« PrejšnjaNaprej »
tradictory record to be produced against them tude to encounter ? At second-hand with our —to the degradation of their established politi- intermediate decision to break off the storm of cal character and consequence.
public censure, they may be willing to adopt it. Sir, on this point of consistency and adher. But let us leave to them the honor and the peril ence to our former resolves, we ought to be of this at least contingent measure. If it will the more tenacious, because we have excited be so productive of good as some gentlemen hopes and expectations among our constituents, predict, it will be an act of condescension and and especially the commercial class, that we liberality for us to relinquish our pretensions ought not to disappoint. Next to an English, in their favor; but if it be an act pregnant with a Spanish war is the most disastrous in which innumerable evils, let the responsibility rest this country can be engaged. It affects, most upon the broad shoulders of the immediate deeply, the little commercial enterprise that is representatives of the people. They have a suffered to exist in the country. Upon the sug- power to which we cannot pretend, that of gestion that you were playing at this deep game originating money-bills—of devising the sys last session, a hundred commercial enterprises tems of taxation. The present war has exconnected with shipments to Spanish countries ceeded, in expense, all previous calculation; and colonies were suspended. Upon your wise has transcended every estimate:-and the erand virtuous rejection of this measure, hundreds pense of the next year will be at least double of shipments of enterprises grounded on your that of the last. A new war must inevitably consistency, upon your permanency of system, lead to a farther enormous increase of the pubhave commenced, and are now proceeding.
lic burdens. Shall we originate measures, and Sir, it will be a gross breach of faith towards | leave to them the laborious, and I am afraid the commercial world; they will be ruined by odious task of exacting from the pockets of the this secret declaration of war. It will burst people the means of executing them? Or shall upon them, from this conclave, like a hurricane we heedlessly precipitate the country into a new from the cave of Æolus, sweeping into the war, ignorant whether the means will ever power of your new enemy as large an amount be provided to carry it on? Let us at least wait of property as that for which we pretend we to see what is the system of taxation which are solicitous to seek indemnification. Where their wisdom and patriotism will present to us. is our property? our commerce? at Cadiz—at It may be too intolerable to be adopted;—then Havana-at Lisbon. Do you suppose that the this measure must fail; and we shall as a Senate Spaniards, and the Portuguese, their allies, are have lavished our precious stock of public faror dullards and fools ? and that they will omit the in a legislative effort at once premature and fair and honest exercise of the rights of reprisal impotent. and retaliation? Will they not preach our doc Sir, I wish to husband our peculiar reputation. trines against ourselves; practico our own arts, Prudence, caution, and circumspection, but and repel aggression by aggression?
above all, independence; a firm, severe, and It is not on the mere ground of obstinate, erect independence, ought to be the distinguishunenlightened, indiscriminating adherence to ing qualities of this grave and dignified assemyour former measures, that I appeal to your bly. It is not for us to court popularity—but I sense of honor, magnanimity and consistency; am not unwilling to augment and corroborate but in relation to the prospect of loss, of disas- our claims upon the public gratitude. We have trous consequences, of wide-spread distress. already this session done much. We originated The merchants are now pursuing a lucrative and carried through with uncommon despatch honest trade with a friendly nation, upon the and unanimity, the bill for the augmentation of ground of their special and unsuspecting confi- the navy. We conducted, with like dispatch dence in this Senate. Will you disappoint that and unanimity, our proceedings in regard to confidence, and expose them to inevitable ruin; the Merchants’ Bonds. We have unbound from yourselves to inevitable censure ?
