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H. OF R.

Embargo.

FEBRUARY, 1808.

offence at this bill, because it has left no place to public interest. The embargo is in operation; it get out. Does he want to get out? Does he want is a subject before the public tribunal, a tribunal his constituents to get out? Does he want the every way competent to decide; there the merits people of Vermont to get out? He brought down or demerits of the measure will be dispassionately his observations from the Gallic Emperor to the weighed and numbered. I am not a little gratipigs of Vermont. There is more honor, dignity, fied to find that unequivocal expressions of approand magnanimity in the people of Vermont, even bation have been made by most of the State Leif a hole should be left, than io send their produce gislatures, and that not a day passes away without to the British Provinces. And if any intercourse increasing the number of its advocates. 'Epithets be carried on between the people of Vermont and of abuse have, with no sparing hand, been spread the people of Canada, it must be by those who abroad in every direction. It has been represented heve forsworn those principles, the observance of as the offspring of foreign influence; but declamwhich they owe to their country. Does the gen-ation and accusation can avail nothing with the tleman wish an opening through which the whole enlightened public; proof of foreign influence produce of the United States may float down the must be adduced, if the propagators of it expect river St. Lawrence, and then across the Atlantic? any advantage from it. Let the situation of the

I have never contemplated this embargo as a United States, prior and subsequent to the passage war system; it is a system of peace, and holds of the act laying an embargo, in their relations forth to the nations of Europe this' language: with foreign nations, be candidly and impartially “We are willing to send you our produce, but viewed. you have refused to let us travel quietly, and, as If the justification of the measure is not to be ihis is the case, we will keep our vessels and pro- found in those relations, we disdain to resort to duce at home, nor expose one or the other to your other means for it; we are willing that all the friendship or depredation.” This is the language responsibility of the measure should attach to us. of the embargo; it is, therefore, no war measure. When our attention was first attracted to this I hope the House will not arrest its effect until the subject, the decree of the Emperor of France, of purpose for which it was imposed is completed; November 21, 1806, was in operation; and that before that time arrives, the more perfect it is the blockading decree it was intimated would be rigbetter. Let us show that we are determined to orously enforced. Previous to its operation, our preserve and support our neutrality.

commerce had been, and continued to be, greatly The gentleman told us that the nation must be restricted by the orders of the British Cabinet; saved by the Representatives of the people. This and our Minister at the Court of London, so early observation I could not understand; I always as the 10th of January, 1807, was informed that, thought that the sovereign people represented if the French decree were enforced, the British themselves. I have indeed heard it said that the Ministry had resolved to pursue retaliating meapeople were themselves their worst enemies; but sures. We saw in such acts, having the sanction I always thought that they could save themselves, of public authority, the ruin and prostration of and still think so; and the moment we step aside our commerce. As the guardians of the national from our duły, they will do it. If they think we interest, as the depositary of the national power, act against their interest, they will call us back Congress was invoked to rescue commerce from with language of reprobation, and put others in inevitable destruction. In the performance of this our stead to pursue a different policy. It is on duty the embargo was laid, as the best means of the principle of anxiety for the public good that I security. The subsequent acts and conduct of the act; and to the people I look for approbation; and belligerent Powers have confirmed me in opinion for these reasons I shall vote for the bill.

that the measure was the result of imperious neMr. Newton.-I consent to the recommitment cessity. Those whose prejudices have shut their from a conviction that the friends of the bill are minds against the influence of such manifestations desirous of giving it that direction. Their wishes on the part of the belligerent nations, cannot be have been expressed, and I acquiesce. To have appealed to as impartial judges. avoided a debate on the embargo-a subject which It has been said that we should not prevent the has been discussed-would have afforded me great exportation of produce in foreign vessels, while satisfaction, particularly as it must have been fore- our own are detained in port by the embargo; seen that much warmth would be excited by it. that the reason for such a course was not evident, It is no small gratification to me that those with nor strong. To me, sir, the necessity and policy whom I am politically associated, did not provoke of the restriction is evident. If Congress had not it. We are again called upon for our reasons in prohibited the exportation of American produce, favor of this measure. We have thought, and a carte blanche would have been given io Great still think, that it was one which was dictated by Britain. By such an act she would have secured enlightened policy and imperious necessity. the object of all her wishes with our approbatiop;

