Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 89
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OF DEBATES IN CONGRESS.
Dec, 29, 30, 1824,]
[H. of R. & Sen.
ascribe to them the most savage, atrocious, and diaboli-
cal- but, in his view of the matter, chanty, even to an
enemy, required that, where a justifiable motive was to
be found fbr his acts, we should refer them to that rather
than to one that was merely malignant. '1 he mass of
testimony front our own officers, proved that the des-
truction of this property was caused by its military oecu-
nation Independent of this strong concurrent testimo-
ny there was a body of evidence of British officers to
the same effect. Many of these individuals, Mr. T. said
he knew, because he resided in the vicinity of their
country, and he knew that they were men of as high
honor, virtue and integrity, as were any where, British
or American, to be found. Mr. T, pursued the history
of this disastrous season, with all its circumstances, to
shew that the invasion of the Niagara frontier was pure-
ly a military operation, &c. The occupation for military
purposes, was, indeed, almost universal. Several of the
buildings were destroyed by the explosion of the powder
and ammunition deposited in them, &c. "1 he deposi-
tions on this subject, taken together, formed a complete
chain of testimony, establishing what were the motives
and object, &c. of the destruction of this property. _
If' the language of the act of 1S16 had. required,
to entitle the losers to indemnity, that their property
should have been so occupied, as, upon the principles
of civilized warfare, to justify their destruction, the case
would have been fully made out by the testimony. But,
Mr. T. said, the laws on this subject do not demand that
gether erroneous: but, if otherwise, even then the obli-
gations of Government were very different from what
gentlemen had supposed them to be in such cases.
Mr. T. closed by observing that, in relation to the
motion to strike out the first section, he hoped, if gen-
tlemen were determined nothing should be done for
these claimants, that they would vote for the motion,
and put them out of their pain. In regard to this bill,
though he felt the common affection of paternity for it,
he was not tenacious of its particular features: he was
willing it should be amended, if desired. His constitu-
ents, these claimants, had been tantalized so long with
hope and expectation of relief, that he hoped a final de-
cision would now be pronounced on the case. If, in
defiance of justice, reason, and equity, gentlemen were
disposed to refuse the claimants any indemnity whatever
for their losses, Mr. T. hoped they would vote for the
pending motion, and at once put an end to the bill.
On motion of Mr. VANCE, of Ohio, the committee
then rose, and obtained leave to sit again.
provision therein made for him.
The resolution was agreed to item. con. and Messrs.
... „ , SMITH, HAYNE, and 1S0UI.IGNY, were appointed by
the occupation should be such, to authorize a claim for chair the committee'on the part of the Senate.
• i . *. . ..I I Uui, oK/itil/1 rt/\t ft - J*> ,til. . I'll i'.. .. j. I. . . I4 - ^ t' il. M t L!.. n ^ 1T - ~ - I..
hie: for it is sufficient to constitute an absolute obliga.
tion to indemnify the loser, that there was an occupa-
tion of lus property by the Government, and that the
destruction of his property was the consequence of that
occupation. Such was the law of 1816, establishing the
same rule between the Government and individuals, as
would be the law on the principles of common justice,
between one individual and another individual.
As regards this last point, Mr. T. said, the law has
not required, reason does not require, that the conduct
of the fiiemy should be justifiable, to sustain a claim for
indemnity. Neither have the decisions of this House
required it. Mr. T. referred to the case of the Hen-
derson claim, for property destroyed, by the enemy
on some part of the maritime coast of Virginia, in which
it was not established, nor was there any color of evi-
dence to prove, that the destruction of the property
was justifiable by the usages of civilized war: and yet,
Mr. T. said, if he was not very much mistaken, the gentle-
man from Virginia had himself voted in favor of that claim.
The gentleman trom North Carolina, (Mr. Williams)
who, to do him justice, was consistent in his opposition
to all this class of claims, had declared in the debate on
that claim, that the case was not at all stronger than that
of the Niagara claims. His declaration was not neces-
sary to prove this: for if any one would look at the facts
of the two cases, he would see, that whatever difference
there was between them was in favor of the claimants
on the Niagara frontier, in this view, that the military
occupation in the Virginia case was defensive—that in
the Niagara cases was offensive. Although, Mr. T. said,
he had voted for that claim, believing it a just one, it was
in no degree of comparison as strong as the case of the
lie had not said all he wished, but he would no longer
detain the committee but to say, that, under views which
might be presented by others, he might have oc-
casion to trouble the House again on the point, made by
the opponents of these claims, that the devastation of the
frontier was a retaliatory act. The views which had
been expressed on this point, Mr. T. said, were alto-
IN SENATE—Thuhsbajt, December 30, 1824.
The resolution was received from the House of Re-
presentatives proposing a joint committee to wait oil
General Lafayette, and announce to him the passage of
the act in his favor, and requesting his acceptance of the
indemnity, and it is obvious that they should not
I'he bill for the relief of the Columbian College in the
mand it. in passing the Jaw of 1816, Congress did not' District of Columbia, being under consideration :
mean that the destruction of property should be justilia- BARBOUR said, in a report made last session in
the Senate, a general view was taken of the necessity of
a College within the District of Columbia, and it was
then stated that it had been a very favorite object with
the most distinguished citizens of America, amongst
whom, Presidents Washington and Madison had often
pressed on the attention of Congress the necessity of
such an institution. From caues not necessary to be
enumerated here, this advice was not acted upon, by
Congress, and, after the expiration of many years, some
free spirited and enterprising citizens, amongst whom
Luther llice stood pre-eminent, determined to do that
which had been represented to Congress as well worthy
of national patronage; and they succeeded, so far as to
lay the foundation of the institution in question, A col-
lege was erected, but not on a scale in any way corres-
ponding to the public expectation on tile subject, be-
cause the only aid that has ever been granted by Con-
gress to this institution was a cold and reluctant consent
to its existence. The only solution that was to be found
to this unkind disposition, was the misapprehension that
had gone abroad, that it was to be a sectarian establish-
ment, and as such not entitled to the faver and consider-
ation of Congress. If this had been the case, and this
establishment had been of an exclusive nature, the ob-
jection would have been an insuperable one, and I for
one, said Mr. H. should have voted against it. My creed,
with reference to this subject, is, that it does not belong
to the constitution to dispense, in the slightest degree,
faver to one sect, to the exclusion of others. Religion
should be, as it is, placed beyond the control of govern-
ment, and free as air. But, in this case,.the fact has been
misrepresented; the suspicion is entirely unfounded,
and a reference to the history of the Institution will
prove that it is not true. It is purely a literary estab-
lishment ; youths from all parts of the Union are zealous-
ly invited, whatever may be their religion, and the at-
tention of the superiors is directed to their intellectual
improvement. I mention this fact again, because I
know that, from the day of its foundation, it has been
viewed through the jaundiced eye of suspicion, from
which it lias suffered much. Whatever may be the fate
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Gales, Joseph, 1761-1841. Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress, book, 1825; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30752/m1/49/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.