Imagens das páginas

JUNE, 1813.

French Decrees.

H. of R.


tones of denial, reproach. and resentment? I feel never will believe until I hear it from his own degraded, as an American, when I am forced to lips, that any President of this highminded people answer,

no. Still the infamous imputation is con- bas dared to dishonor his country upon motives cealed from the American people- from the rep- and principles like this. Mr. Speaker, there was resentatives of the people, the peculiar guardiaos a time when our Executive was not so slow to of their interests and their honor. And never announce and to resent an insult offered to him until the 4th of March, the very last day, and al- and his Ministers. I allude to the famous “inmost the last hour of the session, was ii dragged sule” offered by the British Minister Jackson. from its concealment, by a resolution of this That "insult,” as it was called, at the very worst, House.

consisted in a reflection on the honor and veracity Even then, not a word of denial, not a whisper of the Secretary of State. And how was it then of innocence, not a murmur of resentment is received and treated ? no consideration of conseheard. If the subject is permitted to rest in its quences was then permitted; then the honor of present mystery, by every rule of evidence and the Government must be vindicated, although at of common sense, what must be the inference ? the hazard of national prosperity, happiness, and What the decision of the world upon the conduct peace. A flame was kindled in the Cabinet, of the President Guilty, guiliy! will be the which continued to blaze until the whole nation universal verdict; and not a man will exist with became hot with indignation and fury. What out this nation, who will doubt the justice of the then was the conduct of this House and of Converdict.

gress? They, too, caught the epidemic fury; We are asked, if the "infamous Duke of Bas- joint resolutions were passed, solemnly pledging sano,"

," the author of the charge, is competent to themselves to the American people, and to the excite a suspicion against our Executive? Mr. world, to stand by and support ihe Executive Speaker, this Minister is the official organ of the Government, “ to call into action the whole force Emperor; he occupies the same office as did the of the nation to repel such insults, and to assert Duke of Cadore when he wrote the famous letter of' and maintain the rights, the honor, and the inAugust 5th, 1810. The Executive then recog- terests of the United States." nised the act of the Minister as the act of the What a mighty spirit of honor and indignation Government. By what article of logic shall he is here exhibited against a British Minister, upon now be permitted, when his own character is in- whom, by implication, an intention to insult the volved, to escape the rule which he then estab honor of the Executive, had been fastened. Now lished ?

mark the astonishing, the inglorious contrast ; In this condition is this dark subject now an injury, compared with which, the petty ofplaced: The foul accusation has been made, offi- fence of the British Minister changes its characcially made, by the Government of France. By ter and becomes applause, has been offered to our every motive of policy, of honor, of truth, the Executive by the mushroom despot of France. Executive was bound io stamp falsehood on the How has it been received by the Cabinet ? In infamous charge, and indignantly

to hurl it back silence, in poor, mean-spirited silence; nay, every upon the imperial calumniator. This honorable effort has been made to cover it from the Ameriand virtuous course he has not pursued. Let us, can people, and to conceal it from the world. now, as the guardians of American truth and For more than one year, the Executive has thus honor, demand it at his hands.

borne the basest insult which was ever offered to But a member from Tennessee (Mr. Rhea) an independent people. In the meantime, what

has justified the President in not denying the ac- has been the conduct of this House and of Conthe

cusation, or resenting the insult. li might, he gress? Whether astonished at the tame endurance has told us, obstruct our negotiation and injure of the President, or resolved to share with him the our interests in France; in other words, the ty- disgrace, I know not; they, too, have been silent. rant might resent our attempts to vindicate our No blustering resolutions have appeared ; no honor.

expression of resentment; and even now when Mr. Speaker, have we arrived at that degene- the minority, forced by the inertness of the marate age of our Republic, when a Representative jority, have stepped forward, resolved to present of the people dare advance such slavish doc- the subject in iis naked truth, and to call on the trines on this floor? What, sir, will you truckle Executive to wipe the dishonor from his own to France to obtain justice Will you, like the character, and lo viodicate the purity of this Recrouching spaniel, patiently endure the whips public, how are they met? Every covert oband scorns of an outrageous iyrant, lest he should struction is thrown in their way; and although frown upon you?

