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CHAP: States, to transfer him to the fertile plains of the west;
that this would only be the diffusion of the system, but 1819. not its extension, as the number of slaves would not be
increased thereby; and that the prohibition of slavery would diminish emigration from the South into the territories.
To these arguments it was replied : it was true that Congress was forbidden by the Constitution to interfere with slavery in the original thirteen States, but that this did not apply to the territories. They were the property of the Union, and Congress had the control of their organization. Would Congress be justified in spreading over them an institution which even its advocates on the floor of the house had again and again deplored as an evil ?
It was contended that slave labor and free labor could not coexist on the same soil; and should the introduction of a few thousands of slaves exclude millions of freemen from the territories ?
The debate was conducted with great animation, mingled with much bitterness, and threats to dissolve the Union. The intense excitement was not limited to the National Legislature ; it extended throughout the country, and it was by no means diminished by the speeches made on the subject on the floor of Congress, nor by the fact, which the discussion revealed, that during the previous year more than fourteen thousand slaves had been smuggled into the United States, from Africa and the West Indies.
The legislatures of some of the Northern States expressed their wish that slavery should not go beyond the Mississippi, while the people held conventions and me morialized Congress. Opposite views were as strongly expressed by some of the Southern States. Thus the country was agitated for nearly two years, and the diffi
* Thc Debates in Congress, Niles's Register, Vols 16, 17, and 18.
THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE.
culty was still unsettled. When the bill came before the CHAP. Senate, Jesse B. Thomas of Illinois moved as an amendment, a clause forbidding the introduction of slavery into 1820. the Louisiana Territory north of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, and west of the proposed State of Missouri. This was the line of the famous Missouri Compromise. The House, however, would not at first agree to this arrangement; but finally, through means of a committee of conference, Maine was admitted, and Missouri, on these conditions, after she should adopt a constitution.
The following year, when the constitution of Missouri was presented to Congress, it was found to contain a clause that prohibited free people of color from settling in the State. Though this clause " was adopted for the sake of peace—for the sake of internal tranquillity—and to prevent the agitation of the slave question,”ı yet it was viewed far differently in Congress, and was the occasion of opening the restriction question with all its bitterness. The insertion of the offensive clause, under the circumstances, seemed to manifest as little regard for the Constitution of the United States, as respect for the opinions of those opposed to the extension of slavery. The citizens of any one State were, by the Constitution, entitled to the privileges of citizens in the other States. Free people of color were thus recognized in some of the States, but by this clause they were deprived of their rights. Another committee of conference, of which Henry Clay was the prime mover, was appointed by the Senate and House of Representatives. The difficulty was again compromised by which Missouri was to be admitted on the express condition that she would expunge the obnoxious clause, and then the President was authorized to admit her by proclamation. The Missouri Legislature complied, and the fact
* Benton's Thirty Years' View, Vol. i. p. 8.
CHAP: was communicated to the President, who proclaimed her
admission to the family of States. Thus the slavery agi1821. tation was allayed for a time, but the same question Aug. under different phases, has returned again and again, and
will no doubt continue thus to do till the conscience of the nation is fully satisfied on the subject-for questions involving the moral and political relations of so many millions cannot be lightly passed over.
A new interest was awakened in behalf of the South American Republics. Great efforts had been made by Henry Clay, during their struggle, to induce Congress to
acknowledge their independence, but it was then thought Mar. premature ; now the bill was passed. The next year the 1822. President declared in his message that “as a principle the
American Continents, by the free and independent position which they have assumed and maintained, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European power.”
This has since been known as the Monroe Doctrine, though its authorship, it would seem, belongs rather to his Secretary of State, John Quincy Adams.
Great financial distress prevailed during this period throughout the land. The immense amount of foreign, especially English, merchandise sent, at reduced prices, into the country, paralyzed its industry. These goods were thus sent for the express purpose of ruining the American manufactures, called into existence by the necessities of the war-an object which they effectually accomplished. The distress of the people, reacted upon the general government. When they refused to buy, because unable to pay, the importations fell off, and as a consequence, the revenue was so diminished that the government, from necessity, resorted to loans in order to obtain means of defraying its current expenses.
The general distress was not a little increased by the measures of the National Bank. Indeed no confidence could be
THE VISIT OF LAFAYETTE.
placed in the banks except those of New England, which CHAP. redeemed their notes in specie when presented, while those in other parts of the Union became bankrupt. The 1824. density of the population of the New England States enabled them to engage with advantage in manufactures, and also in shipping, and the coasting trade, which was especially profitable. For these reasons they withstood the financial crisis, while the agricultural and manufacturing interests of the other States were overwhelmed.
The country, by its own innate energy, began to recover from these financial difficulties. As a means to accomplish that desirable object, an increase of tariff was imposed on imported merchandise, thus to protect domestic industry from undue foreign competition, to create a diversity of pursuits, and develop the resources of the nation.
Congress also manifested its sense of justice by making provision for the wants of the surviving officers and 1818. soldiers of the Revolution, and for the widows and orphans of those deceased.
The last year of Monroe's administration was signalized by an event highly gratifying to the people, an event linking the past with the present, the days of conflict and trial with the days of peace and prosperity. The venerable Lafayette came to the United States, the invited
Mar. guest of the nation. Around every fireside tradition had fondly cherished his memory, and the people loved him as the noble and generous stranger who, in the days of their fathers, had sacrificed his fortune and shed his blood in their country's cause. They vied with each other in doing him honor. His journey from State to State was one continued triumphal procession; compared with this spontaneous expression of a nation's gratitude, how insignificant the proudest triumph of Roman consul or emperor ! The vessel designated to carry him home was the new frigate Brandywine, a name-given by the new President, John
CHAP. Quincy Adams—that conveyed a delicate compliment, as
on the banks of that little stream he was wounded in his 1826. first battle in the cause of American freedom. The
American people wished to manifest still further their sense of obligation, and Congress conferred upon him two hundred thousand dollars and a township of land.
When the time came to choose a successor to Monroenow in his second term-four candidates were put in nomination ; John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, General Jackson, and William H. Crawford. No one of the candidates received a majority of the popular vote, and the election devolved upon the House of Representatives, by whom Adams was chosen. John C. Calhoun had been chosen Vice-President by the popular vote.
This election gave the death-blow to the custom of nominating candidates for the Presidency by a caucus held by certain members of Congress. Previous to this, for twenty-four successive years, the candidates had been thus nominated, and consequently chosen from a single State.