Imatges de pÓgina

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.flicts 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 fortified 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 British 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 ther means of attack and defence of seaports; 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 conflicts 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 patriotic States of New York, Virginia, and Tennessee, similar resolutions of thanks, and from each a gold-hilted 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 his 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 onge 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 floating 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 despotic 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 section, 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 termination 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 foregoing powers, vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof." By this comprehensive grant of power the national legislature has passed laws for supplying the land and naval forces with many things not expressly named in the Constitution. Hundreds of military roads have been made by the troops and otherwise at the expense of the United States; first, for the purpose of facilitating the march of the troops to and from the places of their destination, at the rate of twenty to twenty-six miles a day, when, without such roads, they could not have marched a quarter of the distance without leaving behind them their cannon and baggage-train ; and, secondly, for the use of the constantly-moving families and other travellers to the continually-expanding border of the republic, by which simple process thirteen new States and near thirteen millions of inhabitants have been added to the old thirteen States of the revolution in the last sixty years. Who ever pronounced these miserable roads to be unconstitutional ? These roads seldom cost more than at the rate of from fifty to one hundred dollars per mile; and yet these poor roads contributed more to the immediate benefit of the community at large, during a period of peace, than any of our fortifications, which cost from one to two millions of dollars each. Your memorialist is unable to perceive upon what ground a military road, upon which our troops can be marched three hundred miles in one day, can be unconstitutional, when roads upon which they could march but twenty-six miles in a day were constitutional and proper, (more especially when all are made by the troops themselves,) notwithstanding the great difference in the cost of the two kinds of military roads here alluded to. As it is obvious that the military railroads will enable our young warriors of the central and western States to fly at the rate of three hundred miles in a day to meet the invading foe, the constitutionality of such roads, as “necessary and proper means for repelling invasion,” cannot but be admitted by all parties, convinced, as they must be, that we are destined in another war with any European nation to be attacked by fleets propelled by steam power. But if, as your memorialist respectfully asserts, our seaports cannot be defended against an attack by foreign armies, with the co-operation of fleets propelled by steam power, who can doubt the absolute necessity of the proposed railroads and floating batteries ? If, indeed, then, they are indispensable, and our country cannot be defended without them, they are strictly constitutional, as the most rigid constructionist will admit. To make use of our common bad roads for marching our volunteers and other troops from the central and western States to our seaports in a state of war, or to continue the use of sails, without steam power, to meet an invading foe with large fleets of steamships of war, would be as unavailing and as unwise as it would be to attempt to extinguish by water carried in a nutshell the flames by which thousands of our houses are doomed to be enveloped in the course of a war when destitute of the proposed means of defence, while possessing the power to obtain the best of fire-engines.

24. The apprehended expense of the proposed work constitutes the principal objection advanced by any statesman, or by any man of military mind, whose opinions have come to the knowledge of your memorialist. To this objection it may be answered : First

. That the apprehended appropriations to meet the expense will be no more than eleven millions of dollars a year for a period of six years, provided the work is done by the army of the United States, as heretofore suggested.

Second. The employment of the army upon the work will be to the officers and men, and to the youth of every State and district through which the work will extend, the best of all possible schools to prepare them for the defence of their country; as the officers and men so employed will have the proud satisfaction of knowing that every day's labor in this essential work of preparation will contribute to increase their moral and physical capacities for usefulness and domestic happiness in peace, and for a glorious triumph over the invading foe in war.

Third. In exhibiting the cost of this system of defence, it is gratifying to find that of the $66,000,000, which is the estimated amount required for the seven railroads from the central States to the seaboard and northern frontier, with five floating batteries for the Mississippi river at the passes, and below New Orleans, and five others for the defence of the harbor of New York, more than sixty-three millions of that sum will be expended for materials and work which the interior of the United States will afford.

Fourth. The most costly material required for the work will be bar-iron for the railways, and sheeting for the sides and tops of the floating batteries; of this article, not less than 500,000,000 pounds will be needed. This quantity, at four cents, will amount to twenty millions of dollars.

Fifth. For supplying the whole of the iron, it is proposed to erect at conve. nient places near the site of each one of the seven great railroads a foundery and a rolling mill, for the manufacture of the iron required, upon the same principle that armories are established by the United States for supplying the army and

navy and the militia with cannon and small arms. By these works ample supplies of the best of iron may be obtained in season to complete the railroads and floating batteries in the time here suggested.

We shall, in this way, lay open to the individual enterprise of the people of the United States rich mines of wealth hitherto but little known; and we shall moreover relieve ourselves of the reproach to which we have for many years been subjected—the reproach of sending to Europe and expending there many millions of dollars for iron, whilst most of our States abound with inexhaustible supplies of this valuable metal equal to any in Europe.