Assembled here for the sole purpose of promot- an object which, since 1793, all the numerous and ing the public welfare, it becomes a duty to act iniquitous orders of her Cabinet have been issued with propriety and temper; and in no instance to to obtain. If, in retiring from the ocean, io consuffer our passions to lead us into the adoption of sequence of the illiberal and execrable policy of measures inconsistent with that object. Maturity the belligerent nations, we had thrown our ports of consideration should always precede decision; open to them for the exportation of produce, Great a contrary course would be a dereliction of the Britain would have been reaping the whole har

FEBRUARY, 1808.

Embargo.

H. OF R.

vest; she would have enjoyed a monopoly of confined to an intercourse among ourselves, nothcommerce. By such an aci she would have been ing within the scope of power could have prerewarded for her injustice and insults; and one vented war. The United States, in defence of million two hundred thousand tons of shippiog their maritime rights, must have taken sides. would have been sacrificed to her inordinate lust | They would have been arrayed in battle order, for maritime domination and commercial monop- either on the side of France against Great Britain, oly. Let it not be forgotten that the other belli- or on that of Great Britain against France; an gerent nations are driven from the ocean. In the event, taken either way, more deplorable, than an permission contended for, we saw the prostration embargo without limitation. War, sir, is less to of the various and judicious acts of the National be dreaded as it relates to the shocks and impresGovernment, framed with a view to foster our sions which contending armies receive from, or navigation and trade. Is, sir, we had pursued the make on each other, than as to consequences of policy advocated, we never could have repelled another description; a disregard for-1 was on the charge of having signed, sealed, and delivered the eve of saying, an oblivion of-those principles a general conveyance to Great Britain of all our which are the pillars of the Republic. Military commercial rights.

power seldom renders homage to justice; and The embargo will produce a happy effect, inas. rarely mounts the car of war for any other purmuch as it will determine in the estimation of puse than to inflict injuries and spread desolation. European nations the importance of American War is Pandora's box, from which issue all the commerce, and the value of her friendship. evils and calamities that can afflict and scourge

In the enjoyment of advantages they have in- mankind. Rather than encounter such consedolently rested content. The great mass of the quences, and be entangled in the labyrinth of Eupeople have never extended their views to the ropean artifice and diplomacy, I would cheerfully source of those comforts. The period has arrived render my assent to a non-intercourse with the when the privations they are forced to suffer will belligerent Powers. Let them render justice to exhibit to view the fountain from which a thou- a fair and honest neutrality, and I will be among sand blessings flow. Europe is afilicted with scare the first in reciprocating it. But, sir, until repacity; and America is the only granary to which ration is made to my much injured, outraged, and resort can be had to avert the horrors of pestilence insulted country, I cannot press to my bosom with and famine. The finger of Providence appears the cordiality of friendship, the violators of her to have prepared a crisis for the operation of a rights. measure ihe best calculated of all others to re-es- I cannot, sir, omit here noticing some inconsistablish the relations of reciprocal justice, and to tencies into which our political opponents have admonish despots that there is a just and control- fallen. The Republicans have been charged with ling power that assigns to iniquity and oppression wanting vigor, since to them has been entrusted their limits.

the management of the national concerns. When Adhere, sir, to this measure with firmness, and strong measures were deemed unnecessary, we the accommodation of our differences will be cer. were told that pusillanimity deterred us from taktain and advantageous. If we yield the ground ing them. When the embargo was recommended we have taken, our character for stability and by our opponents, it was represented as the only firmness will be lost forever; and it will be in vain effectual measure to which we could resort: as to look for respect and justice from those who do soon as the crisis justified its adoption, gloomy not apprehend a vigorous and spirited retaliation and desponding reflections were felt and uttered, for withholding that justice and respect which as to its probable effects: the Executive and Conwe have a right to demand. The United States gress were represented as precipitating the nation of America are involved in a crisis similar to that into ruin. This language cannot be mistaken; which gave existence to their iodependence. the traits of inconsistency are strongly marked;

