Kindle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This post is to introduce a Kindle version of Volume 4 of the series entitled "AMERICA Great Crises In Our History Told by Its Makers" which was published as a print version by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. This forth volume covers the critical period just after the Revolution when a new nation was being formed. This Kindle version is published in partnership with the VFW who receive 50% of sales revenue. The article title refers to the last excerpt post from the book below.

REVIEWERS WANTED! If you would like to review any of the books in this series, PM me with your Amazon email address and I will gift copies to you.

The title refers to the latest excerpt from the book which may be found at the bottom of the thread.

This is the publisher description of Volume 4.

Volume 4 of this series of eye-witness accounts of American history sees the
young republic facing bankruptcy, conflicting land claims and threatened
mutinies. You'll read about the challenges and disputes, and the development and
expansion of the Union. In their own words, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and
colleagues report on the momentous Treaty of Paris, which established (for the
time being) the western and northern boundaries of the USA. A wealth of
fascinating contemporary material includes James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
on the constitution.

There are eye-witness accounts of the north-west fur trade, and of Washington's
inauguration as the new nation's first President. You'll read Senator Pinckney's
tale of the bitter Presidential election of 1800, and Napoleon's own brother's
account of the Emperor's determination to sell Louisiana. With these
authoritative sources at your fingertips, you can establish own interpretation
of these fascinating events.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
63,461 Posts
Library4Science-

Welcome to KindleBoards and congratulations on your book!

(If you've gotten this welcome before, it's just as a matter of housekeeping. We like to put a copy of the "welcome letter" in each book thread. It doesn't mean you've done anything wrong, it just helps us know that you know the rules.)

A brief recap of our rules follows:

--We invite you to use your book cover as your avatar and have links to your book and website in your signature. Instructions are posted here

--Please bookmark this thread (using your browser's bookmark/favorite function) so you can update it as we ask that authors have only one thread per book and add to it when there is more information. You may start a separate thread for each book (or you may have one thread per series of books, or one thread for all of your books, it's your choice).

--While you may respond to member posts to your thread at any time, you may only bump your thread (back-to-back posts by you) once every seven days. Once you've responded to a member, that resets the clock to zero and you must wait seven days to post, unless another member posts before then.

--We ask that Amazon reviews not be repeated here as they are easy to find at your book link. Also, full reviews from other sites should not be posted here, but you may post a short blurb and a link to the full review instead.

--Although self-promotion is limited to the Book Bazaar, our most successful authors have found the best way to promote their books is to be as active throughout KindleBoards as time allows. This is your target audience--book lovers with Kindles! Please note that putting link information in the body of your posts constitutes self promotion; please leave your links for your profile signature that will automatically appear on each post. For information on more ways to promote here on KindleBoards, be sure to check out this thread:
Authors: KindleBoards Tips & FAQ.

All this, and more, is included in our Forum Decorum: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,36.0.html. Be sure to check it from time to time for the current guidelines and rules.

Oh, and one more thing: be sure to check out the index threads at the top of the Book Bazaar. . . .there are details there about how you can be listed so that our readers can find you.

Thanks for being part of KindleBoards! Feel free to send us a PM if you have any questions.

Betsy & Ann
Book Bazaar Moderators
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will be posting excerpts from Volume 4 weekly on this thread. This is the second entry in the volume.

Facing Bankruptcy And Mutiny

By John Fiske.

THE fate of the Republic has never been more precarious than during the period that immediately followed the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. There was no money to pay off the army, and the soldiers were daily becoming more restive and irritated.

Newburgh, New York, was the headquarters of the army from March, 1782, until the latter part of 1783, and it was there that the Newburgh Addresses were circulated, that the army was disbanded, and that Washington received the famous Nicola letter proposing that he become King. There is no doubt, as the historian, Fiske, indicates, but that Washington could have formed a monarchy at this time and been almost unanimously supported by the army. Its mutinous temper is manifested in this review, taken from John Fiske's "Critical Period of American History" and is reprinted here by special arrangement with the publishers, Houghton, Mifflin and Company.

IMPOSSIBLE as Congress found it to fill the quotas of the army, the task of raising a revenue by requisitions upon the States was even more discouraging. Every State had its own war debt, and several were applicants for foreign loans not easy to obtain, so that none could without the greatest difficulty raise a surplus to hand over to Congress. The Continental rag money had ceased to circulate by the end of 1780, and our foreign credit was nearly ruined. The French Government began to complain of the heavy demands which the Americans made upon its exchequer, and Vergennes, in sending over a new loan in the fall of 1782, warned Franklin that no more must be expected. To save American credit from destruction it was at least necessary that the interest on the public debt should be paid. For this purpose Congress in 1781 asked permission to levy a five per cent. duty on imports. The modest request was the signal for a year of angry discussion. Again and again it was asked, If taxes could thus be levied by any power outside the State, why had we ever opposed the Stamp Act or the tea duties? The question was indeed a serious one, and as an instance of reasoning from analogy seemed plausible enough. After more than a year Massachusetts consented, by a bare majority of two in the House and one in the Senate, reserving to herself the right of appointing the collectors. The bill was then vetoed by Governor Hancock, though one day too late, and so it was saved. But Rhode Island flatly refused her consent, and so did Virginia, though Madison earnestly pleaded the cause of the public credit. For the current expenses of the government in that same year $9,000,000 were needed. It was calculated that $4,000,000 might be raised by a loan, and the other $5,000,000 were demanded of the States. At the end of the year $422,000 had been collected, not a cent of which came from Georgia, the Carolinas, or Delaware. Rhode Island, which paid $38,000, did the best of all according to its resources. Of the Continental taxes assessed in 1783, only one-fifth part had been paid by the middle of 1785. And the worst of it was that no one could point to a remedy for this state of things, or assign any probable end to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I will be posting excerpts from Volume 4 weekly on this thread. This is the third entry in the volume.

Mutinous Troops Threaten Congress

By Elias Boudinot, President of Congress.

THIS letter, dated Princeton, New Jersey, July 15, 1783, was written by the president of the Continental Congress to our ministers plenipotentiary, Adams, Franklin and Jay, who were in Paris negotiating the treaty of peace with Great Britain, which concluded the Revolutionary War. It was Boudinot who signed its ratification.

A few days before this letter was written, Congress, being openly defied and menaced by a considerable number of Pennsylvania recruits, who objected to being discharged from the army without pay, had hurriedly adjourned from Philadelphia to Princeton. Never before or since has the Congress of the United States undergone such a humiliating ordeal; and the episode clearly illustrates the general demoralization of the country in those trying days.


Boudinot was a member of the first three Congresses, was director of the Mint from 1795 to 1805, and was the first president of the American Bible Society.

AS CONGRESS has not yet elected any minister for foreign affairs, and knowing the importance of your being fully informed of every public transaction relative to these States, I have concluded that you would not think it amiss to hear from me on the subject of the removal of Congress to this place, though I can not consider this communication as official, but merely for your information in my individual capacity.

The state of our finances making it indispensably necessary to abridge the public expenses in every instance that would not endanger the Union, we concluded to reduce the army by discharging all the soldiers enlisted for the war, with a proportionate number of officers, on condition that the discharge should operate no otherwise than as a furlough, until the ratification of the definitive treaty.

This not only eased us of a heavy disbursement of ready cash for subsistence money and rations, but gratified many of the army who wished to be at home in the early part of the summer, to provide for the following winter. Three months' pay was ordered which could not otherwise be complied with, but by a paper anticipation of the taxes, payable in six months.

By an inevitable accident, the notes did not arrive at the army till six days after the soldiers were discharged and had left the camp. This, together with some difficulty in settling their accounts, created an uneasiness among the troops, but by the General's address and the good conduct of the officers, they all retired peaceably to their different States, though without a single farthing of cash to buy themselves a meal of victuals.

In the barracks in Philadelphia and at Lancaster, in the State of Pennsylvania, there were a number of new recruits, who had been enlisted since the months of December and January last, and who had not yet taken the field; these soldiers having not been brought under any regular discipline, made many objections against accepting their discharges, and gave their officers reasons to fear some difficulty in getting rid of them; but the Secretary of War thought he had satisfied them by assuring them of the like pay with the rest of the army. On the 15th of June a petition was received from the sergeants, requiring a redress of their grievances, in a very turbulent and indecent style, of which no notice was taken. . . . A committee was immediately appointed to confer with the executive council of Pennsylvania, and to endeavor to get them to call out the militia to stop the mutineers; but to no purpose ; the council thinking that the citizens would not choose to risk themselves when fair means might do. . . . On the 19th the troops arrived and joined those at the barracks in the city, who had been increased in number by a few companies of old soldiers arrived the day before from Charles Town.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
This is an excerpt from Volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

How Settlements Were Planted

By William Cooper.

THIS account of the hardships suffered by the frontier settlers of colonial and post-colonial days is from William Cooper's "Guide in the Wilderness," a pamphlet issued in Dublin, Ireland, in 1810, for the purpose of promoting immigration to Central New York State, where Cooper established a settlement now known as Cooperstown. He was the father of the first great American novelist, James Fenimore Cooper, whose early life in the wilderness resulted in his famous "Leatherstocking Tales."

The elder Cooper migrated from Burlington, N. J., with his wife and twelve children, in 1790, having acquired large tracts of land around Lake Otsego. He was the first judge of Otsego County, a Congressman, and in his prosperous latter years lived a semi-baronial life in a great mansion he built at the foot of Lake Otsego. His success encouraged similar enterprises throughout the border country and is a fine example of Pioneer achievement.


I BEGAN with the disadvantage of a small capital, and the incumbrance of a large family, and yet I have already settled more acres than any man in America. There are forty thousand souls now holding directly or indirectly under me, and I trust, that no one among so many can justly impute to me any act resembling oppression. I am now descending into the vale of life, and I must acknowledge that I look back with self-complacency upon what I have done, and am proud of having been an instrument in reclaiming such large and fruitful tracts from the waste of the creation. And I question whether that sensation is not now a recompense more grateful to me than all the other profits I have reaped. Your good sense and knowledge of the world will excuse this seeming boast; if it be vain, we all must have our vanities, let it at least serve to show that industry has its rewards, and age its pleasures, and be an encouragement to others to persevere and prosper.

In 1785 I visited the rough and hilly country of Otsego, where there existed not an inhabitant, nor any trace of a road; I was alone three hundred miles from home, without bread, meat, or food of any kind; fire and fishing tackle were my only means of subsistence. I caught trout in the brook, and roasted them on the ashes. My horse fed on the grass that grew by the edge of the waters. I laid me down to sleep in my watch-coat, nothing but the melancholy wilderness around me. In this way I explored the country, formed my plans of future settlement, and meditated upon the spot where a place of trade or a village should afterward be established.

In May, 1786, I opened the sales of 40,000 acres, which, in sixteen days, were all taken up by the poorest order of men. I soon after established a store, and went to live among them, and continued so to do until 1790, when I brought on my family. For the ensuing four years the scarcity of provisions was a serious calamity; the country was mountainous, there were neither roads nor bridges.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
This is an excerpt from Volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Framing The Constitution

By Delegate James Madison.

MADISON'S services in framing the Constitution were eminent. Historians are agreed that the Constitution bears the stamp of his hand more notably than that of any other. To Madison also we are indebted for the completest and only adequate report of the Constitutional convention of 1787.

In an introduction to his report of these proceeding of June 27, 28 and 29, Madison writes that "I chose a seat in front of the presiding member, with the other members on my right and left hands. In this favorable position for hearing all that passed, I noted in terms legible and in abbreviations intelligible to myself, what was read from the chair or spoken by the members.

