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Mississippi Question

(FEBRUARY, 1903. the First Consul may leave on his left. The forbidden the harmonies and the charities of fertile plains near Leipsic contain the magazines social life. He commands a noble and gallant for his armies when he shall think proper to nation, passionately fond of glory. That dation march to Berlin. Westphalia and Lower Saxony stimulates him to glorious enterprise, and, be are open on the side of Flanders and Holland. cause they are generous and brave, they ensure The Maine presents him a military fuad to the his success. Thus the same principle presents borders of Bohemia. By the Necker he ap- at once the object and the means. Impelled by proaches Ulm, and establishes himself on the imperious circumstances, he rules in Europe, Danube.* These rivers enable him to take the and he will rule here also, unless by vigorous vast resources of his wide domain to the point exertion you set a bound to his power. where he may wish to employ them. Menacing I have trespassed on your patience more at pleasure his neighbors, he is himself secured than I wished, although, from the lateness of by a line of fortresses along his whole frontier. the hour, much has been omitted of what I Switzerland, which was the only feeble point of ought to have said. I have endeavored to shor his defence, and which separated his Gallic and that, under the existing circumstances, we are Italian dominions, has lately been subjected. now actually at war, and have no choice but The voice you now hear, warned the Swiss of manly resistance or vile submission. That the their fate more than eight years ago. The idea possession of this country by France is danger. seemed then extravagant; but realized, it ap- ous to other nations, but fatal to us. That it pears but as a necessary incident. Russia is forms a natural and necessary part of our endeprived of her influence in Germany, and there- pire; that, to use the strong language of the by of a principal instrument by which her policy gentleman near me, it is joined to us by the might operate on the great powers of the South. hand of the Almighty, and that we have no The Germanic body is indeed in the hand of the hope of obtaining it by treaty. If, indeed, First Consul. Three new Electors along the there be any such hope, it must be by adopting Rhine are under the mouths of his cannon. They the resolutions offered by my honorable friend. dare not speak. Speak! None dare speak. They Sir, I wish for peace—I wish the negotiation dare not think any thing inconsistent with his may succeed, and therefore I strongly urge you wishes. Even at their courtly feasts they sit to adopt those resolutions. But though you like Damocles, destruction suspended over their should adopt them, they alone will not ensure heads by a single hair. Would you know the success. I have no hesitation in saying that sentiment of England ? Look at the debates. you ought to have taken possession of New In the two Houses of Parliament they speak Orleans and the Floridas the instant your treaty their fears. Such being the general sentiment was violated. You ought to do it now. Your of Europe, can it be supposed that they will rights are invaded-confidence in negotiation is view without anxiety a new extension of that vain; there is therefore no alternative bat power and dominion, the object of their hatred force. You are exposed to imminent present and apprehension ?

danger. You have the prospect of great future Will it be said that there is a security to the advantage. You are justified by the clearest freedom of mankind from the moderation with principles of right. You are urged by the which this enormous power is to be exercised ? strongest motives of policy. You are comVain delusion! This power is not the result of manded by every sentiment of national dignity. accident. At the moment when France de- Look at the conduct of America in her intant throned her sovereign, it was easy to foresee years, when there was no actual invasion of that a contest must ensue in which her existence right, but only a claim to invade. She resisted would be staked against the empire of the world. the claim; she spurned the insult. Did we If not conquered by surrounding princes, (and then hesitate? Did we then wait for foreign the hope of such conquest, unless by the aid of alliance ? No; animated with the spirit, warmher own citizens, was idle,) her numerous ed with the soul of freedom, we threw our armies acquiring discipline must eventually con- oaths of allegiance in the face of our sovereign, quer. She had the advantages of situation, and and committed our fortunes and our fate to the those which result from union, opposed to coun: God of battles. We then were subjects. We cils uncertain and selfish. It was easy also to had not then attained to the dignity of an inforesee that, in the same progress of events, dependent Republic. We then had no rank some fortunate soldier would seat himself on among the nations of the earth. But we had the vacant throne; for the idea of a French the spirit which deserved that elevated station, Republic was always a ridiculous chimera. Buo And now that we have gained it, shall we fall naparte has placed himself at the head of that from our honor? nation by deeds which cast a lustre on his name. Sir, d repeat to you that I wish for peace In his splendid career he must proceed. When real, lasting, honorable peace. To obtain and he ceases to act he will cease to reign. When- secure this blessing, let us by a bold and deci ever in any plan he fails, that moment he falls. sive conduct convince the Powers of Europe He is condemned to magnificence. To him are that we are determined to defend our rights:

