The Project Gutenberg eBook of History of the United States, Volume 2

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Title: History of the United States, Volume 2

Author: Elisha Benjamin Andrews

Release date: September 10, 2007 [eBook #22567]
Most recently updated: October 7, 2013

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Don Kostuch


[Transcriber's Notes]

The debt of England caused by the French and Indian War of 140,000,000
Pounds sterling is equivalent to about 19,000,000,000 Pounds in 2006.

Thomas Paine's pamphlet "Common Sense" is available at

[1492-1495] indicate the following text covers this period, until the
next such appearance.

This is a list or unfamiliar (to me) words.

  Defensive obstacle made by laying felled trees on top of each other
  with branches, sometimes sharpened, facing the enemy.

  Land or other source of revenue for the maintenance of a member of the
  family of a ruling house. Whatever belongs rightfully to one's rank or
  station in life. Natural or necessary accompaniment; adjunct. From the
  Latin "panis"--bread or "apanar"--to nourish.

  Athenian statesman and general who fought at Marathon and Salamis. A
  central figure in the confederation known as the Delian League.

  Formal expression of praise; eulogy; tribute.

  To limit the inheritance of property to a specified succession of

  Requiring much effort or immediate action; urgent; pressing.

  Exacting about details; finicky; fussy; very particular.

  Compose or write.

  Gladly; willingly.

  Hypothetical case argued by law students as an exercise. An ancient
  English meeting of the freemen of a shire. To discuss or debate.

  Cowardly, craven, unfaithful, disloyal, traitorous, apostate,

   Lower in position or rank. British military rank below captain.

  System of inheritance by the eldest son.

  Former; erstwhile; at one time.

[End Transcriber's Notes]

After a painting by Gilbert Stuart. (The Gibbs Portrait.)




With 650 Illustrations and Maps








How Important.
Vergennes's Prophecy.
England in Debt.
Tempted to Tax Colonies.
Colonies Strengthened.
Military Experience Gained.
Leaders Trained.
Fighting Power Revealed.
Best of All, Union.
How Developed.
Nothing but War could have done This.
Scattered Condition of Population then.
Difficulties of Communication.
Other Centrifugal Influences.
France no longer a Menace to the Colonies.
But a Natural Friend and Ally.
Increase of Territory at the Colonies' Disposal.


Character of the Young King.
Indefinite Causes Separating Colonies from England.
England Blind to These.
Ignorant of the Colonies.
Stricter Enforcement of Navigation Laws.
Writs of Assistance.
James Otis.
Stamp Act.
Vigorous and Widespread Retaliation by Non-importation.
England Recedes.
Her Side of the Question.
Lord Mansfield's Argument.
Constitutional and Historical Considerations not Sufficient.
George III.'s Case Better Legally than Practically.
Natural Rights.
Townshend's Duties.
Massachusetts's Opposition.
Samuel Adams.
Committees of Correspondence.
The Billeting Act.
Boston Massacre.
Statement of Grievances.
The Tea.
Coercion Resolved upon.
First Continental Congress.
Drifting into War.


Slow Growth of Desire for Independence.
Early Schemes of Union.
New York Convention of 1690.
Albany Convention of 1754.
Franklin's Plan for a Confederation of Colonies.
Even in 1774 no Hint of Independence.
Hardly in 1775.
Swift Change at Last.
All the Colonies Turn to the New Idea.
Dickinson and Harrison.
The King's Barbarity.
The Gaspe Affair.
Capture of Fort William and Mary.
Paine's "Common Sense."
Declaration of Independence Mooted.
Passed and Signed.
How far he Followed Earlier Utterances.
Effect of the Declaration.
Anarchy in the Colonies.
New State Governments.
New Constitutions.
Their Provisions.
Changes from the Old Order.
General Character of the Documents.


General Gage in Boston.
The Retreat.
Siege of Boston.
Bunker Hill.
Warren's Fall.
Losses of the two Sides.
Washington Commander-in-Chief.
His Character.
Bad Military System.
Gage Evacuates Boston.
Moultrie's Defence of Charleston Harbor.
New York the Centre of Hostilities.
Long Island Given up.
New York City also.
Forts Washington and Lee Captured.
Retreat across New Jersey.
Splendid Stroke at Trenton.
Brandywine and Germantown.
The Winter at Valley Forge.
Steuben's Arrival and Drill.
Battle of Monmouth.


On to Canada.
Ethan Allen takes "Old Ti."
Montgomery's Advance.
Benedict Arnold's.
They attack Quebec.
Montgomery Falls.
Morgan in the Lower Town.
The Siege Raised.
Burgoyne's Advance.
The British Plan.
Ticonderoga again in British Hands.
On to Fort Edward.
St. Leger's Expedition.
Battle of Oriskany.
St. Leger Driven Back.
Baume's Expedition.
Battle of Bennington.
Burgoyne in a Cul-de-sac.
Gates Succeeds Schuyler.
First Battle of Bemis's Heights or Stillwater.
Burgoyne's Position Critical.
No Tidings from Clinton.
Second Battle.
Arnold the Hero.
The Briton Retreats.
Little Thanks to Gates.
Importance of Burgoyne's Surrender.


