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JUNE, 1809.

Miranda's Expedition.

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comes.

with information of the state of the country; authority from his Government. Subsequently your interference would convince them that, nó to that time, however, Great Britain has become matter how nefarious a plan might be, this nation the ally of Spain in consequence of the revoluwould again stretch out its arm to protect them, tion; and at that time Great Britain obtained and like the petty incursions which the Danes in from persons exercising the authority of governformer days made on the British coast, whatever ment in Spain the release of these prisoners, hard blows are received will only be the motives which it is perfectly natural Spain should then for a larger band to follow. If the people of the have granted. But suppose, instead of that change United States would not believe Moses and the having taken place in the relations between Prophets, if they would not already prefer the Great Britain and Spain, Bonaparte had quietly dull pursuits of civil life to these nefarious pirat. succeeded in putting King Joseph on the throne ical expeditions, they would not believe it though of Spain and the Indies, and application had these men with their chains came back and told then been made; or suppose that the application it; though one should rise from the dead and tell had been deferred until now, and the power of it.

the House of Bonaparte was as complete over On this subject there is but little interest exci- the colonies in South America as we have every ted in the nation. What have you on the table? reason to believe it is over the European possesWhat is it that has caused so much debate? The sions of the mother country, would the British single say-so of these men, themselves implicated subjects in that case have been released ? It is in their own testimony. We have no petition an unfortunate circumstance that no question can from the city of New York, or even from the be agitated in this House and tried upon its own State, nor from the neighborhood whence the merits; that everything which is, has been, or gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Bacon) may be, is to be logged in on the question before

The sympathy is all in this House, and us, to the total exclusion of the merits of the whence proceeds it ? 'I charge no man with il-case, and in this way, instead of a session of three laudable motives, but certainly the most noble and six months for doing the business of the naand godlike motives might be attributed to gen- tion, if every question is to be tried in the mantlemen in one quarter of the House from their ner in which it appears to me this has been, we advocating the proposition, according to the hint may sit to all eternity and never get through it. given by the gentleman from North Carolina I lay no claim to greater precision than other that the Government ought to interfere now, as men; but really I cannot perceive what kind of it was supposed to have connived at it

, and no relation, what kind of connexion exists between wonder that it excited sensations in another quar- most of what I have heard on this subject, and ter of the House. I thank gentlemen for the in- the true merits of the case.

Gentlemen get up timation which they have given us; it is the and abuse the Spanish Goveroment and people, same as I would give on any occasion on which and what then? 'Why, it appears all this is preI had the feelings which I know that gentleman liminary to our making an humble request of honestly has on this occasion. I say, sir, that this Government and people that they shall grant this Government has nothing to do with it; that us a particular boon. To be sure, sir, all this to pass the resolution would be interfering with time we do plaster ourselves unmercifully-we the sovereignty of another nation, and in a man- lay it on with a trowel-and gentlemen seem to ner which would only expose our Executive to think that if we sufficiently plaster ourselves, an insulting reply. The Spanish Governor may our President, and people, and be-devil every other justly reply as Brutus to Cassius, " You wrong Government and people, it is sufficient to illumiyourself to write in such a cause.”

nate every question. And this is the style in Mr. LIVERMORE asked if the committee which which we speak to Governments perfectly indemade this report had not before it evidence that pendent of us !-A very wise mean, to be sure, of certain British subjects concerned in Miranda's inducing them to grant the pardon of these peoexpedition had been liberated on the application ple as a favor to us. Sir, it would be a strange of some officers of that nation? If they had, it spectacle, to be sure, when this Minister that is to would be a fair answer to the eloquent speech of be, this sort of anomalous messenger whom you the gentleman from South Carolina.

