Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

FEBRUARY, 1808.

Military Establishment.

H. OF R.

SOUTHARD) to urge the propriety of raising an that way by a refusal again to consider it. Inadditional force to defend us against traitors, stead of puiting it to sleep side-way, as was now We stand no more in need of it now than we did rather the fashion, he hoped it would be decided before for that purpose. The probability is, that on principle; that they would go on with it and the late conspiracy has totally subsided. I under- decide on its merits. As lo' the principle of the stood the gentleman from Kentucky to call upon bill he could on one side easily perceive the neus to defend our frontier against the Indians. Is cessity for the additional force contemplated to it not a fact that the first force we employed was be raised, and on the other could not see any posto prevent transgressions of our people on the lo-sible danger to arise from it. In the Atlantic dians, and not to repel their transgressions on us ? States, said he, we do not, to be sure, want an I think it was so.

auginentation of the Peace Establishment. The Mr. G. W. CAMPBELL thought this debate had country being pretty fully inhabited possesses in taken rather a curious course, for they were dis- itself a power to repel assault. But would any gena cussing a war instead of a peace measure. The tleman suppose that on our frontiers, so defencebill under consideration proposed a Military Peace less and exposed, the militia would be competent Establishment, and every gentleman who had for defence? Assuredly not. They ought to spoken had gone into a discussion of a war estab-have a force adequate, if not to prevent, at least to lishment. Nothing could more forcibly show repel invasion when it comes. The situation of the propriety of setting aside the peace estab-the country demands it-our duty demands it. lishment until the war establishment was de- The people on the frontier have in themselves cided on. For myself, said he, I really cannot the means of protection from the savages; and think it important for gentlemen to come here though we may regain the country after it is and abuse our state of defence on the one side overrun, in doing so you will have to march over or eulogise it on the other. Their assertions the bodies of your citizens whom you have left have no effect; and it is of much more import- defenceless, who have approached you with supance to attend to the subject now before the plications, but in vain. I will not take upon House. If war be apprehended, it is more impor- myself responsibility of this kind. This Governtant to authorize the raising of such a number of ment owes protection to every individual, howmen as may be necessary in case of rupture, be- ever mean or abject his condition; and wherefore we determine what shall be done in peace. ever every individual is protected, the whole I do not agree with the gentleman from Virginia, community is secured. I wish particularly, from (Mr. Eppes.) I think if we have war that we the alarms in the Western country, not only to eswe must have an addition to our military force; tablish a force which shall be sufficient to repel inand that we ought to authorize the raising an ternal as well as external violation, but to remove army at this time. Gentlemen tell us of arming from that country all cause of national disconthe militia ; it is little more than a phantom attent-to show them that we are as much alive this time; and with respect to the idea of giving and sensible to their interests as to our own-that the people protection by giving them arms, it is we consider the United States as one great polistill more futile. There are very few effective tical body, every part of which it is our duty to men in the Western country who have not arms. protect. This is the true policy of the GovernThey havearms, and which they can manage much ment, and will leave to conspirators litile hope of better than any arms the United States can give succeeding in attempts to corrupt your citizens. them. When it it possible to get arms, I shall If you act otherwise you open a door to the wiles have no objection to place them in the hands of of conspirators. In every point of view, there. the militia. But to ialk of arming the militia fore, an augmentation of the standing military when we are talking of raising a military force is force of the country is necessary. I am as hos. irrelevant. I think the Committee should rise, as tile to a standing army as any gentleman; but I this appears to be intended as an iocrease of the do not call every little augmentation the erection peace establishment, and take up a measure cal- of a standing army. There would be but little culated to prepare for war; and therefore I wish fear of our being overcome by even ten thousand the peace establishment to lie on the table, and men; there is no evil to apprehend from augmenimmediately to take up the bill to raise a provi- tation. Independent of these considerations of sional army. If we have war, the troops propo- immediate danger, we ought not to adhere too sed by that bill can be raised ; if we have peace closely at this time to the policy of not augmentit will be time enough then to determine for oring our Military Peace Establishment. This is against an addition to the peace establishment not an age of the world in which pacific measures Let us examine the subject as it presents itself: are to be indulged. If in other ages it happened when at peace, we may adopt peace measures. that liberty has been overset by corrupting the These are my impressions; and I hope, therefore, military force, we do know that in the age in the Committee will rise, and for this a great rea- which we live power and might sway the nations son is the very turn which this discussion has of the universe. We know that no nation is setaken.

