« 上一頁繼續 »
Sir, said Mr. B. I may be asked if I am unwilling to thought, would be to adhere to the rule already laid afford these sufferers any relief? I answer, without he-down, as by the act of 1816, &c. sitation, I am not. They have claims upon our genero- Mr. STORRS said, that it appeared to him to be high sity, not upon our justice. I would mitigate their cala- time that the House should be brought back to the quesmities, not' indemnity them for their losses. They have tion actually before it, from which the debate had consuffered more than the common misfortunes of war; they siderably wandered. This was no auestion as to paving are therefore entitled to the compassion of a paternal for all the losses sustained by the incursion of the enemy government. I would grant them such relief as, whilst on the Niagara frontier. There was not, he said, one it would not be too burdensome on the Treasury, nor twentieth part of the destruction upon that frontier proproduce those ruinous consequences to the nation which posed to be provided for by this bill, which referred on must result from establishing as a principle that we will ly to the cases of certain persons, whose buildings were pay the value of private property destroyed by the ene- actually in occupation as barracks, or military store houmy in violation of the laws of war, might yet mitigate ses, &c. their sufferings. I believe I know several gentlemen of With respect to the suggestion that Buffalo was burnt the committee to be of the same opinion. I would give in contravention of the capitulation, Mr. S. said, that them 150,000 or 200,000 dollars, to be distributed pro very capitulation showed the sense in which the British rata, in full satisfaction of all demands. If, said Mr. B., understood the occupation of that village. By the cayou adopt a priciple of this nature, you will at oncepitulation, private property was to be respected. But, know the extent of your donation, and you will make it where this private property was occupied by the public, the interest of the sufferers themselves to watch over the it was burni, because it was not private property, in the claims of each other, and see that none are established sense of the capitulation, but public. The very citation except those which are supported by principles of jus. of that capitulation, showed what were the views which tice.
the enemy entertained of the character of the private Mr. MALLARY, of Vermont, said, that, in giving a property converted to public use at Buffalo. vote upon this bill, he should do so with reference equal. This bill, Mr. S. said, as far as he understood it, would ly to the policy of the Government and the claims of in- cover losses to the amount of an hundred and fifty, or dividuals. It was well known, he said, that at the time two hundred thousand dollars, on that frontier It would of the passage of the law of 1816, and the amendatory also, however, cover losses in other portions of the law of 1817, there had been a serious investigation of Union. It was not a bill for the Niagara frontier, or the merits of those laws. Ten years have elapsed since for the state of New York; it was to cover losses in the passage of those laws, and Mr. M asked if it was not other parts of the United States; and yet, said be, we are almost impossible now to establish a rule, different from told it is to scatter a million of dollars from the Treasury that which was established when the subject was fresh among the inhabitants of the Niagara frontier. Let us in the minds of the members. As a matter of expedien. have done with these arguments, said Mr. S. and come cy, he thought there would be very great difficulty in to the merits of the bill, which apply equally to all ascertaining any other rule by which those claims could parts of the Union. If the object of the bill be just, hobe disposed of. The inquiry then was, What has the norable, and fair, the amount of the money it will reGovernment done, and in what condition are the claims quire ought to be no object. of these individuals ? Some gentlemen had expressed a "We are brought back, said he, to this question : whewish that these claims should be decided upon the prin- I ther property of individuals, so occupied as to give it a ciple of the law of 1816. Mr. M. said, he was perfectly