The extraordinary manner in which the subject now under consideration has been introduced, and the extraordinary nature of the proposition itself, would justify a latitude and severity of remark, which, however, I am not disposed to indulge upon this occasion. I know that I address myself to a very respectable portion of the collected wisdom and patriotism of my country. I will therefore leave the honorable members from Pennsylvania and Delaware, (Mr. RESS and Mr. WHITE,) in the undisturbed possession of their inflammatory appeals and declamatory effusions, and will manifest a becoming respect for the high authority to which I have the honor to speak, by moving on the ground of argument and of fact. To prevent losing myself in so spacious a field I will consider the subject under three distinct hears:

1. The injuries alleged to have been committed on the part of Spain.

2. The nature, character, and tendency of the remedy proposed.

3. Its justice and policy.

The importance of a free navigation of the Mississippi has been duly appreciated by the Government, and a constant eye has been kept upon it, in our negotiations with foreign powers. At attempt was indeed made under the old confederation to barter it away for twenty-five years; which, however, was efficiently controlled by the good sense and patriotism of the Government. By the treaty of peace with Great Britain in 1783… the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, with her, in 1794….and by the treaty of friendship, limits, and navigation with Spain, in 1795, the right of a free navigation of the Mississippi is recognized, and declared to exist, from its source to the ocean, in the citizens of the United States. By the 22d article of the treaty with Spain, it is declared, That "in consequence of the stipulations contained in the 4th article, his Catholic majesty will permit the citizens of the United States, for the space of three years from this time, to deposit their merchandize and effects in the port of New Orleans, and to export them from thence without paying any other duty than a fair price for the hire of the stores. And his majesty promises either to continue this permission, if he finds during that time that it is not prejudicial to the interests of Spain; or if he should not agree to continue it there, he will assign to them, on another part of the banks of the Mississippi, and equivalent establishment." The 22d article granting the right of deposit, is, therefore, founded upon the 4th article, recognizing the right of free navigation, and it intended to give full and complete efficacy to it. By a proclamation of the Intendant of the province of Louisiana, dated the 16th of Oct. last, the right of deposit is prohibited. The reason assigned for this daring interdiction is, that the three years for which it was granted having expired, it cannot be continued without an express order from the king of Spain. And at the same time no equivalent establishment is assigned, according to the stipulations of the treaty.

There can be no doubt but that the suspension of the right of deposit at New Orleans, and the assignment of another place equally convenient, ought to have been contemporaneous and concurrent; that the conduct of the Intendant is an atrocious infraction of the treaty, and that it aims a deadly blow at the prosperity of the western States; but it is extremely questionable whether it was authorized by the Government of Spain or not. On this subject I am free to declare that I entertain great doubts, which can only be cleared up by the course of events, or perhaps it will ever be enveloped in darkness. On the one hand, the terms of the proclamation, indicating a misunderstanding of the treaty, the remonstrances of the Governor of the province, whose authority does not extend to commercial and fiscal affairs, over which the Intendant has an exclusive control, and the prompt and decided assurances of the Spanish Minister near the United States, would induce a belief, that the act of the Intendant was unauthorized. On the other hand, it cannot readily be believed that this officer would assume such an immense responsibility, and encounter an event so big with important consequences, not only to his country but to himself, without knowing explicitly the intentions of his Government. Such, then, is the true state of Spanish aggression: an important right had been secured to our citizens by the solemnity of a treaty; this right had been withdrawn by an officer of the Spanish Government; and whether this aggression was directed by it or not, is not as yet known. Other aggressions have indeed been stated by the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Ross), in order to darken the picture, and with the manifest design of exasperating our feelings, inflaming our passions, and prompting an immediate appeal to the sword. That gentleman had mentioned that great and unwarrantable spoliations have been committed upon our commerce by Spain, and that redress is refused. The depredations previous to the treaty of 1795 were satisfactorily provided for in it, and those subsequent are in a favorable train of negotiation and adjustment. If it were permitted to me to draw aside the veil which covers our executive proceedings, I could establish, to the satisfaction of every person present, that the honorable mover has wandered widely from candor and the convictions of his own knowledge, in his representations on this subject. I will at present content myself with giving an unqualified contradiction to his declarations, and do cheerfully appeal to the information within the power of every member of the Senate, for the accuracy of my assertion. I am fully satisfied that the court of Madrid has not only entertained, but has manifested in her negotiations, every disposition to maintain inviolate the relations of amity with this country. When, therefore, the honorable mover proceeded to state that several of our citizens had been seized and imprisoned by the colonial authorities of Spain, I might ask, whether any Government in the world pretended to protect her citizens in the violation of the laws of other nations? Whether our citizens in the situation he has represented, had not been concerned in illicit trade, and in violating the laws of the Spanish colonies? Instances may have indeed occurred where innocent persons have been unjustly dealt with; and whenever representations to this effect shall have been made to our Government, I have no doubt but that ample redress will be instantly demanded and insisted upon. Nothing has been laid before us which can authorize the assertions made on this subject. Whenever such conduct shall be brought home to Spain, and prompt and complete satisfactions denied, I shall then consider it the duty of the Government to vindicate the rights of our citizens at all hazards; and I cannot but congratulate the honorable mover, and the other side of the house, on the resurrection of that ardent zeal in favor of their oppressed countrymen which has so long and so soundly slept over British and French enormities.