cure except it be strong, nor strong except it be Mr. GARDENIER hoped the Committee would in a situation to exercise its power. However not rise. Reasons had been given by one side pleasing it be to indulge in pacific maxims, the of the question in favor of the rising of the Com-truth is, we must be powerful and in a situation mittee that the bill might not be put to sleep in to exercise our power, or we are not secure. No

10th Con. Ist Sess.-52

H. OF R.
Military Establishment.

FEBRUARY, 1808. thing else can secure us. In every measure, there- militia will answer for garrison duty? I would fore, which has for its object this security 'I shall apply to any man of them who ever shouldered a readily concur. I am not conversant in detail-musket or wielded a sword, and he would tell me that I will leave to others. It is necessary at this that for garrison duty they are peculiarly unfit, time to throw off our pacific, inoffensive, and phil- because they peculiarly abbor service on the fronosophic character, and assume one more com- tiers, taking care of stores, &c., which requires an manding, which if not by justice, yet by the fears exercise of constant, regular, and persevering pawhich it inspires may be preserved. On the one tience, and incessant attention. It is, of all modes hand I think gentlemen wrong who oppose stand- of garrisoning posts, the most wasteful, prejudiing force in every shape, and on the other I thinkcial to the community, and dissatisfactory to the those wrong who oppose the militia. Both may be people—at least, such is the opinion I have been employed and both to good purpose, but we should led to form. As respects arms at fixed stations, always have in view the peculiar circumstances of you certainly want some person to be responsible the country. It is not enough to be talking about for them; and certainly as respects important points, the insult on the Chesapeake or to be dealing out which are the keys of the country, you want some anathemas against the British nation. This may men there. Need the House be informed of the produce a rage throughout the nation, though not importance of those positions which command that feeling which is necessary for the protection great portions of the country, whether maritime of the country. It is idle policy to listen to the or territorial? Need any one be informed of the trilling injury which we might receive from a importance of such a post as Michillimackinac ? standing force when the public good requires it. Need any one be told of the importance of New We should therefore not only talk but act, that, Orleans, so exposed to the attack of any foreign before the moment arrives in which we must meei | Power? Need any gentleman be told, that whothe calamities of war, we may be prepared for it ever seizes the key, will not have much difficulty as much as in our power. If we raise this force in opening the trunk? There, a constant vigithe expense will be but little for tranquillity, and lance is required. I feel therefore willing, because which we can easily pay if exempt from the bur. I deem it perfectly proper as it respects garrison dens attendant on a state of war; if we do not in- duty in time of peace, to raise a sufficient number crease our present force, the lives of our citizens of men for the purpose of keeping guard of magawhich may be lost in consequence of the omission zines, &c. I am perfectly willing to vote for them, cannot be regained. The maxim will not do that because I believe them cheaper, better, safer. Bui justice may rely on the justice of others. We I am not able to ascertain, with convenience, what are just to others, but others are not so to us. should be the number. And as it respects the prePower only can insure justice. On the same sent bill, I have not information to enable me to principle that I advocated fortifications on our say whether this bill ought to pass, and no discusseashore, I would go all lengths for raising force sion which can take place in this House will enafor protection of the Western country. My only ble me to decide. I find that by the bill provision objection to the bill is, that the amount of force is made for a battalion of cavalry. The annual to be raised is not double what the bill provides. expense for each private would be about four or

