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before Governor Jackson, to answer for a contempt of his authority. On his persisting in a refusal, the papers were seized, Cavalla taken out of bed, carried to the governor's quarters, and ordered to prison. He immediately applied to Judge Fromentin, and obtained a writ of habeas corpus, for his release. This, the governor did not suffer to be executed, until Cavalla's papers had been examined, the requisite ones secured, and the prisoner discharged. This proceeding led to a warm altercation between the governor and judge, regarding their respective powers ; the former claiming, that by the act of congress relating to the occupation of the Floridas, the Spanish laws were to be in force until provision should be made for the extension of the American code into the territory; and that the habeas corpus was a process unknown to the Spanish jurisprudence, and could not be there executed, until provision was made by act of congress,
for that purpose. The judge, on the contrary, claimed that by the treaty of cession, the inhabitants of the territory became American citizens, and entitled to their privileges as such, one of the most important of which was relief from illegal imprisonment, by this process; that this was a matter of common right not dependent upon particular statutes, and extended to all persons on American territory.
A controversy, similar in principle to that with Cavalla, took place with Don Joseph Coppinger, governor of East Florida, in relation to the archives of that province, and terminated in the same summary manner.
On the second of October, Mr. Worthington, the secretary of East Florida, who had been commissioned by General Jackson, to act as governor in his absence, finding that some papers belonging to that province were about to be sent to the Havana, under the direction of his superior, caused them to be seized and secured. The dilatory proceedings, and troublesome character of the Spaniards, who had any thing to do with the transfer of the government, occasioned much difficulty to the Amercan authorities.
Banishment of Spanish officers. The subject of Cavalla’s withholding the papers, and General Jackson's proceedings in obtaining them, was matter of discussion in the Floridian, a newspaper published at Pensacola. Seven of Don Cavalla's officers who had remained in Florida in the capacity of private citizens, after its cession, published a statement contradicting some facts which had been published under the direction of Governor Jackson on the occasion, and containing, as he apprehended, some disrespect
ful expressions, and sentiments calculated to excite in the Floridians discontent with his government. This publication was answered by a proclamation from the governor, ordering them to quit the territory in five days.
For the purposes of administering justice, the territory was divided into two counties, without regard to the origi. nal division of East and West Florida ; the country west of the Sawaney river constituted one county, by the name of Escambia ; and the territory east of that river another, denominated the county of St. Johns.
Different views of General Jackson's conduct. The governor's powers terminated according to the terms of his commission at the rising of congress in 1822: and he declined a reappointment. With the expiration of his commission as governor of the Floridas, the general ceased to be an officer of the executive department. Concerning his conduct as a general in the army, and as civil and military governor of the Floridas, his fellow-citizens have entertained various and contradictory opinions. Little consequence would have been attached to them, and their discussion long since subsided, had not subsequent events placed them in a prominent view. For two successive terms he has been brought forward as a candidate for the presidency; and his conduct in those respects almost solely relied on to support his claim. It is impossible for the American people to look at it without seeing several instances of a palpable violation of their constitution. The only excuse is the plea of necessity. How far this ought to avail him is a question on which the people entertain very different sentiments. The general himself seems to have placed his defense on this ground, when he says, “ that the powers with which he was clothed were such as no one under a repnblic ought to possess, and such as he trusted would never again be given to any man; but as he held those powers under an act of congress, and a commission from the president, he should exercise them according to the best of his abilities, whatever personal responsibilities he might incur. It had been his fortune,” he states “ on other occasions, as a public servant, to be in places of great personal responsibility, but he never shrunk from what he deemed to be a discharge of his duty, from any apprehension of consequences.” The plea of necessity was admitted in its fullest extent by one portion of his fellow-citizens, who admired, and in the present instance, with a kind of adoration, applauded, that bold and daring course, which on great emergencies overleaps con
stitutional restraints, and placing what is deemed to be the public safety in view, proceeds steadily to the object, trusting to events to justify the conduct. On the other hand, most public functionaries have considered themselves bound by the constitution, and laws of the land, and the orders of their superiors under whom they acted; and the plea of necessity has been reprobated as the tyrant's plea, as the demon, at whose shrine civil liberty has been sacrificed, and as a pretense bounded by no limits but the will of him who shields himself under it. In a subordinate officer, whose conduct is subject to the strict watch and control of a superior, the admission of this plea may do less harm. In a chief, holding the national destinies in his hands, it is hazardous in the extreme.
