Page images
PDF
EPUB

ELECTION OF JEFFERSON.

251

which history has hitherto failed to solve. His talents were of a high order; his service in the revolution commenced with Arnold's famous march to Quebec, but ended before the close of the war; and he had lately been active as a party politician; so that it is not surprising he should have been put in nomination throughout all the states, in common with Jefferson, on the republican interest.

When the votes were counted, Adams was found completely in the minority. Jefferson and Burr were the names foremost upon the list; and by a singular fatality, they had an equal number of votes. As the constitution had provided that the candidate having the greatest number of votes should be president, and the one having the second number, should be vice-president, it now became a question who was entitled to the highest office. The circumstance of equality in the number of votes of two candidates, gave the power of election to the house of representatives. Thirty-five ballotings took place in the house, before a decision was obtained : and then Jefferson prevailed over his opponent, and was declared president, Burr becoming vice-president. The question was decided in Febuary, 1801.

CHAPTER XXXV.

JEFFERSON'S ADMINISTRATION.

As the ever large body of the politically timid, who invariably desert the unsuccessful, now passed over to the side of Jefferson, their accession, together with the popular support of his own party, gave him a stronger power

than had been wielded since the first year of Washington.

The Americans were congratulating themselves that the restoration of peace in Europe, by the late treaty between England and France, would, by opening the ports of these nations to America, and ridding the sea of obstruc

Who was put on the republican ticket with Jefferson ?--What was Burr's character ?-What appeared on counting the votes ??--Give an account of what followed this discovery.-How was the election finally decided ?---What was effected by the treaty of peace betweea Eugland and France ?

252

ACQUISITION OF LOCISLANA. tion, bring about a season of commercial prosperity, such as they had not yet been able to enjoy. The reconciliaLion of enemies, however, in general, turns to the disadvantage, rather than the advantage, of neutrals. So the Americans found, upon learning that Spain had ceded the province of Louisiana to France; and that Great Britain looked on, well pleased, at an arrangement that would give so troublesome a neighbour as France to the United States.

The attention of Napoleon, who then governed France, was necessarily directed to the recovery of that colonial force which had been lost during the war. His present amity with Britain opening the ocean to the French fleets, enabled the first consul to form plans of empire in the only region where England would permit and might applaud the attempt. An expedition was fitted out to recover St. Domingo from the insurgent blacks. After its conquest, the army was to take possession of Louisiana; and these united would give to France a certain preponderance in the West Indies, as well as commercial advan tages, highly to be desired. By these means, indeed, they would have the full command of the Mississippi. and the Gulf Stream itself.

The president no sooner learned these arrangements, than he wrote to Mr. Livingston, the envoy at Paris, to represent there the inexpediency of them, and the danger that would accrue to the good feeling between the people of all nations; and intimating the probability of a war.

Napoleon was, of course, not likely to yield to any thing which had the appearance of a threat; and the right which the Americans had hitherto enjoyed, of a depôt at New Orleans, was suspended by the Spanish authorities in October, 1802. The western states were instantly in a flame at a prohibition which, rightful or not, had the effect of suspending their commerce.

Many of them determined to assert their right by arms; and Jefferson, notwithstanding his partiality for France, would have found himself embarked inevitably in a war with that country had not other events occurred to obviate

What did the Americans expect from it ?-What nation acquired Louisiana ?--What was now the object of Napoleon ?-What expedition did he cause to be filled out ?- After conquering St. Domingo, whither was the French army to proceed ?-What would naturally follow from this proceeding !-What did Jefferson do to prevent this?-What was threatened ?-- When was the port of New Orleans closed against the Americans ?- What was the consequence?--What was now threatened?

[blocks in formation]

the nec ussity, and to preserve peaceably for the United States more than was the object of their desires. Fortune, as well as his own prudence and address, now enabled Jefferson to effect the most solid achievement of his administration.

France, having failed in the attempt to subdue St Domingo, and, in addition to this, a fresh breach with England growing daily more imminent; the schemes of the first consul with respect to Louisiana became impracticable. He could not hope to retain it; so that, instead of accepting the offer of Jefferson to pay Spain for the Floridas, le proposed to sell Louisiana itself. The American envoys, Livingston and Monroe, accepted the offer, and the immense tracts then called Louisiana, but embracing all our vast territory west of the Mississippi, were added to the United States for the sum of fifteen million dollars.

The Barbary states still gave great impediment to the commerce of the United States. Agreements had, indeed, been entered into with the two principal ones, and sums of money sacrificed to secure the respect of the African corsairs. But the lesser of these powers having unsuccessfully demanded a similar indulgence, the bashaw of Tripoli declared and commenced war. A force under Commodore Preble was despatched into the Mediterranean. One of the ships, the Philadelphia, in reconnoitering the harbour of Tripoli, run aground and was taken. The subsequent recapture and burning of this ship, under the guns of the Tripolitan batteries and corsairs, was one of the most brilliant achievements of Decatur, who was then a lieutenant, and accomplished this famous feat in a small schooner with but seventy-six men.