Mr. Dana said, perhaps it might be an expedi- five hundred dollars, making for the whole battaent course for gentlemen always to vote against lion an additional apnual expense of from one measures which were sometimes unpopular. He hundred and twenty to one hundred and fifty thou. thought he had heard of a person who always voted sand dollars. According to my present view, if against the levying of taxes and against the grants merely for the purposes of peace, I cannot see the of money. It is a safe course of proceeding, said necessity for cavalry, though it may be necessary. Mr. D., because, if a tax is popular, he will be ex- The question is not now whether this number of empt from reproach; if unpopular, nobody can men shall be raised, but whether of this specific find fault with him for it. I cannot boast, as the description. As I do not perceive the necessity gentleman from Virginia, that I have always voted for these, I should wish for some information as against regular troops-ihat I have always voted respects the service which may be expected of them down-and certainly I have not so much them. I am, therefore, in favor of the Commitconfidence in my own wisdom and foresight as to tee's rising; for, whatever may be our zeal as repledge myself, with a solemn invocation, that I spects the providing means of defence, zeal alone never will vote for them. When the gentleman will not do. There must be something like contells us that every country which has lost its lib- duct, capacity, and intelligence, as well as zeal, erty has lost it by a standing army, did he mean patriotism, and imagination. that it was by a standing army of its own, or by Mr. Southard remarked, that, from the arguthe standing army of a foreign Power, to which it menis used by gentlemen, it might be supposed had not a regular force to oppose? Mr. D. cited that the question was, whether they should raise several instances from history of liberty lost by a standing army or make a requisition of the minations from other causes than standing armies. litia. This was not the question. The question What is there, said he, in all this noise about stand- was, whether they would pass this bill to raise a ing armies and war? If we have war, those who small addition to their present military force. No best understand it must have preference: the ripest man placed more implicit confidence in the miliin experience in everything is superior to the nov- tia than himself, but he wished a small addition ice. Does the gentleman mean to say that the I to the regular fórce. He thanked God that the

FEBRUARY, 1808.

Military Establishment.

H. OF R.

force which we have had been efficient to meet Mr. M. Clay hoped the Committee would rise, and face an enemy on the Sabine, and to crush for it was past three o'clock. one of the most nefarious plots that ever existed Mr. Eppes agreed with gentlemen who said in the country, and that we had so far an honest that there could be no danger from these few men; man to command it as to do this effectually. He but it was the commencement of a system which wished the country always to be prepared to crush had destroyed the liberties of all countries. The an internal foe or an external enemy.

