Слике страница




CHAPTER III. JEFFERSON'S ADMINISTRATION, 1801-1809. 44%. JEFFERSON appointed James Madison, of Virginia, his secretary of state, and continued him in that office throughout his administration. In 1802, the eastern part of the North-west Territory was admitted into the Union, under the name of Ohio. The western portion had previously been organized into the Territory of Indiana. Vincennes was its capital, and William Henry Harrison (afterwards president) had been appointed its first governor.

448. One of the most important acts of Jefferson's administration was the purchase of Louisiana. Napoleon had in 1800 compelled the Spanish government to cede this extensive tract to France, and had made every preparation for establishing at the mouth of the Mississippi a strong military colony, conveniently situated for encroaching on the neighboring territories of Great Britain, Spain, and the United States, as his ambition might dictate. Notwithstanding the protest of the American minister, 20,000 men under Bernadotte [ber-na-dot'] (afterwards king of Sweden) were ready



447. Whom did Jefferson make secretary of state? When was Ohio admitted? What had been done with the western portion of the North-west Territory? What was made the capital of Indiana? Who was appointed its first governor? 448. What was one of the most important acts of Jefferson's administration ? To whom had Louisiana been transferred ! What did Napoleon at one time contemplate ? What made him alter his plans ? What did he then

to sail for the new world, when a fresh quarrel with England changed the plans of the French emperor. He now resolved to concentrate all his forces for an invasion of the British Isles, and offered to sell Louisiana to the U.S. The American ministers, James Monroe and Robert R. Livingston, though unauthorized to make so extensive a purchase, took the responsibility of closing with Bonaparte's offer.

The advantages of the arrangement were so obvious that it was promptly ratified by the home government. Fifteen millions of dollars were paid for this valuable territory, about onefifth of which was allowed as an indemnity for injuries committed by the French on the commerce of the United States.

449. The American government, following the example of the maritime powers of Europe, had sought to protect its commerce in the Mediterranean from the depredations of piratical craft, by paying tribute to the Barbary States (as the countries on the northern coast of Africa are called). When Capt. Bainbridge visited Algiers in 1800, with a national frigate, to make the annual payment, the dey, or governor, wishing to send an ambassador to Constantinople, demanded the use of his vessel for that purpose. To Bainbridge's remonstrances the dey insolently replied, “You pay me tribute, by which you become my slaves, and therefore I have a right to order you as I think proper.” As the guns of the fort bore directly upon his vessel, the American captain was obliged to submit. He bore the dey's agent to Constantinople, and was the first to unfurl the banner of his country in that harbor. The Turks had never heard of the United States; but, on learning that their visitors were from the new world discovered by Columbus, they treated them with marked courtesy.

Subjected to such annoyances and finding that American commerce still suffered, the U. S. government remonstrated in such strong terms as to provoke a declaration of war on

propose? How did the American ministers receive his offer? How was their action liked at home? How much did Louisiana cost? 449. How had the American government sought to protect its commerce in the Mediterranean? What passed between Capt. Bainbridge and the dey of Algiers ! How did the Turks receive their visitors ? What action was taken by the U. S. government? How




the part of Yu'-sef, who had usurped the throne of Tripoli [trip-o-le]. In October, 1803, Commodore Preble [preb-bl] arrived before Tripoli with a naval force; still the bashaw refused to treat. While reconnoitring the harbor, the Philadelphia, an American vessel, had struck on a rock, and fallen a prey to the Tripolitans, who consigned its crew to slavery. Lieutenant Decatur undertook to destroy this ship in the enemy's harbor. Followed by seventy volunteers, he boarded her, drove the enemy from her deck, and made good his retreat in the face of the Tripolitan batteries, without losing a single man.

In August, 1804, the American commodore commenced bombarding the city. The fire was continued for five hours, during which several gun-boats of the enemy were destroyed and their fort received serious injury. Alarmed by this, as well as by the news that Eaton, the American consul, was approaching overland with an army, in conjunction with the rightful bashaw, Yusef at length came to terms, and the American flag was for some years treated with respect by the Barbary powers.

