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different States, constituting a national repre- that it may be seen that they were men of judgsentation of great weight, efficiency and decorum. ment and weight, able to know what the consti The Supreme Court was still presided over by tution was, and not apt to violate it. They were Chief Justice Marshall, almost septuagenarian, Governor Barbour and Governor Pleasants, of and still in the vigor of his intellect, associated Virginia; Mr. James Brown and Governor with Mr. Justice Story, Mr. Justice Johnson, of Henry Johnson, of Louisiana ; Governor EdSouth Carolina, Mr. Justice Duval, and Mr. wards and Judge Jesse B. Thomas, of Illinois; Justice Washington, of Virginia. Thus all the Mr. Elliott and Mr. Walker, of Georgia ; Mr. departments, and all the branches of the govern-Gaillard, President, pro tempore, of the Senate, ment, were ably and decorously filled, and the and Judge William Smith, from South Carolina ; friends of popular representative institutions Messrs. Horsey and Van Dyke, of Delaware ; might contemplate their administration with Colonel Richard M. Johnson and Judge Logan, pride and pleasure, and challenge their com- from Kentucky; Mr. William R. King, since parison with any government in the world, Vice-President of the United States, and Judge
John W. Walker, from Alabama; Messrs. Leake and Thomas H. Williams, of Mississippi ; Governor Edward Lloyd, and the great jurist and
orator, William Pinkney, from Maryland ; Mr. CHAPTER II.
Macon and Governor Stokes, from North Caro
lina; Messrs. Walter Lowrie and Jonathan ADMISSION OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI. Roberts, from Pennsylvania ; Mr. Noble and
Judge Taylor, from Indiana ; Mr. Palmer, from This was the exciting and agitating question of Vermont; Mr. Parrott, from New Hampshire. the session of 1820–21. The question of re- This was the vote of the Senate for the comprostriction, that is, of prescribing the abolition of mise. In the House, there was some division slavery within her limits, had been “compro- among Southern members; but the whole vote mised” the session before, by agreeing to admit in favor of it was 134, to 42 in the negative-the the State without restriction, and abolishing it in latter comprising some Northern members, as all the remainder of the province of Louisiana, the former did a majority of the Southernnorth and west of the State of Missouri, and among them one whose opinion had a weight north of the parallel of 36 degrees, 30 minutes. never exceeded by that of any other American This "coinpromise” was the work of the South, statesman, William Lowndes, of South Carolina. sustained by the united voice of Mr. Monroe's This array of names shows the Missouri comcabinet, the united voices of the Southern sena- promise to have been a Southern measure, and tors, and a majority of the Southern representa- the event put the seal upon that character by tives. The unanimity of the cabinet has been showing it to be acceptable to the South. But shown, impliedly, by a letter of Mr. Monroe, it had not allayed the Northern feeling against and positively by the Diary of Mr. John Quincy an increase of slave States, then openly avowed Adams. The unanimity of the slave States in the to be a question of political power between the Senate, where the measure originated, is shown by two sections of the Union. The State of Misits journal, not on the motion to insert the section souri made her constitution, sanctioning slavery, constituting the compromise (for on that motion and forbidding the legislature to interfere with it. the yeas and nays were not taken), but on the This prohibition, not usual in State constitutions, motion to strike it out, when they were taken, was the effect of the Missouri controversy and and showed 30 votes for the compromise, and 15 of foreign interference, and was adopted for the against it—every one of the latter from non- sake of peace--for the sake of internal tranquilslaveholding States—the former comprehending lity—and to prevent the agitation of the slave every slave State vote present, and a few from question, which could only be accomplished by the North. As the constitutionality of this excluding it wholly from the forum of elections compromise, and its binding force, have, in these and legislation. I was myself the instigator of latter times, begun to be disputed, it is well to that prohibition, and the cause of its being put give the list of the senators names voting for it, into the constitution—though not a member of
the convention-being equally opposed to slavery be expedient or not, to make provision for the agitation and to slavery extension. There was admission of Missouri into the Union on the also a clause in it, authorizing the legislature to same footing as the original States, and for the prohibit the emigration of free people of color due execution of the laws of the United States into the State ; and this clause was laid hold of within Missouri ? and if not, whether any other, in Congress to resist the admission of the State. and what provision adapted to her actual condiIt was treated as a breach of that clause in the tion ought to be made by law.” This motion federal constitution, which guarantees equal was adopted by a majority of nearly two to privileges in all the States to the citizens of one—101 to 55—which shows a large vote in its every State, of which privileges the right of favor from the non-slaveholding States. Twentyemigration was one; and free people of color three, being a number equal to the number of being admitted to citizenship in some of the the States, were then appointed on the part of States, this prohibition of emigration was held the House, and were: Messrs. Clay, Thomas W. to be a violation of that privilege in their per- Cobb, of Georgia ; Mark Langdon Hill, of Mas
