Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Formation of the Union by Albert Bushnell Hart

Part 4 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download Formation of the Union pdf
File size: 0.5 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

dangerous to its peace and safety." The opposition, headed by Albert
Gallatin, made a strong appeal against legislation so unnecessary,
sweeping, and severe. The Federalists replied in panic fear: "Without such
an act," said one member, "an army might be imported, and could be
excluded only after a trial." To the details of the bill there was even
greater objection. It conferred upon the President the power to order the
withdrawal of any alien; if he refused to go, he might be imprisoned at
the President's discretion, Nevertheless, the act, limited to two years,
was passed on June 25, 1798. Adams seems to have had little interest in
it, and never made use of the powers thus conferred.

[Sidenote: Sedition Act.]
[Sidenote: Sedition prosecutions.]

The Sedition Act was resisted with even greater stubbornness. It proposed
to punish persons who should conspire to oppose measures of the
government, or to intimidate any office-holder. The publishing of libels
upon the government, or either house, or the President, was likewise made
a crime. Against this proposition there were abundant arguments, on
grounds both of constitutionality and expediency. It introduced the new
principle of law that the United States should undertake the regulation of
the press, which up to this time had been left solely to the States. That
its main purpose was to silence the Republican journalists is plain from
the argument of a leading Federalist: the "Aurora," a Republican organ,
had said that "there is more safety and liberty to be found in
Constantinople than in Philadelphia;" and the "Timepiece" had said of
Adams that "to tears and execrations he added derision and contempt." It
is impossible to agree with the member who quoted these extracts that
"they are indeed terrible. They are calculated to freeze the blood in the
veins." The Sedition Act was to expire in 1801. It was quickly put into
operation, and one of the prosecutions was against Callender, known to be
a friend of Jefferson; he was indicted and convicted for asserting among
other things that "Mr. Adams has only completed the scene of ignominy
which Mr. Washington began." So far from silencing the ribald journalists,
the Act and its execution simply drew down worse criticism. On the other
hand, the Federalist press, which had been hardly inferior in violence,
was permitted to thunder unchecked. The Alien and Sedition Acts were party
measures, passed for party purposes; they did not accomplish the purposes
intended, and they did the party irreparable harm.


[Sidenote: Danger of disunion.]
[Sidenote: Madison's and Jefferson's resolutions.]

The elections of 1798 in the excited state of public feeling assured a
Federalist majority in the Congress to sit from 1799 to 1801. The
Republicans felt that their adversaries were using the power of the
federal government to destroy the rights of the people. June 1, 1798,
Jefferson wrote to a friend who thought that the time was come to withdraw
from the Union; "If on the temporary superiority of one party the other is
to resort to a scission of the Union, no federal government can exist."
The remedy which lay in his mind was an appeal to the people through the
State legislatures. In November and December, 1798, two series of
resolutions were introduced,--one in the Virginia legislature, the other
in the Kentucky legislature; the first drawn by Madison, and the second by
Jefferson's own hand. They set forth that the Constitution was a compact
to which the States were parties, and that "each party has an equal right
to judge for itself as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of
redress." The Alien and Sedition Acts and some other statutes were
declared by Kentucky "not law ... void and of no effect;" and the other
States were called upon to unite in so declaring them void, and in
protesting to Congress. For the first time since the Constitution had been
formed, a clear statement of the "compact" theory of government was now
put forth. It was a reasonable implication from these resolutions that if
the Federalist majority continued to override the Constitution, the States
must take more decisive action; but the only distinct suggestion of an
attack on the Union is found in a second series of Kentucky resolutions,
passed in 1799, in which it is declared that "nullification ... of all
unauthorized acts ... is the rightful remedy."

[Sidenote: Purpose of the resolutions.]

The constitutional doctrine in these resolutions was secondary. The real
purpose was to arouse the public to the dangerous character of the
Federalist legislation. Madison, many years afterward, explained that he
meant only an appeal to the other States to unite in deprecation of the
measures. The immediate effect was to set up a sort of political platform,
about which the opponents of the Federalists might rally, and by the
presentation of a definite issue to keep up the Republican organization
against the electoral year 1800.

91. ELECTION OF 1800-1801.

[Sidenote: Peace with France.]
[Sidenote: Breach in the party.]

The Alien and Sedition Acts had quickly destroyed all Adams's popularity
in the Republican party; his later action deprived him of the united
support of the Federalists. War with France was pleasing to them as an
assertion of national dignity, as a protest against the growth of
dangerous democracy in France, and as a step toward friendship or eventual
alliance with England. Early in 1799 Talleyrand intimated that a minister
would now be received from the American government. Without consulting his
cabinet, with whom Adams was not on good terms, the President appointed an
embassy to France. Early in 1800 they made a favorable treaty with France:
better guarantees were secured for American neutral trade; the old
treaties of 1778 were practically set aside; and the claims of American
merchants for captures since 1793 were abandoned, This last action gave
rise to the French Spoliation Claims, which remained unsettled for nearly
a century thereafter, Adams's determination to make peace was
statesmanlike and patriotic, but it gave bitter offence to the warlike
Federalists. In May, 1800, Adams found his cabinet so out of sympathy that
he removed Pickering, Secretary of State, and appointed John Marshall.
This meant a formal breach between the Adams and the Hamilton wings of the

[Sidenote: Republicans successful.]

The campaign of 1800 thus began with the Federalists divided, and the
Republicans hopeful. Hamilton was determined to force Adams from the
headship, and prepared a pamphlet, for which materials were furnished by
Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury. Aaron Burr, a wily Republican
leader, managed to get a copy, published it, and spread it broadcast.
Adams was re-nominated by a caucus of Federalist members, and C. C.
Pinckney was put on the ticket with him. Jefferson was, as in 1796, the
candidate of his party for President. For Vice-President there was
associated with him Burr, who was able to control the important vote of
the State of New York. The result of this coalition was seen in May, 1800,
when a New York legislature was elected with a Republican majority; and
that legislature would, in the autumn, cast the vote of the State. The
Federalists persevered, but South Carolina deserted them, so that both
Jefferson and Burr received seventy-three votes, and Adams had only sixty-
five. The Federalist supremacy was broken.

[Sidenote: Election by the House.]

Now arose an unexpected complication. There being a tie between Jefferson
and Burr, the House of Representatives was called upon to decide between
them, its vote being cast by States. Had the majority of the House been
Republican, Jefferson would, of course, have received their votes; it was,
however, Federalist, and the Federalists thought themselves entitled to
choose that one of their enemies who was least likely to do them harm.
Obscure intrigues were entered upon both with Jefferson and Burr. Neither
would make definite promises, although Burr held out hopes of alliance
with the Federalists. Hamilton now came forward with a letter in which he
declared that of the two men Jefferson was less dangerous. "To my mind,"
said he, "a true estimate of Mr. Jefferson's character warrants the
expectation of a temporizing rather than of a violent system." After a
long struggle the deadlock was broken; Jefferson was chosen President of
the United States, and Burr Vice-President.


[Sidenote: Unpopularity of the Federalists.]
[Sidenote: Judiciary Act.]

The electoral majority was small; the Federalists preserved their
organization, and had the prestige of twelve years of administration; it
was impossible to realize that there never again would be a Federalist
president. In the election of 1804, however, they received but fourteen
electoral votes altogether ( 100). The reasons for this downfall are
many, However popular the French war had been, the taxes made necessary by
it had provoked great dissatisfaction; and in 1799 a little insurrection,
the so-called Fries Rebellion, had broken out in Pennsylvania. The
Sedition prosecutions were exceedingly unpopular, The last acts of the
party left a violent resentment. In 1801, after it was known that there
would be a Republican President with a large majority in both houses of
Congress, the Federalists resolved to bolster up their power in the third
department of government. A Judiciary Act was therefore passed, creating
new courts, new judges, and new salaried officials. All the resulting
appointments were made by Adams, and duly confirmed by the Senate, thus
anticipating by many years any real needs of the country. A vacancy
occurring in the chief-justiceship, Adams appointed John Marshall, one of
the few Virginia Federalists; he had made his reputation as a politician
and statesman: even Adams himself scarcely foresaw that he was to be the
greatest of American jurists.

[Sidenote: Internal dissensions.]

Still more fatal were the internal dissensions in the party. In 1799
Washington died, and no man in the country possessed his moderating
influence, The cabinet, by adhering to Hamilton and corresponding with him
upon important public matters, had weakened the dignity of the President
and of the party. In the election of 1800 Hamilton, besides his open
attack on Adams, had again tried to reduce his vote sufficiently to bring
Pinckney in over his head. Adams himself, although a man of strong
national spirit, was in some respects too moderate for his party. Yet his
own vanity and vehemence made him unfit to be a party leader.

[Sidenote: Republican theories.]

While these reasons may account for the defeat of the Federalists, they do
not explain their failure to rise again. They had governed well: they had
built up the credit of the country; they had taken a dignified and
effective stand against the aggressions both of England and of France. Yet
their theory was of a government by leaders. Jefferson, on the other hand,
represented the rising spirit of democracy. It was not his protest against
the over-government of the Federalists that made him popular, it was his
assertion that the people at large were the best depositaries of power.
Jefferson had taken hold of the "great wheel going uphill." He had behind
him the mighty force of the popular will.




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--W. E. Foster, _References to Presidential
Administrations_, 8-12; Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_,
VII. 310, 315-320, 336-341, 418-420, 519-522, 527-547; H. B. Tompkins,
_Bibliotheca Jeffersoniana_; Channing and Hart, _Guide_, 167-171.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 1 and 4, this volume (_Epoch Maps_, Nos. 7 and
9); Labberton, _Atlas_ Nos. lxvi., lxvii.; MacCoun, _Historical
Geography_; Scribner, _Statistical Atlas_, Plates 13, 14.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--J. B. McMaster, _People of the United States_, II.
538-635; III. 1-338; J. Schouler, _United States_, II. 1-194; Bryant
and Gay, _Popular History_, 1. 144-184; H. Von Holst, _Constitutional
History_, I. 168-226; R. Hildreth, _United States_, V. 419-686; VI. 25-
148; Geo. Tucker, _United States_, II. 146-348; Bradford, _Constitutional
History_, I. 202-329.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--Henry Adams, _United States_, I.-IV., _John Randolph_,
48-267, and _Life of Gallatin; J. T. Morse, _Jefferson_, 209-300; George
Tucker, _Life of Jefferson_; H. S. Randall, _Life of Jefferson_; J. A.
Stevens, _Gallatin_, 176-311; S. H. Gay, _Madison_, 252-282; lives of
Burr, Gerry, Plumer, Pickering; T. Lyman, _Diplomacy_; J. C. Hamilton,
_Republic_, VII.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--Works of Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin; J. Q.
Adams, _Memoirs_, I. 248-551; William Sullivan, _Familiar Letters_, 187-
289; Timothy Dwight, _Character of Thomas Jefferson_; S. G. Goodrich,
_Recollections_, I. 106-137, 265-298; Basil Hall, _Voyages and Travels_;
Timothy Dwight, _Travels_ (1796-1813); Thomas Ashe, _Travels_ (1806); John
Mellish, _Travels_ (1806-1811); John Davis, _Travels_ (1798-1802); Isaac
Weld, _Travels_; J. Stephens, _War in Disguise_.--Reprints in Mathew
Carey, _The Olive Branch_; Henry Adams, _Documents Relating to New England
Federalism; American History told by Contemporaries_, III.


