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of Commodore Decatur in a duel, in order that we may give expression to the sentiment, which fills every honorable and manly mind, that this detestable species of murder ought to be marked with the reprobation and scorn which it deserves. Mackenzie, in his "Life of Decatur," gives a full account of the various steps in the dispute which led Barron to send Decatur a challenge. They met on the 22d of March, at Bladensburg, and Decatur was killed. Congress honored his funeral by an adjournment, and the president, with the heads of departments, the foreign ministers, the members of the legislature, and a great concourse of citizens, attended his body to the grave, by this means expressing their sense of the loss, which in him their country had sustained. Strange and shocking to say, no notice was taken of this atrocious murder; though the law was violated openly and without scruple, no motion was made to arrest the guilty; no attempt to vindicate the honor and dignity of the law of the land; but, as if such a mode of settling disputes was quite proper and becoming, the president and all others charged with the due execution and support of the laws, passed the whole transaction over in silence. It is humiliating to think, that one of the bravest and most chivalrous men that our navy has ever produced, should have gone down to the grave with the sad blot on his fair fame, tt killed in a duel."
During the summer, the fourth decennial census of the United States was taken, showing the population on the 1st of August, 1820. The number of
white males was, 4,001,064; of white females, 3,871,647; total 7,872,711. The number of free colored males was, 112,783; of free colored females, 120,783; total, 233,566. Th9 number of slaves was, males, 790,965 ; females, 752,723; total, 1,543,688. The grand total of the population, consequently, was, 9,649,965.
Several additional returns were required by the act of Congress which made arrangements for taking this census. Of foreigners not naturalized, it appeared there were, 53,687, in the United States. The number of persons engaged in commerce, was 72,493; in manufactures, 349,506; and in agriculture, 2,070,646. The numbers engaged in manufactures, will help to account for the attention given to the measures for fostering and encouraging the manufacturing interest.*
Mr. Senator Benton's view of the "gloom and agony" of the years 1819 and 1820 deserves to be quoted in this connection, although probably it is more highly colored than, every thing considered, was necessary. "No money," says he, "either gold or silver: no measure, or standard of value, left remaining. The local banks, (all but those of New England,) after a brief resumption of specie payments, again sank into a state of suspension. The Bank of the United States, created as a remedy for all those evils, now at the head of the evil, prostrate and helpless,
* For some interesting facts and conclusions respecting the population of our country, seo Tucker's "Progress of the United /States in Population and Wealth, in Fifty Years, as exhibited by the Decennial CensusTM pp. 28-35, etc.
with no power left but that of suing its debtors, and selling their property, and purchasing for itself at its own nominal price. No price for property, or produce. No sales but those of the sheriff and the marshal. No purchasers at execution sales but the creditor, or some hoarder of money. No employment for industry, no demand for labor, no sale for the product of the farm, no sound of the hammer, but that of the auctioneer, knocking down property. Stop laws, property laws, replevin laws, stay laws, loan-office laws, the intervention of the legislator between the creditor and the debtor; this was the business of legislation in three-fourths of the states of the Union—of all south and west of New England. No medium of exchange, but depreciated paper; no change even, but little bits of foul paper, marked so many cents, and signed by some tradesman, barber, or innkeeper; exchanges deranged to the extent of fifty or one hundred per cent. Distress, the universal cry of the people; Relief, the universal demand thundered at the doors of all legislatures, state and federal."
Few countries, as a recent writer has well said, could have struggled through such a crisis as this. Fewer still could have seen it recorded, that, at the very period when the most numerous and clamorous classes were in such a condition as this, precisely then, the wrath ! and fire of party feeling seemed to have died out, and antagonists who had been opposed as the democrats and the federalists had showed themselves, laid aside their strife, and contended side by side to give stability and energy to
"the Washington-Monroe policy." This is one of the noteworthy features in the history of Monroe's administration, and may well deserve the reader's attentive consideration.
On the 13th of November, Congress reassembled, and entered zealously upon the work marked out for the national legislature. Henry Clay, who was compelled to be absent on private business, sent a letter to the House, asking the acceptance of his resignation of the office of speaker, which led to an exciting canvass in order to fill this important post. Three candidates of note were put forward: Smith, of Maryland; Lowndes, of South Carolina; and Taylor, of New York. Sergeant, of Pennsylvania was also nominated, but his supporters were too few to entitle him to more than a bare mention, in connection with this warm contest. For three days the balloting was continued. Five several times was a majority, though not sufficient for the victory, secured by Taylor, on the second day; while Lowndes enjoyed the same fruitless triumph four times, and Smith three times. At length, the northern men united their votes, and carried the New York candidate, at the twentysecond balloting, by a majority of one vote only, over Mr. Lowndes.
