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Supplemental Speech.-Volunteer Bill.
he believed it to be very difficult to do. He believed, on the contrary, nothing would be more dissimilar, nothing more opposite in their political effects and consequences, than the circumstances producing this dissimilarity. He said that in reasoning from analogy, there was always danger of error in recollecting the points of resemblance in the things suggested to be analogous, and overlooking the points of difference. He thought this observation applied as evidently and forcibly in the present case, as in any that ever was presented to his consideration.
He said, without explaining very minutely the state of the population of the ancient Republics, he believed it might be assumed as a principle common to them, as well as to the population of the modern Governments of Europe, that it was divided into two great descriptions or classes, of the armed and the unarmed. In that state of society, it is not at all to be wondered at, that the armed should govern and tyrannize over the unarmed part of the people. That this is the case of the population under the modern Governments of Europe, we do know, and it is the real cause of the military despotisms which have been at various times established at different portions in that quarter. The great mass of the people under the European Governments may be considered as laboring machines, almost destitute of every political impulse-of all preference for one species of government over another. Is this the situation-is it the character of the population of the United States? Certainly not. The knowledge of liberty, the love of liberty, the hatred of despotism of every kind, especially of military despotism, are, with the American people, almost intuitive passions and propensities. The Army itself would be composed of individuals influenced by these habitual feelings and predilections; and some reliance might be placed on their influence, even in the Army itself, against at least an universal disposition and preference for military despotism. But, let us disregard this consideration, and suppose the whole Army actuated by one impulse for subverting the liberties of their country; let us see how it could be effected in the present state of the population and political institutions of this country. The people of the United States have a greater security against military despotism in the peculiar organization of their Governments, than any people upon earth, if their administrators continue wise enough to administer them with all their original spirit and energy. The armed population presents a bulwark of the most perfect security. How would it be possible for any regular army, which all our revenues could raise, to subdue and tyrannize over such a population, protected by such admirable political institutions? Let us, for example, take the whole number of troops now proposed to be raised-thirtyfive thousand men, and place them at the devotion of an ambitious, enterprising chief, who was resolved upon subverting the liberties of this nation-let him also be in possession of the City of Washington, of your President and Congress; how would he be able to fix his despotism upon the
nation? What difficulties would he have to surmount, to enable him to effect his object? Your militia returns present an armed population of above six hundred thousand men, enrolled and trained to military exercises; and, upon an emer gency like this, could probably be increased to nearly one million. Could an army of thirty-five thousand men subdue, or even make an impression upon an armed population like this? A population detesting despotism, and devoted to freedom, acting under one common impulse, would direct their whole energies against their foes, and would destroy them in one instant.
But let us suppose that one million of men would be afraid of attacking 35,000 in mass; in what way could such an army levy contributions for its support? In what way would it supply itself with provisions? In a hostile country, it must detach foraging parties for its supplies; and it is no extravagant supposition to conclude that there would be courage enough in the country to attack and destroy them. It is not a little remarkable, that the gentlemen who profess to place the greatest confidence in, and boast most of the powers of the militia, are those who express most fears from the influence of standing armies-as if the militia could not form as solid a bulwark against domestic, as against foreign, enemies. But, sir, you have a perfect security in the peculiar organization of your political institutions. The people are protected by eighteen different governments-one general, and seventeen State governments. These State governments are founded in the confidence and affections of the people, and are competent to the most unlimited efforts for self-preservation. If, therefore, a rebellious standing army were in actual possession of your President and Congress, the loss would scarcely be felt by the nation. The State governments would be competent to levy troops, order out the militia, &c., and would destroy the rebels in a moment. From these peculiarly fortunate circumstances, the people of the United States have less real causes of fear from standing armies than any people upon earth. When Bonaparte took possession of the Government of France, it was done under circumstances peculiarly favorable to the daring enterprise; but even then, if there had been established in France seventeen governments, possessing the affections and confidence of the people, with arms in their hands, besides the Government at Paris, it is probable he never would have undertaken the project; or, if he had, it would have been a miracle if he had succeeded. It is an extremely difficult thing to establish a despotism and enforce municipal regulations upon an armed people, who are determined on resistance. Spain, at this moment, exhibits the most striking example of the truth of this position. Bonaparte has found more difficulties in subduing the armed population of Spain than in conquering all the regular armies in Europe, &c. When a whole population, with arms in their hands, are determined to be free, they cannot be enslaved. For these, and many other reasons, which might be adduced, he felt
Supplemental Speech-Volunteer Bill.
none of the apprehensions which seem to have been so influential in giving a preference to the Volunteer force.
