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plan, for the heads of the several departments, and for the Attorney General; and it is believed hat the public ground in the city, applied to those objects, will be found amply sufficient. I submit this subject to the consideration of Congress, that such further provision may be made in it, as to them may seem proper.
“In contemplating the happy situation of the United States, our attention is drawn, with peculiar interest, to the surviving officers and soldiers of our revolutionary army, who so eminently contributed, by their services, to lay its foundation. Most of those very meritorious citizens have paid the debt of nature, and gone to repose. It is believed that among the survivors there are some not provided for by existing laws, who are reduced to indigence, and even to real distress. These men have a claim on the gratitude of their country, and it will do honor to their country to provide for them. The lapse of a few years more, and the opportunity will be forever lost: indeed, so long already has been the interval, that the number to be benefited by any provision which may be made, will not be great.
“ It appearing in a satisfactory manner that the revenue arising from imposts and tonnage, and from the sale of the public lands, will be fully adequate to the support of the civil government, of the present military and naval establishments, including the annual augmentation of the latter, to the extent provided for; to the payment of the interest on the public debt, and to the extinguishment of it at the times authorized, without the aid of the internal taxes; I consider it my duty to recommend to Congress their repeal. To impose taxes, when the public exigencies require them, is an obligation of the most sacred character, especially with a free people. The faithful fulfilment of it is among the highest proofs of their virtue and capacity for self-government. To dispense with taxes, when it may be done with perfect safety, is equally the duty of their representatives. In this instance we have the satisfaction to know that they were imposed when the demand was imperious, and have been sustained with exemplary fidelity. I have to add, that however gratifying it may be to me, regarding the prosperous and happy condition of our country, to recommend the repeal of these taxes at this time, I shall nevertheless be attentive to events, and, should any future emergency occur, be not less prompt to suggest such measures and burthens as may then be requisite and proper."
On the eleventh of December, the State of Mississippi was acknowledged by Congress as sovereign and independent, and was admitted to the Union. In the course of the same month, an expedition which had been set on foot by a number of adventurers from different countries, against East and West Florida, was terminated by the troops of the United States. They had formed an establishrnent at Amelia Island, at that time the subject of negociation between Spain and our government, and their direct objects being undoubtedly piratical, the law of nations and the stipulations of various treaties required of the United States to suppress it. A similar establishment had been previously formed at Galvezton, a small island on the coast of Texas, and it was subsequently in a like manner suppressed.
Several important measures were adopted by Congress during ihe session 1817–18; among which were the bill fixing the compensation of members of Congress at eight dollars a day; a second, in acquiescence with the suggestion of the President, to abolish internal duties; and third, providing, upon the same recommendation, for the indigent officers and soldiers of the revolutionary army. In April, 1818, Illinois adopted a State constitution, and in December following was admitted as a member of the Union.
Soon after the conclusion of this session of Congress, the President, in pursuance of his determination to visit those parts of the United States most exposed to the enemy, prepared to survey the Chesapeake bay, and the country lying on its extensive shores. In the month of May, he left Washington, accompanied by the Secretary of War, the Secretary of the Navy, and other gentlemen of distinction. On his arrival at Annapolis
, the President and his suite made a minute examination of the contiguous waters, in reference to their fitness for a naval depot. After making a farther examination of the coast, he proceeded to Norfolk. Having at length accomplished the principal object of his tour, he returned to Washington on the seventeenth of June, through the interior of Virginia The same demonstrations of respect and affection that were extended to him during his northern tour, followed him in this.
On the twenty-seventh of May, 1818, a treaty concluded at Stock holm with the government of Sweden, by Mr. Russell
, Minister Plenipo tentiary to that court, was ratified by the President and Senate on the part of the United tes. During the same year a war was carried on between the United States and the Seminole Indians, which terminated in the complete discomfiture of the latter party. A particular account of this war is given in the life of President Jackson, who bore a conspicuous part in it.
On the twenty-eighth of January, 1819, a convention between Great Britain and the United States, concluded at London, October 20th, 1818, and ratified by the Prince Regent on the second of November following, was ratified by the President of the United States. By the first article of this convention, the citizens of the United States have liberty, in common with the subjects of Great Britain, to take fish on the southern, western, and northern coast of Newfoundland. The second article estab. lishes the northern boundaries of the United States from the Lake of the Woods, to the Stony Mountains. By the fourth article, the commercial convention between ihe two countries, concluded at London, in 1815, is extended for the term of ten years longer.
