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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 believe 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 highly 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 ?
They are acts amounting to colonization and taxation; to the exercise of the national sovereignty of the United States. Great Britain has even gone so far, as to exercise an act of sovereignty over the people of the United States, which they would not entrust to Congress; but retained to themselves, in their highest sovereign capacity.
The British orders of council, now sanctioned by an act of parliament, direct all vessels, laden with the produce of the United States, destined to any of the ports of the enemies of Great Britain, to call at a British port, and then to pay an enormous transit duty, and accept a license for the further prosecution of the voyage; and upon refusal, they are forced to do so by British armed ships. This is literally and precisely the introduction of the old and long established colonial principle of coercing all the commerce of the colony to the ports of the mother country, there to pay a transit duty for their protection by the mother country. In the colonial state, the mandate of the mother country was sufficient to effect this object. Now the same object is effected by an armed force. This is the only real difference in the two cases. But, sir, this is noť all; Great Britain has attempted, by an act of parliament, to exercise an act of sovereignty over the United States, solemnly given by the people to their Congress. Amongst the powers given to Congress, I find these words, « Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with foreign nations,” &c. '. Now, sir, permit me to read an extract from an act of parliament, and see whether it does, not only impose a tax upon American productions, but also exercise this act of national sovereignty, delegated by the people to Congress.
66 And whereas, it is expedient and necessary, der effectually to accomplish the object of such orders, that duties of customs should be granted upon certain goods exported from Great Britain; we, your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the commons of the united kingdom, in parliament assembled, do most humbly beseech your majesty, that it may be enacted ; and be it enacted by the king's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords, spiritual and temporal, and commons, in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that from and after the passing of this act, there shall be raised, levied, collected and paid unto his majesty, his heirs and successors, upon all goods, wares and merchandize, enumerated or described in the tables, (A.) (B.) and (C.) annexed to this act, exported from Great Britain, the several duties and customs, as the same are respectively described and set forth in figures in said tables.”
In those tables, marked A. B. C. are to be found productions of the United States. It has been said, that Great Britain may lay an export duty upon any goods within her ports. That is readily admitted; it being a mere municipal regulation. But Great Britain has no right to compel our ships to carry our productions into her ports, for the purpose of imposing duties thereon; and this is the act regulating our commerce, of which I complain.
Again, sir, Great Britain has attempted, by this act of parliament, to lay an export duty upon the productions of the United States-a power not even entrusted to the discretion of Congress. I find in the constitution these words : “no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.” Here, then, is an express prohibition to Congress against laying a duty on any articles exported from any state; yet Great Britain has attempted, by an act of parliament, to lay an export duty on cotton exported from one of the United States; an authority which can only be exercised by the people, in their highest sovereign capacity. It is true, sir, that Mr. Canning has offered to commute this duty into an entire prohibition of the article, as an export from Great Britain. This, sir, was only adding insult to injury, and showed, that Mr. Canning possessed