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« western; whence designing men may endeavour to excite a “ belief that there is a real difference of local, interests, and 6 views. One of the expedients of party to acquire influence “ within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions " and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves 16 too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings which " spring from these misrepresentations ; they tend to render " alien to each other, those who ought to be bound together by « fraternal affection. The inhabitants of our western coun“try have lately had a useful lesson on this head; they have of seen in the negociations by the executive, and by the unani.6 mous ratification by the senate, of the treaty with Spain, 6 and in the universal satisfaction at that event, throughout “ the United States, a decisive proof how unfounded were “ the suspicions propagated among them, of a policy in the “ general government, and in the Atlantic states, unfriendly " to their interests, in regard to the Mississippi : they have co been witnesses to the formation of two treaties ; that 6 with. Great Britain, and that with Spain ; which secure to “ them every thing they could desire, in respect to our foreign .« relations, towards confirming their prosperity. Will it not o be their wisdom to rely for the preservation of these advan“tages, on the union, by which they were procured? Will " they not henceforth be deaf to those advisers, if such there “ are, who would sever them from their brethren, and con6 nect them with aliens.”
These, sir, are the sentiments of the venerated Washington; whom the gentlemen are forever dragging from his tomb to degrade, as an authority for their evil measures, or as a cloak for their sinister designs; but whom they will not respect upon this topic ; he, sir, at the time of the formation of our constitution, this patriot witnessed the difficulty of uniting in one common compact so different and so distant interests, and with a prophetic spirit has foretold what is now attempted ; whose advice appears to have been written by the pen of wisdom, and the finger of love, and he hoped would be forever imprinted on the heart of every real American, and that its practical utility on the present occasion, may more deeply impress it, and that it may be as lasting as the archives in which it is recorded. How different is this advice from that of the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Ross.) Washington advises peace and concord....the other war and insurrection. Washington advises us to preserve the union, as the rock of our political salvation....the other says the western
people ought to dissolve it, and act for themselves. Washington tells us that disunion is the rock on which the bark of the republic will be shipwrecked.... the other is the pilot that wishes to dash us on this rock. Washington tells us that the geographical distinction of the east and of the west, of the Atlantic and of the south, are the engines that our internal and external enemies will use to disunite us....the other the internal enemy to put this engine in motion. Last year we were told that if we repealed the judiciary law, the eastern states would separate from the union; now we are told that if we do not go to war, the western people will separate from us, and will throw themselves into the arms of a foreign power: And what is the expedient the gentleman advises us to adopt, to remedy the evil? Nothing less than treason against the U. States, and treason against our own political opinions! The honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Ross) in the plenitude of his goodness, tells us, “ that as we have neither a inclination or understanding to conduct the affairs of govern“ ment as we ought, that if we will but let him conduct it « agreeably to his better judgment, that all his friends, in “ both houses of Congress, and out of doors, should unite in “ supporting the measures of the government." This, sir, is a wonderful species of friendship and condescension....it is in fact an humble proposition to exercise the functions of Presi. dent of the United States; and is it possible he can expect we should revoke our confidence from the man the people had in their wisdom selected to execute these high and important functions, and repose it in him whom the people had dimissed from the execution of all political functions ? This would be to prostrate the great elective principle, the palladium of our political rights, the very soul of our constitution, and is such an evidence of his modesty, that he hoped it would become proverbial. Could we consent to this violation of our duty to the nation, what would be the consequence? War, the scourge the curse of nations. And who is it, sir, that wishes it?.... Both the gentlemen from Delaware have told us, “ that they " feel themselves authorised by the opinion of the legislature “ of their state, in advocating the present measures for war.” He, for his part, was happy to act agreeabiy to the sense of his own, and many other states, who have expressed their entire confidence in the present administration, and their full approbation of the pacific measures that had been adopted. Do the farmers wish a war? No. Do the merchants wish a war? No. Do any description of citizens wish a war? No ! And he asked the honorable gentlemen from Delaware, if the conscientious, the scrupulous Quaker, the pious, the pacific Methodist, the meek, the virtuous Nicholite (so many of whom reside in their state) wish for the effusion of human blood, or the destruction of the human race? He presumed not; and that they would give such evidence of it, as the legislature of that state would not admire; and prove that the mild spirit of christianity which they professed, which breathes peace and good will among the sons of men, was more than a simple profession. He believed there were none who wished for war, but the few who sickened at the justly economic character of the present administration, and who were desirous to create expenses, to drain the treasury, interrupt the rapid discharge of our public debt, and to coerce new taxes, to jeopardize that character, and to take that chance, as their last forlorn hope, to revive the spark of their extinguished popularity ; but he believed every real friend to the peace and prosperity of the nation, would be pleased at their disappointment.
