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we are not perfectly competent to such a war, but) does it suit our finances ? Does it suit, sir, our magnificent projects of roads and canals ? Does it suit the temper of our people? Does it promote their interests ? will it add to their happiness ? Sir, why did we remain supine while Piedmont and Naples were crushed by Austria ? Why did we stand aloof, while the Spanish peninsula was again reduced under legitimate government? If we did not interfere then, why now?

“ This Quixotism, in regard either to Greece or to South America, is not what the sober and reflecting minds of our people require at our hands.

Sir, we are in debt as individuals, and we are in debt as a nation ; and never, since the days of Saul and David, or Caesar and Catiline, could a more unpropitious period have been found for such an undertaking. The state of society is too much disturbed. There is always, in a debtor, a tendency either to torpor or to desperation—neither condition is friendly to such deliberations. But I will suspend what I have further to say on this subject. For my part, I see as much danger, and more, in the resolution proposed by the gentleman from Kentucky, as in that of the gentleman from Massachusetts. The war that may follow on the one, is a distant war; it lies on the other side of the ocean. The war that may be induced by the other, is a war at hand; it is on the same continent. I am equally opposed to the amendment which has been since offered to the original resolutions. Let us look a little further at all of them. Let us sleep upon them before we pass resolutions, which, I will not say, are mere loops to hang speeches on, and thereby commit the nation to a war, the issues of which it is not given to human sagacity to divine."

The resolutions were postponed. When again taken up, Mr. Ran. dolph spoke at large upon them. We must be content with a few paragraphs, only.

“ It is with serious concern and alarm,” said Mr. Randolph,“ that I have heard doctrines broached in this debate, fraught with consequences more disastrous to the best interests of this people, than any that I ever heard advanced, during the five and twenty years since Í have been honored with a seat on this floor. They imply, to my apprehension, a total and fundamental change of the policy pursued by this Government, ab urbe conditafrom the foundation of the Republic, to the present day. Are we, sir, to go on a crusade, in another hemisphere, for the propagation of two objects as dear and delightful to my heart, as to that of any gentleman in this, or in any other assembly-Liberty and Religion—and, in the name of these holy words—by this powerful spell

, is this nation to be conjured and beguiled out of the highway of heaven-out of its present compara


tively happy state, into all the disastrous conflicts arising from the policy of European powers, with all the conseq nces which flow from them? Liberty and Religion, sir! Things that are yet dear, in spite of all the mischief that has been perpetrated in their name. I believe that nothing similar to this proposition is to be found in modern history, unless in the famous decree of the French National Assembly, which brought combined Europe against them, with its united strength; and, after repeated struggles, finally effected the downfall of the French power.

"I will respectfully ask the gentleman from Massachusetts. whether, in his very able and masterly argument—and he has said all that could be said on the subject, and much more than I supposed could have been said by any man in favor of his resolution—whether he, himself, bas not furnished an answer to his speech. I had not the happiness myself to hear his speech, but a friend has read it to me—in one of the arguments in that speech, towards the conclusion, I think, of his speech, the gentleman lays down from Puffendorff, in reference to the honeyed words and pious professions of the Holy Alliance, that these are all surplusage, because nations are always supposed to be ready to do what justice and national law require. Well. sir, if this be so, why may not the Greeks presume—why are they not in this principle, bound to presume—that this Government is disposed to do all, in reference to them, that they ought to do, without any formal resolutions to that effect? I ask the gentleman from Massachusetts, whether the doctrine of Puffendorff does not apply as strongly to the resolution as to the declaration of the Allies—that is, if the resolution of the gentleman be indeed that almost nothing he would have us suppose, if there be not something behind this nothing. which divides this House, (not horizontally, as the gentleman has somewhat quaintly said—but vertically) into two unequal parties; one the advocate of a splendid system of crusades, the other, the friends of peace and harmony; the advocates of a fireside policy-for, as long as all is right at the fireside, there cannot be much wrong elsewhere--whether, I repeat, does not the doctrine of Puffendorff apply as well to the words of the resolution, as to the words of the Holy Alliance ?

* There was another remark that fell from the gentleman from Massachusetts-of which I shall speak, as I shall always speak of any thing from that gentleman, with all the personal respect that may be consistent with the freedom of discussion. Among other cases forcibly put by the gentleman, why he would embark in this incipient crusade against Mussulmen, he stated this as one—that they hold human beings as property. Aye, sir,—and what says the Constitution of the United States on this point ?—unless, indeed, that instrument is wholly to be excluded from consideration—unless it is


to be regarded as a mere useless parchment, worthy to be burnt, as was once actually proposed. Does not that Constitution give its sanction to the holding of human beings as property ? Sir, I am not going to discuss the abstract question of liberty or slavery, or any other abstract question. I go for matters of fact. But I would ask gentlemen in this House, who have the misfortune to reside on the wrong side of a certain mysterious parallel of latitude, to take this question seriously into consideration—whether the Government of the United States is prepared to say, that the act of holding human beings as property, is sufficient to place the party so offending, under the ban of its high and mighty displeasure?

