Page images

February, 1803.]

Spain to cultivate a good understanding with this xmntry. Ho could give no credit to the suggestion, that the First Consul had required Spain ;o take that step. He knew that character too trell to believe that he would attempt to throw t responsibility upon others, for his measures, lor indeed could it be shown that the First Consul would be in any way benefited by it; le knows the American character too well to >elieve that any of the reasons that have been issigned by his friends who have preceded him n this argument, would form a justification for i declaration of war, without a previous demand 'or a redress of the wrongs that we have susained. He knows that our countrymen, with i courage and perseverance that does promise mccess in any war, are at all times ready when t is necessary to assert their rights with arms, jut that they will not bo employed in wars of imbition or conquest; and above all, he sees he folly of going to war with Spain, and taking rom her a country that we should be obliged in lonor and justice to give up to the French, >erhaps the instant after we had taken possesion of it; for if France would reinstate us in he rights and privileges that we hold under >ur new treaty with Spain, I demand of the jentleman from New York, if he would wish his country to hold possession against France; ind if he would, upon what ground he would ustify it!

The cession was made to France before the njury done us by the Spanish officer ; knowing his, we take the country; upon France denanding it of us, we should be bound by every mnciple of honor and justice to give her posicssion, upon her engaging to respect proterly our rights. Spain having injured us rarely will not justify our committing an outage of the most injurious and insulting nature lpon France. Would conduct like this com>ort with the gentleman's ideas of national hon>r, about which we have heard so much in he course of this debate? Can it be, that an ict, which, if perpetrated by an individual, vould be robbery, can be justifiable in a naion? And can it be justifiable in the eyes of nen, who believe there is nothing so precious >r important as national honor? Can the useulness or convenience of any acquisition justify is in taking from another by force what we lave no sort of right to?

There were not in America men more atached or more faithful to the Government of he United States than they were; and I will renture to predict, from my knowledge of them, hat they will be the last to submit to the yoke if despotism, let it be attempted to be imposed ipon them by whom it may. If there is one >art of America more interested than any other n preserving the union of these States, and he present Government, it is the Western, mportant as the Mississippi is to them, their ree intercourse with the Atlantic States is uore important—all their imports are received hrough that channel, and their most valuable Vol. H.—44


exports are sold, and will continue to be so, in the Atlantic States. The same gentleman (Mr. Morris) says, we must line our frontier with custom-house officers, to prevent smuggling. If there is any force in what he says upon this subject, we ought not only to take New Orleans and the Floridas, but Louisiana, and all the British possessions on the continent. Another reason urged with great earnestness by the gentleman from New York, (Mr. Morris,) is, that France, without this acquisition, is too powerful for the peace and security of the rest of the world—that half the nations that lately existed are gone—that those that are left are afraid to act, and nation after nation falling at her nod— that, if France acquires the Floridas and New Orleans, it will put England and Spain completely in her power, giving to those places an importance that they do not merit; and yet that gentleman and his friends have repeatedly asserted that war would not result from our taking immediate possession of those places; indeed, they say, it is the only way to avoid war. At one moment the country is represented as so important as to make the First Consul the sovereign of the world; at the next, we are told that we may take it without any sort of risk, and without a probability that either France or Spain will go to war with us for the recovery of a country so all-important to them. In the language of the gentleman from Pennsylvania, I say, this idle tale may amuse children, but will not satisfy men.

Mr. President, wo have nothing to fear from the colony of any European nation on this continent; they ought rather to be considered as a pledge of the good conduct of the mother country towards us; for such possessions must be held only during our pleasure.

Can France, in fifty years, or in a century, establish a colony in any part of the territories now possessed by Spain, that could resist the power of the United States, even at this day, for a single campaign? What has been our progress since the year 1763, in settling our Western country? In forty years, under the most favorable circumstances that a new country could bo settled, we have only a population of between five and six hundred thousand souls, and this country is settled by men who knew it perfectly—by men who either carried all their friends with them, or who knew that change of residence would not prevent their frequently seeing and hearing from their "nearest relatives. Can it be expected that any country will be peopled as fast, from a nation at the distance of three thousand miles, as our Western country lias been? And yet we are taught to be apprehensive of a colony to be landed to-morrow or next day from Europe. Sir, if we are wise and true to ourselves, we have nothing to fear from any nation, or combination of nations, against us. Wo are too far removed from the theatre of Enropean politics, to be embroiled in them, if wo act with common discretion. Friendship with us, is the interest of every

Musimppi Question.