The war with Tripoli, however, would have probably effected little, but for the enterprise of the United States consul at Algiers. This gentleman, whose name Eaton, discovered a pretender to the government of Tripoli, in an exiled brother of the reigning bashaw. The consul sought him out across the desart, collected a body of adventurers such as haunt those wilds, and invaded the Tripolitan territory from land, whilst the American

What did Napoleon propose to Mr. Jefferson?—What were his reasons for so doing ?-What was the cost of the immense regions purchased from France?-What states and territories are now included in this purchase?-- What is said of the Barbary states ?--Who was sent to chas iise the Tripolitans ?-What happened to one of the frigates 1- Whai was done by Decatur ?

as

254

GENERAL EATON'S EXPEDITION. fleet lent its aid by sea. The city of Derne was actually taken by storm; and subsequently defended with success against the Tripolitans. These operations lasted until the 11th of June, 1805, when the arrival of the frigate Constitution in the harbour put an end to them by bringing an announcement that peace had already been concluded between the American agent, Mr. Lear, and the reigning bashaw.

The romantic and high spirited expedition of Eaton was thus terminated in a most unromantic style; for by the treaty, the agent agreed to abandon the pretender, and pay sixty thousand dollars ransom for the American prisoners. Such an arrangement, made at such a moment, could not be acceptable to the nation; but the treaty was, nevertheless, ratified, and the war of Tripoli terminated.

In 1804, a new election of president and vice-president took place. Mr. Jefferson was re-elected to the former office, having received all but fourteen votes; and George Clinton, of New York, was elected vice-president. During Mr. Jefferson's first term of office, (1802,) Ohio was admitted into the Union, and began its astonishing career of advancement in population and wealth. Tennessee had been admitted in 1796.

Colonel Burr, having received the votes of the federa! party when the election of Mr. Jefferson was effected by the house of representatives, had lost the favour of the republicans. In 1804, he was proposed for the office of governor of New York, and received the votes of many of the federalists. Colonel Hamilton, who heartily despised him as an adventurer in politics, opposed his election, and he was defeated. This circumstance led to a dispute, and a challenge from Burr. The parties met, and Hamilton was mortally wounded. No circumstance of the kind ever occasioned so strong a feeling of regret throughout the country as this fatal duel.

Burr now disappeared from public notice for a time; and when he next appeared upon the stage, it was in a new career of unprincipled ambition in the south-western part of the Union. He formed a project for fitting out ar expedition in the western part of the Union, and proceeding thence to the conquest of Mexico. As a first step 10

What was accomplished by General Eaton ?-What put an end to his operations ?-What were the terms of peace ?--When was Mr. Jerfers ! re-elected ?-Who was chosen vice-president ?-What states had been

mitted into the Union?-What occasioned the duel between Burr an'! !Tamilton ?-- What was its result ?- What scheme did Burr concoct ?

[merged small][ocr errors]

this, he was to seize upon New Orleans, which was necessary to his enterprise. This having been long a favourite project of the western settlers, Burr reckoned upon the support of the thousands—in fact of the whole region west of the Alleghanies-- which he calculateu would place him in a position to defy the controul of the presidenthimself, were he tempted to interfere.

However, he trusted too much to the good will of those who witnessed his preparations. Intelligence of his proceedings was conveyed to the government. Measures were taken for counteracting them, and making him prisoner; and, being at length obliged to fly, he was arrested on his way to Mobile by some of the country people, and conveyed to Richmond. His trial, on a charge of treason, of course drew forth a great deal of political feeling, and gave rise to many unpleasant circumstances; but for want of sufficient evidence he was finally acquitted, and allowed to transport himself to Europe. His career as a politician was now at an end.

The conduct of France and England, in committing depredations on the commerce of the United States, had now begun to produce a great deal of irritation. Complaints against Englandı, particularly, were loud and clar morous. Their aggressions were the consequence of certain decrees of the British admiralty, which had the effect of prohibitory laws upon American commerce, inas much as they declared such vessels as were engaged in conveying West India produce from the United States to Europe, legal prizes. The Americans having in their hands nearly the whole carrying trade of the world, during Napoleon's wars, could not but feel these decrees as levelled particularly at themselves.

As son, therefore, as they were known, they excited the greatest indignation in this country. Meetings were held in each commercial city, petitions were forwarded to congress, and tie people clamoured loudly for retaliation.

The perseverance of England in impressing American seamen, and searching American ships for deserters, and hat even upon our own coasts, produced daily causes of grievance. In the spring the British ship Leander, then on a cruise off New York, practised the most rigid search

Where did Burr look for support ?--How was his plan discovered ?On what charge was le tried ?- What was the result ?-What gave occasion for complain against France and England ?- What was done Loy the people ?- What is said of the Leander ?

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »