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of the wise, and liberal, and magnanimous system adopted and pursued by his administration, commerce was indeed cherished, extended, and protected; and the stipulations of the constitution were fulfilled in sincerity and good faith.
Since that period, however, the same spirit has arisen, and has exhibited an unrelenting severity in the exercise of its sway; until, at length, by a series of restrictions, utterly destructive of the calculations of the merchant, by prohibitions and double duties, by embargoes and non-intercourse, and lastly by war, the poor remains of that commerce which once covered the ocean with its sails, have been nearly annihilated. Nor has the other part of the consideration been better fulfilled. Taxation has never, except in a single instance, and that to one hundredth part only of the revenue raised under the constitution, been apportioned according to representation, and with what reluctance it was then submitted to by the southern states, and with what tardiness it was even partially collected, public records will determine.
Of the two hundred and fifteen millions of dollars derived by the United States under the operation of the federal government, Massachusetts has paid upwards of forty millions; an amount beyond all proportion to her political weight in the union.
If therefore the revenues derived from this commonwealth, and paid into the national treasury, had been preserved in her own, she would have been fully competent to her own defence, and would not have been obliged to solicit, nor experience the injustice of a refusal of the arms for which she has long since paid, and which were her due from the general government. What good cause can be assigned for this refusal, your remonstrants are wholly unable to determine. No discretion is by law vested in any officer of the government in relation to this subject. Its provisions are simple, plain, and peremptory. Your remonstrants, therefore, cannot but express their astonishment, that the state of Massachusetts, possessing a sea coast more extensive and populous than that of any other state in the union, and a defenceless frontier by land, should not only be entirely abandoned by the government whose duty it is to protect her, but should also be refused the arms for her own defence, to which she is by law entitled.
They cannot, however, permit themselves to doubt that congress will, forthwith, adopt such measures as will render to this commonwealth, that justice which the executive department has refused.
If the war in which we have been rashly plunged, was undertaken to appease the resentment or secure the favour of France, deep and humiliating must be our disappointment. For although the emperor is lavish in his professions of " love for the American people," applauds our ready self-devotion, and declares “ that our commerce and our prosperity are within the scope
of his policy,” yet no reparation has been made or offered for the many outrages, indignities, and insults he has inflicted on our government, nor for the unnumbered millions of which he has plundered our citizens. And when we consider the course of policy pursued by our rulers in their external relations and commercial restrictions, from the prohibition of our trade to St. Domingo, to the declaration of war against Great Britain; that this course often received his open approbation, and was not unfrequently conformable to the system which he himself had adopted; when we consider also the mysterious secrecy which has veiled the correspondence of the two governments from our view ; and, above all, when we consider that in many instances the most important measures of our government have been anticipated in Paris long before they were known to the American people, we cannot conceal our anxiety and alarm for the honour and independence of our country. And we most fervcntly pray, that the sacrifices we have already made, like the early concessions of Spain and Portugal, of Prussia and Sweden, may not be the preludes to new demands and new concessions ; and that we may be preserved from all political connexion with the common enemy of civil liberty.
To the constituted authorities of our country we have now stated our opinions, and made known our complaints. Opinions, the result of deliberate reflection; and complaints, “wrung from us by the tortures of that cruel policy” which has brought the good people of this commonwealth to the verge of ruin. A policy which has annihilated that commerce so essential to their prosperity ; increased their burdens while it has diminished their means of support ; provided for the establishment of an immense standing army, dangerous to their liberties, and irre. concileable with the genius of their constitution; destroyed their just and constitutional weight in the general government, and, by involving them in a disastrous war, has placed in the power of the enemy the controul of the fisheries, a treasure of more value to the country than all the territories for which we are contending, and which furnished the only means of subsistence to thousands of our citizens ; the great nursery of our seamen, and the right to which can never be abandoned by New England.
Under such circumstances, silence towards the government would be treachery to the people. In making this solemn representation of our sufferings and our dangers, we have been inAuenced only by the duty which we owe to our constituents and our country, to our consciences and the memory of our fathers. And to the Searcher of all hearts we appeal for the purity of our motives and the sincerity of our declarations.