are going to send, I know not exactly to whom; Mr. RANDOLPH said he did not think that the whether to the Junta, or persons exercising the information asked for by the gentleman was at power of government in the provinces, or to the all material to this case. It was a matter of no Government in Europe; when this Minister goes consequence at all, as respected the statement to Carthagena or elsewhere, if he should carry made by the gentleman from South Carolina on to the Viceroy along with his credentials a file of (he had no doubt) very good grounds. What, papers containing the debates on this question. said Mr. R., has been the situation of Great Brit- Why, sir, like Sir Francis Wronghead, we apain in relation to Spain ? Great Britain, at the pear all to have turned round. My honorable time the expedition was undertaken, was an ene- friend, the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. my of Spain-was at actual war with Spain-Taylor) spoke of the crimes of these men. and therefore in a subject of Great Britain it Gentlemen on the other side, who wish them to might have been highly meritorious to annoy be pardoned, tell you of nothing but of their inSpain, either at home or in her colonies to the nocence, and the injustice of those who conutmost extent in his power, without any direct demned them and now have them under punish

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Miranda's E.cpedition.

June, 1809. ment. Two more such advocates as have ap- Sir, I could not have been induced to say anypeared in favor of this proposition would damn thing more on this question, for I stand in a very the best cause ever brought before any House or invidious position, not at all congenial to my feelany court in Christendom. The gentleman from ings, being compelled to rely on my judgment for New York, (Mr. Emott,) who spoke yesterday, support against my feelings. Nothing could have certainly very pertinently, and very handsomely, induced me to rise but the very unprecedented tells the House that in this case no other money manner in which the oldest member, and certhan that of the United States will be receiveil; tainly not the least respectable in this House, has that, with a sort of Castilian fastidiousness, those been treated, and the manner in which some asserpersons acting for the Government of Spain will tions (if you will) of mine have been met. It has not touch any money which shall not be offered been stated by a gentleman in his place, that the in the quality of public money. I believe no such only proof of the guilt of these persons consists in thing; and moreover I wish it to be distinctly under my declaration to this effect; the naked assertion stood that the question of money is not the ques- of one, too, who knows nothing of their innocence tion with me; and that to suppose it necessary or guilt. Let us bring this naked assertion to the for the Government of the United States to in- standard of common sense and common honesty. terfere for the purpose of raising so pitiful a sum Were the ringleaders in this expedition conas $3,500 for the relief of these unfortunate inen, demned, and did they suffer death on my asserwhose situation I most seriously deplore, is a libel tion-an assertion long posterior to the fact? upon the charity of this country. I believe, not-Were the unhappy men now condemned to im. withstanding the public impression on this sub- prisonment and hard labor convicted on my asject against the pelitioners, that the money could sertion, on my assertion too, of yesterday? Or, is be raised in half an hour in any town in the Uni- it so extremely unpardonable for any one to infer ted States. I believe it might be raised in that the guilt of the accomplices in any transaction, time in the city of Washington. It is not a no matter what, wherein the ringleaders have question of the amount of money wanted; it is, been acknowledged universally to be guilty, have whether the Government of the United States been brought to trial, and have suffered the punsball lend its countenance to persons situated as ishinent of their crime? Does not the onus in these unfortunate people are ? Sir, had we at this instance, although it be in the negative, lie that time been at war with Spain, as Great Brit on the condemned? What, sir; they go on an ain, something might be said in favor of these expedition against South America under General persons. But we were not at war with Spain, Miranda, and, with others, are taken, the ringand these men knew it; and I believe they knew leaders executed as pirates, as hostes humani geat least as well as I know, that when a man is neris, as they really were, and these men are to recruited for public service, as they say they be averred to be innocent men, the oply proof of thought to be their case, he is immediately taken whose guilt consists in the declaration of an inbefore a justice of the peace and sworn. This dividual who has considered them as guilty men, part of the ceremony, however, is not stated to but who feels not the less for them because they have taken place. To be sure, sir, the gentle have been guilty ? In this style is this question man from New York (Mr. Emotr) said, I be- to be discussed and decided? One gentleman lieve, everything that could be said in favor of asserts that the men are perfectly innocent, that those unfortunate people, and really almost con- the only proof of their guilt rests on the declaravinced me that we ought to make this interfer- tion of an individual; and another asserts that ence; but unfortunately for him and for his they are guilty only under the unjust and arcause, other advocates rose up in its favor and bitrary principles of the Spanish Government, placed the subject in a situation not only as re- when we have it in proof--the strongest proof spects the majority of this House, but as respects that the nature of the case will admit—that, if that Government with whom intercession is to they are not guilty men, something not much less be made, which will completely foreclose any than a miracle must have been worked in their attempt at relieving the sufferers. It is not pos- favor. From the description of their situation sible that the majority of this House, or that the given by the gentleman from Massachusetts, on Spanish Government, can be affected in any other whom, and on the gentleman from New York, manner than with disgust and indignation at such (Mr. Émott,) the management of this business stuff

