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proposal ought to have created, and in its answer concludes by informing Admiral Warren, “that if there be no objection to an accommodation of the difference relating to impressment, in the mode proposed, other than the suspension of the British claim to impressment during the armistice, there can be none to proceeding, without the armistice, to an immediate discussion and arrangement of an article on that subject.” Thus it has left the door of negotiation unclosed, and it remains to be seen if the enemy will accept the invitation tendered to him. The honorable gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Pearson, supposes, that if Congress would pass a law, prohibiting the employment of British seamen in our service, upon condition of a like prohibition on their part, and repeal the act of non-importation, peace would immediately follow. Sir, I have no doubt, if such a law were to pass, with all the requisite solemnities, and the repeal to take place, Lord Castlereagh would laugh at our simplicity. No, sir, administration
has erred in the steps which it has taken to restore peace, but its error has been, not in"doing too little, but in betraying too great a solicitude for that event. An honorable peace is attainable only by an efficient war. My plan would be to call out the ample resources of the country, give them a judicious direction, prosecute the war with the utmost vigor, strike wherever we can reach the enemy, at sea or on land, and negotiate the terms of a peace at Quebec or at Halifax. We are told that England is a proud and lofty nation, which, disdaining to wait for danger, meets it half way. Haughty as she is, we once triumphed over her, and, if we do not listen to the counsels of timidity and despair, we shall again prevail. In such a cause, with the aid of Providence, we must come out crowned with success; but if we fail, let us fail like men, lash ourselves to our gallant tars, and expire together in one common struggle, fighting for FREE TRADE AND SEAMAN's RIGHTS.
SPEECH ON THE SEMINOLE WAR.
The following speech on the report of the committee on military affairs, respecting the Seminole War, was delivered in the House of Representatives of the United States, on the 18th of January, 1819.”
Mr. CIIAIRMAN: In rising to address you, sir, on the very interesting subject which now engages the attention of Congress, I must be al
* The Report of the Committee on Military Affairs, respecting the Seminole War, concluded with the following resolution:
Resolred, That the House of Representatives of the United States, disapproves the proceedings in the trial and execution of Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert C. Ambrister.
Mr. Cobb, of Georgia, moved the following resolutions as an amendment to the report of the military committee:
Resolred, That the Committee on Military Affairs be instructed to prepare and report a bill to this House, prohibiting, in time of peace, or in time of war with any Indian tribe or tribes only, the execution of any captive, taken by the army of the United States, without the approbation of snch execution by the President.
Resolved. That this House disapproves of the seizure of the posts of St. Marks and Pensacola, and the fortress of Barrancas, contrary to orders, and in violation of the constitution.
Resolved, That the same Committee be also instructed to prepare and report a bill prohibiting the march of the army of the United States, or any corps thereof, into any foreign territory without the previous authorization of Congress, except it be in the case of fresh pursuit of a defeated enemy of the United States, taking refuge within such foreign territory.
lowed to say, that all inferences drawn from the course which it will be my painful duty to take in this discussion, of unfriendliness either to the chief magistrate of the country, or to the illustrious military chieftain whose operations are under investigation, will be wholly unfounded. Toward that distinguished captain, who shed so much glory on our country, whose renown constitutes so great a portion of its moral property, I never had, I never can have, any other feelings than those of the most profound respect, and of the utmost kindness. With him my acquaintance is very limited, but, so far as it has extended, it has been of the most amicable kind. I know the motives which have been, and which will again be attributed to me, in regard to the other exalted personage alluded to. They have been and will be unfounded. I have no interest, other than that of seeing the concerns of my country well and happily administered. It is infinitely more gratifying to behold "... of my country advancing by the wisdom of the measures adopted to promote it, than it would be to expose the errors which may be committed, if there be any, in the conduct of its affairs. Little as has been my experience in public life, it has been sufficient to teach me that the most humble station is surrounded by difficulties and embarrassments. Rather than throw obstructions in the way of the President, I would precede him, and pick out those, if I could, which