the rack the victims of financial extortion, and Sir, why should we, as a Senate, at this time preserved an useful and unoffending class of introduce this proposition? Is it by way of citizens from ruin, and the nation from disgrace. penitence for our former sin? a means of ob- Let us not surrender these strong holds upon taining pardon for our past offences? a repara- the public confidence. Let us at least not intion for wrongs we have done? Or is it that voke public execration, by a rash declaration of some terrible necessity exists, that the Senate an additional, unjust, and unnecessary war. If should entitle itself to forgiveness, and propiti- the car of the state is to be driven Jehu-like to ate selfish and senseless clamor, by an act of destruction, let us refuse to be the charioteers. submission and a surrender of its former opin I admit, that these objections are entirely preions? Sir, I know we have the right to origi- liminary; and relate not so much to the spenate this measure; but is it proper, expedient, cific merits of the question now under considdecorous in us to do it? It was, at first, the eration, as to the point whether we ought to measure of the House of Representatives: let consider it at all. Whether (if I may so express them at least re-produce it. Why this attempt myself) we ought to assume of it any cognizance to oblige us to adopt a bantling they have aban- whatever. But in my humble conception, these doned? Why court a perilous responsibility, objections are not less valid and important, for which it seems they have no longer the forti- being preliminary considerations such as natu
rally and necessarily precede, and for a time, practice of every administration—this assertion exclude the discussion of the main question. of a truism, which, in the abstract, nobody is
And, sir, there is another remaining topic, disposed to deny; this stripping a case of all its under this head of argument, of more prevail. circumstances, for the purpose of facilitating ing force, than either of those I have attempted the progress of an unusual and unexplained to illustrate.
course, is, I confess, not a mode of reasoning, Why, I ask, is there, in the mode of present for which my plain and unscholastic mind has ing this measure, a total evasion of presidential a preference. I admired the animation and the responsibility? Is it a measure of the cabinet ? spirit with which the gentleman from PennsylThen, why has it not the sanction of presiden- vania asserted bis own personal independence tial recommendation? Why are we to be used in regard to the executive, and feel grateful to as a constitutional screen, interposed between him for the clear exposition of the principles the people, and the efficient initiator of this upon which our independence as a political measure? Where is the message, where is the body is constitutionally upheld. And I accord manifesto, spreading out in the expansion of with him in the assertion, that initiative legisdetail, this declaration of another war, against lation in all cases but those of revenue, and unan innocent, neutral, and friendly country? influenced deliberation in all cases without
Is it not a presidential measure? then we are exception, is the right and privilege of this driving on to the consummation of a deed of House. dreadful import, without the usual and neces- But the exercise of this right, to be practically sary instructions on this subject. It may be useful and beneficial, will, from its very nature, that we are doing something in opposition to be infrequent. It is no corroboration of that another branch of the Government, who may right to assert it in unqualified terms, or to rehold, on this subject, opinions adverse to ours; sort to it without judicious discrimination or --and we are voluntarily subjecting ourselves self-evident necessity. And, sir, in a case into the peril of a dangerous contlict between the volving a change of our relations from a state constitutional authorities. This, I again admit, of peace with a friendly nation to that of war, we have the power of doing ;—but is it right, no instance can hardly be imagined, in which proper, expedient and decorous to do it? There our primary interference would be justifiable. may be an extreme case presumed, when it It was clearly shown by my honorable friend might be proper, at all hazards, to exercise this from Connecticut, with a peculiar felicity of power. But will gentlemen pretend that the illustration, and an irrefutable force of argucase has, in this instance, occurred? Is this an ment, to be in as little accordance with the occasion of such pressing emergency, of such spirit of the constitution as it is contrary to the imperious necessity, of such obvious enormity, uniform practice under it. It may be, sir, reproas compels us from duty and principle to act, bated as a tory doctrine ;-but I have imbibed even at the hazard of interrupting the harmony it, from an attention to the cases that have ocof the different departments of the Government? curred, under the administrations of Messrs.