[Sidenote: Character of Jefferson.]

To the mind of the Federalists the success of the Republicans, and
particularly the elevation of Jefferson, meant a complete change in the
government which they had been laboring to establish. Jefferson was to
them the type of dangerous liberality in thought, in religion, and in
government. In his tastes and his habits, his reading and investigation,
Jefferson was half a century in advance of his contemporaries. Books and
letters from learned men constantly came to him from Europe; he
experimented in agriculture and science. Accused during his lifetime of
being an atheist, he felt the attraction of religion, and, in fact, was
not far removed from the beliefs held by the Unitarian branch of the
Congregational Church in New England. Brought up in an atmosphere of
aristocracy, in the midst of slaves and inferior white men, his political
platform was confidence in human nature, and objection to privilege in
every form. Although a poor speaker, and rather shunning than seeking
society, he had such influence over those about him that no President has
ever so dominated the two Houses of Congress.

[Sidenote: Jefferson's faults.]

Jefferson's great defect was a mistaken view of human nature: this showed
itself in an unfortunate judgment of men, which led him to include among
his friends worthless adventurers like Callender. As a student and a
philosopher, he believed that mankind is moved by simple motives, in which
self-interest is predominant: hence his disinclination to use force
against insurrections; the people, if left to themselves, would, he
believed, return to reason. Hence, also, his confidence in a policy of
commercial restriction against foreign countries which ignored our neutral
rights; this was set forth in his commercial report of 1793 ( 85), and
later was the foundation of his disastrous embargo policy ( 103). He had
entire confidence in his own judgment and statesmanship; his policy was
his own, and was little affected by his advisers; and he ventured to
measure himself in diplomacy against the two greatest men of his time,--
William Pitt the younger and Napoleon Bonaparte.

[Sidenote: Moderate policy.]

Fortunately his administration began at a period when general peace seemed
approaching. The treaty of Amiens in 1802 made a sort of armistice between
France and Great Britain, and neutral commerce was relieved from capture.
The national income was steadily rising ( 52), the Indians were quiet,
the land dispute with Georgia--the last of the long series--was on the
point of being settled, the States showed no sign of insubordination. In
his inaugural address the new President took pains to reassure his fellow-
citizens. "We have called by different names brethren of the same
principle," said he; "we are all Republicans, we are all Federalists."
Among the essential principles of government which he enumerated, appeared
"absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority,--the vital
principle of republics,--from which is no appeal but to force, the vital
principle and immediate parent of despotism."

[Sidenote: Purpose to win the Federalists.]

The studied moderation of this address shows clearly the policy which
Jefferson had in his mind. In a letter written about this time he says:
"To restore that harmony which our predecessors so wickedly made it their
object to break, to render us again one people, acting as one nation,...
should be the object of every man really a patriot." Jefferson was
determined to show the Federalists that there would be no violent change
in his administration; he hoped thus to detach a part of their number so
as to build up the Republican party in the Northern States. Even in
forming his cabinet he avoided violent shocks; for some months he retained
two members of Adams's cabinet; his Secretary of State was Madison, who in
1789 was as much inclined to Federalism as to Republicanism; and he
shortly appointed as his Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, the
Parliamentary leader of the party, but in financial principles and policy
much like Hamilton.


[Sidenote: Jefferson's principles.]

In a few weeks the disposition to conciliate was severely tried by the
pressure of applicants for office. Jefferson's principles on this subject
were summed up in a letter written March 24, 1801: "I will expunge the
effects of Mr. A.'s indecent conduct in crowding nominations after he knew
they were not for himself.... Some removals must be made for
misconduct.... Of the thousands of officers, therefore, in the United
States a very few individuals only, probably not twenty, will be removed:
and these only for doing what they ought not to have done." Gallatin
heartily supported him in this policy of moderation. Jefferson then laid
down the additional principle that he would fill all vacancies with
Republicans until the number of officeholders from each party was about
equal. "That done, I shall return with joy to that state of things when
the only questions concerning a candidate shall be, Is he honest? Is he
capable? Is he faithful to the Constitution?"

[Sidenote: Political removals.]

Adams was promptly rebuked by the removal of twenty-four persons appointed
in the two months previous. Other removals were made for what would now be
called "offensive partisanship." Then came a third group of removals, in
order, as Jefferson said, "to make some room for some participation for
the Republicans." At the time he acknowledged that there had been sixteen
cases,--in fact, there were many more; at the end of about two years after
his inauguration, out of 334 officers occupying important places, 178 were
new appointments, and of their predecessors at least 99 had been removed.
These officers in many cases carried with them a staff of subordinates. It
is safe to say that one half the persons who had been in the civil service
of the United States in March, 1801, were out of it in March, 1805.

[Sidenote: Appointments.]

Nor did Jefferson adhere to his purpose to appoint Federalists and
Republicans indiscriminately after the balance should have been reached.
He appointed none but members of his own party; many Federalists in office
came over to the Republicans; and by 1809 the civil service was
practically filled with Republicans.

96. ATTACK ON THE JUDICIARY (1801-1805).

[Sidenote: Repeal of the Judiciary Act.]

Moderation in Jefferson's mind did not extend to the judiciary which had
been forced upon the country by the Federalists in 1801. At his suggestion
Breckenridge, in 1802, moved to repeal the recent Act, and thus to get rid
at once of the new courts and of the incumbents. The Federalists protested
that the Constitution was being destroyed. "I stand," said Gouverneur
Morris, "in the presence of Almighty God and of the world, and I declare
to you that if you lose this charter, never, no, never, will you get
another. We are now, perhaps, arrived at the parting point." The repeal
was plainly intended to remove the last bulwark of the Federalist party in
the government. It was made more obnoxious by a clause suspending the
sessions of the Supreme Court until February, 1803. It was passed by a
majority of one in the Senate, and by a party vote of fifty-nine to
thirty-two in the House. The President signed it, and all the new circuit
judges and judicial officers were thus struck from the roll of the

[Sidenote: Impeachments.]
[Sidenote: Marbury vs. Madison.]

The narrow majority in the Senate warned Jefferson not to proceed farther
with such statutes; but the judiciary could be affected in another way.
Several of the supreme and district judges were ardent Federalists, and
had expressed strong political opinions from the bench. In February, 1803,
the House impeached John Pickering, district judge in New Hampshire; his
offence was drunkenness and violence on the bench; but the purpose to
intimidate the other judges was unmistakable. Two of them accepted the
issue. The Supreme Court had resumed its session only a few days, when, in
1803, Marshall made a decision in the case of Marbury _vs._ Madison.
Marbury was one of Adams's "midnight appointments;" the suit was brought
for his commission, which had not been delivered, and was retained by
Madison when he became Secretary of State. Marshall decided that "to
withhold his commission is an act deemed by the court not warranted by
law, but violative of a legal vested right." Upon a technical point,
however, the complaint was dismissed.

[Sidenote: Chase trial.]
[Sidenote: Appointments.]

Further defiance came from another justice of the Supreme Court, Samuel
Chase of Maryland. His prejudice against Callender on his trial for
sedition had exasperated the Republicans ( 89), and on May 2, 1803, while
the Pickering impeachment was impending, Chase harangued the grand jury as
follows: "The independence of the national judiciary is already shaken to
its foundation, and the virtue of the people alone can restore it.... Our
republican constitution will sink into a mobocracy,... the worst of all
possible governments." Pickering was convicted March 12, 1804, and on the
same day the House impeached Chase. By this time the Republicans had
overshot the mark, and notwithstanding Chase's gross partisanship, on
March 1, 1805, the impeachment failed for want of a two-thirds vote. The
only hope of controlling the Supreme Court was therefore to fill
vacancies, as they occurred, with sound Republicans. Three such
opportunities occurred in Jefferson's administration. To his great
chagrin, the new judges showed themselves as independent, though not as
aggressive, as Marshall.


[Sidenote: Federal finance.]

Although the effort to check the power of the judiciary failed, in another
direction Jefferson struck out a new and popular policy. Under the
Federalists the taxes had increased from $3,600,000 in 1792 to $10,700,000
in 1800. This increase had been more than balanced by the growth of
expenditures. The Indian and French wars had brought unexpected expenses
upon the government, and the construction of a little navy was still going
on, In 1793 the government spent $3,800,000. In 1800 it spent $10,800,000.
Of this amount $6,000,000 went for the army and navy, and $3,000,000 for
interest. The deficits had been obscured by a funding system under which
payments to the sinking fund were practically made out of borrowed money,
so that the debt had risen from $80,000,000 in 1793 to nearly $83,000,000,
in 1800.

[Sidenote: Gallatin's finance.]

If peace could be guaranteed, a considerable part of the expenditure could
be cut down; and thus taxes might be reduced, and still a surplus be left,
out of which to pay instalments on the public debt. In his first annual
message the President accordingly advised the reduction of the military
and naval forces, and also of the civil officers. Gallatin proceeded to
draw up a financial plan: the annual revenue was to be $10,800,000,
military expenses were to be cut down to $2,500,000, and the civil
expenses to about $1,000,000; the remainder, $7,300,000, was to be devoted
to the reduction of the debt.

[Sidenote: Success of the system.]

Neither part of this scheme worked precisely as had been expected. The
army indeed underwent what Jefferson called a "chaste reformation;" it was
cut down from 4,000 to 2,500 men, to the great discontent of the officers.
The number of vessels in commission was reduced from about twenty-five to
seven, and the construction of vessels on the stocks was stopped, so that
in 1802 less than $1,000,000 was spent on the navy. Nevertheless, the
civil and miscellaneous expenses of the government grew steadily. Under
the Federalist administration, the total expenditures in time of peace,
exclusive of interest, had never been more than $3,000,000; in 1802
Gallatin spent $3,700,000, and in 1809 $7,500,000. The debt was, however,
rapidly diminished, and in 1809 stood at only $45,000,000; nearly half of
the interest charge was thus cut off, and for the first time the
government found itself with more money than it knew how to use. The taxes
had been reduced by a million and a half, by striking off the unpopular
direct tax and excise; the loss was more than met by an unexpected
increase in the revenue from customs, which in 1808 stood at $16,000,000,

[Sidenote: Drawbacks.]

To reach this result Jefferson and Gallatin deliberately neglected to make
ordinary preparations against attack; fortifications were abandoned,
skilled officers dismissed, ships allowed to decay at the wharves or on
the stocks, and the accumulation of military material ceased. The only
offset to this neglect was the creation of a military school at West Point
in 1802, and the training gained by the naval wars against the Barbary

98. BARBARY WARS (1801-1806).

[Sidenote: The navy.]

