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at Paris, took the place left vacant by Mr. Dallas's death. Crowninshield was continued at the head of the navy department, and Meigs as postmaster-general. The office of secretary of war was offered to governor Shelby of Kentucky; but he considered himself too old for its duties, and no appointment was made till the end of the year, when Calhoun accepted it. The attorney-generalship was held by Mr. Rush until December, when William Wirt was appointed as his successor. In these, as well as other appointments, Mr. Monroe had an eye to the republican character and principles of the persons chosen to office. The federalists, of course, had nothing to hope for from the new president; and, notwithstanding General Jackson's letter to Mr. Monroe, urging him to put aside all party feeling and party considerations, and to select men for their character, integrity, and fitness, no matter what might be their political sentiments, he was too astute, and too well aware of the inexpediency of such schemes to make the attempt. His answer to Jackson's letter is quite worthy of perusal in this connection.
Soon after his inauguration, the president determined to make a tour of inspection and observation through the eastern, middle, and western states. He was desirous of becoming acquainted with the strength of the various fortified places along the Atlantic coast; of removing such works as were constructed in improper situations; of selecting new points for the erection of strong and sufficient batteries against invasion; and of posting the regular
forces where they would be able to act, in case of need, speedily and effectively. Nor was he less moved to undertake this journey, by his desire to become acquainted with the people and learn their wants, to ascertain how the machinery of government, remote from the central power, performed its functions, and to inform himself in regard to the resources of the country, and the means necessary to develope them. He also intimated publicly, that a regard to the economical expenditure of the national funds, appropriated by Congress to the construction of the coast defences, induced him to make this tour.
Mr. Monroe passed through Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, the chief towns in Connecticut, and Rhode Island, and reached Boston on the 2d of July. Thence, traversing a large part of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, he turned his face westward, and inspecting the works on Lake Ontario, he proceeded to Detroit by way of Lake Erie. From Detroit he travelled through parts of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, and returned to Washington on the 18th of September, having been absent three months and a half, and having performed a journey of more than two thousand miles. Every where, the president was received with demonstrations of respect and cordiality, and there can be no doubt, we think, that his tour was a wise and judicious movement with reference to the great objects to which he had so recently pledged his vows in the capitol.
The fifteenth Congress commenced its first session at the usual time, in the
1817. beginning of December. The republicans were decidedly in the majority, there being only a few of the more distinguished federalists left, such as Rufus King, and Harison Gray Otis, in the Senate, and Timothy Pitkin, Henry Shaw, and John Sergeant, in the House. Henry Clay was elected speaker by a hundred and forty-four votes out of a hundred and fiftv: and John Galliard was chosen president of the Senate, pro tempore.
Mr. Monroe's first annual message was sent in on the 2d of December. It began with congratulations upon the general condition of the country, and spoke of the various steps which had been taken in regard to arrangements with the British government, naval armaments on the lakes, the north-eastern boundary, the fisheries, the relations with Spain, etc. The internal concerns of the country were represented as peculiarly gratifying. "After satisfying the appropriations made by law for the support of the civil government, and of the military and naval establishments, embracing suitable provision for fortifications and for the gradual increase of the navy, paying the interest of the public debt, and extinguishing more than $18,000,000 of the principal, within the present year, it is estimated that a balance of more than $6,000,000 will remain in the treasury on the 1st day of January next, applicable to the current expenses .of the ensuing year." The receipts for the next year were estimated at $24,500,000 and the outgoings at nearly $22,000,000; so that there would be an excess of revenue beyond expenditure amounting to nearly
$2,750,000, exclusive of the balance ex pected to be in the treasury at the beginning of the year. The financial prospects of the country were, consequently, considered as full of encouragement and promise for the future.