As to the nature, character, and tendency of the remedy proposed, there can be but one opinion. It proposes to enter the country of a foreign nation with a hostile force, and to seize a part of its territory. It is not preceded by a formal declaration, and cannot, therefore, come under the denomination of a solemn war; but it partakes of the character of a war not solemn. It answers to the definition of war, by Burlamaqui, "a nation taking up arms with a view to decide a quarrel;" to that given by Vattel, who represents it to be "that state in which a nation prosecutes its right by force." A state of general hostilities would as necessarily follow as an effect would follow a cause; no nation would submit to the irruption of a hostile army without repelling it by force; the proud Castilian, as described by the gentleman from Delaware, would revolt at the insult; the door of negotiation would be effectually closed; and as the appeal would be to arms in the first instance, so the controversy must be finally decided by the preponderance of force. It would therefore not only have impressed me with a more favorable opinion of the honorable mover’s candor, but also of his decision and energy as a statesman, if he had spoken out boldly, and declared his real object. War is unquestionably his design -- his wish. Why then mask his propositions? Why combine it considerations connected with negotiation? Why not furnish the American people at once with the real and the whole project of himself and his friends? If it is bottomed on patriotism, and dictated by wisdom, it need not shrink from the touch of investigation -- it will receive their approving voice, and be supported by all their force. The resolution is then to be considered as a war resolution; in no other light can it be viewed, and in no other light ought it to be viewed, and in no other light will it be viewed by the intelligence of the country.

In this point of view, I will proceed, said Mr. C., to consider its justice and policy, its conformity with the laws and usages of nations, and the substantial interests of this country.

I shall not attempt to occupy your attention by threadbare declamation upon the evils of war; by painting the calamities it inflicts upon the happiness of individuals, and the prosperity of nations. This terrible scourge of mankind, worse than famine or pestilence, ought not to be resorted to until every reasonable expedient has been adopted to avert it. When aggressions have been committed by the sovereign or representatives of the will of a nation, negotiation ought in all cases to be first tried, unless the rights of self-defence demand a contrary course. This is the practice of nations, and is enjoined by the unerring monitor which the God of nature has planted in every human bosom. What right have the rulers of nations to unsheath the sword of destruction, and to let loose the demons of desolation upon mankind, whenever caprice or pride, ambition or avarice, shall prescribe? And are there no fixed laws founded in the nature of things which ordain bounds to the fell spirit of revenge, the mad fury of domination, and the insatiable thirst of cupidity? Mankind have, not only in their individual character, but in their collective capacity as nations, recognized and avowed in their opinions and actions, a system of laws calculated to produce the greatest happiness of the greatest number. And it may be safely asserted, that it is a fundamental article of this code, that a nation ought not to go to war until it is evident that the injury committed is highly detrimental, and that it emanated from the will of the nation charged with the aggression, either by an express authorization in the first instance, or by a recognition of it when called upon for redress, and a refusal in both cases to give it. A demand of satisfaction ought to precede an appeal to arms, even when the injury is manifestly the act of the sovereign; and when it is the act of a private individual, it is not imputable to his nation, until its Government is called upon to explain and redress, and refuses; because the evils of war are too heavy and serious to be incurred without the most urgent necessity; because remonstrance and negotiation have often recalled an offending nation to a sense of justice, and a performance of right; because nations, like individuals, have their paroxysms of passion, and when reflection and reason resume their dominion, will extend that redress to the olive-branch which their pride will not permit them to grant to the sword; because a nation is a moral person, and as such is not chargeable with an offence committed by others, or where its will has not been consulted, the unauthorized conduct of individuals being never considered a just ground of hostility until their sovereign refuses that reparation for which his right of controlling their actions, and of punishing their misconduct, necessarily renders him responsible. These opinions are sanctioned by the most approved elementary writers on the laws of nations. I shall quote the sentiments of some of them.

Vattel says: "Two things, therefore, are necessary to render it (an offensive war) just. First, a right to be asserted; that is, that a demand made on another nation be important and well grounded: 2d, That this reasonable demand cannot be obtained otherwise than by force of arms. Necessity alone warrants the use of force. It is a dangerous and terrible resource. Nature, the common parent of mankind, allows of it only in extremity, and when all others fail. It is doing wrong to a nation to make use of violence against it before we know whether it be disposed to do us justice, or to refuse it. They who, without trying pacific measures, on the least motive run to arms, sufficiently show that justificative reasons, in their mouths, are only pretences; they eagerly seize the opportunity of indulging their passions, and of gratifying their ambition under some color of right." It is subsequently stated by this admired writer, that, "it is demonstrated in the foregoing chapter, that to take arms lawfully, 1. That we have a just cause of complaint. 2. That a reasonable satisfaction has been denies us, &c."

