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FROM 1789 TO 1856. 









COLTMBirS, 0.: 



Entesed according to Act of Congress, in the year 1856, by 


in the Clerk's OfBce of the District Court for the Southern District of New York. 




Monday, November V, 1808. 
Conformably to tbe act, passed the last ses- 
sion, 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 Wash- 


Geoege CtDTTON, Vice President of the Unit- 
ed States and President of the Senate. 

Nicholas GrLMAN and Nahum Pabeeb, from 
New Hampshire. 

TmoTECT PiOKEEDTG, from Massachnsetts. 
James Hillhotjse and CHAuifOET Goodeioh, 
from Connecticut. 

Beitjamet Howxand and Elisha Mathb-w- 
SON, from Bhode Island, 

Stephen K. Beadxet and Jonathan Eobin- 
SON, from Vermont. 

Samuel L. Mitohill and John Smith, from 
New York. 

John OoNDiiand AaeonKiiohel, from New 

Samttel Maclat, from Pennsylvania. 
Samuel White, from Delaware. 
William B. Giles, from Virginia. 
James Tuenee, from North OaroUna. 
Thomas Sumtee and John Gaillaed, from 
South Carolina. 
William H. Ceawfoed, from Geor^a. 
BuoEUEE Theuston and John Pope, from 
Daniel Smith, from Tennessee. 
Edwaed Tiffin, from Ohio. 
James Llotd, jnn., appointed a Senator by 
the Legislature of the State of Massachnsetts, 
to supply the place of John Qnincy Adams, re- 
signed, 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. Bkadlet and Pope 
be a committee on the part of the Senate, to- 
gether with such committee as may be appoint- 
ed by the House of Kepresentatives on their 

part, to wait on the President of the United 
States and notify him that a quorum of the two 
Houses is assembled. 

A message from the House of Representa- 
tives 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 com- 
mittee 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 

Sesolved, 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 doUars be allowed him weekly for 
that purpose, to commence with, and remain 
during the session, and for twenty days after. 

On motion, by Mr, Beadlet, 

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

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

TuESDAT, November 8. 

Samuel Smith and Philip Eeed, from the 
State of Maryland, attended. 

The following Message was received from the 
Pbesident of the United States : 
To the Senate and House of 

Representatives of the United States : 

It would have been a sonrce, fellow-citizens, of 
mnch gratification, if onr last commtmioations from 
Eniope had enabled me to inform yon that the bellig- 
erent nations, whose disregard of nentral rights has 
been so destmotive to om* commerce, had become 
awakened to the duty and true policy of revoking 



President's Annual Message. 

[November, 1808. 

tlioir unrighteous edicts. That no means might be 
omitted to produce this salutary cifect, 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 re- 
newal of that commercial intercourse which it was 
alleged, on all sides, had been relnctantly obstructed. 
As each of those Governments had pledged its readi- 
ness 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 ex- 
pected 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 belliger- 
ents, 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 suspen- 
sion of the embargo as to her, in case of such a re- 
peal, it was presumed that a sufficient inducement 
might be found in other considerations, and particu- 
larly 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 incon- 
sistent 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 re- 
ceived, 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 pre- 
tended, but as the arrangement proposed, whilst it 
resisted the illegal decrees of France, involved, more- 
over, 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 wljich 
a suspension of the embargo by the Executive was 
authorized, it necessarily remains in the extent orig- 
inally given to it. We have the satisfaction, how- 
ever, to reflect, that in return for the privations im- 
posed 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 usur- 
pations and spoliations which, if resisted, involved 
war, if submitted to, sacrificed a vital principle of our 
national independence. 

Under a continnance 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 deci- 
sion, they wiU, with an unerring regard to the essen- 
tial 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 tothe 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 he 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 you. 

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 sen- 
sibility. 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 ad- 
justment, is still adhered to ; and, moreover, that it 
is now brought into connection irith the distinct and 
irrelative case of the Orders in Council. The instruc- 
tions which had been given to our Minister at Lon- 
don, with a view to facilitate, if necessary, the repa- 
ration 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. Tile important negotiations with Spain, 
which had been alternately suspended and resumed, 
necessarily experience a, pause under the extraordi- 
nary 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 Re- 
gency. Its character and oircumstajices 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 Decem- 
ber 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 har- 
bors 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 ad- 
ditional military force, so many officers were imme- 
diately appointed as were necessary for carrying on 
the business of recruiting ; and in proportion as it ad- 
vanced, others have been added. We have reason 
to believe their success has been satisfactory, allhouo'h 
such returns have not yet been received as enable me 
to present you a statement of the number engaged. 


No^'EsrsEB, 1808.] 

The Embargo. 


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 manu- 
factures and improvements. The extent of this con- 
version is daily increasing, and little doubt remains 
that the establishments formed and forming will, 
under the auspices of cheaper materials and subsist- 
ence, 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 abun- 
dant aliment from the same internal source, and will 
secure to them peace and the progress of civilization, 
undisturbed by practices hostile to both. 

The accounts of the receipts and expenditures dur- 
ing the year ending on the thirtieth day of Septem- 
ber 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 mUtions and a half in the Treasuiy 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 dol- 
lars. 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 thou- 
sand 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 liberat- 
ed the revenue from about two millions of dollars of 
interest, and added that sum annually to the disposa- 
ble surplus. The probable accumulation of the sur- 
pluses 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. ShaU it lie unproduc- 
tive in the public vaults ? Shall the revenue be re- 
duced ? Or, shall it not rather be appropriated to 
the improvements of roads, canals, rivers, educa- 
tion, 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 advantage- 
ously 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 Legis- 
lature 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 un- 
derstanding, not of intention, and that the advance- 

ment of their rights and interests has been the con- 
stant motive for every measure. On these consider- 
ations I solicit their indulgence. Looking forward 
with anxiety to their fiiture destinies, I trust that, in 
their steady character, unshaken by difficulties, in 
their love of liberty, obedience to law, and support of 
the pubhc 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 consola- 
tion of a firm persuasion that Heaven has in store for 
our beloved country long ages to come of prosperity 
and happiness. TH. JEFFERSON. 

NOVEMBEE 8^1808. 

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

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

"W^BDirasiiAT, November 9. 
Jesse Feauklix, from the State of North 
Carolina, attended. 

Fhidat, November 11. 
A message from the House of Representatives 
informed the Senate that the House have ap- 
pointed the Rev. Mr. Beowst a Chaplain to Con- 
gress, on their part, during the present session. 

MosDAT, November 14. 
Joseph Asdeesojt, from the State of Tennes- 
see, and AcfDEEW Mooeb, from the State of Vir- 
ginia, attended. 

■Wbdsesdat, November 16. 
AsDEBW Geeg&, from the State of Pennsyl- 
vania, attended. 

Monday, November 21. 
The Embwgo. 

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

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. HrLLHorsE opened the debate. "WTien 
the reporter entered the Senate chamber, Mr. 
H. had been speaking for a few minutes, and 
was then discussing the effect which the embar- 
go 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, con- 
tained in a late French expos6, and made many 
observations tending to show that it wasnot a 
measure of hostility or coercion, as applied to 

On England it had little or no effect. Her 
resources were immense. If deprived of a sup- 
ply of grain here, she could obtain it elsewhere. 
The Barbary Powers were at war with France 



The Embargo. 

[NOVEMBBE, 1808. 

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. Oould America expect to 
starve this nation ? It wag a farce, an idle 
farce. As to her West India Islands, they raised 
Indian corn ; all their sngar plantations could 
he converted into corn-fields, and wonld any 
man say that they wonld starve because they 
could not get superfine flour ? Was this a ne- 
cessary of life without which they could not sub- 
sist ? On the contrary, a great proportion of 
the American people subsisted on it, and enjoy- 
ed as good health as if they ate nothing but the 
finest of wheat flour. The moment people un- 
derstood that they could not get their necessary 
supplies from a customary source, they wonld 
look out for it in another quarter, and ample 
time had been given to them to make arrange- 
ments for this purpose. A man of the first re- 
spectability in the town in which Mr. H. lived, 
had been there daring this embargo, under the 
President's permission. What accounts did he 
bring ? Why, that the trade in com-meal and 
live cattle, articles of great export from Con- 
necticut, 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 ns? No; the only consequence 
would be, and that too severely felt, that we 
should lose our market ; the embargo thus pro- 
ducing, 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 then- 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 ns. Though we might retain a part 
of this commerce, the best part wonld be lost 
forever. The trade would not be worth pursu- 
ing ; though this might answer one purpose in- 
tended by the embargo, and which was not ex- 

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 accele- 
rate 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 Prance and other nations on the 
Continent. Cotton, not being grown in Europe, 
must be transported by water carriage. This 
being the case, who wonld 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, ex- 
cept by the precarious captures made by her 
privateers. To Great Britain, then, was left 
the whole commerce of the world, and her mer- 
chants were the only carriers. Wonld not these 
carriers supply their own manufacturers? 
Wonld 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 else- 
where ; and this wary nation, Great Britain, 
conceiving that the United States might be so 
impolitic as to keep on the embargo, had car- 
ried 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 gr 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 ns, that she 
might not be reduced to the humiliating condi- 
tion of making concession to induce ns to re- 
peal our own law, and purchase an accommoda- 
tion by telling ns that we had a weapon which 
we could wield to her annoyance. Mr. H. 
wished to know of gentlemen if we had not ex- 
perience enough to know that Great Britain 
was not to be threatened into compliance by a 
rod of coercion? Let ns examine ourselves 
said he, for if we trace our genealogy we shali 
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 de- 


November, 1808.] 

The Embargo. 


Bcended, be driven from their position, how- 
ever 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 monk- 
ish plan of scourging ourselves for the sins of 
others ? He hoped not ; and that, having made 
the experiment and found that it had not pro- 
duced its expected effect, they would abandon 
it, as a measure wholly ineflBcient as to the ob- 
jects intended by it, and as having weakened 
the great hold which we had on Great Britain, 
from her supposed dependence on us for raw 

Some gentlemen appeared to build up expec- 
tations of the efficiency of this system by an ad- 
dition to it of a non-intercourse law. Mr. H. 
treated this as a futile idea. They should how- 
ever 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 re- 
served to themselves. ~ While we had enjoyed 
the carrying trade, we had supplied the defi- 
ciency ih 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 out 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 ex- 
clusion from the colonies of other manufactures, 
and leaving her merchants the sole carriers of 
the world, produced a greater vent for her man- 
ufactures 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-in- 
tercourse 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 pro- 
hibition. The armies could not get fresh pro- 
visions 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 weis 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 inter- 
course was penal, carried on commerce not- 
withstanding. Supplies went hence, and man- 
ufactures were received from Europe. Now, 
what reliance could be placed on this patriot- 
ism ? 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 sup- 
posed 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 commer- 
cial 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 Eepublicans, aU Amer- 
icans. 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 mat- 
ter-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 can- 
dor. 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 op- 
position 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 surmount- 




The Embargo. 

[November, 1808. 

ed all patriotism— if this was the melancholy 
situation of the United States, it was time to 
redeem the people from this degeneracy, to re- 
generate them, to cause them to be born again 
of the spirit of 1776. But he believed he should 
he able to show that the proposition of the 
gentleman from Connecticut hardly merited the 
respect or serious consideration of this honor- 
able 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 he- 
cause he wished to consult a document just laid 
on their table, to see how the memorials pre- 
sented 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 im- 
portant that has occurred since the adoption of 
the Eederal Constitution. It is a subject, said 
Mr. L., deeply implicating, and perhaps deter- 
mining, the fate of the commerce and naviga- 
tion of our country; a commerce which has 
afforded employment for nearly a million and a 
half of tons of navigation ; which has found oc- 
cupation for hundreds of thousands of our citi- 
zens ; which has spread wealth and prosperity 
in every region of bur country, and which has 
upheld the Government by furnishing the rev- 
enue for its support. 

A commerce which has yielded an annual 
amount of exports exceeding one hundred mil- 
lions 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 TJnited 
States at this time ; an amount of exports equal 
to what Great Britain, with her navy of a thou- 
sand ships, and with all her boasted manufac- 
tures, possessed even at so recent a period as 
within about fifteen years fi-om 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 sub- 
ject to great embarrassment, vexation, and plun- 
der, from the belligerents of Europe. There is 
no doubt but both France and Great Britain 
have violated the laws of nations, and immo- 
lated the rights of neutrals ; but there is, in my 
opinion, a striking difference in the circum- 
stances of the two nations ; the one, instigated 
by a lawless thirst of universal domination, is 
seeking to extend an iron-handed, merciless des- 

potism 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 inconveni- 
ence she occasions you by the adoption of meas- 
ures which are declared to he 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 con- 
flagration, 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 nnwilling, 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 
he inoperative as it regards them, and destruc- 
tive only as it respects ourselves, then every dic- 
tate of magnanimity, of wisdom, and of pru- 
dence, should urge liie immediate repeal of it. 

The propriety of doing this is now under dis- 
cussion. The proposition is a naked one ; it 
is unconnected with ulterior measures ; and 
gentlemen who vote for its repeal ought not to 
be considered aa 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 pre- 
sents 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 na- 
tions, meaning France and Great Britain, in co- . 
ercing them to adopt a more just and honora- 
ble 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 de- 
sire to indulge in retrospections ; the measure 
was adopted by the Government ; if evil has 
flowed from it, that evU cannot now be recalled. 
If events have proved it to be a wise and ben- 
eficial measure, I am willing that those to whom 
it owes its parentage should receive all the hon- 
ors 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 ex- 
pected from it. In fact, its longer continuance 
will effectually counteract the objects of its adop- 
tion ; for it is notorious, that each day lessens 
the number of our seamen, by their emigration 
to foreign countries, in quest of that employ- 
ment and subsistence which they have been 



November, 1808.] 

The Embargo. 


accustomed to find, but can no longer procure, 
at home ; and as it regards our navigation, con- 
sidered 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 hecome worth- 
less from lying and rotting at our wharves. In 
either case, destruction is equally certain, it is 
death ; and the only difference seems to be be- 
tween 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 expose 
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 conversa- 
tion 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 ap- 
probation of the embargo. I have no doubt 
that this is the fact ; the measure is too consen- 
taneous 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 will- 
ing to sacrifice, provided that, by so doing, he 
could insure the destruction of a much larger 
and more valuable amount of British and Amer- 
ican commerce. 

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 veiy extended 
and important commerce with this country, 
prosecuted upon the most liberal and confiden- 
tial terms, this measure, whether considered as 
an act of hostility, or as a mere municipal re- 
strictive regulation, could not but excite ap- 
prehension ; 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 im- 
position 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 taie 
place of the differences between this country 
and Great Britain. 

But, sir, the apprehensions of the British na- 
tion and Ministry gi-adually 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 planta- 
tions for the raising of ground provisions, were 
enabled, without materially diminishing their 
usual crops of produce, in a great measure to 
depend npoifthemselves for their own means of 

The British Ministry also became acquainted 
about this time (June) with the unexpected and 
unexampled prosperity of their colonies of Can- 
ada 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 Brit- 
ish merchandise and British capital, the Cana- 
dian 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 merchan- 
dise, for want of competition, the Canadian 
merchant bought at a very reasonable rate, sentj 
it to his correspondents in England, and drew 
exchange against the shipments ; the bUls 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 Unit- 
ed States, over the borders into Canada. And 
thus was the Canadian merchant enabled, with 
the assistance only of a good credit, to cany on 
an immensely extended and beneficial com- 
merce, 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 im- 
mediately 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 Span- 
iards did not succeed in Europe, the Colonies 
would declare thetaiselves 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 incalcu- 
lably advantageous mart for their commerce and 
manufactures ; for, having joined the Spaniards 
without stipulation, they undoubtedly expected 
to reap their reward in the exclusive commer- 
cial 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 




The Embargo. 

[November, 1808. 

them, it was their interest to do it, and they 
"would, from this circumstance, probably consid- 
er a one, two, or three years' continuance of the 
embargo as a boon to them. 

Mr. Smith, of Maryland, said he was not pre- 
pared to go as largely into this subject as it mer- 
ited, having neither documents nor papers be- 
fore him. He would therefore only take ^ 
short view of it in his way, and endeavor to re- 
but a part of the argument of the gentleman 
from Massachusetts, and perhaps to notice some 
of the observations of the gentleman from Con- 
necticut. 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 fi-om Connecti- 
cut 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 ad- 
vocated the embargo, Mr. S. said he was not 
one to go with them, and perfectly correspond- 
ed with the gentleman in saying that such a 
plan would be extremely injurious; that possi- 
bly 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 argu- 
ment, had gone upon the gi-ound that it is the 
embargo which has prevented all our com- 
merce ; that, if the embai'go 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 embar- 
go taken off to-morrow, any commerce of mo- 
ment 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 gentlemen 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 fore- 
closed 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 Vir- 
ginia, (Mr. GiLBs.'t 

Mr. 8. 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 apolo- 
gist of any nation, but, he trusted, a fe^s^ent de- 
fender of the rights, honor, and interests of his 
own country. By the decrees of France every 
vessel bound to or from Great Britain, was de- 
clared good prize. And BtiU further ; if spoken 
alone by any British vessel, they were con- 
demned 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, yon 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 gen- 
tleman 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 fur- 
ther, 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 na- 
tions. But the gentleman had stopped short 
of this. 

By the orders in Council, now made law, 
(said Mr. S.,) aU 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— fcfr 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 re- 
quire 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 anj correct. 



NOVEMBEE, 1808.] 

The Ewhargo. 


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 will- 
ing 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 sterhng per lb., equal to the whole 
value of the article itself in Georgia or South 
Carolina. This is in addition to the usual im- 
port 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 in- 
surance. It is generally understood that two- 
thirds of the cotton exported by us, may be 
consumed in England, when all her manufac- 
tures are in good work. On the remaining 
third the people of the Southern country are 
subject to a tribute — on twenty miUions 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 
trader 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? Pro- 
claimed 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 ofi^ — ^for I wish it 
were off: no man suffers more from it, in pro- 
portion to his capital, than I do ; but I stand 
here the Eepresentative 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 inter- 
dictions, as a right of Great Britain, she may 
not choose to interdict all trade, she being om- 
nipotent, 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 minis- 
terial writer, to this effect: that Great Britain, 
having command over all the seas, conld and 
ought to exclude and monopolize the trade of 
the world to herself. This pamphlet goes criti- 
cally 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 

Ttjesdat, November 22. 
The Embargo. 

Mr. MooEE said the gentleman from Con- 
necticut had asked if the embargo had been 
productive of the consequences eg)ected to re- 
sult 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 advo- 
cates when it passed, but it has not had a fair 
experiment. »The law has been violated, and 
an fllicit 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 em- 
bargo conld not be maintained, have induced 
the belligerents to believe that we wanted en- 
ergy, and that we are too fluctuating in our 
councils to persevere in a measure which re- 
quires 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 miscal- 
culations on our weakness, we should before 
this have been suffered to pursue our accus- 
tomed 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. 1£ 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 havo 
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 ofli- 
ciaUy notified, it was in full operation. Their 
late orders included aU 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 

Wednesday, November 23. 
The Embmgo. 
Mr. Obawfoed said that one of the objects of 
the gentleman from Connecticut was, no doubt, 
to obtain information of the effects of the em- 
bargo system from every part of the United 
States. This information was very desirable at 
the present time, to assist the Councils of the 




2'he Embargo. 

[November, 1808. 

nation in an opinion of the course proper to be 
pursued iu relation to it. A Government found- 
ed, lilie ours, on the principle of the will of the 
nation, which subsisted but by it, should be at- 
tentive as far as possible to the feelings and 
wishes of the people over whom they presided. 
He did not say that the Eepresentatives 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 Gov- 
ernment 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. 0. said he conceived it his duty 
to give a fair, faithful, and candid representa- 
tion 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 im- 
periously 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, gen- 
erally, in a two-fold view, (said Mr. 0.,) 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 pros- 
perous 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. When- 
ever the measures of the Government imme- 
diately affect the interest of any considerable 
portion of its citizens, discontents wiU arise, 
however great the benefits which are expected 
from such measures. One discontented man 
excites more attention than a thousand con- 
tented men, and hence the number of discon- 
tented 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 inter- 
ests are more immediately affected by the meas- 
ure than the Southern States— than the State of 

We have been told by an honorable gentle- 
man, 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 bands. "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, wUl certainly 
find a source from which to procure supplies of 
those raw materials which she ha.s 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 exemplifica- 
tion, the gentleman cited a familiar example of 
a man buying butter from his neighbors. It 
did not appear to me that this butter story re- 
ceived a very happy elucidation. In the coun- 
try 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 custom- 
ers. 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 ex- 
change. So long as this state of things con- 
tinues, so long they wUl 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 wiUing 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. K 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 gen- 
tleman 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 beheve myself that this measure 
has not been properly executed, nor in that way 
in which the situation of our country might rea- 
sonably 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 consider- 



NOVEJIBER, 1808.] 

The Embargo. 


able effect, as I shall attempt to show here- 

In commenting on this part of the gentle- 
man'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 Jmow their situa- 
tion, and the views of those who conduct their 
afeirs. 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 substan- 
tial one. The true and substantial reason for 
the embargo, the gentleman says he beheves, 
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 some- 
thing of sarcasm, applied to the House to know 
how the Treasury would be filled in the next 
year ; and observed that the " present incum- 
bent of the Presidential palace " would not dare 
to resort to a direct tax, because a former Ad- 
ministration 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 wiU 
they obtain money ? In what way will the public 
coffers be filled ? The gentleman must acknowl- 
edge that aU 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 dis- 
position is manifested to make this measure per- 
manent. The States who call themselves 
commercial States, when compared with the 
Southern States, may emphatically be caUed 
manufacturing States. The Southern States are 
not manufacturing States, whUe the great com- 
mercial 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 vrith which the 
Government is charged to have been actuated 
is, that this measure was intended and is calcu- 

lated to promote the interests of France. To 
be sure none of the gentlemen have expressly 
said that we are under French inflaence, but a 
resort is had to the expose of the French Minis- 
ter, and a deduction thence made that the 
embargo was laid at the wish of Bonaparte. 
The gentleman from Connecticut told us of this 
expos^ 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 Bonaparre has said there shall be no neu- 
trals; and that, if we repeal the embargo, we 
may expect that he will make war on us. And 
this is the only source frt)m whence the gentle- 
man could see any danger of war. If tbis de- 
claration against neutrality which is atfributed 
to the Gallic Emperor be true, and'it may be so, 
his Galhc Majesty could not pursue a more di- 
rect course to effect his own wishes than to de- 
clare 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 expose 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 
beheve in the sincerity of that expose, as Mr. 
Canning's sincerity, when he says titat his Ma- 
jesty would gladly make any sacrifice to restore 
to the commerce of the United States its wonted 
activity. No man in the nation is siUy 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 beheve 
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 can- 
didly 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 intercotu-se 
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 posi- 
tive 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 maybe, can be as well acquaint- 




The Embargo. 

[November, 1808. 

ed with the interests of Great Britain as her 
most intelligent merchants. This alarm, how- 
ever, the gentleman has told us, continued 
through the spring and dissipated in the summer. 
It is very easy to discover the cause of the dis- 
sipation 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 intelli- 
gent 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. Oanning'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 be- 
lieve 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 prob- 
ability 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, com- 
pared with the sufferings which we ourselves 
have borne, have been as a hundred to one. 
If there be evidence that the effects of this meas- 
ure 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 eomplaints are a mere pretext for war. 
I blush that any man belonging to the great 
American family should be so debased, so de- 
graded, so lost to every generous and national 
feelmg, as to mak« a declaration of this kind. 
It is debasing to the national character. 

How are these orders and decrees to be op- 
posed but by war, except we keep without their 
reach? If the embargo produces a repeal of 
lihese -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 impos- 
sible to take the middle ground, and say that 
we do not abandon them by trading with Great 
Britain alone. Ton must submit, or oppose 
force to force. Can arming our merchant ves- 
sels, by resisting the whole navy of Great 
Britain, oppose force to force 8 It is impossible. 
The idea is absurd. 

By way of ridiculing the embargo, the gentle- 
man from Connecticut, in his familiar way, has 
attempted to expose this measure. He eluci- 
dated 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 magnar 
nimity 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. Sup- 
pose we pursue his course. Great Britain says 
we shall not trade to France ; we say we will 
not, but win 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 taxa- 
tion against our consent, at the commencement 
of the Eevolution, 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 ar- 
bitrary 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 
seveaty-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 con- 
sumption of Great Britain be but fifteen thou- 
sand 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. Wbitb) 
has said, that, by repealing the embargo, we 



November, 1808.] 

The Embargo. 


can now carry on a safe and secure trade tx) the 
extent of nearly four-fifths of the amount of our 
domestic productions. There is nothing more 
delusive, and hetter 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 produc- 
tions, she takes nothing Uke 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 con- 
tinental 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 Con- 
tinent ; and that even if the embargo was re- 
moved and the Orders in Council were con- 
tinued, 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 ex- 
cused. 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 noth- 
ing. Notwithstanding that decree, they had 
a facility of conveying produce into the conti- 
nental ports ; but the Orders of Council com- 
pletely 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 de- 
ducted 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 
suflEer by the iniquitous measures of foreign na- 
tions. Although the statement was extremely 
delusive, I do not say that the gentleman meant 
to delude by it. This, however, being the ef- 
fect 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 state- 

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 efiect 
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 suppose. 

If the embargo should be repealed, and our 
vessels suffered to go out in the face of the pres- 
ent 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 weU 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, tiiere was 
now no lawful commerce. No vessel could saU 
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. 0. said, may prop- 
erly 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 insur- 
rection; 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 mtended 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. 




The Embargo. 

[NOVEMBHK, 1808. 

If the nation be satisfied that any course is prop- 
er, it would be base and degrading to be driven 
from It by the discordant murmurs of a minori- 
ty. We are cautioned to beware how we exe- 
cute a measure with which the feelings of the 
people are at war. I should be the last to per- 
sist 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 con- 
trary opinion of a few ; and though I may regret 
and respect the feelings of these few, I will per- 
sist in the course which I believe to be right, at 
the expense even of the Government itself. 

Mr. MiToniLL 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 doc- 
uments, expected from the Executive, had not 
yet been communicated, and the select com- 
mittee to which the part of the Message con- 
cerning the foreign relations of the country was 
lately referred, had not brought forward a re- 
port. He would have been better pleased if the 
proposition had been so framed as to have ex- 
pressed indignation at the injuries our Govern- 
ment had received from foreign nations. Then 
he would cheerfully have given it his concur- 
rence. 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 

I now come to the year 1806, an eventful year 
to the foreign commerce of our people. An ex- 
travagant and armed trade had for a consider- 
able time been carried on by some of our citi- 
zens with the emancipated or revolted blacks of 
Hayti. The Trench Minister, confonnably to 
the instructions of his Government, remonstra- 
ted against this traffic as ungracious and improp- 
er ; 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 sec- 
ond time that our Government circumscribed 
the commercial conduct of its citizens. It was 
also during this year that memorials were for- 
warded 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 abiUty; it seemed as if the merchants 
were in danger of total rnin. 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 warm 
Europe, in a commerce with enemies colonies 
not open in time of peace ; by this means, the 
produce of the French West Indies was con- 
veyed 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 condemn- 
ed 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 gi-eat" learning and ability in a 
most profound investigation of the subject. 

This same year was ushered in by a proclama- 
tion of General Ferrand, the French command- 
ant at St. Domingo, imposing vexations on the 
trade of our citizens ; and a partial non-impor- 
tation law was enacted against Great Britain by 
Congress about the middle of AprU. But these 
were not all the impediments which arose. No- 
tices 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 
Curragoa, 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 in.- 
terests and feelings of Americans, proclaimed 
Great Britain and her progeny of isles to be in 
a state of bl6ckade. 

Hopes had been entertained that such a vio- 
lent 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 



NOVKMBER, 1808.] 

The EmbaTgo. 


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 Darden- 
elles 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 ser- 
vice, 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 knied, 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 suflScient force was ordered for the 
protection of that place, and such other prepara- 
tions commenced and pursued as the prospect 
rendered proper. 

In furtherance of these schemes, a proclama- 
tion was published, holding all their absent sea- 
men 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 rela- 
tion 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 retaliatiug on 
France a decree passed by her some time before, 
declaring the sale of ships by bejligerents 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 ene- 

This outrageous edict on the part of Britain 
was succeeded by another on the side of France, 
equalling, or if possible, surpassing it in injus- 
tice. In December came forth the decree of 
MUan, enforcing the decree of Berlin against 
American trade ; dooming to confiscation every 
vessel of the United States that had been board- 
ed or even spoken to by a Briton, and encour- 

j Vou IV.— 2 

aging, by the most unjustifiable lures, passengers 
and sailors to turn informers. The abominable 
mandate was quickly echoed in Spain, and sanc- 
tioned 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 crusiers 
on the ocean. 

Such, Mr. President, was the situation of the 
European world, when Congress deemed it ne- 
cessary to declare an embargo on our own ves- 
sels. DenmarK and Prussia, and Eussia, 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 bel- 
hgerents, 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 crashed 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 par- 
take of that security for their persons and prop- 
erty, in the peaceful havens of their country, 
which they sought in vain on the high seas and 
in European harbors. The regulations, so de- 
structive 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 

I touch, with a delicate hand, the mission of 
Mr. Rose. The arrival of this Envoy Extra- 
ordinary from Britain was nearly of the same 
date with an order of his Government, blockad- 
ing Carthagena, Cadiz, and St. Luoar, and the 
intermediate ports of Spain, and thereby vexing 
the commerce of American citizens. The un- 
Buccessfal termination of his negotiation has 
been but a few months since followed by a re- 
fusal 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 spe- 
cific overture, from our Executive, with total 
disregard. In addition to aU 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 gov- 
ern themselves accordingly, under pain of cap- 
ture and condemnation. 




Tlie Embargo. 

[November, 1808. 

TnuBSDAT, November 24. 

The Emlargo. 

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 dis- 
cussion. 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 sub- 
ject 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 horible effects of these 
laws in other pai'ts 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 compellecl to ac- 
knowledge, 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 turbu- 
lent passions had been called into action, by the 
recent agitations throughout the whole United 
States, resulting from the elections by the peo- 
ple, 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 lut too well remem- 
her, 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 pri- 
vations 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 ex- 
pectation — it was not at all to be expected, sir, 
that these gentlemen should now appear here, 

[perfectly exempt from the unpleasant feelings 
which 80 dreadful a disappointment must neces- 
sarily 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 gentle- 
men, it was not expected. 

But, sir, I had indulged a hope that the ex- 
traordinary 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, ivhich 
would have wholly suppressed, or at least sus- 
pended, 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 Connec- 
ticut (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 ex- 
clusively 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 reflec- 
tions 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 featni-e 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, un- 
ruffled 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 friend- 
ship 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 dissi- 
pate 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 



NOVEMBEE, 1808.] 

The Embargo. 


counsels, and the energy of our undivided action, 
win scarcely be sufficient to resist and conquer 
them. To my great regret, sir, we now see, that 
the United States cannot even hope to he blessed 
with this union of miod and action, although 
certainly their dearest interests demand it. 

Mr. President, perhaps the greatest inconve- 
nience 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 divi- 
sions. "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 priva- 
tions, 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 then- 
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 les- 
son now, and at all future times, of disrespecting 
the bold and disingenuous charges and insinua- 
tions of such aspiring demagogues. They must 
learn to respect and rally round their own Gov- 
ernment, or they never can present a formida- 
ble front to a foreign aggressor. Sir, the peo- 
ple of the United States have already learnt 
this lesson. They have recently given an hon- 
orable and glorious example of their knowledge 
in this respect. They have, in their recent elec- 
tions, 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. Hill- 
house) has made the most strict, and I had al- 
most 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 bosom. 

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. Precaution- 

ary, in saving our seamen, our ships, and our 
merchandise, from the plunder of our enemies, 
and avoiding the calamities of war. Coerciv^ 
by addressing strong appeals to the interests of 
both the belligerents. The first object has been 
answered beyond my most sanguine expecta- 
tions. To make a fair and just estimate of this 
measure, reference should be had to our situa- 
tion 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 pdnful 
alternative in lie choice of one of three meas- 
ures, 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 observar 
tions will prove its correctness by the state- 
ments of the gentlemen in fevor of the reso- 

Before the recommendation of the measure, 
the laudable and provident circumspection of 
the Administration had obtained tolerably cor- 
rect 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 nav- 
igation 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 pre- 
viously 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 infor- 
mation at the time this measure was recom- 

The President of the United States, ever 
watchful and anxious for the preservation of 
the persons and property of aH our fellow-citi- 
zens, 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 Pres- 
ident, possessed of this information, had not ap- 
prised the merchants and seamen of their dan- 
ger, and had recommended no measm-e for their 
safety and protection ; would he not in that 
case have merited and received the reproaches 




Tlie Emhargo. 

[NOVEMBBK, 1808. 

which the ignorance (w ingratitude of merchants 
and others have so unjustly heaped upon him, for 
his judicious and anxious attentions to their in- 
terests ? It is admitted by all, that the embargo 
laws have saved this enormous amount of prop- 
erty, and this number of seamen, which, with- 
out them, would have forcibly gone into the 
hands of our enemies, to pamper their arro- 
gance, 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 ser- 
vice. 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 Administra- 
tion for its aniions and effectual attentions to 
his interests ? for relieving him from a dreadful 
captivity 8 Even under the hardships he does 
suffer, and which I sincerely regret, every, gener- 
ous feeling of his noble heart would repel the 
base attempt with indignation. But, sir, the 
American seamen have not deserted their coun- 
try ; 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 pro- 
hibit 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, yon will find them, 
like true birds of passage, hovering in croTvds 
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 feel- 
ings of the honest American tar ; and, when- 
ever in my power, I am ready to give, and will 
with pleasure give him my protection and sup- 
port; One of the most important and agreeable 
effects of the embargo laws, is giving these hon- 
est 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 ns, 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. Blood- 
letting is the last effect that I ever expected to 
hear ascribed to this measure. I thought it was 
of the opposite charact«r ; but it serves to show 
that nothing is too extravagant for the misguid- 
ed 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 gen- 
tleman 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 indigni- 
ties and aggressions. Great Britain herself would 
despise us ; she would consider us an outcast 
among nations; she would not own ns for her 
offspring: France would despise ns; all the 
world would despise us ; and what is infinitely 
worse, we should be compelled to despise our- 
selves ! If we resist, we shall command the re- 
spect 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 ns have union and we have nothing to fear, 
bo highly do I prize union, at this awful mo- 
ment, that I would prefer any one measure of 
resistance with union, to any other measure of 
r^stance with division ; let ns then, sir, banish 
all personal feelings; let us present to our ene- 
mies the formidable front of an indissoluble 
band ot 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 
rrovidenoe, 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 reso- 
lution a flat and decided negative. 



Deceheee, 1808.] 

Enfmcemznt of the Embargo. 


Feidat, November 25. 

Jomr Melledgb, from the State of Georgia, 

Wednesday, November 30. 
TJie Embargo. 

Mr. PiCKEBKG. — Mr. President : I am aware, 
eir, of tlie consequences of advancing any- 
thing from ivhich conclnsions may be drawn 
adverse to the opinions of onr own Admin- 
istration, 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 h^ side, is sufficient 
to subject a man to the popular charge of being 
Tmder British influence, or to the vulgar slan- 
der of being a " British tory." He wiU be for- 
tunate 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, nev- 
ertheless, wiLliug to benefit by the impression 
they may make on the miads of the people. 
From an early period of my life I was zealously 
engaged in every measure opposed to the at- 
tempts of Great Britain to encroach upon our 
rights, until the commencement of our Revolu- 
tionary 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 successfol ter- 

I, sir, am not th« advocate of wrong-doers, 
to whatever country they belong, whether Em- 
perors, 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 de- 
prive 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 adjust- 
ment and reparation. 

Monday, December 12. 
Enforcement of the Embargo Laws. 
Mr. Giles, from the committee appointed the 
llth of November last, on that part of the Mes- 
sage 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 biU to au- 

thorize 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 bin is as follows: 

" Be il enacted bg the Senate and Ho^ae of Rgyre- 
sentatives of the United States of America, in Congress 
assembled. That the President be, and he is hereby, 
authorized and required to canse 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 snch 
ports and places on the seacoast as he may deem 
most expedient, or to cniise on any part of the coast 
of the United States, or territories tiereot 

" Sec. 2. And he it further enacted. That, for the 
purpose of carrying the foregoing provision into im- 
mediate effect, the President of the United States be, 
and is hereby, authorized and required, in addition 
to the number of petty officers, able seamen, ordina- 
ry seamen, and boys, at present authorized by law, 
to apprant, and cause to be engaged and employed 

as soon as may he, midshipmen, corporals 

of marines, able seamen, ordinary seamen 

and boys, which shall be engaged to serve for a pe- 
riod not exceeding years, but the President 

may discharge the same sooner, if in his judgment 
their services may be dispensed with ; and to satiSy the 
necessary expenditures to be incurred therein, a sum 
not exceeding dollars be, and the same is here- 
by, appropriated, and shall be paid out of any moneys 
in the Treasnry not otherwise appropriatei" 

Satubdat, December 17. 

The credentials of Michael Leeb, appointed 
a Senator by the State of Pennsylvania, were 
presented and read, and ordered to lie on file. 
Enforcement of the Emba/rgo. 

The Senate resumed the bUl making further 
provision for enforcing the embargo. 

Mr. GooDEiOH rose, and addressed the Senate ' 
as follows — 

Mr. President; This bill, making farther 
provision for enforcing the embargo, requires 
aR our attention. We are not on ordinary bu- 
siness. An embargo for an indefinite period, 
over a great countiy like ours, abounding in rich 
staples and domestic producta, 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 defi- 
ance of the lessons which experience teaches, 
that without producing any beneficial results, 
it is embroiling the choicest interests of the na- 
tion. On foreign powers it has made no im- 
pression, and its ruinous efiect 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 




Enforcejnent of the Embargo. 



strictly enforced, it will compel foreign na- 
tions to respect our rights. Under these im- 
pressions, the system is to he maintained. To 
enforce it, the powers of the Government are 
to be put in ai-ray throughout our country, es- 
pecially in places where discontents are mani- 
fested ; and an extension is to he given to that 
system of arbitrary seizures of vessels, goods, 
merchandise, and domestic products, on suspi- 
cion 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 con- 
cOiate the conflicting opmions and passions of 
our citizens, and restore concord amongst them. 
I see nothing that wUl invigorate the public 
councils, and resuscitate the dormant spirit and 
resources of the nation. To me it seems that 
the Administration, without presenting to pub- 
lic view any definite object or course, are press- 
ing forward our affaii's into a chaos of inextri- 
cable difficulties. And I cannot but regard this 
bill as holding a prominent place among the 
measures leading on that unfortunate issue. 

This hiU bears marks of distrust entertained 
by the Govei-nment of the people, or a consider- 
able portion of them, and of- the State authori- 
ties ; 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 ac- 
customed and mUd means of executing the laws 
by civil process through the tribunals of jus- 
tice, 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 regu- 
lation 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 ex- 
portation, and in every case which may be com- 
prehended within the scope of any general in- 
structions, issued by command of the Presi- 
dent. But there is a proviso as to coasting ves- 
sels uniformly employed in the navigation of 
bays, sounds, rivers, and lakes, which shall 
have obtained a general permission. 

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 certifi- 
cates, or licenses for the importation of flour 
into that State; and, under general instruc- 
tions from the President, without personal sus- 
picion 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; difficul- 
ties inherent in the measure itself, and not to 
be overcome by accumulating rigorous penal- 
ties, and an extension of the Executive power. 
The power to regulate commerce is vested in 
Congress, and by granting it to the Presideift, 
do we not transfer to him one of the most im- 
portant and delicate of the legislative pow- 
ers 2 What State would have adopted the con- 
stitution, if it had been foreseen that this power 
would be granted to any man, however distin- 
guished by office 2 

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

Collectors of the customs throughout the- 
United States, by the tenth section, are em- 
powered 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 in- 
tended 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 in- 
tended to be exported. And, when taken 
into custody, they are not permitted to be re- 
moved 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 sus- 
picion only, may this unbounded license be ex- 
ercised. Our houses, heretofore our castles, 
and the secure abodes of our families, may be 
thrown open to the visits of coUectors to 
search for and seize our money and goods, 
whenever instigated by suspicion, prejudice, re- 
sentment, 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 deliver- 
ing the same in some place of the United States, 
whence, in the opinion of the collector there 



Decembek, 1808.] 

Enforcement of the E-mbargo. 


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 conti-ary 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, unreasona- 
ble searches and seizures ? And is not a man 
thereby to be deprived of property without due 
process of law ? 

The m-Uitary may be employed by such per- 
son 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 
wiU be selected who are most convenient and 
in aU respects qualified to act in the scenes to 
which they may be called. In these appoint- 
ments the Senate is to have no concurrence. 
They are to be Presidential agents for issuing re- 
quisitions 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 authoritieson this 
subject. The requisitions of the General Govern- 
ment for the raiUtia have been made to the Gov- 
ernors of the States ; and what reason is there for 
taking a different course to enforce the embargo ? 

Under our present system have not insurrec- 
tions been suppressed, rebellions quelled, and 
combinations and resistance against lawful au- 
thority 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 un- 
restrained hcense that is to be given to its oper- 
ations. 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 incom- 
petent to preserve the public peace and author- 
ity. 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 re- 
sisting the custom-house ofSoers in the exercise 
of their duties, it would seem can no longer be 
confided to the States, and it is thought ne- 
cessary to surround custom-house officers with 
bands of the standing army or militia. 

The biU before us is bottomed on a report of 
the Secretary of the Ti-easury. How often 
were his strenuous remonstrances, and those of 
the chairman of the committee who reported 
the biU, (Mr. Giles,) formerly heard against 
the extension of the Executive patronage and 
influence ; the interference of the General Gov- 
ernment 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 inter- 
nal policy of the States, and the ordinary con- 
cerns of the people ; and then our array, 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 re- 
spected. The present crisis is portentous. In- 
ternal disquiets wiU not be healed, nor pubHc 
sentiment confc-oUed, by precipitate and rash 
measures. It is time for the public councils 
to pause. This bUl, 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 ap- 
pearance of which ought here to be resisted 
with all our talents and efforts. It proposes to 
introduce a military despotism, to which free- 
men can never submit, and which can never 
govern except by terror and carnage. 

TtEBDAT, December 20. 
Enforcement of the Embargo. 
Mr. Giles said, I am sensible that I owe an 
apology to the Senate, as chairman of the com- 
mittee, for not having made an exposition of 
the objects and principles of the bill, reported 
for consideration, at an earlier stage of the dis- 
cussion. 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 feel- 
ings. I also thought that the session had al- 
ready been sufficiently fruitful of discussions 
intimately connected with the bill before us ; 
and that the public interests, at this time, re- 
quired 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 biU after it was first presented 
to their consideration. But, sir, you will find 
some apology in the intrinsic difficulty and deli- 
cacy of the subject itself, and also in the dispo- 
sition 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 accommo- 
date 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 bUl presents temptations for address- 
ing the popular sensibility too strong to be re- 
sisted by gentlemen in the opposition. They 
have, accordingly, with great zeal and ability, 
described the provisions of the bill as danger- 
ous 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 dis- 




Enforcement of the Embargo. 

[Decembeb, 1808. 

cretion. I think, however, I shall he 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 pre- 
cedents 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 observa- 
tions respecting minute details ; apply my re- 
marks generally to principles; and thus bring 
my observations and replies into as short a 
compass as possible. 

The gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Good- 
eioh) commenced his remarks by declaring the 
embargo to be a permanent measure, depreca- 
ting its effects, as ruinous at home and ineffec- 
tual abroad. These observations have been re- 
peatedly made by others, and already replied to 
by several gentlemen, as well as myself ; and I 
am strengthened in the correctness of those re- 
plies 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 per- 
haps one of the causes of the inefficacy of 
the measure abroad, has been the unprin- 
cipled violations of its provisions at home; 
and the great and leading object of the pres- 
ent 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. Hillhotjse) 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 re- 
alize the character anticipated by that gentle- 
man, I shall feel no regret for that portion of 
labor I have bestowed upon them. Indeed, I 
shall congratulate the committee as well as my- 
self in having been so fortunate as to find a 
competent remedy for so great an evil. 

The gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Good- 
eioh) informs us, that the public councils are 
pressing on to measures pregnant with the most 
alarming results. I hope the gentleman is mis- 
taken 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 gentle- 
man 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, imfortunately, amidst all the intrinsic diffi- 
culties 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 surround- 
ed with real and intrinsic difficulties from every 
quarter, and those of a domestic nature are in- 
finitely the most formidable, and most to be 
deprecated. Indeed, sir, under present circum- 
stances, the administration of the Government 
cannot be a pleasant task ; and, in my judgment, 
it requires a great effort of patriotism to un- 
dertake it, not on account of external pressures, 
but on account of internal discontents, stimula- 
ted, too, by so many artful intrigues. But for 
these unfortunate circumstances, every gentle- 
man would feel an honorable pride in contribu- 
ting 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 fuU share of it, is the only in- 
ducement I have at this moment for occupying 
a place on this floor. Without that considera- 
tion I should now be in retirement. But when 
I turn my eyes upon internal divisions, discon- 
tents and violations of law, and am compelled 
to think of nleasures for their suppression, it 
produces the most painful sensations and dis- 
tressing reflections. 

The great principle of objection, the gentle- 
men tell us, consists in the transfer of legisla- 
tive powers to the Executive Department. This 
is an old an abstract question, often heretofore 
brought into view, and leads to endless discus- 
sion. 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 dis- 
cussion 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- 
You might attempt the search for the philoso- 
pher'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 prin- 
ciple is attempted to be applied, are perpetually 
varying, accordmg to the practical progression 
of human affairs, and therefore cannot admit 
of any uniform standard of application. This 
reflection might have saved the gentleman 
frpm Massachusetts (Mr. Llotd) 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 
J readily assented to in the abstract, but which 



December, 1808.] 