. The gentleman from New York told us that appeared to devolve, I think it extremely probable these were ardent young men, who were anxious that the resolution, improper as it is, would have to go to Caraccas for the purpose, I think, of passed. The description was forcible which the correcting the despotism which existed in that gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Bacon) gave country; or otherwise, political Quixottes. This, from his own knowledge of the situation of a I take it, will operate little in their favor with man brought up at the same school with himself, the Spanish Government, however it may in and for whom it was natural for him to feel as

I confess I feel very little sympathy for he does; and I honor the member for so feeling those who, overlooking their own country, and and acting, for, mutatis mutandis, I think it highly the abuses in their own Government, go in search probable I should do so too. These men are enof politicaladversaries abroad-goa tilling against listed by, no matter whom; to go, they do not political despotisms for the relief, I suppose, of know where; 10 do, they do not know what. distressed damsels compelled to live under them. I After getting to sea, they are compelled to go to Miranda's Expedition.

ours.

JUNE, 1809.

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Caraccas with the commanding officer, whether that while at the island—at Jacquemel—they they will or not. Never before was such a tale made this attempt, but were frustrated in their invented. It will not bear the touch. The gen- endeavors and compelled to go on board; as this tleman from New York (Mr. Fisk) says that the port had been mentioned by other members of very insurance offices would not under write, be the committee, and was referred to in the report cause no place was named. And then, we are then under consideration, little doubt would retold that ihese people were carried to a newly main as to the place intended, or the object discovered country-a land of promise. I should for which I noticed it; and I then observed the not wonder, sir, that the insurance officers would distinguished gentleman from Virginia noting not underwrite a voyage to the island of Jacque- down the remark, with a significant smile, apmel, or that the vessels should never have arrived parently much pleased. I presumed he underat their place of destination ; for the latitude of stood me to have said the island of Jacquethat island, with geographers, is at least as uncer- mel.” And I did not feel disposed to lessen tain as was the destination of Miranda.

