« AnteriorContinuar »
of those who would, without inquiry, take the pothing of the notes taken by gentlemen themwords of a spy, traitor, and villain, as truth. It selves; whether it was possible, even if desirable, might be well to print a sufficient number for the that the contents of these papers could be kept Hoose, but no more until they knew more about from the public eye? Was it not better that an it. However gentlemen in ihe Eastern States authorized and correct transcript of them, under might have been dissatisfied at particular meas- the sanction of the House, should be sent to press, Dres, the embargo law for instance, their opposi- than that they should be mutilated, and presented tion to them had arisen from their operation on to the public with no more similitude to the oritheir particular interests, and not that they had ginal than the reports which passed to the great any disposition to sever themselves from the mass of the nation of the acts and proceedings of Union. . This business had been very correctly this House? Ours is a Goveroment of the peocommunicated by the Executive to Congress; ple, and ought to have no secrets. It is a Ġovbut they ought to act on it with temper, prudence, ernment, which, from the very nature of its oriand coolness. Mr. W. protested against consid- gin, caonot use that despatch and promptitude of ering any such disposition as it attributed to a action, to the success of which, secrecy is so very certaio party tu exist, particularly in the spot valuable and favorable. On the whole, then, which has been frequently and emphatically although he conceived the suggestions of the styled the cradle of the Revolution. He could gentleman from Maryland entitled to the highest pot feel the same disposition which some ap- respect, because he thought they did honor at peared to do, to give consequence to this affair. once to his heart and understanding, yet perhaps
Mr. Troup did not consider these papers as in- it would be as well to send these papers to press, volving the character of any portion of our peo- although he believed that the opinion of a discreet ple. They appeared 10 him to be calculated and select committee of the House on the subject merely to put the people on their guard against would not render the decision less mature or less foreign emissaries or agents employed for the pur-safe. pose of effecting a dismemberment of this Union. But there was another aspect in which these As to the opinions this person expresses of par- papers were to be viewed. If they were worthy ties, &c., they are merely the individual specula- of being communicated to the House by the Extions of this man, and cannot have much weight. ecutive, under the discharge of a solemn ConstiBut the documents have a most important bear-tutional obligation, they are, or ought to be, ing. They establish the fact, that a foreign Gov-worthy of being acted upon by us. Although eroment, on the eve of hostility with us, has for the author of this information had been, and persome time past employed an agent to foment divi- haps justly, branded by gentlemen of all descrip. soos among us; and another fact, which, consid- tions of party with the epithets of traitor and ered in connexion with other circumstances, is of spy; and alihough the evidence of a person great importance. They show the deep-rooted standing in his peculiar situation ought to be rehostility of this foreign Power to our Republican ceived with many grains, he might say even Goveroment and libertiesa hostility which pounds, of allowance, it did not therefore follow could stop nothing short of a dismemberment of that a committee would not have it in their power the country. After the affair of the Wabash, to extort from him, directly or indirectly, inforwbeo it was said that the Indians had been insti- mation which might be valuable to the commugaied by the same enemy to hostilities against us, nity. If he could not give it himself, he might ibe British Minister's choler rose; he denied the either intentionally or unintentionally lead a whole. He avails himself of suggestions in pub- committee of this House to sources whence it lic prints to deny their statements; to state that might be procured. As a member of the Comso far from a disposition to stir up the Indians miitee of Foreign Relations, he could not say against us, the contrary was the fact; that, indeed, that he had any particular anxiety to take his Sir James Craig has been intent on diverting share of this burdensome, and, in some respects, Indian hostilities. Sir, may we not reasonably invidious duty; yet, as a reference to that combelieve bim to have fomented Indian hostilities in mittee had been mentioned, he certainly should one part of the country, while in another he was not shrink from the discharge of that portion of promoting disunion in the body of the people ? duty devolving on him in case the House should These, sir, are the only facts disclosed of impor- give that direction to the papers. tance; the oply facts which would justify the In some respects, the character, he would not publication of more than the ordinary number of say of a portion, but of the whole nation, was copies.
implicated in this affair. The information was Mr. RANDOLPH said, that although he was of either of such a character as ought never to have opinion that the suggestion of the gentleman been submitted to the House; such as was unfrom Maryland (Mr. Wright) was entitled to worthy of notice; such as it would be a comprogreater weight than was allowed to it by the gen-mitment of the national character to act on; or tleman from Georgia, yet he would submit to the else it was of a character which demanded that cofisideration of the gentleman from Maryland, they should sift it, bolt it to the bran; that they and of the House, whether, in a Government like should call the individual before them, if he w ours, documents of the pature of those read this to be found within our jurisdiction; that he porpiog publicly, audibly and articulately read, should be called upon to say to whom, in what in the presence of several note-takers, to say I manner, and in what character he had developed
