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H. or R.

Foreign Relations.

FEBRUARY, 1808.

It was intimated that there was reason to ex- President shall, from time to time, communicate pect that that decree would be conformed to the such information as he deems proper; and has French decree; and I believe it was a very rea- thus made him the judge of what is proper for sonable expectation that there should be a perfect communication ; but practice has long established conformity in the decrees of the French and the principle, that the House of Representatives Spanish Goveroments. We now know what is have a right to request information whenever the real construction of the French decree, and they choose to ask it. If, therefore, there is nothwe know it to be tantamount to a declaration of ing in the present state of things which forbid war, but we choose not to consider it in that point this resolution, I cannot see why it should be obof light.

jected to. I disclaim the unbounded confidence France has declared war against America, and professed by the gentleman from Virginia ; I disAmerica does not choose to declare that a state of claim it as a friend to the rights of the American war exists between the two Powers. The treaty people; and, as one of those intrusted by them, between this country and France stipulates that in a crisis of great danger, to take care of their we shall enjoy free commerce; the decree says great political interests, the real state of which we shall have no commerce. France, therefore, they are not themselves permitted to know. In has broken the treaty, and we may with proprie- disclaiming unbounded confidence. I make no perty consider ourselves at war with France, if it sonal discrimination. Were WASHINGTON ai the should be thought prudent to do so. The same head of the Government, I would disclaim it as remark does not apply to the late decrees of Great | I now do. The days of WASHINGTON, indeed, Britain, because there exists no commercial treaty are past, but principles remain the same. Whobetween the United States and Great Britain. ever is placed at the head of the Government, on

“Whether a regular army is to be raised, and to him I shall not hesitate to call, to communicate what extent, depends on the information so short-such information as he may think proper. When ly expected.” Here is an explicit declaration by I say, however, tbat, in disclaiming this unboundthe President that the raising of an army, and the ed confidence, I make no personal application, I extent of it, must depend on information to be wish it to be distinctly understood that I have no received. We have received information that the extraordinary degree of confidence in the presdecree of the French Government is to be lite- ent Administration-extraordinary! I repeat; I rally executed; but we have not supposed it ne- have a confidence that it is pursuing what ii deems cessary to raise an army in consequence of the the interest of the nation-but I am not so determination of that Government to execute it. confident that iis conduct is consonant to the Further information, then, is contemplated as a dictates of a sound judgment. It is impossible, contingency on which depends the consideration however, to form a correct opinion on the subject of the question, whether we shall have a regular All is conjecture. Information is wanted. It may army or not. So extremely interesting is the appear that the Administration is pursuing the state of our foreign relations in general; so per- inost wise course; and, if so, it is certainly desifectly convinced am I, and so must be all the rable to remove all suspicion from the public members of this House, that the Executive is in mind. possession of information of the state of our for- Mr. Lyon made some observations in favor of eign relations with France and Spain, and that a the resolution; in the course of his observations portion of it ought to be exhibited to that branch remarking that many stories had been circulated of the Government which must prepare for and of French influence respecting the embargo, so declare war, if we have war; and so far convinc-that, if for no other reason, this resolution ought ed am I of our incompetency to pass that judg: to be adopted, because it would operate an economent upon the state of our foreign relations which my of lies. our duty requires, that I do most cordially approve Mr. M. Clay moved that the resolution lie on of the motion made by the gentleman from Dela- the table. It was not improper, but premature. ware. If no other objection can be pointed out, He was of the same opinion as to the bill under it ought to be adopted. The existing negotiation consideration to-day, (additional army,) rather cannot operate as an objection, because ihe Pres- premature. ident is not bound to communicate anything Mr. Cook said, he wanted information. Was which he may think proper to conceal. If this there anything indicative of war? Did they fear does not constitute an objection, there can be immediate war? No; they did not. And, after pone.

all that had taken place, he wished to know wheWe are told, because the President has said ther they were to have peace or war. that nothing shall be wanting on his part, that it Mr. Van Horn was opposed to the resolution is not proper to call for information. This is, to at this time, and was also determined not to vote me, a very strange argument; and nothing can for the bill this day under consideration (addibe more hostile to the principles of a free Gov. tional army) till he had information. This was eroment than the deliberate assumption of such an improper time, however, to ask it. · It must be a position. Is our Government, indeed, a Gov-known, said he, that we are waiting information, ernment of confidence? It may not, indeed, be and that the state of events has prevented its being as it has been called, a Government of suspicion, communicated. What are we now to do? We but it is certainly not a Government of unlimited are told that the advocates of the resolution do confidence. The Constitution has said, that the not want improper information. The informa

FEBRUARY, 1808.

