Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

but he thought that the gentleman from Jersey and himself, would both make a good bargain, could they exchange their revolutionary laurels with the gentleman from New York,(Mr. CLINTON) for his bloom of youth, and the fifteen or twenty years advantage he had, by being an infant at the commencement of the American war....How different was the treatment that the gentleman from New York and himself had experienced, from what had been practised towards others during that debate.... Yesterday the hon. gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. WHITE) made Bonaparte the king of kings, and the gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. COCKE) gave the gentleman from Jersey, and his friends, a rank among the Gods....I wish he had prevailed on that gentleman, while exercising his god-like attributes, like Jupiter of old, to have rained gold into our treasury, and not by endeavoring to foment unnecessary war, to drain it of its treasure. This would have given him a rank among patriots, greatly to be preferred to his rank among the Gods.

Mr. OLCOTT declared, that though he should vote for the original resolutions ; he was as friendly and decidedly opposed to war, as any gentleman it that house. He should have remained silent, had it not been so frequently asserted, that war was the object of those who supported the original resolutions; and he rose to contradict that assertion, lest, by his silence, it might be supposed he acquiesced in the charge of a desire for war....against which he protested.

Gen. J. Jackson (of Georgia) was surprised to hear gentlemen still contend that war is not implicated in the resolutions of the gentleman from Pennsylvania. Although he was well aware, that after so full a discussion, little could be said that was important, yet he hoped to be indulged in a very few observations, and he should be short in making them.

: The best mode of examing the conduct of one nation towards another, where an injury has taken place, and satisfaction is required, is to resort to private life; for nations are sometimes neighbors as well as persons. The arguments of gentlemen, and the tenor of the resolutions, lead to taking possession of the island of New Orleans, prior to negociation, or peaceable steps to obtain redress.... Nations are bound by moral ties, and those of justice, as well as individuals ; let us take a case then from private life. The gentleman from New Hampshire, (Mr. OLCOTT) and himself, both lay claim to a: house; the servants of that gentleman possess it; instead of seeking legal and proper means to establish the right claim, he

[graphic]

enters the house, beats out that gentleman's servants, takes possession of his furniture, and then tell him, “ I am ready to come to an amicable settlement,” or leave him to seek legal redresss !.... Would justice, would moral obligation permit this ?.... Would our laws permit it? No, sir ;....the law would turn the aggressor out, and place the original and right possessor in his former state, and then leave them to their proper course of redress. Should we not stand in taking possession of New Orleans, in the eyes of the world, precisely in the situation of the aggressor in private life? We should, sir, : and as perfectly unjustifiable. We should rouse the jealousy of Europe, and involve ourselves in all probability in a war, the evils of which, or its extent, cannot be calculated. What, sir, was the consequence of the king of Prussia's taking possession of Silesia under a dormant claim, in the seven years war, without negociation? It involved Austria, Russia, France, England, and almost all the other nations of Europe in a bloody and expensive contest, from the evils of which some of those powers have never extricated themselves ; it loaded and fettered them with debt....and if we take the step proposed, we may, by rousing the jealousy of Europe, produce the same effect and the same consequences on ourselves.

An honorable gentleman near me, (Mr. MORRIS) was pleased to say, he was surprised to hear the anecdote quoted from count D'Estaing, that national honor was national interest. Yet, sir, after all the observations of the honorable gentleman, he has admitted it, and contradicted himself, For he, after painting Bonaparte in a variety of horrible shapes, as well as the nation he presides over, has declared the nation a noble one, whose interest is Bonaparte's honor, and his honor their glory.... It makes no difference, sir, what this interest consists of.... Bonaparte's glory weighs as interestedly with him as any other object possibly could, and the gentleman has said his glory must shine....he must conquer, or he is lost,...is this then not his interest, and a most powerful interest....A cor. roboration of the assertion in the anecdote, sir, that national honor is national interest, has been fully admitted and proved by another gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. WELLS).... he has expressly declared that the nations of Europe are only so long bound by treaty as they find it their interest !

What then, sir, is our interest ? Is it to go to war? To copy the old systems of Europe ; to involve ourselves in broils ; to fetter our country with debt; to mortgage our posterity, and . their funds ? Take a view of England and the consequence of, her continued wars ; a national debt of between five and six hundred millions, which she can never shake off but by the same means her neighbor, France, has adopted ; a total downfall to the existing government; a revolution of principles; and, perhaps, in the general wreck, the rise of an usurper. The time was, when he felt himself the zealous advocate of the French revolution, and the noble sentiments of that nation; but that day had past....He much doubted the benefit France will ever receive from her revolution ; and much more, any advantage the nations of the earth will derive from it. That nation, sir, worked itself up, or was worked up, by the attempts of other nations, to divide her territory and enslave her, to such a pitch, as to overleap the mark, and plunged the people into a situation, much worse, in his opinion, than under the guidance of the Bourbons. Shall we proceed in this way; involve ourselves in debt, and make it necessary to upset our government and constitution to get rid of it? He hoped, and trusted not. We have the happiest....the best.... would he be permitted to say, the only constitution that secures national liberty, on earth! France has, it is true, what is called, a written constitution ; but, sir, is it binding ?.... It is changing daily....and we may venture to affirm, that the will of Bonaparte is the constitution of France. He did not wish to cast reflections on this or that nation....or this or that character.... Every nation has a right to seek its own happiness in her government, as she pleases ; but he hoped we should not copy them in their vices. He believed that no democratic republic but our own, exists, or can exist ; and no other form of government than ours, can secure such a republic. We have guards and securities, which no other government possesses, or ever possessed. Our general and state governments are checks on, and balance each other, and render innovation on our constitutions and happy form of government, very difficult, and under them, durable influence, usurpation, or tyranny, are impossible. Let us beware, then, how we take any steps which may tend to impair our constitution, and thereby destroy our rights. We are now the happiest people on earth, * and if united, the force of Europe cannot injure us.

