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H. OF R.)
Commerce of the United States.
of 1775. They are an order of citizens deserving are expected to excite her to supplicate our friendbetter of Government than to be involved in new snip and to appease us by soothing the animosity confusions. It is wrong to make our trade wage of our enemies. war for our politics. It is now scarcely said that What is to produce effects so mystical, so oppoit is a thing to be sought for but a weapon to fight site to the nature, so much exceeding the efficacy of with. To gain our approbation to the system, we their pretended causes? This wonder-working are told it is to be gradually established; in that paper on the table, is the weapon of terror and case, it will be unavailing. It should be begun destruction like the writing on Belshazzar's wall, with in all its strength, if we think of starving the it is to strike parliaments and nations with disislands. Drive them suddenly and by surprise to may. It is to be stronger than fleets against pirates, extremity, if you would dictate terms, but they or than armies against Indians. After the examiwill prepare against a long-expected failure of our nation it has undergone, credulity itself will laugh supplies.
at these pretensions. Our nation will be tired of suffering loss and em- We pretend to expect not by the force of our barrassment for the French. The rice growers restrictions, but by the mere show of our spirit, to and tobacco planters of the South will be, and level all the fences that have guarded for ages the ought to be, soon weary of a contest which they monopoly of the Colony trade. are told is to benefit ship owners of the East. The The repeal of the Navigation Act of England, struggle, so painful to ourselves, so ineffectual which is cherished as the palladium of her safety, against England, will be renounced, and we shall which time has rendered venerable and prosperity sit down with shame and loss, with disappointed endeared to her people, is to be extorted from her passions and aggravated complaints. War, which fears of a weaker nation. It is not to be yielded would then suit our feelings, would not suit our freely, but violently torn from her; and yet the weakness. We might perhaps find some Euro- idea of a struggle to prevent indignity and loss, is pean Power willing to make war on England, and considered as a chimera too ridiculous for sober we might be permitted by a strict alliance to par- refutation. She will not dare, say they, to resent take the misery and the dependence of being a it, and gentlemen have pledged themselves for the subaltern in the quarrel. The happiness of this certain success of the attempt; what is treated as situation seems to be in view when the system be- a phantom is vouched by fact. Her Navigation fore us is avowed to be the instrument of aveng-Act is known to have caused an immediate coning our political resentments. Those who affect test with the Dutch, and four desperate sea-fights to dread foreign influence will do well to avoid a ensued, in consequence, the very year of its paspartnership in European jealousies and rivalships.. sage. How far it is an act of aggression for a neuCourting the friendship of the one, and provoking tral nation to assist the supplies of one neighbor, the hatred of the other, is dangerous to our real in- and to annoy and distress another, at the crisis of dependence; for it would compel America to throw a contest between the two, which strains their herself into the arms of the one for protection strength to the utmost, is a question which we against the other. Then foreign influence, perni- might not agree in deciding. But the tendency of cious as it is, would be sought for, and though it such unreasonable partiality, to exasperate the should be shunned, it could not be resisted. The con- spirit of hostility against the intruder, cannot be nexions of trade' form ties between individuals doubted. The language of the French Governand produce little control over Government. They ment would not soothe this spirit. are the ties of peace, and are neither corrupt nor It proposes, on the sole condition of a political corrupting
connexion, to extend to us a part of their West InIn the course of his speech, Mr. A. adverted to dia commerce. The coincidence of our measures the danger of cutting off a part of the public reve- with their invitations, however singular, needs no nue by the operation of the proposed regulations. comment. Of all men, those are least consistent,
He remarked upon the hostile tendency of the who believe in the efficacy of the regulations, and resolutions; we have happily escaped from a state yet affect to ridicule their hostile tendency. In the of the most imminent danger to our peace. A commercial conflict say they, we shall surely prefalse step would lose all the security for its con- vail and effectually humble Great Britain. In open tinuance which we owe at this moment to the con- war we are the weaker, and shall be brought into duct of the PRESIDENT. What is to save us from danger, if not to ruin. It depends, therefore, acwar; not our own power which inspires terror; cording to their own reasoning, on Great Britain not the gentle and for bearing spirit of the Powers herself, whether she will persist in a struggle of Europe at this crisis; not the weakness of Eng- which will disgrace and weaken her, or turn it land; nor her affection for this country; if we be- into a war which will throw the shame and ruin lieve the assurances of gentlemen on the other upon her antagonist. The topics which furnish side. What is it then ? "It is the interest of Great argument to show the danger to our peace from Britain to have America for a customer, rather than the resolutions, are too fruitful to be exhausted. an enemy. And it is precisely that interest which But without pursuing them further, the expegentlemen are so eager to take away, and to trans- rience of mankind has shown that commercial fer to France. And what is stranger still, they say rivalships, which spring from mutual efforts for they rely on that operation as a means of produc- monopoly, have kindled more wars and wasted ing peace with the Indians and Algerines. The the earth more than the spirit of conquest. wounds inflicted on Great Britain by our enmity, He hoped we should show by our vote, that we JANUARY, 1794.]