Foreign Relations.

H. OF R.

tion called for is with a view directly expressed, sessed of any information which might have an to enable us to act on a war measure. What important bearing on our measures and deliberamust the President say? If he recommends the tions, and which the public interest does not, for raising of troops, or to the contrary, it shows his the present, require him to keep secret, and he notopinion with respect to the pending negotiation, withstanding fails to communicate it, and the and such an opinion the President may not wish public service thereby sustains injury, he is unto advance. It is the duty of the President to doubtedly as much responsible for that neglect of communicate such information at such times as duty, as he would be for recommending to our the public good may require it. He knows that consideration measures which were improper and we want information. He has expressly told us detrimental to the country; and if, for want of nothing shall be wanting on his part to give de-ihat information which we ought to have had, we spatch to our proceedings at a moment so inter- fail to adopt those measures which the public esting to the public welfare. What more could safety requires, this House are in no wise responhe have said Ž Does any man doubt that he will sible for it, it rests altogether with him. Mr. B. give us information, when it is necessary to act ? remarked, that this general view of his ConstituThen, if it be necessary, in his opinion, that an tional powers and duties was particularly appliarmy shall be raised, that will be a moment in cable to that sort of information which he might which it will be proper for him to communicate be supposed to possess in relation to our relations information; and, till that time, I shall not vote with foreign Powers, and to any existing negoeither for increasing the Peace Establishment, or tiations which might be pending between us and for raising an army. I will not act without in- them; that as the Executive alone could be supformation ; and I would not be understood as posed to know what the peculiar state of those willing to raise twelve or fifteen thousand men relations were, so he alone could correctly judge without being satisfied that they are necessary. how far, and when, it was proper to give them And I hope the bill will not be called up till we publicity. The President having, in substance, have information on which we can be satisfied told us, at the commencement of the session, that whether or not it is necessary to raise an army. our future measures must depend upon the events

Mr. Bacon said that, as the proposition now which might turn up thereafter, and which would before the House did not seem to him to be one in proper time be made known to us, we had a which necessarily involved in it any question of right to suppose that no further information on political or personal confidence in the Chief Ma. those subjects, which it was proper at this time to gistrate of the nation, he could not think that it make known, was in his possession, beyond what was requisite for him to seize upon the occasion had already been communicated, in the course of for the purpose of declaring whether he entertain the session. Whether what we were already posed that confidence or not, especially when he con- sessed of was sufficient to justify any particular sidered that, however important it might be, that measure which might, from any quarter, be subthe opinions of some other gentlemen in the House mitted to the House, every member would judge should, in this respect, be known, and they had for himself, being responsible for his conduct, and on that account undoubtedly supposed that they his vote, no further than the information which were discharging a high and solemn duty, in ex- was laid before him justified. It certainly is not plicitly declaring them; yet, with regard to him our duty to remind the Executive that it is at all self, it was a matter of litile consideration, either times, and more particularly in the present critiwith the House or the nation, to justify him in cal state of affairs, incumbent on him to furnish stepping aside from his duty, for the purpose of us with every light that he possibly can, consistent proclaiming his individual confidence, or express- with the public convenience, and a regard to ing his distrust of the Executive Magistrate. pending negotiations with foreign Powers; and, I Whatever his personal partialities or aversions, in repeat it, that, for the proper, faithful, and fair that respect, might be, he could not perceive the discharge of this duty, the Executive alone is renecessity of calling them into action for the pur- sponsible to the nation, and it is not for either of pose of enabling him to decide the question now the other branches of the Government to assume before the House ; and, in giving his vote in the a responsibility which does not Constitutionally negative, he felt that he should stand justified in belong to them. Mr. B. said, he was not, thereit merely by that Constitutional confidence which, fore, for doing it, although he probably felt as as a member of one branch of the Government, much curiosity as other gentlemen to know exhe might be supposed to entertain toward another actly how we were situated in our foreign relabranch, and that was all which, on this occasion, tions, and although he protessed to know as little he thought it necessary to express. It is provided about them as any other member on that floor. stitution " that the President shall, from time to Kentucky, (Mr. Lyon,) that it was politic and time, give to the Congress information of the expedient to pass the resolution before us, in order