Massacres of Wyoming and Cherry Valley.
Battle of Rhode Island.
Wayne takes Stony Point.
Paul Jones and his Naval Victory.
The War in the South.
Lincoln Surrenders.
All South Carolina Gone.
Clinton's Severity.
Bravely withstood by Southern Leaders and People.
Washington Sends Aid.
Gates and De Kalb.
Battle of Camden.
Exit Gates.
De Kalb's Valor and Death.
Arnold's Treason.
The South Prostrate.
Colonial Victory of King's Mountain.
General Greene to the South.
His History.
His Plan.
Morgan Beats Carleton at Cowpens.
Cornwallis Sweeps Northward.
Greene's Skilful Retreat.
Battle of Guilford Court-House.
Cornwallis to Virginia.
The Carolinas and Georgia Recovered.
Washington to Yorktown.
French Aid.
Cornwallis Surrenders.


Peace Sentiment in England.
Ill Conduct of the War.
Vain Concession.
France Aids America.
Spain too.
Lord North Wavers.
Holland Joins the Colonies.
Cornwallis's Surrender.
Franklin in France.
Influence and Skill.
Negotiations for a Treaty of Peace.
The Treaty Signed.
Its Provisions.
Peace a Benediction.
Cessation of Hostilities.
Redcoats Depart.
New York Evacuated.
Washington's Adieu to the Army.
Resigns his Commission.
Revisits Mount Vernon.


Character of Revolutionary Soldiers.
Physical Basis and Previous Training.
Bunker Hill.
Marylanders at Long Island.
At Monmouth.
Nathan Hale.
Paul Jones and his Exploit.
Ethan Allen.
"Old Put."
Richard Montgomery.
General Greene.
Dan Morgan.
Other Generals.
Colonel Washington.
De Kalb.
Robert Morris, Financier.
Franklin, Diplomatist.
Military Ability.
Mental and Moral Characteristics.
Encomia upon Him.


The Revolutionary Congress.
The Articles of Confederation.
Its Powers.
Advantages of the Confederation.
Critical State of Affairs after the War.
State Sovereignty.
Antagonized by Existence of the Articles.
Faults of the Confederation.
No Power over Individuals.
War Debt.
Mutinous Spirit in Army.
Washington's Steadfastness.
Congress Menaced.
Discord of Commercial Laws.
England's Hostile Attitude.
Needed Amendments to the Articles.
Lack of a Central Power.
Northwest Territory.
Ordinance of 1787.
Its Excellence.
The Ohio Company.
Settlement at Marietta.


Anarchy after the Revolution.
Shays' Rebellion.
Washington's Influence.
Continental Sects.
Hamilton's Motion for a Stronger Government.
Massachusetts's Motion.
Forwardness of Virginia.
Of Madison.
Origin of Annapolis Convention, 1786.
Its Action.
Meeting of the Constitutional Convention, 1787.
The Virginia Plan.
New Jersey Plan.
Growth of the Constitution.
Personnel of the Convention.
Its Distinguished Men.
Subsequent Careers of Many.
Rufus King.
Completion of the Constitution.
Struggle in Massachusetts.
In Virginia.
In New York.
In North Carolina.
In Rhode Island.
"More Perfect Union" at Last.

Part Second






Launching the Constitution.
Washington's First Inauguration.
Distribution of our Population in 1790.
In the States.
New York City.
Difference between the Old Government and the New.
Status of the State.
Benefits of the New Order.
Popularity of the Constitution.
Thoroughness of First Congress.
Origin of Post-office Department.
Revenue and Monetary System.
Secretary of War.
Leaders in First Congress.


Origin and Development of the Two Terms.
Policy of Federalism.
Federalists Aristocratic.
Two Stripes of Federalists.
Policy of the Anti-federalists.
Close and Liberal Constructionists.
Argument of the Federalists on Article 1., Section 8.
Reply of Anti-federalists.
Historical Facts in Support of the Latter.


I. TARIFF: Restrictive Policy after the Revolution.
Object of its Advocates to Strengthen the Central Government.
Retaliatory Spirit against England.
Desire for Independence as to Military Supplies.

II. FUNDING THE DEBT: Debt at Close of Revolution.
Congress Liquidates the Domestic Federal Debt.
Assumes State Debts.
Debate on This.
Secured by a "Deal."
Scheme for Payment.

III. THE EXCISE; Excise on Spirits.
Opposition in Pennsylvania.

IV. THE BANK: Chartered by Congress.
Jefferson's Argument.
Good Influence of the Bank.


Revolution in France.
Washington's Proclamation of Neutrality.
Jefferson's Criticism.
Arguments for Aiding France.
Results of Neutrality.
Federalist Leaning toward Great Britain.
Attitude of Great Britain.
Impressment of our Seamen.
War Imminent.
Jay's Treaty.
Fisher Ames Urges Ratification.


Federalists Condemn, Republicans Favor, the French Revolution.
Causes of its Popularity.
Justification of the Administration's Policy.
France Violates the Treaty.
Genet's High-handed Action.
His Insolence and Final Removal.
Effect of Jay's Treaty upon France.
Further Overtures to France.
Anti-federalists Confounded.
War Feeling in this Country.
Adams's Patriotic Course.
War Averted.


Federalist Excesses.
Alien and Sedition Acts.
Conviction of Matthew Lyon.
Results of the Federalist Policy.
Its Animus.
Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions.
These Criticised.
Unpopularity of the Federalist Measures.
This Dooms Federalism.
Federalist Dissensions.
Federalist Opposition to the Administration.
Waning Power of Federalism.
Its Good After-influence.