But the real point of objection was the sachusetts; Philip P. Barbour, of Virginia ; slavery clause, and the existence of slavery in Henry R. Storrs, of New-York; John Cocke, the State, which it sanctioned, and seemed to of Tennessee, Christopher Rankin, of Mississippi; perpetuate. The constitution of the State, and William S. Archer, of Virginia ; William Brown, her application for admission, was presented by of Kentucky ; Samuel Eddy, from Rhode Island; her late delegate and representative elect, Mr. William D. Ford, of New-York; William CulJohn Scott; and on his motion, was referred to breth, Aaron Hackley, of New-York; Samuel a select committee. Mr. Lowndes, of South Moore, of Pennsylvania, James Stevens, of ConCarolina, Mr. John Sergeant, of Pennsylvania, necticut; Thomas J. Rogers, from Pennsylvania; and General Samuel Smith, of Maryland, were Henry Southard, of New-Jersey ; John Ranappointed the committee; and the majority dolph; James S. Smith, of North Carolina ; being from slave States, a resolution was quick- William Darlington, of Pennsylvania ; Nathaniel ly reported in favor of the admission of the State. Pitcher, of New-York; John Sloan, of Ohio, and But the majority of the House being the other Henry Baldwin, of Pennsylvania. The Senate way, the resolution was rejected, 79 to 83—and by a vote almost unanimous-29 to 7-agreed by a clear slavery and anti-slavery vote, the to the joint committee proposed by the House exceptions being but three, and they on the side of Representatives; and Messrs. John Holmes, of admission, and contrary to the sentiment of of Maine ; James Barbour, of Virginia ; Jonatheir own State. They were Mr. Henry Shaw, than Roberts, of Pennsylvania ; David L. Morof Massachusetts, and General Bloomfield and ril, of New-Hampshire ; Samuel L. Southard, of Mr. Bernard Smith, of New-Jersey. In the New-Jersey ; Colonel Richard M. Johnson, of Senate, the application of the State shared a Kentucky; and Rufus King, of New-York, to similar fate. The constitution was referred to a be a committee on its part. The joint commitcommittee of three, Messrs. Judge William tee acted, and soon reported a resolution in favor Smith, of South Carolina, Mr. James Burrill, of of the admission of the State, upon the condition Rhode Island, and Mr. Macon, of North Caro- that her legislature should first declare that the Jina, a majority of whom being from slave States, clause in her constitution relative to the free a resolution of admission was reported, and colored emigration into the State, should never passed the Senate-Messrs. Chandler and Holmes be construed to authorize the passage of any act of Maine, voting with the friends of admission; by which any citizen of either of the States of but was rejected in the House of Representa- the Union should be excluded from the enjoytives. A second resolution to the same effect ment of any privilege to which he may be entipassed the Senate, and was again rejected in the tled under the constitution the United States; House. A motion was then made in the House and the President of the United States being by Mr. Clay to raise a committee to act jointly furnished with a copy of said act, should, by with any committee which might be appointed proclamation, declare the State to be admitted. by the Senate, “ to consider and report to the This resolution was passed in the House by a Senate and the House respectively, whether it I close vote—86 to 82-several members from
non-slaveholding States voting for it. In the ready to vote the admission of the State in any Senate it was passed by two to one—28 to 14; form which would answer the purpose, and save and the required declaration having been soon themselves from going so far as to lose their made by the General Assembly of Missouri, and own States, and give the ascendant to their pocommunicated to the President, his proclamation litical adversaries. In the Senate, Messrs. Lov. was issued accordingly, and the State admitted. rie and Roberts, from Pennsylvania; Messrs. And thus ended the “Missouri controversy," or Morril and Parrott, from New-Hampshire; that form of the slavery question which under- Messrs. Chandler and Holmes, from Maine; took to restrict a State from the privilege of Mr. William Hunter, from Rhode Island; and having slaves if she chose. The question itself, Mr. Southard, from New-Jersey, were of that under other forms, has survived, and still sur-class; and I cannot refrain from classing with vives, but not under the formidable aspect which them Messrs. Horsey and Vandyke, from Delait wore during that controversy, when it divided ware, which, though counted as a slave State, yet Congress geographically, and upon the slave line. from its isolated and salient position, and small The real struggle was political, and for the number of slaves, seems more justly to belong balance of power, as frankly declared by Mr. to the other side. In the House the vote of Rufus King, who disdained dissimulation ; and nearly two to one in favor of Mr. Clay's resoluin that struggle the non-slaveholding States, tion for a joint committee, and his being allowed though defeated in the State of Missouri, were to make out his own list of the House commitsuccessful in producing the “compromise,” con- tee (for it was well known that he drew up the ceived and passed as a Southern measure. The list of names himself, and distributed it through resistance made to the admission of the State on the House to be voted), sufficiently attest the account of the clause in relation to free people temper of that body, and