that we will not submit to insult; that we will * This was spoken before the campaigns of Ulm, Aus- not bear degradation. This is the conduct terlitz wd Jena.

which becomes a generous people. This con


FEBRUARY, 1803.]
Mississippi Question.

[SENATE. duct will command the respect of the world. | tives and clamor abroad. But we are not to Nay, sir, it may rouse all Europe to a proper be led astray in this way, nor are the people of sense of their situation. They see that the this country to be so deceived. On the first balance of power on which their liberties de organization of the Government, the most pend, is, if not destroyed, in extreme danger. earnest attention was directed to that river; They know that the dominion of France has and it is now as much an object of the care of been extended by the sword over millions who Government as at any period since we have groan in the servitude of their new masters. been an independent people. Gentlemen have These unwilling subjects are ripe for revolt. not, therefore, represented the matter with that The empire of the Gauls is not like that of candor which the seriousness of the subject deRome, secured by political institutions. It may manded. The navigation of the Mississippi has yet be broken. But whatever may be the con- not been infringed on the present occasion, duct of others, let us act as becomes ourselves. though the arguments of all, and the assertions I cannot believe with my honorable colleagne, of some, went to the extreme on that point, that three-fourths of America are opposed to The river, he repeated, was and continues to be vigorous measures. I cannot believe that they open, and he could not discover the utility of will meanly refuse to pay the sums needful to our declaring our right to the free navigation vindicate their honor and support their inde- when we are in full unmolested possession of pendence. Sir, this is a libel on the people of the right. He could indeed discover something America. They will disdain submission to the beside utility; he could see a design nowise proudest sovereign on earth. They have not founded. The gentlemen expected with them lost the spirit of seventy-six. But, sir, if they the votes of the Western members; they exare so base as to barter their rights for gold, if pected to play upon our passions, and to place they are so vile that they will not defend their us between the danger of unpopularity and the honor, they are unworthy of the rank they en sense of personal feeling, in a case of a critical joy, and it is no matter how soon they are par nature. But gentlemen would find themselves celled out among better masters.

mistaken to the utmost; though he felt himself, in common with other Western members, re

sponsible to his constituents, yet he would on Friday, February 25.

all occasions where the sense of right impressed Mississippi Question.

itself strongly on him, risk popularity to do The Senate resumed the consideration of the right. On this occasion he saw no danger of resolutions respecting the indisputable right of his popularity, because, although he was aware the United States to the free navigation of the that the people whom he represented were disMississippi, together with the proposed amend satisfied, they respected their Government and ment thereto.

themselves too much to countenance any means Mr. ANDERSON (of Tennessee) said he rose that were not honorable and just, to obtain the with much diffidence, after the very able dis- deposit right. cussion which the subject had already under- | The resolutions called upon us to declare the gone; after so many men distinguished among deprivation of the right of deposit to be hostile the first in our country had treated it with so to our honor and interests. On this there were much ability, he could not expect to furnish a variety of opinions; and it appears to be agreed many new facts or observations on the subject. (for it was not contradicted by any) that the act But coming from that part of the country of an individual unauthorized cannot be either which is particularly interested in the discus- a cause of war, or the act of the government of sion, he felt himself particularly bound to offer which he is an officer. No gentleman has posia few remarks, which some erroneous state tively declared the act to be authorized by ments that had fallen in debate, from the gen- Spain. We have the best evidence that the case tleman from Delaware, (Mr. White,) particularly will admit of, that it has not been authorized. called for. He would, while he was up, endeavor | As the act of an individual, therefore, it cannot to add a few observations on the resolutions. affect the honor of this country. That her in

The first of the resolutions appeared to him terests are affected is agreed on all bands ; but to be introduced merely with a view to involve then the due course of proceeding has been the members who were opposed to hostile mea- adopted, and redress is to be expected. If it sures in a dilemma. It was the assertion of a should be denied us, we have our remedy, and truth which no one would deny, but it was it is then that it will become a point of honor. connected with other resolutions or assertions, But now, as had been well said by his friend which must from propriety bring the whole un from Georgia, (Mr. Jackson) if we were to der a negative vote. Taking the naked propo- rashly declare the act of the individual contrary sition that we have a right to the place of de- to our national honor, we could not retrograde; posit, we all agree; that it has been suspended, and if Spain should not do us justice, he trusted we are equally agreed; but there we stop ; by that we should then take our strong ground, and prefacing their resolutions with these truths, not give way a step. This would be the effect. they expect either to induce us to vote for Gentlemen do not know the American character other things repugnant to our judgment, or they underrate it: there is not that levity in afford room for the imputation of wrong mo-l it which gentlemen suppose, capable of being

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Mississippi Question.

[FEBECARY, je lightly led astray. The character of America is nected with another Government; we begank fixed, and when real necessity calls for their ex-petition in the terms of abjectness and heritt, ertions, the people will require no artificial ex- which are incidental to subjects of monards: citement.

which are always necessary, in order to conce From time to time, he had heard in that House the spirit and the presumption, of whieh Dog and in other places, the most wanton and cruel archs are always jealous in their subjects; but aspersions cast upon the people of the Western ject as we appeared, the very temper and phrz country. He knew not how gentlemen could re- of humility deceived our oppressor into a bebe concile their pretensions of regard for the West- that we were too lowly to entertain the ne ern people with the odious imputations which temper of resistance against oppression. Yet were constantly cast upon their attachiijent. precursory and reiterated humility did not The whole of the opposition appeared to concur nerve our arms nor subdue our minds, when s in their illiberality towards the Western people, became necessary to fling off the trammels of at the very moment they were professing so pression. The result, we now enjoy. Whe much zeal for their good. The late President of that very power from which we had detacbed the United States had in the most unwarrantable ourselves, refused to carry her treaty into eresse manner told him, that the Western people were tion, did we then go to war? She held seren ready to hold out their hands to the first for- of our fortresses; we were entitled by erey eigner that should offer them an alliance; the right of nature, and the usage of nations, to seiz same sentiment is echoed here, only in different upon them; Lot like the right of deposit, s terms. But such vile imputations attach not to privilege enjoyed on the territory of anothe, the Western people, but to those who employed but fortresses held, and in military array on ear them. The Western people are Americans, who own territory. Did we then make var? No wasted the spring-tide and summer of their days we negotiated ; and when another power ab in the cause of their country; men who, having sequently attacked us, we pursued the side spent their patrimony in establishing their coun- course with the like success. The gentless try's independence, travelled to the wilderness,(Mr. Ross) has told us that when President to seek a homestead for themselves and children. WASHINGTON came into office, he would not Was it honorable, was it consistent with those have negotiated for the Mississippi, had he pot labored efforts for their good, which we are told found the negotiation already begun. The gesactuate gentlemen, to calumniate them in so un- tleman has not told us upon what authority be worthy a fashion? Gentlemen appear by their states this, or how he came to possess the knor. gestures to deny that they have been guilty of ledge of a fact of which all others are ignorant; this calumny. But my charge against them is a fact, too, contradictory of his practice through not of that evasive or double character which life, and of the principles of that legacy which they deal in; the words they have used I have he left to his country. taken down—they are; “The French would Mr. S. T. Mason, said, that if he were to condraw the Western people into an alliance," "The sult the state of his health, he should not trouble Western people would be influenced by the in- the Senate with any remarks on the resolutions sidious emissaries of France," "Corruption before them. But he had heard in the course would find its way among them, and be trans- of debate, certain observations, such strange and ferred even to that floor.” Is this not calumny paradoxical arguments; insinuations and asser. of the darkest hue? Is this the way in which tions of such a nature as ought not to be passed six hundred thousand men are to be stig- unnoticed. Doubtful whether his strength matized ? Men, a greater proportion of whom are would sustain him through the whole scope soldiers who fought for the independence of which in better health he should take, he would America, than ever was to be found in the whole endeavor to limit his arguments to a few of the State (Delaware) to which the gentleman be- most prominent particulars, which excited his longs.