military character, may be lawfully destroyed. What, sir! willing, for his part, that those claims should be pre- Is it at this day to be maintained, that a military cantonsented, and determined, upon the rule of the act of ment, in the vicinity of a town, may not be destroyed in 1816, that payment should be made for private houses lawful warfare? That dockyards, marine barracks, arseor other buildings occupied by the United States, and nals, &c. are not subject to destruction by an enemy? destroyed whilst so occupied. This, he said, was a safe It appears to me, on the contrary, that every thing rule, founded on the principles of the Government, re- which gives a military character to property, subjects it cognized by the constitution, that when the Government to destruction. I ask, said Mr. S. on what principle takes the property of an individual for private purposes, was the Parliament llouse of Little York destroyed by it shall, in such case, make compensation for it if lost or your own troops when you invaded Canada ? The bardestroyed. But, he said, as for compensating the losses racks at Fort George were destroyed, on its capture, of a whole frontier, destroyed by a wanton act of vio- land wherever we invaded Canada, the public property tence by the enemy, under pretence that our armies
was not spared. And, said he, are we prepared, there had marched in that direction, it was opening so wide a
fore, to justify the burning of Buffalo? To put into the drain upon the Treasury as no Government coulā safely mouth of our late adversary that argument against us? sustain. Were we to sanction such a principle at this No, said he: all public property, barracks, arsenals, and time of day, said Mr. M. we should abandon our duty. I military stores, are lawfully subject to destruction-as I would vote any amount of money, said he, which might | much so as cannon foundries, which no one will deny be necessary to carry into effect the principle of the acts the right of an enemy to destroy. An enemy has as much of 1816 and 1817. If there be any individuals on the right to destroy the barracks as to destroy the public Niagara frontier whose cases came within the principle ships of the country. There must be some sense in of those acts, Mr. M. said, they should cheerfully have which the gentleman from Virginia had spoken of the his vote, and he presumed they would have the decided rights of a belligerant on this subject, which he, (Mr. S.) alla unamuous vote of the house in their favor. The had failed to comprehend. carrying into execution, in favor of claimants, of the
Mr. S. supposed the case of a stone house on a fronprinciple of the law of 1816, was all that could be exotier, occupied as a military station. That house, he said, pected of Congress, &c.
was as lawful a subject for destruction as a fort in any As to the idea, which had been suggested by one gen. other form. So with regard to the village of Buffalo : tleman, of opening the Treasury, and scattering among it was, during the war, one great cantonment, and he the people on the Niagara frontier a portion of the pub- could call upon more than one gentleman in this House, lic funds to enable them to retrieve their losses, Mr. M. whose duty it hall been to take possession of the buildapprehended a great many difficulties in the way of lings for the military service, or who had knowledge of such a provision, as to how this fund was to be distri-lits being done, &c. buted among the respective sufferers on the Niagara, at As to charity and humanity to the People of the NiaPlattsburg, and on the Potomac. The safest course, her gara frontier, there was no such principle embraced in
this bill. It was a general bill for the benefit of suffer an extension of the principle of the act of 1816, and of ers in every part of the Union, and involved a question, giving to the 9th section the only construction which, not of generosity, but of absolute right,
upon legal principles, it appears to me possible to give Mr. COOK, of Illinois, moved to amend the amend to it. We are led astray, in debating this subject, by ment of Mr. STORRS, by adding he words “and was going into a consideration of motives on i be part of the abandoned by the United States in consequence of the enemy. We lose sight of the facts of the occupation of enemy."
