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proposal ought to have created, and in its answer / has erred in the steps which it has taken to reconcludes by informing Admiral Warren, " that store peace, but its error has been, not in doing if there be no objection to an accommodation too little, but in betraying too great a solicitude of the difference relating to impressment, in the for that event. An honorable peace is attainmode proposed, other than the suspension of the able only by an efficient war. My plan would British claim to impressment during the armis- be to call out the ample resources of the countice, there can be none to proceeding, without try, give them a judicious direction, prosecute the armistice, to an immediate discussion and the war with the utmost vigor, strike wherever arrangement of an article on that subject.” we can reach the enemy, at sea or on land, and Thus it has left the door of negotiation unclosed, negotiate the terms of a peace at Quebec or at and it remains to be seen if the enemy will ac Halifax. cept the invitation tendered to him. The hon- We are told that England is a proud and orable gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. lofty nation, which, disdaining to wait for danPearson, supposes, that if Congress would pass ger, meets it half way. Haughty as she is, a law, prohibiting the employment of British we once triumphed over her, and, if we do not seamen in our service, upon condition of a like listen to the counsels of timidity and despair, prohibition on their part, and repeal the act of we shall again prevail. In such a cause, with non-importation, peace would immediately fol- the aid of Providence, we must come out crownlow. Sir, I have no doubt, if such a law were ed with success; but if we fail, let us fail like to pass, with all the requisite solemnities, and men, Jash ourselves to our gallant tars, and exthe repeal to take place, Lord Castlereagh would pire together in one common struggle, fighting laugh at our simplicity. No, sir, administration I for FREE TRADE AND SEAMAN'S RIGHTS.
SPEECH ON THE SEMINOLE WAR.
The following speech on the report of the lowed to say, that all inferences drawn from the committee on military affairs, respecting the
aspecting the course which it will be my painful duty to take
| in this discussion, of unfriendliness either to the Seminole War, was delivered in the House of
chief magistrate of the country, or to the illusRepresentatives of the United States, on the trious military chieftain whose operations are 18th of January, 1819.*
under investigation, will be wholly unfounded.
Toward that distinguished captain, who shed so Mr. CHAIRMAN: In rising to address you, sir, much glory on our country, whose renown on the very interesting subject which now en constitutes so great a portion of its moral propgages the attention of Congress, I must be al- erty, I never had, I never can have, any other
feelings than those of the most profound re* The Report of the Committee on Military Affairs, re spect, and of the utmost kindness. With him specting the Seminole War, concluded with the following my acquaintance is very limited, but, so far as resolution:
it has extended, it has been of the most amicaResolved, That the House of Representatives of the ble kind. I know the motives which have United States, disapproves the proceedings in the trial been, and which will again be attributed to me, and execution of Alexander Arbuthnot and Robert C. in regard to the other exalted personage alluded Ambrister.
to. They have been and will be unfounded. I Mr. Cobb, of Georgia, moved the following resolutions as have no interest, other than that of seeing the an amendment to the report of the military committee:
concerns of my country well and happily adRosoloed, That the Committee on Military Affairs be in
ministered. It is infinitely more gratifying to structed to prepare and report a bill to this House, pro
behold the prosperity of my country advancing hibiting, in time of peace, or in time of war with any Indian
| by the wisdom of the measures adopted to protribe or tribes only, the execution of any captive, taken by
mote it, than it would be to expose the errors the army of the United States, without the approbation of
which may be committed, if there be any, in such execution by the President. Resolved, That this House disapproves of the seizure of
the conduct of its affairs. Little as has been the posts of St. Marks and Pensacola, and the fortress of
my experience in public life, it has been sufficient Barrancas, contrary to orders, and in violation of the con
to teach me that the most humble station is stitution.
surrounded by difficulties and embarrassments. Resolved, That the same Committee be also instructed
Rather than throw obstructions in the way of to prepare and report a bill prohibiting the march of the
the President, I would precede him, and pick army of the United States, or any corps thereof, into any out those, if I could, which might jostle him in foreign territory without the previous authorization of Con his progress; I would sympathize with him in gress, except it be in the case of fresh pursuit of a defeated his embarrassments, and commiserate with him enemy of the United States, taking refuge within such for- / in his misfortunes. It is true that it has been eign territory.
my mortification to differ from that gentleman VOL. II.-18
on several occasions. I may again be reluctantly I proposed to act. I would ask for what purcompelled to differ from him; but I will with pose? That we should fold our arms and yield the utmost sincerity assure the committee that a tacit acquiescence, even if we supposed that I have formed no resolution, come under no en- information disclosed alarming events, not gagements, and that I never will form any merely as it regards the peace of the country, resolution or contract any engagements, for sys- but in respect to its constitution and character tematic opposition to his administration, or to Impossible. In communicating these papers, that of any other chief magistrate.
and voluntarily calling the attention of ConI beg leave further to premise, that the sub-gress to the subject, the President must himself ject under consideration presents two distinct have intended that we should apply any remedy aspects, susceptible, in my judgment, of the most that we might be able to devise. Having the clear and precise discrimination. The one I will subject thus regularly and fairly before us, and call its foreign, the other its domestic aspect. proposing merely to collect the sense of the In regard to the first, I will say, that I approve House upon certain important transactions which entirely of the conduct of our government, and it discloses, with the view to the passage of such that Spain has no cause of complaint. Having laws as may be demanded by the public interest, violated an important stipulation of the treaty I repeat that there is no censure anywhere, of 1795, that power has justly subjected herself except such as is strictly consequential upon to all the consequences which ensued upon the our legislative action. The supposition of every entry into her dominions, and it belongs not to new law, having for its object to prevent the her to complain of those measures which re- recurrence of evil, is that something has hapsulted from her breach of contract; still less has pened which ought not to have taken place, and she a right to examine into the considerations no other than this indirect sort of censure will connected with the domestic aspect of the flow from the resolutions before the committee. subject.
Having thus given my view of the nature What are the propositions before the com- and character of the propositions under considmittee? The first in order is that reported by eration, I am far from intimating that it is not the military committee, which asserts the dis- my purpose to go into a full, a free, and a approbation of this House, of the proceedings thorough investigation of the facts, and of the in the trial and execution of Arbuthnot and principles of law, public, municipal, and constiAmbrister. The second, being the first con- tutional involved in them. And, while I trust tained in the proposed amendment, is the I shall speak with the decorum due to the disconsequence of that disapprobation, and con- tinguished officers of the government whose templates the passage of a law to prohibit the proceedings are to be examined, I shall exercise execution hereafter of any captive taken by the the independence which belongs to me as a army, without the approbation of the President. representative of the people, in freely and fully The third proposition is, that this House disap- submitting my sentiments. proves of the forcible seizure of the Spanish In noticing the painful incidents of this war, posts, as contrary to orders, and in violation of it is impossible not to inquire into its origin. I the constitution. The fourth proposition, as the fear that it will be found to be the famous result of the last, is, that a law shall pass to treaty of Fort Jackson, concluded in August, prohibit the march of the army of the United 1814; and I must ask the indulgence of the States, or any corps of it, into any foreign chairman while I read certain parts of that territory, without the previous authorization of treaty. Congress, except it be in fresh pursuit of a defeated enemy. The first and third are general “ Whereas, an unproyoked, inhuman, sanguipropositions, declaring the sense of the House nary war, waged by the hostile Creeks against in regard to the evils pointed out; and the the United States, hath been repelled, prosecusecond and fourth propose the legislative reme- ted and determined, successfully on the part of dies against the recurrence of those evils. the said States, in conformity with principles of
It will be at once perceived by this simple national justice and honorable warfare: and, statement of the propositions, that no other whereas, consideration is due to the rectitude of censure is proposed against General Jackson proceedings dictated by instructions relating to himself, than what is merely conseqnential. His the re-establishing of peace: Be it remembered name even does not appear in any of the resolu- that, prior to the conquest of that part of the tions. The legislature of the country in re- Creek nation hostile to the United States, numviewing the state of the Union, and considering berless aggressions had been committed against the events which have transpired since its last the peace, the property, and the lives of citizens meeting, finds that particular occurrences of the of the United States, and those of the Creek greatest moment, in many respects, have taken nation in amity with her, at the mouth of Duck place near our southern border. I will add, that River, Fort Mimms, and elsewhere, contrary to the House has not sought by any officious inter- national faith and the regard due to an article ference with the doings of the executive, to gain of the treaty concluded at New York, in the jurisdiction over this matter. The President, in year 1790, between the two nations; that the his message at the opening of the session, com- United States, previous to the perpetration of municated the very information on which it was such outrage, did, in order to insure future amity and concord between the Creek nation and the States, and at such places as he shall direct, to said States, in conformity with the stipulations enable the nation, by industry and economy, to of former treaties, fulfil, with punctuality and procure clothing." good faith, her engagements to the said nation; that more than two-thirds of the whole number I have never perused this instrument until of chiefs and warriors of the Creek nation, dis- within a few days past, and I have read it with regarding the genuine spirit of existing treaties, the deepest mortification and regret. A more suffered themselves to be instigated to violations dictatorial spirit I have never seen displayed in of their national honor and the respect due to a any instrument. I would challenge an examipart of their own nation faithful to the United nation of all the records of diplomacy, not exStates and the principles of humanity, by im- cepting even those in the most haughty period postors, denominating themselves prophets, and of imperiał Rome, when she was carrying her by the duplicity and misrepresentations of arms into the barbarian nations that surrounded foreign emissaries, whose governments are at her, and I do not believe a solitary instance can war, open or understood, with the United be found of such an inexccable spirit of domiStates.