state of the Union, and recommend to their con- to prevent misrepresentations of our conduct and 'sideration such measures as he shall judge ne- our views; and that it would, therefore, be, as he cessary and expedient.” In the performance of expressed it “ an economy of lies; Mr. B. would this duty, he is undoubtedly intrusted with a dis- only remark, that the crops of that commodity cretionary power, for the due and proper exercise which were every day springing up around them of which he is fully responsible. If he is pos- and in every quarter of the country, were so vast

H. Of R.

Government Contracts.

FEBRUARY.1808.

ly beyond what was necessary for their ordinary within the United States.-Referred to the Comconsumption, that it would be a desirable object mittee on the District of Columbia. to discourage them if they could do it effectually; The resolution submitted to the consideration but that they sprang from such a great variety of of the House yesterday, by Mr. Van Dyke, resources, and branched out into such innumerable questing the President of the United States to ramifications, that the attempt was fruitless and communicate information touching our foreign in vain; and, to cut off one root of the evil, even relations, being again read at the Clerk's table the if it was in our power to do it, would be of very question was taken that the House do now prolittle consequence, while a thousand others re- ceed to the farther consideration of the same; and mained, and would be daily springing up, so long passed in the negative. as a disposition for misrepresentation and calum- Mr. POINDEXTER, from the committee to whom py prevailed in the couniry. He therefore hoped the subject was referred, reported a bill concernthai if that gentleman had no better reasons than ing the power of the Territorial governments, (to that for voting in favor of the resolution before take from Governors of Territories the powers of the House, that he would, upon more serious con- prorogation,) which he moved to be engrossed for sideration, relinquish it.

a third reading, as it could not be amended, and Mr. Quincy said that the gentleman from Vir- must stand or fall on the principle. ginia (Mr. Dawson) and his colleague (Mr. BA- Mr. Troup objected, and moved that it be recon) called for confidence not only in what the ferred to a Committee of the Whole, that being President does, but in what he thinks. The lat- the usual course and this a bill of importance.ter gentleman, observed Mr. Q., says, that if we carried, yeas 58. neglect the doing of an act, because we were not Mr. MORRow moved that the Committee of the informed of the necessity for it, the omission Whole on the bill to amend the nineteenth section rests with the President of the United States. of the act fixing the Military Peace Establishment, But we ourselves are now called upon to act. be discharged from further consideration of it, Great duties are required of us. What are they? and that it be referred to the committee heretofore To raise an army of twelve thousand or fifteen appointed to inquire what compensation ought to thousand men. We ask for information !o koow be made to persons who have received wounds what number are necessary, and where our expos- in the service of the United States since the Rev. ed points are. I have no objection to give all the olutionary war. The bill went to the same obforce which may be requisite for the public good ; ject, but was not as broad as the resolution which but I wish to know what particular points require had been by this House referred to a committee.force, and whether this force is to the extent Agreed to. which it becomes our duty to give ?