the gratification that gentleman might feel from All that I have heard on this subject, except his having so understood me. I was willing from the gentleman from Massachusetts, or the to afford that gentleman all the pleasure and all gentleman from New York on my right, (Mr. the honor he could desire, together with all the Emott,) reminds me of speeches which it has consideration he might acquire with this House, been my misfortune to listen to, delivered to and with this nation, from having, by his superior ignorant juries, in mitigation of damages. My koowledge, in his place in this House, discovered friend from North Carolina (Mr. Macon) laments and corrected an imaginary or real geographical that he, too, has not a little law, because he be mistake, of such immense moment and infinite lieves that it very often serves to help out a bad concern to the people (“God bless them !") of this argument. Sir, it is one of the indiscretions of country. which my friend from North Carolina is not des- If in the course of debate any member in mentitute, to wish for a little learning, more especi- tioning a place incidentally connected with the aily a little learning of the law. I had thought question, to be decided and noticed by others, rethat the history of Jonathan Wild the Great had ferred to in the report before the committee, left an awful memento to posterity that although should call a part of the island of St. Domingo "a little learning was a dangerous thing," a little the Island, I should think the blunder was made law learning is almost equal to a hanging patent. inadvertently or ignorantly. If inadvertently, No, sir: God forbid that the natural sense, ster- that it was unworthy of the notice of any critic, ling worth, and real knowledge of my friend' from however profound. If ignorantly, that it was North Carolina, should be balderdashed by a little, beneath the animadversion of any honorable county.court, law learning. It would be impossi- member of this honorable august body; unless I ble for me to estimate him as I do if such were may be permitted to except the exception, the his lot-if he were fated to dress up a flimsy argu- distinguished member from Virginia on my right, ment on any side of any question on which a man (Mr. RANDOLPH.) But whether Jacquemel is an happens to have received a retaining fee. I do island, a port, or a continent, was as immaterial not know how it may be with other men, but I do to the inquiry then before the committee, as this most devoutly pray—not like Oliver Cromwell, criticism is foreign to the merits of the question to be delivered from Sir Harry Vane-but, that now under consideration, or the remarks about my country may be delivered from leading poli- the "building or rebuilding of the north wing of ticians in the persons of second rate lawyers. the Capitol, together with our chairs, tables, and They have been tried in other countries, and it bulkhead windows,” were from a question touchhas been found that first-rate lawyers would not ing the sale of the gunboats, or the reduction of answer for politicians. If they will noi, in the the Army. name of common sense, what are second, third, Mr. KNICKERBACKER said as he intended to fourth, and fifth rates to make? I do not know, vote for the proposition, he deemed it proper to as I have said already, how it may be with other assign his reasons for so doing. A principal reamen, but, whenever I hear men of a certain de son was that these men had engaged in Miranscription get up to speak in a public assembly, I da’s expedition, not knowing it to be of a hostile am almost reminded of an observation made of a character; and this fact, he said, sufficiently aplearned and witty man, who, when he rose topeared from the testimony which had been quospeak on a subject, said " Well now;" and was ied from the trial of Ogden and Smith. The then supposed to be considering what he should fitting out of the armament, too, had been carsay. And I, sir, never see a man of a certain ried on in the most public manner, an officer of description rising to speak on a great national the Government being concerned in it. Miranda, question, but it appears to me that he is balancing the man from whom the whole emanated, was for want of the make-weight of a fee.

not known as being concerned to the unfortunate Mr. Fisk.- I rise, principally, sir, for the pur- persons now suffering slavery in Carthagena. pose of noticing a criticism made on a remark The man who had enlisted ihese men (Fink) which fell from me in debate yesterday, relating had promptly answered when questioned, that he to the attempt made by the petitioners while on himself was not informed of the nature of it, the voyage from New York to South America to though he had asked for information of the real escape from the power of Miranda. I stated,'object of the expedition. The tale which had

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Miranda's Expedition.

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been told them appeared to be such a one as was should not show partiality to these men; that calculated to seduce young men into the scheme. they were not worthy of the attention of GovThey had been told that it was an expedition ernment; that they ought to have their claims under the authority of the Government, and had rejected, because, if there were no other motive, been engaged also under different pretences. In it might set a precedent which might be dangerthis point of view. not knowing that they were ous in future; and that, if the House did interabout to violate the laws of the United States pose, it would wound the feelings of the Spanwhen they embarked, Mr. K. said they could not iards, and prefer the relief of those men to that be considered as highly criminal.

