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foreign licences. He had heard but one objection to this repeal: it was suggested that to repeal the law in question would be a kind of submission to the enemy. He thought not. It was the practice of nations generally in time of war; and even in the present war of extermination between France and England, those nations traded directly with each other. Another consideration which ought to induce the house to accede to the motion, was the opinion of American merchants generally, which was in favour of the repeal of the prohibition, &c. Mr. King's motion was as follows:
“Resolved, That the committee on foreign relations be and they are hereby instructed to enquire into the expediency of repealing an act passed on the 2d day of August, 1813, entitled, • an act to prohibit the use of licences or passes granted by authority of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and that they have leave to report by bill or otherwise."
When Mr. King submitted this motion, it contained also a clause including the act to prohibit the ransom of vessels captured by the enemy; but it being suggested that the bill on this subject had not yet become a law*, Mr. King erased that part of his motion which related to ransoms.
The house having agreed to consider the motion, by a vote of 53 to 44, an animated debate took place, in the course of which the resolution was modified, on suggestion of Mr. Gaston, of North Carolina, by inserting after the word “ Ireland” the following words:
"Or so modifying the said act as to permit licences granted by the authority of the government of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to be used under such regulations and restrictions as may be deemed expedient by the president of the United States."
The resolution, thus modified, was rejected, 49 to 81.
0 15. In connexion with the subject of the restrictive system, it may be proper here to notice a singular memorial which was presented to congress, in the beginning of January, by a black of the name of Paul Cuffee, of Westport, in the state of Massachusetts. The memorialist stated, that being a descendant of Africa, and early instructed in habits of sobriety and industry, he had become greatly interested in the labours of many pious individuals, both of this country and England, to produce a termination of the wrongs of Africa, by prohibiting the slave trade, and also to improve the condition of the degraded inhabi
Bills prohibiting the ransoming of vessels, and the other objects recommend. ed in the embargo message, were in progress at the time of the repeal of the reEtrictive system, and fell with it.
tants, and that he had therefore conceived it a duty incumbent upon him, to give up a portion of his time and his property in visiting that country, and affording such means as might be in his power to promote the improvement and civilization of the Africans.
Under these impressions he had left his family, and with a sacrifice of both time and money visited Sierra Leona, and there gained such information of the country and its inhabitants, as enabled him to form an opinion of many improvements that appeared to him essential to the well being of that people. These he had had an opportunity of communicating to several distinguished members of the royal African Institution in London, and he had the satisfaction at that time to find that his recommendations were approved by the celebrated philanthropists the duke of Gloucester, William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, William Allen, and others, and has since learned that the institution have so far acceded to his plans as to make some special provision to carry them into effect. One of these objects was to keep up an intercourse with the free people of colour in the United States, in the expectation that some persons of reputation would feel sufficiently interested to visit Africa, and endeavour to promote habits of industry, sobriety, and frugality, among the natives of
The memorialist having communicated these views to the free people of colour in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston, they manifested a disposition to promote so laudable an undertaking, and several families, whose characters promise usefulness, have come to a conclusion, if proper ways could be opened, to go to Africa, in order to give their aid in promoting the objects already adverted to. The memorialist, therefore, solicited congress, to grant permission that a vessel might be employed (if
liberty could also be obtained from the British government) between this country and Sierra Leona, to transport such persons and families as might be inclined to go, as also some articles of provision, together with implements of husbandry, and machinery for some mechanic arts, and to bring back such of the native productions of that country as might be wanted, as without a little aid from the trifling commerce of that country, the expence would fall too heavy on the memorialist and his friends.
The memorial was favourably received by the senate, and a bill was passed by that body, authorizing the president of the United States to permit the departure of Paul Cuffee from the United States with a vessel and cargo for Sierra Leona, and to return with a cargo.
In the house of representatives the bill was referred to the committee of commerce and manufactures, who, on the 9th of February, reported, that in their opinion it would be impolitic, at a time when the government of the United States has been compelled, from imperious necessity, to prohibit the coasting trade, to prevent the enemy from obtaining supplies of provisions, and thereby from keeping a considerable naval force on the coast of the United States, to relax the prohibitions of the embargo law, on the application of an individual, for a purpose which, how benevolently soever conceived, cannot be considered in any other light than as speculative; the efforts heretofore made and directed by the zeal and intelligence of the Sierra Leone company, having failed to accomplish the object designed by its institution. When exemptions from the operation of a law are made, the justice of which is not seen by every citizen, the wisdom of which is questionable, and the necessity of which is not palpably evident, discontent, if it did not exist, would be produced, and if it did exist, it would by such policy acquire expansion and vigour.