might jostle him in his progress; I would sympathize with him in his embarrassments, and commiserate with him in his misfortunes. It is true that it has been my mortification to differ from that gentleman on several occasions. I may again be o compelled to differ from him; but I will wi the utmost sincerity assure the committee that I have formed no resolution, come under no engagements, and that I never will form any resolution or contract any engagements, for systematic opposition to his administration, or to that of any other chief magistrate. I beg leave further to premise, that the subject under consideration presents two distinct aspects, susceptible, in my judgment, of the most clear and precise discrimination. The one I will call its foreign, the other its domestic aspect. In regard to the first, I will say, that I approve entirely of the conduct of our government, and that Spain has no cause of complaint. Having violated an important stipulation of the treaty of 1795, that power has justly subjected herself to all the consequences which ensued upon the entry into her dominions, and it belongs not to her to complain of those measures which resulted from her breach of contract; still less has she a right to examine into the considerations connected with the domestic aspect of the subject. What are the propositions before the committee The first in order is that reported by the military committee, which asserts the disapprobation of this House, of the proceedings in the trial and execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister. The second, being the first contained in the proposed amendment, is the consequence of that disapprobation, and contemplates the passage of a law to prohibit the execution hereafter of any captive taken by the army, without the approbation of the President. The third proposition is, that this House disapproves of the forcible seizure of the Spanish posts, as contrary to orders, and in violation of the constitution. The fourth proposition, as the result of the last, is, that a law shall pass to go the march of the army of the United tates, or any corps of it, into any foreign territory, without the previous authorization of Congress, except it be in fresh pursuit of a defeated enemy. The first and third are general propositions, declaring the sense of the House in regard to the evils pointed out; and the second and fourth propose the legislative remedies against the recurrence of those evils. It will be at once perceived by this simple statement of the propositions, that no other censure is proposed against General Jackson himself, than what is merely consequential. His name even does not appear in any of the resolutions. The legislature of the country in reviewing the state of the Union, and considering the events which have transpired since its last meeting, finds that particular occurrences of the greatest moment, in many respects, have taken place near our southern border. I will add, that the House has not sought by any officious interference with the doings of the executive, to gain #. over this matter. The President, in is message at the opening of the session, communicated the very information on which it was
proposed to act. I would ask for what purpose? That we should fold our arms and yield a tacit acquiescence, even if we supposed that information disclosed alarming events, not merely as it regards the peace of the country, but in respect to its constitution and character? Impossible. In communicating these papers, and voluntarily calling the attention of Congress to the subject, the President must himself have intended that we should apply any remedy that we might be able to devise. Having the subject thus regularly and fairly before us, and proposing merely to collect the sense of the House upon certain important transactions which it discloses, with the view to the passage of such laws as may be demanded by the public interest, I repeat that there is no censure anywhere, except such as is strictly consequential upon our legislative action. The supposition of every new law, having for its object to prevent the recurrence of evil, is that something has happened which ought not to have taken place, and no other than this indirect sort of censure will flow from the resolutions before the committee.
Having thus given my view of the nature and character of the propositions under consideration, I am far from intimating that it is not my purpose to go into a full, a free, and a . investigation of the facts, and of the principles of law, public, municipal, and constitutional involved in them. And, while I trust I shall speak with the decorum due to the distinguished officers of the government whose proceedings are to be examined, I shall exercise the independence which belongs to me as a representative of the people, in freely and fully submitting my sentiments.
In noticing the painful incidents of this war, it is impossible not to inquire into its origin. I fear that it will be found to be the famous treaty of Fort Jackson, concluded in August, 1814; and I must ask the indulgence of the chairman while I read certain parts of that treaty.
