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Meeting on the 16th of February. On Sunday the 10th of February, an anonymous notice in a printed form, addressed to the republican members of congress, was handed to each one, stating that a meeting would be held in the hall of the house of representatives on the following Tuesday evening to take into consideration the propriety of nominating persons as candidates for the offices of president and vice president of the United States. In pursuance of this notice fifty-eight members assembled, and having organized them. selves by the choice of a chairman and secretary, resolved, “that in order to obtain a more general expression of the republicans relative to the approaching presidential election, the republican senators, representatives, and delegates be invited and requested to assemble at this place on the next Saturday evening, and that this invitation be given by publishing this resolution, signed by the chairman and secretary, in the newspapers of the city.” At the second meeting, one hundred and nineteen members attended, and chose a new chairman and secretary. Mr. Clay introduced a resolution, declaring it to be "inexpedient to make in caucus any recommendation to the good people of the United States of persons in the judgment of this meeting fit and suitable to fill the offices of president and vice president of the United States.” The question on this resolution was determined in the negative. "Mr. Taylor, of New York, then introduced a resolation declaring that the practice of nominating candidates for the offices of president and vice president of the United States by a convention of the senators and representatives in congress was inexpedient, and ought not to be continued. This was also determined in the negative, and the meeting proceeded to ballot. The result was for the presidency, sixty-five votes for James Monroe, and fifty-four for William H. Crawford; and for vice president, eighty-five for Daniel D. Tompkins, and thirty for Simon Snyder. The following resolutions were then introduced by Mr. Clay, and concurred in without opposition :
“ Resolved, That this meeting do recommend to the people of the United States James Monroe, of Virginia, as a suitable person for the office of president, and Daniel D. Tompkins, of New York, as a suitable person for the office of vice president of the United States, for the term of four years, commencing on the fourth of March, 1817. And
" That the chairman and secretary be appointed to ascertain from the persons above mentioned whether they are disposed to serve in the offices respectively designated."
Effects on other elections. The most enlightened and virtuous portion of the American public, viewed this measure as one of the most dangerous tendency. The example is contagious. The mischiefs of the caucus system pervade not only the presidential election, but all the subordinate branches of government. The honors and emolu. ments of office excite the strongest cupidities of the citizen. None are so insignificant as not to attract the attention of some. They are open to all, but all cannot be gratified. At the return of the election periods, the unsuccessful were constantly endeavoring to get, and the successful to keep possession. Hence arises a political warfare of a virulent character. To concentrate and marshal their forces, the leaders of the ins and outs hold these clandestine meetings, at which the question is not, what candidate is best qualified for office, but who will best promote the views of the party. The candidate being selected, the next question is, by what means can his election be secured; the character of these means is not regarded, so be it that they appear adapted to the end. Electors sworn to give their suffrages, as they in their consciences believe will conduce to the best good of the commonwealth, are seen pressing to the polls with the utmost eagerness to carry into effect the edict of some private caucus, whether the candidate is known to them or not, whether qualified for the office or otherwise. This forms no part of the inquiry. This disorder appears in some measure incident to the representative system, not peculiar to any party or period, and to be of such an incurable nature as to threaten the ultimate destruction of the body to which it is attached. The high minded citizen of every party, whose integrity and talents afford the best security for the faithful discharge of public trusts, ashamed of the practice, retires from the scene, and leaves the field to the unprincipled, the ambitious, and designing. Offices obtained by corrupt means are seldom well executed: they are made to subserve private views; the commonwealth suffers; the people, becoming dissatisfied, require a change, and prefer any form of government to that which places their most important interests in the hands of such administrators. It was an unfortunate circumstance, that when this disorder was at its highest pitch in the United States, it uld have been sanctioned by the example of the national legislature. Americans exclaim against the bribery and corruptions of English elections. Their rotten boroughs and tumultuous and venal elections, are proverbial with the people of the United States ; but the latter should consider, that when they give their vote for a candidate imposed upon them by a caucus nomination, they as effectually barter away their rights and violate their oaths, as the Englishman who receives a guinea for his suffrage. The difference is only in name; the effects on the purity and independence of elections, and the aid afforded to unprincipled and unqualified men to obtain office, are the same. Happily for the people, however, the remedy is in their own hands. Let them discard caucus nominations, and at the polls consider them as a disqualification for office; and cabals, corrupt bargains, and a host of evils will disappear.
