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be paid to the captors, instead of being paid into the treasury."
"All common regular occupations,” continues the secretary, in another part of his letter, “ will generally find their own level; and, if left to themselves, the capital and labour employed on each will regulate themselves so as to leave a moderate but adequate profit to the persons respectively engaged in each branch. Some occupations, important to the community at large, may be so unprofitable as not to be pursued to the extent required by the public interest. These form an exception, and may require an extraordinary encouragement from government. But experience shows, that the occupations where profit depends wholly or in a great degree on hazard, are generally overstocked and attract a considerable capital, although there be a certain loss in the aggregate. This is daily exemplified in the case of lotteries, which are filled, although there is a certain and acknowledged loss of fifteen per cent. on the whole amount of capital thus laid out by the adventurers. The hope of a prize, the uncertain and improbable chance of an easy, prompt, and great profit, are sufficient inducements to produce that effect. The occupation of privateers is precisely of the same species with respect to hazard and to the chance of rich prizes, and is, at this moment, still more encouraged by the want of employment for the capital and seamen, heretofore engaged in ordinary commercial pursuits. If this view of the subject be correct, it necessarily follows, that a bounty may indeed still more increase the number of privateers, but without increasing in any proportionate degree the number of captures ; that of existing privateers being al. ready more than sufficient for the quantity of food afforded by the enemy's trade. The only probable effect will therefore be a diminution of revenue, which must be supplied by another tax, and an unprofitable application of the national capital and labour, without inflicting any additional 'sensible injury on the enemy. Should however the opinion thus formed be considered as erroneous, there is another forcible objection to the mode now proposed of giving an encouragement or bounty. I allude to the temptation or facility, which the vicinity of the British colonies affords, of making collusive or pretended captures of British prohibited merchandise. It has been suggested from a source in which confidence may be placed, that arrangements were already made, or at least contemplated for that object. A reduction of the duties, by encreasing the profit, would operate as an insurance on the risk, and assist in defraying the expenses attending the transaction. It seems that, even supposing some additional encouragement to be necessary, it would be preferable to give it in some other shape, which should not be calculated to promote those fraudulent operations."
Petitions were likewise presented from Joshua Barney and Stephen Kingston, on behalf of certain owners of privateers, praying that certain property on board American ships bound here from England, and sent in by privateers, should be delivered to the captors for their benefit. These petitions were referred to the committee of ways and means, who reported, “ that congress has already remitted the penalties and forfeitures, in. curred by American citizens, and that, in the opinion of the committee, if enemy's property be forfeited to the government under the non-importation act, it would, for reasons of policy, be unwise for congress to interpose ; that if the petitioners can claim as “ informers," the claim is secured to them by existing laws, and if not secured to them by existing laws, the claim is vested in the collectors and others, from whom congress could not, with justice, transfer it. .“ The committee therefore submit the following resolve :
“ Resolved, That it would be unwise and impoiitic, to act upon the subject of the said petitions.” .
This resolution was disagreed to by the house of representatives in committee of the whole, and the following was reported as a substitute thereto :
Resolved, That any right or claim of the United States to British property which may have been captured by American privateers, arising from forfeiture under any provision of the non-importation act, ought to be relinquished for the benefit of the captors."
This resolution was referred to the committee of ways and means, with directions to report a bill in pursuance thereof, which bill passed the house, but was rejected by the senate.
§ 15. More favourable notice was taken by congress of the petition of a number of owners of privateers in Baltimore, representing the embarrassments, difficulties, and delays attendant on the determination of prize causes in the different courts of the United States ; the great inconveniences experienced in consequence of that provision of the prize act, which renders it incumbent on the captors to proceed against the prize in the first district in which it is brought ; and the burthensome commissions paid to the marshals. A law was passed, enacting that all prizes made by privateers should be sold at auction by the marshal of the district in which it was condemned, within 60 days after condemnation, on such terms of credit, and in such lots or proportions as may be designated by the owners of the privateer, provided the term of credit do not exceed ninety days. Marshals are to be entitled to no more than one per cent. of the proceeds, after the duties, costs, and charges are deducted, such commissions, however, in no case to exceed 250 dollars. The
marshals were also directed, after deducting the duties, costs, and charges, to pay over the proceeds or promissory notes to the owners and crew, according to the proportions established by law, or by mutual agreement. It was likewise enacted, that the owners of privateers, or their agents may, at any time before filing the libel, remove the prize to any other port in the United States, provided that no attachment has been laid on the captured property before such removal, at the suit of any adverse claimant, or a claim against it have been interposed in behalf of the United States. . $ 16. Towards the end of the session a bill was introduced into the senate, which subsequently passed into a law, to encourage the destruction of the armed vessels of war of the enemy, except cartels and flags of truce. This act offers a bounty of half the value of any British vessel of war, and also half the value of her guns, cargo, tackle, and apparel, which may be destroyed by torpedoes, or other destructive machines, or in any other manner, other than by the armed or commissioned vessels of the United States.