Enforcement of the Embargo, 


forms no part of the question jn dispute. It 
cannot, however, escape ohservation, 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 con- 
stitution, and probably was the principal guide 
in its formation, it ia nevertheles in several re- 
pects departed from. 

This body partakes essentially both of the 
legislative and Executive powers of the Govern- 
ment. The Executive Department also partakes 
of the legislative powers, as far at least as an 
approbation of, and a quaJified negative of the 
laws extend, &c. I make these observations, 
however, not in derogation of the general prin- 
ciple 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 ex- 
tend as far as definition is practicable — when 
definition stops, execution must necessarily be- 
gin. 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 

I will now proceed to examine the more par- 
ticular objections urged against the detail of 
this bai. Its provisions respecting the coasting 
trade are said to be objectionable in the follow- 
ing respects : 

First objection : The penalty of the bonds re- 
quired, is said to be excessive. To enable us 
to decide correctly upon this point, the object 
proposed to be effected, and the penalty re- 
quired, 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 val- 
ue of the vessel and cargo. Is any gentleman pre- 
pared to say a smaller penalty will efiect the 
object 1. I presume not. Indeed, the commit- 
tee were disposed to put it at the lowest possi- 
ble 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 al- 
teration 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 in- 
fluenced by party spirit in the exercise of their 
discretion. It is hoped that this vnH 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 system. 

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 recm-s, 
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 considera- 
tions ? I should conclude, certainly not. 

The next objections are made to the seventh 
section of the bOl, 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 securi- 
ty against the violation of the embargo laws. It 
is known that, through pretexts derived from 
this permission, at present, most of the viola- 
tions of these laws have been committed with 
impunity — it is, therefore, important to the fu- 
ture 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 regula- 
tions producing in other respects beneficial re- 
sults. This bOl, however, contains a provision 
for relief in aU cases of hardships under the em- 
bargo 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 _ Con- 
gress proceeded with great caution on this sub- 
ject. 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 intro- 





[JANDAEY, 1809. 

duces no new principle whatever. This doc- 
tiine is carried still further, by an act passed 
the 3J 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 Presi- 
dent of the United States to direct the Marshal, or 
officer acting as Marshal, in the manner hereinafter 
directed, and also to lake such other measures, and 
to employ such mihtary force as he may judge ne- 
cessary 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 authorised by law." 

Here the President is authorized to use the 
military force to remove settlers from the pub- 
lic 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 precedent. 

"While speaking of the distrust of courts, I 
hope I may be indulged in remarking, that in- 
dividually 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 charac- 
ter 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. 

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, at- 
tended, and produced his credentials, which 
were read ; and the oath prescribed by law was 
administered to him. 

Tuesday, January 10. 
James A. Bayaed, from the State of Dela- 
ware, 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 rea(^ 
and ordered to lie on file. 

Thuesday, 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 Samtiel Maolay, attended, and the 
oath prescribed by law was administered to him. 

"Wednesday, December 21. 
Enforcement of the Ernbar^o. 

Mr. Pope spoke in favor of the bill. 

And on the question, Shall this bOl pass ? it 
was determined in the affirmative — ^yeas 20 
nays 7, as follows : ' 

_ Yeas. — Messrs. Anderson, Condit, Crawford, Frank- 
Im, 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. Oilman, Goodrich, HiUhouse, Lloyd, 
Mathewson, Pickering, and "White. 

"Wednesday, December 28. 
The "ViOE President being absent by reason 
of the ill state of his health, the Senate proceed- 
ed to the election of a President pro tempore. 
as the constitution provides; and Stephen E. 
Beadlet was appointed. 

Peiday, January 6, 1809. 
Rbiuen Jonathan Meigs, jun., appointed a 

Tuesday, January 24. 

Foreign Intercourse — fhe Two Milliom Secret 

Appropriation — Florida the object. 

The following Message was received from the 
Peesident of the United States : 
To ike 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 Congresa of February 21, 1806, appropriating two 
millions of doUars for defraying any extraordinary 
expenses attending the intercourse between the Unit- 
ed States and foreign nations. 

Januaky 24, 1803. TH. JEFFERSON. 

The Message and documents were read, and 
one thousand copies thereof ordered to be print- 
ed 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 miUions of dol- 
lars appropriated by the act of Congress of the 21st 
of February, 1806, "for defraying any extraordinary 
expenses attendmg the intercourse between the Unit- 
ed States and foreign nations," was ever authorized 
or intended to be applied to the use of either France, 
HoUand or any country other than Spain ; nor otherl 
wase 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 ter- 
ritory held by Spam, eastward of the river Mississippi. 

AE which IB respectfully submitted. 


Department of State, Jan. 21. 

Monday, January 30. 
The Vioe Peesident having retired, the Sen 
ate proceeded to the election of a President j?» 



Febedaet, 1809.] 


tempore, as the constitution provides ; and the 
Hon. John Milledge was appointed. 

Thtjesdat, Fehrnary 3. 

Tho 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. 

TiTESDAT, Fehrnary 7. 

lamination and Count of Electoral Votes for 

President and Vice President. 

Mr. Smith, of Maryland, from the joint com- 
mittee 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 
oflBce to the President, reported in part the fol- 
lowing resolution, which was read and agreed to : 

Resolved, That the two Houses shall assemhle in 
the Chamber of the House of Eepresentatives, 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 dehvered. to the President of the Sen- 
ate, 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. SiniH, of Maryland, be 
appointed teller on the part of the Senate, agree- 
ably to the foregoing resolution. 

A message from the House of Eepresentatives 
brought to the Senate " the several memorials 
from sundry citizens of the State of Massachu- 
setts, remonstrating against the mode in which 
the appointment of Electors for Prfesident 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 Eepresentatives of the United 
States, for the purpose of preventing the estab- 
lishment 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 Eepresentatives 
informed the Senate that the House agree to the 
report of the joint committee " appointed to as- 
certain 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 Presi- 
dent," and have appointed Messrs. Nicholas 
and VAjf Dyxb tellers on their part. 

■Wednesdat, February 8. 
The two Houses of Congress, agreeably to the 


joint resolution, assembled in the Eepresenta- 
tives' Chamber, and the certificates of the Elec- 
tors for the several States were, by the Presi- 
dent of the Senate, opened and delivered to the 
tellers appointed for the purpose, who, having 
examined and ascertained the number of votes, 
presented a hst thereof to the President of the 
Senate, which was read, as follows : 


New Hampshire 


Rhode Island 



New York 

New Jersey 





North Carolina 

South Carolina 






For Presi- 

For Vice Presi- 


122 6 47113 3 3 947 






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

"Whereupon the President of the Senate de- 
clared James Madison elected President of the 
United States for four years, commencing with 
the fourth day of March next; and Gbobge 
Cleston Vice President of the United States for 
four years, commencing with the fourth day of 
March next. 

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, 

Eesolved, 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 oflBce of President of the 
United States ; and to be transmitted to Geobge 
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 U known, That the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the United States of America, being con- 
vened at the city of "Washington, on the second Wed- 





[Febkhaky, 1809. 

nesday 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 Elec- 
tors 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 Elec- 
tors as President, and Geokoe Clinton, of New 
Ycirk, 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 Geoege 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 Februaiy, 1809. 

And that tlie President of the Senate do cause 
'the certifloate aforesaid to belaid before the Pres- 
ident of the United States, with this resolution. 

TuEBDAT, February 21. 

The credentials of Joseph Andeeson, appoint- 
ed a Senator for the State of Tennessee, by the 
Executive of that State, from and after the ex- 
piration of the time limited in his present ap- 
pointment, until the end of the next session of 
the Legislature thereof, were presented and 
read, and ordered to lie on file. 

Frwriking Privilege to Mr. Jefferson. 

The bill freeing from postage all letters and 
packets to Thomas Jefferson was read the sec- 
ond time, and considered as in Committee of 
the "Whole ; and no amendment having been 
proposed, on the question. Shall this biU be en- 
grossed and read a third time ? it was deter- 
mined in the affirmative. 


Mr. TrPFiir, from the committee, reported the 
bill to interdict the commercial intercourse be- 
tween 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 — sec- 
tion three, with the words twentieth and May 
in two instances. 

On motion by Mr. Beadlet, the words, " or be- 
ing pursued by the enemy," were stricken out of 
the first and third sections, by unanimous consent. 

Mr. LxoTD 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 
mea,ns of preserving peace— as a menace to the 
belligerents, that a more rigorous course of con- 
duct 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 Britain. 

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-interconrse 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 Or- 
ders in OouncU issued, if war has been long 
looked fbr, from those now in operation, I know 
not what excuse those who have the manage- 
ment of our concerns can offer to the people of 
the United States, for leaving the country in its 
present exposed, naked, and defenceless situa- 

What are our preparations for war ? After 
being together four-fifths of the session, we have 
extorted a reluctant consent to fit out four frig- 
ates. We have also on the stocks, in the navy 
yard and elsewhere scattered along the coast, 
from the Mississippi to the Schoodick, one hun- 
dred and seventy gunboats, which, during the 
summer season, and under the infiuence of gen- 
tle 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. K other expenditures are to be made 
in this ratio, it requires but few powers of cal- 
culation to foretell that, if the gunboats can de- 
stroy 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 expen- 
diture of the British Government for six weeks 
or two months, on a single fortress in the Prov- 
ince 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 acces- 
sible maritime frontier of two thousand mUes in 
extent 1 

In contemplating war, it is also proper to ad- 
vert to the state of the Treasury. Under such 



rKBKDABY, 1809.] 



m event, and with any serious preparation for 
iv^ar or actual prosecution of it, the present funds 
(Tould Boou he exhausted. How soon cannot he 
itated, hecause the amount of them cannot he 
iccnrately ascertained. A part, and a consid- 
srahle part, of the money now on hand, does not 
belong to the puhlic. It is the property of the 
merchants ; it is deposited in the Treasury as in 
a. hank, to he checked for, whenever that com- 
merce, which Mr. Jefferson, in his Notes on 
Virginia, most emphatically says, our country 
will have, shall he again reopened. 

And thus situated, what are the projects of- 
fered for replenishing the puhlic coffers in fu- 
ture ? It is the duty of the Secretary of the 
Treasury to develop the resources of the nation, 
and to point out new somxes of supply, when- 
ever the usual channels are impeded. He has 
designated three modes. The first, if executed, 
emhraces, in my view, and I am sorry to say it, 
a marked violation of the puhlic faith. It is 
the suggestion of stopping drawbacks on mer- 
chandise, which, in many instances, the mer- 
chants, from a reliance on the stahUity 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 

The second project is one which, in my opin- 
ion, would do little honor to the genius of any 
man. It is a sweeping project for douhhng, at 
the moment, the duties on every description of 
imported merchandise, on which a duty is now 
payable. "Without notice to the merchant, with- 
out 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 manufac- 
turer and the useless decorations of fashion. By 
which, bohea tea and Madeira wine, brown su- 
gar 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, 
equ^y 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 re- 
spected 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 per- 
sonal 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 en- 
forcing the embargo laws, and to our fiscal con- 
cerns, then an infant's breath might easily hnrst 
the bubble. At any rate, it may very truly be 

said, that if such are our preparations for com- 
mencing, and our resources for continuing a 
war, they are those which will serve neither 
to inspirit ourselves, nor to frighten our ene- 

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 Euro- 
pean territories and the United States a gulf 
intervenes, a power is interposed, which neither 
the Emperor of tSfe 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 biU seems to 

If this be the determination of our Govern- 
ment, 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 2 
Certainly not a prohibition of the importation 
of her manufactures. A long period of years 
must elapse before we caiy'urnish 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, sedu- 
lously endeavor, not only to guard against ex- 
hausting 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 in- 
habitants 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 inthnately 
connected with a speedy return of peace. 

By adopting a non-intercourse antecedent to 
a state of war, our own stock of supplies be- 
comes exhausted, the British merchants have 
time and notice given them to collect, or alien- 
ate, by assignment, their debts in this country. 
A warning is given them to buckle on their ar- 
mor • their good disposition towards us is not 
only changed, but embittered, and the very per- 
sons who, in the one case, might possibly pre- 
vent a war, or be instrumental in efiecting the 
restoration of peace, would, in the other, prob- 
ably be among- the most willing to rush into 
the contest, from the impulse of temper, and 




from the conviction that their own circum- 
stances would not be deteriorated by its conse- 

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 ex- 
presses could convene at the seat of Government 
even the heads of our departments. 

Another evil would arise, and that a perma- 
nent one; whether a non-intercourse eventuated 
in war or peace, it would materially and ad- 
versely 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 with- 
out them : the consequence must be, that, in- 
stead of being regularly imported, the articles 
will be smuggled into this country, and thereby 
the price not only begomes 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 honor- 
able and unexampled in the history of commer- 
cial nations. This successful collection of duties 
has not however been effected by the employ- 
ment of swarms of revenue officers, spies, and 
informers, as in other countries ; it has been in- 
finitely more effectually secured, by an honor- 
able 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 pros- 
perity. But barriers of this description, like 
other high-toned sentiments of the mind, being 
once broken down, can with difficulty be re- 
stored, 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 doubt- 
ful policy. 

In a country nearly surrounded by, and every- 
where intersected with navigable waters, en- 
compassed 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 irresisti- 
ble — for there is no truism in morals or philoso- 
phy better established than the commercial ax- 
iom, 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 


[Februaky, 1809. 

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 reflec- 
tion on its honor or its bravery, to select its 
opponent ; and on principles of reciprocity, in- 
dependently of those of interest, the first aggres- 
sor would undoubtedly be entitled to the first 

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 
Bussia and Great Britain in 1793, to prohibit a 
supply of grain to France ; but this is by no 
means sufHoient 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 be- 
tween Eussia and Great Britain. 

For a long period, and among most of the 
maritime nations of Europe, the right of inliibit- 
ing 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 

On the .Slst 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 deter- 
mination to support our ri tMs at all hazards, I 
have no belief that om- present difficulties would 
ever have existed. 

In May succeeding, advices were received of 
French privateers, under this decree, depredat- 
ing 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 th^ same 

In November, 1807, the British, in confoi-mity 
with their notice, issued their retaliating order. 
A prior Order in OouncU of January, 1807, had 
been issued, but this only affected vessels trad- 
ing between different ports of France, or be- 
tween 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 inter- 
dicted by a standing law of the French Govern- 
ment, passed in 1778, and confirmed by the pres- 
ent Emperor. 



February, 1809.] 

Additumal Duties, 


Then followed in succession, on the part of 
France, the Milan and Bayonne decrees. The 
last of Tphich dooms an American vessel to con- 
demnation from the exercise of a right univer- 
sally acknowledged to helong 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 viola- 
tion 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 dura- 
tion by the French decrees, and issued after 
having given twelve months' notice of her in- 
tention to oppose them in this way, and the 
Orders in Council are even as yet not co-exten- 
sive 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 con- 
sider myself as warranted in doing this, from the 
American Government having explicitly taken 
this ground, and made known that, on the re- 
moval of the decrees and orders, it would, on 
our part, remove the embargo, and restore the 
accustomed intercourse between the two coun- 

From this consideration of the subject, it ir- 
resistibly follows, that France was the first ag- 
gressor on us, in issuing her decrees — that in 
point of principle, they are much more outrage- 
ous 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 

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 bDl, and declaring a non-iuter- 
course, woiild be next to nothing. 

With Great Britain the effects would be re- 
versed. No one now doubts her ability or dis- 
position 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 re- 
spects 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 wiU be its con- 
sequences? If your citizens are united, you can 
capture Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Bruns- 
wick ; when you have effected this, what re- 
mains next to be done ? You have reached the 
ne plus ultra of your ability. Thenceforward 
your ports are hermetically sealed. Priva- 
teering, from the convoy system adopted by Great 
Britain, could not be successfully prosecuted ; 
no food for enterj)rise 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 re- 
gard to her West India conquests, restoring the 
captured provinces, enriched by American pop- 
ulation and industry, and giving us perhaps 
a treaty stiU less favorable than the much exe- 
crated 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 six. 

The question was now taken on the passage 
of the bill, and determined in the affirmative — 
yeas 21, nays 13, as follows: 

Yeas, — Messrs. Anderson, Condit, Franklin, Gail- 
lard, Giles, Gregg, Howland, Kitchel, Leib, Mathew- 
son, Meigs, Miliedge, Mitohill, Moore, Pope, Robin- 
son, Smith of Maryland, Smith of New York, Smith 
of Tennessee, Thmston, and' Tiffin. 

Nats. — Messrs. Bayard, Crawford, Gilman, Good- 
rich, Hilllioiise, Lloyd, Parker, Pickering, Eeed, 
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." 

Feidat, February 24. 
Additional Duties. 

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

Mr. Lloyd moved to postpone the further 
consideration of this biU until the first Monday 
in June next ; and addressed the ohau- as fol- 
lows : 

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 sub- 
ject not a commercial, and an exceedingly im- 
portant 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 wUl princi- 




Additional Duties. 

[Februaby, 1809. 

pally 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 authori- 
ties to show that neither the one nor the other is 
either expected or necessary ; and the authori- 
ties 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 Treas- 
ury reports, to show that he deeifled 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 

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 con- 
sumer ; 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 inten- 
tion to lay the duty ; but if it be imposed with- 
out notice, or giving time for preparation, then 
the interest of the merchant is sacrificed. 

The basis' of all commerce is calculation; 
what oalcidation can be found for distant enter- 
prises 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 calcu- 
lations are defeated, and he pockets a loss in- 
stead 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 gi-eat cau- 
tion; whenever contemplated, the subject is 
generally a long time under consideration, some- 
times hanging over from one session to another. 
The Ministry make it a point frequently to con- 
sult 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 

I 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 under- 
stood, 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 ftigates ; 
still the revenue did not increase. He consulted 
the merchants — they told him the articles were 
taxed beyond their bearing; he manfully re- 
traced 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 tliat Eng- 
lish 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 discoiirage 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 senti- 
ments I have quoted from the President, Mr. 
Gallatin, and General Smith, it is apparent that 
this measure is unwise, vmnecessary, and im- 

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 pre- 
vent 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 foUows: 

Yeas.— Messrs. Bayard, Bradley, Gilman, HiU- 
honse, Lloyd, MitoKU, Parker, Pickering, Reed, and 

Nays.— Messrs. Anderson, Condit, Crawford, Frank- 
hn, GaiUard, Gregg, Howland, Kitchel, Leib, Meigs, 
MiUedge, Moore, Pope, Smith of Maryland, Smith ot 
*»ew York, Smith of Tennessee, Sumter, Thruston 
and Tnmer. ' 

On motion, by Mr. Smith, of Maryland, the 



Mabch, 1809.] 


farther consideration of the bill was postponed 
to Monday next. 

Fetbay, 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 farther to amend the 
several acts for the establishment and regnlation 
of the Treasury, War, and Navy Departments, 
and making appropriations for the support of 
the Military Esbiblihment 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 Premdent elect. 

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

Crrr of Washdigtoii, March 2, 1809. 

SiK : I beg leave, throngh you, to inform the honor- 
atle the Senate of the United States, that I propose 
to take the oath which the constitntion prescribes to 
file President of the United States, before he enters 
on the exeontion 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, yonr most obedient and most hnmble servant, 

The Hon. Jomr Mtejoedge, 

President pro tempore of the Senate. 

Five o'clock in fhe Eeening. 


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

Ordered, That the Secretary notify the House 
of Eepresentatives that the Senate having finish- 
ed the business before them, are about to ad- 

The Secretary having performed that duty, 
the Senate adjourned without day. 

The Presiiefit of the United States 

to , Senator for the State of : 

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

Waskrsgton, Dec 30, 1808. 

Satuedat, March 4. 
In conformity with the summons from the 
President of the United States, the Senate as- 
sembled in the Chamber of the House of Eep- 


JoHTT MiLLEDGE, from the State of Georgia, 
President ^ro tempore. 
Vol. IV.— 3 

Nicholas Gilmak, and Nabxm Paekkb, from 
New Hampshire. 

TmoTHT PiCKEEnfG, from Massachcsetts. 

Chattncet Goodeich, from Connecticut. 

Elisha Mathewson, from Ehode Island. 

Stephen R. Beadlet, from Vermont. 

JoHif Smith, from New York. 

A AEON KrrcHEL, from New Jersey. 

Andeew Gsegg, from Pennsylvania. 

James A. Bayaed, from Delaware. 

Philip Eekd, from Maryland. 

William B. Giles, from Virginia. 

James TuENEBf and Jesse Feankxin, from 
North Carolina. • 

Thomas Sumtee, and John Gaillaed, from 
South Carolina. 

William H. Ceawfoed, from Georgia. 

BrcKNEE Theuston, and John Pope, from 

Daniel Smith, from Tennessee. ^ 

Edwaed Teppin, from Ohio. 

John Lambeet, 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, at- 
tended, 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 Andeeson, from the State of Ten- 
nessee ; EiOHAED Bebnt, from the State of 
Virginia; James Hillhouse, from the State of 
Connecticut ; Michael Lbib, from the State of 
Pennsylvania ; Eetden J. Meigs, from the State 
of Ohio ; Jonathan Robinson, from the State 
of Vermont ; Samubl 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. Beekt. 

The Peebident of the United States at- 
tended, and communicated the following 


Unwilling to depart from examples of the most re- 
vered 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 (he 
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 grat- 
itude 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 re- 
Kionsibility allotted to me are inexpressibly enhanced. 

The present situation of the world is, indeed, with- 
out 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, resultmg 
from the change, has been rendered the more strik- 
ing. Under the benign influence of our Eepnblican 
institutions, and the maintenance of peace with all 





[Mabch, 1809. 

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 wore seen in the im- 
provements of agriculture ; in the successful enter- 
prises of commerce ; in the progress of manufactures 
and nsefnl 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 
trus^ on any involuntary errors in the public coun- 
cils. Indulging no passions which trespass on the 
rights or the repose of other nations, it haa 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 neu- 
tral obligations with the most scrupulous impartial- 
ity. 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 in- 
troduced, equally contrary to universal reason and 
acknowledged law. How long their arbitrary edicts 
wiU 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 b e safeguards to its honor and its essential in- 
terests, I repair to the post assigned me with no other 
discouragement than what springs from my own in- 
adequacy 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 m.iin- 
tain sincere neutrality towards belligerent nations ; 
to prefer, in all cases, amicable discussion and rea- 
sonable accommodation of differences, to a decision of 
them by an appeal to arms ; to exclude foreign in- 
trigues 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 ele- 
vated 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 re- 
served to the States and to the people, as equally in- 
corporated with, and essential to the success of, the 
general system ; to avoid the slightest interference 
with the rights of conscience or the functions of re- 
ligion, so wisely exempted from civil jurisdiction ; to 
preserve, in then: full energy, the other salutary pro- 
visions in behalf of private and persona] rights, and of 
the freedom of the press ; to observe economy in pub- 
lic 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 mil- 
itia is the firmest bulwark of Republics ; that with- 
out standing armies their liberty can never be in dan- 
ger, nor with large ones safe ; to promote, by author- 
ized means, improvements friendly to agriculture, to 
manufactures, and to external as well as internal 
commerce ; to favor, in like manner, the advance- 
ment 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 neigh- 
bors from the degradation and wretchedness of sav- 
age 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 inten- 
tions 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 illus- 
trious services, successftjly rendered in the most try- 
ing difiiculties, 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, he best placed, next to that which we have 
all been encouraged to feel in the guardianship and 
guidance of that Almighty Being whose power reg- 
ulates the destiny of nations, whose blessings have 
been so conspicuously dispensed to this rising Repub- 
lic, and to whom we are bound to address our de- 
vout 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 Peesident of the Usitbd 
States, by the Chief Justice. 
_ The President of the "United States then re- 
tired, and the Senate repaired to their own 

Ordered, That Messrs. Andeeson and Bat- 
AED be a committee to wait on the President of 
the United States, and notify him that the Sen- 
ate are ready to receive any communications 
that he may be pleased to makei to them. 

Monday, March 6. 

Feanois Malbonb, appointed a Senator by 
the Legislature of the State of Rhode Island, for 
six years, commencing on the 4th instant, at- 
tended, and produced his credentials, which were 

The credentials of Riohaed Beent, appointed 
a Senator by the Legislature of the State of Vir- 
ginia, for six years, commencing on the 4th in- 
stant, were read. 

The oath required by law was administered 
to Messrs. Beent and Mamonb, respectively. 



March, 1809.] 



On motion, by Mr. Robinson, 

Hesolved, That the Secretary of the Senate 
be authorized to pay, ont of the contingent fund 
of this House, to George Thomas, Walter Eey- 
nolds, and Tobias Simpson, the sum of fifty 
dollars each, in addition to their annual com- 

Mr. AsTDEESON 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 

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

Ttjesdat, March 7. 

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

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

The Senate adjourned without day. 



H. OP R.] 


[NOVBMBEB, 1808. 




Monday, November 7, 1808, 

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

From New Hampshire — Daniel M. Diirell, Francis 
Gardner, Jedediah K. Smith, and Clement Storer. 

From Massachusetts — Ezekiel Bacon, Joseph Bar- 
ker, Orchard Cook, Richard Cutts, Josiali Deane, 
William Ely, Isaiah L. Green, Daniel Ilsley, Edward 
St. Loe Livermore, Josiah Qnincy, Ebenezer Seaver, 
William Stedman, Jahez tjpham, and Joseph B. 
Vamnm, (the Speaker.) 

From Rhode Islamd — Isaac Wilhour. 

From ConMcticwt — ^Epaphroditus Champion, Sam- 
nel W. Dana, John Davenport, jr., Jonathan 0. 
Mosely, Timothy Pitkin, jr., Lewis B. Stnrges, and 
Benjamin Tallmadge. 

From Vermont — Martin Chittenden, James Elliot, 
and James Fisk. 

From New Torh — John Blake, jr., John Harris, 
Benben Humphreys, William Kirkpatrick, Gnrdon 
S. Mnmford, Samnel Biker, John KnsseU, Peter 
Swart, John Thompson, James I. Van AUen, Killian 
K. Van Rensselaer, and Daniel C. Verplanck. 

From New Jersey — Adam Boyd, William Helms, 
John Lambert, Thomas Newhold, James Sloan, and 
Henry Southard. 

From Permsyhcmia — David Bard, Robert Brown, 
William Findlay, John Heister, William Hoge, Wil- 
liam MUuor, Daniel Montgomery, jr., John forter, 
John Pugh, John Rea, Matthias Richairds, John 
Smilie, Samuel Smith, and Robert WhitehiU. 

From Maryland. — Charles Goldsborough, William 
McCreeiy, John Montgomery, Nicholas B. Moore, and 
Archibald Van Home. 

From Virginia — ^Burwell Bassett, William A. Bur- 
well, John Clopton, John Dawson, John W. Eppes, 
James M. Gamett, 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 KerUucky — Joseph Desha, Benjamin Howard, 
and Richard M. Johnson. 

From North Carolina — Willis Alston, jr., William 
Blackledge, Thomas Blount, John Culpeper, Nath- 
aniel Macon, Lemuel Sawyer, and Richard Stanford. 

From, Temessee— George W. Campbell, John 
Rhea, and Jesse Wharton. 

From South Carolina — Lemuel J. Alston, William 

Butler, Joseph Calhoun, John Taylor, and David R. 

From Georgia — ^WiUliam W. Bibb, and George M. 

From Ohio — Jeremiah Morrow. 

From the Mississippi Territory — George Poindex- 
ter, Delegate. 

Two new members, to wit : Nathan Wil- 
soN, returned to serve in this Honse as a mem- 
ber for New York, in the room of David Tho- 
mas, 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 Con- 
stitution of the United States was then admin- 
istered to Mr. Nathan Wilson and Mr. Ghol- 
soN, by Mr. Speakee, according to law. 

Ordered, That a message be sent to the Sen- 
ate 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 resolu- 
tion 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 assem- 
bled, and ready to receive any communication 
he may be pleased to make to them : Where- 
upon, the House agreed to the said resolution ; 
and Mr. Maoon, Mr. Qitinot, and Mr. McCheb- 
BT, were appointed the committee on their 

Mr. Maoon, from the joint committee ap- 



NOVEMBKK, 1808.] 

Mircmdx^s Expedition. 

[H. OF R. 

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

Ttiesdat, November 8. 

Several other members, to wit : from Penn- 
sylvania, Jacob Kiohaeds ; from Virginia, Mat- 
thew Clat, and Waltee Jones; and from 
South Carolina, Eobeet Maeioh, appeared, 
and took their seats in the House. 

A new member, to wit, Samuel Shaw, re- 
turned to serve in this House as a member from 
the State of Vermont, in the room of James 
"WithereU, who has resigned his seat, appeared, 
produced his credentials, was qualified, and took 
Ms seat in the House. 

A message from the Senate informed the 
House that the Senate have resolved that two 
Chaplains, of different denominations, be ap- 
pointed 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 fore- 
going resolution of the Senate, and it was 
agreed to. 

The Speakbe laid before the House a letter 
from the Governor of the State of Pennsylvania, 
enclosing a letter to him from Joseph Olat, the 
Eepresentative for the district composed of the 
city and county of Philadelphia, and county of 
Delaware, in the said State, containing his res- 
ignation of a seat in this House ; also a procla- 
mation of the said Governor, and a certificate 
of the election of Benjamin Sat, 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 

Wbdnesdat, Ifovember 9. 

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

The House proceeded in the reading of the 
documents accompanying the President's Mes- 
sage; 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 

On the question as to the number to be 
printed, it was moved by Mr. Fisk, and sec- 
onded by Mr. Dana, that ten thousand copies 
be printed. Negatived by a considerable ma- 

Five thousand copies were then ordered to be 

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

Thuesdat, November 10. 

Several other members, to wit : from Vir- 
ginia, "Wilson Oabt Nicholas and John Ran- 
dolph ; and from North Carolina, James Hol- 
land, appeared and took their seats in the 

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 fiivor 
of the Rev. Ob.M)iah Beown. 

Feidat, November 11. 

Two other members, to wit : from Massa- 
chusetts, Samuel Taggaet; and from Mary- 
land, John Campbell, appeared, and took their 
seats in the House. 

A new member, to wit, Richard S. Jack- 
son, returned to serve in this House, as a mem- 
ber for the State of Rhode Island, in the room 
of Nehemiah Knight, deceased, appeared, pro- 
duced his credentials, was qualified, and took 
his seat in the House. 

Monday, November 14. 
Several other members, to wit : from New 
York, JosiAH Mastees ; from Maryland, Philip 
B. Key; and from North Carolina, Thomas 
Kenan, appeared, and took their seats in the 

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, Rogee Nelson, 
from Maryland, appeared, and took his seat in 
the House. 

A new member, to wit, Benjamin Say, re- 
turned to serve in this House as a member from 
the State of Pennsylvania, in the room of Jo- 
seph Clay, who has resigned his seat, appeared, 
produced his credentials, was qualified, and took 
his seat in the House. 

Miranda's Expedition. 

Mr. MoCbeeey presented the petition of 
thirty-six American citizens, confined at Car- 
thagena, in South America, under the sen- 
tence of slavery. The petition was read, as 
follows : 

"VTaults of St. Claba, Cabthagena, 
September 16, 1808. 
To the ho'nordble the Congress of the United States of 
America, in Congress assembled : 

The petition of tMrty-six American citizens eon- 
fined at Carthagena, Sonth America, under sen- 
tence of slavery, hnmbly showeth : 

That we, your petitioners, were hrougllt 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 



Miranda!) Expedition. 

H. OP R.] ^__ 

State and city, under the most specious engagements 
of their country; to establish which, they beg leave 
t6 state that Colonel ■William Smith, then Surveyor 
of the port of New York, William Armstrong, Dan- 
iel D. Duming, and John Fink, butcher, of the city 
of New York, declared they were authorized to en- 
list 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 
newpsapers 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 hoard her the 
1st day of February, 1806, and the next day (the 
2d) the ship put to sea. Shortly after, Miranda, un- 
der the name of Manm, 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 
bi^asts of your petitioners that they had been en* 
trapped 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 exer- 
cised in military duty, under the most arbitrary stretch 
of power, by Miranda and his officers. At Jacmel sev- 
eral attempts to escape proved abortive, from the 
vigilance of our oppressors, they having procured 
guards to he stationed in all the passes leading from 
Jacmel to other parts of the island, where your pe- 
titioners might expect to receive aid and protection 
from their countrymen. At Jacmel two schooners 
were hired, on hoard 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 re- 
freshments, she arrived on the 28th of April, when 
two armed vessels hove in sight, which after some 
manobuvring the ship engaged but soon ran away, 
leaving the two schooners to be captured. They 
were carried into Porto Cabello, where your peti- 
tioners 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, Booca Chioa, and the island 
of Porto Rico. Your petitioners were all sent to 
this place, where those sent to Bocca Chioa 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 re- 
spective places. Upon several occasions your peti- 
tioners were told by William Armstrong, Thomas 
Lewis, and others, that they were sent out by the 

[November, 1808. 

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 exam- 
ine Robert Laverty, John Stagg, John Ritter, Mat- 
thew Morgan, Richard Phitt, 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 mar- 
ket. New York ; Mr. BrinkerhofiC, 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 be- 
yond aU doubt that your petitioners could have had 
no other idea than that of entering into the ser- 
vice 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 whUe at JacmeL When the crew 
of the Bee, one of the schooners which was char- 
tered 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 cut- 
ting 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 be- 
trayed 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 be- 
trayers 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 par- 
doned 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 apy measures being adopted 
in their favor, they fear none ever arrived ; and by 
the present opportunity several copies of this peti- 
tion have been transmitted to gentlemen residmg 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 con- 
stitution to kidnap her citizens into expeditions and 
services fitted out and maintained by a foreign out- 
law against powers with which she is at amity and 
peace, under the specious pretence of engaging them 
into the service of their country, without punishmg 
the aggressors, and using every effoi-t to regain her 
citizens. Such is the case of your unfortunate peti- 



NOVEMBEE, 1808.] 

Territorial Governments. 

[H. OF R. 

tioners, who entreat you as children would a parent, 
to relieve them from total destruction, on the brink 
of which they have heen thrown by the practise of 
&auds 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 diemselves to be British- 
born subjects, and being made acquainted with the 
circumstances which led to our capture, immediately 
sent on a petitic^i 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 de- 
sire to relieve distress could have induced Captain 
Kittoe to this step, who, we are confident, as much 
as ourselves, regrets its failtu« of success, and to 
whom we feel eveiy 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 intKrference and protection of 
the constituted authorities of their country, measures 
will be adopted to restore them to liberty ; and hav- 
ing 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, Heniy Sper- 
ry, 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, Heniy Ingersoll, John 
Parcels, John Hayes, David Winton, Mat- 
thew Buchanan, Alexander Buchanan, Jas. 
W. Grant, John EdsaU, Thomas Gill, Joseph 
Bennett, Phineas Raymond, Peter Nautly, 
Stephen Burtis. 

Cakthageua, 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 pubUo 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 pa- 
pers ; but, as a British officer, I consider it a duty 
to plead for those in dietress, wherever they may be 
found ; and I trust, ftom the known lenity of your 
Excellency's character, I shall not plead in vain. 
The men in question are originally of British de- 
scent, 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 sol- 
emn promise that they vrill never be found again in 

arms on a similar occasion. As I am the bearer of 
welcome tidings to the inhabitants of the province 
under your Excellency's command, make me also 
the bearer of them to the unhappy sufferers now con- 
fined 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 con- 
vinced the step will be approved ; and if your Excel- 
lency 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 willnbe found (not the least fervent) 
those of your Excellency's most humble servant, 
Com. H, B. M. ship Sdbina. 
P. S. — If my request for the liberation of all 
General Miranda's men is by your Excellency deemed 
imreasonable or improper, I beg to confine it particu- 
larly to such as are British subjects : that is an in- 
dispensable duty I owe to them and my country. 

Names of British subjects under sentence of transpor- 
tation at Cartkaffena. 
John Moore, Peter Nautly, John Hayes, Thomas 
GiU, Joseph Bennett, James Grant, Samuel Tozier, 
Robert Stevenson, and Hugh Smith, (a boy.) 

Territorial Governments. 


Mr. PotsDEXTBR, from the committee ap- 
pointed, on the subject, reported a bill concern- 
ing the power of the "Territorial Governments. 
[The object of it is to take away from Gover- 
nors of the Territories the power of proroguing 
or dissolving their Legislatures.] 

The bU] was twice read; and 

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

Mr. Teoup 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 Ter- 
ritories 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 sub- 
stantial reasons. He therefore wished this biU 
to take the course of all other business, and go 
to a Committee of the Whole. 

Mr. PoiNDEXTEE 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 con- 



H. OP R.] 

Foreign Relations. 

PS^OVEMBEB, 1808. 

cerns, which -woulcl occupy their entire atten- 
tion 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 hut 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 consti- 
tution ; they are mere statutes. Placed by the 
constitution under the particular care of Con- 
gress as the Territories are, the ordinances en- 
acted for their government are mere statutes, 
subject to the revision of Congress, as other 
laws are. 

Mr. Pitkin said the ordinances for the gov- 
ernment 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. Teoup said the gentleman from the Mis- 
sissippi Territory had totally mistaken his ob- 
ject. 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 foi 
deliberation. And when he said this, he ex- 
pressed 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 gentle- 
man would take away from the Territorial Gov- 
ernors 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 indepen- 
dent 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 Legis- 
lature and Executive, legislation is at an end ; 
and where legislation ends, revolution begins, 
and there is an end of government. 

Mr. PoiNDEXTBE Said, at the suggestion of 
several gentlemen, he should consent to a refer- 
ence of the bill to a committee, as he did not 
wish now to hasten the discussion. But the gen- 
tleman was mistaken if he supposed that taking 
away the power to prorogue, would deprive the 
Governors of their veto on laws. The Gover- 
nors 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 peo- 
ple of the' United States. But I waive discus- 
sion and consent to reference. 

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

Totjesdat, November 11. 

Another member, to wit, Bennis Smelt, 
from Georgia, appeared, and took his seat in the 

Foreign Helatwns. 

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 par- 
tial 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 sub- 
mit to the House two or three propositions ; 
which he wished to take a course difierent fronj 
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 sep- 
arated 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 is extinct? 
Is it lost to this nation? Has the love of gain 
superseded every other motive in the breasts 
of Americans ? Shall tho majority govern, or 
shall a few wicked and iibandoned men drive 
this nation from the grotmd it has taken ? Is 
it come to this, that a la\<' constitutionally en- 
acted, 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 profli{;ate part of the com- 
munity ? 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 b eoommg scarce in the 
West Indies and elsewhere, notwithstanding the 
evasions of our law, we are called upon to re- 
Pe^ it- I should not hat e made this motion at 
this time, had it not been for the petition just 



NoVEMBEK, 1808.] 

Foreign Sdalums. 

[H. OF E. 

presented. Wlen I stand here, sir, charged by 
a part of the community with being one of " the 
enemies of the people," notwithstanding I am will- 
ing 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? Clear- 
ance or no clearance, we will receive any neu- 
tral 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, ex- 
cept ourselves. This proclamation then tells 
our citizens, " Evade the laws of your country, 
and we wiU 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 fhe committee appointed on that 
part of the President's Message which relates to our 
foreign relations, he instmcted to inquire into the ex- 
pediency of exclnding by law from the ports, harhors, 
and waters of the United States, a]l armed ships and 
vessels belonging to any of the belligerent powers 
having in force orders or decrees violating the law- 
ful commerce of the United States as a nation. 

" Reiolved, That the same committee be instmcted 
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, pro- 
duce and manufacture of the dominions of any of the 
said powers. 

" Meaolved, That the same committee be instructed 
to inquire into the expediency of amending the act 
laying an embargo, and the several acts supplement- 
ary 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 em- 
bargo was right ; that it was right to pass laws 
to enforce it ; and believing this, I feel no hesi- 
tation in avovring 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. Eor 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 — wa/r, embwrgo, or 
submission. The last I discard ; this nation 
never would submit ; nor are there many pec- ■ 
pie in it that would. That is out of the ques- 
tion ; then, the only question is, whether in the 
present stat« 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, thi-ough 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 Bri- - 
tain sends there ; for where war is waged, al- 
most all agriculture is destroyed ; and it only re- 
quires 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 pres- 
sure 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 oflScer of the British 
fleet visit your vessel, and France will condenm 
it. These are the things which destroy com- 
merce. The country in which I Uve feels the 
measure as much as any ; there are agricultu- 
rigts, 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 pro- 
duce, may afford to lose that profit. Can any 
man tell what would be the consequence of 
war, in these times? In common war some re- 
gard is had to the laws of nations by belliger- 
ents, and they fight each other. In the present 
war the belligerents disregard the laws of na- 
tions, and fight every one but one another. 

Mr. QuiNOT 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 ^scussion of that subject, 
for he wished for nothing so much as that the 
House would permit them to go into a discus- 
sion 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 em- 
bargo ; 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 post- 
poning the subject from day to day, he only 
wished it to come before the House that gentle- 



H. OF R.] 

Territorial Governmentt. 

[NOVEMBEH, 1808. 

men might understand one other, and put an 
end to the doubts that now existed. 

The first and second resolutions offered by Mr. 
Maoon were agreed to without a division. The 
third was ordered to lie on the table — jeas 78. 

Fbidat, November 18. 
Territorial Governments. — Ordinance of 1787. 

On motion of Mr. Poindextbe, 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 ordi- 
nance for the government of the Territories 
of the United States, he should attach very lit- 
tle importance to the decision of the present 
question. But he considered it not now an ab- 
stract 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 ar- 
gue the question on the ground of policy. It 
would be recollected that the Mississippi Terri- 
tory 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 he the 
iasis of the government of the Mississippi Ter- 
ritory* If this, said he, be one of the condi- 
tions of a compact between the United States 

* 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 ses- 
sion, with certain provisions added to it in order to give it 
fall effect under the constitution. The following are the 
terms of this enactment : — 

"Wheeeab that the ordinance of the United States in 
Congress assembled, for the governrnent of the Territoly 
northwest of the river Ohio may continue to have full ef- 
fect, it is requisite that certain provisions should be made, 
60 as to adapt the same to the present Constitution of the 
United States. Theeepokb, Be U 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 offieers, it shall be the duty of the said 
Governor to give such information, and to make such com- 
munication to the President of the United States ; and the 
President shall nominate, and by and with the consent of 
the Senate, shall appoint all oflloers which by the said ordi- 
nance 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 Pres- 
ident is hereby declared to have the same power of revoca- 
tion and removal. Seo. i.—And 6« it further enacted, That 
in case of the death, removal, resignation, or necessary ab- 
sence 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 fnll effect to this or- 
dinance by adapting its working to the new Federal Consti- 
tution, was among the earliest acts of the Federal Congress, 
being number eight in the list of acts passed at the first ses- 
sion of the first Congress ; and classes with the acts neces- 
sary to the working of the new government. As such it 
was modified; and as such preserved and applied to suc- 

and Georgia, surely the United States have no 
right to infringe it without the consent of Geor- 
gia ; and I, as one of her Eepresentatives, 
formally protest against the passage of this bill. 
It may be said that Georgia is very little inter- 
ested 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. PoiNDEXTEB Said he would state the rea- 
sons 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 ordi- 
nance 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 A^embly, when, in his opinion, it shall 
be expedient." The bUl proposes to take away 
this power, as being arbitrary and oppressive 
in the extreme, and incompatible with the Con- 
stitution of the United States. , This ordinance 
was passed previous to the adoption of the Fed- 
eral Constitution, and if it had been the sub- 
ject of consideration subsequent to its adoption, 
this provision had never been inserted, giving 
to Governors of Territories a gower paramount 
to any power possessed by the President of the 
United States. Take away this power and a 

cessive Territories, as governments for them were given. 
That ordinance is, in flict, 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 bene- 
fits secured in their deeds of territorial cession by Georgia 
and North Carolina. Thus, the fifth clause in the first arti- 
cle 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 
18th 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 consti- 
tution, 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 80th day of December, 
1783. The ordinance being thus anterior to the constitu- 
tion, was not formed under it, but under the authority of 
owners— sovereign owners— exercising the right of taking i 
care of their own property, subject only to the conditions 
and limitations which accompanied its acquisition. And 
thus the Territories have been constantly governed inde- 
pendently 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. 



NOVEMBEB, 1808.] 

Territoriai Governments. 

[H. OP E. 

Governor will still have left the power of neg- 
ativing 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 

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 ar- 
ticles of compact between ihe original States and the 
people of the States in the said Territoiy, and for- 
ever remain unalterable, nnless by common consent, 
to wit." 

[Here foUow six articles.] The ordinance de- 
clares that which follows the declaration to be 
unalterable, but by common consent ; it foUows 
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 ordi- 
nance requires two judges to hold a court ; and, 
in a variety of instances. Congress has legisla- 
ted 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 Geor- 
gia to legislation on the subject of the Terri- 
tory. It was urged at the last session with all 
the eloquence which the gentlemen from Geor- 
gia are in so great a degree possessed, and dis- 
regarded ; 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 needfd rules and regulations re- 
specting the territoiy or other property belong- 
ing to the United States." Can an agreement 
arising from the exercise of this power, super- 
sede the right of exercising the power expressly 
delegated by the constitution itself? Cert^dnly 

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 Gover- 
nors, ought to be retained. The gentleman 
5-om Georgia himself says, that if he were 
ibout to frame an original ordinance, he would 
lot think of such a power. As the opinion of 
Fudge Tucker has been referred to on one sub- 
ect, I will refer to it on the subject of prerog- 
itive. Let it be recollected, that the power to 
jrorogue and dissolve is one of the highest pre- 
•ogatives 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 Unit- 
ed States to say, whether they wiU copy after 
Great Britain, and because it is a high preroga- 
tive, give the Governors of the Territories of 
the United States the same powers as she gives 
to her Territorial Governors. I trust it will he 

" The title ' prerogative,' it is presumed, was an- 
nihilated in America with the Kingly Government." 
" This definition (o^rerogative) is enongh to make 
a citizen of the United States sludder at the recollec- 
tion that he was bom 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 fea- 
ture modelled after the feature in the Govern- 
ment of England ? Certainly ; and that it is 
transferred from her Colonial Government, I 
can show by the present ordinance for the gov- 
ernment 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 dis- 
solving the Legislature. 