French Emigrants from St. Domingo.
[H. OF. R.
deem it better policy to feed nations than to starve State for the relief of the French emigrants from them, and that we should never be so unwise as the Island of St. Domingo. to put our good customers into a situation to be Mr. MURRAY moved that it should be referred forced to make every exertion to do without us. to the Committee of the Whole on the state of By cherishing the arts of peace, we shall acquire, the Union, along with the report of the select comand we are actually acquiring the strength and mittee upon it. He thought it would be an act of resources for a war. Instead of seeking treaties, humanity to relieve the persons mentioned in the we ought to shun them, for the later they shall be petition. And if that was improper, he thought formed, the better will be the terms--we shall have that the next greatest act of humanity which more to give and more to withhold. We have could be done, was to relieve them from suspense. not yet taken our proper rank, nor acquired that Mr. Clark was of opinion that the matter consideration, which will not be refused us if we should be instantly taken up, as the fund for their persist in prudent and pacific counsels, if we give relief expired on the 2d of February next. time for our strength to mature itself. Though Mr. HUNTER, from South Carolina, mentioned America is rising with a giant's strength, its bones a remarkable exertion of benevolence respecting are yet but cartilages. By delaying the beginning persons of this kind, which had taken place in that of a conflict, we insure the victory.
State. The motion was agreed to, and the House By voting out the resolutions, we shall show to directly resolved itself into a Committee on the our own citizens, and foreign nations, that our question. prudenee has prevailed over our prejudices, that It was then moved and seconded, that the PREwe prefer our interests to our resentments. Let SIdent be authorized to pay $10,000 of the public us assert a genuine independence of spirit; we money for the use of the refugees, and to negotishall be false to our duty and feelings as Ameri-iate the payment of it, with the Ministry of France. cans, if we basely descend to a servile dependence Mr. Boudinot was convinced, that, by the Conon France or Great Britain.
stitution, the House had a right to give it in the When Mr. Ames had concluded, the Committee first instance. He considered the Committee as rose, and had leave to sit again.
too confined, and thought that it should have comprehended all the people of this sort in North
America. Many of these people, since Winter set Tuesday, January 28.
in, must have perished of cold and want in the
streets of Philadelphia, but for the benevolence of A memorial of the Delegates from the several some well-disposed people. He urged the Com, Societies formed in different parts of the United mittee, in the most pathetic language, to extend States, for promoting the abolition of slavery, in immediate and effectual relief. Convention assembled, at Philadelphia, on the Mr. S. SMITH was confident that Congress first instant, was presented to the House and read, would be repaid with thanks by the Republic of praying that Congress may adopt such measures France. He said that a supply of powder and as may be the most effectual and expedient for the ball had been sent from one of the Southern abolition of the slave trade. Also, a memorial of States to St. Domingo, and that the price had been the Providence Society for abolishing the slave punctually and thankfully, repaid. Santhonax trade, to the same effect.
