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lenged by the gentlemen on the other side of the house, to run the race of confidence with them....His confidence was as great in the present executive, as it could or ought to be ; but much as he respected the chief magistrate, and those whom he has associated with himself in the administration, he could not go to the lengths of confidence which some gentlemen had suddenly found themselves disposed to proceed, He did not choose to confide the power of making war, to the discretion of any man whatever.... That power, perhaps, the most important of all powers, belonged to the Congress ; and to them alone.... It would be treason against the constitue tion to transfer it to other hands.... If we have a right to do it for a month or a year, we have a right to do it for twenty years, Shall we have to combat this despotic disposition with gentlemen, for ever? Is there to be no end to these attempts upon the constitution, and the weight of the people in public measures ? Are we to be reproached then, for not confiding to the executive, powers that belong to the legislature? Are we to be reproached because we will not entrust powers in the hands of our friends, which we refused to our adversaries? He gloried in such reproach....he considered it as an eulogium.
But, gentlemen ought not to persuade themselves, that this mode of proceeding, can impose upon the house, or the public, an opinion of their sincerity: If gentlemen were really sincere, their conduct would be of a very different character.... if they wish to shew their confidence in the executive, they would not patronize the calumnies which are daily heaped upon the executive, in papers, which derive their support from their liberality, or that of their friends. They would, if sin, cere, repress that calumny, or withdraw their countenance from the papers which utter it. They would discountenance those infamous lies; many of which, from having lived in the neighborhood of the President, he was enabled to say, were groundless and infamous calumnies. There is another way, sir, in which those gentlemen may manifest their confidence in the President, and which the public good requires of them ; it is that they acquiesce in the effort that he is making to obtain our rights, and security for those rights, by negociation; and thereby add to its chance of success..., in this way their confi. dence could have been shewn in a manner useful to our counfry, and it may not yet be too late. We have been told of other acts of hostility on the part of Spain, prior to the restriction of our right of deposit. This was evidently intended
to irritate the public mind, but his friend from New York, (Mr. CLINTON) had very properly and justly repelled that artifice....he had shewn that this was a seperate and distinct subject, that it had nothing to do with the New Orleans transactions; that though not at liberty to declare the source of his information, yet he would assert, that Spain has given indisputable evidence of a sincere disposition to do us justice ior the injuries we sustained in our commerce, during the late war. From the course of this discussion, it is evident, that it was intended, not to enforce conviction on the minds of the members of this house, but to produce an effect out of doors ; it was therefore important, that no erroneous statement of an important fact, should go abroad uncontradicted. A member from Delaware (Mr. WELLS) had said that our government had received information from the governor of New Orleans, that the right of deposit had been taken away, in consequence of orders from the competent authority, meaning the government of France or Spain. (Mr. WELLS rose to explain.) The gentleman says, he was not understood by me; a proof that I did so understand him, is, I made enquiries that enabled me to contradict, in the most positive man. ner, the information that I thought that gentleman had given to the Senate.
Mr, DAYTON said, he lamented exceedingly the indisposition of the honorable member from Virginia, (Mr. Ni. CHOLAS) not only because it had compelled him to abridge his arguments, which always entertained, even when they failed to convince, but because to that distraction of mind which sickness often produces, could alone be ascribed the doubts expressed by that member, respecting the views of the advocates of the original resolutions. The difficulty of the opposers of the resolutions, would, he said, have been less, if the gentlemen who supported them had settled among themselves what was their object, and had ascertained with whom we were to make war. To both these points, Mr. D. said, the fullest and clearest answers had been given. Our object, says he, is to obtain a prompt redress of injuries immediately affecting our western brethren, who look to us for decisive and effectual measures, and have told us that a delay of remedy will be ruinous to them.....and our views and wishes are to take possession of the place of deposit guaranteed by treaty, whether it be in the hands of the one nation or the other, and to hold it as a security that the trade of so important a river should not be liable to similar interruptions in future. We are not, as the gentleman from Virginia would insinuate; for rushing into a war, but we are for repelling insults, and insisting upon our rights, even at the risk of one. It was easy to foresee that the opposers of the resolutions offered by the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, must resort to other means than fair argument, to justify them in the course which they were about to pursue. Our most precious rights flagrantly violated, treaties perfidiously broken, the outlet or road to market of half a million of our fellow citizens obstructed, our trade shackled, our country grossly insulted, were facts too notorious, and too outrageous to allow them the leas: plausible ground of reasoning.... Deprived of every other means of attack, they have resorted to that of alarm.... They charge us with a thirst for war, and enter into a description of its horrors, as if they supposed that it was in our power to produce, or in theirs to prevent it. That which requires the concurrence of two parties, viz. contract or negociation, they consi. der most easy....and war, which may always be produced by one party only, they consider as most difficult. Nay, sir, they do what is more extraordinary and unpardonable, they shut their eyes to the fact, that hostility has already been commenced against us. Attacked and insulted as we had been, do we now, asked