Having nearly exhausted himself, he feared he had trespassed too long on the patience of the house, he would therefore very briefly conclude, with a few remarks on the resolutions themselves. · 1st. “ That the United States have an indisputable right to the free navigation of the Mississippi, and to a convenient place of deposit for their goods and merchandize in the island of New Orleans." This is not the fact, the right is at New Orleans for three years, which have passed, and then at that place, or at such other place, as the king of Spain may assign on the banks of the Mississippi, therefore, that resolution was inadmissible.
2d. “ That the infraction of such their unquestionable right, is an aggression hostile to their interest and their honor.” This is no infraction of our treaty, unless done by the authority of Spain, of which we have no evidence. .
3d. “ That it does not comport with the dignity of the United States, 'to hold a right so important by a tenure so precarious.” The right is secured by treaty, the most secure tenure that a nation can claim to have its rights secured by, in its foreign relations....as hostages cannot be demanded.
4th. “ That it materially concerns such of the American citizens as dwell on the western waters, and is essential to the union, strength, and prosperity of these states, that they obtain complete security for the full and peaceable enjoyment of such
their absolute right.” This resolution stands explained by the following one which directs the President to take immediate possession of the territory....as the complete security contemplated....and therefore could not be admitted: the other resolutions are predicated on the foregoing, and are, therefore, inadmissible....he should, therefore, give them his hearty negative, with a view to support the resolutions of the honorable gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr. BRECKENRIDGE) which had been proposed by way of amendment, which he considered unexceptionable, and as much to be preferred, as peace was preferable to war.
Mr: Ross rose and said, that the propriety of introducing these resolutions became every day more apparent. Since they had been laid on the table, our national councils had taken a new direction, and had assumed a much more promising aspect. Until these resolutions were brought forward, there had been no military preparation ; no proposal to detach militia ; to build arsenals on the western waters; to provide armed boats for the protection of our trade on the Mississippi. He was happy in seeing gentlemen on the opposite side, pursuing a more vigorous course than they were at first inclined to adopt, and he hoped they would, before long, consent to take stronger and more effectual measures for the security of what was in hazard.
As he had, on a late occasion, stated at large his reasons for presenting the resolutions, he would not detain the senate with a repetition of them, except where they had been misrepresented or distorted during the debate. He could not suppose that any gentlemen would intentionally mistate what had been said ; but it was very certain that sentiments and assertions had been ascribed to him, in the course of the discussion, not warranted by any thing he had advanced.
Every gentleman who has spoken in this debate, excepte ing the honorable gentleman from Maryland, (Mr. WRIGHT) admits that the United States have an indisputable right to the free navigation of the river Mississippi, and to a place of deposit in the island of New Orleans. All agree that this right is of immense magnitude and importance to the western country. All agree that it has been grossly and wantonly violated.... and all agree, that unless the right be restored and secured, we must and will go to war. Upon what then do we really differ ?.... Upon nothing but the time of acting.... Whether we shall take measures for immediate restoration and security, or whether we shall abstain from all military
preparation, and wait the issue of negociation. There is no disagreement but upon this point ; for if negotiation fails, every-man who has spoken has pledged himself to declare war.
A number of the objections made against the adoption of measures we have proposed, deserve to be noticed.
The honorable gentleman from New York, (Mr. CLINTON) had displayed considerable talent and elaborate research into ancient and modern history, shewing what had been the practice of nations....He had collected all the objections together and classed them under three heads ..... Other gentlemen who had spoken in opposition had taken nearly the same ground, and made in substance, the same objections: He would, therefore, follow the arrangement made by the honorable gentleman, (Mr. CLINTON) and he was persuaded that it would be easy to shew, he had in many instances mistaken the most material features of the authorities he had adduced, and more than once mistated the positions which he undertook to refute....He has, however, admitted the magnitude of the right, that it has been violated, and that if negociation should fail, we must go to war. He has made objections under three heads....this method had the merit of perspicuity, and he would follow it.
1. That it is doubtful whether the infraction is or is not authorised..
2. That negociation ought, in justice, to precede the. employment of force."
3. That reasons of policy dissuade from using force at present, even supposing we have just cause of immediate war.
The first objection had already been amply refuted by the gentleman from New Jersey, (Mr. DAYTON) the gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. MASON) and the gentleman from Delaware, (Mr. WHITE.) He would only further remark, that whether authorised or not, is not now very material.... If authorised, the temper, the design must certainly be that of an enemy, and you should act accordingly.... If unauthorised; seize the culprit and send him home to his master, who will punish him for a breach of duty.... Let him answer with his head for embroiling two friendly nations who wish to live in peace.... Why wait till you can send three thousand miles and enquire whether he had orders or not ?....He is visibly a wrongdoer: remove him, and protect what he would wrest from you. No man when proceeding on the highway to market, and stopped by his neighbor's servant, would send