attention, and to the delivery of his reasons for During twelve years, eight of which one of preferring the substitute propositions of his the first men the world ever saw, or perhaps friend from Kentucky, Mr. BRECKENRIDGE,) to ever will see, presided over our affairs, the policy the original resolutions of the gentleman from of pacific negotiation prevailed in our councils ; Pennsylvania. a policy somewhat more hostile in its aspect He had heard, in the debate, many professions was attempted by his successor, but still nego- of confidence in the Executive. He was very tiation succeeded negotiation, and success at- glad to hear such unusual expressions from that tended perseverance. In the early stages of quarter. However, it was entitled to its due our existence, before we were yet a nation, it is weight-what that was he would not inquire; indeed true that we drank of the cup of humili- but this he would say, that this unexpected ation, even to the dregs; it was the natural ebullition of confidence went very much farther effect of our dependent situation; of the pre- than he should be disposed to carry his confijudices that bound us, and from which great dence in any man or any President whatever. violence was necessary, and was employed to Gentlemen tell us that they are willing to indetach us. Such humiliation would not befit us trust to the Executive the power of going to now; no motives exist to demand or justify it: war, or not, at his discretion. Wonderful inwe were then a part of another nation, and con- deed is this sudden disposition to confidence ?


FEBRUARY, 1803.]
Mississippi Question.

(SENATE. Why do not gentlemen give away that which he march at the head of the posse comitatus ? they have some authority or right to bestow ? | No! he would march at the head of fifty thouWho gave them the power to vest in any other sand militia, and he would send forth the whole authority than in Congress the right of declar- naval and regular force, armed and provided ing war! The framers of this constitution had with military stores. He would enter their too much experience to intrust such a power to island, set fire to their warehouses, and bombard any individual; they early and wisely foresaw, their city, desolate their farms and plantations, that though there might be men too virtuous to and having swept all their habitations away, abuse such a power, that it ought not to be in- after wading through streams of blood, he would trusted to any; and nugatory would be the tell those who had escaped destruction, we do authority of the Senate, if we could assume the not come here to make war on you—we are a right of transferring our constitutional functions very moderate, tender-hearted kind of neighto any man or set of men. It was a stretch of bors, and are come here barely to take peaceable confidence which he would not trust to any possession of your territory! Why, sir, this is President that ever lived, or that will live. He too naked not to be an insult to the understandcould not as one, without treason to the consti- / ing of a child ! tution, consent ever to relinquish the right of But the gentleman from New York (Mr. MORdeclaring war to any man, or men, beside Con- RIS) did not trifle with the Senate in such a gress.