Burlamaqui says: "However just reason we may have to make war, yet as it inevitably brings along with it an incredible number of calamities, and often injustices, it is certain that we ought not to proceed too easily to a dangerous extremity, which may perhaps prove fatal to the conqueror himself. The following are the measures which prudence directs sovereigns to observe in these circumstances: 1. Supporting the reason of the war is just in itself, yet the dispute ought to be about something of great consequence to us; since ’tis better even to relinquish part of our right, when the thing is not considerable, than to have recourse to arms to defend it. 2. We ought to have at least some probable appearance of success; for it would be a criminal temerity, and a real folly, wantonly to expose ourselves to certain destruction, and to run into a greater, in order to avoid a lesser evil. 3. Lastly, there should be a real necessity for taking up arms: that is, we ought not to have recourse to force but when we can employ no milder method of recovering our rights, or of defending ourselves from the evils with which we are menaced. These measures are agreeable not only to the principles of prudence, but also to the fundamental maxims of sociability, and to the love of peace; maxims of no less force with respect to nations than individuals. By these a sovereign must, therefore, be necessarily directed; even the justice of the Government obliges him to it, in consequence of the very nature and end of authority. For as he ought always to take particular care of the state, and of his subjects, consequently he should not expose them to all the evils with which war is attended, except in the last extremity, and when there is no other expedient left but that of arms." In addition to these great authorities, permit me to refer severally to the opinions of two more modern writers, Martens and Paley. The former says that amicable means for redress must be tried in vain before an appeal to arms, unless it is evident that it would be useless to try such means; and the latter is of opinion that the only justifying causes of war are deliberate invasions of right, and maintaining the balance of power. It is not necessary to decide upon the justice of the last observation, because it does not apply to the case before us. But can any man lay his hand upon his heart and declare that he believes the present case a deliberate invasion of right by the Spanish Government? Can any man say, that it would be fruitless to attempt amicable means of redress, and that the sword alone can restore us to our rights?

The opinions of these celebrated writers are corroborated by the general usage of nations. A demand of redress before the application of force, has been almost uniformly practiced by the most barbarous, as well as the most civilized nations. Instances may indeed be found to the contrary; but they are to be considered as departures from established usage. The ancient Romans, who were a military nation, and who marched to empire through an ocean of blood, always demanded satisfaction from the offending nation before they proceeded to war; and fixed upon a certain time in which the demand was to be complied with, at the expiration of which, if redress was still withheld, they then endeavored to obtain it by force. It has been the general practice of the civilized nations of Europe to promulge manifestos, justificatory of their conduct in resorting to arms. These manifestoes contain a full statement of their wrongs, and almost always declare that they had previously endeavored by negotiation to obtain a friendly adjustment of their complaints. What is this, but a declaration that the law and the sense of nations demand this course? What is it, but an appeal to the intuitive sense of right and wrong which exists in every human bosom? The reign of the present King of Great Britain has been emphatically a war reign. In 1760 he ascended the throne, and found the nation at war with France. Besides his wars in the East and West Indies, almost half his reign has been consumed in wars with this country, and some of the nations of Europe. He has been three times at war with France; three times with Spain; twice with Holland, and once with the United States. The most strange events -- events which have pleased and dazzled, astonished and terrified mankind -- have passed upon the theater of the world in his time. The ordinary maxims of policy, and the cardinal principles of action have been reversed and prostrated. The world has seen the revival of the crusades, and all the great powers of Europe in arms, and a destroying and desolating spirit go forth, unknown to past times. Portentous as a portion of this reign has been, when a deviation from the established laws of nations might naturally be expected, and degraded as the power and condition of Spain is represented to be, I am willing to stake the whole controversy upon the reciprocal conduct of these Governments to each other. Of all wars, one with Spain is the most popular in England, from the opportunities it affords for maritime spoliation, and lucrative enterprise; for the same reasons it is anxiously deprecated by Spain; and it has even grown into a Spanish proverb, "Peace with England, and war with the world." Notwithstanding the preponderating force of Great Britain, the allurements of popularity and cupidity, her great and extraordinary acquisition of maritime power, and the martial temper which has marked her character during the present reign, we find the very power with whom we are now called upon to measure swords, meeting her propositions for negotiation or arms on the ground of perfect equality, maintaining a steady posture and an erect attitude, passing through her collisions with unspotted reputation and unsullied dignity, and teaching us an instructive lesson, that while we ought never to bend into degrading compliances, we are not to expect that a nation which has not yielded improperly to the power in the world most able to injure her, will tamely submit to the insulting and imperious measure recommended so earnestly to our adoption. Six controversies have occurred between Great Britain and Spain, during the reign of the present king; three have resulted in war. In 1761, when Great Britain was at war with France, a memorial was presented by the French Ambassador at London to the English Minister, which implicated some demands of Spain upon Great Britain, and which gave great offence to her ministry. A negotiation took place, which being attended with an insolent demand for a sight of a treaty concluded between France and Spain, and which being very properly refused, a war ensued. Notwithstanding the conduct of Great Britain in the course of this transaction was precipitate and unjust, negotiation was attempted before an appeal to arms; and the future disclosure of the real transaction furnished her with a salutary lesson; for it was afterwards found that the treaty did not refer to the existing state of the belligerent powers, but that the guarantee it contained was not to operate until the termination of the war.