In what manner soever the act from the senate be contemplated, the committee saw difficulties which could not be overcome by any suggestions of their ingenuity. They, therefore, from this view of the subject, felt themselves constrained to recommend the rejection of the act.
On the 18th of March the house resolved itself into a committee of the whole on the bill and report, when a debate of considerable length took place, in which the bill was supported by Messrs. Wheaton, Grosvenor, Pickering, Taggart, Baylies, Webster, Farrow, Duval, and Shipherd, and opposed by Messrs. Newton, Wright, M‘Kim, Kerr, Ingham, Fisk, of Vt. and Ingersoll.
The bill was supported on the ground of the excellence of the general character of Mr. Cuffee ; the philanthrophy of his views; the benefits to humanity and religion generally of which a success in these views might be productive; the benefits which would result to the United States particularly, from the establishment of an institution which would invite the emigration of free blacks, a part of our population which we could well spare, &c. &c.
On the other hand, the bill was opposed on various grounds. Whilst the excellence of the general character of Mr. Cuffee was fully credited and generally admitted, it was said that the bill would violate, in favour of a foreign mission, that policy which we had refused to infringe for the sake even of our coasters and fishermen; that Mr. Cuffee might depart in neutral
vessels with his companions, but that it would be improper to permit him to carry out a cargo, which was not at all necessary to his views of propagating the gospel ; that his voyage would be contrary to the policy of existing laws, independent of the embargo policy, because Sierra Leone was a British settlement; that as this was a British settlement, in the possession of a nation claiming and asserted to be the bulwark of our religion, there was no occasion for cargoes departing from the United States, to enable him to carry her views into effect, &c.
Intermingled in this debate was considerable controversy, and something like asperity as to the character of the British nation for religion and humanity, in which Mr. Pickering of Massachusetts, on the one side, and Mr. Kerr, of Virginia, and Mr. Fisk, of Vermont, on the other, were the principal debaters, and also on the evil which might result from transporting liberated slaves from this country to a British settlement. The question, however, appeared principally to turn on the expediency of permitting, under the existence of the restrictive system, a cargo to go out which must necessarily sail under British licence, which it was argued would not be granted unless it were considered advantageous to the interest of the enemy that such trade should be carried on.
The debate having been extended to the usual hour of adjournment, the committee reported the bill to the house with certain amendments, and on the question on the passage of the bill to a third reading, which was decided by yeas and nays, the vote was as follows: For the bill
65 Against it
72 So the bill was rejected.
$ 1. Bill for encouraging enlistments. $ 2. Debate on its passage. $ 3.
Increase and organization of the army. $ 4. The militia. 55. Augmentation of the marine corps. $ 6. Officers in the flotilla. 57. Additional navy pay. $ 8. Bounty for prisoners. 89. Navy and privateer pensions. $ 10. Purchase of the squadron captured on lake Erie. S 11. Tribute to valour. § 12. Increase of navy. S 13. Steam frigates.
$ 1. One of the most important objects that occupied the attention of congress this session, was the adoption of measures for filling the ranks and re-organizing the army establishment.
On the 10th of January Mr. Troup, of Georgia, from the committee on military affairs, reported a bill for encouraging enlistments, and authorizing the re-enlistment for longer periods of men whose terms of service were about to expire.
This bill enacted, that, in order to complete the present military establishment to the full number authorized by law, with the greatest possible dispatch, $ 124 should be paid to each effective able-bodied man who should enlist for five years or during the war at his election, in lieu of the bounty in money and of the three months' pay at the expiration of the service, now allowed by law ; fifty dollars to be paid on enlistment, fifty on joining the regiment, and twenty-four on his discharge, which last sum was to be paid to his widow and children in case of his death in the service. A bounty of eight dollars was also to be paid to each person furnishing a recruit.
§ 2. The passage of this bill was opposed on a variety of grounds. The government, it was said, was conducting the nation to poverty and ruin. The public treasury has been exhausted, and the resources of the nation dried up in non-intercourse, non-importation, and embargo, and now the nation was involved in a war which was to be carried on at a most enormous expense, by means of loans. The expences of the war, it was said, from its commencement, and what will be incurred, in the prosecution of it, under the present arrangements, the ensuing year, will amount to not less than 100 million of dollars a monstrous debt, and one too which must be left as a legacy to our children.
This army, it was likewise urged, was not to be employed in the defence of the country, but in vain attempts to conquer the provinces of Canada. If the army was required for the protection of the country, and the safety of its citizens, and there