25. The great revolution which steam power has produced in its application to everything that is wafted upon the sea and that rolls upon the land, applicable to the attack and defence of seaports, leaves our country absolutely destitute of the means of defence indispensably necessary to the protection of our seaports against any nation or community of men, or pirates capable of attacking us with a respectable fleet of steamships of war, armed with the improved battering cannon of the largest calibre, without floating batteries of sufficient strength and number to enable us to lock up our seaports and railroads extending from the central and western States to the principal seaports, for marching our disposable force and munitions of war of the central and western States, at one-tenth part the expense and one-tenth part of the time that their movement on our present bad roads would cost.

26. The floating batteries here recommended constitute the most sure and economical means for the immediate defence of our seaports in war; and when aided by the proposed railroads, in the rapid transportation of troops and munitions of war from the central and western States to the principal seaports of the Atlantic, southern, and northern States, aided at sea by steamships of war, we shall thus render our means of defence complete and impregnable in war. And on the return of peace, when all other expensive means of defence, such as fortifications, armories, and fleets propelled by wind and sails are useless, then our floating batteries and railroads, turned to commercial purposes, will contribute to deepen our ship channels and to the improvement of our seaports, and afford facilities to our interior commercial intercourse, which it is believed will replace every dollar expended in carrying into effect this system of national defence in from seven to ten years.

27. The floating batteries and railroads, embracing the system of national defence here recommended, which will cost not more than eleven millions of dollars a year for six years, will, it is confidently believed, by the simple process of its construction, contribute more to qualify the army, and the young men of the United States employed upon the proposed floating batteries and railroads, for active military service in the national defence, than they could possibly be qualified by the expenditure of double the estimated amount of the work paid for giving each one of them a complete military education, according to the system pursued at the Military Academy at West Point; as in that system the theory of the art of war alone is acquired, and much of that mere theory is rendered useless by the revolution which steam power has produced in all that relates to the movement of armies and fleets, and the attack and defence of seaports; whilst in the system here recommended, the young student upon the Hoating battery, as well as upon the railroad, is enabled, from the first moment he takes in hand his book to study the theory, at once to combine with it the practical science and manual labor of his profession; and when, at the end of four or five years, he graduates and obtains his discharge, his mind, limbs, and body would be alike improved and invigorated by his having learned how to make and how to wield, and having actually assisted in making and wielding batteries and vehicles of land transportation on railroads, with every other preparatory means for rendering them formidable in war and profitable in peace. This will afford him the happiness of knowing that he has rendered his country much useful public service for the public instruction which will enable him ever after to be in the highest degree useful to his country and his family, in war and in peace.

28. With the floating batteries and railroads here recommended, we can fearlessly and truly say to all Europe, and to all the world, “ We ask of you nothing but what is right, and we will submit to nothing that is wrong;” whilst, without the proposed or some such system of national defence, such a declaration might be considered as pure gasconade; as, without floating batteries and railroads to lock up and promptly re-enforce our seaports when menaced by an enemy, it would be in the power of any one or two of the great nations of Europe (with two of whom we have boundary questions to settle) to enter any one or more of our principal seaports, and destroy the richest of our cities in the course of any day or night in the year; and in doing so, to damage our commercial establishments to the amount of more money and property than would thrice defray all the cost of the proposed system of defence.

29. The opinion has been expressed that these railroads will, during a state of peace, produce a revenue that will replace the money to be expended in their construction in the course of seven years after their completion. But should it be twenty, or even forty years, before their annual revenue is found adequate to reimburse the money expended in the construction of the work, this delay will tend to do no wrong or injustice to our immediate or remote posterity. They cannot fail to enjoy, as much we can enjoy, the benefit of our labor for our and their protection and prosperity. But the great question upon which we are now to act is, not whether we have or have not a right to tax our posterity with a heavy debt for a work that will certainly be of great value to us, and which is destined to be, in all human probability, still more valuable to them; but the true question is, whether it is not our imperative duty to do whatever is obriously necessary and proper to secure to ourselves, and also to our posterity, the means of preserving to each and all so deeply interested the blessings of that liberty and independence secured to us by our fathers of the revolution, in the achivement of which a great national debt was contracted for us to pay-a debt which we have most gladly and gratefully paid. And have we not good reason to believe that our immediate posterity will as gratefully pay any such debt which we may deem prudent to contract, to provide for their use and protection, as well as our own, a system of national defence, without which our and their liberty and independence would be left at the merey of whatever nations of Europe may see fit to hold in their own hands “the dominion of the sea ?” This will be attempted, without doubt, by the great maritime nation who first provides for herself a fleet of some fifty or a hundred

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