[blocks in formation]

commercial and manufacturing nation. Our interest is not to encourage partialities or prejudices towards any, but to treat them all with justice and liberality. He should be sorry to reproach any nation—be would rather suffer former causes of reproach to be buried in oblivion; and he was happy to perceive that prejudices which were incidental to the war that we had been forced into in defence of our liberties, with a nation from which we are principally sprung, were fust wearing off. Those prejudices had been very powerfully revived, soon after our Revolution had established our independence, by the aggressions of that nation, in various ways, more flagrant and atrocious than any thing we have to complain of at this day.

The gentleman from Pennsylvania said that this is not an apposite case; that at that time there was no blockade. It is true there was not a blockade of one of our ports, nor is there now, (the river Mississippi is open for the passage of our boats and vessels,) but we were injured, in a commercial point of view, in a more material manner than we should have been by the blockade of the Delaware or the Chesapeake ; for all the countries (except Great Britain) to which it was desirable for us to trade were declared to be in a state of blockade, and all our vessels going to those countries were subject to seizure. Let gentlemen call to mind what was the conduct of our Government at that time. The House of Representatives had the subject under consideration, when the then President appointed an Envoy Extraordinary to demand satisfaction of Great Britain. What was the conduct of the members of the House of Representatives, who were acting upon the subject, before it was known to them that the Executive had taken any measures to obtain satisfaction for the injury sustained? Did they attempt to counteract the Executive? No; they suspended all Legislative discussions and Legislative measures. And even the injuries done us by the actual invasion of our territory, the erection of fortifications within our limits, the withholding the posts that belonged to us by treaty, and the robbery and abuse of our citizens on the high seas, did not provoke us to declare war, nor even to dispossess the invaders of our territory of what actually belonged to us. The Executive proposed to negotiate, and it was thought improper to obstruct it. How gentlemen who approved of the interference of the Executive upon that occasion, can justify their attempt to defeat the efforts of the present Administration to obtain redress for the injury that we now complain of, they must answer to their consciences and their country. Fortunately for the United States, not only the President, but a majority of both Houses of Congress, upon the present occasion, have put themselves in the gap between the pestilence and the people.

H the gentleman from New York had exerted his ingenuity as much to state the grounds upon which an expectation of the complete success of our Envoy might be founded, he would

have been at least as usefully employed farta country as he has been in his attempt to raw that it will not succeed, and he would on avoided the palpable contradictions of his or. arguments that he has run into. The genusac himself, without intending it, has assigned ancient reasons why we might expect entire olfaction. He has said, truly, that America, ■» ted, holds the command of the West Indie h her hands. This must be known to all the utions that have colonies there; it must uteris be known to the proprietors of Louisiana tsi the Floridas, that, circumstanced as we at present are, there will be perpetual sources of retention between them and us. Every this: that has happened as to the Mississippi will i reacted as to the great rivers that head in *k is now the Mississippi Territory, and empr themselves into the Gulf of Mexico, after passing through West Florida. In the infiuKTfl the colonies that may be settled in Florida ■ Louisiana, the mother country can count apa nothing but expense, particularly if they are B be the causes of perpetual quarrels with 'is country. In twenty years, the population 4 the United States will be nine or ten miffioe of people; one-third of that population li probably be on the Western waters. This li give a force in that quarter of the Union aji to that with which we contended with Gna: Britain; and our united force will be such atf no nation at the distance of three thoMiJ miles will be able to contend with us for aaj object in our neighborhood. These consM«jtions, with a belief that, if we are treated wft justice and liberality, we shall never violate rights of other nations, or suffer ourselves to fe involved in the wars that may take place amo^ the great European nations, are arguments the cannot be withstood, if the Governments ■ France and Spain are in the hands of wise ma; for they must see that they have nothing" hope from a contest with us, and that auiuW our force with a rival nation would be prodnctio of very serious danger and inconvenience tothea Mr. Dattox said, he lamented eiceedinc; the indisposition of the honorable member Iron Virginia, (Mr. Nicholas,) not only because ii 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 if that member, respecting the views of the ad^ cates of the original resolutions. The difficult) of the opposers of the resolutions, would, ie said, have been less, if the gentlemen who sopported them had settled among themselw what was their object, and had ascertain* with whom we were to make war. To boo these points, Mr. D. said, the fullest and cleares answers had been given. Our object, says is to obtain a prompt redress of injuries w®* diately affecting our We.stern brethren, who!*TM to us for decisive and effectual measurr" have told us that a delay of remedy'

