Register of Debates in Congress, Comprising the Leading Debates and Incidents of the Second Session of the Eighteenth Congress Page: 135
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GALES & SE ATON'S 11E&ISTKE
H. of R. & Sen.l
Niagara Sufferers.—Cadets at the Military Academy.
[Jan. 4, 5, 1825.
whole nation, as its strength is the personal services of
the' whole nation. Does the payment of the people's
money back to the people, to satisfy-a just demand,
weaken the nation ? It strengthens it.
In answer to the argument of the impolicy of such a
measure as this, on the score of its encouraging de-
predations in future, Mr. M. asked if the fac* that the
British Government had indemnified the sufferers at
Newark, operated to encourage us to repeat such an act
as the destruction of that beautiful village ? Far from it.
Respect for our own character—for the laws of civilized
war—for the power of public opinion, were sufficient to
He thought that the indemnification of the sufferers,
instead of rendering them slack in the defence of their
property, would rather inspire them with a love for their
country and their Government, which would lead them
to defend both with increased ardor.
As to what had been said against the payment of the
claims, on the ground that the destruction was an act of
retaliation, he admitted the fact, but could not perceive
any force in the argument. Either the retaliation was
just or unjust. If just, it surely increased the strength
of the claim ; because it was induced by an act of our
own Government. If unjust, why did not the Govern-
ment get compensation in the treaty of peace It had
neglected to do this, and, therefore, was liable. It did
get compensation fur the slaves carried off': why not for
these spoliations ? The Government is estopped, by its
own act, from complaining of them as unlawful, if con-
sidered as retaliatory. He put a case, in answer to Mr.
Bakbouk's observation, respecting a claim of the Govern-
vernment for lost slaves, which Mr. B. said he should
oppose if it had been offered. Suppose our Govern-
ment had done the same thing, by carrying off the slaves
of the enemy, as they did by carrying off our's, and then
the losers should ask indemnity from the Government:
would the gentleman from Virginia oppose such a claim?
He suspected not. Mr. M. concluded with a strong de-
claration of his conviction of the justice of the claims ge-
The question was then taken on Mr. COOIv's amend-
ment, (requiring it to be proved that the property had
been abandoned in consequence of the approach of the
enemy,) and decided in the negative.
Mr. STORKS' amendment, (requiring it to be proved
that the property was in occupation of the United States
at, or shortly before, its destruction,) was curried—
Mr. STORKS then moved a farther amendment, in the
"Unless the whole amount of such claims, so approv-
ed, shall exceed the sum of 350,000 dollars; and in case
the whole amount of such claims, so approved, shall ex-
ceed the said sum of 350,000 dollars, then it shall be the
duty of the Secretary of the Department of War, to
cause a list of all claims so approved to be transmitted to
the Treasury Department, and the said claimants, re-
spectively, shall be paid in such certificates only a ratea-
ble proportion, in common with the other claimants, of
the said sum of 350,000 dollars."
The question being put, the amendment of Mr.
STORKS was adopted—ayes 75, noes 73.
Mr. FORSYTH then offered the following amend-
"And be it further enacted, That the value of every
slave impressed into the public service during the late
war, either as a boatman, wagoner, sailor, or laborer,
and lost to the owner in consequence of his impressment,
shall be paid to the owner out of any money in the Trea
sury, not otherwise appropriated : the circumstances of
the loss and the value of the property to be proved by
the owner, under such rules as shall be prescribed by
the Secretary of the Department of War."
Mr. F. explained the amendment in a few observa-
tions, correcting a misunderstanding respecting the pro-
visions of the Treaty of Ghent, on the subject of indem-
nity for slaves carried off. It included no pvovision for
such as had been pressed into the public service. (He
quoted the proceedings of Congress at a former session,
oil this subject, showing an attempt to have slaves used
as boatmen and wagoners included, which had been
proposed by Mr. Mayuajst, but without success.)
The question being taken on this amendment, it pass-
ed in the negative, without a division.
Mr. WRIGHT then, signifying that he had an amend-
ment to propose, moved that the committee rise ; it rose
accordingly, and had leave to sit again.
IN SENATE.—Wednesday, Jasuakt 5, 1825.
Mr. JOHNSON, of Kentucky, from the Committee on
Military Affairs, asked leave for the committee to be
discharged from the further consideration of the follow-
ing resolution, offered by Mr. Macon, on the 20th ult.
"Resolved, That the Committee on Military Affairs be
instructed to inquire into the expediency of limiting-
the number of Cadets at the Military Academy at West
Point, to the number of Members in the House of Repre-
sentatives, and that the number to be admitted from
each state and territory, respectively, shall be the same
as that of the Representatives to which such state or ter-
ritory shall be entitled; and that the brother of no per-
son educated at the Academy shall be admitted, so long-
as there be other applicants, and that provision be made
for admitting from the District of Columbia."
Mr. MACON regretted that the committee had disap-
proved of the proposition contained in the resolution-
It was an object he had long had in contemplation, and
had reserved for the close of the present administration.
It had been his intention to offer it at the close of the
last administration, but omitted it. ft was alleged that
the subject ought to be left to tile discretion of the War
Department; but he was opposed to leaving anv thing,
in which the whole nation was interested, to discretion,
when it could be fixed by law Favoritism would exist,
as it had always existed, unless we attained greater per-
fection than had ever been attained, or could be expect-
ed. He would, therefore, in this matter, prevent favor-
itism, by withholding discretion, and establishing the
rule on a fixed principle, by law. The nation contribut-
ed equally to the support of this institution, and he
would distribute its benefits equally. He would even,
if it were practicable, allot one Cadet to each particular
Congressional district, so as to make the benefits of the
institution as diffusive as possible. As to the rule, how-
ever, of having not more than one cadet from one family,
he would like to modify that so far as to say, that, where
the father had been killed in service, the rule should not
apply. Mr. M. said, he knew how difficult it was to re-
sist a committee in this body, but he hoped the Senate
would not sustain the committee in their unfavorable de-
cision on the proposition.
Mr. JOHNSON observed that the practice of the Wat-
Department in the appointment of Cadets was now, and
had, for some time, been, substantially the same as that
recommended by the resolution—that was, that the num-
ber admitted from each state was in proportion to its re-
presentation in Congress. So far, therefore, legislation,
the Committee, at least a majority of them, thought was
unnecessary. On the other feature of the proposition,
that which regarded the aggregate number of the Ca-
dets, the committee differed from the mover of the re-
solution. They did not deem it expedient to reduce the
number of Cadets at present allowed by law. However,
Mr. J. said, if the Senate agreed with the honorable mov-
er, and disagreed with the committee, and would instruct
the committee to bring in a bill conformable to the reso-
lution, hs for one would perform his part of the labor of
preparing it with pleasure. He would, therefore, move,
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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/m1/72/: accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.