. . . I was not absent a single day, and was enabled to write out my notes during the session."


MR. RUTLEDGE moved to postpone the sixth resolution, defining the powers of Congress, in order to take up the seventh and eighth, which involved the most fundamental points, the rules of suffrage in the two branches, which was agreed to. A question being proposed on the seventh resolution, declaring that the suffrage in the first branch should be according to an equitable ratio, Mr. L. Martin contended at great length and with great eagerness that the general government was meant merely to preserve the State governments, not to govern individuals. That its powers ought to be kept within narrow limits. That, if too little power was given to it, more might be added; but that, if too much, it could never be resumed. That individuals, as such, have little to do but with their own States, that the general government has no more to apprehend from the States composing the Union, while it pursues proper measures, than a government over individuals has to apprehend from its subjects. That to resort to the citizens at large for their sanction to a new government will be throwing them back into a state of nature; that the dissolution of the State Governments is involved in the nature of the process; that the people have no right to do this without the consent of those to whom they have delegated their power for State purposes. Through their tongues only they can speak, through their ears only can hear. That the States have shown a good disposition to comply with the acts of Congress, weak, contemptibly weak, as that body has been; and have failed through inability alone to comply. That the heaviness of the private debts and the waste of property during the war were the chief causes of this inability, that he did not conceive the instances mentioned by Mr. Madison of compacts between Virginia and Maryland, between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, or of troops raised by Massachusetts for defense against the rebels, to be violations of the Articles of Confederation. That an equal vote in each State was essential to the Federal idea, and was founded in justice and freedom, not merely in policy. That though the States may give up this right of sovereignty, yet they had not, and ought not. That the States, like individuals, were in a state of nature equally sovereign and free.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The Northwest Ordinance

By Nathan Dane.

IN THIS letter written to Daniel Webster in 1830, Dane, who had been chairman of the Congressional committee which sponsored the celebrated Northwest Ordinance of 1787, contemporary with the Constitution, asserts his authorship of it and denies that it was based upon an earlier plan drawn up by Thomas Jefferson. It was a constitution of government for the Northwest Territory which, it nominated, was to be divided into not less than three nor more than five States. They are Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Jefferson would have named them Sylvania, Michigania, Chersonesus, Assenisipia, Mesopotamia, Illinoia, Washington, Polypotamia and Pelisipia.

It prohibited slavery and guaranteed, in addition to religious worship, the first permanent titles to property, completely republican, in Federal America. Its authorship also has been attributed to Manasseh Cutler, a Massachusetts lawyer, like Dane, who helped found Marietta, Ohio.


YOU recollect you ascribed to me the formation of the Ordinance of the Old Congress, of July 13, 1787. Since writing you last, I have seen Mr. Benton's speech on the subject, in the "National Intelligences," of March 6, 1830, in which, I find, on no authority, he ascribes its formation in substance to Mr. Jefferson ; that is, that Mr. Jefferson formed an ordinance in 1784, and he seems to infer from that the Ordinance of '87 was taken or copied. This inference of Benton's has not the least foundation, as thus appears: Mr. Jefferson's resolve, or plan (not ordinance), of April 23, 1784, is contained in two pages and a half; is a mere incipient plan, in no manner matured for practice, as may be seen. The Ordinance of July, 1787, contains eight pages; is in itself a complete system, and finished for practice; and, what is very material, there cannot be found in it more than twenty lines taken from Jefferson's plan, and these worded differently. In fact, his plan and this Ordinance are totally different, in size, in style, in form, and in principle. Air. Benton's assertion, so groundless, extorts from me the above, and the following exposition, in defense of those who have long ascribed to me the formation.

1. As I am the only member of Congress living who had any concern informing or in passing this Ordinance, no living testimony is to be expected.

2. In the "North American Review" of July, 1826, pages 1 to 41, is a review of my "General Abridgment," etc., of American Law. In page 40, it is said, I "was the framer of the celebrated Ordinance of Congress, of 1787." At present it is enough to add this fact, stated in the Inaugural Discourse of Judge Story, page 58.

Generally, when persons have asked me questions respecting the Ordinance, I have referred to the Ordinance itself, as evidently being the work of a Massachusetts lawyer on the face of it. I now make the same reference, and to its style, found in my "Abridgment," etc.

3. When I mention the formation of this Ordinance, it is proper to explain. It consists of three parts. 1st, The titles to estates, real and personal, by deed, by will, and by descent ; also personal, by delivery. These titles occupy the first part of the Ordinance, not a page, evidently selected from the laws of Massachusetts, except it omits the double share of the oldest son. These titles were made to take root in the first and early settlements, in 400,000 square miles. Such titles so taking root, we well know, are, in their nature, in no small degree permanent; so, vastly important. I believe these were the first titles to property, completely republican, in Federal America; being in no part whatever feudal or monarchical. 2d, It consists of the temporary parts that ceased with the territorial condition ; which, in the age of a nation, soon pass away, and hence are not important. These parts occupy about four pages. They designate the officers, their qualifications, appointments, duties, oaths, etc., and a temporary legislature. Neither those parts, nor the titles, were in Jefferson's plan, as you will see. The 3d part, about three pages, consists of the six fundamental articles of compact, expressly made permanent, and to endure forever; so, the most important and valuable part of the Ordinance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Anthony Wayne Routs The Ohio Indians

By Richard Hildreth.

HILDRETH, who was born in 1807, thirteen years after General "Mad Anthony" Wayne solved the Ohio frontier Indian problem by winning the Battle of Fallen Timber, is best remembered for his "History of the United States," from which this article is taken. In it he presents the founders of the Republic in their true character, without trying to heighten their virtues or disguise their faults.

Wayne, the hero of Stony Point, became Commander-in-Chief of the army in 1792, and began his Ohio campaign in the Fall of the following year. His decisive defeat of the Indians occurred in August, 1794, and shortly thereafter Wayne, with twelve of the Northwestern tribes, signed the Treaty of Greenville in which the United States acquired a large tract of territory.

Fort Wayne, Indiana, was originally built and garrisoned by this Revolutionary veteran, who died in 1796 while carrying out the terms of his peace negotiations with the Indians.


AFFAIRS on the Indian frontier still continued in an unsettled state. The commissioners appointed to negotiate with the hostile Northwestern tribes, accompanied by the missionary Heckewelder and by a deputation of Quakers, as the Indians had desired, on arriving at Fort Niagara, had been kindly received by Colonel Simcoe, commander, during the Revolutionary War, of a famous partisan corps in the British army, and just appointed governor of the newly erected province of Upper Canada. Embarking at Fort Erie, they landed presently at the entrance of the River Detroit, where they were met by a deputation from a preliminary council of the confederate Indians, then in session at the Maumee Rapids. These deputies desired to know if "their brothers the Bostonians," for so they designated the commissioners, were empowered to consent to the Ohio as a boundary. The commissioners replied that this was impossible, as settlements had been commenced north of the Ohio, which could not be abandoned; but they offered, if the Indians would confirm the limits established by the treaties of Forts McIntosh and Harmer, a larger present, in money and goods, than ever had been given at any one time since the white men set foot in the country.

They were authorized, in fact, to offer $50,000 down, and, in addition, annual presents forever to the amount of $10,000 a year. This answer of the commissioners having been reported to the Indian council, the question of accepting it was debated with a great deal of vehemence. The result was expressed in a written document sent to the commissioners, in which it was contended that the treaties of Forts McIntosh and Harmer, having been made by a few unauthorized chiefs, could not be considered as valid. As to confirming those treaties for money, that was of no value to them, while the land would afford means of subsistence to themselves and their children. This same money might better be employed in persuading the settlers north of the Ohio to remove. Since it was refused to concede the Ohio as a boundary, the negotiation was declared to be at an end.

The commissioners, much chagrined at this abrupt termination of their mission, without their having been admitted into the presence of the Indian council, ascribed the result to British influence. Very probably the inclination of the Indians was seconded by the advice of the Canadian traders and the British agents. Simcoe, however, had expressly denied having advised the Indians not to surrender any of their lands. He had also offered to act as mediator, but this offer the instructions of the commissioners would not allow them to accept.

Pending this negotiation, Wayne's troops had remained encamped in the vicinity of Cincinnati, where they suffered not a little from an epidemic influenza. Apprehending that the failure of the negotiation would be followed by an immediate attack upon the frontiers, Wayne marched with his army, and, leaving garrisons behind him at the intermediate posts, established himself, with twenty-six hundred regulars, in a fortified camp at Greenville, six miles in advance of Fort Jefferson. Here he was promptly joined by a thousand Kentucky volunteers, under General Scott, raised by dint of great exertions, but who arrived too late to be of any essential aid. These volunteers were soon dismissed; but, to serve as a protection to the frontier, and to be ready for ulterior operations in the spring, the army remained encamped at Greenville during the winter. As all the supplies had to be carried some seventy miles through the woods on pack-horses, the support of the troops in that position was an expensive affair. A part of the legionary cavalry, stationed for the winter in Kentucky, was placed at the disposal of Governor Shelby, for the suppression of any attempts, should such be made, to raise men, under French commissions, for an expedition against Louisiana a subject as to which information and orders had been sent to General Wayne and Governor St. Clair, as well as to Governor Shelby.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

How Napoleon Persisted In Selling Louisiana

By Lucien Bonaparte.

LUCIEN BONAPARTE was a younger brother of Napoleon and Joseph, who participated in this account in his Memoirs, published in Paris in 1882. As ambassador to Spain Lucien had negotiated the secret treaty of 1800 by which Spain retroceded Louisiana to France.

Spain had possessed Louisiana since the treaty of 1763, which concluded the French and Indian War. In 1803 President Jefferson sent James Monroe to join Robert R. Livingston in Paris and negotiate with Napoleon for the island of New Orleans and the Floridas. To their astonishment Napoleon offered to sell the entire province.

$20,000,000 was asked, and $16,000,000 finally was accepted for the territory of over a million square miles, including $4,000,000 for the debts which the United States was to assume. Napoleon hastened the sale because he doubted his ability to hold Louisiana against England, with whom he was at war.


HERE you are at last!" exclaimed my brother, I was afraid you were not coming. It is a fine time to go to the theater; I come to tell you a piece of news which will not make you feel like amusing yourself."

Continuing in the same tone, Joseph, replying to my question : "Do make haste and tell me what is up" said to me:

"No ; you will not believe it, and yet it is true. I give you a thousand guesses; the general (we still called Napoleon in that way), the general wishes to alienate Louisiana."

"Bah! who will buy it from him?"

"The Americans."

I was thunderstruck for a moment.

"The idea! if he could wish, the Chambers would not consent to it."

"And therefore he expects to do without their consent. That is what he replied to me when I said to him, as you do now, that the Chambers would not consent to it."

"What, he really said that to you? That is a little too much! But no, it is impossible. It is a bit of brag at your expense, as the other day on the subject of Bernadotte."

"No, no," insisted Joseph, "he spoke very seriously, and, what is more, he added to me that this sale would furnish him the first funds for war."

We talked together for a considerable time about the little coup d'etat which seemed to us to exceed in arbitrariness everything that had been accomplished under the Convention and the Directory.

It had become late. The plan of going to the theater was given up, and we separated, not without having agreed that I first should go the next morning to pay a visit to the First Consul.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Funeral Oration On Washington

By Major General Henry Lee.