of our impressed seamen in British vessels. Mr. But gentlemen have said that these men ought K. said he lamented that our seamen were in disnever to have embarked in a concern of this na-tress and mercilessly dealt by; but because they ture without knowing its extent. Mr. K. said it are suffering, is that any reason why the House was not common for young men to inquire mi- should not interpose in behalf of those who now nutely into the nature of anything from which petitioned them? It was no reason because oththey expected to receive a benefit. It always ers suffered, that a deaf ear should be turned to would be found when men were enlisted in the the prayer of any sufferers, or that those should service of the United States, and the time of not be relieved who were now immediately the marching came, that they would be unwilling to subjects of consideration. go, and a reluctance to the service was on such Mr. K. said he did not know but he had already occasions displayed, which had not been selt be- trespassed sufficiently on the time of the House ; fore the time of separation. Their reluctance to but he was not in the habit of apologizing for go on this expedition, therefore, when it was such trespasses. He said he had assigned the about to proceed, did not, Mr. K. said, argue that reasons which he had thought it his duty to do they possessed a knowledge of the design of it. as a representative of the district whence he It appeared to him rather that those men had came. He thought this an important question.. been mistaken in the nature of the expedition, Let us not, said he, treat the committee on this which, from its being conducted in so public a petition with that neglect which some gentlemanner, they could not suppose to be hostile 10 men wish to do. They have reported a resoluthe laws of the United States. Mr. K. said it tion; they state that under the persuasion that was not bis business here to approve or disap- the facts stated by the petitioners are substantiprove of whatever concern the Governmentally true, they are in favor of assisting the men. might have been supposed to have in it. He And, sir, under a full view of all the circumshould not, therefore, examine it; he hoped that stances, I am induced to say that these men merit the Government had no concern in it; but the the interposition of the House, and have already open manner in which it was conducted might endured sufficiently for the crime which they be a ground why those young men had no reason committed; and I trust they will find that mercy to believe that it was not an expedition author- which we, in similar cases, would hope to be ized by the Government of the country. It had shown to us. been stated to them, indeed, probably with a view Mr. Holland said if this case were to be to deceive them, that the Government was con-judged by the expressions of gentlemen in the cerned. Miranda himself had not been seen by House, it might be supposed that the offence of them. The first knowledge they had of him these men was one of the most aggravated crimes was some time after they had got to sea, when that could have been committed ; that there was Miranda appeared under the assumed name of no crime of so high a nature, no offence of so Martin. They were carried to Jacquemel, and, deep a die. But what was their crime, and of whilst there, exercised and trained in a military what were they guilty ? What was their destimanner. Some of them discovered a wish to nation ? To know the crime it was necessary to leave the vessel ; they had began to suspect that know the object of it--and what was it? It was some improper design was on foot. They at- nothing more or less than going to some of the tempted to make their escape; but the only re- provinces of Spain in South America, in order to sult of their effort was closer confinement. Í say revolutionize them. This then was the object that these men have erred, but the question is, quo and this the crime--a design to revolutionize the animo ? Did they knowingly and willingly err ? provinces. Has the revolutionary spirit always It appeared not. Mr. K. quoted the evidence been considered a crime of the deepest malignity? given on the trial of Messrs. Smith and Ogden Certainly it has not. To those who believe to show that the men who enlisted had no knowl-that monarchy and despotism are favorable to edge of where the expedition was bound to; be- human happiness it might appear a crime; to cause even the person who employed them knew others, it seems to me, that it should not. We it not; and also to show thai these men might have heard of persons coming from Europe, long well suppose that the Government was concerned before we were independent or had so declared in it, having been told so by Colonel Smith. ourselves, for the express purpose of engaging in Mr. K. said he wished not to be understood him an act of this kind, io revolutionize the country self as implicating the Government of the Uni- and better the situation of these then provinces. ted States; he hoped they were innocent. At that period I well remember it was not con

The honorable gentleman from South Caro- sidered a crime of deep die. Pulaski, Kosciusko, ina (Mr. TAYLOR) had said that the House and I believe Lafayetie and others came forward

JUNE, 1809.

Miranda's E.cpedition.

H. OF R.

It was true that we had commenced the work, were claimed as deluded citizens of any nation, but they of their own free will and without the would it be an indignity to Spain for that nation order of their Government, came and joined us who claims them to ask for their release? The here.

Government of Spain will see that we come forAt the time Miranda's expedition was set on ward in the cause of humanity, and will feel themfoot we were not very amicable with Spain, and selves honored by an opportunity of favoring it.. this might influence persons taking a superficial I agree with the gentleman from Virginia (Mr.. view of the subject to suppose that it was no such RANDOLPH) in one respect. I, too, have been en-great crime. If they had succeeded in their at- tertained with a variety of arguments which have tempt, and liberated the provinces (and I hope no relation to the case.

