" " '."." "- ' M " ""' ,f" , ... ..nil- ' iji i mi ii I, i ii i i n 'i i. r ' ' ' i, i'i.v i " i " , 1 nmm hi ii.-.. mi ii ,i . . .
,;. Mr. Gaston's Speech
4V?. IVABSTER'S 11 ESOL UJ'IO.YS. :
Mr. G AStON said, that when lie ehtered the
Aiuse that momtntt he had . no expectation of
tkinj a part id this debate. He ,avs perfectly
tonscV'U of the d'fsadvanrage under whiu'i he
" lafiust appear, ifj ,' attempting wUhS.nt ' the benefit
pjt previous reflection, an; examination W the ar
gument conuioed in, the extraordinary harangue
of theigeOtleran , frorn ,Tcnnesee--:art harangue
evidenily tudiedian'?:abowe'.fiut) a the
question had bceii itaUed for j ab no other gentle
man seemed disposed to occupy the floor ; and
as pait of that argument demadcd notice he
fa. U his duty to cLim the attention of the chair
Spr few miuuics. However unequal tne con
testy yel in the causs jof trdth and. of the best
interests of his" country, he could not hesitate to
SaS8 'a Provided these were advanced, he
was little solicitous as " to the light in which he
' ' The gentleman ha'l occupied no iriconsiderable
portion of the time of the hoqs, with invectives
against those who had dUcournged loans and en
listments. To the part of the country (said Mr.
,G.) which I have the honor to represent, such in
Wctives are without the possibility of application.
tVVith us loans and enlistments have been con
sidered as acts purely voluntary, in! which every
Injividual has'been ieft frwe to pursue' his incli-
. naHnn. Indeed, in these davs of distress, few
us have been able to lend and the tempta
tions to enlistment have not been strong enough
to carry off many beside those whom all were will
ing to part with. J
"The gentleman has also Indulged himself in
insinuations, where more seemed meant than
' rott the ear, of a disposition to take the part of
GTJritain, and of prepossessions in favor of the
tenemy. These, he has indeed said, were not de-
i Signed to apply to any gentleman occupying a
iwoi nn tin, ti mr. .Atv exnenence. sir. nas oeen
loo limited to enable me to ascertain whether 1
yssqciates.The Tcsolutions had not . been ''intro
j ducedat n early day i after tliefat??iooi bec ue
of the wwh that an opportunity wouU1e taken or
made by ih administration or its friends to give
the dejireidjnlel'.i-ncei without ; call from this!
side of the hrruse. It was notorious that (he
publiu . voice ; demanded ; a ; iom muhtcaiion.' I A
generalvTu.bsit j pervadetT the ouh!ry .o' learr.
how it was that thb decree of 2lh' Aptii, j8lli
had remained unknown here until after the
declaration ofj war," and unknown in England till
it was too late, by a repeal of the Orders iri
Council, tn prevent a war The public sensif'ility
was alive in requiring full assurance that the
charge., of the j fraudulent concealment of( this
decree a ih ,rg; hich the French miniiter of
foreign a flairs had advanced against our govern
msnt and iu agcns, was not true. Under these
circumstances it been hoped that" the task of
seeking .thin. information would not be throvvn
on those, who, although tbty would yitldJto hond
in regard for the honor of the nation, or fir the
honor-oi its government o such, could not be
presumed to feel a very .intense-interest in the
ficrtonal reputation of thoe who administered its
affairs. Mr. G. "declared, that for one he bad
indulged' this hope, and had openly expressed
it to ge'riilemen attached to the administration.
It was not until lime hd shewn that norhiug
W6uld be done from that q jartei , that the resolu
tions in question were presented. The same
liberal moiives which had dilsyd their introduc-
obstinacy of right, y in the
irt defiance of every eflbrt'
lt is not mr design to proceed - step by step
through, all the documents which are;supposed to
wc , tuniiccieu nn inis. suojcci. rew einpiuj
ments can be rhorlf " stale flat and unprofitable,
either to the Speaker or to the heareV. -Indeed,
sir, however it may be with others, ! ant weary
of documents! They are so multiplied as-'to my
ojve evcrypbject in obscurity,' and to afford to
every than, who knows Jiow.to wrest a sentence
from its plain meaning, a text on which to preach
a political sermon, according to his own fcney.