On the twenty-second of February following, a treaty was concluded at Washington, by John Quincy Adams, and Luis de Onis, by which East and West Florida, with all the islands adjacent, were ceded by Spain to the United States. By this treaty the western boundary between the United States and Spain was settled. A sum not exceeding five millions of dollars was to be paid by the United States out of the proceeds of sales of lands in Florida, or in stock, or money, to citizens of the United States, on account of Spanish spoliations and injuries. To liquidate the claims, a board was to be constituted by the government of th
United States, of American citizens, to consist of three commissioners, who should report within three years.
On the second of March, 1819, the government of the Arkansas Territory was organized by act of Congress. During the following summer, the President visited the southern section of the country, having in view the same great national interests which had prompted him in his previous tour to the north. In this tour the President visited Charleston, Savan. nah, and Augusta; thence he proceeded to Nashville, through the Cherokee nation, and thence to Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, and returned to the seat of government early in August.
The most important topic of consideration, during the ensuing session, Wis connected with the admission of the territory of Missouri into the Union. It was on the expediency of imposing it as a condition of this admission, that the future removal or transportation of slaves into that territory should be prohibited. This question divided itself into three branches : 1. The constitutionality of the measure. 2. Its conformity to the stipulations of the treaty of 1803, by which France ceded the territory in question to the United States. 3. The expediency of the measure, as it might affect the relative condition of slaves in the United States, and as it might affect the relations between different parts of the Union. The affirmative and negative of these propositions were supported with equal zeal and eloquence by nearly equal numbers. Mr. Rufus King, and Mr. John Sergeant, took the lead in this debate in favor of restriction; Mr. Clay and Mr. Pinckney were the champions of the opposite party. This question gave rise to great warmth of feeling, and seemed at one time to threaten the dissolution of the Union.* In the
* In the debate in the Senate on this subject, Mr. Lowrie, of Maryland, observed * Before I sit down, permit me to advert to some expressions which have fallen from gentlemen in this debate. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Barbour) the other day told us, that this subject will be an ignited spark, which, communicated to an immense mass of combustion, will produce an explosion that will shake this Union to its centre. The gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Walker) tells us, that he thinks he hears the thunders roll, he sees the father arrayed against the son, and the brother drawing the bloody sword from the bosom of the brother! Mr. President, I will not now detain the Senate, by inquiring in which of the States these combustible materials are, or by pointing out the field on which the battle will be fought. Before that bill leaves your table, if no other gentleman takes up this part of the subject, I may perhaps take the liberty of looking at it a little more in detail ; not, sir, as a member from a single state, but as one of the representatives of the whole United States. At present, however, I will only observe, that I also believe, with those gentlemen, that we are drawing to a very serious crisis ; to save us from which, all the wisdom of the present Congress, as well as the blessings of the Almighty, will be necessary. But, sir, if the alternative be, as gentlemen thus broadly intimate, a dissolution of the Union, or the extension of slavery over this whole western country, I, for one, will choose the former. I do not say this lightly; I am aware that the idea is a dreadful one. The choice is a dreadful one. Either side of the alternative fills my mind with horror. I have not however yet despaired of the republic. And, unless the melancholy result convinces me to the contrary, I must still believe, that we are able to dispose of this distracting question so as to satisfy the reasonable expectations of the people of the United States."
A New York paper remarks, “We have no fear as to the result of this war of words. Mr. King, were he left to struggle single-handed, would, on this subject, view of the subject taken by Mr. King, he confined himself chiefly to the power of Congress to lay this restriction, implied in the general authority to admit new States, and to the nature of state sovereignty: The concluding portion of his speech was devoted to a very high and momentous consideration: that by the law of nature, and the eternal rule of justice, there can be no such thing as a right in a fellow creature to hold him and his posterity in bondage; that treaties and constitutions ought to be construed in the sense of this great paramount law; and that the toleration of slavery in the original States and those formed from the original States, a toleration acknowledged to have grown out of necessity, could furnish no ground for originating this unjust institution, where such necessity does not exist. In a subsequent speech he alluded to the injustice of placing freemen on the footing of slaves; and to the sense of injury which the inhabitants of the free States must and ought to feel at finding themselves outvoted by an union of freemen and slaves, in any ratio whatever. He stated and repeated that the slave ratio in the representation of the old States, and those formed out of the old States, was a matter of deliberate and sacred compact. But he main. tained that to force upon the non-slave-holding States new parties to this compact, and to continue to extend the slave ratio over the vast tract of country growing up into new States, was an injustice most flagrant in its nature, and ruinous in its necessary consequences.
In the progress of this discussion an attempt was made to annex the Missouri bill to the Maine bill; it was proposed in the Senate, and rejected by the House. The course taken in the final decision of the question of restriction was not a little remarkable. On the last day of February, 1820, after one of the longest and ablest debates ever held in Congress, the House of Representatives voted, by a majority of eight, to adopt an amendment to the Missouri bill restricting slavery; and on the first day of March, they voted, by a majority of four, to reject the amerdment, to which they had so deliberately agreed.* On the third of March, an act was passed, admitting Maine into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.
One of the most unfortunate incidents of a public nature that mark this period of our history, is the death of Commodore Decatur. He fell in a duel fought on the twenty-first of March with Commodore Barron. The course pursued by the House of Representatives on this occasion
triumph over the combined battery of senatorial combatants for the extension of slavery. He will, however, be powerfully supported by Otis, Mellen, Roberts, and others; who, in point of talents, rank high'in our national senate.”
The Missouri question is at length decided. The fatal die is cast, by which s new wound is inflicted on the honor of our country, and the curse of slavery is extended over a tract of country nearly equal to the five original slave-holding States of the Union. This has been done by means of the votes of men in both houses of Congress, whose constituents have unequivocally expressed their disapprobation of the measure. The vote was decided in both houses by men who acted in opposition to the expressed instructions of their State Legislatures; the decision in the House of Representatives by the votes of two men from our own State ; one of thenı even from our own town, and almost the only man belonging to the town who did not anxiously wish for a contrary decision.--Boston Repertory.
was highly dignified and honorable. Eminent as had been the public services of the deceased, they refused to take the usual notice of such an event by adjournment, because he had fallen in violation of the laws of God and of his country. His funeral took place at Washington on the twenty-fifth of the month. An immense assemblage of citizens was collected on the melancholy occasion. His remains were attended to the Fault at Kalorama, in which they were deposited, by a great part of the male population of the city and adjacent country, by the President of the United States, and nearly all the officers of government, members of Congress, and representatives of foreign governments at that time resident in Washington. Due military honors were rendered on the occasion by the marine corps under the command of Major Miller, and minute guns were fired from the navy-yard during the procession and funeral service.
On the twenty-seventh of March, the President transmitted to Congress an extract of a letter from the Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at St. Petersburgh, bearing date the preceding first of November, on the subject of our relations with Spain ; indicating the sentiments of the Emperor of Russia, respecting the non-ratification, by his Catholic Majesty, of the treaty recently concluded between the United States and Spain, and the strong interest taken by his majesty in promoting the ratification of that treaty. He also transmitted an extract of a letter from our Minister at Madrid, of a later date than those previously communicated, by which it appears, that at the instance of the Charge des Affaires of the Russian Emperor, a new pledge had been given by the Spanish government that the Minister who had been lately appointed to the United States, should set out on his mission without delay, with full power to settle all differences in a manner satisfactory to the parties. The President further communicated that the governments of France and Russia had expressed an earnest desire that the United States would take no immediate step on the principle of reprisal, which might tend to disturb the peace between the Siates and Spain. Under these circumstances, he submitted to Congress the propriety of postponing a decision on the questions then depending with Spain, until the next session.
On the tenth of May, the President communicated to Congress another message on the same subject. The minister sent from Spain had received no authority to surrender the territory in dispute, and the treaty with Spain still reinained unratified by his Catholic Majesty. The object of his mission was merely to make complaints, and demand explanations respecting an imputed system of hostility on the part of citizens of the United States, against the subjects and dominions of Spain, and an unfriendly policy in their government, and to obtain new stipulations against these alleged injuries, as the condition on which the treaty should be ratified. One proposition of the minister was, that the United States should abandon the right to recognise the revolutionary colonies in South America, or to form new relations with them. In short, the treaty was declared to be of no obligation whatever; and its ratification was made to depend, not on the considerations which led to its adoption, and the conditions which it contained, but on a new article unconnected with it,