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come prepared, and he trusted, that however terrible the treaty may have struck them in the dark, a little discussion might diminish their horrors. He could not, however, suppress his surprise, that none of those, and in particular the gentleman from Virginia, (Mr. Giles,) who had entertained opinions so hostile to this treaty so long, should be at a loss to enter on its discussion, with an eagerness proportioned to their zeal and conviction of its mighty faults. But the gentleman, it seems, has left his paints and brushes at home, and cannot now attempt, though the canvass is before him, to give us those features of the treaty, which had been so caricatured out of doors."
"He would agree that the committee should rise, hoping that the delay was owing to an aversion to do mischief, and relying on the effects of a night's reflection; the pillow is the friend of conscience."*
With a temper and with feelings thus indicated, did the house enter upon the discussion of this interesting and important subject. The debate was opened, the next day, by Mr. Madison, against the treaty, and in the course of the discusssion he was followed on the same side by Mr. Swanwick, Mr. Nicholas, Mr. Giles, Mr. Heath, Mr. Page, Mr. Findley, Mr. Rutherford, Mr. Moore, Mr. Holland, Mr. S. Smith, Mr. Gallatin, and Mr. Preston-while the resolution was supported by Mr. Ames, Mr. Coit, Mr. Dwight, Mr. Foster, Mr. Gilbert, Mr. Goodhue, Mr. Griswold, Mr. Harper, Mr. Henderson, Mr. Hillhouse, Mr. Kittera, Mr. Murray, Mr. N. Smith, Mr. T. Smith, Mr. Swift, Mr. Tracy, Mr. Williams, Mr. S. Lyman, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Bourne, Mr. Kitchell, and Mr. Dayton.
In this debate not only the constitutional powers of the house, in relation to treaties, were again discussed, but every article, and every clause in the treaty examined, and its merits and demerits developed. The arguments on both sides were pushed to an extreme, and partook not a little of personal as well as political feelings.
* See printed Debates on the British Treaty.
The objections of those opposed to carrying the treaty into effect were generally, that it wanted reciprocity,-that it gave up all claim of compensation for negroes carried away contrary to the treaty of peace, and for the detention of the western poststhat it contravened the French treaty, and sacrificed the interest of an ally to that of Great Britain-that it gave up, in several important instances, the law of nations, particularly in relation to free ships making free goods, cases of blockade, and contraband of war-that it improperly interfered with the legislative powers of congress, especially by prohibiting the sequestration of debtsand that the commercial part gave few if any advantages to the United States.
On the other hand it was urged, that the treaty had been constitutionally made and promulgated, that a regard to public faith, and the best interests of the country, under all circumstances, required it should be carried into effect, although not, in all respects perfectly satisfactory-that it settled disputes between the two governments of a long standing, of a very interesting nature, and which it was particularly important for the United States to bring to a close-that provision also was made for a settlement of those of more recent date, not less affecting the sensibility as well as honor of the country; and in which the commercial part of the community had a deep interest—that in no case had the law of nations been given up-that the question as to provisions being contraband, although not settled, was left as before the treaty-that the cònventional rights of France were saved by an express clause, and as to the sequestration of private debts, it was said, this was contrary to every principle of morality and good faith, and ought never to take place that the commercial part would, probably, be mutually beneficial, was a matter of experiment, and was to continue only two years after the close of the war in Europe. That in fine, on the part of the United States, the only choice left was treaty or war.
A want of reciprocity in the West India trade was particularly urged against the treaty.
A treaty of commerce with Great Britain, excluding a reciprocity for American vessels in the West Indies, was a phenomenon,
they said, which filled them with more surprise than they knew how to express.
No question in congress had ever elicited more talents or created greater solicitude than this. The loss of national character from a breach of plighted faith, was strongly urged by those who believed the house bound to carry the treaty into effect. Should the treaty be rejected, war, it was also said, could not be avoided consistently with the character and honor of the American nation. The western posts would be retained, the Indians again placed under the control of the British, millions unjustly taken from the merchants would be lost, and perhaps as many millions more added by future spoliations; redress for past, and security against future injuries, must, it was said, be obtained, either by treaty or by war. It was impossible that the American people could sit down quietly, without an effort to right themselves.
On these topics all the talents and all the eloquence of the advocates of the treaty, were exerted and displayed.
"To expatiate on the value of public faith," said Mr. Ames, "may pass with some men for declamation-to such men I have nothing to say. To others I will urge-can any circumstance mark upon a people more turpitude and debasement? can any thing tend more to make men think themselves mean, or degrade to a lower point their estimation of virtue, and their standard of action? It would not merely demoralize mankind, it tends to break all the ligaments of society, to dissolve that mysterious charm which attracts individuals to the nation, and to inspire in its stead a repulsive sense of shame and disgust. What is patriotism? Is it a narrow affection for the spot where man was born? are the clods where we tread, entitled to this ardent preference, because they are greener? No, sir, this is not the character of the virtue, and it soars higher for its object. It is
The subject of the West India trade still remains unsettled. In 1815, during the presidency of Mr. Madison, a commercial treaty was made with Great Britain, and which received his approbation, in which this trade was not secured to the United States.
an extended self-love, mingling with all the enjoyments of life, and twisting itself with the minutest filaments of the heart. It is thus we obey the laws of society, because, they are the laws of virtue. In their authority we see, not the array of force and terror, but the venerable image of our country's honor. Every good citizen makes that honor his own, and cherishes it not only as precious, but as sacred. He is willing to risque his life in its defense, and is conscious that he gains protection while he gives it. For what rights of a citizen will be deemed inviolable, when a state removes the principles that constitute their security? Or if his life should not be invaded, what would its enjoyment be, in a country odious in the eyes of strangers, and dishonorable in his own? Could he look with affection and veneration to such a country as his parent? The sense of having one would die within him, he would blush for his patriotism, if he retained any, and justly for it would be a vice. He would be a banished man in his native land.
"I see no exception to the respect that is paid among nations to the laws of good faith. If there are cases in this enlightened period where it is violated, there are none where it is denied. It is the philosophy of politics, the religion of government. It is observed by barbarians--a whiff of tobacco smoke, or a string of beads, gives not merely binding force, but sanctity to treaties. Even in Algiers, a truce may be bought for money, but when ratified, even Algiers is too wise, or too just to disown and annu] its obligation. Thus we see neither the ignorance of savages, nor the principles of an association for piracy and rapine, permit a nation to despise its engagements.
"Will the tendency to Indian hostilities," he added, “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 agitated 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? This 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 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 conviction of the western gentlemen, whether, supposing no posts and no treaty, the settlers will remain in security? Can they take it upon themselves 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 feelings 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 the night will glitter with the blaze of your dwellings. You are a father-the blood of your sons will fatten your cornfields. You are a mother-the war whoop shall wake the sleep