I am sick of these documents, because theit pertL
sal too plainly shews, what is not uiifrequent in
private controversies; that we haverben written
intu a war. But it is necessary to take a rapid
comprehensive view -of the state of our : foreign
relations, &nd of our course of policy in regard to
them, for a few years before the date of this sup
pressed1 decree.' Triis will enable us to ascertain
the effect which its promulgation would have pro.
duced. ' . , -', . -vf. -' py3'
The Berlin and Milan decrees were permanent
parts of a gigantic syi'em, invented by Napoleon
for the destruction of his advesary. The avowed
object of thii system was to establish a code of
riaifttained 'with alt the tatipn'Bf the Ffetichj'uezje'tr eppfltet which, had
face of the )Mtioij and , it tiot?bee followed by ;conbequeres the inot
"' that carl be used td serious would have .betjt indeed ; Wdicrous--4ef us
we this exemption t the gentleman's s.ense. pf Lwhich iugured well to themselves and their coun..
justice j or wnetner i am to constoer u as a mers
Ibrm .of Paliomentary decorum. In this state of It was far from Mr. G's.jntention to travel over
doubt as to the precise meaning of the gentle- i the ground which had been occupied by the triends
jman, 1 Will content myseil WHO saying, , '.nat wpo pieccaea nira, an :jeciaii7 vy ue hoii
! -anw char ire of Dartialitv to the cause of the ene. I gentlemen from New-Yoi'k, who had addressed'
" .... A
BuppoieV that be,epealing decree, of April C28, ,
loll, naa maae lis appearimce, as py ji? aaie -oughj
to jia re ''46n& It must haye entirely chan
ed the sfatf ?nairs.' 4lt 'wuhatre'eediir'
cont r over sy ai i jto ht cohstructipn fihe iiifamou
CadWe leU?ft hile ,
the fatr.41t musi haVefbr?ver seyeredVtbe,. ftal ",,
made between the Jaw ;offayt:li9ipQdahU'pi,'. t
tended , repeal of the decrees ph the 3d pf KoTftr
ber Ad, vir, whethjs r it 'hdibterV followed by .
cprrespondihg'revoqBtion of tefiritis1hi wdersv, pr -not,"
it would, in all human probability, have pt
rented thiscamitiouswar,, , yj-. t &i -
Would if. have been Allowed jby correiondl.
ing revocatioof ofibe rBritishwderaJis not
given to man to pronoufKrewitljcw
ny event which haa not Jiappehedv j'-but if ie
potiolfr'tor.ive:ftttruj,b by inferring fipmht
did take placed what would have taken place h! :'
the. same causes been brought into earlier 6pcrit
lion, there is no reason to doubt but that.jLUb af
revocation would then have followed. - tThisde-,
cree of the 28th of April, 1 81 1 j however iasilt, ,
ing to the American gpvernment in giving ittha'
lie in the face of the ,worfd,vand however in "otl';ei V
maritime laws, in support of whicheveiy com- j respects, the detestable reverse ol what oUejit 10 t
aercial nation was to be arrayed in a -confederal have been -desiredrwas ;--a-bnBa-,and:absoluir'abi"r"'
cy, whereof he was to be the Protector, Legisla- i rogation of the obnoxious edicts, as regarded tlf.
tion, governed in the course which had beertjtorand Judge, Of this code the elementary United States. V';Uridejr.the hand ofthe-cmpcror"
afterwards pdrsued. Day after duy was given 1 principles were, that the neutral flag should pro. and with all the solemRnies of aiundamentaljw
before the motion was called up, that all who tect'ail that it c6vered that arni3 and munitions of his empire, it announced. thedecreesof Be
uuuuicu uniu cxiiniiiie uiui pioi-iciy rvuujui war snouta oione oe aeemea coniraDanc tiiat ;nn ana lviuan are' arpniiivcuj ana xo .oaie yrorq
tvutu uic niiciiiiuu ui 111- uuu-c HUJ il kvkiii
claimed to this subject, hll ducussion was fthrfiosc
iy forborne on the part of the mover and his
associates, (under the presumption that a mere
call for information would Lnot. beresisted) until
such discussion had been rendered unavoidable,
by the invitation and defiance of its opponents.
Such conduct on the . part of a minority, Mr. G.
believed, was toot often witnessed. It evinced a
magnanimity which he was proud to behold, and
rav as contrasted with that of my country, so far
as regards me, would be utterly untrue. The
tare supposition of it is intolerable. It will not
be deemed egotism, I ttust, to .add, that baptised
an Americin in th; blood of a martyred Father;
bound to my native land by every moral and natu
the house yesterday. While the impressions of
their manly footsteps might yet be seen, he should
be satisfit'd with removing the obstructions with
which it had been attempted' to conceal them.
