Imatges de pÓgina
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our volunteer corps, such a visit could not but be attended with incalculable mischief, without the means of defence here proposed—means of defence which will enable us to march by land from Tennessee and Kentucky to Buffalo, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, St. Augustine, Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans, or Texas, from 200,000 to 500,000 men in the short period of three days' time! This rapid movement would have been very desirable, as it would have saved millions of money and thousands of valuable lives in our former wars, and would have been very essential to our security against a land and naval attack when we had no reason to apprehend an invasion by fleets propelled by steam power. But now that we know many of the most warlike nations of Europe are busily occupied in the work of preparing steamships of war, we have no longer a choice in the issue whether we must or must not prepare the means here proposed for defence against the improved elements of destruction which we know our neighbors hold in readiness to employ against

We must lay aside our old obsolete military books of the last century, such as we have borrowed from England and France, and we must profit by the lights by which the present age, the present year is illuminated, and prepare to defend ourselves by the agency of this mighty power, by which the invading foe will inevitably attack us.

19. Ancient and modern history is replete with evidences of the wisest of governments having promptly availed themselves of the use of every description of weapon deemed to be most formidable in war, as well as of every kind of pouer applicable to the purposes of rapidly wielding armies and munitions of war, as soon as practicable after their discovery. We need only advert here to some few discoveries which, trifling as the first and third may seem, were deemed sufficient at the time of their discovery to merit the attention of men and monarchs of profound wisdom and genius.

1-t. When the commanders of the armies of King David reported to that Feteran monarch that they had sustained heavy losses in their operations against the Philistines, in consequence of their having employed in battle the bow and arrow, David promptly gave orders to his commanders to avail themselves of the discovery of this then formidable weapon, and make themselves and their men acquainted with the use of it, “ so as to place them on an equal footing with their enemy."—(See the “ History of the Bible.")

2d. When in the fourteenth century an obscure monk of Germany discorered gunpowder, with some of its uses in war, all the other nations of Europe that were blessed with wise rulers hastened to avail themselves of the discovery -a discovery wlich ere long induced all the civilized world to change their unwiedly weapons of war for fire-arms; gradually laying aside their war chariots armed with scythes, their battering-rams, with their coat of mail, and most of their personal armor.

3d. The use of wheel carriages on improved roads added more than twentyfive per cent. to the efficiency of an army, by enabling it to march one-fourth further in a given time, and by carrying with it a more ample supply of artillery, ammunition, and subsistence, prolonging the period of active operations, and occasionally taking the enemy by surprise, as, by the increased celerity of his movements, Napoleon took the enemies of France by surprise in his first campaign into Italy.

41h. All civilized nations speedily availed themselves of the discovery of the magnetic needle, with the inventions and improvements in ship-building, the use of sails, &c. Many of the discoveries here alluded to, however, though they contributed to facilitate the movement of troops and munitions of war, excited little or no interest at the time of their discovery compared with that of the application of steam power to ships and other vessels, and to vehicles of land transportation on railroads. In these last discoveries we may well be allowed to speak in the language of poetry, and say that

"Steam power was almighty in its birth ;''

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while gunpowder, fire-arms, wheel carriages, and all former improvements in marine structures, though partially known and in use for centuries past, have exhibited little or nothing beyond their now apparent state of infancy until within the last and present century. Even now no civilized nation can boast of any discovery or improvement in fire-arms, gun-carriages, or in naval architecture in anywise calculated to be of any peculiar adrantage to any one nation over another nation; while these developments of steam, with floating batteries and railroads, are calculated to render a nation, in the position which we occupy, at least ten times more formidable in a war of self-defence than in an offensire war against nations of equal numerical strength, and provided with the means bere proposed. All the discoveries above referred to in the science of war have, however, contributed much to ameliorate the condition of nations and of arinies in their conflicts and controversies, and greatly to lessen the evils of war. The greater the improvement in this awful and sublime science, the less calamitous and the more humane have been the results of military operations, wherever the contending parties were equally acquainted with the progressive improvements, and had equal or nearly equal means of profiting by them. If these propositions are correct, (and history proves them to be strictly true,) where, it may be asked, where must our improvements in the science of war, dependent on steam power, terminate? The wise and the good who have long cherished the pros

blessed millenium will readily answer the question. 20. Your memorialist had long cherished the hope that some patriotic statesman of military mind would be found at the head of the War Department, able and willing to bring the subject of his system of national defence before the President of the United States and the national legislature; and in this hope he has freely and frankly submitted to several of the heads of that department his views upon the subject at different periods during nearly seventeen years past, until he received from Vr. Secretary Cass the most irrefragable evidence that the official communications and reports of your memorialist were either misunderstood, disregarded, or disapproved. Nevertheless, assured as he has constantly been of the practicability, propriety, and necessity of such a system of national defence, and deeming it to be a matter of discovery, invention, and improvement in the art of war, which should be discussed with the same freedom as any other discovery in the useful arts, your memorialist, as the author and inventor of the proposed system, has addressed himself freely to private as well as public men of several different nations and of all parties, and has received in r-turn, from men of the highest attainments and unimpeached and unimpeachable patriotism, fiull and cordial concurrence in his every view hitherto presented in favor of his system of national defence here set forth and explained. Far from being discouraged at the opposition of three honorable Secretaries for ten years in succession, he has learned from that opposition that the War Departinent of the United States republic is rather a theatre of executive actions upon political matters already settled, enacted, or ordered, than upon new discoverius, inventions, or improvements in any branch of the art of war. Ile could not but persevere, therefore, in his humble efforts to render his country some good service in peace, as he had done in war; convinced as he is that his system soars above the pestilential atmosphere of the evil spirit of party, as it is a system of national detence designed to impart benefits and diffuse blessings alike throughout every State and Territory of the republic and upon all parties.

