Slike strani

would say he was bound to meet. The gentle- binding the whole world under one politic and man expressed his surprise that any American moral dominion." could charge his country with an intention to I implore you, sir, that we still adhere to this perform an act so nefarious as that of the sei-system-that wise and philanthropic system, zure of the Danish fleet by the English. Sir, I that is founded on justice, that favors the inno am not obliged to contend, though with the cent, that protects the weak, that suspects and utmost fairness and propriety I might, that our opposes the strong and the unprincipled; that discontemplated act transcends that in enormity, dains conspiracy in usurpation and fellowship in its outrage on the law of nations, in its pros- in guilt, though the spoil of defenceless and tration of the principles of right and justice. afflicted neighbors be the bribe, and the splendid One point of difference we surely cannot for- example of exalted potentates, the justification. get, viz., that the Danish fleet was first demand- By abandoning this system, what has Europe ed, and demanded from those who had a right to become? A scene of ruins. And still, amid cede it. In this case you have made no demand, these very ruins, we meet at every turn, the and even if you had, it is of those who have no flames of war bursting out anew into wider right to convey. The mere local authorities of conflagration. Let us adhere to the ancient Florida have no right to dismember the Span-system of the law of nations. Let us snatch ish empire. Another point of difference is, that this sacred palladium from its burning temple, the French were at hand. They occupied a and re-consecrate it in this our new and virtupart of Denmark, the Duchy of Holstein. Their ous empire. ulterior success, which was not only probable, but inevitable, would have given them possession of the Danish fleet. In addition to this, the English ministry urged, (with what propriety of course I cannot tell,) the secret articles of the treaty of Tilsit, in justification of this

I perceive, sir, that time will not permit me to examine this question, in the various other relations which have suggested themselves to my mind. I have so strong an opinion that this, as a military enterprise, will, having regard to our present and probable means, after all, prove abortive and unfortunate, that I had almost felt myself emboldened to submit my reasons for that opinion. Augustine, without a naval superiority, cannot be subdued; let General Pinckney, brave and intelligent as Í know him to be, do his best. My reasons would be drawn from a detailed consideration of General Oglethorpe's operations, in 1739. I have consulted various accounts of that siege. I have a plan of his attack, taken by an engineer employed in the service, now before me. Oglethorpe's best chance of success depended on his naval superiority. But he was defeated. Can Of all the ill-consequences resulting to Great we then hope for success, when the sea is open Britain from this act, the most deeply fatal to to Spanish and British squadrons; and when, her was the opinion, justly entertained in Eng- so far as relates to our naval preparations, we land and in America, the only remaining coun- have committed the same mistake here as in tries where public opinion retains through the our Canadian campaign-a mistake, or rather press and the freedom of institutions, any opera- negligence, that has been the principal, if not tion; that she, who pretended to execrate the the sole cause of our repeated disasters? But outrages of Bonaparte, who professed a rever- this subject, in all its military bearings, has ence for the law of nations, and declared her- been, and can be so much better illustrated by self the advocate of the principles of justice, the honorable gentleman from Maryland, that I virtue and religion, should, overcome by the forbear to enlarge upon it. I leave also to that lure of gain, or intimidated by an unreal neces- gentleman and others, the important topic of sity, have fallen from her high pretensions, the disastrous consequences of this measure, to have forfeited her moral character, have stained the miserable remains of our foreign commerce. her hitherto comparatively spotless reputation. The conjectures and predictions that Spain will In miserable contradiction to herself, she not, because she cannot, from the depression of overthrew, at one blow, that system of univer- her fortunes, the inadequacy of her means, and sal public law, whose maxims and precedents the imbecility of her national character, resent have been long acknowledged-and by no na- this lawless aggression, I believe rather illustration more than herself to be of the same force tive of the meanness of our motives, than of and obligation, as the municipal constitutions the true nature of her disposition and resources. of particular States: "A system," as it is ob- The merchants, those who have the best means served by Lord Erskine, in his celebrated protest of knowing, distinctly understand that your upon this subject, "which has gradually ripened hostile occupation of East Florida will be the with the advancement of learning and the ex-signal of the immediate confiscation of Amertension of commerce, and which ought to be held ican property. In relation to the interests of sacred and inviolable by all governments, as my own State, the consequences of this measure