the property by the enemy, and we go to the motive of Mr. TAYLOR, of New York, said he should support the destruction on the part of the enemy. In doing so, the original bill, not because it embraced any new princi- you ask for what you cannot obtain. There may have ple, but was to carry into effect one already established, been a variety of motives, and in that case you must go and he should oppose the amendment proposed by the into a metaphysical inquiry, to ascertain which of them gentleman from Illinois, because to adopt them would was the predominating motive. This, Mr. T. said, was be to introduce a principle upon which Congress has not the cause of the error into which some gentlemen bad yet legislated. Ii would be difficult, be said, unless the fallen, which they would have avoided by cunfining principle of his colleague was the true one, to find any their attention to facts, &c. principle on which the Niagara claims should be paid. / On motion of Mr. ROSS, of Ohio, the committee then The construction which had been given, by some of the rose, reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again. committees of this House, to the 9th section of the act of 1816, was, that the proviso to it should be so construed as to defeat che objeet of that section--an interpre IN SENATE-TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 1825. tation contrary to every rule of construction. What case
The Senate having resumed the consideration of the can occur said he, in which it may not be said, that de
bill “to abolish imprisonment for debt," struction of property by an enemy was wanton, and could have occurred wbether the property had been occupied
The first part of the first section of the bill being as folfor the use of the Government or not? The allowance lov
lows:-“That no bail or security for the appearance of of this objection would destroy, at once, the whole effect
any defendant or defendants shall hereafter be required of the 9th section of the act of 1816, and it never could upon the service of the original, or mesne process, issuhave entered into the minds of the framers of that acting out of
ore of that acting out of tbe Courts of the United States, in any action that it could be so construed. I was here, said Mr. Taior suit whatever, founded on contract, express or imthe passage of the act of 1816, and the object of it, if I pli
fit fiplied, which shall be made or entered into after the 4th understood any thing in regard to it. was to pay for all of July next, unless the plaintifi, or some other person, losses of private property occupied for military purpo
shall make oath or affirmation, before the clerk or officer ses, and destroyed according to the rules of civilized
attesting the said process, who is hereby empowered to varfare. Property so occupied, had become public, and
administer the same, or before some other person autho. the loss of it ought to fall on the public, to whose use it
rized by law to administer oaths, that the defendant or had been converted.
defendants named in the process, are justly indebted to The report of the Committee of Claims, in 1818, prov.
the plaintiff or plaintiffs in the sum olaimed by him or ed, conclusively, that the committee themselves believ
them, and shall further make oath or affirmation, that he ed there were many cases of property destroyed on the
Jestroved on the or they have reason to believe that the said defendant or deNiagara frontier, which, upon the principles of the acts
fendants intend to remove from the state or territory, or in
en of 1816 and 1817. Congress were bound to provide for. | lend to leave the United States." Mr. T. quoted the report to show this admission, and to Mr. TAZEWELL moved, for reasons which he assignshow, also, the reasoning of the committee that, because ed in some detail, to strike out the clause printed above some of the claims were not of this description, they l in italics. would therefore pay for none of them. This report was Mr.JOHNSUN, of Kentucky,deeming this proposition concluded by a recommendation of the allowance of fif. to effect, in a considerable degree, the principle of the ty per cent. of the amount of loss proved upon build-bill, opposed it with much earnestness. Mr. VAN BUings, and thirty per cent. on the amount of other proper REN also opposed the amendment at some length. ty destroyed, without discrimination—and why? For Mr. TAZEWELL and Mr. MILLS severally supports this reason: that the loss by wanton destruction of pro- ed the amendment at considerable length, as expedient perty was as severe as the other, and grew out of the de- and necessary, without any intention to impair the prinstruction of property that was occupied by the military, ciple of the bill, or limit its scope more than the rights &c. If it were true that these were cases of destruction of creditors, as well as debtors, required. of buildings, because of their military occupation, was it Mr. JOHNSTON, of Louisiana, delivered at large his for Congress to say to the claimants, in those cases: we sentiments in support of the bill and against the amendwill not pay you, because others have had their proper ment. ty destroyed under the influence of other considerations ? The question being taken on the amendment proposThe principle of the amendment, now under considera-ed by Mr. TAZEWELL, it was decided as follows, by tion, was, that, as it is the duty of the Government to
yeas and nays. protect the property of individuals, it must, in all cases,
YEAS.--Messrs. Barton, Bell, Brown, Chandler, Clay. pay for losses of it. Now, Mr. T. said, he admitted it to be the duty of a Government to grant protection to
con, Cobb, D'Wolf, Dickerson, Edwards, Elliott, Gail.
lard, Hayne, King, of N. Y. Lloyd, of Md. Mcllvaine, its citizens, but it was a duty qualified by the extent of the ability of the Government, and of course not exceed.