Mr. D. call for war? Let the resolutions give the answer. They begin with a declaration of certain rights, indisputable in thcir nature, indispensible in their possession, to the safety, peace, and union of this country. Not a member opposed to us has controverted them, except the honorable gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. WRIGHT.) He denied the truth of all except one of thein, and even of a part of that one. His honorable frien:'s from the western country, who are in the habit of acting with him, cannot thank him for such defence. The formerly well applied words, “ Non tali auxilio nec defensoribus istis egent," must be applicable on this occasion, and it may be as well to leave them with each other to settle the question of their rights. But there is one article of the Maryland member's creed which ought not to escape comment, because, if adopted, it would be fatal to the union. I understood him, said Mr. D. as stating that inasmuch as the pro. duce which descends the Mississippi bears a proportion of about a twentieth only to the exports of the whole union, it was not reasonable to expect that the other portion should be endangered to protect that minor part. If maxims like this were to actuate our councils, short indeed would be the du. ration of our independence. Our enemies would have only to attack us by piecemeal, state by state, to make us an easy
prey. The honorable member from Maryland could not hope for event hat gloomy consolation which we heard of on a former melancholly occasion. He could not flatter himself that he and his state would be left to be the last victim. But, Mr. President, every other gentleman appears to admit the truth of the prefatory declaration of rights....they admit too, that if we cannot be possessed of them otherwise, we must seize on them by force, but they refuse to give the means and the power to the President, in whom they have told us, over and over again, they repose implicit confidence. Is any one of the resolutions too imperative on the President, we will agree so to alter as to make it discretionary, if desired by any gentlemen on the other side ; for without their leave, we cannot now amend our own resolutions.
It is my consolation, Mr. President, said Mr. D. and it ought to be matter of triumph to my honorable friend, the mover of these resolutions, that, whatever may be their fate, the introduction and discussion of them will have produced no little benefit. They have brought forward gentlemen to pledge themselves in their speeches, to employ force on failure of negociation, which, though late, is better than never. They must be allowed the merit too of producing the resolutions which they offer as a substitute. These milk and water propositions of Mr. BRACKENRIDGE, will at least serve to shew that something should be done, some preparation made, and therefore even to these, feeble as they are, I will agree, if more cannot be carried. But let the relative merits of the two be compared. Ours authorise to call out of those militia nearest to the scene, and most interested in the event, a number not exceeding 50,000, and to give them orders to act, when the occasion requires it, in conjunction with the army
and navy.... Theirs authorise an enrolment of 80,000, dispersved over the whole continent, without any authority to act
with them, however pressing the danger, nor even to march them out of their own state. Ours authorise the President to take immediate possession of some convenient place of deposit, as guaranteed by treaty, in order to afford immediate vent for the western produce, and relief to our suffering fellow citizens, and thereby put it out of the power of a Spanish intendant, whether acting from caprice, or orders from his court, to obstruct so important an outlet.... Theirs give no such authority, but leave to the slow progress and uncertainty of negociation, that remedy, which, to delay, is almost as fatal as to refuse,
Mr. WRIGHT had not intended again to have spoken in the present debate, but had been constrained to it by the misrepresentation of the gentleman from Jersey, (Mr. DAYTON) who had ventured to declare, that “ he had said, that the com"merce of the Mississippi, was too insignificant for us to “ risk a war in its defence.” Was it possible that gentleman could have misconceived what he had said on that subject? He presumed not; his observations had been so far from equivocal, that they had been pointed, “ that the right of deposit “ was all important, and ought to be secured at all hazard”.... He feared, there was a design to misrepresent; but that fact, the house for themselves would decide.
It was well known that he had strenuously advocated the rights of foreign nations, secured to them by the law of na-, tions, and by their existing treaties: that he had reprobated as disgraceful, their violation ; that he had endeavored to stamp the infamous practice with merited obloquy, and to drag to condign punishment, their infractions ; and should it be said that he had a design to sacrifice the best interest of the western people, (a member of our government) secured to them by the constitution he had sworn to support; and that only be. cause he had preferred the pacific measures that had been adopted, to a war !.... He feared the gentleman had been governed by the unworthy spirit of recrimination, because he had detected his mistatement of the amount of exports from the Mississippi ; and had by the production of the official documents on that subject, corrected his misrepresentations, which he considered to be his duty to correct, so that the house might not act on false premises....and in this opinion he was in some measure confirmed, by the gentleman's extraordinary attack yesterday on the gentleman from New York, (Mr. CLINTON) for his firm opposition to the gentleman's war measures; when with great acrimony he asked, where was that gentle man, (Mr. CLINTON) in 1776, when he was fighting the battles. of his country? “ He was,” said he, “ in the egg-shell, or in his mother's lap.".... Was it a ground of reproof that a gentle . man was not born before his time? No; it was a perfect excuse, he could not in that state be expected to take a part in the glorious contest....but I ask, where was his father? did he not hold a conspicuous rank in the armies of America? or have we forgot, that general Clinton was one of the saviours of his country ; and have we not full proof that the son inherits his father's virtues.... He, for his own part, had more than once unsheathed his sword in support of American independence;