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which several persons, otherwise of respectable character, were convicted, and sentenced to fines and imprisonment for different periods.

The matter would have rested here, but for that unquiet and ambitious spirit, often the concomitant of a free government, and ever disposed to seize favorable opportunia ties to accomplish its own objects. Public excitement on this occasion rose to the highest pitch. The flame was fanned by numerous anti-masonic associations. The stigma of the Morgan affair was endeavored to be fixed upon the whole fraternity. The papers for a considerable period were filled with renunciations of masonry, ascompanied in some instances with disclosures said to be the secrets of the craft. Such a violation of obligations which persons had voluntarily taken upon themselves was not attended with the expected applause. The real object was apparent: and the public were not satisfied that any corroet sense of duty. required a person to become a traitor to a society to which he had of his own free will joined himself. During the height of the excitement, anti-masonry in various parts of the country became a great political engine in scrambles for office.

The points endeavored to be established against the institution were,

That the obligations which masons took upon themselves were inconsistent with the duties which they owed to society:

That secret associations were dangerous to civil liberty, inasmuch as they afforded favorable opportunities for politi. cal combinations for the benefit of their own members:

That if their principles and objects were good, there was no need of secrecy ; if otherwise, they ought to be suppressed.

Masonry has at different times been the object of jealousy and suspicion in several nations where it has been esta. blished, in some it has been proscribed and suppressed by the hand of arbitrary power. Its members have been driven from the territory, or otherwise punished with severity. In the United States, the only power which masons have to fear, is public opinion: should that be against them, their order will decline, and become extinct. So long as the laws of the land are not violated, the only punishment masons have to dread, is a proscription from office.

Canal across the isthmus of Panama. Soon after the liberation of the Soath American provinces, the project of

a canal uniting the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans attracted much public attention. Its importance to the commerce of the United States is obvious, affording such facilities to the East India and China trade, as would place it in a great measure at the command of the enterprise of their citizens. The long projected occupation of the western coast at the mouth of the Columbia river would then be no longer a matter of doubt or hazard. In the year 1825, the congress of Central America, a small republic, embracing the territory of the isthmus which had assumed that name, passed a law that a canal should be opened to con. nect the navigation of the two oceans, and issued an advertisement inviting the enterprising of all nations to offer proposals for executing the work. Among a variety that were offered, those made by a company of American citizens, principally from New York, were accepted, and in 1826 a contract for the purpose of effecting the object was entered into, the leading points of which were,

That the republic should indemnify its citizens for damages to their lands ; that it should furnish every facility for accomplishing the object, by permitting the cutting of timber, and procuring materials and workmen, and supplying all the plans, charts, and levelings which had already been taken, and facilitate the making of such others as might be necessary, and be at the expense of erecting and supporting such fortifications, and employing such vessels of war, as might be necessary to protect the navigation. The company to be at all other expenses, and to have two thirds of the tolls until reimbursed their capital and ten per cent. interest; the other third to belong to the republic. The plan proposed was a ship channel from one ocean to the other, through the Nicaragua lake; through which vessels were to be towed by steamboats. The company to have the exclusive right of navi. gating the canal, and towing vessels by steam for twenty years, with the right of fixing the amount of freight for cargoes and passengers in their boats, and the compensation for towing vessels. The navigation to be free for the vessels of all friendly and neutral nations on paying the fixed rate of tolls. The republic reserved the right for its citizens to subscribe five per cent. of the capital stock.* The instability of the government, the revolutions to which

* Niles' Register, September 30th, 1226,

they have been subject, and other causes, have hitherto prevented any progress in the undertaking: Such an examination has been had, however, as to induce a fixed belief that the object is practicable, and, in a more settled state of society in those republics, will be accomplished.

CHAPTER XXI.

Second session of the nineteenth congress-Message--Papers relating to the

British colonial trade-Report of the committee of commerce-Value of the trade to the United States - Commercial spoliations

Report of a committee-French spoliations antecedent to Sept. 30th, 1800-Report of a committee of the senate in favor of their being paid by the American government-The woolens bill-Its discussion and passage in the housePostponed in the senate--Sectional divisions on the tariff question-Meeting and proceedings of the Harrisburgh convention-Columbia convention, and resolutions- Dr. Cooper's address_Vice president's appeal to the house in relation to a charge against him found in a newspaper-Report of a committe on the subject A challenge-Baker's case-Northwestern boundary.

Second session of the nineteenth congress. The second session of the nineteenth congress commenced on the 4th of December, 1826. The message received on the 5th, contained a minute and flattering detail of the concerns of the nation, foreign and domestic,

but nothing of peculiar in. terest. The new subjects of legislation suggested in the message of 1825, not having met the approbation of congress, were barely hinted at in this, and no others suggested. The second session being necessarily a short one, admits of little legislation, except the ordinary business of the government.

West India trade. Accompanying the message, were the papers relating to the negotiation with Great Britain on the subject of the colonial trade. Mr. King being obliged to return on account of ill health, Mr. Gallatin was appointed his successor, specially charged with this subject, and authorized to give up the point on which a former negotiation had been suspended, viz. that the produce of the United States should be admitted into the West Indies on the same terms with that of the Canadas.

On communicating to Mr. Canning that his government were desirous of renewing the negotiation on more liberal terms, and would not insist on the contested point; he received a reply from the British minister, which after an elaborate defense of the claim to monopolize the colonial trade, concluded by informing Mr. Gallatin, in a sarcastic manner, that as the American government did not see fit to accept of the

boon at the time, and on the terms in which it had formerly been offered, the British government were not bound to continue the offer, or accept of any terms now; and that any further negotiations would be useless.

The importance of this commerce to the United States is every day diminishing. The whole white population of the British West Indies, amounts only to 71,350, with 626,800 slaves, and 78,350 free people of color.* Their great staple, without which the trade would be of no con. sequence, is the product of the sugar cane. The acquisition of Louisiana and the Floridas, and their rapid progress in the cultivation of this article, aided by a protecting duty, will very soon furnish an adequate domestic supply. What is now wanting is readily obtained, and on fair terms, from other sources. The rapid settlement and improved agriculture of Upper Canada, aided by their great progress in in. land navigation, enable them principally to supply the lumber, provisions, and live stock, necessary for the West India market; and should any be wanted from the United States, it is readily obtained from other islands, with the inconvenience of a double freight to the consumers. Should the United States be able to command the whole supply of this market, the demand would be too small to have any permanent or perceptible effect on the price of their produce. This government have appeared in the character of suppli. ants for this trade, denominated by the British government a boon, ever since the close of the late war, without success. It would seem to be long enough, and should the British be permitted to enjoy the monopoly, without further importunity, no serious inconvenience would result to the commerce of the United States.

Report in the house of representatives. In the house of representatives, the subject was referred to the committee on commerce, of which Mr. Tomlinson, of Connecticut, was chairman. His report contained a lucid view of the British monopolizing policy in relation to their colonial trade, the various propositions which had been made to place it upon a footing of reciprocity, and the manner in which they had been met. The report concluded with recommending a bill closing the United States ports against British vessels, coming from their colonies, with the exception of the East Indies and Upper Canada, and prohibiting British vessels from transporting American productions to these colonies.

* Baron Homboldt.

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