| Mills, Noble, Palmer, Parrott, Ruggles, Seymour, and ing it. Was it a fact that private property, occupied
Tazewell-.-22. during the late war by the Government, had been de
NAYS-Messrs. Benton, Bouligny, Branch, Eaton, stroved to such an extent, that the Treasury was unable Findlay, Holmes, of Me. Holmes, of Miss. Jackson, Johnto pay for it? When such a case exists, let it be pre son, of Ken. Johnston, of Lou. Kelly, King, of Ala. Lan. sented and considered of: but such was not the case man, Lloyd, of Mass. Lowrie, McLean, Macon, Smith, now. The total amount of private property lost in that | Talbot, Thomas, Van Buren, and Williams. -22. way, throughout the United States, could scarcely, if at The Senate being equally divided on the question, all, exceed a million of dollars. Is it proper, said he, to the motion to amend was of course lost. withhold payment in cases where your own act has been The question was then taken on ordering the bill to the occasion of the loss ?
be engrossed and read a third time, and was agreed to, I rose, said Mr. T. merely to say, that I am in favor of without a division.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-SAME DAY. West Point, The House was aware that the GoveroThe resolution of Mr. LIVINGSTON, proposing a plan
ment could assemble the Midshipmen at any point it for the education of Officers of the Navy, being under
might judge proper, and thus attord to the Navy some consideration, some conversation took place between
of those benefits which the Army derives from the Acathe mover and Mr. FULLER, who offered an amend
demy at West Point. ment to strike out the whole of the resolution after the
Mr. REYNOLDS, of Tennessee, rose, not to oppose word Resolved, and to insert a provision instructing the
the measure proposed by the gentleman from Louisiana, Committee on Naval Affairs to inquire into the propriety
but only to assure that gentleman that this was not the of establishing a school for the instruction of Midship
plan which would keep the Navy from "going down" men, and other warrant officers of the Navy, when not
The difficulty lay at a previous point-there was almost
no such thing as apprentics in our merchant service. at sea. Mr. LIVINGSTON objected to the substitute, as not
Merchan's found the applications so numerous, to take going so far as the system be wished to see adopted.
out young lads on trial, and the measure was in general The substitute restricted the instruction to midshipmen;
| attended with so much trouble and so little profit, that but he wished a preparatory school, which should take
they generally refused to do it. Hence there was no up young men before they entered the service. Mr.
such thing as a proper nursery for our young seamenL. said, it was owing to the want of an establishment of and,
and, unless some law was passed compelling ship owners this kind, that the Navy was going down. Yes, sir, said
to take a certain quota of apprentices, in proportion to he, the Navy, I repeat it, is going down in point of the
the tonnage they owned, we should soon have no seamen attainments of those who are entering it. There is, in
of our own raising. The proper measure was to go at this respect, a marked distinction between those who
once to the foundation, andi, by some such law as he had are entering the two branches of our military service.
suggested, provide an effectual nursery for both services.
The question was then put on Mr. Livingston's resoThose who enter the Army are decidedly superior in previous attainments. The want of a good system of ele.
lution, and lost-58 members only rising in its favor. mentary instruction for the naval service, begins to be
Mr. SAUNDERS, of N. C., offered, with a brief exfelt already. It may be felt when it is too late. The
planation, the following proposition : future commanders of our maritime force should be pre.
“Resolved, &c. That the following amendment to the pared now, while we have opportunity and time for it.