[graphic]

He must be permitted here to declare, that he understood the gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. WHITE) as his friend from Tennessee, (Mr. ANDERSON) did, in his argument of that morning, as asserting that in case France got New Orleans, the southern and western people would be influenced by them. He was justified in noticing this circumstance, if

W

not by the observations of the gentleman from Delaware, by those which fell from the gentleman on his left, (Mr. MorRIS.) He has positively asserted, that if the French gained the Floridas, the affections of the Georgians toward the United States would be weakened ; that they would be influenced by French principles, and that it would be found dictating the speeches on this floor....He spurned such an unworthy idea from him....His countrymen have too much attachment to this happy government....they know that their independence, their rights, their properties depend on it...." depend on union with their sister states, and no consideration on earth would induce them to attach themselves to any other power.... The idea is absurd, therefore, that any gentleman representing Georgia, will ever shew by his speeches on this floor, any French or other foreign influence.

His friend from Tennessee, had spoken the truth respecting the western inhabitants. Those suspicions ought not to prevail....it is not politic, nor are they grounded. He could venture to go farther; he believed that the western states, at this day, contain more of the soldiers of the revolution, than all the Atlantic states together....they are peopled by them, and their descendants; they cannot be torn from the union....they will not be colonized by any nation on earth .... they are the same men, now, they were during the revolution ; notwithstanding, after bearing the toils of the day of trial, and losing their all, they were compelled to quit their native states, and seek new lands beyond the mountains. Sir, they are attached to your happy constitution ; they fought to obtain your independance ; they are of the same habits, the same manners ; they have the same love of liberty with their fellow citizens on the Atlantic states ; and never will, unless driven from you, desert you.

What inducement have they to join any other nation? Will they fing themselves into the arms of France, in the state in which that nation now is, as he had before observed, with no other constitution, no other security, than the will of a Bonaparte, for their liberties....and leave their own happy constitutions and independence ? No. Will they join what the gentleman from Delaware has termed the sluggish, inanimate Spaniard, and the slave of France, a nation, I acknowlege, however revered in the fifteenth century, in the reign of Charles V. now governed by superstition and bigotry, without a solitary spark of liberty within herself, and trammelled by another nation without? They will not. Will they return

to Britain, which, to do her justice, is the only nation of the old world where there is a vestige of freedom, even in appearance, remaining; but where, from her situation, loaded and fettered with debt, her posterity disposed of at market, and their rights and future revenues mortgaged....security of property or rights hang on the brink of revolution, and which must not long hence take place, as it already has in France, if the debt is not wiped off, at the risk of every thing....every article, every necessary of life almost, being already taxed to carry on her government, and on trying occasions, added to this, an income tax of ten per cent. on the whole profits of their estates? Will the people of Georgia, or the west, go to her, sir, in this predicament, and leave their own happy government, with, in comparison, little or no public debt, and that daily paying off, without those odious taxes... the whole being not much above seventy millions of dollars, whilst that of Britain is between five and six hundreds of millions of pounds sterling, and which at the best, their colonies must sooner or later pay part of? They will not go there, sir, they know the value of their own happy situation too well. Where then, will they go? To any of the other nations of Europe ? No; they are incapable of protecting them. Russia is the only power which could make a show of protection; and are our western citizens prepared for the knout, or the wilds of Siberia? Sir, those fears are imaginary, they are groundless, they ought not to exist....the idea ought not to be started, the thing ought not to be mentioned. The citizens either of Georgia or the western states, cannot be torn from the union by the exertions, the intrigues, or the force of any power in existence.

But while we are told so much of Genet, and his insidious practices in our southern states, at this great distance from the executive, has no other power attempted to intrigue and draw the affections of your citizens from you, but France ? Yes, sir, if masters are to be accountable for their servants, Britain has. He was, himself, notwithstanding all his predilection for the French nation, and the French revolution.... which he now almost regretted, for it has injured the cause they embarked in...he said, he was himself impressed with the impropriety of Mr. Genet's conduct, justified as it was by the precedent of our own ambassadors, during the revolutionary war....stirring up the people of Holland, and intriguing with all the governments of Europe, to induce a confederacy against Britain. This, sir, was thought right and justifiable by us, at that day; and we have therefore no right to censure

[graphic]
« ZurückWeiter »