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hundred) had in the mean time passed the Falls of Ohio, to rendezvous at the mouth of Cumberland, with others expected down that river.
Not apprized, till very late, that any boats were building on Cumberland, the effect of the proclamation had been trusted to for some time in the state of Tennessee; but on the 19th of December, similar communications and instructions with those to the neighboring sta.es were despatched by express to the governor, and a general officer of the western division of the state, and on the 23d of December our confidential agent left Frankfort for Nashville, to put into activity the means of that state also. But by information received yesterday, I learn that on the 22d of December, Mr. Burr descended the Cumberland with two boats merely of accommodation, carrying with him from that state no quota toward his unlawful enterprise. Whether after the arrival of the proclamation, of the orders, or of our agent, any exertion which could be made by that state, or the orders of the governor of Kentucky for calling out the militia at the mouth of Cumberland, would be in time to arrest these boats, and those from the Falls of the Ohio, is still doubtful.
On the whole, the fugitives from the Ohio, with their associates from Cumberland, or any other place in that quarter, cannot threaten serious danger to the city of New Orleans.
By the same express of December nineteenth, orders were sent to the governors of Orleans and Mississippi, supplementary to those which had been given on the twenty-fifth of November, to hold the militia of their territories in readiness to co-operate, for their defence, with the regular troops and armed vessels then under command of General Wilkinson. Great alarm, indeed was excited at New Orleans by the exaggerated accounts of Mr. Burr, 'disseminated through his emissaries, of the armies and navies he was to assemble there. General Wilkinson had arrived there himself on the 24th of November, and had immediately put into activity the resources of the place for the purpose of its defence; and on the 10th of December he was joined by his troops from the Sabine.' Great zeal was shown by the inhabitants generally, the merchants of the place readily agreeing to the most laudable exertions and sacrifices for manning the armed vessels with their seamen, and the other citizens manifesting unequivocal fidelity to the Union, and a spirit of determined resistance to their expected assailants
. Surmises have been hazarded that this enterprise is to receive aid from certain foreign powers. But these surmises are without proof or probability. The wisdom of the measures sanctioned by Congress at its last session has placed us in the paths of peace and justice with the only powers with whom we had any differences, and nothing has happened since which makes it either their interest or ours to pursue another course. No change of measures has taken place on our part ; none ought to take place at this time. With the one, friendly arrangement was then proposed, and the law deemed necessary on the failure of that was suspended to give time for a fair trial of the issue. With the other, negotiation was in like manner then preferred, and provisional measures only taken to meet the event of rupture. While, therefore, we do not reflect in the slightest degree from the course we then assumed, and are still pursuing, with mutual consent, to restore a good understanding, we are not to impute to them practices as irreconcilable to interest as to good faith, and changing necessarily the relations of peace and justice between us to those of war. These surmises are therefore to be imputed to the vauntings of the author of this enterprise, to multiply his partizans by magnifying the belief of his prospects and support.
By letters from General Wilkinson, of the 14th and 18th of September, which came to hand two days after date of the resolution of the House of Representatives, that is to say, on the morning of the 18th instant, I received the important affidavit
, a copy of which I now communicate, with extracts of so much of the letters as come within the scope of the resolution. By these it will be seen that of the three of the principal emissaries of Mr Burr, whom the general had caused to be apprehended, one had been liberated by habeas corpus, and the two others being these particularly employed in the endeavor to corrupt the general, and army of the United States, have been embarked by him for our ports in the Atlantic states, probably on the consideration that an impartial trial could not be expected during the present agitations of New Orleans, and that city was not as yet a safe place of confinement. As soon as these persons shall arrive, they will be delivered to the custody of the law, and left to such course of trial, both as to place and process, as its functionaries may direct. The presence of the highest judicial authorities, to be assembled at this place within a few days, the means of pursuing a sounder course of proceedings here than elsewhere, and the aid of the executive means, should the judges bave occasion to use them, render it equally desirable, for the criminals as for the public, that being already removed from the place where they were first apprehended, the first regular arrest should take place here, and the course of proceedings receive here their proper direction.
FEBRUARY 10, 1807.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States :
In compliance with the request of the House of Representatives, expressed in their resolution of the fifth instant, I proceed to give such information as is possessed, of the effect of gun-boats in the protection and defence of harbors
, of the numbers thought necessary, and of the proposed distribution of them among the ports and harbors of the United States.
