North Carolina Newspapers is powered by Chronam.
";:'. PUBLISHED. (weeW)W 1806, . ; . Xb. 480. '
hi Striate of the United States."
On thi bilt forykrptoUctioh and indmwjici'
. "fr tion ef American .'.'lamtn,--'
MrVR g HT-Mr President As intro-. V
ductory lo the consideration of the merits
. of this bill,' T'feel it ray duty to "call the at
tention of the Senate, to the present degrad
ed state' of impitssed American seamen,
thousands of whom hare been pressed on
board British ships of war, and compelled
by whips and scourges, to work like galley,
slaves,' whither they have been forced by
the hand lof yioleuce, from, on board our own
hips, sailing on the high seas, under the
' flag of the United States carrying the spure
productions of the toil pf the, American plan
ter and merchant, to .' foreign market, oj
returning with, their proceeds. J . ,
" In doing this, I wish not to enlist, your
sympathies, but only to present to you a
correct state of the facts oh which this bill
: is nredicatedY facts that stand- recorded in
the official reports of the Secretary of State
-the black catalogue oi impressments,. ,
I will nest present to your view the mea
sures adomeil' by. the legislature and exe-
; Kiitive departments of the government of the
United State. Tor their redress. ' , -,. ,.
"In the year 1796 Congress by: law, 3
"" Vol. 3221 directed agents to be appointed to
'.'rA in f Ipf nt-Rritain. and In stich foreign
. norts. as the President miiht direct, vhoie
duty it should be, to enquire into the sifualfon
of such American citizens, or others, sailing
conformabltr to the law of nations, under the
been, or should be impressed, by any foreign
power, and to endcavtr by all legal means
,to obtain their release ; and to render an ac
count of all impresshients ami detentions, to
the executive of the United States. " ,
. . " They also directed the collactors of the
evcral nortson nroof beia'cr anade of the
citizenshin .oi any sc3m.m, to give him
. aer'.ificale thereof, under a hope, that it would
' have been rejected, in foreien ports, and
have protected him from impressment.
This certificate acquired the name of a pro
They also directed, "That every captain
of a vessel in case bf any of the' crew being
impressed, shall enter his, protest at the first
port he shnll arrive, with the name and re
sidence of the person, and transmit imme
diately by post a duplicate of such protest,
to the nearest agent, minister, or consul re-
Sident in such country, and also on his ar
rival in America, to the secretary of state."
And that every captain on hi arrival at
any port of the United States before he Bhall
be admitted to en entry of Ijjs vessel, shall
be required by the collector to declare on
oath, whether any of the crew have been
impressed, which he shall take under the
-penalty of 100 dollars, and the" collector is
, bound to return a list of all impressments,
to communicated to htm, to the secretary of
In 1 799, the secretary of state Js directed
ty law i vel. 503. "To lay before Congress
unually, a statement of all impressments
I... it,... 1. i .. rv...;..!
1y, and precisely Informed of the stale of our
. Under thesa le;;idativc provisions and the
intervention of our agents appointed fir that
. purpose hundreds, of our seamen no doubt
have been discharged by the board of admi
ralty, while at the same time, and under the
aame authority, the impressments kept pace
with the discharges, so that instead of re-
dressing the wrong, it was only inflicted in
routine, thereby adding insult to injury.
This !l important subject.fromitscorr.mence
ment, has als Wen particularly attended lo.
by the executives of the United States. Our
ministers at l.ondon, during three successive
administrations, have bcrr. specially charged 1
with it, and we have witnessed thetr diplo
matic exertions to bring this lawless and
cruel practice to an end, but all to no effect.
And now we nre informed by the President
of the United States in his message of the
17th Ian. last, thjt"On the impressment of
our seamen, our remonstrance have never
teen intermitted, a hpt eaiMed at ent mo
matt, of an MTIncmtiit that might have
been tuhmilttd to, but it soon putfi ovai,
and the piacticc, though rcUxcd at times in
the distant seas, hat been conttantfy pursued
. in those in our -neighbourhood."
