Abbildungen der Seite

the French ambassador, for following our steps....and no doubt he, and his nation, deemed his proceedings as proper, as we

honought out it, Britalm and oth Sameing

Yes, sir, Britain did the same. Mr. Liston was concerned with Chisholm and others, in stirring up the south and south western citizens in the same manner. He alluded to Blount's conspiracy. A British frigate entered the ports of Georgia; her commander had his pocket full of commissions ....they were offered to citizens of that state, now alive to testify it. The object, sir, was to make a stroke at Spain, and through her, the United States....there was an intimate connection between that plan and the recent speculation,* which, thank God, has happily failed....the territory, the object of that speculation was to have been seized at that moment, and the United States involved in war; it was happily evaded. But how the leaders, Blount and others, escaped punishment, is best known to the Senate of the United States at that time in existence; no doubt satisfactory reasons appeared to them, which might not be deemed so by the citizens at large, who had no opportunity of judging correctly of them. As to the persons concerned in that speculation, it is but justice to say, some republicans were among them, but the majority, and a large one, were federalists. Why then are we told so much of Genet's intrigues, and nothing of Mr. Liston's? Their plans were the same; neither of them succeeded....and it is not in the power of the world to corrupt the citizens of the states for whom so much apprehension is expressed.

He must advance that the resolutions of the gentleman from Pennsylvania have in them the seeds of war, which it is our interest to avoid. Justice ought to mark our steps, as well to ourselves as to foreign nations. We have, he agreed with the gentlemen on the other side, a right to call for justice; we have been injured. He insisted again, that Spain had no power to withdraw the right of deposit at New Orleans. She was as much bound to perform her part of the compact in the treaty between us as a nation, as an individual is in private life to perform his. Nations ought to be influenced by the same moral ties....for although he admitted that national honor in many shapes consists in national interest, he did not carry his ideas so far as the gentleman from Delaware, to say, that treaties ought only to be binding so long as our interest led us to support them....this would destroy all faith

* The Yazoo speculation.


posterity. My life for the event, as long as this impression is made, and this unanimity as to foreign aggression, prevails, there is no tyrant.... no despot, on carth, who will dare to violate your rights with impunity.

Mr. CLINTON. I should not presume at this late hour to trespass upon the exhausted patience of the Senate, were it not that a serious difference as to fact exists between the gentieman from Pennsylvania and myself....I call it serious, because it involves character....and I beg that what I now say may be distinctly remembered, on some future day, when time shall enable all who hear me to determine between us. In introducing the resolutions, the gentleman expressly stated that Spain had refused to redress her spoliations on our commerce .... Astonished at the hardihood of the assertion, I took the words down as they came from his lips. I thought it my duty to contradict them in the most pointed terms. Yesterday the gentleman came forward in another shape, and said that Spain has made no provision for the injuries sustained by our mer. chants, and that there is no reason to believe that provision in any respect adequate will be made. In this change of the terms of his former allegation, my colleague, in a mode quite variant from his general politeness, has backed him with the authority of his name. My much respected friend from Virginia, (Mr. NICHOLAS) has this day stated the essential circumstances of the affair, with perfect accuracy, and in conformity to my representation, and in opposition to the assertions and insinuations of the members from Pennsylvania and New York, I again declare that Spain has not refused to redress the spoliations committed upon our commerce....that, for those committed by her own subjects, she is now willing to give us the most ample satisfaction, and that we have every reason to believe, that cases of a different description will receive a friendly and equitable adjustment. With regard to outrages, said to have been committed upon the persons of our citizens, I stated that no official information was laid before us; that we could not act in the case, without having the facts which were to serve as a ground of action, authenticated; and that many of our citizens had justly exposed themselves to punishment, by pursuing an illicit trade. The gentleman has now brought forward a protest, taken before the American consul at Havannah. If my memory does not deceive me, this case was a subject of considerable discussion last summer in the newspapers of Philadelphia and New York. Mr. Duplex, the captain of the vessel, sailed, I believe, from the port of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

New York, and was charged with being engaged in unlawful 7 -commerce. Whether this charge is true....whether this is the same case....and whether the outrages alledged, were really committed, I cannot undertake to decide ; but I would advise the gentleman, instead of keeping this document any longer in his desk, to send it to the executive. An enquiry will be immediately instituted ; and if our citizens have been really injured, Spain will make, and must make redress.