In the year 1770, the remarkable case of the Faulkland Islands occurred. Six years before a settlement was made and a fort erected by the British Government on one of them, with a view to accommodate navigators in refitting their ships and furnishing them with necessaries previous to their passage through the Straits of Magellan, or the doubling Cape Horn. This settlement gave great umbrage to Spain; not only upon account of its interference with her claim of sovereignty to almost the whole southern Continent of America, and the adjacent islands, but also on account of the facility it would afford in case of a future war, to an attack upon her South-Sea Territories. Ineffectual remonstrances were made on the part of Spain; and at last, notwithstanding the claim of Great Britain by discovery and occupancy, an armed force was sent; the fort was taken; the settlement was broken up, and the honor of the British flag violated by the taking off of the rudder of a king’s ship, and detaining it on shore twenty days. What course did the British pursue on this occasion? In this case the insult was flagrant; the honor of their flag, the dignity of their crown, and the commerce of the nation were implicated. Was the sword immediately unsheathed, and the door to peace effectually closed? No! negotiations ensued; a convention was formed; Spain disavowed the violence and engaged to restore the possessions; but with an express declaration that the restitution should not affect the question concerning the prior right of sovereignty. The islands were also evacuated three years afterwards by Great Britain, in consequence of a secret agreement.

In 1779, Spain declared war against Great Britain, alledging unredressed depredations on her commerce, and that she was insulted in an attempt to negotiate between France and Great Britain. It is evident that this step on the part of Spain was in pursuance of the family compact, and was not justifiable by the laws of nations. It appears, however, that previous to taking this measure, she had attempted to attain her objects by negotiation.

In 1786, the long disputes respecting the English settlements on the Musquito shore, and the coast of Honduras, were settled by negotiation. The English abandoned their Musquito settlements, and many hundreds of families, who had inhabited them under the protection and faith of the British Government, were peremptorily compelled to evacuate that country. The boundaries of the English Honduras settlements were enlarged, but in such a manner as to leave Spain in full possession of her territorial rights and exclusive dominion.

In 1790, the controversy about Nootka Sound arose: two years before a settlement was made there by an association of British merchants, on land purchased from the natives, with a view to carry on the Fur trade. This interfering with the commercial rights of Spain, a Spanish frigate was dispatched by the Viceroy of Mexico, which seized the fort, and captured the English vessels trading there. A negotiation took place, the vessels were restored, and the settlements agreed to be yielded back. But there was an express reservation on the part of Spain of the right of sovereignty for ulterior discussion.

In 1796, Spain, in pursuance of a treaty of alliance offensive and defensive with France, declared war against Great Britain. From this short narrative it will appear that in almost every case negotiation was attempted, even when indignity and violence had been committed; that in many instances it was successful; that in two of the three cases where hostilities were commenced, Spain was unequivocally the aggressor; that in most of her adjustments she stood upon ground at least equal, and in some, superior to Great Britain; that in all of them she maintained a high sense of character and independence, and that in points affecting the most delicate considerations of national honor, interest, and right, and where occurrences of a very irritating nature had taken place, and more aggravated than the one of which we justly complain, the path of negotiation was deemed the path of honor, by two of the great nations of Europe.