The Peace Establishment Act of March 3, 1801, authorized the President to
sell all the vessels of the navy except thirteen frigates, of which only
six were to be kept in commission; and the number of naval officers was
reduced from five hundred to two hundred. "I shall really be chagrined,"
wrote Jefferson, "if the water in the Eastern Branch will not admit our
laying up the whole seven there in time of peace, because they would be
under the immediate eye of the department, and would require but one set
of plunderers to take care of them." Events were too much for Jefferson's
genial intention. Ever since the Middle Ages the petty Moorish powers on
the north coast of Africa had made piracy on the Mediterranean trade their
profession. In accordance with the custom of European nations, in 1787 the
United States had bought a treaty of immunity with Morocco, and later with
Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. Every payment to one of these nests of
pirates incited the others to make increased demands. In May, 1800, the
Pasha of Tripoli wrote to the President of the United States: "We could
wish that these your expressions were followed by deeds, and not by empty
words.... If only flattering words are meant, without performance, every
one will act as he finds convenient." Receiving no satisfaction, he
declared war upon the United States.

[Sidenote: The pirates subdued.]

One of the first acts of Jefferson's administration was, therefore, to
despatch a squadron to blockade Tripoli, and in 1802 he was obliged to
consent to a declaration of war by the United States. The frigates were
unsuitable, and in 1803 Congress resumed the hated Federalist policy of
building a navy. Four new vessels, of a small and handy type, were
constructed, and under Commodore Preble, Tripoli was compelled in 1805 to
make peace and to cease her depredations. The other Barbary powers were
cowed by this exhibition of spirit, and for some years our commerce was
undisturbed. The first result of the war was, therefore, that the corsairs
were humbled. A far greater advantage to the United States was the skill
in naval warfare gained by the officers of the navy. Thenceforward it was
impossible to think of shutting the navy up in the Eastern Branch of the
Potomac. Naval expenditures slowly increased, and seven years later the
good effect was seen in the War of 1812.


[Sidenote: Jefferson's political principles.]

Jefferson came into power as a stickler for a limited government, confined
chiefly to foreign and commercial affairs. He now entered upon the most
brilliant episode of his administration,--the annexation of Louisiana; and
that transaction was carried out and defended upon precisely the grounds
of loose construction which he had so much contemned.

[Sidenote: Napoleon's colonial system.]

In 1763 France had two flourishing American colonies,--Louisiana and
Hayti, the western end of the island of San Domingo. The former province
was ceded to Spain ( 18); the latter, the centre of the French colonial
system, was nearly destroyed by a slave insurrection in 1791. When, in
1800, Napoleon Bonaparte became First Consul and virtual dictator, he
formed a brilliant scheme of reviving the French colonial empire. The
first step was to recover Louisiana; the second was to make peace with
England, so as to stop the naval war and release the French resources; the
third step was to occupy, first Hayti, and then Louisiana. The three plans
were pursued with characteristic rapidity. In October, 1800, the secret
treaty of San Ildefonso was negotiated, by which Spain agreed to return
Louisiana to France, the condition being that Napoleon should create a
kingdom of Etruria for the son-in-law of the king of Spain. In 1802 the
Peace of Amiens was made with England.

[Sidenote: Toussaint Louverture.]

A combined French and Spanish squadron had already, October, 1801, carried
a great expedition to occupy the whole island of San Domingo, with secret
orders to re-establish slavery. Then came an unexpected check: the fleet
and the army of ten thousand experienced French troops were unable to
break down the resistance of Toussaint Louverture, a native black general
who aimed to be the Napoleon of the island. Toussaint was taken; but the
army was forced back into a few sea-ports, and almost swept away by
disease. The blacks were still masters of the island.

[Sidenote: Alarm of the United States.]

The next step was to have been the occupation of Louisiana. By this time,
April, 1802, the news of the cession reached the United States, and drew
from Jefferson a remarkable letter. "The day that France takes possession
of New Orleans," said he, "fixes the sentence which is to restrain her
forever within her low-water mark. From that moment we must marry
ourselves to the British fleet and nation." As though to justify this
outburst of anti-Gallican zeal on the part of the old friend of France,
the Spanish Intendant of Louisiana, Oct. 16, 1802, withdrew the so-called
"right of deposit" under which Americans on the upper Mississippi had been
able to send goods to the sea and to receive return cargoes without the
payment of Spanish duty. If the province were to pass to France with the
Mississippi closed, it seemed to Jefferson essential that we should obtain
West Florida, with the port of Mobile; and in January, 1803, James Monroe
was sent as special envoy to secure this cession. [Sidenote: Louisiana

The day after he reached Paris, Livingston, the resident minister, had
closed a treaty for the cession, not of West Florida, but of all
Louisiana. The inner history of this remarkable negotiation has been
brought to light by Henry Adams in his History of the Administration of
Jefferson. The check in San Domingo had dampened the colonial ardor of
Napoleon; war was about to break out again with England; Napoleon's
ambition turned toward an European empire; and he lightly offered the
province which had come to him so cheaply. Neither Livingston, Monroe, nor
Jefferson had thought it possible to acquire New Orleans; with 880,000
square miles of other territory it was tossed into the lap of the United
States as the Sultan throws a purse of gold to a favorite.

[Sidenote: Indefinite boundaries.]

The treaty, dated April 30, 1803, gave to the United States Louisiana,
"with the same extent that it now has in the hands of Spain, and that it
had when France possessed it." The two phrases, instead of explaining each
other, were contradictory: Louisiana as it was when France possessed it
had included settlements as far east as the Perdido River; Louisiana in
the hands of Spain had extended only to the Iberville. The United States
had therefore annexed a province without knowing its boundaries. We are
now aware that Napoleon had issued orders to occupy the country on the
north only as far as the Iberville, but on the south as far as the Rio
Grande; at the time France refused to give any information on either
point. Hence the United States gave up the claim to Texas, in which there
was reason, and insisted on the title to West Florida, which was nowhere
to be found in the treaty.


[Sidenote: Anger of the Federalists.]
[Sidenote: Arguments for annexation.]

The annexation of Louisiana aroused a storm in both hemispheres. The
Spanish government vehemently protested, the more because the promised
kingdom of Etruria proved to be but a mock principality. In the United
States the Federalists attacked both the annexation and the method of
annexation with equal violence. The treaty promised that the people should
as soon as possible be admitted as a State into the Union; the balance of
power in the government was thus disturbed, and the Federalists foresaw
that the influence of New England must diminish. Their constitutional
arguments were just such as had been heard from the Republican writers and
legislatures in 1798: the constitution, they said, nowhere gives express
power to annex territory, and therefore there is no such power; the Union
is a partnership, and new members cannot be admitted except by unanimous
consent. The Republicans furnished themselves with arguments drawn from
the Federal arsenal: the right to annex territory, they said could be
implied from the power to make treaties, from the power to regulate
territory, and from the "necessary and proper" clause. Jefferson was not
so ready to give up his cherished principles, and proposed a
constitutional amendment to approve and confirm the cession. His party
friends scouted the idea. The treaty was duly ratified, fifteen millions
were appropriated for the purchase, and on Dec. 20, 1803, possession of
the territory was given,

[Sidenote: Intrigues with Burr.]

The cup of the Federalists was now full, and a few violent spirits, of
whom Timothy Pickering was the leader, suggested that the time had come to
withdraw from the Union. They found no hearing among the party at large.
In 1804, therefore, they tried to form a combination with a wing of the
New York Republicans controlled by Burr, who had been read out of his
party by the Jeffersonian wing. He came forward as an independent
candidate for Governor, and asked for the support of the New York
Federalists. Hamilton stood out against this movement, and wrote a letter
urging his friends not to vote for him. Burr received the Federalist vote,
but was defeated, and in his humiliation sent Hamilton a challenge, and
killed him in the duel. The affair still further weakened the Federalists;
in the national election of 1804 they cast but fourteen votes,--those of
Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland. Even Massachusetts voted for

[Sidenote: The Federalists weakened.]

Commerce was still increasing; the Union was growing in extent and
importance; neither the interests nor the principles of the people had
suffered. The Federalist predictions of danger from Jefferson had not been
fulfilled. There were still a few leaders who brooded over a plan of
separation; but the strength of the Federalists was now so broken that in
1807 John Quincy Adams, son of the ex-President, and senator from
Massachusetts, went over to the Republican party.

101. THE BURR CONSPIRACY (1806-1807).

[Sidenote: Burr's schemes.]

The election of 1804 was the last attempt of Aaron Burr to re-enter public
life. His private character, already sufficiently notorious, had been
destroyed by the murder of Hamilton, and he was a desperate man. In 1805
Burr went West, and was well received by many prominent men, including
General Wilkinson, the senior officer of the United States army, and
Andrew Jackson, then a lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee. His purposes were
vague: he planned the establishment of a colony on the new Western lands;
he had relations with certain Spanish adventurers who wished the
independence of Mexico; he hinted at securing the secession of the Western
States, with the aid of the British government. His chief purpose seems to
have been to head a revolution in the newly acquired Louisiana.

[Sidenote: Burr's expedition.]

To the rumors that Burr had some desperate and treasonable intention
Jefferson paid no attention. In December, 1806, Burr mustered a party of
men at Blennerhasset's Island, in the Ohio River, and with them floated
down the river. Twice attempts were made by local authorities to stop him
and prosecute him, but he was allowed to continue, with about a hundred
men, till in January, 1807, while on the lower Mississippi, he learned
from a newspaper that the President had issued a proclamation directing
his capture. He abandoned his men, and shortly afterwards fell into the
hands of the authorities, and was sent to Washington for trial.

[Sidenote: Wilkinson's treachery.]
[Sidenote: Burr's Trial.]

Meanwhile steps had been taken to prevent the expected rising in
Louisiana. Wilkinson was then on the extreme western frontier. He received
a cipher message from Burr, and after waiting for some hours to make up
his mind, concluded to betray him, sent the letters to the government,
went to New Orleans, and there arrested several of Burr's adherents, by
military authority. The danger to the Union had been slight, the laxity on
Jefferson's part unpardonable. Having Burr in his power, he now
relentlessly pursued him with a prosecution for treason. The trial was
held in Richmond, Chief Justice Marshall presiding, and ended on Sept. 1,
1807. The indictment had set forth the mustering of the men at
Blennerhasset's Island: since the only acts which could be called
treasonable had occurred elsewhere, the court declared the evidence
insufficient, and there was nothing for the jury to do but to bring him in
not guilty. The President had shown that he could use force, if necessary;
and the courts had again shown their independence of the President. Burr
disappeared from public notice.


[Sidenote: American trade.]
[Sidenote: Admiralty decisions.]

The renewal of the war between England and France in May, 1803, at first
was advantageous to the United States; it precipitated the cession of
Louisiana and it gave new employment for American shipping. French West
Indian products were freely imported, re-shipped, and exported, thus
avoiding the rule of 1756 ( 85); as a result, the customs revenue leaped
in one year from fourteen to twenty millions. In 1805 these favorable
conditions were reversed. In May the British admiralty courts decided that
goods which had started from French colonies could be captured, even
though they had been landed and re-shipped in the United States. Captures
at once began; English frigates were stationed outside the port of New
York, and vessels coming in and going out were insolently stopped and
searched; impressments were revived. In 1804 thirty-nine vessels had been
captured by the British; in 1805 one hundred and sixteen were taken; and
probably a thousand American seamen were impressed.

[Sidenote: Continental System.]

