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Again, sir, I have little apprehension from these threats, for the following reasons: first, many of the individuals, engaged in these excitements, I am told, are gentlemen of property and families. They are, therefore, now in the enjoyment of every political and domestic blessing; their infatuated passions to the contrary notwithstanding. I think persons of this description will pause, before they hazard all these blessings; and a moment's impartial reflection, will be sufficient to check their career. In the next place, there are many local advantages accruing to the people of the eastern states from the operation of the general government. They consist, principally, of the following, although there are others: first, the protection, afforded to their carrying trade, by discriminating duties, both on tonnage and merchandize: second, protection and facility afforded to the coasting trade: third, protection to their fisheries by duties on foreign fish: fourth, affording a good market for their surplus manufactures and other articles: fifth, payment of the public debt at par, which was bought up at very low rates : sixth, as a result from all these advantages, the protection of their population on the sea-board, by lessening the inducements to emigration.
Permit me, sir, to remind the gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. Lloyd,) that these advantages are not to be trifled with.
But, sir, I have heard it intimated, that these advantages could be compensated by a connexion with Great Britain. Indulge me, sir, with an examination of this idea. A connexion between New England and Old England, could only be for the benefit of the latter. They are essentially rivals in every occupation: first, in navigation; second, in exports. The exports of New England are principally fish and beef. It would be a great object with Old England, utterly to destroy the New England fish market; and the Irish beef would come into an advantageous competition with the export of that article.
These are permanent points of competition, unalterably fixed in the nature of things; they cannot be altered, nor destroyed by any sudden ebullition of passion, nor by any connexion resulting therefrom.
Again, sir, what would be the effect of such a connexion, upon the rest of the United States. In that case, the discriminating duties, now in favor of the New England states, would be turned against them, and would probably be given to the middle states; and thus New England would be effectually excluded from carrying the bulky and heavy productions of the southern states. Discrimination might even be made in favor of British ships. It is a matter of no consequence to the agriculturist, whether his produce is carried to market in a New England or Old England ship. The only interest, he has in the transaction, is the price of his produee; and that could always be driven to its highest point by the competition of British tonnage and British capital alone, without taking into the estimate the tonnage and capital of the middle states. The people of the southern states are perfectly sensible of the local advantages their eastern brethren enjoy from the operation of the general government. But they envy them not; they rejoice in their prosperity; and the southern people are pleased with the recollection, that they contribute to this prosperity; they find, in return, their compensation in the general safety and protection. I do not mean safety and protection against any internal movements; upon that point I would agree with our eastern brethren upon a reciprocal absolution from all obligation; I mean safety and protection against foreign aggression. Under this plain and obvious view of this part of the subject, Mr. President, I should be disposed to think, that our eastern brethren would be the last to desire to absolve themselves from the sacred obligations of the constitution.
In the southern states, we feel no resentments nor jealousies against our eastern friends. There are no
inducements with us to foster and encourage such unpleasant and mischievous feelings. The gentleman from Massachusetts, (Mr. Lloyd,) has ventured to interpose an opinion between Great Britain and France, respecting the character of the quarrel between them. He has ventured to say, sir, that France is fighting for lawless domination; whilst Great Britain is fighting for her natale solum ; for her national existence. Sir, in my opinion, it must be inauspicious to the interests of the people of the United States, when their rulers not only feel, but express sympathies in favor of one of the belligerent powers; and surely, sir, the gentleman must feel no small sympathy for one of the belligerents, if he believes the character of the quarrel to be such as he has described it.
In my judgment, sir, the United States have nothing to do with the character of the quarrel of the belligerents; but I differ entirely with the gentleman on this point. I believe the character of the quarrel is precisely the same on both sides; they are both fighting for lawless domination; and I believe, that Great Britain has full as much chance of conquering France, as France has of conquering Great Britain. The only difference between them consists in the difference in the objects of their lawless domination. France claims dominion on the land; Great Britain on the water; they are both equally hostile to us.
The difference to us consists only in the different degrees of force they can bring to bear upon us; in this respect Great Britain does us most injury. We are, thank God, remote from the influence of French power; but the power of Great Britain extends to our shores. France, when she can, seizes and burns our vessels ; Great Britain, having more power on the ocean, seizes and confiscates them.
The only limit of their hostility is the limit of their power.
Both are equally the objects of our just resistance and punishment, if we possessed the power.
I rejoice, that I have heard no apologist for France
on this floor, nor any where else. I feel, sir, a condescension in introducing, for the purpose of denying, the idle and ridiculous tale of French influence, which has, so disrespectfully and disgracefully to our country, been circulated by newspapers. Sir, this idle and ridiculous tale of French influence, I have strong reasons to believe, was originally suggested by British influ
The tale was probably invented by the British cabinet about the same time of the invention of the tale respecting the secret article in the treaty of Tilsit, that the Danes had agreed to give up their fleet to the French emperor to facilitate his invasion of Great Britain. This tale I believe lord Hutchinson has since pronounced, in the British parliament, to be a falsehood. About the same period, this same energetic British cabinet probably determined upon the destruction of American commerce, although the orders for that purpose were not actually issued for several months afterwards. Some tale was thought necessary for the justification of the act, and the suggestion of French influence operating upon our councils was probably the one suggested
I have heard it said, and believe it to be true, that the governor of Nova Scotia made the suggestion in a letter, addressed to certain British partizans in Boston. It is hardly to be presumed, that he would have taken upon himself the responsibility of such a suggestion without the authority of the cabinet. I am inclined to think, that this fact could be proved in a court of justice. Perhaps there may be gentlemen here from Boston, who could give us more particular information upon this subject. I feel, sir, a condescension in touching upon this subject; I wish to see all extraneous influence utterly banished from the country; and the only operating influence-American influence.
I have, now, sir, gone through this unpleasant, and, I fear, unprofitable discussion, respecting the character of measures heretofore adopted by the government; the only hope I have from it is, that it may put us into
a better temper for deliberating on the measures now proper to be adopted. Let me, then, Mr. President, call the attention of the senate, to the actual situation of the United States at this time.
The United States are now left alone to protect neutral principles against the belligerent encroachments of a warring world. In all former wars, the belligerent encroachments have been proportioned to the influence of the powers at war, compared to the influence of those remaining at peace; but I belicve history presents no example of the warring powers at any former time putting at defiance all neutral rights, all public law. It remained for the present times to witness this unexampled aggression; and it remained for the United States alone to bear the shock. This state of things imposes on them a great, a sacred obligation: the obligation of protecting neutral principles. Principles which lessen the inducements to war, and mitigate its rigor. Principles bighly interesting to mankind; not only to the present but to future generations, and, in a peculiar manner, to the people of the United States. This arises from their remote situation from the great contending nations of Europe. Hitherto, sir, the talents displayed in defining, and the magnanimity in protecting these principles, have obtained for the United States, the respect and sympathy of an astonished world. And shall we, sir, at the moment of an extraordinary pressure, basely abandon them, without striking a blow ? Forbid it interest! Forbid it honor! Forbid it American gallantry! But, sir, some gentlemen seem not sufficiently impressed with the hostile character of the belligerent aggressions. With respect to those of France, there is but one opinion. They amount to hostility itself. But, sir, to my astonishment, the acts of Great Britain seem not to have made the same strong impression on the minds of some gentlemen. Let me then inquire, sir, into the real character of acts, which can, by some gentlemen, be palliated or excused ?