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The sixth decennial census was taken Martin Van Buren received sixty-six during the year, and the result, on the votes, and Richard M. Johnson forty1st of June, 1840, was as follows:- eight. Consequently, Harrison and TyWhite males, 7,249,266 ; white females, ler were elected president and vice6,939,842; free colored males, 192,550; president of the United States. free colored females, 199,821; slaves, Congress met on the 7th of Decemmalas 1,240,408 ; females, 1,240,805 ; ber; but the session was not producmaking a grand total of the population tive of any results of moment. Anof the United States, (including seamen other issue of treasury notes was auin the national service), 17,069,453. thorized; various appropriations were
The presidential election, during the made; and many schemes, which had autumn of 1840, gave rise to unprece- already been much talked of in Condented excitement, and more time and gress, were debated anew. The mat. attention were bestowed upon politics, ter of most interest, especially for the and the numerous questions at issue promise it gave of what might be done between the two parties, than probably under the next administration, had ever been the case at any previous was a resolution proposed by time. There was hardly a definable lim- Henry Clay, for the repeal of the subit to the conventions, the speeches, the treasury law. The Senate, however, repolitical pamphlets, the newspaper en-jected the resolution. On the 3d of gineering, on the thousand topics which March, 1841, the session closed, and were brought forward and debated at with it the administration of Martin the time. The democratic party hoped Van Buren. He came into office by a
to re-elect Mr. Van Buren; the very large vote; the people denied him
whigs were enthusiastic in their a re-election by an equally large vote efforts to secure the election of their against him. It remains to be seen candidates. The result was, that Gen. whether the hopes of those who effecteral Harrison and John Tyler received, ed this change in the administration each, two hundred and thirty-four votes; I were to be gratified or not.
General Harrison's inauguration - His cabinet - His death - John Tyler president - His address to the people -
Extra session of the twenty-seventh Congress - Tyler's message - The secretary of the treasury recommends the establishment of a national bank — Action in Congress on the subject—The sub-treasury repealed — The fiscal bank established - The bill vetoed by Tyler — Further attempt — The president consulted and his approbation secured - Another veto-The cabinet send in their resignations, except Mr. Webster - Course of the whigs in Congress — Acts of the session - Congress meet in December - The longest session ever held Large amount of legislation - Other banking schemes — The Washington treaty — Its provisions — Troubles in Rhode Island - The Oregon question brought forward - Further proceedings with respect to it-The elections – Congress in session, December, 1843 — Position of affairs — Mr. Tyler's measures with reference to the annexation of Texas – Action in Congress — The presidential candidates — Result of the contest - Polk and Dallas elected — Last session of Congress — Tyler's message - The joint resolutions for the annexation of Texas — Prospect of future trouble - Close of Tyler's administration,
DURING the month of February, Gen- rison was an able one, and promised eral Harrison reached the city of Wash- well for the administration of affairs. ington, and on the 4th of March was Daniel Webster was appointed secreinaugurated as the ninth president of tary of state; Thomas Ewing, secretary the United States. The ceremonies of the treasury; John Bell, secretary were imposing; unusual enthusiasm pre of war; George E. Badger, secretary
vailed; and high hopes were en of the navy; Francis Granger, postmas
tertained, that the new presi- ter-general; and John J. Crittenden, dent would be able to discharge the attorney-general; the Senate having at duties of his office in such wise, as to once confirmed all the nominations. meet the wishes and expectations of his Other vacancies were filled
without countrymen. His Inaugural address delay. And a proclamation was issued was very long, but full of interest nev on the 17th of March, summoning Conertheless; and, as became the position gress together for an extra session, on in which he was placed, he dwelt at the 31st of the following May. length upon the topics which had been And this was all that Harrison was Bo fully discussed during the canvass, permitted to do. Though advanced in and respecting which he now renewed years, his physical ability seemed to the pledges which were naturally looked give promise of energy and power of for at his hands.