Proclamations and decrees restrict, limit, nar- the struggle for power is evident; but the efforts row, or suspend trade, in the same manner and to regain paradise are by no means calculated to style as if the United States were colonial depen- insure success. Secret influence is the cabalistic dencies. In 1776, the Genius of America inspired word. If I am by it to understand Executive her sons with courage to resist oppression. la influence, I cannot either discern its application, their Declaration of Independence they enumera- or find out the manner in which it is to operate. led among the causes of iheir resistance, that "of I cannot entertain an opinion so unworthy of mycutting off our trade with all parts of the world.” self, as for a moment to believe, that the respect When our forefathers were few in number, they I entertain for the Executive Magistrate of the confronted dangers of every description for their United States, renowoed for his patriotism and liberties and commerce. The contest eventuated viriues, can ever degenerate into servility. No, in the freedom and independence of the nation. sir, it cannot; I am not by nature of a temperaA tame and submissive surrender of the acquisi- ment to become the humble minion of power. tions of their valor, would fix on the national Foreign influence is likewise pressed into sername'an indelible stain. Their recollected patri- vice--he efficacy of its magic is tried-it ranks otism should inspire us to make whatever sacri- among the political panaceas of the day. But fices the crisis requires. In the choice of war or from whence, sir, does the accusation flow? Is an embargo, we have chosen the last as the least this serious and weighty charge brought against of evilse: If commerce had not been arrested and us by those worthies who achieved the indepen.

10th Con. Ist Sess.-53

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dence of their country? No; the greater number some time engaged in circulating reports of French of those worthies are with us. Is that class of influence over the councils of the nation. These citizens who have raised themselves into notice charges vere in themselves so destitute of even and importance by years of devotion to public the semblance of truth-so totally unfounded and services, numbered among our accusers? No; the unsupported by any facts to give them the color greatest number of that class is also on the saine of probability that they made little or no impresside of the question with us. I have no skill in sion on the public mind, and were rejected as slanfinding out motives; the science is too mysterious derous falsehoods, the mere offspring of malignity, and occult for the dimness of my intellectual as generally as they were known. The more revision. The abortive attempts which I have so spectable public prints of the same party refuted often witnessed, have disqualified me from putting these charges, and treated them with that conin my pretensions for distinction and promotion. tempt which they deserved. They therefore reI trust, sir, that such language must proceed either ceived no serious notice from those against whom from the intemperance of discussion, or from a they were made, and there appeared 10 be a genmisconception of the American character, which eral disposition to suffer them to sink into that can never descend from the elevated station of silent oblivion to which the good sense of the independence to become the pander or the puppet nation would most certainly have consigned them. of despots.

But, when these charges are borrowed from those Persevering firmness in the present course will petty scribblers, and echoed and repeated on this have the tendency of adjusting our differences, floor by a person having the honor of a seat in the and of giving to such adjustment the character of House, it is high time they should be noticed-to permanency. When all hopes of producing a re- be longer silent would be criminal. Issue is now laxation in our principles are abandoned, the pre-joined, and the guilty, whoever they may besent crisis will no longer present a threatening whether the accused or the accusers-must stand aspect. On our firmness at this time depends the forth before the pation, stripped of their mask of confuture prosperity of the nation. To us is now cealment, to receive the sentence of public indig. consigned, Mr. Speaker, the arduous task, amidst nation, that will frown them with contempt into the convulsions and tempests which agitate the obscurity. For there is no medium in this case: world, of keeping in the haven of peace the vessel the accusers or the accused must be guilty-must of State. Perform this important service, and you be enemies to their country-and it is high time will enjoy a reward, of all others the most grate the nation—the people of America-should know ful to a patriot, the smiles of his country.

