Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

vernment had it not been for the necessity of which were suppressed by force; but they enforcing its authority, thus proving its pow- sprung out of disorders consequent upon a ers and strength. The vigilance and bitter- want of law rather than of defiance to it. We ness of parties made their supporters ever name above the Missouri Compromise trouwatchful to reap advantages from the errors bles of 1820. Though not of the nature of a and weaknesses of their antagonists; hence, rebellion they still threatened the perpetuity the administers of the laws were sedulously of the Government, and merit a prominent careful to execute their trusts with fidelity place in any political history of the country. and wisdom, even though the motive might That agitation was the parent of those which be the selfish one of maintaining a political followed, wherein the questions of Free and supremacy. An apathy or indifference to- Slave territory were paramount; and the hy-* ward the government would have proved dra then appeased by “compromise” became its ruin, and have paved the way for a Mo- the dragon of secession and revolution in narchy, or for a series of State independencies 1860. alike fatal to their political and moral prosperity. Party spirit, political rancors, public THE WHISKEY INSURRECTION, 1791.4. antipathies, unpleasant as they are to contemplate singly, are, nevertheless, the great regu Upon the assumption, by the Federal Golators of the law, and, as such, are actually vernment, of the debts incurred by the States desirable. Washington said of party spirit: in the War for Independence, it became neoes. “It is a fire not to be quenched; it demands sary to provide for the interest, and gradual

a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting liquidation of the principal, of that debtinto a flame, lest, instead of warming, it making $826,000 to be added to the annual should consume.” That “uniform vigilance” tax list in support of the Federal Governis the price of our liberties; so long as it is ex- ment. This sum, Alexander Hamilton, then ercised by our public administrators, and by Secretary of the Treasury, proposed to raise the people, we are safe—when it is abated, by an “excise” tax on distilleries, and by adour liberties and government are in danger. ditional duties on imported liquors. In con

Opposition to the Government generally firmation of the Treasurer's recommendation, has resulted in nothing more than a war of the Congress of 1791-92 enacted laws imposwords, with the ballot-box for umpire, Acing upon all imported spirits a duty varying tual resistance to the arm of the law, so as to from twenty to forty cents a gallon. The exrequire force in its suppression, has been com-cise to be collected on domestic spirits varied, paratively unfrequent; yet, such instances are with their strength, from nine to twenty-five numerous enough to prove not only that we cents per gallon on those distilled from grain, have a Government capable of sustaining it- and from eleven to thirty cents when the maself, but, also, that the peculiar freedom gua- terial was molasses or other imported product, ranteed to all may engender combinations in- thus allowing a considerable discrimination imical to law and order. Such we may name: in favor of the exclusively home product. THE WHISKEY INSURRECTION, 1791-4.

For the collection of these duties each State THE ALIEN AND SEDITION EMEUTE, 1798.

was made an inspection district, with its suA ARON BURR'S CONSPIRACY, 1806-7.

pervisor, and each district was subdivided THE HARTFORD CONVENTION CONSPIRACY, 1814.

into surveys of inspection, each with its inTHE MISSOURI COMPROMISE AGITATION, 1820-22.

spector. All distillers were required to enter THE INDIAN REBELLION IN GEORGIA, 1825.

their distilleries at the nearest office of inspecThe South Carolina Nullification REBELLION, tion, with a complete description of all the 1831-2. DORR's RHODE ISLAND REBELLION, 1842.

buildings, which buildings were to be subject THE KANSAS-NEBRASKA IMBROGLIO, 1854-58.

to the constant examination of an inspector THE UTAH TROUBLES, 1858-59.

appointed for that purpose, who was to guage THE SECESSION REVOLUTION, 1860-61.

and brand the casks, the duties to be paid Several uprisings, or rebellions, occurred before the removal of the spirits from the disprior to the adoption of the Constitution, tillery. But, to save the expense and trouble

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

HISTORY OF FORMER CONSPIRACIES. to both parties of this constant oversight, the government saw the seeds of a powerful insmall country stills not situated in any town surrection. But, the law must be sustained or village, were to pay an annual rate of sixty and the resistants punished; otherwise all cents per gallon on the capacity of the still. law would be at an end, and any armed mob All casks containing spirits not properly might defy the acts of Congress. branded and certified were liable to forfeiture. A modification of the law was made, by

