« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
Another difficulty, Mr. Hopkinson said, presented itself in this case, that every regulation adopted would operate, as the sun shines, on the just as well as the unjust, on those who wish not to infringe the laws as on those who do. What, said he, is incumbent on a wise legislature in such a case? To produce the desired effect by all means bearing a fair proportion to the object to be attained, and within our legitimate authority. By the bill before you, what is the result presented to the judgment of the house? The evil complained of is not denied-a crying sin threatens to bring upon us disgrace and the horrors of war, if the government do not exert all its powers to prevent it. He did not wish to be understood as affirming, that foreign nations had a right to require of us impossibilities; but a foreign nation had a right to require us, professing to be neutral, to prevent our citizens from embarking in a quarrel between her and her colonies on that point he found no difference of opinion. In the present case, however desirous for the success of the Spanish colonies gentlemen had expressed themselves, he found none, speaking in their legislative, official capacity, who doubted the country ought to lay its hand on its citizens, and prevent them from aiding either party in the contest. All agree as to what foreign governments have a right to demand of us; the difficulty is about the means by which we shall perform this duty. Mr. H. said, he would say nothing of the nature of this struggle—he would neither call them patriots nor rebels he knew them only as two parties at war, and what was or had been the connexion between them formed no part of this question. There was, in the law of nations, no difference between our duty in this case and in a war between any other belligerents: he considered it precisely as he should a war between Spain and Portugal, Spain and England, or any other two powers, and our duty required that we should observe a strict neutrality between them to wait the result, and take up the conqueror as the legitimate authority. Of the contest referred to, Mr. H. said, from all he had seen, it appeared more like a war between rival chiefs, to serve private views, and promising no great or general good. In no such war, nor in any war, would he consent to embark, unless he saw advantages sufficient to justify it; for that, he should always wait for information from his own government; and so long as the government said we must be neutral, he would not enquire who were the parties at war. In this case, Mr. H. said, gentlemen ought to consider themselves acting for a neutral country; and if it be our policy to embark in the war, let it be done legally and fairly; and not secretly and piratically.
The next question to be considered, Mr. H. said, was, what was deemed by the law of nations a violation of neutrality. A neutral citizen had a right to trade with a belligerent
in arms and munitions of war, if he chooses to run the hazard of being captured; the belligerent had been satisfied with the right of confiscating the contraband property going to his enemy, if taken, and had never looked for any further remedy. But the difference between trading in munitions of war and furnishing armed vessels, had been always admitted by every code of national law; and the difference was perfectly distinct, well known, and established; because in the latter case, as soon as you permit your citizens to assist with armed ships, you take part in the war, and add an important force to the means of the other party.
To justify the bill, he then adverted to the public manner in which this illegal trade had been carried on in some of our ports, in which every preparation on board had been made, and every thing done to give vessels a belligerent character, but to raise the fag to the mast head; and whilst we tolerate such violations of public faith, said Mr. H., will not every nation cry out against us? Or can we denounce the piracies of Algiers and Tripoli, while buccaneers beat up for recruits in the streets of our cities, and the plunder of piracy is publicly sold in the market? A private armed ship, even in time of war, was, at best of doubtful character; but one which sails not in the service of its own country was, to all intents and purposes, a pirate. While then, we insist on other nations respecting our own rights, let us not set them a different example, and add infamy to the dangerous example. The plea of weakness in the complaining party, was no argument to influence a just and moral nation in its acts. If Spain were as weak as an infant, and we as strong as Hercules, it would not justify the slightest departure from justice, because, aside from our moral duty, the time might come when the example would recoil upon ourselves.
It had been said that bonds were oppressive, and were not imposed in similar cases by other nations. Mr. H. affirmed that they were not only imposed by other nations, but had been resorted to by our own, in cases far less important.
Will you prevent the commission of the offence, or wait until the act be committed, when punishment is beyond your reach? Take the case of common life; if a man is seen pursuing his business, not in an ordinary way, but in a manner to give ground of suspicion that he is about to commit an illegal act, is he not arrested, and measures taken to prevent the mischief apprehended? Here, said Mr. H., in the ports of a country in profound peace--no enemy known-a citizen is preparing a vessel of war, and carrying out a number of men, greatly beyond what is necessary for the purpose of navigation can it be supposed such a citizen is pursuing a lawful traffic? Would not this be sufficient to justify us in saying to him, Sir, circumstances warrant me in the belief, that you mean to violate the law; but, if an innocent man, the security you must give will not injure you. We know, that if a man lay before a magistrate, on oath, just grounds to suspect harm, personal or otherwise, the officer is bound to require bond for the observance of the peace. The party accused could not say, whom have I injured? when I injure any one, it will then be time enough to punish me. No; it is the policy of every nation rather to endeavour to prevent than punish offences.
Though a citizen might sell his lumber, &c. to whomsoever he pleased, it was fair to enquire whether it was for unlawful purposes, with a knowledge of its improper use; and whether, in exercising this right of sale, he was not injuring others. I think, said Mr. H., when vessels are seen going out equipped, even to the powder horn, they can only be supposed going to engage in hostilities.