[ocr errors]

fKBRCARY, 1803.]

■uinons to them; and our views and wishes are

0 take possession of the place of deposit guarinteed by treaty, whether it be in the hands of he one nation or tne other, and to hold it as a ecurity that the trade of so important a river honld not be liable to similar interruptions in uture. We are not, as the gentleman from Virginia would insinuate, for rushing into a irar, but we are for repelling insults, and insistng upon our rights, even at the risk of one. t was easy to foresee that tbe opposers of the ■esolutions offered by the honorable gentleman him Pennsylvania, must resort to other means han fair argument, to justify them in the course vhich they were about to pursue. Our most irecious rights flagrantly violated, treaties peridiously broken, the outlet or road to market >f half a million of our fellow-citizens obstructsd, our trade shackled, our country grossly nsulted, were facts too notorious, and too outrageous to allow them the least plausible ground >f reasoning. Deprived of every other means >f attack, they havo resorted to that of alarm. They charge us with a thirst for war, and enter nto a description of its horrors, as if they sup>osed that it was in our power to produce, or n theirs to prevent it. That which requires he concurrence of two parties, viz: contract >r negotiation, they consider most easy; and icar, which may always be produced by one >arty only, they consider as most difficult. Say, sir, they do what is more extraordinary ind unpardonable, they shut their eyes to the 'act that hostility has already been commenced igainst us. Attacked and insulted as we had seen, do we now, asked Mr. D., call for war? Let the resolutions give the answer. They berin with a declaration of certain rights, indisputable in their nature, indispensable in their jossession, to the safety, peace, and union of Jiis country. Not a meml>er opposed to us has ;ontroverted them, except the honorable gentlenan from Maryland, (Mr. Wright.) He denied She truth of all except one of them, and even of

1 part of that one. His honorable friends from ;lie Western country, who are in the habit of icting with him, cannot thank him for such let'ence. The formerly well applied words, "Son tali auxilio nee defensoribus Utis eoent," 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 Dne article of the Maryland member's creed (vhich ought not to escape comment, because, if jdopted, it would be fatal to the Union. I understood him, said Mr. D., as stating, that inasmuch as the produce 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. It' maxims like this were to actuate our councils, short indeed would be the duration of our independence. Our enemies would have only to tit tack us by piecemeal, State by State, to make us an easy prey. The honorable member from


Maryland could not hope for even that gloomy consolation which we heard of on a former melancholy occasion. He could not flatter himBelf 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 trie 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 tho President, we will agree so to alter as to make it discretionary, if desired by any gentleman 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 negotiation; 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. Breokenridoe will at least serve to show that something should be done, some preparations 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 authorize to call out of those militia nearest to the scene, and most interested in the event, a number not exceeding fifty thousand, and to give them orders to act, when the occasion requires it, in conjunction with tho army and navy; theirs authorize an enrolment of eighty thousand, dispersed 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 authorize the President to take immediate possession of some convenient, place of deposit, as guaranteed by treaty, in order to afford immediate vent for tho 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 negotiation that remedy, which, to delay, is almost as fatal as to refuse.

The question being at length called for, on the motion of Mr. Breckenridge, for striking out the first section of the resolutions proposed by Mr. Ross, the yeas and nays were required, and stood, 15 to 11, as follows:

Yeas.—Messrs. Anderson, Baldwin, Bradley, Brcckenridge, Clinton, Cocke, Ellery, T. Foster, Jackson, Logan, S. T. Mason, Nicholas, Stone, Sumter, and Wright

Mississippi Question.


