Chesapeake--the murder, sir. I will not
dwell on the long catalogue of our wrongs and disgrace, which has
been repeated until the sensibility of the nation is benumbed by the
dishonorable detail.

But we are asked for the means of carrying on the war, and those who
oppose it triumphantly appeal to the vacant vaults of the Treasury.
With the unimpaired credit of the Government invigorated by a faithful
observance of public engagements, and a rapid extinction of the debt of
the land, with the boundless territories in the west presenting a safe
pledge for reimbursement of loans to any extent, is it not astonishing
that despondency itself should disparage the resources of this country?
You have, sir, I am credibly informed, in the city and vicinity of New
Orleans alone, public property sufficient to extinguish the celebrated
deficit in the Secretary's report. And are we to regard as nothing the
patriotic offer so often made by the States, to spend their last cent,
and risk their last drop of blood, in the preservation of our neutral
privileges? Or, are we to be governed by the low, grovelling parsimony
of the counting room, and to cast up the actual pence in the drawer
before we assert our inestimable rights?

It is said, however, that no object is attainable by war with Great
Britain. In its fortunes, we are to estimate not only the benefit to be
derived to ourselves, but the injury to be done the enemy. The conquest
of Canada is in your power. I trust I shall not be deemed presumptuous
when I state that I verily believe that the militia of Kentucky are
alone competent to place Montreal and Upper Canada at your feet. Is
it nothing to the British nation; is it nothing to the pride of her
Monarch, to have the last of the immense North American possessions
held by him in the commencement of his reign wrested from his dominion?
Is it nothing to us to extinguish the torch that lights up savage
warfare? Is it nothing to acquire the entire fur trade connected with
that country, and to destroy the temptation and the opportunity of
violating your revenue and other laws?

War with Great Britain will deprive her of those supplies of raw
materials and provisions which she now obtains from this country. It is
alleged that the non-intercourse law, constantly evaded, is incapable
of execution. War will be a non-intercourse, admitting of but partial
elusion. The pressure upon her, contemplated by your restrictive laws,
will then be completely realized. She will not have the game, as she
will if you press this bill without an efficient system, entirely in
her own hands. The enterprise and valor of our maritime brethren will
participate in the spoils of capture.

Another effect of war will be, the reproduction and cherishing of a
commercial spirit amongst us. Is there no danger that we shall become
enervated by the spirit of avarice, unfortunately so predominant? I do
not wish to see that diffusive military character, which, pervading
the whole nation, might possibly eventuate in the aggrandizement of
some ambitious chief, by prostrating the liberties of the country.
But a certain portion of military ardor (and that is what I desire)
is essential to the protection of the country. The withered arm and
wrinkled brow of the illustrious founders of our freedom are melancholy
indications that they will shortly be removed from us. Their deeds of
glory and renown will then be felt only through the cold medium of the
historic page. We shall want the presence and living example of a new
race of heroes to supply their places, and to animate us to preserve
inviolate what they achieved. Am I counting too much on the valor of my
countrymen, when I indulge the hope, that, if we are forced into war,
the American hero now lives, who, upon the walls of Quebec, imitating
his glorious example, will avenge the fall of the immortal Montgomery?
But we shall, at least, gain the approbation of our own hearts. If we
surrender without a struggle to maintain our rights, we forfeit the
respect of the world, and (what is worse) of ourselves.

We are often reminded that the British navy constitutes the only
barrier between us and universal dominion. When resistance to Britain
is submission to France, I protest against the castigation of our
colonial infancy being applied in the independent manhood of America.
I am willing, sir, to dispense with the parental tenderness of the
British navy. I cannot subscribe to British slavery upon the water,
that we may escape French subjugation on land. I should feel myself
humbled, as an American citizen, if we had to depend upon any foreign
power to uphold our independence; and I am persuaded that our own
resources, properly directed, are fully adequate to our defence. I am
therefore for resisting oppression, by whomsoever attempted against us,
whether maritime or territorial.

Considering then that the bill as amended in this House, in furnishing
no substitute for the law of non-intercourse, which it repeals, nor
the proposition of the other House, intended to take its place, is a
total dereliction of all opposition to the edicts of the belligerents,
I cannot vote for it in its present form. I move a recommitment of
the bill to supply this defect. What ought to be the substitute, I
confess I have not satisfied myself--not expecting that it would
fall to my lot to make you this motion. The committee, however, can
deliberate upon the subject, and propose one. I would suggest two for
consideration--either a total non-importation, which our laws can
doubtless enforce, or to arm our merchantmen, and authorize convoys.
A day may be fixed, allowing sufficient time for the last effort of
the negotiation. That failing, our merchants then to be permitted to
arm, and to receive all the protection by convoys which the public
vessels can give. This latter measure may lead to war, but it is not
war. Our neutral rights are violated by the belligerents. Each p