Under present circumstances, and governed by the intentions of the legis. lature, as manifested by their annual appropriations of money for the purposes of defence, it has been concluded to combine — Ist, land batteries, furnished with heavy cannon and mortars, and established on all the points around the place favorable for preventing vessels from lying before it; 2d, moveable artillery which may be carried, as an occasion may require, to points unprovided with fixed batteries; 3d, floating batteries; and 4th, gunboats, which may oppose an enemy at its entrance and co-operate with the batteries for his expulsion. On this subject professional men were consulted as far as we had
opportunity. General Wilkinson, and the late General Gates, gave their opinions in writing, in favor of the system, as will be seen by their letters now communicated. The higher officers of the navy gave the same opinions, in separate conferences, as their presence at the seat of government offered occasions of consulting them, and no difference of judgment appeared on the subject. Those of Commodore Barron and Captain Tingey, now here, are recently furnished in writing, and transmitted herewith to the legislature.
The efficacy of gun-boats for the defence of harbors, and of other smooth and inclosed waters, may be estimated in part from that of galleys, formerly much used but less powerful, more costly in their construction and maintenance, and requiring more men. But the gun-boat itself is believed to be in use with
every modern maritime nation for the purpose of defence. In the Mediterranean, on which are several small powers, whose system like ours is peace and defence, few harbors are without this article of protection Our own experience there of the effect of gun-boats for harbor service, is recent. Algiers is particularly known to have owed to a great provision of these vessels the safety of its city, since the epoch of their construction. Before that it had been repeatedly insulted and injured. The effect of gunboats at present in the neighborhood of Gibraltar, is well known, and how much they were used both in the attack and defence of that place during a former war. The extensive resort to them by the two greatest naval powers in the world, on an enterprise of invasion not long since in prospect, shows their confidence in their efficacy for the purposes for which they are suited. By the northern powers of Europe, whose seas are particularly adapted to them, they are still more used. The remarkable action between the Russian flotilla of gun-boats and galleys, and a Turkish fleet of ships of the line and frigates, in the Liman sea, 1785, will be readily recollected. The latter, commanded by their most celebrated admiral were completely defeated, and several of their ships of the line destroyed.
From the opinions given as to the number of gun-boats necessary for some of the principal seaports, and from a view of all the towns and ports from Orleans to Maine inclusive, entitled to protection, in proportion to their situation and circumstances, it is concluded, that to give them a due measure of protection in time of war, about two hundred gun-boats will be requisite. According to first ideas, the following would be their general distribution, liable to be varied on more mature examination, and as circumstances shall vary, that is to say:
To the Mississippi and its neighboring waters, forty gun-boats.
To the Chesapeake and its waters, twenty.
The flotillas assigned to these several stations might each be under the care of a particular commandant, and the vessels composing them would, in ordinary, be distributed among the harbors within the station in proportion to their importance.
Of these boats a proper proportion would be of the larger size, such as those heretofore built, capable of navigating any seas, and of reinforcing occasionally the strength of even the most distant port when menaced with danger. The residue would be confined to their own or their neighboring harbors, would be smaller, less furnished for accommodation, and consequently less costly. Of the number supposed necessary, seventy-three are built or building, and the hundred and twenty-seven still to be provided would cost from six to seven hundred thousand dollars. Having regard to the convenience of the treasury, as well as to the resources for building, it has been thought that the one half of these might be built in the present year, and the other half the next. With the legislature, however, it will rest to stop
where we are, or at any farther point, when they shall be of opinion that the number provided shall be sufficient for the object
. At times when Europe as well as the United States shall be at peace, it would not be proposed than more than six or eight of these vessels should be kept afloat. When Europe is in war, treble that number might be necessary to be distributed among those particular harbors which foreign vessels of war are in the habit of frequenting, for the purpose of preserving order therein. But they would be manned, in ordinary, with only their complement for navigation, relying on the seamen and militia of the port ifcalled into action on any sudden emergency. It would be only when the United States should themselves be at war, that the whole number would be brought into actual service, and would be ready in the first moments of the war to co-operate with other means for covering at once the line of our sea ports. At all times, those unemployed would be withdrawn into places not exposed to sudden enterprise, hauled up under sheds from the sun and weather, and kept in preservation with little expense for repairs or maintenance.