their friends from their foes. The crisis calls for The Speaker said he was under the necessity it, and the honor and dignity of this House deof reminding gentlemen that the question before mand that the guilty should be exposed. If the the House was on the recommitment of the bill. charges can be supported, that any portion of the

Mr. LIVERMORE said he had apprehended that members of this House are acting under foreign was the motion, and that they were not now con- influence, let the people know it; let them change sidering the propriety of laying the embargo. For their representation ; let them send men of integhis own part, he thought the bill ought to be com-rity, who are superior to the secret influence of a mitted ; and he hoped the gentleman from Virginia foreign Power. But if, on the contrary, those allewould not say that he was one of those mushroom gations are found to be false and unfounded, then politicians or political wiseacres he had alluded let the nation know this, and let the finger of scorn to, because he concurred with him in agreeing that point at those who have published such groundthe bill should be recommitted, to be amended, or less falsehoods, and render them the objects of thrown into some kind of order. He should for- public contempt and detestation. This subject is bear making any comments on the speech of the now fairly before the public, and he who had made honorable gentleman last up, on the propriety of such serious charges on this floor-charges that laying an embargo; but, at some time when the the majority of this House is acting under the subject was properly before the House, he would impulse of French or Gallic influence-will, it is go into a discussion.

presumed, produce to this House and the nationMr. G. W. CAMPBELL said it was with more and he is now called upon to do so-the proofs, than usual reluctance that he rose to address the the evidence, or facts, that support those charges House on this occasion, and nothing but a sense and if these are not produced, it must be considof duty would impel him to enter into a discus-ered by this House and by the nation that there sion in which it might be necessary to notice are no such proofs of facts, and that therefore charges made against the majority of this House, these charges are groundless calumnies, circulated of the Senate, and against the Government in gen- abroad at this important crisis by the enemies of eral, which, if true, ought to be proved and made this country to distract the public mind and deknown to the public, so as to produce a total ren- stroy the confidence of the people in their Governovation in the national councils; and, if false, ment, which would palsy ihe energies of the naought to consign their authors to that disgraceful tion, and render her more vulnerable to the attacks infainy which such conduct was calculated to draw of a foreign enemy, upon ihem-an infamy that should mark them On the subject of the embargo, Mr. C. said he out as common calumniators, and hold them forth had been hitherto silent in this House-he thought as fit objects for national contempt. The petty it more important to act than to speak. The reascribblers in the party newspapers have been for sons for passing the law laying an embargo, said

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Mr. C., appeared to me (as they did, I presume, to out sacrificing at the foot of British power our a majority of the House) so stroog, so self-evident, national honor and independence. In addition to that ihey must produce conviction without argu- these, it was known that the British Ministry had ment; and to discuss a measure under such cir. informed our Ambassadors at London that they cumstances appeared like a useless waste of time, would adopt orders to countervail the French and, as it were, admitting a doubt where none ex- blockading decree, and a note to this effect was isted. And since the passage of that law, events annexed to the treaty which had been agreed upon have succeeded each other so rapidly, which prove by the Commissioners of the two countries, and to every American friendly to his country, whose afterwards rejected by our Government. This note mind is not warped by prejudice, not only the pro- appeared in the public prints previous to the paspriety and policy of the law, but the great import- sage of the embargo law, and was sufficient to conance and absolute necessity of it at this time, for vince every man that Britain would act according the security of our mérchandise and seamen, the to this declaration. About the same time, it was preservation of peace, and to prepare the country stated in the Government prints of that country for war, that even those who opposed the measure which had reached us, that orders, on the part of at first seemed to be convinced of its utility, and Great Britain, countervailing the French decree, appeared disposed to support it as the only means and declaring France and all her dependencies in our power calculated to preserve the honor and being almost the whole continent of Europe) in promote the general welfare of the nation. The a state of siege, had been prepared, and were about public sentiment throughout this Union, so far as to be published. That this measure, therefore, it has been in the power of the people to express either was adopted by Great Britain, or certainly it, in their Legislative as well as individual capa- would be in a short time, was fairly calculated city, has not only sanctioned this law, but warmly upon, and generally believed. The event has jusapproved the policy of it, and pledged the ener- tified the expectation. The countervailing orders gies of the nation to support the measure. Thus, have since been issued by Great Britain, interdictit would seem that the reasons for passing it ap- ing all commerce with France and her dependenpeared as self-evident to, and made as strong ancies, and these have been followed by Orders impression on the minds of the people at large, as after Orders almost innumerable. In what situathey did on the minds of the majority of the Nation, then, were we placed by those decrees and tional Legislature. It was, therefore, deemed un- orders? Prohibited from all commerce with Engnecessary to enter into an investigation of those land and her territories, by France; and, on the reasons on this floor.