THIS eloquent tribute to the "Father of His Country" was rendered by General Lee before the two Houses of Congress on December 26, 1799, twelve days after Washington died at Mount Vernon. Methods of communication were so primitive in those days that the news of his death reached the national capital before it was known that Washington was ill. It was first communicated by a stage-coach passenger to an acquaintance on the street, and the report quickly reached Congress which was then in session. Sentiments of dismay and grief abounded, and Congress adjourned. Lee and Lafayette stood close together in the affection of Washington, and this oration was inspired by the deep love, almost amounting to adoration, which Lee had for his dead fellow Virginian and Chief.

This Lee, known as "Light Horse Harry, was the father of General Robert E. Lee, the great Confederate leader.


IN OBEDIENCE to your will, I rise, your humble organ, with the hope of executing a part of the system of public mourning which you have been pleased to adopt, commemorative of the death of the most illustrious and most beloved personage this country has ever produced; and which, while it transmits to posterity your sense of the awful event, faintly represents your knowledge of the consummate excellence you so cordially honor.

Desperate, indeed, is any attempt on earth to meet correspondingly this dispensation of Heaven; for, while with pious resignation we submit to the will of an all-gracious Providence, we can never cease lamenting, in our finite view of Omnipotent Wisdom, the heart-rending privation for which our nation weeps. When the civilized world shakes to its center; when every moment gives birth to strange and momentous changes; when our peaceful quarter of the globe, exempt as it happily has been from any share in the slaughter of the human race, may yet be compelled to abandon her pacific policy, and to risk the doleful casualties of war; what limit is there to the extent of our loss? None within the reach of my words to express; none which your feelings will not disavow.

The founder of our Federate Republic our bulwark in war, our guide in peace, is no more! O that this were but questionable! Hope, the comforter of the wretched, would pour into our agonizing hearts its balmy dew. But, alas! there is no hope for us; our Washington is removed forever! Possessing the stoutest frame and purest mind, he had passed nearly to his sixty-eighth year in the enjoyment of high health, when, habituated by his care of us to neglect himself, a slight cold, disregarded, became inconvenient on Friday, oppressive on Saturday, and, defying every medical interposition, before the morning of Sunday put an end to the best of men. An end, did I say? His fame survives! bounded only by the limits of the earth, and by the extent of the human mind. He survives in our hearts in the growing knowledge of our children in the affection of the good throughout the world. And when our monuments shall be done away; when nations now existing shall be no more; when even our young and far-spreading empire shall have perished; still will our Washington's glory unfaded shine, and die not, until love of virtue cease on earth, or earth itself sinks into chaos!

How, my fellow-citizens, shall I single to your grateful hearts his preeminent worth! Where shall I begin, in opening to your view a character throughout sublime? Shall I speak of his warlike achievements, all springing from obedience to his country's will, all directed to his country's good?

Will you go with me to the banks of the Monongahela, to see your youthful Washington supporting, in the dismal hour of Indian victory, the ill-fated Braddock, and saving, by his judgment and by his valor, the remains of a defeated army, pressed by the conquering savage foe? or when, oppressed America nobly resolving to risk her all in defense of her violated rights, he was elevated by the unanimous voice of Congress to the command of our her armies? Will you follow him to the high grounds of Boston, where, to an undisciplined, courageous and virtuous yeomanry, his presence gave the stability of system, and infused the invincibility of love of country? Or shall I carry you to the painful scenes of Long Island, York Island and New Jersey, when, combating superior and gallant armies, aided by powerful fleets, and led by chiefs high in the roll of fame, he stood the bulwark of our safety, undismayed by disaster, unchanged by change of fortune? Or will you view him in the precarious fields of Trenton, where deep gloom, unnerving every arm, reigned triumphant through our thinned, worn down, unaided ranks--himself unmoved? Dreadful was the night. It was about this time of winter. The storm raged. The Delaware, rolling furiously with floating ice, forbade the approach of man. Washington, self-collected, viewed the tremendous scene. His country called. Unappalled by surrounding dangers, he passed to the hostile shore; he fought; he conquered. The morning sun cheered the American world. Our country rose on the event; and her dauntless Chief, pursuing his blow, completed in the lawns of Princeton what his vast soul had conceived on the shores of Delaware.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Invention Of The Cotton Gin

By Horace Greeley.

THE story of the cotton gin, as told in Greeley's "American Conflict," from which this extract is taken, is one of the most fascinating in the annals of industry. Historians and economists agree on the great importance of this invention which, curiously enough, left its inventor, Eli Whitney, a bankrupt. It affected not only the American cotton industry, but the commercial relations with Great Britain and the world at large, and influenced the extension of slavery. This invention made it possible for the Southern States to substitute machinery for hand labor and so increase their output of cotton tremendously.

Horace Greeley, like Whitney, was a native of New England and a son of poor but hardworking parents. He was also a great journalist, and therefore well qualified to write this sympathetic article about the father of the cotton gin, who was likewise the inventor of the Springfield rifle.


IN THE British colonies now composing this country the experiment of cotton-planting was tried so early as 1621; and in 1666 the growth of the cotton-plant is on record. The cultivation slowly and fitfully expanded throughout the following century, extending northward to the eastern shore of Maryland and the southern-most point of New Jersey where, however, the plant was grown more for ornament than use. It is stated that "seven bags of cotton-wool" were among the exports of Charleston, S. C., in 1748, and that trifling shipments from that port were likewise made in 1754 and 1757. In 1784, it is recorded that eight bags, shipped to England, were seized at the custom-house as fraudulently entered; "cotton not being a production of the United States." The export of 1790, as returned, was eighty-one bags; and the entire cotton crop of the United States at that time was probably less than the product of some single plantation in our day.

For, though the plant grew luxuriantly and produced abundantly throughout tidewater Virginia and all that portion of our country lying southward and southwestward of Richmond, yet the enormous labor required to separate the seed from the tiny handful of fibers wherein it was imbedded, precluded its extensive and profitable cultivation. It was calculated that the perfect separation of one pound of fiber from the seed was an average day's work; and this fact presented a formidable barrier to the production of the staple in any but a region like India, where labor can be hired for a price below the cost of subsisting slaves, however wretchedly, in this country. It seemed that the limit of American cotton cultivation had been fully reached, when an event occurred which speedily revolutionized the industry of our slave-holding States and the commerce and manufacture of the world.

Eli Whitney, a native of Westborough, Worcester County, Massachusetts, born December 8, 1765, was descended on both sides from ancestors of English stock, who dated their migration from the old country nearly back to the memorable voyage of the Mayflower. They were generally farmers, and, like most farmers of those days, in very moderate circumstances. Eli's father, poor, industrious and ingenious, had a workshop wherein he devoted the inclement season to the making of wheels and of chairs. Here the son early developed a remarkable ingenuity and mechanical skill; establishing, when only fifteen years of age, the manufacture by hand of wrought nails, for which there was, in those later years of our Revolutionary struggle, a demand at high prices. Though he had had no instruction in nail-making, and his few implements were of the rudest description, he pursued the business through two winters with profit to his father, devoting the summers to the farm.

After the close of the war, his nails being no longer in demand, he engaged in the manufacture of the pins' then in fashion for fastening ladies' bonnets, and nearly monopolized the market through the excellence of his product. Walking canes also were among his winter manufactures, and were esteemed peculiarly well made and handsome. Meantime, he continued the devotion of his summers to the labors of the farm, attending the common school of his district through its winter session, and being therein noted for devotion to, and eminent skill in, arithmetic. At fourteen, he was looked upon by his neighbors as a very remarkable, energetic, and intelligent youth. At nineteen, he resolved to obtain a liberal education; but it was not until he had reached the mature age of twenty-three that he was enabled to enter college. By turns laboring with his hands and teaching school, he obtained the means of prosecuting his studies in Yale, which he entered in May, 1789. He borrowed some money to aid him in his progress, giving his note therefore, and paying it so soon as he could. On the decease of his father, some years afterward, he took an active part in settling the estate, but relinquished his portion to his coheirs. It is scarcely probable that the amount he thus sacrificed was large, but the generous spirit he evinced is not thereby obscured.

While in college, his natural superiority in mechanism and proclivity to invention were frequently manifested. On one occasion a tutor regretted to his pupils that he could not exhibit a desired philosophical experiment, because the apparatus was out of order, and could only be repaired in Europe. Young Whitney thereupon proposed to undertake the repair, and made it to perfect satisfaction. At another time, he asked permission to use at intervals the tools of a carpenter who worked near his boarding-place; but the careful mechanic declined to trust them in the hands of a student, unless the gentleman with whom Mr. Whitney boarded would become responsible for their safe return. The guarantee was given, and Mr. Whitney took the tools in hand; when the carpenter, surprised at his dexterity, exclaimed: "There was one good mechanic spoiled when you went to college."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

American Characteristics

By Benjamin Franklin.

FRANKLIN was justly considered in Europe as a preeminent authority on all matters relating to social conditions in America. His writings enjoyed almost as large a circulation abroad as they did in this country, and his reputation grew with his success. "It was," wrote John Adams, "more universal than that of Leibnitz or Newton, Frederick the Great or Voltaire, and his character more beloved and esteemed than all of them."

Franklin was besieged by European publishers for pamphlets and for contributions of a literary character. This article was published in both London and Paris in 1784, the year after Franklin, then in France, had signed the definitive Treaty of Paris and asked to be relieved of his mission. His request was not granted until 1785 when Congress adopted a resolution permitting "the Honorable Benjamin Franklin to return to America as soon as convenient."


MANY persons in Europe having directly or by letters, expressed to the writer of this, who is well acquainted with North America, their desire of transporting and establishing themselves in that country; but who appear to him to have formed through ignorance, mistaken ideas and expectations of what is to be obtained there; he thinks it may be useful, and prevent inconvenient, expensive and fruitless removals and voyages of improper persons, if he gives some clearer and truer notions of that part of the world than appear to have hitherto prevailed.

The truth is, that though there are in that country few people so miserable as the poor of Europe, there are also very few that in Europe would be called rich. It is rather a general happy mediocrity that prevails. There are few great proprietors of the soil, and few tenants; most people cultivate their own lands, or follow some handicraft or merchandise; very few are rich enough to live idly upon their rents or incomes; or to pay the high prices given in Europe, for painting, statues, architecture and the other works of art that are more curious than useful. Hence the natural geniuses that have arisen in America, with such talents, have uniformly quitted that country for Europe, where they can be more suitably rewarded. It is true that letters and mathematical knowledge are in esteem there, but they are at the same time more common than is apprehended; there being already existing nine colleges, or universities, viz. four in New England, and one in each of the provinces of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, all furnished with learned professors; besides a number of smaller academies. These educate many of their youth in the languages and those sciences that qualify men for the professions of divinity, law, or physic. Strangers indeed are by no means excluded from exercising those professions; and the quick increase of inhabitants everywhere gives them a chance of employ, which they have in common with the natives. Of civil offices or employments, there are few; no superfluous ones as in Europe; and it is a rule established in some of the States, that no office should be so profitable as to make it desirable.

These ideas prevailing more or less in all the United States, it cannot be worth any man's while, who has a means of living at home, to expatriate himself in hopes of obtaining a profitable civil office in America, and as to military offices, they are at an end with the war, the armies being disbanded. Much less is it advisable for a person to go thither who has no other quality to recommend him but his birth. In Europe it has indeed its value; but it is a commodity that cannot be carried to a worse market than to that of America, where people do not enquire concerning a stranger, "What is he?" but "What can he do?" If he has any useful art, he is welcome; and if he exercises it, and behaves well, he will be respected by all that know him; but a mere man of quality, who on that account wants to live upon the public, by some office or salary, will be despised and disregarded.