** Sir, I am afraid, that, along with some most excellent attributes and qualities—the love of liberty, jury trial, the writ of habeas corpus, and all the blessings of free government we have derived from our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, we have got not a little of their John Bull, or rather John Bull-dog spirit—their readiness to fight for any body, and on any occasion. Sir, England has been for centuries the game-cock of Europe. It is impossible to specify the wars in which she has been engaged for contrary purposes, and she will with great pleasure, see us take off her shoulders the labor of preserving the balance of power. We find her fighting, now for the Queen of Hungary—then for her inveterate foe, the King of Prussia—now at war for the restoration of the Bourbons—and now on the eve of war with them for the liberties of Spain.

“ These lines on the subject, were never more applicable, than they have now become:

"Now Europe's balanced-neither side prevails,

For nothing's left in either of the scales.' “ If we pursue the same policy, we must travel the same road, and endure the same burthens, under which England now groans. But, glorious as such a design might be, a President of the United States would, in my apprehension, occupy a prouder place in history, who, when he retires from office, can say to the people who elected him, I leave you without a debt, than if he had fought as many pitched battles as Cæsar, or achieved as many naval victories as Nelson. And what, sir, is debt? In an individual it is slavery. It is slavery of the worst sort, surpassing that of the West India Islands, for it enslaves the mind, as well as it enslaves the body; and the creature who can be abject enough to incur and to submit to it, receives, in that condition of his being, perhaps, an adequate punishment. Of course, I speak of debt, with the exception of unavoidable misfortune. I speak of debt caused by mismanagement, by unwarrantable generosity, by being generous before being just. I am aware that this sentiment was ridiculed by Sheridan, whose lamentable end was the best commentary upon its truth. No, sir; let us abandon these projects. Let us say

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to those seven millions of Greeks, 'We defended ourselves when we were but three millions, against a power, in comparison with which the Turk is but a lamb. Go and do thou likewise.' And so with the governments of South America. If, after having achieved their independence, they have not valor to maintain it, I would not commit the safety and independence of this country in such a cause. I will, in both these, pursue the same line of conduct which I have ever pursued, from the day I took a seat in this House, in 1799, from which, without boasting, I challenge any gentleman to fix upon me any colorable charge of departure.

" Let us adhere to the policy laid down by the second as well as the first founder of our republic—by him who was the Camillus, as well as Romulus, of the infant State—to the policy of peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none; for to entangling alliances we must come, if you once embark in policy such as this. And, with all my British predilections, I suspect I shall, whenever that question shall present itself, resist as strongly an alliance with Great Britain, as with any other power. We are sent here to attend to the preservation of the peace of this country, and not to be ready, on all occasions, to go to war, whenever any thing like what, in common parlance, is termed a turn up, takes place in Europe.

What, sir, is our condition ? We are absolutely combatting shadows. The gentleman would have us to believe his resolution is all but nothing; yet, again, it is to prove omnipotent, and fill the whole globe with its influence. Either it is nothing, or it is something If it be nothing, let it return to its original nothingness ; let us lay it on the table, and have done with it at once; but, if it is that something, which it has been on the other hand represented to be, let us beware how we touch it. For my part, I would sooner put the shirt of Nessus on my back than sanction these doctrines-doctrines such as I never heard from my boyhood till now. the whole length. If they prevail, there are no longer any Pyrenees; every bulwark and barrier of the Constitution is broken down; it is become tabula rasa, a carte blanche, for every one to scribble on it what he pleases."

The resolutions were laid on the table, never afterwards to be


called up


IMMEDIATELY after the close of the foregoing debate, within a few days, there followed a discussion on an appropriation to defray the expenses of a survey of the country, with reference to an extended and connected scheme of roads and canals. But two years previous, May, 1822, Mr. Monroe had demonstrated, in the most elaborate manner, the unconstitutionality of any system of internal improvement by the Federal Government. Having duly considered the bill, entitled “ An act for the preservation and repair of the Cumberland Road," he returned it to the House of Representatives, in which it originated, under the conviction that Congress did not possess the power, under the Constitution, to pass such a law.

A power to establish turnpikes, with gates and tolls, and to enforce the collection of the tolls by penalties, implies a power to adopt and execute a complete system of internal improvement. Mr. Monroe contended that Congress did not possess this power—that the States individually could not grant it. If the power exist, it must be either because it has been specifically granted to the United States, or that it is incidental to some power which has been specifically granted. It has never been contended that the power was specifically granted. It is claimed only as being incidental to some one or more of the powers that are specifically granted.

The following are the powers from which it is said to be derived : Ist. From the right to establish post offices and post-roads. 2d. From the right to declare war. 3d. To regulate commerce. the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare. 5th. From the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution all the powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States. 6th. From the power to dispose of, and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory and other property of the United States.

Mr. Monroe took up the power thus claimed, and by a most extended and elaborate review of the history and the principles


4th. To pay


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