other hand, interdicted from all commerce with But, when charges of the most serious nature France and the rest of the continent by the Orders are made on this floor against the majority of the of Great Britain. Where, then, could our vessels House-charges that they are acting under and go, without being exposed to capture ? Not to a governed by French influence, (for this is in sub- single port in Europe or her dependencies. In this stance the allegation)-charges which I believe situation, what were we to do? We had but one to be un founded with respect

to every member of alternative-either to go to war with all the Powthe House of the majority, and which so far as ers of Europe at once, or suspend for a time all regards myself I know to be, and now so declare intercourse with them, and keep at home our merthem, infamous, groundless falsehoods—it may be chandise, vessels, and seamen. We were not preproper, and I deem it my duty, to state some of pared for the former, either with men or resources; the reasons that governed my conduct in voting nor could it possibly be our interest to enter into for the law laying an embargo, and the subsequent such a contest, if it could be avoided. We chose supplemental act, for carrying into more complete to adopt the latter; it was certainly the least evil effect the same object, and which will also induce of the two; it was the only measure that left us me to vote for the bill now under discussion. These the chance of preserving peace, and at the same reasons arise from the situation in which this pa- time enabled us to be prepared for war. There tioo was at that time placed in relation to the great were no other means by which war could be belligerent Powers of Europe. We were then offi- avoided. Our vessels were liable to seizure on the cially informed that Bonaparte had determined ocean, if bound to any port in Europe or her deto execute, in the most rigorous manner, his dependencies. Seizures, under such circumstances, cree of the 21st of November, 1806, declaring the would have been just cause of war. Had our vesBritish isles in a state of blockade. By this mea- sels gone out and been captured, we should have sure, our commerce with Great Britain and her been forced into a war, from which we could dependencies was interdicted. At the same time expect to derive no benefit, and which it was our was made known to us a proclamation issued by interest to avoid, if possible. Placed, as we apthe British Government relative to seamen, asseri-peared to be, in the midst of danger-as it were ing her right, and declaring her determination between Scylla and Charybdis-we endeavored to pursue à certain line of conduct on the ocean to steer a middle course, at equal distances from incompatible with the hitherto acknowledged laws the violence of the waves and the dangers of the of nations-a conduct which has been the subject rocks on either shore. We have hitherto succeeded of dispute between that Government and ours for in that object. We have pursued such a course several years past, and to which, she was well as has not put it in the power of either of the belassured by the representations of our Government, ligerepts to charge us with partiality in our conwe would not assent, and could not submit, with. I duct-they have not attempted it. This charge

H. OF R.

Embargo.

FEBRUARY, 1808.

has been confined to the minions of disaffection any degree acquainted with the situation of this within our own country. There is scarcely a country in regard to the belligerent Powers, and reflecting man who denies, at this day, the policy had considered the effects that this measure would and correctness of the law laying the embargo. have on them, could for a moment entertain the It has hitherto saved us from the dangers and ca- opinion, or even hazard a conjecture that it was lamities of war; and it would seem as if the finger adopted under the influence of any foreign Power, of Providence had pointed out this measure, as the much less under that of France. The allegation most fortunate that could under existing circum- is so wild, so inconsistent in itself-so destitute stances have been adopted. It will no doubt press of the leasi semblance of probability, and altogether hard on ourselves in some respects, and it must be unsupported by the least shadow of proof, that expected that any measure that we could have nothing but the basest malignity of heart could adopted, which would produce any effect on oth- engender and publish so shameless, foul, and infaers, would press hard on ourselves; but it will bear mous a falsehood; and yet, sir, said Mr. CAMPBELL much harder on those Powers who occasioned it, it has been echoed on this floor-sounded in your and make them feel the necessity of our commerce. ears in the frantic strains of a raving maniac, and It will bear, in a great degree, equally