Consuilution of the United States be proposed to the But, without a school, this can never be done. The ac
| Legislatures of the several states; which, when itified tual service may make seamen, but it alone will neyer
by three-fourths thereof, shall be a part of the said Conmake officers.
stitution. Mr. FULLER gave the gentlemar. from Louisiana
" That, for the purpose of choosing a President and mucle credit for his enlarged and statesmanlike views on
Vice President of the United States, each state shall be this subject. He commended his desire to place the
divided by the Legislature thereof into a number of din. education of our naval commanders on a broad and per
tricts, equal to the whole number of Senators and Re. manent basis; and he knew of no objection, at present,
presentatives to which such state may be entitled in the which would prevent his voting for the gentleman's re
Congress of the United States. Each district shall be solution. But he must apprize the gentleman, that, be
cumposed, as nearly as may be, of contiguous territory, fore he was a member of Congress, this same subject
and shall contain a number of persons entitled to vote, had been before them; and the Committee on Naval
as nearly equal as circumstances will permit. Affairs had made great efforts for its accomplishment.
“And on such day as Congress shall determine, which They had confined even their hopes to the education of
day shall be the same throughout the United States, the warrant officers in service, and had used much exertion
citizens of each state, who may be qualified to vote for to reconcile the minds of gentlemen who were opposed
a Representative in Congress, shall meet at such places, to the measure, but had not been able to do it; and he
within their respective districts, as the Legislature of would leave it to the candor of the gentleman from Lou
each state shall appoint, and in such manner as such Leisiana to say, if those who refused to grant even the half
gislature swall direct, shall vote for one person as Elecof the plan he proposed, were likely to accede to the
tor of President and Vice President; but no Senator or whole of it. Mr. F. disclaimed being swayed by any
Representative, or person holding an office of trust or feelings of pride, as a member of the Naval Committee,
profit under the United States, shall be appointed an which might be supposed to render him jealous of a si.
elector. milar attempt by the gentleman from Louisiana ; his on
“The electors appointed shall meet at such place in ly objection was, the difficulty of finding means. He
| their respective states as the Legislature thereof may would, however, withdraw bis amendment.
direct, and on such day as may be appointed by Con. Mr. MERCER then observed, that, as he heard it!
| gress, which day shall be the same throughout the Unitwhispered by some gentlemen who sat near him, that,
ed States; and in case of the non-attendance of any one under the resolution of the gentleman from Louisiana,
of the electors, from death, sickness, inability, or other there was concealed a system of burdensome expense,
ause, the vacancy of such elector shall be filled in such of great extent, he thought it his duty to state that he
manner as the Legislatures of the respective states may was warranted by the gentleman who presided over the
direct. The whole number of electors shall then vote
for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, Navy Department, in saying that the object might be accomplished at a very small expense. It had been
shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themeven proposed to place such an institution, without any
"selves; they shall name in their ballots the persons voted
" for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted farther grant from Congress, in the barracks erecting at the fortification at the mouth of the Chesapeake. As
for as Vice President; and they shall make distinct lists
of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons the buildings were there already provided, all i hat would
voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes have to be granted, would be an appropriation for the
for each, which list they shall sign and certify, and trans. salaries of two or three professors, which was a trilling expense in comparison with the good to be attained
mit sealed to the government of the United States, diMidshipmen are now taken on board our vessels on trial
rected to the President of the Senate ; the President of
the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and only-they go one voyage to sea-and if, from that experiment, they appear to discover talents for public use
House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and
the votes shall then be counted: the person having the tulness, they receive a warrant, and regularly enter the
greatest number of votes for President, sball be Presi. service-just as young men are received as cadets at
dent, if such number be one-third of the whole number
of Electors appointed ; and if two persons have a great committee, when they went into an inquiry, as though er number than one-third, then such person as may have the Congress, in passing that act, had not gone accordthe greatest number; and if no person have one-third of ing to the received law of nations, and as though some the whole number of electors appointed, then from the new rule had been then established. It was not so; and, persons having the highest number, not execeeding two, he asked, if the principle of the act of 1816 was a coron the list of those voted for as President, the House of rect one, how Congress could now withhold an extenRepresentatives shall choose, by ballot, and under such sion of that same principle to all the cases justly in. rules as they may agree on, the President. But, in
the President. But in cluded within its range! If the Government, when it choosing the President, the votes sball be taken by came out of the late war, flushed with glorious victory, States, the Representation of each state having one vote: their hearts exulting, and warm with lively gratitude a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or towards those who had raised their country's name by members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority land and on the ocean, could, without regard to nice of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if lines of demarcation, recognize a great principle owned she House of Representatives shall not choose a Presi. by all civilized nations, and, in accordance with it, had dent, whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon passed the act of 1816, he thought it did not become them, before the fourth day of March next following, Congress, at this day, because they find that, in carrythen the Vice President shall act as President, as in the ing that law into effect, they may chance to have a large case of the death or other constitutional disability of the sum of money to pay, to begin to quarrel with the law, President.