I have listened to genthey soon will become free provinces) they would tlemen making long arguments without appeare. have been considered the benefactors of mankind; ing to know what was before the House. I have they would have received the thanks of all the heard it, and may myself be guilty of doing the friends of humanity; but, poor fellows! they were same. My argument is this : that, even if guilty, defeated. In going with a design to revolutionize their sufferings have expiated their offence"; and the Caraccas, ihey might have gone with patri- that, if innocent, we are doubly bound to relieve otic motives. As to the crime itself, it is not of them. What honorable gentlemen in the House that deep die which ought to dain them for ever. will say that, amongst the whole thirty-six, thereIt is not a moral crime, but may be considered a was not one who enlisted without knowing what. political crime. The United States being at was the object of the expedition ? If we have a peace with Spain, perhaps it was impolitic and doubt of their knowledge, the doubt would amount improper for them to go forward on such an ex- to an acquittal, and would authorize our applicapedition. We have been told that all the officers tion for their release. concerned have been executed, and that the per- Sir, had I been a young man, and had nothing sons remaining are only common soldiers. Sup. else to engage in, I should myself have been happosing that these persons went with their eyes py to join a number of brave fellows in emanciopen on the expedition, the question would be, pating an enslaved country—and the provinces of hare they not suffered enough? Has not the South America are in a miserable situation, and cup of vengeance been drained to the bottom ? there is no danger of worsting them by any change. They have suffered enough, sir, and if by an act But, supposing this not to be correct, the sufferof mine I could relieve them, I would. This is ing situation of these men calls upon the justice the view of the subject which I take, supposing and humanity of the House for relief. It is them to be as criminal as gentlemen say. But, true that, last year, I was not in favor of these if they be not guilty, they certainly have a much men. From a suggestion that they were not stronger claim, not to the mercy, but to the justice American citizens, I voted against the proposiof the House. If they did not know that they tion for their release; but I am here informed by were to be carried to the Spanish provinces, they gentlemen personally acquainted with some of are innocent. To my mind nothing is more easy them, that they were raised near their doors, and to conceive than that it was politic for the officers are well-meaning men. And, for fear of a palto keep them in ignorance, and I must view them try sum of money, of giving confirmation to ridicas innocent men. Nor shall any apprehension of ulous suspicions of our Government having concommitting the late or present Administration nived at the expedition, or of offending any forprevent me from doing that which I believe to be eign Government, shall we withhold this relief ? right. Whether the Administration connived at I hope not, sir. the expedition, is not now the question. It is im- Mr. LIVERMORE said he had no idea of bringpossible to consult my own feelings, and not to ing down upon the country the vengeance of the say that these persons ought to be released. One Spanish Government by the proposed applicainnocent person in captivity would induce me to tion, or of attaching such importance to it. The vote $3,500 for his release. What is that paltry simple case, said he, is this. We are informed sum in comparison with the relief of an innocent that a number of our countrymen, children of the man? Nothing. How much less then ought same family, are now suffering the most horrid we to hesitate when upwards of thirty persons punishment that the human frame is capable of are involved ?

enduring. I conceive it possible that, on this ocBut it is said that the request for the relief of|casion, my feelings would carry me too far; as these men will be an indignity to the Spanish no judge could sit and pass sentence on his own Government. I cannot conceive it. It proceeds son. I profess to be a man who has a feeling for on the ground that they were innocent in the out his fellow-men, especially for his fellow-citizens, set; and under these circumstances we apply for and not to have those qualms which would infor their release. Will the ruling authority, be it duce me to look very nicely into such a question what it may, be dissatisfied with this application ? as this, when a decision might relieve my fellowThey are not detained there from political views— citizens. The proposition is simply to request no such thing. The whole were tried as pirates, the President of the United States, if he be satand condemned. No particular act was proved isfied that these men were involuntarily drawn against them; they were viewed as pirates and into the expedition, that he will apply the most as belonging to no nation; and of course remain efficient means in his power to effect their liberaunder a sentence of confinement. But if they |tion. I merely wish to send an agent to attempt

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