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ing had been postponed, an hour at a time; when the hour expires and the members are called to proceed again, it is ludicrous to see some of them rushing with anxiety from the committee rooms, with their night caps on. Numbers of them are provided with pillows and blankets; and the contest would seem to be who has the most strength of constitution, or who is most able to bear fatigue. Many of them lie down in their places, resolving (at least to sleep, if not) to die at their posts.”
SPIRIT OF THE TIMES.
“Unworthy will he be, and consecrated his name to infamy, who, with a view to the permanency of our political system, has hitherto strenuously opposed the exaltation of Mr. JEFFERSON to the Presidential chair, shall now, meanly and inconsistently, lend his aid to promote it. Such conduct will be dishonorable in the extreme. Such conduct, therefore, cannot possibly characterize the Federal party. * * * “But, say the bold and impetuous partisans of Mr. JEFFERson, and that, too, in the teeth of the assembled Congress of America, Dare to designate any officer whatever, even temporarily to administer the government, in the want of the nonagreement, on the part of the House of Representatives, and we will march and dethrone him as a usurper. Dare, in fact, to exercise the right of opinion, and place in the Presidential chair any other than the sage of Monticello, and ten thousand Republican swords will leap from their scabbards in defence of the violated rights of the people. * * * “Are they, then, ripe for civil war, and ready to embrue their hands in kindred blood? “If the tumultuous meetings of a set of factious foreigners in Pennsylvania, and a few fighting bacchanals in Virginia, mean the people, and are to dictate to the Congress of the United States whom to elect as President; if the constitutional rights of this body are so soon to become the prey of anarchy and faction; if we are already arrived at that disastrous period in the life of nations, when “liberty consists in no longer reverencing either the laws or the authority;” if, in short, the scenes that sadden the history of the elective monarchies of Europe are so soon to be reacted in America, it would be prudent at once to prepare for the contest: the woful experiment, if tried at all, could never be tried at a more favorable conjuncture. “With the militia of Massachusetts, consisting of seventy thousand, (regulars let us call them,) in arms; with those of New Hampshire, united almost to a man; with half the number of the citizens of the other States, ranged under the Federal banner in support of the Constitution, what could Pennsylvania do, aided by Virginia? the militia of the latter, untrained and farcically performing the manual exercise with cornstalks instead of muskets, burdened besides with a formidable internal foe, whose disposition has been shown in not very agreeable colors, a foe, too, in contest against whom, Mr. JEFFERSON declares, the Almighty has no attribute which could induce him to take a part; what, may it be asked, would be the issue of the struggle : Let these madmen reflect on these things. Let them forbear their menaces. Let them respect the decision of the constituted authorities.” In the Connecticut Courant, Hartford, September 22, 1800, a writer, signing himself BURLEIGH, after speaking of the evils of slavery, uses the following language: “To avoid sharing in these calamities, and, perhaps, with the hope of saving the Government, the Northern States will probably be disposed to separate the Union. This, though an evil of mighty magnitude, is less, far less, than anarchy or slavery. Should such an event take place, where the border States will be is not for me to say. Perhaps the Potomac, the Delaware, or the Hudson, like the Rhine, may part rival hostile nations, and the shores of one of them be perpetually crimsoned with the blood of the inhabitants.” JBoston Gazette, December 24, 1801: “It was A GooD THING, in the District Court of Connecticut, to let Mr. JEFFERSON know, that when he attempted to restore by his order to his good friends the French, the prize-money of a French schooner, which was captured and legally condemned as a lawful prize in the court, that he was feeling power and forgetting right. Mr. JEFFERSON has so long been accustomed to govern slaves, that he hardly knows, how to act in the government of freemen. But, however implicitly his commands in a land of slavery may have been obeyed, he must be careful how he orders without authority in New England, as he will surely get himself af. fronted.” From the Boston Gazette, December 28, 1801, and credited to the American Minerva: “New England people turned aristocrats say the Southern gentlemen. This is very odd. Let us examine the fact, and compare New England aristocracy with Southern democracy. An Eastern aristocrat is a New England farmer. Nine out of ten of all these people are men of small landed estates, consisting of from fifty to two hundred acres of land, and worth one thousand to three thousand dollars. There is not one in twenty of them that ever owned a slave; and those who have them are getting rid of them as fast as they can, without injury to the slaves. The farmer himself, his wife, his sons and daughters, all labor in person on the farm or at the spinning-wheel. A farmer in New England who does not labor in person, is no more to be found than a planter in Virginia or Carolina