DEATH OF JOHN DICKINSON. On motion, the House now adjourned

Mr. Eppes.-It has just been announced to me

by a friend that John DICKINSON, a venerable FRIDAY, February 19.

patriot of our Revolution, is no more. His attachA Message was received from the President of ment to liberty and his exertions in our struggle the United States, transmitting the report of the for independence are recorded on the page of hisCommissioners for laying out the route of the tory: His talents, his private virtues, and above Cumberland road.-Referred to Mr. John MONT- all, his public services, entitle him to ihuse marks GOMERY, Mr. Jeremiah Morrow, Mr. Lewis, Mr. of respect which have heretofore been extended SAMUEL SMITH, and Mr. STANFORD.

to other patriots of the Revolution who no longer On motion of Mr. Van Dyke,

exist but in the remembrance of a grateful country. Ordered, That the petition of the officers and

Mr. E. then moved the following resolution, soldiers who served in America, during the war

which was adopted : between France and Great Britain, which com

Resolved unanimously, That this House is penetrated menced in the year one thousand seven hundred with a full sense of the eminent services rendered to and fifty-five, presented the twentieth of February, his country in the most arduous times by the late John one thousand eight hundred and seven, praying Dickinson, deceased; and that the members thereof to be confirmed in their respective titles to certain wear crape on the left arm for one month, in testimony lands granted by the King of Great Britain, in of the national gratitude and reverence towards the consideration of military services rendered the memory of that illustrious patriot. American Colonies, during the said war, be re

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS. ferred to the Committee on Public Lands.

The order of the day for the House to resolve Mr. Lewis presented a petition of the stock. itself into a Committee of the hole on the enholders of the " Marine Insurance Company of grossed bill, entitled "An act concerning public Alexandria," and others, in the District of Co- contracts," recommitted on the sixteenth instant, lumbia; praying that a law may be passed by Con- was called for; and the question being put that gress to alter the style of the said company to the House do now resolve itself into a Committee that of " The Marine and Fire Insurance Com- of the Whole on the said bill, it passed in the pany of Alexandria ;" and to authorize the com- negative-yeas 50, nays 61, as follows: pany under its new designation to make insuran- YEAS—David Bard, Burwell Bassett, William W. ces against fire on houses, warehouses, household Bibb, William Blackledge, Thomas Blount, John furniture, and on goods, wares, and merchandise, Boyle, William A. Burwell, John Campbell, Matthew

FEBRUARY, 1808.

Embargo.

H. OF R.

Clay, John Clopton, Howell Cobb, John Dawson, that it shall not be employed in foreign trade du-
Joseph Desha, John W. Eppes, Edwin Gray, William ring the embargo.
Helms, William Hoge, David Holmes, Benjamin The third section provides that in all cases
Howard, Richard M. Johnson, Thomas Kenan, Wil- where bonds have been given under the embargo
liam Kirkpatrick, Joseph Lewis, jr., Matthew Lyon, laws, the party or parties to such bond shall, within
Robert Marion, William McCreery, Daniel Montgom- four months from its date, produce to the collectors
ery, jr., Nicholas R. Moore, Jeremiah Morrow, John of the port from which the vessel had been cleared,
Morrow, John Porter, Josiah Quincy, John Rea of &c., a certificate of the relanding of the same, from
Pennsylvania, Jacob Richards, Samuel Riker, John the collector of the proper port, on failure whereof
Russelí, Lemuel Sawyer, John Smilie, Samuel Smith, the bond shall be put in suit, &c.
Richard Stanford, John Taylor, John Thompson, Abram

The fourth section provides against exportation
Trigg, George M. Troup, Jabez Upham, Daniel C.
Verplanck, Jesse Wharton, Robert Whitehill, Isaac in any manner whatever of goods the exportation

of which by sea is prohibited by the embargo Wilbour, and David R. Williams.

Nars—Evan Alexander, Willis Alston, jr., Ezekiel laws; and if any such be exported from the UniBacon, Joseph Barker, John Blake, jr., Robert Brown, ted States, either by land or water, the vessel, boat, William Butler, Joseph Calhoun, George W. Camp raft, cart, wagon, sleigh, or other carriage in bell, Epaphroditus Champion, John Chandler, Martin which the same shall have been exported, together Chitienden, Orchard Cook, Richard Cutts, Samuel W. with the tackle, apparel, and horses, be forfeited, Dana, John Davenport, jr., Josiah Deane, Daniel M. and the owners of such vessel, boat, &c. as well Durell, James Elliot, William Ely, James Fisk, Barent as the owner of such goods, &c. knowingly conGardenier, Francis Gardner, Charles Goldsborough, cerned in such prohibited exportation, shall each Isaiah L. Green, John Harris, John Heister, James forfeit and pay a sum pot exceeding por less Holland, Daniel Ilsley, James Kelly, Nehemiah Knight, than dollars for every such offence. John Lambert, Edward St. Loe Livermore, Josiah Mas- The fifth section provides that on the return of ters, William Milnor, John Montgomery, Jonathan any fishing vessel which shall have sailed subse0. Mosely, Gurdon S. Mumford, Thomas Newbold, quent to the embargo law, it shall be the duty of Thomas Newton, Timothy Pitkin, jr., John Pugh, the master and mate to take oath that the whole John Rhea of Tennessee, Matthias Richards, John of the fishing fare has been brought into the UniRowan, James Sloan, Jedediah K. Smith, Henry South- ted States, and that no part thereof has been sold ard, William Stedman, Clement Storer, Lewis B.