But after all, it was an indefensible act, deserving all the epithets reprobation which the honorable gentleman has bestowed upon it. It was as fatal in its effects, as censurable in its principle. It gave the hearts of the Danish nation to France, it made an ally of the continental system; it startled Sweden, it irritated Russia, it turned the tide of public opinion against ministers in England, it alarmed and alienated America; and for all this, Britain gained sixteen hulks, some tons of hemp, and naval stores-and the distrust of the world.

will be indeed deplorable. The little remnant | you please,) that our councils are influenced by of trade we have left is that to the Havana, which an undue partiality for France. I am not taking will be inevitably cut off. And it is a singular upon myself to say that this would be a fair fact, well known to my honorable colleague, deduction; but the adoption of this measure that real property, plantations of a very con- would give an apparent sanction to this accusasiderable value, in the Island of Cuba, belong tion, which we ought to avoid when we can so to native citizens of the State of Rhode Island. easily avoid it, not only without detriment, but They are owned principally by the fast friends with safety and advantage. Let us not only be of the present administration, by gentlemen chaste but unsuspected. What will be the inwho have already loaned to the government more evitable consequence of a war with Spain? a than some whole patriotic States, and whose pri- non-intercourse with the Peninsula. The great vate armed ships have captured from the enemy object of France will be effected. This in addimore than half a million sterling. These, to be tion to our concurrence in the continental syssure, are not considerations of great moment. tem, and our war with England, is all that the Since gentlemen choose to sacrifice their friends, ruler of France in the insolence of his power, it is officious in me to interfere, perhaps; but the extravagance of his desires, the arrogance they are my constituents, and I deem it my of his contempt, or the deadliness of his hatred, duty to suggest their danger and their interests. sanguine, haughty, insatiable, exorbitant, and But there are resulting from this measure, inexorable as he is, ever demanded from us, political consequences connected with your for- and more than he could ever expect to obtain eign relations, with your present war with even from our trembling acquiescence. England-with the present peculiar circum- It will seem to England that this coincidence stances of the world, which are worthy of the in conduct must arise from coincidence in views. gravest consideration. Do you wish to make She would deem us a party in the great design the present contest with England popular be- of her vindictive foe, and our impolitic and unyond any instance in their history-to unite fortunate war would be by her associated in against you the undivided opinions--the en- principle and duration with that war, which she thusiastic feelings-the animated efforts of the now wages for her own security, and the liberaEnglish people-to make this a war indefinite tion of mankind. Sir, I must conclude. The in continuance, vindictive in its mode of opera- subject is not exhausted, but I am. I will not tion, and victorious to England in the end? attempt to recapitulate, or arrange in a more Do you mean to render suspected, and of course correct and compact form, the desultory remarks unavailing, all your pacificatory propositions? I have thrown out. But I must demand it of Then do this dastardly act against a helpless every individual member of the Senate, again people wage your war with Spain. If ever and again to ask himself what right have we to there was a subject which united the opinions the territory of East Florida? Is it any other of the British nation, it was the late Spanish than the right created by desire-the right sugrevolution. If there ever was an object in gested by ambition-the right of taking advanwhich the hopes, interests, and efforts of the tage of the troubles of our neighbors, of plunEnglish nation concentred, it is Spanish eman-dering weakness, of imposing on misfortune, of cipation. This act of yours will entirely alien- oppressing the oppressed? What right would ate from us our friends in the British Parliament. Spain have to occupy St. Mary's or Cumberland We shall be so notoriously in the wrong, that Island? the same we have to occupy Augustine no one in that assembly will dare defend us. and Amelia. But a few months ago, we could refer to the majority that effected the repeal of the Orders in Council, as equally the advocates of their own best national interests, and of our most important national rights. We unwisely continue our war with England after the acquisition of the great avowed object of that war. The people of England now understand that we fight on the single ground of maritime rights. And they are taught to believe that this cruel contest is intended, not so much for our own protection, as for their destruction. On this ground of maritime rights are placed the pride, the hopes, the fears of this sometimes misgoverned, but always magnanimous nation.