Kentucky and Tennessee become States.
Unorganized and Organized Territory.
Settlements in the Northwest.
Centres of Population.
Early Land System.
Indian Outbreaks.
Harmar's Expedition.
Treaty with the Creeks.
Expedition of St. Clair.
Forts Built.
St. Clair's Defeat.
His Deposition from Military Command.
Wayne's Victory.
Pioneer Life.
Indiana Territory Formed.
Ohio a State.
System of Marketing Public Lands.
Mississippi Territory Organized.


Rural Life.
Steam Navigation.
The Old-fashioned Muster.
Introduction of Sunday-schools.
Spanish Coins.
Colonial Money still in Use.
"Fip," "Levy," "Pistareen."
Newspapers and Postal Arrangements.
Party Strife.
Innovations and Inventions.
Beginnings of the American Factory System.
Oliver Evans.
Samuel Slater.


Jefferson's Election.
XIIth Amendment to the Constitution.
Power of Democracy.
Its Policy.
Jefferson the Typical Democrat.
His Character.
His Civil Service Policy.
Burr's Rise.
Shoots Hamilton in a Duel.
His Treason.
His Arrest.
Purchase of Louisiana.
Immense Increase of Territory.
Trouble with the Barbary Powers.
Their Insolence.
Dale's Expedition.
Further Successes.


Great Britain Ignores International Law.
Impresses American Seamen.
The Chesapeake Affair.
Navigation Act and Berlin Decree.
England Questions our Neutrality.
Preparations for War.
Ill Success of Land Operations.
Harrison's Victory over Proctor.
Jackson Conquers the Creeks.
Battle of New Orleans.
Naval Victories.
Battle of Lake Erie.
Opposition of the Federalists to the War.
New England Remonstrances.
Attitude of Sects.
Treaty of Ghent.
Its Provisions.








THE BOSTON MASSACRE. (From an engraving by Paul Revere)






BUNKER HILL BATTLE. (From a contemporary print)



GENERAL CHARLES LEE. (Although intended for a caricature, this is
considered an excellent likeness)



























DOLLAR OF 1794. (The first United States coin)



ALEXANDER HAMILTON (From a painting by John Trumbull in the Trumbull
Gallery at Yale College)


JOHN JAY. (From a painting by S. F. B. Morse in the Yale College

JOHN ADAMS. (From a copy by Jane Stuart, about 1874, of a painting by
her father, Gilbert Stuart, about 1800-in possession of Henry Adams)

GEORGE CLINTON. (From a painting by Ezra Ames)



















THE COTTON GIN. (From the original model)


THOMAS JEFFERSON. (From the painting by Gilbert Stuart--property of T.
Jefferson Coolidge)

AARON BURR. (From a painting by Vanderlyn at the New York Historical



JAMES MADISON (From a painting by Gilbert Stuart--property of T.
Jefferson Coolidge)















The results of the French and Indian War were out of all proportion to
the scale of its military operations. Contrasted with the campaigns
which were then shaking all Europe, it sank into insignificance; and the
world, its eyes strained to see the magnitude and the issue of those
European wars, little surmised that they would dictate the course of
history far less than yonder desultory campaigning in America. Yet here
and there a political prophet foresaw some of these momentous indirect
consequences of the war. "England will erelong repent," said Vergennes,
then the French ambassador at Constantinople, "of having removed the
only check that could keep her colonies in awe. They no longer stand in
need of her protection. She will call on them to contribute toward
supporting the burdens they have helped to bring upon her, and they will
answer by striking off all dependence." This is, in outline, the history
of the next twenty years.

The war in Europe and America had been a heavy drain upon the treasury
of England. Her national debt had doubled, amounting at the conclusion
of peace to 140,000,000 Pounds sterling. The Government naturally
desired to lay upon its American subjects a portion of this burden,
which had been incurred partly on their behalf. The result was that new
system of taxation which the king and his ministers sought to impose
upon the colonies, and which was the immediate cause of the Revolution.
The hated taxes cannot, of course, be traced to the French and Indian
War alone as their source. England had for years shown a growing purpose
to get revenue out of her American dependencies; but the debt incurred
by the war gave an animus and a momentum to this policy which carried it
forward in the face of opposition that might otherwise have warned even
George III. to pause ere it was too late.


While the war thus indirectly led England to encroach upon the rights of
the colonies, it also did much to prepare the latter to resist such
encroachment. It had this effect mainly in two ways: by promoting union
among the colonies, and by giving to many of their citizens a good
training in the duties of camp, march, and battle-field.

The value to the colonists of their military experience in this war can
hardly be overestimated. If the outbreak of the Revolution had found the
Americans a generation of civilians, if the colonial cause had lacked
the privates who had seen hard service at Lake George and Louisburg, or
the officers, such as Washington, Gates, Montgomery, Stark, and Putnam,
who had learned to fight successfully against British regulars by
fighting with them, it is a question whether the uprising would not have
been stamped out, for a time at least, almost at its inception.
Especially at the beginning of such a war, when the first necessity is
to get a peaceful nation under arms as quickly as possible, a few
soldier-citizens are invaluable. They form the nucleus of the rising
army, and set the standard for military organization and discipline. In
fact, the French and Indian War would have repaid the colonies all it
cost even if its only result had been to give the youthful Washington
that schooling in arms which helped fit him to command the Continental
armies. Without the Washington of Fort Necessity and of Braddock's
defeat, we could in all likelihood never have had the Washington of
Trenton and Yorktown. Besides Washington, to say nothing of Gates, Gage,
and Mercer, also there, Dan Morgan, of Virginia, began to learn war in
the Braddock campaign.