The oath of office taken by your memorialist, requiring him to serve the United States, (not a party,) requires him to act and speak in accordance with the rules and articles of war. He has always held himself ready to risk his life, his bread, and his fortune, for his country; and he has the happiness of knowing that he has risked his life for her often-hundreds of times. His oath of office does not restrain him from speaking frankly and truly in the vindication

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of his motives, his conduct, his honor, and his system of national defence. To withhold his views upon an occasion of this kind, indeed, would be virtually a violation of his oath of office, which requires him, as a primary duty to serve the United States honestly and faithfully against their enemies or opposers uhomsoerer ; and he could not conscientiously comply with this oath, without submitting to the national legislature every section and every paragraph contained in this memorial. He feels conscious that he is right. His enemies will not hesitate to admit that he is either right or wrong. If any member of the national legislature believes him to be wrong, he entreats that member to institute any, the most rigid, scrutiny into the whole of the views here presented by your memorialist. He thus respectfully solicits his friends, and fearlessly chalimges his enemies, to put him in the wrong, by proving his system of national defence to be either unnecessary or impracticable. But if he is deemed to be right in the foregoing views, showing that his system is indispensably necessary, and that its accomplishment is practicable, at the expense and within the period of time here suggested, surely no time should be lost in carrying into execution this system of national defence. As it regards the treatment he has received from the last three heads of the department of war, personally, he has nothing to say; having, ever since he entered the public service, acted upon the princi

ple that

“The real patriot bears his private wrongs

Rather than right them at the public cost

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Your memorialist desires no greater triumph over his weak or wicked calumniators, nor any other atonement for past injuries, than the triumph of truth that must result from a full and perfect examination of his past life and services; and more especially a critical comparative review of his services in Canada (approred by a Mladisom )—and his services in Florida (condemned by a Jackson )—and more especially of his system of national defence, approved by a Sercard, a Cannon, a White, and a Lumpkin, compared with the services and Fystem of the party men opposed to your memorialist.

21. The discovery, by Oliver Evans, of that development of steam power by which the locomotive and other vehicles of land transportation are propelled upon the railroad, and by which the movement of large armies, which may be bitened from twenty-six miles, (the day's march of Napoleon,) to three hundred miles in one day; and the discovery, by Robert Fulton, of that kindred developInent of steam power, by which our rivers and lakes have been covered with Brating palaces and warehouses, surpassing in the velocity of their movement anything before seen upon our waters—making an easy conquest of the previously unsubdued current of the mighty Mississippi, and now proudly encountering in triumph the mountain wave of ocean ; as these discoveries were the result of previously known developments of steam power, in its application to mill and other labor-saving machinery, sugeresting to Evans and Fulton the great principle upon which their success was known to depend; so it must be obvious to every man of military mind, and to every scientific mechanic, that the discoveries of these two great publie benefactors must necessarily form the basis of the system of national defence which your memorialist here offers to Congress. Oliver Evans and Robert Fulton were, until a few years before their death, debounced by thousands of learned theorists as eccentric visionary men.

The same class of censors have honored your memorialist with similar epithets. He has had the satisfaction, however, to learn from some of those who thus denounced him that they have since seen their error, and are now ainong the true believers in the feasibility, value, and importance of his system. He adverts to this taet, here, only to justify or excuse what he deems it to be his duty to say in his own vindication, and in reference to his own past public services ; because he can refer to no historical work or biographical memoir containing any account of his public services in the war of 1814, excepting such as have been distorted by malignity or by ignorance. He is therefore constrained to say, as an act of justice to himself, that he is the only general officer now living, who, as commander-in-chief of a division, or separate army, or detached corps, ever achieved a victory over any British army, upon any part of the Niagara frontier, in the war of 1814; that he had the good fortune to command the division from which his beloved Major General (Brown) had been taken, by reason of a severe wound, on that frontier, in August, 1814, during twenty-three days of which time your memorialist was actively engaged in battle, and in a brisk cannonade and bombardment, and other severe cor.Hicts with the British army under Lieutenant General Drummond. In the principal battle, the lieutenant general acknowledged a loss of nine hundred and five officers and men killed, wounded, and missing, with a similar loss of nearly six hundred in the several other conflicts. During twenty-two days of the time, there were but few hours, from daylight in the morning until dark in the evening, in which the British cannon shot and shells did not present to your memorialist the most instructive exhibition of every variety of effect of which a well-directed cannonade and bombardment upon a very slightly and partially fortified camp, of which an unfinished bastion and block-house formed the only tolerably fortitied angle, could possibly present. In that long conflict-in which the British forces were reported to amount to 4,200, principally regulars, and the United States forces to 2,500, near onefourth of which were New York and Pennsylvania volunteers under General Peter B. Porter—your memorialist is convinced he had a better opportunity than any other general officer of the United States army ever had during the war of being thoroughly acquainted with the effect of the enemy's shells and cannon shot upon our stone-masonry, earthen traverses, embankments, or breastworks. He had previously witnessed at Fort Meigs, and on the river St. Lawrence, as well as upon Lake Erie, in the British and United States ships-of-war, three days after Perry's glorious triumph, the effect of the enemy's and our own cannon shot upon block-houses, ships-of-war, and other vessels