There is a special reason which has operated 
upon my mind as forcibly as the general reason 
in favor of the biU on the table. In the Terri- 
tory 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 giv- 
en, for the ordinance does not bind him to as- 
sign 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 Terri- 
tory again left without a Legislature, and no 
reason assigned for the procedure. Is it possi- 
ble that this Government will sanction such ar- 
bitrary practices ? If it does, it wiU be the first 
case since the Revolution in which such a pro- 
cedure has been sanctioned. I beg leave to re- 
fer 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 wUl 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 



H. OF R.] 

Territorial Govermnentt. 

[NOVEMBEK, 1808 

passed with deliberation, it must have passed 
originally sub silentio, and been adopted for aU 
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 Bepresen- 
tative 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 in- 
dividual. The people elect Representatives and 
send them to legislate ; if they do not pICase 
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 re- 
port the bill. 

Mr. Teoup 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 yester- 
day that this bill had been introduced into the 
House, proposing to alter one part of the ordi- 
nance. 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 ter- 
ritories, unalterable but with the consent of both 
parties. With the permission of the House, I 
wiU 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 ar- 
ticles, which were to be considered as articles of com- 
pact 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 recoUect, as my colleague properly sta- 
ted to yon, that the right of soil and jurisdiction 
of this territory was originally in the people of 
Georgia. Of course Georgia had power to pre- 
scribe for the territory what foi-m 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 slumld not he governed otherwise. 
The inference inevitably is, that the State of 
Georgia wonld 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 ;* from which, 
I say that Georgia intended that no other altera- 
tion should be made. 

What was the policy of the ordinance, and 
what the object of its framers ? Why, assured- 
ly, 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 de- 
gree dependent on the Governor, and him abso- 
lutely dependent on the Federal Executive. 
The moment we make the Legislature of a Ter- 
ritory independent of its Executive, we make it 
independent of the Federal Government. 

And again, as my colleague has correctly told 
yon, if yon have a right to repeal one part of 
the ordinance, yon have a right to repeal an- 
other part, and so overturn the whole system 
at a bloT*-. 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 yon reserve to yourself the 
right of disposing of the territory; yon 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 yon trans- 
ferred to the independent Legislature of the 
Mississippi Territory the right to dispose of this 
Temtory, 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 peo- 
ple 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 hun 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, 
ha,ve to decide the question of territorial prop- 
erty by the sword. Eecollect, that upward of 
SIX thousand people have gone over in the pres- 
ent year, with every apparent intention to force 
a settlement against your interest and that of 
ixeorgia. . I am very glad that the military have 
received orders to disperse them. I trust that 
tney wmbe dispersed, and that every man who 
stands forth in resistance will be put to the 
sword. ^ 

But the gentleman from Mississippi Temtory 

■ The 6th, being the Anti-slayery article. 



JVZMBBE, 1808.] 

Territorial Governments. 

[a OF E. 

certainly mistaken as to one point. He seems 
consider the Constitution of the United States 

giving to the people of the Territories the 
me rights as the people of the States. It is a 
istahen idea, neither warranted hy the letter 

spirit of the constitution. For although the 
nstitution has declared that the people of one 
ate are entitled to all the rights and privileges 
another, yet it has not declared that the peo- 
e of the Territories have the same rights as 
e people of the States. In another part of 
e constitution it is, indeed, expressly declared 
at Congress shall make aU laws for the dis- 
)sal of the Territories ; hut there is a salvo, 
at all acts done and contracts made previous 

the adoption of the constitution, shall be as 
nding as if done afterward. The articles of 
le ordinance were enacted previously, and are 
insequently binding under £lie constitution. It 
mnot be controverted, that they were wisely 
lopted, and have been salutary in their opera- 
on. They were framed by the Congress of 
7, composed of men whose integrity was in- 
irruptible, and judgment almost infallible. 
bese articles, from that time to this, have re- 
ained unaltered, and carried the Territories 
irough difficulties, almost insuperable, to pros- 
jrity. And now, for the first or second time, 
1 alteration is proposed, the consequence of 
hich cannot be foreseen, without any evidence 
lat it is either necessary or expedient. 

The population of every new country must 
scessarily be composed of a heterogeneous mix- 
ire of various tempers, characters, and inter- 
its. In a population thus composed, it would 
3 highly ridiculous to expect that love of order 
id obedience to law would always predominate, 
herefore the old Congress wisely reserved to 
self the right to control them ; to give the 
overnor power, when a Legislature became 
isorderly, to dissolve them ; and for the exer- 
se of this power he is accountable to the 
eneral Government. 

The gentleman from Mississippi wishes us not 
) treat the Territories as children, whose wild 
stravagances may require correcting by the 
idulgent hand of their parents, but as the 
qaala of the States, without any other reason 
lan that which he states to be the situation of 
le people of his Territory. They wUl next wish 
s to admit them into the Union before their 
opulation will authorize it ; tell us that that 
erritory does not grow fast enough, and we 
mst demolish the system for their convenience. 

Mr. T. adverted to the representation made 
y Mr. PoiNDEXTEE, of the state of things now 
sisting in the Mississippi Territory. If such 
fere the situation of the Territory, and Mr. T. 
lid he sincerely regretted it, he could put the 
entleman in a way of settling the dispute in a 
jgular and constitutional way, and which would 
e the most prudent and advisable. Certainly, 
1 this dispute, one of the parties must be right 
ad the other wrong. They had nothing to do 
ut prefer their complaints before the proper 
athority, 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 he proved beyond question. 
Mr. PoiHBBXTEE obscrved 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 intelifere with the primary dis- 
posal of the soU by the United States in Con- 
gress assembled, nor with any regulations Con- 
gress may find necessary for securing the title 
in such soO," &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 arti- 
cles of ordinance and not the form of govern- 
ment ; 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 he ameliorated. Let 
the Governor retain his veto, but let them re- 
main 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 Gover- 
nor wiU not consent to proper laws. Trust 
your Executive and distrust the people, and you 
sap the foundation of the Government. What- 
ever 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 Missis- 
sippi Territory. Does he recollect the invasion 
of the Spaniards two years ago? That, at a 
few days' notice, at the requisition of the Com- 
mander-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 wiU be dis- 
played 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 meas- 
ures of the Union. 



Mircmda'i Expedition. 

H. OF R.] 

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

The gentleman has stated that a number of 
people have gone over to the Mississippi Terri- 
tory to settle lands, against the express provi- 
sions 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 un- 
willing 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, in- 
corporated into the constitution of a free people. 

Mr Bibb said that the State of Georgia had 
never undertaken to legislate for the Missis- 
sippi Territory ; but there was a compact exist- 
ing 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 consti- 

Mr. Teotjp 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 con- 
stitutions 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 constitiitions 
gave a qualified prerogative to the Governor of 
the State. 

The committee now rose — 58 to 36. 

Mr. Teottp moved that the further considera- 
tion of the bill be postponed indefinitely — 
[equivalent to rejection.] 

Mr. PoESTDEXTEE Calling for the yeas and nays 
on the motion, it was decided — yeas 57, nays 
62, as follows: 

Yeas. — Lemuel J. Alston, Willig Alston, jun., Eze- 
kiel Bacon, David Bard, William W. Bibb, William 
Blaokledge, John Blake, junior, Adam Boyd, Robert 
Brown, Joseph Calhoun, John Campbell, Martin Chit- 
tenden, Samuel W. Dana, John Davenport, jun., Wil- 
liam Ely, William Findlay, Francis Gardner, Charles 
Goldsborough, Edwin Gray, John Heister, William 
Hoge, Richard S. Jackson, Robert Jenkins, Walter 
Jones, James Kelly, WUHam Kirkpatriok, John Lam- 
bert, Joseph Lewis, jmi., Robert Marion, William Mo- 

[NOVEMBER, 1808. 

Creery, William Milnor, Nicholas R. Moore, Jonathan 
0. Mosely, Gurdon S. Mumford, Wilson C. Nicholas, 
Timothy Pitkin, junior, John Porter, Josiah Quinoy, 
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 L Van Allen, Daniel 
C. Verplanck, Robert WMtehill, David E. Williams, 
and Nathan Wilson. 

Nays. — Joseph Barker, Bnrwell Bassett, William 
A. Burwell, William Butler, Matthew Clay, John 
Clopton, John Culpeper, John Dawson, Josiah Deane, 
Joseph Desha, Daniel M. Dnrell, 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 Nfwbold, Thomas 
Newton, John Pugh, John Rea of Pennsylvania, John 
Rhea of Tennessee, Jacob Richards, Benjanun 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 Wilson, 

So the bill was postponed indefinitely. 

Monday, November 21. 

Another member, to wit, John Botlb, from 
Kentucky, appeared, and took his seat in the 

NaiAvralized British Subjects. 

Mr. HowAED 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 
natnrahzation in other countries, hath authoriz- 
ed the impressment into his service of his pre- 
tended subjects, and treated as traitors such as 
may have taken up arms against him in the ser- 
vice 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 effec- 
tually 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. 
HowAED, Mr. John Moreow, and Mr. Haeeis, 
to examine the matter thereof, and report their 
opinion thereupon to the House. 

Miranda's Ea^editimi. 
Mr. Love, from the committee to whom was 
referred, on the sixteenth instant, the petition of 
thirty-six citizens of the United States now con- 



loVEMBEB, 1808.] 

Additional Sevenue Cutlerg.' 

[H. OF B. 

ned at Oarthagena, in South America, under 
entence of slavery, made a report thereon; 
rhich was read, and ordered to be referred to 
, Committee of the whole House to-morrow. 

The report is as follows : 

That it appears, from the statement of the petition- 
rs, that, in February, 1806, they sailed from New 
fork on board the Leander, a ship owned by Samuel 
J. Ogden, the command of which was, after getting 
sea, assumed by General Miranda. 

That, from New York, the said ship sailed to Jao- 
lel, where the said Miranda procured two schooners, 
in board which the petitioners were placed, which, 
ogether with the Leander, sailed, under the com- 
aand of Miranda, about the last of March, in the 
ame year, for the northern parts of South America, 
md arrived on the coast of Terra Firma in the latter 
)art of April following. 

That, upon their arrival on the said coast, the two 
lohooners, on board which the petitioners were em- 
>arked, were captured by two Spanish armed vessels ; 
he ship Leander, with Miranda on board, having 
nade her escape. 

That the petitioners, together with ten others, were 
lonvioted by a Spanish tribunal, at Porto Cabello, of 
he crime of piracy, from the circumstances of suspi- 
;ion which attached to their situation, and not from 
my act of that kind committed on the high seas ; 
hat the ten others above mentioned were sentenced 
o death, and the petitioners some to eight, others to 
;en years' slavery, which they now are suffering ; 
K)me chained together, others closely confined under 
leavy irons and a guard, destined to other places and 
;o similar punishment. 

The petitioners state that they were entrapped 
^nto the service of the said Miranda, on the said ex- 
ledition, by assurances made at the time of their en- 
jagoments, that they were to be employed in the 
iervice of the United States, and under the authority 
)f the Government. For the^truth of their state- 
nent, and a confirmation of the charges they make 
igainst certain persons of having thus deceived and 
jetrayed them into an involuntary co-operation in the 
lesign of fitting out an armament against a nation in 
imity with the United States, they refer to the testi- 
mony of several persons, said to he inhabitants of the 
3ity 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 restrain- 
ed 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 cer- 
tain captains of vessels then at Jacmel belonging to 
the ports of Philadelphia and Baltimore. 

The committee farther 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 probabiUty of the petitioners not having 
been guilty of the crime of wilfully engaging in the 
unlawful expedition of Miranda attends their apphca- 
tion : first, because the petitioners have made a de- 
tailed statement of facts relative to the deception 
practised on them, referring to such species of evi- 
dence as to render their contraodictiou easy, if not 

founded in truth, and thus lessen their claim on their 
country, and diminish their hopes of liberation : sec- 
ond, 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 guUty 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 UKted 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 

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

Resolved, That the President of the United States 
be requested to adopt the most immediate and eiBca- 
cious means in his power to obtain from the Viceroy 
of Grenada, in South America, or other proper au- 
thority, the Uberation 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 


Tttesdat, November 22. 
Two other members, to wit : from New York, 
Philip Van Ooetlandt, and from South Caro- 
lina, RioHAED Wtistn, appeared, and took their 
seats in the House. 

Additional Sevenue Cutters. 

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

The House having resolved itself into a Com- 
mittee of the "Whole, 

Mr. Newton rose to state that the Committee 
of Commerce and Manufactures had understood, 
from the proper authorities, there was a neces- 
sity 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 in- 
formation touching the necessity there might 
be for twelve revenue cutters had been received 
by the committee — any letter from the Secre- 
tary of the Treasury ? He thought it was ne- 
cessary, if so, that it should be submitted to 
the House. 

Mr. Newton replied that there had been no 
written compunication from the proper De- 
partment 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 ex- 
pense of each cutter would be about $10,000, 


H. OF R.] 

Foreign JUlatUmi. 

[November, 1808. 

or $120,000 for the whole, each cutter to carry 
about twenty men. 

Mr. QtriNOT thought that the correct mode of 
proceeding would require other than mere 
verbal information. Eespect 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 em- 
ployed. 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 tate time 
by the forelock. 

Mr. Blaokxedge 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, thaj; the com- 
mittee rise and report the bill, it was carried — 
yeas 47, nays 46. 

Thtjbsdat, November 24. 
Another member, to wit, Baeent Gaedentee, 
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. Oampbeli,, 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 : ' 

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

Ji^-G^^^^^ opened the debate. He said 
that lU 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 con- 
sidered the subject referred to them, and the 
reasons generally which induced them to pre- 
sent 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 deter- 
mined 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 in- 
dependent;, 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 peru- 
sal 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 viola- 
lations 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 sup- 
posed that theymigh^ with greater probabili^ 
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 de- 
termmed to maintain their rights, for the belli- 
gerent 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. 
Xosubmit 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 
S°' '^jiich fixed the tribute or tax which thSy 
stiould pay, would be not only to abandon their 
aignity and honor, but to surrender, shamefully 
surrender our independence. Mr. 0. said he 
would not take up the time of the committee 
m showing that the Orders of OouncU of Great 
Britain and the Decrees of France, were, on the 
part of those nations, an assumption of power 



VEMBER, 1808.] 

Foreiffa Rdations. 

[H. OF K. 

give laws to this country, in direct violation 
onr neutral rights, and an encroachment on 
r sovereignty. This would require no argu- 
mt. The real question is, said he, shall we 
vem ourselves or be controlled by the wiU of 
[lers ; shall we become tributary or not, shall 
5 submit or be independents And to the 
mmittee he cheerf oily left the decision of this 

Mr. MuMTOBD next addressed the Committee 
the Whole. He observed, that although he 
id the honor of being one of the Committee 

Foreign Relations, who framed the report 
ider consideration, he dissented from that re- 
(rt in some respects. We had now arrived at 
momentous crisis in the affairs of onr country, 
id he hoped the House would deliberate with 
at firmness and moderation which became 
le Representatives of the free and independent 
iople they had the honor to represent on this 
1 interesting concern. However they might 
ffer on smaller points of minor importance, 
it when the best interest of the country was 

stake, he hoped they would unite in some 
ode to secure our rights and promote the 
terests of the United States. The proposi- 
on which he had the honor to move a few 
lys ago, was consonant in some degree to the 
structions offered by our Ministers to Great 
ritain and France, offering to remove the em- 
irgo in relation to either that should rescind 
leir obnoxious decrees. Neither of them 
iving receded, Mr. M. said he would continue 
le embargo in relation to them both. Nay, 
rther, he would inflict the severest penalties 
1 any one who should receive a license or 
jlunterily pay tribute to either of them. He 
)nsidered them both alike. He wished to see 
le country placed in a complete posture of 
sfence ; but he could not see any good reason 
hy we should not trade with those nations 
ho were willing to receive us on friendly 
irms, and to trade with us on the principles of 
soiprocity and mutual interests. This would 
3t compromit the honor of the nation. Even 
Imitting that it might possibly lead to war, 
hich he doubted, he was convinced that the 
tizens of this country would rise en ^nasse in 
ipport of that commerce which neither France 
or England had any right to interdict. He 
id presume, with aU the zeal of some gentle- 
len for irritating measures, it was not seri- 
asly contemplated to declare war against all 
lankind; he was for having at least a few 
iends in case of need. What was our situa- 
on now ? The President of the United States 
id told them, after speaking of France and 
ngland, that " our relations with the other 
jwers of Europe had undergone no material 
lange since the last session." This being the 
ise, our commerce was open with thein all 
ccept France and Great Britain and their de- 

Mr. QuiNCT. — ^Mi-. Chairman, I am. not, in 
sneral, a friend to abstract legislation. Os- 
mtations declaration of general principles is 
Vol. IV.— 4 

so often the resort of weakness and of igno- 
rance, it is so frequently the subterfuge of men 
who are willing to amuse, or who mean to de- 
lude the people, that it is with great reluctance 
I yield to such a course my sanction. 

If, however, a formal denunciation of a de- 
termina.tion to perform one of the most com- 
mon and undeniable of national duties, be 
deemed by a majority of this House essential 
to their character, or to the attainment of pnb- 
hc confidence, I am willing to admit that the 
one now offered is sm 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 disgraeeful; 
the temper it is likely to inspire neither calcu- 
lated to regain the rights we have lost, nor to 
preserve those which remain to us. It is an 
established maxim, that in adopting a resolu- 
tion 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 resolu- 
tion, not on the principles of the committee, 
but on those which obviously result from its 
terms, and are the plain meaning of its ex- 

I agree to this resolution, because, in my ap- 
prehension, it offers a solemn pledge to this na- 
tion — 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 navir 
gating the ocean, that choice inheritance be- 
queathed 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 inport and necessary impli- 
cation of the terms of this resolution are such 
as I have suggested, wiU be apparent from a 
very transient consideration. What do its 
terras necessarily include? They contain an 
assertion and a pledge. The assertion is, that 
the edicts of Great Britain and France are con- 
trary 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 subser- 
viency to them, of prohibiting commerce alto- 
gether, 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 



H. OP E.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[NOVEMBEE, 1808. 

ever pretended that those edicts were consistent 
with American rights; on the contrary, both 
these nations ground those edicts on the princi- 
ple 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 contra- 
dict it. Mr. Tun'eau and Mr. Erskine wiU both 
of them countersign the declaration to-morrow. 
"With respect to the pledge contained in this 
resolution, understood according to its true im- 
port, it is a glorious one. It opens new pros- 
pects. It promises a change in the disposition of 
this House. It is a solemn assurance to the na- 
tion that it will no longer submit to these 
edicts. It remains for us, therefore, to consid- 
er 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 com 
mands, or that we wiU 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 oiiered us we wiU enjoy, in despite of the 
commands, regai-dless of the menaces of iniqui- 
tous 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 Bri- 
tain 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 
unqnaUfied submission was not humiliating 
enough, we descend to an act of supereroga- 
tion in servility ; we abandon trade altogeth- 
er ; we not only refrain from that particular 
trade which their respective edicts prescribe 
but, lest the ingenuity of our merchants should 
einable them to evade their operations, to make 
submission doubly sure, the American Govern- 
ment virtually re-enact the edicts of the bellige- 
rents, and abandon all the trade which, not- 
withstanding the practical effects of their edicts 
remain to us. The same conclusion will re- 
sult, if we consider our embargo in relation to 
the objects of this beUigerent 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 sub- 
serviency to the views of the French Emperor ? 
If we consider the orders of Great Britain, 
the result will be the same. I proceed at pres- 
ent on the supposition of a perfect impartiality 
in our Administration towards both bellige- 
rents, so far as relates to the embargo law. 
Great Britain had two objects in issuing her 
orders. First, to excite discontent in the peo- 
ple 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-oper- 
ates with the British views in both respects. 
By our derehction 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 whoUy left to be reaped 
by Great Britain. The language of each sov- 
ereign is in direct conformity to these ideas. 
Napoleon tells the American Miaister, virtu- 
ally, 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 oc- 
casion, yet that he is, thus far, satisfied with 
our co-operation. And what ia the language 
of George the Third, when our Minister pre- 
sents to his consideration the embargo laws? 
Is it Le Boi iamisera ? The King will reflect 
upon them. No ; it is the pure language of 
royal approbation, Le Roi le veut. The King 
wills it. Were yon 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 
remams after all the others are obstructed. 
In whatever point of view we consider these 
embargo laws in relation to these edicts and de- 
crees, 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 sti-ict con- 
formity to the decrees of both belligerents. 
This resolution declares that we shall no longer 
submit to such degrading humUiations. Little 
as I relish, I will take it, as the harbinger of 
a new day— the pledge of a new system of meas- 

Wednesday, November 80. 

Foreign Relations. 

Mr. EioHAED M. Johnson.— I am more than 

astonished to see this House inundated by 

every maU with publications, from the East 

declarmg that we have no cause of complaint 




Foreign MeUUimis. 

J;H, of R. 

ainst Great Britain ; that we should rescind 
e proclamation of interdict against British 
med vessels; that we should repeal the non- 
iportation law ; tliat the embargo should be 
ken off as to Great Britain ; that we should 

to war with France ; that punctilio prevents 
settlement of our differences with Great Bri- 
in ; inviting the people to violate and disre- 
rd the embargo, to put the laws and the con- 
tution at defiance, and rise in rebellion. 
These considerations induced me to examine 
is matter, and to prove to every honest Amer- 
in, what we all believe in this place, that the 
gect of one power, is to destroy our neutrality 
id involve us in the convulsing wars of Eu- 
pe ; and the object of the other, a monopoly 
' our commerce, and the destructiion of our 
sedom and indep^idence. Let evidence as 
inclusive as holy writ put the ■enemies of this 
suited comatry to shame. We are informed 
r our Minister in Ixmdon, (Mr, Monroe,) in a 
mmunioation dated August, 1807, that a war 
irty of powerflil combination and influence 
;isted in Great Britain, who wanted to extend 
eir ravages to this country^ that we could 
It make calculations upon the justice of Great 
ritain ; that in her many assumptions of power 
id principle she would yield but from the ab- 
lute necessity. Who is this war party ^ The 
ritish navy, to whom we have opened our 
)rts, and extended all the hospitalities of a 
merous nation; while in the enjoyment of 
hich that very navy waged war £(gainst our 
loffending citizens. The ship owners, the 
1st and West India merchants, and what cause 
ive they for war ? The enterprisit^ citizens 

the United States have been their rivals and 
periors in a lawful and profitable commerce ; 
id, lastly, political characters of high consid- 
ation. These compose this war party. In 
jiuary, 1804, in an official communication of 
r. Madison, Mr. Monroe is charged with the 
ppression of impressment as his primary ob- 
!ct ; 2d, the definition of blockade; 3d, the 
duction of the list of contraband:; 4th, the 
ilargeraent of our trade with hostile colonies, 
le negotiation opens, and wfeat is done ? With 
dnstry and exertion our Minister was unable 
bring the British Cabinet to any amicable 
raugement. Lords Hawkesbury, Harrowby, 
ulgrave, and Mr, Fox, succeeded each other, 
id every attempt to negotiate was in vain, 
ich of them brings expressions of good will 
id good disposition towards tfee United States, 
id a wish for amicable arrangement. But 
ese professions and dispositions evaporate in 
vitations to the country md the city— in 
omises and procrastinations. To-day we are 
lused with a conversation at the foreign oflBce, 
fciich animates with a lively hope — ^to-morrow 
ipe is swallowed up in despair— and the third 
y announces some new injury. Affairs on 
e continent now call the attention of the Bri- 
h Ministry, and with evei;y disposition of 
od will there must be a pause. Li this ami- 
ble pause business required that our Minister 

should go to Old Spain; but upon his return to 
EnglEuud, what astonishsaent seized his mind at 
the sad spectacle the cha«ging scenes presented. 
Under tite old rule of '56, and other interpda- 
tions upon public law, our merchaat vessels are 
swept from the bosom of the ocean without no- 
tice, by British ciruisers, and carried into British 
ports tor "condemnation. But why this change ? 
A coalition had been formed in the Forth 
against France. British gold effected it. Eus- 
aa and Austria had combined against France, 
and here the hopes t)f England rested. 

But we all Know her hopes were blasted. 
This is the reason why the blow was aimed, 
and your commerce sacrificed. The remon- 
strances of our Minister could not keep pace 
with new aggressions. This temporizing policy 
of England, and the destrnction of our com- 
merce, 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 ia measures of j ust retaliation. And 
on this occasion the merchants of Boston re- 
quested the President to send a special Envoy 
to England, to give a greater solemnity to our 
claims of indemnity -and future secmity. The 
cause of the merchants became a common cause, 
and the non-importation law was enacted, and 
Mr. Pinkney sent as a special Minister, agree- 
ably 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, in- 
gulfed 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 sub- 
ject of complaint, some ^eater outrage was 
committed to draw our attention from the for- 
mer injury. Thus the unavailing exertions of 
our Minister for upwards of twd years at the 
Court of St. James, eventuated in an extraordi- 
.nary 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 ho stility, 
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 inter- 
ruption, 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 mem- 
bers of the Cabinet with whom he was associat- 



H. OF E,] 

Foreign Relations. 

[November, 1808 

ed, was the real cause of diffioalty, joined per- 
haps with his sudden indispositioa and death. 
Mr. Fox acknowledged our right to the colonial 
trade; he promised to stop the capture and 
condemnation of our merchant vessels j but 
when pressed to answer our complaints in writ- 
ing, he promised, hut broke that promise, and 

'ultimately refused to give any orders with re- 
spect 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 pro- 
posed, and a definition demanded. We denied 
the doctrine of paper breastworks, spurious and 
illegitimate blockades, to he 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 Ouragoa. Upon this subject, 
Great Britain would yield nothing. 

2. No duty can be laid upon American ex- 
ports, 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 fur- 
nished 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 im- 
posed new restrictions. 

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

7. Upon the mutual navigation of the St. 
Lawrence, fio 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 proclama- 
tion interdicting the armed vessels of Great 
Britain from our waters. I allude to the con- 
duct of the ofiScers 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 cruis- 
ers, commanded by Captain Bradley, who en- 
tered 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 pur- 
pose 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 fac^ so notorious, could not be proved in a 
sham trial in England, though the most unex- 
ceptionable characters are sent as witnesses 
from the United States ; and not even an ex- 
planation 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 slaugh- 
tered countryman ; ask the mourning relatives 
of the murdered Pierce, whether he was slain 
or not 1 But from this tragic scene we must 
turn to one of a deepver 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 Ameri- 
can tars were on board, who had undertaken 
this honorable enterprise. Unsnspicions of 
harm, while their rough cheeks were bedewed 
with tears in parting from their friends and 
country, their powder-horns empty, rods mis- 
laid, wads too large, guns not primed — all was 
confusion. In this unhappy moment the mes- 
senger 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 «aid that the Groddess of 
Liberty was born of the ocean. At this solemn 
crisis, when the blood of these American sea- 
men 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 sensi- 
bility 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 encroach- 
ments upon the practice of impressment. This 
proclamation makes it the indispensable duty 
of her naval officers to enter the unarmed mer- 



CCEMBER, 1808.] 

Fora^ delations. 

[H. OF R. 

ant vessels of the United States, and impress 
many of the crew as a petty and interested 
,val officer may without trial point out as 
•itish subjects. The pretension is not con- 
led to the search after deserters, but extended 
masters, carpenters, and naturalized citizens 
the United States — ^ttins extending their m«- 
cipal laws to our merchant vessels and this 
luntry, and denying us the right of maMng 
ws upon, the sul^ect of natur^zation. The 
irtners of British and Scotch merchants can 
>ver their property and their merchandise from 
;her nations under the neutral flag of the 
nited States to Leghorn, Amsterdam, Ham- 
irg, &c But the patriotic Irishman or Eng- 
shman who has sought this protecting asylum 
F liberty, are not secured by our fiag from the 
ithless fangs of a British press-gang. And at 
lis very momentour native citizens and adopt- 
i brethren, to a considerable number, are 
Domed to the most intolerable tliraldom in the 
ritish navy by this degrading practice. There 
16 freedom of our citizens depends upon the 
leroy of naval officers of Great Britain ; and, 
pon this subject, every proposition for arrange- 
lent is trampled down by these unjust preten- 
ons. Information was just received of the 
secution of the Berlin Decree, when the pa- 
ers from every quarter announced the exist- 
Qce of the British Orders in Council, making 
sweeping dash at our rightful commerce, 
omething must be done. The events which 
een have retraced, all pressed upon us. The 
•eatment of our Minister, and his unavailing 
sertions ; the result of the negotiation which 
ave birth to the rejected treaty ; the memo- 
ials of the merchants ; the oufa-ageous conduct 
f the British naval officers upon our seaboard ; 
le connivance at their conduct by the British 
rovemment ; the proclamation of October 16, 
807; the execution of the Berlin Decree, 
ad the Orders in Council. These con- 
derations required the arm of Government, 
nd at this inauspicious period, when the 
louds which had so long threatened and 
arkened our political horizon gathered to a 
liick and horrible tempest, w-hich now seemed 
bout to burst upon our devoted nation, the 
mbargo snatched our property from the storm, 
nd deprived the thunderbolt of its real calami^ 
ies. The effects of this measure at home and 
broad, notwithstanding its ineonvenienoes, 
nil best attest the wisdom of the measure, 
7hich will be increased in its efScacy by a total 
on-importation law. As a measure of eoer- 
ion upon other nations, I not only have the 
trongest hopes, but also a rational confidence 
1 it, founded upon the most concluave evi- 
ence. The misrepresentations in. this country, 
lie violations of the embargo, and the hope of 
hanging the parties in the United States, or of 
rodncing a separation of the States; these 
liscalculations have destroyed entirely the effi- 
aoy of this measure, and been a maia cause 
fhy Great Britain has not relaxed in her injns- 
ce towai-ds America. And If we can rigidly 

enforce this system, my confidence is undimin- 
ished, 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 Eevolution, who embodied 
themselves to feed our enemies with the onlycow 
of a weeping widow, or a poor soldier who was 
fighting for his country. The commerce of the 
United States with the West Ladies, the Con- 
tinent of Europe, wid Great Britain, will pre- 
sent to this committee the evidence upon 
which this faith is bottomed. The United 
States have fiirnished the West Indies with the 
essentials of existence, amd also have afforded a 
market for the colonial produce of those islands. 
In fact, they cannot live witiout provisions 
from the United States in the present state of 
the world. These islands have been reduced to 
wretchedness and want already, notwithstand- 
ing the violations of the embargo, and fiour, 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 setQe- 
ment 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 
exchamge 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 most be paid in money or 
biUst To raise this money, the American mer- 
chants carry to the Continent of Europe pro- 
duce 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 impress- 

Thuesdat, December 1. 

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

Jesse B Thomas, the delegate from the Indi- 
ana Territory, returned to serve in the room of 
Benjamin Paekb, who hath resigned his seat, 
appeared, was qualified, and took tis seat in the 

Tuesday, December 6. 
Foreign RelaMom. 
The report of the Committee on Foreign Rela- 
tions being again before the House, and the 
question stSl on the first resolution — 

Mrl Ghomost said ; Mr. Speaker, were I to 



H. OP R.]' 

Foreign Silatioat. 

[December, 180S. 

yield to my embarrassment on the pirese»t occa- 
sion, I shuiiiW not trespass on your indulgence. 
Bat when I reflect npon the great natioraal im- 
portance of the question now before the House, 
and upon th* high responsibility which its- deci- 
sion must attach to me as one of the Represen- 
tatives of the people ; I am impelled, from coa- 
side-rations of duty, to assign to you tbe reasons 
by which I am influenced. 

It feas been said, sir, witb great tirath, tiiat 
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 po- 
litical events unparalleled in the annate of tme. 
Almost the wSole civilized world has been with- 
in a few years eonvulsed 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 immem&rial have 
prescribed and hmited the conduct of nations, 
are now contemptuously prostrated^ innocent 
neutrality is banislied from the ocean, and we 
hear a grim tyrant asserting himself the sover- 
eign of the seab. Thns the most essential part 
of the globe is attempted toi be partitioned be- 
tween two domineering rival belligerents. Sir, 
it would have been a subject of the sincerest 
felicitation if oar happy eountry could have 
been exempt from this universal concussion. 
But we are fated to share evils in theprodoiction 
of which we have had no participation. In in- 
quiring, Mr. Speaker, iato th* causes of these 
evils and the policy by which we are to be ex- 
tricated from themifl am conscious of two things 
— of my ntter incompetency to the elucidation 
of so great a subject, and of the unavoidable 
-necessity of touching upon ground already occu- 
pied by gentlemen who hay© preceded me in 
this debate. 

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 Eranee ; and ajiother which 
recommends a system of non4ntereoBrse be- 
tween the United States and those countries. 

In hearing the first resolution] treated as an 
abstract propositicm, 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 ap- 
plication,. Here is a distinc* positioo, with a 
direct reference to particular orders and decrees. 
The resolution therefore is itself specific and ap- 
propi-iate,to use the apt terms of the gentleman 
from Conneoticnt (Mi-. Dana). But before we 
can determine upon the propriety or impropriety 
of the resolntioins, to jme it appears indispensable 
that we shouild examine attentively and minutely, 
not only the situation of this country in relation 
to France and Britain, but also the injuries and 
aggressions th^ have committed upon our neu- 
tral rights-. 

In doing this I regret extremely that I shall 
wound the delicate taste and exquisite sensibility 
of my learned caUeagvie (Mr. Rahdqlph), who 

addressed yon yesterday. I shall take no pleas- 
xtre in the retrospection which seems so much 
to disgust that gentleman ; bnt I do not know 
how efee to find justification for the measure* 
we, I trust, shall pursue, and taezpose the prof- 
ligacy of our enemies. The regular discussion 
of the first resolution would seem naturally toi 
lead us to a review of the edicts of Great Britain 
and France. When we say we will not sulmit 
to their edicts ; it cannot be amiss, although I 
acknowledge, sir, the undertaking is an unpleas- 
ant one, to inquire into the nature and extent 
of those edicts ; I therefore wUl endeavor, with- 
in as narrow limits as possible, to exhibit to the 
view of the indignant American, the various 
wanton aggressions which hare been committed 
by both these powers upon his commercial 
rights. And, sir, whenever we look for the 
chief source of our diflSculties, we must turn to- 
wards Great Britain. Then let us exaimne the 
principal items in her account. 

On 8th June, 1793, the British Government 
issued an Order of Coondl to stop and detain 
for condemnation, vessels laden with com, flour, 
o-r meal, snd bound to France, whose people 
were then almost in the act of starving, and of 
eourse we were deprived of an excellent market 
for those articles. 

On 6th NoTember, IVQS, an order issued to 
stop and detain ships laden with the produce of, 
or carrying provisions to, the colonies of France. 
On 21st March, 1T99, she issued a proclama- 
tion declaring the tTnited' Provmces in a state . 
of blockade, and thereby excluding neutral 
commerce without any actual investment. 

On I6th May, 1806, a proclamartion declaring 
the blockade of the co^ from the Elbe to 
-Brest, inclusive. 

On Tth January, 180T, an order prohibiting 
neutral vessels from trading from one ■port to 
another of the enemy or bis allies. 

On 11th May, 180T, a jHtwIamation declaring 
the blockade of the coast between the Elbe, 
i "Weser, and Ems. 

On 11th May, 180T, a proclamation declaring 
the blockade of the Dardanelles and Smyrna. 

In October, 1807, a proclamation, ordering 
British ofBcers to impress from American ves- 
selsall such of their crews as might be taken or 
miataken for British subjects. 

On 11th November, 1S07, Orders in Council 
were issued interdicting aH neutral commerce t* 
any portof Eur(^ from which the British flag 
was excluded; directing that neutrals should 
trade to such ports only, under British license 
and with British dearances— that aU ships des- 
tined 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 llth5rovember,.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, oaii-jing theordeiaof the lltbof Novem- 



)ec£mbeb, 1808.] 

Foreign Relatione. 

[H. OF E. 

)er, 1807, into execution. They impose a spe- 
iific tax on a variety of articles of American 
nerchandise allowed to be re-exported to the 
sontinent of Europe, for example, on tobacco, 
.2». ^d. sterling per cwt. ; on indigo, 2«. per lb. ; 
)ork, 17«. ^d. per cwt. ; cotton, 9d. per lb. ; 
md on all other articles not -enumerated in the 
let, a duty of forty per cent, is exacted on re- 

On 8th January, 1808, a proclamation issued 
leclaring the blockade of Carthagena, Cadiz, and 
5t. Lncar, and all the ports between the first 
md last of these places. 

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

I will forbear, sir, at this time from comment- 
ng on the habitual impressment of American 
atizens, by Great Britain ; the illegal condem- 
lation of American vessels under what they 
sail the rule of 1756 ; the spurious blockades of 
British commanders, and the consequent spolia- 
ions on our commerce. Nor will I detain the 
louse by relating the story of Captain Bradley, 
!ommander of the Cambrian, who in the face of 
;he city of New York, and in contempt of the 
!ivil authority of the United States, dragged 
four citizens into slavish captivity. The case 
;oo of the British ship Leander may remain un- 
;old — the enormity of that transaction is writ- 
;en in indelible characters, with the blood of 
)ur countrymen. The invitation of the British 
Ministry to your merchants to violate the em- 
)argo, and the burning of a friendly ship of war 
the Impetueux) in your own waters, are circum- 
tances too light to be noticed. I feel no dispo- 
ition, either, to portray the affair of the Chesa- 
)eake. The ghosts of the murdered are yet 
inavenged for that horrid and perfidious deed ! 

I win now advert, sir, to the principal inju- 
ies committed by France on the neutral com- 
nerce of the United States. They consist in 
he execution of three decrees, to wit : 

The Berlin decree of the 21st November, 
L806, declaring the British islands in a state of 
)lockade, and that no vessel having been at or 
>oming directly from England or her colonies, 
ihall enter at a French port. 

The Milan decree of the 17th December, 
^807, declaring lawful prize every vessel that 
las snfiered the visit of an English vessel, sub- 
nitted to an English voyage, or paid duty to 
he English Grovemment ; and also, every vessel 
ioming from the ports of England and her colo- 

The Bayonne decree of April, 1808, which 
ubjects, as it is said, and IbeUeve not doubted, 
11 American vessels found upon the high seas 
ince the embargo, to capture and confiscation. 

Here, Mr. Speaker, I will end the black cata- 
ogue of iniquitous outrages and restrictions 
pon neutral commerce — restrictions which are 
cknowledged to depend for their support upon 
.0 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 ordei's 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 ac- 
quiesced in the aggressions of either, and there- 
fore, 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 witho)tt 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 continua- ^ 
tion of encroachments, designed only for the 
utter destruction of our conamerce. This dis- 
position is manifest in every order and procla- 
mation 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 per- 
fidy. But, sir, I will not speak of trivial mat- 
ters, like these; they are of no consequence 
when we reflect upon other topics. The pre- 
tended 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 insig- 
nificance, 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 in- 
famous orders and acts of the British Govern- 
ment, I feel emotions of indignation and con- 
tempt, to repress which would be dishonorable. 
What, sir? American vessels to be arrested in 
a lawful commerce, upon " the highway of na- 
tions ; " 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 



H. OF E.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[December, 1808, 

the Kevolution, 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 constitu- 
tionally 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 pro- 
test 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 

Wedkesdat, December 7. 

Mr. Sat presented memorials from sundry 
late officers in the Pennsylvania line of the Ee- 
volutionary 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. Whaeton presented a petition from sun- 
dry late officers of the Massachusetts, Pennsyl- 
vania, Maryland, Vii-ginia, and North Carolina 
lines of the said Kevolutionary arm, to the like 

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

Mr. DuEELL 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 heing, 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. Baoost, ordered to lie on the table. 

Foreign JRelations. 
The House then resumed the consideration 
of the first member of the first resolution re- 
ported on Thursday last, from the Committee of 
the Whole, which was depending yesterday at 
the time of adjournment, in the words follow- 
ing, 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 observa- 
tions of yesterday, as given entire in preceding 

Mr. QtiiNCY.— Mr. Speaker, I offer myself to 
the view of this House with a very sensible em- 
barrassment, in attempting to follow the honor- 
able gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Campbell) 
— a gentleman who holds so distinguished a 
sta,tion 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 .^neas, an illustri- 
ous leader of antiquity, whom, in his present 
relations, and in his present objects, the gentle- 
man 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. Montgombey) 
by the other (little liilus and wife Creusa) — ^he 
is posting away into the woods with Fathw 
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 Kelations 
perhaps alittle too carelessly ; perhaps I handled 
it a Uttle too roughly, considering its tender 
age, and the manifest delicacy of its constitution. 
But, sir, I had no idea of affecting very exqui&- 
itely 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 gen- 
eral excitement which my inconsiderate treat- 
ment 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 com- 
mon 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 chair- 
man of the Committee of Foreign Kelations, 
maluit esse Deum. Well, sir, I have no objec- 
tions. If the workmen will, a god it shsdl bo. 
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 aU 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 can- 
vassing 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 witb them. 
But the House is my witness that I am com- 
pelled, by the clamor raised on all sides by the 
friends of the Administration, to descend to par- 
ticulars, and to examine it somewhat minutely. 

My honorable colleague (Mr. Bacon) was 
pleased the other day to assert :- Sir, in re- 
ferring 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 sku-ta • 
I run barking at no man's heel. I canvass prin- 



ECEMBER, 1808.] 

Foreign Relations, 

[R OP E. 

pies and measures solely with a view to the 
reat interests of my country. The idea of per- 
mal victory is lost in the total ahsorption of 
snse and mind in the impending consequences, 
say he was pleased to assert that I had dealt 
1 general allegations against this report, with- 
ut pointing out any particular objection. And 
le honorable chairman (Mr. Oampbell) has 
^iterated the charge. Both have treated this 
Ueged omission with no little asperity. Yet, 
ir, it is very remarkable, that, so far from deal- 
ig in general allegations, I explicitly stated my 
bjections. The alternatives presented by the 
eport — war or suspension of our rights, and 
he recommendation of the latter, rather than 
ake the risk of the former, I expressly censured. 

went further. I compared these alternatives 
fith an extract from an address made by the 
irst Continental Congress to the inhabitants of 
irreat Britain, and attempted to show, by way 
if contrast, what I thought the disgraceful 
pirit of the report. Yet, these gentlemen com- 
ilain that I dealt in general allegations. Before 

close, sir, they will have, I hope, no reason to 
epeat such objections. I trust I shall be parti- 
ular, to their content. 

Before entering upon an examination of this 
eport, it may be useful to recollect how it ori- 
;inated. By the third section of the second 
irticle of the constitution, it is declared that 
he President of the United States " shall, from 
ime to time, give to Congress information of 
he state of the Union, and recommend to their 
lonsideration such measures as he shall judge 
lecessary and expedient." It is, then, the duty 
if the President to recommend such measures 
s in his judgment Congress ought to adopt. A 
;i-eat crisis is impending over our country. It 
3 a time of alarm, and peril, and distress. How 
las the President performed this constitutional 
[uty? Why, after recapitulating, in a formal 
Message, our dangers and his trials, he express- 
a his confidence that we shall, " with an un- 
irring regard to the essential rights and interests 
if the nation, weigh and compare the painful 
ilternatives out of which a choice is to be 
nade," and that " the alternative chosen will 
)e maintained with fortitude and patriotism." 
!n this way our Chief Magistrate performs his 
luty. A storm is approaching ; the captain 
jails his choice hands upon deck ^ leaves the 
■udder swinging, and sets the crew to scuffle 
ibout alternatwes! This Message, pregnant 
vith nondescript alternatives, is received by 
his House. And what do we? Why, consti- 
ute a great Committee of Foreign Kelations, 
ind, lest they should not have their attention 
ompletely occupied by the pressing exigencies 
if those with Prance and Great Britain, they 
,re endowed with the whole mass — British, 
Spanish, and French ; Barbary Powers and In- 
lian neighbors. And what does this committee 
[o ? Why, after seven days' solemn conclave, 
hey present to this House an illustrious report, 
oaded with alternatives — ^nothing but alterna- 
ives. The cold meat of the palace is hashed 

and served up to us, piping hot, from our com- 
mittee room. 

In, considering this report, I shall pay no at- 
tention to either its beginning or its conclusion. 
The former consists of shavings from old docu- 
ments, and the latter of birdlime for new con- 
verts. The twelfth page is the heart of this 
report ; that I mean to canvass. And I do as- 
sert, 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 com- 
mittee. Let us exijpiine each, separately : 

" Your committee can perceive no other alterna- 
tive bnt atject and degrading submission, war with 
both nations, or a continuance and enforcement of 
the present suspension of onr commerce." 

Here is a tri-forked alternative. Let us con- 
sider 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 sub- 
mission ; 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 belli- 
gerents have the power to carry into effect their 
decrees so perfectly; that, by reason of the' 
orders of Great Britain, we ai-e physically dis- 
abled 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 " abjeot 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 na- 
ture. 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 impossibihties. 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 degrad- 



H. OP E.] 

Foreign Selalions. 



ing" in carrying on such trade as these edicts 
leave open to us, let it be never bo small or 
so trifling ; wMoh, however, it might be pasily 
shown, as it has been, that it is neither theone 
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 coun- 
tries 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 aU the 
glorious spheres which constitute the imiverse. 

The gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Camp- 
bell) called upon us just now to tell him what 
was disgracefid submission, if carrying on com- 
merce under these restrictions was not such sub- 
mission. I will tell that gentleman. That sub- 
mission 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 sum- 
mons 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 de- 
fiance 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 be- 
cause 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 subserviency. 
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, not- 
withstanding these restricllve 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 snite 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 1 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, ap- 
prised of all the circumstances, are willing to 
take the hazard for the sake of the profit. 