style; he threw off the mask at once, and in a We are told that negotiation is not the course downright manly way, fairly told us that he which is proper for us to pursue. But to this liked war-that it was his favorite mode of nehe should reply, that such was the usage of all gotiating between nations; that war gave civilized nations; and, however gentlemen dignity to the species that it drew forth the might attempt to whittle away the strong most noble energies of humanity! That gentleground taken by his friend from New York, he man scorned to tell us that he wished to take had shown, in a manner not to be shaken, that peaceable possession. No! He could not snivel; negotiation before a resort to the last scourge his vast genius spurned huckstering; his mighty of nations, is the course most consistent with soul would not bear to be locked up in a petty good policy, as well as with universal practice. warehouse at New Orleans; he was for war, The gentleman from Pennsylvania had indeed terrible, glorious havoc! He tells you piainly, told us that Great Britain had departed from that you are not only to recover your rights, that practice; unfortunately for Great Britain but, you must remove your neighbors from and the gentleman's argument, he told us, at their possessions, and repel those to whom they the same time, that she had sustained a most may transfer the soil; that Buonaparte's ambiserious injury by her injustice and precipitation. tion is insatiable; that he will throw in colonies She went to war to seek retribution, and after of Frenchmen, who will settle on your frontier fighting a while, she left off, and forgot to ask for thousands of miles round about, (when he the retribution for which she went to war! comes there;) and he does not forget to tell you And this is the example held up for our imita- of the imminent dangers which threaten our good tion; because Great Britain violated the law of old friends the English. He tells you that New nations, we are called upon to do so too! We are Orleans is the lock and you must seize upon the told also that Great Britain commenced war key, and shut the door against this terrible during our Revolution, against the Dutch, with Buonaparte, or he will come with his legions, out any previous notification; that she did the and, as Gulliver served the Lilliputians, wash same in the late war with France, and in both you off the map. Not content, in his great care cases seized on the ships in her harbors; that for your honor and glory, as a statesman and a is, like a professional bully, she struck first, and warrior, he turns prophet to oblige you-your then told them she would fight them and this safety in the present year or the next, does not is the gracious example held up to us.

satisfy him-his vast mind, untrammelled by the The merits of the different propositions con- ordinary progressions of chronology, looks over sisted in this, that by the amendments we pro- ages to come with a faculty bordering on ompose to seek the recourse of pacific nations-to niscience, and conjures us to come forward and follow up our own uniform practice; we pursue, regulate the decrees of Providence at ten thouin fact, the ordinary and rational course. The sand years distance. first resolutions go at once to the point of war. We have been told that Spain had no right to This was openly and fairly acknowledged by the cede Louisiana to France ; that she had ceded gentleman from New York (Mr. G. MORRIS.) to us the privilege of deposit, and had therefore The gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Ross,) no right to cede her territory without our conindeed, told us that it is not war-it was only sent! Are gentlemen disposed to wage war going and taking peaceable possession of New in support of this principle? Because she has Orleans! He did not before think the gentle given us a little privilege-a mere indulgence man felt so little respect for the Senate, or on her territory-is she thereby constrained estimated their understandings so much in- from doing any thing for ever with her immense ferior to his own, as to call such a measure an possessions? No doubt, if the gentleman (Mr. act of peace! How did the gentleman mean to MORRIS) were to be the negotiator on this ocgo, and how take peaceable possession? Would casion, he would say: “ You mean to cede New

Mississippi Question,

(FEBRUARY, 183, Orleans ; no, gentlemen, I beg your pardon, you of Delaware in particular,) such is the passica cannot cede that, for we want it ourselves, and for the wonderful, or the absurd, there prerails as to the Floridas, it would be very indiscreet the liveliest sensibility for the Western country! to cede that, as, in all human probability, we Mr. NICHOLAS said, -When the gentleman frun shall want that also in less than five hundred Pennsylvania (Mr. Ross) opened his war project, years from this day; and then, as to Loui- his resentment appeared to be confined wholly siana, you surely could not think of that, for in to Spain ; his sole object the securing the nere something less than a thousand years, in the gation of the Mississippi, and our right to s 600natural order of things, our population will pro- venient place of deposit on that river. We gress towards that place also."