or deny the principle on which it is founded. He saw “The person having the greatest number of votes as no difference between the principle of the present bill Vice President, shall be the Vice President, if such and that of the act of 1816, except the proviso in the number be one-third of the whole number of Electors latter, that it shall be proved that the occupation of the appointed ; and if two persons have a greater number | builtings by the United States was the cause of their than one-third, then such person as may have the high-| destruction Ly the enemy. The present bill assumed est number; and if no person has one-third of the whole this from the two facts of the occupation and the denumber of Electors appointed, then, from the two high-struction. It holds that, being occupied for military purest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice poses, the buildings became the lawful subjects of miliPresident: a quorum for the purpose shall consist of tary destruction. The omission of that proviso was no two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a ma. objection against the present bill. jority of the whole number shall be necessary to a But it had been insisted by some gentlemen, that, in choice.
order to claim indemnification, the sufferers must show “But no person constitutionally ineligible to the of that the occupation continued up to the time when their fice of President, shall be eligible to that of Vice Presi- buildings were destroyed. Agreed. But what is occudent of the United States.”
pation There is surely a legal constructive occupation The resolution was twice read, and referred to the by the Government, so long as it is out of the power of committee of the whole on the state of the Union, to the owner to occupy the premises himself. This was whom other resolutions on the same subject have been the doctrine, as applied to the concerns of individuals, referred.
and the same rule equally applied to Government. Al NIAGARA SUFFERERS.
| though there might not, in fact, have been any of the The House having again resolved itself into a com- powder or stores, or any of the soldiers actually in the mittee of the whole on the bill “ for the relief of certain building when it was destroyed, yet, if it had not been persons who suffered by destruction of their property returned 'y the Government to its owner, it was still in by the enemy, during the late war''
the occupation of the Government. As to the amendMr. ROSS then rose, and observed that it was not his ment of the gentleman from Illinois, (Mr. Cook,) he did intention to enter into a discussion of the abstract prin not see that any thing more would be gained by it than ciple of the bill before the committee. If he understood was secured by that of the gentleman from New York. the principle, as well of the bill as of the amendment (Mr. STORRS.) The one says the premises shall be prov. now proposed, it did not differ materially from that of ed to have been abandoned in consequence of the ap. the bill of 1816, either in form or substance. He did proach of the enemy. The other says it must have been not know that it would be a very profitable inquiry to in possession of the Government at, or a short time bego into the intentions of Congress in passing that act ; fore, the period of its destruction. If either of these but he believed, if such an investigation 'were made, it states of things were proved, it would amount to a conwould appear that the intent of Congress was to furnish structive possession by Government at the time of the a rule for ascertaining the amount of damage that had destruction-a case provided for by the bill. been suffered by persons, whose private property had Does this principle, asked Mr. Ross, vary from the act been taken for the