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France and England together could not do it. I do not believe the world could. All we want is union at home.
As to this man, he is juft such a one as the British usually employ for these purposes ; he is one of their own agents. Can England complain of our giving credit to a man with whom her First Secretary of State and the Governor General of Canada correspond ? I care nothing about the cause which brings him here, it is an affair between him and them. The question is, has he told the truth? I verily believe he has. I understood enough of the papers, as read, to know that he was an agent of the Brit. ish government, fent here to fow difunion, and that was enough for me. So long as we are governed by interest, mutual wants, or by common sense, fo long shall we continue united. We are placed in such a situation that we ought to love each other, and we always should, did not our mad passions fometimes run away with us. One part of the nation delights in using the fea; another in agriculture-we supply each others' wants; we ought never to dream of feparation. And, fir, when these meslengers of hell are sent here, Ihall we not look at them? Let us have the papers printed, fir.
This is the second attempt Great Britain has made to divide the country, and I believe France would the same ; for I have no confidence in the morality of either. Our affairs are in such a state, that with one we must try what has been called the last refort of kings ; I have made up my mind on the subject, and, whenever we are ready to declare war, I shall vote for it.
Mr. Johnson said, he did not feel disposed, nor was it a time, to say much. The documents fpoke for themselves. Nor did he address the House to identify the federal party with this British conspiracy to dismember the union. Nor did he intend to load the individual who had made this communication to the Prefident, with the opprobrious epithets of Spy and Traitor ; but to call the attention of the House and the gentleman of Virginia, to the position which had been taken by himself and others upon the discussion of our foreign relations, respecting the British inftuence in stimulating the favages against our infant and innocent fettlements upon the frontiers. Mr. J. faid, when he had ascribed the hostility of the ladians to British influence, the gentleman from Virginia would not place any confidence in such intimations, and he moreover stated, that if fuch influence could be proven, he would himfelf join heart and band in measures against Great Britain, and would even march himself to Canada, if nec. essary, to expel and destroy the British authorities in that quar. ter. Mr.J, said, he wilhed to know whether the Houle had not now record evidence of an attempt on the part of the British government to alienate the affections of the people from their own government, to organize opposition to the laws of Congress, and to produce a dissolution of our happy government, a difmemberment of the Union, and the erection of a monarchy upon
its ruins; and whether such a cafe did call for equal union ? Mr. J. asked, who would now atlert that Great Britain was friendly difpofed towards us, that she was fighting our battles, or the battles of freedom ? that she stood between us and univerfal domination ? that good men woukl pray that our arms might not be successful against that
government which had so long trainpled upon our rights ? that Great Britain was acting upon the principle of retaliation towards France ? Mr. J. faid, it was nos reduced to a certainty that the hostility of Great Britain towards us in the continuance of her Orders in Council, in the imprellinent of our feamen, originated in a determination to destroy the union of the ftates, and from a belief that a separation could be effected in cale of a war with Great Britain. It was now evident, that the dif. avowal of Erskine's arrangement, and her subfequens conduct towards the United States, arofe from the delufive hose that the people of the New England states would join Great Britain in the conflict. This communication also accounts for tiie news we are daily receiving of the hostile intentions of the favages upon our borders. Mr. J. said, he wanted 5000 copies to be printed, that the people might judge whether Congress had wantonly sported with their rights, or whether they had not been driven to the brink of war, by a conduct on the part of Great Britain that would disgrace the most abandoned, the most favage, and the most piratical pations on earth. Mr. j. faid, he hoped the House could no longer debate what courle to pursue, and that no addi. tional arguments would be required to convince them of the propriety of breaking up the rogues' hartwr, and taking possession of the Canadas ; without which, the United States never could enjoy in tranquility those rights which were transmitted to the citizens of the United States by their ancestors.
Mr. Stanford suggested the propriety of a reference of the subject to a committee of the whole on the state of the union.
Mr. Key made some remarks which were not all distinctly heard by the reporter. He wished that the publication could have been accompanied with some refutation of its contents, as it would go to alarm the people with an idea of the existence of a spirit in one section of this country which he was fure did not exist
. He was not only for committing the subject, but for following it up with a full and prompt examination. Sure I am, laid Mr. Key, that the people of Europe have mistaken the American character. Whatever difference of opinion may exift among ourselves, there can be none as to the propriety of supporting the integrity of the union. There can be no doubt that the people of this country, of all descriptions, will rally around the constiiu. tion. France had heretofore fuppofed she possefled a party in this country ; but there was not a man of fenfe in the country who believed it. Foreign nations would err in this way, having no correct knowledge of the sentiments of the people. If we were foon to be involved in war, it was proper chat no distrust should
exist in one part of the community against another; and he there. fore regretted that a complete investigation could not be had be. fure the papers were publish d.
Mr. Randolph wished to say one word, and only a word, in addition to his previous obfervations. He rose for the purpose of suggesting to the House whether, if it were their intention to act with any thing like dispatch or efficacy in this business, it was not necessary immediately to decide whether thefe papers should or 1hould not be referred to a commit!ce, and that committee clothed with power to fend for persons and papers. For it was perfect. ly obvious, if this day's fiffion was fpun out on the mere quef. tion of printing, it was giving the pariy, whom it would certainly be the object of the committee to examine, fair notice to abicond-for, whatsoever may have been the rank and grade of the gentleman, and however respectable in some eyes it might appear, he would hardly be ambitious of exhibiting himself here.