On Oct. 21, 1805, the combined French and Spanish fleets were overwhelmed
at Trafalgar. Thenceforward England had the mastery of the seas, while
France remained supreme on land. Napoleon, who had in 1804 taken the title
of Emperor, was determined to destroy English trade with the Continent,
and had no scruples against ruining neutrals in the attempt. He resolved
upon a "Continental System,"--to shut against the importation of English
goods the ports of France and her dependencies and allies, including, as
the result of recent conquests, almost the whole northern coast of the
Mediterranean, and a considerable part of the coast of the German Ocean
and the Baltic Sea.

[Sidenote: Orders and decrees.]

The English retaliated with an Order in Council, dated May 16, 1806, by
which the whole coast from Brest to the river Elbe was declared blockaded.
There was no blockading squadron; yet American vessels were captured as
they left their own ports bound for places within the specified limit.
Napoleon retorted with the Berlin Decree of Nov. 21, 1806, in which he
declared the whole British Islands in a state of blockade; the trade in
English merchandise was forbidden, and no vessel that had touched at a
British port could enter a French port. These measures were plainly
intended to cut off the commerce of neutrals; and as the European wars had
now swept in almost every seafaring power, on one side or the other, the
Americans were the great neutral carriers. In January, 1807, Great Britain
announced that neutral vessels trading from one port under French
influence to another were subject to capture, and that all French ports
were blockaded. The Milan Decree of December, 1807, completed the
structure of injustice by ordering the capture of all neutral vessels
which had been searched by an English vessel. In 1806 the Jay Treaty
expired, and the Americans lost its slight protection. The effect of this
warfare of proclamations was at once seen in the great increase of
captures: one hundred and ninety-four American vessels were taken by
England in 1807, and a large number by the French.

103. POLICY OF NON-RESISTANCE (1805-1807).

[Sidenote: Prosperity of American trade.]

The wholesale seizure of American property was exasperating to the last
degree. The disdainful impressment of American seamen, and still more the
unofficial blockade of the ports, would have justified war. Yet
notwithstanding the loss of American shipping, trade continued to prosper,
and vessels engaged in foreign commerce increased; freights were so high
that an annual loss by capture of ten per cent could be made up out of the
profits. The New Englanders, therefore, who suffered most were not most
anxious for war, nor could Jefferson bear to give up his policy of debt-
reduction and of peaceful trade. Toward France, indeed, he showed
remarkable tenderness, because that power controlled Spain, from which
Jefferson was eagerly seeking the cession of West Florida.

[Sidenote: Gunboat system.]

Some American policy must be formulated. War seemed to Jefferson
unnecessary, and he therefore attempted three other remedies, which in a
measure neutralized each other. The first was to provide some kind of
defence. To build new vessels seemed to him an invitation to the English
navy to swoop down and destroy them. To fortify the coasts and harbors
properly would cost fifty millions of dollars. He proposed, therefore, to
lay up the navy and to build a fleet of gunboats, to be hauled up under
sheds in time of peace, but if war came, to be manned by a naval militia
and to repel the enemy. Between 1806 and 1812 one hundred and seventy-six
gunboats were built. They never rendered any considerable service, and
took $1,700,000 out of Gallatin's surplus.

[Sidenote: Pinkney treaty.]

The second part of Jefferson's policy was to negotiate with England for a
new treaty. The conditions upon which he insisted were impossible, and
Pinkney and Monroe, therefore, in December, 1806, made the best terms they
could: there was no article against impressment; they surrendered the
principle that free ships make free goods; they practically accepted the
rule of 1756. The treaty was so unacceptable that Jefferson never
submitted it to the Senate; and thenceforward to the War of 1812 we had
only such commercial privileges as England chose to grant.

[Sidenote: Non-importation act.]

The only remaining arrow in Jefferson's quiver was the policy of
commercial restriction. On April 18, 1806, an act was Passed by which,
after November 15, the importation of manufactured goods from England and
English colonies was forbidden. Even this was suspended on December 29.

[Sidenote: "Leopard" and "Chesapeake."]
[Sidenote: The Americans aroused.]

The effect of these feeble efforts to secure fair treatment was seen on
June 27, 1807. The only excuse for the impressment of American seamen was
that sailors from the British men-of-war were apt to desert when they
reached an American port, and frequently shipped on board American
vessels. The chief reason was the severity of naval discipline and the low
wages paid by the British government. The American frigate "Chesapeake,"
about leaving Norfolk for a Mediterranean cruise, had several such
deserters on board without the commander's knowledge. When outside the
capes the British frigate "Leopard" suddenly bore down on her, hailed her,
and her captain announced that he was about to search the ship for these
deserters. Commander Barron was taken by surprise; his guns were not ready
for action, his crew was not yet trained. He refused to permit the search,
was fired upon, and was obliged to surrender. Four men were taken off, of
whom three were American citizens, and the "Chesapeake" carried back the
news of this humiliation. The spirit of the nation was aflame. Had
Jefferson chosen, he might have gone to war upon this issue, and would
have had the country behind him. The extreme point which he reached was a
proclamation warning British armed vessels out of American waters; he
preferred a milder sort of warfare.

104. THE EMBARGO (1807-1808).

[Sidenote: Jefferson's recommendations.]

The Non-importation Act, which up to this time had had no force, finally
went into effect Dec. 14, 1807. Two days later news was received that the
king had ordered British naval officers to exercise their assumed right of
impressment. Forthwith Jefferson sent a message to Congress, hinting that
England was about to prohibit American commerce altogether, and
recommending an embargo so as to prevent the loss of our ships and seamen.
The Senate hurried a bill through all its stages in a single day; and the
House, by nearly two to one, accepted it. No foreign merchant vessel could
leave an American port, except in ballast, or with a cargo then on board;
no American merchantman could leave for a foreign port on any terms.

[Sidenote: The embargo evaded.]

The embargo was not really intended to save American shipping, for the
owners were willing to run their own risks. The restriction was so new, so
sweeping so little in accordance with the habits of the people, and so
destructive to the great interests of commerce that it was systematically
evaded. Vessels left port on a coasting voyage, and slipped into a West
Indian port, and perhaps returned with a West Indian cargo. Severe
supplementary acts were therefore necessary. A great trade sprang up
across the border into Canada, followed by new restrictions, with severe
penalties and powers of search hitherto unknown in the law of the United
States. On Lake Champlain, on June 13, 1808, a band of sixty armed men
fired upon United States troops, and carried a raft in triumph over the
border. A prosecution for treason against one of the men involved was a

[Sidenote: No settlement with England.]

The expectation was that the President, backed up by the embargo, would
now succeed in a negotiation with England, that atonement would be made
for the "Chesapeake" outrage, and that a commercial treaty would at last
be gained. Mr. George Rose came over as British minister in December,
1807; but he took the unfortunate attitude that the American government
owed England an apology for action growing out of the "Chesapeake"
outrage, and he returned in March without accomplishing anything: the two
countries remained in an attitude of hostility throughout the year.


[Sidenote: Effect on England.]

When Congress assembled in December, 1808, the effect of the embargo was
manifest. English merchants engaged in the American trade protested, and
asked the British government to withdraw its Orders in Council. Lord
Castlereagh declared that the embargo was "operating at present more
forcibly in our favor than any measure of hostility we could call forth,
without war actually declared;" English trade to the amount of $25,000,000
was, indeed, cut off; but notwithstanding this loss, the total exports of
England increased. "The embargo," says Henry Adams, "served only to lower
the wages and the moral standard of the laboring classes throughout the
British empire, and to prove their helplessness."

[Sidenote: Effect on France.]

The reception of the embargo by France was even more humiliating. On April
17, 1808, Napoleon issued a decree at Bayonne directing that all American
vessels which might enter the ports of France, Italy, and the Hanse towns
should be seized, "because no vessels of the United States can now
navigate the seas without infracting the law of the said States." "The
Emperor applauds the embargo," said the French foreign minister.

[Sidenote: Effect on the United States.]

In America the embargo, which was intended to cut off the profits of
foreign merchants and the provisions needed in foreign countries, had
crippled the shipping interests, had destroyed the export trade, and had
almost ruined the farmers. Exports dropped in one year from one hundred
and ten millions to twenty-two millions; import duties were kept up during
1808 by returning vessels, but in 1809 sank from sixteen millions to seven
millions; shipbuilding fell off by two-thirds; shipping in foreign trade
lost 100,000 tons; wheat fell from two dollars to seventy-five cents a
bushel. The South, from which the majority in favor of the embargo had
been drawn, suffered most of all: tobacco could not be sold, and Virginia
was almost bankrupt.

[Sidenote: The embargo a failure.]
[Sidenote: The embargo repealed.]

The money loss did not measure the injury to the country. New England
ingenuity was devoted to new methods of avoiding the law of the land, and
a passionate feeling of sectional injury sprang up. In the election of
1808 the Federalists carried all New England except Vermont, and had a few
Southern votes; and the Republican majority in Congress was much cut down.
The embargo had plainly failed, and the only alternative seemed to be war.
Even Jefferson was obliged to admit that the embargo must end a few months
later; "But I have thought it right," he wrote, "to take no part myself in
proposing measures, the execution of which will devolve on my successor."
It became known that Madison, the President-elect, favored the repeal of
the embargo in June, and that Jefferson was only anxious that it should
last out his administration. The discontent of New England was so manifest
that a South Carolina member said: "You have driven us from the embargo.
The excitement in the East renders it necessary that we should enforce the
embargo with the bayonet, or repeal it. I will repeal it,--and I could
weep over it more than over a lost child." On Feb. 2, 1809, the House, by
a vote of 70 to 40, decided upon immediate repeal. The only question now
was what policy should be substituted. On February 28 an agreement was
reached: the embargo was replaced by a non-intercourse law which forbade
British or French vessels to enter American ports; but there was no threat
against the captors of American vessels.

[Sidenote: Jefferson humiliated.]

Throughout his whole administration Jefferson had never before been
confronted with an offensive bill. He had been practically the leader in
both houses of Congress, and until this moment his followers had never
deserted him. He could not end his administration with a veto, and he
signed the act, although it was a tacit condemnation of his whole policy
with reference to neutral trade. The defence of the embargo was that it
prevented war: but it had inflicted on the country the material losses and
excited the factional spirit which would have resulted from war; and the
danger of war was greater at the end than at the beginning of the


THE UNION IN DANGER (1809-1815).


BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--W. E. Foster, _References to Presidential
Administrations_, 12-15; J. Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, VII.
320-323, 341-343, 420-437, 457-460, 522-524; Channing and Hart, _Guide_,

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 1 and 4, this volume (_Epoch Maps_, Nos. 7 and
9); T. MacCoun, _Historical Geography_; Henry Adams, _United States_, VI,
VII., VIII., _passim_; Anderson, _Canada_ (1814); Arrowsmith, _Map of the
United States_ (1813); Scribner, _Statistical Atlas_, Plate 14; school
histories of Channing, Johnston, Scudder, and Thomas.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS--R. Hildreth, _United States_, VI. 149-674; H. Von
Hoist, _Constitutional History_, I 226-272; J. Schouler, _United States_,
II. 194-444; J. B. McMaster, _United States_, III. 339-560 (to 1812), IV.;
Bryant and Gay, _Popular History_, IV. 185-244; Geo. Tucker, _United
States_, II. 349-515, III. 21-145; Bradford, _Constitutional History_, I.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--Henry Adams, _History of the United States_, V.-
IX.; C. Schurz, _Henry Clay_, I. 38-137; S. H. Gay, _James Madison_, 283-
337; C. J. Ingersoll, _Historical Sketch of the Second War_; T. Roosevelt,
_Naval War of 1812_; J. Armstrong, _Notices of the War of 1812_; B. J.
Lossing, _Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812_; H. M Brackenridge,
_History of the Late War_; William Jones, _Military Occurrences_ and
_Naval Occurrences_; E. S. Maclay, _United States Navy_.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS--J. Q. Adams, _Memoirs_, II, III. (ch. ix); S.
G Goodrich, _Recollections_, I. 435-514, II. 9-60; Dolly Madison,
_Memoirs and Letters_; John Randolph, _Letters to a Young Relative_; S.
Leech, _Thirty Years from Home_ (by a seaman of the Macedonian); W.
Cobbett, _Pride of Britannia Humbled_(1815); Coggeshall, _History of the
American Privateers_; William Sullivan, _Familiar Letters on Public
Characters_, 290-355; Timothy Dwight, _History of the Hartford
Convention_. Works of Jefferson, Madison, Gallatin, Dallas, Clay.--
Reprints in M. Carey, _Olive Branch_; A. Johnston, _American Orations_, I,
_American History told by Contemporaries_, III.

107. NON-INTERCOURSE LAWS (1809, 1810).

[Sidenote: Madison's administration.]

James Madison, who became President March 4, 1809, felt that his
administration was to be a continuation of that of Jefferson; and he took
over three members of Jefferson's cabinet, including Gallatin. The
Secretary of State, Robert Smith, was incapable, and Madison was
practically his own foreign minister.

[Sidenote: The situation abroad.]

The condition of European affairs was, on the whole, favorable to America.
In 1807 Russia had formed an alliance with France and had accepted the
Continental System, thus cutting off American trade; but in 1808 the
French lost ground in Spain, and the Spanish and Portuguese ports were
thus opened to American commerce. Nevertheless a hundred and eight
merchantmen were captured by England in 1808.

[Sidenote: Non-intercourse Act.]
[Sidenote: Favorable trade.]

To defend American commerce and the national honor, the administration
possessed but three weapons,--war, retaliatory legislation, and diplomacy.
War meant both danger and sacrifice; there was already a deficit in the
Treasury. Congress, therefore, continued to legislate, while at the same
time attempts were made to negotiate with both France and England. The
Non-intercourse Act continued in force throughout 1809, and hardly impeded
American commerce; trade with England and France went on through a few
intermediary ports such as Lisbon and Riga, and there was a brisk direct
trade under special license of one or the other of the powers. The
shipping engaged in foreign trade now reached a higher point than ever
before. The profits of American vessels were so great that forged American
papers were openly sold in England. The defection of New England was
stayed, and the President was supported by a fair majority in both Houses.
It remained to be seen whether non-intercourse would have any effect in
securing a withdrawal of the offensive orders and decrees.


[Sidenote: The Erskine treaty.]

On April 19, 1809, Madison obtained what seemed a diplomatic triumph;
Erskine, the new British envoy, signed a formal agreement that the British
government should withdraw the Orders in Council. A proclamation was then
issued, announcing that trade might be renewed with Great Britain. As
France had from the first protested that her Decrees were simply
retaliatory, it was expected that they would in due time also be annulled.
The satisfaction of the country was short-lived: Erskine had gone beyond
his instructions. Once more the opportunity to conciliate the United
States was thrown away by England; his agreement was formally disavowed;
and on August 9 the President had the mortification of issuing a second
proclamation, announcing that the Orders had not been withdrawn, and that
trade with England was still forbidden.

[Sidenote: Jackson's negotiation.]

Another British minister, James Jackson, was received October 1, and began
his negotiation by asserting that Madison had tricked Erskine into signing
an agreement which the American government knew he was not authorized to
make. The charge was denied, and his relations were finally closed on
November 8 by a note in which he was informed that inasmuch as he "had
used a language which cannot be understood but as reiterating and even
aggravating the same gross insinuation, no further communications will be
received." Having thus practically been dismissed for brutally insulting
the government to which he was accredited, Jackson made a tour of the
Eastern States, and was received with hospitality and enthusiasm by the
leading New England Federalists.

[Sidenote: Macon Bill No. 2.]
[Sidenote: Anger of France.]
[Sidenote: Pretended revocation by France.]

From France no satisfaction could be obtained during 1809. To remove all
restrictions on commerce was to give up everything; but Congress was tired
of resistance, and on May i, 1810, passed the "Macon Bill No. 2," which
was practically a surrender of all the principles at stake. It provided
that commerce should be free, but that if either England or France should
withdraw her Orders or Decrees, intercourse should be prohibited with the
nation which retained them. The probable effect on France was speedily
seen by the publication of a Decree which had been issued March 23, 1810:
it declared that all American vessels which had entered French ports after
the date of the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809 were to be seized. This was
practically an act of war. The Macon bill now suggested to the Emperor
that the Americans might be entrapped into another ambush: on August 5 his
foreign minister wrote to Armstrong, the American minister, that "the
Emperor loves the Americans," and that he would revoke the Milan and
Berlin Decrees from November 1, provided England would withdraw her Orders
in Council. Five days earlier the secret Decree of the Trianon had ordered
the seizure of all American vessels that might reach French ports. The
object of these measures was to entice American vessels within the reach
of the French, and the ruse was successful. November 1 the President
issued a proclamation declaring trade with England suspended because
France had withdrawn her Decrees. Then ensued a long diplomatic
discussion: since captures of American vessels by French cruisers
continued, the British government refused to admit that the Decrees had
been withdrawn, and complained of the prohibition of English trade. On
December 25 Napoleon drew in his net by a general order for the seizure of
all American vessels in French ports; and property to the value of about
ten million dollars was thus confiscated.

[Sidenote: Fruitless negotiation with England.]

The British ministry kept its promise to Jackson, not to recall him till
the end of a year. In February, 1811, Pinkney, our minister in London,
demanded his passports, and left England with a tacit threat of war. The
British government instantly sent a fourth minister, Mr. Foster, to the
United States, and on June 13, 1811, reparation was made for the "Leopard-
Chesapeake" outrage. This tardy act was received with coldness: four weeks
earlier the English corvette "Little Belt" had fired upon the American
frigate "President;" the fire was returned, and the "Little Belt"

109. THE WAR PARTY (1811).

[Sidenote: Madison's first Congress.]

The responsibility for peace or war was now thrown upon the Congress which
assembled Nov. 4, 1811. It had been elected at a time when it was believed
that France had at last withdrawn the Decrees, and it had a strong
Republican majority in both branches; there were but six Federalists in
the Senate, and thirty-seven in the House. Even Massachusetts had chosen a
Republican senator.

[Sidenote: The young Republicans.]

The new Congress had little of the timid spirit of its predecessor. It
contained an unusual number of vigorous young men. Among the members who
appeared for the first time in the House were John C. Calhoun, Langdon
Cheves, and William Lowndes; two years later Daniel Webster took his seat.
The first act of the new House Was to elect as its Speaker Henry Clay of
Kentucky,--a young man for the first time a member of the House, and known
to be in favor of war. His selection meant a change of counsels; the
committees were reorganized, and Calhoun was made a leading member of the
committee on Foreign Relations.

[Sidenote: Influence of the West.]

For the first time since 1807 war seemed likely. The controlling element
in Congress had no longer the traditions of the Revolutionary War and the
influence of Revolutionary statesmen. Many of these members represented
interior States, having no sea-coast, and subject to no danger from
invasion. These States were too new to command the affectionate support of
their people; to their members the United States government represented
the power and dignity of America; they chafed under the humiliations which
had so long been suffered. The growth of the South and West enabled
Congress to override the Federalists of New England and the peace
Republicans of the Middle States.

[Sidenote: Madison's attitude.]

The President was a peaceful man, but he was unable to manage Congress,
and was weary of the long series of offensive measures against his
country. The annual message bore a distinctly warlike tone, especially
toward England; and Gallatin suggested increased import duties and new war

[Sidenote: Who was the enemy?]

The grievances of the United States were heavy, but to go to war was
difficult. The government was hampered by the fact that the New England
ship-owners, in whose behalf the government was negotiating and
threatening, preferred an irregular and hazardous trade to war. A more
serious difficulty was that France had notoriously been a worse enemy than
England; she had done all the open injury in her power, and had then
treacherously entrapped our vessels. Madison had taken the untenable
ground that our trade was respected by France, and that the British
government was therefore bound to withdraw its Orders. The New England
Federalists had a corresponding partisan friendship for England, and could
see no offence in the blockade of our coasts, or even in impressment.

[Sidenote: Designs on Canada.]

Yet the war spirit against England was steadily rising. The reason is to
be found in a speech delivered by Henry Clay some months later: "An
honorable peace is obtainable only by an efficient war. My plan would be
to call out the ample resources of the country, give them a judicious
direction, prosecute the war with the utmost vigor, strike wherever we can
reach the enemy at sea or on land, and negotiate the terms of peace at
Quebec or Halifax." The immediate object of the war was, therefore, not to
secure the rights of vessel-owners: war would instantly make all American
commerce subject to capture; the evident purpose was to take Canada, and
by the occupation of British territory to force England to make a
favorable peace.

[Sidenote: Preliminaries of war.]

On Jan. 6, 1812, a bill for raising twenty-five thousand troops was
passed, and fifty thousand volunteers were authorized. The enthusiasm of
Congress was chilled by new action of the French government, which proved
its friendliness by capturing American merchantmen wherever found upon the
sea. Nevertheless, on April 1 the President recommended an embargo, which
was understood to be preliminary to war with England. As the time for
Presidential nominations came on, the New York Republicans bolted, and
nominated De Witt Clinton.

[Sidenote: War declared.]

Still the war was delayed. Although on May 19 news was received that the
British government would not yield the Orders in Council, it was June 1
before Madison sent to Congress a message recommending war, and not until
June 18 did the declaration pass. Nearly forty Republican members refused
to vote for it, and the test vote was seventy-nine to forty-nine in the
House, and nineteen to thirteen in the Senate.

[Sidenote: Causes of the war.]

The causes of the war, as set forth in the messages of the President and
in contemporary speeches, were four. The first was that the British had
tampered with the Indians and urged them to hostilities: it was true, and
it was trying; but the breaking out of war simply aggravated that
difficulty. The second charge was the interference with neutral trade by
the Orders in Council; but the injury from the French Decrees had been
more humiliating. The third complaint was perhaps the most serious and
exasperating: it was the virtual blockade of American ports by British
cruisers, and their interference with arriving and departing vessels.
Finally came the impressment of American seamen.

[Sidenote: Orders in Council withdrawn.]

Of these grievances the last two had not up to this time been put forward
as cause for war. On June 16, two days before the declaration of war, the
British government reluctantly withdrew the Orders in Council against
which the United States had for six years protested. Before hostilities
had fairly begun, notice was sent to the American government: it insisted
on prosecuting the war, which was therefore undertaken ostensibly for the
protection of the coast and the prevention of impressments.