were told by that gentleman, that we are bound If Spain has ceded those countries to France, to go to war for this right, which God and is the cession has been made with all the encum- ture had given the Western people. What are brances and obligations to which it is subject by we to understand by this right, given by God previous compact with us. Whether Buonaparte and nature? Surely not the right of deposit, will execute these obligations with good faith, for that was given by treaty; and as to the right he could not say ; but to say that Spain has no of navigation, that has been neither suspended right to cede, is a bold assertion indeed. The nor brought into question. But we are told by people of America will not go along with such the same gentleman, that the possession of Nes doctrines, for they lead to ruin alone. We Orleans is necessary to our complete security. are also told, that the power of the Chief Con- Leaving to the gentleman's own conscience to sul is so great, that he puts up and pulls down settle the question as to the morality of taking all the nations of the Old World at discretion, that place, because it would be convenient, be and that he can do so with us. Yet we are would inform him that the possession of it wil told by the wonderful statesman, who gives us not give us complete security. The island of this awful information, that we must go to war Cuba, from its position, and the excellence of with this maker and destroyer of Governments. its harbors, commands the Gulf of Mexico If, after the unceasing pursuit of empire and completely as New Orleans does the river Mis conquest, which is thus presented to us, we sissippi, and to give that complete security take possession of his territory, from the gen- that he requires of the President, the island of tleman's own declarations, what are we to ex- | Cuba must likewise be taken possession of. It pect, only that this wonderful man, who never has been shown that the measures proposed by abandons an object—who thinks his own and the gentleman from Pennsylvania, and he would the nation's honor pledged to go through what- again demonstrate it, if it was necessary, are ever he undertakes—will next attack us? Does calculated to bring upon the Western country the gentleman think that this terrible picture, all the mischiefs that gentleman has depicted as which his warm imagination has drawn, is a resulting to them from a loss of the navigation of conclusive argument for proceeding to that war the river Mississippi. If we are driven to war to which he recommends ?

assert our rights, the Western people must make The Senate, Mr. PRESIDENT, at this moment, up their minds to bear that loss during the war; presents a very extraordinary aspect; and by for without a naval superiority, which we have those not acquainted with our political affairs, not and cannot obtain, or the possession of it would appear a political phenomenon. Here | Cuba, we shall not be able to avail ourselves of we see a number of people from the Eastern the navigation to any useful purpose. Although States and the seaboard, filled with the most we may take possession of the Floridas and extreme solicitude for the interest and rights of New Orleans, it is from a conviction of its per the Western and inland States; while the re- nicious effects upon the Western country, as presentatives of the Western people themselves well as other reasons, that he was averse to apappear to know nothing of this great danger, pealing to arms as long as there is a prospect of and to feel a full confidence in their Government. attaining our object in another way. The former declaring that the Western people The gentleman from New York, finding the are all ready for revolt and open to seduction; weight of argument against him, and that a rethe latter ignorant of any such disposition, and sort to arms would not be justifiable upon the indignant at the disgrace which is thrown on ground taken by his friends, with a boldness their character. In their great loving-kindness and promptitude that characterizes veteran pofor the Western people, those new friends of liticians, has not only assigned new and differtheirs tell them that they are a simple people, ent causes for war, but new objects, and a new who do not know what is good for them, and and more powerful enemy to cope with. He that they will kindly undertake to do this for no doubt felt the force of the arguments that them. From the contiguous States of South have been used to show the improbability that Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, Spain would authorize an act that would pro(those States from which the gentleman from duce a rupture with this country, at the moPennsylvania, by his resolutions, proposes to ment that she was parting with Louisiana, and draw the militia,) every member of this House when sho could not possibly derive any advanis opposed to war; but from the East, (and one tage from the wrong that she could do as by can scarcely refrain from laughing, to hear of that act; and at a time when we knew from the all-important representatives of the State I unquestionable evidence that it is the desire of

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