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Tracy, of Connecticut, took the same ground with Pickering in regard to the necessity of obtaining the unanimous consent of the States to sanction the incorporation of territory into the Union, and in regard to the constitutional right of acquiring and governing foreign territory. On the Republican side, Jackson of Georgia, Wright of Maryland, Taylor of Virginia, Butler of South Carolina, Breckenridge of Kentucky, Nicholas of Virginia, and Cocke of Tennessee, spoke in favor of the bill. * The question was taken, November 3d, and the vote stood yeas twenty-six, nays five. All the Republicans voted for it, and also Adams, Dayton, Olcott, and Plumer (the two last from New Hampshire), Federalists. The reputation acquired by the Administration from the Louisiana purchase would have been great under any circumstances. But the bitter opposition of its opponents added to the effect. They drew attention to the subject. They set the nation to contemplating the results likely to flow from the acquisition. They prevented the people from tacitly settling down into the idea that it was a sort of matter of course nnder the circumstances, and that any set of rulers would have taken the same steps, and secured the same advantages. They by these means taught candid and reflecting men, even among the Federalists, that a great and vigorous statesman guided the helm of public affairs, instead of the philosophical and visionary theorist who had been described to them. And when liberal men discover that they have been mistaken in estimating an opponent in one important particular, they are prone to push their investigations further. There was much which was calculated to make a fair scrutiny redound to the further credit of the Administration. The standing army had been reduced to a handful, and our great naval preparations were stopped, yet our foreign relations, beyond the speck of war in the Mediterranean, were strictly peaceful; we had not been so free from foreign aggressions since the origin of the government; and internally not a county, or town, or hamlet of the United States was menacing “insurrection,” or even expressing discontent. The taxes were abolished, yet public debt was visibly and rapidly decreasing. Great treasury schemes were extinct, yet industry prospered. The press and tongue were free, yet the Government gained daily in popularity. Democracy was everywhere triumphant, yet law, order, and religion maintained their ascendency. Great and expensive judicial “engines of government” had fallen, yet every man sat under his own vine and fig tree, and enjoyed his own in security. Never since the dawn of time was there a government which met all the ends of its institution better, or with less burden to the governed. The Federalists, since the Administration of Washington, had not only seized nearly every practicable occasion to legislate unwisely, but they had exhibited an infatuation—what almost seemed an infatuated desire—to seize occasions to take a violent issue with the settled feelings and opinions of the American people. They had, in the election of 1801, alienated the body of the people. Yet many a man of character lingered with them, ashamed to abandon his colors. The desertion of leaders at that time bore no proportion to the popular desertion. But their conduct on the Louisiana question sent off to their enemy's camp a large body of their principal men. That a little handful in Congress, scarcely numerous enough to make a serious parliamentary opposition, should, on this question, where the Government had almost the entire mass of the nation on its side, so furiously and acrimoniously contest every inch, was something more than a common party error. It betrayed an extent of political folly for which there could be neither cure nor hope. It was no shame to leave men to their own labors, who, like Sydney Smith's Mrs. Partington, chose to employ themselves in mopping back the Atlantic The vote in the Senate foreshadowed that thenceforth the Federal ascendency would be found tottering even in New England. But the ultra-Federalist leaders were predestined to learn nothing by experience. They were pure “exotics” amidst the mass of American mind. They could neither see nor hear anything but their favorite idea. They groped about like foreigners, never understanding the character of their countrymen, nor the system of things in which they were placed. They were the shadows of an old régime, having no commixture or sympathy with the generation about them. They were political Quixotes, dreaming over the dreams, and, in imagination, fighting over the battles of a bygone age. Fisher Ames wrote Thomas Dwight, October 31, 1803:
“Having bought an empire, who is to be the emperor? The sovereign people 2 all, or only the people of the dominant States, and the dominant demagogues in those States, who call themselves the people? As in old Rome, Marius, or Sylla, or Caesar, Pompey, Antony, or Lepidus will vote themselves provinces and triumphs. . . . . . Never before was it attempted to play the fool on so great a scale. The game, however, will not be half played; nay, it will not be begun, before it is changed into another, where the knave will turn up trump and win the odd trick. . . . . . .
“But what say you wise ones? Is the payment of so many millions to a belligerent no breach of neutrality, especially under the existing circumstances of the case, when Great Britain is fighting our battles and the battles of mankind, and France is combating for the power to enslave and plunder us and all the world "'
It was about a fortnight after this that he wrote the declaration that in “England he beheld a real people,” and “patriotism broad awake,” quoted in an earlier portion of this work; and he was peculiarly liberal at this period in applying his customary savory “free negro” comparisons to our Government and people.