use of the United States, and in such of 1816? I apprehend not. Here Mr. R. referred to circumstances destroyed by the enemy, according to the documents accompanying the report of the committhe laws of civilized warfare. The ninth section of that tee, and in particular to a letter of Mr. Secretary CRAW. act, so often referred to in this debate, did not intro. Forp to the Commissioner under that act, in wbich he duce into our legislation any new principle, i. e. any lays it down as a rule, that the occupation of houses and principle foreign to the acknowledged laws of nations. tuildings (lestroyed must continue up to the time of deIf he had rightly understood the gentleman from Vir struction. He argued to show that this must refer to ginia, (Mr. BARBOUR,) who had favored the House with private buildings, and that the occupation need not be a learned and lucid argument on the point, he held that i lit: ral. Did it enter into the mind of any reasonable be. when the Government took any private building for a ing so to interpret the law as to require, in order to es. military use, and it was then destroyed by the enemy, tablish a claim for indemnity, that the soldiers, who had with a view to benefit himself and to injure is, it been quartered in the houses, must have remained and was lawfully destroyed, according to the laws of war been burnt under the ruins? He quoted the Secretary's among civilized nations. Now, the act of 1816 said letter to siew that occupation, even for a single night, if none other han this. It went upon this principle as in presence of an enemy, amounted to the occupation taken for granted, and only directed how the debt, ac. contemplated by the law. He could not, for his own knowledged to be due from Government to the suffer part, conceive how ingenuity itself could put a cifferent ers, should be ascertained as to its amount. Mr. R. Said meaning on the law of 1816 than that which he llaci menhe thought that, in the previous part of the debate, gen- tioned. And, if he was right, he did not see why Con. tlemen bar departed far from the true subject before the gress should not, at this day, afford the same relief as
they did in 1816 and 1817. That law had been in part destruction was enough-the presumption followed of acted on by officers of the Government, and a part of the course that this was the cause of the destruction. claims had been paid under it. Grant that experience Gentlemen, however, maintained that the destruction had proven that the act had been poorly worded, and was accomplished on a principle of retaliation. The badly executed -- was that a reason why Congress should evidence, however, all went to show that, not only was now, from mere sordid and pecuniary motives, withhold it the understanding of the American army, but of the payment from the residue of the claimants equally in British officers themselves, that the invasion and decluded within its provisions? Gentlemen in their pri-struction of the frontier was on account of its occupation yate capacity would not act in this manner; and shall by the American forces. Here Mr. R. referred to the we, asked Mr. Ross, because this Hall contains upward letter of Col. Chapin, the capitulation at Buffalo, &c. and of two hundred men, shelter ourselves from responsibili- argued from both, that it was the shelter given to the ty, and do what we should be ashamed of, each sayi:ng American army that occasioned the destruction of the by way of apology, “It is not me, it is the Congress of houses. The gentleman from Pennsylvania, (Mr. Bocha. the United states that has done it ?" No: let us rather nax,) had referred, yesterday, to the same event, and act with boldness, under a due sense of what is our im- bad contended that the burning of Buffalo was an outperative duty.
