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disown his country. You would exclaim, England, proud of your wealth, and arrogant in the possession of power-blush for these distinctions, which become the vehicles of your dishonor. Such a nation might truly say to corruption, thou art my father, and to the worm, thou art my mother and my sister.
sister. We should say of such a race of men, their name is a heavier burden than their debt.
I can scarcely persuade myself to believe, that the consideration I have suggested requires the aid of any auxiliary. But, unfortunately, auxiliary arguments are at hand. Five millions of dollars, and probably more, on the score of spoliations committed on our commerce, depend upon the treaty. The treaty offers the only prospect of indemnity. Such redress is promised as the merchants place some confidence in. Will you interpose and frustrate that hope; leaving to many families nothing but beggary and despair ? It is a smooth proceeding to take a vote in this body: it takes less than half an hour to call the nays and reject the treaty. But what is the effect of it? What, but this; the very men, formerly so loud for redress; such fierce champions, that even to ask for justice was too mean and too slow, now turn their capricious fury upon the sufferers, and say, by their vote, to them and their families, no longer eat bread; petitioners go home and starve, we cannot satisfy your wrongs and our resentments.
Will you pay the sufferers out of the treasury? No. The answer was given two years ago, and appears on our journals. Will you give them letters of marque and reprisal to pay themselves by force? No, that is war. Besides, it would be an opportunity for those who have already lost much to lose more. go to war to avenge their injury? If you do, the war will leave you no money to indemnify them. If it should be unsuccessful, you will aggravate existing evils; if successful, your enemy will have no treasure left to give our merchants; the first losses will be con
founded with much greater and be forgotten. At the end of a war there must be a negociation, which is the very point we have already gained; and why relinquish it? And who will be confident that the terms of the negociation, after a desolating war, would be more acceptable to another House of Representatives, than the treaty before us. Members and opinions may be so changed, that the treaty would then be rejected for being what the present majority say it should be. Whether we shall go on making treaties and refusing to execute them, I know not. Of this I am certain, it will be very difficult to exercise the treaty-making power on the new principles, with much reputation or advantage to the country.
The refusal of the posts, inevitable if we reject the treaty,) is a measure too decisive in its nature to be neutral in its consequences. From great causes we are to look for great effects. A plain and obvious one will be, the price of the western lands will fall. Settlers will not choose to fix their habitation on a field of battle. Those who talk so much of the interest of the United States, should calculate how deeply it will be affected by rejecting the treaty; how vast a tract of wild land will almost cease to be property. This loss, let it be observed, will fall upon a fund expressly devoted to sink the national debt. What then are we called upon to do? However the form of the vote and the protestations of many may disguise the proceeding, our resolution is in substance, and it deserves to wear the title of a resolution to prevent the sale of the western lands and the discharge of the public debt.
Will the tendency to Indian hostilities be contested by any one ? Experience gives the answer. The frontiers were scourged with war till the negociation with great Britain was far advanced, and then the state of hostility ceased. Perhaps the public agents of both nations are innocent of fomenting the Indian war, and perhaps they are not. We ought not, however, to expect that neighboring nations, highly irritated against
each other, will neglect the friendship of the savages; the traders will gain an influence and will abuse it; and who is ignorant that their passions are easily raised, and hardly restrained from violence? Their situation will oblige them to choose between this country and Great Britain, in case the treaty should be rejected. They will not be our friends, and at the same time the friends of our enemies.
But am I reduced to the necessity of proving this point ? Certainly the very men who charged the Indian war on the detention of the posts, will
call for no other proof than the recital of their own speeches. It is remembered with what emphasis, with what acrimony, they expatiated on the burden of taxes, and the drain of blood and treasure into the western country, in consequence of Britain's holding the posts. Until the posts are restored, they exclaimed, the treasury and the frontiers must bleed.