Add then a Spanish war to your English war, and you will not have a friend left in England. Do gentlemen affect to deem this of no consequence? Then they have forgotten history, or read it but to little advantage. Sir, this Spanish war will corroborate into certainty the suspicion, (the unjust, the unworthy suspicion if

I have directed my attention solely to East Florida. The other member of the question in regard to the Mobile is easily disposed of. If the territory be ours under the treaties and laws of the United States, there is no need of this law to authorize the President to take possession-he ought to do by the obligation of general duty-he wants no particular law to enable him to assert the claims of the United States. He must take care that the laws and treaties are executed. He encounters no hazardous responsibility; he is empowered so to do, not by a constructive, but by a plain, direct, and absolute authority.

Sir, let us presume for a moment that we shall be completely successful as to the attainment of these countries; that they cost us no money, no blood, no actual privation, no present suffering. Will not this policy of indefinitely increasing our territory be productive of the most baneful future consequences? Is it not accelerating that fatal event which the genuine friends of freedom

have foreboded and deprecated as the catastro- | ambition and turbulent arrogance will seek new phe of our political drama? We have conquer- gratifications, interfere with the concerns of ed Louisiana by our money; we aspire to the other nations, meditate further conquests, and possession of Canada; we intend to occupy the the fatal result will be, that this fortunate and Floridas-we have relinquished our system of homogeneous composition of pure and simple philanthropy towards the Indians we are ex- republics, will be a vast empire made up of vatinguishing Indian claims in Indian blood. Therious foreign states, with discordant institutions, Indian tribes are no longer our fellow-citizens and the conflicting prejudices and passions of and red brethren, but wretches to be hated, irreconcilable interests, which can only be conbarbarians to be exterminated. All external strained into union, and subdued into tranquillity pressure binding us into union is to be removed. by the energy and power of a single despot-the All cause of external alarm and apprehension is chief of a mighty army, the oppressor of a once to be put at rest. A careless and indolent se- free and virtuous people. curity will ensue, or what is worse, a restless


VOL. II.-23


TECUMSEH, one of the most remarkable warriors and orators of the aboriginal tribes of America, was born on the Scioto river, in Ohio, about the year 1770. He was the son of a Shawanee warrior. At an early period of his life he seems to have commenced his savage operations against the whites. His first exploit of which there is any record, was performed near Hacker's creek, in the month of May, 1792, when, with a small band of warriors, he surprised the family of John Waggoner, and carried them into captivity. After this he was engaged in various incursions upon the settlements of the whites, and often intercepted the boats as they passed and repassed on the Ohio river. It is said that, in 1806, he and his brother the Prophet formed a plan of uniting all the western tribes of Indians, in opposition to the Americans, and previous to the war of 1812, he visited all the southern tribes, for the same purpose. Wherever he went he called councils of their tribes, and, with a bold and commanding eloquence, exhausted every topic calculated to operate on their minds, and alienate their affections. His speeches had a powerful influence amongst all those nations, with the Creeks particularly, although the more considerate rejected his interference. In the course of his harangues, he was accustomed to reproach them with their civilization; and, in the keenest and most sarcastic manner, contrasted their degenerate effeminacy with every thing that was great and noble in the estimation of the Indians. Against the United States he pronounced the most furious abuse, and by every method endeavored to establish in the minds of his hearers a belief that the humane system for their improvement, which had been established by the Americans, was but a plan to deprive them of "the homes of their fathers."

Among the many strange, and some strongly characteristic events in his life, the council which General Harrison held with the Indians at Vincennes, in 1811, affords an admirable instance of the sublimity which sometimes distinguished his eloquence. The chiefs of some tribes had come to complain of a purchase of lands which had been made from the Shawances and other tribes. (This council effected nothing, but broke up in confusion, in consequence of Tecumseh having called General Harrison "a liar.") It was in the progress of the long talks that took place in the conference, that Tecumseh, having finished one of his speeches, looked round, and seeing every one seated, while no seat was prepared for him, a momentary frown passed over his countenance. Instantly, General Harrison ordered that a chair should be given him. Some person presented one, and bowing, said to him, "Warrior, your father, General Harrison, offers you a seat." Tecumseh's dark eye flashed: "My father!" he exclaimed, indignantly extending his arm towards the heavens; "the sun is my father, and the earth is my mother; she gives me nourishment, and I repose upon her bosom." As he ended, he sat down suddenly on the ground.