He had, in the present crisis, as he had always done before, voted for such regular forces as the exigencies of the country required, perfectly exempt from all apprehensions of danger to the liberties of this country in consequence of doing
Mr. GILES, in conclusion, observed, that although he felt disposed to yield much to union and harmony in our measures respecting foreign nations, and entertained the highest respect for the opinions of gentlemen from whom he differed on this occasion, yet even if the number of men should be reduced, and the sum appropriated lessened, which he deemed of the most importance,
according to the report of the committee, he should find some difficulties in voting for the bill, and should reserve his determination in that respect for further reflection; because he disliked to vote for nominal, when the situation of the country required actual measures. He felt, also, some considerable difficulty in voting for a law, in principle the copy of a former one, which had been seen in so unfavorable a light by the Virginia Legislature as to induce it to pass a law for the express purpose of preventing its execution in that State. The high respect he felt for that Legislature furnished a formidable obstacle to his giving his vote in favor of the law under any circumstances. He should, however, finally act in this respect, from the convictions of further consideration.
TO THE HISTORY OF THE TWELFTH CONGRESS.
COMPRISING THE MOST IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS ORIGINATING DURING THAT CONGRESS, AND THE PUBLIC ACTS PASSED BY IT.
Communicated to Congress by the Messages of No. vember 5, and 14, 1811; January 16, 17, March 16, June 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 16, and 22, 1812; and November 4, 1812.
To the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States:
To the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States:
I communicate to Congress certain documents, being a continuation of those heretofore laid before them, on the subject of our affairs with Great Britain.
Without going back beyond the renewal, in 1803, of the war in which Great Britain is enI communicate to Congress copies of a correspond-gaged, and omitting unrepaired wrongs of infeence between the Envoy Extraordinary and Minister rior magnitude, the conduct of her Government Plenipotentiary of Great Britain and the Secretary of State, relative to the aggression committed by a Brit-Presents a series of acts hostile to the United ish ship of war on the United States' frigate Chesa-States as an independent and neutral nation. peake; by which it will be seen that that subject of difference between the two countries is terminated by an offer of reparation, which has been acceded to. JAMES MADISON.
British cruisers have been in the continued practice of violating the American flag on the great highway of nations, and of seizing and carrying off persons sailing under it, not in the exercise of a belligerent right, founded on the law of nations against an enemy, but of a municipal prerogative over British subjects. British jurisdiction is thus extended to neutral vessels, in a situation where no laws can operate but the law of nations, and the laws of the country to which the vessels belong; and a self-redress is assumed, which, if British subjects were wrongfully detained and alone concerned, is that substitution of force for a resort to the responsible sovereign, which falls within the definition of war. the seizure of British subjects, in such cases, be regarded as within the exercise of a belligerent right, the acknowledged laws of war, which forbid an article of captured property to be adjudged, without a regular investigation before a competent tribunal, would imperiously demand the fairest trial, where the sacred rights of persons were at issue. In place of such a trial, these rights are subjected to the will of every petty
The practice, hence, is so far from affecting British subjects alone, that, under the pretext of searching for these, thousands of American citizens, under the safeguard of public law and of their national flag, have been torn from their country, and from everything dear to them; have been dragged on board ships of war of a foreign nation; and exposed, under the severities of their discipline, to be exiled to the most distant and
Relations with Great Britain.
without effect, that her own prior blockades, unsupported by an adequate naval force actually applied and continued, were a bar to this plea: that executed edicts against millions of our proedly impossible to be executed; that retaliation, to be just, should fall on the party setting the guilty example, not on an innocent party, which was not even chargeable with an acquiescence in it.
deadly climes, to risk their lives in the battles of their oppressors, and to be the melancholy instruments of taking away those of their own brethren. Against this crying enormity, which Great Britain would be so prompt to avenge if commit-perty could not be retaliation on edicts confessted against herself, the United States have in vain exhausted remonstrances and expostulations. And that no proof might be wanting of their conciliatory dispositions, and no pretext left for a continuance of the practice, the British Government was formally assured of the readiness of the United States to enter into arrangements, such as could not be rejected if the recovery of British subjects were the real and the sole object. The communication passed without effect.