The practice of our Government has been uniformly conformable with the principles I have endeavored to establish, and I trust I shall be excused for bestowing particular consideration on this subject. We have heard much of the policy of WASHINGTON. It has been sounded in our ears from all quarters. And an honorable gentleman from Delaware (Mr. WHITE), has triumphantly contrasted it with that adopted by the present administration. I am not disposed to censure it in this case: on the contrary, I think it a high and respectable authority. But let it be properly understood in order to be rightly appreciated, and it will be found that the United States under his administration, and that of his successor, have received injuries more deleterious, insults more atrocious, and indignities more pointed than the present, and that the pacific measure of negotiation was preferred. If our national honor has survived the severe wounds it then received, it may surely outlive the comparatively slight attack now made upon it; but if its ghost only now remains to haunt the consciences of the honorable gentlemen who were then in power, and who polluted their hands with the foul murder, let them not attempt to transfer the odium and the crime to those who had no hand in the guilty deed. They then stood high in the councils of their country. The reins of government were in their hands, and if the course they at that time pursued was diametrically opposite to that they now urge for our adoption, what shall we say of their consistency? What will they say of it themselves? What will their country say of it? Will it be believed that the tinkling sounds and professions of patriotism which have been so vehemently pressed upon us, are the emanations of sincerity, or will they be set down to the account of juggling imposture? Although but an infant nation, our career has been eventful and interesting. We have already had very serious collisions with three of the most powerful nations of Europe, who are connected with us by treaty, by neighborhood, and by commerce. Great Britain, France, and Spain, have successively committed very great aggressions upon our national rights. In stating these I have no intention of reviving feelings which I trust have ceased with the causes which gave them birth, nor of aspersing the characters of nations who certainly hold the most important and respectable station in the civilized world. Our differences with Great Britain were coeval with the treaty of peace. The detention of the Western posts was a direct violation of that treaty; it diverted a considerable portion of the fur trade from the United States, and disabled us from bridling the hostile Indians, which was a source of immense injury. This evil continued for twelve years, under every circumstance of aggravation and insult. British soldiers issued from those forts into parts of our territory, where we exercised jurisdiction, and seized the persons of deserters without the aid or sanction of the authorities of the country; and these possessions served as asylums for the savages who were in hostile array against us; and as store-houses and magazines to supply them with arms, ammunition, and provisions. The seat of Government of Upper Canada was also held for a time at Niagara, in the State of New York, an indignity of the most marked character. Many thousands of negroes were also carried off in violation of the treaty, and a very serious injury was thereby inflicted on the agricultural pursuits of our southern citizens. On the other hand, it was stated on the part of Great Britain that the treaty was violated by the United States; for that impediments had been interposed against the recovery of British debts by legislative acts and judicial decisions in several of the States. As there were mutual reclamations and reciprocal complaints, let us balance the account, and set off these grievances against each other. Let us suppose that both parties acted right, and that no real cause of crimination existed, still I contend that the conduct of Great Britain, independent of the inexecution of the treaty of peace, was much more aggravated than the case before us.

It is well known that we were engaged in a bloody and expensive war with several of the Indian tribes; that two of our armies had been routed by them; and that we were finally compelled to make great efforts to turn the tide of victory. These Indians were encouraged and aided by the emissaries of Great Britain. British subjects were seen disguised fighting in their ranks, and British agents were known to furnish them with provisions, and the implements of war. The Governor-General of Canada, a highly confidential and distinguished officer, delivered a speech to the Seven Nations of Lower Canada, exciting them to enmity against this country; but in order to furnish the savages at war with sufficient aid, a detachment of British troops penetrated into our territory, and erected a Fort on the Miami River. Here the Indians, dispersed and defeated by Wayne, took refuge, and were protected under the muzzle of the British cannon. A violation of territory is one of the most flagrant injuries which can be offered to a nation, and would in most cases justify an immediate resort to arms, because in most cases essential to self-defence. Not content with exciting the savages of America against us, Great Britain extended her hostility to the eastern hemisphere, and let loose the barbarians of Africa upon us. A war existed at that time between Portugal and Algiers. The former blocked up the mouth of the Straits, by her superior naval force, and prevented the pirates from a communication with the Atlantic. Portugal has been for a long time subservient to the views of Great Britain. A peace was effected through the mediation of the latter. Our unprotected merchantmen were then exposed, without defence, to the piracies of Algiers. Thus in three-quarters of the globe we at one time felt the effects of British enmity. In the meantime our commerce in every sea was exposed to her rapacity. All France was declared in a state of siege, and the conveyance of provisions expressly interdicted to neutrals. Paper blockades were substituted for actual ones, and the staple commodities of our country lay perishing in our storehouses, or were captured on the ocean, and were diverted from the lawful proprietors. Our seamen were pressed wherever found. Our protections were a subject of derision, and opposition to the imperious mandates of their haughty tyrants was punished by famine or by stripes; by imprisonment, or by the gibbet. To complete the full measure of our wrongs, the November orders of 1792 were issued; our ships were swept from the ocean, as if by the operation of enchantment; hundreds of them were captured; almost all our merchants were greatly injured, and many of them were reduced to extreme poverty. These proceedings, without even a pretext, without the forms of justice, without the semblance of equity, were calculated to inflame every American feeling, and to nerve every American arm. Negotiation was however pursued; an envoy extraordinary, in every sense of the word, was sent to demand redress; and a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, was formed and ratified. These events took place under the administration of Washington. The Spanish treaty, concluded on the 27th October, 1795, stipulated for a settlement of boundaries, and an adjustment of spoliations on commerce, and contained a declaration of the free navigation of the Mississippi, and a grant of the privilege of deposit at New Orleans. This treaty for more than two years afterwards was not executed on the part of Spain. In January, 1698, a report was made to Mr. Adams, by Mr. Secretary Pickering, and submitted to Congress, which charged Spain with retaining her troops and garrisons within the United States; with evading to run the boundary line; with stopping, controlling, and regulating the passage of our civilians on the Mississippi; and with sending emissaries among the Indians residing within our territories, in violation of the treaty and the relations of amity. Here then, a treaty securing the important benefit of deposit, was in a state of inexecution for a long period. Our citizens were also interrupted in the free navigation of the Mississippi; and other aggressions, affecting our territorial rights, and our internal peace, were super-added. Was it at that time proposed by the honorable gentlemen who were then in power, as it now is, when they are deprived of it, to seize New Orleans with an armed force? Were they then so feelingly alive to the wrongs of our western brethren? Did they manifest that irritable sensibility for national honor which is now thundered in our ears with such extraordinary emphasis? If it is right for us to act now in the way they propose, what will excuse them for not pursuing the same system then? Was their political vision darkened by the eminence on which they stood? And does it require the ordeal of adversity to open their eyes to a true sense of their country’s honor and interest? Let them answer to their constituents, to their consciences, and to their God.