121h Cox. 1st Sess,-38
H. OF R.
bis views. When he said this, he did not give been made by gentlemen, induced him to ask the any pledge, that upon his (Henry's) testimony, indulgence of ihe House, to give some informahe would condemn men of high minds and fair tion and make a few observations relative to the fame. You yourself, Mr. Speaker, are too much subject pow under consideration. This Mr. Henin the practice of sifting evidence not to know ry was an Englishman, but had long resided in that we may reason from things false 10 things this country; so long, that he had obiained a captrue; that the falsehood of a witness is pot un- taincy in the Army raised in the year 1798; he frequently an unerring clue to truth. If, sir, he was a man of gentlemanly deporiment, and re(Henry) should have it in big power to bring into puted good moral character; that he (Mr. F186) question the character of any individual in this and his colleague (Mr. STRONG) well remember country, it will be competent to the party thus ed, when he passed through Burlington, in the implicated, either by fair presumption or direct Spring of the year 1808, and that his object was testimony, to rebut any such implication ; or pre- at that time much suspected to have been what sumption or testimony still deeper will go very he now states; but, as a politician, he was far io uphold and fix these imputations. You, thought by the Republicans to have been a firm sir, are too well read in the history of the country believer in the British maxim," that the end sancfrom which we spring, not to be conversant in tifies the means;" and the Federal party enjoyed all the plots, from the Popish treasons in the the full benefits of his principles and la bors while reign of James I, down to those of the Rye-house; he lived in Vermont. Sir, gentlemen say that he and from thence perhaps to the plot of Colonel is a traitor, a spy, and, therefore, what he here Despard. This witness, 10 be sure, stands before relates is not entitled to credit. However dishonus in a most questionable point of view. He evi- orable a transaction like this may be deemed by dently undertook a service in its nature not by our Government, whose motives and conduct are any means enviable, not generally esteemed most directed and squared by the principles of morality honorable, with a view to reward. He points out and justice, yer, I believe, it is not thought so specifically the nature of the reward he expected. very disgraceful in the British Government, as to Ii was in the power of a Government, at once be beneath her first characters to undertake. Sir, the most corrupt and most wealthy perhaps in was the mission to Copenhagen to destroy that the world, by not a very unreasonable douceur city, murder the innocent inhabitants and rob the for the services performed, forever to have stopped Dades of their fleet, a more honorable one than the barking of this political Cerberus. That Gov- this ? Certainly not. And yet, sir, the famous eroment must have much underrated his ser- Mr. Jackson, who went on that mission, was convices. But is this all? Was it not bis business sidered worthy of being a Minister to this counto enhance to this Goveroment, to magnify to a try, where he was caressed and highly esteemed virtuous, and therefore credulous people, the im- by some; and performed both missions much to portance of the mission with which he was ihe satisfaction of his master. Why, sir, can charged, and the zeal and ability with which he gentlemen seriously doubt the truth of the facts discharged its duties? On whose testimony are stated by this Mr. Henry, when they have it from we to take the account of the mighty deeds per- the highest authority, that the former British formed? The place is pointed out; we have the Minister, Mr. Erskine, while here, at this very where and the when, bui that all-important fact, time, was in the same business ibis Hepry was with whom, is studiously kept out of view. He sent to perform? In a letter written by that Minhas had it in his power to do great mischief to ister to his Government, and published by its orthe United States. This is his story. In propor- der, he tells them : tion to the mischief which he was able to inflict, “I have endeavored, by the most strict and diligent Mr. R. said, ought bis services to have been ap- inquiries into the views and strength of the Federal preciated by the British Government, they enter party, to ascertain to what extent they would be willing taining the views which these papers ascribe to and able to resist the measures of the party in power, them. As they, for reasons best known to them and how far they could carry the opinions of this counselves, I suppose from that infatuation which try along with them in their attempts to remove the sometimes attends the movement of governments, embargo, without recurring to hostilities against both have refused to give him adequate recompense,
Great Britain aud France. he turns his attention to us. In proportion as his And again, he tells them, in his letter of the services were valuable to those to whom they 15th February, 1809, when spaking of the diviswere rendered, precisely in the same ratio must ions which then agitated this country, and the be the value of the disclosure made to us. opposition made to the laws by the people of the
Without going further, Mr. R. said he was Eastern Stales : decidedly of opinion that ihe Message should be “ The ultimate consequences of such differences and referred to the Committee of Foreigo Relations, jealousies, arising between the Eastern and Southern with power to send for persons, papers, effects
, States, would inevitably tend to a dissolution of the and records; that everythiog which could be Union, which has been for some time talked of, and sifted out of this transaction be iaid without re- has, of late, as I have heard, been seriously contemserve before the people. Nothing short of this plated by many of the leading people in the eastern would satisfy the public sentiment, nor did he division." think it ought.
Now, sir, when the British Minister was on Mr. Fisk said that the remarks which had this business, by order of his Government, is it
H. OF R.
extraordinary or incredible that this Henry should conduct of that Government, and he would, be sent on the same errand by Governor Craig ? therefore, vote for printing 5,000 copies. The occurrences of those times place the fact out Mr. Macon said, this was one of those debates of doubt. I perfectly recollect that on my return which sometimes arose in the House, in which home from this place in March, 1809, I was in all were on one side of the question. Nothing formed of this Henry having passed through the can be more true than that these papers do prove country; and it was then conjectured that he was that Great Britain bas not yet ceased her aton the very business which he now states. But, tempts to disturb the peace of this nation. That say gentlemen, he libels and calumniates the Gov- they were genuine, he believed, although they ernment! Why, sir, he does not more so than came from a man whom that Government had has often been done on this floor, by a gentleman employed. There was nothing new in the mannot now present, or than has been done for years ner of communicating them. How was it in the by one description of presses and newspapers in conspiracy of Blount and Liston ? Mr. Adams this country:
communicated the disclosure to Congress. I im. The division of the Union is not a new subject. agine that Burr's conspiracy was communicated As early as the time the Jay Treaty agitated this by some one who was or had been engaged in it. country, I saw two numbers in the “Centinel,” In this case, a man who had been in the service printed at Boston, bolding out the idea of a sepa- of this Government, preferring the British, was, ration of the States. I am very far from believ- while in Canada, engaged by Governor Craig, to ing it was ever the wish of the great body of the go into a part of this country to endeavor to proFederal party, or that they would knowingly join cure a division of the Union. Mr. M. said he the enemies of this country, to effect such a pur- had, four years ago, stated that both Great Britpose, but that there are some who call themselves ain'and France had agents in this country. Had Federalists, and who in principle and feeling are they not had them in other countries ? They Englishmen, that would do it, I have no doubt. bad; and he cited Holland as a particular in
From the very nature of things, all monarchi- stance. cal and despotic Governments must always be The Constitution, said Mr. M., is founded on inimical 10, and seek the destruction of, this Gov- the Union of these States, and, (if I may be alernment, while it remains a free one; and the lowed to use a word once fashionable,) on the oply ineans of effecting this, is by fomenting di-indivisibility of the Empire. And, what was the visions among us; angering one party against the object of Great Britain ? For what did she emother, and thereby dividing the Union. I believe ploy this man? To separate the Union; to dethis to have been the constant object of the Brit- stroy the Constitution, ihe greatest work of the ish Government, from the date of our Treaty of greatest men this country has produced. Sir, I Peace until now, and they will always join the was almost struck with horror, when such docu. minority, be its political character what it may. ments were reading, to see that any man could And I hunbly hope this occurrence will be re- laugh at them. They expose an atiempt, not to ceived as a solemn admonition by all citizens of stab an individual, but to stab a nation. Owing this country, to unite in support of their Govern- to our relative situation, in consequence of our ment and liberties, and convince them in what Revolution, you can never expect Great Britain estimation they are held, notwithstaoding the to look upon you with as much friendship as other professions of friendship made toward this coun- nations. There is another reason for her jealousy; iry by the British Government and its agents. we have predicted over and over again, that we
Mr. Smilie said the character of this man was shall, at one time or other, clip her maritime nothing to us, though it might be to him, and he wing. She believes it; and the existence of the therefore should not follow the example of gen-nation depends on her preventing it. tlemen who had made so free with it. There The only question that presents itself is, Is the was one point in which he considered the public information useful to us? Does it not confirm cation of these documents, which was of real im- every man in the belief that, while she is making portance; that they exhibited to the American professions of friendship through her Minister people what sort of a nation we had to deal with. here, Great Britain is, in another direction, plotIt appeared to him that Great Britain considered ting our destruction by her secret agents ? It no means dishonorable provided they would ac. would be happy for us if we had not also French complish the attainment of her object. With agents here. I never did believe the Federal party respect to Mr. Wright's idea, that the publication had any notion of joining Great Britain; bui this of ihe papers would throw an odium on the lead. nation, favored as it is, has yet not been clear of ing parties in this country, said Mr. S., none of discord; and, to say that there is not a man in the those papers said anything more disrespectful 10 Federal or Republican parties who would wish a the parties in this country than those parties had union with Great Britain or France, would be to frequently said of each other in the public prints. say what I do not believe. He never had believed that the mass of the Fede- So long, sir, as both belligerents remain as they ral party wished a separation of the Union ; but have been, for the last hundred years, willing to thai there were men in it, attached to the British disturb the peace of the world, so long we ought interests, he knew to be true. There was at least to watch their motions. Let the Executive have enough in these papers to put every man on his obtained these papers as he might, it became his guard with respect to the insidious, dishonorable I duty to communicate them to Congress. They