Mr. R. faid, he could only fay, as he was up-he certainly should not have risen for the purpose of faying it to the gentle. man from Kentucky, that when he had examined the fulject, he could give that gentleman and the House his opinion on it. Till then he must be excused. I had much rather, said Mr. R. my opinion should follow an examination than precede it.
Mr. Boyd made fome remarks in favor of printing. This was the old course of Britain, divide and conquer. The existence of such agencies was sufficiently known before. These papers only went to prove it. The President would not have sent these pa. pers publicly to Congress, if he had not intended they thould go to the public.
Mr. Wright role in explanation of his former remarks. He wished it to be distinctly understood that he had no objeclion to the publication of the fe papers.
Mr. Milnor fuid, his purpose in rising now was to express the anxious desire he felt that on this question there might not be the least division of sentiment manifcited in the House. He should be extremely forry at any time ; above all, at a period of our national progrı (s when it was thought that a change of circum. ftances of the most important kind was about to take place ; that at this time an opinion should be imbibed that any portion of the people of this country were favorable to England. The candor of the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Wright) redounded to his honor. He wis extremely glad to find gentlemen acknowledge, with respect to the party in wbich he stood enrolled, whatever be our internal differences, &c. that they could not be sur.
; . tained by fenfible men of either party that there was amongst us any confiderable portion of men who are inimically difpofed to the union of the states.
That these papers proved a dishonorable attempt on the part of the British government, Mr. M. faid, ke had no doubt. Al.
though a strong sensation would probably be produced by the discovery of this circumstance, and it might be perverted much to the injury of the feelings of particular individuals, he limped the good sense of the community would induce them, whilft they properly appreciated this attempt of a foreign government, not to be led into rash or injudicious measures. He really wished the affair might be probed to the bottom ; and that the British min. ifter having in one case come forward with a disavowal for his government, would say in fome shape or other what was the real state of the cafe now before the House.
Mr. Rhea again spoke in amplification of his former remarks." He said, that be this man, Mr. Henry, who he might, he had done an important service to the country in exposing the views of the Britilh government, and it behoved the House to ascertain their truth, &c.
The motion for printing was unanimously agreed to.
Mr. Bibb moved to amend his motion for reference to the Committee of Foreign Relations, so as to give the committee power to send for persons and papers.
Mr. Troup said, that on occasions of this kind, great care should be taken left the House be hurried by a momentary exo, citement into an act of precipitancy. He had confidence in the difcretion of the committee of foreign relations, but the vesting such a power in the committee might be considered as an instruction by the House to proceed under any circumstances to bring Mr. Henry before them. He had no doubt in his own mind, that the communication had been voluntary on the part of Mr. Henry, but he entertained as little that there may have been cer. tain stipulations and conditions which the Executive would feel itself under the strongest obligations of good faith to comply with, and which would exempt the individual, making the disclosure, from any responsibility of any kind. Whatever may be thought of the motives of Mr. Henry in making the disclosure, or whatever the epithets applied tu him in debate, certain it was, Mr. Henry had done service to the country, and ought to be protect. ed by it. If the committee should, on examination, think proper to proceed to fummon persons, or call for papers, the House would not hesitate to vest them with the necessary powers,
Mr. Grundy stated what was bis impreslion as to the course he should incline to pursue as a member of the committee of foreign relations, if these papers should be referred, as proposed, to that committee. If any engagement, express or implied, had taken place between the Administration and Mr. Henry, that he should be free from detention, &c. he should not, as one of the commit. tee, consent to violate that engagement.
Mr. Bibb faid, as there appeared to be considerable difference of opinion on this subject, and as the committee could apply for the power if they wilhed it, he saould, for the present, withdraw bis motion.
JIr. Randolph renewed it.Mr. Pitkin spoke in favor of the motion. He thought this course due to the people in that fection of the union whose character was implicated in the fe papers.
Nr. Fish faid, there was no fe of this perfon absconding; he was not that sort of a man. But were this man out of the world, there is evidence enough to prove the truth of all he has said, without a fyllable from him. As to this courfe being due to those implicated, Mr. Fisk faid he came from one of the states (Ver. mant) about which moit was laid in Henry's letters, and he felt no uneafinels on that score ; and he could not see why others should.
Mr. Bibb accepted Mr. Randolph's propofition as a part of his motion, as he had only been induced to withdraw it by a desire to accommodate.
Mr. Macon required a division of the question ; and
The question to clothe the committee with compulsory power, was carried, 104 to 10.
Thursday, March 19. MR. PORTER, from the committee of Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the Message of the President of the U. States, transmitting the disclosures of Mr. Henry, a British Secret Agent, made the following report : The committee of Foreign Relations, to whom was referred the Presi
dent's Message of the 9th inst. covering copies of certain documents
communicated to him by a Mr. John Henry, beg leave to REPORT IN PART
That, although they did not deem it necessary or proper to go into an investigation of the authenticity of documents communicated to Congress on the responsibility of a co-ordinate branch of the government; it may, nevertheless, be satisfacory to the House to be informed, that the original papers, with the evidence relating to them in possession of the Executive, were submitted to their examination, and were such as fully to satisfy the committee of their genuineness.
The circumstances under which the disclosures of Henry were made to the government, involving considerations of political expediency, have prevented the committee from making those disclosures the basis of any proceeding against him. And from the careful concealment, on his part, of every circumstance which could lead to the discovery and punishment of any individuals within the United States (should there be any such) who were criminally connected with him, no distinct object was presented to the committee by his communication, for the exercise of the power with which they were investeel, of sending for persons and papers. On being informed, however, that there was a Foreigner in the city of Washington, who lately came to this country, from Europe, with Henry, and was supposed to be in his conadence, the committee thought proper to send