This, Mr. President, is the prwprct pre
sented to eur tiew, whereby itouands of
our unfortunate seamen, tht hrty and in
valuable tlsv of citizen, are continued to
. the most intolerable bondare. (by tbe Imp,
rious mtndatc of a PrUUh mval cffiCir,
vh-isa sordl the supttme law from which
there is no appeal,) ml wMch fclocmy pro.
yect we are rww ii.formsd. by the lif.hcit
inthority, then is not a ark of hope left to
Sir, I have ImHcd ynu to invrstlrstr thi
fil.ject w'r.h the eye of temper, but at the
a hie time, Itfu(, that the ratlin's justKc
will not be eompromitted, by rtetedvrg the
lounds of moderation $ forithas its limits I
ami we art InPirmfd hy.iha Jaw of tiativtis
tVat. 4Ui3l "1 bathe true and just
welfare of the nation is the erand r"'e : Mo
deration is always. laudable in itself, but. tho" 1
conductors of nations ought to make use ot
It, only so far, as i is consistent with the
happiness and safety of their people..",. Un
der: thi view of the sul5jectv.can'tvp submit
to this state of (hints' f That Is the question
I have jpt esumed "not ; and under the pre
sumption, I have brought the Subject before
the Senate in the shape it is presented in
this bill.. Sij", I' wish.it to be recollected that
the infant, state of pyr navy suppresses -every
nope b,f redress oh the elementof our wrongs
and that this is a measure of mcssitj, ni
of choicei AVercfOTe i;U'Uit it wilj ,not be
thought too nervous, when it is considered,
that we Jiavewfi tause of war. l w.;t tiitre-
by pressing mariners on one hand, a Tery use
ful body of - men seem to be put under hard
pbips inconsistent with Hhe temper, and gc-
i'Ji " government, on the - other the
uJfsfijy .of thejease setmeth to entitle the
tfubiio to.,- the service of this body of men,
?whcnver the safety ot life whole calleth lor
,Vt. . ;I. think that ;the crown has a right
to command the service of thcreople. whe
e ver. the publiq safety calleth ifor it, ; the
same ,t rigfe Jthat .it ,hath ' to require::;tbe
PSW fljirf service. ,f Wy mart ) able toubear
a,rms.,in cps-of suddtn iavasion or!fomU'
dabie.inQrr.e,c'Cinn?;i'he tight in both, ca
ses is f6un.tkd .on; ope and(the same princi-
I ..plej thjteity cftlief(ise;in nrxetXa lht
preservation , of the whole.'A Hut heiadds,
:e, now, sir, proceed JOjihc -consideration VojC; h- .ii V Uiil be .asked where ere
the merits p' this;bijh , ;. . , J ,( thf?.Aj-wIgd cases'4n.lWhk;h he grontitleth
Tbe.first clause, staler, tbat in Ration 'of fp$pipn ?. ft ;freiy coiifesetl' that he
the treatv xt amitv.'commeir.e. and iiaV'nra
tion, made at Loudon on the lW.NV-171)4,
his Britannic majesty had caused the im
pressment of our seamen sailing under the
flag , of the United States. The treaty 2
vol. L. U. S. 464 secures the inviolability
of the citizens and subjects of the respective
powers, and wc are informed by the law of
nations tVat. 655,. 39. "That r nation
acts against the nature Tmd essence of every
treaty of peace, riay "against peace itself,
by deliberately and wantonly ofl'triding him,
with whom pcate has been made, and treat
ing him or his subjects, incompatible" with
peace, and which he cannot suffer without
being wanting to himsrfj "." 1'ut it may be
said that this has not "been authorised by
the British government. l,et'us'txaiine
that fact. It is declared by the law of na
tions, Vat. 252 J 73, 74, 76. " That howe
ver as it is impossible, for the best regulated
elate, vor for the most vigilant and absolute
sovereign, to model nt his pleasure,: all the
actions of ; his subjects, and ,to conline them
on every occasion, to t.te most exact obedi
ence, it would he unjust to impute tcthe na
tion or to the sovereign, all the fatil's of the
citizens, we ouht not to say in general that
wp have received an injury from a, nation,
because we have received it from ohe of in
members." , , . .....