and Polverel had been recalled, who were the auOrdered, That the said memorials be referred thors of all the mischief that had happened. The to Mr. TRUMBULL, Mr. Ward, Mr. Giles, Mr. refugees expected to return to their settlements Talbot, and Mr. Grove; that they do examine before the 1st of May, and they would then be the matter thereof, and report the same, with their very able, and very willing to repay the money opinion thereupon, to the House.
themselves. A petition of Philip Peckham, of Providence, in Mr. Smilie recommended the entering into a the State of Rhode Island, was presented to the negotiation with the French Ambassador, for seHouse and read, praying compensation for his curing payment of what sum should be voted. services in superintending the building and repairs Mr. Clark hoped that the motion would inof boats, employed by order of Major General Sul- stantly pass. In a case of this kind, we were not livan, for the use of the American Army, during to be tied up by the Constitution. Were Algethe late war.
rines cast upon the mercy of America, in such a Ordered, That the said petition be referred to situation, he would pay them the same tribute of the Secretary of War, with instruction to exa- humanity. The French Ambassador had remine the same, and report his opinion thereupon stricted his services to a particular class of people. to the House.
It was not the business of the House, whether the FRENCH REFUGEES.
refugees at Baltimore were democrats or aristo
crats. They were men; and, as such, were entiA petition of Peter Gauvain and Louis Du-tled to compassion and to relief. bourg, in behalf of the French refugees of Cape Mr. S. SMITH, in reply to Mr. Smilie, said, that Francois, now at Baltimore, was presented to the Mr. Genet, when solicited on behalf of these peoHouse and read, praying that Congress will speed- ple, made answer, that he was not authorized on ily decide on the memorial of the committee ap- the part of the Republic to give them any thing, pointed by the Legislature of Maryland, do draw but sent them $2,000 from himself
. for, and distribute, the moneys granted by that Mr. Smilie replied that Mr. Smith had mis
H. OF R.]
[JANUARY, 1794. taken him; he did not wish to seek money from which he spoke. He said that himself and others Mr. Genet. But he thought it would be singular who had witnessed the scene of distress, were surto give away so large a sum, without endeavoring prised; the gentleman did not feel as they did. to secure the approbation of the French Minister, Mr. Madison possessed Constitutional scruples. as a step towards repayment.
He thought that the gentleman from Maryland Mr. Dexter had formerly entertained scruples, (Mr. S. SMITA) would not have injured his cause but he now approved the motion.
by a greater moderation of language, nor his credit Mr. Nicholas did not approve the motion in fór benevolence by not saying that his sympathy its original shape, nor did he like it better by its arose chiefly from being an eye witness. being now altered into a motion for authorizing At last, the SPEAKER proposed to the Committhe PRESIDENT to pay the money. Mr. N. ex: tee an amendment, which met the ideas of the pressed, in the strongest and most unequivocal members, and the resolution passed, as follows: language, his compassion for the sufferers; but, as Resolved, That a sum not exceeding - dolhe had not seen a way pointed out of relieving lars be appropriated for the support of such of the them, agreeably to the Constitution, he recom- inhabitants of St. Domingo, resident within the mended a shorter one. Out of the liberal com- United States, as shall be found in want of such pensation which the members of that House re- support. ceived from the country, he thought that the sum That a regular account of the moneys so exwanted might easily be subscribed. He did not pended be kept; and that the PRESIDENT OF THE know whether the Republic would thank us for UNITED States be requested to obtain a credit helping them ; perhaps they might be accounted therefor, in the accounts between the French Rerebels.
public and the United States. Mr. FitzSimons proposed a second amendment Ordered, That a committee be appointed to of the original motion.
bring in a bill in conformity with the foregoing Mr. Nicholas replied: If this thing goes down resolution, and providing for the due application at all, it should be as an act of charity, and marked of the moneys aforesaid; and that Mr. AMEs, Mr. in giving, that it is going beyond our power, but Tracy, and Mr. Dent, be the said contmittee. that, from a knowledge of the universal wish of
COMMERCE WITH THE UNITED STATES. our constituents, and a sense of our general obligations to France, we have granted the money.
The House again resolved itself into a CommitMr. Scott pressed for the relief in reference to
tee of the Whole House on the Report of the Sethe citizens of Baltimore. If they were invaded by cretary of State on the privileges and restrictions an army, we certainly would assist them; and on the commerce of the United States in foreign where is the difference, (added Mr. S.,) whether countries. they be an army of fighters, or an army of eaters. Mr. RUTHERFORD said: Perhaps too much We must relieve them, to be sure.
stress has been laid on the interest of the moment, Mr. S. Smith said that these distressed people and on the temper of nations. Be that as it may, were all women and children, except three old the resolutions in question are truly patriotic, as
The boys who were old enough, had been they contemplate, with other objects, placing our bound apprentices. The men had been enlisted manufactures in an easy train of progression, and by the advice of Mr. Genet, who said the Repub- retrenching a little some branches of our present lic wanted recruits. He had likewise obtained commerce, and therefore this important business two ships for five hundred of the refugees, who seems to resolve itself into two great questions, wanted to go to France. Genet was able to do which I shall only keep in view on this occasion. nothing more for them, as the $2,000 that he gave, First. Is there an excess in any branch of our were out of his own pocket. It had been alleged, commerce? Secondly. Have these States arrived that there was no precedent for relieving these at the proper period for commencing manufacpeople. He mentioned two: The Americans in tures? In observing, on this great subject, I shall captivity at Algiers had been assisted by the Bri- not proceed to minute deductions or abstruse reatish Consul. Some years ago, the crew of an sonings. Much debate has already prevailed, and American vessel had been shipwrecked on the no doubt, from motives the most pure and patricoast of Portugal. They were assisted with the otic, and I trust the same purity of intention will utmost generosity by a private gentleman. In actuate me at this time. both cases, Congress thankfully repaid the money I have, through life, been governed by a few advanced.' The gentleman from Virginia [Mr. plain maxims, and perhaps some of these may ap Nicholas] had offered his salary, but the idea had ply in the present case, not been supported, so that it went for nothing. The husbandman who attends with unremitting And are we, (said Mr. S.,) to stand up here, and care to his fruit trees or vines, when he discovers tell the world that we dare not perform an act of a branch or shoot drawing too much nourishment, benevolence? Is this to be the style of an Ame- he crops the luxuriant growth. And if the farmer rican Congress? The gentleman from Virginia discovers a disposition in his neighbor to divert had said that perhaps these people would be con- the attention of his family from the common insidered as traitors by the Republic. Were women terest, and to pocket the fruits of their toil, he and fatherless children to be regarded as traitors ? narrows the ground of future intercourse as far as Mr. S. was extremely affected, and apologized possible with such neighbor. more than once to the House for the warmth with I pay the greatest respect to the opinions of
[H. OF R. gentlemen. In short, I revere their sentiments Lack of bread, or other articles which compose while I differ with them.
our supplies, will at all times bring forward purThe United States are happily independent, chasers. No ship navigates the ocean to serve and, as other nations, are to act a part on the great United America. It is interest that stimulates the theatre of this world. And I am aware of the mariner. malignity, envy, jealousy, and all the other fell The Eastern States are competent to several passions, so predominant with nations in general. branches of manufacture, and to the production of I am also well aware that the commerce of this wool, flax, &c. Their habits of economy, patience, people is a subject which embraces present and and industry, are entitled to great praise. I conremote consequences of the greatest importance; sider them as very respectable branches of the and I hope that I shall not incur the imputation of Union, while I admire that spirit of enterprise vanity, in saying that I am second to very few, in conspicuous in their brave citizens. But if their a tender and paternal regard for the well-being of scene of action should be a little circumscribed, this our common country.