the majority shrink from open resistance to this O, my country! if such is truly your degraded honorable course, yet no effort is left untried to condition, mock the world no more with your render it futile and unavailing. Mr. Speaker, do vain boasts of freedom! If, 10 avoid the resent- insults and injuries change their nature with the ment and injustice of a tyrant, you must smile change of persons who inflict them? Is an Engat insult, and become familiar with dishonor, lish insult one thing, and a French insult a diftear in atoms your instrument of independence, ferent thing? Is the one atrocious, and to be restrike the proud Eagle from your escutcheon, sisted and resented with the whole force of this and blot from your history the names of Warren, nation,” and is the other innocent, and to be borne Montgomery, and Washington. No, sir, no! I with patience and submission ?


H. OF R.

French Decrees.

JUNE, 1813.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

When a British Minister insinuates an in- The motion before us is to postpone indefinitely sult," is this Government to kindle a conflagra- the consideration of the resolutions on your table; tion through the nation, threatening to consume in other words, to reject them; to this I am opnot only him, but our own happiness and peace: posed. I shall vote for them, and if modified in and is the same Government io bare its back to an inconsiderable degree, shall do so with pleasthe “scorpion lash" of a French despot, to receive ure. In doing this, I shall be governed by reasons with composure and silent submission the palpa- entirely different from those which have been asble calumnies, the barefaced insults of his mush- signed by gentlemen who have preceded me. I room Ministers?

shall vote for them to do away the effect which Let gentlemen examine well the ground on has been produced, and may again be produced, which they are treading !

by the misrepresentations of the friends of that There are thousands and hundreds of thousands fast-anchored isle, which, according to the opinof this people, who do believe that your councils ions of some gentlemen, has done us no essential are contaminated by the influence and guided by injury; I shall vote for them, that the friends of the hand of France. For a series of years they that nation wbich is styled by some the bulwark have beheld, or they think they have beheld, the of our holy religion may not mislead any portion hand of the despot in our affairs. They have of the American people. I shall vote for them seen, or they think they have seen, their Govern- that the advocates of ihat nation which is said to ment the unresisting dupe of French intrigue, be fighting the battles of the world may not have the tame object of French insult and injury. If it in their power to weaken the arm of this Govit so please you, call these men tories; call them ernment in its presenteontest with a foreign Power. the friends of England; call them the victims of These, sir, are the reasons on which I act, and delusion; call them what you will, still

, until not because I believe their adoption necessary to you "can rail their judgments froin their minds," vindicate the honor of the Government or the or until your councils change, such will continue character of those who administer it. The reputheir honest belief. By rejecting these resolu- tation of this Administration stands on a basis tions you fix their opinions forever. If they are too solid to be shaken by any statement which deluded, you establish their delusion beyond the the Duke of Bassano has or can make ; and had possibility of removal. On the other hand, if not these new guardians of the Executive honor you pass these resolutions, and if, in consequence (Messrs. WEBSTER, Oakley, and GROSVENOR) thereof, the President shall

dissolve the darkness, been more sensitive than its old friends, no measure shall step forth to the public pure and unspotted of this kind would have been deemed necessary. As if he shall evince that he has felt and acted as this however is the first effort in their new vocait became the chief of a highminded and free tion, so far as depends on my exertions, they shall people; and if he has repelled and resented the be indulged and gratified. I have already said, base imputation, happy beyond measure, happy that I shall vote with gentlemen on the other side will be consequences of this proceeding. On my of the House for reasons very different from their conscience, I believe it will go farther to destroy own. Were I at liberty to speak of motives, I all suspicion of French influence it will go far- would undertake to show that in these we differ ther to restore confidence in the Executive, than no less than we have already in the reasons any other means that could have been selected.

avowed. It has been alleged by those who have

advocated these resolutions, that if an authentic FRIDAY, June 18.

document containing the decree of the French A bill was received from the Senate further to Government, bearing date the 28th day of April, extend the time for issuing and locating military 1811, and which so modifies the decrees of Ber! land warrants. The bill was twice read, and, on lin and Milan as to exempt the United States motion of Mr. McKee, it was read a third time, from their operations, had been furnished to the and passed.