By the third Section of the 2d Article of the Jefferson and Madison. In the great cases of the constitution, it is made the duty of the Presi- two embargoes, in that of the war with Engdent, from time to time, to give to the Congress land, in this very measure heretofore, and ininformation of the state of the Union, and deed in all where a change of our relative recommend to their consideration such measures situation with foreign powers was contemplated, as he shall judge necessary and expedient. It we have had an executive message—a distinct is his imperative duty ;-he shall do it. It is a recommendation. And, sir, this is the true fair presumption, that if he thought this whig doctrine—it is the correct republican measure advisable, just, honest, practicable and course—it fixes the responsibility upon one expedient, that he would have recommended it. person—it limits—it defines it-it reduces it to
I know, sir, that some gentlemen object to a single point. We can judge of the recommenthis course of observation ;-and alarm them-dation, by the reasons by which it is enforced ; selves with a jealousy, that there is in this argu- we can venture to indulge in a warrantable conment, something that imports a surrender of fidence, as to the truth of the statements that the independent powers of this House, and they are made ;-because we know they are made repel, with some warmth and indignation, the under the consciousness and the peril of the opinion that we should not act upon our own highest official responsibility. If the measure plans and conceptions, without a previous presi- recommended, and made the basis of our prodential recommendation. Most undoubtedly the ceedings, should afterwards appear to have pro gentleman from Pennsylvania is correct. I ad- ceeded from base, corrupt, or traitorous motives, mit it—this is the theory of the constitution, by the constitutional process of impeachment, and there may be cases in which it would not the transgression would be visited on the actual only be the duty of this House to act without transgressor—the national honor would be represidential communication, but something like deemed, and public justice would be vinditreason not to act. Bat is this such a case ? cated. This resort to the dormant, theoretic princi- But in the present mode who is responsible ? ples of the constitution, in contradistinction to who, in any event would be impeachable? To The daily, well-understood and unobjectionable the President solely, in the first instance is intrusted the treaty-making power. He watches by the honorable gentleman from Georgia, bu over our concerns with foreign nations—he has from their formal public acts. I agree the he. the means of intelligence—the power of inter- reditary king was Charles; the rightful king ference. If the former relative situation of our is Ferninand; the intrusive, usurping king is affairs with Spain has changed, he ought and Joseph. The country is invaded by France and will, unless you presume him criminally indif- is closely allied with England; but still, in prinferent to his sacred duty and his country's welciple and fact, and for all efficient purposes, the fare, announce that change. Shall we clamor- government is Spanish ;-legitimately Spanish ; ously rush to arms, when the sentinel on the represented and conducted by the agents of the watch-tower has lighted no beacon-has sound- Spanish nation; who make treaties, contract ed no trumpet-has rung no alarm-bell? alliances, fight battles, achieve victories, and
How do we know that the functions of the perform all the essential duties and mighty functreaty-making power in this instance have ceas- tions of a great nation. We have, at this very ed ? that the virtuous attempt to preserve the moment, a minister from that nation resident country in peace has been abandoned in des- in this country, (why he has not been publicly pair? May we not heedlessly and officiously acknowledged it is not for me to say,) who has interfere with unclosed negotiations on this very tendered reparation for all the wrongs Spain subject—and thus disappoint the best concerted has, at any time, inflicted on this country-on efforts of the proper authority directed to the her part unintentional wrongs, occasioned by attainment of this very object, by peaceful, in the peculiarity of her situation-and inflicted, preference to belligerent means? Was not this not from injustice, but in consequence of French the very argument urged successfully last ses- instigation, and French despotic dictation. The sion, in relation to France ?
whole of our unpublished correspondence with Were not the manifold and enormous injuries Spain proves that she acted under duress. These committed against us by France equally repro- wrongs, sir, were accidental blows, which in the bated by all parties, and did we not all agree paroxysm of distress, she directed without aim that reparation-prompt, comprehensive, effect against a friend; and for which, now restored ual reparation was due? What restrained us to sanity and freedom, she feels penitence and from requiring it in the same way from France offers reparation. It would be unjust to avenge as we did from England ? because the Presi- ourselves, in her present distresses; ungenerous, dent announced to us that negotiations with the because her house is on fire, to plunder it of one power and not with the other were closed. its precious effects; unchristian not to meet Let us wait for the same communication in re- penitence with forgiveness. gard to Spain.