Bloody Pond, near Lake George, which is said to still contain the
bones of many of those who fell in the fight at Fort William Henry.

Again, the war prepared the colonists for the Revolution by revealing to
them their own rare fighting quality, and by showing that the dreaded
British regulars were not invincible. No foe would, at Saratoga or
Monmouth, see the backs of the men who had covered the redcoats' retreat
from the field of Braddock's death, scaled the abatis of Louisburg, or
brained Dieskau's regulars on the parapet of Fort William Henry.

But there was one thing even more necessary to the Revolutionists than
skill at arms, and that was union. Their only hope of successful
resistance against the might of England lay in concerted action, and
perhaps the most important result of the long war through which they had
been passing was the sense of union and of a common cause with which it
had inspired the thirteen colonies. This feeling was of course still
none too intense. But during the long war the colonies had drawn nearer
to one another than ever before. Soldiers from New Hampshire and North
Carolina, from Virginia and Massachusetts, bivouacked together, and
fought shoulder to shoulder. Colonial officers forgot local jealousies
in a common resentment of the contempt and neglect shown them all alike
by the haughty subalterns of the king. Mutual good-will was fostered by
the money and troops which the southern and less exposed colonies sent
to their sister commonwealths on the frontier. In these and numberless
minor ways a community of sentiment was engendered which, imperfect as
it was, yet prepared the way for that hearty co-operation which was to
carry the infant States through the fiery trial just before them.

It is important to remember, as well, not only that the war built up
this conviction of a common interest, but that nothing except the war
could have done it. The great forces of nineteenth-century
civilization--the locomotive, the telegraph, the modern daily
newspaper--which now bind sixty millions of people, spread over half a
continent, into one nation, were then unknown. The means of
communication and transportation between the colonies were very
primitive. Roads were rough, full of steeps and cuts, and in many
places, especially near cities, almost impassable with mire. It took
seven days to go by stage from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, four days
from Boston to New York. The mail service was correspondingly inadequate
and slow. At times in winter a letter would be five weeks in going from
Philadelphia to Virginia. The newspapers were few, contained little
news, and the circulation of each was necessarily confined to a very
limited area. It has been estimated that the reading-matter in all the
forty-three papers which existed at the close of the Revolution would
not fill ten pages of the New York Herald now. In connection with this
state of things consider the fact that the idea of colonial solidarity
had not then, as now, merely to be sustained. It had to be created
outright. Local pride and jealousy were still strong. Each colony had
thought of itself as a complete and isolated political body, in a way
which it is difficult for us, after a hundred years of national unity,
to conceive. Plainly a lifetime of peace would not have begotten the
same degree of consolidation among the colonies which the war, with its
common danger and common purpose, called into being in a half-dozen

The war did yet another important service by removing a dangerous
neighbor of the colonies. So long as France, ambitious and warlike, kept
foot-hold in the New World, the colonies had to look to the
mother-country for protection. But this danger gone, England ceased to
be necessary to the safety of the embryo political communities, and her
sovereignty was therefore the more readily renounced. English statesmen
foresaw this danger before the Peace of Paris, and but for the
magnanimity of Pitt our western territory might after all have been left
in the hands of France.

And the cession of Canada, besides removing an enemy, helped to
transform that enemy into an active friend. Had France retained her
possessions in America, she would still have had an interest in
maintaining the colonial system, and it is doubtful if even her hatred
of England would have induced her to aid the rebellious colonies. But,
her dream of a great Western empire forever dispelled, she had much to
gain and nothing to lose by drawing sword for the American cause. The
British defeated the French at Quebec only to meet them again at

One more result remains to be noted, without which what has preceded
would lose half its significance. By the Peace of Paris England
succeeded to all of France's possessions in America east of the
Mississippi; but the most valuable part of this great territory she won
only to hold in trust a few years for her colonial children. The
redcoats under Amherst and Wolfe, who thought they were fighting for
King George, were in reality winning an empire for the Young Republic.
It is not easy to feel the full significance of this. The colonies
might, indeed, have won independence even if France had retained her
grasp on the valley of the Mississippi; but so long as the new-born
nation was shut up to a narrow strip along the Atlantic coast, it would
have been a lion caged. The "conquest of Canada," says Green, "by ...
flinging open to their energies in the days to come the boundless plains
of the West, laid the foundation of the United States."




The year after the capture of Quebec a young king ascended the throne of
England, whose action was to affect profoundly the fortunes of the
American colonies. Of narrow mental range and plebeian tastes, but
moral, sincere, and stout-hearted, George III. assumed the crown with
one dominant purpose--to rule personally; and the first decade of his
reign was a constant struggle to free himself from the dictation of
cabinet ministers. In 1770, during the premiership of North, who was
little more than his page, the king gained the day; and for the next
dozen years he had his own way perfectly. All points of policy, foreign
and domestic, even the management of debates in Parliament, he was
crafty enough to get into his hands. To this meddling of his with state
affairs, his impracticable and fickle plans, and the stupidity of the
admirers whom his policy forced upon him, may be traced in very large
measure the breach between England and the colonies.

The Revolution, however, cannot be wholly accounted for by any series of
events which can be set down and labelled. The ultimate causes lie
deeper. Three thousand miles of ocean rolled between England and the
colonies. A considerable measure of colonial self-government was
inevitable from the first, and this, by fostering the spirit of
independence, created a demand for more and more freedom. The social
ties which had bound the early Pilgrims to their native land grew
steadily weaker with each new generation of people who knew no home but
America. The colonists had begun to feel the stirrings of an independent
national life. The boundless possibilities of the future on this new
continent, with its immense territory and untold natural wealth, were
beginning to dawn upon them. Their infancy was over. The leading-strings
which bound them to the mother-country must be either lengthened or cast
off altogether.

