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DEBTS OF THE STATES.
plans raised up a host of fundholders and public creditors bound in obligation to the government, which would hence. forth be supported and carried on by a system of corruption.
The resolution of the treasury secretary was at first carried by a few voices; but on the deputies from North Carolina, lately admitted into the union, soon after taking their seats in congress, the question was re-committed, and the original resolution rejected by the same majority which had but just accepted it. • So high,' says Mr. Jefferson,' were the feuds excited by this subject, that on its rejection, business was suspended. Congress met and adjourned from day to day, without doing any thing, the parties being too much out of temper to do business together.'
In consequence of having been the principal theatre of the war, the northern states were most in debt; and if they were 10 be paid by the union in general, it would be at the expense of the southern states. The latter, therefore, opposed the government plan most violently. Indeed, this was the secret of the long secession of North Carolina from the federal government. Hamilton, however, represented to the leading members on the opposite side, that the consequence of holding out and prolonging this difference might prove a dissolution of the union. He prayed some of them, in consequente, to withdraw their negative votes ; and though this measure pressed severely on the southern states, some other measures should be passed which would compensate them.”
It had been previously proposed to fix the seat of government either at Philadelphia or at Georgetown on the Potomac; and it was thought, that by giving it to Philadelphia for ten years, and to Georgetown permanently afterwards, the ferment which might be excited by the other measures, would be calmed. Two of the Potomac members, White and Lee, agreed to change their vote ; and Hamilton undertook to carry the other point. Thus did the ability of the secretary carry this important measure, which not only preserved the public credit of the country entire, but gave strength and efficiency to the federal government at a period when weakness would have been highly and permanently injurious.
The raising of supplies to meet the interest of this newly funded debt, was a task that still remained for the minister,
Was the resolution carried ?
Why did the southern states oppose
jection? What was then the state of affairs ? What states were most in debt?
point ? What was the effect of his success?
and which was deferred till the following session of congress. This he proposed to accomplish by duties on wine, tea, and other luxuries; but chiefly by an excise upon spirits distilled within the country. This last tax was violently opposed, but the opponents of the measure were unable to show any more feasible means of raising the necessary revenue ; and the excise bill passed.
Hamilton's next measure, for the completion of his com: mercial and monied system, was the establishment of a national bank. This was pronounced by the republican party to be aristocratical and unconstitutional. Jefferson opposed it with great earnestness, and both he and Hamilton having, after the passage of the bill, submitted their opinions to the consideration of the president, he after some deliberation decided in favour of his treasury minister; and the establishment of a national bank was in consequence decided.
The effect of this measure was soon felt in the revival of public credit and commercial prosperity. Public paper which had before been at a very great discount, rapidly rose to par, and property which had previously suffered great depreciation, now rapidly increased in value. Every department of industry was invigorated and enlivened by the establishment of a convenient and uniform currency.
While the financial system of the United States was thus acquiring permanence and diffusing prosperity under the directing genius of Hamilton, a cloud of war made its appearance among the Indian nations on the frontier. Of these, the Creeks in the south kept Georgia on the alert; whilst on the north-west beyond the Ohio, certain tribes, cherishing vengeance for past hostilities against them, carried on a desul. tory warfare; plundering and ravaging detached settlements. The president directed his attention first towards the Creeks, with whom adjustment was rendered difficult by their connexion with Spain. The first attempt to bring about an accommodation failed, but, in 1790, Gillivray their chief, was induced to proceed to New York, and conclude a treaty.
Similar overtures made to the Indians beyond the Ohio, were not attended with any good result. Washington regard
How did Hamilton propose to raise a What were the immediate conse. revenue?
quences of the establishment of a What tax was strongly opposed ? national bank? What was Hamilton's next measure ? What Indians were hostile to the Who opposed it ?
United States ? How did Washington decide the mat- When were the Creeks cinciliated! ter?
What Indians remained hostile ?
DEFEAT OF GENERAL ST. CLAIR.
ing the employment of a regular force as necessary, pressed on congress the increase of the army, which did not at that time exceed 1,200 men.
But his recommendation was unavailing; and the settlers of the west were left for a time to their own defence.
At length, in 1790, some funds and troops were voted ; and in the autumn of that year, an expedition of 1,500 men under General Harmer was sent up the river Wabash, where he succeeded in burning some Indian villages ; but, in the end retreated with little honour and much loss. This check procured for Washington permission to raise a greater number of troops. Two expeditions were undertaken in the following year, both without success.
Finally a considerable force under General St. Clair suffered a most disastrous defeat. He was surrounded by the Indians; and unable either to dislodge them or sustain their fire, the Americans were driven in disorderly flight a distance of 30 miles in four hours. They lost 60 officers, amongst whom was General Butler, and upwards of 800 men, more than half their force; and yet the Indians were not supposed to outnumber their enemies. · This disaster gave rise to a proposal from the president to raise the military force of the country to 5,000 men, which, after some opposition in congress, was finally agreed to.