Pennsylvania at that time manufactured the exertions of the timid, who thought it great quantities of whiskey. Indeed, it was better to compromise matters than to resort to manufactured liberally by all the States, and force. It was in vain; and Western Pennbecame so common as a beverage as to be re- sylvania successfully resisted the collection of garded one of the actual necessaries of life. the tax, up to July, 1794. Government then Its tax, and consequent enhancement of cost saw the necessity of enforcing the law and of to the consumer, created as much feeling as if arraigning the malcontents, or else of confessflour and bacon were to become agents in re- ing its weakness to meet rebellion. Thirty plenishing an exhausted treasury. But, in warrants were placed in the hands of the Pennsylvania, west of the Alleghany moun- United States Marshal, against offending distains, the excitement soon assumed the tone tillers. All save one were successfully served, of a menace. In that particular section the by the aid of a posse of armed men, under chief grain grown was rye, which, in the the guidance of the District Inspector, Gen. shape of whiskey, could be transported to the Neville. This one met the posse by an arm East and be exchanged for every needed com- ed resistance. His men fired upon the officers modity. Whiskey thus became a kind of cur- and compelled them to fly for their lives. rency. To tax it was regarded as an arbitrary Neville secured a squad of troops to guard assumption which it was as just and necessary his house, but it was attacked and burned to repudiate as to resist the tea and stamp tax down—the General escaping down the river imposed by the British Parliament.

to Marietta, then crossing over the country to This feeling became so general that, in the Philadelphia, to make known the true state four western counties of the State named, of affairs to the President. combinations were entered into by the distil This success gave the insurrectionists a lers and the people to resist, by force, the col- clear field. They proceeded to extremes in lection of the tax. The first step was to warn their violence against all who upheld the away the collectors; next, to forbid the in-law. The mail was robbed and letters were spectors from entering any distillery, public read to obtain evidence of complicity with or private.* Indignities were, consequently, government, on the part of citizens. The infreely visited upon the “minions of the law." surgents summoned the militia, and seven Johnson, collector for Alleghany, was seized, thousand men answered the call. Col. Cook, shaved, tarred and feathered, and driven out- one of the Judges of Fayette County, was side of his district. An inspector named Wil-made President of this "assembly of citison, who had resolved to do his duty, was seizedzens,” and Albert Gallatin (afterwards one of in his own house one night, by men in dis- the most eminent men in the country) was guise, borne to a blacksmith shop, branded chosen Secretary. Gallatin prepared an ad on both cheeks by a red hot iron, coated with dress which embodied the sentiments of the tar and feathers, and ordered to leave the "still loyal people” who were in arms to “recounty. The terror inspired by these and sist a lawless invasion of their rights.” A other outrages, caused much alarm through- major-general was elected, who proceeded at out the entire country. In it friends of the once to drill the troops and to prepare for fur

ther operations. * It is estimated that, in Pennsylvania alone, there

Washington, now thoroughly convinced were five thousand distilleries, great and small! that further temporising with the wrong was Great numbers of farmers manufactured their grain inexcusable, issued his proclamation requiring into spirits and wagoned it over the mountains to ex- the insurgents to disperse, and those opposing change for supplies.

the laws to desist. This effected nothing,

.

when he issued a second, calling upon the tensified their lawless course towards our States of Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, commerce and ministers. Their organ, the and Pennsylvania for 13,000 troops to sup- Aurora, of Philadelphia, and its “anti-Fedepress the rebellion.* This was the begin- ral" echoes throughout the country, became ning of the end. The insurgents, apparently excessively insolent toward the “Federals," appalled by the President's well understood going so far in their malignant endeavors to purpose to arrest and hang every man found excite the country against the party, as to in arms, called a Convention at Parkinson's heap lampoons even upon Washington's head. Ferry, and there adopted resolutions of entire The French Directory refused to receive our submission. The troops proceeded to the minister, Mr. Pinckney, and left no means unseat of trouble, under command of Gov. Lee, tried for mortifying our representatives and of Virginia, when the excise officers entered, for crippling our energies at home and with but occasional signs of opposition, upon

abroad. their duties. Lee proclaims an amnesty, and Adams and the Federalists wished, from the matter ended by Pennsylvania whiskey the first, to preserve a neutrality in regard to contributing essentially to enhance the reven- the wars in Europe; but, the violence of the ues of the country.