Nats.—Messrs. Dayton, Hillhouse, Howard, J. Mason, Morris, Olcott, Plumer, Ross, Tracy, Wells, and White.

On the question for striking out the remaining parts of the resolutions, the question was also taken, and carried by the same votes on each sido.

The question being then called for on the adoption of the amendments proposed by Mr. Breckenridge, the yeas and nays were called for, and the votes were as follows:

Yeas.—Messrs. Anderson, Baldwin, Bradley, Breckenridge, Clinton, Cocke, Dayton, EUery, T. Foster, Hillhouse, Howard, Jackson, Logan, S. T. Mason, J. Mason, Morris, Nicholas, Olcott, Plumer, Ross, Stone, Sumter, Tracy, Wells, and Wright.


So it was unanimously

Resolved, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby authorized, whenever he shall judge it expedient, to require of the Executives of the several States to take effectual measures to arm, and equip, according to law, and hold in readiness to march, at a moment's warning, eighty thousand effective militia, officers included. ,

Resolvrd, That the President may, if he judges it expedient, authorize the Executives of tho several States to accept, as part of the detachment aforesaid, any corps of volunteers who shall continue in service

for such time not exceeding months, and perform

such scmces as shall be prescribed by law.

Resolved, That dollars be appropriated for

paying and subsisting such part of the troops aforesaid, whose actual service may be wanted, and for defraying such other expenses as during the recess of Congress the President may deem necessary for the security of the territory of the United States.

Resolved, That dollars be appropriated for

erecting, at such place or places on the Western waters as the President may judge most proper, one or more arsenals.

After the question was taken,

The resolutions were referred to Messrs. Breckenridoe, Jackson, and Sumter, to bring in a bill or bills accordingly.

Wednesday, March 2. The Vice President being absent, the Senate proceeded to the election of a President, pro tempore, as tho constitution provides, and the ballots being collected and counted, the whole number was found to bo 18, of which 10 make a majoritv.

Mr. Bradley had 13, Mr. Morris 8, Mr. Hillhouse 1, and Mr. Logan 1.

Consequently, the lion. Stephen R. Bradley was elected President of the Senate, pro tempore.

Ordered, That the Secretary wait on the President Of Me United States, and acquaint him that, in the absenco of the Vice President, they have elected the Hon. Stephen R. BradLet President of the Senate, pro tempore.

OnUred, That the Secretary make a like communication to the House of Representatives.

The President communicated the credentials of James Hillhouse, elected by the State of Connecticut a Senator of the United States for six years, commencing with tho fourth day of

[march, 1&3

March current; and they were read and ordered to lie on filo.

Tht/rsday, March 3.

A message was received from the House «' Representatives by Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Randolph, two of the members of said Hook. in the words following:

"Mr. President: We are commanded,intis name of the House of Representatives and of aD the people of the United States, to impeach John Pickering, judge of the district court fe the district of New Hampshire, of high crimes and misdemeanors, and to acquaint the Senate that the House of Representatives will, in thte time, exhibit particular articles of impeachment against him, and make good the same. We are further commanded to demand that the Sen*!* take order for the appearance of the said John Pickering, to answer to the said impeachment.5

Thursday Evening, 6 o'clock. Mr. Tracy, from the committee appointed oa the subject, made the following report, which was adopted, and the House of Representatives "otified accordingly:

Whereas the House of Represe: Jatives have thai day, by two of their members, Messrs. Nicholson and Randolph, at the bar of the Senate, impeached JoJo Pickering, judge of the district court for the district of New Hampshire, of high crimes and misdemeanor, and have acquainted the Senate that the House of Representatives will, in due time, exhibit particaLa.articles of impeachment against him, and make good the same: and have likewise demanded that the Senate take order for the appearance of the said John Pickering to answer to the said impeachment: Therefore,

"Resolved, That the Senate will take proper order thereon, of which due notice shall be given to the House of Representatives."

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate notify the House of Representatives of this resolution.


Ordered, That Messrs. Wright and Cocks be a committee on the part of the Senate, with such as the House of Representatives may join, to wait on the President Of The United States and notify him that, unless he may have any further communications to make to the two Houses of Congress, they are ready to adjourn.