who does. If they have occasion to hire laboring men, they associate with them and eat at the same table. In the whole village there is little or no distinction of rank; the farmers and mechanics, the justice of the peace, and the blacksmith, all associate on equal terms. There is no such thing as a farmer's commanding his workmen; he treats them all as his equals. These people are generally very civil and obliging; they make bows to each other, and teach their children to do the same. This is New England aristocracy. “Wirginia democracy is a very different thing. A democrat, in the Southern States, is a planter or other person who owns a large number of slaves—who is above labor himself, and not only so, but is above the drudgery of overseeing his own business. He commits it to a steward and a negro driver. He establishes all the ranks of the feudal system in his own family. The planter is king or lord paramount; his children are nobles; the tutor, the steward, and clerk, are the commons; and the laboring people and the blacks are the vassals. Yet this planter is a mighty democrat, a warm stickler for the rights of man, for liberty, and, what is more, equality. This little domestic monarch writes and spouts incessantly about the funding system,
and the danger of power. He will not labor—not he ; this is the business of slaves. He will not associate with the laboring people; he will not eat at the same table. His sons must not labor; this would disgrace them. They are seen at a tavern from morning to night, sawing a fiddle or playing at billiards. “A New England Aristocrat, on Sunday, puts saddle and pillion on a team horse, takes his wife behind him and his child on a pillow before him, and rides to church; and when he gets home, he reads a sermon, or a chapter in the Bible, and teaches his children some catechism. “The Southern Democrat, on Sunday, gets into his coach, if he has it, or can borrow one, and, accompanied by two or three dirty, ragged, half-naked slaves, rides to some friends or to some amusement. It is idle to deny these things; thousands of witnesses can attest them. Let the truth, then, be acknowledged. Let the charge of Aristocracy fall where it ought. The Northern people are the most Republican in the universe; equality reigns among them in reality; but they expect law and order, and when they have a government they wish to keep it.”
RESTRICTIONS UPON COMMERCE.
In opposition to British encroachments, a memorial was presented to Congress by the Boston merchants, dated January 20, 1806, urging that “such measures should be promptly adopted as will tend to disembarrass our commerce, assert our rights, and support the dignity of the United States.” Similar memorials were presented, about the same time, by the merchants of New York and of Philadelphia. The “Berlin Decree,” by Napoleon, was declared November 1, 1806. The “British Orders in Council” were declared November 11, 1807. The “Milan Decree,” by Napoleon, was declared December 17, 1807. * To meet these decrees and orders in council, ruinous as they were to American commerce, the embargo was laid on the 23d of December, 1807. “It was generally believed, at the North, that the embargo was the result of a combination between Southern and Western States, to ruin the Eastern.”. In a memorial from the town of Boston to the Legislature of Massachusetts, January 25, 1809, requesting the “interposition ” of that body to relieve the citizens from their “grievances,” is the following: “Our hope and consolation rest with the Legislature of our State, to whom it is competent to devise means of relief against the unconstitutional measures of the General Government; that your power is adequate to this object, is evident from the organization of the Confederacy.” Other towns in Massachusetts expressed the same sentiments to the Legislature in more decided terms, pointing to resistance to the Federal Government. “If petitions do not produce a relaxation or removal of the embargo, the people ought immediately to assume a higher tone. The Government of Massachusetts has also a duty to perform. The State is still sovereign and independent.”—Boston Centinel, September 10, 1808. In the same spirit Northern statesmen spoke: “To my mind the present crisis excites the most serious apprehensions. A storm seems to be gathering, which portends not a tempest on the ocean, but domestic convulsions. I feel myself bound in conscience to declare, lest the blood of those who should fall in executing this measure (enforcing the embargo) may lie on my head, that I consider this to be an act which directs a mortal blow at the liberties of my country—an act containing unconstitutional provisions, to which the people are not bound to submit, and to which, in my opinion, they will not submit.”— Speech of MR. HILLHouse, of Connecticut, in the Senate of the United States, January, 1809. The embargo was repealed March 1, 1809.
THE PURCHASE OF LOUISIANA.
To the proposal of Mr. JEFFERSON to purchase Louisiana the Eastern States were strongly opposed, though the great importance of preserving the free navigation of the Mississippi was acknowledged. To prevent the purchase, ridicule, sarcasm without mercy, menace of the separation of the States, as well as argument, were employed by their representatives in Congress, and by the editors of newspapers.
The ground of this violent opposition was the apprehension that the Southern and Western States would, by the admission