endurance; but the harassing toils of The cabinet chosen by General Har- | the government soon proved too much
for his strength. He was beset with all the pains of uncertainty, as to the office seekers; he was anxious to grati course which Tyler would pursue cn fy the numerous friends and supporters the many and great questions wherein who flocked about him; he gave him he would be called upon to take part. self incessantly to public business; and John Tyler arrived at Washington, at the close of the month, he was lying on the 6th of April, and at once assemon a sick bed. On Sunday, the 4th of bling the heads of departments, April, pneumonia having set in, his requested them all to continue brief career as president was brought in the exercise of the functions they to its close. His last words, spoken | had been charged with by his predeafter he had ceased to be conscious of
He then, for the sake of preimmediately surrounding things, as if venting all occasion of future trouble, addressing a successor or associate, were took and subscribed a new oath of office these: “Sir, I wish you to understand before the chief judge of the circuit the principles of the government. I court of the District of Columbia, and wish them carried out. I ask nothing
I ask nothing assumed the presidency. On the 7th, more."
the funeral of General Harrison took This being the first instance of a place; and was attended by a prodipresident dying while in office, it pro- gious concourse of people from every duced a feeling akin to dismay, and quarter of the Union, who forgot party wide-spread concern was felt as to what distinctions, and heartily joined in doing would result from so severe a dispensa- honor to the lamented dead. The 14th tion of God's providence. To the party of May was recommended by the new who had elected Harrison, it was a ter- president as a day of fasting and prayrible blow; for with him at the head er, and it was universally observed of affairs, they were sure of being able throughout the country, giving an opto carry on the government to general portunity for the expression of sorrow satisfaction. But, as respected the man for the deceased Harrison, and of the who, by constitutional provision, now profound sense of the instability of huwas to
occupy the executive chair, the man greatness inspired by his death, whig party had grave and not unnatu Two days after this affecting solemral doubts and perplexities. John Tyler nity, Mr. Tyler issued an address to the had been placed on the ticket without people of the United States, in which much thought or care as to his political he briefly set forth his views, and gave principles and consistency, or his execu utterance to sentiments, which, though tive ability, since, in the post of vice- not very unambiguously expressed, still president these were points of compar- proved generally satisfactory. It was atively little moment. When, however, hoped, by the prominent members of by. Harrison's death, he was suddenly the whig party, that he would co-opeplaced in the presidential chair, with rate with the majority of Congress, in the whole term of four years before carrying out the views and desires of him, the dominant party experienced those by whom he had been elected.
The twenty-seventh Congress met for treasury, sent with the message, warmly an extra session on the 31st of May, recommended the establishment of a and Mr. Tyler's message was sent in the national bank, as likely to "produco following day. Of the foreign relations the happiest results, and confer lasting of the Union, a very satisfactory account and important benefits on the country.” was given. A treaty with Portugal had The president was understood to be been duly ratified. The claims upon friendly to the plan, and Mr. Ewing, on Spain seemed in a fair
of the invitation of both Houses, reported, being settled. The M'Leod busi- | about the middle of June, a draft of a ness was progressing to a conclusion.* bill for the
bill for the establishment of “The FisSpeaking of domestic affairs, Mr. Tyler cal Bank of the United States." In its said; “We hold out to the people of business details this scheme did not difother countries an invitation to come fer widely from the old plans; except and settle amongst us, as members of in two features, which it was understood, our rapidly growing family; and for were introduced by the president him. the blessings which we offer them, we self, and which were designed to obvirequire them to look upon our country ate the constitutional objections. They as their country, and to unite with us were, the proposal to incorpoin the great task of preserving our in- rate the bank in the District of stitutions, and thereby perpetuating our | Columbia, where Congress had the powliberties." The allusions to a national er of a state legislature; and to give bank, and to the inexhaustible subject the bank power to establish branches of internal improvements, contained in only in such states as should assent to the message, were so ambiguous, that it by their legislatures. There were, from them nothing of the president's
inserted many provisions, by real intentions could be divined. The which it was hoped that the abuses and whig party, however, believed him to corruptions alleged or proved against be with them on those points; notwith the former banks would be prevented. standing there were reasons to doubt, This draft was referred, in the Senate, respecting Mr. Tyler's course on the to the select committee on the currency, questions at issue at the time.