Far from wishing to embarrass the administration in any of their negotiations for peace, we cannot but express our regret that they should not have evinced a sincere desire for this great object, by accepting some of the repeated overtures made by the enemy for the suspension of hostilities : and permit us, in conclusion, most earnestly to request, that measures may
immediately be adopted to stay the sword of the destroyer, and to prevent the further effusion of human blood ; that our invading armies
may be forthwith recalled within our own territories ; and that every effort of our rulers may be speedily directed to the attainment of a just and honourable peace, that mutual confidence and commercial prosperity may be again restored to our distracted and suffering country; and that by an upright and faithful administration of our government, in the true spirit of the constitution, its blessings may be equally diffused to every portion of the union.
In the house of representatives, June 14th, 1813.
Read and concurred.
JOHN PHILLIPS, President.
A true copy
Clerk of the Senate.
Clerk of the house of Representatives.
To the honourable the senate and house of representatives of the
United States of America in congress assembled. The undersigned committee, chosen by the minority of the senators and representatives of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, beg leave to represent, that they have perceived with extreme regret, that the legislature of this state, in their present session, have presented a remonstrance to congress denouncing the administration of the general government, reprobating the war, as improper, impolitic, and unjust; impeaching the motives of the congress which declared it, excusing and justifying all the
VOL. 1. PART I.
aggressions and outrages of Great Britain, and charging the majority of the representatives of the people, with wantonness, ambition, oppression, and cruelty : while the executive of the United States is steadily pursuing that course of policy, which alone can secure a safe, equitable, honourable, and permanent peace and are actually negotiating to effect it, it is impossible to conceive what good motive could induce the legislature of this state, to vote a remonstrance so unreasonable in its origin, reprehensible in its language, erroneous in its facts and principles, and pernicious in its effects.
Who, that is American, can but feel indignant to hear it stated by the legislature of a state, that we ought to have resisted the French decrees, agreeably to the demand of the British government; that we have seduced her şeamen from their allegiance, and that we have invaded the territory of a peaceable and unoffending neighbour ? Where is the man, who values his reputation, who would not indignantly frown at the insinuation, that war was waged from motives of ambition or lust of conquest; that we are leagued with France, to oppose the European nations, and that our government have established a chain of military posts, " to prostrate the civil to the military authority?” And what man, not exclusively British, can, without the deepest mortification, read a remonstrance, which, in time of war and pending negotiation, should take the enemy's ground, support their claims, and justify their aggressions? We assure the
congress and people of the United States, that we utterly protest against the statements and principles contained in that humiliating remonstrance.
It appears to us too much like the attempt of a disappointed and malignant faction, who, to obtain power, would trample on the rights and liberties of their country. We do not, however,
We do not, however, apprehend that any faction in this country have either the power or the nerve to effect a purpose of this sort. We trust and sincerely believe that the people would resist, and effectually suppress, every attempt to sever or weaken our bond of union. We are aware that it is in times of calamity and war that ambitious and designing men will be tempted to stir up the people to opposition and rebellion. But we are assured that a large majority of the people of this state would, at the hazard of their lives and fortunes, resist all opposition to the laws and government of their country. We believe the war to be just and necessary ; that the government have invariably maintained strict justice and impartiality towards the belligerents of Europe ; that they have submitted to an accumulation of wrongs which no other nation would have enlured; they have negotiated until negotiation was vain; that it is their intention, as it is their duty, to protect the rights of commerce and of sailors, “peaceably if they can, forcibly if they must." That since the pretended repeal of the orders in council, every pacific advance has been made, both by the executive and by congress, which was consistent with the rights and honour of the nation. And that we are willing to endure all the evils and privations of this war, and to expend our property and our blood in its prosecution. We hope the legislature of Massachusetts have better evidence of their consistency, prudence, patriotism, and love of peace, than is contained in their extraordinary remonstrance.
We wish for peace, but we fear that this remonstrance, if it has any effect, will tend to prevent rather than to accomplish it. We hope that the very proper course adopted by the administration to effect a peace, will meet with the success to which it is entitled: but should Great Britain, regardless of the numerous wrongs she has inflicted on us, and calculating on her power, or encouraged by her friends in America, persist in her hostile pretensions, we have no doubt but the people of this state will cordially, actively, and zealously come forward and lend their aid in the prosecution of the war, until our rights are established on a permanent basis. (Signed)
Message from the President of the United States, transmitting
information touching the French decree purporting to be a repeal of the Berlin and Milan decrees ; in pursuance of the re
solutions of the House of the twenty-first of June last. To the House of Representatives of the United States.
I transmit to the house of representatives a report of the secretary of state, containing the information requested by then resolutions of the 21st of June last.
JAMES MADISON. Washington, July 12, 1813.