King George III.

But England did not see this. Most Englishmen at the beginning of George
III.'s reign regarded the colonies as trading corporations rather than
as political bodies. It was taken for granted that a colony was inferior
to the mother-country, and was to be managed in the interests of the
commercial classes at home. Conflict was therefore inevitable sooner or
later. We have to trace briefly the chief events by which it was

James Otis, Jr.


In 1760-61 England tried to enforce the navigation laws more strictly.
Writs of assistance issued, empowering officers to enter any house at
any time, to search for smuggled goods. This measure aroused a storm of
indignation. The popular feeling was voiced, and at the same time
intensified, by the action of James Otis, Jr., a young Boston lawyer,
who threw up his position as advocate-general rather than defend the
hated writs, which he denounced as "instruments of slavery." "Then and
there," said John Adams, "the trumpet of the Revolution was sounded."

In May, 1764, a report reached Boston that a stamp act for the colonies
had been proposed in Parliament, to raise revenue by forcing the use in
America of stamped forms for all sorts of public papers, such as deeds,
warrants, and the like. A feeling of mingled rage and alarm seized the
colonists. It seemed that a deliberate blow was about to be struck at
their liberties. From the day of their founding the colonies had never
been taxed directly except by their own legislatures. Massachusetts, New
York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Virginia at once sent
humble but earnest protests to Parliament against the proposed

The act was nevertheless passed in March of the next year, with almost
no opposition. By its provisions, business documents were illegal and
void unless written on the stamped paper. The cheapest stamp cost a
shilling, the price ranging upward from that according to the importance
of the document. The prepared paper had to be paid for in specie, a
hardship indeed in a community where lawsuits were very common, and
whose entire solid coin would not have sufficed to pay the revenue for a
single year. Even bitterest Tories' declared this requirement
indefensible. Another flagrant feature of the act was the provision that
violators of it should be tried without a jury, before a judge whose
only pay came from his own condemnations.

Burning the Stamps in New York.


The effect upon the colonies was like that of a bomb in a
powder-magazine. The people rose up en masse. In every province the
stamp-distributor was compelled to resign. In Portsmouth, N. H., the
newspaper came out in mourning, and an effigy of the Goddess of Liberty
was carried to the grave. The Connecticut legislature ordered a day of
fasting and prayer kept, and an inventory of powder and ball taken. In
New York a bonfire was made of the stamps in the public square. The
bells in Charleston, S. C., were tolled, and the flags on the ships in
the harbor hung at half-mast. The colonists entered into agreements to
buy no goods from England until the act was repealed. Even mourning
clothes, since they must be imported, were not to be worn, and lamb's
flesh was abjured that more wool might be raised for home manufacture.
England's colonial trade fell off so alarmingly in consequence that
Manchester manufacturers petitioned Parliament to repeal the act,
asserting that nine-tenths of their workmen were idle. Besides these
popular demonstrations, delegates from nine colonies met in New York, in
October, 1765, often called the Stamp Act Congress, and adopted a
declaration of rights, asserting that England had no right to tax them
without their consent. During the days of the Stamp Act excitement, the
term "colonist" gave way to "American," and "English" to "British," a
term of the deeper opprobrium because Bute, the king's chief adviser,
was a Briton.

Startled by this unexpected resistance, Parliament, in January of the
next year, began to debate repeal. We must in fairness to England look
at both sides of the problem of colonial taxation. As general
administrator of colonial affairs, the English Government naturally
desired a fixed and certain revenue in America, both for frontier
defence against Indians and French and for the payment of colonial
governors.  While each stood ready to defend its own territory, the
colonies were no doubt meanly slow about contributing to any common
fund. They were frequently at loggerheads, too, with their governors
over the question of salaries. On the other hand, the colonists made the
strong plea that self-taxation was their only safeguard against tyranny
of king, Parliament, or governor.

In the great debate which now ensued in Parliament over England's right
to tax America, Mansfield, the greatest constitutional lawyer of his
day, maintained--first, that America was represented in Parliament as
much as Manchester and several other large cities in England which
elected no members to the House of Commons, and yet were taxed; and,
second, that an internal tax, such as that on stamps, was identical in
principle with customs duties, which the colonies had never resisted. In
reply, Pitt, the great champion of the colonies, asserted--first, that
the case of the colonies was not at all like that of Manchester; the
latter happened not to be represented at that time because the election
laws needed reforming, while the colonies, being three thousand miles
away, could in the nature of the case never be adequately represented in
an English Parliament; and, second, that as a matter of fact a sharp
distinction had always, since the Great Charter, been made between
internal taxation and customs duties.

Had the colonies rested their case upon constitutional argument alone it
would have been relatively weak. While it was then a question, and will
be forever, whether the American settlements were king's colonies,
Parliament's colonies, or neither, but peculiar communities which had
resulted from growth, the English lawyers had a good deal of logic on
their side. Unconstitutional measures had indeed been resorted to--the
writs of assistance, taking Americans beyond sea for trial, internal
taxation; yet the real grievance lay far less in these things than in
the fact that the English constitution itself was working in a manner
contrary to colonial interests. Social considerations, too, accounted
for more bitterness than has usually been thought. Our fathers hated the
presence here of a privileged class.