An amicable explanation was had with Spain, and our wrongs were satisfactorily redressed. This took place in the administration of Mr. Adams, and when most of the honorable gentlemen who support this war resolution, except such as were dangling in the courts of Europe, held prominent stations in the councils of the country.

Our differences with France were of a more serious nature, and of a longer duration. They commenced in the administration of Mr. Washington, and were adjusted in that of his successor. Great and enormous depredations were committed upon our commerce by France, and our merchants were fraudulently robbed of compensation for provisions supplied her in the hour of distress. The treaty and consular convention were violated. The right of embassy, a sacred right, respected even by the ferocious savages, was wantonly trampled upon; and the representative of our national sovereignty was refused a reception, and ignominiously ordered out of France. A fresh attempt at negotiation was made: three ministers were sent, armed with all the powers, and clothed with all the honors of diplomacy. They were also refused a hearing, and were forced to leave the country without experiencing the forms of common civility. The treaty was then annulled, and reprisals directed; and when the honorable gentlemen and their friends, then in power, had worked up the passions of the nation to the highest pitch of exasperation; when war, bloody war, was expected from all quarters; when the war-worn soldiers of the Revolution were girding on their swords, and preparing to stand between their country and the danger that menaced her, the scene suddenly changed; the black cloud passed away; and we again beheld three ministers at Paris, extending the olive-branch, burying all animosities, and returning with a treaty of "firm, inviolable, and universal peace, and true and sincere friendship." I shall not press this subject any further upon the feelings of the honorable gentlemen. I read in their countenances the emotions they experience.

I have thus shewn that the course recommended for our adoption is not warranted by the laws and usage of nations, nor by the practice of our Government. I shall now examine whether it is not repugnant to the best interests of the country.

A vast augmentation of our national debt would be the certain consequence of this measure. It is a moderate estimate to say, that our annual expenditures, over and above our surplus revenue, would be 20 millions of dollars; and we cannot reasonably expect that the war would continue a shorter period than five years. Hence 100 millions would be added to our debt, and the great experiment which we are now trying of extinguishing it in fourteen years, would certainly fail; -- an experiment which has been defeated in Europe, by war and prodigality; and for the success of which, in this country, every friend of republican Government looks with the greatest anxiety. But this is not all: heavy and oppressive taxation would be necessary, in order to pay off the interest of the accumulating debt, and to meet the other exigencies of Government. We are now a happy nation in this respect. Neither the temper nor the habits of our citizens will patiently submit to severe burdens; and happily the posture of our financial arrangements does not require them. Give the rein, however, to chimerical notions of war; embrace the proposition now submitted to us; and the weight of your impositions will be felt in every nerve and artery of our political system. Excises, taxes on houses and lands, will be reintroduced, and the evils of former administrations will be multiplied upon us. But the mischief will not stop here: with the increasing calls for money from the people, their means to satisfy them will be diminished. The superior naval force of the enemy would cripple our commerce in every quarter of the globe. Great Britain and Spain hold the keys of the Mediterranean: we should therefore be entirely shut out of that sea, unless we could persuade the former to unite her exertions with ours. With the decay of our commerce, with our exclusion from foreign markets, the labors of our farmers would be palsied; the skill of our manufacturers would be rendered useless; and with the fruits of their industry perishing on their hands, or greatly undersold, how would they be able to meet the augmented wants of Government? What in the mean time would become of the claim of our merchants upon Spain, for at least five millions of dollars; and to what perils would your commercial cities be exposed? These certain evils would be encountered, without producing the least benefit to our western brethren. The seizure of New Orleans would vest us with a place of deposit. But a place of deposit without the free navigation of the Mississippi would be entirely useless. As long as the enemy holds the country below New Orleans, and possesses a superior naval force, so long we will be excluded from the Mississippi. Suppose, however, this obstacle removed; suppose we are enabled to pass into the Gulf, without molestation; is it not necessary for vessels to hug the island of Cuba on their passage to the Atlantic States? And will not this expose them to certain capture, as long as Spain retains that important possession. To secure the great object said to be aimed at by this resolution, and to establish beyond the reach of annoyance, a free communication between the Atlantic and western States, we must seize not only New Orleans, but the Floridas and Cuba; and we must immediately create a formidable navy. It is needless to mention that the Atlantic States are, with few exceptions, the carriers of western produce. Three-fourths of that trade is managed by the merchants of the State I have the honor to represent. I therefore view this measure as pregnant with great mischief to the commerce of Atlantic America, and as a certain exclusion of the western States from market, as long as the war shall continue.