I will illustrate my general idea by a suppo- 
sition. 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 Grreat 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 Nan'ows. In such case, would staying 
at home, and refusing any more to go upon the 
sea, be an exercise of independence in the citi- 
zens of New York ? Great philosophers may 
call it " dignified retirement," if they wiU. I 
call it, and I am mistaken if the people would 
not c^ 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 lids 
fioor, the merchants abroad do not estimate 
them as insurmountable. Their anxiety to risk 
their property, in defiance of them, is full evi- 
dence of this. The great danger to mercantile 
mgenuity is internal envy— the corrosion of 
weakness or prejudice. Its external hazard is 
ever mfinitely smaller. That practical intelli- 
gence which this class of men possesses, beyond 
any other in the community, excited by self- 
mterest— the strongest of human passions— is 
too elastic to be confined by the limits of ex- 
terior human powers, however great or uncom- 



Secebibeb, 1808.] 

Foragn Bdaiians, 

mon. Build a Chinese wall, and the wit of your 
merchants, if permitted freely to operate, will 
break through it or overleap it, or undercreepit. 

" mille adde catenas 

Efiugiet tamen, hsec 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, whe- 
ther we shall find two nations each hostile to 
the other. But it may be, and if we ai-e 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 aU the alterna- 
tives 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 com- 
parative effects of the edicts of each upon our 
coEomerce and the means we possess to influ- 
ence or control either, are all fair and proper 
subjects of discussion ; some of which the com- 
mittee have wholly neglected and none of which 
have they examined, as the House had a right 
to expect. 

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

Ah to the first assertion, it is a miserable fal- 
lacy, confounding coincidence of interest with 
subjection of will ; things in their nature pal- 
pably 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. ShaU we vindicate our independ- 
ence at the expense of our social or moral 

[H. OP E. 

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 wiU resume your ex- 
ternal rights ? Ton cannot go both ways at 
once, you must make your election. Yet, in 
making such ela(8tion, yon 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 sub- 
mission " 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 Britaia does not 
say, " yon 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 ad- 
versary. 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 om- 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 aU to the quality of the act of trading during 
these edicts. To exercise commerce is our ab- 
solute right. K we arm, we may possibly ex- 
tend the field beyond that which mere inge- 
nuity 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 ves- 
sels, would be war with both, and war of the 
worst kind, suffering the enemies to plunder ns, 
without retaliation upon them." 

I have before exposed the absurdity of a 



H. or E.] 

Foreign. Relationa. 

[December, 1808. 

war with two belligerents, each hostile to the 
other. It cannot be true, therefore, that " a 
general repeal and arming our merchant ves- 
sels," 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 en- 
gaged. For the committee assure us, that the 
aggressions to which we are subject,, " are to 
aU 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 com- 
mon sense, how can this be true ? The trade 
to Swedenj to Spain, to China, is not now 
affected by the orders or decrees of either bel- 
ligerent. How is it submission, then, to these 
orders for us to trade to Gottenburg, when nei- 
ther France nor Britain command, nor pro- 
hibit 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 prin- 
ciples. If gentlemen adhere to their system, as 
a means of coercion, let the Administration 
avow it as such, and support the systeni, by 
arguments, such as their Mends 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 peo- 
ple may then submit to it, even without mur- 
mur. 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, oflBcially, they 
disavow. As partial repeal would not be sub- 
mission 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 n6t 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. Yon 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 yon must not only so 
act as to obey the terms of the decrees, but 
keeping the great purpose of them always in 
sight, yon 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 dis- 
gust at what appeared to me a mass of bold as- 
sumptions, and of illy-cemented sophisms. 

I said, also, that " the spirit which it breath- 
ed 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 con- 
cerning 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 in- 
terfere 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 in- 
flammatory recapitulation of insults, and plun- 
derings, and burnings, and confiscations, and 
murders, and actual war made upon us, to talk 
of nothing but alternatives, of general declara- 
tions, of still longer suspension of our rights, and 
retreating farther out of " harm's way ? " If 
this_ course be adopted by my country, I hopel 
am in error concerning its real character. But 
to my sense, this whole report is nothing else 
than a recommendation to us Of the abandon- 
ment of our essential rights and apologies for 

Before I sit down, I feel myself compelled to 
notice some observations which have been made 
m different quarters of this House on the re- 
™f "f T^'tich, at an early stage of this debate, 
i had the honor of submitting to its considera- 
tion. My honorable colleague (Mr. Baoon) 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 



ECEMBEK, 1808.] 

Foreign Relatitmt. 

[H. OF E, 

' the Government, but also of the Judiciary. 
ir, I made no such appeal. I did not so much | 
! threaten it. I admitted, expressly, the bind- 
ig authority of the law. But I claim a right, 
hich I ever will claim, and ever will exercise, 
) urge, on this floor, my opinion of the unoon- 
itutionality of a law, and my reasons for that 
pinion, as a valid ground for its repeal. Sir, 
will not only do this, I will do more. If a 
iw be, in my apprehension, dangerous in its 
rinoipies, ruinous in its consequences, above 
11 if it be unconstitutional, I will not fail in 
very fair and honorable way to awaken the 
eople to a sense of their peril ; and to quicken 
biem, by the exercise of their constitutional 
rivileges, to vindicate themselves and their 
osterity from ruin. 

My honorable colleague (Mr. Baoon) was 
Iso pleased to refer to me, " as a man of divi- 
ions and distinctions, waging war with adverbs, 
nd dealing in figures." Sir, I am soiTy that 
ly honorable colleague should stoop " from his 
iride of place," at such humble game as my 
loor style presents to him. Certainly, Mr. 
Ipeaker, I cannot but confess that, " deeming 
ligh " of the station which I hold ; standing, as 
b were, in the awful presence of an assembled 
leople, I am more than ordinarily anxious, on 
,11 occasions, to select the best thoughts in my 
larrow storehouse, and to adapt to them the 
nost appropriate di-ess in my intellectual ward- 
■obe. I know not whether, on this account, I 
im justly obnoxious to the asperity of my 
lonorable colleague. But, on the subject of 
igures, sir, this I know, and cannot refrain 
rom assuring this House that, as on the one 
land, I shall, to the extent of my humble 
alents, always be ambitious, and never cease 
triving to make a decent figure on this floor ; 
o, on the other, I never can be ambitious, but, 
in the contrar}', shall ever strive chiefly to 
ivoid cutting a figure like my honorable col- 

The gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Tkoitp,) 
he other day, told this House that, if com- 
nerce were permitted, such was the state of our 
breign relations, none but bankrupts woidd 
iarry on trade. Sir, the honorable gentleman 
las not attained correct information in this 
jarticular. I do not beheve that I state any 
;hing above the real fact, when I say that, on 
;he day this Legislature assembled, one hundred 
ressels, at least, were lying in the different 
)orts and harbors of New England loaded, rid- 
ng at single anchor, ready and anxious for 
lothing so much as for your leave to depart. 
Certainly, this does not look much like any 
loubt that a field of advantageous commerce 
vould open, if you would unbar the door to 
rour citizens. That this was the case in Mas- 
lachusetts I know. Before Heft that part of the 
sountry, I had several applications from men, 
vho stated that they had property in such 
lituations, and solicitmg me to give them the 
sarliest information of your probable policy. 
Che 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 gentle- 
man 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 "beej^ 
and pork, and butter and cheese, and potatoes 
and cabbages." Well, sir, I confess the fact. I 
am the Kepresentative, in part, of men, the 
products of whose industry are beef and pork, 
and butter and cheese, and potatoes and cab- 
bages. And let me tell that honorable gentle- 
man, that I would not yield the honor of rep- 
resenting such men, to be the Eepresentative 
of all the growers of cotton and rice, and tobac- 
co 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. Baoon) made a poor attempt to confound 
this policy with the non-intercourse and non- 
importation agreement of 1Y74 and 177S. Sir, 
nothing can be more dissimilar. The non-inter- 
course and non-importation agreement of that 
period, so far from destroying commerce, fos- 
tered 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 immedi- 
ately 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 regula- 
tions, was extended by the effect of the restric- 
tions adopted. 

But let us grant all that they assert. Admit, 
for the sake of argument, that the embargo, 
which restrains ns now from communication 
with all the world, is precisely synonymous 
with that non-intercourse and non-importation 
which restrained u^ 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 at- 
tempt ? Did our fathers either effect a change 
in her injurious policy or prevent a war by 
non-intercourse ? Sir, they did neither the one 



H. OF R.] 

Foreign Itelatiani, 

[DecBhbek, 1808. 

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 meas- 
ures of hostile coercion. They placed their 
dependence upon them solely as means of 
pacific influence among the people of that na- 
tion. 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 counfay, 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, an- 
tecedent 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 min- 
istry 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 obliga- 
tions 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, notwithstand- 
ing 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 ex- 
isted in Great Britain openly leagued, with our 
fathers, to give weight and eflfect to their meas- 
ures, they did not effect the purposes for which 
they were put into operation. The British 
policy was not abandoned. War was not pre- 
vented. How then can any encouragement be 
drawn ftom that precedent, .to support us under 
the privations of the present system of com- 
mercial 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 

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 wea- 
pon of defence. But, acting in a public ca- 
pacity, with the high responsibilities resulting 
from the great interests dependant upon my 
decision, I cannot yield to the wishes of love- 
siclc patriots, or the visions of teeming enthu- 
siasts; 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. reflec- 
tion convinces me of the utter futility of this 
system, as a means of coercion, on Great 
BritMn, I shall not hesitate to urge its abandon- 
ment No, sir, not even although, like others, 
I should be assailed by aU the terrors of the 
outcry of British influence. 

Really, Mr. Speaker, I know not how to ex- 
press the shame and disgust with which I am 
tilled, 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 ahogshead, 
while the gin circulated, while barbacne was 
roasting ; in those happy, fraternal associations 
and consociations, when those who speak, utter 
without responsibmty, 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 hon- 
orable men;— the select representatives, the 
confidential agents of a wise, a thoughtful and 
a vu-tuous 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 
J ? ^, *^®y' '^^° circulate such insinuations, 
deal only m 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 Eng- 
land have naturally the confidence of their 
countrymen, there is no power in these calnm- 

were in our power to regulate not only Great I nies. The 'm^n^hV^o"; lead the tofl^; 



ECEHBER, 1808.] 

Foreign RelaUom. 

[H. OP R. 

' that country, and in whose councils the peo- 
e on the day ■when the tempest shall come 
ill seek refuge, are men whose stake is in the 
lil, whose interests are identified with those 
' the mass of their brethren, whose private 
res and public sacrifices present a never-fail- 
ig antidote to the poison of malicious invec- 
ves. On such men, sir, party spirit may 
ideed cast its odious filth, but there is a polish 
L their virtues to which no such slime can 
Ihere. They are owners of the soU; real 
eomanry ; many of them men who led in the 
>\mcil8 of our country in the dark day which 
receded the national independence ; many of 
leia men who, like my honorable friend from 
onnecticnt on my left, (Mr. Tallmad&b,) stood 
)remost on the perilous edge of battle ; making 
leir breasts in the day of danger a bulwark 
)r their country. True it is, Mr. Speaker, there 
I another and a much more numerous class, 
imposed of such as through defect of age can 
[aim no share in the glories of our Revolution; 
ich as have not yet been blest with the happy 
pportunity of " playing the man " for their 
juntry ; generous sons of illustrious sires ; men, 
ot to be deterred from fulfilling the high ob- 
gations they owe to this people by the sight 
f foul and offensive weapons. Men who, with 
ttle experience of their own to boast, will fiy 
) the tombs of their fathers, and questioning, 
snceming their duties, the spirit which hovers 
lere, will no more shrink from maintaimng 
leir native rights, through fear of the sharp- 
ess of malevolent tongues, than they will, if put 
) the trial, shrink from defending them 
irough fear of the sharpness of their enemies' 

When Mr. QnrucT had concluded, the House 
ijourned without taking a question. 

Thtesdat, December 8. 

On motion of Mr. NEWTOisr, that the unfin- 
hed business of yesterday, depending at the 
me of adjournment, do lie on the table ; and 
lat the House do now resolve itself into a 
ommittee of the "Whole on the amendatory 
ill authorizing the President to employ an ad- 
itional number of revenue cutters: and the 
aestion being .taken thereupon, it was resolved 
I the affirmative. 

The House accordingly resolved itself into 
le said committee ; and, after some time spent 
lerein, the biU was reported without amend- 
lent, and ordered to be engrossed, and read 
le third time to-day. 

Foreign Belationa. 

The House then resumed the consideration of 
le first member of the first resolution report- 
l on Thursday last from the Committee of 
:e Whole, which was depending yesterday at 
le time of adjournment, in the words follow- 
g, to wit : 

" Resolved, That the United States cannot, with- 
t a sacrifice of their rights, honor, and inde- 
ndence, 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 pro- 
positions contained in that resolution met his 
entire and fall approbation, he could have 
wished that instead of the discussion which had 
taken place, a silent, dignified vote, the spon- 
taneous efiect 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 l^e discussion must have oc- 
casioned, 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 event- 
ful crisis, and the interest it universally ex- 

I did myself believe (said Mr. Ket) 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 abr 
stract 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 re- 
port at aU, 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 Com- 
mittee on Foreign Eelations in their resolu- 
tions 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 vrith 
the embargo, form an eflBcient 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 de- 
nied. I did not expect to hear its effects con- 
tradicted ; but they have been in some measure 
softened by the honorable chairman of the com- 
mittee. I think the pressure of this measure 
great, and in some places requiring all the ex- 
ertion of patriotism to support it. And as a 
proof of it the members on this floor from 



H. OF R.] 

Foreign Xelationi. 

[December, 180S. 

different parts of the Union have only contend- 
ed which section suffered most. A member 
from Massachusetts, (Mr. Quinoy,) because ho 
conceives that thirty millions of dollars have 
been lost to the Eastern country by the meas- 
ure, hence concludes that the Eastern country 
suffers most. The gentlemen from the South- 
ern 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. Eakdolph) will not yield the 
palm of oppression to either. " I live (said the 
gentleman) in the centre of the tobacco country, 
whether yon 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 gentle- 
men, I say that my country suffers most. The 
Southern country possesses its staples, which 
but remain on hand; their value only dimin- 
ished by the non-eirport. 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 repre- 
sent 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 iilm 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 Eepresentatives tells you that 
it is most rnnious and oppressive. Such cer- 
tainly 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 citi- 
zens 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 pros- 
perity of the citizens; 

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 gen- 
tleman. 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 con- 
dition that the embargo be repealed in thirty 
days. Is there no difference in the price under 
these circumstances? I know well from ex- 
perience, 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 em- 
bargo. Remove it and they will give you more ; 
keep it on and they will give yon less. These 
are snbborn 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 con- 
clusive than any abstract reasoning to prove 
that the embargo does work a diminution inth^ 
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 f 
agree with him, that the public voice will be 
generally right when the people are well in- 
formed. They have seen aU the official com- 
munications 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 
counti-y 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 gein- 
tleman's statement will go to the same tribunal, 
and I am willing to commit my slender reputa- 
tion to the country for the accuracy of mine, 



EMBER, 1808.] 

Foreign Mdations. 

[a OF R. 

let the people judge between us. The gen- 
lan tells you that we have no commerce to 
rt to which would be either safe or profit- 
It is strange we cannot confide the de- 
m of this question to commercial men — for 
it commercial man would undertake a voy- 
which shall be attended with certain ruin ? 
A thought that men of great experience and 
rmation, and whose knowledge was sharp- 
i by interest, might be safely confided in. 

merchants, whose habits of life have led 
n to calculate, whose information extends 
very part of the world, are not to be trusted 
i the prosecution of their own interest, but 
mu^t kindly take it in hand for them I Sir, 
intend that commerce had better be left free 
merchants to find a market, which every 
knows they would do, from their eagerness 
r to ship. If they could not export with 
ty, or profit, they would lay a voluntary 
)argo, ten thousand times better than a co- 
ve one ; the very necessity of coercion shows 
; our merchants would sail, were it not for 
embargo. I contend that the embargo is 
lous and oppressive. Need I say any thing 
her on the subject? Look at the country, 
courts of justice shut in one of the Southern 
ies; executions suspei]||ed in a State con- 
lous to this ; and Maryland reduced to the 
e necessity, from the circumstance of there 
ig no market for our produce. So great is 
pressure that the people have it not in their 
rer to pay their ordinary debts ; and how 
[uent is the fact that in a moment of peace 
certainly there is not war) we are compel- 
to arrest the current of justice. The legis- 
re acts depict the situation of the country 
•e strikingly than volumes of argument. The 
;e Legislatures know the inability of their 
tens to pay, and hold out a kind hand to as- 

1 point of revenue how does it work? The 
orable chairman of the committee, (Mr. 
iPBELL,) in a speech of great learning and 
jstigation, told us that ttie Treasury never 
1 more ftdl. I wish the documents were be- 
! the House to convince us of it. But did 
itom of it flow in from the operation of the 
)argo? If there be such a surplus, it only 
ws the beneficial operation of the system 
sued anterior to the embargo. What is to 
your Treasury now, if the people cannot sell 
ir products 1 What will in this case become 
our source of wealth in the Western country ? 
1 people can neither buy lands, nor buying, 
tor them. Where is the impost duty which 
supported the Government, and simk to a 
siderable degree the national debt? The 
nent you prevent all importation, there is 
itter extinction of impost revenue ; and at 
le a physical inability to produce any from 
people at large. We are a rich country, 
anding in the necessaries of life ; we have 
ley's worth, but no money. _ Nor can our 
pie by any practical means raise money to 
■ay the expenses. of State Governments, 

Vol. IV.— 5 

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. I«ave commerce open, and 
you will soon have money in return for our 
produccf or that which wiU procure it. Reve- 
nue is the life of Government, and let me sup- 
pose gentlemen to be sitting here thirteen 
months hence, on the first of January, 1810. 
Where is your revenue then to come from? 
Tou have dried up every source of the national 
wealth. What must yon 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 peo- 
ple — 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 sup- 
ported on external matters only, if the time 
should every arrive at which foreign commerce 
should cease, and internal taxes be r^orted to, 
that great would be the confiict between the 
ofBcers 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 em- 
bargo, and no member of this House can con- 
stitutionally say it is otherwise; for the im- 
mediate 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 efiect 
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 



H. OF R.] 

Foreign Relatiom, 

[December, 1808. 

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 aa 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. Can- 
ning. 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 pro- 
ceedings 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 rigoB. 

As a measure of finance it has laid the axe to 
the root. The tree is down that bore the gold- 
en fruit, 8,nd 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 stUl 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 con- 
templated 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 sup- 
plies 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 em- 
bargo, 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 conceal- 
ing 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 i 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 1 You 
are prohibited the minor power of taxing ex- 
ports, 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 princij^es 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 gentle- 
man told us an hundred millions were saved by 
laving 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 immi- 
nent, 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 them. 

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 teEs 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 otir connection 
with foreign nations in such a predicament; 
i} ^^ President officiaUy 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 
tne last session making an estimate of the West 
Indies being worth au hundred millions to 




Foreign Belatums. 

[H. OF R. 

ain, and predicting that before the measure 
ninety days known in the West Indies, it 
Id bring that nation to our feet, that it 
Id act as a great political lever, resting its 
•um on Jamaica, and move all Europe to 
wishes. Double the number of days have 
Bed, and they hold out insulting language. 
r then can we trust to the future predictions 
entlemen? Their error arises from a want 
nowledge of the country; a little experience 
orth all the theory in the world. In the 
■8 1774-'5, an honorable feeling adopted a 
■exportation and non-importation agree- 
t, more faithfully executed by patriotism 
1 any law since made or enacted ; for every 
ily refused to use an article which was not 
sd within the bosom of its own country. 

it produce starvation in the West Indies? 

sir ; the politicians of that day did not so 
ulate. They knew ' the resources of those 
ids, and told them that if they would con- 
; a part of their sugar plantations into corn- 
Is, they would not suffer. We are now in the 
it of overvaluing ourselves and undervaluing 
enemies. Oome the day when it will, we 
1 have no ignoble foes to meet. 
1 the Revolutionary war how did England 
id — ^how her islands ? For several years she 

at war with America, with Holland, with 
in, with France, whose fleets in the East 

West Indies were often equal, sometimes 
3rior to hferown, and an armed neutrality in 

North — during this period a French fleet 
ikaded the Ohesapeake, and aided the cap- 
I of Oornwallis, and threatened the British 
ids — ^but how was this conflict with the 
Id sustained ? Were the islands starved 
:ng these years ? did they fall ? No, sir ; the 
;ish nation braved the storm, and was only 
juered by her sons — America was victorious 

independent ; but Europe retired discom- 
1. Sir, America can again prove victorious, 
it must be by other measures than embar- 
5 — destructive only at home and without 
ot abroad. 
t is SMd that one reason why the embargo 

not pressed so hard on Great Britain as it 
ht, is, that it has not been so tightly drawn 
t may be ; that our citizens have evaded it. 
i, sir, if I have not any geographical knowl- 
e of the country, tighten the cords as you 
f by revenue cutters and gunboats on the 
Doard, and ooUeotors and military on land, 
y will escape both. Interest, ever alert, will 
il itself of our extensive coast and elude the 

int gentlemen say they are not accountable for 
faUure in England, from another cause — ^the 
;uage of the public papers and pamphlets of 
anti-embargoists. The enemy, we are told, 
been induced to hold out under the idea that 
erica will jdeld. Sir, would Great Britain 
• for her oracles on the newspapers or pam- 
Bts- of this country ? Have those causes 
lught on her a perseverance in her measures ? 
onder, sir, that, in the anxiety to find causes, 

gentlemen never cast their eyes to official docu- 
ments — 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 proc- 
lamation arrived in England, no doubt could have 
remained of the effectof 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 be- 
fore them, the Britilh 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 wiU obey them 
from principle; they must be made to obey 
them if they do not ; for, while a law is in ex- 
istence, it must be enforced. But I am some- 
what surprised that gentlemen who talk of 
opposition publications in this country, as influ- 
encing 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 re- 
garded 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 exclu- 
sively to the continental trade. He came for- 
ward on their account, and the fact was demon- 
strated, 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 wiU proba- 
bly continue the conflict of suffering as long 
as we are able to endure it, and continue our 
measures. For my opinion is, sir, that thS ex- 
tent 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 pro- 
ductive of another consequence, attended with 
more serious mischief than all others together 
— the diversion of trade from us to other chan- 
nels. Look at both sides of the case. If Great 


H. OF R.] 

Foreign Jielalioru. 

[December, 1808. 

Britain, holds on, (and ray 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 he 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 then- 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 direc- 
tion to cultivation. They ceased to grow in 
many of the West India islands that article 
which they formerly had raised to a consider- 
able extent, (cotton,) and which, if the increased 
labor employed in the sugar estates, now ade- 
quate to the supply of Europe, be not profitable, 
they will again cultivate. The Brazils wiU as- 
sist to take a sufficient quantity for consump- 
tion, (and, as well as my memory serves me, 
they produce seventy or eighty thousand bags 
annually ;) and South America will add her sup- 
plies. I grant that we can now undersell these 
countries ; but I beg gentlemen to pause before 
they driye England into a change of commer- 
cial habits, which iji 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 gentle- 
men 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 ex;change 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 Erance, while Eng- 
land 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 hot 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 

But, gentlemen say that the honor of the 
country is at stake ; that a removal of the em- 
bargo would be submission to Great Britain, 
and submission to France. How is our 
honor affected by removing it ? We say we 
will not trade-r-with whom? With them alone ? 
No, sir ;. the embargo says we will not trade 
with anybody. AU 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 con- 
sults the honor of a Eepnblioan Government ? 
Those measures which maintain the independ- 
ence, promote the interest, and secure the 
happiness of the individuals composing it. And 
that is the true hue 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 com- 
mercial right is destructive to the independence 
of the country ; for a nation may exist inde- 
pendent, and the happiness of the people be 
secured, without commerce. So, that the viola- 
tion 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 ap- 
plicable to the measure recommended by the 
committee. They say, that " a permanent sus- 
pension of commerce, after repeated and un- 
availing efforts to obtain peace, would not prop- 
erly be resistance ; it would be withdrawing 
from the contest, and abandoning our indisput- 
able 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 f Unquestion- 
ably it is. So long as it continues, it does aban- 
don 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, be- 
cause I purchase some articles of another mer- 
chant, says I shall not go through that street. 1 
cross over, and his enemy says I shall not pass 
by him. I retire home and csjl a consultation 




Foreign Relations. 

[H.. OF R. 

Y friends. I tell them that I have entered 
resolutions, first,, that, to submit to this 
be an abandonment of my right to pass and 
is. Well, what then, say my friends ? Why, 
jlare I will neither go nor send to either 
eir houses — ^have no intercourse with them. 
, what then ? Why, I will buy a broad- 
d and pair of pistols, and look my door and 
it home. And do I enjoy my right of walking 
itreet by making myself a prisoner 3 Surely 
sir. Now, this is precisely our case, under 
J resolutions. We say, that to submit, 
[d be a wound on our honor and independ- 
We call a consultation. What is the 
it of it ? We say we will have no inter- 
se with the nations injuring us, nor with 
other ; and, lastly, that we will arm a,nd de- 
onrselves at home. And, I ask, is this 
tance ? Is it an enjoyment of our rights; 
direct, full submission ? Is it not an aban- 
nent of those rights to which we are enti- 

has been said, that the little portion of 
nerce which would remain unaffected by 
belligerent edicts, would belong to us as a 
I from England,, were we to prosecute it. 
not Hnderstand it in this light. Our right 
ivigate the ocean is inherent, and belongs 
i as a part of our sovereignty ; but, when 
•dieted from any one plafie, if we go to an- 
r, we certainly do not accept that com- 
30 as a boon. I might as well say, if a man 
rdicted me from going down one street in 
rgetown, that I accept a boon from him in 
g down another. This is certainly not the 
. The trading to these places is exercising 
sriginal right, not interfered with ; and, so 
s those orders and decrees do hot operate, 
iould carry on a legitimate trade, flowing 
I our indisputable right, as a sovereign na- 
to navigate the ocean. It does seem to 
hen, sir, that the residue of our trade might 
irried on without submitting to the belliger- 
sdicts. . But, an honorable gentleman (Mr. 
V^. Campbell) asked me, yesterday, if we 
i to permit our enemies to take any part, 
ther they would not take the remainder ? 
1, like the horse's taU. in Horace, would be 
ked, hair by hair, till it was all out. True, 
this might possibly happen. But, what have 
lone ? Why, we have cut the tail off, for 
all the hair should be taken out. We have 
elves destroyed all that portion of our trade 
jh the belligerents have not interdicted. _ 
aiing the whole into view, then, I think 
the continuance of the embargo, as an as- 
,on of our rights, is not an efficient mode of 

ut gentlemen say, in a crisis like the present, 
n each individual ought to contribute his 
I it is very easy to find fault; and they ask 
I substitute. I want no substitute. Take 
he embargo. That is what I want. But 
n called upon in this manner, I cannot help 
ing around me to the source whence I ex- 
ed 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^pur advice been taken; 
and, not being taken, we have little encour- 
agement to give more. Our advice is on the 
journals. We said, let us have what commerce 
we can get, and bring home returns to stimu- 
late 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 wiU 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 pro- 
tection, 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 iden- 
tified; whenever one increases, the other ex- 
tends. They progress pa/ri passu. Look at 
your mercantile towns ; and wherever you find 
one, like a pebble thrown into water, its influ- 
ence 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 pro- 
duct ; they are not so disinterested as they sup- 
pose, and I believe the best way is to consider 
the two .inseparable. As I am at present dis- 
posed, could I not obtain a total repeal, I would 
prefer a resolution laid on the table by a gentle- 
man (Mr. Mttmfobd) 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 ade- 
quate or not. I would let our vessels go out 
armed for resistance ; and if they were inter- 
fered 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 interests. 

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

Mr. Desha said he had been particularly at- 
tentive to the whole of the debates during the 
very lengthy discussion of this important sub- 
ject, and, said he, I am at a loss how to under- 
stand 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 



H. OP R.] 

Foreign SelatioTU. 

[Decembeb, 1808 

somewhat doubtful, or thej would not tamely 
eive up the honor of their country by submit- 
ting to French decrees and British Orders in 
Council — that is, by warmly advocating the 
repeal of the embargo, without proposing some- 
thing 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 withottt 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 inefflcacy — that it has not answered the con- 
templated 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 Us hav- 
ing 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 in- 
stances, 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, appar- 
ently, 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 re- 
fugees 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 vassal- 
age 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 oppo- 
sition made to the ernbargo, 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 com- 
pletely efficacious ; and had it not been for this 
kind of conduct, our enemies would have been 

brought to a sense of justice, an amicable adjust- 
ment 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 ge- 
nius of our Government. But if it has not been 
entirely efficacious as a measure of coercion, it 
has been particularly serviceable in many in- 
stances — ^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 prop- 
erty that was sailing on the ocean, supposed 
to amount in value to between sixty and a hun- 
dred 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 pre- 
served 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 in- 
herent rights. If gentlemen had come forward 
with propositions to adopt any thing as a substi- 
tute for the embargo, that would have prevent- 
ed 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 pfarticularly 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 war- 
ranted 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 eontinent, whenever it can be done con- 
sistent 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 thi-oughout the conti- 
nent ; but their patriotism is such that they bear 
it with clieertulness, 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 pusil- 
lainimity ; 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 system- 
atically adhered to must produce the desired 



ICEMBEE, 1808.] 

Foreign Eetalions. 

[H. OF E. 

feet. If it should not, it will at least give 
ne to make preparationB for a more energetic 
peal, -which may probably have to be the re- 
It. But let it not be understood, because I 
1 for avoiding war, as long as it can be avoid- 
. upon honorable terms, that I am against 
ling to war when it becomes actually necess-iry. 
0, sir, my life and my property are at aU times 

my country's command, and I feel no hesita- 
)n in saying that the citizens of Kentucky, 
hom I have the honor to represent, would 
sp forward with alacrity, and defend with 
•avery that independence in which they glory, 
id in the obtaining of which some of the best 
ood of their ancestors was spilt; for the de- 
■adation of tribute they would spurn with 
anly indignation. I would even agree to go 
rther. From my present impression, I would 
p*ee to a recall of our Ministers from both 
ngland and France, and to a discharge of 
leirs ; and have no intercourse with the prin- 
pal belligerents until they learned to respect 
ir rights as an independent nation, and laid 
lide that dictatorial conduct which has for 
sars been characteristic of those European des- 
)ts ; for I am almost certain, under exist- 
g circumstances, that our Ministers in neither 
ngland nor France can do us any possible 
irvice, and that their Ministers here can, and 
L all probability do a great deal of harm, 
y fomenting division' and keeping up party 
>irit, at a time, too, when unanimity is of the 
tmost consequence. 

As to our commerce being driven from the 
sean, I am not disposed to take a lengthy re- 
■ospeot, or to examine minutely in order to dis- 
)ver which of our enemies, England or France, 
■as the first aggressor ; it is sufBcient for me 
lat both France and England have done nearly 
[1 in their power to harass and oppress us in 
f ery imaginable way. I am not the apologist 
f either France or England. I am an Ameri- 
in in principle, and I trust whenever it is 
lought necessary to call my energies into ae- 
on I shall prove myself to be such, by defend- 
ig and protecting the rights and independence 
f my own country, from any encroachments, 
it them come from what quarter they may. 
!y those iniquitous decrees of France, all ves- 
bIs bound to or from England are deemed law- 
al prize, and if spoken by an English ship they 
rere condemned in the prize courts of France. 
V^hen a ship arrived in any of the French ports, 
ribery and corruption was practiced ; in order 
succeed in her condemnation, a separate ex- 
mination of the crew would be resorted to, as 
the events that happened on the voyage ; of- 
3rs made of one-third of the ship and lading as 
heir portion of the prize money, if they would 
ive information of their vessel having touched 
t any of the ports of England, or that any Eng- 
:sh cruiser had visited her on the voyage. 
Jonsequently, by the French decrees, all prop- 
rty afloat belonging to the Americans was lia- 
le to seizure and condemnation. Are gentle- 
len, possessing the feelings of Americans, pre- 

pared 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 ob- 
taining my leave — ^payme a duty, and then you 
shall be permitted to go to any port — by paying 
me a tribute yon may trade .to any port yon 
please. Degrading to freemen! Britain in her 
goodness says, you shall have the liberty to 
bring flour irom 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 
poimd. 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 calcu- 
lation 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 Amer- 
ican heart will submit to the degradation of pay- 
ing 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 suffea^ 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 he lia- 
ble to seizure and condemnation, but what is 
more degrading, pay a tribute of many millions 
of dollars annuaUy, 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 un- 
sullied, or perish in the undertaking. 

But, sir, it has been said that the people of 
the East wotdd 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 aUowed to pursue their usual 
course in commerce, by which they subscribe to 
those nefarious Orders in Council, which is trib- 
ute of the most degrading kind. Who are these 
people of the East that have the hardihood to 
insinuate any thing like rebellion against the 



H. OF R.] 

Foreign Selatiomi. 

[Decembeh, 1808. 

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 ty- 
rant for liberty I It cannot be the descendants 
of those brave fellows that struggled on the 
brow of Bunker's Hill for independence I 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 
suQh threats, or degrade himself by coming un- 
der 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 in- 
fluence and corruption has extended itself so far 
■ that the people are disposed to rebel against the 
Government of their country — if the dissemina- 
tion of foreign gold has had the baneful effect 
of suppressing all noble and patriotic senti- 
mAits, it is indeed time that foreign intercourse 
should cease. If the spirit of commercial spec- 
ulation and cupidity had surmounted all patriot- 
ism, 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 known. 

Mr. Nklson said it was with very considera- 
ble reluctance that he rose to make a few re- 
marks 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 ques- 
tion ; 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 in- 
tend 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 calcu- 
lated for the galleries than for the sober mem- 
bers of this House. The gentleman commenced 
his argument with stating, what I do not be- 
lieve, with due submission, is true in point of 
fact, that, although at their last session the Le- 
gislature of Maryland passed resolutions approv- 
ing 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 

Mr. Nelson said the House of Eepresentatives 
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 cam- 
paign from almost every stump in the district 
in which L live. WhUst the gentleman was on 
this subject, I wish he had told us of the philippic 
these resolutions got from the Senate of Mary- 
land. The fact is not, as I understood the gen- 
tleman to say, that the Legislature of Maryland 
have passed resolutions disapproving the meas- 
ures of the Government. But the gentleman inti- 

mates that the politics of Maryland have under- 
gone a great change, and that the party formerly 
uppermost, is now under. Sir, the question 
which turned out the old members of the Legis- 
lature 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 gen- 
tleman and two other anti-embargoists are 
elected, whilst six men, who have always ap- 
proved 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 1 I think not, sir. 

But the gentleman has said that the embargo, 
and not the Orders in ConncU 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 em- 
bargo was raised, we could go nowhere with 
perfect freedom, can gentlemen say that the 
embargo has mined our commerce ? Is it not 
these acts which have shut us out from a mar- 
ket? The gentleman says we may trade to 
England. Yes, sir, we may, provided we will 
pay all such duties as she chooses, and go no- 
where 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 sup- 
posed that the people of the United States will 
agree to this ? Are they reduced to that situa- 
tion, that they will become the vassals of a for- 
eign power— for what ? Why, sir, for the pros- 
ecution 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 amoimt 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 sub- 
stitute ; " take off the embargo," says he, " arid 
let us trade." Sir, if we could trade upon equal 
terms, I, too, should say, " take off the em- 
bargo, 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 



Decembek, 1808.] 

Foreign Selatiom. 

[H. OF R. 

this, that the American people, for the sake of 
pounds, shillLngs, and pence, for the sake of 
hoarding np a few pence, are to give np their 
independence, and become vassals of England 
and France ? I hear nothing from the gentle- 
man about the Jionor of the nation. It would 
appear as if gentlemen on the other side of the 
House are willing to sell their comitry if they 
can put money in their pocketT 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 
Eevolution would never have happened ; and 
if that be our sole object now, the blood spilt 
. and money spent in our Eevolution 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 

Mr. IfELSoB. — I ask pardon of the gentle- 
man if I misrepresented him ; because the gen- 
tleman's argimient 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 be- 
lieve so, that the honor of the Republic is pre- 
cisely 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 for- 
eign 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 em- 
bargo, without taking any other measure, and 
to bear with every indignity ? No, sir ; and 
yet the gentleman teUs you, " take off the em- 
bargo, I want no substitute." I did not suppose, 
sir, that gentlemen who oppose our measures (for 
I have great charity for them) would openly 
teU 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 be- 
yond doubt. It is an evil thing in itself; some- 
thing like the dose a doctor gives us ; it is a 
disagreeable thing in itself but it cures your 
complaint. Thus the embargo is a disagree- 
able thing; but if we swallow it, however dis- 
agreeable, 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 here- 
tofore unknown to us, that sooner or later 

would carry us to the grave. We take off the 
embargo, and trade on their terms ; what wiU 
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 insm-e a 
free trade ? 

The gentleman says that, if produce be offered 
for sale, on condition that the embargo be raised, 
it wUl bring a higher price than if on a certain- 
ty that the embargo is to be continued. No 
doubt, sir, when the embargo is taken 0% a 
momentary ^ur will be given to exportation ; 
but how long will it continue ? It wUl last but 
a very few weeks. Produce wiU soon be re- 
duced 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 em- 
bargo, 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 dis- 
tricts 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 aU 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 wUl 
continue, and that we can traffic without dis- 
honor, then, sir, would I cordially jbin hands 
with him to take off the embargo. 

But the gentleman says, that the pressure is 
BO 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 sub- 
,ject, I should like to hear it. A bill was before 
the House of Delegates for that pm-pose, but I 
did trust in God that it would be unanimously 
rejected. That such a law would pass in Mary- 
land 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 iroken 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 jus- 
tice 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 certam 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 



H. OF R.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[December, 1808. 

loans or direct taxation. But I trust and hope 
that before the money abeady in the Treasury 
is fairly expended, if we pursue our object we 
shall get over our embarrassments. Bather 
than pursue this subject much farther, I would 
not only arm our merchantmen at sea, but our 
citizens on the land, and anarch 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 tune the embargo was laid, it was done as 
a measure of precaution, and the President 
viewed it in that light. After its having an- 
swered every purpose as a measure of precau- 
tion, I am for continuing it as a measure of co- 
ercion. 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 unwiUing to involve this coun- 
try in a war if I can avoid it, but I am still 
more unwilling to take oif 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 declara- 
tions 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 war. 

I shall enter into no calculations on this sub- 
jectj 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 independ- 
ent 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 mas- 
ter 2 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 independ- 
ence, 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 de- 
vised, he would give up the present system and 
embrace the better one, let it come whence it 

The House adjourned without taking a ques- 

Feidat, December 9. 
. Mr. Lewis presented a petition of the Presi- 
dent 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 Dis- 
trict of Columbia." — Referred to the Commit- 
tee for the District of Columbia. 

Mr. Jebemiah Moreow, from the Committee 
on the Public Lands, presented a bill to revive 
and continue the authority of the Commission- 
ers 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 
cotters was jead a third time : Whereupon, a 
motion was made by Mr. Dueell that the said 
hill be recommitted to the Committee of Com- 
merce 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 bin do pass, and resolved in the affirma- 
tive — ^yeas 90, nays 26, as follows : 

Yeas. — ^Evan Alexander, Lemuel J. Alston, Willis 
Alston, jnn., Ezekiel Bacon, David Bard, Joseph 
Barker, Burwell Bassett, WilUam W. Bibb, William 
Blackledge, John Blake, jnn., Thomas Blonnt, Adam 
Boyd, John Boyle, Kobert Brown, William Bntler, 
Joseph Calhonn, George W. Campbell, Matthew Clay, 
John Clopton, Richard Cntts, John Dawson, Josiah 
Deane, Joseph Desha, Daniel M. Dnrell, William 
Flndlay, 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 KeUy, 
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 Stan- 
ford, Clement Storer, Peter Swart, John Taylor, 
John Thompson, George M. Troup, James I. Van 
Allen, Archibald Van Home, Daniel C. Verplanck, 
Jesse Wharton, Robert Whitehill, Isaac WUbour, 
Alexander Wilson, and Richard Wynn. 

Nays. — John Campbell, Martin Chittenden, John 
Culpeper, John Davenport, jun., James Elliot, Wil- 
liam Ely, Barent Gardenier, WUliam Hoge, Richard 
Jackson, Robert Jenkins, Joseph Lewis, jun., Edward 
St. Loe Livermore, Nathaniel Macon, Josiah Masters, 
Jonathan 0. Mosely, Timothy Pitkin, jun,, John Rus- 
sell, James Sloan, William Stedman, Lewis B. Stur- 
ges, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, Jabez 



December, 1808.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[H. OF E. 

Upham, Philip Vaa Cortlandt, Dayid K. WilKams, 
and Nathan Wilson. 

Resolved, That the title he, " An act to author- 
ize the President to employ an additional num- 
ber of revenue cutters." 

A message from the Senate informed the 
House that the Senate have passed a bUl, en- 
titled "An act farther to amend the judicial 
system of the United States ; " to which they 
desire the concurrencie of this House. 

Foreign Affaire. 

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

Mr. D. E. WiLLAMS said : It has become very 
fashionable to apologize to you, sir, for every 
trespass which a gentleman contemplates mak- 
ing on the patience of the House, and I do not 
know but in ordinary cases it may be very prop- 
er ; 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 g^ven 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 sophisti- 
cal perversion or misrepresentation ; a question 
which involves a political truism, and which is 
nndenied; a debate has grown out of it, em- 
bracing the whole foreign relations of this 
country. I shall not attempt Jo follow the 
gentlemen in the course which they have pur- 
sued, but will confine my observations to a jus- 
tification 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 concilia- 
tion, has been contemptuously rejected, those 
orders justified, and an extension of their ope- 
ration threatened: this is a state of things in- 
sufferable. At & crisis of this sort, the impor- 
tance 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 shaU 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 
npon'the mistakes of others ; perhaps, the vir- 
tuous misfortunes of our political brothers. I 
am willing to take my share of the responsi- 
bility of asserting the wisdom of the original 
imposition of the embargo, and the correctness 
of its present and future continuance. Gentle- 
men 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 1 It inevi- 
tably follows from the organization of our Gov- 
ernment, that this is the fact. 

I consider the original imposition of the em- 
bargo, as wise in a precautionary point of view ; 
and notwithstanding all that has been said, and 
eloquentlj^aid, by the gentleman from Mary- 
land, (Mr. Ket,) 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 sub- 
ject — ^I shall not stop to enter into one. I ap- 
peal to the common sense of the nation and of 
this House, whether or not the orders and de- 
crees 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. Bead the in- 
telligence from Nova Scotia; it informs ns 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 

If the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Key) 
will apply to his political — ^I beg pardon — to his 
mercantile barometer, the insurance oflBces, he 
would find that, after the operation of the 
Orders in Council was known, insurance could 
not have been effected at Baltimore to the Con- 
tinent 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 



H. OF E.] 

Foreign Jtelations. 

[December, 1808. 

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 pri- 
marily important, lessened the temptation to 
war. The rich plunder of your inoffensive and 
enlarged commerce, must inevitably have gone 
to swejl the coffers which are to support the 
sinews of war against you. The reaction thus 
caused by the embargo, is in your favor, pre- 
cisely to the amount of property and men which 
it has saved to you from your enemies. 

But we are told that the enterprising mer- 
chant 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 con- 
sequences. 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. Jaokson) — ^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 en- 
terprise, and for their capital as either ; would 
they send their vessels to the Continent of 
Europe ? I believe their opinion would corrob- 
orate the opinion of Mr. Gray. 

The mercantile distresses have been described, 
with every possible exaggeration, as insuffer- 
able. 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 situa- 
tion 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 ton- 
nage 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 em- 
bargo, and which, reaUy 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 suffi- 
ciently numerous and pressing without increas- 
ing 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 alUance 
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 em- 
braces of the whore of England, nor truckle at 
the footstool of the Gallic Emperor. 

But the embargo has failed, it has been tri- 
umphantly 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 caase of melancholy feel- 
ings 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 eva- 
sion of the laws which prevented their being 
effectual. He tells you that certain evaders of 
the laws hav^ 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 wiU pass over the subject ; it imposes 
sUence on me, because it must speak daggers to 
the hearts of some men. 

My friend from Virginia (Mr. Eandou-h) 
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 con- 
sequences of the present system of the bel- 
ligerents to our interests, must be glow- 
ing, self-evident. He will see that their pres- 
ent 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 ra- 
ther go off at once. I have no opinion of a lin- 
gering 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 



Decembeb, 1808.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[H. or E. 

Bhould perish in one glorious conflict, than suh- 
mit to this, so vile a system. 

But we are told, that the emhargo itself is 
submission. Indeed, sirl 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 sub- 
mission. 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 repeal- 
ing 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 restric- 
tions on commerce, would not be submission ? 
Certainly, sir. Is then a refrainingfrom so doing, 
submission? In a word, is resistance submis- 
sion? Was the embargo principle considered 
submission in the days of tiie stamp act ? Did 
the nation call it submission when it was enact- 
ed under General Washington? Was it so con- 
sidered by the Bepublicans, 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, su-. 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 1774r-'5-'6? But it has been replied, it is 
not meet that the remedi'es 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 mer- 
chandise 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 fur- 
ther; 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 im- 
mediately before us. I will tell you what de- 
scription of people in the United States are 
most anxious that the embargo should not be 
repealed. Ifts 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 in- 
sults practised by her. If this embargo be sub- 
mission, if non-intercourse be submission, if a 
prompt preparation for war be submission, I 
ask them what is it to sit stiU 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 de- 
sirable that we should know it — it will conduce 
to the pnbUc weal. 

