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The marquis La Fayette was sent into the state of New York to take the preliminary measures; and the design was finally suspended for reasons which it is not now essential to enumerate. Many years succeeding this period, at the adoption of the federal constitution, a clause was placed in that instrument, as is well known, for the express purpose of making adequate provision for the future incorporation of the Canadas, at any time, into the union.
What, it was asked, were the nature of the proclamations of Hull and Smyth, which had been cited as a stain on the country? The first had given an admonitory caution to the Canadians not to be accessory with the savage in the murder of his fellowcitizens, and the latter had offered, as alleged, $ 40 for the spoils of every red man slain. Ask the only survivor of a family indiscriminately murdered in their beds, from the infant on the breast to the aged grandsire, how heinous the crime must be to offer 40 for the arms and spoils of the savage murderer!
How, it was asked, does the averment of Mr. Webster, that the present war has not added a single ship to our navy, agree with the fact ? Ships of the line are in the process of construction. Several frigates and sloops of war are also in progress, some of which are nearly finished. Large ships are not the creation of a day; but as much industry has been exerted upon those now building as could be of any use. The assertion, however, was the more surprising when the conquest of Canada was his topic, and when, therefore, the lakes should have been full in his view. The ships with which commodore Chauncey conquered the command of lake Ontario are the production of the present war, and so are those with which commodore Perry obtained his transcendant victory, unparalleled by any achievement on the high seas.
The opposition had attempted to prove that the party now in power was not a majority of the country, and contended that the representation in congress furnished no evidence of that fact. Many, it had been said, who are opposed to the war, were from party motives induced to vote for those in favour of it. This argument was very fallacious; but even admitting it to be well founded, does it not apply to the minority as well as to the majority? Until some reason be assigned why it does not, the majority in congress must be considered as representing a majority of the nation.
The minority had attempted to justify their opposition to the war and the policy of the country, by assuming as a fact, that opposition is in its nature harmless, and that the calamities which have afflicted free states have originated in the blunders and the folly of the government, and not from the perverseness of op- . position. In confirmation of this doctrine, they quote the conduct of Chatham, Burke, and Fox, who opposed the British government at the time of the American revolution. But a candid examination, it was urged, of the conduct of those gentlemen would totally overset these premises.
When they advocated the cause of America, we were the colonies of the British empire, humbly petitioning for a redress of grievances, to which these men conceived we were justly entitled ; and while our object was limited to their redress, they were our advocates; but as soon as independence was declared what was their conduct and how was the scene reversed ? Chatham, the great American advocate while a redress of our grievances was the object, after the declaration of independence, and in his last speech in parliament, exhausted himself in his denunciations against us as rebellious colonies, and for a vigorous prosecution of the war against us, until we were humbled at the foot of the throne.
Mr. Calhoun, of South Carolina, entered into an examination of this doctrine, at considerable length, with an abstract of which we shall conclude the debate on this subject.
Opposition, said he, simply implies contrariety of opinion ; and, when used in the abstract, it admitted neither censure nor praise. It is not from itself, but from the connected circumstances, that it derives its character. When it is simply the result of that diversity in the structure of our intellect, which conducts to different conclusions on the same subject, and is confined within those bounds which love of country and political honesty prescribe, it is one of the most useful guardians of liberty. It excites gentle collision, prompts to due vigilance, a quality so indispensable, and at the same time so opposite to our nature, and results in the establishment of an enlightened policy and useful laws. Such are its qualities when united with patriotism and moderation. But in many instances it assumes a far different character. Combined with faction and ambition, it bursts those limits within which it may usefully act, and becomes the first of political evils. A factious opposition is compounded of such elements, that no reflecting man will ever consider it as harmless. The fiercest and most ungovernable passions of our nature, ambition, pride, rivalry, and hate, enter into its dangerous composition ; made still more so by its power of delusion, by which its projects against government are covered, in most instances, even to the eyes of its victims, by the specious show of patriotism. Thus constituted, who can estimate its force ?
Where can benevolent and social feelings be found sufficiently strong to counteract its progress? Is love of country? Alas! the attachment to a party becomes stronger than that to our country. A factious opposition sickens at the sight of the prosperity and success of the country, Common adversity is its life; general prosperity its death. Nor is it only over our virtuous sentiments that this bane of freedom triumphs. Even the selfish passions of our nature, planted in our bosom for our individual safety, afford no obstacle to its progress.