The president's message was read to the two Houses on the next day. It is a very interesting document,
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and presents a view of public affairs much less doleful and discouraging than that which we have quoted above from Senator Benton. There was, according to the president, "much cause to rejoice in the felicity of our
situation," and this, too, notwithstanding the acknowledged "pressures on certain interests which have been felt," in various sections of the country. Having referred to these in hopeful terms, and spoken of the position of pur relations with foreign governments, the president spoke of the "internal concerns" of the Union, somewhat at large. "The revenue," he said, most truly, "depends on the resources of the country; and the facility by which the amount required is raised, is a strong proof of the extent of the resources, and of the efficiency of the government." And then he draws a contrast between the amount of the United States debt on the 30th of September, 1815, and the 30th of September, 1820. At the former date, the entire debt, including all the items, was, $158,713,049; at the latter, it amounted to $91,193,883; having been reduced during the interval of five years, by payments of $66,879,165; and this was in addition to the discharge of all the other obligations of the government, in respect to the civil, military, and naval establishments. "By the discharge of so large a portion of the public debt," continued the president, "and the execution of such extensive and important operations in so short a time, a just estimate may be formed of the great extent of our national resources. The demonstration is the more complete and gratifying, when it is recollected that the direct tax and excise were repealed soon after the termination of the late war, and that the revenue applied to these purposes has been derived almost wholly from other sources."
The receipts into the treasury had amounted to $16,794,107 66; the loan of $3,000,000 had readily been ob tained at five per cent.; and there was due to the treasury for the sale of public lands, nearly $23,000,000. Other topics of interest were noted, as the progress of the coast survey; the military stations in the west; the advance of civilization among the Indians; the efforts of some of the national ships to suppress the slave trade, etc.
On the 16th of November, a copy of the constitution of Missouri was presented to Congress. It had been framed during the recess, and its consideration gave rise to new contests in both Houses. In the Senate, it was referred to a select committee of three, who reported a resolution for the admission of Missouri into the Union. Little difficulty, in all probability, would have been made, respecting the final admission of this state, had not a clause been inserted in its constitution, through Mr. Benton's agency, prohibiting free persons of color from so much as entering the state, "under any pretext whatsoever." This clause revived the discussion with all its former acrimony, and the triumph of the advocates of the compromise seemed in danger of being lost. The committee, indeed, reported in favor of sanctioning the constitution, notwithstanding the objectionable clause; and the Senate, on the 11th of December, after an animated debate, adopted the requisite resolution for admitting Missouri, by a vote of twenty-six to eighteen, with the amendment, that Congress did not hereby give assent to any pro vision I
in the constitution of Missouri which contravened that clause in the Constitution of the United States, declaring ''that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of the several states."
In the House, however, the question was more sharply contested. The attempt to carry a resolution in favor of the admission of Missouri was rejected by a vote of ninety-three to seventynine. The next step was a resolution for admitting Missouri, provided the obnoxious provision in her constitution be expunged. The resolution was, on the 15th of January, 1821, referred to the committee of the whole, as was also the resolution from the Senate. For some weeks the question rested in the House, various amendments having been proposed, and numerous schemes devised to get rid of the difficulty, and if possible harmonize the conflicting views and opinions of members of Congress. Early in February, a resolution was proposed, calling upon Missouri to expunge the objectionable clause, as contrary to the Constitution of the United States, by a certain day, and then to be admitted into the Union. This proposition was, however, rejected; whereupon Henry Clay, who had returned and taken his seat again, rose and endeavored to pour oil upon the troubled waters. He moved the appointment of a select committee of thirteen, to consider the proposal which had just been negatived, and to report thereupon.
Even Henry Clay's great skill and ability proved hardly equal to the task he had undertaken. Notwithstanding
the care with which "he consulted the feelings of both parties," in constructing the resolution which he reported; notwithstanding the feeling and power of his speeches, which not unfrequently "drew tears from the hearts" of his hearers, and the prophetic tone with which he besought the legislators to consider what they owed to their country; the resolution was thrown out by two votings, and when brought up for reconsideration, was again lost. On the 2 2d of February, a committee was appointed to act jointly with a committee of the Senate; and on the 26th. this committee reported a joint resolution, viz., That Missouri shall be admitted on the fundamental condition that the fourth clause (respecting free negroes) shall never be construed to authorize the passing of any law; and no law shall be passed by which any citizen of any of the states, shall be excluded from the enjoyment of any of the privileges to which he is entitled by the Constitution; provided the legislature, by a solemn public act, shall declare its assent, and transmit it to the president, as in the amendment recommended by the select committee. This amendment required the assent to be transmitted to the president by the fourth Monday in November, when the president was to make proclamation of the fact, and the admission of the new state was then to be considered as complete. The resolution passed by a vote of eighty-seven to eighty-one in the House, and twenty-eight to fourteen in the Senate; and its terms having been complied with on the part of Missouri, she thenceforward took her