, as well as on other means of defence. The investigation of these results of some of the most important conflicts between the United States and Britislı troops, in the war of 1813 and 1814, added to a careful attention to the theory and practice of gunnery for several years prior to the war, with much attention to the subject since, warrants your memorialist in speaking somewhat confidently, as he has, upon the various bearings and tendencies of cannon shot and shells on floating batteries, steamships of war, forts, and er means of attack and defence of sea. ports; and of railroads for the prompt movement of re-enforcements, as embraced in his system of national defence here set forth and explained. For further particulars in reference to the various contlicts referred to in this article, your memorialist respectfully refers to the officers whom he had the honor to command in those conflicts: among the most meritorious of whom are Paymaster General

Towson and Adjutant General Jones, now on duty at Washington city. The names of all others will be found by referring to the Adjutant General's office. And to show in what estimation his conduct was held by the Executive and national legislature, your memorialist takes leave to refer to the joint resolution of December, 1814, by which he and the officers and men of his command were honored with a vote of thanks, and the President authorized to present to him a gold medal. He received also from the legislatures of the great and patriotie States of New York, Virginia, and Tennessee, similar resolutions of thanks, and from each a gold-bilted sword of honor. With these magnificent tokens of high approbation of his conduct, your memorialist could not but feel himself in honor and in duty bound to exert luis best faculties to serve his country faithfally in war and in peace. With these impressions, he respectfully offers to Congress his present system of national defence.

22. Your memorialist is convinced that the proposed means of protection constitute the first and only discovery known to man, whereby a nation situated as we are, and acting upon the magnanimous principle of self-defence, can, without any doubt, at a moderate expense, and by means that will in a few years of peace repay all the expense of the work, hold in their own hands, forever, the incontestable issue of any possible war upon her seaboard or domain, waged by any nation, or by any such combination of empires or kingdoms as have on me dared to assume the appellation of "holy alliance;" and that any nation of our numerical strength and military resources availing herself of the discovery, may, if she be just and true to herself, safely assume the attitude of honest defiance towards the armies of Europe, if not of every quarter of the globe; while the most warlike nations, neglecting the use of steam power, with railroads and foating batteries, will be found wholly unable to maintain their independence. In this view of the subject, it presses itself upon our attention not as a matter of choice, but as a work of absolute necessity-as a measure of self-preservation.

23. The constitutionality of the proposed system of national defence would be left untouched by your memorialist, but for the veneration he entertains for that sublime and sacred instrument bequeathed to us by our fathers of the revolution, added to the oath he has taken to support that inestimable charter of our free institutions. He would not willingly be deemed capable of urging or soliciting the adoption of any measure not in accordance with the Constitution of the United States; and having, in common with each one of his fellow-citizens, an indubitable right to judge for himself upon all questions arising upon the different provisions of that most perfect charter of human freedom and selfgovernment, without confiding too much in the opinions of statesmen laboring under the despotie influence of party discipline-a despotism ever operating upon the hopes and fears of all who tamely submit to the tyranny of such a discipline—the views which follow are respectfully submitted. The Sth section of the 1st article of the Constitution of the United States authorizes Congress to declare war,” and “to raise and support armies,” and “to provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, to suppress insurrections, and repel invasions;” and also “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States, respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”

Inasmuch as these important provisions of the Constitution cannot be carried into effect without roads, and the effective defence of the republic is a work upon which our national existence depends, the transcendent importance of this work calls aloud for the very best roads; and railroads being immeasurably the best for all military purposes, they are deemed to be as fully authorized by the Constitution of the United States as the best of rifles, or the best of cannon, or gunpowder, or flints, or forts, are authorized, as will be seen by the last paragraph of the above-mentioned Sth section of the Constitution, which, after particularizing the specific powers granted to Congress, as enumerated in that seetion, concludes with the words which follow : “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

A wise people, with the experience which the framers of the federal Constitution had acquired in the triumphant revolutionary conflicts through which they had then recently passed, could never have authorized a declaration of war “to repel invasion," without making provision for the best of means for insuring a successful and glorious terinination of the war: that provision was accordingly made in the above-recited authority given to Congress, to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution “ the fore

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