“Whereas, an unprovoked, inhuman, sanguinary war, waged by the hostile Creeks against the United States, i. been repelled, prosecuted and determined, successfully on the part of the said States, in conformity with principles of national justice and honorable warfare: and, whereas, consideration is due to the rectitude of proceedings dictated by instructions relating to the re-establishing of peace: Beit remembered that, prior to the conquest of that part of the Creek nation hostile to the United States, numberless aggressions had been committed against the peace, the property, and the lives of citizens of the United States, and those of the Creek nation in amity with her, at the mouth of Duck River, Fort Mimms, and elsewhere, contrary to national faith and the regard due to an article of the treaty concluded at New York, in the year 1790, between the two nations; that the United States, previous to the perpetration of such outrage, did, in order to insure future amity and concord between the Creek nation and the said States, in conformity with the stipulations of former treaties, fulfil, with punctuality and good faith, her engagements to the said nation; that more than two-thirds of the whole number of chiefs and warriors of the Creek nation, disregarding the genuine spirit of existing treaties, suffered themselves to be instigated to violations of their national honor and the respect due to a art of their own nation faithful to the United tates and the principles of humanity, by impostors, denominating themselves prophets, and by the duplicity and misrepresentations of foreign emissaries, whose governments are at war, open or understood, with the United States. “Article 2. The United States will guaranty to the Creek nation the integrity of all their territory eastwardly and northwardly of the said line (described in the first article), to be run and described as mentioned in the first article. “Article 3. The United States demand that the Creek nation abandon all communication, and cease to hold intercourse with any British post, garrison, or town; and that they shall not admit among them any agent or trader who shall not derive authority to hold commercial or other intercourse with them, by license of the President or other authorized agent of the United States. “Article 4. The United States demand an acknowledgment of the right to establish military posts and trading houses, and to open roads within the territory guarantied to the Creek nation by the second article, and a right to the free navigation of all its waters. “Article 5. The United States demand that a surrender be immediately made of all the persons and property taken from the citizens of the United States, the friendly part of the Creek nation, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, to the respective owners; and the United States will cause to be immediately restored to the formerly hostile Creeks all the property taken from them since their submission, either by the United States, or by any Indian nations in amity with the United States, together with all the prisoners taken from them during the war. “Article 6. The United States demand the caption and surrender of all the prophets and instigators of the war, whether foreigners or natives, who have not submitted to the arms of
States, and at such places as he shall direct, to enable the nation, by industry and economy, to procure clothing.”
I have never perused this instrument until within a few days past, and I have read it with the deepest mortification and regret. A more dictatorial spirit I have never seen displayed in any instrument. I would challenge an examination of all the records of diplomacy, not excepting even those in the most haughty period of imperial Rome, when she was carrying her arms into the barbarian nations that surrounded her, and I do not believe a solitary instance can be found of such an inexcrable spirit of domination pervading a compact purporting to be a treaty of peace. It consists of the most severe and humiliating demands—of the surrender of a large territory; of the privilege of making roads through the remnant which was retained; of the right of establishing trading-houses; of the obligation of delivering into our hands their prophets. And all this of a wretched people reduced to the last extremity of distress, whose miserable existence we have to preserve by a voluntary stipulation to furnish them with bread ' When did the all-conquering and desolating Rome ever fail to respect the altars and the gods of those whom she subjugated? Let me not be told that these prophets were impostors who deceived the Indians. They were their prophets; the Indians believed and venerated them, and it is not for us to dictate a religious belief to them. It does not belong to the holy character of the religion which we profess, to carry its precepts by the force of the bayonet, into the bosoms of other people. Mild and gentle persuasion was the great instrument employed by the meek founder of our religion. We leave to the humane and benevolent efforts of the reverend professors of Christianity to convert from barbarism those unhappy nations yet immersed in its gloom. But, sir, spare them their prophets! spare their delusions! spare their prejudices and superstitions! spare them even their religion, such as it is, from open and cruel violence. When, sir, was that treaty concluded ? On the very day after the protocol was signed, of the first conference between the American and British commissioners, treating of peace, at Ghent. In the course of that negotiation, pretensions so enormous were set up by the other party that, when they were promulgated in this country, there was one general burst of indignation throughout the continent. Faction itself was silenced, and the firm and unanimous determination of all parties was, to fight until the last man fell in the ditch rather than submit to such ignominious terms.