The state of Vermont, which having been formerly claimed by New York and New Hampshire, had, in 1777, refused to submit to either, and declared itself independent, applied in 1791 to be admitted into the Union, and was accordingly received. Kentucky, which had hitherto been a part of Virginia, was also admitted by an act which was to take effect on the first of June in the succeeding year.
In order to determine the ratio of representation according to the population, a census was required by the constitution to be taken every tenth year. The first was completed in 1791 ; by which it appeared that the whole number of inhabitants was 3,921,326, of whom 695,655 were slaves.
In the spring of 1791, Washington made a tour through the southern states, on which occasion, stopping upon the Potomac, he selected, according to the powers entrusted to him, the What was proposed by Washington ? | What states 'were admitted to the What was the progress of the Indian Union ? war in 1790?
What is said of the census? What is said of St. Clair's expedition? What was its result in 1791 ? What increase of the military force | What place did Washington select for
of the nation was the consequence the metropolis of the country? of this disaster?
WASHINGTON RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT.
site for the capital of the union. He was greeted throughout his progress with affectionate welcome; nor was a murmur allowed to reach his ear, although the odious excise law was, just about that period, brought into operation.
A new congress met at Philadelphia in the latter end of October; and, in his opening speech, the president principally alluded to the great success of the bank scheme, the shares for which had all been subscribed for in less than two hours after the books were opened ; to the operations of the excise law, and the obstinate resistance of the Indians.
Washington's first term of office being about to expire, he was, in the autumn of 1792, elected a second time to the office of president, for another term of four years, commencing March 4th, 1793. Mr. Adams was again elected vice-president.
Washington accepted the presidency at a moment when the country was about to stand most in need of his impartial honesty and firmness. The French revolution had just reached its highest point of fanaticism and disorder; and the general war which it occasioned in Europe put it out of the power of the president and the people of the United States to remain indifferent spectators of what was passing.
The French republic was about to appoint a new envoy to the United States; and questions arose as to whether he should be received, and whether the treaty concluded with the monarch of France, stipulating a defensive alliance in case of an attack, upon the part of England, was now binding on America.
These, and other questions arising out of them, being submitted by the president to his cabinet, after much discussion, in which Hamilton and Knox were for breaking with the new government of France, and Jefferson and Randolph were for recognising it; they agreed that, for the sake of preserving neutrality, a proclamation should be issued, forbidding the citizens of the United States from fitting out privateers against either power. The president resolved to receive the envoy, and it was agreed that no mention should be made of the treaty, or of its having been taken into consideration.
The new envoy, M. Genet, an ignorant and arrogant indi vidual, instead of sailing to Philadelphia, the seat of governHow was he received on his tour | What was now passing in Europe ?
through the southern states ? What questions arose respecting the When did a new congress meet? relations of the United States with To what did Washington allude in his France ? opening speech?
How was the cabinet divided ? When were he and Mr. Adams re- What was finally agreed on? elected?
PROCEEDINGS OF CITIZEN GENET. ment, and communicating immediately with the president or ministers, landed at Charleston in South Carolina, and there remained six weeks superintending and authorising the fitting out of cruisers to intercept British vessels. The enthusiasm with which he was welcomed by the people, both at Charleston and during his land journey to Philadelphia, induced citizen Genet to believe that the envoy of France must be as powerful as its name was revered.
Ke deemed that, relying on the popular support, he might set himself above the cautious scruples of the existing government.
Accordingly, when expostulated with upon his licensing privateers, and upon the captures made by his countrymen in the very rivers of the United States, Genet replied, that the treaty between France and this country sanctioned such measures, and that any obstructions put upon them would not only be infractions of the treaty, but treason against the rights of man.
The government, however, arrested two individuals who had entered on the privateering service, and when Genet demanded their release, he was countenanced and supported by a set of adherents who gave him fêtes, and formed societies in favour of his opposition to the constituted authorities of the country. This emboldened him still further to insult the government, by sending out a privateer from Philadelphia during Washington's absence from that city, after having promised to detain her till his return.
Whilst the government was consulting its law officers, to decide how best they might deal with the refractory and insolent French envoy, the latter made it a ground of complaint that the British were in the habit of taking French property out of American vessels, contrary to the principles of neutrality avowed by the rest of Europe. Jefferson himself, although favourable to French interests, was obliged to tell Genet, on this oçcasion, that the British were right. But the latter would yield to neither authority nor reason; he replied in the most insulting tone, and would appeal, he said, from the president to the people.
This expression sealed his fate. The people at once abandoned the spoiled favourite, when he talked of insulting their beloved chief in this manner. The well earned
How did the French envoy proceed? | By Genet himself?
What was asserted by Jefferson?
What was the consequence ?