French sympathisers here, and the continued

persecutions of our commerce by the French, THE ALIEN AND SEDITION

left no alternative, apparently, but to resent

not only French indignities, but also to place EMEUTE, 1798.

the large number of foreign malcontents, During the administration of John Adams seeking by their immeasurable libels to stir the country was visibly affected by the French up sedition, under the restraints of law. Revolution, whose terrible tragedy was then

Acting under the impulses of the prevailbeing enacted. It created, in America, a ing excitement against this revolutionary forstrong party, in sympathy with the revolu- eign element, the question was raised whetionists, notwithstanding the French Direc-ther the safety of the country did not demand tory had, with reckless impudence, preyed that such foreign residents in the United upon our commerce, insulted our foreign States as were known to give aid to external agents, and refused liquidation for authenti- enemies should not be banished; while, to cated claims. Jefferson was, from his long protect the President, Congress, and public residence in France, and his strong sympathy officers from the atrocious falsehoods and with the ultra-democratic idea, the virtual libels put forth day by day, it was proposed leader of the sympathisers in this country. to pass a Sedition law which should meet the Running for the Presidency he was beaten by case. The question was finally met in ConAdams. This was construed by the French gress by the passage of three acts. as a non-recognition, by this country, of their

The first was an amendment to the naturalinew government; they therefore rather in- zation act, extending the previous residence to

fourteen years, and requiring five years pre* It was not until February 28th, 1795, that Con- vious declaration of intention to become a gress passed the act to empower the President to citizen. A register was also kept of all aliens call out troops in certain emergencies, under which resident in the country. law Mr. Lincoln acted in 1861. Washington really A second act, limited to two years, gave the exceeded his authority; but, Congress not being in President authority to order out of the country session for the moment, he was compelled to act all such aliens as he might deem dangerous to and look to the people and to Congress for his justi- the peace and safety of the United States. fication. Congress justified him by the passage of the act referred to, which was then designed to meet

By a third act, in case of declaration of war all such cases of danger occurring during the ad- all natives or citizens of the hostile nation journment of the Legislative Body. Mr. Lincoln, were liable to be apprehended or removed. in availing himself of that act, did not exceed its These acts produced extreme excitement. powers in calling 75,000 men“ to suppress said com- The second, familiarly called the Alien Act, binations and to cause the laws to be duly respected." | was strenuously opposed in the House, and

HISTORY OF

FORMER CONSPIRA OI E.S.

7

only passed by a vote of 46 to 40. Neither created a general government for special purthis act nor the third, however, were enforced, poses, each State reserving to itself the resiit being left to the discretion of the President duary mass of power and right, and that, as to do so or not. They served, nevertheless, in other cases of compact between parties, the good effect of starting from our shores having no common judge, each party has an three ships' loads of Frenchmen, whose pre-equal right to judge for itself, as well as of sence in America had given great offence. infractions as of the mode and measure of reAmong the number was Volney, the revolu- dress. Then followed five resolutions, practitionist and infidel.

cally applying to the acts of the last ConJune 26th, 1798, Mr. Lloyd, of Maryland, gress--this alleged right of the States to judge introduced the Sedition law to Congress of infractions and their remedy, not merely as After various amendments and much opposi- a matter of opinion, but officially and constisition, it passed. It provided : First, that it tutionally as parties to the compact, and as is a high misdemeanor, punishable by fine, not the foundation of important legislation. exceeding five thousand dollars, for any per- These three acts were severally to punish sons to conspire against the government of the counterfeiters of bills of the United States United States to impede the operation of the Bank, the Sedition Law and the Alien Lawlaw, or to commit, advise or attempt to pro- all of which, for various reasons assigned, cure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly were successively pronounced "not law, but or combination. The second section subjected altogether void and of no force.” The Senato a fine, not exceeding two thousand dollars, tors and members of Kentucky were directed the publishing of any false, scandalous or ma- to lay these resolutions before the two Houses licious writings against the government of of Congress, and the Governor was also inthe United States, or either house of Congress, structed to transmit the resolutions to the or the President, with intent to defame them legislatures of the several States, to whom an or bring them in disrepute, or to excite against earnest appeal was made for a concurrence them the hatred of the people of the United with Kentucky in requesting the repeal of the States, or to stir up sedition, or to excite any obnoxious laws, and declaring them void and unlawful combination for opposing any law of no force. This was the shape in which, of the United States, or to encourage any hos- with only two or three dissenting votes, the tile designs of any foreign nation against the resolutions passed the Kentucky Legislature * United States. The act was to continue in on the 14th of November, 1798. force until June 25th, 1800.

