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which the site was selected by Washington, and which was dignified with his name. In November, 1800, congress opened its sittings at Washington for the first time.
A new trial of strength was now about to take place between the federal and republican parties, as the four years' term of Mr. Adams's government was about to expire. That statesman, it has been seen, was elected by the predominance of federal principles, in the north-eastern states, as well as by an opinion that his own political feelings were moderate. No sooner, however, was he possessed of the sovereign functions, than he entered with zeal into anti-Gallican measures, and both congress and the country were borne full sail along with him. Adams was thus carried on in a kind of triumph, and at a speed that left him little master of his course, or of prudent management. Although jealous of Hamilton, and anxious not to tread in his footsteps, the president had flung himself among the Hamiltonian party; and they, as well as his own heat, led him into a series of acts, which displayed all the unpopular tendencies of the federalists.
Fleets and armies, judicial offices, taxes and places, were increased ; and such strong acts passed, for the restraint of sedition and foreign agents, as were evidently dangerous to civil liberty. This became more clear, as the martial ardour and indignation of the country cooled; and the strong reaction, which we have noticed, took place against Adams and the federalists. In vain did the former try to shake off this party, and show himself distinct from them, in the appointment of fresh envoys to France, and in the terms of the treaty concluded. It was too late ; the tide of popular feeling ebbed from the federalists towards the republicans, and Adams was of course included amongst the former.
On the important question of the presidential election, it was the populous state of New York that held the balance. Hitherto its elections had been federal, but now from the causes already enumerated, this state began to incline towards the democratic party. There was a personage at this time in New York, most active in canvassing for republican votes, and turning the tide against the federalists. This was Colonel Burr, a man whose subsequent career furnished an enigma which history has hitherto failed to solve. His talents were of a high order; his service in the revolution commenced with Arnold's famous march to Quebec, and ended during
When did congress first sit in the city | How did he lose his popularity ? of Washington ?
Who was put on the republican ticke! What was now about to take place? with Jefferson ? What had been Mr. Adams's course? What was Burr's character ?
ELECTION OF JEFFERSON.
the war; and he had lately been active as a party politician; so that it is not surprising he should have been put in nomination throughout all the states, in common with Jefferson, on the republican interest.
When the votes were counted, Adams, supported by the federalists, was found completely in the minority, Jefferson and Burr were the names foremost upon the list; and by a singular fatality, they had an equal number of votes. As the constitution had provided that the candidate having the greatest number of votes should be president, and the one having the second number, should be vice-president, it now became a question who was entitled to the highest office. The circumstance of equality in the number of votes of two candi
of election to the house of representatives ; and hither, accordingly, all the efforts of party and intrigue were directed. Some of the federalists proposed appointing a temporary executive, and proceeding to a new election by the people. But the republicans, knowing that it had been the intention of the people to elect Jefferson president, would listen to no terms of compromise. Thirtyfive ballotings took place in the house, before decision was obtained ; and then Jefferson prevailed over his opponent, and was declared president, Burr becoming vice-president. The question was decided in February, 1801.
The unqualified disapprobation, and extensive desertion of the people from the administration to the opposition party, occasioned by some of the anti-republican measures of Mr. Adams's administration, evince a determination which has ever been inflexible in the Americans, to adhere to the essential principles of liberty, even though it should require the sacrifice of men distinguished by the highest talents, political experience, and public services. Principles, not men' is their motto.
As the ever large body of the politically timid, who invariably desert the unsuccessful, now passed over to the side of
What appeared on counting the votes ? | How was the election finally decidGive an account of what followed this
Jefferson, their accession, together with the popular support of his own party, gave him a stronger power than had been wielded since the first year of Washington. He now proceeded to redeem his promises of retrenchment and reform. He reduced the army, the navy, the supreme judicial court, and the taxes, more especially the odiouis excise.
What he called the levées of the president, were done away with ; and as the appearance of the first magistrate in person, to address congress, savoured too much, in his opinion, of the regal custom of Great Britain, this was to be discontinued, and future communications from the executive to the legislature were to be made in writing. He removed from office some of the most violent of his opponents, professing to make a distinction, however, between the monarchical and the republican federalists.
The judges were irremoveable by law, and into the judi. ciary the federals retired as into a strong hold.' It was in the treasury department that Jefferson chiefly, and with most alacrity, plied the pruning knife of reform. The abolition of internal taxes enabled him to do away with a great number of offices; and by taking measures for gradually paying the debt, he led the way towards undermining that great patronage and influence of this department, which the democrats of that period pronounced the most criminal and anti-republican work of the federalists. It is undoubtedly true that the influence of the treasury is dangerous to the purity and integrity of republican institutions; and this is equally true, whether the nation be deeply in debt, or free from debt, with an overflowing treasury. Jefferson was right, therefore, not only in aiming at the payment of the public debt, but in reducing the receipts of the treasury to the absolute wants of the government.