gentleman represents me, observed Mr. E., as sayMr. Rasa urged the passage of the bill. He ing that I never would, on any account, vote for did not know what information the gentleman regular troops. In the warmth of debate, I might from Connecticut could want. All his observa- have said so, but my meaning was, that I would tions had gone to the detail and not to the merits never rely altogether on regular troops. If I unof the bill. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. derstood the gentleman from Connecticut, he Eppes) seemed to think they ought now to de- agrees with me in wishing the Committee to rise cide what method of defence they would adopt. and in objecting to the bill, but he is apprehenThere were several bills before the House for sive lest it should be supposed that he is opposed classing the militia, raising a provisional and to a standing army, and has quoted history in a standing army, and the question could as well favor of that species of force. On some other be determined on this bill as on any other. The occasion I will take an opportunity for a more House, said he, goes into a Committee on the mili- ample discussion with the gentleman on this tia bill, spend three or four days on that without subject. The gentleman says some men always doing anything; after that, takes up the bill for vote against taxes. I might retort upon the genthe provisional army with ihe same success; then tleman, and say that some gentlemen always vote the war establishment; after four or five days for them. I understood him to say that some spent on it, the Committee will rise, and obtain gentlemen do it to reconcile it with their constileave to sit again, and perhaps we never may get tuents. My constituents were always opposed to it up afterwards.' I am not in favor of a standing high taxes and standing armies; in 1798 and 1799 army, but wish an addition to the present force. they learned to dislike them, when the gentleGentlemen have told us of the militia performing man's constituents learned to like them. Mine that which the regulars could not. The regulars have ever since been against them, and his in faunder General Wayne achieved what the militia vor of them. He speaks the sentiments of those could not, and finished that war, which had cost whom he represents, and I likewise. What I adso much. Mr. R. then alluded to the situation of vocate now were my sentiments in 1798 and 1799, Michigan, Detroit, and Louisiana; their unpro- and the reverse was professed and practised by tected situation weighed with him to insist that the gentleman from Connecticut. We are both the Committee should not rise. The gentleman consistent; he has not quit his course, and I trust from Virginia had told them that he would rather I shall not quit mine. But we are told that this give them 30,000 stand of arms than 1,000 regu- measure is absolutely necessary, to give the nalars. I wish for both, said Mr. R., and if the gen- tion that dignified attitude which is required in tleman would give us arms with such liberal mu- the present convulsed state of the world. It renificence, he will give us men also—not for our ally would be curious to publish the observations defence, but for the service of the United States. of the gentleman from New York in one column We do not wish defence for ourselves, but for our and the law under consideration in another. He extended frontier. We do not know the month, calls upon us to raise a thousand troops to show day, or hour, in which we may hear that thou- that we mean to protect our citizens and insure sands have been massacred. What security have justice. I hope in God, whenever the United we that the country is not already attacked ? States are disposed to show their attachment to While we are disputing about the expense of a my district of country, that it will not be by sendfew regular troops, our neighbors may do us a ing ụs regular troops. We want them not. For mischief to the amount of ten times the expense what purpose are they to be sent to the Western of these troops. I do not like this contracted pol. country?' To overawe sedition ? There was icy; I wish to save money as much as any man, never yet a country in which they have not probut not in this way. We have gone on long duced it. Oppression and tyranny will drive the enough in this routine of reading first one bill and people to rebellion, and standing armies produce then another, without doing anything. Gentle both. What is the case in the Territories? Do men say they will arm our own citizens, and not we not see that you can scarcely put an officer employ regular troops. If these regular troops there who can withstand the prevalent faction are not our own citizens, where will you get them and party? And such will always be the case from? I have as much confidence in the militia where there is a superior tribunal to look up to. as any one; at the same time I agree with the If there be anything which will harass and disgentleman from New York, that from 10,000 reg- gust the people, it will be the sending an army ular troops there would be no danger to the Unii. amongst them. I do not want to keep them quiet ed States-nor from 20,000. The only danger in that way. If they rebel, I would rather take from a standing army is, when it is so large as to the system of punishing them for it. I have alovercome the others. There would be no danger ways been opposed to standing armies in time of from this number with even an Alexander or a peace; and I always shall be opposed to resting Cæsar at their head.

ihe defence of the nation on standing troops. I

H. OF R.

Foreign Relations.

FEBRUARY, 1808.

1

did not mean to say that I should always vote ditional army. The blanks in the bill were so
against them, but that I would not rest the defence filled as to provide as follows:
of the nation on them alone.

That there be raised dine regiments of infantry
Mr. Lyon made some observations in favor of of 1,000 men each, one regiment of artillerists of
the bill. He hoped this was the auspicious time 1,200 men, two regiments of cavalry of 600 men
to increase the regular force of the United States. each, and iwo regiments of riflemen of 600 each,
Mr. L. compared the discussion which had taken for three years, unless sooner discharged; to
place in relation to garrisons to a dispute which be commanded by two Major Generals, four
might arise in a city whether it should be watch- Brigadier Generals, one Inspector General, and
ed by men hired for the purpose or by alternate iwo Assistant Inspectors.
watches of the citizens themselves. He took a After the bill was gone through, the Committee
view of the exposed situation of the Western rose, 47 to 46, reported progress, and asked leave
country, and advocated, generally, the support of to sit again.
a moderate standing force. He expected the

FOREIGN RELATIONS. Committee would rise, as it was late; but he hoped the subject would be resumed and the bill Mr. Van Dyke submitted the following resolupassed, if it were only that they might approach tion, which the House agreed to consider. one step nearer to putting the nation in a state of Resolved, That the President of the United States be defence.

requested to communicate to this House such informaThe Committee then rose-yeas 70, and obtain- tion touching our foreign relations as he may deem ed leave to sit again.

consistent with the public interest, the better to enable
this House to judge how far the Military Establishment

of the United States ought to be increased.
Thursday, February 18.