With regard to encouragements for strangers from Government, they are really only what are derived from good laws and liberty. Strangers are welcome because there is room enough for them all, and therefore the old inhabitants are not jealous of them; the laws protect them sufficiently, so that they have no need of the patronage of great men; and every one will enjoy securely the profits of his industry. But if he does not bring a fortune with him, he must work and be industrious to live. One or two years' residence give him all the rights of a citizen ; but the Government does not at present, whatever it may have done in former times, hire people to become settlers, by paying their passages, giving land, negroes, utensils, stock, or any other kind of emolument whatsoever. In short, America is the land of labor, and by no means what the English call Lubberland, and the French Pays de Cocagne, where the streets are said to be paved with half-peck loaves, the houses tiled with pancakes, and where the fowls fly about ready roasted, crying, "Come eat me!"

Land being cheap in that country, from the vast forests still void of inhabitants, and not likely to be occupied in an age to come, insomuch that the propriety of a hundred acres of fertile soil full of wood may be obtained near the frontiers in many places, for eight or ten guineas, hearty young laboring men, who understand the husbandry of corn and cattle, which is nearly the same in that country as in Europe, may easily establish themselves there. A little money saved of the good wages they receive there while they work for others, enables them to buy the land and begin their plantation, in which they are assisted by the good will of their neighbors, and some credit. Multitudes of poor people from England, Ireland, Scotland and Germany, have by this means in a few years become wealthy farmers, who in their own countries, where all the lands are fully occupied, and the wages of labor low, could never have emerged from the mean condition wherein they were born.

From the salubrity of the air, the healthiness of the climate, the plenty of good provisions, and the encouragement to early marriages by the certainty of subsistence in cultivating the earth, the increase of inhabitants by natural generation is very rapid in America, and becomes still more so by the accession of strangers; hence there is a continual demand for more artisans of all the necessary and useful kinds, to supply those cultivators of the earth with houses, and with furniture and utensils of the grosser sorts, which cannot so well be brought from Europe. Tolerably good workmen in any of those mechanic arts, are sure to find employ, and to be well paid for their work, there being no restraints preventing strangers from exercising any art they understand, nor any permission necessary. If they are poor, they begin first as servants or journeymen; and if they are sober, industrious, and frugal, they soon become masters, establish themselves in business, marry, raise families, and become respectable citizens.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Weathering A Crisis

By George Washington.

To HENRY LEE:

ALTHOUGH Washington was in retirement at Mount Vernon at this time (1786), he maintained his keen interest in public affairs, greatly regretting the general chaos, and helping by correspondence to bring the leading men of the country to a determination to form a more perfect Union.

These letters, dated respectively October 31 and November 5, 1786, were written to Henry Lee, of the famous Virginia family, nicknamed during the Revolution "Light Horse Harry," and now a delegate to Congress; and to James Madison, destined to be the fourth President of the United States. At the time of this correspondence Washington Was 54, Madison was 35 and Lee was 30 years old.

The wise patriotism displayed by Washington in his correspondence during this trying period did much to make him the unanimous choice of the country for its first President.


THE picture which you have exhibited, and the accounts which are published of the commotions and temper of numerous bodies in the eastern States, are equally to be lamented and deprecated. They exhibit a melancholy proof of what our transatlantic foe has predicted ; and of another thing perhaps, which is still more to be regretted, and is yet more unaccountable, that mankind, when left to themselves, are unfit for their own government. I am mortified beyond expression when I view the clouds that have spread over the brightest morn that ever dawned upon any country. In a word, I am lost in amazement when I behold what intrigue, the interested views of desperate characters, ignorance, and jealousy of the minor part, are capable of effecting, as a scourge on the major part of our fellow citizens of the Union; for it is hardly to be supposed, that the great body of the people, though they will not act, can be so shortsighted, or enveloped in darkness, as not to see rays of a distant sun through all this mist of intoxication and folly.

You talk, my good Sir, of employing influence to appease the present tumults in Massachusetts. I know not where that influence is to be found, or, if attainable, that it would be a proper remedy for the disorders. Influence is no government. Let us have one by which our lives, liberties and properties will be secured, or let us know the worst at once. Under these impressions, my humble opinion is that there is a call for decision. Know precisely what the insurgents aim at. If they have real grievances, redress them if possible; or acknowledge the justice of them, and your inability to do it in the present moment. If they have not, employ the force of government against them at once. If this is inadequate, all will be convinced, that the superstructure is bad, or wants support. To be more exposed in the eyes of the world, and more contemptible than we already are, is hardly possible. To delay one or the other of these is to exasperate on the one hand, or to give confidence on the other, and will add to their numbers; for, like snow-balls, such bodies increase by every movement, unless there is something in the way to obstruct and crumble them before the weight is too great and irresistible.

These are my sentiments. Precedents are dangerous things. Let the reins of government then be braced and held with a steady hand, and every violation of the constitution be reprehended. If defective, let it be amended, but not suffered to be trampled upon while it has an existence.

With respect to the navigation of the Mississippi, you already know my sentiments thereon. They have been uniformly the same, and, as I have observed to you in a former letter, are controverted by one consideration only of weight, and that is the operation which the conclusion of it may have on the minds of the western settlers, who will not consider the subject in a relative point of view, or on a comprehensive scale, and may be influenced by the demagogues of the country to acts of extravagance and desperation, under a popular declamation that their interests are sacrificed. . . . But in all matters of great national moment the only true line of conduct, in my opinion, is dispassionately to compare the advantages and disadvantages of the measure proposed, and decide from the balance. The lesser evil, where there is a choice of them, should always yield to the greater. What benefits, more than we now enjoy, are to be obtained by such a treaty as you have delineated with Spain, I am not enough of a commercial man to give any opinion on.

TO JAMES MADISON

I THANK you for the communications in your letter of the 1st instant. The decision of the House on the question respecting a paper emission is portentous, I hope, of an auspicious session. It certainly may be classed with the important questions of the present day, and merited the serious attention of the Assembly. Fain would I hope, that the great and most important of all subjects, the Federal government, may be considered with that calm and deliberate attention, which the magnitude of it so critically and loudly calls for at this critical moment. Let prejudices, unreasonable jealousies, and local interests yield to reason and liberality. Let us look to our national character and to things beyond the present moment. No morn ever dawned more favorably than ours did; and no day was ever more clouded than the present. Wisdom and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm. Virginia has now an opportunity to set the latter, and has enough of the former, I hope, to take the lead in promoting this great and arduous work. Without an alteration in our political creed, the superstructure we have been seven years in raising, at the expense of so much treasure and blood, must fall. We are fast verging to anarchy and confusion.

By a letter which I have received from General Knox, who had just returned from Massachusetts, whither he had been sent by Congress consequent of the commotions in that State, is replete with melancholy accounts of the temper and designs of a considerable part of that people. Among other things he says:

"Their creed is, that the property of the United States has been protected from the confiscation of Britain by the joint exertions of all; and therefore ought to be the common property of all; and he that attempts opposition to this creed, is an enemy to equity and justice, and ought to be swept from off the face of the earth." Again: "They are determined to annihilate all debts, public and private, and have agrarian laws, which are easily effected by the means of unfunded paper money, which shall be a tender in all cases whatever." He adds: "The number of these people amount in Massachusetts to about one-fifth part of several populous counties, and to them may be collected people of similar sentiments from the States of Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire, so as to constitute a body of about twelve or fifteen thousand desperate and unprincipled men. They are chiefly of the young and active part of the community."

How melancholy is the reflection, that in so short a space we should have made such large strides towards fulfilling the predictions of our transatlantic foes! "Leave them to themselves, and their government will soon dissolve." Will not the wise and good strive hard to avert this evil? Or will their supineness suffer ignorance, and the arts of self-interested, designing, disaffected, and desperate characters, to involve this great country in wretchedness and contempt? What stronger evidence can be given of the want of energy in our government than these disorders? If there is not power in it to check them, what security has a man for life, liberty or property? To you I am sure I need not add aught on this subject. The consequences of a lax or inefficient government are too obvious to be dwelt upon. Thirteen sovereignties pulling against each other, and all tugging at the Federal head, will soon bring ruin on the whole; whereas a liberal and energetic Constitution, well guarded and closely watched to prevent encroachments, might restore us to that degree of respectability and consequences, to which we had a fair claim and the brightest prospect of attaining.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Discovery Of The Columbia River

By Edward G. Porter.

THIS article, which was first printed in the New England Magazine, June, 1892, the Oregon centennial year, under the title of "The Ship Columbia and the Discovery of Oregon," is the best connected account of one of the most important events in American history. In the dispute of 1826 between Great Britain and the United States over Oregon, our first and most valid claim to a territory as extensive in area as the British Isles was based upon Gray's voyage up the Columbia River in 1792.

If the English explorer, George Vancouver, whom Gray met shortly before making the discovery, had anticipated him, it is impossible to say how the extension and growth of the United States would have been affected.

The famous ship, after which the river was named, was long ago taken to pieces, and her records have mostly disappeared. Many of the facts set forth here were gathered by the Rev. Mr. Porter from private sources, giving his account a high original value as well as interest.


FEW ships, if any, in our merchant marine, since the organization of the Republic, have acquired such distinction as the Columbia. By two noteworthy achievements a hundred years ago she attracted the attention of the commercial world, and rendered a service to the United States unparalleled in our history. She was the first American vessel to carry the stars and stripes around the globe ; and, by her discovery of "the great river of the West," to which her name was given, she furnished us with the title to our possession of that magnificent domain, which to-day is represented by the flourishing young States of Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

The Columbia, a full-rigged ship, 83 feet long, measuring 212 tons, and mounted with 10 guns, commanded by Captain Robert Gray, left Boston on the 28th of September, 1790, calling only at the Falkland Islands, and arrived at Clayoquot June 4, 1791. Obedient to his instructions, the captain soon went on a cruise up the coast, passing along the east side of Washington's Islands (Queen Charlotte's) and exploring the numerous channels and harbors of that picturesque but lonely region.

It was Captain Gray's intention to go into winter quarters at Naspatee, in Bulfinch Sound, and he hastened that way; but, being thwarted by contrary winds, they put in at Clayoquot, and, finding excellent timber for the construction of the proposed sloop, he decided to remain there. The ship was made as snug as possible in a well-sheltered harbor, which they called Adventure Cove.

Gray soon after took his ship on a cruise which was destined to be the most important of all, one that will be remembered as long as the United States exist. On the 29th of April, 1792, he fell in with Vancouver, who had been sent out from England with three vessels of the Royal Navy as commissioner to execute the provisions of the Nootka Treaty, and to explore the coast. Vancouver said he had made no discoveries as yet, and inquired if Gray had made any. The Yankee captain replied that he had; that in latitude 46 10' he had recently been off the mouth of a river which for nine days he tried to enter, but the outset was so strong as to prevent. He was going to try it again, however. Vancouver said this must have been the opening passed by him two days before, which he thought might be "a small river," inaccessible on account of the breakers extending across it, the land behind not indicating it to be of any great extent. "Not considering this opening worthy of more attention," wrote Vancouver in his journal, "I continued our pursuit to the northwest." What a turn in the tide of events was that! Had the British navigator really seen the river, it would certainly have had another name and another history.

Gray continued his "pursuit" to the southeast, whither the star of his destiny was directing him. On the 7th of May he saw an entrance in latitude 46 58' "which had a very good appearance of a harbor, and, observing from the masthead a passage between the sand bars, he bore away and ran in. This he called Bulfinch Harbor, though it was very soon after called, as a deserved compliment to him, Gray's Harbor, the name which it still bears. Here he was attacked by the natives, and obliged in self-defence to fire upon them with serious results.