" But if a nation or its leader approves
and ratiGes the act committed by a citizen,'
it makes the act its own ; th offence wugl t
then to be attributed to the nation in the au
thor of the true injury, of which the citizen
is perhaps only the instrument." 1 '
"If the sovereign ilisavovrs the act he
ought to infiict on the offender exemplary
So far I have called in the aid of the law of
nut'wms : 1 will now n fer to the. form' of the
authority in case of impressment, which is
in thrse words, l ost. C. I.. 156. " In pur
suance of hi m.tj:sty's order in counril, da
ted the 19th day Jan. 7, 1742, We do hereby
empower you to impress or ccime to be Im
pressed, so ir.pny seamen, fee." and I will
refer you to the farts in your own pm?ssioi,
that hisl'.ritannic nwjry approves the acti
both by cotiiinuirg the iit ')resMu'iits, and
by his lately promoting the ftpiain of the
Caiobiian fiigrftc (whom he rrrtdUil to ap
pease our foiup! tints fn that Lend) to the
command of a ship of the lines so that in
farm, in law, and in fact his Britannic ma
jesty has cktitcd the iu.pie-Mm ntnf our sea
men, or he mubt hav punuhed, biul rot
promoted so notorious an offender. On this
point 1 presume then there ran be no doubt.
Mr. Prasidriit-I have thought it neither
unprftbuo.e nor irrcicvem to the present sub
ject, to examine the rtht of impresMiig Bri
British jurists have more thnn questioned
this right, and the Br'nUh Parliament have I
presume, deciled tlie ipiestion. - -- - - .
Sir l.dw. Coke 2 inst. 47 ay-The
king cannot send any mhjrrt against his will
out of the reaJni nor even into Ireland, f r
then unitr pretence of service he might
aend him Into batuihment. II. II. P. C.
Notes, 679 In Hales II. P. C. it is declared
" repugnant to the liberty of an Knrihman
and irreconeilcable to the established nUes of
law, that man, without iny ofTtnre by him
committed, or any law to authorise it. should
be hurried away like a criminal from hia
friends and family, and carried by force into
a dangerous arrviec
That the common law did not admit of
such a practice, tmitt have been the opinion
6f the BritWh parlismcnt. who In the time
of Charles I. pased a statute 16 C. I.e. 5
"to authorise the lmprement of aollini
and learner, for sea aerticr or service be
ymt aea.M shieh ain after xnirtdJ,e!n(-
of short durajinn. The? might aln he
been of the ame opinion In the time of 5 fc
3 Ann,c 19, 3 k Ann c. 11,4 Ann c. 10, S
Ann c. 13. C- Ann e. 10 queen Ann, when a
numWrof atatutei of a very aWt duration'
ps-.ed 'mpitliitnent.in tfn tame terms as
the ita'ute of Cl aries above stated. I prc-
suttethey wmill never have passed laws to
UcaitWW a procecdingtint wn ut;r,.
able by the rvmmon law. Judge l"tr, who
isqtritcdby Britons as ai authority en iM
in shall le ttatnbifd, foa. C. I.. 1 57 J
lie st.itrs in the tc f I!roathot, stho wat
indicted far the murder cf Ca1-h;n, TLat
hath not. met with one in whiislV.ihe leiialitf
of pr'cihinj; fbr'tbe w service luitii directly
come in question. , I.Ie 'states, ilwt according
to his best af)Tehenswnv (haying tho't much
upon the subjtot) 'he right ,'t.f .. impressing
marinars for the public set vice is a preroga
tive inherent' in the crown, grounded vpch
the comman 'taw, and recognized . by many
actaoi parliament."- SVith' a great 'delertiice
to his honor, I y0t2ld a&k Jf any thing can be
eyictence of the common lawi but j-.idicial dc
fisiflns5n the -point Vhichhe iulmits are
p'ot rto befountlf-I will also examine the
itatutcs on which he relies as recognizing
his right. I would here observe tliat he
oldstle soldiar tmd seamen alike bound by
fie sartfe law,, and it would Tost. c. 1, 106
item by.A'dm. Seymour's commission, tjiat'
lis power extended to impress Ships, captains,
Tiasters, pi!otsand seamen, well as all o
her persons fit for the service. This was
or the sea and foreign service, and did not
.pxtend to litnd toldicrs, as till the 21th year
pt cnaries 2, an the lands were held by mi
litary tenures, whereby the tenants were ob
liged to furnish soldiers, and every thing ne
cessary for them in war; but by 24" C. .2,
24 C. 2. c. 12 thcsedQures v.'.crc abolished,
and I question much Vcthcr the stat.
Charles 1, extended to the feudal tennis,
who were bound to serve only in Kngtunrl.
By a statste of Henry VII. 7. M. 7, c. I
it is enacted, tht if any tidier being no
captain immediaiily retained with the kin
.which shall be in wJigesr-aiKl retained, or
Uk any prest to" serve the kirg upon the
ea-or upon :n? ioml beyoiHl iia, depart out
of the kin j V service
without licence from
the captain, it "shall he adjudged felony.