According, sir, to our American principles, These considerations, drawn from the nature grounding ourselves on the acknowledged rules of the treaty-making power, when first urged of public law, there always is a legitimate by my honorable friend from Connecticut, seem- government, the government "de facto;" we ed by the admission of the honorable gentleman interfere not with the independency or intefrom Kentucky on my right, to have made their rior constitutions of foreign nations. I adproper impression on his candid and intelligent mit that there may exist circumstances to mind. But he has struggled manfully against which this, as a general rule, must bend; but his tendency to be convinced against his will, it is a fact that has been repeatedly stated in and has reconciled himself (as we all too easily print, and never contradicted, and to the concan) to a former favorite prepossession. But viction of my mind, ascertained by circumstanthe course of reasoning by which the honora- ces, that the reparation offered by the Minister ble gentleman achieved this victory over him of the Cortes of Spain, was an immediate repaself, is to my humble conception as fallacious in ration; a reparation in rem-by the delivery of principle, as it has been, when acted on by min dollars actually in this country-to the amount isters and politicians, baneful in its effects. It of all our fair claims; the amount to be settled is grounded on the assumption of the fact that by commissioners, upon the principle of the very there is no existing authority in Spain with convention made by Mr. Charles Pinckney, once whom it is safe and proper to treat. "This, too, acquiesced in by this very Senate, and highly is the favorite argument of the honorable gen- advantageous to this country. If we get the tleman from Georgia, who last addressed you. reparation by honest means, if we were snug in The stress and substance of his very able ad- our indemnity by consent of parties, we clearly dress, appeared to me to be this: You must do should have an equitable, and at all events a this act-necessity constrains you to adopt it, legal right to retain it, let what would happen. as a measure of security and precaution. You No matter who might hereafter occupy the cannot negotiate—there is no Spain with whom government of Spain; no action for money, bad to treat; or, at any rate, there is no Spain but and received, could rightfully be instituted as identified with Great Britain.
against us; and if attempted to be exacted by In the true republican language of old times, force, we should then clearly have a right to I should say, that is the government which the repel force by force. We ought to have dispeople will to be so: and I should take the ev- dained the menaces of an interfering, usurping 19 of that will, not from an English news- power, have consulted solely American interests
Tobbett's Register, which was quoted | and feelings, have taken the money, and paid it
over to the suffering merchants to whom it be- have got it, it is by private, covert negotiation, longed.
å mean acceptance of illegal plunder from a It strikes me as something strange indeed, power whose ten thousand wrongs, injuries and that gentlemen should assert that Spain has no insults, are unredressed, uncompensated, unregovernment; and yet in the same breath assert venged. that she is in strict alliance with Great Britain. If we have not got her assent, we act inconIs she incapable of maintaining the relations of sistently—and encounter the very danger, that peace and amity, and yet in strict alliance with of a contested title, which we affect to be solicianother nation? Has she not, lately, likewise tous to avoid ; and in case, which God forbid ! formed a treaty with Russia, who has acknowl- France should be victorious in her attempt to edged her independence? Has she not, lately, overthrow the liberties of mankind, we should issued a declaration of neutrality, in regard to have to restore it at her bidding. She will this country and our present war? If Spain convert us into a mere trustee of her own has no government, she has no colonies-no ju- appointment, for her own benefit. She will risdiction over them—they are separated from have a cession from Spain, previous to our conthe mother, or metropolitan country—they be- quest. come, as to her, foreign, independent countries; Every thing in relation to the claim or right as such, their rights ought to be by us respected. of France seems to be evaded; but gently We have no right to avenge ourselves for Span- touched, hinted at with the utmost delicacy and ish wrongs on countries not Spanish.