On the evening of May 10 Gray resumed his course to the south ; and at daybreak, on the 11th, he saw "the entrance of his desired port" a long way off. As he drew near about eight o'clock, he bore away with all sails set, and ran in between the breakers. To his great delight he found himself in a large river of fresh water, up which he steered ten miles. There were Indian villages at intervals along the banks, and many canoes came out to inspect the strange visitor.

The ship came to anchor at one o'clock in ten fathoms of water, half a mile from the northern shore and two miles and a half from the southern, the river being three or four miles wide all the way along. Here they remained three days busily trading and taking in water.

On the 14th he stood up the river some fifteen miles farther, "and doubted not it was navigable upwards of a hundred." He found the channel on that side, however, so very narrow and crooked that the ship grounded on the sandy bottom; but they backed off without difficulty. The jolly-boat was sent out to sound the channel, but, finding it still shallow, Gray decided to return; and on the 15th he dropped down with the tide, going ashore with his clerk "to take a short view of the country."

On the 16th he anchored off the village of Chenook, whose population turned out in great numbers. The next day the ship was painted, and all hands were busily at work. On the 19th they landed near the mouth of the river, and formally named it, after the ship, the Columbia, raising the American flag and planting coins under a large pine-tree, thus taking possession in the name of the United States. The conspicuous headland was named Cape Hancock, and the low sandspit opposite, Point Adams.

The writer is well aware that the word "discovery" may be taken in different senses. When it is claimed that Captain Gray discovered this river, the meaning is that he was the first white man to cross its bar and sail up its broad expanse, and give it a name. Undoubtedly, Carver to whom the word "Oregon" is traced may have heard of the river in 1767 from the Indians in the Rocky Mountains; and Heceta, in 1775, was near enough to its mouth to believe in its existence; and Meares, in 1788, named Cape Disappointment and Deception Bay. But none of these can be properly said to have discovered the river. Certainly, Meares, whose claim England maintained so long, showed by the very names he gave to the cape and the "bay" that he was, after all, deceived about it; and he gives no suggestion of the river on his map. D'Aguilar was credited with finding a great river as far back as 1603 ; but, according to his latitude, it was not this river; and, even if it was, there is no evidence that he entered it.

The honor of discovery must practically rest with Gray. His was the first ship to cleave its waters ; his, the first chart ever made of its shores; his, the first landing ever effected there by a civilized man; and the name he gave it has been universally accepted. The flag which he there threw to the breeze was the first ensign of any nation that ever waved over those unexplored banks. And the ceremony of occupation, under such circumstances, was something more than a holiday pastime. It was a serious act, performed in sober earnest, and reported to the world as soon as possible.

And when we remember that as a result of this came the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804-5, and the settlement of Astoria in 1811, to say nothing of our diplomatic acquisition of the old Spanish rights, then we may safely say that the title of the United States to the Columbia River and its tributaries becomes incontestable. Such was the outcome of the "Oregon question" in 1846.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Why The Confederation Failed To Work

By James Madison.

THIS extract is from the report of a speech of Madison's made in the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia (1787) against what was known as the New Jersey Plan, which left the relationship between the States and the Federal Government practically unchanged. In place of it, Madison wrote and proposed "the Virginia Plan," and throughout the convention rendered such effective service as to win for himself the title of "Father of the Constitution."

Adams urged the principle of proportional representation in both Houses of the Federal Congress. His notes on the debates of the Congress of the Confederation and of the Constitutional Convention are invaluable records of those critical times in the formation of the Republic.


IN some treaties, indeed, it is expressly stipulated, that a violation of particular articles shall not have this consequence, and even that particular articles shall remain in force during war, which is in general understood to dissolve all subsisting treaties. But are there any exceptions of this sort to the Articles of Confederation? So far from it, that there is not even an express stipulation that force shall be used to compel an offending member of the Union to discharge its duty. He [Mr. Madison] observed, that the violations of the Federal Articles had been numerous and notorious. Among the most notorious was an act of New Jersey herself; by which she expressly refused to comply with a constitutional requisition of Congress, and yielded no further to the expostulations of their deputies, than barely to rescind her vote of refusal, without passing any positive act of compliance. He did not wish to draw any rigid inferences from these observations. He thought it proper, however, that the true nature of the existing Confederacy should be investigated, and he was not anxious to strengthen the foundations on which it now stands.

Proceeding to the consideration of Mr. Patterson's plan, he stated the object of a proper plan to be twofold first, to preserve the Union; secondly, to provide a government that will remedy the evils felt by the states, both in their united and individual capacities. Examine Mr. Patterson's plan, and say whether it promises satisfaction in these respects.

1. Will it prevent the violations of the law of nations and of treaties, which, if not prevented, must involve us in the calamities of foreign wars? The tendency of the States to these violations has been manifested in sundry instances. The files of Congress contain complaints already, from almost every nation with which treaties have been formed. Hitherto, indulgence has been shown to us. This cannot be the permanent disposition of foreign nations. A rupture with other powers is among the greatest of national calamities; it ought, therefore, to be effectually provided that no part of a nation shall have it in its power to bring them on the whole. The existing Confederacy does not sufficiently provide against this evil. The proposed amendment to it does not supply the omission. It leaves the will of the States as uncontrolled as ever.

2. Will it prevent encroachments on the Federal authority? A tendency to such encroachments has been sufficiently exemplified among ourselves, as well as in every other confederated republic, ancient and modern. By the Federal Articles, transactions with the Indians appertain to Congress, yet in several instances the States have entered into treaties and wars with them. In like manner, no two or more States can form among themselves any treaties, &c., without the consent of Congress; yet Virginia and Maryland, in one instance Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in another have entered into compacts without previous application or subsequent apology. No State, again, can of right raise troops in time of peace without the like consent. Of all cases of the league, this seems to require the most scrupulous observance. Has not Massachusetts, notwithstanding, (the most powerful member of the Union,) already raised a body of troops? Is she not now augmenting them, without having even deigned to apprise Congress of her intentions? In fine, have we not seen the public land dealt out to Connecticut to bribe her acquiescence in the decree constitutionally awarded against her claim on the territory of Pennsylvania? for no other possible motive can account for the policy of Congress in that measure. If we recur to the examples of other confederacies, we shall find in all of them the same tendency of the parts to encroach on the authority of the whole.

He then reviewed the Amphictyonic and Achaean confederacies, among the ancients, and the Helvetic, Germanic, and Belgic, among the moderns; tracing their analogy to the United States in the Constitution and extent of their Federal authorities; in the tendency of the particular members to usurp on these authorities, and to bring confusion and ruin on the whole. He observed, that the plan of Mr. Patterson, besides omitting a control over the States, as a general defense of the Federal prerogatives, was particularly defective in two of its provisions. In the first place, its ratification was not to be by the people at large, but by the legislatures. It could not, therefore, render the acts of Congress, in pursuance of their powers, even legally paramount to the acts of the States. And, in the second place, it gave to the Federal tribunal an appellate jurisdiction only even in the criminal cases enumerated. The necessity of any such provision supposed a danger of undue acquittal in the State tribunals: of what avail would an appellate tribunal be after an acquittal? Besides, in most, if not all, of the States, the executives have, by their respective constitutions, the right of pardoning: how could this be taken from them by a legislative ratification only?

3. Will it prevent trespasses of the States on each other? Of these, enough has been already seen. He instanced acts of Virginia and Maryland, which gave a preference to their own citizens in cases where the citizens of other States are entitled to equality of privileges by the Articles of Confederation. He considered the emissions of paper money, and other kindred measures, as also aggressions. The States, relatively to one another, being each of them either debtor or creditor, the creditor States must suffer unjustly from every emission by the debtor States.

We have seen retaliating acts on the subject, which threatened danger, not to the harmony only, but the tranquillity of the Union. The plan of Mr. Patterson, not giving even a negative on the acts of the States left them as much at liberty as ever to execute their unrighteous projects against each other.

4. Will it secure the internal tranquillity of the States themselves? The insurrections in Massachusetts admonished all the States of the danger to which they were exposed. Yet the plan of Mr. Patterson contained no provisions for supplying the defect of the Confederation on this point. According to the republican theory, indeed, right and power, being both vested in the majority, are held to be synonymous. According to fact and experience, a minority may, in an appeal to force, be an overmatch for the majority; in the first place, if the minority happen to include all such as possess the skill and habits of military life, with such as possess the great pecuniary resources, one-third may conquer the remaining two-thirds ; in the second place, one-third of those who participate in the choice of rulers may be rendered a majority by the accession of those whose poverty disqualifies them from a suffrage, and who, for obvious reasons, must be more ready to join the standard of sedition than that of established government; and, in the third place, where slavery exists, the republican theory becomes still more fallacious.

5. Will it secure a good internal legislation and administration to the particular States? In developing the evils which vitiate the political system of the United States, it is proper to take into view those which prevail within the States individually, as well as those which affect them collectively; since the former indirectly affect the whole, and there is great reason to believe that the pressure of them had a full share in the motives which produced the present Convention.

Under this head he enumerated and animadverted on first, the multiplicity of the laws passed by the several States; secondly, the mutability of their laws; thirdly, the injustice of them; and, fourthly, the impotence of them; observing that Mr. Patterson's plan contained no remedy for this dreadful class of evils, and could not therefore be received as an adequate provision for the exigencies of the community.

6. Will it secure the Union against the influence of foreign powers over its members? He pretended not to say that any such influence had yet been tried; but it was naturally to be expected that occasions would produce it. As lessons which claimed particular attention, he cited the intrigues practiced among the Amphictyonic confederates, first by the kings of Persia, and afterwards, fatally, by Philip of Macedon; among the Achaeans, first by Macedon, and afterwards, no less fatally, by Rome; among the Swiss, by Austria, France, and the lesser neighboring Powers; among the members of the Germanic body, by France, England, Spain and Russia ; and in the Belgic Republic, by all the great neighboring Powers. The plan of Mr. Patterson, not giving to the general councils any negative on the will of the particular States, left the door open for the like pernicious machinations among ourselves.

7. He begged the smaller States, which were most attached to Mr. Patterson's plan, to consider the situation in which it would leave them. In the first place, they would continue to bear the whole expense of maintaining their delegates in Congress. It ought not to be said that, if they were willing to bear this burden, no others had a right to complain. As far as it led the smaller States to forbear keeping up a representation, by which the public business was delayed, it was evidently a matter of common concern. An examination of the minutes of Congress would satisfy every one, that the public business had been frequently delayed by this cause; and that the States most frequently unrepresented in Congress were not the larger States. He reminded the Convention of another consequence of leaving on a small State the burden of maintaining a representation in Congress. During a considerable period of the war, one of the representatives of Delaware, in whom alone, before the signing of the Confederation, the entire vote of that State, and after that event one half of its vote, frequently resided, was a citizen and resident of Pennsylvania, and held an office in his own State incompatible with an appointment from it to Congress. During another period, the same State was represented by three delegates, two of whom were citizens of Pennsylvania, and the third a citizen of New Jersey. These expedients must have been intended to avoid the burden of supporting delegates from their own State. But whatever might have been the cause, was not, in effect, the vote of one State doubled, and the influence of another increased by it? In the second place, the coercion on which the efficacy of the plan depends can never be exerted but on themselves. The larger States will be impregnable, the smaller only can feel the vengeance of it. He illustrated the position by the history of the Amphictyonic confederates ; and the ban of the German empire. It was the cobweb which could entangle the weak, but would be the sport of the strong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Northwest Fur Trade

By Captain William Sturgis.

FROM 1788 to 1830 the fur trade between Boston, the Pacific Coast and China was an important stage in American expansion. It led to the discovery of the Columbia River, and to the annexation of two great States. Furthermore, it inaugurated our traditional friendly relations with China.