The president went on to make suitable mention of the militia, the army and navy, the Indians, and the public lands. In respect to "internal improvements," he said: "Disregarding early impressions, I have bestowed on the subject all the deliberation which its great importance and a just sense of my duty required, and the result is a settled conviction in my mind, that Congress do not possess the right. It is not contained in any of the specified powers granted to Congress; nor can I consider it incident to, or a necessary means, viewed on the most liberal scale, for carrying into effect any of the powers which are specifically granted." Mr. Monroe, therefore, suggested an amendment to the Constitution; in which he thought might be included the right of Congress to institute "seminaries of learning," as one very important branch of such "improvements."
Manufactures and machinery, the public buildings at Washington, and "the surviving officers and soldiers of our revolutionary army," all received their due share of attention; and the message concluded with a paragraph on the subject of taxation:—" It appearing in a satisfactory manner, that the revenue arising from imposts and tonnage, and from the public lands, will be fully adequate to the support of the civil government, of the present military
and naval establishments, including the annual augmentation of the latter to the extent provided for, to the payment of the interest on the public debt, and to the extinguishment of it at the time authorized, without the aid of the internal taxes, I consider it my duty to recommend to Congress their repeal." The president added, however, a promise to recommend the re-imposition of them, if circumstances should seem to indicate the necessity of such a step.
The debates in Congress during this session were earnest and able: yet, we are happy to say, there was less acerbity and acrimony than on many previous occasions, and the principal measures recommended by the president met the approval of the majority in Congress.
Among the matters to which early attention was given, was the abolition of the internal taxes. The duties on licenses to distillers and others, on sales by auction, pleasure carriages, stamps, and refined sugar, were, by one act, removed. The duty on salt was also marked for repeal; but, prosperous as the finances seemed, apprehension was expressed by the secretary of the treasury, that instead of a surplus there would be a deficit, if all that the president promised, and the people expected, were given up; this, therefore, was retained. Some of the members thought it prudent to retain a part of these taxes; but, from the difficulty of making a selection which would prove satisfactory, the repeal was carried, early in the session, with only five dissentients.
The debates showed that, in some respects, the view of the state of the
country vas rather highly colored in the message. The finances did, undoubtedly prosper greatly, and the public funds were at a premium; but commerce had not recovered from the embargoes and other paralyzing acts preceding and accompanying the war, which, without them, would have been sufficiently injurious. Excessive importations had raised the public revenue, but ruined the private trader, it was said; and the most profitable of all departments of mercantile enterprise —the carrying trade—was, by treaty, as good as closed against American ships. Neither were the banks without their share of condemnation; they, it seems, were contracting their credits, and endeavoring to close bad accounts, and to recover their debts,—proceedings never popular amongst those affected by them, and yet held to be indispensable both for the banks and the public in general. With respect to Great Britain and her commercial policy, Congress determined upon various retaliatory measures, which were discussed with earnestness and ability, clearly evincing the general sentiment of the country on this important topic. Of the effect produced by these measures, the reader will be better able to judge as we proceed.
For the purpose of compensating for the loss of the internal duties, the abolition of which made it necessary to provide some means for raising the revenue required for the support of government, and of affording protection to the manufactures of the country, some changes were made in the tariff; a small increase of duty was laid upon some fabrics, such as coarse cotton goods, and the like; but there being great opposition to the tariff from the commercial and other sections of the country, nothing of moment was accomplished at this time for the encouragement of home manufactures.
Notwithstanding Mr. Monroe's opinion on the subject of internal improvements, (p. 310), the question came up and was Shlj and fully discussed this session. The committee on internal improvements brought in a report, and maintained that Congress possessed the power, under the Constitution, of appropriating money for the construction of military roads, post roads, and canals. Henry Clay, Mr. Lowndes, Mr. Tucker, and others, argued strongly in favor of the constitutionality of the proposed system; and Messrs. Claggett, Orr, Johnson, Barbour, and others, with equal zeal and earnestness, took the opposite ground on this confessedly difficult topic. On the question of appropriating the dividends received by the United States from the shares held in the national bank to the objects under discussion, there was a majority in favor of such disposition of the public money; but as it was soon understood, that the president would feel called upon to veto any bill in support of the measure, the whole subject was postponed to a future day.