In the late war between the United States and Great Britain, Tecumseh was an ally of the British, and held the rank of brigadier-general. He distinguished himself at the battle of Brownstown, on the fifth of August, 1812, and a few days after led his Indians with great bravery in the conflict between the English forces and the Americans under General Miller. He was killed at the battle of the Thames, on the fifth of October, after making a most desperate stand, in conjunction with the British under General Proctor, against the American troops

the command of General Harrison.

mseh received the stamp of greatness from the hand of nature, and had his lot been

cast in a different state of society, he would have shone as one of the most distinguished of men. He was endowed with a powerful mind, with the soul of a hero. There was an uncommon dignity in his countenance and manners; by the former he was easily discovered after death, among the rest of the slain, for he wore no insignia of distinction. When girded with a silk sash, and told by General Proctor that he was made a brigadier in the British service, for his conduct at Brownstown and Magagua, he returned the present with respectful contempt. Born with no title to command but his native greatness, every tribe yielded submission to him at once, and no one ever disputed his precedence. Subtle and firm in war, he was possessed of uncommon eloquence; his speeches might bear a comparison with those of the most celebrated orators of Greece or Rome. His invective was terrible, as may be seen in the reproaches which he applied to General Proctor, a few days previous to his death. His form was uncommonly elegant; his stature about six feet, and his limbs were perfectly proportioned. He was honorably interred by the Americans, who respected him, as an inveterate, but a magnanimous enemy. He left a son, who, when his father fell, was about seventeen years of age, and who fought by his side. To this son, the King of England, in 1814, sent a present of a handsome sword, as a mark of respect for the memory of his father.*


In 1809 Governor Harrison purchased of the Delawares and other tribes of Indians, a large tract of country on both sides of the Wabash, and extending up the river sixty miles above Vincennes. Tecumseh was absent during the time of the negotiation, and at his return expressed great dissatisfaction with the sale. On the twelfth of August of the next year (1810) he met the governor in council at Vincennes, when he addressed him as follows: t

It is true I am a Shawanee. My forefathers were warriors. Their son is a warrior. From them I only take my existence; from my tribe I take nothing. I am the maker of my own fortune; and oh! that I could make that of my red people, and of my country, as great as the conceptions of my mind, when I think of the Spirit that rules the universe. I would not then come to Governor Harrison, to ask him to tear the treaty and to obliterate the landmark; but I would say to him, sir, you have liberty to return to your own country. The being within, communing with past ages, tells me that once, nor until lately, there was no white man on this continent. That it then all belonged to red men, children of the same parents, placed on it by the Great Spirit that made them, to keep it, to traverse it, to enjoy its productions, and to fill it with the same race. Once a happy race. Since made miserable by the white people, who are never contented, but al

Biography and History of the Indians of North America, by Samuel G. Drake: National Intelligencer, 1813: Memoirs of Harrison; and the New York Gazette, 1813.

+ Drake's Biography and History of the Indians of North America.

ways encroaching. The way, and the only way to check and to stop this evil, is for all the red right in the land, as it was at first, and should men to unite in claiming a common and equal be yet; for it never was divided, but belongs to all for the use of each. That no part has a right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers; those who want all, and will not do

with less.

The white people have no right to take the land from the Indians, because they had it first; it is theirs. They may sell, but all must join. Any sale not made by all is not valid. The late sale is bad. It was made by a part only. Part do not know how to sell. It requires all to make a bargain for all. All red men have equal rights to the unoccupied land. The right of occupancy is as good in one place as in another. There cannot be two occupations in the same place. The first excludes all others. It is not so in hunting or travelling; for there the same ground will serve many, as they may follow each other all day; but the camp is stationary, and that is occupancy. It belongs to the first who sits down on his blanket or skins which he has thrown upon the ground; and till he leaves it no other has a right.*

Having thus explained his reasons against the validity of the purchase, Tecumseh took his seat amidst his warriors.

* Mr. Drake, the author from whom this speech is taken, expresses some doubts of the correctness of this version of it; but adds: "nevertheless it may give the true meaning. One important paragraph ought to be added, which was, 'that the Americans had driven them from the sea-coast, and that they would shortly push them into the lakes, and that they were determined to make a stand where they were.'"

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