I, for one, sir, will vote to continue the em- 
bargo, because I do stiU 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 yon can adopt. You will find 
that her colonic 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 apolo- 
gize 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 colo- 
nial system has been always regarded as essen- 
tial 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 in- 



H. OF R.] 

Foreign Melations, 



tercourse with the United States, notwithstand- 
ing every thing which has been said to the con- 
trary. I do not mean to involve the idea of 
absolute starvation ; much leas 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 profit- 
able existence depends upon us. There are Hot 
contained within the whole British empire at 
this time, whatever they may have been pre- 
vious to the American Eevolution, supplies for 
the home and colonial consumption. Will gen- 
tlemen tell us from whence they are to procure 
the principal articles of provisions and lumber ? 
I might rest the argument in safety on these 
arti'olea 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 arti- 
cle 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 file lumber received, we have heretofore fur- 
nished ninety-nine parts out of one hundred. 
But we are told they can raise corn. Who de- 
nies 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 indus- 
try 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 for- 
get that at least one-third of her revenue ac- 
cruing 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 considera- 
tions to a refusal to do you justice ? We do not 
require justice, for all we ask of her is to ab- 
stain 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 de- 
luded into a belief that she has snflScient in- 
fluence, 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 wiH betray a timid, wavering, inde- 
cisive 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 encour- 
age 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 perse- 
verance in our measures will assist us almost as 
much as the strength of them. 

I conceive the supplies necessary for the main- 
tenance 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 forgot- 
ten 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 ex- 
tremely important that our sympathies should 
not be enlisted on the side of either of the con- 
tending 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 sacriflce of that article, 
it goes to the injury of Great Britain who op- 
presses us, and whose present importation is not 
equal to one-half her ordinary consumption. If 
the manufacturer is to be thrown out of em- 
ploy, tiU 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, 1 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 earth. 

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 procras- 
tinate the miseries of war, I am for procrasti- 
nating ; we thereby gaui the additional advan- 



December, 1808.] 

Foreign Selatums. 

[H. OF E. 

tage of waiting the events in Europe. The true 
interests of this conntry can be found only in 
peace. Among many other important consid- 
erations, 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 termina- 
tion ; for as was most correctly observed by 
my friend, (Mr. MACoif,) the belligerents fight 
ever3'body but one another. Every object for 
which the war was originally begun and con- 
tinued to 1806, has since that time become ex- 
tinct. The rupture in the negotiations of that 
day was made not on points affecting directly 
the British interest, but grew out of the indi- 
rect concern she felt in maintaining those urged 
by Kussia, 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 un- 
defined, so interminable! 

But, say gentlemen, it is certainly not sub- 
mission 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 im- 
portance 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 with- 
hold our supplies from those who need them, 
I will not permit you to go to those countries. 
Eepeal the embargo in parti 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 ful- 
crum 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 
aE the attention it is entitled to. It appears to 
me to be demonstrable from the documents, and 
the knowledge of circumstances which we pos- 
sess, 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 wherebv 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 du-ection of that trade in 
a channel which could not fail to yield a tribu- 
tary supply to her exchequer. She has now 

interdicted, by orders secretly issued, that com- 
merce also. The language of Ooohrane's pro- 
clamation 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 tq^Spain and Portugal is altogether 
illusory. Mr. Canning has told us, not in to- 
tidem verbis, but certainly in efiect, that we 
should be permitted to trade with those coun- 
tries, only under the Orders in Council. In 
answer to the proposition made by Mr. Pink- 
ney 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 efiGicacious 
than those orders, inasmuch as our own regula- 
tions would have interdicted all commerce with 
France. The professed object of the Orders in 
Council, retaliation on the enemy, cannot there- 
fore 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 princi* 
pie, but to adapt them more exactly to the 
different state of things which has fortunately 
grown up in Europe, and to combine all prac- 
ticable relief to neutrals with a more severe 
prssure npon the enemy." Here is not only a 
denial of suspension, but a threat that altera- 
tions 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 np 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. 



H. OF E.] 

Foreign Rdatione. 

[DECEMBEn, 1808. 

Some gentlemen have gone into a discussion 
of thie propriety of encouraging manufactures in 
this country. I heard with regret the observa- 
tions of the gentleman from Virginia on this 
subject. I will be excused by him for oflfering 
my protest against those sentiments. I am for 
no high protecting duties in favor of any de- 
scription 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. TJilder 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 im- 
position of duty, by way of bounty to one de- 
scription of persons, at the expense of another, 
equally meritorious. I deplore most sincefely 
the situation into which the unprecedented 
state of the world has thrown the merchant. 
A gentleman fjwm Massachusetts has said, they 
feel all the sensibility for the mercantile inter- 
est, which we feel for a certain species of prop- 
erty 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 discuss- 
ing 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 sacri- 
fices, which the public exigencies call for, with 
spirit and resolution? If they should suflTer 
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 ex- 
clusive 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 groves out of the produce of the 
soil ; but no further. Nor am I therefore dis- 
posed 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 jeal- 
ousies, which I wish to see allayed,) that the 
Southern States are inimical to commerce. So 
far as South Carolina is concerned in the gene- 
ral implication, I do pronounce this a gross 
slander, an abominable falsehood, be the au- 
thors who they may. The State of South 

Carolina is now making a most magnanimous 
sacrifice fbr commercial rights. 

Will gentlemen be surprised when I tell them, 
South Carolina is interested, by the suspension 
of our trade, in the article of cottdn 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 re- 
joice 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 
ofiering, 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 proofe 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 thns stoop to calcu- 
late, 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 spumed a sys- 
tem 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. Kjet) was in 
fevor of; for he says he gave his advice to do 
that very thing, which if adopted would out 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 Legisla- 
ture, 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 em- 
bargo on our ships, and not on produce. No, 
sir ; she knows we are linked together by one 
common chain — ^break it where yon will, it 
dissolves the tie of union. She feels, sir, a 
stroke inflicted on Massachusetts, with the same 
spirit of sesistance that she woiid 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 Rep- 
resentative of such a State, and that its repre- 
sentatives 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 senti- 



December, 1808.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[H. OF R. 

ments, I cannot but say, in contradiction to 
what feU from the gentleman from Virginia, 
(Mr. GHOLSoif,) I should deplore that state of 
things which offers to the merchant the lament- 
able alternative, beggary or the plough. I 
would say to the merchant, in the sincerity of 
my heart, bear this pressure with manly forti- 
tude ;_ 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. Kjet) yesterday. The gentle- 
man commenced his address by contradicting 
the statements made by a gentleman from Mas- 
sachusetts, and my worthy friends from Vir- 
ginia and Georgia, (Messrs. Eandolph and 
TEOtjr.) He told you their districts could not 
feel the embargo most, as it was in his the suf- 
ferings 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 mur- 
murs, no discontent at the exertions of Govern- 
ment 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 discern- 
ing their true interests, they saw it was the em- 
bargo, and not the Orders in Council, which 
oppresses them. He must feel confident indeed 
in the knowledge that he is two years in ad- 
vance of his constituents, or he would not have 
ventured such an assertion. [Mr. Key explain- 
ed 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 Coun- 
cil did not affect the continental market, but 
the Berlin decree ; that the embargo caused all 
the pressure at home ; that the Orders in Coun- 
cil 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 re- 
moved 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 com- 

Vol. IV.— 6 

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 guar- 
dians 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 him- 
self. And would he advise the nation to pur- 
sue a course disgraceful, and to which he would 
not Expose himself? I wiU not trust the mer- 
chants in this case, nor any other class of men ; 
not being responsible for the national oharac-' 
ter, they will trade anywhere, without regard 
to principle. So true is this, Dessalines felt no 
uneasiness when informed of the law prohibit- 
ing all intercourse with St. Domingo ; he re- 
plied, "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 wiU 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 knowl- 
edge of who advocates its removal. Before the 
embargo was laid, agricultural labor in the Brit- 
ish West India islands, particularly on sugar 
estates, could scarcely support itself. I refer 
the gentleman to the documents printed by or- 
der of Parliament, and the memorials of the 
agent of Jamaica. He wUI find that the plant- 
ers 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 gmbargo had not taken 
place. If the price of flour has been sixty dol- 
lars 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 smug- 
gling proclamation also. Such a degree of cor- 
ruption and of immorality never before, in any 



H. OP R.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[December, 1808. 

one paper, disgraced a civilized nation. Tlie 
citizens of a country, at peace and in amity, en- 
ticed to evade their own laws 1 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 ex- 
ports, we should undertake to prohibit iiem. 
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 ex- 
poi-ts, which by the constitution we are prohib- 
ited, 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 im- 
perious attitude, he demanded to know if we 
can expect she will yield to us now, when dar- 
ing 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 what- 
ever ; we only entreat her to let us alone ; to 
abstain from wanton, unprovoked acts of op- 
pression. What is the object of this language 1 
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 fronf what it is now. She 
then contended against the dismemberment of 
her Empire. WOl 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 his- 
tory 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 as- 
sailed her, when all these brought the principle 
of embargo to bear upon her, was nearer ruin 
than she ever was befof e 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 
uow 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 wiU not hold out now 
as she did then. When I recollect that her ne- 
cessary annual expenditure is greater than the 
gross rent of all the landed property in her king- 

dom ; 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 

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 

We wore informed by the gentleman, that it 
was the Berlin decree, and not the Orders in 
Council, had destroyed our trade to the Conti- 
nent 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 mer- 
chants 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 ques- 
tions and answers : 

" If the American embargo were removed, and the 
Orders in Coimcil still continued in force, in that 
case wonld 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 Con- 
tinent 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 be- 
tween 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 remit- 
tances, 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 derived. 

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

" 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 Council. 

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

" They, would have considerable effect in regard to 
our remittances. 

" In what manner ? 



December, 1808.] 

Foreign Rdatixms, 

[H. OP R. 

" By ■bringing all the produce of America to this 
country, they must occasion such a vast glut in the 
market, that the produce would he worth little or 

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

" The consequence I apprehend would be, that 
great parts of the bills must go hack protested ; be- 
cause the produce, for which the bills are drawn, 
would seU for scarcely the value of the freight and 

" Does the witness conceive, from his knowledge 
of the American ti-ade, that if the whole of the Amer- 
ican produce, which according to an average of years 
had heen carried to the Continent of Europe, and to 
Great Britain, was now to he imported into Great 
Britain alone, and the Orders in Council to continue ; 
whether St would he 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 market ? 

" I think it would he impossible. 

" Have you lately written to your correspondents 
in America respecting shipments of American pro- 
duce 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 operations. 

" Did you give this advice to your American cor- 
respondents, upon the supposition that America 
would acquiesce in the Orders in Council ? 

*' Certainly not, I stated it as a thing hy no means 
likely ; hut, 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 obliga- 
tion 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 un- 
founded. The gentlemaa'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 culti- 
vation 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 quar- 
ter. Oould the sugar estates be oottverted to 
cotton plantations, so depressed has been their 
situation, that conversion would have been long 
since effected. Nor, sir, is it true that the cul- 
tivation of cotton in the British West India 
islands has been abandoned ; on the contrary, 
it has heen 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 theicultivation has not kept pace with 
the demand. 

I heard the gentleman with pain and morti- 
fication, 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. Kelson) 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 gov- 
ernments 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 pecu- 
niary reward, with Great Britain, our rights, 
our honor, and our independence ? Detestable 
as this inference is, it results from his argu- 
ments. Repeal the embargo, throw open yotu- 
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 hy the attractive, the corruptive influence 
of the petty island of Great Britain? No. 
Sooner may yon expect the sun with all the 
planetary system will rush from their shining 
spheres, to gravitate round a pebble. Remem- 
ber, sir, it is no longer a contest singly about 
the carrying trade, or the impressment of sea- 
men, or the insult to the national flag, but all 
united with the rights and attributes of sov- 
ereignty, even to the violation of the good old 
United States. You stand on the verge of 



H. OF R.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[December, 1808. 

destruction, one step, one movement backwards 
■will stamp your character with indelible dis- 
grace. 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 vaa- 
-salage 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 

Mr. CnLPBPBE spoke in opposition to the re- 

Mr. Cook moved to adjourn. Mr. J. G. Jack- 
son called for the yeas and nays on the motion ; 
but a suflScient 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 
60, and the House adjourned. 

Sattjhdat, December 10. 

Mr. Lewis, from the Committee for the Dis- 
tiict of Columbia, presented a bill supplementary 
to the act, entitled " An Act for the establish- 
ment of a Turnpike Company in the county of 
Alexandria, in the District of Columbia ;" which 
■was read twice, and committed to a Conunittee 
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. Maeion, 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 Establish- 
ments, presented a bill authorizing the appoint- 
ment 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 Eelations. 

The House again proceeded to the considera- 
tion of the first resolution of the report made 
by the Committee of Foreign Eelations. 

Mr. Cook addressed the House at considerable 

Mr. E. Jaokson said : Mr. Speaker, not hav- 
ing been in the habit of public speaking, it is 
with great diffidence I rise, to make any obser- 
vations on the resolutions now under considera- 
tion, 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, 
ha^ve 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 Trance." 
Why we are called upon to make this declara- 
tion, 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 mer- 
chandise, 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 rea- 
son to suppose it wUl, 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 com- 
pelled 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 em- 
bargo 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, owiag 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 committance to do ns 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 



December, 1808.] 

Foreign Relations, 

[tt Off R. 

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 proceed- 
ings 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 em- 
ployed were totally inadequate to its accom- 
plishment, should we not abandon those means 
and try some other? We have tried the em- 
bargo, 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 our- 
selves. 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 embarrass- 
ments ; and all that numerous class of our citi- 
zens, 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 conse- 
quence 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 embari-ass- 
ments to all classes of citizens throughout our 
country. And if this system is continued, we 
must incur the hazard of having civil commo- 
tions 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 sen- 
timent upon, the hazard is very great that civil 
commotions wiU 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 im- 
possible 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 
Khode 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 coun- 
try, 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, nntU he is sat- 
isfied with that speculation, he wiU 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 them- 
selves 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 al- 
ready 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 manufac- 
tures, 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 fur- 
nish them market enough ; and our navigation 
being all laid up, and out of the way, their ships 
wiU obtain great freights from Spain and Por- 
tugal 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 yon do not like this system, point 
out a better^ and if it appears so, we vriU 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 suftering constitu- 
ents 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 imposiog an em- 
bargo 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 apn their vessels, under proper 
regulations, in defence of our legitimate and 
lawful commerce ; that the Grovernment from 



H. OP K.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[Decembek, 1808. 

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 fi-om their present embarrass- 
ments 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 em- 
ploy 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 rig- 
ging aloft, and the ports whitened with their 
sails, and again hear the cheering sound of in- 
dustry. 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. Oould 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 impor- 
tance 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 con- 
sider 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 offetedby the gentle- 
man from New York (Mr. Mumfoed). He men- 
tioned that we could trade to the little Swedish 
island of St. Bartholomews, in the West Indies. 
Now suppose we should look over our foi'mer 
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 dol- 
lars, but double, triple it if yon 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 un- 
derwriters 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 eager- 
ness the merchants in the United States availed 
themselves of the special permission granted to 
fit their vessels in ballast, and go abroad to col- 
lect debts ? And was not every old and obso- 
lete 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 imder 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 under- 
writers 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 con- 
sidered 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, allow- 
ing for the variation of the seasons. And the 
political perils always exist, but they vary accord- 
ing to the state of political affairs among the 
nations of the world. But, sir, I have repeat- 
edly heard it said, and the same thing is ex- 
pressed in the report of the committee, that our 
situation is such, that we have no other alter- 
native than a war with both Great Britain and 
France, submission, or a total suspension of our 

The committee have, sir, after a long state- 
ment, 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 



December, 1808.] 

Foreign Eelations. 

[H. OF E. 

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 
he 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 hest for their interest, as well if not 
better than any nation upon earth, and I have 
no idea that they wiH support the Government 
in a ruinous war with England, under the pres- 
ent existing circumstances, nor in measures de- 
priving them of all trade and commerce. 

Mr. MuMEOKD 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. Gaedbnibe, was 
carried — yeas 58, nays 48. 

Tuesday, December 13. 

On motion of Mr. Thomas, 

Begohed^ That a committee be appointed to 
inquire into the expediency of dividing the In- 
diana Territory ; and that they have leave to re- 
port by bill or otherwise. 

Ordered, That Mr. Thomas, Mr. Kenan, Mr. 
Bassett, Mr. Taggaet, and Mr. Smilie, be ap- 
pointed a committee pursuant to the said reso- 

On motion of Mr. Thomas, the resolutions of 
the House of Eepresentatives of the Indiana 
Territory, which were read and ordered to lie 
on the table on the fourteenth ultimo, were re- 
ferred to the select committee last appointed. 

Mr. MAJtiON, 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 biU to the House without amend- 
ment : 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, 

Besolved, 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 otherwise. 

Ordered, That Mr. Alexandeb, Mr; David 
R Williams, Mr. John G. Jackson, Mr. Key, 
and Mr. Quinot, be appointed a committee, 
pursuant to the said resolution. 

A message from the Senate informed the 
House that the Senate have passed a bill, enti- 
tled " 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 bUl, entitled "An act to 
change the post route from Annapolis to Eoct- 
hall, by Baltimore to EockhaU ; " to which they 
desire the concurrence of this House. 

Foreign Relations. 
The following is Mr. Gaedeniee's speech 
entire : 

Mr, Speaker : I had intended to defer the de- 
livery of my sentiments upon the second resolu- 
tion, until that resolotion should come before 
the House. But the course which the debate 
has taken, has produced a change in my origi- 
nal 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- inde- 
pendence? 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 na- 
tion 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 ex- 
pressed in this abstract proposition true 2 _ 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 un- 
necessary 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, revolu- 
tionary 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 seff-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 

TpQQ truG 

■ 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 res- 



H. OF R.] 

Foreign Relatione. 

[Decembek, 1808. 

olution is harmless — it ties you down to no spe- 
cific course, and therefore you may as well vote 
for it ; that to vote against it, will afford a han- 
dle 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 profess- 
ing 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 con- 
stituents 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 com- 
mittee, 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 inev- 
itable 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 infrac- 
tions 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 properplaoeitshallappearso. lenternow 
upon the discussion of the second resolution. 
And although I am aware how little professions 
of sincerity and embarrassment are generally re- 
garded, 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 distress- 

ing perplexity which would embarrass me if I 
had entered the labyi-inth in which was conceal- 
ed 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 mo- 
tives 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 Inquisi- 
tion. The sound of his voice should never be 
suffered to pollute the Hall of the Representa- 
tives 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 

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 disappoint- 
ment and disasters hitherto, and promises only 
ruin and disgrace in future. 

The time, sir, has been, when the Govern- 
ment was respected at home and abroad, when 
the people were prosperous and happy, when 
the poHtieal body was in high, in vigorous 
health ; when America rejoiced in the fiilness 
of her glory, and the whole extent of the United 
States presented a scene vmknown 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 pre- 
scriptions will answer now. And the cure, to 
be effectual, must not persevere in a course 
which has not only produced no good, nor prom- 
ises 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, sph-it ; 
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 contem- 
plate 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 



Dbcember, 1808.] 

Foreign Relatums. 

[H. OF R 

gentleman who hears me is unwilling to sacri- 
lice the popularity of the Administration to the 
salvation of the country. 

Permit me then, sir, to go hack 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 hai'dly able to col- 
lect enough for State purposes. And, of course, 
there was no such thing as public credit, al- 
though 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 Wash- 
EsraTON, men whom he knew to be faithful in 
the Cabinet, for he had found them faithful in 
the darkest stages of the Revolution. The na- 
tion, 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 sagac- 
ity to discover the secret springs of our pros- 
perity 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 machin- 
ery that it admitted of no improvement. It re- 
quired 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 I 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 with- 
out 'taxation being felt by the people. 

But this great prosperity was not without 
interraption. It received a stroke, sir, deep and 
dangerous, and almost mortal, from the tremen- 
dous 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 stagger- 
ed 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 showedSt not by venting their rage in idle 
reproaches, but by applying eflScient 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 onr 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 accom- 
plished when Great Britain was not less impe- 
rious in disposition, but more fonnidable in pow- 
er 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 exist- 
ence, the same thing was impossible : that has 
with ease, and under more inauspicious circum- 
stances, 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 mira- 
cle 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 abihties to obtain 
it and consequently did obtain it. The instruc- 
tions 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 then- Minister a non-impor- 
tation act, a proclamation, or a permanent em- 
bargo, 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 withdehght 
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 wouldmove an adjournment, which was taken 
by ayes and noes and lost — ayes 47, noes 66 — 
Mr. G. voting in the affirmative.] 



H. OF E.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[December, 1808. 

Mr. G. continued.— Mr. Jay had no disposi- 
tion to bully tlie British Government into jus- 
tice; 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 Eevolution became the cour- 
teous ambassador, and, appealing " to the jus- 
tice 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, pursu- 
ing the natural direction of their interests, there 
V7as no difficulty in making peace. Our plun- 
dered merchants were compensated — ^paid, sir, 
lona 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 pur- 
chase 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 modem 

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

I care not what were the objections of the 
day, begotten in the brain of faction, and cher- 
ished in mobs : under the treaty we were pros- 
perous 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 pre- 
cisely coextensive with the progress of our pros- 
perity — it made our people rich and happy ; and, 
bad as it was, they would have cause to rejoice 
indeed if the present Administration had fur- 
nished 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 wis- 
dom of our Government was called into action, 
and again it produced the most happy result. 
What did they do ? An embassy was despatch- 
ed to France, redress was demanded, but the 
Ministers were not received, nor could be, till 
a douceur — a tribute — was paid. From a na- 
tion 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 de- 
mands. 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 re- 

quires no skill to see, in such a case, that, to 
coax the offender into reparation is impossible. 
Accordingly, our Government did not hesi- 
tate 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 
iustruotion, even from the author of the " JJ^otes 
on Virginia," who, in that work, so judiciously 
recommends a navy. Onr 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 

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 gam, 
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 appear- 
ance of redress provided for. 

Now, sir, for the result. A former Adminis- 
tration were able to settle our differences with 
Great Britain, although she governed aU 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 exam- 
ple of a former Administration) manifested a 
sincere disposition to accommodate our difficul- 
ties 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 eiTors, 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 Adminis- 
tration 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 



Decembkr, 1808.] 

Foreign Helatiom. 

[H. OP E. 

consolation, that though it promises nothing 
hut ruin, yet it is so ridiculous, so ludicrous, 
that we can hut 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 coun- 
try, rich, prosperous, and increasing in pros- 
perity. A people contented and happy ; or dis- 
contented 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 whi- 
tening every sea, and rewarding agriculture for 
aU its industry, and every one sitting in peace 
under his own vine and flg tree. Our country 
presented to the animated philanthropist one 
uninterrupted display of liberty, of gaiety, and 
of felicity. Oh ! happy, happy peiiod 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 wonder- 
ful prosperity committed to men. That pros- 
perity had been acquired at a price no less un- 
paralleled, 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 

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 command- 
ed to preserve them undiminished. 

They were not required to create a paradise 
— ^but to keep uninjured that which was com- 
mitted 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 in- 
trusted to them, I would have endeavored to 
overcome my resentment, my indignation, and 
my despair. 

In performance of their lofty promises, m dis- 
regard of sacred duties, what have they done ? 
In what condition do they leave the couiitry, 
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 dis- 
tressed—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 I The sources of revenue are dried 
up. The Treasury, indeed, may be now full — 
but it must continually diminish — and, with- 
out 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 
engagement!? 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 bene- 
fit to compensate us for aU the dreadful efiects 
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 Ad- 
ministration, if they deserve no censure, are 
certainly entitled to no praise, and can ask for 
no confidence. If they have not been the au- 
thors 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 de- 
plorable situation. The truth is plain and pal- 
pable. Judging of the wisdom of the Admin- 
istration by the result of its measures, I cannot 
sing praises to them for their skiU and ingenui- 
ty in diplomacy. No, sir ; I delight in that 
diplomacy which makes the poor rich ; which 
makes industry prosperous; which spreads con- 
tentment through the land, and happiness among 
the people. I delight in the diplomacy, whose 
skUl and wisdom can be read in the counte- 
nance of my countrymen, and makes the face of 
my country the evidence of its prosperity. I 
like not, I abhor that diplomatic skUl which can 
be found only in a book ! which has produced 
nothing but calamity, and whose praise is writ- 
ten in the blood of my countrymen. 

But, sir, how happens it that we still remain 
under- the distresses occasioned by the belliger- 
ents ? Is there, indeed, a physical impossibili- 
ty of removing them? From Great Britain, 
and that, too, when she had the whole conti- 
nent on her side, we could once obtain justice, 
not only for the past, but security for the future. 



H. Off R.] 

Foreign Jtdations. 

[Decembeb, 1808. 

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 Brit- 
ain 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 ence 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 to- 
ward England the policy which saved ns 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, affect- 
ing 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 bo 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 — ^bnt 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, gentle- 
men say, if we suffer our commerce to go on 
the ocean, or wherever it goes, it will be crip- 
pled either by France or Great Britain. Al- 
though 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 sail- 
ing 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 de- 
crees 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 em- 
bargo answered? Is there any probability, 
the slightest indication, that it will answer? 
Has it operated, to any perceptible extent, ex- 
cept 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 coiSd be 
pointed to a single fact, produced by the opera- 
tion 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 per- 
severance in that system of injustice which we 
pretend to oppose, but to the poUcy of which we 
give all our support with an infatuated wilful- 
ness, and which, therefore, increases the hostili- 
ty Great Britain has felt from the measure — ^if 
they could show me, sir, that the embargo wiU 
bring either to terms, I would abandon the op- 
position at once, and come heart and hand into 
the support of your measures. The other day, 
the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Wil- 
liams) 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 £awn from Pandora's box, to vex 
Great Britain, you could have hit on none so 
weU calculated to call out all her resistance, and 
aU her obstinacy, as this same expedient, the 
embargo ! If she yields to ns, under the pres- 
sure 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 ns 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 wae. 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 experiment- 
al 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-importa- 
tion, 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-inter- 
course, and you bring ns to your feet." Does 



December, 1808.] 

Fordffii Sdations. 

[H. OF R. 

any gentlemen believe, even allowing the pres- 
sure of the embai-go to be great npon 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 np_ in. battle — sooner would she see 
her soldiers retreating before our bayonets; 
sooner would she see her armies perish under 
our valor, than acMowledge 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 de- 
pendent upon our wiU for the existence of 
her sovereignty. Sir, the King of England can- 
not, he dare not, yield to our embargo. 

But, sir, he has not told us that he considers 
our embargo hostile to him ; nor has our Gov- 
ernment ever told him that it was ; such a dec- 
laration has never been put to paper. No, sir ; 
when you look into the correspondence, it 
would geem that the embargo was never intend- 
ed as a coercive measure, nor even xmderstood 
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 kind- 
ness 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-importa- 
tion 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 regu- 
lations — and she is full as sorry that her retalia- 
tion 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 in- 
tended 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 knpwn 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 con- 
troversy 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 thaprosperity we have been unne- 
cessarily 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. 
QuiKCT 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. re- 
plied, he had himself little inclination to con- 
tinue 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 adjom-ned.] 

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 wejtfare and happiness of the nation. 
It is of the first necessity that we should delib- 
erate 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 pur- 
pose 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 relin- 
quishing the path of error and misfortune, they 
would stai be die learners of wisdom and expe- 
rience, it would not even now be too late to re- 
trieve 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 arid 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 contrast- 
ing 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 



H. OF R.] 

Foreign Relations. 

[Decembeb, 1808. 

desired to have been spared the necessity of 
presenting that contrast before the nation. I 
could have wished to have avoided tliese refer- 
ences, 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 follow- 
ing words, was divided, so as to take the ques- 
tion first on the part in italic : 

" Resolved, That the United States cannot, without a 
aaenfice oj' 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 aflBrmative 
— yeas 113, nays 2. 

The main question was then taken that the 
House do agree to the said first resolution as re- 
ported 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, 
snbmit to the edicts of Great Britain and France : " 

And resolved in the affirmative — ^yeas 118, 
nays, 2. ' 

Satitedat, December 17. 
A division of the question on the resolution 
depending before the House was then called for 
by Mr. David E. Williams : Whereupon, so 
much of the said resolution was read, as is 
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 ves- 
sels 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 mem- 
ber of the original resolution, as proposed to be 
divided on a motion of Mf . D. B. Willlams, 
and hereinbefore recited, a mvision of the ques- 
tion on the first said member of the resolution 
was called for by Mr. Gaedeniee, from the com- 
mencement 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 publio or private armed or unarmed ships or ves- 
sels belonging to Great Britain." 

The question being taken that the House do 
agree to the same, it was resolved in the affirma- 
tive — 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," imme- 
diately following the words " Great Britain," 
hereinbefore recited : And the question being 
put thereupon, it was resolved in the affirma- 
tive — yeas 97, nays 24. 

And on the question that the House do agree 
to the second member of the said second reso- 
lution, contained in the words following, to 

" Or to any other of the belligerent powers having 
in force orders or decrees violating the lawful com- 
merce 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 manufac- 
ture, 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 36. 

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., Eze- 
kiel Bacon, David Bard, Joseph Barker, Bnrwell 
Bassett, William W. Bibb, William Blackledge, John 
Blake, jun., Thomas Blount, Adam Boyd, John 
Boyle, Robert Brown, William A. BurweU, William 
Butler, Joseph Calhoun, George W. Campbell, Mat- 
thew Clay, Joseph Clopton, Richard Cutts, John 
Dawson, Joseph Desha, Daniel M. Durell, John W. 
Eppes, William Findlay, Jas. Fisk, Meshack Frank- 
lin, Francis Gardner, Thomas Gholson, jnn., Peter- 
son Goodwyn, Edwin Gray, Isaiah L. Green, John 
Heister, WUliam Helms, James Holland, David 
Holmes, Benjamin Howard, Reuben Humphreys, 
Daniel Hsley, John G. Jackson, Richard M. Johnson, 
Walter Jones, Thomas Kenan, WiUiam Kirkpatriek, 
John Lambert, John Love, Nathaniel Macon, Robert 
Marion, William McCreeiy, 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, Ebene- 
zer 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 Home, Daniel C. Verplanck, Jesse Wharton, 
Robert Whitehill, Isaac Wllbour, David R. WUliams 
Alexander Wilson, and Richard Wynn. ' 

Nays. — Evan Alexander, John Campbell, Epaph- 
roditus Champion, Martin Chittenden, John Culpep- 
er, 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 0. Mosely 
Timothy Pitkin, jun., Josiah Quiucy, John Russell^ 
James Sloan, L. B. Sturges, Samuel Taggart, Ben- 



December, 1808.] 

MirandcCs Expediti(m, 

[H. OP E. 

jamin Tallmadge, Jabez Upham, Philip Van Cort- 
landt, and Killian K. Van Eenssela«r. 

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

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

It was vmanimously resolved in the affirma- 

On motion of Mr. Geokge "W. Campbell, 
Ordered, That the second resolution he re- 
ferred 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. Geoege 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 Presi- 
dent of the United States as relates to the Mili- 
tary 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 resolu- 
tion reported by the committee : 

Resolved, That the President of the United States 
be requested to adopt the most immediate and ejjicacious 
means in his power to obtain from the Viceroy of Gre- 
nada, in South America, or other proper authority, 
the liberation of thirty-six American citizens, con- 
demned on a charge of piracy, and now held in sla- 
very in the vaults of St. Clara, in Carthagena, and 

that the sum of dollars be appropriated to that 


Mr. D. E. Williams moved to postpone the 
consideration of the subject indefinitely. Nega- 
tived— 50 to 36. 

The House then went into a Committee of 
the Whole on the subject — 39 to 33. 

Mr. LovB moved to amend the resolution by 
striking out the words in italics, and inserting 
" authorized to request." — Carried, ayes 64. 

Those gentlemen who supported this resolu- 
tion in the debate were Messrs. Love, Lton, 
Bacon, Nelson, Sloan, and Wilboue. Those 
who opposed it were Messrs. D. E. Willlams, 
Tatloe, Smilie, Macon, and Southaed. 

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 con- 
nection with this expedition originally, wMch 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 beox)me weary 
of the privileges of freemen, and had entered 
into a hostile expedition against a foreign coun- 
try, and, in so doing, had been taken, condemn- 
ed for piracy, and immured as a punishment for 
that ofience; that the British Government, 
having been at the bottom of this business, was 
the proper power to release these persons, and 
indeed had ^plied to the Spanish commander 
for the purpose; that even were the United 
States bound bythe 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 ex- 
ercise 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 supply- 
ing 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 indis- 
creetly 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 nnd ergone ; that it was wholly imma- 
terial 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 Qver one sinner that repenteth, than over 
ninety and nine who have no need of repent- 
ance. 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 commit- 
tee-^9 to 31. 

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



H. OF R.] 

Division of the Indiana Territory, 

[Decembeb, 1808. 

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

On motion, the House adjourned. 

Ttibsdat, December 20. 
A new member, to wit, Joseph Stobt, re- 
turned to serve in this House, as a member for 
the State of Massachusetts, in the room of Jacob 
Orowninshield, deceased, appeared, produced 
his credentials, was qualified, and took his seat 
in the House. 

"Wedubsdat, December 21. 
Captain Piheh Expedition. 

On motion of Mr. J. Montgomebt, 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 ex- 
ploring the western country.] 

Mr. Staneoed moved to strike out the first 
section of the bill; which was negatived — 53 
to 88. 

The second section was stricken out — 42 to 

A considerable debate took place on this bill, 
in which Messrs. Montgomeet, Lyon and Al- 
KXANDEB supported the bill, and Messrs. Ma- 
con, DuBELL, Stafford and Tallmadse op- 
posed it. 

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

Satijedat, December 31. 
Division of the Indiana Territory. 

Mr. Thomas, from the committee appointed 
on the thirteenth instant, to inquire into the ex- 
pediency 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 Con- 
gress for the government of the Territory of the Unit- 
ed States Northwest of the river Ohio, it is stipulated 
that there shall be formed In (he said Territory no 
less than three, nor more than five States ; and the 
boundaries of the Slates, as soon as Virginia shall al- 
ter her act of cession, and consent to the same, shall 
become fixed and established, as follows : 
_ The Western State shall be bounded by the Mis- 
sissippi, the Ohio, and Wabash rivers ; a direct line 
drawn from the Wabash and Post Vinceimes, 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 Ter- 
ritorial 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 al- 
tered, that if Congress shall hereafter find it expedi- 
ent, they shall have authorify to form one or two 
States in that part of the said Territory which lifts 
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 Govern- 
ment : 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 he 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 

By the aforesaid article, it appears to your com- 
mittee 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 demar- 
cation, which the Wabash afifbrds between the east- 
ern and western portion of said Territory, added to 
the wide extent of wilderness coimtry which separates 
the population in each, constitute reasons in favor of 
a division, founded on the soundest policy, and con- 
formable with the natural situation of tide country. 
The vast distance firom the settlements of the Wabash 
to the present seat of Territorial government, renders 
the administration of justice burdensome and expen- 
sive 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 jus- 
tice. 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 at- 
tendance of witnesses ; and, even when their attend- 
ance is obtained, the accumulated expense of prose- 
cuting 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 ex- 
ecution of the laws for the redress of private wrongs. 
In addition to the above considerations, your com- 
mittee 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 Govern- 
ment in order. 

It further appears to your committee, that a divi- 
sion 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 in- 
conveniences which would he removed by an imme- 
diate separation, would have a direct tendency to en- 
courage 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 placed. 



jAOTAKr, 1809.] 

Naval Establishment. 

[H. OF R. 

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 infor- 
mation 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 popula- 
tion 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 ob- 
jection to the establisliment of a separate Territorial 
Government west of the river Wabash, and that ob- 
jection 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 pei-manently fixed 
in each, to comport with the convenience of tlie in- 
habitants, and tile 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 govern- 

And your committee, being convinced that it is 
the wish of a largo 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 resolution : 

Resolved, That it is expedient to divide the Indi- 
ana 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, pass- 
ed on the 13th day of July, 1787. 

Mr. Thomas, from the same committee, pre- 
sented a bill for dividing tlie 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. Wyks, that when 
this Honse adjourns, it will adjourn until Tues- 
day 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 Eowan, from 
Kentucky, appeared, and took his seat in the 

Naval Estdblishment. 

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 arm- 
ing, 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, 

Vol.. IV.— 7 

the public service should require it ; and the 
expense which would attend them was a suffi- 
cient argument against it, if no urgent occasion 
existed for their service, which he believed did 

Mr. Stokt entertained a very different opin- 
ion 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 ser- 
vice. At present they were rotting in the 
docks. If it w^re never intended to use them, 
it would be better to burn them at once than 
to suffer them to remain in their present situa- 
tion. 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 para- 
lyze 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. enumer- 
ated 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 com- 
petent 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. Stoht 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. E. 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 



H. OP R.] 

Naval EstablighmeiU. 

[J^DARY, 1809. 

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 pos- 
sessed 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 citi- 
zens giving them sufiEicient 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 ex- 
pressing any opinion on the question, it appeared 
to him to be at least of sufficient importance to 
be discussed in Committee of the Whole. Com- 
ing 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 Stoet, 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. Maoon, G. W. Campbell, and Hol- 
land 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 biU. 
Motion lost, 58 to 55. 

Mr. Macon observed, that the immediate ex- 
pense 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 as- 
tonished. 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. 
Stoey, 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 
fiir 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 appropria- 
tion, which never failed to occur even in the 
ordinary appropriations for the Navy Depart- 
ment 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 appropriated. 

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 essen- 
tially 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 expensive 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-hne, 
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 pos- 
sessions 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 suffi- 
cient evidence in history to warn the United 
States against it. 

Mr. Teoup said he rose but for the purpose 
of stating facts which struck him as being ap- 
plicable to the subject before the House. He 
referred chiefiy 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 re- 
ceived, in the course of this morning, contain- 
ing further particulars, which he begged leave 
to state to the House. After the officer (com- 
mander 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 threaten- 
ed the town with what he called vengeance ; 
and, in addition to these facts, letters had reach- 
ed Savannah from Liverpool, giving satisfactory 
information that vessels of fiteen 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 



JAN0ARY, 1809.] 

Naval Establishment. 

[H. OP K. 

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 tame- 
ly submit our honor and independence than 
maintain them in this economical way. If we 
went to war, we ought not to adopt little meas- 
ures for the purpose of executing them with 
little means ; neither should we refuse to adopt 
great measures, because they could not be exe- 
cuted 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 he executed at 
whatever expense. He was no advocate tor 
standing armies or nayies, 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 yes- 
terday 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 coun- 
try 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 corrup- 
tion attendant on them. He should as soon 
think of embarking an hundred thousand men 
for the purpose of attacking France at her thresh- 
old, 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 

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 com- 
merce against the Barbary Powers in peace, 
and in time of war for convoys to our merchant- 
men. He only meant a ffew fast-sailing frigates, 
such a navy as we have at present, for the pur- 
pose of harassing the commerce of our enemies 
also. He therefore thought our present naval 
force ought to 1»e 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. E. Williams said it was his misfor- 
tune 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 at- 
tempted 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. Siory) had 
even gone so far aS to say that a single gunboat 
could sweep one-half of our harbors. If a sin- 
gle gunboat could now sweep most of our har- 
bors, 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 Massachu- 
setts 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 consid- 
erable fleet except the constitution were amended 
to permit impressments, following the example 
of Great Britain. 

The gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Stoet) 
had said that except we begun with this bill, 
and got his fast-sailing frigates, we should never 
regain our rights. If that were reaUy 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 I there was not wealth enough 



H. OP R.] 

Naval Establiahmemt. 

[Jamuaey, 1809. 

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 en- 
terprise 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 strug- 
gle, and she had not rid herself of the debts 
incurred by it yet. Private enterprise must be 
depended upon. The people from the East- 
ward 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 priva- 
teers 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 conntiy. The insult at Savannah 
had by this time been redi-essed, 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. Teoup observed 
that the Hornet was off Charleston. Now, he 
wanted a frigate at Savannah.] Mr. W. said 
that Savannah was the very place where gun- 
boats 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 I If nine-tenths of 
the people were opposed to the evasions of the 
embargo law, Mr. W. said it would not be evad- 
ed._ The evaders would be considered as 
traitors — as the worst of traitors. As to pre- 
paring 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 abomiuably 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. Dtjebll considered the present subject as 
one of the most important which had been in- 

troduced 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 pres- 
ent moment in favor of embargo or war, because 
the House had been so distinctly told by a com- 
mittee 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 sub- 
ject, either to persevere in the embargo or re- 
sort to war. What would be the object of a war ? 
Not the right of the soU, not our territorial 
limits, but the right of navigating the ocean. 
Were we to redress those wrongs, those com- 
mercial 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 tjiing. 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 re- 
dressing 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, appear- 
ed to be mostly from the interior, and of course 
could not properly estimate its value. 

Mr. Sawtes 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 sys- 
tem 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 Adminis- 
tration. This Government, he said, was found- 
ed on public opinion, and whenever the appro- 
bation of the people was withdrawn, from 
whatever cause, the whole superstructure must 

Mr. S. dwelt at some length on the disadvan- 
tage of loans. He said, if this nation was des- 
tined to raise a navy for the protection of com- 
merce, 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 obser- 



January, 1809.] 

Extra Session. 

[H. OF E. 

vations whicli he made on this subject, that, on 
the score of the protection of trade, it would not 
be pi-oper 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 seatnen 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 Establish- 
ment. 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 in- 
sult from the oflacers 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 with- 
out 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 embarg(? at pres- 
ent. There was more ^rtue in our barrels of 
flour as to coercion than in aU the guns of 
our navy ; and we had lately given our adver- 
saries a supplementary broadside, which he 
hoped would tell well. Mr. S. stated the origin 
and progress of navies at some length, com- 
mencing with the Eepublic of Genoa. Our 
chief reliance as to defence must be on our 
nulitia. So little did Great Britain now rely on 
her navy for defence of her soU, that she had 
called upon every man in the country to he 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 wer3 obliged to have 
means of intercourse, but we had not that 
apology for a na,vy. 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. Jaokson said, that gentlemen should 
not be influenced, in discussing the present 
question, by a belief that they were now dis- 
cussing the propriety of raising a, naval force 
for offensive purposes. This was not the ques- 
tion. It was only whether, at this crisis, the 
House would employ a little force for the pur- 

pose of resisting attacks made on our territoiy 
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 na- 
tion. He would as soon resist an attack on 
our territorial jurisdiction on sea as on land- 
It made no difference with him whether a for- 
eign frigate came up to the piles of Potomac 
bridge and firai 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 overwhelm- 
ing force. This mode of reasoning had a tend- 
ency 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, how- 
ever, intended to cope with the navy of Great 
Britain, but to chastise the petty pirates who 
trespassed on our jm-isdiotion ; 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 juris- 
diction 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, not- 
withstanding 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. 

Satuedat, January 21. 
Extra Session. 

On motion of Mr. Smilib the House resolved 
itself into a Committee of the Whole on the bai 
to alter the time of the next meeting of Con- 

Mr. J. G. jACESoif 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. Maoost 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 



H. OF R.] 

Extra Session. 

[Jakuaky, 1809. 

snppoBed 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 "September." 

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 agi-eed with gentle- 
men 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 ses- 
sion, 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 belli- 
gerents would recede from their injurious re- 
strictions on our commerce. It was not prob- 
able that any thing would occur which would do 
away the necessity of an extra session. The 
present Congress having determined to perse- 
vere 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 suffi- 
ciently 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 stead. 

Mr. D. B. Williams said he was opposed to 
Congress coming here at the time proposed. 
Why should they come here then 8 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 pro- 
cedure. On the fourth day of March, a new 
President comes into power. Is it not presum- 
able 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 Presi- 
dent would send special messengers, unfashion- 
able as that policy was. If you are willing to 
wait for a declaration of war till the fourth 
Monday in May, wiU 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. Jaokson replied to Mr. Williams. 
■The gentleman had asked emphatically why 
Congress should convene here in May. Occur- 
rences 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 nepltts ultra, which shall give to foreign na,- 
tions time to revise their conduct towards ns, 
and wiU give them time to consider whether or 
not they will have war with us. The gentle- 
man wants a special mission. Sir, are we to 
continue in this state any longer ? Shall nego- 
tiation 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 rtian 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 negotia- 
tion, then, when every circumstance manifests 
that it would be useless ? Need I refer to what 
took place the other day— I allude to the publi- 
cation 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 ne- 
gotiation 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 of- 
fered to the House, for, under present circum- 
stances, it might not have been improper to 
have adopted it. 

Mr. Smilib said, if there were no other reason 
the present suspension of commerce, and discon- 
tents at Jiome, were sufficient reasons for calling 



Januakt, 1809.] 

Extra Session. 

[H. OF R. 

Congress earlier than the first Monday in De- 
cember. Wlien the new Administration shovdd 
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. Ehea, 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 
wotdd not imdertake 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 Chesa- 
peake, woidd 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 deter- 
mine 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 responsi- 
bility to vote for the biU. 

Mr. DuHELL asked if gentlemen meant to con- 
tinue the embargo forever. He believed some- 
what 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 criti- 
cal 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 aU 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 sug- 
gested by the gentleman from South Carolina, 
tbrty-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 un- 
willing to prolong this state by the passage of 

Mr. BuBWELL said he was one of those who 
would vote for an earlier meeting of Congress 
than usual. In Great Britain, in whose govern- 
ment there were some features approximating 
to ours, there was always an uneasiness, least 
the Parliament should not meet often enough. 
Whence could be the objection to Congress 
meeting at an earlier day ? If the public senti- 
ment was not then prepared for war, it would 
not be adopted. It appeared to him than 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 pro- 
position had already been made to her, in effect, 
to go to war with her against France, and in- 
sultingly refused; for no other interpretation 
could be made of the offer to suspend the em- 
bargo, if she would rescind her Orders in 
Council, except Mr. Canning chose to misunder- 
stand every thing that could be said. Unless 
gentlemen would point out some new propo- 
sition, 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 hiti 
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 Govern- 
ment ever said they had a right to do, and 
which was only justified on the ground of ne- 
cessity. There was therefore no plausibility in 
the assertion that peace had not been earnestly 
sought for. 