on the voyage. Sturges, Peter Swart, Samuel Taggart, Benjamin Tallmadge, James I. Van Allen, Nicholas Van Dyke, ties incurred by this act shall be sued for, recovered,

The sixth and last section provides that penal. Archibald Van Horn, Marmaduke Williams, Alex-distributed, and accounted for, mitigated or remitander Wilson, Richard Winn, and James Witherell.

ted, as penalties incurred by the embargo law.] THE EMBARGO.

Á motion was made by Mr. GOLDSBOROUGH, to On motion of Mr. Newton, the House went strike out the second section, intended to exempt into a Committee of the Whole, by a large ma- market vessels, &c., from the restriction imposed jority, on the bill supplementary to the embargo

on boats in the bays, &c., adjacent to foreign ter

ritories, and which have heretofore evaded the act.

law by crossing the bay, &c. [The first section of this bill provides that no This motion was supported on the ground that ship, vessel, or boat, of any description whatever, there is a Constitutional prohibition to passing of ihe United States, which is neither registered, such a provision, as the Constitution says that “no licensed, or possessed of a sea-letter, nor any for- preference shall be given by any regulation of eign vessel, shall be allowed to depart any port of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State the United States with a cargo to another port over those of another." in the United States, until bond shall be given, in The motion was opposed on the ground of exdouble the value of vessel and cargo, that the ves- pediency; and that the Constitution in contemsel shall not proceed to any foreign port or place, plating this did expressly warrant the provision, and that the cargo shall be relanded in some port moved to be struck out, inasmuch as the inhabiof the United States :. Provided, that vessels tants of the States adjacent to foreign States now whose employment has been uniformly confined do enjoy an advantage over those which are otherto rivers, bays, and sounds, within the jurisdiction wise situated, by trading with a foreign Power, in of the United States, shall be excepted, by giving these boats, with impunity; and it was to equalbond to the amount of three hundred dollars for ise commercial regulations that this section was each ton of said vessel, with conditions that such

to be passed. vessel shall not be employed in any foreign trade Motion negatived by a large majority. during the time limited in the bond.

Some discussion arising on the sums with which The second section provides that boats not the blanks in the fourth section of the bill should masled, or if masted, not decked, whose employ- be filled, on motion of Mr. J. MONTGOMERY that ment has been and shall be confined to rivers, bays, part fixing the minimum was struck out, and not and sounds, within the United States, and lying less than ten thousand dollars, at the discretion of within districts not adjacent to territories, colonies, the court," inserted-yeas 56. or provinces of a foreign nation, may be exempted, A motion was made by Mr. Rowan, that the whether licensed or not, by giving bond in thirty fine should be at the discretion of the jury instead dollars for each ton of 'said boat, with condition of the court, and negatived-51 to 36.

H. of R.

Embargo.

FEBRUARY, 1808.

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Mr. Van Horn moved to strike out of the first sail to Charlston with produce, though only a few section, the words " no ship, vessel, or boat of any miles, without giving bond. description whatever, and insert "no ship or ves- Mr. Taylor replied to his colleague, who had sel," with a view thereafter to strike out the second just sat down. In the course of his observasection.–Agreed to.

iions he remarked that in South Carolina, in a The Committee then rose, reported progress, and single hour, he could, by making a contract with obtained leave to sit again.

planters, deliver to a vessel in waters deep enough io receive a vessel of five hundred tons of burden,

á complete freight. Their canal or bay boats SATURDAY February 20.

