of discontent which had manifested themselves in the south, as well as to the northwest. What might grow out of the late occurrence at Savannah? Were gentlemen prepared to say? Was this a time for war? “But we must put on the armor of defence.Was that armor a standing army? Isthat the natural defence of this country? Wo betide us ! ifsuch be the fact. Bred up in the school of the revolution, he could not be upmindful of the consequences of that war. In resistance to British tyranny we had been driven to the use of means that nothing buc dire necessity could excuse-means so disgraceful and injurious, that the constitution of 1787 had wisely prohibited a future resort to them. By our paper money and tender acts—by arbitrary impressments and privations of property without semblance of equivalent; by acts of violence and confusion, inseparable perhaps from our situation, the tone of public morals had received a rude shock. His worthy colleague (Mr. Nelson) needed not to be reminded of the operation of the

legal tender of worthless paper in discharge of bona fide debts. His noble father (Gen. Nelson) had sacrificed a princely fortune at the shrine of patriotism. His was the old fashioned patriotism that spent, pot made money, in his country's service-not the patriotism of this our day; the patriotism of office seeking, of contracting and commissarying ; the patriotism that quarters a man's whole family upon the public. By these acts of public robbery (for they were no less) the public morals have been tainted. To it had succeeded the corruptions of the funding system: a necessary consequence of providing for a debt, which the public beggary had caused to sell in open market, at a discount of eighty-seven and a half per cent! But in this operation the harpies of speculation might plead that they had not actually cheated the poor soldier—that they practised no fraud upon him—that he sold and they bought with their eyes open—that they only took advantage of his necessities–As yet, they kept within the letter of the law. But this system was followed by that of Land Jobbing. A step farther was made in the path of iniquity.-Actual swindling now commenced. The naked granite of our mountains was passed off, with decorations of imaginary corner trees of buck-eye and walnut, for fertile plains. A scene of depredation the most barefaced and infamous ensued. Our name had become a byword among the nations of the earth. Nothing was wanting to give the finishing blow to our character, to top the apex, but a predatory war. Not a war for our homes and fire sides---a war that might generate, or call forth manly and honorable sentiment ; but a war of rapine-of privateering—a scuffle and scramble for plunder ; when, like the duckers on the Potomac, we should calculate at every discharge," so much powder and shot for so much game.'

There was one observation of his eloquent colleague that could not be too often or too strongly enforced. That this war must eventuate in a French alliance. We must carry our prizes (if we took any) into French ports for condemnation and sale.' Our vessels must seek a refuge there from pursuit, or to refit. We must come into contact upon so many points, as common enemies to England, that our temporary disgust at a French alliance would wear off. If in 1778, when the man, who covered the retreat of the miserable rem. nant of Braddock's army from the scalping knives and tomahawks of the French and the Indians, was at the head of our armies and councils---it at that day, with the glories of the war of 1756, and the atrocious massacres of France and her savage allies in fresh remembrance, we could so soon overcome our instinctive antipathy to all that was French, what might we not now expect after a few hard rubs ?--When France, too, had been permitted to boast that to her we were indebted for independence. Sore from her recent defeats she had lain back, she kept at a cautious distance, until the capture of Burgoyne had asserted our capacity to maintain our resistance. Then she stepped forth to cripple a hated rival, and had the effrontery to prer:end that we were indebted to her for our independence. We owe dit no more to her than to Tom Paine, the stay-maker. But if you become a party to this war, there will inevitably be another alliance. You will sink into the arms of Bonaparte as his ally, and awal e from your slumber his abject, constuprated slave.--He had endeav ored to paint, with feeble hand and timid pencil, the aggressions of Fi :ance ; but formidable as was her enmity, human powers were inadequate to portray the horrors of her friendship.

