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The administration of Adams, now drawing to its close,
was in its policy like that of Washington. During these 1799. twelve years, there was much opposition, but that policy
in the main has remained unchanged from that day to this. To be free from the turmoil of European politics was wisdom, but to carry it out required the calm determination of Washington, as well as the impulsive energy of Adams, “who was not the man to quail ” when he thought duty called.
During the summer the seat of the Federal Govern1800. ment was removed to the City of Washington, then “a
little village in the midst of the woods," in the District of Columbia.
The struggle for political power was renewed with great vigor, and in the bitterness of party spirit. The Federalists nominated Adams and Charles C. Pinckney for President, while the Republicans nominated for the same office, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. When the electors came to cast their votes it was found that Adams had sixty-five, Pinckney sixty-four, and Jefferson and Burr had each seventy-three. In accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, it became necessary for the
House of Representatives to make the choice. After 1801. thirty-six ballotings, during seven days, Jefferson was Feb, 17.
chosen President, and Burr Vice-President.
The President's Inaugural.-Purchase of Louisiana.—The Pirates of the
Mediterranean.-Captain Bainbridge.—The Burning of the Philadelphia.Tripoli Bombarded.—Death of Hamilton.-Aaron Burr.-Cpposition to the Navy.-Gunboats.-Right of Neutrals infringed upon.The unjust Decrees issued by England and France.- American Merchants demand the Right to defend themselves.-Impressment of American Seamen.- Treaty with England rejected by the President.Affair of the Chesapeake.—The Embargo; its effect.-Public feeling on the subject.Manufactures.-Embargo repealed.
On entering upon office Jefferson found the country in a CAAP, prosperous condition. The revenue was abundant for current expenses ; the stability of the government had in- 1801. spired the industrial interests with confidence, commerce had increased beyond all precedent, and was pressing on to still higher triumphs.
The prospect of a general peace in Europe also gave assurance that American ships would no longer be subjected to unlawful seizures under the pretense that they carried cargoes contraband of war. The census just taken had shown the population to be, within a few hundreds, double what it was at the commencement of the revolution. The total population being 5,319,762. The number of members of the House of Representatives was 141.
The new President professed to deprecate party spirit : and wished to be recognized as a “moderate republican,” proclaiming as “ brethren of the same principles, we are
CHAP. called by different names, we are all Republicans, we are
all Federalists." But in a very short time he began to 1802. remove those from office, who were not of his own political
opinions. The bitterness of party spirit was not allayed by this policy.
Immigrants had been pouring into the region Northwest of the Ohio. In one year twenty thousand persons had passed into that territory to find homes. The people of the eastern portion, presented themselves at the door of Congress, asking permission to be admitted as a State. The request was granted, and the State of Ohio, with a
population of seventy thousand, became a member of the April. Union.
The Spanish Governor of Louisiana, in violation of an existing treaty—that of 1795--refused permission to the traders on the Mississippi to deposit their produce at New Orleans. This act, so injurious to their commerce, caused a great commotion among the people beyond the mountains. The government was called upon to redress these grievances ; the Western people must have the privilege of freely navigating the Mississippi, or they would seize New Orleans, and drive the Spaniards from the territory. At this crisis intimations came from Paris that Spain, by a secret treaty, had ceded Louisiana to France. Bonaparte's vision of restoring the French power on this continent had become somewhat dim, especially as the overpowering fleet of Great Britain would seize and occupy the mouth of the Mississippi, whenever it was known to belong to France. To avoid this contingency, he was willing to sell the entire territory of Louisiana to the United States. Accordingly Robert R. Livingston, American Minister at Paris, commenced negotiations,
which resulted in the purchase of that region for fifteen 1803, millions of dollars. The rights and privileges of AmeriApril
can citizens were guaranteed to the inhabitants of the purchased territory.
When the sale was completed, Bonaparte is said to CHAP. have esclaimed :-" This accession of territory strengthens forever the power of the United States ;-I have just 1803. given to England a maritime rival that will sooner or later humble her pride."
In the midst of the turmoil of wars in Europe, the pirates of the Mediterranean had renewed their depreda- Sept. tions
upon American commerce. Captain Bainbridge in command of the frigate George Washington was sent to Algiers with the usual tribute. The Dey ordered him to carry some presents and his ambassador to Constantinople. Bainbridge at first refused. The Dey was highly indignant, “You pay me tribute,” said he, “ by which you become my slaves, and therefore I have the right to order you as I think proper.” However, as he was exposed to the guns of the castle and batteries, and learning that English, French, and Spanish ships of war had submitted to similar impositions, Bainbridge thought it more prudent to comply with the arrogant demand, hoping at some future time to avenge the indignity thus offered his country's flag. In closing his report to the Navy Department, he wrote, “I hope I will never again be sent to Algiers with tribute unless
1803, I am authorized to deliver it from the mouth of our cannon."
As these depredations continued, and, while the tribute became more and more onerous, a squadron, under Commodore Preble, was sent to capture the pirates and blockade the harbor of Tripoli. The frigate Philadelphia, commanded by Bainbridge, when chasing an Algerine cruiser, ran upon a sunken rock near the shore. While thus disabled, Tripolitan gun-boats captured her after a contest, which lasted an entire day. Bainbridge and his crew of three hundred men, were made prisoners, and treated as slaves, for whom an exorbitant ransom was demanded.
Finding means, however, to communicate with the American squadron, he suggested the possibility of burn
CHAP. ing the Philadelphia, as she lay moured under the guns
of the castle. Lieutenant Decatur volunteered to act on 1804. the suggestion. A small Tripolitan trader had been cap
tured a few days before. This vessel, now named the Intrepid, was selected for the enterprise. With a crew of seventy-six chosen men—all volunteers--Decatur sailed on his perilous undertaking. Combustibles were prepared in bundles, and to each man was assigned his par
ticular duty. 1804. Passing into the harbor, they approached the Phila
delphia about midnight. When hailed, the interpreter answered they were traders, who had lost their anchor in the late gale, and begged permission to make fast to the frigate till morning. The request was granted, and the Intrepid slipped alongside. Suddenly the Turks noticed
that she had her anchors, and gave the alarm, shouting Feb. “ Americanos.” In a moment more, Decatur and his 16.
brave companions clambered up one side of the vessel, while the panic-stricken Turks, after slight resistance, as rapidly passed over the other into the water. The faggots were handed up, and carried to every part of the ship, and in thirty minutes she was on fire from stem to stern. So dry had the vessel and the rigging become in that warm climate, that with difficulty the Americans escaped the flames. When clear of the frigate cheers of triumph told that the daring attempt had been successful. The flames soon lighted up the harbor ; the castle opened with its guns upon the Intrepid, which, urged on by the rowers, was rapidly passing out of danger. Soon the guns of the burning frigate began to explode and throw their shot in all directions. This was one of the boldest enterprises ever undertaken by our naval heroes.
The squadron continued to blockade the harbor of Tripoli, and during the following summer bombarded the town. The contest was severe, and there was much handto-hand fighting on board gun-boats. Intelligence came