Inight be manned and loaded altogether by black Mr. J. MONTGOMERY presented a memorial of people, and conveyed down the bay to a vessel the officers of the Navy of the United States, lying far out of the reach of custom-house officers, praying that the value of rations may be fixed ai without the knowledge of any person who could ihe former price, of i wenty-eight cents; that offi- be introduced as evidence in a court of justice; cers, when unemployed, may receive their rations thus, in a very short time could ten or fifteen in addition to balf pay; that a provision may be thousand bags of cotton be exported. As to the made for widows and orphans, similar to that provision itself, Mr. T. believed that their constinow made for those of the officers of the Army; tuents would not murmur at the provisions inthat compensation to masters commandant and tended to render the embargo more effectual; they midshipmen be increased.-Referred to a select would not strain at the gnat when they had swalcommittee.

lowed the camel.

Mr. J. Clay read an amendment which would THE EMBARGO.

be found to do away all objection, and answer the The House took up for consideration the report ideas of all gentlemen, which he would propose of the Committee of the Whole on the bill sup- if the present amendment were rejected. plementary to the embargo law.

Mr. D. R, WILLIAMS avowed his concurrence The question having been put on an amend with the amendment which the gentleman had ment to the second section as follows: but no read, as it would remove his objections. thing contained in this section shall compel the Mr. Troup, in some remarks in favor of a reSecretary of the Treasury to require a bond for striction, observed that he had always thought the boats under five tons, if in his opinion there ex- measure of the embargo was the best for our situ. 'ists no urgent necessity for taking the same;" ation that could have been devised, and had no

It was amended, on motion of Mr. Bacon, by doubt that if that measure had been followed up striking out the words in italic, and inserting the by a pertinent system of defence, it would have following; Provided, however, That the Secre- produced an honorable peace even by this time. tary of the Treasury be and he is hereby author-For the same reason he wished the embargo to ized to dispense with the requirement of any be rendered effectual. If the bill were passed such bond."

without some restriction of the kind, Savannah A motion made by Mr. GOLDSBOROUGH to strike would be made the depot of the Eastern and Midout the words five in the amendment, and insert dle Slates, and thence produce would be conveyed ten, was negatived, ayes 23.

in boats to St. Augustine. Mr. D. R. Williams, in some observations to Mr. Newron, in ihe course of some observations show the hardship of the obligation negatively on the amendment, observed as to the general required by this amendment, that all boats under measure of enbargo, he had always considered five tons should give bond or not, at discretion of that it would be of advantage to the United States, the Secretary of the Treasury, remarked, that al- in which opinion he had been further confirmed though he was not here when the embargo law by the late British and French decrees. Mr. N. passed, if he had been, he should have voted also acquiesced in the amendment read by Mr. J. against it, conceiving it a premature measure; Clay. but now it was imposed, now the nation had lifted The amendment was negatived by a considerits hand, he thought it proper to support it. He able majority; and Mr. Clay's agreed to without said this much, lest it should be supposed that he a division. had a disposition to loosen the gripe of the em- Several other amendments of minor importance bargo; he would hold on it till death, or till it were then made. should be ascertained whether or not it would an- A motion was made by Mr. Cook to recommit swer the intended purpose. There could not be the bill to a Committee of the Whole, and dega man in the House but who was determined to atived-ayes 32. hold on to the embargo as a national measure, but A motion made by Mr. DURELL to adjourn was it could not be expected that the nation would negatived, 52 to 27. submit to it, if they imposed such extreme and Mr. Milnor, as he said he was unable, after barassing regulations as to prevent any boat from the various and contradictory amendments which sailing from a plantation to market, &c. without had taken place, to say what the bill was, moved giving bond. Mr. W. then made some forcible to postpone the farther consideration of the bill remarks to show the peculiar situation of the till Tuesday next, that it might be printed as South Carolina planters, some of whose boats car- amended-negatived, ayes 19. ried six hundred bales of cotton, and could not Several amendments were offered to the fifth

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