When deprived of this flimsy veil, for a prohibition of our trade with her enemy, by the repeal of his prohibition of our trade with Great Britain, her Cabinet, instead of a corresponding repeal, or a practical discontinuance of its orders, British cruisers have been in the practice also formally avowed a determination to persist in of violating the rights and the peace of our coasts. them against the United States, until the marThey hover over and harass our entering and de-kets of her enemy should be laid open to British parting commerce. To the most insulting pre-products; thus asserting an obligation on a neutensions they have added the most lawless pro-tral Power to require one belligerent to encourceedings in our very harbors, and have wantonly spilt American blood within the sanctuary of our territorial jurisdiction. The principles and rules enforced by that nation, when a neutral nation, against armed vessels of belligerents hovering near her coasts, and disturbing her commerce, are well known. When called on, nevertheless, by the United States, to punish the greater offences committed by her own vessels, her Government has bestowed on their commanders additional marks of honor and confidence.
age, by its internal regulations, the trade of another belligerent; contradicting her own practice towards all nations, in peace as well as in war; and betraying the insincerity of those professions which inculcated a belief that, having resorted to her orders with regret, she was anxious to find an occasion for putting an end to them.
Abandoning still more all respect for the neutral rights of the United States, and for its own consistency, the British Government now demands, as prerequisites to a repeal of its orders, as Under pretended blockades, without the pres- they relate to the United States, that a formality ence of an adequate force, and sometimes with- should be observed on the repeal of the French out the practicability of applying one, our com- decrees, nowise necessary to their termination, merce has been plundered in every sea; the great nor exemplified by British usage; and that the staples of our country have been cut off from their French repeal, besides including that portion of legitimate markets; and a destructive blow aimed the decrees which operate within a territorial at our agricultural and maritime interests. In jurisdiction, as well as that which operates on aggravation of these predatory measures, they the high seas, against the commerce of the Unihave been considered as in force from the dates ted States, should not be a single and special reof their notification; a retrospective effect being peal in relation to the United States, but should thus added, as has been done in other important be extended to whatever other neutral nations, cases, to the unlawfulness of the course pursued. unconnected with them, may be affected by those And to render the outrage the more signal, these decrees. And, as an additional insult, they are mock blockades have been reiterated and enforced called on for a formal disavowal of conditions in the face of official communications from the and pretensions advanced by the French GovBritish Government, declaring, as the true defini-ernment, for which the United States are so far tion of a legal blockade, "that particular ports must be actually invested, and previous warning given to vessels bound to them not to enter."
Not content with the occasional expedients for laying waste our neutral trade, the Cabinet of Great Britain resorted, at length, to the sweeping system of blockades, under the name of Orders in Council, which has been moulded and managed as might best suit its political views, its commercial jealousies, or the avidity of British cruisers.
To our remonstrances against the complicated and transcendent injustice of this innovation, the first reply was, that the orders were reluctantly adopted by Great Britain, as a necessary retaliation on decrees of her enemy, proclaiming a general blockade of the British isles, at a time when the naval force of that enemy dared not to issue from his own ports. She was reminded,
from having made themselves responsible, that in official explanations, which have been published to the world, and in a correspondence of the American Minister at London with the British Minister for Foreign Affairs, such a responsibility was explicitly and emphatically disclaimed.
It has become, indeed, sufficiently certain, that the commerce of the United States is to he sacrificed, not as interfering with the belligerent rights of Great Britain, not as supplying the wants of her enemies, which she herself supplies, but as interfering with the monopoly which she covets for her own commerce and navigation. She carries on a war against the lawful commerce of a friend, that she may the better carry on a commerce with an enemy; a commerce polluted by the forgeries and perjuries which are, for the most part, the only passports by which it can succeed."
Relations with Great Britain.
