Imágenes de páginas

advantage could be derived from a separation of these states, it would be found to preponderate in favor of the western division. We should at once become possessed of the public lands, which are said to be a fund, on which the pation may rely for revenue to an incalculable amount. These lands have been acquired at the national expense, and it would, therefore, be unreasonable and unjust, to confer them wholly on the western states. But if the deleterious consequences, which have been predicted by the gentleman from Massachusetts, should be realized, such will be the inevitable effect in relation to the territory belonging to the United States.

Surely, sir, there is patriotism enough, even in the city of Boston, to counteract the deteriorating principles of that gentleman. Let us adhere to the maxims of wisdom, and, by a union of sentiment and action, convince the nations of Europe, that we are too powerful to be conquered, and too happy to be seduced from the allegiance we owe to the government of our choice.




On the second resolution reported by the committee of foreign rela

tions ; " That an additional force of ten thousand regular troops, ought to be immediately raised to serve for three years; and that a bounty in lands ought to be given to encourage enlistment.”

MR. SPEAKER, This is a question, as it has been presented to this House, of peace or war. In that light it has been argued; in no other light can I consider it, after the declarations made by members of the committee of foreign relations. Without intending any disrespect to the chair, I must be permitted to say, that if the decision yesterday was correct, “ that it was not in order to advance any arguments against the resolution, drawn from topics before other committees of the House, the whole debate, nay, the report itself, on which we are acting, is disorderly; since the increase of the military force is a subject, at this time, in agitation by a select committee, raised on that branch of the President's message. But it is impossible that the discussion of a question, broad as the wide ocean of our foreign concerns, involving every consideration of interest, of right, of happiness and of safety at home; touching, in every point, all that is dear to freemen, 6 their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor,” can be tied down by the narrow rules of technical routine.

The committee of foreign relations have, indeed, decided that the subject of arming the militia, (which has been pressed upon them as indispensable to the public security,) does not come within the scope of their authority. On what ground, I have been and

still am unable to see, they have felt themselves authorized to recommend the raising of standing armies, with a view, (as has been declared,) of immediate war -a war not of defence, but of conquest, of aggrandizement, of ambition—a war, foreign to the interests of this country; to the interests of humanity itself.

I know not how gentlemen, calling themselves republicans, can advocate such a war. What was their doctrine in 1798–9, when the command of the army, that highest of all possible trusts in any government, be the form what it may, was reposed in the bosom of the father of his country—the sanctuary of a nation's love-the only hope that never came in vain! When other worthies of the revolution-Hamilton, Pinkney and the younger Washington, men of tried patriotism, of approved conduct and valor, of untarnished honor, held subordinate command under him. Republicans were then unwilling to trust a standing army even to his hands, who had given proof that he was above all human temptation. Where now is the revolutionary hero, to whom you are about to confide this sacred trust? To whom will you confide the charge of leading the flower of our youth to the heights of Abraham? Will you find him in the person of an acquitted felon? What! then you were unwilling to vote an army where such men, as have been named, held high command ! When Washington himself was at the head, did you show such reluctance, feel such scruples; and are you now nothing loth, fearless of every consequence? Will you say that your provocations were less then than now-when your direct commerce was interdicted, your ambassadors hooted with derision from the French court, tribute demanded, actual war wag. ed upon you?

Those, who opposed the army then, were indeed denounced as the partizans of France; as the same men, (some of them at least,) are now held up as the advocates of England : those firm and undeviating republicans, who then dared, and now dare, to cling

to the ark of the constitution, to defend it even at the expense of their fame, rather than surrender themselves to the wild projects of mad ambition. There is a fatali.ty attending plenitude of power. Soon or late, some mania seizes upon its possessors; they fall from the dizzy height through giddiness. Like a vast estate, heaped up by the labor and industry of one man, which seldom survives the third generation; power, gained by patient assiduity, by a faithful and regular discharge of its attendant duties, soon gets above its own origin. Intoxicated with their own greatness, the federal party fell. Will not the same causes produce the same effects now as then? Sir, you may raise this army, you may build up this vast structure of patronage; but lay not the flattering unction to your souls,” you will never live to enjoy the succession. You sign your political death-warrant.

[Mr. Randolph here adverted to the provocation to hostilities from shutting up the Mississippi by Spain, in 1803; but more fully to the conduct of the House in 1805—6, under the strongest of all imaginable provocatives to war—the actual invasion of our country. He read various passages from the President's public message of December 3d, 1805, in which he detailed the injuries and insults which had been received from Spain. Mr. Randolph then referred to a subsequent message of the President upon the same subject, and read the report of the committee to whom the message was referred, reprehending, in strong terms, the conduct of Spain, and recommending the passage of a bill making provision for raising a sufficient number of troops “ to protect the southern frontier of the United States from Spanish inroad and insult, and to chastise the same.” Mr. Randolph then proceeded.]

The peculiar situation of the frontier, at that time insulted, alone induced the committee to recommend the raising of regular troops. It was too remote from the population of the country for the militia to act, in repelling and chastising Spanish incursion. New Orleans

and its dependencies, were separated by a vast extent of wilderness from the settlements of the old United States; filled with a disloyal and turbulent people, alien to our institutions, language and manners, and disaffected towards our government. Little reliance could be placed upon them, and it was plain, that if it was the intention of Spain to advance on our possessions until she be repulsed by an opposing force,” that force must be a regular army, unless

we were disposed to abandon all the country south of Tennessee; that, the protection of our citizens and the spirit and the honor of our country required that force should be interposed.” Nothing remained but for the legislature to grant the only practicable means, or to shrink from the

most sacred of all its duties; to abandon the soil and its inhabitants to the mercy of hostile invaders. Yet this report, moderate as it was, was deemed of too strong a character by the House. It was rejected: and, at the motion of a gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. Bidwell,) (who has since taken a great fancy also to Canada, and marched off thither, in advance of the committee of foreign relations,] “ two millions of dollars were appropriated towards,” (not in full of,) * any extraordinary expense which might be incurred in the intercourse between the United States and foreign nations ;” in other words, to buy off, at Paris, Spanish aggressions at home. Was this fact given in evidence of our impartiality towards the belligerents ? That to the insults and injuries and actual invasion of one of them, we opposed not bullets, but dollars; that to Spanish invasion we opposed money, whilst for British aggression on the high seas we had arms-offensive war? But Spain was then shielded, as well as instigated, by a greater power. Hence our respect for her. Had we at that time acted as we ought to have done in defence of our rights, of the natale solum itself, we should, I feel confident, have avoided that series of insult, disgrace and injury, which has been poured out upon us in long, unbroken succession. We would not

« AnteriorContinuar »