This is part of a lecture delivered in 1846 and reported in Hunt's Merchants Magazine (Boston). Its author was actively engaged in the Northwest Fur Trade between 1798 and 1829, when, on its ceasing to be profitable, he became a dominant factor in the California hide traffic. It was on one of his vessels that Richard H. Dana sailed "Two Years Before the Mast."

Keenly interested in the Oregon question, it was Sturgis's compromise boundary suggestion, published in pamphlet form in 1845, that influenced the negotiations which established the forty-ninth parallel between this country and Canada.


THE Northwest Fur Trade, in which our citizens largely participated, and at one period nearly monopolized, was principally limited to the sea-coast between the mouth of the Columbia river, in latitude 46 , to the numerous islands bordering this whole extent of coast, and the sounds, bays, and inlets, within these limits. Trade was always carried on alongside, or on board the ship, usually anchored near the shore, the Indians coming off in their canoes. It was seldom safe to admit many of the natives into the ship at the same time, and a departure from this prudent course, has, in numerous instances, been followed by the most disastrous and tragic results.

The vessels usually employed were from one hundred to two hundred and fifty tons burthen, each. The time occupied for a voyage by vessels that remained upon the coast only a single season, was from twenty-two months to two years, but they generally remained out two seasons, and were absent from home nearly three years. The principal object of the voyages was to procure the skins of the sea-otter, which were obtained from the natives by barter, carried to Canton, and there exchanged for the productions of the Celestial Empire, to be brought home or taken to Europe, thus completing what may be called a trading voyage.

Beaver and common otter skins, and other small furs, were occasionally procured in considerable quantities, but in the early period of the trade they were deemed unimportant, and little attention was given to collecting them. The sea-otter skins have ever been held in high estimation by the Chinese and Russians, as an ornamental fur; but its great scarcity and consequent cost, limits the wear to the wealthy and higher classes only. A full-grown prime skin, which has been stretched before drying, is about five feet long, and twenty-four to thirty inches wide, covered with very fine fur, about three-fourths of an inch in length, having a rich jet black, glossy surface, and exhibiting a silver color when blown open. Those are esteemed the finest skins which have some white hairs interspersed and scattered over the whole surface, and a perfectly white head.

After the expedition of Bering and Co., in 1741, these excursions were slowly extended to other groups between the two continents, and when Cook, in 1778, explored these northern regions, he met with Russian adventurers upon several of the islands in proximity with the American shore. It was, however, the publication of Cook's northern voyages, in 1785, that gave the great impulse to the Northwest Fur Trade, and drew adventurers from several nations to that quarter.

The published journal of Captain King, who succeeded to the command of one of the ships after the death of Captains Cook and Clark, and his remarks, setting forth the favorable prospects for this trade, doubtless roused the spirit of adventure. Between the time of the publication referred to, in 1785, and the close of 1787, expeditions were fitted out from Canton, Macao, Calcutta, and Bombay, in the East; London and Ostend in Europe ; and from Boston in the United States. In 1787, the first American expedition was fitted out, and sailed from Boston. It consisted of the ship Columbia, of two hundred and twenty, and the sloop Washington, of ninety tons burthen the former commanded by John Kendrick, the latter by Robert Gray.

It is scarcely possible, in the present age, when the departure or return of ships engaged in distant voyages is an every-day occurrence, to appreciate the magnitude of this undertaking, of the obstacles and difficulties that had to be surmounted in carrying it out.

The project of engaging in the fur trade of the North Pacific, from this country, was first brought forward by the celebrated American traveler, Ledyard. In his erratic wanderings, he entered on board the ship Resolution, as corporal of marines, with Captain Cook, upon his last voyage.

Bering, a Danish navigator in the service of Russia, who commanded the expedition just mentioned, was wrecked in 1741, upon an island that bears his name, and perished miserably in the course of the winter. He was the first navigator known to have passed through the strait that separates Asia from America; and Cook, who was the next to sail through it, in a commendable spirit of justice, gave to this strait the name of the unfortunate Bering. The fate of Cook is well known. He was killed by the natives of the Sandwich Islands, of which group he was the discoverer.

Kendrick was fated never to return. After remaining with both vessels two seasons on the northwest. coast, he sent the Columbia home, in charge of Captain Gray, and remained himself in the sloop Washington. He continued in her several years, trading on the coast and at the Sandwich Islands.

In 1792, while lying in the harbor of Honolulu, at one of these islands, and receiving, upon his birthday, a complimentary salute from the captain of an English trading vessel anchored near, he was instantly killed by a shot carelessly left in one of the guns fired on the occasion.

Captain Gray reached home in the Columbia, in the summer of 1790, and thus completed the first circumnavigation of the globe under the American flag. He was immediately fitted out for a second voyage in the same ship, and it was during this voyage that he discovered, entered, and gave the name to the Columbia river, a circumstance now relied upon as one of the strongest grounds to maintain our claim to the Oregon Territory. He died abroad some years ago.

The voyage of the Columbia was not profitable to her owners, in a pecuniary view, but it opened the way for other adventures, which were commenced on her return. In 1791, there were seven vessels from the United States in the North Pacific in pursuit of furs. For various reasons, the American traders so far gained the ascendency, that at the close of the eighteenth century, with the exception of the Russian establishment on the northern part of the coast, the whole trade was in our hands ; and so remained until the close of the war with Great Britain, in 1815. This trade was confined almost exclusively to Boston. It was attempted, unsuccessfully, from Philadelphia and New York, and from Providence and Bristol, in Rhode Island. Even the intelligent and enterprising merchants of Salem, failed of success; some of them, however, were interested in several of the most successful northwestern voyages carried on from Boston. So many of the vessels engaged in this trade belonged here, the Indians had the impression that Boston was our whole country. Had any one spoken to them of American ships, or American people, he would not have been understood. We were only known as Boston ships, and Boston people.

Subsequently, the war with Great Britain interrupted the trade for a time ; but after the peace of 1815, it was resumed, and flourished for some years. The difficulties and uncertainty in procuring furs became so serious, that in 1829 the business north of California was abandoned.

The narrative of Cook's voyage shows the value of a prime skin to have been, at the time of that voyage, $120. In 1802, when the largest collection was made, the average price of large and small skins, at Canton, was only about $20 each. At the present time, those of first quality would sell readily at $150. Some seventy or eighty ordinary California skins, brought home a few months ago, were sold here at nearly $60 each, to send to the north of Europe.

The trade on the coast was altogether a barter trade. It consisted in part of blankets, coarse cloths, greatcoats, fire-arms and ammunition, rice, molasses, and biscuit, coarse cottons, cutlery, and hard-ware, a great variety of trinkets, &c.; in fact, everything that one can imagine. Copper has long been known, and highly prized by the Indians. It was put to no use, but was considered very valuable, and a person having a few pieces was deemed a wealthy man.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Mutinous Troops Threaten Congress

By Elias Boudinot, President of Congress.

THIS letter, dated Princeton, New Jersey, July 15, 1783, was written by the president of the Continental Congress to our ministers plenipotentiary, Adams, Franklin and Jay, who were in Paris negotiating the treaty of peace with Great Britain, which concluded the Revolutionary War. It was Boudinot who signed its ratification.

A few days before this letter was written, Congress, being openly defied and menaced by a considerable number of Pennsylvania recruits, who objected to being discharged from the army without pay, had hurriedly adjourned from Philadelphia to Princeton. Never before or since has the Congress of the United States undergone such a humiliating ordeal; and the episode clearly illustrates the general demoralization of the country in those trying days.

Boudinot was a member of the first three Congresses, was director of the Mint from 1795 to 1805, and was the first president of the American Bible Society.


AS CONGRESS has not yet elected any minister for foreign affairs, and knowing the importance of your being fully informed of every public transaction relative to these States, I have concluded that you would not think it amiss to hear from me on the subject of the removal of Congress to this place, though I can not consider this communication as official, but merely for your information in my individual capacity.

The state of our finances making it indispensably necessary to abridge the public expenses in every instance that would not endanger the Union, we concluded to reduce the army by discharging all the soldiers enlisted for the war, with a proportionate number of officers, on condition that the discharge should operate no otherwise than as a furlough, until the ratification of the definitive treaty.

This not only eased us of a heavy disbursement of ready cash for subsistence money and rations, but gratified many of the army who wished to be at home in the early part of the summer, to provide for the following winter. Three months' pay was ordered which could not otherwise be complied with, but by a paper anticipation of the taxes, payable in six months.

By an inevitable accident, the notes did not arrive at the army till six days after the soldiers were discharged and had left the camp. This, together with some difficulty in settling their accounts, created an uneasiness among the troops, but by the General's address and the good conduct of the officers, they all retired peaceably to their different States, though without a single farthing of cash to buy themselves a meal of victuals.

In the barracks in Philadelphia and at Lancaster, in the State of Pennsylvania, there were a number of new recruits, who had been enlisted since the months of December and January last, and who had not yet taken the field; these soldiers having not been brought under any regular discipline, made many objections against accepting their discharges, and gave their officers reasons to fear some difficulty in getting rid of them; but the Secretary of War thought he had satisfied them by assuring them of the like pay with the rest of the army. On the 15th of June a petition was received from the sergeants, requiring a redress of their grievances, in a very turbulent and indecent style, of which no notice was taken. . . . A committee was immediately appointed to confer with the executive council of Pennsylvania, and to endeavor to get them to call out the militia to stop the mutineers; but to no purpose ; the council thinking that the citizens would not choose to risk themselves when fair means might do. . . . On the 19th the troops arrived and joined those at the barracks in the city, who had been increased in number by a few companies of old soldiers arrived the day before from Charles Town.

The whole being very orderly and quiet, Congress adjourned on Friday the 20th, as usual, till Monday morning. On the 21st one of the committee called on me and informed that the soldiers at the barracks were very disorderly and had cast off the authority of their officers; that it was suspected they had a design, the following night, against the bank, and advised me to call Congress without delay. This I did, to meet in half an hour. The soldiers by accident hearing of it, very fortunately hastened their designs a day or two sooner than was intended. The Members of Congress had just got together, except one, when the State House (in which also the President and Supreme Executive Council were then sitting) was surrounded by about three hundred armed men with fixed bayonets under the command of seven sergeants. Congress immediately sent for General St. Clair and demanded the reason of this hostile appearance, who informed of his having just arrived in town from his seat in the country in obedience to the orders of Congress of the day preceding; that he had received information from the commanding officer of the mutinous disposition of the troops, who had marched from the barracks contrary to the orders of their officers, and that the veteran troops from Charles Town had been unwillingly forced into the measure. The president of the State then appeared, and produced the insolent paper which had been sent into him by the sergeants.

Congress determined they would enter on no deliberations while thus surrounded, but ordered General St. Clair immediately to endeavor to march the mutineers back to the barracks by such means as were in his power.

After several prudent and wise measures the General prevailed on the sergeants to return to their barracks, convincing them that if they were aggrieved they had a right to make it known in a decent manner through any persons they might think proper to appoint. But previous to this, after waiting, surrounded by this armed force for near three hours, Congress broke up and we passed through the files of the Mutineers without the least opposition, though at times before our adjournment the soldiers, many of whom were very drunk, threatened Congress by name.

The mutineers had taken possession of the powder house and several public arsenals in this city, with some field pieces from the public yard.