[Sidenote: Population.]
[Sidenote: Financial resources.]

In every respect except in the numbers available for land operations the
Americans seemed inferior to the English. It was a war between a people of
eight millions and a people of nearly twenty millions. The United States
had been deceived by eleven years of great prosperity, and failed to see
that the revenues of the government rose almost entirely from import
duties, which would be cut off by war; and Congress showed a decided
unwillingness to supplement these with other taxes. In 1811 the customs
produced $13,000,000, in 1812 but $9,000,000; and the total revenue of the
government was less than $10,000,000. The war, once begun, cost about
$30,000,000 a year. The government was therefore thrown back upon loans,
and it borrowed $98,000,000 during the war. As the credit of the
government began to diminish, those loans were sold at prices much less
than their face, and the country was obliged to issue $37,000,000 of
Treasury notes. Meanwhile, England was raising by taxation nearly
70,000,000 a year, and in 1815 was successfully carrying a debt of
860,000,000. The remnant of Republican prejudice against Federalist
finances was just sufficient to prevent the re-chartering of the United
States Bank in 1811. The country, therefore, entered on the war with
insufficient means, impaired credit, and a defective financial

[Sidenote: National spirit.]
[Sidenote: Disloyal utterances.]

In national spirit, also, the United States was the weaker. The British
had for twenty years been carrying a popular war with France, in which
they had shown themselves far superior at sea, and had gained great
military experience. In the United States sectional spirit was more
violent than at any time since 1798. We now know that some of the leading
Federalists were, up to the outbreak of the war, in confidential
communication with British envoys. In 1809 and 1810 the Republican
governor and legislature in Pennsylvania were opposing with military
violence the service of the writs of the United States District Court in
the Olmstead Case. The disaffection of the Federalists was publicly
expressed by Josiah Quincy, of Massachusetts, in a Speech in 1811 on the
admission of Louisiana: "If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion
that it is virtually a dissolution of this Union; that it will free the
States from their moral obligation; and, as it will be the right of all,
so it will be the duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation,
amicably if they can, violently if they must."

[Sidenote: The two armies.] Nor did the military and naval preparation of
the country make up for its political weakness. The regular army of the
United States was composed of 6,700 men. The service was so unpopular that
two proclamations were issued in 1812 promising pardons to deserters. The
highest number of officers and men in the regular army was during the war
but 34,000. The dependence of the government, therefore, for offensive
operations was upon the State militia. The general officers were old
Revolutionary soldiers or men who had seen no service; the military
organization was defective; and the Secretary of War, Eustis, was
incompetent. In this very year, 1812, the British regular troops under
Wellington were steadily beating back the French, who had been supposed to
be the best soldiers in the world.

[Sidenote: The two navies.]

In naval affairs comparison between the two powers was almost impossible.
The American navy consisted of twelve vessels, the largest of which were
the three 44-gun frigates "United States", "Constitution," and
"President". The number of men was 4,000, with 1,500 marines. The British
navy was composed of eight hundred and thirty vessels, of which two
hundred and thirty were larger than any of the American ships; they had
150,000 seamen, and unlimited power of impressing sailors.

[Sidenote: The theatre of the war.]

The theatre of war was to be much the same as in the French and Indian war
( 14). The lines stretched from Nova Scotia to the Great Lakes, but
settlement had extended so far westward that Detroit marked the flank of
both powers, and Lake Erie was included in the field of operations. Like
Braddock in 1755 ( 16), the Americans expected to roll the enemy's line
up from west to east; and at the same time they meant to penetrate where
Loudon and Abercrombie had attacked, through Lake Ontario and Lake
Champlain. For harbor and coast defence they relied chiefly on the fleet
of gunboats.


[Sidenote: Campaign of 1812.]

For the beginning of the campaign two expeditions were planned,--one
across the river from Detroit, the other across the Niagara from Buffalo.
The experience of the Revolution threw little light on the problem of
conveying large bodies of men, with the necessary stores, across such
stretches of wild country. General Hull, in command at Detroit, after a
single effort to invade Canada, was forced back, and on Aug. 16, 1812, was
brought to a disgraceful capitulation. Fort Dearborn, now Chicago, and
Mackinac were captured at about the same time. In October and November two
attempts were made to cross the Niagara into Canada. Owing to the
incapacity of the commanders, Van Rensselaer and Smythe, six thousand
American troops were held in check, and smaller bodies of them defeated,
by one thousand British. The military authorities in the centre waited for
the reduction of western Canada before attempting to advance northward to

[Sidenote: Campaign of 1813.]

The campaign of 1813 was little more fortunate. The British, with their
savage allies, held Detroit; but a fresh-water navy had been constructed
by both parties on Lake Erie, and the victory of Commodore Perry gave the
control of Lake Erie, and thus of Detroit, to the Americans. On the
Niagara frontier the Americans were successful in occupying the British
forts on the western side of the river, but could not penetrate the
country. A northern expedition descended the St. Lawrence, but was obliged
to retire into American territory without result; and in the last days of
the year the Niagara posts were again abandoned.

112. NAVAL WARFARE (1812-1815).

[Sidenote: The first cruise.]
[Sidenote: English cruisers captured.]

When the war broke out, the purpose of the administration was to keep the
vessels of the United States navy in Port for harbor and coast defence. An
order was sent to New York authorizing a brief preliminary cruise, and
within one hour Commodore Rodgers, with the frigates "President", and
"Congress", the ship "Hornet" and brig "Argus", had got to sea. Within two
days the little squadron attacked the British frigate "Belvidera," which
had made herself obnoxious by her blockade of American ports, but lost
her. On August 19 the frigate "Constitution", Captain Hull, met the
British frigate "Guerriere", renowned for its unauthorized search of
American vessels: in thirty minutes the "Guerriere" was taken; and the
"Constitution" returned in triumph to Boston. The effects of this
brilliant victory were immediately felt: New England shared in it; British
naval prestige had received a damaging blow; and the Navy Department could
no longer hope to keep the navy at home for police duty. Meantime the
sloop-of-war "Wasp" had captured the British brig "Frolic" of equal force;
and Decatur, in the frigate "United States", on October 25 took the
British frigate "Macedonian". A few weeks later the frigate
"Constitution" captured the British frigate "Java".

[Sidenote: Effect of the victories.]

The result of six months naval warfare was the capture of three British
frigates and two smaller vessels, besides large numbers of merchantmen.
American commerce had been almost driven from the seas, but only three
small American cruisers had been taken. The victories were more than
unexpected, they were astounding In nearly every fight the American vessel
was of heavier tonnage, and threw a heavier broadside; but the sailors
were fighting the most renowned naval power in the world, The British
captains in every case sought the encounter, and they were defeated by the
superior tactical skill, and especially the superior gunnery, of the
Americans, Congress was obliged by the force of public sentiment to begin
the construction of new vessels. At the same time American privateers
ranged the seas and brought in British merchantmen. In 1813 there was a
minor naval warfare on Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain, Two small armed
vessels, the "Peacock" and the "Boxer," were captured at sea by the
Americans; and the ship "Essex," under Captain Porter, ranged the Pacific
and captured thirteen vessels,

[Sidenote: The American navy subdued.]

The tide had now begun to turn, In June, 1813, Captain Lawrence, of the
frigate "Chesapeake," was challenged by Captain Broke, of the "Shannon,"
to fight him near the harbor of Boston. People assembled on Marblehead
Neck to see the English cruiser made a prize; after a hard fight the
"Chesapeake" was captured and towed into Halifax. It was the victory of
disciplined courage over courage less trained, and perhaps less well
handled. By this time large blockading squadrons had been sent out, and
most of the American fleet was shut up in the harbors of Boston, New
London, and New York. The frigate "President" was captured while
endeavoring to escape from New York; the "Essex" was taken in a neutral
port; and for a time there was no American cruiser on the sea.

[Sidenote: American privateers.]

The defence of the newly acquired American reputation at sea was thus left
to the privateers. They were small, handy vessels, apt at striking, and
quick to run away. In 1813 they captured four hundred prizes, while the
national cruisers took but seventy-nine. The "True-Blooded Yankee" alone
in thirty-seven days took twenty-seven vessels, some of them in Dublin
Bay, and was not captured. The loss of property and of prestige was so
great that in 1814 insurance on vessels crossing the Irish Channel was
rated at thirteen per cent. During two and a half years of war the
privateers took fourteen hundred prizes, and the cruisers took three
hundred more. On the other hand, about seventeen hundred American
merchantmen had been captured by the British. The flag of the United
States on unarmed vessels had at the end of 1814 almost ceased to float on
the ocean.


[Sidenote: The situation abroad.]

Nothing but a total want of understanding of the conditions in Europe
could have brought about the War of 1812. In 1811 the Continental System
( 102) had broken down, because Russia would no longer cut off the trade
in American ships. The result of this breach was Napoleon's Russian
campaign of 1812; his success would have totally excluded American
commerce from the Baltic, and would probably have resulted in the
overthrow of England. The Americans were assisting the cause of a great
tyranny and a great commercial monopoly.

[Sidenote: Fall of Napoleon.]

During 1812 and 1813, while the Americans were vainly struggling to
capture a few petty forts on the Canadian frontier, Napoleon was falling
back step by step; and on April 6, 1814, he abdicated his throne, and a
general European peace was made.

[Sidenote: Lundy's Lane.]
[Sidenote: English invasion.]
[Sidenote: Capture of Washington.]

The result was new energy in the American war. Twelve thousand English
veteran troops were despatched to Canada, and expeditions were planned to
harass the American coast. The struggle was renewed on the Niagara
frontier under the efficient command of Jacob Brown, a New York militia
general. An American force penetrated into Canada and fought the
successful battle of Lundy's Lane; but Brown was wounded, and his forces
abandoned the field. The British now attempted to invade the United
States; the Maine coast was occupied, almost without resistance, as far
south as the Penobscot; the Americans were attacked at Fort Erie, on the
west side of the Niagara; and a force of eighteen thousand men moved up
Lake Champlain to Plattsburg. On September 11 its advance was checked by a
field-work and an American fleet under Macdonough. Both at Fort Erie and
at Plattsburg the veteran British troops were beaten off by the Americans
behind their breastworks. Meanwhile the nation had been overwhelmed with
terror and shame by the capture of Washington. Five thousand British
troops landed from the Chesapeake, marched fifty miles across a populous
country, and coolly took the national capital. The defence made by General
Winder is characterized in his order to the artillery when, with seven
thousand militia, he was about to make a stand: "When you retreat, take
notice that you must retreat by the Georgetown road." The President and
cabinet fled, and the public buildings were burned, in alleged retaliation
for destruction of buildings in Canada; and the assailing force withdrew
to its ships without molestation. Encouraged by this success, a similar
attack was made upon Baltimore; here a spirited resistance from behind
intrenchments once more beat the British off.

[Sidenote: Attack on New Orleans.]