nation pervading a compact purporting to be a " Article 2. The United States will guaranty treaty of peace. It consists of the most severe to the Creek nation the integrity of all their and humiliating demands of the surrender of a territory eastwardly and northwardly of the large territory; of the privilege of making said line (described in the first article), to be run roads through the remnant which was retained; and described as mentioned in the first article. of the right of establishing trading-houses; of
“Article 3. The United States demand that the obligation of delivering into our hands their the Creek nation abandon all communication, prophets. And all this of a wretched people and cease to hold intercourse with any British reduced to the last extremity of distress, whose post, garrison, or town; and that they shall not miserable existence we have to preserve by a admit among them any agent or trader who voluntary stipulation to furnish them with shall not derive authority to hold commercial bread! When did the all-conquering and desoor other intercourse with them, by license of lating Rome ever fail to respect the altars and the President or other authorized agent of the the gods of those whom she subjugated ? Let United States.
me not be told that these prophets were impos“ Article 4. The United States demand an ac- tors who deceived the Indians. They were knowledgment of the right to establish military their prophets; the Indians believed and veneposts and trading houses, and to open roads rated them, and it is not for us to dictate a rewithin the territory guarantied to the Creek ligious belief to them. It does not belong to the nation by the second article, and a right to the holy character of the religion which we profess, free navigation of all its waters.
to carry its precepts by the force of the bayonet, “ Article 5. The United States demand that a into the bosoms of other people. Mild and surrender be immediately made of all the per- gentle persuasion was the great instrument sons and property taken from the citizens of the employed by the meek founder of our religion. United States, the friendly part of the Creek We leave to the humane and benevolent efforts nation, the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw of the reverend professors of Christianity to nations, to the respective owners; and the convert from barbarism those unhappy nations United States will cause to be immediately re- yet immersed in its gloom. But, sir, spare them stored to the formerly hostile Creeks all the their prophets! spare their delusions! spare property taken from them since their submis- their prejudices and superstitions! spare them sion, either by the United States, or by any even their religion, such as it is, from open and Indian nations in amity with the United States, cruel violence. When, sir, was that treaty contogether with all the prisoners taken from them cluded ? On the very day after the protocol during the war.
was signed, of the first conference between the "Article 6. The United States demand the American and British cominissioners, treating caption and surrender of all the prophets and of peace, at Ghent. In the course of that neinstigators of the war, whether foreigners or gotiation, pretensions so enormous were set up natives, who have not submitted to the arms of by the other party that, when they were prothe United States, and become parties to these mulgated in this country, there was one general articles of capitulation, if ever they shall be burst of indignation throughout the continent. found within the territory guarantied to the Faction itself was silenced, and the firm and Oreek nation by the second article.
unanimous determination of all parties was, to “Article 7. The Creek nation being reduced fight until the last man fell in the ditch rather to extreme want, and not at present having than submit to such ignominious terms. the means of subsistence, the United States, What a contrast is exhibited between the from motives of humanity, will continue to cotemporaneous scenes of Ghent and of Fort furnish gratuitously the necessaries of life, Jackson! what a powerful voucher would the until the crops of corn can be considered com- British commissioners have been furnished with, petent to yield the nation a supply, and will if they could have got hold of that treaty ! establish trading-houses in the nation, at the The United States demand, the United States discretion of the President of the United | demand, is repeated five or six times. And
what did the preamble itself disclose ? That To the Commanding Officer at Fort Hawkins: two-thirds of the Creek nation had been hostile, I and one-third only friendly to us. Now I have! “DEAR SIR; heard (I cannot vouch for the truth of the state
"Since the last war, after you sent word ment), that not one hostile chief signed the that we must quit the war, we, the red people, treaty. I have also heard that perhaps one or have come over on this side. The white people two of them did. If the treaty were really have carried all the red people's cattle off. made by a minority of the nation, it was not | After the war, I sent to all my people to let obligatory upon the whole nation. It was void, the white people alone, and stay on this side considered in the light of a national compact of the river; and they did so; but the white And, if void, the Indians were entitled to the people still continue to carry off their cattle. benefit of the provision of the ninth article Bernard's son was here, and I inquired of him of the treaty of Ghent, by which we bound what was to be done; and he said we must go ourselves to make peace with any tribes with to the head man of the white people and comwhom we might be at war on the ratifi- pain, I did so, and there was no head white cation of the treaty, and to restore to them man, and there was no law in this case. The their lands, as they held them in 1811. I do whites first began, and there is nothing said not know how the honorable Senate, that body about that; but great complaint about what the for which I hold so high a respect, could have Indians do. This is now three years since the given their sanction to the treaty of Fort Jack- white people killed three Indians; since that son, so utterly irreconcilable as it is with those time they have killed three other Indians, and noble principles of generosity and magnanimity taken their horses, and what they had; and which I hope to see my country always exhibit, this summer they killed three more; and very and particularly toward the miserable remnant likely they killeri one more. We sent word to of the aborigines. It would have comported the white people that these murders were done, better with those principles to have imitated and the answer was, that they were people who the benevolent policy of the founder of Penn- | were outlaws, and we ought to go and kill sylvania, and to have given to the Creeks, con- them. The white people killed our people first; quered as they were, even if they had made the Indians then took satisfaction. There are an unjust war upon us, the trifling consideration, yet three men that the red people have never to them an adequate compensation, which he taken satisfaction for. You have wrote that paid for their lands. That treaty, I fear, has there were houses burned; but we know of no been the main cause of the recent war. And, such thing being done; the truth, in such cases, if it has been, it only adds another melancholy ought to be told, but this appears otherwise. proof to those with which history already on that side of the river, the white people have abounds, that hard and unconscionable terms, killed five Indians, but there is nothing said extorted by the power of the sword and the about that; and all that the Indians have done right of conquest, serve but to whet and stim- is brought up. All the mischief the white peoulate revenge, and to give old hostilities, smoth-ple have done, ought to be told to their head ered, not extinguished, by the pretended peace, man. When there is any thing done, you write greater exasperation and more ferocity. A to us; but never write to your head man what truce, thus patched up with an unfortunate the white people do. When the red people people, without the means of existence, with- send talks or write, they always send the truth. out bread, is no real peace. The instant there You have sent to us for your horses, and we is the slightest prospect of relief from such sent all that we could find; but there was some harsh and severe conditions, the conquered dead. It appears that all the mischief is laid party will fly to arms, and spend the last drop on this town; but all the mischief that has been of blood rather than live in such degraded bon- done by this town, is two horses; one of them dage. Even if you again reduce him to sub- is dead, and the other was sent back. The catmission, the expenses incurred by this second tle that we are accused of taking, were cattle war, to say nothing of the human lives that are that the white people took from us. Our young sacrificed, will be greater than what it would men went and brought them back, with the have cost you to grant him liberal conditions | same marks and brands. There were some of in the first instance. This treaty, I repeat, was, our young men ont hunting, and they were I apprehend, the cause of the war. It led to killed; others went to take satisfaction, and the the excesses on our southern borders which be- kettle of one of the men that was killed was gan it.
| found in the house where the women and two Who first commencel them, it is, perhaps, children were killed ; and they supposed it had difficult to ascertain. There was, however, been her husband who had killed the Indians, a paper on this subject, communicated at the and took their satisfaction there. We are aclast session by the President, that told, in lan-cused of killing the Americans, and so on; but guage pathetic and feeling, an artless tale; since the word was sent to us that peace was a paper that carried such internal evidence at made, we stay steady at home, and meddle with least of the belief of the authors of it that no person. You have sent to us respecting the they were writing the truth, that I will ask the black people on the Suwany river; we have favor of the committee to allow me to read it. nothing to do with them. They were put there by the English, and to them you ought to apply | despatched. But I regard the occurrence with for any thing about them. We do not wish our grief, for other and higher considerations. It country desolated by an army passing through was the first instance that I know of, in the anit, for the concern of other people. The Indians nals of our country, in which retaliation, by exhave slaves there also; a great many of them. ecuting Indian captives, has ever been deliberateWhen we have an opportunity, we shall apply ly practised. There may have been exceptions, to the English for them; but we cannot get but if there were, they met with cotemporanethem now.
ous condemnation, and have been reprehended “This is what we have to say at present. by the just pen of impartial history. The gen“Sir, I conclude by subscribing myself, tleman from Massachusetts may tell me, if he
“Your humble servant, etc. chooses, what he pleases about the tomahawk “September, the 11th day, 1817.
and scalping knife; about Indian enormities and "N. B. There are ten towns have read this foreign miscreants and incendiaries. I, too, hate letter, and this is the answer.
them; from my very soul I abominate them. "WM. BELL, Aid-de-camp. But I love my country, and its constitution; I "A true copy of the original."
love liberty and safety, and fear military despot
ism more, even, than I hate the monsters. The I should be very unwilling to assert, in regard gentleman, in the course of his remarks, alluded to this war, that the fault was on our side; I to the State from which I have the honor to fear it was. I have heard that a very respecto come. Little, sir, does he know (f the high able gentleman, now no more, who once filled and magnanimous sentiments of the people of the executive chair of Georgia, and who, hav- that State, if he supposes they will approve of ing been agent of Indian affairs in that quarter, the transaction to which he referred. Brave had the best opportunity of judging of the and generous, humanity and clemency toward origin of this war, deliberately pronounced it a fallen for constitute one of their noblest charas his opinion, that the Indians were not in acteristics. Amid all the struggles for that fair fault. I am far from attributing to General | land, between the natives and the present inJackson any other than the very slight degree habitants. I defy the gentleman to point out one of blame that attaches to him as the negotiator instance, in vhich a Kentuckian had stained of the treaty of Fort Jackson, and will be his hand by-nothing but my high sense of the shared by those who subsequently ratified and distinguished services and exalted merits of sanctioned that treaty. But if there be even a General Jackson, prevents my using a different doubt as to the origin of the war, whether we term—the execution of an unarmed and proswere censurable or the Indians, that doubt will trate captive. Yes, there is one solitary excepserve to increase our regret at any distressing tion, in which a man, enraged at beholding an incidents which may have occurred, and to mit- Indian prisoner who had been celebrated for igate, in some degree, the crimes which we im- his enormities, and who had destroyed some of pute to the other side. I know that when his kindred, plunged his sword into his bosom. General Jackson was summoned to the field, it The wicked deed was considered as an abomiwas too late to hesitate ; the fatal blow hadnable outrage when it occurred, and the name been struck, in the destruction of Fowl-town of the man has been handed down to the exeand the dreadful massacre of Lieutenant Scott cration of posterity. I deny your right thus to and his detachment; and the only duty which retaliate on the aboriginal proprietors of the remained to him, was to terminate this unhappy country; and unless I am utterly deceived, it contest.
may be shown that it does not exist. But beThe first circumstance which, in the course fore I attempt this, allow me to make the genof his performing that duty, fixed our attention, tleman from Massachusetts a little better achas filled me with regret. It was the execution quainted with those people, to whose feelings of the Indian chiefs. How, I ask, did they and sympathies he has appealed through their come into our possession? Was it in the course representative. During the late war with Great of fair, and open, and honorable war? No; | Britain, Colonel Campbell, under the command but by means of deception-by hoisting foreign of my honorable friend from Ohio (General colors on the staff from which the stars and Harrison), was placed at the head of a detachstripes should alone have floated. Thus en- ment, consisting chiefly, I believe, of Kentucky snared, the Indians were taken on shore; and volunteers, in order to destroy the Mississinaway without ceremony, and without delay, were towns. They proceeded and performed the hung. Hang an Indian! We, sir, who are duty, and took some prisoners. And here is civilized, and can comprehend and feel the ef- the evidence of the manner in which they fect of moral causes and considerations, attach treated them. ignominy to that mode of death. And the gallant, and refined, and high-minded man, seeks “But the character of this gallant detachby all possible means to avoid it. But what ment, exhibiting, as it did, perseverance, forticares an Indian whether you hang or shoot him ? tude, and bravery; would, however, be incomThe moment he is captured, he is considered by plete, if in the midst of victory, they had forhis tribe as disgraced, if not lost. They, too, gotten the feelings of humanity. It is with the are indifferent about the manner in which he is sincerest pleasure that the general has heard,