Act for the government of Florida. At the succeeding session of congress, an act was passed, providing a territorial government for the Floridas, on the principles of other governments of that description in the United States. A governor, secretary, judges, marshal, and the requisite revenue officers, were to be appointed by the president, with the consent of the senate. A legislative council was to be chosen by the people in the districts, in proportion to their population. The governor and legislative council to have the power of making laws for the territory, subject to be repealed by the national legislature. One delegate was to be chosen from the territory to congress, with power to sit and debate, but not to vote in the house of representatives. The treaty provided, that the inhabitants of the territory should be admitted into the union on equal terms with the original states, whenever their situation, and the number and character of their population would permit.
American colonial system compared with the European. The American colonization system has been conducted upon principles essentially different from the European. They have been unambitious of acquiring territory, other than that which was adjacent to them, and which they deemed necessary for their security. None has been obtained by any other means than fair purchase ; and when acquired, it has been placed on an eqnal footing with the original do. main. No extraordinary duties, restrictions, or embarrassments have been laid upon the commerce of its citizens. Their productions are free to be exported to any part of the world, where a market can be found. This liberal system induced large emigrations from the old states; and the newly acquired territory, soon amalgamated with the
country to which it was attached. It superseded the use of a military force, other than what was necessary to protect it from Indian incursions.
On the other hand, European nations generally acquired their colonial possessions by conquest. They considered the territory and inhabitants as property, subject to be controlled and disposed of, for the exclusive benefit of the parent state. All their supplies, unless by special favor, were to be derived from that source, and their productions must go in the same channel. Their trade was regulated, solely with a view to the benefit of the mother country, whose inhabitants, on removing to the colony, lost a portion of their civil and commercial privileges. Little or no intercourse was allowed them with foreigners; and in many instances, they were prohibited from raising or manufacturing for themselves, such articles as it was convenient for the merchant at home to furnish. They had no voice in the government of the parent state, and could only make known their wants and grievances by humble petition. Laws were made for them with little knowledge of their circumstances, and ill adapted to their exigencies. Numerous and burdensome offices were created, and filled with persons sent into the colonies, to enrich themselves, by impositions on the people they were sent out to govern. Such a system ren. dered a large military force necessary to support the authority of the parent country, in the colonies; and led to insurrection, and revolt, whenever the weakness or distraction of the government at home, afforded a prospect of success.
First meeting of the 17th congress--Choice of speaker-Message--Bankrupt
bill, discussion of it-Fourth census-Bill regulating the apportionment of ropresentatives-Arguments for and against a large representation-Result-British colonial trade-Election of Mr. Coulson of Maryland determined by lot-Report of committee thereon-Death of General Pinckney-Cumberland road-President's objections to the bill, providing for its repairs-Appointment of commissioners under the Florida treaty-Decision of the executive on the Spanish contract claims-Discussion with Russia, on the subject of the northwest coast-Russian and American claim statedAdjustment of the dispute-Controversy with Great Britain relating to deported slaves-Referred to the einperor of Russia-His decision-Ukase of the emperor against freemasons---Decoudray's expedition against Porto Rico-Second session of the 17th congress-Message--Prosperous state of the country-Payment of the vice president's salary suspended-Setilement of his accounts.
Meeting of congress. The seventeenth congress commenced its first session on the third of December, A. D. 1821. On the twelfth ballot, on the second day of the session, Philip P. Barbour, of Virginia, was chosen speaker. The opposing candidates were Mr. Taylor of New York the speaker of the last house, Mr. Smith, of Maryland, and the two members from Delaware, Mr. Rodney, and Mr. M'Lane. On the fifth, the president transmitted his message, containing much in detail, a correct view of the fo. reign and domestic concerns of the nation.
Bankrupt bill. One of the most interesting subjects of discussion this term, was a bankrupt bill. In execution of the powers given by the constitution, “to establish uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies,” the sixth congress, in the year 1800, passed a law embracing most of the principles of the English system. This act was limited in its duration, to the term of five years. At the succeeding congress, parties were changed; and it became fashionable to undo what their predecessors had done. In the execution of the act, in most cases, a large portion of the bankrupt's estate was consurned in the settlement. The commissioners and assignee became principal heirs to the estate of the bankrupt, aud were first to be paid out of its avails. The law became unpopular, and was repealed in 1803. In seve