Now came the news that an expedition was preparing to attack the Gulf
coast. Andrew Jackson, who had been engaged in Indian wars in the
southwest, was put in command. Still, he made no preparation for the
defence of New Orleans, until, on December 10, the British expedition of
fifty sail was sighted. Jackson now showed his native energy; troops were
hurried forward, and militia were brought together. A want of common
watchfulness suffered the British to reach a point within seven miles of
New Orleans before they met any resistance. Then Jackson made such defence
as he could. He formed an intrenched line with artillery; and here, with
about forty-five hundred men, he awaited the advance of eight thousand of
the British. They attacked him Jan. 8, 1815, and were repulsed.

114. QUESTION OF THE MILITIA (1812-1814).

[Sidenote: New England disaffected.]

As at New Orleans, so throughout the war, the greater part of the fighting
was done by State militia hastily assembled, imperfectly disciplined, and
serving only for short terms. From the beginning, however, the New England
States had refused to furnish militia on the call of the general
government. They did not interfere with volunteer recruiting, and
Massachusetts alone supplied as many troops as came from Virginia and
North and South Carolina; but they declined officially to take part in
offensive military operations. The war was very unpopular to the New
Englanders because of the great losses to their commerce, and because they
paid more than half the expense; nor had New England any sympathy with
that invasion of Canada which was so popular in the West.

[Sidenote: Militia refused.]

As soon as war broke out, the Secretary of War authorized General Dearborn
to summon twenty thousand militia from the New England States. Care was
taken in sending the call to ask for small detachments of the militia, so
as to rid the United States of the general militia officers appointed by
the States. The result of these combined causes was that the Governor of
Connecticut refused to send militia, declaring that he must "yield
obedience to the paramount authority of the Constitution and the laws."
The Massachusetts House voted that the "war is a wanton sacrifice of our
best interests;" and the Governor of Massachusetts informed the President
that since there was no invasion, there was no constitutional reason for
sending the militia. New Hampshire took similar ground, and the governor
of Rhode Island congratulated the legislature on the possession of two
cannon, with which that State might defend itself against an invader. On
Nov. 10, 1813, Governor Chittenden of Vermont ordered the recall of a
brigade which had been summoned outside the boundary of the State,
declaring it to be his opinion that "the military strength and resources
of this State must be reserved for its own defence and protection

[Sidenote: National government hampered.]
[Sidenote: New England attacked.]

The general government had no means of enforcing its construction of the
Constitution. It did, however, withdraw garrisons from the New England
forts, leaving those States to defend themselves; and refused to send them
their quota of the arms which were distributed among the States. This
attitude was so well understood that during the first few months of the
war English cruisers had orders not to capture vessels owned in New
England. As the war advanced, these orders were withdrawn, and the
territory of Massachusetts in the District of Maine was invaded by British
troops. An urgent call for protection was then made upon the general
government; but even in this crisis Massachusetts would not permit her
militia to pass under the control of national military officers.


[Sidenote: Federalist successes.]
[Sidenote: Opposition to the war.]

More positive and more dangerous opposition had been urged in New England
from the beginning of the war. Besides the sacrifice of men, Massachusetts
furnished more money for the war than Virginia. In the elections of 1812
and 1813 the Federalists obtained control of every New England State
government, and secured most of the New England members of Congress. The
temper of this Federalist majority may be seen in a succession of
addresses and speeches in the Massachusetts legislature. On June 15, 1813,
Josiah Quincy offered a resolution that "in a war like the present, waged
without justifiable cause and prosecuted in a manner which indicates that
conquest and ambition are its real motives, it is not becoming a moral and
religious people to express any approbation of military or naval exploits
which are not immediately connected with the defence of our sea-coast and
soil." As the pressure of the war grew heavier, the tone in New England
grew sterner. On Feb. 18, 1814, a report was made to the Massachusetts
legislature containing a declaration taken almost literally from Madison's
Virginia Resolution of 1798 ( 90), that "whenever the national compact is
violated, and the citizens of the State oppressed by cruel and
unauthorized laws, this legislature is bound to interpose its power and
wrest from the oppressor his victim."

[Sidenote: Impotence of Congress.]
[Sidenote: Resistance threatened.]

The success of the British attacks in August and September, 1814, seemed
to indicate the failure of the war. Congress met on September 19 to
confront the growing danger: but it refused to authorize a new levy of
troops; it refused to accept a proposition for a new United States Bank;
it consented with reluctance to new taxes. The time seemed to have arrived
when the protests of New England against the continuance of the war might
be made effective. The initiative was taken by Massachusetts, which, on
October 16 voted to raise a million dollars to support a State army of ten
thousand troops, and to ask the other New England States to meet in

[Sidenote: A convention called.]

On Dec. 15, 1814, delegates assembled at Hartford from Massachusetts,
Connecticut, and Rhode Island, with unofficial representatives from New
Hampshire and Vermont. The head of the Massachusetts delegation was George
Cabot, who had been chosen because of his known opposition to the
secession of that State. As he said himself: "We are going to keep you
young hot-heads from getting into mischief." The expectation throughout
the country was that the Hartford convention would recommend secession,
Jefferson wrote: "Some apprehend danger from the defection of
Massachusetts. It is a disagreeable circumstance, but not a dangerous one.
If they become neutral, we are sufficient for one enemy without them; and,
in fact, we get no aid from them now."

[Sidenote: Hartford Convention.]
[Sidenote: Secession impending.]

After a session of three weeks, the Hartford Convention adjourned, Jan.
14, 1815, and published a formal report. They declared that the
Constitution had been violated, and that "States which have no common
umpire must be their own judges and execute their own decisions." They
submitted a list of amendments to the Constitution intended to protect a
minority of States from aggressions on the part of the majority. Finally
they submitted, as their ultimatum, that they should be allowed to retain
the proceeds of the national customs duties collected within their
borders. Behind the whole document was the implied intention to withdraw
from the Union if this demand were not complied with. To comply was to
deprive the United States of its financial power, and was virtually a
dissolution of the constitution. The delegates who were sent to present
this powerful remonstrance to Congress were silenced by the news that
peace had been declared.

116. THE PEACE OF GHENT (1812-1814).

[Sidebar: Russian mediation.]
[Sidebar: American commissioners sent.]

Three months after the war broke out, the Russian government had offered
mediation; it regretted to see the strength of the English allies wasted
in a minor contest with America. Madison eagerly seized this opportunity,
and on May 9, 1813, Gallatin and Bayard were sent as special
commissioners. On arriving in Russia they found that the British
government had refused the offer of mediation. The immediate effect was to
take Gallatin out of the Treasury, and he was followed by Secretary
Campbell, to whose incompetence the financial impotence of the war is
partly due. Toward the end of 1813 an offer of direct negotiation was made
by the British government, and John Quincy Adams, Jonathan Russell, and
Henry Clay were added to the negotiators. The absence of Clay, who had
exercised such influence as Speaker of the House, accounts for the apathy
of Congress in 1814.

[Sidebar: The effect of European peace.]
[Sidenote: Impressment.]

It was not until Aug. 8, 1814, that the commissioners finally met English
commissioners at Ghent. Of the grievances which had brought on the war,
most had been removed by the European peace: neutral vessels were no
longer captured; the blockade of American ports in time of peace was not
likely to be resumed; and the impressment of American seamen ceased
because the English navy was reduced. The two countries were therefore
fighting over dead questions. The Americans, however, naturally desired,
in making peace, to secure a recognition of the principles for which they
had gone to war; and the British had now no other enemy, and were incensed
at the temerity of the little nation which had attempted to invade Canada
and had so humiliated England at sea. Gradually, the commissioners began
to find common ground. Gallatin reported to the home government that in
his judgment no article could be secured renouncing the right to impress
British subjects wherever found. With a heavy heart, Madison consented
that that point should be omitted from the treaty.

[Sidenote: The war unpopular in England.]
[Sidenote: Effect of American defence.]

During 1814 great pressure was put upon the British government to make
peace, on account of the loss inflicted by American privateers. The war
was costing England about ten million pounds sterling a year, and no
definite result had been gained except the capture of a part of Maine and
of the American post of Astoria in Oregon. The Americans were unable to
make headway in Canada; the English were equally unable to penetrate into
the United States. Wellington was consulted, and reported that in his
judgment the British could hope for no success without naval superiority
on the lakes. The brave resistance of the Americans at Fort Erie and
Plattsburg had won the respect of the great military commander. The
ministry, therefore, resolved upon peace.

[Sidenote: Territory.]
[Sidenote: Fisheries.]
[Sidenote: The treaty signed.]

The first question to settle was that of territory. The British consented
to restore the territory as it had been before the war; some attempt was
made to create a belt of frontier neutral territory for the Indians who
had been allies of the British, but that point was also abandoned. Next
came the question of the fisheries: the British held that the American
rights had been lost by the war; Clay insisted that the British right of
navigation of the Mississippi had also been forfeited, and that the
fisheries might therefore be sacrificed as a "matter of trifling moment."
Adams stood out for the fisheries, and the result was that neither
question was mentioned in the treaty. In 1818 a special convention was
negotiated, defining the fishery rights of the United States. Upon these
general lines agreement was at last reached, and the treaty was signed
Dec. 24, 1814, several weeks before the battle of New Orleans.


[Sidenote: No gain from the war.]
[Sidenote: National pride.]

After nearly three years of war, the expenditure of one hundred millions
of dollars, the loss of about thirty thousand lives, the destruction of
property, and ruinous losses of American vessels, the country stood where
it had stood in 1812, its boundary unchanged, its international rights
still undefined, the people still divided. Yet peace brought a kind of
national exaltation. The naval victories had been won by officers and men
from all parts of the Union, and belonged to the nation. The last struggle
on land, the battle of New Orleans, was an American victory, and
obliterated the memory of many defeats. President Madison, in his annual
message of 1815, congratulated the country that the treaty "terminated
with peculiar felicity a campaign signalized by the most brilliant

[Sidenote: Training of soldiers.]

One noteworthy effect of the war had been the development of a body of
excellent young soldiers. Winfield Scott distinguished himself in the
Niagara campaigns, and rose eventually to be the highest officer of the
American army. William Henry Harrison's military reputation was based
chiefly on the Indian battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, but it made him
President in 1840. Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans brought him
before the people, and caused his choice as President in 1828. The
national pride was elated by the successes of American engineers, American
naval architects, American commodores, and volunteer officers like Jacob
Brown, who had finally come to the front.

[Sidenote: Extrication from European politics.]

The end of the war marks also the withdrawal of the United States from the
complications of European politics. From 1775 to 1815 the country had been
compelled, against its will, to take sides, to ask favors, and to suffer
rebuffs abroad. During the long interval of European peace, from 1815 to
1853, the United States grew up without knowing this influence.
Furthermore, the field was now clear for a new organization of American
industries. The profits of the shipping trade had not been due so much to
American enterprise as to the greater safety of foreign cargoes in neutral
bottoms. When this advantage was swept away, American shipping languished,
and its place was taken by manufacturing.

[Sidenote: Decay of the Federalist party.]
[Sidenote: Persistence of Federalist principles.]
[Sidenote: Gain in national spirit.]