Anxious to make every experiment short of the last resort of injured nations, the United States have withheld from Great Britain, under successive modifications, the benefits of a free intercourse with their market; the loss of which could not but outweigh the profits accruing from her restrictions of our commerce with other nations. And to entitle these experiments to the more favorable consideration, they were so framed as to enable her to place her adversary under the exclusive operation of them. To these appeals her Government has been equally inflexible, as if willing to make sacrifices of every sort rather than yield to the claim of justice, or renounce the errors of a false pride. Nay, so far were the attempts carried to overcome the attachment of the British Cabinet to its unjust edicts, that it received every encouragement, within the competency of the Executive branch of our Government, to expect that a repeal of them would be followed by a war between the United States and France, unless the French edicts should also be repealed. Even this communication, although silencing forever the plea of a disposition in the United Siates to acquiesce in those edicts, originally the sole plea for them, received no attention.
ade to be comprehended in the Orders in Council, the United States were compelled so to regard it, in their subsequent proceedings.
There was a period when a favorable change in the policy of the British Cabinet was justly considered as established. The Minister Plenípotentiary of His Britannic Majesty here proposed an adjustment of the differences more imme. diately endangering the harmony of the two countries. The proposition was accepted with the promptitude and cordiality corresponding with the invariable professions of this Government. A foundation appeared to be laid for a sincere and lasting reconciliation. The prospect, however, quickly vanished. The whole proceeding was disavowed by the British Government, without any explanations which could, at that time, repress the belief that the disavowal proceeded from a spirit of hostility to the commercial rights and prosperity of the United States. And it has since come into proof, that at the very moment when the public Minister was holding the language of friendship, and inspiring confidence in the sincerity of the negotiation with which he was charged, a secret agent of his Government was employed in intrigues, having for their object a subversion of our Government, and a dismemberment of our happy Union.
In reviewing the conduct of Great Britain towards the United States, our attention is necessarily drawn to the warfare just renewed by the savages, on one of our extensive frontiers; a warfare which is known to spare neither age nor sex, and to be distinguished by features peculiarly shocking to humanity. It is difficut to account for the activity and combinations which have for some time been developing themselves among tribes in constant intercourse with British traders and garrisons, without connecting their hostility with that influence, and without recollecting the authenticated examples of such interpositions heretofore furnished by the officers and agents of that Government.
If no other proof existed of a predetermination of the British Government against a repeal of its orders, it might be found in the correspondence of the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at London, and the British Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in 1810, on the question whether the blockade of May, 1806, was considered as in force, or as not in force. It had been ascertained that the French Government, which urged this blockade as the ground of its Berlin decree, was willing, on the event of its removal, to repeal that decree, which being followed by alternate repeals of the other offensive edicts, might abolish the whole system on both sides. This inviting opportunity for accomplishing an object so important to the United States, and professed so often to be the desire of both the belligerents, was made known to the British Government, As that Gov- Such is the spectacle of injuries and indigniernment admits that an actual application of an ties which have been heaped on our country, and adequate force is necessary to the existence of a such the crisis which its unexampled forbearance legal blockade, and it was notorious that if such a and conciliatory efforts have not been able to force had ever been applied, its long discontinu- avert. It might at least have been expected that ance had annulled the blockade in question, there an enlightened nation, if less urged by moral obcould be no sufficient objection on the part of ligations, or invited by friendly dispositions on Great Britain to a formal revocation of it; and the part of the United States, would have found, no imaginable objection to a declaration of the in its true interest alone, a sufficient motive to fact, that the blockade did not exist. The decla- respect their rights and their tranquillity on the ration would have been consistent with her avow-high seas; that an enlarged policy would have ed principles of blockade, and would have enabled the United States to demand from France the pledged repeal of her decree, either with success, in which case the way would have been opened for a general repeal of the belligerent edicts; or without success, in which case the United States would have been justified in turning their measures exclusively against France. The British Government would, however, neither rescind the blockade, nor declare its non-existence to be inferred and affirmed by the American Plenipotentiary. On the contrary, by representing the block
favored that free and general circulation of commerce, in which the British nation is at all times interested, and which, in times of war, is the best alleviation of its calamities to herself, as well as to other belligerents; and more especially that the British Cabinet would not, for the sake of a precarious and surreptitious intercourse with hostile markets, have persevered in a course of measures, which necessarily put at hazard the invaluable market of a great and growing country, disposed to cultivate the mutual advantages of an active commerce.