George III.'s policy was therefore wiser legally than politically. This
was, in fact, his ministry's capital mistake--like Lord Salisbury's in
respect to Ireland in 1888--that it had too great regard for the mere
legal aspect of the question, ignoring the practical. The colonists were
too numerous, powerful, and far away, longer to be governed from home,
at least by the old plan. To attempt perpetuation of the old regime
might be lawful, but was certainly impracticable and stupid. Hence
Americans like Jefferson showed themselves consummate politicians in
going beyond Pitt's contention from the constitution and from precedent,
and appealing to the "natural rights" of the colonists. "Our rights,"
said Otis, in substance, "do not rest on a charter, but are inherent in
us as men." "The people" said John Adams in 1765, "have rights
antecedent to all earthly government."


The Stamp Act was repealed in February. Its principle, however, was
immediately re-asserted by the "Declaratory Act," in which Parliament
claimed power over the colonies "in all cases whatsoever." The repeal
caused great rejoicing in America; but neither king nor Parliament had
changed policy respecting colonial affairs. There soon followed, in
rapid succession, that series of blundering acts of oppression which
completed the work begun by the Stamp Act, and drove the colonists into

In 1767 duties were laid upon glass, paper, painters' colors, and tea.
Massachusetts, again taking the lead, sent a circular-letter to all the
colonies, proposing a united supplication to the throne. For refusal to
rescind this letter the Massachusetts assembly was dissolved at the
command of the angry king. This refusal was the first denial of the
king's prerogative; only the authority of Parliament had been resisted
before. The soul of the colonial cause in Massachusetts at this time was
Samuel Adams, of Boston, "the last of the Puritans," a man of powerful
and logical mind, intrepid heart, and incorruptible patriotism.
America's debt to him for his work in these early years cannot be
estimated. At this juncture he organized committees of safety and
correspondence throughout Massachusetts, which led to the formation of
such committees in the other colonies. They did an invaluable work in
binding the scattered sections together, and providing for emergencies.


The Billeting Act, which required the colonists to lodge and feed the
British troops quartered among them, added fuel to the flames. In 1768
the New York legislature refused to comply, and Parliament suspended its
legislative functions.


In the fall of the same year, seizing as a pretext two ship-riots which
had occurred in the summer, the king stationed four regiments in Boston.
Public sentiment was shocked and indignant at this establishment of a
military guard over a peaceable community. The presence of the soldiers
was a constant source of irritation. Frequent altercations occurred
between the soldiers and the lower class of citizens. The trouble
culminated in the Boston Massacre of March 5, 1770. A squad of soldiers,
set upon by a mob of men and boys, fired into the crowd, killing three
persons and wounding eight others. That the soldiers had considerable
justification is proved by the fact that a jury acquitted all but two,
who were convicted of manslaughter, and branded. But exaggerated reports
of the occurrence spread like wildfire throughout the colonies, and
wrought powerfully for hatred against England.


During the next two or three years there was comparative quiet.
Massachusetts, it is true, under the tutelage of Samuel Adams, grew more
radical in its demands. In 1772 the committee of Boston issued a
statement of grievances, adding, as new complaints, the sending of
persons to England for trial, restraints upon colonial manufacturers,
and a rumored plan to establish bishops over America. This statement was
approved by all the colonies, and was sent to Franklin in London. The
country as a whole, however, was weary of the strife, and would gladly
have returned to the old cordial relations with the mother-land.

The Boston Massacre.
From an Engraving by Paul Revere.


But George III. could not rest without asserting his supremacy over
America. He made an arrangement with the East India Company by which tea
could be bought in America, spite of the hated tax, cheaper than in
England. Then, at the king's instigation, large shipments of tea were
made to America. The colonists saw through the cunning attempt, and the
tide of resistance rose higher than ever. At New York and Philadelphia
the tea-ships were forced to put to sea again without unlading. At
Charleston the tea was stored in damp cellars and soon spoiled. At
Boston there was a deadlock; the people would not let the tea be landed;
the governor would not let the ships sail without unlading. On the
evening of December 16, 1773, the tax falling due on the next day, a
party of fifty citizens, disguised as Indians, boarded the ships, and
threw three hundred and forty-two chests of tea into the harbor.


The Boston tea-party aroused all the blind obstinacy of George III.
"Blows must decide," he exclaimed; "the guilty rebels are to be forced
to submission," The king's anger led to the Boston Port Bill, which was
passed the next year, and closed Boston harbor to all commerce. Changes
were also made in the government of Massachusetts, rendering it almost
entirely independent of the people. Town meetings were forbidden except
for elections. Poor Massachusetts, her liberties curtailed, her commerce
ruined, appealed to her sister colonies for support, and they responded
right heartily. In three weeks from the news of the Port Bill all the
colonies had made the cause of Massachusetts their own. Expressions of
sympathy and liberal gifts of money and provisions poured into Boston
from all over the country. The first Continental Congress assembled at
Philadelphia in September. All the colonies but Georgia were
represented. An earnest statement of grievances was drawn up, with a
prayer to the king for redress. The action of Massachusetts was
approved, and an agreement entered into to suspend all commerce with

Things now hastened rapidly toward open war. British troops were
stationed in Boston, and began fortification. Military preparations were
making everywhere among the colonists. The train was laid. Only a spark
was needed to bring the dreaded explosion.