What a contrast is exhibited between the cotemporaneous scenes of Ghent and of Fort Jackson what a powerful voucher would the British commissioners have been furnished with, if they could have got hold of that treaty | The United States demand, the United States demand, is repeated five or six times. And what did the preamble itself disclose? That two-thirds of the Creek nation had been hostile, and one-third only friendly to us. Now I have heard (I cannot vouch for the truth of the statement), that not one hostile chief signed the treaty. I have also heard that perhaps one or two of them did. If the treaty were really made by a minority of the nation, it was not obligatory upon the whole nation. It was void, considered in the light of a national compact. And, if void, the Indians were entitled to the benefit of the provision of the ninth article of the treaty of Ghent, by which we bound ourselves to make peace with any tribes with whom we might be at war on the ratification of the treaty, and to restore to them their lands, as they held them in 1811. I do not know how the honorable Senate, that body for which I hold so high a respect, could have given their sanction to the treaty of Fort Jackson, so utterly irreconcilable as it is with those noble principles of generosity and magnanimity which I hope to see my country always exhibit, and particularly toward the miserable remnant of the aborigines. It would have comported better with those principles to have imitated the benevolent policy of the founder of Pennsylvania, and to have given to the Creeks, conquered as they were, even if they had made an unjust war upon us, the trifling consideration, to them an adequate compensation, which he aid for their lands. That treaty, I fear, has en the main cause of the recent war. And, if it has been, it only adds another melancholy proof to those with which history already abounds, that hard and unconscionable terms, extorted by the power of the sword and the right of conquest, serve but to whet and stimulate revenge, and to give old hostilities, smothered, not extinguished, by the pretended peace, greater exasperation and more ferocity. A truce, thus patched up with an unfortunate people, without the means of existence, without bread, is no real peace. The instant there is the slightest prospect of relief from such harsh and severe conditions, the conquered party will fly to arms, and spend the last drop of blood rather than live in such degraded bondage. Even if you again reduce him to submission, the expenses incurred by this second war, to say nothing of the human lives that are sacrificed, will be greater than what it would have cost you to grant him liberal conditions in the first instance. This treaty, I repeat, was, I apprehend, the cause of the war. It led to the excesses on our southern borders which began it.
Who first commenced them, it is, perhaps,
difficult to ascertain. There was, however, a paper on this subject, communicated at the last session by the President, that told, in language pathetic and feeling, an artless tale; a paper that carried such internal evidence at least of the belief of the authors of it that they were writing the truth, that I will ask the for of the committee to allow me to read it.
“To the Commanding Officer at Fort Hawkins: “DEAR SIR;
“Since the last war, after you sent word that we must quit the war, we, the red people, have come over on this side. The white people, have carried all the red people's cattle off. After the war, I sent to all my people to let the white people alone, and stay on this side of the river; and they did so; but the white H. still continue to carry off their cattle. ernard's son was here, and I inquired of him what was to be done; and he said we must go to the head man of the white people and complain. I did so, and there was no head white man, and there was no law in this case. The whites first began, and there is nothing said about that; but great complaint about what the Indians do. . This is now three years since the white people killed three Indians; since that time they have killed three other Indians, and taken their horses, and what they had; and this summer they killed three more; and very likely they killed one more. We sent word to the white people that these murders were done, and the answer was, that they were people who were outlaws, and we ought to go and kill them. The white people killed our people first; the Indians then took satisfaction. There are yet three men that the red people have never taken satisfaction for. You have wrote that there were houses burned; but we know of no such thing being done; the truth, in such cases, ought to be told, but this appears otherwise. On that side of the river, the white people have killed five Indians, but there is nothing said about that; and all that the Indians have done is brought up. All the mischief the white people have done, ought to be told to their head man. When there is any thing done, you write to us; but never write to your head man what the white people do. When the red people send talks or write, they always send the truth. You have sent to us for your horses, and we sent all that we could find; but there was some dead. It appears that all the mischief is laid on this town; but all the mischief that has been done by this town, is two horses; one of them is dead, and the other was sent back. The cattle that we are accused of taking, were cattle that the white people took from us. Our young men went and brought them back, with the same marks and brands. There were some of our young men out hunting, and they were killed; others went to take satisfaction, and the kettle of one of the men that was killed was found in the house where the women and two children were killed; and they supposed it had been her husband who had killed the Indians, and took their satisfaction there. We are accused of killing the Americans, and so on; but since the word was sent to us that peace was made, we stay steady at home, and meddle with no person. , You have sent to us respecting the black people on the Suwany river; we have nothing to do with them. They were put there
by the English, and to them you ought to apply for anything about them. We do not wish our country desolated by an army passing through it, for the concern of other people. The Indians have slaves there also; a great many of them. When we have an opportunity, we shall apply to the English for them; but we cannot get them now. “This is what we have to say at present. “Sir, I conclude by subscribing myself, “Your humble servant, etc. “September, the 11th day, 1817. “N. B. There are ten towns have read this letter, and this is the answer. “WM. BELL, Aid-de-camp. “A true copy of the original.”