Mr . G. W. Campbell said that if nothing oc- 
curred between this time and the time proposed 
by the biU for the next meeting of Congress, 
which would particularly render a change ne- 
cessary, 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 



H. OP E.] 

Extra Session. 

[Janoaby, 1809. 

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 meas- 
ure, said Mr. C, nor did I ever use an expres- 
sion which would authorize such a supposition ; 
nor do I suppose that any other gentleman en- 
tertained such an idea. As to a special mission, 
I should as soon think of sending a special mes- 
senger 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. Bbewkll) had broached a doc- 
trine which he did not approve — that this 
Government was like that of Great Britain. 

Mr. BtTBWELL explained that he had said that 
the Governments were, in some of their fea- 
tures, alike. 

Mr. Maoon said that the reason of the fear 
in Greait 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 no- 
bility 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 meet- 
ing earlier ; but he was opposed to their meet- 
ing 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 Brit- 
ain 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 conse- 
quence. Mr. M. said he would give every op- 
portunity for peace ; he would not be for hurry- 
ing the matter. He had no opinion that 
Congress being in session would have any effect 
on the people. The cry of an intention to de- 
stroy commerce was not to make him do a 
single thing which he would not otherwise do. 
No man can believe that we who raise pro- 
duce 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 re- 
pealing the embargo to put an end to discon- 
tents. Let gentlemen beware of it, lest in 
trying to please everybody, they please no- 
body. 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 disa- 

gree with the gentleman from Tennessee as to 
the expediency of continuing the embargo ; I do 
not believethat it would be inexpedient to try it 
beyond May. I believe we ought to try it be- 
yond September. This is my opinion. "What 
effect do gentlemen expect that the embargo 
wUl 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 Exec- 
utive. It has been so suddenly suggested, 
however, that I would not undertake to decide 
positively on the subject. I should rather in- 
cline 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 coiTCctly. 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 peo- 
ple 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 Con- 
gress would declare war in May, I should be 
much more averse to meeting then than I am 
now ; but I do not believe it wiU. 

The question was now taken on the motion 
of Mr. D. K. "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 biU 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 affiixnative-^yeas 80, nays 26. 



FEBEnARy, 1809.] 

Electoral Votes. 

[H. OF E. 

MoJTDAT, 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. Baoon offered the following resolution : 

Resolved, That the Clerk of this Honse 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 Represent- 
atives 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 ike estcAlishment of so dan- 
gerous a precedent. 

Mr. J. Q. jAOKSONsaidhe 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 elec- 
tion, 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 sur- 
reptitious election. 

Mr. Van Hoene moved to strike out the 
words ra italic, as he understood them as com- 
mitting 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 President. 
Mr. Nicholas offered the following order : 
Ordered, That a message he 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 Unit- 
ed 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 pur- 
pose 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 chaii? 
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 pro- 

ceeding 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 under- 
stood. I conceive it to be a respect which we 
owe to ourselves, and to the people, Whose im- 
mediate representatives we are, never to suffer, 
by a sort of prescriptive right, the privileges of 
this House t%,be in anywise diminished, or its 
dignity to fade before that of any other assem- 
bly of men whatever. 

Mr. Nicholas said he was as imwilling 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 oc- 
casion of counting out the votes, he did not con- 
sider the House of Representatives to be formed 
as a distinct body. In meeting on this occa- 
sion, he said, it always had been usual, since 
the establishment of the Government, for the 
Vice President of the United States, or the Pres- 
ident ,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 mem- 
bers 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 privi- 
leges 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 he 
lost, as they were gained, by gradual and im- 
perceptible encroachment on the one hand, and 
tacit yielding on the other. This was not a 
matter of great consequence in itself ; but pow- 
er 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 nij objection, 



H. or E.] 


[Februakt, 1809. 

said Mr. E., very far from it, to the constitu- 
tional exercise of the powers and privileges of 
the Senate. Let their President connt the votes, 
sir ; there is a very good chair for him in which 
the Olerk now sits. But, on what principle is 
he to come into the House with the conscious- 
ness 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, hut 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 inti- 
mation from us,) that you are to leave your 
chair, and he is to take posssession of it. 

Mr. Smille 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 
1 body ; and, at the same time that it was prop- 
er 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 whUe Congress sat at Philadelphia, 
the Senate had come into the Eepresentatives' 
Chamber to count out the votes, and the Pres- 
ident 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? Un- 
questionably the officer directed by the consti- 
tution to open the votes. And I consider the 
Speaker of the House, on this occasion, as act- 
ing in the same capacity as any other member 
of the House. 

After some further observations on the sub- 
ject from Messrs. Mastbes, Lyon, and Maoon, 
the motion of Mr. Niohoias 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 Dtkb, it was 
agreed that the members should receive the Sen- 
ate standing and uncovered. 

The time for counting the votes having arriv- 
ed, the members of the Senate, preceded by 
their Sergeant-at- Arms, entered the Eepresent- 
atives' 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. 8. 

Smith, who read it ; the tellers of the House, 
Messrs. Nicholas mnd Van Dtkb, 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. HiLLHOTJSE 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 aa 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 pro- 
ceedings of the same day, ante, p. 27.) 

Thubsdat, February 9. 

Mr. Tatloe said it would be recollected 
that, in the course of the public business of 
this session, a resolution reported by a commit- 
tee on our foreign relations arising out of a 
motion of a member frpm North Carolina, for 
the purpose of interdicting commercial inter- 
course 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 re- 
ported a bill for non-intercourse. This bill in 
fact, however, comprised but one-half of the 
whole subject embraced by the words " non-in- 
tercourse." The bill as reported to this House 
provided for the non-importation of the goods, 
wares, and merchandise, the growth and man- 
ufacture 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. Ehea,) 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 or- 
der 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 com- 
mittee, 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 af- 
fecting our neutral rights. 

The Committee of the Whole was dis- 
charged from the further consideration of the 
bill, ayes 72. 

The effect of the votes of this day, is to re- 



Febrdary, 1809.] 


[H. OF K. 

fer to the Committee on Foreign Relations, 
composed of Messrs. G. "W. Oampbeix, Nioho- 
I.A8, Bacon, Tayloe, Fisk, J. Montqomeet, 
Mtimfokd, Champion, and Poetee, the several 
propositions for the repeal of the embargo, for 
arming the merchant vessels, for non-inter- 
course, 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 biU. 

The chief argument in favor of this general 
reference was, that these propositions might be 
merged in one bUl which should present a gen- 
eral system, and thus render less complicated 
the proceedings of the House on these resolu- 
tions. The main arguments against it were, 
that it would destroy aU 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. 

Tfesdat, February 14. 
AdditioTMl Duties. 

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

[This bin 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 fa/rther addition of ten per centum shall 
he made to tJie said additional duty in respect 
to all goods, wares, and mereJiandise, imported 
in ships or vessels not of the United States ; 
and the duties imposed by this act shall be lev- 
ied and collected in the same manner, and un- 
der 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 col- 
lected 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 re- 
solved 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 purposes. 

Mr. MiLNOK moved to strike out the first sec- 
tion of the bill, with a view to try the priuci- 
ple of the non-intercourse system. In support 
of this mo%)n, he alleged the impossibility of 
carrying the system iuto effect; for he con- 
ceived that the embargo had been ineffectual 
from the impossibiUty of carrying it into com- 
plete effect, and the proposed system would be 
as difiicult to enforce. He thought that it 
would be impossible to carry a non-intercourse 
system into effect, as long as vessels were per- 
mitted to go to sea. He had many other ob- 
jections 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 nu- 
gatory ; that, if the biU 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 ap- 
peared 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 entre- 
pot, 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 session. 

Mr. QinNCY entered at considerable length 
into an examination of the system of coercion 
on foreign nations, by means of commercial re- 
strictions. The idea of the efficacy of this system, 
he traced to a deeper root than any Adminis- 
tration 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 encour- 



H. OF R.] 


[Febkdabt, 1809. 

aged by the patriots of England. Mr. Q. enter- 
ed into a comparative statement of the exports 
from and imports to Great Britain from Amer- 
ica 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, dm-ing 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 state- 
ments 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, com- 
prised 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 re- 
moval of the embargo, without adopting any 
other measure, until the event of negotiation 
had been tried, Mr. Q. said, would first prevent 
any collision \v;ith the belligerents which might 
tend to embarrass negotiation; and, secondly, 
would give an opportnlxity 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 knowl- 
edge 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 aU the property afioat, 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. Qtjinot on the subject of the legal opposi- 
tion to the embargo laws in Massachusetts. He 
said if the laws of the nation were to be resist- 
ed 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 Legisla- 
ture to meet it ; it was not compatible with 
their duty to shrink from it. He could not con- 
sent 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 onr coercive measures com- 
mence? In 1806. Mr. N. noticed the negotiators 
during whose Ministry abroad these injuries had 
commenced, and continued. Mr. King, Mr. Mon- 
roe, and Mr. Pinkney, aU honorable men, had 
successively represented the United States in 
Great Britain. And could any thing be gather- 
ed 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 re- 
spect a little the character of onr own country. 
Mr. D. E. Williams said he had been decid- 
edly 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 cUng 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 wa- 
ters. 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-inter- 
course, he believed that it could not be enforc- 
ed, 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 en- 
tirely to all effectual purposes. Then let your 
vessels go, said he, without let or hindrance; 
let them go and be burnt ; your merchants will 



Febkuabt, 1809.] 


[H. OF E. 

then feel that the embargo was a shield spread 
over them, and will come back to yom* protec- 
tion, like the prodigal son, and unite like breth- 
ren in the common canse. 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 manufac- 
tures. Great Britain must, then, either go to 
war or treat with us. K 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. 
QuiNOT, 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 aU this, if 
they submitted to such abject humiliation, that 
Great Britain would treat ? "Was it to be ex- 
pected 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 1 " This would 
complete a project he had lately seen proposed 
from the East ; and, as to its application, coin- 
ciding with the wishes over the water, would 
be just such a project as Mr. Canning might 
dictate. " Eevoke your proclamation, remove 
the embargo," and " unfarl the republican ban- 
ners 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 biU, when the present motion was 
decided, by striking out aU that part of it relat- 
ing to non-intercourse, and inserting a provision 
interdicting the entrance of our harbors to any 
vessels of Great Britain and France, and impos- 
ing an additional duty on all goods imported 
from those countries. 

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

Tecuesdat, February 16. 
Additional Duties. 

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

The biU was amended so as to take effect 
"from and after the passage thereof." 

The proposition .offered by Mr. D. R. Wil- 
liams, when the biU was before under considera- 
tion, was withdrawn. 

Mr. Cook renewed the proposition, viz : to 
confine the duties to he increased, to goods im- 
ported from Great Britain and France, and the 
colonies of either ; and spoke an hour and a 
half in support of his motion, and m opposition 
to the non-intercourse system. He was in 

favor of discriminating duties, because he was 
opposed to the non-intercourse, which he con- 
sidered the best means of depressing our navi- 
gating interest and advancing that of Britain ; 
because the produce of the United States would 
be carried to some place of depot in the vicini- 
ty, 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 contendeS that the non-intercourse system 
was precisely calculated to destroy that moral 
principle wMch had heretofore so strictly en- 
forced 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 mer- 
chant ; that the system could not be enforced 
with so extensive a frontier and seaooast 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 
pohtical suicide, without the consolation of 
company in it. Mr. C. was, with his consti- 
tuents, 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 projets, and to pass good, plain, 
common sense laws. He believed that this 
discrimination of duties and arming our mer- 
chant vessels would be such a law. He spoke 
more than an hour and a half. 

Mr. O.'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. Liveemoee called for 
the yeas and nays. There were for it 85, against 
it 27. 


Tie House again resolved itself into a Com- 
mittee of the Whole, on the bill for interdicting 
commercial intercourse. 

Mr. Milnoe's motion for striking out the first 
section being under consideration- 
Mr. KioHOLAs 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 wUl be 
the only proper and honorable course for this 
country to pursue, if reparation shall not have 
beto made for the injuries we have received. 



H. OF E.] 


[Februabt, 1809. 

Under this conviction, I proposed a resolution 
limiting tlie duration of the embargo, and au- 
thorizing, 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 mis- 
conduct of some of our own people, and the rev- 
olution 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 prop- 
erty 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 expec- 
tation were disappointed, that we might pre- 
pare for war, by preserving in our owji posses- 
sion, our essential resources — men and money. 
If resistance was not our determination, I do 
not hesitate to say, that the embargo was un- 
wise and unnecessary. If we intended ultimate- 
ly 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 im- 
pression, and declare that I was ready to aban- 
don 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 deriv- 
ed 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 bUl 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 vio- 
lations of our rights ; it takes new, and in some 
respects, stronger grounds against them. It ex- 
cludes from our waters, ports, and harbors, aU 
their vessels, public and private ; it excludes 
from our country aU their products and man- 
ufactures; 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 peo- 
ple ; who can best determine how far they will 
submit to have their rights trampled on, at the 
will and pleasure of foreign nations. By keep- 
ing 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 yester- 
day, 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, J 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 1 do, that the Legislature 
of any State should take such a step, but I think 
it of the utmost importance that the Govern- 
ment of the United States should maintain its 
authority, and that it should be ascertained 
whether its measures may at any time be em- 
barrassed by the Legislatures of one or more 
States, or its laws annulled by their authority. 
Such could not, I believe, have been the im- 
pression either of the people or of the States 
when the General Government was formed; 
and if this conduct be persevered in or submit- 
ted to, it wiU, in effect, supersede the Govern- 
ment, and must speedily terminate in its disso- 
lution. I hope aud trust that the wisdom and 
patriotism of the Legislature of Massachusetts 
will not permit such a law to be enacted. Other- 
wise, 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 
pamful 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 



February, 1809.] 


[H. OF E. 

tiling 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 sub- 
ject 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 wiU apply the proper cor- 
rective. K 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 Govern- 
ment or not, whether it is compatible with their 
happiness and interests to preserve a Govern- 
ment whose acts are binding on them only who 
are willing to obey them ; whether they will 
submit that the public officers of the tJnited 
States shall be punished for the faithful per- 
formances of their duty. 

I have confined my observations within as 
narrow limits as possible. It is not now neces- 
sary 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 
shaU derive less profit from them on that ac- 
count, than if a direct intercourse were permit- 
ted. 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 bel- 
ligerent edicts. The question is not now how 
we can most advantageously avail ourselves 
of a momentary commerce, but how we can as- 
sert 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 inter- 
course with any nation, than to endure a tem- 
porary 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 coimtry must 
ruin and beggar those interested in their cul- 
ture — I mean cotton and tobacco. It is well 
known that the quantity of tobacco annually 
produced, is fully equal to the annual consump- 
tion, and that we have now two crops on hand ; 
while the edicts of Great Britain and France 
are continued, it would be foUy to cultivate 
this plant, and it is more or less true of every 
other product of our soil. K 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 cer- 

tainly that consideration would not be deemed 
a good argument for permitting direct inter- 
course 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 smug- 
gled 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 can- 
not long continue ; I have no hesitation in say- 
ing that it oupit not, and that the next Con- 
gress must either abandon the contest, or resort 
to more eflectual means for the maintenance of 
our rights than commercial restrictions and pro- 
hibitions. 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 resist- 
ance — not indeed as the measure of his choice, 
but as the one which is next to it in his estima- 
tion. 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 ef- 
fectually 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 
efieotual 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 wUl disdain to barter 
for gold, or for a miserable fragment of com- 
merce, 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 biU and negatived — yeas 24. 

Satubdat, February 18. 

Another member, to wit, Marmadtike Wil- 
liams, from North Carolina, appeared and took 
his seat in the House. 



H. OP R.] 


[Februaey, 1809. 

Ola/rhaon^a History of Slcmery. 

The Speaker laid before the House a letter 
from Thomas P. Oope, offering to the accept- 
ance of Congress, in behalf of, the American 
Convention for promoting the abolition of sla- 
very and improving the condition of the Afri- 
cans, lately assembled in the city of Philadel- 
phia, a book, entitled " Olarkson'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. 
MiLNOK, that the House do come to the follow- 
ing resolution : 

Resolved, That the Speaker be reqnested to ac- 
knowledge the receipt and acceptance of " Olarkson's 
History of Slavery," presented by the American Con- 
vention 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. Oi^oPTON 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 can- 
not 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. 
r cannot perceive any middle course between 
those two alternatives, which can truly main- 
tain the honor of the nation ; and shall this na- 
tion 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 es- 
tablishment of neutrality, but sought it honor- 
ably. The great and prominent object with the 
United States, as to their exterior relations, 
always has been to maintain peace — ^but to main- 
tain 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 bin. If American vessels are permitted 
to go out at all, most of them wOl go, if not to 
British ports, to some particular ports, as has 
been observed, from whence Great Britain wiU 
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 cap- 
ture when bound to other ports, if they faU in 
with British cruisers, unless indeed they should 
go into British ports, pay the detestable tribute 
and accept licenses ; and the law will be abun- 
dantly evaded by smuggling into the country ar- 

ticles of British manufacture — and no doubt, 
many of French manufacture too. Besides, sir, 
the consequence of this measure very probably 
wiU be war at last, and at no distant period ; 
a war, too, which wiU 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 atro- 
cious 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 fer pursued for these great pur- 
poses; and it has been patiently borne with to 
this day, by the nation at large, the partial dis- 
contents which have appeared in some particular 
parts of the country only excepted. The nation 
at large has cheerfully acquiesced in the priva- 
tions, the inconveniences, and the difficulties 
incident to such a state of things. It has exhib- 
ited a memorable example of self-denial in sus- 
taining this situation, with a view to obtain re- 
dress 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 relinquish- 
ment 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 np a combined system 
which threatened to sweep from the ocean al- 
most every particle of canvaa, and all the float- 
ing property of this great Republic. 

These, sir, are the objects for which this 
measure has been thus far and so patiently pur- 
sued. Great and momentous objects, and wor- 
thy 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 pro- 
pitious to the embargo, if continued and execu- 
ted—a period, of all others, I thmk, best calcu- 
lated to give it eflfeot 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, 



FEEEnAKY, 1809.] 


[H. OF K. 

if it ever can be made so at all — and why, sir, 
do I think so? Because, in the iirst place, I 
conceive it cannot even he a question whether 
the British Government has not calculated on 
the discontents, which appeared in some partic- 
ular parts of the Union, so as to derive at least 
some expectation therefrom that those discon- 
tents 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 re- 
moval. It is perfectly natural to suppose that 
such events taking place in any part of this coun- 
try must have produced calculations of that sort. 
I cannot hut believe, sir, that-they have looked 
forward to the period of this session, with anx- 
ious 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 con- 
clusion was to be expected, even if the extent 
of dissatisfaction had been fairly reported to 
them — even had it been in no degree misrepre- . 
sented. But, sir, there are a thousand chances 
to one that the reports, which conveyed the in- 
formation 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 aU re- 
spects whatever, the unpleasant occurrences to 
which I have alluded, were greatly magnitied. 
With these circumstances others have combined 
to render the embargo ineflBcacious 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 dissat- 
isfaction. 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 cir- 
cumstances, then, so encouraging to the hopes 
of the British Government as those iqust have ap- 
peared to them, the continuance of their Oj-ders 
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 ultunate 
success in rendering our commerce tributary to 
them, which those circumstances, no doubt, 
contributed not a httle to inspire, with such a 
government, was of itself sufficient ground to 
induce a continuance of those orders. Long ex- 
perience of British policy, which the United 
States have had, justifies this opinion. Long 
experience of a systematic design m that gov- 
ernment to shackle our commerce and subject 
it to their arbitrary restrictions, leaves no room 
Vol. rV — 8 

to doubt of their disposition to pursue that de- 
sign until the conduct of this Government should 
convince them of its total inefflcacy to produce 
the object sought for. The shghtest 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 #om the circumstances of discon- 
tent 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 man- 
ifest 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 Gov- 
ernment cannot only resolve upon, and carry 
into effect, measures of energy, though attended 
with inconveniences and difficulties, but that it 
can pursue snob 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 at- 
tachment to gain, so as to be wOling 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 na- 
tional independence and freedom; that this 
love of national independence and freedom an- 
imates the true American soul far beyond any 
other sentiment, and that, in support of it, the 
greatest sacrifices of interest are cheerfully ac- 
quiesced in. But, sir, what will be the infer- 
ence drawn from this measure proposing a re- 
peal of the embargo, as it does, after it shall 
have been adopted. Will it not justify asser- 
tions, 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 beheve, 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 jus- 
tification. But I fear, sir, I greatly fear, that a 
repeal of the embargo laws, as now proposed, 
will go far towards justifying such assertions. 

This is a period of our political existence, Mr. 
Chairman, which renders firmness in the coun- 
cils of the nation peculiarly requisite. The 
crisis is vastly momentous and trying, and at- 
tended with circumstances, both from within 
and from without, which strongly call for deci- 
sion in the Legislature. The existence of the 
Governmeut seems almost to depend upon their 
firmness and decision. Whilst the members of 
this body respect the rights of individuals, let 



H. OF R.] 


[March, 1809. 

tlioiii 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 con- 
sequence of a faction, clamoring against the acts 
of the Government, should deter it from pursu- 
ing its course, such would be an alarming mani- 
festation of its weakness. Sir, I fear for the 
Government, almost to trembling. I feel emo- 
tions 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 Mi". Olopton was negatived, 
59 to 35. 

Mr. MiLNOE moved to amend the same sec- 
tion 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 sys- 
tem throughout. He spoke in favor of the re- 
peal 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, inasmucli 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 consider- 
ing the report. 

Peidat, 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 Presi- 
dent of the United States, and inform him that 
they had concluded the business pending before 
them, and were ready to adjourn. A commit- 
tee was appointed on the pai-t of this House to 
join the committee of the Senate. 

Mr. Smilie offered the following resolution : 

Resolved, That the thanks of this House he pre- 
sented to Joseph B. Varnum, in testimony of their 
approbation of his conduct in the discbarge of the 
arduous and important duties assigned to him whilst 
in the Chair. 

Mr. Rowan moved that it be postponed indefi- 
nitely. Messrs. Eowan and Ltou supported 

the motion ; and Messrs. Eppes and Jaokson 
opposed it. 

The resolution passed, 68 to 9. 

The Speakek returned his acknowledgments 
to the House for this tribute of their approbation, 
as follows: 
Gentlemen of the Souse of Representativea : 

The kind expression of yonr 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 approv- 
ing conscience alone can sui-pass. 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. GtiTTS, 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 com- 
munication to make. 
' And the House adjourned sine die.* 

* This was the end of Mr. Jefferson's administration ; and, 
notwithstanding the purchase of Louisiana, (the annual in- 
terest 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 em- 
bargo and noQ-iutercourse) without increase of duties, and 
with a moderation of cost which should form the study and 
the imitation of succeeding administrations. The daties 
remained at the same moderate rates as before — the ad va- 
lorems, 12J, 15, and 20 per centum ; the specifics (increased 
in number) were not increased in rate; the free list not 
only remained undiminished, b.ut 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 121 
per centnm class — the importations under the other two 
classes being inconsiderable^ to wit, only about half a mil- 
lion, ($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^ per centum class amounted to above 
thirty-six millions of dollars. The articles nsed by tho 
body of the people fell into this class, (the other two .classes 
embracing articles which might be called luxuries,) so that 
12| per centum upon the value may be considered as the 
duty which fell upon the country. The expenses of collec- 
tion 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 offi- 
cers and agents was inconsiderable. Tho revenue collected 
from the ad ■valorem duties was about seven millions of 
dollars; that fi-om specifics about nine millions — leavin" six- 
teen 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 mil- 
lion ; to tribute to Algiers, (masked under the name of for- 
eign intercourse,) two hundred thousand dollars ; and to tho 
civil list, embracing the whole machinery of tho civil ^ov- 
ernment, with all its miscellaneous expenses, about nine 
hundred thousand dollars— leaving some two millions sur- 



March, 1809.] 


[H. OF R. 

plus after accomplisMng all these objects. It was a model 
administration of the gOTemment. Mr. Jefferson's admin- 
istration terminated the Sd of March, 1809, but its fair finan- 
cial 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 Bri- 
tain and of France brought upon ua. The two last years of 
his administration were a strong contrast to the six first, 
and a painful struggle against diminished revenue and in- 
creased expenses, injuries and insults from abroad, and prep- 

aration 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 espensive process ; embargo, non-inter- 
course, fortifications, ships, militia, regular troops. All this 
is now superseded by railroads and volunteers, ready at any 
monaent to annihilate any invading force; and by priva- 
teers, ready to drive the commerce of any nation from the 
ocean. ^ 





[Mat, 1809. 





Monday, May 22, 1809. 
Conformably to the act passed at the last ses- 
sion, entitled " An act to alter the time for the 
next meeting of Congress," the first session of 
the eleventh Congres's commenced this day, and 
the Senate assembled in their chamber, at the 
city of Washington. 


Geoe&e Olintost, Vice President of the Unit- 
ed States, and President of the Senate. 

Nicholas Gilman and Nahum Paekek, from 
tTew Hampshire. 

Timothy PioKEEma, from Massachusetts. 

James Hillhouse and Chaitncet Goodeioh, 
from Connecticut. 

Elisea Mathewson and Feancis Malbone, 
from Rhode Island. 

JoiirATHAif EoBiNsoN, from Vermont. 

John Lambeet, from New Jersey. 

Andeew GEBGa and Michael Leeb, from 

Samuel White, from Delaware. 

Samuel Smith, from Maryland. 

William B. Giles, from Virginia. 

Jesse Fbanklin and James Tuknee, irom 
North Carolina. 

John Gaillaed, from South Carolina. 

BuoKNBE Theuston, from Kentucky. 

Rettjen Jonathan Meigs, jr., from Ohio. 

Joseph Andeeson, 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, ap- 
pointed a Senator by the Legislature of the 

New Rampahire.—'Sia)io\s3 Gilman, Nahum Parker. 
Massachusetts. — Timothy Pickering. 
Connecticut — James Hilllioiise, Chauncey (roortricli, 
Rhode Island, — ^Elisha Mathewson, Francis Malbone. 
VejV^nont. — Jonathan Eobinson, Stephen K. Bradley. 
New ybr*.— John Smith. 
New Jersey.— Joha Lamhert, John Condit. 
Fermsylva/nia. — Andrew Gregg, Michael Leib. 

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 hav- 
ing 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 

Hesolved, That each Senator be supplied, dur- 
ing the present session, with three such news- 
papers, 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 
shaU 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. 

Besohed, That James Mathers, Sergeant-at- 
Arms and Doorkeeper to the Senate, be, and ho 
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. Andeeson and Gilman were ap- 
pointed a committee on the part of the Senate, 
together with such committee as may be ap- 
pointed by the House of Representatives on 
their part, to wait on the President of the Unit- 
ed States and notify him that a quorum of the 

-DeJoMiare.— Samuel White, James A. Bayard. 
llaryloMd.—BwiixA Smith, Philip Eeed. 
FicyTOia.— William B. Giles, Eichard Brent. 
North Carolina.— Jesse Franklin, James Turner. 
South Carolina. — John Gaillard. 
(?«or(;ia.— William H. Crawford, 
imteefty.— Buokner Thruston, John Pope. 
Tennessee.— Joseph Anderson, Jenkin Whiteside. 
OAio.— Eeturn Jonathan Meigs, jr., Stanley Griswold. 



May, 1809.] 

Presidenfs Message. 


two Houses is assembled and ready to receive 
any commvmications that lie may be pleased to 
make to tbem. 

A message from the House of Eepresenta- 
tives informed the Senate that a quorum of the 
House is assembled, and that the House have 
elected Joseph B. Vaentjm, Esq., one of the 
Representatives for the State of Massachusetts, 
their Speaker, and are ready to proceed to bus- 
iness. The House of Eepresentatives have 
appointed a sommittee 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. 

Ttjesdat, May 23. 

Mr. Anderson reported, from the joint com- 
mittee, 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 Llotd, 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 creden- 
tials ; which were read. 

President's Message. 

The following Message was received from the 
Peesidemt of the United States : 

FeUow~citizens of the Senate 

and ITouse of Jiepresentatives : 

On this first occasion of meeting yon, it affords me 
mnch satisfaction to be able to commnnicate 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 inter- 
dicting commercial intercourse Tvith 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 au- 
thority 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 con- 
ciliatory disposition of the United States, had trans- 
mitted to their legation here provisional instructions, 
not only to offer satisfaction for the attack on the 
fricate Chesapeake, and to make known the deter- 
mination of His Britannic Majesty to send an Envoy 
Extraordinary, with powers to conclude a treaty on 
aU the points between the two countries ; but, more- 
over, 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 re- 
newed on the part of the United States. 

These steps of the British Government led to the 

correspondence and the proclamation now laid be- 
fore 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 coun- 
cils of His Britannic Majesty, which, no longer ad- 
hering to the poBcy 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 res- 
toration of the suspended commerce, as a proof of 
the spirit of accOTimodation which has at no time 
been intermitted, and to the result which now calls 
for our congratulations, as corroborating the princi- 
ples 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 Plenipoten- 
tiary 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 excef tion of those at 
New Orleans, placed in a situation incurring no ex- 
pense beyond that requisite for their preservation 
and conveniency for future service, and to have the 
crews of those at New Orleans reduced to the num- 
ber 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 he 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 hun- 
dred and eight, together with the disposition of the 
troops, wfll 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 ex- 
pected 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 oflScering and man- 
ning these ships. It will show, also, the degree m 
which the provisions of the act relating to the other 
public armed ships have been carried into execu- 





[Jdne, 1809. 

It will rest with the judgment of Congress to de- 
cide how far the change in our external prospects 
may authorize any modifications of the laws relating 
to the Army and Navy Establishments. 

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 ad- 
mit. It is necessary, however, to state that the ap- 
propriations hitherto made being found to be defi- 
cient, a further provision will claim the early con- 
sideration 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 milhons 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 di- 
minution 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 ex- 

Aware of the inconveniences of a protracted ses- 
sion, at the present season of the year, I forbear 
to caU the attention of the Legislature to any mat- 
ters not particularly urgent. It remains, therefore, 
only to assure you of 3ie fidelity and alacrity with 
which I shall co-operate for the welfare and happi- 
ness of our country ; and to pray that it may ex- 
perience a continuance of the Divine blessings by 
which it has been so signally favored. 


The Message and papers accompanying it 
were read and five hundred copies thereof or- 
dered to be printed for the use of the Senate. 

Wednesday, May 24. 

JoHtT OoKDiT, appointed a Senator by the 
Executive of the State of Nevr Jersey, in the 
place of Aaron Kitehel, resigned, took his seat, 
and his credentials were read ; and the Presi- 
dent administered the oath to him as the law- 

John Pope, from the State of Kentucky, at- 

Mr. Giles submitted the following motion 
for consideration: 

Resolved, TJhat 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 

Peidat, May 26. 
Jenkin WmTEsinB, 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 prescribes. 

KicHAED Beent, from the State of Vii'ginia, 

Monday, May 29. 
Senator Swm/ael Smith, ofMwryVmd. 


The Pebsident laid before the Senate a let- 
ter 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 
wiU 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 fur- 
ther consideration thereof be postponed until 

"Wednesday, May 31. 
Stephen E. Beadlet, from the State of Ver- 
mont, 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 remov- 
ed 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 providmg a legal decision on the 
title of the United States, if it shall be sup- 
posed they have any, to the property in 
question ; and the memorial was read, and re- 
ferred to Messrs. Giles, Andeeson, Hillhottse, 
White, and Whiteside, to consider and report 

Thuesday, June 1. 

Non-Intercourse Aci^-Extmided to all pullio 

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 aU 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 modi- 



Jdne, isog."! 



fications and regtilations which may hereafter be 
made by treaty." 

Mr. G. said lie felt Mmself constrained to 
move this amendment at tMs time, because he 
found it impossible to avoid a consideration of 
the subject involved in it, although he had here- 
tofore 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 commer- 
cial non-intercourse system, was contrary to 
his opinion at that time; he then wished the 
subject to betaken 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 aot, it was now 
rendered a very delicate question. His propo- 
sition, 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 ab- 
solute and unqualified a right to exclnsive juris- 
diction 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, form- 
ed upon an unquestionable right, and it is dic- 
tated 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 belliger- 
ents. 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 Tth 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 per- 
severance in her hostile edicts, had been en- 
tirely 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 gratify- 
ing 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 expectation. 

The motive or ground of resisting the aggres- 
sions 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 inter- 
ests, which is left perfectly uncontrolled by the 
British overture. As this latter motive is the 
more honorable, it ought to be the more scru- 
pulously adhered to and enforced. He had 
no hesitation in saying he had uniformly been 
influenced by this motive alone, entirely dis- 
connected 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 pre- 
text for such perseverance, by persevering in 
a conduct of the strictest and most scrupu- 
lous 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 excep- 
tions from the general rule, might be made by 
law, but farther reflection had satisfied him 
thaCthe preferable mode was by treaty. 

He would state two or three reasons for this 
preference : 

1. It will tend to avoid collisions with aU 
foreign nations. Eegulations made by law 
might not suit the views of foreign nations, 
whereas their consent would be necessary in 

2. It will give us the aid of a stipulated ob- 
ligation on the part of the foreign nation mak- 
ing 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 re- 
spect; 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 gentle- 
man in the United States. 

Great Britain cannot, and will not compkin. 
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. 





[June, 1609. 

then read the following extract of Mr. Can- 
ning'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 j and, consequently, if the 
terms offered by America had been accepted, cm: 
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 meas- 
ures in agitation in America, he could afford the 
light honorable gentleman some consolation, by as- 
suring him that they would not have all the iH conse- 
quences 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 belh- 
gerents. The Americans, in their character of neu- 
trals, 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 impar- 
tiality which is the essence of the neutral character. 
Yet, when that proposition shoiild be disposed of, 
the whole of the diifioulty 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 con- 
clusions may be deduced from these observa- 
tions : 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 
complainiag 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 commit- 
tee of the House of Eepresentatives, in the last 
session, and the Senate went further, by extend- 
ing 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 regu- 
lation. This principle was narrowed down, in 
this bill, to apply merely to Great Britain and 
France, and left out altogether the other belli- 

gerent 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 beyand 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 im- 
pression when he agreed to make the honorable 
reparation he had done for the unanthorized at- 
tack u]fon the Chesapeake, without requiring a 
previous revocation ofthe 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 char- 
acter and tendency from that manifested by the 
Cabinet for several years preceding. He said 
that no gentleman had yet manifested an inten- 
tion 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 respect- 
ed 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 nngraoious demand for its exe- 
cution, as preliminary to the revocation, while 
the mode pointed out by treaty, is founded npon 
a confidence in the promise ; and, without re- 
quiring its execution, wiU 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, with- 
out a stipulated obligation on the part of the 
belligerents, to respect your neutrality, and your 
marine jurisdiction, they wiU be renewed and 

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 reso- 



June, 1809.] 


lution, which he then had the honor of mov- 
ing. 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 Fehruary 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 hav- 
ing agreed thereto, ordered that it be referred to Mr. 
GUes, 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 pro- 
priety 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 imparti- 
ality toward the belligerents, which he could 
not be induced to depart from under any cir- 

When Mr. Gr. had concluded, the further con- 
sideration of the subject was postponed until 

Feidat, June 2. 

Philip Eebd, from the State of Maryland, at- 

Stanley Geiswold, appointed a Senator by 
the Executive of the State of Ohio, to fill the 
vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Ed- 
wai'd Tiifin, was qualified, and took his seat. 

John Smith, from the State of New York, 

Monday, June 5. 
Death of Senator Malbone. 

Mr. Mathewson announced the death of his 
colleague, Feanois 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 commit- 
tee be appointed for superintending the funeral. 

Ordered, That Messrs. Lloyd, Gilman, and 
"White, he 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 con- 
tingent 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 Feancm Malbone, the Senate now 

And the Senate adjourned. 

Tuesday, June 6. 
Senator SmitK'a ;pro tern. 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 
ofiice 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 
oficially informed thereof 

On motion, by Mr. Andebson, to amend the 
motion, by striking out aU after the word "Re- 
solved," 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 Legis- 
lature of the State from which such Senator may be 
a member." 

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, Gail- 
lard, German, Giles, Gilman, Goodrich, Griswold, 
Hillhouse, Lambert, Mathewson, Meigs, Pope, Eob- 
inson, Smith of New York, Thruston, "White, and 

Nats. — Messrs. Bradley, Leib, Lloyd, Parker, 
Pickering, and Turner. 

"Wednesday, June 1. 
James A. Bayaed, from the State of Dela- 
ware, attended. 

Thuesday, June 8. 
"William H. Geaweoed, from the State of 
Georgia, attended. 

Monday, June 12. 
Exiled Cubans, with their Slaves. 

On motion, by Mr. Giles, 

BesoUed, That a committee be appointed to 
inquire whether it be expedient and proper, at 
this time, to make any provision by law for re- 
mitting the penalties and forfeitures incurred 
by the violations of some of the provisions of 
the act, entitled "An act to prohibit the im- 
portation of slaves into any port or place with- 
in 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 





[Jdne, 1809. 

thereof; and that the committee have leave to 
report by bill or othervifise. 

Ordered, That Messrs. Giles, Beadlet, An- 
DEBSON, Oeawitoed, and Feanklin, be the com- 

Monday, June 19. 
Exiled Cubans. 

On motion, by Mi'. Giles, 

Resolved, That the President of the United States 
be requested to causa to be laid before the Senate 
such information as he may deem proper to commu- 
nicate respecting the unfortanate exiles lately expel- 
led from the Island of Cuba, and who may have ar- 
rived, or are expected to arrive within the jurisdiction 
of the United States; and, also, respecting any prop- 
ositions 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 exUes, 
with their slaves, and other effects, from the United 
States, to any place within the dominions of France. 

Feidat, 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 beUigerent, 
not stipulated by treaty, which it shall refuse to an- 
other, 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 in- 
cumbent upon the United States to carry into effect 
such a provision. So long as we are without a com- 
petent force to protect our jurisdiction from violation, 
and our citizens from outrage, and our flag from in- 
sult, so long ought no asylum to be given, but in dis- 
tress, to the armed vessels of any nation. The com- 
mittee 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 legis- 
lative interference at this time, which, by any pos- 

sibility, might be construed into a desire to throw 
difficulties in the way of promised and pending nego- 
tiations. They are desirons that a fair experiment 
may be made to adjust our differences with the two 
belligerent nations, and that no provisions be inter- 
woven in our laws which shall furnish a pretext for 
delay, or a refusal to yield to our just and honorable 

" 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 stipu- 
lated arrangements will be of such a character as to 
guard our flag from insult, our jurisdiction from ag- 
gression, our citizens from violation, and our mer- 
cantile property from spoliation. Under these im- 
pressions, which the committee have stated as briefly 
as possible, they beg leave to submit to the consider- 
ation of the Senate the foUowing resolution, viz : 

" Resolved, That the farther consideration of the 
subject be postponed until the next session of Con- 

Satuedat, 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 en- 
grossed and read a third time? it was determin- 
ed in the affirmative. 

MoNDAT, June 26. 

The Vice Pkesident being absent, the Senate 
proceeded to the election of a President pro 
tempore, as the constitution provides; and the 
honorable Andeew Geegg 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 Andeew 
Geegg 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 pro- 
vision 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. HiLLHorrsE, to postpone 
the further consideration thereof until the first 
Monday in November next, it was determined 
in the negative — yeas 9, nays 15. 

"Wednesday, June 28. 

On the question. Shall this bill pass as amend- 
ed ? it was determined in the afflrmative — 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, Gil- 
man, Hillhouse, Lloyd, Pickering, Keed, and White. 



Jdne, 1809.] 



Six o'clock in the Eoening. 

Seaohed, That Messrs. Pope and Beent 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 re- 
quest the appointment of a committee on their 

A message from the House of Representatives 
informed the Senate that the House have ap- 
pointed 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 
farther 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 husiness before them, are about to 

Ordered, That the Secretary inform the 
House of Representatives that the Senate, hav- 
ing finished the business before them, are about 
to adjourn. 

The Secretary haviog performed that duty, 
the Peesident adjourned the Senate, to meet on 
the fourth Monday of November. 



H. OP K.] 

Election of Speaker, ^c. 

[Mat, 1809. 




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 Eepresentatives ap- 
peared, produced their credentials, and took 
their seats, to wit : 

From New Hampshire — Daniel Blaisdell, John C. 
Chamberlain, Wiliam Hale, Nathaniel A. Haren, 
and James Wilson. 

From Massachusetts — Ezekiel Bacon, William Bay- 
lies, Richard Cutts, William Ely, Gideon Gardner, 
Barzillai Gannett, Edward St. Loe Livermore, Ben- 
jamin Picltman, junior, Josiah Quinoy, Ebenezer 
Seaver, William Stedman, Jabez Upham, Joseph B. 
Varnum, and Laban Wheaton. 

From Rhode Island — Richard Jackson, junior, and 
Elisha R. Potter. 

From Connecticut. — Epaphroditus Champion, Sam- 
nel W. Dana, John Davenport, Jonathan 0. Mosely, 


New RavnpuMre. — Daniel Blaisdell, John C. Chamberlain, 
■William Hale, Nathaniel A. Haven, James Wilson. 

Massaclwsetts. — Ezekiel Bacon, William Baylies, Richard 
Cntts, Orchard Cook, William Ely, Gideon G-ardner, Bar- 
zillai Gannett, Edward St. Loe Livermore, Benjamin Pick- 
man, jr., Josiah Quincy, Ebenezer Seaver, Samuel Taggart, 
William Stedman, Jabez TTpham, Joseph B. Varnum, Laban 
Wheaton, Ezekiel Whitman. 

Bhode Island. — Eichard Jackson, jr., Elisha E. Potter. 

ConnetMcni. — Epaphroditus Champion, Samuel W. Dana, 
John Davenport, Jonathan O. Mosely, Timothy Pitkin, jr., 
Lewis B. Sturges, Benjamin Tallmadge. 

Fennom*.— William Chambcrlin, Martin Chittenden, Jon- 
athan H. Hubbard, Samuel Shaw. 

New York. — James Emott, Jonathan Fisk, Barent Gar- 
denier, Thomas E. Gold, Herman Kniclterbacker, Eobert 
Le Eoy Livingston, Yincent Matthews, John Nicholson, 
Gurdon S. Mumford, Peter B. Porter, Ebenezer Sage, Tho- 
mas Sammons, Erastus Boot, John Thompson, Uri Tracy, 
Killian K. Van Eensselaer. 

PewrasytoaMM.— William Anderson, David Bard, Eobert 
Brown, William Crawford, William Findlay, Daniel Heister, 
Eobert Jenkins, Aaron Ljle, William Milnor, John Porter, 
John Eea, Benjamin Bay, Matthias Eiohards, John Eoss, 
George Smith, Samuel Smith, John Smille, Eobert White- 

New Jerse/j/.—MnTii Boyd, James Cox, William Holms, 
Jacob Hufty, Thomas Newbold, Henry Southard. 

Timothy Pitkin, junior, Lewis B. Stnrges and Ben- 
jamin Tallmadge. 

From Vermont — William Chamberlin, Martin 
Chittenden, Jonathan H. Hubbard, and Samuel Shaw. 

From New Tori — James Emott, Jonathan Fisk, 
Barent Gardenier, Thomas R. Gold, Herman Knick- 
erbacker, Robert Le Roy Livingston, John Nichol- 
son, Peter B. Porter, Ebenezer Sage, Thomas Sam- 
mons, John Thompson, Uri Tracy, and Killian K. 
Van Rensselaer, 

From New Jersey — ^Adam Boyd, James Cox, Wil- 
liam 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 Mil- 
nor, John Porter, John Rea, Matthias Richards, John 
Ross, George Smith, Samuel Smith, and Robert 

From Maryland — John Brown, John Campbell, 
Charles Goldsborough, Philip B. Key, Alexander 

Delaware. — Nicholas Van Dyke. 

Maryland. — John Brown, John Campbell, Charles Golds- 
borough, Philip Barton Key, Alexander McKim, John 
Montgomery, Nicholas E. Moore, Eoger Nelson, Archibald 
Van Home. 

Virginia. — Burwell Bassett, James Breckenridge, Wil- 
liam 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 
Eandolph, John Eoane, Daniel Sheffey, John Smith, James 
Stephenson, Jacob Swoope. 

NorUi OaroUna.—'WiWis Alston, jr., James Cochran, Me- 
shack Franklin, James Holland, Thomas Kenan, William 
Kennedy, Archibald McBride, Nathaniel Macon, Joseph 
Pearson, Lemuel Sawyer, Eichard Stanford, John Stanley. 

Soidh CaroUna.—l.amaeX J. Alston, William Butler, Jo- 
seph Calhoun, Eobert Marion, Thomas Moore, John Taylor, 
Eobert Witherspoon, Eichard Wynn. 

Georgia.— ^iWiam. W. Bibb, Howell Cobb, Dennis Smelt, 
George W. Troup. 

Kentucky.— 'ReToj. Crist, Joseph Desha, Benjamin How- 
ard, Eichard M. Johnson, Matthew Lyon, Samuel McKee. 

r«nM6«S66. — Pleasant M. Miller, John Ehea, Eobert 

OMo, — Jeremiah Morrow. 

Mississippi Territory. — George Poindcxter. 

Orleans Territory. — Julian Poydras. 



May, 1809.] 

Election of Speaker, (kc. 

[H. OF R. 

MoKim, John Montgomery, Nicholas E. Moore, 
Roger Nelson, and Archibald Tan Home. 

From Virginia — Burwell Bassett, WiUiam A. Bnr- 
well, Matthew Clay, John Dawson, John W. Eppes, 
James Breckenridge, Thomas Grholson, junior, Peter- 
son 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, Archi- 
bald McBride, Lemuel Sawyer, Richard Stanford, and 
John Stanley. 

