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THE PRESIDENT'S TOUR-COLONIZATION SOCIETY.
nity and neutrality of the United States, as well as pro
CHAP. tect commerce ; he also recommended that a knowledge of naval and military science should be kept up. In ad- 1817 dition, that domestic manufactures be protected by imposts on foreign merchandise, and also, internal improvements be aided by the national government, if such expenditure was in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution.
Though professing to be much gratified that the party spirit lately so rampant was allayed, the President took good care to appoint none but his most devoted adherents to the offices within his gift. John Quincy Adams was recalled from the court of St. James to become Secretary of State. The other members of his cabinet were William H. Crawford of Georgia, Secretary of the Treasury; Crowningshield of Massachusetts, Secretary of the Navy; John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, and William Wirt, Attorney-General.
The President, some months after his inauguration, inade a tour through the Eastern States. The sentiments of his address had become diffused, and prepared the way for his receiving a warm reception in the Federal town of Boston, and throughout New England generally. It was enthusiastically proclaimed that the people were once more to be harmonious in their views of national policy.
During the following session of Congress the American Colonization Society was formed at Washington. It was designed to provide a home beyond the limits of the United States for the free people of color who should desire to emigrate. The condition of these people in the slaveholding States, as well as the laws in some of the others, that forbade their settling within their borders, led to the formation of the Society. The enterprise was ardently advocated by Henry Clay, Judge Washington, John Randolph, and other southern statesmen. This So
CHAP ciety established the now flourishing Colony of Liberia on XLVI.
the west coast of Africa. 1817.
The influence of the Revolution had not been without effect upon other nations. The Spanish colonies of South America threw off their allegiance to the mother country, and declared themselves independent. Under the pretence of having commissions from these new Republics, a company of adventurers, principally drawn from Charleston and Savannah, seized Amelia Island, off the harbor of St. Augustine. These worthies soon began to smuggle merchandise and slaves into the United States. Yet, as a cloak to their deeds, they proclaimed they were blockading the port of St. Augustine. A similar haunt for buccaneers had existed for some time at Galveston in Texas. Both these establishments were broken up by order of the United States Government.
The condition of the South American republics excited great sympathy in the minds of the people. Some were advocates for giving them aid, while others were anxious that Congress should, at least, acknowledge their independence. In defiance of the President's proclamation to the contrary, cruisers, bearing the flag of these Republics, were fitted out in some of the ports of the United States to prey upon Spanish commerce.
These difficulties, combined with other causes, led to a new Indian war in the South. Numbers of Seminoles, refugee Creeks, and runaway negroes, living in the Spanish Territory, south of Flint river, began to pillage the Georgia settlements north of that river. General Gaines, who was in command at the nearest fort, demanded that these murderers and robbers should be given up. The Indians refused, on the ground that they were not the age
gressors. Soon after a collision occurred, in which several Nov. Indians were killed. Their death was terribly revenged 30.
upon the people on board a boat ascending the Apalachi
JACKSON SUBDUES THE INDIANS-PURCHASE OF FLORIDA.
cola, with supplies for Fort Scott. More than forty per- CHAP sons, consisting of men, women, and children, were massacred. The War Department ordered General Jackson 1817. to invade the Indian Territory, and “bring the war to a speedy and effectual close.” In three months he was on the ground, with an army composed of Georgians and Tennesseeans. He moved to the vicinity of where Tallahassee now stands; the savages made little resistance, but abandoned their towns, and their cattle and grain. With his usual energy, Jackson pressed on, and, without ceremony, seized St. Mark's, on Appalachee Bay, the only Mar. Spanish fort in that part of Florida, on the ground that its officers were aiding and abetting the Indians in their hostilities to the United States. One of the American armed vessels on the coast hoisted British colors, and two of the hostile Creek chiefs were decoyed on board. These chiefs Jackson unceremoniously hanged. On one of the April incursions against the enemy, two British subjects, Robert C. Ambrister and Alexander Arbuthnot, traders among the Indians, were taken prisoners. These two men were put on trial for their lives before a court-martial, on the charge of aiding the Indians. They were found guilty and sentenced to death, and immediately executed. The measure was much censured as unnecessary and unwarranted. Notwithstanding the protest of the Spanish governor against his invasion of Florida, Jackson soon appeared before Pensacola, which place surrendered. The governor in the mean time fled to a fort further down the May. bay, and finally to Havana.
These arbitrary proceedings were protested against by Don Onis, the Spanish Minister at Washington. The matter however was not pressed, as negotiations were soon after entered upon to purchase the territory in dispute.
American citizens had claims amounting to five millions of dollars against the Spanish government. Don Onis received instructions from home, that authorized
CHAP. him to cede Florida to the United States for these claims XLVI.
The purchase was thus made, the American Government 1821. assuming the debt. Two years later Spain ratified the
Treaty. Florida was then organized as a Territory, and
The American people have never been indifferent to the political as well as the moral aspects of slavery. From the adoption of the Constitution till the time of which we write, the conscience and the sympathy of the religious portion of the nation, both North and South, found their expression on the subject in memorials addressed to their ecclesiastical assemblies, whose resolutions in reply condemned the system.
The Continental Congress legislated specially on the subject in adopting the ordinance by which the region
north of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi was conse1790. crated to freedom. During the second session of the First
Congress, petitions were presented to that body, praying it to take measures to free the nation of the system. The committee to whom these memorials were referred, reported that Congress was not authorized by the Constitution to interfere with slavery as existing in the individual States. In accordance with this view, that body has ever acted, when disposing of the numerous memorials on the subject that have, from time to time, been presented to it.
The Northern States, for a quarter of a century, had been gradually freeing themselves of the institution, or making provision to that effect, while in the Southern States a different sentiment had been on the increase. The acquisition of Louisiana had given to them a rast region in which slave labor was profitable, especially in the cultivation of cotton. These antagonist opinions were suddenly brought into collision, and a strong sectional feeling was elicited.
The territory of Missouri asked permission to form a
1819. Feb. 16.
DEBATES ON THE RESTRICTION OF SLAVERY.
constitution, preparatory to her admission into the Union CHAP as a State. When the question was before the House of Representatives, James W. Tallmadge, a member from 1819. New York, proposed to insert a clause, prohibiting the further introduction of slaves into the territory, and also another clause granting freedom to the children of slaves already there, when they should attain the age of twenty
After a spirited debate both these propositions were adopted. The day following the passage of this bill came up a similar one to organize the Territory of Arkansas. This bill, after a strenuous effort to insert similar clauses, was finally passed without any restriction as to slavery.
The States admitted into the Union, since the adoption of the Constitution, had happened to come in alternately as non-slaveholding, and as slaveholding—Vermont and Kentucky; Tennessee and Ohio ; Louisiana and Indiana ; Mississippi and Illinois. As Alabama had applied for admission as a slave State, it was urged that Missouri should be admitted as free. This proposition soon lost its force by the application of Maine, the northeastern part of Massachusetts, presenting herself to be admitted as a free State. Here was an offset to Alabama, leaving Missouri to make the next slave State.
In the consideration of these bills the subject of slavery restriction in the territories came up for discussion. The members from the Southern States insisted that any restriction upon Missouri would violate the pledge given to the inhabitants of Louisiana, at the time of its purchase, that they should enjoy “all the privileges of citizens of the United States ; " that such a restriction would eventually interfere with State rights; that the citizens of slaveholding States had the right to take their property into the territories of the Union. It was urged that it would be an act of humanity and a blessing to the poor slave, whose lot was so hard in the old exhausted