It must be superfluous to observe, that this species of naval armament is proposed merely for defensive operation ; that it can have but little effect toward protecting our commerce in the open seas, even on our coast; and still less can it become an excitement to engage in offensive maritime war, toward which it would furnish no means.
SEVENTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.
OCTOBER 27, 1807.
CIRCUMSTANCES, fellow citizens, which seriously threatened the peace of our country, bave made it a duty to convene you at an earlier period than usual. The love of peace so much cherished in the bosoms of our citizens, wbich has so long guided the proceedings of the public councils, and induced forbearance under so many wrongs, may not ensure our continuance in the quiet pursuits of industry. The many injuries and depredations committed on our commerce and navigation upon the high seas for years past, the successive innovations on those principles of public law which have been established by the reason and usage of nations as the rule of their intercourse, and the umpire and security of their rights and peace, and all the circumstances which induced the exiraordinary mission to London, are already known to you. The instructions given to our ministers were framed in the sincerest spirit of amity and moderation. They accordingly proceeded, in conformity therewith, to propose arrangements which might bring us to a mutual understanding on our neutral and national rights, and provide for a commercial intercourse on conditions of some equality. After long and fruitless endeavors to effect the purposes of their mission, and to obtain arrangements within the limits of their instructions, they concluded to sign such as could be obtained, and to send thein for consideration, candidly declaring to the other negotiators, at the same time, that they were acting against their instructions, and that their government therefore could not be pledged for ratification. Some of the articles proposed might have been admitted on a principle of compromise, but others were too highly disadvantageous, and no sufficient provision was made against the principal
source of the irritations and collisions which were constantly endangering the peace of the two nations. The question, therefore, whether a treaty should be acccepted in that form could have admitted but of one decision, even had no declarations of the other party impaired our confidence in it
. Still anxious not to close the door against friendly adjustment, new modifications were framed and farther concessions authorized, than could before have been supposed necessary; and our ministers were instructed to resume their negotiations on these grounds. On this new reference to amicable discussion we were reposing in confidence, when on the 22d of June last, by a formal order from the British admiral, the frigate Chesapeake, lear ing her port for distant service, was attacked by one of those vessels which had been lying in our harbors under the indulgences of hospitality, was disabled from proceeding, had several of her crew killed, and four taken away. On this outrage no commentaries are necessary. Its character has been pronounced by the indignant voice of our citizens with an em: phasis and unanimity never exceeded. I immediately, by proclamation, interdicted our harbors and waters to all British armed vessels, forbade intercourse with them, and uncertain how far hostilities were intended, and the town of Norfolk indeed being threatened with immediate attack, a sufficient force was ordered for the protection of that place and such other preparations commenced and pursued as the prospect rendered proper. An armed vessel of the United States was despatched with instructions to our ministers at London to call on that government for the satisfaction and security required by the outrage. A very short interval ought now to bring the answer, which shall be communicated to you as soon as received; then also, or as soon after as the public interests shall be found to admit
, the unratified treaty and proceedings relative to it shall be made The aggression thus begun has been continued on the part of the British commanders, by remaining within our waters in defiance of the authority of the country, by habitual violations of its jurisdiction, and at length by putting to death one of the persons whom they had forcibly taken from on board the Chesapeake. These aggravations necessarily lead to the policy either of never admitting an armed vessel into our harbors, or of maintain. ing in every harbor such an armed force as may constrain obedience to the laws, and protect the lives and property of our citizens against their armed guests. But the expense of such a standing force, and its inconsistence with our principles, dispense with those courtesies which would necessarily call for it, and leave us equally free to exclude the navy as we are the army of a foreign power froin entering our limits.
To former violations of maritime rights another is now added of very extensive effect, The government of that nation has issued an order interdicting all trade by neutrals between ports not in amity with them. And being now at war with nearly every nation on the Atlantic and Me diterranean seas, our vessels are required to sacrifice their cargoes at the first port they touch, or to return home without the benefit of going to any other market. Under this new law of the ocean, our trade on the Mediteranean has been swept away by seizures aud condemnations, and that in other seas is threatened with the same fate.
Our differences with Spain remain still unsettled; no measure baving been taken on her part, since my last communication to Congress, to bring them to a close. But under a state of things which may favor reconside
known to you.