From South Carolina — Lemuel J. Alston, WiUiam 
Butler, Joseph Calhoun, Robert Marion, Thomas 
Moore, John Taylor, and Robert Witherspoon. 

From Georgia — William W. Bibb, Howell Cobb, 
Dennis Smelt, and George M. Troup. 

From Kentuclcy — Henry Crist, Joseph Desha, Ben- 
jamin Howard, Richard M. Johnson, Matthew Lyon, 
and Samuel McKee. 

From Tennessee' — Pleasant M. Miller, and John 

From Ohio — Jeremiai Morrow. 

Eleotion of Speaker, &c. 

A quorum, consisting of a majority of the 
■whole number, being present, tlie House pro- 
ceeded, by ballot, to tbe choice of a Speaker. 

Messrs. N. R. Mooke, Outts, and Poktee, 
were appointed tellers of the votes. 

Mr. N. E. MooEE reported that the result of 
the ballot was, that there were — 

For Joseph B. Varnum, 60 ; Nathaniel Macon, 
36 ; Timothy Pitkin, junior, 20 ; Eoger Nelson. 
1 ; 0. W. Goldsborough, 1 ; blank ballots, 2. 

Mr. Vabxum having 60 votes, it was sub- 
mitted to the decision of the House by the 
tellers whether the blank ballots could be con- 
sidered as votes; if not, there being but 118 
votes, Mr. Vaenum having 60, had a majority. 

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 baUotings, the 
State of Mai-yland, which was divided, gave in 
four blank votes, and thus decided the election. 

Mr. Maooit thought there could be no ques- 
tion 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 gentle- 
man from Massachusetts (Mr. Vaeutjm) would 
be conducted to the Chair. 

Mr. Eandolph said this was no ordinary 
question which the House were about to deter- 
mine, at the instance of his friend, (Mr. MACoif,) 
in his opinion, in a very irregular manner ; and 
Mr. E. 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. E.,) 
to have a Speaker of the House of Eepresenta- 

tives 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 re- 
ported 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 TJnited^tates, there was not, he said, the 
smallest andogy between the two cases. What 
was that case ? It was on a question whether 
or not there should exist in this country a Gov- 
ernment, that this device had been used, after* 
some forty or fifty ballotings. In order to give 
a President to the United States, certain gentle- 
men had thought proper not to vote at all. 
But, said Mr. E., 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 regu- 
lar mode to the election of our officers ? Or, 
shall we, to avoid the trouble of writing a name 
twice, establish a precedent, which, if estab- 
hshed, may put an end to this Government, 
which is founded on the principle that the ma- 
jority shall govern ? Mr. E. said he was more 
free in expressing his ideas, because he beUeved 
that a second ballot would not affect the result ; 
and he put it to his friend (Mr. Maooh) 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 pro- 
ceed to an election. They were certainly com- 
petent, he said, to elect the officers of their own 
body ; and he hoped they would do it rrwre ma- 
jorum — after the fashion of their ancestors. 

Mr. Stastoed 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. 
Lyoit,) then the only representative present 
from Vermont, had, by his single vote, his col- 
league being absent, decided the vote of that 
State, he thought there was no analogy. 

Mr. Eandolph moved that the House pro- 
ceed to ballot a second time for Speaker. 

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 Uhiess during last 



H. OF E.] 

President's Message. 

[Mat, 1809. 

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. Notwith- 
standing this, were there a probability of his 
being chosen, he must decline being placed in 
the Ohair. 

The House then proceeded to a further ballot ; 
and Mr. N. E. Moobk 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. Vaentjm haying a majority of votes was 
declared elected, and conducted to the Chair ; 
whence he addressed the House as follows : 

" Gentlemen of the Home of Representatives : 

" The continued manifestation of the national con- 
fidence in me, expressed by the Kepresentatives of 
the people on this occasion, fills my heart with grate- 
ful sensibility. In obedience to the call of my 
country, I accept the oifice assigned me, and will en- 
deavor to discharge the duties of it according to the 
best of my abilities, and agreeably to the wishes of 
the House." 

The Speakee havmg been sworn, the oath to 
support the Constitution of the United States 
was by him administered to the members, by 

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. Geoege PoindeXtee 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 

Mr. Maook, from the joint committee ap- 
pointed to wait on the President of the United 
States, reported that the committee had per- 
formed 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 form- 
ed, 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 ap- 
point, to infonn him that they were ready to 
receive any communication he might have to 

On motion of Mr. J. G. Jaokson, a commit- 
tee was appointed to act with the committee of 
the Senate. Messrs. Maoon and Jackson were 
named as the committee. 

The House, after hearing a memorial from 
Joseph Wheaton, stating his services, and pray- 
ing a reinstatement in the office of Sergeant-at- 
Arms, from which he had been ejected, pro- 
ceeded 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 

On balloting for a Doorkeeper, the whole 
number of votes was 116, of which Thomas 
Claxton had 115. He waa therefore declared 

On balloting for an Assistant Doorkeeper, 
there were — 

For Benjamin Burch, 68 ; Jesse Edwards, 

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 
wUl 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 he at ten 
o'clock in the forenoon. 

Agreed to, 52 to 39 ; and the House ad- 

Ttjesdat, May 23. 

Several other members, to wit: From Massa- 
chusetts, Samttel Taggaet ; from New York, 
Vincent Matthews ; from Pennsylvania, Dan- 
iel Heistee ; and from North Carolina, Joseph 
Peaeson, appeared, produced their credentials, 
were qualified, and took their seats. 

The Journal of yesterday's proceedings hav- 
ing been read — 

Mr. Eandolph moved to amend it, so as to 
record the precise state of the two ballots for a 
Speaker, with a view to a correct understand- 
ing 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 Presi- 
dential election of 1801, Mr. Eandolph's mo- 
tion was agreed to — ayes 70. 

President's Message. 

The Message of the President of the United 
States was received, agreeably to the intuna- 
tion 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 ac- 
companying it. [See Senate proceedings of 
this date, ante page 117, for this Message.] 



May, 1809.] 

Vote of Approbatum. 

[H. OF E. 

Thuesdat, May 25. 
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 Manufactures. 

Mr. BuEWELL 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, shaU 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 Com- 
mittee, whether it would not be proper at once 
to do away aU 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 finded, 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, aU 
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 witii the 
present motion. 

Mr. Newton's motion having been agreed to, 
he immediately reported " a biU 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. LrvEEMOEE said that he did not distinctly 
hear all that fell from the gentleman from Vir- 
ginia, (Mr. BuEWELL,) 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 

Besohed, That it is expedient that the operation of 
60 much of the act, entitled " An act to interdict the 
commercial intercourse between the United States 
and Great Britain and France, and their depend- 
encies," as inhibits the importation of goods from 

Great Britain and its dependencies, be suspended until 
the tenth day of June next 

Peidat, May 26. 
Another member, to wit,' Eobeet Weakley, 
from Tennessee, appeared, produced his creden- 
tials, was qualified, and took his seat. 

Yote of Approbation. 

Mr. Eastdolph said that for the last eight 
years or thereabouts an alteration had taken 
place in the manner of doing business at the 
commencenfent of each session of Congress. He 
said he recollected when the first Congress un- 
der 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 receiv- 
ed by the Speaker, enclosing a Message from the 
President : 

" Decejibek 8, 1801. 

** Shi : The circumstances under which we find our- 
selves at this place rendering inconvenient the mode 
heretofore practised, of making by personal address 
the iirst communications between the Legislative and 
Executive branches, I have adopted that by Message, 
as used on all subsequent occasions through the ses- 
sion. In doing this I have had a principal regard to 
the convenience of the Legislature, to the economy 
of their time, to their rehef 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." &c. 

It is unnecessary, I believe, (said Mr. E.,) 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 Presi- 
dent at the opening of Congress. It would ill 
become me, sir, who so highly approved then, 
and who so highly approve now the change in- 
troduced 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 com-, 
munioating by speech was more in the style of 
the opening of the British Parliament by the 
king. I therefore like the mode of communi- 
cation by message. But I am not so clear, 
though we were then half-right, that we were 
wholly light ; 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 theUnited States without being sickened, fairly 
sickened, with the adulation often replied by the 
Houses of Congress to the President's communi- 
cation. Bu t 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 can- 
vassing and sifting its measures; and, in my 
mind, whatever goes to take away this oppor- 
ttmity, goes so far to narrow down the rights 



H. OF E.] 

Vote of Approbation, 

[May, 1809. 

of the minority or opposition, commonly so 
called, and in fact to enlarge the rights of the 
m^ority and the administration party so called ; 
and I beg leave not to be understood as speak- 
ing of the state of parties at this time, but of 
that which has always existed. This oppor- 
tunity of discussion of the answer to an ad- 
dress, however exceptionable the address might 
be when it had received the last seasoning for 
the Presidential palate, did afford the best op- 
portunity 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 ope- 
rator most in the fashion of the day, and refer- 
red to different committees. And it has a ten- 
dency to cast a sort of ridicule on our proceed- 
ings, 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 com- 
mittee. But whatever may be my opinion on 
the subject of opening the two Houses by mes- 
sage, I do think that there are occasions, and 
that this is one, on which it behooves this as- 
sembly to express its opinion on the state of 
public affairs. I will not recall to your recol- 
lection, sir, because perhaps, and most probably 
it passed over your mind without making any 
impression, that some time during the last ses- 
sion of Congress, I stated that if the gentleman 
in whose hand the reins of Government were 
about to be placed did not even tolerably per- 
form 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 sub- 
ject. 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 

fo 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 in- 
formation from inofiicial sources ? I hope not. 
I hope he will get it from ourselves. I there- 
fore move you — 

" That the promptitude and frankness with which 
the President of the United States has met the over- 
tures of the Government of Great Britain, towards 
the restoration of harmony and free commercial in- 
tercourse between the two nations, meets the appro- 
bation of this House." 

Mr. FiNDLAT said that this proposition con- 
templated a novelty in the legislative proceed- 
ing 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 conid 
show by the journals one instance in which the 
discussion of a single section in an answer occu- 
pied the House fourteen or fifteen days. It was 
a practice, too, which introduced at the very 
opening of the session all that ii-ritation that 
commonly arose in the course of a session. Mr. 
P. 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 resolu- 
tion. The adopting it at this time would cer- 
tainly 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 r^ular form, 
that gentlemen might express themselves fully 
in relation to our affairs, it was very proper 
that this subject should be discussed in Com- 
mittee of the Whole on the state of the Union. 
For himself, Mr. D. said that he thought the 
mode of answeringspeeches might do very well 
in such a Government as this, and whatever 
inight be said of economy of time, by an atten- 
tion 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 neai-ly 
three weeks. All agi-eed 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 Com- 



May, 1809.] 

Vote of ApproicUion. 

mittee 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 directty 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 par- 
ticular part of the conduct of the former admin- 
istration which had met the approbation of the 
Kepublicans of this country generally, it was 
th«! discontinuance of this practice. The result 
of the alteration was, that although more was 
done during the sessions of the Republican Con- 
gresses, 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 gentle- 
men 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 con- 
sideration 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. Wabhinoton, 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 ex- 
pected to have heard from any gentleman that 
we wanted field for debate. He had thought 
that the grievance was the otner 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 ad- 
ditional 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 sub- 
ject be postponed indefinitely. 

Mr. EasbOlph said that as an indefinite post- 
ponement was considered as tantamount to a 
rejection— for it prevents a renewal of the sub- 
Vou IV.— 9 

[H. OF K. 

ject 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 havefrom a certain body of peti- 
tioners, who, he presumed, had not entirely 
given up their hopes of quartering themselves 
on the public property — an indefinite postpone- 
ment, 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 %e said he had certainly calcu- 
lated on its being opposed by those who con- 
demned the promptitude and frankness with 
which the President had proceeded to restore, 
as far as depended on him, the intercourse be- 
tween the two nations. It is this part of the 
conduct of the President of the United States, 
said Mr. E., on which I mean to give an opin- 
ion — " 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 heai- me in 
this vast room, when have I proposed bringing 
in review the whole measures of former admin- 
istration ; when have I proposed an answer to 
an address to the two Houses ? I have propos- 
ed 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 knowl- 
edge, 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 Massa- 
chusetts 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 ; fbr, reaUy, 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 Presi- 
dent. Be mortuis nil nisi ionum. 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 
he 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 



H. OP E.] 

Vote of Approbation. 

[Mat, 1809. 

future dispositions rest the best interests of this 
nation 1 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 Execu- 
tive of the IJnited 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 he 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 Govern- 
ment of the United States, or disapproves it ? 
Praise, in my opinion, properly and not prod- 
igally 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 light- 
ly, to give its sanction to the conduct of individ- 
uals in the public service, if its approbation is 
estimated so trivially? No, sir ; tiiis is a great 
question which I have presented to you, and 
gentlemen may hamper it with as many amend- 
ments 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 opin- 
ion, it does not contain the truth. The gentle- 
man from Massachusetts (Mr. Baoon) 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 Kiugs after they 
were emtomhed, 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 dis- 
tinction between the two Administrations. The 
gentleman will hardly suspect that I am seek- 
ing favor at court. My object is plain. It is 
to say to the President that, in issuing that pro- 
clamation, he has acted wisely, and we approve 
of it. I know, sir, that there are men who 
condemn the conduct of the President in issu- 
ing the proclamation ; and why ? They say 

he was precipitate. Where was the neces- 
sity, they will tell you, of declaring that the 
Orders in Council will toe hem withdrawn? 
This is the language of' objection. There is 
a difference of opinion subsisting in this coun- 
try on these two point?. There are men who 
condemn this proclamation, and men who con- 
demn 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 
Massachnsetts whether it be fair to 
with the old, stale, refuse stuff of the embargo ? 
Ko, 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 Pres- 
ident, I wish him to have that approbation ex- " 
pressed 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 resolu- 
tion, stuffed with adulation ? Nothing like it ; 
but, a resolution that the promptitude and frank- 
ness with which the President of the United 
States has met the overtures of the British 
Government towai-ds a restoration of the an- 
cient state of things between the two countries 
— the state prior to the memorable non-impor- 
tation 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 thint 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 gentlemen from Pennsylvania says, shall 
we go back, and ffpprove 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 postpone- 
ment—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 Penn- 
sylvania think ; and I think it probable that 
those two gentlemen do not thing of this pro- 
clamation and the construction given to the 
non-intercourse law, as I thhik. 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 imited against 



May, 1809.] 

Vote of Approbalhm. 

[H. OF B. 

both? It is an old adage, and a very homely 
one, perhaps too much so for the delicate ears 
of this assembly, that if yon put one addled egg 
into a pudding, you may add fresh ones, ad, irv- 
flnitum, but you can never sweeten it. And, 
sir, I defy the gentleman from Massachusetts, 
with aU his political cookery, by poming 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 re- 
pealed ; 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-interconrse act, 
and therefore, as a matter of indiflcerence, 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 Pres- 
ident'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 sec- 
tion repealing this law were strilsen 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-impor- 
tation act was plunged beneath the wave, never, 
I trust, to rise again. When, therefore, the 
late President of the United States made an of- 
fer to Great Britain to suspend the embargo as 
to her, provided she would withdraw her Or- 
ders in Council, I will suppose that she had ac- 
cepted that oflfer. 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 ad- 
mitted. Did that mate no difference ? That, 
sir, wonld have been the situation of the two 
conntries, provided she had accepted the oflFer 
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 
difliculty, under the proclamation, in the ad- 
mission of the Statira frigate, bearing that Min- 
ister intp our waters ? And were not French 
ships of war then, and have they not since been 
riding quietly at Annapolis, Norfolk, and else- 
where ? 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 negotia- 
tion between Mr. Secretary Smith and Mr. Er- 
skine. What then was her situation? The 
non-importation act in force. Tier 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 gene- 
rated the oldiDon-importation act of 1806. Her 
ships of war are ^.dmitted 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 will- 
ing to approve the conduct of the present Ad- 
ministration, it is not because I conceive that 
they have effected any thing so very difilcult — 
that they have obtained any such mighty con- 
cession — ^but, because they have done their 
duty. Yes, sir ; we all recollect that the ob- 
jections made to the treaty negotiated by Mr. 
Monroe, and Mr. Pinkney, on two great lead- 
ing 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 politi- 
cally 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 Brit- 
ish 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 wonld 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 mo- 
ney. We have done the very thing which gen- 
tlemen say the note aimed to. induce us to do. 
We have put ourselves in a situation endanger- 
ing 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 Iwr ships excluded from 
our waters. I cannot too often call the atten- 
tion of the House to this fact, on which I am 
compelled to dwell and dilate to get rid of this 
merciless motion, which Mils while it professes 
to cure. When Mr. Rose came into this coun- 
try French ships of war were freely admitted ; 
English sldps were excluded. 



H. OF R.] 

Vote of Approbation. 

[Mat, J809: 

As "the physician, in spite of himself," says 
in one of Moliere's best comedies, on a eJtanffS 
tout eela — the thing is wholly reversed. We 
are likely to be on good terms with England, 
mangre the best exertions of some of our poli- 
ticians. Trade with Great Britain is unshack- 
.eled, her ships are admitted, trade with France 
is forbidden ; and French ships excluded, as far 
as it can be done by paper. Kow, in the name 
of common sense, what more could Mr. Canning 
himself want, than to produce this very strik- 
ing and Budden 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 
Vhat, I ask this House, has the British Minister 
given us in requital for this change of our posi- 
tion 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 Mi". Mon- 
roe 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 Minis- 
tet had permitted him to receive it ; but, per- 
chance, 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 Or- 
ders 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 noth- 
ing 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, whUe 
I compliment the present state of things, and 
the conduct on the part of our Government 
which has led to it, I oannot say that we have 
greatly overreached Mr. Canning in this bargain, 
in making an exchange of the old non-importa- 
tion act with the admission of English, and ex- 
clusion of French ships alid trade, for the Or- 
ders 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 stooTlr— to say nothing at all of Great 
Britain's having taken a stand against the em- 
bargo, having declared that she had iiothing 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-impor- 
tation act is not in force, her ships are permitted 
to enter our waters, and those of France exclud- 
ed. And what has this sarcastic Minister of 
Great Britain given ns in exchange ? The Or- 
ders in Council, which had completely ceased 
to operate by the cntting off of the trade be- 
tween us and France. Let me state this argn^ 
ment in a shape most favorable to ourselves, 
and least so to the British Government. I 
speak as to argument ; for, as to friendship be- 
tween 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 Min- 
ister 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 refer- 
red to in the proposition under consideration ; 
and as he had entertained no doubt but- the 
President would, on this and every other occa- 
sion, 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 wUling to distinguish it from those nu- 
merous acts which he trusted would be, as they 
had heretofore been performed, by the Execu- 
tive. Were he the author of the proposition, 
he should have many scruples as to the proprie- 
ty 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 Qie per- 
son bringing forward snob 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 expres- 
sion of approbation of the President ? Because, 
we are told, it maybe a guide to him hereafter. 
Let this House be careful how it acts, and at- 
tend 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 attachreient 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 Pres- 
ident, 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 



Mat, 1809.1 

Sufferers under th^ Sedition Law. 

[H. OF E. 

express our approbation as to any particular act. 
The gentleman himself says that the President 
has only done his duty. Is it not susprising, 
then, that we are called upon to give him the 
approbation of this 'House? What -svonld be 
inferred from this procedure { "Why, that it is 
60' seldom our Presidents hare done liieir 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 
oflBcers do their duty properly, they will receive 
the thanks of the nation ; and where is the pro- 
priety of singling out for approbation or disap- 
probation this particular act ? I see none. It 
is asked, wiU you leave the President of the 
United States to ' grope in the dark, and not let 
him know whether he has received our appro- 
bation or not? And is the President to judge 
from the thanks of the Hotise 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 im- 
proper motives ?.i He would be left still worse 
to grope in the dtok. It has been said that 
former Presidents have been deceived in conse- 
quence of votes of approbation ; and the same 
■would again occur. On evefy ground I am op- 
posed to the passing such resolutions on princi- 
ple, and shall therefore' vote for indefinite post- 
ponement. It was indefinitely postponed. 

SATtTBDAy,, May 27. 
Sedition Lcm. 
Mr.' Stantoed said he had risen to ofier a 
resolution, which he wanted to have offered 
.immediately after that which had been offered 
•by the gentleman from Vir^ia, (Mr. East- 
DOEPH,) and adopted by the House, on the sub- 
ject- 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 instruc- 
tion to the same committee. That committee, 
Mr. S. saidyhad 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 persecu- 
tion, if any, had been resorted to, and cherished 
by the late Admiuistration 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 lUie 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 com- 
mon law, ■we are not hkely to know any thing 
about prosecutions for libel which had occurred 
under the ■ sedition law, and that too under a 
different Administration. ' We have nobaBthor- 
ized any such inquiry. That abuses have oc- 

curred 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 jus- 
tice 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., apd if not, I 
wish it should be understood when I speak of jus- 
tice being done, that I speak with rather peomiar 
reference t0|^ 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 con- 
stitutionality of the law. I feel persuaded, 
therefore, that the different gehtlemen 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 themselyes 
to extend the inquiry, as well to cases of prose- 
cution 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. Whateyer may be the aspect of 
political opinions and parties now, it is kno^wn 
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, wjiich snfBced to decide the 
contest ; and more especially so, if the blank 
votes of the State of Maryland could have ren- 
dered 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 <jnly, 1798, and the 
expediency of remxmerating the sufferers under such 

Mr. Sawtee 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 


Ai^ururiMEXT OP TiJU 

H. OF E.] 

/SuJJ'erem vnpsr the Sedition Law, 

[May, 1803. 

committee could go nbout to make such an in- 
quiry as that contemplated by the amendment. 
The. gentleman must be -well satisfied thattbe 
Government could not rightfully inquire into 
transactions between individuals. 

Mr. Dana said that he had no particular ob- 
jection to meet this inquiry. As to the disclos- 
ure of facts as to the reimbursement by individ- 
ual contribution, it might be amusing, if this 
House had authority to maie it. He said he 
should like to know who contributed to the re- 
lief of James Thompson Oallender, 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 prosecu- 
tions 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 jn 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 descrip- 
tion of men who said that no prosecution could 
be had at conimon 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 insti- 
tute 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 ii-om 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 remuner- 
ating those who suffered. 

Mr. Staotoed 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 contribu- 
tions may have been' made to the gentleman 
from Kentucky ; and, if it was, the inquiry is 
impossible. [The Spbakeb 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, 

be could not, brook the idea of such a coi)J;rl- 
butioD, and returned the amoiint to myself I 
know, and to others I believe. My colleague 
would do well to tell us how much he contrib- 
uted. 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 
barm. But, indeed, we have great examples 
in the case before us. Did not the late Presi- 
dent, when he came into place, refuse to let 
such money come into the treasury in the case 
of the worthless CaUender ? As the proper au- 
thority, 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 Presi- 
dent" holds similar opinions on this subject? 
His splendid opposition to the sedition law is 
the proof to which I allude, and is, in my nfind, 
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. QuiNOT said this appeared to be a propo- 
sition to aid a single individual ; and, by. the 
amendment, gentlemen who had aided that in- 
dividual were anxious to prevent him from gain- 
ing more than he had paid. It was a kind of 
application to the House to repay to those per- 
sons who relieved the sufferers under the sedi- 
tion 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 for- 
ward and lay their claim in the ordinary form 
before the House. 

Mr. Sawttke said he was, as he always had 
been, willing to contribute his mite to the re- 
lief of the sufferers ; but he did not wish to 
see them remunerated from the public treasury. 
Mr. Lton. — ^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 fam- 
ily, and to the nation, requires (that since my 
particular case has been alluded to) the mem- 
bers of this House and the public should be 
made acquainted with many of the circum- 
stances of that case, which have either never 
come to their knowledge, or have long been 
buried up among the consumed heap of politi- 
cal occurrences, disputations and publications 
of these days. Besides, sir, I have it in my 



Mat, 180&.] 

Sufferers under the Sedition Law. 

[H. OF R. 

power to throw nrach light on the subject of 
the inquiry wished for, by the gentleman from 
North Carolina, (Mr. Sawtee,) who has pro- 
posed the amendment under consideration, and 
I will assure the gentleinan 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 Eepresentative 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 im- 
prisoned for debt in, until he gave bonds for 
the liberty of the yard. To heighten the pic- 
ture 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 fi'om my family, kept six weeks without 
fire in the months of October and November, 
nearly the whole of which time th» 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 
repubhcanism, for what crime was all this ex- 
traordinary, this ignominious punishment in- 

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 tech- 
nical jargon and tedious repetition of words, of 
course, which constitute the bulk of such in- 
struments. No, sir, but I wiU read the identi- 
cal words of the charge, which says, that on 
the 20th of June, 1T98, Matthew Lyon wrote a 
letter to Alden Spooner of Wiiidsor, 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 Exec- 
utive, 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 inde- 
pendence of sentiment — when I shaU see men 
of firmness, merit, years, abilities, and expe- 
rience, 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 sen- 
timent they contain ? What do I say in these 
words, other, or more, or less, than that when 
the Executive is doing right, I wOl 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 constitu- 
tional 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 per- 
son wiio real^ thought Mr. Adams quite clear 
from all those improprieties, as merely possible 
from the nature of man, mentioned in my let- 
ter, have thought of my libelling the' President 
by this declaration ? I presume not, sir. Yet 
this, my crime, received one of the condemna- 
tions which you are called upon by this motion 
to constitute an inquiry into — an inquiry I can- 
not persuade myself will be refused. The let- 
ter, 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 begia 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 intp his 
perfoi-mance. 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 na- 
tion to exercise my own judgment in my official 
conduct, and showing that my merely differing 
with the Executive proved no more than that 
the Execi:iJ;ive differed with me. I incidentally 
proceeded in the words for which I was indict- 
ed, 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 princi- 
ple of law and every sentiment of decency and 
propriety, this indictment, founded on the se- 
dition law passed on the 14th day of July, 1798, 
charges me with having ia 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 him- 
self 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 reme- 
died 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 



H. OF R.] 

Sufferers under the Sedition Law, 

[Mat, 1809. 

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 gov- 
ernments has become extremely alarming : con- 
fidence is completely destroyed ; mistrust, jeal- 
ousy, and a wrong a,ttribution 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 under- 
stood 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 stu- 
pid answer of yom- Senate, in November last, 
I should probably have had no occasion to ad- 
dress you this letter ; but when we found him 
borrowing the language of Edmund Burke, and 
telling the world that although he should suc- 
ceed 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 yon were at peace, 
we wondered that the answer of both Houses 
had not been an order to send him to a mad- 
house ! Instead of this, the Senate have echoed 
his speech with more servihty than ever George 
the Third experienced from either house of 
Parliament" No proof appeared o» 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 pun- 
ishable 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 per- 
suaded by a gentleman who is now a member 
of this House, that the Republican cause and 
my election (which was pending) would be in- 
jured 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 be- 
ing guilty on the first count. I had acknowl- 
edged 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 hhn off, a wretch falsely 
swore that the summoned juryman had express- 
ed to him something like an opinion that I could 
not be found guilty. I will not here dwell upon 
the judge's denial tome 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 faWy to pubUc view. Should that inves- 
tigation 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 wUl leave it with 
my children and theu's to seek it. When my 
enemies wounded my feelings, robbed me of my 
property, and affected temporarily my reputa- 
tion, I consoled myself that my friends would 
soon be in power, and they would make every 
thing right. My wounded honor would be con- 
soled ; the wound would be healed — a share at 
least of the property of which I had been de- 
prived, would be reimbursed. How cruelly 
have I bees, thus far disappointed 1 Generous 
men, at the time I suffered, said it is enough for 
yon to bear the mortification of the temporary 
insult — we will share with you the loss of prop- 
erty. Under this impression much money was 
collected, the greater part of which went to re- 
lieve oppressed Republican printers — it has aU 
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 benevo- 
lent views of the good man (Gen. Stevens 
Thompson Mason, deceased) who set the sub- 
scription 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 in- 
debted. 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 re- 
stored 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 ob- 
ligation I feel, in any other way than the resto- 
ration of their money when it comes in a way 
they cannot refuse it. SVom this source my 
anxiety for the restoration of the money unjust- 
ly 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 in- 
nocent and patriotic, than by enemies who 
thought me guilty, and found me goading them 
in their progress toward the destruction lof the 
liberty and republicanism of this country. As 
if to make their cruelty more insupportable, ;in- 



Mat, 1809.] 

Sufferers wider the Sedition Law. 

[H. OF R. 

suit 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 Ken- 
tucky, 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 Eepresentatives 
for redress ia this case. He returned the peti- 
tion 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 ex- 
cuse for me." Such I believe was the impres- 
sion of most of those I had acted with in the 
reign of terror, as we called it ; but that impres- 
sion has been wearing ofi', 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 extraordinai'y 
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 sub- 
ject than to declare I wish not to have my case 
singled out for reparation. I wish the inves- 
tigation general; the provision for remunera- 
tion general, to all who sufifered under the lash 
of that unconstitutional sedition law. 

Mr. Sawtee'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 insur- 
rection had taken place in Pennsylvania, com- 
monly 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 unconstitu- 
tional, 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 convic- 
tions were of an earlier date, lenity was not 
extended; they were compelled to pay their 
fines before they could be relieved from impris- 
onment. Mr. E. declared his object in rising 

to be, to move to amend the resolution in such 
a way as to iastvuct the committee to inquire 
whether any, and if any, what compensation 
and remuneration should he made to the per- 
sons who suffered and were punished in conse- 
quence 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 pro- 
priety, of renmnerating those who had suffered 
by their submission (not by their opposition) to 
the several acts respecting the embargo, cer- 
tainly 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 prosecut- 
ed 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 he as well to draw the veil of oblivion 
over past transactions, and learn 'from experi- 
ence 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 there- 
fore vote against the amendment and for the 

Mr. Gaedeniee 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 vei^ 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 op- 
pose 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 remuner- 
ated *ho have quietly paid this tax. They 
were at least respectful to the laws. The com- 
mittee 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 some- 
thing so admirable, so lovely, so worthy of en- 
couragement in insurrection, that those con- 
cerned in it have peculiar claims to encourage- 



H. OF R.] 

SuSerera under the Sedition Law. 

[Mat, 1809. 

ment by Govermnent. If that be the case, the 
gentleman stopped at the proper point. If 
there was nothing in inguiTection, 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. 

Ml-. 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 res- 
olution 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. 
E., 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 con- 
ceives that there is a difference between the 
oases 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 author- 
ized to proceed. In neither of the cases did 
they decide the law unconstitutional. K, then, 
persons were punished by the sedition law 
in its full operation, carried into effect by the 
constituted authorities, where, I ask, is the dis- 
tinction 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 uider which a 
direct tax was collected, was constitutional or 
not, has it not as equally received the disappro- 
bation of the Eepublioans of the United States 
as the sedition law? If then it was the ob- 
ject of the democratic party to rid the coun- 
try of such a law as much as of the sedition 
law, I ask whether those who suffered under 
each law have hot equal claims? There can 
be no legal claim upon the House under either 
law ; but we know that it was the hardy yeo- 
manry who presented a fti'm phalanx to the 
irresistible torrent of injurious laws of the 
Federal Administration, and who gave the pres- 
ent 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 con- 

Mr. Potter declared himself atalossto 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 thera ; but 
if they determined to give premiums for the 
violations of laws, they had better depart home 
at once. 

Mr. Bhea wished the House to get rid of this 
motion and the amendment as speedUy as pos- 
sible. 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 di- 
rect 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 weU as I recollect, turned upon 
the constitutionality of the law. Then, if it is 
stiU believed that the law was unconstitntional, 
I leave it to gentlemen to say whether it can be 
viewed in the same light as a law, the constitu- 
tionality 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 w^re making the first experiment 
of the instrument. I then believed, and do still 
believe, that the law was unconstitntional. 
Taking up this question, the original resolution 
of my coUeague is that remuneration should bo 
made to those people who suffered under it ; 
but seeing that th# 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 gen- 
tlemen 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 attenr 
tion 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 acknowl- 
edging that it is my opinion that all the suffer- 
ers ought to be remunerated, both those who 
suffered under the sedition law, and those who 
suffered under the common law. It is the bus- 
iness of all parties to settle amicably as they 
can any subject of contenticxn between, persona 



Mat, 1S09.] 

Sufferers under the Sedition Law. 

[H. OF R. 

of different political persuasions. If this first 
resolution should be referred to a committee, 
and they report that the law was unconstitu- 
tional, I will venture to pronounce that no ma- 
jority wiU ever again make a law of that kind. 
If, sir, the sufferers \mder the sedition law did 
suffer contrary to the constitution, ought not 
their expenses to be reimbursed? On the sub- 
ject 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 aU no more than the 
subscriptions for printing speeches which are 
occasionally made in the House, in which gen- 
tlemen of all parties unite. Suppose that the 
whole fine in any particular case had been paid 
by individual subscription, what has the Gov- 
ernment 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 indi- 
viduals. 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 sat- 
isfaction. 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 consti- 
tutionally 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 insur- 
rection is a holy thing, but it is not peculiarly 
attributable to democracy. With us, election 
puts eveiy thing to rights ; and on them every 
man of pure democratic principles depends. It 
is doubtful whether the question of the consti- 
tutionality 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 set- 
tled. 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 de- 
pends 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 fi'om this 
inquiry by any name attempted to be given to 
it. It is proper that this question should be set- 
tled ; 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 gentle- 
man who moved it has been fortunate in the 
selection of his time. Eight years have elapsed, 
a new Presi4#nt is just inducted, and the ques- 
tion 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 pro- 
crastination. I do not believe that my col- 
league 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 com- 
mittee may be permitted to inquire into it ; and 
this, it seems to me, is no extraordinary request. 
I hope that the resolution, without being tram- 
melled with any extraneous matter, wUl be 

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 BTorth 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 au- 
thority to draw money from the Treasury for 
this purpose. Under that view of the constitu- 
tion, Mr. K. said he must vote for indefinite 

Mr. Macon asked under what clause of the 
constitution Captam 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 de- 
rived from the power of establishing post roads. 
The power of refunding money was one which 
had been often exercised. 

Mr. GrAEDENiEE 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 undoubt- 
edly entitled him to their interference. Our 
duty (said Mr. G.) is imperative. The case of 



H. Off K.] 

Sufferers under the Sedition Law. 

[May, ISpg. 

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 wiU 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 pres- 
ent, 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 con- 
cerns 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 cascj 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 con- 
science and his God alone should he be respon- 
sible. Sir, should we refuse an inquiry into 
this case, when we know that the fine of James 
Thompson Oallender, for one of the most atro- 
cious 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 prop- 
er receiving officer of the United States, when 
it had passed out of the hands of James Thomp- 
son Oallender into the hands of the officer of 
Government, and was, to all intents and pur- 
poses,,, in the Treasury of the United States, be- 
cause 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 incendi- 
ary, should that fine be returned, and shall a 
gentleman in this House be fined and impris- 
oned for that which was nqt even improper. ? 
Shall we not restore to him .that which others 
have been suffered to retain, and fpr 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 Capubts, and I believe it 
has, I am not one who wlshes'to bear up against 
the people's voice ; the Government i? .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 gentle- 

man be true, could scarcely be,, considered an 
offence within the purview of tlat law,, will you 
not give it back to him ? Either ^ve ba0k the 
money in the case, or take measures to recover 
that money which was given back in the other, 
lam 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 discre- 
tion, and do violence to the milder feeling of 
the community in which tkey Hve, has been 
proved in the Adams Administration, and in 
that which has lately disappeared; and when 
they have cooled down, it is but rendering jus- 
tice to the sense of the country to acknowledge 
their errors. No, sir, I am satisfied that all pros- 
ecutions for libels on the Government should 
be at least very hesitatingly sustained. Ton 
cannot draw a precise line by which you shall 
limit the right of investigation. The two things 
are so blended together that you cannot sepa- 
rate them. You must either make the Govern- 
ment supreme or the people suprerpe. I am 
for the latter. As Dr. Johnsoi; 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 ej^e of 
the political body, which you can never touch 
without injuring the eye itself. I hope and 
trust that with this investigation will be ison- 
nected an inquiry into the proseougions at com- 
mon law in Connecticut. I have seen in the 
State of New York, but not under the present 
Administration, a defendant coming -into: court, ( 
beting 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 briuging, 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 con- 
tending 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 Hie 
nature of parties it cannot be otherwise. There- 
fore, in my opinion, the Government of the 
United States cannot render a greater service 
than by declaring it will not be accessary 4o 
any dimunition of the rights' of the citizen; 
that free investigation shall in all cases be per- 
mitted. Mr. G. made some further observa- 
tions on the particular case of Mr. Lyon, and 
concluded by expressing his, hope' that the reso- 
lution would pass. 

The question that the resolution be postponed 
indefinitely, was decided by yeas and nays- 
yeas 69, nays 50. 



Jtrire, 1809.] 

Mias^eippi Territory. 

[H. OF R. 

MoKDAY, May 29. 
. Several otlier members, to yiit : from Massa- 
chusetts, Oeokajbd Odok ; and from Pemisyl- 
vania, Benjamin Sat and John Smilik, ap- 
peared, produced their credentials,, were quali- 
fied, and took their seats. 

Webnesdat, May 31. 

Julian Potdeas appeared, produced his cre- 
dentials, was -qualified, and took his seat, as the 
Delegate for the Territory of Orleaps. 

Mr. MoKJM presented a petition of thirty-five 
American citizens confined at Carthagena, in 
South America, under sentence of slavery, stat- 
ing that, through means of falsehood and de- 
ception, 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 cap- 
tured hy the Spaniards, and condemned to 
slavery, and praying that Congress wiU take 
their distressing case into consideration, and ef- 
fect their release and return to their native 
country. — ^Referred to Mr. MoKiM, Mr. Sat, 
Mr. Emott, Mr. Eoaue, and Mr. Coohean, to 
examine the matter thereof, and report the 
same, with their opinion thereupon, to the 

MoNDAT, June 5. 

Two other members, to wit : Ezektel Whit- 
man, from Massachusetts, and Bichaed Wykn, 
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 Feanois Mai- 
bone, one of the Senators from the State of 
Khode Island, have directed the same to be 
communicated to this House. 

On motion of Mr. Pottee, 

Sesohed, unanimously, That this House will 
attend the funeral of Feanois Malbone, Es- 
quire, late a member of the Senate of the United 

Sesohed, 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. 

TuESDAT, June 6. 
Another member, to wit, Wilson 0. Nioho- 
lAS, from Virginia, appeared, produced his cre- 
dentials, was quaJifled, and took his seat in the 

Wednesdat, June 7. 
Another member, to wit, Eeastits Eoot, 
from New York, appeared, produced his cre- 
dentials, was qualified, and took his seat in the 

Feidat, June 9. 
Another, member, to wit, Nicholas VaS 
Dtke, from Delaware, appeared, produced his 
credentials, was qualified, and took his, seat in 
the House. 

MoNDAT, June 12. 
Mississippi Territory. 

The Spbakee presented a petition enclosed to 
him from a number of inhabitants of the dis- 
trict east of Btearl river, in the Mississippi Ter- 
ritory, praying for the division of the Terri- 

Mr. PoiNDEXTEE movcd that the petition lie 
on the table. It would perhaps be disrespect- 
ful 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 Geoi-gia, 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. Bttewell 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. Maoon was in favor of a reference of the 
petition. No harm could arise from an inquiry 
into it. 

Mr. Tbottp admitted the correctness of the 
remarks of the delegate from the Territory, but 
wished the petition to be referred to a commit- 
tee for the purpose of an inquiry as well into 
the amount of population in that country as in- 
to 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 un- 
derstood 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 impres- 
sion 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 

Mr. PoiNDEXTEE obscrvcd 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 re- 
side as tenants at wiU. Some had done so, and 
some had been driven off. 

Mr. Teoup said he knew that orders had 



H. OF R.] 

MiravMi Expedition. 

[June, 1809. 

been given to remove therti , but of their re- 
moval 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 in- 
truders 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 be- 
gan 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 committee. 

The petition was ordered to lie on the table 
—67 to 27. 

Tuesday, June 13. 
Miranda's Exhihition. 

The House went into Committee of the 
Whole on the following resolution, reported by 
the committee appointed to consider the peti- 
tion of thirty-six citizens concerned in Miran- 
da's expedition, and now confined in the vaults 
of Cai'thagena, South America : 

" Resolved, That the President of the United States 
be requested to adopt the most immediate and effica- 
cious 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 unlaw- 
ful enterprise in which they were engaged ; and that 
— dollars be appropriated for that purpose." 

Mr. MoKiM observed, that he believed nothing 
further would be necessary for the attainment 
of this object than an application by the Gov- 
ernment 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 unwUling in his representative ca- 
pacity, to give one cent of the public money for 
bringing back into the bosom of the body poli- 
tic 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, for- 
getting his guilt ; but tlwre were occasion^ and 
he took this to be one, where to lean apparently 
to the side of humanity is an act of as great in- 
justice 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 al- 
ready 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 suffer- 
ing countrymen in captivity in aforeigtt nation? 
Mr. E. said this was not like a question of re- 
deeming our countrymen from slavery in Bar- 
bary 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 pur- 
suits 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 con- 
sidered them as voluntarily expatriated from 
this country, and among the articles of com- 
merce and manufacture, which it might be con- 
templated to encourage by bounty and premiums, 
he confessed for one, that the importation of 
such citizens as these was not an article of traf- 
fic 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 popula- 
tion, (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 OflBce 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 com- 
mit 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 politi- 
cal point of view, would have stood contradis- 
tinguished 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 acces- 
sion to the State by bringing back to its bosom 
those who have voluntarily thrown themselves 
out of the protection of the country, a morff 
valuable acquisition, or rather a less valuable 
loss, than these unfortunate men. 

It appears to me, sir, that in passing this res- 
olution 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 wiU teU his conspirators that they 
will have nothmg 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 wiU. 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 ex- 
pedition, and Congress will tax their fellow- 
creatures^ — who, poor souls, had not enlarged 



JpKK, 1809.] 

MircuicUCs JExpedition. 

[H. OF R. 

and liberal minds, and were content vith tbe 
dull pursuits of civil life — for redeejning them, 
clothing them, and bringing them back again to 
society. , I wish the committee to take the 
thing into (consideration. As men and Chris- 
tians our conduct is to be governed by one rule; 
as representatives of the people other consider- 
ations are proper. There is, in the proposed 
intei;ference» no justice; there may be much 
mercy, but it is a mercy which carries cruelty, 
if, not, deliberate, the most pernicious of all pos- 
sible- 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, imder the mild institutions in some 
of our States, they would have been condemned 
to hard labor for life. In what do they di6fer, 
to their advantage from other felons ? In noth- 
ing. Who would step forward to rescue them 
from that punishment due to their crime if con- 
victed by our own courts ? Kobody. Every- 
body would have said that they deserved it. 
Now, on the contrary, having escaped the hand 
of justice, in this country, and faUen 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 
Executiye to interfere, where Aiaerican citizens 
are wrongfully, treated abroad. And, shall we 
come forward and open the public purse, and 
assume on ourMk-es 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 un- 
fortunate and miserable as the truly guilty?) 
that the members of that committee, or the re- 
spectable 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 simUar principles. 

Mr. Emott said, that as he had .been a mem- 
ber of the committee whose report was now 
under consideration, he felt the propriety of 
making a few observations to show the expedi- 
ency of adopting the resolution. In order to 
obtain the release of these miserable and de- 
luded men, it was necessary that the Govern- 
ment should interfere, because the Spanish Gov- 
ernment never would release them till such 
application was made. The only money neces- 
sary to be paid was not to the Spanish Govern- 
ment, but to defray the expense of bringmg 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 ba necessary, Mr. E. said, to call to 
the minds or 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 con- 
demned 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 be- 
lieved 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 suffer- 
ed to lie in prison. Let it be understood, said 
Mr. E., that this expedition, whatever it waSj 
was carried on, in the face of day, in the city 
of New York, and that equipments of the ves- 
sels and enlistments were made without inter- 
ruption in the face of day. And would these 
persons believe that they were going on an un- 
lawful 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 interrup- 
tion 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 wUling 
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 ns, 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 



H. OF R.] 

Miranda's ExpediUm, 

[Jdkb, 1809.. 

two or three circumstances which would con- 
vince the House that they had no knowledge of 
the nature of this expedition. The first circum- 
stance was the extreme improhability 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 pur- 
poses, 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 erpedi- 
' tion, when it was not known to the Govern- 
ment 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 sol- 
diers for carrying on the expedition, knew the 
nature of it. I am convinced that these per- 
sons, all privates — for the ofiBicers were executed 
— did not know why they did enlist, or that 
the corps was for the purpose to vrhioh it was 
actually designed. 

I have said, and perhaps every person here 
knows, that the whole of the business was car- 
ried on in the face of day. Here were General 
Miranda and Mr. Smith coming to the seat of 
Government, and back to Jfew York, procuring 
clothes, enlisting men. _ Can it be conceived 
that all this could have been carried on, if Gen- 
eral 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 ren- 
dezvous, 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 investi- 
gation. Mr. Smith and Mr. Ogden. were in- 
dicted. I wiUread 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 

On the same trial there was one of the per- 
sons who has actually enlisted who deposed 
that the same information which Peter Eose 
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 Govern- 
ment ; 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 te tell him for 
what purpose they were to be enlisted, and, of 
course, he could not inform those whom he en-r 

Mr. E. said he had already rema(ked the ex- 
treme diflSculty under which these persons la- 
bored, 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 ashed of 
the Government? That they should expend 
large sums of money for the purpose of buying 
them out? No. All that the Spanish Gov- 
ernment wanted, he undertook to say, was, 
that a request should be made by the Govern- 
ment 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 

Nothing had been said by him, Mr. E. re- 
marked, of the peculiar sufferings of these men ; 
but there were representations eijough, to show 
that they were chained naked in a dungeon, 
without clothing, and without wood. Some 
had died and others must die. He hoped, there- 
fore, 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 nojipubt that they 
were a proper subject for the interference of 
the Government. 