British Government before the declaration of war,

that the Orders in Council would have been reFRENCH DECREES.

voked, and thereby war would have been avoided. The House resumed the consideration of Mr. If I have mistaken the position which gentlemen WEBSTER's resolutions, respecting the French bave laid down as the basis on which their whole repealing decree.

argument is fouoded, I beg now to be set right. Mr. Grundy rose, and addressed the Chair as Mr. Grosvenor, of New York, stated that Mr. follows:

GRUNDY had not mistaken their meaning.] Mr. Mr. Speaker, knowing that Congress bad been GRUNDY then proceeded-Then, sir we are at isconvened at this time for the express purpose of sue: I deny the position laid down, and aver that providing an adequate revenue for the prosecu- the British Cabinet would not have repealed the tion of the war in which our country is engaged, Orders in Council, had a copy of the French deI did believe that a discussion pot immediately cree of the 28th of April, 1811, been communicated connected with this subject should have been previously to the declaration of war. I shall not avoided; but, as the Committee of Ways and follow the example which has been set by the Means are not yet prepared to act on the bills re- gentleman from New York, (Mr. Grosvenor,) ported by them, that time may not be entirely I shall not quote from memory the evidences on lost which is given to the examination of poinis which I rely. I will not expose myself to that which have been introduced into this debate. error into which others have fallen by trusting to

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

JUNE, 1813.

French Decrees.

H. OF R.

their recollection, when referring to documents in responded with our Government on this point. their support. I have these documents before me, He, the Minister of his Sovereign, and seni here and will show from them that Great Britain re- 10 ip terpret his will; he, who it must be prequired, as the condition on which she would revoke sumed well understood the views of his own Govher Orders in Council, that the French decrees of ernment, demanded, (as I will show from the Berlin and Milan should previously be rescinded, communications which passed between him and not as to the United States only, but as to all neu- the American Secretary of State) as a condition tral nations. If this be done, gentlemen must be of the revocation of the Orders in Council, a total driven from that ground which they have occu- and entire repeal of the French decrees. That pied with so much ostentation; for it will be Minister, in his letter of the 30th of May, 1812, recollected, that the French decree merely with says: draws from the United States the operation of “America, as the case now stands, has not a prethe Berlin and Milan decrees, and leaves the de- tence for claiming from Great Britain a repeal of her crees themselves in full force against all other Orders in Council; she must recollect that the British neutrals. The Prince Regeot, in his declaration Government never for a moment countenanced the idea of 21st of April, 1812, uses the following language that the repeal of those orders could depend upon any when speaking of the Orders in Council: partial or conditional repeal of the decrees of France.

“And which His Majesty has at all times professed What she always avowed was, her readiness to rescind his readiness to revoke, as soon as the decrees which her Orders in Council, as soon as France rescinded abgave occasion to them should be formally and uncon- solutely and unconditionally her decrees. She could ditionally repealed, and the commerce of neutral na- not enter into any engagements without the grossest tions be restored to its accustomed course.”.

injustice to her allies, as well as to neutral nations in In the same instrument he also says:

general ; much less could she do so, if any special ex.

ception was to be granted by France upon conditions “And to give a decisive proof of his Royal Highness's utterly subversive of the most important and indispudisposition to perform the engagements of His Majesty's table maritime rights of the British Empire.” Government, by revoking the Orders in Council when

Here the British Minister plainly lays down ever the French decrees shall be actually and unconditionally repealed, his Royal Highness declares, &c., the principle upon which the British Governthat if at any time hereafter the Berlin and Milan de- ment is determined to act. The French decrees crees shall, by some authentic act of the French Gov. are to be rescinded absolutely and unconditionernment publicly promulgated, be expressly and un-ally, by which it appears that England required conditionally repealed, then and from thenceforth the of us not only that we should cause the decrees orders of 7th of January, 1807, and 26th of April, 1809, of Berlin and Milan to be repealed as to the United shall, without any further order, be from thenceforth States, but as to all the world. Could a more revoked.”

