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DISCOVERY OF GOLD IN CALIFORNIA
When the commissioners, appointed by the President CHAP. to supersede Trist, arrived at Mexico, they found the treaty negotiated and signed by the parties. In substance it was 1848. the same that had been prepared by the Cabinet. When brought to Washington it was at once laid before the Senate, and after a short discussion ratified. The President by proclamation, on the 4th of July, 1848, made known to the nation that the war was at an end, and a satisfactory treaty bad been concluded.
New Mexico and Upper California were ceded to the United States, and the lower Rio Grande, from its mouth to El Paso, was taken as the boundary of Texas. Mexico was to receive fifteen millions of dollars ; the claims of American citizens against her—amounting to three and a quarter millions of dollars--were assumed by the United States. In a few months not an American soldier was on Mexican soil.
On the 4th of July, 1845, the annexation of Texas was consummated ; and thus within three years a territory four times as large as France, had been added to the United States-regions hitherto imperfectly known, but having in store the elements of great wealth.
At the very time that the commissioners were negotiating the treaty, a laborer engaged at work upon a millrace belonging to Captain Sutter, on one of the tributaries of the Sacramento river, noticed in the sand some shining particles. They proved to be gold. By the time the treaty was ratified rumors of the discovery reached the United States. The excitement produced was unprecedented. In a short time thousands were on their way to the land of gold. Every means of conveyance was called into requisition, from the emigrant's pack-horse and wagon, to the sailing-vessel and the steam-ship. Some went in caravans over the plains and the Rocky Mountains; some crossed the Isthmus of Panama, and found their way up the Pacific coast; others took ship and passed
CHAP. round Cape Horn. The sufferings of the great majority
of these adventurers were intense ; hundreds of them met 1848. untimely deaths on the way, or by disease, privations, and
improvidence, when they reached their journey's end. The ferment extended throughout the civilized world. Multitudes of gold-seekers were soon on their way from the different countries of Europe and South America, and even distant China sent her thousands. The tide of immigration was directed to SAN FRANCISCO, which, from a
miserable village of a few huts, soon became a city of fifteen 1859. thousand inhabitants, now to have more than five times
that number, and to be the great entrepöt of the Pacific.
The influence of this discovery of gold mines, has been incalculable in its effects, not merely upon the United States, but has extended to other nations, “ It touched the nerves of industry throughout the world,” infused new life into commerce, and awakened a spirit of adventure and
individual exertion never before known. Feb. On the 21st of February, the venerable John Quincy 21.
Adams, when in his seat in the House of Representatives, was struck by paralysis. Two days later he expired. His last words
66 This is the last of earth :I am content.” Born in revolutionary times : “ The cradle hymns of the child were the songs of liberty." He had associated with the fathers of the republic, and was the representative of the memories of that heroic age. For more than sixty years he had been constantly engaged in public affairs. At the age of fourteen, private secretary to Francis Dana, American minister to Russia ; at twentyseven appointed minister to Holland by Washington, who styled him “the ablest of all our diplomatic corps." Afterward successively, United States Senator ; professor in Harvard College ; minister to Russia ; one of the negotiators of the treaty of Ghent; Secretary of State under Monroe ; President, and then member of the House till his death, at the age of fourscore. Old in years but
THE WILMOT PROVISO.
Luoyant in spirit, he never lagged behind his age ; but CHAP with careful eye watched the progress of his country, and sympathized with its youthful energies.
1848. The administration of Mr. Polk was drawing to a close. Its great event had been the Mexican war, the train for which was laid under his predecessor, The tariff of 1842, under which the industry of the country had rapidly recovered from its prostration, after an existence of four years was so modified, as to afford less pro- 1846. tection to American manufactures.
David Wilmot, a member of the House from Pennsylvania, introduced a proposition into Congress, since known as the “ Wilmot Proviso,” by which slavery should be prohibited in all territory obtained by treaty. The “ Proviso” did not become a law, but the subject of slavery was once more brought up for discussion,
The Democratic convention met at Baltimore to nominate a candidate for the office of President. Two sets of delegates appeared from New York, both claiming to be the true representatives of the Democracy of that State.
No compromise could reconcile the parties, and the convention solved the difficulty by excluding both from its deliberations. It then proceeded to nominate Senator Lewis Cass, of Michigan, for President, and General William O. Butler, of Kentucky, for Vice-President.
The delegates representing the Whig party, and those opposed to the measures of the administration, met at Philadelphia, and nominated General Zachary Taylor for President, and Millard Fillmore, of New York, for VicePresident.
One portion of the Democracy of New York accepted the nominations of the Baltimore convention ; another portion rejected them. The latter called a convention, at Buffalo of those who were opposed to the extension of slavery into free territory. They adopted a platform in
CHAP. favor of “Free Soil," and nominated ex-president Van
Buren for the Presidency and Charles Francis Adams 1848. (son of John Quincy Adams) for the Vice-Presidency. Aug.
A spirited canvass followed, and the candidates of the Whig party were elected.
During the last year of this administration, Wisconsin was admitted into the Union as a State, and Minnesota organized as a Territory.
A new Department, that of the Interior, was created by Congress, to relieve the Secretary of the Treasury of part of his duties.
On the fifth of March, the fourth occurring on the Sabbath, the new President was inducted into office.
Mr. Polk, broken down in health, retired to his home
in Nashville, Tennessee, where in a few months he was June. numbered with the dead. A man of exemplary char
acter; he was lamented by the people.
TAYLOR AND FILLMORE'S ADMINISTRATION.
Discussion on Slavery.-Wilmot Proviso.— The Powers of the Constitution;
their Application in the Territories.—Thirty-first Congress.-President's
GENERAL Zachary Taylor was a native of Virginia ; but CHAP. when he was very young, his father removed to Kentucky, and on the frontiers of that State he spent his youth as a 1849. farmer. At the age of twenty-four he received a commission in the army from President Jefferson, and en- 1808. tered upon a career more congenial to his tastes than cultivating the soil. For forty years he was in the military service of his country ; his sphere of duty was on the frontiers ; and thus situated he had never even voted at an election. Honest and frank, blest with common sense and firmness of purpose, he was withal unselfish and patriotic, and uncontaminated with political intrigues. His inaugural address on taking the office of President, was brief, and confined to a declaration of general principles. His cabinet, at the head of which was John M. Clayton of Delaware, was at once confirmed by the Senate.