Mr. Van Dyke said it would be recollected that The amendatory bill concerning Courts Mar- the President, in his Message to Congress, had tial and Courts of Inquiry, yesterday presented to given reason to believe that he would in the course the House by Mr. John MONTGOMERY, was read of the session lay before them information relating the second time, and committed to a Committee to this very subject. A negotiation was now of the whole House to morrow.

going on; in what situation it is impossible to say. Mr. Desha presented to the House a resolution We know nothing of it as legislators, said he, for of the State of Kentucky, relative to the opening certainly we as legislators cannot aci on the ruof a wagon road from the Ohio river, opposite mors which are afloat. There ought to be a comPort William, to intersect the road leading from munication between the Chief Magistrate and the Cincinnati to Fort Wayne, near or at Fort Re- Representatives of the Union when employed in covery. The said resolution was read; Where- public business. The Chief Magistrate cannot upon, a motion was made by Mr. Desha, that I find himself embarrassed by this resolution ; it is the House do come to the following resolution: couched in terms which leave him at liberty to

Resolved, that the Committee on Public Lands communicate that information, or withhold it. be directed to inquire into the cxpediency of opening It is not my wish to extract from the Cabinet a a wagon road from the Ohio river, oposite Port Wil single syllable which would affectthe negotiations, liam, at the mouth of Kentucky, to intersect the road but, when bills of this kind are brought before us, leading from Cincinnati to Fort Wayne, near or at it must be desirable to every man anxious to disFort Recovery; and that they be authorized to report charge his duty to know what can be known on by bill, or otherwise.

this important subject. I therefore hope the House, On motion of Mr. Dana,

who are now acting blindfold as to the subject of Resolved, That the Committee of Commerce foreign relations, will request the Executive to and Manufactures be instructed to inquire into give us such information as can be communicated, the propriety of causing such buoys to be pro- to enable us to judge of theexpediency of increasing vided and placed, as may be requisite for the se- our Military Establishment. curity of pavigation, at and near the entrance of Mr. Dawson boped the resolution would not Connecticut river; and to ort by bill, or other be agreed to. Under the Constitution, which it is wise.

the duty of the President to obey, he is directed On motion of Mr. CHANDLER,

to give to this House, whenever he shall think Resolved, That a committee be appointed to proper, information relative to the matters within take into consideration the expediency of raising our cognizance. Had the gentleman from Delaby enlistment, and organizing a number of vol. ware read the last Message from the President on unteer troops, not exceeding twenty-four thousand the subject of foreign affairs, he would have there men, for the service of the United States; and found nothing shall be wanting on my part that they have leave to report by bill, or other' which may give information or despatch to the wise.

proceedings of the Legislature in the exercise of Ordered, That Mr. CHANDLER. Mr. Talleiheir high duties at a momentso interesting to the MADGE, Mr. Trigg, Mr. Findley, Mr. Calhoun, public welfare.” This assurance was made when Mr. Ván Allen, and Mr. Johnson, be appointed we first convened, and in this I place entire cona committee, pursuant to the said resolution. fidence. Whenever the public good requires, a

The House went into a Committee of the disclosure will be made. I bave no doubt at all Whole, on the bill authorizing the raising an ad-1 times and in every point which it is his duty to

[ocr errors]

FEBRUARY, 1808.

Foreign Relations.

H. OF R.

inform the House that he will make communica- derstood to say none of consequence, when comtion. In my judgment it would at this time be pared with theimmense mass which the Executive improper to make the communication which the must possess-compared with those volumes of gentleman calls for. If there be any subject which documents which every man within these walls requires Executive secrecy, it is ihe negotiation knows that the Executive does possess, nothing now pending. Does the gentleman desire that the has been stated to us. Do gentleman who object President should say, I wish to raise fifty or one to this resolution recollect that this House, as a hundred thousand men ? Would not this show branch of the National Legislature, is intrusted the state of the negotiation, and would it not have with the most important, most awful power that an ill effect? At any time when anything shall can be confided to any department of any governoccur which shall require a decisive act, no doubt ment, the power to declare war? communication will be made.