A message from the House of Representatives informed the Senate that the House of Representatives concur in the resolution of the Senate for the appointment of a joint committee to wait on the President or The United States, and notify him of the proposed adjournment of the two Houses of Congress, and have appointed s committee on their part.

Mr. Wright reported, from the joint committee, that they had waited on the President of The United States, and that he informed the committee that he had no further communications to make to the two Houses of Congress.

On motion, the Senate adjourned to the first Monday in November next.


December, 1802.] Proceeding!. J"H. Of R.



Monday, December 6, 1802. This being the day appointed by the constitution for the annual meeting of Congress, the following members of the House of Representatives appeared and took their seats, to wit:

From New Hampshire.—Abiel Foster and Samuel Tenney.

From Massachusetts.—John Bacon, Seth Hastings, Nathan Read, Josiah Smith, Joseph B. Varnum, Peleg Wadsworth, and Lemuel Williams.

From Rhode Island Joseph Stanton, jr., and Thomas Tillinghast,

From Connecticut.—John Davenport, Calvin Goddard, Elias Perkins, John Cotton Smith, and Benjamin Tallmadge.

From New York.—Samuel L. Mitchill, John Smith, David Thomas, John P. Van Ness, and Killian K. Van Rensselaer.

From New Jersey.—John Condit, Ebenezer Elmer, James Mott, and Henry Southard.

From Pennsylvania.—Robert Brown, Andrew Gregg, Joseph Heister, Joseph Hemphill, William Hoge, Michael Leib, John Smilie, John Stewart, Isaac Van Horn, and Henry Woods.

From Maryland.—John Dennis, Josoph H. Nicholson, Thomas Plater, and Samuel Smith.

From Virginia.—Thomas Claiborne, John Clopton, John Dawson, David Holmes, George Jackson, Anthony New, John Smith, and Philip R Thompson.

from North Carolina.—Nathaniel Macon, Speaker, Richard Stanford, and John Stanley.

From Tennessee.—William Dickson.

From the North-tcestern Territory.—Paul Fearing.

Several new members, to wit: Samuel Hunt, from New Hampshire, returned to serve as a member of this House, in the room of Joseph Peirce, who has resigned his seat; Samuel Thatcher, from Massachusetts, returned to serve as a member of this House, in the room of Silas Lee, who has resigned; and David MeriWether, from Georgia, returned to serve as a member of this House, in the room of Benjamin Taliaferro, who has also resigned; appeared, produced their credentials, and took their seats in the House.

A new delegate, from the Mississippi Territory, to wit, Thomas M. Green, returned to serve in this House, in the room of Narsworthy

Hunter, c'ocoosed, appeared, produced his credentials, and took his seat in the House.

But a quorum of the whole number of qualified members not being present, the House adjourned until to-morrow morning, eleven o'clock.

Tuesday, December 7. Another new member, to wit, Thomas Wynn, from North Carolina, returned to serve as a member of this House, for the said State, in the room of Charles Johnson, deceased, appeared, produced his credentials, and took his seat in the House.

Several other members, viz: from New Hampshire, George B. Upiiam; from Massachusetts, Phantel Bishop, Manasseh Cutler, and WilLiam Shepard; from Connecticut, Samuel W. Dana and Roger Griswold; from Pennsylvania, Thomas Boude; from Virginia, Thomas Newton, jr., and John Trigg; from North Carolina, James Holland; and from South Carolina, Thomas Moore; appeared, and took their seats in the House.

And a quorum, consisting of a majority of the whole number of qualified members, being present, the oath to support the Constitution of the United States, as prescribed by the act, entitled "An act to regulate the lime and manner of administering certain oaths," was administered by Mr. Speaker to the new members.

Ordered, That a message be sent to the Senate, to inform them that a quorum of this House is assembled, and are ready to proceed to business, and that the Clerk of this House do go with the said message.

Wednesday, December 8. Two other members, to wit: from New Jersey, William Helms, and from North Carolina, Willis Alston, appearad, and took their seats in the House.

Thursday, December 9. Two other members, to wit: Walter Bowie, from Maryland, and Thomas T. Davis, from Kentucky, appeared, and took their seats in the House.

« PreviousContinue »