showed the determinaof color, was only a mask to the real cause of tion of the great majority to have the question opposition, and has since shown to be so by the settled. Mr. Clay has been often complimented facility with which many States, then voting in as the author of the “compromise" of 1820, in a body against the admission of Missouri on that spite of his repeated declaration to the contrary, account, now exclude the whole class of the free that measure coming from the Senate; but he is colored emigrant population from their borders, the undisputed author of the final settlement of and without question, by statute, or by consti- the Missouri controversy in the actual admission tutional amendment. For a while this formida- of the State. He had many valuable coadjutors ble Missouri question threatened the total over- from the North-Baldwin, of Pennsylvania ; throw of all political parties upon principle, and Storrs and Meigs, of New-York; Shaw, of Masthe substitution of geographical parties discrimi- sachusetts: and he had also some opponents nated by the slave line, and of course destroying from the South-members refusing to vote for the just and proper action of the federal govern- the "conditional ” admission of the State, holdment, and leading eventually to a separation of ing her to be entitled to absolute admissionthe States. It was a federal movement, accru- among them Mr. Randolph. I have been minute ing to the benefit of that party, and at first was in stating this controversy, and its settlement, overwhelming, sweeping all the Northern de- deeming it advantageous to the public interest mocracy into its current, and giving the supre- that history and posterity should see it in the macy to their adversaries. When this effect proper point of view; and that it was a political was perceived the Northern democracy became movement for the balance of power, balked by alarmed, and only wanted a turn or abatement the Northern democracy, who saw their own in the popular feeling at home, to take the first overthrow, and the eventual separation of the opportunity to get rid of the question by ad- States, in the establishment of geographical parmitting the State, and re-establishing party lines ties divided by a slavery and anti-slavery line. upon the basis of political principle. This was the decided feeling when I arrived at Washington, and many of the old Northern democracy took early opportunities to declare themselves to me to that effect, and showed that they were
provided and left in the treasury to meet contingencies--a sum which, though small in itself,
was absolutely unnecessary for that purpose, CHAPTER III.
and the necessity for which was founded in the
mistaken idea that the government expends FINANCES.-REDUCTION OF THE ARMY.
every year, within the year, the amount of its
income. This is entirely fallacious, and never did The distress of the country became that of the and never can take place ; for a large portion of government. Small as the government expen- the government payments accruing within the latditure then was, only about twenty-one millions" ter quarters of any year are not paid until the next of dollars (including eleven millions for perma- year. 'And so on in every quarter of every year. nent or incidental objects), it was still too great The sums becoming payable in each quarter for the revenues of the government at this disas- being in many instances, and from the nature of trous period. Reductions of expense, and loans, the service, only paid in the next quarter, while became the resort, and economy-that virtuous new revenue is coming in. This process regupolicy in all times—became the obligatory and larly going on' always leaves a balance in the the forced policy of this time. The small regu- treasury at the end of the year, not called for lar army was the first, and the largest object on until the beginning of the next year, and when which the reduction fell. Small as it was, it there is a receipt of money to meet the demand, was reduced nearly one-half—from 10,000 to even if there, had been no balance in hand. 6,000 men. The navy felt it next-the annual Thus, at the end of the year 1820, one of the approppation of one million for its increase greatest depression, and when demands pressed being reduced to half a million. The construc- most rapidly upon the treasury, there was a tion and armament of fortifications underwent balance of above two millions of dollars in the the like process. Reductions of expense took | treasury—to be precise, $2,076,607 14, being place at many other points, and even the aboli-one-tenth of the annual revenue. In prosperous tion of a clerkship of $800 in the office of the years the balance is still larger, sometimes Attorney General, was not deemed an object amounting to the fourth, or the fifth of the anbelow the economical attention of · Congress. pual revenue ; as may be seen in the successive After all a loan became indispensable, and the annual reports of the finances. There is, therePresident was authorized to borrow five millions fore, no necessity to provide for keeping any of dollars. The sum of twenty-one millions balance as a reserve in the treasury, though in then to be raised for the service of the govern- later times this provision has been carried up to ment, small as it now appears, was more than six millions—a mistake which economy, the double the amount required for the actual ex-science of administration, and the purity of the penses of the government-for the actual ex- government, requires to be corrected. pense of its administration, or the working its machinery. More than half went to permanent or incidental objects, to wit: principal and interest of the public debt, five and a half millions ; gradual increase of the navy, one million ; pensions, one and a half millions; fortifications,