I should be very unwilling to assert, in regard to this war, that the fault was on our side; I fear it was. I have heard that a very respectable gentleman, now no more, who once filled the executive chair of Georgia, and who, having been agent of Indian affairs in that quarter, had the best opportunity of judging of the origin of this war, deliberately pronounced it as his opinion, that the Indians were not in fault. I am far from attributing to General Jackson any other than the very slight degree of blame that attaches to him as the negotiator of the treaty of Fort Jackson, and will be shared by those who subsequently ratified and sanctioned that treaty. But if there be even a doubt as to the origin of the war, whether we were censurable or the Indians, that doubt will serve to increase our regret at any distressing incidents which may have occurred, and to mitigate, in some degree, the crimes which we impute to the other side. I know that when General Jackson was summoned to the field, it was too late to hesitate; the fatal blow had been struck, in the destruction of Fowl-town and the dreadful massacre of Lieutenant Scott and his detachment; and the only duty which remained to him, was to terminate this unhappy contest.
The first circumstance which, in the course of his performing that duty, fixed our attention, has filled me with regret. It was the execution of the Indian chiefs. How, I ask, did they come into our possession? Was it in the course of fair, and open, and honorable war? No; but by means of deception—by hoisting foreign colors on the staff from which the stars and stripes should alone have floated. Thus ensnared, the Indians were taken on shore; and without ceremony, and without delay, were hung. Hang an Indian | We, sir, who are civilized, and can comprehend and feel the effect of moral causes and considerations, attach ignominy to that mode of death. And the gallant, and refined, and high-minded man, seeks by all possible means to avoid it. But what cares an Indian whether you hang or shoot him? The moment he is captured, he is considered by his tribe as disgraced, if not lost. They, too, are indifferent about the manner in which he is
despatched. But I regard the occurrence with grief, for other and higher considerations. It was the first instance that I know of, in the anmals of our country, in which retaliation, by executing Indian captives, has ever been deliberately practised. There may have been exceptions, but if there were, they met with cotemporaneous condemnation, and have been reprehended by the just pen of impartial history. The gentleman from Massachusetts may tell me, if he chooses, what he pleases about the tomahawk and scalping knife; about Indian enormities and foreign miscreants and incendiaries. I, too, hate them; from my very soul I abominate them. But I love my country, and its constitution; I love liberty and safety, and fear military despotism more, even, than I hate the monsters. The gentleman, in the course of his remarks, alluded to the State from which I have the honor to come. Little, sir, does he know of the high and magnanimous sentiments of the people of that State, if he supposes they will approve of the transaction to which he referred. Brave and generous, humanity and clemency toward a fallen foe constitute one of their noblest characteristics. Amid all the struggles for that fair land, between the natives and the present inhabitants, I defy the gentleman to point out one instance, in which a Kentuckian had stained his hand by—nothing but my high sense of the distinguished services and exalted merits of General Jackson, prevents my using a different term—the execution of an unarmed and prostrate captive. Yes, there is one solitary exception, in which a man, enraged at beholding an Indian prisoner who had been celebrated for his enormities, and who had destroyed some of his kindred, plunged his sword into his bosom. The wicked deed was considered as an abominable outrage when it occurred, and the name of the man has been handed down to the execration of posterity. I deny your right thus to retaliate on the aboriginal proprietors of the country; and unless I am utterly deceived, it may be shown that it does not exist. But before I attempt this, allow me to make the gentleman from Massachusetts a little better acquainted with those people, to whose feelings and sympathies he has appealed through their representative. During the late war with Great Britain, Colonel Campbell, under the command of my honorable friend from Ohio (General Harrison), was placed at the head of a detachment, consisting chiefly, I ..oft. Kentucky volunteers, in order to destroy the Mississinaway towns. They proceeded and performed the duty, and took some prisoners. And here is the evidence of the manner in which they treated them.
“But the character of this gallant detachment, exhibiting, as it did, perseverance, fortitude, and bravery, would, however, be incomplete, if in the midst of victory, they had forgotten the feelings of humanity. It is with the sincerest pleasure that the general has heard,