unreasonable requisition be conceived? We had Now, I would ask any legal character to put a a right to demand of France a modification of construction upon whai has been read. Will he her decrees so far as we were affected by them, not answer, as every man must answer who under- but no farther-whenever she went so far as to stands the meaning of English words, that the prevent any injury to us by their operation, our lerm repeal imports, ex vi termini, a total abroga-claims upon that Government ceased, we having tion of ihe aci to which it refers? It does not so right to interfere between her and her enemy, mean modification or alteration, but an entire except so far as we were interested. But Eng. annulling of the act itself, placing everything as land, not content with this, insists that we shall it was previous to its passage, saving only the cause the French Government to open the ports rights which had accrued under it. But, here it of all neutrals to British commerce, and make the appears that the Prince Regent not only requires continent of Europe a market for her manufaca repeal, bot. he requires it also to be uncon- tures. This we had no right to demand of the ditional; not limited and partial, but universal French Goveroment, and England knew we could in its operation. Can gentlemen longer affect not obtain it. In the letter of the 3d of June, to believe that a modification of the Berlin and 1812, from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Foster, a reference Milan decrees would have satisfied the demands is had not only to the declaration contained in the of the Prince Regent? Surely they have not letter I have just read, but also to the instructions read with attention these documenis, or have given by Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Foster, which read them without a disposition to understand convey the same ideas in stronger terms. It says, them correctly. But, sir, why rely upon con- in the letter of May the 30th, which I had the struction, when we have the interpretation which honor to receive from you on the 1st instant, I the enemy himself has put upon his own act ? L' perceive a difference in a particular passage of it, If it shall be shown that no ministerial advo- from a passage on the same subjeci, in the descale in Parliament, no Minister of England at patch from Lord Castlereagh to you, which you home or abroad; no, not even Lord Casilereagh,

were so good as to communicate to me entire, as has ever advanced such a position, then why L'appears from the tenor of the letter to have been should gentlemen upon this floor assume this new 'intended by your Government." The passage and extraordinary ground, unless they are re- in your letter to which I allude is as follows: solved 10 out-Herod Herod, and out-Castlereagh "America, as the case now stands," &c., as in the Lord Castlereagh himself?

preceding quotation. Mr. Monroe then proceeds: When Mr. Foster was in this country, he cor- “According to the tenor of the despatch of Lord

[ocr errors]

H. OF R.

French Decrees.

JUNE, 1813.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Castlereagh to you, my recollection is, that in stating And another fact equally important is manifested
the condition on which the Orders in Council were to by this document, which is, ihat the British Gov-
be repealed, in relation to the United States, it was ernment had not only a knowledge of the repeal
specified that the decrees of Berlin and Milan must of the Berlin and Milan decrees so far as related
not be repealed singly and specially in relation to the to the United States, but communicated that know-
United States, but be repealed also as to all other neu. ledge to their Minister Resident in this country,
tral nations; and that in no less extent of a repeal of with a view that he might confer with this Gov-
the decrees had the British Government ever pledged ernment respecting the terms and conditions con-
itself to repeal the Orders in Council. However sus-
ceptible the passage in your letter may be, of a con-

tained in it. How then can it be contended, with struction reconcilable with the import of the despatch the least degree of plausibility, that it was the from Lord Castlereagh, yet as a similar phraseology of want of evidence of the existence of the decree of your Government on other occasions has had a con- the 28th day of April, 1811, which induced the struction less extensive, and as it is important in every British Government to persist in its Orders in respect that there should be no misunderstanding or Council ? To the letter last mentioned, Mr. Fospossibility of error, you will excuse me for requesting ter on the 14th of June gives an answer which that you will have the goodness to inform me whether closes the correspondence between the parties. in any circumstance my recollection of the import of this The language is too plain to admit of but one conpassage in Lord Castlereagh's despatch is inaccurate.” struction. Listen to it and tell me if the most

Mr. Foster in no part of his after communica- sceptical man can doubt: tions pretends that Mr. Monrve had mistaken

"I will now say that I feel entirely authorized to the contents of Lord Castlereagh's instructions. assure you, that if you can at any time produce a full Here, then, you have not only the statement of and unconditional repeal of the French decrees, as you the British Minister to our Government, but the have a right to demand it in your character of a neuauthority under which he acted. In this there tral nation, and that it be disengaged from any quescan be no mistake, no misapprehension.