This investigation, it ha3 been juuly urged, is
demanded by a regard for the character cf our
Tal tye that can lasten on the heart pf man ; with government in the estiniatioft nf our own citizens,
not one motive of interest, of passion or preju-
jdice toseduevthe loyalty of my affections; never
jan I sepai ate myself fiotrt the cause of my coun
try, however that tawe may have been betray
by those to whoSe care it was confided.,
" Without commenting on the delicacy of the
cpurse which the gentleman has in this respect the indepen lence of this nRtion, is hidden
and of the world, in answer to this we are told
its character needs no protection,, it h too pure,
too unsullied to be affected by sny charge. Sir,
this is the langbage of rash, blind confidence KA
rrrost important decree of the French govern
ment, vitally affecting the comirwrce, the peace,
nursued, its art ana address are sumcienuy oo- tins legislature ana irpm ine woim, ior more
$ou. It'teoniods. me of the mode of escape than twelve months after its date." OurAmbas-
. 1 , a i . 1 I 1 . r.t' - -1 J
auor requires me cause o.-tnis conccainieut, anu
tveh naturalists iLform us, is observed by the
Cuttle fish in time of peril-When . his adversa
ry is fast gain:ug upon him, and destruction
Aetna inevitable, he muddies the water through
Ivliich he "gli'les, and finds safety in confusion.
Thus it is- with the'gcntleiran from Tennessee.
He would escapd from this diicussion he would
elude the enquiry how far we owe this war to
French imposition, by raisingla , tumult about
British predilections and Bntisb argumentsT But
(he stratagem cannot take. No gentleman will
suffer himself to be diverted from theinvestiga.
rjon which these resolutions fairly suggest and
such inquiry deliberately pursued, must termi.
ziate in the discovery of the necessary, tho mel
yicholy truth. -VV-,
' Mr. G. remarked, that whatever miht be .he
.issue of the resolutions, he cordially cougr.uulat
edtjie nation that they had betn iotroUued. It
was due to the national " honor, always in volved
in the honor of the national agents ; and it was
duetojhe best interests of the country, that the
iuytery which enveloped this subject should be
dissipated. ' .,
A ,formal authentic decree of the government
of France, bearing date the 28th of April, 181 1,
and purporting to be an absolute retraction of the
.Berlin and Milan decrees, was exhibited by that
government to our representative, Mr. Barlow,
in May J812.' On his expressing surprise at the
decree, Tnd i,t3 ancient dafe, the French minister
asut cd him that this decree had been comniuni
'Cated to his predec'eisor, MrV Ilussell, and had
b.'ai sent on to ihv' French Ambassador at Wash.,
mgtofi, wi- h ordt-rs to lav .it before ibe President.
This inf.)riniti:tn iVm Mr.5 Barlow was given to
this hiHise t he" close bt its l ist session, ip
consequence of a call on the President " for intelh.
gence, about, our, relations with France and it
came without an explanation, comment or de
nial. On all hand? it must be admitted, that a
- ?liamefi,l fraud has beeii -somewhere perpetrated
The reputation of the nation demanded that ' this
iiaud should be placed to the account of those
w lui had committed it. V Upon this imposture he,
, i'i hiconsctencer believed the war had turned.
Nothing can be more important to the future
fetyf the people, than to learn how and whence
his calamity had befallen them , Mr. G. declar
ftlhimself also' highly gratified with the: liberal
Hd manly course vf hit h hart hir'n minr1:'Kv-tViA
irnrse rjjcjutgns, arr? hw htjnorabK
he is told by the official organ of the government
of France in substance, that thtre hasben no
concealment on their part ; but that the sup
pression has .in fact been on the part of our ex
ecutive or his aerent. I his charee ot traud is
B irlow. If this accusation be in no way repell
ed, what inference will be drawn from the unin
terrupted silence ot ths accused I .Sir, your own
citizens must doubt, and foreign countries will
more than dou.-t, about the truth of the charge,
It is not yet 1 hope, a maxim of our government
that - the king can do no wrong.'' There is no
officer ki)0vn to our constitution and laws who is
to be presumed incapable of misconduct. When
anJmputationoF.Tbu"l crime is brought against
any cf them, and from an accuser of high rank,
according to the usages of nations, it is emphaf,
icatfy "due to his country that the charge should
be repidled. A disposition without cause to
buspect public jnen of ciirainal conduct, and to
sv,'allow with credulity all that can be alledged
against ibem, is' indeed ungenerous and illiberal.
