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This objection, then, is not founded in true principle; and if it were, it is not sustained by the facts. I think we ought not to yield to it, unless, (which I know is not the sentiment which pervades the Senate,) feeling that the measure ought not to pass, we still prefer not to place our opposition to it on a distinct and visible ground, but to veil it under vague and general objections.

In the second place, it has been objected, that the operation of the bill will be unequal, because all officers of the same rank will receive equal benefit from it, although they entered the army at different times, and were of different ages. Sir, is not this that sort

of inequality which must always exist in every general provision? Is it possible that any law can descend into such particulars? Would there be any reason why it should do so, if it could? The bill is intended for those, who, being in the Army in October, 1780, then received a solemn promise of half-pay for life, on condition that they would continue to serve through the war. Their ground of merit, is, that whensoever they had joined the army, being thus solicited by their country to remain in it, they at once went for the whole; they fastened their fortunes to the standards which they bore, and resolved to continue their military service till it should terminate either in their country's success or in their own deaths. This is their merit and their ground of claim. How long they had been already in service, is immaterial and unimportant. They were then in service; the salvation of their country depended on their continuing in that service. Congress saw this imperative necessity, and earnestly solicited them to remain, and promised the compensation. They saw the necessity, also, and they yielded to it.

But, again, it is said that the present time is not auspicious. The bill, it is urged, should not pass now. The venerable member from North Carolina says, as I understood him, that he would be almost as willing that the bill should pass at some other session, as be discussed at this. He speaks of the distresses of the country at the present moment, and of another bill, now in the Senate, having, as he thinks, the effect of laying new taxes upon the people. He is for postponement. But it appears to me, with entire respect for the honourable member, that this is one of the cases least of all fit for postponement. It is not a measure, that, if omitted this year, may as well be done next. Before next year comes, those who need the relief may be beyond its reach. To postpone for another year, an annuity to persons already so aged; an annuity, founded on the merit of services which were rendered half a century ago; to postpone, for another whole year, a bill for the relief of deserving men,-proposing not aggrandizement but support; not emolument but bread; is a mode of disposing of it, in which I cannot concur.

But it is argued, in the next place, that the bill ought not to pass, because those who have spoken in its favor have placed it on different grounds. They have not agreed, it is said, whether it is to be regarded as a matter of right, or matter of gratuity, or bounty. Is there weight in this objection? If some think the grant ought to be made, as an exercise of judicious and well deserved bounty, does it weaken that ground that others think it founded in strict right, and that we cannot refuse it without manifest and palpable injustice?

Or, is it strange, that those who feel the legal justice of the claim, should address to those who do not feel it, considerations of a different character, but fit to have weight, and which they hope may have weight? Nothing is more plain and natural than the course which this application has taken. The applicants, themselves, have placed it on the ground of equity and law. They advert to the resolve of 1780, to the commutation of 1783, and to the mode of funding the certificates. They stand on their contract. This is perfectly natural. On that basis, they can wield the argument themselves. Of what is required by justice and equity, they may reason even in their own case. But when the application is placed on different grounds; when personal merit is to be urged, as the foundation of a just and economical bounty; when services are to be mentioned; privations recounted; pains enumerated; and wounds and scars counted; the discussion necessarily devolves to other hands. In all that we have seen from these officers in the various papers presented by them, it cannot but be obvious to every one, how little is said of personal merit, and how exclusively they confine themselves to what they think their rights under the contract.

I must confess, sir, that principles of equity, which appear to me as plain as the sun, are urged by the memorialists themselves with great caution, and much qualification. They advance their claim of right, without extravagance or overstraining; and they submit to it the unimpassioned sense of justice of the Senate.