This kind of opposition, continued he, has ever proved the most deadly foe to freedom. Nor is it then only dangerous when it breaks forth into treason and rebellion. Without resort to violence, it is capable in a thousand ways to counteract and deaden all of the motions of government, to render its policy wavering, and to compel it to submit to schemes of aggrandizement on the part of other governments, or, if resistance is determined on, to render it feeble and ineffectual. Do gentlemen ask for instances ? Unhappily they are but too numerous. Where shall they not be found ? Admired and lamented republics of antiquity! Athens, Carthage, and Rome, you are the victims and witnesses of the fell spirit of factious opposition ! Fatal fields of Zema and Cherona, you can attest its destructive cruelty! What is the history of Polybius, and that of the other historians of the free states of antiquity? What the political speeches of Cicero, and the orations of Demosthenes, those models of eloquence and wisdom, but volumes of evidence attesting that an opposition founded in faction, unrestrained by moderation and a regard to the general welfare, is the most dangerous of political evils. Nor does antiquity alone testify. The history of modern times is pregnant with examples. What, he would ask, have become of the free states of modern Italy, which once flourished in wealth and power-Florence, Genoa, Venice, and many others? What of the United Provinces and Switzerland ? Gone ; perished under the deadly feuds of opposition. Even England, with her deep-rooted and powerful executive, has not been free from its pernicious effect. What arrested the war of Marlborough when France was so humbled, that had it been continued Europe might have been free from the danger which she has experienced from that power? What stayed the conquering hand of Chatham, when before his genius and power the throne of the Bourbons trembled to its centre? The spirit of factious opposition, that common cause of calamity, that without which liberty might be eternal and free states irresistable.
But has the opposition, continued Mr. Calhoun, made any progress in this country to so dangerous a state? He feared there were appearances which would justify such a belief. One of its most natural symptoms, was a settled and fixed character, which, as its object was to embarrass and weaken government, lost no opportunity to throw impediments in the way of every measure. It had two other concomitants : the one a violence and vehemence not warranted by any considerations of expediency; and the other urging of measures, which, if adopted, must lead to national ruin. It seemed to him that there were reasons to believe that the whole of these existed in the present opposition. Is it not settled and fixed? In an unexampled state of national difficulties, from the first belligerent decree against our neutral commerce down to this day, he would ask, which one of all the measures of our government to resist this almost universal depredation, that has not, under one pretext or another, been opposed, ridiculed, and weakened? Yes, opposed with a violence that would lead to a belief that the constituted authorities, instead of opposing the most gross and outrageous injustice, sought only the destruction of their country. Again, what have been the measures that the opposition has virtually urged? What is it at this moment? Withhold the laws; withhold the loans ; withhold the men who are to fight our battles ; or, in other words, destroy public faith, and deliver the country unarmed to the mercy of the enemy. Suppose all of their objects accomplished, and what would be the situation of the country ? He appealed to the people for a decision. But, say the gentlemen on the other side of the house, what right have we to object ? the constitution justifies and secures them in opposition to the measures of government. They claim to be not only above laws, but beyond animadversion. It is in their eyes fair and proper that the inajority, who act under the undoubted and express sanction of the constitution, should be subjected to every species of abuse and impediment; but should any one question the right or the expediency of the opposition, we hear an immediate cry of oppression. For his part, he thought that a fair and moderate opposition ought at all times to be respected ; but that our constitution authorized that dangerous and vicious species, which he had attempted to describe, he utterly denied. He called on those who made the claim to so extravagant a power to point out the article of that instrument which would warrant such a construction. Will they cite that which establishes the liberty of speech here? Its object was far different ; and it furnishes not the shadow of such a power. Will they rely on its general spirit? It knows no object but the general For the pur
good, and must for ever condemn all factious opposition to measures emanating from its own authority.
The bill finally passed both houses with the usual majorities.
03. A number of other acts were passed during the session for the increase and better organization of the army. The president was authorized to re-enlist the fourteen regiments of twelve months men ; to raise three additional regiments of riflemen; and to receive such proportion of the volunteers already authorized as he might think necessary, into the service of the United States; all of whom were to engage for five years or during the war, and to receive the same bounty, pay, &c. as the regular troops of the United States. The act for raising ten additional companies of rangers was also continued in force for another year. The three regiments of artillery were formed into one corps, and organized into twelve battalions, and the two regiments of light dragoons were formed into one. pose of avoiding unnecessary expences in the military establishment, the president was authorized, in case of failure of filling the rank and file of any of the regiments, to consolidate such as should be deficient, and discharge all supernumerary officers, allowing to each three months pay in addition to the mileage formerly authorized by law.
An act was likewise passed fixing the salary of the paymaster of the army at $ 2000 per annum, in lieu of the monthly compensation formerly allowed ; an additional appropriation of $ 5547 was made for clerk hire and contingent expences of his office for the present year. The president was also authorized to appoint thirty district paymasters.
04. Two acts were passed respecting the militia. The first regulated courts-martial, and fixed the pay of some additional officers. It also provided, that the expenses incurred in marching the militia to their places of rendezvous, in pursuance of the requisition of the president, or in cases of calls made by the proper state authority which should be approved of by him, should be paid by the United States. The second act directed the appointment of a division inspector and a division quartermaster to each division, and an aid-de-camp to each brigade, in addition to the militia officers authorized by former laws.
5. An augmentation of the marine corps was also authorized, not to exceed one major, fourteen captains, twelve first and twenty second lieutenants, sixty-one serjeants, forty-two drums and fifes, and 696 privates. The president was authorized by the same act to confer brevet rank on such officers of the marine corps as should distinguish themselves by gallant actions or meritorious conduct, or who should have served ten