450. Hamilton, on leaving the cabinet, had fixed his residence at New York, where he devoted himself to the practice of law, and obtained the highest eminence in that profession. His chief rival, both in law and politics, was Aaron Burr, man of great talents but little principle, whom we have already mentioned as having been elected to the vice-presidency. While still holding that office, Burr ran for governor of the state of New York, but was defeated by a large majority, owing in a measure to Hamilton's influence. This, added to other causes, led Burr to challenge his illustrious rival. Unhappily, the latter accepted, and the duel was fought at Weehawken, July 11th, 1804. Hamilton fell mortally wounded in his forty-eighth year), on the very spot where his eldest son had shortly before likewise been killed


did the bashaw of Tripoli retaliate? Who appeared before Tripoli, in October, 1803? What befell the Philadelphia. Relate a gallant exploit of Decatur's. Give an account of the bombardment of Tripoli. What brought the bashaw to terms? 450. Where had Hamilton fixed his residence ? To what profession did he devote himself? Who was his chief riyal? What was Burr's character ?

in a duel. The death of Hamilton from such a cause produced a profound sensation. Men of all parties had regarded him as the most brilliant ornament of the nation. They had felt that “whoever was second, Hamilton must be first”.

451. From this time Burr, was loathed by his countrymen. George Clinton, of New York, superseded him in the vicepresidency, while Jefferson was reëlected president by a large majority, and entered on his second term, March 4th, 1805. After bidding adieu to the senate in an eloquent valedictory, Burr took a tour through the west, visiting the principal towns, and everywhere leaving the impression that he contemplated some grand scheme not yet to be disclosed. His design seems to have been either to wrest Mexico from Spain, or to detach the west from the Union and erect it into a separate government with himself at its head. In July, 1806, in a letter to Gen. Wilkinson, whom he desired to interest in his enterprise, he partially unfolded his plans, and announced that seven thousand “choice spirits” were pledged to their support. Wilkinson communicated this information to the president, and Burr's movements were thenceforth narrowly watched.

452. On a beautiful island in the Ohio, near Marietta, an Irish exile named Blen-ner-has'-set had erected an elegant mansion, which he and his accomplished wife had rendered a centre of attraction to people of refinement throughout the neighboring country. Burr, who was a man of fascinating manners, gained admission to this paradise and induced its owner to participate in his schemes. The lovely island soon became the chief resort of the conspirators, and Burr remained there till he had completed his plan of operations. After his departure, the authorities of Virginia sent an officer to arrest Blennerhasset. He was received by the highspirited mistress of the island, who, with a pistol in each For what office did Burr become a candidate? How was he defeated? What was the unhappy consequence? How has Hamilton always been regarded ? 451. What was the effect of the duel on Burr's reputation? Who were the successful candidates at the next election ? After taking leave of the senate, what was Burr's course ? What designs does he seem to have entertained ? How were his designs made known to the president? 452. Who was Blennerhasset ? Where did he live? Give an account of Burr's dealings with him. Give an account of




hand, ordered him to depart on pain of instant death. The officer deemed it prudent to retire, and Blennerhasset made good his escape. He reached Bermuda, and was there known as a lawyer as late as 1837.

453. Meanwhile, Burr's operations were so openly carried on that the government could no longer hesitate. Instructions were issued to suppress the expedition, and early in 1807 its leader was arrested and taken to Richmond for trial. Two indictments were found against him, one for treason, the other for organizing an expedition against a country with which the U. S. was at peace. While awaiting trial, Burr was committed to the common jail, where criminals of every grade were confined. A blanket was given him for a bed; and, marking out a space for himself, he lay down to rest. The wretched inmates of the place wondered, as they beheld a man who had wanted but one vote to make him president of the U. S. reduced to their own level—and wondered still more to see him sleeping calmly after such a reverse of fortune. His trial excited intense interest. The jury returned a verdict of “not guilty”, a result to which Mr. Burr's able defence and unsurpassed powers of persuasion no doubt contributed much. Though he escaped the penalty of treason, his public career was at an end. He returned to the practice of law, but, all confidence in his integrity being lost, the remainder of his life was passed in obscurity. He died in 1836, at the age of 80.

454. The region now called Oregon was little known to the world, even two centuries after other parts of the Pacific coast had been explored. Navigators, in quest of a northern passage between the

oceans, had sought a harbor on its inhospitable shore, but without Success till May, 1792, when Captain Gray, of Boston, entered the mouth of a noble river, which he called “ Columbia” from the name of his vessel. the attempt to arrest Blennerhasset. What became of him ? 453. What steps was government obliged to take? When was Burr arrested? Where was he taken for trial? For what was he indicted ? What excited the wonder of his companions in jail ? What verdict was returned ? What contributed much to this result? What was the subsequent history of Burr? 454. What is said of the region now called Oregon? What had led navigators to its shores? Who was the first to find a harbor there? What claim was put forth by the U. S.? What

« ПретходнаНастави »