The thought of independence in the minds of the colonists was of
surprisingly slow growth. The feeling of dependence on the
mother-country and of loyalty to the king was deep-rooted and died hard.
Even union, which was a pre-requisite to a successful struggle for
independence, came slowly. The old New England Confederation, in 1643-
84, between Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, Connecticut, and New Haven, for
defence against Indians, Dutch, and French, ended without ever having
manifested the slightest vigor. In the latter half of the seventeenth
century Virginia had alliances with some sister colonies for protection
against Indians; but there was no call for a general congress until the
French and Indian attack on Schenectady, in 1690, during King William's
War. Representatives from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and
Plymouth met that year at New York; letters came from Virginia,
Maryland, and Rhode Island. But no permanent union was proposed here,
nor at any of the similar meetings, seven at least, which occurred
between 1690 and 1750.

The Albany Convention, which met in 1754 to prepare for the French and
Indian War, adopted a plan for union presented by Franklin, providing
for a president-general appointed and supported by the Crown, and for a
grand council of delegates elected triennially by the colonies according
to population, and empowered, within limits, to lay taxes and make laws
for the common interest of English America. Franklin believed that the
adoption of this scheme would have postponed the Revolution a century.
But, as it gave so much power to the king, it was rejected by the people
in every colony.

Even after English oppression and the diligent agency of committees of
correspondence had brought union, and delegates from the colonies had
met again and again in Congress, the thought of breaking away from the
mother-land was strange to the minds of nearly all. The instructions to
the delegates to the first Congress, in September, 1774, gave no
suggestion of independence.  On the contrary, colony after colony urged
its representatives to seek the restoration of "harmony and union" with
England. This Congress branded as "calumny" the charge that it wished
"independency." Washington wrote, from the Congress, that independence
was then not "desired by any thinking man in America."

Pine Tree Flag of Massachusetts.


Rattlesnake Flag of South Carolina.


The feeling was much the same in 1775. Pennsylvania "strictly" commanded
her representatives to dissent from any "proposition that may lead to
separation." Maryland gave similar instructions in January, 1776.
Independence was neither the avowed nor the conscious object in
defending Bunker Hill, June 17, 1775. Washington's commission as
commander-in-chief, two days later, gave no hint of it. And the New
Hampshire legislature so late as December 25, 1775, in the very act of
framing a new state government, "totally disavowed" all such aim. In the
fall of 1775 Congress declared that it had "not raised armies with the
ambitious design of separation from Great Britain."

The swift change which, a little more than six months later, made the
Declaration of Independence possible and even popular, has never yet
been fully explained. In May, 1775, John Adams had been cautioned by the
Philadelphia Sons of Liberty not to utter the word independence. "It is
as unpopular," they said, in "Pennsylvania and all the Middle and
Southern States as the Stamp Act itself."  Early in 1776 this same great
man wrote that there was hardly a newspaper in America but openly
advocated independence. In the spring of 1776 the conservative
Washington declared, "Reconciliation is impracticable. Nothing but
independence will save us." Statesmen began to see that longer delay was
dangerous, that permanent union turned upon independence, and that,
without a government of their own, people would by and by demand back
their old constitution, as the English did after Cromwell's death. "The
country is not only ripe for independence," said Witherspoon, of New
Jersey, debating in Congress, "but is in danger of becoming rotten for
lack of it."

Colony after colony now came rapidly into line. Massachusetts gave
instructions to her delegates in Congress, virtually favoring
independence, in January, 1776. Georgia did the same in February, South
Carolina in March. Express authority to "concur in independency" came
first from North Carolina, April 12th, and the following May 31st
Mecklenburg County in that State explicitly declared its independence of
England. On May 1st Massachusetts began to disuse the king's name in
public instruments. May 4th, Rhode Island renounced allegiance almost in
terms. On May 15th brave old Virginia ordered her delegates in Congress
to bite right into the sour apple and propose independence. Connecticut,
New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania took action in the
same direction during the following month.


Union Flag. The first recognized Continental Standard, raised for the
first time January 2,1776.

The king's brutal attitude had much to do with this sudden change. The
colonists had nursed the belief that the king was misled by his
ministers. A last petition, couched in respectful terms, was drawn up by
Congress in the summer of 1775, and sent to England. Out of respect to
the feelings of good John Dickinson, of Pennsylvania, who still clung to
England, this address was tempered with a submissiveness which offended
many members. On its being read, Dickinson remarked that but one word in
it displeased him, the word "Congress;" to which Colonel Ben Harrison,
of Virginia, retorted that but one word in it pleased him, and that
"Congress" was precisely the word.

The appeal was idle. The king's only answer was a violent proclamation
denouncing the Americans as rebels. It was learned at the same time that
he was preparing to place Indians, negroes, and German mercenaries in
arms against them. The truth was forced upon the most reluctant, that
the root of England's obduracy was in the king personally, and that
further supplications were useless. The surprising success of the
colonial arms, the shedding of blood at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker
Hill--all which, remember, antedated the Declaration--the increase and
the ravages of the royal army and navy in America, were all efficient in
urging the colonists to break utterly and forever from the


The behavior of the Gaspe officers in Narragansett Bay, their illegal
seizures, plundering expeditions on shore, and wanton manners in
stopping and searching boats, illustrate the spirit of the king's
hirelings in America at this time. At last the Rhode Islanders could
endure it no longer. Early on the morning of June 9, 1772, Captain
Abraham Whipple, with a few boatloads of trusty aides, dropped down the
river from Providence to what is now called Gaspe Point, six or seven
miles below the city, where the offending craft had run aground the
previous evening in giving chase to the Newport-Providence packet-boat,
and after a spirited fight mastered the Gaspe's company, put them on
shore, and burned the ship. There would be much propriety in dating the
Revolution from this daring act.