Mr. H. avowed himself opposed to giving large powers of discretion to subordinate officers—we had had enough of itbut under the provisions of this bill, the cases provided for are of so suspicious a character, that he thought there was little danger of mistake, and that the officer would be very careful not to seize the vessel without good grounds, &c. being on his own responsibility. Mr. H. stated the characteristics required by the bill to justify the officer to proceed, the difference in the number of men, and other appearances, neces. sary to authorize a seizure, and that the cases contemplated by the bill were such, as to leave no doubt on the mind, and which, if not overlooked by the government, would make it a party in the fraudulent procedure.
The law of 1794, Mr. H. said, instead of providing guards to prevent the offence, only punished the act when committed; in this bill the reverse is the case.
That the evil exists; that these degrading and dangerous practices are carried on, alınost openly, in defiance of the existing law, is satisfactory evidence that the existing law is not sufficient to prevent or restrain them.
BILL FOR INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT.
February 4th, 1817. The house having resolved itself into a committee of the whole, Mr. Smith of Maryland in the chair, on the bill to set apart and pledge, as a fund for internal improvement, the bonus and United States' share of the dividends of the national bank; and the bill having been read:
Mr. Calhoun. At peace with all the world; abounding in pecuniary means; and, what was of the most importance, and at what he rejoiced, as most favourable to the country, party and sectional feeling immerged in a liberal and enlightened regard to the general concerns of the nation: Such, said he, are the favourable circumstances under which we are now deliberating. Thus situated, to what can we direct our resources and attention more important than internal improvements? What can add more to the wealth, the strength, and the political prosperity of our country? The manner in which facility and cheapness of intercourse added to the wealth of a nation, had been so often and ably discussed by writers on political economy, that he presumed the house to be perfectly acquainted with the subject. It was sufficient to observe, that every branch of national industry, agricultural, manufacturing, and commercial, was greatly stimulated and rendered by it more productive. The result is, that it tends to diffuse universal opulence. It gives to the interior the advantages possessed by the parts most eligibly situated for trade. It makes the country price, whether in the sale of the raw product, or in the purchase of the articles for consumption, approximate to that of the commercial towns.-In fact, if we look into the nature of wealth we shall find, that nothing can be more favourable to its growth than good roads and canals. An article, to command a price, must not only be useful, but must be the subject of demand; and the better the means of commercial intercourse, the larger is the sphere of demand. The truth of these positions, said Mr.. Calhoun, is obvious; and has been tested by all countries where the experiment has been made. It has in particular been strikingly exemplified in England, and if the result there, in a country so limited and so similar in its products, has been to produce a most uncommon state of opulence, what may we not expect from the same cause in our country, abounding as it does in the greatest variety of products, and presenting the greatest facility for improvements? Let it not be said that internal improvements may be wholly left to the enterprize of the states and of individuals. He knew, he said, that much might justly be expected to be done by them; but in a country so new, and so extensive as ours, there is room enough, said he, for all the general and state governments and individuals, in which to exert their resources. But many of the improvements contemplated, are on too great a scale for the resources of the states or individuals; and many of such a nature, that the jealousy of the states, if left alone, might prevent. They require the resources and the general superintendance of this government to effect and complete them.
But, said Mr. Calhoun, there are higher and more powerful considerations why congress ought to take charge of this subject. If we were only to consider the pecuniary advantages of a good system of roads and canals, it might indeed admit of some doubt whether they ought not to be left wholly to individual exertions; but when we come to consider how intimately the strength and political prosperity of the republic are connected with this subject, we find the most urgent reasons why we should apply our resources to them. In many respects, no country of equal population and wealth, possesses equal materials of power with ours. The people, in muscular vigor, in hardy and enterprising habits, and in a lofty and gallant courage, are surpassed by none. In one respect, and, in my opinion, in one only, are we materially weak. We occupy a surface prodigiously great in proportion to our numbers. The common strength is brought to bear with difficulty on the point that may be menaced by an enemy. It is our duty, then, as far as in the nature of things it can be effected, to counteract this weakness. Good roads and canals judiciously laid out, are the proper remedy. In the recent war, how much did we suffer for the want of them! Besides the tardiness and the consequent inefficiency of our military movements, to what an increased ex. pense was the country put for the article of transportation alone! In the event of another war, the saving in this particular would go far towards indemnifying us for the expense of constructing the means of transportation.
It is not, however, in this respect only, that roads and canals add to the strength of the country. Our power of raising revenue, in war particularly, depends mainly on them. In peace our revenue depends principally on the imposts; in war, this source, in a great measure, fails; and internal taxes, to a great amount, become necessary. Unless the means of commercial intercourse are rendered much more perfect than they now are, we shall never be able in war to raise the necessary supplies. If taxes were collected in kind; if, for instance, the farmer and mechanic paid in their surplus produce, then the difficulty would not exist, as, in-no country on earth, is there so great a surplus, in proportion to its population, as in ours. But such a system of taxes is impossible. They must be paid in money; and, by the constitution, must be laid uniformly. What then is the effect? The taxes are raised in every part of this extensive country, uniforınly; but the expenditure must, in its nature, be principally confined to the scene of military operations. This drains the circulating medium from one part, and accumulates it in another, and perhaps a very distant one. The result is obvious. Unless it can return through the operation of trade, the parts from which the constant drain takes place, must ultimately be impoverished. Commercial in