The committee, not being able to meet the council till Sunday morning, were then prevailed on to wait for an answer till Monday morning. However, hoping that the council would change their sentiments, the committee did not think proper to give me their advice till Tuesday at two o'clock in the afternoon. In the mean time the mutineers kept in arms, refusing all obedience to their officers, and in possession of the powder house and magazines of military stores. On Tuesday morning the officers reported to me that the preceding evening the sergeants, notwithstanding some talk of submission and return to their duty, had presented six officers with a commission each ; and one refusing to accept it, they threatened him with immediate death ; and that, at the time of the report, they were getting very drunk and in a very riotous state. By the second report of the committee you will be acquainted with the particulars of the transaction, with the addition that the behavior of the six officers was very mysterious and unaccountable. At two o'clock, agreeably to the advice of the committee, I summoned Congress to meet at this place on Thursday the 26th of June, issued a proclamation and left the city.

As soon as it was known that Congress was going, the council were informed that there was great reason to expect a serious attack on the Bank the night following, on which the president of the State collected about one hundred soldiers and kept guard all night. On Wednesday it was reported that Congress had sent for the Commander-in-Chief with the whole northern army and the militia of New Jersey, who were to be joined by the Pennsylvania militia, in order to quell the mutiny, which was no otherwise true than ordering a detachment of a few hundred men from the North River. The sergeants, being alarmed, soon proposed a submission, and the whole came in a body to the president of the State, making a most submissive acknowledgment of their misconduct, and charging the whole on two of the officers whom they had commissioned to represent their grievances (a Captain Carbery and Lieutenant Sullivan), who were to have headed them as soon as they should have proceeded to violence. These officers immediately escaped to Chester and then got on board a vessel bound to London.

The sergeants describe the plan laid by these officers as of the most irrational and diabolical nature, not only against Congress and the council, but also against the city and bank. They were to be joined by straggling parties from different parts of the country, and after executing their horrid purposes were to have gone off with their plunder to the East Indies. However incredible this may appear, the letters from Sullivan to Colonel Moyland, his commanding officer, from Chester and the capes, clearly show that it was a deep-laid scheme. It appears clearly to me that next to the continued care of Divine Providence, the miscarriage of this plan is owing to the unexpected meeting of Congress on Saturday, and their decided conduct in leaving the city until they could support the Federal government with dignity.

It is also said that two of the citizens have been concerned in this wicked plot, but they are not yet ascertained. They were certainly encouraged by some of the lower class as well as by the general supineness in not quelling the first movement. Some very suspicious circumstances attending the conduct of the other four officers, who were commissioned by the sergeants, have caused them to be arrested. The whole matter has so far subsided. The detachment under General Howe, from the northern army, has arrived in the vicinity of the city, and a court of enquiry is endeavoring to develop the whole affair The citizens are greatly chagrined at the predicament in which they stand, and endeavor to lay the blame on the council for not calling on them and proving them, while the council justify themselves by the advice of the militia officers, whom they called together for that purpose. The citizens are universally petitioning Congress to return to the city, assuring us of their constant protection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Our First Minister To England

By John Adams.

NO record of the foreign relations of the struggling Confederacy of this period, 1785, compares with that contained in the journal and letters of John Adams, first American minister to George III and second President of the United States. This letter, dated from the Bath Hotel, Westminster, June 2, 1785, was written to John Jay, then secretary of foreign affairs. Couched, as it is, in diplomatic language, it does not betray the early misgivings Adams had as to the success of his embarrassing mission.

In fact, the relations between the two countries were still such as to make life in London irksome to one of Adams's temperament, and he soon asked to be recalled. His request was dictated by the belief that the service he was trying to render was of no particular benefit to his country. Nevertheless, he remained at his post until 1788, when he returned to become our first Vice-President.


DURING my interview with the Marquis of Carmarthen, he told me that it was customary for every foreign minister, at his first presentation to the King, to make his Majesty some compliments conformable to the spirit of his letter of credence; and when Sir Clement Cottrell Dormer, the master of ceremonies, came to inform me that he should accompany me to the secretary of state and to Court, he said that every foreign minister whom he had attended to the Queen had always made a harangue to her Majesty, and he understood, though he had not been present, that they always harangued the King.

On Tuesday evening, the Baron de Lynden called upon me, and said he came from the Baron de Nolken, and they had been conversing upon the singular situation I was in, and they agreed in opinion that it was indispensable that I should make a speech, and that that speech should be as complimentary as possible. All this was conformable to the advice lately given by the Count de Vergennes to Mr. Jefferson; so that, finding it was a custom established at both these great Courts, and that this Court and the foreign ministers expected it, I thought I could not avoid it, although my first thought and inclination had been to deliver my credentials silently and retire.

At one, on Wednesday, the master of ceremonies called at my house, and went with me to the secretary of state's office, in Cleveland Row, where the Marquis of Carmarthen received me, and introduced me to his under secretary, Mr. Fraser, who has been, as his Lordship told me, uninterruptedly in that office, through all the changes in administration for thirty years, having first been appointed by the Earl of Holderness. After a short conversation upon the subject of importing my effects from Holland and France free of duty, which Mr. Fraser himself introduced, Lord Carmarthen invited me to go with him in his coach to Court.

When we arrived in the antechamber, the oeil de boeuf of St. James's, the master of the ceremonies met me and attended me, while the secretary of state went to take the commands of the King. While I stood in this place, where it seems all ministers stand upon such occasions, always attended by the master of ceremonies, the room very full of ministers of state, lords and bishops, and all sorts of courtiers, as well as the next room, which is the King's bedchamber, you may well suppose I was the focus of all eyes. I was relieved, however, from the embarrassment of it by the Swedish and Dutch ministers, who came to me, and entertained me in a very agreeable conversation during the whole time. Some other gentlemen, whom I had seen before, came to make their compliments too, until the Marquis of Carmarthen returned and desired me to go with him to his Majesty. I went with his Lordship through the levee room into the King's closet. The door was shut. and I was left with his Majesty and the secretary of state alone. I made the three reverences, one at the door, another about half way, and a third before the presence, according to the usage established at this and all the northern Courts of Europe, and then addressed myself to his Majesty in the following words:-
"I beg your Majesty's permission to add, that, although I have some time before been intrusted by my country, it was never in my whole life in a manner so agreeable to myself."

The King listened to every word I said, with dignity, but with an apparent emotion. Whether it was the nature of the interview, or whether it was my visible agitation, for I felt more than I did or could express, that touched him, I cannot say. But he was much affected, and answered me with more tremor than I had spoken with, and said :

"Sir, The circumstances of this audience are so extraordinary, the language you have now held is so extremely proper, and the feelings you have discovered so justly adapted to the occasion, that I must say that I not only receive with pleasure the assurance of the friendly dispositions of the United States, but that I am very glad the choice has fallen upon you to be their minister. I wish you, sir, to believe, and that it may be understood in America, that I have done nothing in the late contest but what I thought myself indispensably bound to do, by the duty which I owed to my people. I will be very frank with you. I was the last to consent to the separation; but the separation having been made, and having become inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power. The moment I see such sentiments and language as yours prevail, and a disposition to give to this country the preference, that moment I shall say, let the circumstances of language, religion and blood have their natural and full effect."

I dare not say that these were the King's precise words, and, it is even possible, that I may have in some particular mistaken his meaning; for, although his pronunciation is as distinct as I ever heard, he hesitated some time between his periods, and between the members of the same period. He was indeed much affected, and I confess I was not less so, and, therefore, I cannot be certain that I was so cool and attentive, heard so clearly, and understood so perfectly, as to be confident of all his words or sense; and, I think, that all which he said to me should at present be kept secret in America, unless his Majesty or his secretary Of state, who alone was present, should judge proper to report it. This I do say, that the foregoing is his Majesty's meaning as I then understood it, and his own words as nearly as I can recollect them.

The King then asked me whether I came last from France, and upon my answering in the affirmative, he put on an air of familiarity, and, smiling, or rather laughing, said, "there is an opinion among some people that you are not the most attached of all your countrymen to the manners of France." I was surprised at this, because I thought it an indiscretion and a departure from the dignity. I was a little embarrassed, but determined not to deny the truth on one hand, nor leave him to infer from it any attachment to England on the other. I threw off as much gravity as I could, and assumed an air of gayety and a tone of decision as far as was decent, and said, "that opinion, sir, is not mistaken; I must avow to your Majesty, I have no attachment but to my own country." The King replied, as quick as lightning, "an honest man will never have any other."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

Washington As A Host At Mount Vernon

By John Bernard.

BERNARD, from whose "Retrospections of America, 1797-1811" (Harper and Brothers), this article is taken, was a brilliant English actor-manager who came to America in 1797, the year before he met Washington under the circumstances recounted. He was engaged by Wignell, the Philadelphia manager, at 1,000 a year, then a tremendous salary. It was in Philadelphia, where he played not only comedy parts but various Shakespearean roles, that Washington had seen Bernard on the stage and thus was able to recognize the actor in their chance encounter on a Virginia road.

Bernard was a close observer of men and manners. Much of his autobiography dealing with America was lost in manuscript. Of that which has been preserved, the account of his informal visit to Mount Vernon and impressions of Washington is most interesting.


A FEW weeks after my location at Annapolis I met with a most pleasing adventure, noless than an encounter with General Washington, under circumstances which most fully confirmed the impression I had formed of him. I had been to pay a visit to an acquaintance on the banks of the Potomac, a few miles below Alexandria, and was returning on horseback, in the rear of an old-fashioned chaise, the driver of which was strenuously urging his steed to an accelerated pace. The beast showed singular indifference until a lash, directed with more skill than humanity, took the skin from an old wound. The sudden pang threw the poor animal on his hind-legs, and the wheel swerving upon the bank, over went the chaise, flinging out upon the road a young woman who had been its occupant.

The minute before I had perceived a horseman approaching at a gentle trot, who now broke into a gallop, and we reached the scene of the disaster together. The female was our first care. She was insensible, but had sustained no material injury. My companion supported her, while I brought some water in the crown of my hat, from a spring some way off. The driver of the chaise had landed on his legs, and, having ascertained that his spouse was not dead, seemed very well satisfied with the care she was in, and set about extricating his horse. A gush of tears announced the lady's return to sensibility, and then, as her eyes opened, her tongue gradually resumed its office, and assured us that she retained at least one faculty in perfection, as she poured forth a volley of invectives on her mate. The horse was now on his legs, but the vehicle still prostrate, heavy in its frame, and laden with at least half a ton of luggage. My fellow-helper set me an example of activity in relieving it-of the external weight; and, when all was clear, we grasped the wheel between us and, to the peril of our spinal columns, righted the conveyance. The horse was then put in, and we lent a hand to help up the luggage. All this helping, hauling, and lifting occupied at least half an hour, under a meridian sun in the middle of July, which fairly boiled the perspiration out of our foreheads.

Our unfortunate friend somewhat relieved the task with his narrative. He was a New Englander who had emigrated to the South when young, there picked up a wife and some money, and was now on his way home, having, he told us, been "made very comfortable" by the death of his father; and when all was right, and we had assisted the lady to resume her seat, he begged us to proceed with him to Alexandria, and take a drop of "something sociable." Finding, however, that we were unsociable, he extended his hand (no distant likeness of a seal's fin), gripped ours as he had done the heavy boxes, and, when we had sufficiently felt that he was grateful, drove on. My companion, after an exclamation at the heat, offered very courteously to dust my coat, a favor the return of which enabled me to take a deliberate survey of his person. He was a tall, erect, well-made man, evidently advanced in years, but who appeared to have retained all the vigor and elasticity resulting from a life of temperance and exercise. His dress was a blue coat buttoned to the chin, and buckskin breeches. Though, the instant he took off his hat, I could not avoid the recognition of familiar lineaments which, indeed, I was in the habit of seeing on every sign-post and over every fireplace still I failed to identify him, and, to my surprise, I found that I was an object of equal speculation in his eyes. A smile at length lighted them up, and he exclaimed, "Mr. Bernard, I believe?" I bowed. "I had the pleasure of seeing you perform last winter in Philadelphia." I bowed again, and he added, "I have heard of you since from several of my friends at Annapolis. You are acquainted with Mr. Carroll?" I replied that that gentleman's society had made amends for much that I had lost in quitting England.