For myself, I am free to say, that if it were a case between individual and individual, I think the officers would be entitled to relief in a court of equity. I may be mistaken, but such is my opinion. My reasons are, that I do not think they had a fair option, in regard to the commutation of half-pay. I do not think it was fairly in their power to accept or reject that offer. The condition they were in, and the situation of the country, compelled them to submit to whatever was proposed. In the next place it seems to me too evident to be denied, that the five years' fall pay was never really and fully made to them. A formal compliance with the terms of the contract, not a real compliance, is at most all that was ever done. For these reasons, I think, in an individual case, law and equity would reform the settlement. The conscience of chancery would deal with this case as with other cases of hard bargains; of advantages obtained by means of inequality of situation; of acknowledged debts, compounded from necessity, or compromised without satisfaction. But, although such would be my views of this claim, as between man and man, I do not place my vote for this bill on that ground. I see the consequence of admitting the claim, on the foundation of strict right. I see at once, that, on that ground, the heirs of the dead would claim, as well as the living; and that other public creditors, as well as these holders of commutation certificates, would also have whereof to complain. I know it is altogether impossible to open the accounts of the revolution, and to think of doing justice to everybody. Much of suffering there necessarily was, that can never be paid for; much of loss that can never be repaired. I do not, therefore, for myself, rest my vote on grounds leading to any such consequences. I feel constrained to say, that we cannot do, and

ought not to think of doing, everything in regard to revolutionary debts, which might be strictly right, if the whole settlement were now to be gone over anew. The honorable member from New York [Mr. Van Buren,] has stated, what I think the true ground of the bill. I regard it as an act of discreet and careful bounty, drawn forth by meritorious services, and by personal necessities. I cannot argue, in this case, with the technicality of my profession; and because I do not feel able to allow the claim on the ground of mere right, I am not willing, for that reason, to nonsuit the petitioners, as not having made out their case. Suppose we admit, as I do, that on the ground of mere right, it would not be safe to allow it; or, suppose that to be admitted for which others contend, that there is in the case no strict right upon which, under any circumstances, the claim could stand; still, it does not follow that there is no reasonable and proper foundation for it, or that it ought not to be granted. If it be not founded on strict right, it is not to be regarded as being, for that reason alone, an undeserved gratuity, or the effusion of mere good will. If that which is granted be not always granted on the ground of absolute right, it does not follow that it is granted from merely an arbitrary preference, or capricious beneficence. In most cases of this sort, mixed considerations prevail, and ought to prevail Some consideration is due to the claim of right; much to that of merit and service; and more to that of personal necessity. If I knew that all the persons to be benefited by this bill were in circumstances of comfort and competency, I should not support it. But this I know to be otherwise. I cannot dwell with propriety, or delicacy, on this part of the case; but I feel its force, and I yield to it. A single instance of affluence, or a few cases where want does not tread close on those who are themselves treading close on the borders of the grave, does not affect the general propriety and necessity of the measure. I would not draw this reason for the bill into too much prominence. We all know it exists; and we may, I think, safely act upon it, without so discussing it as to wound, in old, but sensitive, and still throbbing bosoms, feelings which education Inspired, the habits of military life cherished, and a just self-respect is still desirous to entertain. I confess I meet this claim, not only with a desire to do something in favor of these officers, but to do it in a manner indicative not only of decorum but of deep respect, that respect which years, age, public service, patriotism, and broken fortune, command to spring up in every manly breast.

It is, then, sir, a mixed claim, of faith and public gratitude; of justice and honorable bounty; of merit and benevolence. It stands on the same foundation as that grant, which no one regrets, of which all are proud, made to the illustrious foreigner, who showed himself so early, and has proved himself so constantly, and zealously, a friend to our country.

But then, again, it is objected, that the militia have a claim upon. us; that they fought at the side of the regular soldiers, and ought to share in the country's remembrance. It is known to be impossible, to carry the measure to such an extent as to embrace the militia; and it is plain, too, that the cases are different. The bill, as I have

she was at war with these states, and they had an unquestionable right to attack her in any of her territories; and especially she was asked, how she could expect good offices from us, on this occasion, since she fully understood our opinion to be, that she was persisting in the war without, or beyond, all reason, and with a sort of desperation. This was the appeal made to the good sense of Spain, through Russia. But, soon afterwards, having reason to suspect that Colombia and Mexico were actually preparing to attack Cuba, and knowing that such an event would most seriously affect us, our government remonstrated against such meditated attack, and to the present time it has not been made. In all this, who sees anything either improper or inconsistent? For myself, I think the course pursued showed a watchful regard to our own interest, and is wholly free from any imputation, either of impropriety, or inconsistency.