tion concerning our maritime rights, we shall be ready On the 10th of June, 1812, Mr. Foster, if possible, to meet you with a revocation of the Orders in Counbecomes more explicit. He then declares to the cil. Previously to your producing such an instrument, Secretary of State:

which I am sorry to see you appear to regard as un“I have no hesitation in saying that Great Britain, as necessary, you cannot expect of us to give up our Or. the case has hitherto stood, never did nor ever could ders in Council.” engage, without the grossest injustice to herself and The Prince Regent, on the face of the decree her allies, as well as to other neutral nations, to repeal which revokes the Orders in Council, shows that her orders affecting America alone, leaving them in the meaning of the British Government was force against other States, upon condition that France what I have contended for; and although other would except, singly and specially, America from the gentlemen may understand ihe views of The Britoperation of her decrees.” This declaration it would seem had removed consider the Prince Regent of England good au

ish Cabinet better than I do. yet I am bound to every doubt which could possibly exist in rela- thority, when speaking of the intentions of his tion to the intention of the British Government. own Government, and to its disadvantage. The But the Executive of the United States, solicitous French decree, bearing date the 28th of April, to avoid the evils of war and to prevent an ap- 1811, is a full and absolute repeal as it relates to peal to the last resort of injured nations, on the the United States. The language is: 13th day of June, 1812, again addresses the Brit

“ The Decrees of Berlin and Milan are definitively ish Minister in the following terms:

and to date from 1st November last, considered as not “It is satisfactory to find that there has been no mis- existing in regard to American vessels." apprehension of the condition without which your Gov

More than thirty days after, a copy of this deernment refuses to repeal the Orders in Council. You

cree was furnished to the British Government. admit that, to obtain their repeal in respect to the United States, the repeal of the French decrees must be They repeal the Orders in Council; and upon the absolute and unconditional, not as to the United States face of ihat repeal, the Prince Regent declares, only, but as to all other neutral nations; not as far as

" That he cannot consider the tenor of the said inthey affect neutral commerce only, but as they operate strument as satisfying the conditions set forth in the internally and affect the trade in British manufactures order of the 21st of April, 1812.” with the enemy of Great Britain. As the Orders in Why was this not a compliance with the deCouncil have formed a principal cause of the differ- claration of April, 1812 ? As to the United States ences which unhappily exist between our countries, a it was full and complete. It was because it was condition of their repeal communicated in any authen- not a repeal as it related to all neutral Powers. tic document or manner was entitled to particular at- Mr. Speaker, I feel humbled and abased that tention. And surely none could have so high a claim it has become my duty to quote the authority of to it as the letter from Lord Castlereagh to you, sub- the Prince Regent and the British Ministers mitted by his authority to my view for the express pur- against the Representatives of my own country. pose of making that condition, with its other contents, I am mortified to hear doctrives advanced here known to this Government.”

in behalf of the British Cabinet which the BritFrom this it is evident that the Executive of ish Ministers never arowed, and which they this country understood the British Minister, as would not avow were they present and entitled insisting on a total repeal of the French decrees to be heard on this floor. Sir, they would not before the Orders in Council would be revoked. I dare to do so-their own words would confound

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

JUNE, 1813.

French Decrees.

H. OF R.

them. I do hope, sir, that gentlemen who are citizen goes over to the enemy and arms in his still determined to persist in opposition, will take behalf, he is guilty of treason. The overt act is some other ground on which to rely; for it surely consummated, and the wickedness of his heart adds nothing to the honor of this country or to is demonstrated. Should the same citizen remain their individual credit to advance and advocate amongst us, and employ himself in aiding the doctrines which the British Ministry would be enemy, by paralyzing the national energies, is not ashamed to own.