Morris wrote Roger Griswold, November 25th, 1803:
“When the people have been long enough drunk, they will get sober; but while the frolic lasts, to reason with them is useless. Their present leaders take advantage of their besotted condition, and tie their hands and feet; but if this prevents them from running into the fire, why should we, who are their friends, complain?”
Whether Hamilton wrote in respect to the accession of Louisiana, and his letters have not been preserved, we are unable to say. We find nothing on the topic in his published correspondence. Some other events of the Congressional session demand our notice. The bankrupt law passed during Mr. Adams's Administration was repealed, with the hearty concurrence of the President. This sent another large batch of Government appointees out of office. Louisiana was erected into two territories, that portion of it south of a line running west from the Mississippi, at 33° of north latitude, called Orleans, and that north retaining the name of Louisiana. A temporary government was framed for each.
* Ames's Works, vol. i. p. 329. It is probable that Mr. Ames's habitual solicitude for the rights of England would not have so far outran those of George III. and Lord. Hawksbury had he seen Mr. King's dispatches. * Morris's Life and Works, vol. iii. p. 184.
A bill passed by the requisite majority of two-thirds, though warmly resisted by the Federalists, for submitting an amendment of the Constitution, requiring the President and Vice-President to be separately voted for. On the 5th of December the President had announced the cessation of difficulties with Morocco, and he awarded great praise to the officers who had commanded in the operations against that power, Preble, Rogers, Campbell and Bainbridge. On the 20th of March a private message communicated the intelligence that Captain Bainbridge had been wrecked in the Philadelphia frigate, on the coast of Tripoli, and that its entire crew had fallen into the hands of the Tripolitans. On the 26th of March a bill passed, imposing, after the 30th of June following, an additional duty of two and a half per centum ad valorem on all imports paying ad valorem duties, and increasing it to ten per centum on imports in foreign vessels. The proceeds of this tariff were to be termed the “Mediterranean Fund,” and exclusively applied to carrying on the warlike operations necessary for the protection of commerce in that sea. An indication of the height to which party spirit ran this session is presented by the circumstance that a resolution, introduced into the Senate, that the members wear crape on their arms for a month, “in testimony of the national gratitude and reverence ’’ to the memories of Samuel Adams and Edmund Pendleton, recently deceased, was made a party question, every Federalist but White of Delaware voting against it.' The House had unanimously decided to wear this badge of mourning for Samuel Adams. On learning the death of Pendleton, a similar resolution passed without any dissenting votes.” John Pickering, Judge of the United States District Court of New Hampshire, was put on his trial before the Senate, for impeachment, on charges preferred the preceding session. His son petitioned for a delay, on the ground that his father had been insane for upwards of two years, and still continued so, and that he was too feeble to be brought to Washington. He had exercised judicial duties during this alleged derangement. He had been given the whole period since the last session to
o Bradley of Vermont, and John Smith of Ohio, Republicans, voted with the Federalists. • Ayes, seventy-seven.
prepare for trial. No overture was made looking towards his vacation of the office. The Senate, therefore, decided the trial must proceed. Though there was some respectable testimony in proof of his insanity prior to his intemperance, it was made abundantly apparent that he was a gross, habitual and notorious drunkard; and that, if the wild, indecorous and illegal proceedings' of which he was guilty were not the sole results of actual and ordinary drunkenness, the insanity he manifested was the concomitant and reciprocal effect of his wholly unrestrained inebriety. After two ineffectual attempts to suspend proceedings, decided by nearly strict party votes (the Federalists voting for, and the Republicans against the suspension), the trial was pushed to a close, and Pickering was pronounced guilty on the articles of impeachment by a vote of nineteen to seven. The nays were all Federalists. The vote for removal stood twenty to six, Wells of Delaware now voting with the majority. An effort was made throughout the trial, and afterwards, to represent this unfortunate officer as the victim of Republican and Executive persecution. But the real features of the case were too broad and apparent to be mistaken by any one. The House ordered articles of impeachment to be prepared against Samuel Chase, one of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, but his trial was deferred to the next session. Congress adjourned on the 27th of March.
* He raved and blasphemed on the bench in open court—cursed the parties—called people (sometimes perfect strangers) to come up and, sit beside him on the bench, threatening to cane them if they refused. He had wholly refused to perform his duties in a case where he was called upon to enforce the revenue laws of the United States.