It is no slight objection in the minds of the sincere friends of republicanism, that this measure will have a tendency to disadjust the balance of our Government, by strengthening the hands of the executive, furnishing him with extensive patronage, investing him with great discretionary powers, and placing under his direction a large standing army. It is the inevitable consequence of war in free countries, that the power which wields the force will rise above the power that expresses the will of the people. The State Governments will also receive a severe shock. Those stately pillars, which support the magnificent dome of our national Government, will totter under the increased weight of the superincumbent pressure. Nor will the waste of morals, the spirit of cupidity, the thirst of blood, and the general profligacy of manners, which will follow the introduction of this measure, be viewed by the great body of our citizens without the most fearful anxiety and the most heartfelt deprecation. And if there are any persons in this country, and I should regret if there are any such in this house, who think that a public debt is a public blessing, and that heavy taxation is expedient in order to produce industry; who believe that large standing armies are essential to maintain the energy, and that extensive patronage is indispensible to support the dignity, of Government; who suppose that frequent wars are necessary to animate the human character, and to call into action the dormant energies of our nature; who have been expelled from authority and power by the indignant voice of an offended country, and who repine and suffer at the great and unexampled prosperity which this country is rapidly attaining under another and better auspices -- such men, whoever they are, and wherever they be, will rally round the proposition now before us, and will extol it to the heavens, as the model of the most profound policy, and as the offspring of the most exalted energy.

If I were called upon to prescribe a course of policy most important for this country to pursue, it would be to avoid European connections and wars. The time must arrive when we will have to contend with some of the great powers of Europe; but let that period be put off as long as possible. It is our interest and our duty to cultivate peace, with sincerity and good faith. As a young nation, pursuing industry in every channel, and adventuring commerce in every sea. It is highly important that we should not only have a pacific character, but that we should really deserve it. If we manifest an unwarrantable ambition, and a rage for conquest, we unite all the great powers of Europe against us. The security of all the European possessions in our vicinity will eternally depend, not upon their strength, but upon our moderation and justice. Look at the Canadas; at the Spanish territories to the south; at the British, Spanish, French, Danish, and Dutch West India Islands; at the vast countries to the west, as far as where the Pacific rolls its waves. Consider well the impression which a manifestation of that spirit will make upon those who would be affected by it. If we are to rush at once into the territory of a neighboring nation, with fire and sword, for the misconduct of a subordinate officer, will not our national character be greatly injured? Will we not be classed with the robbers and destroyers of mankind? Will not the nations of Europe perceive in this conduct the germ of a lofty spirit, and an enterprising ambition which will level them to the earth, when age has matured our strength, and expanded our powers of annoyance -- unless they combine to cripple us in our infancy? May not the consequences be, that we must look out for a naval force to protect our commerce. That a close alliance will result. That we will be thrown at once into the ocean of European politics, where every wave that rolls, and every wind that blows, will agitate our bark? Is this a desirable state of things? Will the people of this country be seduced into it by all the colorings of rhetoric and all the arts of sophistry; by vehement appeals to their pride, and artful addresses to their cupidity? No, sir. Three-fourths of the American people, I assert it boldly and without fear of contradiction, are opposed to this measure. And would you take up arms with a mill-stone hanging around your neck? How would you bear up, not only against the force of the enemy, but against the irresistible current of public opinion. The thing, sir, is impossible; the measure is worse than madness: it is wicked, beyond the powers of description.