He has thus described his first year's work, in a letter to Kosciusko.
• The session of the first congress, convened since republicanism has recovered its ascendancy, is now drawing to a close. They will pretty completely fulfil all the desires of the people. They have reduced the army and navy to what is barely necessary. They are disarming executive patronage und preponderance, by putting down one half the offices of the United States, which are no longer necessary. These
What were the first measures of Jef- of the judges ? ferson's administration ?
Of the taxes? Of the treasury ? What is said of the levées ?
How does Jefferson describe his first Of the removals from office ?
AFFAIR OF LOUISIANA.
economies have enabled them to suppress all the internal taxes, and still to make such provision for the payment of their public debt, as to discharge that in eighteen years. They have lopped off a parasite limb, planted by their predecessors, on their judiciary body, for party purposes; they are opening the doors of hospitality to the fugitives from the oppressions of other countries; and we have suppressed all their public forms and ceremonies, which tended to familiarise the public eye to the harbinger of another form of government.'
The Americans were congratulating themselves that the restoration of peace in Europe, by the late 'treaty between England and France, would, by opening the ports of these nations to America, and ridding the sea of obstruction, bring about a season of commercial prosperty, such as they had not yet been able to enjoy. The reconciliation of enemies, however, in general, turns to the disadvantage, rather than the advantage, of neutrals. So the Americans found, upon learning that Spain had ceded the province of Louisiana to France; and that Great Britain looked on, well pleased, at an arrangement that would give soʻtroublesome a neighbour as France, to the United States.
The attention of Napoleon, who then governed France was necessarily directed to the recovery of that colonial force which had been lost during the war. His present amity with Britain opening the ocean to the French fleets, enabled the first consul to form plans of empire in the only region where England would permit and might applaud the attempt. An expedition was fitted out to recover St. Domingo from the insurgent blacks. After its conquest, the army was to take possession of Louisiana; and these united would give to France a certain preponderance in the West Indies, as well as commercial advantages highly to be desired. By these means, indeed, they would have the full command of the Mississippi, and the gulf stream itself.
The president no sooner learned these arrangements, than he wrote to Mr. Livingston, the envoy at Paris, to represent there the inexpediency of them, and the danger that would
What was effected by the treaty of After conquering St. Domingo, whi
peace between England and France? ther was the French army to proWhat did the Americans expect from ceed? It?
What would naturally follow from What nation acquired Louisiana ? this proceeding? What was now the object of Napo- What did Jefferson do to prevent leon ?
this? What expedition did he cause to be
ACQUISITION OF LOUISIANA.
accrue to the good feeling between the people of all nations ; he was directed to urge that France was peculiarly the one which offered no point of collision with the United States, and which had been considered, in consequence, their natural friend;' that, moreover, there was but one spot on the globe, whose possessor became the natural and immediate enemy of the states; that this was New Orleans, through which threeeighths of American produce must pass, to find a market, and that France, by assuming this position, took an attitude of defiance and hostility. In this state of contiguity it was hopeless to think of amity between France and America. The latter country would be compelled to fling herself into the arms of Great Britain, and to unite with that power in
sweeping France from the seas, and subverting all her trans-Atlantic dominion.
Towards the close of his instructions, the president urged, that should France, considering Louisiana as an essential adjunct to her West India possessions, remain fixed in the resolve to keep it, the envoy was directed to demand, at least, the cession of the Floridas and New Orleans for a sum of money ; though even this alternative was stated as not likely to remove the cause of enmity existing in the newly acquired vicinity of France.
Napoleon was, of course, not likely to yield to any thing which had the appearance of a threat; and the right which the Americans had hitherto enjoyed, of a depôt at New Orleans, was suspended by the Spanish authorities in October, 1802. The western states were instantly in a flame at a prohibition which, rightful or not, had the effect of suspending their commerce.
Many of them determined to assert their right by arms : and Jefferson, notwithstanding his partiality for France, would have found himself embarked inevitably in a war with that country had not other events occurred to obviate the necessity, and to preserve peaceably for the United States more than was the object of their desires. Fortune, as well as his own prudence and address, now enabled Jefferson to effect the most solid achievement of his administration.
France, having failed in the attempt to subdue St. Domingo, and, in addition to this, a fresh breach with England growing daily more imminent; the schemes of the first consul with
What was threatened ?
What was the consequence ? What was demanded ?
What was now threatened? When was the port of New Orleans closed against the Americans ?