He then learned the cause of my presence in the neighborhood, and remarked, "You must be fatigued. If you will ride up to my house, which is not a mile distant, you can prevent any ill-effects from this exertion, by a couple of hours' rest." I looked round for his dwelling, and he pointed to a building which, the day before, I had spent an hour in contemplating.

"Mount Vernon!" I exclaimed; and then, drawing back, with a stare of wonder, "have I the honor of addressing General Washington?" With a smile, whose expression of benevolence I have rarely seen equaled, he offered his hand and replied, "An odd sort of introduction, Mr. Bernard; but I am pleased to find you can play so active a part in private, and without a prompter." He then pointed to our horses (which had stood like statues all this time, as though in sympathy with their fallen brother), and shrugged his shoulders at the inn. I needed no further stimulus to accept his friendly invitation. As we rode up to his house we entered freely into conversation, first, in reference to his friends at Annapolis, then respecting my own success in America and the impressions I had received of the country.

Flattering as such inquiries were from such a source, I must confess my own reflections on what had just passed were more absorbing. Considering that nine ordinary country gentlemen out of ten, who had seen a chaise upset near their estate, would have thought it savored neither of pride nor ill-nature to ride home and send their servants to its assistance, I could not but think that I had witnessed one of the strongest evidences of a great man's claim to his reputation the prompt, impulsive working of a heart which having made the good of mankind not conventional forms its religion, was never so happy as in practically displaying it. On reaching the house (which, in its compact simplicity and commanding elevation, was no bad emblem of its owner's mind), we found that Mrs. Washington was indisposed; but the general ordered refreshments in a parlor whose windows took a noble range of the Potomac, and, after a few minutes' absence, rejoined me.

Though I have ventured to offer some remarks on his less-known contemporaries, I feel it would be impertinence to say a word on the public merits of a man whose character has been burning as a beacon to Europe till its qualities are as well known as the names and dates of his triumphs. My retrospect of him is purely a social one, and much do I regret, for the interest of these pages, that it is confined to a single interview. The general impression I received from his appearance fully corresponded with the description of him by the Marquis de Chastelleux, who visited America at the close of the war.

"The great characteristic of Washington," says he, "is the perfect union which seems to subsist between his moral and physical qualities; so that the selection of one would enable you to judge of all the rest. If you are presented with medals of Trajan or Caesar, the features will lead you to inquire the proportions of their persons ; but if you should discover in a heap of ruins the leg or arm of an antique Apollo, you would not be curious about the other parts, but content yourself with the assurance that they were all conformable to those of a god." Though fourteen years had elapsed since this was written, I could perceive that it was far from being the language of mere enthusiasm. Whether you surveyed his face, open yet well-defined, dignified but not arrogant, thoughtful but benign; his frame, towering and muscular, but alert from its good proportion every feature suggested a resemblance to the spirit it encased, and showed simplicity in alliance with the sublime. The impression, therefore, was that of a most perfect whole; and though the effect of proportion is said to be to reduce the idea of magnitude, you could not but think you looked upon a wonder, and something sacred as well as wonderful a man fashioned by the hand of Heaven, with every requisite to achieve a great work. Thus a feeling of awe and veneration stole over you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
606 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This is an excerpt from volume 4 of America, Great Crises in our History.

The Death Of Washington

By John Marshall.

THIS account is taken from Marshall's "Life of Washington," written at the request of Washington's nephew, Bushrod Washington, and published in five volumes in 1804-07, the "Father of His Country" having died at Mount Vernon on December 14, 1799. The author, the most famous of American jurists, was Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835, and his home was on the Potomac, near Mount Vernon. He and Washington were friends as well as neighbors for many years, and no one was better qualified to estimate the character and appraise the greatness of our first President.

Although Marshall does not record them, it is well to remember that Washington's last words were, "I feel myself going. I thank you for your attentions; but I pray you to take no more trouble about me. Let me go off quietly. I cannot last long."


ON Friday, the 13th of December, while attending to improvements on his estate, Washington was exposed to a light rain, by which his neck and hair became wet. Not apprehending danger from this circumstance, he passed the afternoon in the usual manner; but in the night was seized with an inflammatory affection of the windpipe. The disease commenced with a violent ague, accompanied with some pain in the upper and fore part of the throat, a sense of stricture in the same part, a cough, and a difficult deglutition, which were soon succeeded by fever, and a quick and laborious respiration.

Twelve or fourteen ounces of blood were taken from his arm, but he would not permit a messenger to be dispatched for his family physician until the appearance of day. About eleven in the morning, Doctor Craik arrived; and, perceiving the extreme danger of the case, requested that two consulting physicians should be immediately sent for. The utmost exertion of medical skill were applied in vain. The powers of life were manifestly yielding to the force of the disorder; speaking became most impracticable, respiration became more and more contracted and imperfect, until half-past eleven on Saturday night, when, retaining the full possession of his intellect, he expired without a struggle.

During the short period of his illness he economized his time in arranging those few concerns which required his attention; and anticipated his approaching dissolution with every demonstration of that equanimity for which his life was so uniformly and singularly conspicuous.

The deep and wide-spreading grief occasioned by this melancholy event, assembled a great concourse of people for the purpose of paying the last tribute of respect to the first of Americans. His body, attended by military honors, and the ceremonies of religion, was deposited in the family vault at Mount Vernon on Wednesday, the 28th of December.

At the seat of government the intelligence of his death preceded that of his indisposition. On receiving it both Houses of Congress adjourned. On the succeeding day, as soon as the orders were read, the House of Representatives passed several resolutions expressive of their deep feeling for the illustrious deceased, the last of which directed, "that a committee in conjunction with one from the Senate, be appointed to consider on the most suitable manner of paying honor to the memory of the man, first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his fellow citizens."

Immediately after the passage of these resolutions, a written message was received from the President accompanying a letter from Mr. Lear, [Washington's private secretary] in which he Said, "will inform you that it had pleased Divine Providence to remove from this life our illustrious fellow citizen George Washington, by the purity of his life, and a long series of services to his country, rendered illustrious through the world. It remains for an affectionate and grateful people, in whose hearts he can never die, to pay suitable honor to his memory."

The members of the House of Representatives waited on the President in pursuance of a resolution which had been passed, and the Senate addressed a letter to him condoling with him on the loss the nation had sustained, in terms expressing their deep sense of the worth of the deceased. The President reciprocated, in his communications to each House, the same deep-felt and affectionate respect "for the most illustrious and beloved personage America had ever produced."

The halls of both Houses were shrouded in black, and the members wore mourning for the residue of the session. The joint committee which had been appointed to devise the mode by which the nation should express its feelings on this melancholy occasion, reported the following resolutions :

"That a marble monument be erected by the United States at the city of Washington, and that the family of General Washington be requested to permit his body to be deposited under it; and that the monument be so designed as to commemorate the great events of his military and political life.

"That there be a funeral procession from Congress Hall to the German Lutheran Church, in memory of General Washington, on Thursday the 26th instant, and that an oration be prepared at the request of Congress, to be delivered before both Houses on that day; and that the President of the Senate, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, be desired to request one of the members of Congress to prepare and deliver the same.

"That it be recommended to the people of the United States to wear crape on the left arm as a mourning for thirty days.

"That the President of the United States be requested to direct a copy of these resolutions to be transmitted to Mrs. Washington, assuring her of the profound respect Congress will ever bear to her person and character, of their condolence on the late affecting dispensation of Providence, and entreating her assent to the interment of the remains of General Washington in the manner expressed in the first resolution.

"That the President be requested to issue his proclamation, notifying to the people throughout the United States the recommendation contained in the third resolution."

These resolutions passed both Houses unanimously; and those which would admit of immediate execution were carried into effect. The whole nation appeared in mourning. The funeral procession was grand and solemn; and the eloquent oration, which was delivered by General Lee, was heard with profound attention and with deep interest. Similar marks of affliction were exhibited throughout the United States. In every part of the continent funeral orations were delivered, and the best talents of the nation were devoted to an expression of its grief.

To the letter of the President which transmitted to Mrs. Washington the resolutions of Congress, that lady answered: "Taught by the great example which I have so long had before me, never to oppose my private wishes to the public will, I must consent to the request made by Congress, which you have had the goodness to transmit to me; and in doing this, I need not, I cannot say what a sacrifice of individual feeling I make to a sense of public duty."

The monument, however, has not been erected. That the great events of the political as well as military life of General Washington should be commemorated, could not be pleasing to those who had condemned, and who continued to condemn, the whole course of his administration. This resolution, although it passed unanimously, had many enemies. That party which had long constituted the opposition, and which, though the minority for the moment, nearly divided the House of Representatives, declared its preference for the equestrian statue which had been voted by Congress at the close of the war. The division between a statue and a monument was so nearly equal, that the session passed away without appropriation for either. The public feeling soon subsided, and those who quickly recovered their ascendency over the public sentiment, employed their influence to draw odium on the men who favored a monument; to represent that measure as a part of a general system to waste the public money; and to impress the idea that the only proper monument to the memory of a meritorious citizen was that which the people would erect in their affections. A man who professed an opinion in favor of the monument was soon branded with the mark of an anti-republican.

General Washington was rather above the common size. His frame was robust, and his constitution vigorous. His figure created in the beholder the idea of strength united with manly grace.

His manners were rather reserved than free; though on all proper occasions he could relax sufficiently to show how highly he was gratified by the charms of conversation, and the pleasures of society. His person and whole deportment exhibited an unaffected and indescribable dignity, unmingled with haughtiness, of which all who approached him were sensible; and the attachment of those who possessed his friendship and enjoyed his intimacy, though ardent, was always respectful.

His temper was humane, benevolent, and conciliatory; but there was a quickness in his sensibility to anything apparently offensive, which experience had taught him to watch and to correct.

In the management of his private affairs, he exhibited an exact yet liberal economy. His funds were not wasted on capricious and ill-examined schemes, nor refused to beneficial, though costly improvements. They remained, therefore, competent to that expensive establishment which his reputation, added to a hospitable temper, had, in some measure, imposed upon him; and to those donations which real distress has a right to claim from opulence.

He had no pretensions to that vivacity which fascinates, or to that wit which dazzles, and frequently imposes on the understanding. More solid than brilliant, judgment rather than genius constituted the prominent feature of his character.

No man has ever appeared upon the theater of human action whose integrity was more incorruptible, or whose principles were more perfectly free from the contamination of those selfish and unworthy passions which find their nourishment in the conflicts of party. His ends were always upright, and his means always pure. He exhibits the rare example of a politician to whom wiles were absolutely unknown. In him was fully exemplified the real distinction between wisdom and cunning, and the truth of the maxim that "honesty is the best policy."

Neither the extraordinary partiality of the American people, the extravagant praises which were bestowed upon him, nor the inveterate opposition and malignant calumnies which he encountered, had any visible influence on his conduct. The cause is to be looked for in the texture of his mind.

In him, that innate and unassuming modesty which adulation would have offended, which the voluntary plaudits of millions could not betray into indiscretion, and which never obtruded upon others his claims to superior consideration, was happily blended with a high and correct sense of personal dignity, and with a just consciousness of that respect which is due to station.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top