Pecuniary embarrassments subsequent to the war; their causes-Emigra
tion-Different classes of emigrants-state of parties after the praceClaims of American citizens on foreign governments-On EnglandFrance-Spain-Naples--and Hojiand-Their estimated amount-Negotiations for their settlement—The arguments by which they were supported and resisted.
Pecuniary embarrasments. A variety of circumstances, as is usual, rendered the period immediately succeeding the war a time of great pecuniary embarrassment; the consequence of which was a general change of property from the possession of the improvident speculator and extravagant consumer, to the hands of the wary capitalist. Previous to the arrival of the treaty of peace, in Feb. 1815, the latest intelligence from the negotiators at Ghent, indicated the continuance of the contest for an indefinite period. Relying on a protracted war, large dealers exhausted their funds and credit, in attempting to monopolize the principal foreign articles of consumption The unexpected, and to them unwelcome news of peace, bankrupted hundreds of this character. The high prices which land, labor, and most of their productions had borne during the war, encouraged the contracting of debts; the debtors relying on a continuance of the same prices, when they should be called upon to discharge them. A sudden and unlooked for depression of nearly a hundred per cent. in the prices of most commodities, embarrassed this class of citizens to a great extent. The readiness too, with which the banks which had suspended specie payments, loaned their aper, brought to their counters a constant stream of customers, some to obtain loans for hazardous speculations; others to relieve their present wants. Here they exchanged their own notes with indorsers bearing interest, and payable in specie, for the depreciated paper of the bank, bearing no interest. The period had now arrived, when these banks found it necessary to redeem their credit, by resuming specie payments; for this purpose they were obliged to curtail their discounts, and call upon the improvident borrowers for heavy instalments, when the productions of the country were low, money scarce, and the value of bank paper rapidly rising. This was a period of general embarrassment among bank debtors.
The failure of adventurous speculators and imprudent borrowers, excited but little sympathy. No real wealth was lost to the community. The operation was a mere transfer of property into more provident hands; but in the depression of the manufacturing rest, a serious public loss was felt.
Depression of manufactures. The United States, possessing a rich vacant territory of almost unlimited extent, accessible to all, are an agricultural, rather than a manufacturing nation. The British manufacturer, aided by labor. saving machinery brought to the highest point of perfection, and always able to procure laborers at the lowest wages that will support animal life, can supply manufactures at a cheaper rate than the American. Hence, antecedent to the period of the restrictive system, the great mass of manufactures consumed in the United States, was derived from Great Britain. During that period, and the conse. quent war, foreign goods were attainable only in insufficient quantities, and at high prices. The inconvenience of depending on a foreign supply, being severely felt, led to the investment of much unemployed capital in manufacturing establishments. The facility with which water power, sufficient for these purposes, was obtainable in various sections of the country, strongly invited to this object.
During the war this capital was very productive; but at its close the
British manufacturers having large quantities of goods on - hand, adapted and originally destined to the American market, poured them into the country to an amount far beyond the wants of the people, or their ability to pay, with a double view of vending their goods, and ruining the rival establishments of the United States. Many of these goods, after being warehoused a considerable time, were sold at auction at less than their first cost, and often at little more than to pay the freight and duties. "Improvident people, allured by the apparent cheapness of goods, were induced to make unnecessary purchases. The goods destined to the American auctions were handsomely finished, but of the cheapest materials and texture. The operation had in a great degree its designed effect; most of the considerable manufacturing establishments were obliged to stop, and many of the proprietors failed. This state of things commenced in 1815; its effects were more severely felt in the two succeding years, and continued until con