« 前へ次へ »
with your sister states. This not only--they shall cut off your intercourse of every description by water between the ports of your own states. They shall seize your accustomed commerce, in every limb, nerve, and fibre, and hold it as in the jaws of death.”
“I now put it to you, sir, whether, if this practical administration of the constitution had been laid before them, they would have ratified it? I ask you, if the hand of Hancock himself would not sooner have committed it to the flames? If then, sir, they did not believe, and from the terms of the instrument had no reason to believe, that it conferred such powers on the government, then I say, the present course of its administration is not consistent with its spirit and meaning.
“Let any man examine our history, and he will find that the constitution of the country owes it existence to the commerce of the country. Let him enquire of those who are old enough to remember, and they will tell it to him. The idea of such a compact, as is well known, was first unfolded in a meeting of delegates from different states, holden for the purpose of making some voluntary agreements respecting trade, and establishing a common tariff. I see near me an honourable and venerable gentleman (Mr. Schureman, of New Jersey), who bore a part in the deliberations of that assembly, and who put his hand to the first recommendation ever addressed to the people of these states, by any body of men, to form a national constitution. He will vouch for the truth of my remark. He will tell you the motives which actuated him and his associates, as well as the whole country at that time. The faith of this nation is pledged to its commerce, formally and solemnly. I call upon you to redeem that pledge; not by sacrificing, while you profess to regard it; but by unshackling it, and protecting it, and fostering it, according to your ability, and the reasonable expectations of those who have committed it to the care of government. In the commerce of the country, the constitution had its birth. In the extinction of that commerce it will find its grave. I use not the tone of intimidation or menace, but I forewarn you of consequences.
Let it be remembered, that in my place this day, and in the discharge of my public duty, I conjure you to alter your course. to you the language of entreaty. I beseech you, by your best hopes of your country's prosperity ; by your regard for the preservation of her government and her union-by your own ambition as honourable men, of leading hereafter in the councils of a great and growing empire-I conjure you, by every motive which can be addressed to the mind of man, that you abandon your system of restrictions--that you abandon it at once--and abandon it for ever.
“ The humble aid which it would be in my power to render to measures of government, shall be given cheerfully, if government will pursue measures which I can conscientiously support. Badly as I think of the original grounds of the war, as well as of the manner in which it has been hitherto conducted, if even now, failing in an honest and sincere attempt to procure just and honourable peace, it will return to measures of defence and protection, such as reason and common sense, and the public opinion all call for, my vote shall not be withholden from the means. Give up your futile projects of invasion. Extinguish the fires which blaze on your inland fron tiers. Establish perfect safety and defence there by adequate force. Let every man that sleeps on your soil sleep in security. Stop the blood that flows from the veins of an armed yeomanry, and women and children. Give to the living time to bury and lament their dead in the quietness of private
Having performed this work of beneficence and mercy on your inland border, turn and look with the eye of justice and compassion on your vast population along the coast. Unclench the iron grasp of your embargo. Take measures for that end before another sun sets upon you. With all the war of the enemy on your commerce, if you would cease to war on it yourselves, you would still have some commerce. That commerce would give you some revenue. Apply that revenue to the augmentation of your navy. That navy in turn will protect your commerce.
"Let it no longer be said, that not one ship of force built by our hands since the war yet floats upon the ocean.
Turn the current of your efforts into the channel which national sentiment has already worn broad and deep to receive it. A naval force competent to defend your coast against considerable armaments, to convoy your trade, and perhaps raise the blockade of your rivers, is not a chimera. It may be realized. If, then, the war must continue, go to the ocean. If you are seriously contending for maritime rights, go to the theatre where alone those rights can be defended.-Thither every indication of your fortune points you. There the united wishes and exertions of the nation will go with you. Even our party divisions, acrimonious as they are, cease at the water's edge. They are lost in attachment to national character, on that element, where that character is made respectable. In protecting naval interests by naval means, you will arm yourselves with the whole power of national sentiment, and may command the whole abundance of the national resources. In time you may enable yourselves to redress injuries, in the place where they may be offered, and, if need be, to accompany your own flag throughout the world, with the protection of your own cannon.
On the other hand, the supporters of the bills contended that the character given to the war by their political opponents, which constituted the basis on which they rested their justification, was totally without foundation. What, asked they, constitutes an offensive war? Not, surely, the mode of carrying it on, which is an immaterial circumstance, but the motive and cause which led to it. If it has its origin in ambition, avarice, or any of the like passions, then it is offensive ; but if, on the contrary, to repel insult, injury, or oppression, it is of an opposite character, and is defensive. If this distinction be correct, if the two species of war are distinguishable by their cause and motive, then the aversion of the American people to the one, and their approbation of the others, is no longer a mystery; it is founded in the nature of things. But if, on the contrary, it is true that they are distinguished by the mere accidental circumstance of the mode of carrying them on, that the scene of action should make them the one or the other, then the feelings of this country, by which it condemns or approves of either species, is a profound mystery, never to be explained. In this point of view, then, what is the character of the war in which we are now engaged? Was it dictated by avarice or love of conquest? The opposition have already decided that it was not. When Mr. Webster's resolutions were under discussion at the last session, it was repeated till the ear was fatigued, by every one on that side of the house that took any part in the debate, that if the repeal of the Berlin and Milan decrees had been communicated in time to the British government, the orders in council would have been repealed; and had the last event happened, the war would not have been declared. They then have acknowledged, that the orders in council, and not the conquest of Canada, as they now pretend, was the cause of the war ; and it would be idle to enquire whether to resist them was in its nature offensive or defensive. It would be to enquire whether they were or were not an injury to our commerce ; a point never denied by the most obstinate debater. It would be equally idle to examine whether the cause of continuing the war, to protect our seamen from impressment, is of an offensive or defensive character.
The character of the war in its origin and continuance being thus established, does a defensive become an offensive war by being carried beyond the limits of our territory? On this point
also, it was said, let us examine the sentiments of the opposition. What have they advised as to the mode of carrying on the war? Withdraw your troops from Canada, reduce your army, and limit your operations to the ocean. What! to the ocean! Carry the war beyond our own territory! make it offensive! The gentlemen'surely do not intend to support an offensire war. To use their own language, it is too immoral for a virtuous and religious people. It is then adinitted, that it does not cease to be offensive by its being waged at sea ; how then can the carrying it into Canada change its character ?
The war in Canada, it was urged, was the best security to every part of our country. We have a very extended, and, from the thinness of the population, in many places weak sea coast, many points of which are, and must from necessity be, without efficient protection. Now how did it happen that this coast, so easily assailed by a maritime power, has sustained little or no damage, in a war that has continued upwards of eighteen months ? The scheme of Mr. Sheffey, to confine our troops to the defensive, should it succeed, would the next summer amply explain the fact. The truth is, that the war in Canada is the security of the coast. It compels the enemy to concentrate the whole of his disposable force there for the defence of his own territory. Were the absurd policy to be adopted to confine the operation of our troops within our own limits, the whole of the enemy's force in Canada would be liberated from its defence, and the entire line of our sea coast menaced with destruction. The enemy, masters on the ocean, could act with such celerity, that it would be either impossible to defend ourselves, or it must be done at an expense greater than would be necessary to reduce his possessions. Thus, even under the limited view of defence, the most effectual mode is that which has been adopted-to carry the war into the enemy's country.
The repeated failure of our arms was admitted. They have failed, it was said, repeatedly, and almost unaccountably. But have not the arms of England been as often and as signally reversed ? It is now more than a century since England has been striving to become a considerable military power--and what has been her fate? Look to Flanders, to Holland, to Walcheren during the present war-without recurring further back-to Portugal, to Spain. Where have they not been defeated and disgraced? Till finally, after three years of continued overthrows and failures in Spain, they have at last been beaten by their masters in the military art into in equality with those masters. Our present misfortunes in the field are the natural
result of thirty years of peace and prosperity-thirty years of total neglect of every thing like military science or acquirement. The knowledge of war is not to be obtained in a day, nor through any theory. If labour, mortification, and constancy are indispensible to the mastery of any art, surely they must be, and be expected to be, in that of military affairs. How was it, when, soon after the organization of the present government, an attempt was made to subdue the Indians on our borders, when general Washington was the president, gen. Knox at the head of the war department, and generals Harmer, St. Clair, and Wayne the commanders of the several expeditions ? two former were entirely unsuccessful: nor was it until the third . attempt was made, that, with all the supposable advantages of such an administration, this petty foe was ultimately overcome.
But the conquest of Canada is said to be unpopular; and that is the reason why it fails; that is the reason why it will never succeed. As a separate cause of war, that might be the case ; but certainly not when viewed as an instrument for waging war, effectually, and as a desirable acquisition in the course of its prosecution.
Canada was also said to be worthless when acquired. In all our views of this subject, we ought to take into consideration what it cost England to wrest it from France, how many disastrous campaigns succeeded each other, when the whole population of the New England states was embodied for the conquest, under the most experienced military men Great Britain could place at their head; how they nevertheless failed year after year, till Wolfe at last achieved it. And when he had achieved it, what said the English nation of its worth ?-Turn to her history; ask the annals of the times. They will tell you that the acquisition was accounted a rich indemnity for all the blood and all the treasure it had cost. They will inform you that the English deemed it a prize inestimably valuable.
Have gentlemen forgot the first blow of the war of the revolution, even before the declaration of independence, was aimed at Canada ? when gen. Washington sent col. Arnold to penetrate with his detachment through the district of Maine, while general Montgomery advanced to the co-operation by another route ? The course and termination of that expedition are familiar to every body. Gen. Montgomery fell in the attack on Quebec, after the subjugation of Montreal, and when the conquest of the province was so near its accomplishment. Several years after this invasion, in the year 1779, that congress, whose constancy, patriotism, and talents cannot be too much applauded, made every arrangement preparatory to a second incursion.