caution; traced, as it were, in doubtful characSir, the experience of all ages proves that it ters, iu chemical ink, which the heat of some is idle to debate upon the theories of a consti- future occasion is to bring out. We know our tution in relation to the observance of treaties. Spanish concerns are closely linked with our If a fair and rational treaty be made so that it French concerns; but how, to what extent, we is the mutual interest of parties to observe it, are not permitted to know. We are too scruyou have obtained the true security and only pulous to treat with Spain as the ally of Engwise dependence for the continuance of peace. land, because we deem it beneath our dignity Treaties made by a government when under one to treat otherwise than with an independent form of internal constitution, are still binding, and co-equal power. Yet is it not true, that though that formn may be changed. We have when Spain was in a state of vassalage to acted on and recognized this principle. Do we France, this was deemed no objection to freknow of any King of Spain but Ferdinand ? quent negotiations? We asserted her nominal It is admitted he has been announced to us. independence, and treated with the vassal by Has the pretended claim of Joseph Bonaparte permission of the Lord, and for his benefit. to the crown of Spain, its territories and colo Does the gentleman mean to say we ought to nies, ever been made known in a formal and take possession of St. Augustine, because the official manner to this government? Have we Spanish local authorities are opposed by conever acknowledged it? Have we had any legal spirators, traitors to their own country; no, or even constructive notice of his arrogant pre- they have no country-by renegadoes—a bantensions? If so, where is the correspondence? ditti; or to state this in terms as little inoffenWho is his minister? Do we mean to take pos- sive as possible to the feelings of gentlemen, session of this country under color of that title? because there is a Jacobin, revolutionary moveHave we bargained, in the treaty of limits ne- ment in that country? Does a really deep, gotiated by Mr. Barlow, for the cession of this honest, spontaneous revolutionary movement country to us? What was the consideration of exist there? Is it not, on the contrary, an that bargain? What were its terms? Is it in- | artificial, concerted, contrived, petty, patcheddeed true, that the offered compensation for the up miserable treason, paid for by our money, robberies committed on us by France, is to be fomented by our people? Who caused that an issue of a batch of licenses and a cession of movement? was it not solely occasioned by East-Florida? A reparation of ill faith, by per- American interference by American instigamitting us again to be exposed to its treach- tion? When the names were read, from Matery—a restitution for plunder, by authorizing thews' communication and the other papers, us to plunder.
could the gravest among os forbear to smile, at On a former occasion, when we were about the paucity of Spanish names, among the conto take a territory confessedly ours by treaty spirators! There was here and there a Don and purchase—we were told by France to stay Juan, and a Don Gomez, in a long list of wellour hand; did we not obey her? Was not even known American names and characters. at that time the magnanimity (as it was called) I ask gentlemen, did we find a Revolution of France a theme of eulogy in this country there, or did we create it? And shall we, in Was not the answer of Talleyrand to our min- violation of the principle which protects us, and ister, (I think Mr. Livingston,) a plain, and if every civilized Society, from hateful, corrupt, the phrase can be applied to him, an honesto foreign interference, in shameful inconsistency one? If you go to war with Spain, France will with all we said and did in Henry's affair, take take the part of Spain; and did we not in con- advantage of our own wrong, and with an sequence desist? You either have or have not hypocrisy unrivalled but by Bonaparte himself, got the assent of France to this seizure; if you I practise the very arts, against an innocent, un
offending people, against which we were justly But sir, I recollect there is an argument which indignant, when we had even a distant suspi- has been distinctly announced, and was strencion, that they might be used against our honor, uously urged by the honorable gentleman from our integrity, our independence? But, sir, I Tennessee, on my right, which is worthy of will not further, at present, pursue this topic; examination, though I humbly conceive susmy object is not to excite adverse feeling, but ceptible of easy refutation. He denies this will merely to awaken a strict attention, and direct be war. As this argument comes from so rea temperate investigation, to the proposition spectable a quarter, I will endeavor to obviate before us. What is that proposition? what is it, not by reasonings of my own, but by the the statement of the case, as presented us by the most complimentary course I can adopt, by the honorable chairman of the committee?