they can be usefully employed at their peaceful All temporal things are subject to excess, and homes, in the enjoyment of every domestic the people, by their representatives, have a right comfort. to judge when the tide, even of commerce, is The Middle States are productive of iron and verging to a dangerous and destructive channel. other things necessary, and are prosecuting some And shall not this great and growing country ex- manufactures with effect. They have from the ert a timely and cautious prudence against the first been engaged in manufactures. Pennsylvania, selfish policy of any nation? Surely, the Ameri- I well remember, has long attended to manufaccan people may pursue such measures as appear tures, and to the comfort of her artificers, which to be for the advantage of their free citizens with has conduced to the present opulence and real inout incurring the resentment of any. But if, in dependence of her citizens. My recollection takes despite of the purest intentions, and of justice and in the first manly growth of this State: look to it moderation, a malignant and hostile temper in now. Behold what the majesty of the people is any, should be the result, it is the duty of a great and acting and doing for the common weal? Then generous people to meet the event with firmness, an why hesitate, and thus timidly look to others for indignant contempt, and to prepare for the worst. what is here attainable ?
I confess that I consider the genius of com- The Southern States produce cotton and other merce almost as a divinity, yet I cannot expand necessary articles, and are susceptible of great immy faith with those who contend that it may rush provement in manufactures, as great numbers of a against and overturn all the fences of reason, and certain description that are for the most part idle, in the end regulate itself. A position to me as may be usefully and advantageously employed. incongruous, as that the atoms innumerable, which One State on the Southwestern frontier can float in our atmosphere, shall at last adhere, and supply all nations with hemp, and it might perform an intelligent being.
haps be of public utility to encourage the growth If circumstances in the course of our commerce of this valuable article, as well as some particular are, in some measure, against us, and which few branch of manufacture. deny, the longer this subtle evil prevails, the more Why should the American citizens, possessed of arduous the task in removing it; habits of long the most fertile and extensive Continent, wish to standing are very obstinate. We shall be told act like those confined within very narrow limits? from time to time, that the period is not yet, when Let us cast our eyes to one of those great comAmerican manufactures may be introduced. It is mercial nations. 'View their preposterous naval natural for man to entertain a pleasing desire to armaments. Are not their subjects oppressed and remain on his native spot, and this will be the bowed down with taxes? But can this opprescase while the many thousands we support be- sive burden secure them against an enormous and yond the Atlantic can be supplied by us with ma- fast increasing public debt? No: nor against terials, and fed at home. It is, in my opinion, high perpetual conflicts
, and the most violent discord time to form the basis of our real independence. with other nations. Some of our present commercial connexions are Shall the great body of American citizens place so far on excess, as to endanger the propagation of all their hopes on the turbulent seas ?-bid adieu a spirit and opinions repugnant to the freedom to every endearing connexion, explore every sea and real interest of the greatness of the people, by and dangerous coast on the globe-for whai? I inducing them to believe that they ought impli- bow to such intrepidity—such a spirit of entercitly to concur with those who advocate com-prise. But what says reason ? Stay at home, my merce, though in excess, be their motives what sons, and comfort those with whom you are enthey may. It is visionary to hope that all the dearingly connected. agricultural productions of this extensive Conti- The great art of Government is, to support in nent can always find a market at the islands in comfort the greatest numbers; and therefore, the the Atlantic, and those sterile tracts of Europe, Government of China is considered by many as which now receive them. It would afford me a very good one, their numbers being exceedingly much real pleasure if such were the case-fond great. These people are zealously attached to the as I am of agriculture, and anxiously engaged for soil of their widely-extended country. The nathe prosperity of all who are prosecuting that very tives of China are not seen in every part of the necessary and life-sustaining
occupation. habitable earth, nor on the remotest seas. Upon
H. OF R.]
[JANUARY, 1794. the whole, it is with me conclusive, that there far these resolutions were formed to remedy the may be dangerous excess even in some commer- first, or to remove the last. cial transactions; and that to cherish manufac- He believed the commercial situation of this tures, as far as reason and the state of things dic- country, relatively considered, towards the Powers tate, is politically and absolutely necessary: of Europe, was now pretty well understood to be
Mr. Forrest rose merely to solicit that the indebted more to interest than to partiality in any question might be put, as enough had been said on of the Powers. both sides of it.
That it was flourishing, when considered indeMr. Murray said, he should feel himself admo- pendently of the present war, from which nothing nished, by the lateness of this period of the debate, certain could be concluded, he had no doubt. and call of the question from his colleague, to With respect to the comparative estimate of the shorten the remarks which he intended to offer restrictions and privileges imposed or granted by against the resolutions, nor would he now presume those Powers, or by the United States, he should on the indulgence of the Committee, after so much trust the efficacy of the information on that part had been said, did he not hold it to be the duty of of the question, to the recollection of the Commita Representative to use every exertion, either to tee, and would confine himself to a few points obtain a good, or to avert an evil. He would en- which he believed had been but lightly touched deavor to avoid tiring the Committee with a re- on by others. He would endeavor to offer some petition of what had been so ably stated by those remarks that he thought palliated some of the evils with whom he thought, and would leave the clear complained of as grounds of change; and confine and comprehensive statement of the relative situ- his views to a few heads of complaint. It was ation of our trade towards Great Britain, France, said our commerce was shackled by the British, and other Powers, to that good sense in the Com- and by the influence of habit; that our tonnage mittee, which would find ample consolation in the was unequal to our exports; that arrangements comparison. As his own prejudices, which he might be made with other nations, who would give confessed were heretofore fostered by a defect of us a greater latitude and more liberal terms. He commercial knowledge, had yielded to the lights denied that the commerce of the United States was which his own examination, and that of others, shackled or confined, or that it was restricted unhad thrown on this question, he entertained a naturally by old Colonial habits. The report of hope that others, similarly situated, would candid- the actual tonnage of the United States showed ly and impartially view a subject, which demand- us a foreign commerce, employing 289,294 tons. ed a dismission of prejudice and passion, and Any man who was acquainted with the real state which ought to be tried upon a commercial prin- of this subject would naturally have concluded, ciple, which was a computing and a comparing from the declarations of gentlemen, that, so inve
terately were our old Colonial habits formed, and He had early, and for a long time, taken up so miserably was our commerce confined, this ideas without much examination, that the Ameri- large amount of tonnage must have been concencan commerce suffered from illiberal restrictions, tered in the ports of Britain or her Colonies. and declared that, when the gentleman from Vir- The reverse was the truth, and, in support of ginia first suggested his intentions, the outlines, this idea, he would refer to the report. which he so ably drew, met his strongest prepos- port shows that our ships visit every part of the sessions. If anything from that gentleman, then, world; that there is no place to which American gave an inauspicious air to the measure he pro- enterprises does not convey our various products. posed, it was the eagerness with which he urged It is a chart of our maritime genius, extremely for an early and hasty discussion of those resolu- exhilarating to our pride, and affords the strongtions, which no member could look at, after all est argument against the assertion. It goes bethat had been said, without perceiving that they yond controversy; it is a contradiction which related to the best and largest interests of this can be understood by any man who can read. country; interests which required diligence and There is no resisting its force, when adduced to much reflection to comprehend, and which all the prove, that so far is our commerce from being conpassions and all the feelings could by no means do fined, that the most distant ports and oceans in justice to in the estimate. They were interests Russia and China, and the Pacific, are its only that required great coolness to discern, and to mea- boundaries. It completely illustrates the practisure properly. They had resulted from practice cal, as well as theoretical, independence of Ameand the nature of our situation, and they ought to rican commerce; for, of the whole amount of the be treated with respect, and innovated on with tonnage employed abroad, but sixty-two thousand caution. The restrictions contemplated a great some odd hundreds, go to Britain and its dependchange of commercial arrangements, bottomed encies; there are two hundred and twenty-seren both on presumed commercial injuries, sustained thousand tons of this total employed among other under its present regulations, and on political nations; and Britain, which formerly monopoviews, which long standing, and recent evils, had lized, indeed, our commerce, has now a little more brought into notice.
than one-fifth of the navigation of the United He could not agree, that the commercial ar- States in her ports. It is true that three-fourths rangements, at present existing, were the best that of the imports are from thence, and that our excould possibly exist; nor was he insensible to the port to her is not equal to this import; but that political evils we had endured, but he doubted how deficiency is paid circuitously and to advantage,