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SITSPENSION OF SPECIE PAYMENT.
tion of merchandize from Europe, caused a state of the most perplexing embarrassment.
On the 10th of May, 1837, every bank in New York city suspended specie payments; and in a few days, the state legislature authorized a suspension of all the state banks. Immediately after, the banks of Boston, Providence, Albany, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and many other places followed the example of New York. All confidence, was lost; and a period of embarrassment and distress ensued, unparalleled in the history of our country. In a short time failures took place in New York to the amount of many millions of dollars; and in two days houses in New Orleans stopped payment, owing an aggregate of twenty seven millions.
In order to change this condition of affairs, a committee from New York waited upon the president, praying him to rescind the specie circular, and to call an extra session of congress. The facts disclosed by these gentlemen, were of the most alarming nature, and display a condition in our community at that time, rarely equalled in the history of nations.
For some time the president declined acting upon the petitions, but at length consented to call an extra session of congress. It met on the 4th of September, and continued forty-three days. The message of the president promised little relief to the people, disclaiming all interference with the monied concerns of the community, but at the same time recommending the celebrated subtreasury scheme, instead of a national bank. A bill for the establishment of the project, was introduced to the senate by Silas Wright, and passed; but the house of representatives laid it on the table. Congress passed a few other bills, one of which was the appropriation of $1,600,000, for the suppression of Indian hostilities in Florida. The session closed on the 16th of October, without carrying out the wishes either of the people or the government.
The regular session commenced December 4th. The What took place in May, 1837 ?-What banks followed the example ? - What were the consequences ?-Who waited on the presideni When did congress meet ?- What is said of the president's message ? --What celebrated scheme did it recommend ?- What was effected by congress ?-What is remarked of this session ?
most exciting topic was the renewed effort to pass the sub-treasury bill. The measure was warmly sustained by senators Wright, Benton, Calhoun, and others; and opposed by Messrs. Clay, Webster, and the whig members generally. It passed the senate, but was rejected by a decided vote in the house. Mr. Preston of South Carolina introduced resolutions into the senate, favorable to the annexation of Texas to the United States, but they were unfavorably received at that time. Some small bills were passed, before the termination of the session, but altogether this was one of the most unimportant periods in our whole congressional history.
The state elections of 1837–8 showed great revolutions in political opinion, and convinced both the friends and opponents of the administration that its measures were unpopular with the mass of the people.
During this year the difficulties with the Florida Indians had still continued. On the 25th of December, Colonel Taylor, who had been efficiently operating there since its commencement, succeeded in bringing a large party of Indians to an engagement near Okee-Chobee lake
Was the effort to pass the sub-treasury renewed at the regular session ?-Who were some of its advocates ?– its opponents ?-What was its fate ?-What resolutions were offered by Mr. Preston What is said of the elections ?-What is said of the Florida difficul ties 3-Where did Colonel Taylor fight a battle with the Indians ?
They were posted in swamps and forests close to the water, and fired upon the Americans as they approached. Although the latter were fatigued by long marches, the colonel ordered an immediate charge, which was gallantly performed, through water knee deep, and in face of a galling fire. On reaching the opposite bank a desperate battle ensued, which lasted three hours with heavy loss on both sides. It resulted in the total overthrow of the Indians, who were driven from their position by the bayonet, and pursued for some miles. The Americans lost twenty-six killed and one hundred and twelve wounded, including many valuable officers. The Indians were almost annihilated ; and this battle was the last in which they appeared in any considerable number.
In the year 1838, serious disturbances took place in Canada, between the inhabitants and colonial government. Numbers from our own country enlisted in what they considered the patriotic struggle of an oppressed people; and for some time the tone of Great Britain toward our government threatened a war between the two countries. President Van Buren, therefore, issued a proclamation, calling upon all our citizens in Canada to abandon their designs, and cutting them off from all protection by our government should they be captured by the English.
A more exciting subject soon after engaged the atteniion of the two countries—this was the north-eastern boundary line. This had unfortunately been left unsetled by the treaty of Ghent; and now Great Britain claimed much more than the United States was disposed to grant. In several instances the border settlements were claimed by both nations, and tumults ensued, which were occasionally serious.
In order to meet the threatened hostilities, should they actually occur, congress, at the next session, passed an act, giving to the president additional powers for the defence of the United States. Congress also passed an
Describe the battle of Okeechobee,-its result.-What was the American loss ?-the Indian ?--What is remarked of this battle?of the disturbances in Canada ?—of the president's proclamation ? What other subject of dispute arose ?--What preparatory measures wore taken by congress ?
act for preventing and suppressing Indian hostiiities, particularly those with the Seminoles of Florida. The war with these Indians had now continued several years, and cost the government immense sums of money. Nothing very important was done during this session, During the summer of 1839, President Van Buren visited New York, his native state. In all places or. his route he was received with public honors, and fol. lowed by processions of citizens civil and military.
The twenty-sixth congress met on the 2d of December, 1839. Leaving out five whig members from New Jersey, whose seats were contested, the two great parties in the house of représentatives were nearly balanced. The contested candidates had certificates of election from the governor of New Jersey, but after a most animated debate they were refused their seats, and consequently the opposing candidates obtained their seats.
In 1840 the presidential contest of the two great parties took place. It was the most exciting and arduous ever witnessed in the United States. Three parties were in the field. The administration supported Martin Van Buren for president, Colonel Johnson for vice presdent; the whigs, General Harrison and John Tyler; the abolitionists, James G. Birney. The result, both of the popular and electoral vote, was a very large majority for Harrison and Tyler.
The second session of the twenty-fourth congress commenced on the 7th of December, 1840, and contin ued until the 3d of the succeeding March. Their arts were few and unimportant. At the expiration o: his term of office, Mr. Van Buren retired to his private residence at Kinderhook, New York.
What other act was passed ?--What is said of the Seminole war? --of the president's visit ?-When did congress meet ?-- What excit. ing topic arose ?--How was it adjusted ?-Who were the candidates for the presidency in 1840 ?- What was the result of the contest What is said of the second session of the 24th congress ?--of Presi.
dent Van Buren ?
HARRISON S ADMINISTRATION, AND DEATH.
ADMINISTRATIONS OF HARRISON AND TYLER.
GENERAL WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON was inaugurated president of the United States, March 4th, 1841. The ceremony was one of the most imposing ever witnessed at Washington; and when the new chief magistrate had delivered his inaugural address, the prolonged shouts from assembled thousands, with the pealing of heavy cannon announced the joy and confidence of the people in their new ruler.
Immediately after the inauguration, the president appointed his cabinet, together with several other officers, all of which were confirmed by the senate.
In consequence of the alarming condition of the country, President Harrison issued a proclamation on the 17th of March, calling an extra session of congress on the 31st of May following. The political views of General Harrison had been expressed in his inaugural address; and great and radical changes of policy were now confidently expected. But He who rules the destinies of nations, had determined that Harrison should never see the consummation of the long cherished designs for the benefit of the people; for in the short space of one month from the day of inauguration, the chief magistrate of the United States expired. Several days previous he had contracted a cold, with some de gree of fever; this brought on a disease which baffled all medical skill, and terminated his virtuous and useful life on the 4th of April, in the 68th year of his age. His last words were—“Sir, I wish you to understand the principles of the government. I wish them carried out, I ask nothing more."
The deepest sorrow pervaded the country at this melancholy dispensation. All party feeling was aban
When was General Harrison inaugurated ?-Describe the ceremony.-What proclamation did he issue ?-What melancholy dispensation ensued ?-How old was President Harrison ?- -What wero
his last words?