hard on the in the discussion of a subject no ways calculated great belligerent Powers of Europe-England and to excite such extraordinary passions. Hence it France. Their West India colonies will suffer may be supposed it was a premeditated scheme to equally for want of provisions. France will lose seize on that occasion in order to give vent to those more of the colonial trade, hitherto carried on by vindictive passions against the Government and neutrals, in consequence of the embargo, than the Republicans of this nation, which seem enGreat Britain ; and indeed the loss of trade in gen- tirely to occupy and engross the minds of certain eral by France on this account will be greater than persons. In noticing what was said by the memthat of Great Britain, as the former for some time ber from New York, I beg to be understood, as not past received a great proportion of her trade by considering these statements as deriving any sort ibe American shipping. But on the other hand of consequence or importance from him who made Great Britain may suffer more for want of the raw them here. It is not on that account that they materials furnished for her manufactures hereto- merit or receive the least notice. That person fore by this country, than France, but both will can only be considered as the mere conduit used sensibly feel the loss of our trade. And the mea- by those behind the screen to convey these groundsure, so far as regards us, is calculated to operate less slanders to the public—the common trumpeter, equally on both, and no possible difference can be who gives no importance to what he makes pubdiscovered to exist.

lic, except what is derived merely from the place Under these circumstances, what pretence, what he occupies, or the duties assigned bim to perform. foundation is there for saying that in adopting this It is not therefore apprehended that what has been measure there was any partiality manifested for said on this occasion by that member will make France? There is none that can be perceived. any other or stronger impression on the public There is another circumstance attending the case mind. than was made by the same tale, when which at once seems to baffle any attempt to show handed to the public through the medium of party partiality in the operation of the law before the or hireling newspapers. House. It is said ibis law is to operate as a non- With regard to the objections made to the subintercourse law—that you are going to cut off all ject before you they seem to be founded in error, intercourse with the colonies of one of the belli- and in not attending to or understanding the obgerent Powers, (Great Britain,) bordering on our ject of the embargo. It is objected that this bill northeast frontier, and partiality has been charged is intended to operate as a non-intercourse bill, on this ground. But gentlemen seem to have for- The embargo was certainly intended to operate gotten that Spain possesses territories on our south as a non-exportation law; no man ever denied and scuthwestern frontier, on which this law will this; otherwise we could not keep our merchanoperate as severely as it will on the territory on dise at home; and it is as important to prevent our northeastern frontier-and that Spain is the its being exported by land as it is by water. The ally of France, and that of course what operates object of this law is to do equal justice to all parts on Spain, operates on France. This law will of the Union, and not permit those in one part to therefore operate equally on those Powers, even in have a market, of which those in another part are this respect. There is not, therefore, the least deprived; and that operating to defeat the very foundation for the assertion that the embargo is object of the embargo. No honest man can wish calculated to favor France. If there were no to do injustice; he could not wish to favor one other data to judge from but the effects it must part of the country at the expense of all the rest. have on that Power and her allies, who derived Mr. C. said he had not particularly attended to the greatest advantage from our neutral trade, the the details of the bill; the principle he considered thing is unfeasible and absolutely absurd. correct, which was to make the embargo bear

No man of sense can suppose that France would equally on all parts of the Union. The member wish or dictate a measure ihat would produce as from New York said we were riveting chains on great, if not greater injury to herself than to her the people. No, sir, said Mr. C., we are not rivetenemy. Such a supposition would be next to ing chains on them; we are using our best enmadness. From these considerations, it would be deavors to vindicate their rights; but those who supposed that no man, who had made himself in oppose the true interests of their country on every

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