of which Henry Clay was chairman; The report of the secretary of the and at the end of a week a report was
presented, concluding with a bill, agree
ing with the secretary's in almost every * In January, 1841, Alexander M'Leod, of Upper Canada, being in New York on business, was arrested part; differing from it chiefly on matby the authorities at Lockport, on the charge of having ters of detail, respecting the manage. been a participator in the burning of the Caroline,
ment of the bank, and its method of (see p. 411.) Much excitement prevailed, and much trouble seemed likely to grow out of the matter. The doing business; but differing also from grand jury found a bill against M'Leod for murder; and it on the subject of the conditions of his trial took place in October. Fortunately for all establishing branches in the several concerned, an alibi was proved. M'Leod was allowed to return home, and this source of difficulty was re
Much debate was had on this point, Vol. III.-53
and a compromise was at last effected, through the secretary of state, approved by which it was hoped the conflicting by him, and returned. On the 20th, opinions might be harmonized, and the Mr. Sergeant introduced it into the question be settled. The bill passed House, as an amendment to some bil by twenty-six to twenty-three in the then pending in a committee of the Senate, and by a hundred and twenty- whole; and after due debate, it passed eight to ninety-seven in the House; and on the 23d, without the alteration of a on the 6th of August was sent for the word, by a vote of a hundred and twenpresident's approval. From the 6th to ty-five to ninety-four. In proof of the the 16th of August, Mr. Tyler retained anxiety of Congress to meet the wishes the bill, and the excitement through of the president, it may be mentioned, the country was prodigious. The White that in this bill the institution was not House was thronged with visitors, of entitled a bank at all; but “The Fiscal all shades of political opinion, all anx. Corporativa of the United States." ious to know whether the approval The Senate passed it without amendwould be withheld, all ready to give ment, on the 3d of September, by twenadvice upon the matter. On the 9th ty-seven to twenty-two. of August, the law by which the sub John Tyler, having kept the bill six treasury was established was repealed, days, though as above stated, he had by & vote of a hundred and thirty-four already approved it, made certain stingto eighty-seven; and the whigs warned ing words of Mr. Botts, respecting the and entreated the vacillating occupant “ heading of Captain Tyler," and his of the presidential chair, not to disap- currying favor with the locofocos, an point the expections of the party and excuse for changing his mind; and, the country generally.
strange to say, on the 9th of September, On the 16th of August, however, the he vetoed this bill also. The strength bill was returned vetoed, for reasons of the party was not sufficient to carry set forth in his message. The whigs it by a two-third's vote, and so, of course, were furious; the opposition hoped to it was lost. gain advantage from the result. The Two days afterwards the cabinet rebank question was the main issue, and signed, with the exception of Mr. Webas it could not be carried without Mr. ster,* and on the 13th of September, Tyler's aid, the whigs smothered their when the session closed, the whig memmortification, and set to work to ar-bers of Congress issued an address to range a bank on such a basis as the the people, giving an account of their president would not veto it. Two prom- | action, in terms far from complimentary inent members of Congress, Messrs. to Mr. Tyler. Perhaps, for the inter
Berrien and Sergeant, waited
on Mr. Tyler, and ascertained * In their places, Mr. Tyler chose Walter Forward, his wishes, and a bill was prepared, on
secretary of the treasury; John C. Spencer, secretary
of war; Abel P. Upshur, secretary of the navy; C. A. the 19th of August, which, to make all Wickliffe, postmaster-general; and Hugh S. Legare. sure, was submitted to the president attorney-general.