The most marked result of the war was the absorption of the Federalist
Party, which at once began, and in five or six years was complete. In the
election of 1812 eighty-nine votes had been cast for the Federalist
candidate ( 109); in 1816 there were but thirty-four ( 123); in 1820
there was not one. This did not mean that Federalist principles had
decayed or been overborne; the real reason for the extinction of that
party was that it lived in the ranks of the Republican party. When
Jefferson in 1801 said, "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists,"
he expressed what had come to be true in 1815. The great principles for
which the Federalists had striven were the right of the federal government
to exercise adequate powers, and its duty to maintain the national
dignity: those principles had been adopted by the Republicans. John
Randolph was almost the only leader who continued to stand by the
Republican doctrine enunciated by Jefferson when he became President.
Jefferson himself had not scrupled to annex Louisiana, to lay the embargo,
and to enforce it with a severity such as Hamilton would hardly have
ventured on. Madison had twice received and used the power to discriminate
between the commerce of England and of France; and during the war the
nation had reimposed federal taxes and adopted Federalist principles of
coercion. James Monroe, Secretary of State at the end of Madison's
administration, and candidate for the Presidency in 1816, was in his
political beliefs not to be distinguished from moderate Federalists like
James A. Bayard in 1800. The Union arose from the disasters of the War of
1812 stronger than ever before, because the people had a larger national
tradition and greater experience of national government, and because they
had accepted the conception of government which Washington and Hamilton
had sought to create.




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--W. E. Foster, _References to Presidential
Administrations_, 15-19; Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History_,
VII. 344, 345, 437-439; J.F. Jameson, _Bibliography of Monroe_ (Appendix
to Oilman's _Monroe_); Channing and Hart, _Guide_, 174-178.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 1 and 5, this volume, and No. 1, Wilson, _Division
and Reunion_ (_Epoch Maps_ Nos. 7, 8, and 10); Labberton, _Atlas_, lxvii.;
T. MacCoun, _Historical Geography, Scribner, Statistical Atlas_, Plate 14.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--H. Von Holst, _Constitutional History_, I. 273-408; R.
Hildreth, _United States_. VI. 575-713 (to 1821); James Schouler, _United
States_, II. 444-463, III. 1-335; Bryant and Gay, _Popular History_. IV.
244-281; J. B. McMaster, _People of the United States_, IV. (to 1820);
Geo. Tucker, _United States_, III. 146-408; J. T. Morse, _John Quincy
Adams_, 102-164; Ormsby, _Whig Party_, 129-172.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--Henry Adams, _History of the United States_, IX.;
Carl Schurz, _Henry Clay_, I. 137-202; N. P. Gilman, _James Monroe_, 125-
174; F. W. Taussig, _Tariff History_, J. L. Bishop, _American
Manufactures_, II. 146-298; G. F. Tucker, _Monroe Doctrine_, Payne,
_European Colonies_, E. Stanwood, _Presidential Elections_, H. L. Carson,
_Supreme Court_, I. chs. xii.-xiv.; A C. McLaughlin, _Cass_, chs. ii., iv.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--J. Q. Adams, _Memoirs_, IV.-VI.; Josiah Quincy,
_Figures of the Past_, _Niles Register_, T. H. Benton, _Thirty Years'
View_, I. 1-44; Nathan Sargent, _Public Men, and Events_, I. 17-56; R.
Rush, _Residence at the Court of London_, J. Flint, _Recollections of the
last Ten Years_ (1826); R. Walsh, _Appeal from the Judgment of Great
Britain_ (1819); D. Warden, _Statistical, Political, and Historical
Account of the United States_ (1819); S. G. Goodrich, Recollections, II.
393-436; _The National Intelligencer_; Featon, _Sketches of America_,
_Fifth Report_; works of Clay, Calhoun, Webster, Madison, Woodbury.--
Reprints in F. W. Taussig, _State Papers and Speeches on the Tariff_,
_American History told by Contemporaries_, III.


[Sidenote: Prosperity.]

The population of the United States at the end of the war was about eight
million five hundred thousand, and it was increasing relatively faster in
the South and West than near the seaboard. The return of peace seemed also
a return of prosperity. Short crops abroad revived the demand for American
cereals, so that the surplus accumulated during the war could be sold at
fair prices, and the exports in 1816 ran up to $64,000,000. In 1815,
American shipping recovered almost to the point which it had reached in
1810. The revenue derived from taxation in 1814 was but $11,000,000; in
1816 it was $47,000,000. More than twenty thousand immigrants arrived in
1817. Wealth seemed increasing both in the North and the South.

[Sidenote: National literature.]
[Sidenote: The Clergy.]

Another evidence of the quickening of national life was the beginning of a
new national literature. In 1815 was founded the "North American Review,"
and in an early number appeared Bryant's "Thanatopsis." Already in 1809
had appeared the first work of an American which was comparable with that
of the British essayists,--Washington Irving's "Knickerbocker" History of
New York. His quaint humor was not less appreciated from his good-natured
allusions to the Jeffersonian principle of government "by proclamation."
The hold of the clergy had been much weakened in New England; there had
been a division of the Congregational Church, with the subsequent founding
of the Unitarian branch; and the Jeffersonian principle of popular
government was gaining ground. The people were keen and alert.

[Sidenote: Means of transportation.]
[Sidenote: Steamboats.]

In two respects the war had taught the Americans their own weakness: they
had had poor facilities for transportation, and they had lacked
manufactures of military material. There was a widespread feeling that the
means of intercommunication ought to be improved. The troops on the
northern frontier had been badly provisioned and slowly reinforced because
they could not readily be reached over the poor roads. A system had been
invented which was suitable for the rapid-running rivers of the interior
and for lake navigation: in 1807 Fulton made the first voyage by steam on
the Hudson River. Nine years later a system of passenger service had been
developed in various directions from New York, and a steamer was running
on the Mississippi.

[Sidenote: Rise of manufactures.]
[Sidenote: Foreign competition.]

Manufactures had sprung up suddenly and unexpectedly in the United States.
The restrictive legislation from 1806 to 1812, though it had not cut off
foreign imports, had checked them; and shrewd ship-owners had in some
cases diverted their accumulated capital to the building of factories. In
1812 commerce with England was totally cut off, and importations from
other countries were loaded down with double duties. This indirect
protection was enough to cause the rise of many manufactures, particularly
of cotton and woollen goods. In 1815, the capital invested in these two
branches of industry was probably $50,000,000. On the conclusion of peace
in England and America an accumulated stock of English goods poured forth,
and the imports of the United States instantly rose from $12,000.000 in
1814, to $106,000,000 in 1815. These importations were out of proportion
to the exports and to the needs of the country, and they caused the
stoppage of a large number of American factories. Meanwhile, American
ships had begun to feel the competition of foreign vessels in foreign
trade. Without intending it, the country had drifted into a new set of
economic conditions.


[Sidenote: Banks and currency.]

The first evidence of this change of feeling was a demand for the renewal
of the bank which had been allowed to expire in 1811 ( 110). The country
had been thrown entirely upon banks chartered by the States; the pressure
of the war had caused their suspension, and the currency and banking
capital of the United States had thus been thrown into complete confusion.
For example, the Farmers Exchange Bank of Gloucester, R. I., was started,
with a capital of $3,000; accumulated deposits so that one of the
directors was able to steal $760,000; and then it failed, with specie
assets of $86.46. In 1811 there were eighty-eight State banks; in 1816
there were two hundred and forty-six.

[Sidenote: Bank bill of 1814.]
[Sidenote: The Bank Act.]

Since the re-charter bill of 1811 had failed by only one vote, Dallas,
Secretary of the Treasury in 1814, again proposed a national bank.
Congress accepted the principle, but an amendment proposed by John C.
Calhoun so altered the scheme that upon Dallas's advice Madison cast his
first important veto against it on Jan. 30, 1815. What Dallas desired was
a bank which would lend money to the government; what Congress planned was
a bank which would furnish a currency based on specie. In the next session
of Congress Madison himself urged the creation of a bank, and this time
Calhoun supported him. The Federalists, headed by Daniel Webster,--
remnants of the party which had established the first national bank,--
voted against it on the general principle of factious opposition. A small
minority of the Republicans joined them, but it was passed without much
difficulty, and became a law on April, 10, 1816.

[Sidenote: Bank charter.]

The bank was modelled on its predecessor ( 78), but the capital was
increased from $10,000,000 to $35,000,000, of which the United States
government held $7,000,000. It was especially provided that "the deposits
of the money of the United States shall be made in said bank or branches
thereof." In return for its special privileges the bank agreed to pay to
the government $1,500,000. The capital was larger than could safely be
employed; it was probably intended to absorb bank capital from the State
banks. The prosperity of the country, aided by the operations of the bank,
secured the renewal of specie payments by all the sound banks in the
country on Feb. 20, 1817.

[Sidenote: Loose construction accepted.]

The striking feature in the bank was not that it should be established,
but that it should be accepted by old Republicans like Madison, who had
found the charter of a bank in 1791 a gross perversion of the
Constitution. Even Henry Clay, who in 1811 had powerfully contributed to
the defeat of the bank, now came forward as its champion.


[Sidenote: Local improvements.]
[Sidenote: Cumberland road.]
[Sidenote: Gallatin's scheme.]

Side by side with the bank bill went a proposition for an entirely new
application of the government funds. Up to this time internal
improvements--roads, canals and river and harbor improvements--had been
made by the States, so far as they were made at all. Virginia and Maryland
had spent considerable sums in an attempt to make the Potomac navigable,
and a few canals had been constructed by private capital, sometimes aided
by State credit. In 1806 the United States began the Cumberland Road, its
first work of the kind; but it was intended to open up the public lands in
Ohio and the country west, and was nominally paid for out of the proceeds
of those public lands. Just as the embargo policy was taking effect,
Gallatin, encouraged by the accumulation of a surplus in the Treasury,
brought in a report, April 4, 1808, suggesting the construction of a great
system of internal improvements: it was to include coastwise canals across
the isthmuses of Cape Cod, New Jersey, upper Delaware and eastern North
Carolina; roads were to be constructed from Maine to Georgia, and thence
to New Orleans, and from Washington westward to Detroit and St. Louis. He
estimated the cost at twenty millions, to be provided in ten annual
instalments. Jefferson himself was so carried away with this prospect of
public improvement that he recommended a constitutional amendment to
authorize such expenditures. The whole scheme disappeared when the surplus
vanished; but from year to year small appropriations were made for the
Cumberland road, so that up to 1812 more than $200,000 had been expended
upon it.

[Sidenote: Calhoun's Bonus Bill.]
[Sidenote: Madison's veto.]

The passage of the bank bill in 1816 was to give the United States a
million and a half of dollars (Section 120). Calhoun, therefore, came
forward, Dec. 23, 1816 with a bill proposing that this sum be employed as
a fund "for constructing roads and canals and improving the navigation of
watercourses." "We are" said he, "a rapidly--I was about to say a
fearfully--growing country.... This is our pride and danger, our weakness
and our strength." The constitutional question he settled with a phrase:
"If we are restricted in the use of our money to the enumerated powers, on
what principle can the purchase of Louisiana be justified?" The bill
passed the House by eighty-six to eighty-four; it was strongly supported
by New York members, because it was expected that the general government

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit Twitter Pinterest