But the opposite extreme, a determination ,4b
believe every thing right which is connected with
authority, and to applaud without examination,
all that has been or may be done by the powers
that be," is the' characteristic . of servility and
folly. Of this temper it has been truly said,
that it is tJie skreen by which power is conceal
ed in its gradual progress to despotism, itsmst
dangerous, if not hVny dangerous approach.
And even- wnen nothing worsen than imbecility
wields th.' reins, if U by this it is upheld in its
course from blunder, 'to blunder, i until it converts
national miorme"into national rin?'f J 4 v
A position, said Mr. G. has been, taken by the
friends of the proposed resolutions, which has
ctven ereat dissatisfaction to the advocates of the
adrrtinistration, and against which all the forcei of
assertion and ofargtlment has been directed. Mo
proposition can be more completely estabrished.
It Is supported byjevidericel little 'shprof de
monstration. The proposition i this, that had
the Fren:h repealing decree of the - 28th April,
1811, been rirdmuigated at (he time of its da or
at any time befcre the fatal reslutioiv, hid been
taken, to plunge this once happy country . into
war, it would have averted this dire calamity.
Gentlemen in vain attempt to put this question
rp rtfst, ih v4n fcrbid Ibis position .to bfi takers
fortified places could aloner be blockaded andl the 1st day of November last, considered as not.
that no blockade was effectual which was not also having existed in regard to A rnerican 'vessels.
ireai uniatn was 10 oe aeemea an eneivouia mere De any mouveoi lniurcsc, any sui
my of the, human race, and cut off from, human
intercourse, uitil she acknowledged the new Na
poleon code. The nation that declined to accede
to this confederacy, waa viewed as the, ally of
Ciitain, and subjected to the most rigorous and
barbarous usages of war. Her ships were burnt
on the ocean, and confiscated in port her proper
ty plundered wherever foundher citizens made
prisoners, ard her territories invaded. Britain
refused to acknowledge this code ; and profess
ing to retaliate on France the consequences of
her own insolence, issued orders prohibiting
neutral intercourse with a part of the French
dominions so long as Fi ance enforced these mon
strous decrees. 'I hese orders she proudly de
gestion of pride, to . prevent Great Britain from
thereupon declaring, that as thfcsfe degrees were
definitively withdraw from American vesseU,o al
so were her orders in council f So far from it,
every inducement must have operated with her to
adopt this course. . She. would fintf in theledit
ofthe 28th of April, a cdroplete victory over the:
American government as to the controversy, whe.
t her France had theretofore repealed these decrees,
It would have afforded to her one of, the most
des irable opportunities to contrast her good, faith
with French perfidy. If she regarded her honcr
it would have urged to the measure If she vain.
ed American Trad, she would not fail to embrafe-
the certain means of its restorafnon I f she cared
clared should lat while the decrees lasted.1 In for the riendhifi of America, she had it complete
the revocation of them ahe. would proceed step by
step with the repeat of the decrees.1 It is foreign
from my present purpose to enquire how far the
retaliatory plea had-any foundation; or if founded,
whether it went in justification, or in mitigation
only, of the attack on . neutral l ights, Wh.t was
tilt ground taken by bdr government t On this
point there cannot be mis.ake. Tlie celebrated,
report of the committee of foreign affairs of No
vember 1 608, unquestionably" approved by the
executive, and by both branches ofthe legislature?
for on it was founded the law of non-intercourse
with France and Britain, shews it fully. France
and Britain were viewed as equal aggressors on
our rights. The wrongs of both must be resent
ed, and equally resented, VVthe wjongs of neither.
Any measure of hostility against one, either
through the medium of commercial or of actual
warlar, not levelled also at the other,, was pro
bbUVITb V SIS 4S?1ril 1114 V-llUi j . , .
stated explicitly in the correspondence of MrrKin e submission. ; I do not say that the
ground taken was correct. On the contrary, I
am convinced, that it was false in fact, and erro
neous in principle. But it was the ground de.
liberately taken by the concurrent voice of- every
branch ofthe government, soremly proclaimed to
the world as the true American ground, and
which, in theory at least, has never yet been aban
doned The act of May 1840, was an explicit
re assertion of the principles of the report of
1808-It refused to resent immediately the
wrongs of either belligerenj, but pledged the faith
of the legislature, (an idle, rash, unconstitutional
pledge !; to become the enemy of that one which
she uld persist iti injustice, after the 'other should
have returned from the evil of her ways. If
either should cease from the violation of our
neutral rights, and on three months notice ofthe
fact, her rival enemy should refuse Jo imitate. the
praise- worthy example, then by an interdiction of
all trade with herportsbr in her productions the
obstinate foe was to be punished. This lawlaf.
forded a fit opportunity for French juggling. The
famous letter of the 5th of August 1810, of tthe
duke of Cadore, purported o be founded upon it.