At the commencement of this session members Mr. Elliot said he differed radically with the on this floor, highly respected for their political gentlem aa from Virginia. He thought this the talents, venerable for their political experience, most proper time that could have been selected for members, at least one of them, second to none in calling upon the President of the United States political service, told us that they considered that for information respecting our foreign relations. we were already actually in a state of war. I Was there ever a time, said Mr. E., when a crisis differed from them, I did not believe we were in of such moment, amid circumstances so inauspi- a state of war-nor do I believe that we are now; cious and ominous as those which now encircle but every one knows that there is a prospect, nay, us, could render information more desirable ? Can a great probability of war, and Congress alone can there ever be such a time, when this House shall prepare for the event. The measure now under have less information than at this time on the consideration (the bill for raising an additional subject of our relations with foreign Powers ? Are army) and which appears to have led to this reswe never to be permitted to pierce this impenetra-olution calling for information, is certainly a meable veil which has so long covered our political | sure of a warlike aspect. Do we want an addiprospect with thick and dark clouds ? Shall not tional army, if we have no prospect of war? We a solitary ray of light wander through the gloom ? have distinct bills for an addition to the Peace EsI hope we are not much longer to remain in dark- tablishment and for a provisional army. It apness. I hope the Representatives of the American pears to me then that we ought to know, as far people, and the people themselves are, at no very as we can with propriety, what is the prospect, distant date, to know how our foreign relations not in the most extensive view of it. only now stand, but how they have been conducted In the Message of the President of the United for several years past. Over our relations with States at thecommencement of the present session, Spain and France, notwithstanding their extreme- of our differences with Spain he says, they “rely delicate character, a cloud as dark as ever cov-' main still unsettled; no measure having been taken ered the political atmosphere of any Republic has : on her part, since my last communications, to long been suspended. All we know is, that dread- bring them to a close. But under a state of things ful is the prospect, and that “shadows, clouds and which may favor reconsideration, they have been darkness rest upon it.”

recently pressed, and an expectation is entertained But the reason why it is said this is so inauspi-that they may soon be brought to an issue of some cious a time is, because a negotiation is going on sort." between the Government of the United States We have no information on this subject; but, and an Envoy Extraordinary from the Govern- if we may judge from what has heretofore taken ment of Great Britain ; because a negotiation is place, we must expect war with Spain. She has going on at the seat of Government, with one of once invaded our territory; in consequence of an the three great Powers of Europe with whom our agreement with our Commander-in-Chief the inrelations are so interesting, we are not to call for vaders retired; and we are now told no measures information on the subject of our foreigo relations have since that time been taken to bring our difgenerally. If I understand the resolution now ferences with her to a close. Spain felt herself under consideration it is a call for a general view authorized to take possession of a portion of our of our situation ; it calls for such information re- territory, and since that time no concession has speeting our foreiga relations as the President been made which can give us the least assurance shall deem it consistent with the public interest to that she has abandoned the claim or that she may communicate. Is it possible that at any moment not soon reassert it. whatever a request of that kind can be objected

As it respects the same Power, we are told: to? Can there be a time when it could be liable to the least objection ? Every gentleman knows ed a very serious one, as you will see by the decree, a

“ To our former grounds of complaint has been addthat we have not the power to coerce information; copy of which is now communicated. Whether this our power is limited to the request. As the Pre- decree, which professes to be conformable to that of the sident's Message has been alluded to, I will ob- French Government of November 21, 1806, heretofore serve that we are told in his Message that impor communicated to Congress, will also be conformed to tant information will soon be communicated—and that in its construction and application in relation to none of any consequence has yet been communi- the United States, had not been ascertained at the date cated. When I say that no information of con- of our last communications. These, however, gave sequence has been communicated, I would be un- reason to expect such a conformity.”

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »