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ten days after the declaration of war, the secretary of state writes to Mr. Russell, authorizing him to agree to an armistice, upon two conditions only, and what are they? That the orders in council should be repealed, and the practice of impressing American seamen cease, those already impressed being released. The proposition was for nothing more than a real truce; that the war should in fact cease on both sides. Again, on the 27th of July, one month later, anticipating a possible objection to these terms, reasonable as they are, Mr. Monroe empowers Mr. Russell to stipulate in general terms for an armistice, having only an informal understanding on these points. In return, the enemy is offered a prohibition of the employment of his seamen in our service, thus removing entirely all pretext for the practice of impressment. The very proposition which the gentleman from Connecticut, (Mr. Pitkin,) contends ought to be made, has been made. How are these pacific advances met by the other party? Rejected as absolutely inadmissible; cavils are indulged about the inadequacy of Mr. Russell's powers, and the want of an act of Congress is intimated. And yet the constant usage of nations I believe is, where the legislation of one party is necessary to carry into effect a given stipulation, to leave it to the contracting party to provide the requisite laws. If he fail to do so, it is a breach of good faith, and becomes the subject of subsequent remonstrance by the injured party. When Mr. Russell renews the overture, in what was intended as a more agreeable form to the British government, lord Castlereagh is not content with a simple rejection, but clothes it in the language of insult. Afterwards, in conversation with Mr. Russell, the moderation of our government is misinterpreted and made the occasion of a sneer, that we are tired of the war. The proposition of admiral Warren is submitted in a spirit not more pacific. He is instructed, he tells us, to propose that the government of the Unitcd States shall instantly recal their letters of marque
and reprisal against British ships, together with all orders and instructions for any acts of hostility whatever against the territories of his majesty or the persons or property of his subjects. That small affair being settled, he is further authorized to arrange as to the revocation of the laws which interdict the commerce and ships of war of his majesty from the harbors and waters of the United States. This mes
peace comes with one qualified concession in his pocket, not made to the justice of our demands, and is fully empowered to receive our homage, a contrite retraction of all our measures adopted against his master! And in default, he does not fail to assure us, the orders in council are to be forthwith revived. Administration, still anxious to terminate the war, suppresses the indignation which such a proposal ought to have created, and in its answer concludes by informing admiral Warren, “ that if there be no objection to an accommodation of the difference relating to impressment, in the mode proposed, other than the suspension of the British claim to impressment during the armistice, there can be none to proceeding, without the armistice, to an immediate discussion and arrangement of an article on that subject.” Thus it has left the door of negociation unclosed, and it remains to be seen if the enemy will accept the invitation tendered to him. The honorable gentleman from North Carolina, (Mr. Pearson,) supposes, that if Congress would pass a law, prohibiting the employment of British seamen in our service, upon condition of a like prohibition on their part, and repeal the act of non-importation, peace would immediately follow. Sir, I have no doubt, if such a law were to pass, with all the requisite solemnities, and the repeal to take place, lord Castlereagh would laugh at our simplicity. No, sir, administration has erred in the steps which it has taken to restore peace, but its error has been, not in doing too little, but in betraying too great a solicitude for that event. An honorable peace is attainable only by an efficient war.
My plan would be to call out the ample resources of the country, give them a judicious direction, prosecute the war with the utmost vigor, strike wherever we can reach the enemy, at sea or on land, and negociate the terms of a peace at Quebec or at Halifax. We are told that England is a proud and lofty nation, which, disdaining to wait for danger, meets it half way. Haughty as she is, we once triumphed over her, and, if we do not listen to the counsels of timidity and despair, we shall again prevail. In such a cause, with the aid of Providence, we must come out crowned with success; but if we fail, let us fail like men, lash ourselves to our gallant tars, and expire together in one common struggle, fighting for FREE TRADE AND SEAMAN'S RIGHTS.
SPEECH OF DANIEL WEBSTER,
BANK OF THE UNITED STATES,
DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE
UNITED STATES, JANUARY 2, 1815.
On the 2d January, 1815, the bill to incorporate a bank being under
consideration, Mr. Webster moved that it be recommitted to a select committee, with instructions to make the following alterations,
to wit:1. To reduce the capital to twenty-five millions, with liberty to the
government to subscribe on its own account, five millions. 2. To strike out the thirteenth section. 3. To strike out so much of said bill as makes it obligatory on the
bank to lend money to government. 4. To introduce a section providing, that if the bank do not com
mence its operations within the space of months, from the day of the passing of the act, the charter shall thereby be for
feited. 5. To insert a section allowing interest at the rate of per
cent. on any bill or note of the bank, of which payment shall have been duly demanded, according to its tenor, and refused; and to inflict penalties on any directors who shall issue any bills or notes
during any suspension of specie payment at the bank. 6. To provide that the said twenty-five millions of capital stock
shall be composed of five millions of specie, and twenty millions of any of the stocks of the United States bearing an interest of six per
cent, or of treasury notes. 7. To strike out of the bill that part of it which restrains the bank
from selling its stock during the war. In support of this motion, the following speech was delivered. The
motion did not prevail, but the bill itself was rejected the same day on the third reading. Some of the main principles of these instructions were incorporated into the charter of the present bank, when that charter was granted the following year; especially those, which were more particularly designed to insure the payment of the notes of the bank in specie, at all times, on demand.
However the House may dispose of the motion before it, I do not regret that it has been made. One
object intended by it, at least, is accomplished. It presents a choice, and it shows that the opposition wbich exists to the bill in its present state, is not an undistinguishing hostility to whatever may be proposed as a national bank, but a hostility to an institution of such a useless and dangerous nature, as it is believed the existing provisions of the bill would establish.
If the bill should be recommitted and amended according to the instructions which I have moved, its principles will be materially changed. The capital of the proposed bank will be reduced from fifty to thirty inillions: and composed of specie and stocks in nearly the same proportions as the capital of the former bank of the United States. The obligation to lend thirty millions of dollars to government, an obligation which cannot be performed without committing an act of bankruptcy, will be struck out. The power to suspend the payment of its notes and bills will be abolished, and the prompt and faithful execution of its contracts secured, as far as, from the nature of things, it can be secured. The restriction on the sale of its stocks will be removed, and as it is a monopoly, provision will be made that if it should not commence its operations in reasonable time, the grant shall be forfeited. Thus amended, the bill would establish an institution not unlike the last bank of the United States in any particular which is deemed material, excepting only the legalized amount of capital.
To a bank of this nature I should at any time be willing to give my support, not as a measure of temporary policy, or as an expedient to find means of relief from the present poverty of the treasury; but as an institution of permanent interest and importance, useful to the government and country at all times, and most useful in times of commerce and prosperity.
I am sure, sir, that the advantages which would at present result from any bank, are greatly overrated. To look to a bank, as a source capable, not only of af