rage on the principles and usage of civilized wartareBut the bill has been objected to as though it were that it was a wanton destruction of private property. for the benefit of the Niagara frontier alone. Sir, said | But, said Mr. R., it appeared, from the conversation of Mr. R. when I heard this objection, I was astonished. I Col, Chapin with the British Gen. Riall, that the cause had supposed, from hearing and reading the bill, that assigned by him at the time was, that, when he entered it referred to all, without distinction, whose property had the town, he found the houses occupied as barracks and suffered in the same way. If it happened that there magazines. Other testimony went to establish the same were more sufferers on this particular frontier than on fact. Indeed it was perfectly notorious, that the Governany other, be it so: it is a thing Congress could not help: ment had no other barracks or magazines for their army. it is their misfortune, said Mr. R.-let it not be our gain. Mr. R. referred also to the language of Gen. Prevost, at As to the extent of the occupation, it would be in the Quebec, as reported by Capt. Swazy, who had asked recollection of all who were conversant with the history leave to lay waste the frontier, and had been told, in of the late war, that the entire frontier, so early as 1812, reply, that the British arms should never be stained by was little else than a great cantonment. Both the regular such an act of retaliation. He compared dates to show army and militia made it their place of rendezvous. But that, at this time, Prevost did not know of the ravaging falo, especially, was the rallying point for our whole of the Niagara frontier, and argued, from the dates and force. Now, it was notorious that the Government had distances, that it was impossible he could have orderprovided no camp equipage. There were the troops ed it; although, afterwards, in his proclamation, he held exposed and sick, without quarters, and almost without out the idea that he had commanded it in retaliation covering; and, close by, was a town affording comforta- for the burning of Newark, which he calls an “act of ble shelter. Would any man hesitate as to what was the meanness and cruelty" The proclamation was evident. duty of the American officers? Were they to leave the ly, palpably, nothing more than a mere salvo to cover troops under their command to perish in the open air, the infamy of an act which he had before condemned, many of them sick, many wounded, and none properly as tarnishing the British arms. Mr. R. inferred, from alothed ? Surely not. The houses were taken posses. the whole case, that the country had been wasted solely sion of, and it was right they should be. They were our because it afforded a shelter to our army, and enabled it only camp, our only barracks, our only magazines; and, to act with effect against the forces on the other side. while in this constructive occupation by the Government If so, ought not the House to go back to the principle of the United States, they were destroyed by the enemy. of its own act of 1816, under which a part of these claims
But, we are asked, how happens it that the destruction had already been paid ? Mr. R. concluded by assignwas indiscriminate and universal ? that no selection was ing some reasons why he had felt himself bound to de made-but all the buildings on the frontier laid waste ?liver his sentiments on this subject, conceiving that his Why, sir, it can hardly be expected that the enemy, course, on a former occasion, might otherwise have led when successfully invading a hostile country, should go to a false conclusion as to what were his principles in into every house and inquire, Is this house occupied, or relation to the Niagara Claims. has it at any time been occupied, by the truops or muni- Mr. FARRELLY, of Pennsylvania, rose, and, in an tions of the Government ? At such a moment it is held argumentative speech of some length, advocated the sufficient that the house is apparently in public use-it bill, Conceiving that the dispute which had taken place, is destroyed without further ceremony. But because regarded rather the facts of the case than the principle some have been destroyed wrongfully, is that a good on which the law should be framed, he proposed to in. reason why they should pay for none? Suppose these quire whether the property for which indemnification houses had been built by the Government, and occasion was claimed, was, or was not, a legitimate subject of deally occupied by troops or by public stores, would there struction by the enemy. To determine this point, he arbe any question or doubt that ihe Government would be gued, it ought to be remembered that the Niagara Fron. bound to suffer the loss? It would then be held that tier was the only point from which the Government prothese buildings belonged to Government. But what posed to make a descent upon the enemy's territory. It difference did it make in the case who built the houses? was here that, in 1812, an army had been collected and is the loss not to be borne by the Government because commanded by a gentleman, now an honorable member the Government did not build the house that was de- of this House, (Gen. SMITH,) and it was from this fronstroyed ? Suppose the United States had bought the tier, that, in the fall of that year, another honorable houses, (no matter what their form or what their size-member (Gen. Van RensSELAER) had made a descent on whether of stone or of wood, in the form of a castle, or the Canada lines. These facts were suffcient evidence of a dwelling house, or of a barn,) there would then be that this was the place from which we intended our bosno question who was to bear the loss. But what differtile operations to proceed : yet no barracks had been ence does it make if the Government takes the houses, provided; no arsenals were built there; no accommodaand uses them as it would if it had bought or bad built tions were prepared for our troops. He asked whether, them? They were used for a military purpose, and they | under such circumstances, it did not become the duty of were destroyed for a military end. They were burnt, a British military commander, if he had any regard for that thereby we might be weakened and the enemy the interest of his country, and his own military reputa. might be proportionably strengthened. The fact of the Ition, to destroy tbe only means of our army. He found