quotation of respectable and conclusive authoriIt is to seize a province, belonging to Spain ty. We will appeal to the writers on the law —to seize and occupy it by the armies of the of nations, and to Vattel, as the most authoriUnited States—to besiege an important and tative and judicious of all those writers. formidable fortress-to use force against a present, friendly, neutral power. That is, in short, Here Mr. Hunter quoted Vattel. to wage war against Spain. What are the avowed reasons, or rather pretexts? I say pre- Leaning then, sir, upon this staff of authority, texts, because it is historically and proverbially I say this is not only war, but an offensive war; true,' that those who are determined on war, not only an offensive, but an unjust war; not who are greedy for conquest, can always find only unjust, but I am, for the honor of my pretexts, and dignify them with the name of country, deeply apprehensive, that in the minds reasons. War indeed is the “ultima ratio re- of foreign nations, in the minds of a majority of gum;" and when we read the manifestoes of this nation, whose moral sense it will offend-it kings determined to make war, it is more that is liable to the odious epithet contained in the literary curiosity may be gratified, than that our last sentence I have quoted. It is a wicked war; consciences may be enlightened, or our under- it is robbery. standings convinced. We may occasionally be If this is not war, but something done only in delighted with the speciousness of statement, reference to and for the security of an indemnity and dexterity of argument-we may be momen--a reducing of a legal lien into possessiontarily dazzled with the splendid colors with process to confirm peace an instrument of newhich ingenuity may deck the robe of fraud, gotiation—it is a measure the President already but the inherent deformity of the design it is has in his power. It is the treaty-making impossible to conceal.
power; he can act without our aid. Imbecile indeed must be the understanding, But, sir, can there be any doubt that this act disingenuous indeed the moral nature of that will be war against Spain? If we reject Vatman, who does not instantly detect and despise, tel's definition, shall we adopt that of Mr. Jefthe miserable though elaborate sophistry which ferson? Is it not an effort to do, in this instance, justifies invasion, and instigates to plunder, and as much harm as we can? Is it not an attempt in wretched inconsistency, seeks a confirmation to reduce the people of East Florida to a foreign of independence and a guarantee of the integrity yoke? Are gentlemen discontented at the ex. of empire, in the subjugation of an innocent pression—let them examine it—it is strictly neighbor, and in propagating as the precursor correct. Their independence of us, is to be of arms, the holy doctrines of insurrection, presumed as valuable to them as our independtreason, and rebellion. I own that I rejoice, ence of them is valuable to us. They have an that so much pains has been taken to apologize equal right to self-government. Their peculiar for this measure. It shows that we still retain habits, usages and institutions, their very prej. some sense of shame; that we do not surrender udices and errors, are as dear to them as ours our innocence without some decent struggles to are to us. Do we affect to pity them, and comsave appearances. We have not as yet acquired passionate their real or imaginary sufferings, the unblushing hardihood of our great proto- under what Mr. Monroe calls a tottering and types and models. Though unjust in our design, irresolute government? They deeply reciprowe pay some homage to justice; we dare not cate your commiseration, and congratulate openly despise what mankind have hitherto themselves, that they are not as we are, protdeemed most sacred. We acknowledge, that estants, republicans, and sinners. flagrant injustice ought to arouse indignation. Shall we adopt Mr. Madison's definition of The invasions that have been carried on by war? He describes, and a majority here must other nations—the different partitions of Pó- say justly describes, impressment, as an assumpland—the capture of the Danish fleet—we agree tion of self-redress—a substitution of force which were atrocious acts. But our occupation of falls within the definition of war. Do we preEast-Florida, partly by force of arms, and partly tend that we can invest fortresses, circumvallate by subornation of treason, is a different affair; cities, raise fleets and armies, and move them our pretext is indemnity. It has long ago been against a foreign nation, have all the pride, elegantly said, that when a lamb is to be devo- pomp, and circumstance of war, and yet prevent don'thicket in which it may happen to stray, this from being war, by asseverating it is not
i.! the fuel necessary for its sacrifice. Twar?