Early in January, a committee of the House reported respecting Amelia Island, and Galveston, in Texas. It appears, that one Gregor M'Gregor, who gave out that he had received a commission as a general from "the United Provinces of New Granada and Venez
uela," in conjunction with Louis Aury, had taken possession of Amelia Island, near the boundary of Georgia, with the avowed intention of renewing the attack upon East Florida from that point. M'Gregor's forces called themselves the patriots / but they were principally made up of outlaws from the United States, run-away slaves, smugglers, vagrants picked up by chance in the ports of the Southern states, including a number of English emissaries M'Gregor's professed object was to liberate the province and obtain its an nexation to the United States.
"On the 30th of July, 1813," says Monette, "the Spanish governor entered into a capitulation for the surrender of the province to the patriot forces; thus again excluding the authority of Spain. But with this incongruous mass of reckless adventurers, no permanent government could be sustained. Dissensions arose; and General M'Gregor, having been supplanted by the artful intrigue of Hubbard, and having been induced to believe that his personal security was endangered by his enemies, retired from the command, and accompanied the notorious Captain Woodbine to England. It was not long before Aury, (who claimed to be an ' admiral,' under a commission like M'Gregor's,) lost his influence, and retired also, leaving Hubbard in chief command. The government, under the usurped authority, had but short duration. To prevent the lawless assemblage which concentrated near the frontier of the United States, and interrupted the due operation of the revenue laws, the federal government determined to take forcible posCh. II.]
session of the country, until Spain should be able to maintain her authority over it. Accordingly, on the 1st of January, 1818, in obedience to instructions, Major J. Bankhead and Commodore J. D. Henly, with a division of the land and naval forces of the United States, expelled the patriots and took possession of the country."*
The president, in relation to this movement, was careful to state, that, "in expelling these adventurers from these posts, it was not intended to make any conquest from Spain, or to injure, in any degree, the cause of the colonies." The secretary of state, also, in his official report, justified the procedure, as required by the laws of nations, aa well as those of the United States.
Mississsippi was admitted into the Union on the 10th of December, 1817, and the initiatory steps for the same purpose were taken by the territories of Illinois and Missouri. During the autumn of the same year, a treaty was concluded by commissioners appointed by the president of the United States and the chiefs of the Wyandot, Delaware, Shawanese, Seneca, Ottowas, Chippewa, and Potowattamie tribes of Indians, by which these tribes ceded to the United States all lands which
* Previously to this, in the summer of 1816, Louis Aury, mentioned above, had gathered a band of brigands and desperadoes on Snake Island, on the coast of Texas, about one hundred and thirty miles west of the mouth of the Mississippi. Smuggling, piratical depredations on commerce, introduction of slaves in violation of law, and the like, formed the occupation of these self-constituted patriots. Aury, in April, 1817, removed further west, to Matagorda, but remained only a short time. He then joined iTGregor at Amelia Island.
they claimed within the limits of Ohio. The Indians were, at their option, to remain on the ceded lands subject to the laws of the state and of the United States.
The attention of Congress was also devoted to the question of a bankrupt law; the negotiations with Spain; the Seminole war; the sending a minister to La Plata; and other topics of less moment. Our limits do not admit of details; we can only refer to the debates of Congress, and the lives and works of such men as Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and John C. Calhoun. On the 20th of April, this busy session of Congress was closed by an adjournment to the third Monday in November.
While the adventurers at Galveston and Amelia Island were occupied in their schemes, a war was begun on the frontier of the United States and Florida. Spain, though she had gained possession of the province in 1783, had never, in fact, reoccupied the country; but it was left almost entirely to outlaws, smugglers, buccaneers, and the like; uncontrolled, except here and there by a small military post. The Seminole Indians, who occupied lands on the confines of the province, partly in Florida and partly in the United States, had been guilty of various acts of outrage. Loud complaints began to be made by the people of Georgia; and General Gaines, who commanded in that quarter, having demanded of the Indians on the Flint River surrender of some persons whom he charged with murder, was met by a decided refusal; on the ground that they were not the
TROUBLES IN FLORIDA.