Since I am up, I will answer some of the principal arguments brought forward by the gentleman from Pennsylvania,

This gentleman has certainly exhibited his cause in the strongçest and fairest light of which it is susceptible.... In paying him more than ordinary attention, I render him a tribute due to his ability ; but in making this assertion, I do not not mean to depreciate the acknowleged talents of the other gentlemen who have spoker on the same side. The gentleman has honored me with peculiar notice, and has selected my observations as the objects of his most formidable attacks. I feel it, therefore, a duty due to civility, to return the compliment; and I also esteem it a duty due to myself, to repel some observations which he has endeavored to fasten upon me, and to defend those which I really brought forward, and which I still think have not been materially impaired by any thing said in opposition, during the course of this debate.

The case put by the honorable gentleman, of an invading enemy, shews that he has artfully confounded two things together, which are radically distinct.... I mean an offensive and defensive war. All the observations which go to prove the necessity of previous negociation, apply only to offensive war. The paramount law of self preservation, demands that we should resist and repel an invading enemy. It is not necessary to pursue this remark any further. A little attention to the distinction will shew, that the honorable gentleman has not been able to weaken my argument in the least. While he has thus confounded distinct subjects together, he has the merit of another invention, which he has actively used to help himself and his friends out of a labyrinth of contradiction.... I allude to his application of a distinction between major and minor rights. It is to be wished that he had been more explicit on this subject; and had defined, with precision, what he meant by major rights. Are they rights essential to the existence of a nation? or do they extend further and include those cases which relate to its prosperity? If to the latter, are not national honor, free commerce, and unviolated territory,

essential ingredients of national prosperity ? and have they not all been grossly trampled upon under former administrations, without an immediate resort to force? To prove this distinction of any importance, applied in either shape, it ought to be established, that a privation of the right of deposit, for nine months, or until the result of negociation can be known, will destroy our national existence, or essentially affect our national prosperity. I admit that a continued privation may have this effect, and am therefore willing, if it cannot be restored by negociation, to re-establish it by the sword. If there are any rights which can, with propriety, be denominated major, I should suppose that rights of territory, rights of embassy, and rights of commerce, will come under this description ; and they have all been violated again and again, in the proud times, as they are called, of Washington and Adams. The whole Atlantic, as has been justly observed by my friend from Virginia, (Gen. MASON) has been blocked up against us. To issue from one of our ports or rivers, was almost certain capture. It was not a case affecting the Hudson, the Delaware, the Chesapeake, the Potomac, the Mississippi, or any one of the great outlets ; but it applies to them all, and to the ocean, with which they communicated. Negociation was then the order of the day,

The gentleman from Pennsylvania differs from me re. specting the conduct of the Romans, in going to war....I shall leave this question to be determined by those who have turned their attention to historical enquiries; and will only add, that to their religious attention to previous negociation, has been attributed in no inconsiderable degree, the greatness at which they arrived. Every Roman who fought, knew that he was fighting for an injured country; and he fought according, 1y. The gentleman has not attempted to attack, directly, the forcible examples I produced from English history, but has endeavoured, indirectly, to impair their weight, by indicating cases wherein Great Britain had immediate recourse to violence. The instances which he has adduced, prove only that injustice and robbery have sometimes the sanction of governments. The case of the French vessels in 1756, which were carrying on innocent commerce under the faith of treaties, and under the protection of the law of nations, and which were seized without any declaration of war, was an act of highway robbery, that would have condemned a private indi

vidual to infamy or a gibbet, and that will fix a blot on the • character of lord Chatham, which no time can wash away....

« ZurückWeiter »