The s'at. of Henry VI 18. II. 6, c'. 19
agamit insertion was construed to extend
to soldiers found by tenure or covenant to
serve., on land and a question was na('e
whether soldiers who had t; kcn brest torcne
against the rebels in Ireland, were liable lo
the penalties of that law, which was cleared
up in parliament in these words, "that the
knid stjt. Hen. VI. in nil pains, forfeitures
and penalties did. doth, tmd hereafter sh;dl
extend as well to every mariner and gunner
having taken, or who t.eteafivr shell take
tst or wge, to serve Kr queen's majuty,
as it did or doth, to soldiers, any opinion to
the contrary notwithstanding." These arc
the statute from whence the field is nrc
tended to be infentdj which I presume, go
in snew tnai me manner kr.ti soldier must
be er.liMed Lefote they are liable to the rc
nalties of desertion, ami that it is by -contrcit
a:uJ not uvcrrf,the soldier becomes bound
to serve, and that the l ight is founded in the
prostitution ol ti c sound of the void Bur
U Cow. Inst. J. I I). r u for the pciuc.
which word means "money paid to a soldier
or Suilor to enlist nor i it nt nil i,l u.n
tierea at, mat a ngnt tounUrrt in rifaiatrv.
the tyrant's pita, should rest "On a' pretext o
uitmy, .or mat tlie barriers of ctymolory
should not be able to withstand, as necessity
has no law, ihe physical force of a press
CiWg- And although this right of the sea-
man to be exempt fiom service luton their
enlistment, has been tinder the claim of pte
rogalite sulittaotially violated, yet the form
ol the commission to impress, retains the
evidence of this ioljt..i It i in thete
wordit IVt.C.L. 13 c "We do hereby
empower and direct jouto impiTss or cause
to be impressed 10 msnv sranun, he. giving
unto earh man one shilling for frtts morer."
tc. Thuj I have shewn, that British sub
jectsare not legally JkiiiihI ur.lc s they receive
ptttt, or bounty to tnhst. Andloaioid irr
joition, it Isprotldcdty atan,te . U 6 V. ,
"and M. c. Is M!ut noptnon ilnll be e
J.steu lor the land service, who did tot in
I Tse nee t f a rnn-ivrntf , hiph constsVlc, fcc.
d'-'latc his free coustnt to be enlisted ai a
Can we then mhm'it to the ear rclie of tMa
fj jprtrrgctitt tight, to lie inferred rn thoe
a.vlir.g under the fijg of the United States
without the limits of the l'rnih 1 mpire
A prattler, juU:e Bbi'.Lstont informs ns
Briiofis I ae Mihtt'tK d to with 'rrat tvluc
tar e $ ti.d v.i'.l it not ,t laid U,n vc are
tianllpRto outstlifs if we ih tdd not jjuitd
our senneti ag!nt this ot;ttat;e hf all the
rr.fans In our power But it may hets'.d the
Brithh tovtrnrntnt have a right to ti e nr.
ticc of her own auhjrtti 1 h&vo aLcn, utt
by impressment, and I will now sltew that
they have the right of becoming American
citizens, and of beinsr protected in that righ:
. tTur. Backv. 1 Vol 'p. W6 . " By the law vg-
nature, iianis'subje' J.ontv .restramts aid
may" pas? into, any1 iMjr.-Vat. 172, eci
225. By the law of nations everjr subject r
has a right to xj!utrite hhnse4r$d $eek hi -
fortune where hencaoijest proniote his inter
est.- 4, Blac,'VCn .6S..F.vfi5l.
And by tlie coynnvoft'lw every Englishman
niBVigooutof the Realrftwithout the King a
. leave ,lbr any cattse he pleaaeth. s sAnd j.o far
has Bntam recognised thi right In others, by
parliament thavbv. the navrgauonv net, one
Ibut'ih of every ship Vcrew may beforcigm.
ersi6 Ami; c. $7. lty the statute ti Ann,
threeiouvtiis may be foretgnsrs, und by the.
statute ol deo. 1 li 13 (jco. 2, c. S.J it-is
proviuect that any ioreigiicr stvving oa - '
board of any merchant ship or ship of war.
lor two years in time of war, shall ipso lac
tb become 'a British subject entitled to all
the privileges of a native, born subject."; .