the turpitude of his conduct and his moral guilt Sir, unless I am altogether mistaken in the equally great ? Does he not serve the enemy as meaning of the plainest terms-unless the Eng- effectually? Nay, more; suppose he shall succeed lish language is entirely unintelligible to me--the in preventing ten men from joining the Army, point is sufficiently established, that the British has he not rendered the enemy much more serGovernment would not have revoked the Orders in vice than if he had actually joined the ranks of Council, had a copy of the French decree, mod- the enemy and raised the sword in his favor? ifying the Berlin and Milan decrees, been pre- To my mind, it is impossible to draw a line of sented to them; and the gentlemen on the other distinction between adding to the strength of the side of the House must be constrained to abandon enemy and taking from the strength of his own the ground they have relied on; and here this country. In both cases he is working the ruin debate might close. For, although the French of bis country, so far as that result depends on decree is made the pretext for the repeal of the his exertions—and the only difference to himself Orders in Council, every man acquainted with is, that in one case he forfeits his life for his crime, the political state of the two countries must be in the other he lives an object of public execrasatisfied that it was the sufferiog condition of the tion and loaded with the abhorrence of all good British manufacturers, united with the apprehen- men. sion of an American war, which produced that While upon the subject of the war and the conchange in British policy which did take place. duct of Opposition, suffer me, Mr. Speaker, to de

Remarks have fallen from gentlemen which vote another moment to the almost incomprehenmerit a reply. An honorable member from New sible part which they are seen to act. They call York (Mr. OAKLEY) bas told you, sir, that we themselves the friends of peace, yet what step do have charged upon the Opposition all the calam- they take to procure it for their country? Now ities and disasters of the war. I am one of the that the war rages upon the frontiers, peace can accusers, but I do not raise the accusation agaiost only be obtained by expelling the enemy from our those who voted against the war upon this floor, borders, or by negotiating with him. Which nor against any who express their opinions against method does the Opposition prefer? It cannot be it elsewhere. 'I koow there are many in the op- the former, because they withbold from the Govposition who are governed by honest motives, ernment, so far as they can do so, all the means who oppose the war from an honest conviction, of effecting it. Is it the latter ? Then why not and whose opposition is confined within reason. come out with a candid declaration in favor of able and Constitutional bounds. Whom then do the Russian mediation-why not rejoice that an I accuse? I accuse him, sir, who professes him- extraordinary mission is despatched to St. Petersself to be the friend of ihis country and enjoys burgh ?. And yet upon this subject an impeneits protection, yet proves himself by his actions trable silence has been preserved; no sentence of to be the friend of its enemy. I accuse him who approbation has escaped their lips; from them we sets himself to work systematically to weaken have not heard the Emperor of Russia applauded the arm of this Government by destroying its for his friendly disposition manifested towards credit and damping the ardor of its citizens; I this country, bý interposing his kind offices beaccuse him who has used his exertions to defeat tween the two nations. Sir, an eternal cry of the loan and to prevent the young men of the peace, peace, peace! is kept up, while, at the country from going forth to fight their country's same time, objection after objection, difficulty battles; I accuse him who announces with joy after difficulty, obstacle after obstacle, is thrown the disasters of our arms, and sickens into melan- in the way of the Government, in every attempt cboly when he hears of our success; such men I made to bring the war to a speedy termination. cannot consider friends to this nation.

Every attempt to negotiate is treated with ridiSir, I speak in plain language, because I am cule, and every means of carrying on the war speaking ihe language of truth in the cause of successfully is witbheld, so far as they can effect my country. I ask, how is this war to be carried it-and these are the friends of peace. Can genon and how are we to gain an advantage over the tlemen believe that the American people are to enemy? Money has justly been called the sinew be deceived and imposed on by professions which of war ; without money men cannot be raised, and are daily contradicted by actions ? What does without men battles cannot be gained-yet battles this extraordinary conduct mean? For somemust be fought and gained, before a peace, safe, thing must be meant when even a system of conhonorable, and durable, can be obtained for this na- tradiction is persisted in with so much pertinacity tion. Is not that man ihen subserving the interest and zeal. Will gentlemen compel me to say, of the enemy, who, to the extent of his power, that self-aggrandizement is the object and aim of keeps money from our coffers and men from our many who practise this conduci? That war, armies? And what, sir, is the greatest crime protracted and disastrous, lingering and ruinous, kaowa 10 our Constitution and our laws? If al is the secret wish of no small portion of the lead.

13th Con. Ist Sess.--8

« AnteriorContinuar »