CHAPTER IV. $800,000; arms, munitions, ordnance, and other small items, about two millions; making in the RELIEF OF PUBLIC LAND DEBTORS. whole about eleven millions, and leaving for the expense of keeping the machinery of govern- DISTRESS was the cry of the day; relief the ment in operation, about ten millions of dollars; general demand. State legislatures were occuand which was reduced to less than nine mil- pied in devising measures of local relief; Conlions after the reductions of this year were gress in granting it to national debtors. Among effected. A sum of one million of dollars, over these was the great and prominent class of the and above the estimated expenditure of the public land purchasers. The credit system then government, was always deemed necessary to be prevailed, and the debt to the government had
accumulated to twenty-three millions of dollars the amount of their payments already made; -a large sum in itself, but enormous when con- and thus saved in all cases their homes and sidered in reference to the payors, only a small fields, and as much more of their purchases as proportion of the population, and they chiefly they were able to pay for at the reduced rate. the inhabitants of the new States and territories, It was an equitable arrangement of a difficult whose resources were few. Their situation was subject, and lacked but two features to make it deplorable. A heavy debt to pay, and lands perfect; first, a pre-emptive right to all first already partly paid for to be forfeited if full settlers; and, secondly, a periodical reduction of payment was not made. The system was this: price according to the length of time the land the land was sold at a minimum price of two should have been in market, so as to allow of dollars per acre, one payment in hand and the different prices for different qualities, and to remainder in four annual instalments, with for- accomplish in a reasonable time the sale of the foiture of all that had been paid if each succes-whole. Applications were made at that time sive instalment was not delivered to the day. for the establishment of the pre-emptive system; In the eagerness to procure fresh lands, and but without effect, and, apparently without the stimulated by the delusive prosperity which prospect of eventual success. Not even a report multitudes of banks created after the war, there of a committee could be got in its favor-nothing was no limit to purchasers except in the ability more than temporary provisions, as special fato make the first payment. That being accom- vors, in particular circumstances. But perseveplished, it was left to the future to provide for rance was successful. The new States continued the remainder. The banks failed; money van- to press the question, and finally prevailed; and ished; instalments were becoming due which now the pre-emptive principle has become a could not be met; and the opening of Congress fixed part of our land system, permanently inin November, 1820, was saluted by the arrival corporated with it, and to the equal advantage of memorials from all the new States, showing of the settler and the government. The settler the distress, and praying relief to the purchasers gets a choice home in a new country, due to his of the public lands. The President, in his an- enterprise, courage, hardships and privations in nual message to Congress, deemed it his duty to subduing the wilderness: the government gets a bring the subject before that body, and in doing body of cultivators whose labor gives value to so recommended indulgence in consideration of the surrounding public lands, and whose courage the unfavorable change which had occurred and patriotism volunteers for the publie defence since the sales. Both Houses of Congress took whenever it is necessary. The second, or graduup the subject, and a measure of relief was ation principle, though much pressed; has not devised by the Secretary of the Treasury, Mr. yet been established, but its justice and policy Crawford, which was equally desirable both to are self-evident, and the exertions to procure it the purchaser and the government. The prin- should not be intermitted until successful. The ciple of the relief was to change all future sales passage of this land relief bill was attended by from the credit to the cash system, and to reduce incidents which showed the delicacy of members the minimum price of the lands to one dollar, at that time, in voting on questions in which twenty-five cents per acre, and to give all pre- they might be interested. Many members of sent debtors the benefit of that system, by al-Congress were among the public land debtors, lowing them to consolidate payments already and entitled to the relief to be granted. One made on different tracts on any particular one, of their number, Senator William Smith, from relinquishing the rest; and allowing a discount South Carolina, brought the point before the for ready pay on all that had been entered, Senate on a motion to be excused from voting equal to the difference between the former and on account of his interest. The motion to excuse present minimum price. This released the pur- was rejected, on the ground that his interest was chasers from debt, and the government from the general, in common with the country, and not inconvenient relation of creditor to its own citi- particular, in relation to himself: and that his žens. A debt of twenty-three millions of dol- constituents were entitled to the benefit of his lars was quietly got rid of, and purchasers were vote. enabled to save lands, at the reduced price, to