H. OF R.
will convince every man in the nation, it appears cessary, to expel and destroy the British authorito me, that all the talk about the friendship and lies in that quarter. Mr. J. said, he wished to good disposition of the British nation toward us know whether the House had not now record was a mistake. May we not reasonably suppose evidence of an attempt on the part of the British that Great Britain moved the Prophet Ź When Government to alienate the affections of the peoever we come near a point with Great Britain, ple from their own Government-to organize opdo not the Indians move? How was it before position to the laws of Congress, and to produce Jay's Treaty, and whenever she is likely to as- a dissolution of our happy Government, a dismemsume a hostile attitude ? Exactly at those mo- berment of the Union, and the erection of a monments are the Indians moved upon you. To con- archy upon its ruins-and whether such a case quer this country by force of arms, if united, is did not call for equal union ? Mr. J. asked, who impossible. France and England together could would now assert that Great Britain was friendly pot do it. I do not believe the world could. All disposed towards us; that she was fighting our we want is union at home.
battles, or the battles of freedom; that she stood As to this man, he is just such a one as the between us and universal domination; that good British usually employ for these purposes; he is men would pray that our arms might not be sucone of their own agents. Can England complain cessful against that Government, which bad so of our giving credit to a man with whom her long trampled upon our rights; ihat Great Brita first Secretary of State and the Governor Gen-ain was acting upon the principle of retaliation eral of Canada correspond ? I care nothing about towards France ?' Mr. J. said, it was now reduced the cause which brings him here, it is an affair to a certainty that the hostility of Great Britain between him and them. The question is, Has towards us in the continuance of her orders in he told the truth? I verily believe he has.' Iun-Council-in the impressment of our seamen-oriderstood enough of the papers, as read, to know ginated in a determination to destroy the union that he was the agent of the British Government, of the States, and from a belief that a separation sent here to sow disunion, and that was enough could be effected, in case of a war with Great
So long as we are governed by interest, Britain. It was now evident, that the disavowal mutual wants, or common sense, so long shall we of Mr. Erskine's arrangement, and her subsequent continue united. We are placed in such a situa-conduct towards the United Staies, arose from tion tbat we ought to love each other, and we the delusive hope that the people of the New always should, did not our mad passions some England States would join Great Britain in the times run away with us. One part of the nation conflict. This communication also accounis for delights in using the sea ; another in agriculture; the news we are daily receiving of the hostile we supply each other's wants; we ought never to intentions of the savages upon our borders. Mr.J. dream of separation. And, sir, when these mes said, he wanted 5,000 copies to be printed, that the sengers of hell are sent here, shall we not look at people might judge whether Congress had wanthem? Let us have the papers printed, sir. tonly sported with their rights, or whether they
This is the second attempt Great Britain has had 'noi been driven to the brink of war by a conmade to divide the country, and I believe France duct on the part of Great Britain that would diswould do the same; for I have no confidence in grace the most abandoned, the most savage, and the morality of either. Our affairs are in such a the most piratical nations on earth. Mr. J. said, state, that, with one, we must try what has been he hoped ihe House would no longer debate what called the last resort of Kings. "I have made up course to pursue, and that no additional argumy mind on the subject, and, whenever we are ments would be required to convince them of ihe ready to declare war, I shall vote for it.
propriety of breaking up the rogues' harbor, and Mr. Johnson said, he did not feel disposed, nor taking possession of the Canadas; without which, was it a time, to say much-the documents spoke the United States never could enjoy, in tranquilfor themselves-oor did he address the House to lity, those rights which were transmitted to the identify the Federal party with this British con- citizens of the United States by their ancestors. spiracy to dismember the Union; nor did he intend Mr. STANFORD suggested the propriety of a refto load the individual who had made this com erence of the subject to a Committee of the Whole munication to the President with the opprobrious on the state of the Union. epithet of spy and traitor; but to call the atten- Mr. Key made some remarks which were not tion of the House, and the gentleman from Vir- all distinctly heard by the Reporter. He wished ginia, to the position which had been taken by that the publication could have been accompahimself and oihers upon the discussion of our for- nied with some refutation of its contents, as it eign relations, respecting the British influence in would go to alarm the people with an idea of the stimulating the savages against our infant and existence of a spirit in one section of this country innocent seulements upon the frontiers. Mr. J. which he was sure did not exist. He was not said, when he had ascribed the hostility of the only for committing the subject, but for followIndians to British influence, the gentleman from ing it up with a full and prompt examination. Virginia could not place any confidence in such Sure I am, said Mr. K., that the people of Europe intimations; and he moreover stated, that if such have mistaken the American character. Whatinfluence could be proven, he would himself join ever difference of opinion may exist among ourheart and hand in measures against Great Britain, selves, there can be nove as to the propriety of and would even march himself to Canada, if ne supporting the integrity of the Union. There can