If any, against all these proofs, should maintain that the peace with the Indians will be stable without the posts, to them I will urge another reply. From arguments calculated to produce conviction, I will appeal directly to the hearts of those who hear me, and ask, whether it is not already planted there? I resort especially to the convictions of the western gentlemen, whether, supposing no posts and no treaty, the settlers will remain in security? Can they take it upon them to say, that an Indian peace, under these circumstances, will prove firm? No, sir, it will not be peace, but a sword: it will be no better than a lure to draw victims within the reach of the tomahawk.
On this theme, my emotions are unutterable. If I could find words for them, if my powers bore any proportion to my zeal, I would swell my voice to such a note of remonstrance, it should reach every log-house beyond the mountains. I would say to the inhabitants, wake from your false security: your cruel dangers, your more cruel apprehensions are soon to be renewed: the wounds, yet unhealed, are to be torn open
again: in the day time, your path through the woods will be ambushed: the darkness of midnight will glitter with the blaze of your dwellings. You are a father-the blood of your sons shall fatten your cornfield: you are a mother—the war-whoop shall wake the sleep of the cradle.
On this subject you need not suspect any deception on your feelings. It is a spectacle of horror, which cannot be overdrawn. If you have nature in your hearts, it will speak a language, compared with which all I have said or can say will be poor and frigid.
Will it be whispered that the treaty has made me a new champion for the protection of the frontiers? It is known that my voice as well as vote have been uniformly given in conformity with the ideas I have expressed. Protection is the right of the frontiers ; it is our duty to give it.
Who will accuse me of wandering out of the subject? Who will say that I exaggerate the tendencies of our measures ? Will any one answer by a sneer, that all this is idle preaching? Will any one deny, that we are bound, and I would hope to good purpose, by the most solemn sanctions of duty for the vote we give? Are despots alone to be reproached for unfeeling indifference to the tears and blood of their subjects ? Are republicans unresponsible ? Have the principles, on which you ground the reproach upon cabinets and kings, no practical influence, no binding force? Are they merely themes of idle declamation, introduced to decorate the morality of a newspaper essay, or to furnish pretty topics of harangue from the windows of that state-house? I trust it is neither too presumptuous nor too late to ask; can you put the dearest interest of society at risk without guilt, and without remorse?
It is vain to offer as an excuse, that public men are not to be reproached for the evils that may happen to ensue from their measures. This is very true, where they are unforeseen or inevitable. Those I have de
picted are not unforeseen; they are so far from inevitable, we are going to bring them into being by our vote. We choose the consequences, and become as justly answerable for them as for the measure that we know will produce them.
By rejecting the posts, we light the savage fires, we bind the victims. This day we undertake to render account to the widows and orphans whom our decision will make, to the wretches that will be roasted at the stake, to our country, and I do not deem it too serious to say, to conscience and to God. We are answerable, and if duty be any thing more than a word of imposture, if conscience be not a bugbear, we are preparing to make ourselves as wretched as our country.
There is no mistake in this case, there can be none. Experience has already been the prophet of events, and the cries of our future victims have already reached us. The western inhabitants are not a silent and uncomplaining sacrifice. The voice of humanity issues from the shade of their wilderness. It exclaims, that while one hand is held up to reject this treaty, the other grasps a tomahawk. It summons our imagination to the scenes that will open. It is no great effort of the imagination to conceive, that events so near are already begun. I can fancy that I listen to the yells of savage vengeance, and the shrieks of torture. Already they seem to sigh in the west wind-already they mingle with every echo from the mountains.
It is not the part of prudence to be inattentive to the tendencies of measures. Where there is any ground to fear that these will be pernicious, wisdom and duty forbid that we should underrate them. If we reject the treaty, will our peace be as safe as if we executed it with good faith? I do honor to the intrepid spirit of those who say it will. It was formerly understood to constitute the excellence of a man's faith to believe without evidence and against it.
But as opinions on this article are changed, and we are called to act for our country, it becomes us to