The same sentiments were embodied in reThese acts called forth the most determined solutions introduced by Madison to the Viropposition from the “anti-Federalists,” who ginia Legislature, Dec. 24th, 1798. A month regarded them as unconstitutional and highly later they were sent out to the several States offensive. As the Alien law was not enforced, accompanied by an address. and as the Sedition law terminated by limi All however ended here. None of the States tation in less than two years, it is evident that responded favorably to the resolutions; but, it was not the laws themselves which offended on the contrary, Maryland, Delaware, Pennso much, as the principle involved. They sylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, gave occasion, therefore, for Jefferson's cele- Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire brated “ Resolutions of '98,” introduced by and Vermont disavowed the doctrine set up George Nicholas, into the Kentucky Legisla- of a right in the State Legislatures to decide ture. The original draft of these resolutions, upon the validity of acts of Congress. The in Jefferson's own hand-writing, is yet pre- reply of Massachusetts likewise maintained served. As introduced by Nicholas, however, the constitutionality of the Alien and Sedition some of its more objectionable sections were laws as being justified by the exigency of the mc dified.

moment, and the power of Congress to proThe original draft began with a resolution vide for the com on defence, that the Federal Government is a compact Mr. Everett says: "But the resolutions between the States, as States, by which is did their work--all they were intended or

expected to do—by shaking the administra- | ing that the Federalists should pass from tion. At the ensuing election, Mr. Jefferson, power rather than contribute one vote to at whose instance the entire 'movement was the election of a person as base as Burr. made, was chosen President by a very small That opposition defeated the ambitious majority; Mr. Madison was placed at the head aspirant, and Hamilton paid the penalty of his administration as Secretary of State; of his life for the part he had acted. Burr the obnoxious laws expired by their own challenged him to mortal.combat, and, by limitation; and Mr. Jefferson proceeded to avoiding every possibility of a settlement, administer the Government upon constitu- forced the unwilling Hamilton to place his tional principles quite as lax, to say the least, body as a target for the unerring weapon of as those of his predecessors."

his implacable adversary. They met July These resolutions we have referred to at 11th, 1804. 'Burr took most deliberate aim seemingly unnecessary length; but, as they and shot his antagonist. Hamilton did not contain the germ of all the ideas since ad-fire at all, as he proposed, though his pistol vanced of the right of a State to interpret exploded from the convulsive motion of his to adopt or nullify—the laws of Congress, finger on the trigger when Burr's ball struck they deserve especial attention. They were his bosom. Burr fled, and the execrations of simply acted upon and repeated by the trai- a nation followed him. He sought a brief torous Hartford Convention—were simply re- residence, “ until the storm should pass over," produced by South Carolina in her Nullifica- in the Southern States, where a successful tion Ordinance of 1832, and put in practice duelist ever has a passport to public and priby the revolutionists of 1860, as will be shown. vate favor. From thence he journeyed back

to Washington to preside over the Senate.

In Virginia he had a most enthusiastic public THE CONSPIRACY OF AARON BURR, reception. At the same time two warrants 1806-7.

were out for his arrest ‘as a murderer, one in

New York and one in New Jersey. At WashAaron Burr came within one vote of being ington he was 'received, Parton* says, with the Democratic President of the United States. more deference than usual. The President, His competitor, Jefferson, finally obtained the he says, even gave one or two appointments casting vote of Mr. Bayard, Federalist, of De to his (Burr's) friends-one, General Wilkinlaware. He thereupon became President, and son, being made Governor of the Territory of Burr Vice-President. The history of that Louisiana. He sought to make good use of seven days balloting is one of the most re- this appointment afterward, but eventually markable episodes in that day of intrigues, of found a betrayer in him whom he had sought plots and counterplots. It shows Burr to have to promote. been a subtle, unscrupulous and perfectly im The summer of 1805 Burr spent in the mobile man-one well fitted for“ stratagems, West and South, in quest of a new home treasons and spoils.” Burr served the one where his energies might find full play. If term with ability, plotting a stroke for the he had conceived any definite plan of revoluPresidency. But, the Democracy found rea- tion, at that time, it is not known. The son to distrust him, and named George Clin- summer was passed merely in observation ton, of New York, as their candidate for Vice- and visiting, from Pittsburg all along the President -Mr. Jefferson standing for his river down to New Orleans, making two vissecond term as Chief-Magistrate. Burr, not its to Nashville, Tenn. At all places he was to be thwarted, and hoping to heap confusion the welcomed guest of leading men, and, proupon his opponents, avowed himself an inde- fiting by their knowledge and influence, gainpendent candidate for the Gubeanatorial ed such information as he desired in regard chair of New York, and would have defeated opposition had he not been so thoroughly distrusted. Alexander Hamilton cast his

* See Parton's Life of Burr, chapter XVI. Also, great influence against the intriguer—prefer- Randall's Life of Jefferson, Vol. II. Chap. IX.

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »