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circumstances; the country was fast recovering from the depression of commerce and a three years' war. The political feuds which had, since the revolution, occasioned so much animosity, were now gradually subsiding, and there appeared in the administration a disposition to remove old party prejudices, and to promote union among the people. A spirit of improvement was spreading throughout the country; roads and canals were constructed in various parts of the Union.
In 1817, the Seminole Indians inhabiting the northern part of Florida committed depredations on the frontiers of Georgia and Alabama. For several years, disaffected Indians from neighboring tribes, runaway slaves, and other desperate characters, made Florida a place of refuge. In 1818, General Jackson, with about one thousand volunteers from Tennessee, marched into the Indian country and defeated them in several skirmishes. Believing the Spaniards were active in exciting the Indians to hostilities, and in furnishing them with supplies, he was satisfied that to end the war it would be necessary to enter Florida and compel the Spaniards to desist from their machinations. He accordingly marched thither, and took possession of St. Marks and Pensacola, reduced the fortress of Barancas, and sent the Spanish troops and authorities to Havana. Two British subjects AMBRISTER and ARBUTHNOT were taken prisoners, tried and executed “ for exciting and aiding the Indians to make war against the United States.” Having routed the Indians in several battles, he put an effectual check to their hostilities.
At the beginning of Mr. Monroe's administration, a Pension Act was passed, which made provision for the support of all the officers and soldiers of the revolution, whose circumstances were such as to need assistance. In 1821, Florida, which had hitherto been under the dominion of Spain, was granted by treaty to the United States, in compensation for spoliations upon their commerce by Spanish vessels during the European wars. In 1820 Missouri applied for admission into the Union. On its admission congress and the whole country became highly excited on the question whether slavery should be allowed to exist in that state. It was finally settled by what has been called “the Missouri Compromise," which tolerated slavery in Missouri, but otherwise prohibited it in all the territory “ceded by France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana;" west and north of the northern limits of Arkansas.
The summer of 1824 was distinguished by the visit of General La fayette, who arrived in New York, August 16, 1824. The “nation's
guest” was received with great enthusiasm by all classes. From New York he proceeded by land to Boston, passing through New Haven and Providence. From Boston he went to Portsmouth, N. H.; thence . to New York, through Worcester, Hartford and Middletown. From New York he proceeded to Albany and other places. Returning to New York, he visited Philadelphia, Baltimore and also Washington City, where he was received by congress, who voted him two hundred thousand dollars and a township of land, for important services rendered by him during the revolutionary war.
From Washington, Lafayette made a tour through the southern and western states, and returned to Albany, by way of Buffalo and the grand canal. From Albany he passed through Springfield to Boston, where he was received by the legislature of Massachusetts, then in session. On the 17th of June, he assisted in laying the foundation of Bunker Hill monument. He then visited the states of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, and returned to New York to participate in the celebration of the forty-ninth anniversary of American independence. He finally left New York, July 14, 1825, visited the ex-presidents in Virginia, and soon after embarked on board the frigate Brandy wine for France.
J. Q. ADAMS' ADMINISTRATION. John Quincy Adams was inaugurated president, March 4, 1825, and continued in office four years. During the period of his administration peace was preserved with foreign nations, and the country rapidly advanced in wealth and population. A controversy between the national government and the state of Georgia, respecting certain lands belonging to the Creeks and Cherokees, occasioned considerable anxiety. After several attempts on the part of Georgia to obtain the possession of the Creek territory, in accordance with treaties made with portions of the tribe, the national government purchased the residue of the lands for the benefit of that state, which settled the controversy.
The 4th of July, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of American independence, was rendered remarkable by the deaths of the two venerable ex-presidents, Jefferson and Adams, whose wise councils for a long period had in no small degree contributed to the independence and prosperity of the country; on the same day, and almost at the same hour, both expired. They were both members of the committee who
had framed the Declaration of Independence, both signed it, both had been vice-presidents, and afterward presidents of the United States, and both had lived to a great age.
At this period, the anti-masonic party arose, and for a time controlled various of the state governments. It originated from the excitement consequent upon the forcible abduction and supposed murder of William Morgan, a citizen of Batavia, in the year 1826, by members of the masonic fraternity, to prevent his publishing a book which, as was said, disclosed the secrets of masonry. Opposition to the principle of secret societies, as a dangerous element to the perpetuation of free institutions, was the sentiment on which the party was based.
The presidential election of 1828 was attended with great excitement and zeal in the respective parties, the opposing candidates being Mr. Adams and General Jackson. “In the contest, which from the first was chiefly of a personal nature, not only the public acts, but even the private lives of both aspirants were closely scanned, and every error, real or supposed, placed in a conspicuous view. The result was the election of General Jackson by a majority far greater than his friends had anticipated."
General Andrew Jackson, on the 4th of March, 1829, took the oath of office as president of the United States, and continued in this station for eight years. The leading measures of his administration were carried out with an uncommon degree of energy and determination. In 1832, a bill to recharter the United States Bank was passed by both houses of congress. This bill was vetoed by the president, and returned to congress with his objections. Not being repassed by the constitutional majority of two thirds, the bank ceased to be a national institution on the expiration of its charter in 1836.
Among the subjects of general interest which commanded the attention of the president, were the claims of Georgia to the lands of the Cherokees, lying within the limits of that state. President Jackson favored the views of the Georgia authorities, and the whites proceeded to take possession of the Indian lands. This caused much disturbance, and many feared a civil war. The matter was adjudicated by the Supreme Court of the United States. This tribunal decided
against the claims of Georgia. Being favored by the president, that state resisted the decision. The difficulty was finally adjusted; and in 1838, General Winfield Scott was sent thither with several thousand troops. Through his conciliatory measures the Cherokees were induced to emigrate westward of the Mississippi.
In 1832, the Sacs, Foxes, and Winnebagoes, Indians in Wisconsin Territory, commenced hostilities, led on by Black Hawk, their chieftain. After numerous skirmishes, most of the Indians were driven westward of the Mississippi. Black Hawk surrendered, and peace was concluded: the Indians relinquished a large portion of their lands. Black Hawk and several other chiefs were conducted to Washington, and through the country, to show them the extent and power of the United States, and also to convince them of the folly of making war against the whites.
In 1832, congress passed a new tariff, imposing additional duties on foreign goods. This act was considered so grievous in South Carolina, that a convention was assembled who published an “ordinance," nullifying, or forbidding the operation of the tariff laws within the limits of that state. This act called forth a proclamation from President Jackson, stating that “such opposition must be repelled." Hostile preparations were then made on both sides. The gathering storm was allayed by the passage of the “ Compromise Act,” introduced by Henry Clay, a warm friend of the tariff, which provided for a gradual reduction of the obnoxious duties, during the succeeding
The attempt to remove the Indians to lands west of the Mississippi, in accordance with the treaty of Payne's Landing, was resisted. A large portion of the Indians denied the validity or justice of the treaty. Near the close of 1832, the Seminole Indians of Florida, under Micanopy and Oceola, their most noted chieftains, commenced hostilities against the whites. In December, Major Dade, with upward of one hundred men, was sent to the assistance of General Clinch, who was stationed at Fort Crane. On his march, Dade fell into an ambuscade, and was killed with all his men, excepting four, who afterward died of their wounds. The war continued, and several Creek bands joined the Seminoles. Murders and devastations were frequent, towns were burnt, and thousands of whites fled to save their lives. In October, 1836, Governor Coll took command of the forces in Florida, and with about two thousand men marched into the interior, where he had several actions with the Indians.
In 1835, serious apprehensions were entertained of a war with France. The United States government for many years had urged in vain upon that country the claims of American citizens for spolia
their commerce during the wars of Napoleon. These claims, amounting to twenty-five millions of francs, had been acknowledged by the French government, but for various reasons pay. ment was delayed. Certain measures were now proposed, which it was feared would involve the two nations in war. Happily all differences were amicably settled. In 1835, the national debt was extinguished; and in 1836, several millions of surplus revenue remained in the treasury.
VAN BUREN'S ADMINISTRATION. Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States, was inaugurated March 4, 1837, and continued president for four years. During the administration of General Jackson, his predecessor, the public moneys were removed from the United States' Bank, and deposited in the state banks. These institutions thus had their facilities for lending money increased, speculations were encouraged, and the usual track of honest industry in acquiring wealth was in some measure abandoned. This unnatural state of things could not continue; it had its crisis in 1837. Such was the revulsion in business, that the banks suspended specie payments. During the months of March and April, the failures in the city of New York amounted to nearly one hundred millions of dollars.
In the years 1837 and 1838, the difficulties occurred on the Canada border, known as the Canadian Rebellion. Considerable bodies of Americans and Canadians assembled at different points on the frontier, in the states of Michigan, Ohio, and New York, to aid the disaffected Canadians to achieve their independence. On the night of the 29th of December, 1837, the steamboat Caroline was burnt by the British at Schlosser's Landing, two miles above the Falls of Niagara, on the American side. She was at the time in use as a ferry-boat between Schlosser's and Navy Island, a rendezvous of the rebels, in the Niagara River. Sandusky City, in Ohio, was another rendezvous of the “patriots" under a Captain Bradley: in the winter of 1838, they had an action on the ice of Lake Erie, near Point au Pelee Island, with a body of British cavalry, whom they repulsed. In November, 1838, a body of patriots to the number of several hundred,