He could not conclude without noticing the parallel attempted to be drawn by the gentie man from South Carolina (Mr. Calhoun)-not quite in. deed afier the manner of Plutarch-between himself and an illustrious state sman, (Lord Chatham.] The gentleman had been pleased to say, that at the mention of his name, Mr. Randolph's heart had seemed to smite him. It had indeed smilten him- from a sensation wbich he trusted that gert leman might never feel; against which he seemed well secured. It was a consciousness of his own unworthiness to sustain the high duties imposesi on bim by his country, which the recollection of that great man's Dame , had, at the moment, called up. He felt humbled at the contem. platia n of his worth. Would to God! he possessed" some portion of his power s; that he could berrow his eagle eye, bis withering look,' the un. rivalle d majesty of his manner, the magic of his voicemat once the music and ih under of the spheres-mto rouse the House to a sense of their country's di inger. In one respect, however, he might boast that he possessed some of

ualities in common with that immortal statesman. He might as. sert as I ofty a spirit, as unyielding an adherence to the deliberate convictions of l is own understandings as Lord Chatham himself: who because he set his face against corruption, and had the art of making every coward scoundrel in the nation his foc-concentrating upon himself the rays of royal indig nation, which might illume, but could not consume him;" who, because wi ih intuitive glance he penetrated, resolved and combined every interest of 1 sis country and each design of her enemies, and reached his o's. ject" by fiz shes of his mind, wbich, like those of his eye, might be felt, but could not be followed”-- was, by the plodding, purblind, groping politicians of the day, attempted to be held up as an empty Jeclaimer, a theatrical gesticul

, lator. Gentlemen must not expect himto quit the anchorage of his own jud ment in order to pursue the ignes fatui that wander about GooseCreek. . .Mr.Speaker, my heart is full--the recollection of that matchless orator & 31 atesman has filled me with unspeakable feelings. so excite them there was no need of the croel and insulting comparison which the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Calhoun) has attempted to draw between that gi gantic statesman and the pigmy who now addresses you.


No. 16.] TWELFTH CONGRESS.... FIRST Session.


[Debutes in Congress---Continued.]

On the Resolution for arming Merchantmen. MR. ARCHIER:--The 6th resolution of the committee of foreign relations being now on its passage, I must express my sorrow that I am compelled to obtrude my humble observations upon the fatigued patience of the house, and the more exhausted patience of the nation. As I shall vote against the resolution, I feel it to be my indispensible duty to detail to the House, the reasons by which my vote shall be actuated. Many honorable members may perhaps conceive that it would be more proper for me to reserve my remarks for the bill when it shall be reported; bat, sir, I have ever held it to be my sacred duty, to oppose even in its incipient state every measure which may be hostile to the rights or dangerous to the interests of my country--lest by not seeming to oppose, my conduct should be construed into an encouragement of such a measure.

For what purpose, sir, let me ask, have we adopted the resolutions preceding this? Was it for the purpose of destroying the goverr ment? Was it that the members of that army should sheathe their swords in the bowels of the liberties of their couutry? Who will impute to this body so disgraceful a motive? Are you about to raise a standiag army, not for the purpose of making preparations for war, but with a view of intimidating Great Britain to recede from her unjust infractions of our neutral rights ? Do not think that she will be intimidated by any preparations which you can make, however formidable they may be---she knows too well your conduct heretofore, to believe you are in earnest. She knows, that many years ago you resolved to resist, but that this honorable determination terminated in an empty resolution---she knows, too well, that you have been heretofore prodigal in words and parsimonious in spirited actions. I do not set myself up for a prophet; but, mark me, if it be not true, that G. Britain will not do you justice until you carry the war out of this hall into the heart of her colonial territories.

Under the firmest conviction, then, as I am, that war between the United States and Great Britain, if we have any respect for our honor as a nation, will be an event of inevitable consequence--I have, in vaio, searched for the reasons which would induce us to authorise our merchants’ vessels to arm against all unlawful molestations on the nigh seas. As the resolution is in its nature general, every maa must see, on the contrary, the dangers necessarily attendant upon the adoption of such a measure. You are now on the very verge of war ; you should therefore be careful not to multiply your enemies.


You may, by passing this resolution, make France your enemy. You may enlist Denmark and other powers of Europe against you. This is an event which would be deeply deprecated; and that it should happen, is nothing improbable. For, your merchants, armed as they will be in defence of their commerce, may select the nation who is to be your enemy. If they are molested in their commerce, whether lawful or unlawful, they will be disposed to resist. At any rate, they will be the judges of the juncture when their interests may call for the interposition of force, and will exercise that force according to their own whims and caprices. They sail on the ocean clothed with national authority, and for their actions, whether lawful or unlawful, you will be compelled to answer. Sir, I respect the highly honorable occupation of a merchant, but am not disposed to carry that respect so far as to give my sanction to the adoption of a measure which may jeopardize the peace and endanger the interests of my country. If this resolution were to authorize an arming against Great Britain alone, this argument would have no effect; but as it has a view to a general arming against all nations, this reasoning is conclusive on my mind—and must operate in the same way upon all men who will give the subject a dispassionate consideration. The consequences of such a measure are plain and obvious. Now let us examine whether there exist any reasons sufficiently powerful to outweigh these considerations.

What is the object, and the only one too, as stated by the honorable chairman of the committee of foreign relations, (Mr. Porter) for the adoption of this measure ? Your vessels will be armed and prepared for privateering, the moment war shall be declared! Why, sir, do you think the merchants will believe that you really intend to go to war? And, if they doubt upon this subject, do you suppose they will be so regardless of their own interests as to expend their capital in fitting out privateers, when no absolute certainty exists that war is your object or your serious intention? It would certainly be an object of no inconsiderable moment, to have privateers prepared to harrass and disturb the commerce of Great Britain, in the event of war. If this be your object, you are taking a very improper course to obtain it. If such be your object, take some decided and enesgetic step, which will convince even the incredulous that you will resort to the sword to obtain justice, and your end will soon be effected. But do not depress the hopes of the nation by sanctioning this tame, imbecile and temporising system.

What is the spirit that breathes in the five resolutions which have been adopted, resolutions which were in entire accordance with my feelings? Is it not a spirit of war ? Do they not bear an hostile aspect ?

Are they not calculated to induce Great Britain to believe that lorbearance on our part has terminated, and that we are resolvecl, unless she speedily extend to us full and ample justice, to decide the contest by the sword ? Have you any thing to hope, by operating upon the minds of the rulers of that nation, a conviction that you

are boasting no longer? If you do entertain such a hope, I pray you 'do not adopt this measure, a measure which will show her the fluc

tuation of our opinions, and the repugnancy of our plans-a measure which will lull to sleep her fears of war, and convince her not only of your indecision, but of your timidity to unsheathe your sword in defence of rights clear and undisputed, and, in avenging injuries too glaring for the dignity and honor of a nation to submit to. Are the wishes of this nation to be unattended to ? Ought we not to relieve its anxieties? Or are we to tantalize their hopes with energy in one law, and imbecility in another? Are the merchants to be told that we will protect their commerce, by-what? By granting them a right which nature has already given to them? Is commerce to be protected by abridging the natural rights of the people? Is this measure no abridgment of their rights ? Does it not confine the legality of arming to resident citizens alone ? Look at the measure as you please, it is a dead letter. Is this the period of all others to be selected to incorporate unmeaning laws in the body of your statute book ? Do not satirize, by such an act, the manly sensibility of the people. Do not paralize the national arm. No ! let us do justice to the nation by the adoption of such measures as will renovate the depressed spirits of our constituents, which will prevent them from falling into that destructive and deadly languor which this resolution is calculated to produce.

Mr. Speaker, permit me to address my sentiments plainly to you. The people are becoming tired of the indecision of this body. They have read many a fine and gaudy speech which has been delivered in this Hall, and let me say, too, that they have seen much of bad voting. It is high time to throw off a temporising policy and to take a decided and energetic stand-no arming of merchantmen without the privilege of making reprisals, and reprisals from that power, too, specifically

, that oppresses you. Had my worthy colleague, (Mr. Wright) not withdrawn his amendment, I would have given to it my sanction~I admit it would have been an act of war, and for that reason I would have voted for it; for in our present situation it is impossible to obtain enlistments without the adoption of some such

Instead, sir, of this resolution, I seriously think that policy dictates to us to lay an embargo on our vessels for a limited time. Not an embargo of coercion on foreign powers, but an embargo for the preservation of our property which is now afloat on the surface of the ocean. It would prevent' those innumerable bankruptcies which would be immediately consequent on a declaration of war in all your mercantile towns-bankruptcies which are not only injurious to the bankrupts themselves, but deadly to the resources of the nation, for the wealth of a nation should always be graduated by the wealth of its citizens. Your merchants are now sailing in every sea with the productions of your soil. We shall have to contend with the most formidable naval power in the world, and the moment war is

[ocr errors]


« 前へ次へ »