Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 4.djvu/210

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CHAPTER IX.

All winter Congress waited for the result of Rose's negotiation. The huge majority, without leadership, split by divergent interests, a mere mob guided from the White House, showed little energy except for debate, and no genius except for obedience.

The first political effect of the embargo was shown in the increased virulence of debate. The Act of December 22, passed on the spur of the moment, was powerless to prevent evasions in the seaports, and left untouched the trade with Canada and Florida. A supplementary Act was necessary; but to warrant a law for stopping all commerce by sea and land, the Government could no longer profess a temporary purpose of protecting ships, merchandise, and seamen, but must admit the more or less permanent nature of the embargo, and the policy of using it as a means of peaceable coercion. The first Supplementary Act passed Congress as early as January 8, but applied only to coasting and fishing vessels, which were put under heavy bonds and threatened with excessive penalties in case of entering a foreign port or trading in foreign merchandise. Finding that this measure was not effective, and that neither England nor France