Thus we see 'Britain invHca: foreigners in.
to her service,-ancl secv.rcs them 111 fill tbq
privileges oi her native subject among which,
protection, is the ;mot important. ' - Can it be
then that Britain w ill exercise a right thatia .
iwjt legitimate ? Or cjoim for herself what
she will deny to others f If hot, then she
admits the right of expatriation, which is e
stablished by the law of nature, of nations,
and ihe common law, and tested by the au .
thorny of the British Parliament. Can we
then feel ourselves at a loss tor an authority
to protect those who sail under the flag of
tlip Tltt'it! Stfala 1 u'twr kf.. Ilritnin rifif
cniy inviting tojeigners into tier sentee, nut
securing them protection by the solrv.ii'.j of a .
statute? Can we then, .1 stiy, wsnt mithoti- '
ty or zeal, to protect our citizens in their.
rights secured to them by the solemnity ofa-
i.unJinuif(.. wi lier 1 iic iniiiinuj vj UHl uiit. ;
Mr. President, permit me here to observe",
thut all legitimate governments is derived
from the people, and is founded in 'compact
only, and intended for the good of the w hole.
"that protection and allegiance are recipro
cal obligations, each so important, that in.
11 governments, in nil ages they have been
secured by the solemnity of tu oath.".
1 ask then, is not the conduct of Britain
a violation'ofthe right of our seamen ? Are
they not secured in these rights by he Con
stitution, and. are we not bound by the most
solemn obligation to protect them to the ut
most of our power ! By the' law of nation
at. 251, sec. I. " VV hosoever uses a rili
zun ill indirectly offends the Mate, wl.icli
oiir to protest thtir citiwna, and hi. ovf.
reign should revenge the injuries, punish the
aggressor and if possible obl-ge him to nuke .
iniire satisfaction, since otherwise the rniren
would not- obtain the grct t'nd of the civil as
sociation, w hich W scjtty ,
1 cannot then permit mysslf for o moment
to mpposie that a right so important, secured,
by ties so solemn, and so palpably violated,
will not be protected, to the u'nif st of the
power of the Congress of the United States
by nil the legislative means tkey posesa, con
sistcnt with the sound principles of Initia
tion, and gofd government.
By the constitution, Congress are todcf.no
nndpniiWh piracy : in detlning piracy, 1 wish
them not to exercise a wild both gal dmre-
liVn, which is itself defined," " to discern by
law what is just," I will therefore call their
attention to the subject, as it has bet n consi
dered by the law of nations the common
and statute law of Great-Britain. By the law "
of nations, Mol. d. j. m.57. " the att:irk
ing a ship at sea and taking away some of the
men to make them slaves is piracy."
By the common law, f4. Blnc. Com.TJ . .
5. Instr-109 piracy consists in cemmittitif;
lljoe act of robbery and de predj'ion upon
the high seas which if committed upon Lnd
would he felony.
4 Bl. C. c. 71. F.very corfntmtfr have a
r'ght to inflict that putiisl.ment t x ti a pirate
by the rules cf self defence, which an iodivi
dual would in a state of nature have been 0
therwise entitled to, frraiiy invasion if hi per
son or propetty. BjMhe statute of I.hra-.
beth, 41 r.liiu it i enacted that whoever,
shall hereafter without Lvjvl authority take
any of her Majrsty'a anhjetts agninst ihtir
will and detain i tm fWiA .rr, or to make a
pray or apod of his person or goods vpon
deadly feud, crtthenriie, should te adjudg.
ed and taken to le a felon, and should lutTrr
the pairs of death without tent fit cf the tier
This atata'e wet predicated vpen a sf te
of thlngi in that country, txt more jointers.
btethan theprrscnt atue of Amerimn sei
mrnt nor can it he rons'ideir d at anintot
rcet eaere ie cf the diere tW n of Coffrest In
defining piracy, lo deflate iheimpttumttt
cf our ieartin, nnd fonignirg then to so
abjett a lavety as iliey are subject to on
hoard Britiah shipi of ar, pimry .wlun l y
tl e law f f titi'i., I.y li e comro' ti U, r!
ty the it.stute of t.l:;Uth we discover r.
ivel perfectly Juiifd in so dntntr. And
1 tru ire can never $ ndourvr l?a dio.
acd to protect ear tiumi, ihsn flntuln hit
been t pmtett httvjtcit, nor of dfrfatim
that act fnvey rommi'.trd on the ie ttu
that Britain cutsiJcrt ar. 7 sf dtttk ewe