$ 17. On the 12th of November, in the house of representatives, Mr. Wright moved that a committee bę appointed to bring in a bill vesting the power of retaliation in the president in certain cases. On the 17th a bill was reported, but on its third reading it was negatived, on the ground that the president already possessed the power.
On the 9th of December the following resolution was offered for consideration by Mr. Bassett :
Whereas, It is represented that Great Britain has seized sundry persons fighting under the American flag, laying claims to them alike incompatible with justice and the rights of the United States as an independent nation :
Resolved, That the president be required to lay before this house the information he has received on that subject, and the measures taken to redress an evil which violates the rights and interests, and outrages the feelings, of a free and independent people.
Mr. Milnor having objected to the form of the call on account of its assuming as fact circumstances of which the house had no official or authentic information, Mr. Bassett withdrew his motion, which was substituted by the following, offered by Mr. Macon:
Resolved, That the president of the United States be requested to cause to be laid before this house any information which may be in his possession touching the conduct of British officers towards persons taken in American armed ships.
This resolution was agreed to, after several attempts at amendment had been negatived by large majorities.
The president, in compliance with this resolution, communicated a report of the secretary of state, accompanied with several documents, from which it appears, that several persons, some of whom are said to be native, and others naturalized citizens of the United States, being parts of the crews of the United States armed vessels Nautilus and Wasp, and of the private armed vessel Sarah Ann, have been seized by British officers, under the pretext of their being British subjects, for the avowed purpose, as is understood, of having them brought to trial for their lives. The report is also accompanied by a letter from admiral Warren, and a correspondence between vice-admiral Sterling and William H. Savage, late agent for American seamen and commerce at Jamaica, from which it appears, that the British claim a right to retain on board their ships of war American citizens who may have married in England, or have been impressed from on board British merchant vessels ; and that they consider an impressed American, when discharged from their ships, as a prisoner of war. ..
On the 18th of February a bill passed the senate, 17 to 4, impowering the president to retaliate on British prisoners, or in case of there being none, or not sufficient, on any other British subject, for any capital or other punishment inflicted on citizens of the United States, in the military or naval service, or on board privateers. This bill was amended in the house of representatives, and finally passed in substance as follows:
In every case, wherein, during the present war, any violations of the laws and usages of war among civilized nations shall be or have been perpetrated by those acting under the authority of the British government, on any of the citizens of the United States, or persons in the land or naval service of the United States, the president is authorized to cause full and ample retaliation to be made, according to the laws and usages of war among civilized nations, for every such violation ; and in all cases where any outrage or act of cruelty shall be or has been practised by any Indians, in alliance with the British government, or in connexion with those acting under its authority, on citizens of the United States or those under its protection, the president is authorised to cause full and ample retaliation to be executed on such British subjects, soldiers, seamen or marines, or Indians in alliance or connexion with Great Britain, being prisoners of war, as if the outrage had been done under the authority of the British government.
CHAPTER III. $1. Treasury report. 52. Navy loan. 3. Loan of sixteen millions.
4. Treasury notes. 5 5. Suspension of non-importation aci. 6. Ex. tra session. 7. Duty on iron wire. $ 8. Public lands. 59. Yazon claims. 10. Naturalization. $11. New state. S 12. Mail seamboats. $13. Vaccination. 14. Reward of valour. $ 15. Amendment to the constitution. $ 16 Medal to commodore Preble S 17. Treasury mitigating power. Š 18. Presidential election. 5 19. Presidential mes. sages. $ 20. Rupture with Algiers. $21. Treatment of American seamen. $ 22. Resolutions of the legislature of Pennsylvania. 523. Naval exploits. 524. British licenses. 5 25. Berlin and Milan decrees. $ 26. Appropriations. $27. Dissolution of congress.
8 1. By the annual report of the secretary on the state of the finances, it appears, that the actual receipts into the treasury for the year ending September 30, 1812, were as follows: Customs, and other branches of revenue $ 10,934,946 90 On account of the loan of 11 millions
Total amount of receipts Balance in the treasury October 1st, 1811
16,782,159 40 3,947,818 36
20,729,977 76 The disbursements during the same year were: Civil department
1,823,069 35 Army, navy, and Indian departments
11,108,776 54 Principal and interest of the public debt
Balance in the treasury September 30, 1812
18,368,325 07 2,361,652 69
20,729,977 76 The receipts and expenditures for the last quarter of 1812 · are estimated at nearly the same sum. The receipts for the
year 1813 are estimated at 12 millions, and the expenditures as follows: Civil department
$ 1,500,000 Reimbursement of principal and interest of public debt
8,500,000 Military establishment
17,000,000 Naval establishment
Deduct estimated receipts
Balance to be provided for by loans