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ed by my honorable friend. Sir, I wish for peace;
I wish the negociation may succeed, and therefore I strongly urge you to adopt these resolutions. But though you should adopt them, they alone will not in
I have no hesitation in saying, that you ought to have taken possession of New Orleans and the Floridas, the instant your treaty was violated. You ought to do it now. Your rights are invaded, confidence in negociation is vain: there is, therefore, no alternative but force. You are exposed to imminent present danger: you have the prospect of great future advantage : you are justified by the clearest principles of right: you are urged by the strongest motives of policy: you are commanded by every sentiment of national dignity. Look at the conduct of America in her infant years. When there was no actual invasion of right, but only a claim to invade, she resisted the claim; she spurned the insult
. Did we then hesitate? Did we then wait for foreign alliance? No—animated with the spirit, warmed with the soul of freedom, we threw our oaths of allegiance in the face of our sovereign, and committed our fortunes and our fate to the God of battles. We then were subjects. We had not then attained to the dignity of an independent republic. We then had no rank among the nations of the earth. But we had the spirit which deserved that elevated station. And now that we have gained it, shall we fall from our honor ?
Sir, I repeat to you that I wish for peace: real, lasting, honorable peace. To obtain and secure this blessing, let us, by a bold and decisive conduct, convince the powers of Europe that we are determined to defend our rights; that we will not submit to insult; that we will not bear degradation. This is the conduct which becomes a generous people. This conduct will command the respect of the world. Nay, sir, it may rouse all Europe to a proper sense of their situation. They see, that the balance of power, on which their liberties depend, is, if not destroyed, in extreme danger. They
know that the dominion of France has been extended by the sword over millions who groan in the servitude of their new masters. These unwilling subjects are ripe for revolt. The empire of the Gauls is not, like that of Rome, secured by political institutions. It may yet be broken. But whatever may be the conduct of others, let us act as becomes ourselves. I cannot believe, with my honorable colleague, that three fourths of America are opposed to vigorous measures. I cannot believe that they will meanly refuse to pay the sums needful to vindicate their honor and support their independence. Sir, this is a libel on the people of America. They will disdain submission to the proudest sovereign on earth. They have not lost the spirit of '76. But, sir, if they are so base as to barter their rights for gold, if they are so vile that they will not defend their honor, they are unworthy of the rank they enjoy, and it is no matter how soon they are parcelled out among better masters.
My honorable friend from Pennsylvania, in opening this debate, pledged himself and his friends to support the executive government if they would adopt a manly conduct. I have no hesitation to renew that pledge. Act as becomes America, and all America will be united in your support. What is our conduct? Do we endeavor to fetter and trammel the executive authority? Do we oppose obstacles? Do we raise difficulties? No. We are willing to commit into the hands of the chief magistrate the treasure, the power and the energies of the
country. We ask for ourselves nothing. We expect nothing. All we ask is for our country. And although we do not believe in the success of treaty, yet the resolutions we move, and the language we hold, are calculated to promote it.
I have now performed, to the best of my power, the great duty which I owed to my country. I have given that advice which in my soul 'I believe to be the best. But I have little hope that it will be adopted. I fear that, by feeble councils, we shall be exposed to a long and bloody war. This fear is, perhaps, ill founded, and if so I shall thank God that I was mistaken. I know that, in the order of his Providence, the wisest ends frequently result from the most foolish measures. It is our duty to submit ourselves to his high dispensations. I know that war, with all its misery, is not wholly without advantage. It calls forth the energies of character, it favors the manly virtues, it gives elevation to sentiment, it produces national union, generates patriotic love, and infuses a just sense of national honor. If, then, we are doomed to war, let us meet it as we ought; and when the hour of trial comes, let it find us a band of brothers.
Sir, I have done, and I pray to Almighty God that this day's debate may eventuate in the prosperity, the freedom, the peace, the power and the glory of our country
SPEECH OF URIAH TRACY.
A RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, RELATIVE TO THE MODE OF ELECTING THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT :*
DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF
DECEMBER 2, 1803.
MR. PRESIDENT, I moved an adjournment, because I thought a more full and fair discussion was due to this important question, than could be had after this late hour.
* The resolution was in the following words : Resolved, By the senate
and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both houses concurring, that in lieu of the third paragraph of the first section of the second article of the constitution of the United States, the following be proposed as an amendment to the constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three fourths of the legislatures of the several states, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part
of the said constitution, to wit: The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot
for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves ; they shall name in their ballots, the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the president of the senate. The president of the senate shall, in the presence of the senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes for Presitent, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed ; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote ; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the
The merits have never, until now, been before us, for although considerable time has been consumed in debate, it has chiefly been directed to the subordinate amendments, and not to the main resolution. But since the senate have refused to adjourn, I will now offer some observations on the merits, in doing which, I will study brevity, as much as the importance of the subject will permit.
I shall attempt to prove, sir, that the resolution, before us, contains principles which have a manifest tendency to deprive the small states of an important right, secured to them by a solemn and constitutional compact, and to vest an overwhelming power in the great states. And, further, I shall attempt to show, that in many other points the resolution is objectionable, and for a variety of causes, ought not to be adopted.
As I shall be obliged, in delineating the main features of this resolution, to mention the great states in the union as objects of jealousy, I wish it to be understood, that no special stigma is intended. 66 Man is man,” was the maxim expressed, in an early part of this debate, by the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Butler,) and, in application to the subject of government, the maxim is worthy to be written in letters
states must be necessary to a choice. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice President,
shall be the Vice President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the senate shall choose the Vice President ; a quorum for the purpose
shall consist of two thirds of the whole number of senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President, shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.