There are other subjects, sir, in the President's message, which have been discussed in the debate, but on which I shall not detain the Committee.

It cannot be denied, that from the commencement of our government, it has been its object to improve and simplify the principles of national intercourse. It may well be thought a fit occasion to urge these improved principles, at a moment when so many new States are coming into existence, untrammeled, of course, with previous and long established connexions or habits. Some hopes of benefit, connected with these topics, are suggested in the message.

The abolition of private war on the ocean, is also among the subjects of possible consideration. This is not the first time that that subject has been mentioned. The late President took occasion to enforce the considerations which he thought recommended it. For one, I am not prepared to say how far such abolition may be practicable, or how far it ought to be pursued; but there are views belonging to the subject, which have not been, in any degree, answered or considered, in this discussion.

Sir, it is not always the party that has the power of employing the largest military marine, that enjoys the advantage by authorising privateers in war. It is not enough that there are brave and gallant captors; there must be something to be captured. Suppose, sir, a war between ourselves and any one of the new States of South America were now existing, who would lose most, by the practice of privateering, in such a war? There would be nothing for us to attack; while the means of attacking us would flow to our enemies from every part of the world. Capital, ships, and men, would be abundant in all their ports, and our commerce, spread over every sea, would be the destined prey. So, again, if war should unhap pily spring up among those States themselves, might it not be for our interest, as being likely to be much connected by intercourse with all parties, that our commerce should be free from the visitation and search of private armed ships; one of the greatest vexations to neutral commerce in time of war? These, sir, are some of the considerations belonging to this subject. I have mentioned them only to show that they well deserve serious attention.

I have not intended to reply to the many observations which have been submitted to us, on the message of the President to this House,

or that to the Senate. Certainly I am of opinion, that some of those observations merited an answer, and they have been answered by others. On two points only will I make a remark. It has been said, and often repeated, that the President in his message to the Senate, has spoken of his own power in regard to missions, in terms which the Constitution does not warrant. If gentlemen will turn to the message of President Washington, relative to the mission to Lisbon, in the 10th vol. of State Papers, they will see almost the exact form of expression used in this case. The other point, on which I would make a remark, is the allegation, that an unfair use has been made in the argument of the message, of General Washington's Farewell Address. There would be no end, sir, to comments and criticisms, of this sort, if they were to be pursued. I only observe, that, as it appears to me, the argument of the message, and its use of the Farewell Address, are not fairly understood. It is not attempted to be inferred from the Farewell Address, that, according to the opinion of Washington, we ought now to have alliances with foreign States. No such thing. The Farewell Address recommends to us, to abstain as much as possible from all sorts of political connexion with the States of Europe, alleging, as the reason for this advice, that Europe has a set of primary interests of her own, separate from ours, and with which we have no natural connexion. Now the message argues, and argues truly, that the new South American States, not having a set of interests of their own growing out of the balance of power, family alliances, &c., separate from ours, in the same manner, and to the same degree, as the primary interests of Europe were represented to be; this part of the Farewell Address, aimed at those separate interests expressly, did not apply in this case. But does the message infer from this the propriety of alliances with these new States? Far from it. It inftes no such thing. On the contrary, it disclaims all such purpose.


There is one other point, sir, on which common justice requires a word to be said. It has been alleged that there are material differences, as to the papers sent respectively to the two Houses. this, as it seems to me, may be easily and satisfactorily explained. In the first place, the instructions of May, 1823, which, it is said, were not sent to the Senate, were instructions on which a treaty had been already negotiated; which treaty had been subsequently ratified by the Senate. It may be presumed, that when the treaty was sent to the Senate, the instructions accompanied it; and if so, they were actually already before the Senate; and this accounts for one of the alleged differences. In the next place, the letter to Mr. Middleton, in Russia, not sent to the House, but now published by the Senate, is such a paper as possibly the President might not think proper to make public. There is evident reason for such an inference. And, lastly, the correspondence of Mr. Brown, sent here, but not to the Senate, appears, from its date, to have been received after the communication to the Senate. Probably when sent to us, it was also sent, by another message, to that body.

These observations, sir, are tedious and uninteresting. I am glad to be through with them. And here I might terminate my remarks,

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