Слике страница




[ocr errors]

At length the Mormons passed ordinances which set the laws of Illinois at defiance. Great excitement spread throughout the state, and some of the “Saints” left Nauvoo in alarm. Several robberies and murders committed near their city were attributed to the followers of the prophet; and popular fury was increased by the belief that the Mormons controlled the county courts, and could set at defiance all attempts to bring them to justice. At last Joseph Smith, still the leading spirit among the Mormons, was arrested, and, with his brother, lodged in jail at Carthage. Here, on the 7th of July, 1844, they were killed by a mob, which broke into the prison. The Mormons continued to be the objects of popular suspicion and odium; and so violently were these feelings displayed, that the next year they sold their possessions in Illinois, deserted their beautiful city, which then contained 10,000 inhabitants, and emigrated to the wilderness beyond the Rocky Mountains, where we shall again have occasion to notice them.

557. Serious riots occurred in May and June, 1844, at Philadelphia, growing out of differences between a party known as Native Americans and the Irish inhabitants of that city. Fire-arms were used, and over a hundred persons were killed or wounded. Thirty dwelling-houses, a seminary, and three churches, were burned. Quiet was not restored till the governor had taken the field with 5,000 men.

558. Acts admitting Florida and Iowa into the Union were passed March 3d, 1845; but Iowa did not enter till 1846.

559. Towards the close of this administration, the new republic of Texas became an object of general attention and interest. This extensive tract, lying west and south-west of Louisiana, had been early explored by Ponce de Leon and La Salle. Claimed by both Spanish and French, it was held and governed by the former, who in 1692 established the settlement at San Antonio de Bexar (san an-to'-ne-o -hahr'].

and his brother? What became of the Mormons ? 557. Give an account of the riots in Philadelphia in 1844. 558. What new states were admitted March 3d, 1845? 559. Towards the close of Tyler's term, to what was public attention directed ? By whom was Texas early explored ? By whom was it claimed ? By which of these nations was it held ? Where was a settlement made in 1692? How

Colonization, however, was discouraged by the authorities, who desired to keep an impassable wilderness between themselves and their enterprising neighbors on the north. Foreigners were forbidden to settle in Texas on pain of death, and so strong was the aversion entertained towards the people of the United States that a Spanish captain-general declared, if he had the power, he would not even allow a bird to fly over the boundary. For years, therefore, did Texas remain uninhabited except by roving Indians, a few fortified enclosures being the only evidences of European settlement. In 1800 but three of these stations remained, -San Antonio, Goliad (go-le-ad'], and Nacogdoches [nak-o-do'-chiz].

From the time of its conquest by Cortez, Mexico was governed by Spanish viceroys, who aimed, not to improve the country, but simply to make it profitable to the crown. Mining, therefore, became the chief branch of industry, to the exclusion of agriculture and commerce. The people, shut out from the rest of the world, became imbued with a servile spirit; and it was not till Spain herself fell under the power of Napoleon in 1808 that they thought of asserting their right to self-government. In 1810, a revolutionary movement commenced; but, after a struggle continued at intervals for seven years, it was finally put down by the Spanish authorities. A second attempt in 1821, under Gen. Iturbide [e-toor'-be-da] was more successful, and Mexican independence was established on a firm basis. Iturbide, however, having proclaimed himself emperor, offended the people, who had shed their blood to secure a free government. He was deposed and banished, but returned to his country and was executed. Santa Anna, a man of superior abilities, next appeared at the head of affairs, and under his auspices was

did the authorities look upon the people of the United States? How did they try to prevent them from entering the country? What did a Spanish captain-general say? Wbat was the consequence of this exclusive policy? In 1800, what stations remained in Texas ? Describe the condition of Mexico from the time of its conquest. When did the people first think of asserting their independence? Give an account of the first revolutionary movement. When and by whom was a second attempt made? What was the result? What afterwards became of Iturbide ? Who next appeared at the head of affairs ? What kind of a government was




formed a federal government, somewhat resembling that of the United States.

560. Meanwhile, Spain had changed her policy with respect to the colonization of Texas, and granted Moses Austin, a native of Connecticut, a large tract in that province, on condition that he would settle it with three hundred families. This grant, confirmed by the new government of Mexico, was transferred by Moses Austin, at his death, to his son Stephen. The three hundred families having been introduced from the United States according to agreement, Austin obtained a further grant for five hundred more. Other emigrants naturally followed; and in 1830 there were not far from 20,000 Americans in Texas.

The prosperity of these settlers awakened the jealousy of the Mexicans, and an unjust and oppressive policy was pursued towards them. Their remonstrances being disregarded, they delared their independence of Mexico, and made ready to support it by force of arms. Volunteers from America hastened to their aid. In 1835, the revolution began with the battle of Gonzales (gon-zah'-lez], in which 1,000 Mexicans were defeated by 500 Texans. Goliad, and the strong citadel of Bexar, known as the Alamo [al-a-mo], were soon after taken, and the whole Mexican army was dispersed. On the 6th of March, 1836, however, Santa Anna, having raised a new force of 8,000 men, attacked the Alamo, which had been left in charge of a small but gallant garrison. All night they fought, but superior numbers triumphed. Every man fell at his post but seven, and these were killed while asking quarter. Here died David Crockett, the famous hunter. Crockett had enjoyed but two months' instruction at a country school; but his strong common sense and indomitable courage made him very popular among the people of Tennessee, who three times elected him to Congress.

In 1834, he went to Texas, to strike a blow for freedom. The Alamo

formed under Santa Anna's auspices ? 560. Give an account of the settlements made by Austin in Texas. In 1830, how many Americans were there in Mexico ? How were these American settlers treated ? What was the consequence? By whom were the Texans aided? When did the revolution begin? With what battle? What victories were gained by the Texans! Give an account of the capture

proved his last battle-field. He expired, covered with wounds, surrounded by a circle of Mexicans who had fallen by his sword.

[graphic][merged small]

561. On the 21st of April was fought the decisive battle of San Ja-cin'-to, in which Santa Anna, with 1,500 men, was defeated by 800 Texans under Gen. Sam Houston [hero'stun] (afterwards a member of the U.S. senate). The Mexican leader, taken the next day in the woods, was compelled to acknowledge the independence of Texas, but the government refused to ratify his act. Hostilities, however, were virtually abandoned by Mexico; and the independence of the new republic was soon acknowledged by the United States, by France, Great Britain, and other European powers. In 1837, Texas asked to be admitted into the Union; but the proposal was declined by Van Buren through fear of a war with Mexico. In the spring of 1844, the American population of Texas having increased to over 200,000, the question was re

of the Alamo and the fall of Crockett. (See Map, p. 426.-How is San Antonio situated ?] 561. What took place April 21st, 1836 ? By what powers was the independence of Texas ackuowledged? What proposal was made by Texas in





vived; and it was proposed to test the feelings of the people of the United States on the subject at the next presidential election. The whigs, who were opposed to the admission of Texas, nominated Henry Clay; the democrats, who were in favor of its admission, supported James Knox Polk, of Ten

Mr. Polk was elected, and with him George M. Dallas, of Pennsylvania, as vice-president. 562. The news of Mr. Polk's nomination and other

pro ceedings of the democratic convention were transmitted from Baltimore to Washington, May 29th, 1844, by the Magnetic Telegraph, being the first despatches ever so communicated. The principle involved in the Telegraph was known as early as 1774, but Samuel F. B. Morse, a native of Massachusetts, was the first to apply it practically. He received a patent for his invention in 1837, and after long and discouraging delay obtained from Congress an appropriation of $30,000 for the purpose of testing its utility. The first telegraphic line in the world was thus established between Baltimore and Washington; and the importance of the invention, as one of the greatest triumphs yet achieved by human ingenuity, was demonstrated to the world. Telegraph wires soon threaded the country, and there are now in the United States and Canada over 70,000 miles in operation,


POLK'S ADMINISTRATION, 1845–1849. 563. JAMES K. POLK, inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1845, was born in 1795, in North Carolina. During his childhood, his father removed to Tennessee; and in the leg1837? How was it received ? When was the question revived ? How was it submitted to the people? Who were nominated for the presidency? Who were elected president and vice-president? 562. How was the news of Polk's nomination transmitted to Washington ? How early was the principle involved in the telegraph known? Who was the first to apply it practically? When did Morse receive his patent? How was he enabled to test his invention? What was the result? How many miles of telegraph are now in operation in the United States and Canada ?

663. When was James K. Polk inaugurated ? Where and when was he born ?

« ПретходнаНастави »