This letter announced a revocation of the Berlin
and Milan dccrees, which were to cease to have
effect on the 1st of Novtmber following, upon
one tr the other of two conditions, a renunciation
by Britain of her maritime doctrines, M her prin
ciples of blockade or an enforcement by A
mtrica against Britain of the interdiction of inter
courso. , v : .
This equivocal Promise, was pronounced by our
executive an .actual repeal of the obnoxious de
crees ; and Britain was demanded, upon the fart
of such repeal, to comply- with' her engagement,
to revoke her orders alledged to be retaliatory.
This demand was resisted upon the ground, that
the letter instead of repealing, re-afBimed the de
crees, the sole objects of which were io compel
Britain to renounce her maritime rights, or t neu
tral nations to wjthholdpmmtinionrom lief!.
Facts were asserted, and brought forth on each
given to this Helphic letter. At this "-time,'-" atul
Vy in her power to dissolve the bands which tied
her to France" The president was bound by tre.
act r f Marc h, 1811, on Which the French deer j a
of the 28:h April, proftsed to CTfounded, to re
store intercoui-se with' Britain on the revocation
of her orders, and no man was ignorant, mucTi
less the British court, that a restoration of that
intercourse must and would have been followed.
by the . resentment of lhe Tyrant pf 1 France";
And do we not know, that as soon as this decree'
yras made known to the Biitish Government ft
did occasion a corresponding revocation of the or
derafn council I I say a$ oon for not wkhsnand .
ing the objection, that an interval of thirty days
elapsed between the communication of this decrre-
and the revocation ot the orders, yet my estimai,
ble Uiend (Mr.' Grosvenor)h8S explairtld this ch
cumstance tolthe conviction of scepticism itself.
The Prince Regent was in fact without a minis,
try. fBy the institution of that country, the
monarch cannot act but through the intervention
of his ministers. As he is irresponsiblerjOt- the
law, for " he can do no wrong,", he is at liberty
to act only thip' those who are answerable fo 1
what is wrong., The first moment when a cabinet
could be had io deliberate on the French decree
of April, 1811, produced the revoking order of Hip
22d of June, of last year an order which the
president has himself declared, is susceptible of,
explanations thatt retideV it saticfactory.
Since then a knowledge of this decree, in May
1812, was immediately followed by a satisfactory
revocation ofthe obnoxious orders ;' why are mc
lo believe that a knowledge of it in May, i8J I ;
would not have produced the same conscience i
The gentleman from Tennessee, undertakes ; to
inform us, and for this purpose has commented
with us much fidelity as is usaal with roost echo
liasts on the Prince Regent's declaration, rin wha
he calls Lord Castlereagh's dispatch, arid on th
correspondence of Mr. Monroe with the ' Briiitn
ministerVMr. F- r These ..in his judgemeni. -clearly
shew that mis would not have happened
I cannot, if-I would,' follow the gentleman through
all these comments-My lungs already admo.
nish me, that I have'spokenlong, and there i 'yr
a view of this subject which must not be overlcck
ed. ' Permit. me, however, to ssy tliat whatever
impression the circumstances referred .to were
Men calculated to make, and with the lights ti-n
alone appearing, they fall infinitiVely short now of
supporting the inference which the gentleman
attemps to dfa from them.' The P.ince Re.
geht! declaration affords us not the slightest .aid
in the enquiry. It speaks only of a full 'and ur- .
conditional repeal ofthe decrees, being followed
hy a full and unconditional i evocation ol the Or
ders It intimstes pothing, ab to the effect which
would be produced on the orders, by a repeal of
thejdecreea as it regarded one neutral only. Apd
this was the explicit language il my fneixj fium
New York, hptwithstanding the atatemeot given"
of it by the gentleman" fromTennesSte. It is.
side ir support ofthe respective conduction son of the proudest triumphs of truth, that t
combat her with success she "must not be mi t
during this conflict cf explsUions in the intrpre ' upop hef qwa gjoiio s.'ij' ftirangj; Uiai the tTtr