It is in vain for the mover to oppose these weighty considerations by menacing us with an insurrection of the western States, that may eventuate in their seizure of New Orleans without the authority of Government; their throwing themselves into the arms of a foreign power -- or in a dissolution of the Union. Such threats are doubly improper: improper as they respect the persons to whom they are addressed -- because we are not to be terrified from the performance of our duty by menaces of any kind, from whatever quarter they may proceed; and it is no less improper to represent our western brethren as a lawless unprincipled banditti, who would at once release themselves from the wholesome restraints of law and order, forego the sweets of liberty, and either renounce the blessings of self-government, or like the Goths and Vandals, pour down with the irresistible force of a torrent upon the countries below, and carry havoc and desolation in their train. A separation by a mountain, and a different outlet into the Atlantic, cannot create any natural collision between the Atlantic and western States. On the contrary, they are bound together by a community of interests, and a similarity of language and manners; by the ties of consanguinity and friendship, and a sameness of principles. There is no reflecting and well-principled man in this country who can view the severance of the States without horror, and who does not consider it as a Pandora’s box which will overwhelm us with every calamity; and it has struck me with not a little astonishment, that on the agitation of almost every great political question, we should be menaced with this evil. Last session, when a bill repealing a judiciary act was under consideration, we were told that the eastern States would withdraw themselves from the Union if it should obtain; and we are now informed, that if we do not accede to the proposition before us, the western States will hoist the standard of revolt, and dismember the empire. Sir, these threats are calculated to produce the evils they predict; and they may possibly approximate the spirit they pretend to warn us against. They are at all times unnecessary -- at all times improper -- at all times mischievous -- and ought never to be mentioned within these walls. If there be a portion of the United States peculiarly attached to republican Government and the present administration, I should select the western States as that portion. Since the recent elections, there is not a single senator, or a single representative in Congress, from that vast country, unfriendly to the present order of things; and except in a part of the Mississippi Territory -- and its whole population did not by the last census reach nine thousand souls -- there is scarcely the appearance of opposition. To represent a people so republican, so enlightened, and so firm in their principles, as ready, without any adequate cause, (for no Government could watch over their interests with more paternal solicitude than the present upon the present question), to violate their plighted faith and political integrity; to detach themselves from the Government they love, and to throw themselves under the protection of nations whose political systems are entirely repugnant to their own, requires an extent of credulity rarely equalled -- certainly never surpassed. If we examine the indications of public sentiment which have reached us, we see them breathing quite a contrary spirit. The legislatures of Kentucky and the Mississippi Territory have expressed full confidence in the conduct of the Government respecting the infraction of the treaty. Virginia, which embraces a respectable portion of western population, has done the same. The legislature of Tennessee has not been in session; but from the most recent and authentic accounts, we have every reason to believe that that State and the Indiana Territory are entirely satisfied with the position our Government has taken. The infant State of Ohio has presented us with an address, couched in the warmest terms of affectionate attachment, equally honorable to her and to us; and her recent elections have manifested the same decided spirit. Out of forty-five members returned to her first legislature, there are only five to be found in the opposition. Pennsylvania is the only remaining state which possesses any western territory, and I need only refer you to her elections to demonstrate the extraordinary attachment to the Government which prevails in that great and respectable State. In the next Congress there will not be a single member in opposition from Pennsylvania, and her State elections have been attended with nearly the same distinguished unanimity. Under the influence of such honorable principles, and under the auspices of the great character who so deservedly holds the reins of her government, and extensively possesses the confidence of his fellow-citizens, we have nothing to apprehend on her part from the evils with which we have been so liberally menaced. Delaware -- which has no western country, which carries on little or no trade with the western States, and which has no immediate interest in the present question -- has indeed lifted up her voice against the measures of the general Administration, and has demanded a more energetic course. I shall be the last man to speak disrespectfully of any of the State Governments. I mean not to disparage the conduct of Delaware; and I trust I do not when I say that New York, which has a greater interest in the Spanish infraction than any of the Atlantic States, is entitled to equal attention; and she has, through her Legislature and executive, declared her warmest approbation of the course pursued by the general Government on this interesting occasion.

It is equally in vain for the honorable mover to declare that the seizure of New Orleans will facilitate negotiation, and avert war; that we will lose our character if we do not; that delay will give Spain time to prepare; that our executive has taken no course that we know of; and that the opposition will lend us their aid if we follow their advice. In opposition to these suggestions, we say that the seizure of New Orleans is war in fact, and will shut out negotiation; that character is to be lost, not by firm and honorable moderation, but by rash and boyish precipitation; that delay is an evil that cannot be avoided, if we pursue the path of negotiation, which is the course our Government has taken; and that if it gives our adversary time for preparation, it will also furnish us with the same advantage; that however desirable it may be to produce a union of sentiment and action among our fellow-citizens, we are certain that it will not result from the adoption of the present measure; that the great body of the people will consider it rash and unjust; and that in gaining the transient and doubtful support of a small minority, we will alienate the affections, and lose the confidence of our best friends -- who will certainly desert us when we desert the laudable principles which ought alone to entitle us to their esteem and attachment.

If negotiation shall prove successful -- and of this I have no doubt -- all the evils resulting from war will be averted. If, on the contrary, it shall eventuate unfortunately, and we shall be compelled to face all consequences, and risk all dangers in the maintenance of our national honor and national rights, great and abundant advantages will still result from the pursuit of this course; and we will be enabled to appeal to the sword, with a full conviction of the justice of our conduct; with the unanimous suffrage of our country; and to the perfect satisfaction of the world. In the mean time, we can form some necessary preparations, and we can ascertain the feelings and bearings of foreign Governments. Every day of procrastination will find us better prepared, and will give us more people, more resources, more treasure, more force, with less debt. Our national character will stand high for moderation and justice; our own citizens, and foreign nations, will entertain but one opinion on the subject; and we can then confidently appeal to that great and good Being, who holds in his hands the destiny of nations, to smile upon our cause. But, if in the inscrutable decrees of His providence it is ordained that we must perish, we will at least fall with dignity, and maintain our character when we lose our existence.

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