Jan 24 1812: Speech of David Rogerson Williams

On January 24, 1812, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the sum of $100,000 for a navy dock yard. Representative Rhea of Pennsylvania moved to amend the bill to have the dock yard located in Washington City. His motion was defeated by a large majority. On motion of Cheves, the location of the dock yard was left to the President to decide.

The House next dealt with amendments approving $480,000 to repair existing vessels by a vote of yeas 90 to nays 28. The next question was whether to agree with the report of the committee opposing the acquisition of new frigates. 

Rep. David Rogerson Williams of South Carolina rose to argue against the new frigates and spoke at "some length." The highlight of his speech was his thundering denunciation of Great Britain. He declared: ''I feel a deadly hate against Great Britain. Yes, sir, if the red artillery of Heaven were in my hands, I'd soon drive the fast anchored isle from her moorings."

Williams was known for his thundering speeches and was given various nicknames such as "Mr. Thunderbolt Williams", "thunder-and-lightning Williams", "Jupiter Williams" and "thunder and lightning David."

Williams will go on to serve as a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army in the War of 1812.  Later, in 1814, he was elected Governor of South Carolina serving until 1816. He died on November 17, 1830, in an accident while overseeing the construction of a bridge over Lynches Creek in South Carolina. 

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