Mr. BACoif observed that the conclusion 
which the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Kait- 
dolph) had drawn, rested upon the idea that 
the men were guUty. If they were gmlty, 
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, hav- 
ing 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 petitLeners 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 expe- 
dition 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 IJnited States, but as to going abroad, for 
against their consent they were forced into the 



June, 1809.] 

MirandfCs Expedition, 

[H. OF R. 

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 Alger- 
ines ? 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 be- 
lieve 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. Tatloe 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. Peaeson,) 
he should think it was the duty of this Govern- 
ment 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 condemne'd. These fine ap- 
peals to mercy and hmnanity 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 tri- 
bunal; 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 vrith in the course of 
my reading, of an attempt by one nation to re- 
lieve 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 Grovernment 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 wiU the Government of Spain, Junta, 
Vol. rv.— 10 

King, or Governors of Spanish provinces to 
whom you apply, say to you on this subject? 
"Why they will say — " We have long saspected, 
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 wiU hut render the sufferings 
of these people more rigorous. It is not to be 
conceived, although the gentleman from Mas- 
sachusetts and others have acquitted the Gov- 
ernment of participation, that the Spanish Gov- 
ernment wiU 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 expedi- 
tions have been made, at a distance from those 
sources whence conviction might flash upon 
their minds, will foi-m 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 inno- 
cent; because, forsooth, they themselves have 
said so. I recoUect, 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 in- 
formed 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 in- 
herent 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 ? K they are the im- 
maculate and almost sainted victims which they 
are described to be, why did not the com-t 
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 favor- 
able to the petitioners; and it is a respect due 
from this Government to the acts of that Gov- 
ernment that such a construction should be put 



H OF E.] 

Miranda's Expedition. 

[JnXE, 1809. 

upon this matter. If we are to distrust the acts 
«f 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 se- 
rious 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 inter- 
fering with a matter of this kind, which is 
sanctioned by precedent, as I have before 

It would seem, sir, as if the passing scenes of 
this world were entirely forgotten. The British 
Government has been suspected of having con- 
nived at this expedition as well as the Govern- 
ment of the United States. They have received 
Miranda into their bosom ; and on the examina- 
tion 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 di- 
version 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? Al- 
though 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 
ithe 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 na- 
tion, 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 
mot 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. LivEEMOKE asked if the committee which 
made this report had not before it evidence 
that certain British subjects concerned in Mi- 
randa's expedition had been liberated on the 
application of some officers of that nation ? If 
they had it would be a feir answer to the elo- 
quent speech of the gentleman from South Car- 

Mr. Eakdolph 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. E., 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 inasnbjectofGreat 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 revolu- 
tion ; and at that time Great Britain obtained 
from persons exercising the authority of govern- 
ment 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 applica- 
tions had then been made ; or suppose that the 
application had been deferred until now, and the 
power of the House of Bonaparte was as com- 
plete over the colonies in South America as we 
have every reason to believe it is over the Eu- 
ropean possessions of the mother country, 
would the British subjects in that case have 
been released ? It is an unfortunate circum- 
stance 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 



Jdne, 1809.] 

Batture at New Orleans. 

[H. OF E 

six months for doing the business of the nation, 
if every question is to he 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 be- 
tween most of what I have heard on this sub- 
ject, and the true merits of the case. Gentle- 
men 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, aU this time we do plaster ourselves 
unmercifully — ^we lay it on with a trowel — and 
gentlemen seem to think that if we sufllciently 
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 specta- 
cle, 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 Oarthagena 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 Wrong- 
head, we appear all to have turned round. My 
honorable friend, the gentleman from South 
Carolina, (Mr. Tatlok,) spoke of the crimes of 
these men. Gentlemen on the other sid.e, who 
wish them to be pardoned, teE 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 gen- 
tleman 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 inter- 
fere for the purpose of raising so pitiful a sum 
as $3,500 for the relief of these unfortunate men, 
whose sitnation 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 situ- 
ated as these unfortunate people ai-e ? 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 be- 
lieve they knew at least as well as I know, that 
when a man is*recruited for puhlic 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. Em- 
ott) 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 complete- 
ly foreclose any attempt at relieving the suffer- 
ers. It is not possible that the majority of this 
House, or that the Spanish Government, can 
be affected in any other manner than with dis- 
gust and indignation at such stuff. The gentle- 
man 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 existsd 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 sup- 
pose, of distressed damsels compelled to live 
under them. 

The question was now taken, and the votes 
being affirmative 62, negative 61, the Speakbs 
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 resolu- 
tion submitted by Mr. Maoon, on the sixteenth 
instant, in the words following, to wit : 

" Resolved, That so mnoh of the message of the 
President of the United States of the seventh of 
March, one thousand eight hundred and eight, as re- 
lates to the batture in the suburbs of St. Mary's, ad- 
joining New Orleans, and the documents accompa- 
nying it, together with the petitions of Edward Liv- 
ingston, and the petitions of the citizens of New Or- 
leans 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 instruct- 



H. OP R.] 

Satture at New Orleans. 

[June, 1809. 

ed 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 di- 
rected 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 battore." 

, 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 he against 
them. He could see no advantage In the pro- 
crastination 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, wheth- 
er 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 pe- 
titioner to have a right to the property ; J 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. PoTDEAs 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 cov- 
ered with water, was in fact the bed of the 
river, and, therefore, could not be private prop- 
erty. Mr. P. stated the history of this piece of 
alluvion at some length, and the circumstances 
under which it had dways been deemed public 

Mr. Sheffet 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 witness- 
es, or collect testimony of circumstances which 
occurred a hundred years ago ; and unless he 
could do this, it was impossible he could exam- 
ine the title, for testimony as to facts was es- 
sential to enable him to form a correct opinion. 

What influence could the opinion of the Attor- 
ney-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 I 
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 our- 
selves ? I hope we shall not ; and, therefore, I 
atn against this proposition. What does the 
Attorney-General state in his report? Aware 
of the impropriety of his deciding, he teUs 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 yon 
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 Ul-shapen, one-sided 
statement and opinion of the Attorney-General. 
Against such a decision I do protest. Is it be- 
cause you have power on your side, sir, that 
you wUl 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 indi- 
vidual 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 pos- 
sessed 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 posses- 
sion 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 wroug. This was the case. 



June, 1809.] 

BaUure at New Orleans. 

[H. or R. 

Those who were put in possession were ousted 
by military force. Let me not he understood 
as throwing odium on the Executive ; far from 
it. I believe the Executive acted conscientious- 
ly, but upon an expa/rte statement. The Pres- 
ident 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. PoTDEAs spoke at some length in reply 
to Mr. Shkffbt, 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 flroperty 
until after it came into the possession of the 
United States. He hoped the rights of the pub- 
lic and of the people of New Orleans would not 
be trampled upon to grant the petitioner his 

Mr. Maoou 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 hew, 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 de- 
sire to interfere with the judiciary than either 
of the gentlemen who had spoken. If provi- 
sion was made for trying this case, must it not 
be extended to all others ? In order to do jus- 
tice, 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 de- 
parting 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, he the consequences what it 
might, the city of New Orleans had no right to 
take it away from him. 

Mr. Teotip observed that this case was prob- 
ably one which would fall under the old max- 
im nullum tempus ocmrrit regi or reipvhlim. 
It 'appeared to him that there was a constitu- 
tional diflBculty in this case, wiich did not ap- 
pear 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 deter- 
mine its title, to refer it to any tribunal what- 
ever? I contend not; the right to public prop- 
erty was originally in the people of this coun- 
try ; they could never be divested of their great 
public right to the landed property of the na- 
tion, 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 needfal rules and 
regulations concerning public territory. Would, 
it have had that power, if this i-ight 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 de- 
termine claims to public property is not only 
guarantied exclusively to Congress by the con- 
stitution, hut the practice has been invariably 
pursuant to it ; it was so in 1807. The Gov- 
ernment 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 prop- 
erty, the man who enters on it without their 
consent is a trespasser on that property. Upon 
this view of the subject, there is a. constitu- 
tional difficulty on which the House should de- 
cide, before it entertains a motion for delegat- 
ing a power to decide this questLon to any tri- 
bunal or commission whatever. 

Mr. BoTD 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 individ- 
ual 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 judici- 
ally 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 indi- 
vidual 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 pos- 

Mr. Eandolph said he should vote against 
that report He said it was no part of his in- 
tention 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 prejudi- 
eated 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 



H. OF R.] 

Balture at New Orleang. 

[Jdne, 1809. 

1807 has been brought into view of this House 
by my friends from North Carolina and Geor- 
gia, 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 ob- 
ject of that law ? To defend against a con- 
spiracy, I may properly term it — against the 
lawless violence of confederated associations, a 
vast property. How has it been applied 1 Not 
to a great public property, but to a speck of 
land, to which, as I understand it, a single in- 
dividual, 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 Legisla- 
ture ; 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 appro- 
priate 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 com- 
plains 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 pos- 
session 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 unavail- 
ingly 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, suppos- 
ing 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 hun- 
dreds or thousands of intruders have set them- 
selves 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 in- 
dividual. It was, indeed, said that these intru- 
ders had agreed to remain as tenants at will ; 
but, let them remain tUI 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 suc- 
cessfully to oust a single individual put in pos- 
session by a decree of a court, you wiU find it 
nerveless to expel these men. 

With regard to the doctrine nullum tempits 
oceurrit reipublicm, 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 aU its aggravated enor- 
mities, 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 ques- 
tion, 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 pos- 
session the only title you have to show, an at- 
tempt is made to dispossess yon 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 



Jdke, 1809.] 

BaUure at New Orleans. 

[H. OF E, 

an end in the right to property of eveiy man 
in the country. Sir, I have been astonished, 
and grieved and mortified, to see so little sensa- 
tion 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 

What, then, is this case? An individual 
comes before ns, 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 con- 
cerned 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 be- 
coming by the introduction of large standing 
armies, that he should have been dispossessed 
of his property by an armed military force, at 
the flat 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 1 
understand any thing of this Government, 
however, it ought to be on record, and this re- 
turn of non est inventtis 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 Pres- 
ident 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 
Yirginia had very clearly expressed all those 
sentiments which every man must feel on hear- 
ing the history of this case ; and as regarded 
the ground taken,- of nullum tempvs 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 diflBoulty. 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 ascer- 
tained. There are a variety of forms by which 
the right is guarded. If I, said Mr. G., under- 
stood the gentleman from Georgia, (Mr. Teoup,) 

he considers it a sacrifice of the rights of the 
United States to permit a decision on its prop- 
erty 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 commis- 
sioners, for the purpose of investigation. 

I will not trouble the House with lengthy re- 
marks 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 gentlehien 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 top 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 prop- 
erty which the hand of violence has wrested 
from him ; and I hope that a proposition to 
this effect in a proper shape wiU be presented. 

Mr. Gholson said he thought it would better 
become the character of this assembly to dis- 
cuss every subject with calmness and delibera- 
tion, and on its own merits, than to endeavor to 
influence the decision by an appeal to the pas- 
sions. 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 con- 
sideration 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 consti- 
tuted authority. It would have been under this 
impression that, had I been a member of the 
Legislature when the law of 1807 was intro- 
duced 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 con- 
duct 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 author- 
ity. — [Mr. Eandolph said that his ground was 
that the President had not executed the law. 
If a law were ever so unconstitutional, the Pres- 
ident 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 coUeagne 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, 



H. OF R.] 


[June, 1809. 

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 tres- 
passing 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 question. 

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 pre- 
viously in possession. In which case he is to 
give notice, or where it was subsequently en- 
tered 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 Grown. Now, if the feudal 
law did exist, and by that law alluvion did 
accrue to the Crown of France, does it not fol- 
low 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 claim- 
ants came into possession. They were quieted 
in possession, so far as the rights of the United 
States were not concerned, on the 23d of ilav, 
1807. _ ' 

The decision of the corporation court of New 
Orleans is relied on as giving a title to the peti- 
tioner. That that decision did at all affect, in 
the remotest possible degree, the right of the 
United States, is a position which no man ac- 
quainted 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 ex- 
isted aU 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 Govern- 
ment can take property from an individual, 
ruaking him compensation therefor ? If the 
right to land be indefeasible, could the Govern- 
ment run a road through it ? It certamly 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 Presi- 
dent 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 de- 
scends 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 pursu- 
ance 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 pub- 
lic 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 en- 
croached on the rights of the citizen, but the 
law itself. I would ask, how can it be con- 
tended to the contrary ? Who was in posses- 
sion 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. Smttje, the House resumed 
the consideration of the report of the Committee 
of the Whole, on the biU from the Senate, to 
revive and amend certain parts of the act inter- 
dicting commercial intercourse. 

Ml-. 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 exclu- 
sion of the vessels of both powers until a satis- 
factory 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 con- 
firmed 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 Pres- 
ident of the United States now in ofiBce has de- 
clared his acceptance of the proffered terms of 
satisfaction for that outrage. And, after that, 
is it proposed that we shall continue the meas- 



Jdne, 1809.] 


[H. OF R. 

ure of hostility when the cause alone which led 
to it is completely done away ? I should sup- 
pose 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 IJmted States has accepted the 
satisfaction offered ; ho 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 hom- 
age to our rights. That matter must be deem- 
ed to be settled, if the President of the United 
States had authority to settle it. If the Pres- 
ident 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 viola- 
tion 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 unneces- 
sary for them to express any opinion upon it. 
If there be no edict affecting our lawful com- 
merce 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 
wiU 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-inter- 
course is at an end as respects one of the belli- 
gerents, and there can be no ground for the ex- 
clusion of British armed vessels. 

Mr. Tatloe said he thought the gentleman 
from Connecticut used the word hostility in re- 
lation to this measure of including British arm- 
ed vessels from the United States. Now, I be- 
lieve, sir, said Mr. T., that if we go to the opin- 
ions 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 hostil- 
ity 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 arm- 
ed 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 ses- 
sion, 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 Govern- 
ment, 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 Prance for the boon 
which we have received from the hand of Great 
Britain ? No^ sir ; and yet, if we take the defi- 
nition of Mr. Canning, as to excluding the ves- 
sels of one belligerent and receiving those of 
the othei', 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 opin- 
ion 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 hostil- 
ity 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 falflUed 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 arm- 
ed vessels of both belligerents ; but that, on the 
contrary, the state now proposed to be produc- 
ed, the exclusion of one and admission of the 
other, is an act of hostOity of the party exclud- 
ed. As I would not be compelled by the utmost 
iU 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 shaU compromit our neutrality. I now 
speak of both, for both have used us as iU 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 consid- 
er the state of things produced by the non-in- 
tercourse as totally distinct from that produced 
by the proclamation of our late illustrious Pres- 

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 wiE 
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 im- 



H. OF E.] 


[June, 1809. 

mediate 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 scrupu- 
lously investigated by the committee who re- 
ported it, or a bill similar in its provisions, 
•of which committee I had the honor to be a 

The language is plain ; public ships are not 
interdicted. There is but one question to be 
decided in disposing of this biU, and that is re- 
specting public ships ; for I believe all will 
agree to renew the non-intercourse act as re- 
spects France. The question is, what regula- 
tion shall we make respecting public ships, and 
one of three courses is to be pursued ? Shall 
we exclude both, admit both, or discriminate ? 

There are many who would be willing to ex- 
clude the armed ships of every foreign power 
from our harbors and waters. And consider- 
ing 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 gentle- 
men object to this, as being inexpedient at this 
period. It is said, and it is the principal argu- 
ment 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 adjust- 
ment of our differences with that nation as any 
member of this House, and would be as im- 
willing to embarrass the negotiation, I would 
not insist on this interdiction. 

It is also said that England has made repa- 
ration, 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 belliger- 
ents. Our Ministers at their respective Courts 
are endeavoring to negotiate, and by negotia- 
tion to obtain redress for the injuries of which 
we complain, and whatever precautionary meas- 
ures 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 in- 
terdicted, 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 aban- 
doned, and a general interdiction of the public 

ships of England and France, and a non-inter- 
course with these nations and their depend- 
encies, 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 in- 
terdicting British public vessels from our wa- 
ters 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 belliger- 
ents. It may be said, and has indeed been fre- 
quently said, that the reason of extending this 
restriction to France, was her having burnt our 
vessels and imprisoned our seamen. But never, 
at lesist 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, in- 
terdict 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 aggres- 
sion. Can this interdiction be defended on this 
ground ? It cannot. There must have existed 
some other reason. It was to preserve our re- 
lations with the belligerents in that state that 
should be consistent with our professions of 

Had the interdiction been confined to British 
vessels by this law, what would Great Britain 
have said to this discrimination ? In vain might 
w« 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 pro- 
fessions. 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 inex- 
pedient 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 suc- 
cess? It is desirable that the commercial inter- 
course between this country and France should 
be restored. Peace and free trade is the inter- 
est 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 advan- 
tage 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 advo- 



JnHE, 1809.] 


[H. OF E. 

cate for this discrimination in this House, -who 
can conceive the grounds upon which our Min- 
ister or our Government are to justify this 
measure with our relations of neutrality ? It 
cannot he defended. I am not for yielding to 
either nation, hut, let our conduct he consistent, 
impartial, and defensihle.- If then, we are. to 
he 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 
he 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 coun- 
try. This temerity would meet its merited 
punishment. The people of America can see, 
and will judge for themselves ; they can readily 
discern the difiference hetween shadow and suh- 
stance ; they are neither to he deceived or 
trifled with, especially on suhjects of such im- 
mense moment to their liherties and happiness. 
Mr. Btjbwbll said he deemed it in some de- 
gree his duty to make some remarks on the hill 
hefore the House. He intended to vote against 
hoth the amendments proposed to the hill. I 
think (said Mr. B.) that if my colleague who 
moved the first amendment, (Mr. Sheffkt,) 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 
he pursued. He seems to have taken another 
ground, when hy the clearest demonstration it 
might have heen shown that the system pro- 
posed is one of impartiality to the belligerent 
powers of Europe. It wiU he recollected hy 
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 accommo- 
dation with us, because we excluded her vessels 
and nominally admitted those of her enemy. 
On that ground I venture to say that the exclu- 
sion 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 per- 
haps in the course of a year a single French 
public armed vessel in the harbors of the Unit- 
ed 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 settle- 
ment of our differences with France. I am not 
now sanguine in my belief that we shall settle 
our differences with her ; for every one acquaint- 
ed with that Government knows, I fear, that it 
is not to be diverted from its object hy any ar- 
rangement 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 ad- 
mit British vessels as far as my vote would go ; 
and should the House determine to exclude 
French vessels I should still vote for the admis- 
sion of English vessels, because their former ex- 
clusion hasjjeen 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. Tatloe,) 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 exclu- 
sion 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 

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 he satisfied, because I have no doubt Eng- 
land has agents in the country, hut so few in 
number as to he unworthy of notice. If Great 
Britain, on the other hand, attacks us when we 
have taken away every possible ground of colli- 
sion 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 divi- 
sions which have distracted us for some months 

It cannot he said that we are hound 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 declara- 
tions 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 expres- 
sions which existed in that country of our par- 
tiality to France, it did appear to him that this 
speech was entitled to weight, because it justi- 
fied the course proposed by the bUl, and stated 



H. OF R.] 


[Jdhe, 1809. 

a position which the British Government ad- 
mitted 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 
biU 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 somew^hat hostile to that country, 
he had quoted the speech of a ministerial mem- 
ber to show that no such inference could be 
drawn. The same person, in his speech, also 
states, said Mr. B., that tlie 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 effi- 
ciently 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 importa- 
tion of the products of France ; and any attempt 
to carry on a oii-cuitous commerce must be in- 
effectual, inasmuch as the produce will be lia- 
able to seizure when it comes into the ports of 
the United States. 

If, according to the ideas of the British Gov- 
ernment 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 dis- 
position 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 gen- 
tlemen 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 Eu- 
rope ? Is it not known that, of the whole of 
our tobacco, seven out of eight parts are con- 
sumed on the continent? That of our cotton, 
at least one-half finds its market there ? Does 
not flour find a gi-eat proportion of its consump- 
tion 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 re- 
spect 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 sitviation, France or Eng- 
land ? 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 dis- 
crimination, 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 our- 
selves. Our feelings ought to be for ourselves 
and our country. Here is a nation having pub- 
lic 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 hereto- 
fore, but what ^ay be now — if yon 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 en- 
trapping it ? If, from the intoxication of the 
man who rules the destinies of the nations of 
Em'ope, 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 ns j ustice, 
I should be glad ; if not, we must abide by lie 
consequences. We must not do improper 
things because they will not do us justice. It 
is proper that we should assert what we con- 
ceive 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 al- 
ready settled. If it be not, and the exclusion 
of French armed vessels would be an impedi- 



June, 1809.] 

Non-Intercourse . 

[H. OF R. 

ment 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 considera- 
tion. It had been asked whether it was con- 
sistent with the honor of this nation to admit 
French ships vrithin 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 inten- 
tion 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 gen- 
tleman, 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 ^hips 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 oflB- 
cers vrithin 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 author- 
ized, 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 deter- 
mination of the major part of the citizens of 
the United States to resist her till she surren- 
dered 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 

It is said, by the gentleman last up, that we 
are at peace with Great Britain. Does it fol- 
low, from that, that they are entitled to all the 
rights of hospitality that one nation could possi- 
bly show to another 3 Certainly not. We ought 
yet to holdup some indication that we are not 
perfectly reconciled to them. When they aban- 
don the outrageous principles which govern that 
natiou 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 Extraordi- 
nary 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 ^idence that the British Govern- 
ment was not sincere, and that it did not intend 
to accommodate? When I see an abandon- 
ment by Great Britain of the principles destruc- 
tive to neutrality, I can consent to admit that 
nation to the rights of hospitality. 

Mr. Johnson observed, that, to say any thing 
on this subject, after the tinle which had been 
aldready 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 neu- 
trality as to our foreign relations ; but, the biU 
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 unset- 
tled 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 incapa- 
ble 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 com- 
mitted within our waters? Has our hospitality 
been violated and our officers insulted in our 
very ports by the vessels of France 8 or is her 
hostility merely commercial? It is of the lat- 
ter description. Is it not admitted that we may 
lawfuUy 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 



H. OP E.] 


[Jdne, 1809. 

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 dis- 
crimination as to her public vessels ? She has 
rescinded ]jer 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 blockad- 
ing 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 dan- 
gers. 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 re- 
marks 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 mren, 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 samp 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 what- 

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 
lawfiol 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 disap- 

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. Smilib 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 af- 
fairs, 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 biQ ? We know 
that, if this bill does not go to the Senate till 
to-morrow, if amended, a single member of tKe 
Senate can, according to their rules, prevent tke 
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 coun- 
try and Great Britain is at an end. And I hope 
that this reason will induce gentlemen to per- 
mit the question to be taken. 

Mr. J. G. Jackson said he had intended, be- 
fore the day had so far progressed, to have ex- 
plained to the House the motives by which he 
was actuated in relation to the biU. He said 
he would stiU 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, not- 
withstanding the renewal of intercourse, ex- 
cluded armed vessels from our waters ; and, for 
the purpose of doing away completely that con- 
struction, I moved an amendment which, gen- 
tlemen conceiving it unnecessary, I withdrew. 
If gentlemen are correct in the opinion which 
they advanced, and which induced me to with- 
draw that motion, they cannot, consistently, 
vote for the amendment of my colleague pro- 
viding 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 col- 
league provides for the admission of the armed 
vessels of those nations with whom commercial 
intercourse shall have been (not has been) per- 
mitted. Are you, by this phraseology, about 
to devolve upon the President a discretionary 



Junk, 1809.] 


[H. OF R. 

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 fa- 
vored, when it is conceded on all hands that 
the admission of the armed vessels of one na- 
tion 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 " sis- 
ter 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 conse- 
quence, 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 suter France on the one hand, is 
about as great as the attachment to mother 
Britain on the other. I believe it has been em- 
phatically declared to the nation that we would 
not go to war for existing differences. If, how- 
ever, 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. Madi- 
son to Mr. Eose, they will find the causes de- 
tailed. 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 per- 
mit 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 na- 
tion. It is in vain to say that a nation pre- 
serves a neutral attitude, when it permits one 
of the belligerents repeatedly to violate itsi sov- 
ereignty. 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. Inas-, 
much 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 Eng- 
lish and exclude French ships. 

We throw open our ports and admit the thou- 
sand ships of Britain, without opening our eyes 
to the consequences which have heretofore re- 
sulted from so doing. And shall we now re- 

fuse admission to the vessels of France? It is 
indeed difficult to say what led to their exclu- 
sion ; 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 gentle- 
men 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 ses- 

Gentlemen ask, has there not been a satisfac- 
tory 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 quiet- 
ly under the vine and fig tree ? " In the mean 
time, with a view to contribute to the attain- 
ment of so desirable an object. His Majesty 
would be willing to withdraw his orders," &c. 
In the mean time, still persisting in the princi- 
ple 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 lan- 
guage in this letter, which shows that Great 
Britain in fact has promised nothing. She does 
not say that she wiU repeal or revoke her or- 
ders, but that in the mean time she will with- 
draw 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 con- 
sent to do, by admitting instead of excluding 
British armed vessels. 

When Mr. J. G. Jackson concluded, Mr. 
Sheffet, 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. Maoon produced a precedent in which he 
had himself done the same in the case of a mo- 
tion for the repeal of the second section of the 
sedition act, nine or ten years ago. 

Mr. Taylor said that, as the House had de- 
cided that they would not discriminate be- 
tween the admission of British and French 
public vessels, he wished to try the question 
on the exclusion of both. He made a mo- 
tion 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. MoNTGOMEET obscrved that the decision 
of the courts of the United States had been 



H. OP R.] 


[JOME, 1809. 

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 re- 
coverable and distributable after the act itself 
had expired. He therefore moved an amend- 
ment 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 Franco, and their dependencies, and for 
other purposes," was read the third time. 

Mr. PicKMAN hoped that he should be ex- 
cused 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 bin, because it admitted French vessels 
into our ports and harbors. Gentlemen had 
asked why a discrimination should be made. 
He answered, that th-e reasons for this conduct 
were to his mind very plain. He had considered 
the outrage on the Chesapeake as a gross viola- 
tion 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 instruc- 
tions to negotiate for a settlement of all diflfer- 
ences. I consider these things as done, because 
I consider the faith of the British nation as sol- 
emnly 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 modrflcation 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 be- 
fore the arrangement, because it was before it 
was known. Viewing the subject in this 
light, I do not believe that the modifica- 
tion 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, accord- 
ing to the stipulation made with Mr. Erskine, I 
should consider it a mere mockery. I do, how- 
ever, consider it in a very different light, and 
have no doubt that the Government of Great 
Britain wiU adopt such modification of their 
orders as they have stipulated to do. These 
are my ideas, and on this gi-ound I did and do 
still believe that we ought to have made a dis- 

crimination, 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. Maoon 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 to- 
wards us by France as by Great Britain : but 
because there had not he would do nothing to- 
wards 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 whidi 
she was in the habit of sending out vessels ; 
whilst France, having no possessions on the 
American coast, had no occasion for our hos- 

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 proc- 
lamation. 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 yoxu: 
waters, said he, and take away any induce- 
ment she might have had to rescind her de- 
crees. I believe the passage of the biU will 
extend the difiSculties 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 boundenduty of those who 
think as I do to vote, as I shalL against the 

Mr. Tatloe 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 difierent 
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 ap- 
pear to view it, I certainly shonld be in favor 
of it. But, when it is recollected that your le- 
gislative acts have been held out to your feUow- 
citizens and to foreign nations, promising a per- 
severance 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, accord- 
ing to the recession of one belligerent, or per- 
severance of the other, we were to shape our 



JtiHE, 1809.] 


[H. OF E. 

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 pro- 
duced by the non-intercourse, I had a right to 
say we. The sense of the House was taken dis- 
tinctly 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 in- 
structions which came out by Mr. Oakley to the 
British Envoy here, and on which the arrange- 
ment did take place. Now, though the gentle- 
• man 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 gentle- 
man from North Carolina, (Mr. Maoon,) the 
merit of the late negotiation, if it attach any- 
where. 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 let- 
ters 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 ad- 
mit instead of continuing the exclusion against 
armed vessels, where, instead of a recession, 
injuries have rather been added. When gen- 
tlemen are asked why they have admitted 
French vessels, in our present situation in rela- 
tion to France, after the temper displayed and 
the votes given at the last session on the sub- 
ject, 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 
nnanimously passed by that body. This unani- 
mous 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 biU ; it 
certainly must have weight in favor of a meas- 
ure, 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 kiiow, 
sir, that the rules of proceeding and order estab- 
lished 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 opin- 
ion of this House. Why is it out of order? Be- 
cause the excellence of our constitution is, that 
the Legislature shall consist of two Houses, 
each of which shall act on its own ideas of pro- 
priety. If it is not proper to mention the con- 
duct 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 defer- 
ence 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 respect- 
VoL. IV.— 11 

ing the writ of habeas corpus was oace 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 em- 
bargo principle, but not with so much precision. 
I consider this biU to be receding from a weak 
position. If the embargo was a decisive meas- 
ure, it ought to have been taken more com- 
pletely at the outset than it was. But it failed. 
The non-intercourse was abandoning one part 
and retaining another of the system. This bUl 
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 pro'id 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.QuiNCT) 
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 wDl 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 ahve till the next session of 
Congress. I was very much pleased with & 
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 weU be able to draw a conclusion which I 

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 sittach 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? Cer- 
tainly, sir. On the contrary, I have always nn- 
derstood the claims of the United States as a 
neutral nation to be, not to assert new preten- 
sions, but to assert such claims as they may 
think reasonable with respect to principle, and 
such as have been formerly admitted in prac- 

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 



H. OP R.] 


[June, 1609. 

Government of the country ; and that the Ex- 
ecutive has acted so well in conducting the pre- 
liminary arrangement for removing certain ob- 
stacles to negotiation, that on the whole we 
ought to assist his administration. On this sub- 
ject, 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 Rela- 
tions. 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 gentle- 
men in the House who are organs of communi- 
cation of the Executive wishes ? Have we any 
other evidence of the disposition of the Execu- 
tive in relation to this bill than that certain gentle- 
men are in favor of it? Ii^ on this subject, the 
opinion of the Executive should properly de- 
cide 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, wiU it be possible to conceive 
that we are consistent ? When you had differ- 
ences 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? EeaUy, sir, 
the difficulty under which the Government for- 
merly 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 Eela- 
tions 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 cer- 
tainly 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 

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 at- 
tention of the House to a sentence which is the 
most extraordinary surely that ever was put to- 
gether. 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 skUl of the 
author of it. The sentence is as follows : " As 
it appears at the same time, that, in making thia 
offer. His Britannic Majesty derives a motive 
from the equality, now existing, in the relations 
of the United States, with the two beUigerent 
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 what- 
ever 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 ar- 
rangement 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 con- 
vey nothing offensive in the expression. In this 
view, T am willing to admit it, because it con- 
duces 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 prac- 
tical man of sense. I consider this biU as not 
corresponding with the resolutions of last ses- 
sion, as not corresponding with the general senti- 
ment 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 



Juire, 1809.] 

Emigrants Jrom Cuba, 

[H. OF R. 

such a one as distingnished the confederacy in 
the Baltic, not one to assert new pretensions ; 
hut one temperate in its claims, specific in its 
object. And I conld really wish that in the 
present state of the world we shonld turn our 
attention to a system of policy which shall he 
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 
%ystem has been constituted too much in refer- 
ence to particular cases. 

But I have one further objection to this biU, 
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 what- 
ever they please. There is no law to prohibit 
it, nor any authority placed in the Government 
of the United States to prevent them from pur- 
chasing. 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 pro- 
visions 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 disadvan- 
tages of undertaking to chop up law. 

From these general views of the subject, sir, 
I am opposed to the passage of the law. 

Messrs. Pitkdt and Qumoy stated their rea- 
sons for voting against the bUl. 

And on the question, "Shall the bill pass? 
it was decided in the aflarmative— yeas 72, nays 
15, as follows: 

Teas.— Lemuel J. Alston, Willis Alston, jr., Wil- 
liam Anderson, Ezekiel Bacon, Wiffiam W. Bibb, 
Adam Boyd, John Brown, Kobert Brown, William 
A. Bnrwell, Joseph Calhomi, John Campbell, Howell 
Cobb James Cochran, Orchard Cook, James Cox, 
Richard Cutts, John Dawson, Joseph Desha, James 
Emott, J. W. Eppes, WilUam Findlay, Jonathan 
Fisk Gideon Gardner, Thomas Gholson, jr., Peterson 
Goodwyn, Thomas R. Gold, Daniel Heister, William 
Helms Jacob Hufty, Robert JenHns, Richard M. 
Johnson, Wiffiam Kennedy, Herman Knickerbacker, 
Robert Le Roy Livingston, John Love Matthew 
Lvbn Aaron Lyle, Robert Marion, Tmcent Matthews, 
Samuel McKee, William Milnor, John Montgomery, 
Nicholas R. Moore, Thomas Newton, Joseph Pearson, 
johu Porter, Peter B. Porter, Josiah Qrancy, John 

Rea, of Pennsylvania, John Rhea of Tennessee, Mat- 
thias Richards, John Roane, Ebenezer Sage, Thomas 
Sammons, Daniel Shefiey, John Smilie, George 
Smith, Samnel Smith, Henry Southard, John Stan- 
ley, James Stephenson, Jacob Swoope, John Thomp- 
son, TJri Tracy, Nicholas Van Dyke, Archibald Van 
Home, Robert Weakley, Laban Wheaton, Robert 
Whitehill, Ezekiel Whitman, Robert Witherspoon, 
and Richard Wynn. 

Nats. — Daniel Blaisdell, John C. ChamberlMn, S. 
W. Dana, John Davenport, jr., William Ely, William 
Hale, Nathaniel 1L Haven, James Holland, Jonathan 
H. Hnbbard, Edward St. Loe Livermore, Nathaniel 
Macon, Timothy Pitkin, jr., John Ross, Richard Stan- 
ford, and John Taylor. 

Absent, 54 members. 

Wednbsdat, June 28. , 
Emigrants from Ouba. 

On motion of Mr. Maeion, the House resolv- 
ed itself into a Committee of the "Whole on the 
bill for the remission of certain fines and penal- 

[This biU provides for the remission of penal- 
ties incurrred 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 ves- 
sels and cargoes and fined the persons con- 

Mr. Mabion observed that he had, a day or 
two ago, presented petitions from persons bring- 
ing in slaves, amongst which were some docu- 
ments, one of which was the opinion of the 
district court of South Carolma, 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 alames were 
forcibly expelled from the island, though the 
owners were. He therefore moved an amend- 
ment to include slaves owned by persons who 
were expelled the island. — Motion agreed to 
without opposition. 

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. Boss 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. B. said that provision was abo made in the 
bill as to slaves that may hereafter arrive in the 



H. OP R.] 

Emigromtt from Cuba. 

[June, 1809. 

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 dis- 
pensing 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 gentle- 
men 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, at- 
tended with singular circumstances, he would 
withdraw his objection. And he verily believ- 
ed, 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 unfortu- 
nate Frenchmen driven on our coast, were some 
time ago driven from St. Domingo, and were 
obliged to take shelter at Cuba. Since the com- 
mencement of the war in Spain, Cuba has 
almost witnessed the same scenes as St. Do- 
mingo. 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 coun- 
try 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 
vsrhich would otherwise be condemned, and re- 
lieve the perfectly innocent merchants who 
would otherwise suffer. Let us say to these 
unfortunates, as Dido to JSneas, when he was 
exiled from Troy: " I have suffered misfortune 
myself, and therefore know how to extend the 
hand of relief to others." 

Mr. Maeiost said that if the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. Boss) 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 bring- 

ing 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 per- 
mitted 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 cap- 
tains now in jail under sentence of court for hav- 
ing brought those people into the country ; he 
submitted to the House whether, under the cir- 
cumstances of the case, the captains had not good 
reason to suppose that they would not be sub- 
ject to the penalty of the law. The law pro- 
hibiting 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. MoNTGOMEET Said it was peculiarly neces- 
sary to pass this biU 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. Nbwton produced a letter from the col- 
lector of New Orleans on this subject. 

Mr. Tatloe said it never could have been 
the intention or spirit of the law of 1807 to in- 
crease our population in free blacks. It vras 
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 aver- 
sion to receiving an additional free black popu- 
lation. The intent of this bill, so far from 
being in hostility to the law quoted by the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania, was in further- 
ance of it. It was to remove them out of the 

Mr. Ross said that it was strange that the 
Hduse should have a biU before it contemplat- 
ing the removal of a certain description of per- 
sons out of the country, when nothing of the 
kind a,ppeared 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 ' rema,in here. He did iiot 
want them, they brought principles which it 
was known would not promote our interest or 



June, 1809.] 

[H. OP R. 

The committee tlien rose and reported the bill. 

Mr. Newton moved a new section for the re- 
lief of Foster and Girard, of New York, whose 
ship had been forfeited under the law prohibit- 
ing the importation of slaves. — ^Agreed to. 

And the bill was ordered to a third reading, 
and subsequently passed without opposition. 

Eeening Session. 
Mr. EooT reported that the committee had 

waited on the President according to order, who 
was pleased to say that he had no further com- 
munications to make. 

About nine o'clock, all the bills having been 
enrolled and signed, a motion was made to ad- 
journ, and carried; and the Spkakee, after 
wishing the members of the House a pleasant 
journey home, and a happy meeting with their 
friends, adjourned the House to the fourth Mon- 
day in November next. 





[NOVEMBEK, 1809. 




Monday, November 27, 1809. 
Conformably to the act passed at the last ses- 
sion, 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. 

Tmotht Piokbeing, from Massachusetts. 

Chaitncet Goodeioh, from Connecticut. 

Stephen E. Beadley and Jonathan Kobin- 
SON, from Vermont. 

John Lambeet, from New Jersey. 

Ajstdeew Geeoo and Michael Lbib, from 

William B. Giles, from Virginia. 

James Tuenbe, from North Carolina. 

Thomas Sumtee and John Gaillaed, from 
South Carolina. 

BiroKNBE Theuston and John Pope, from 

Eetuen Jonathan Meigs and Stanley Geis- 
wold, 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 Geeman, from the State of New 
York; Jakes Hillhousb, from the State of 
Connecticut ; Elisha Mathewson, from the 
State of Ehode Island ; and Nahtjm Paekee, 
from the State of New Hampshire, severally 

Andrew Geegg, President pro tempore, re- 
sumed 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 Eepresentatives that a quorum of the 
Senate is assembled, and ready to attend to bus- 

Ordered, That Messrs. Gilman and Gaillaed 
he a committee on the part of the Senate, to- 
gether with such committee as may be appoint- 
ed by the House of Eepresentatives 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 Eepresentatives therewith. 

A message from the House of Eepresentatives 
informed the Senate that the House have ap- 
pointed 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. 

Reaohed, That James Mathers, Sergeant-at- 
Arms and Doorkeeper to the Senate, be, and he 
is hereby, authorized fo 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 com- 
mittee, 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 communi- 
cation to the two Houses to-morrow, at 12 

Wednesday, November 29. 
James Lloyd, from the State of Massachu- 
setts, attended. 



November, 1809.] 

The President's Message. 


President's Message. 

The following Message was received from tlie 
Peesident op the United States: 
Fellow-citizens of the Senate, and 

of the House of Representatives : 

At the period of our last meeting, I had the satis- 
faction of communicating an adjustment with one of 
the principal helligerent nations, highly important in 
itself, and stUl 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 ratifica- 
tion was reserved ; and, more especially, where, as is 
now in proof, an engagement, to be executed, with- 
out 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 States. 

These considerations not having restrained the Brit- 
ish 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 dellbera^ 
tion, 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 arrange- 
ment 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 collect- 
ors 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 unfore- 
seen an occurrence : and I rely on the regard of Con- 
gress for the equitable interests of our own citizens, 
to adopt whatever further provisions may be found 
requisite for a general remission of penalties involun- 
tarily 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 pro- 
duced, and to remove the causes which had so long 
embarrassed the good understanding of the two na- 
tions. 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 sub- 
stituted 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 coun- 
cil. And, finally, that his proposals with respect to 
the other branch, the attack on the frigate Ches!^ 
peake, 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 referenc^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 

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 fiarther communications should be received 
from him. The necessity of this step will be made 
known to His Britannic Majesty, through the Minis- 
ter 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 ex- 
acts what becomes foreign Ministers near it, not to 
infer 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 he 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 tres- 
passes 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 fa- 
vorable change. The result of the several commu- 
nications 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 you. 

By some of the other belligerents, although pro- 
fessing just and amicable dispositions, injuries ma^ 
terially affecting our commerce have not been duly 
controlled or repressed. In these cases, the interposi- 
tions 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 prostitu- 
tion of it by individuals, unworthy of the American 
name, which has so much favored the real or pre- 
tended suspicions, under which the honest commerce 
of their fellow-citizens has suffered. 

In relation to the powers on the coast of Barhaiy, 
nothing has occurred which is not of a nature rather 
to inspire confidence than distrust, as to the continu- 
ance of the existing amity. With our Indian neigh- 
bors, the just and benevolent system continued to- 
wards them, has also preserved peace, and is more 
and more advancing habits favorable to their civili- 
zation and happiness. 

From a statement which will be made by the Sec- 




The British Minister, 

[December, 1809, 

retary 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 contem- 
plated ; 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 pri- 
vate 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 miUtia, 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 diminnation of 
the public revenue, will probably produce a defi- 
ciency 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 pro- 
tracted 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 alterna- 
tives before them. That these wiU 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 he 

In the midst of the wrongs and vexations experi- 
enced from external causes, there is much room for 
congratulation on the prosperity and happiness flow- 
ing from our situation at home. The blessing of 
health has never been more universal. The fruits 
of the seasons, though in particular articles and dis- 
tricts short of their usual redundancy, are more than 
sufBlcient for our wants and our comforts. The face of 
our country every where presents the evidence of laud- 
able 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 na- 
tions, 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 consulta- 
tions and measures about to he undertaken for the 
welfare of our beloved country. 


November 29, 1809. 

The Message and docnments 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. Goodeich, i 
Resolved, ujumimousli/, That the members of the 
Senate, from a sincere desire of showing their re- 
spect to the memory of the Honorable Samuel White, 
deceased, late a member thereof, wiU go into mourn- 
ing for one month, by the usual mode of wearing a 
crape round the left arm. 

Thubsdat, November 30. 

Philip Eked, from the State of Maryland, at- 

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. 

RioHAED Bebnt, from the State of Virginia, 
and Welham H. Obaweoed, 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 No- 
vember, for the appointment of Chaplains, and 
have appointed the Rev. Jesse Lee Chaplain on 
their part. 

Thesdat, December 5. 
The British Minister, 
Mr. Giles, from the committee appointed on 
the first instant, reported in part the following 



December, 1809.] 

Conduct of the British Minister. 


resolution ; -whicli wag read the first time, and 
passed to the second reading : 

_ Resolved,, by the Senate and House of Representa- 
tives of the United States of America in Congress as- 
sembled, That the expressions contained in the offi- 
cial letter of Francis James Jackson, Minister Plen- 
ipotentiary of his Britannic Majesty near the United 
States, dated the 23d day of October, 1809, and ad- 
dressed to Mr. Smith, Secretary of State, conveying 
the idea, that the Executive Government of the Unit- 
ed States 'had knowledge that the arrano^ement 
lately made by Mr. Erskine, his predecessor, on be- 
half 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 repe- 
tition of the same intimation in his official letter 
dated the 4th of November, 1809, after he was ap- 
prised, by the asseveration of the Secretary of State, 
that the Executive Government had no sucli knowl- 
edge, 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 inadmis- 
sible, was still more insolent and affronting; and 
that, in refusing to receive any further communica- 
tions irom 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 pubUshed and circulated through the coun- 
try, is a still more direct and aggravated insult and 
affront to the American people and their Govern- 
ment, as it is evidently an insidious attempt to excite 
their resentments and .distrusts against their own 
Government, by appealing to them, through false or 
faUacious 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 sol- 
emnly 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 com- 
munications 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 insulcs and to assert and maintain the 
rights, the honor, and the interests of the United 

Privileges of Foreign Ministers. 
Mr. Giles, from the same committee, also re- 
ported the following bill, which was read and 
passed to a second reading : 

A hill to prevent the abuse of the privileges and im- 
munities enjoyed by Foreign Ministers within the 
United States. 

Be it enacted, dc. That if any foreign Ambassa^ 
dor, Minister, or other person, entitled to enjoy with- 
in the United States the privileges and immunities of 
a foreiim 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 
Umted 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 Sover- 
eign, or to some place or territory within his Sover- 
eign'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 au- 
thority of the United States, commanding him to pro- 
vide for and enforce the departure of such Ambassa- 
dor, Minister, or other person offending as aforesaid, 
taking due precautions to avoid improper or unneces- 
sary violence in executing such warrant. And all 
officers, civil and military, under the authority of the 
United States, are hereby required and enjoined to he 
obedient to such warrant. And in case any officer, 
civil or military, to whom such warrant shall be di- 
rected, 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 dol- 
lars, nor the imprisonment be for a longer time than 

Mr. Giles gave notice that he should call for 
the consideration of this subject on Thursday 

Feidat, December 8. 
The British Minister. 

The resolution reported by Mr. Giles, ap- 
proving the conduct of the Executive in refus- 
ing to hold any further communication with 
Mr. Jackson, was taken up in the Senate as in 
Committee of the "Whole. The resolution hav- 
ing 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 as- 
sured, sir, that nothing less than an indisposi- 
tion, sufficient to justify it, would have caused 
me to have been absent from my place yester- 
day. Perhaps, sir, I owe an apology to the 
Senate at this time for entering into this debate 
under a state of hoarseness, which must neces- 
sarily disqualify me, in some degree, from dis- 
charging my duty on the present occasion. 
But, air, 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 en- 
gaged in better than myself, and some of whom 
will certainly do me the favor of correcting any 
errors I may unintentionally commit, or supply- 
ing any omissions I may inadvertently make. 

Although it appears