Nor was this the only case of Rhode Island's forwardness in the
struggle. December 5, 1774, her General Assembly ordered Colonel
Nightingale to remove to Providence all the cannon and ammunition of
Fort George, except three guns, and this was done before the end of the
next day. More than forty cannon, with much powder and shot, were thus
husbanded for service to come. News of this was carried to New
Hampshire, and resulted in the capture of Fort William and Mary at New
Castle, December 14, 1774, which some have referred to as the opening
act of the Revolution. This deed was accomplished by fourteen men from
Durham, who entered the fort at night when the officers were at a ball
in Portsmouth. The powder which they captured is said to have done duty
at Bunker Hill.


Most potent of all as a cause of the resolution to separate was Thomas
Paine's pamphlet, "Common Sense," published in January, 1776, and
circulated widely throughout the colonies. Its lucid style, its homely
way of putting things, and its appeals to Scripture must have given it
at any rate a strong hold upon the masses of the people. It was doubly
and trebly triumphant from the fact that it voiced, in clear, bold
terms, a long-growing popular conviction of the propriety of
independence, stronger than men had dared to admit even to themselves.

Thomas Paine.

On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, rose in Congress, and,
in obedience to the command of his State, moved a resolution "that the
united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent
States." John Adams seconded the motion. It led to great debate, which
evinced that New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and South
Carolina were not yet quite ready for so radical a step. Postponement
was therefore had till July 1st, a committee meantime being appointed to
draft a declaration.

On July 2d, after further long debate, participated in by John Adams,
Dickinson, Wilson, and many other of the ablest men in Congress, not
all, even now, favorable to the measure, the famous Declaration of
Independence was adopted by vote of all the colonies but New York, whose
representatives abstained from voting for lack of sufficiently definite
instructions. We celebrate July 4th because on that day the document was
authenticated by the signatures of the President and Secretary of
Congress, and published, Not until August 2d had all the representatives
affixed their names. Ellery stood at the secretary's side as the various
delegates signed, and declares that he saw only dauntless resolution in
every eye. "Now we must hang together," said Franklin, "or we shall hang

The honor of writing the Declaration belongs to Thomas Jefferson, of
Virginia, who was to play so prominent a part in the early political
history of the United States. At this time he was thirty-three years
old. He was by profession a lawyer, of elegant tastes, well read in
literature, deeply versed in political history and philosophy. He was
chosen to draft the instrument chiefly because of the great ability of
other state papers from his pen. It is said that he consulted no books
during the composition, but wrote from the overflowing fulness of his

It is an interesting inquiry how far the language of the document was
determined by utterances of a like kind already put forth by towns and
counties. There had been many of these, and much discussion has occurred
upon the question which of them was first. Perhaps the honor belongs to
the town of Sheffield, Mass., which so early as January 12, 1773,
proclaimed the grievances and the rights of the colonies, among these
the right of self-government. Mendon, in the same State, in the same
year passed resolutions containing three fundamental propositions of the
great Declaration itself: that all men have an equal right to life and
liberty, that this right is inalienable, and that government must
originate in the free consent of the people. It is worthy of note that
the only important change made by Congress in what Jefferson had
prepared was the striking out, in deference to South Carolina and
Georgia, of a clause reflecting on slavery.

Copies of the immortal paper were carried post-haste up and down the
land, and Congress's bold deed was everywhere hailed with enthusiastic
demonstrations of joy. The stand for independence wrought powerfully for
good, both at home and abroad. At home it assisted vacillating minds to
a decision, as well as bound all the colonies more firmly together by
committing them irreconcilably to an aggressive policy. Abroad it tended
to lift the colonies out of the position of rebels and to gain them
recognition among the nations of the earth.

Let us now inquire into the political character of these bodies of
people which this Declaration by their delegates had erected into "free
and independent States."

Five colonies had adopted constitutions, revolutionary of course, before
the decisive manifesto. There was urgent need for such action. The few
remaining fragments of royal governments were powerless and decadent.
Anarchy was threatening everywhere. Some of the royal governors had
fled. In South Carolina the judges refused to act. In other places, as
western Massachusetts, they had been forcibly prevented from acting. In
most of the colonies only small parts of the old assemblies could be
gotten together.

New Hampshire led off with a new constitution in January, 1776. South
Carolina followed in March. By the close of the year nearly all the
colonies had established governments of their own. New York and Georgia
did not formally adopt new constitutions until the next year. In
Massachusetts a popular assembly assumed legislative and executive
powers from July, 1775, till 1780, when a new constitution went into
force. Connecticut and Rhode Island, as we have seen already, continued
to use their royal charters--the former till 1818, the latter till 1842.

Nowhere was the general framework of government greatly changed by
independence. The governors were of course now elected by the people,
and they suffered some diminution of power. Legislatures were composed
of two houses, both elective, no hereditary legislators being
recognized. All the States still had Sunday laws; most of them had
religious tests. In South Carolina only members of a church could vote.
In New Jersey an office-holder must profess belief in the faith of some
Protestant sect. Pennsylvania required members of the legislature to
avow faith in God, a future state, and the inspiration of the
Scriptures. The new Massachusetts constitution provided that laws
against plays, extravagance in dress, diet, etc., should be passed.
Property qualifications continued to limit suffrage. Virginia and
Georgia changed their land laws, abolishing entails and primogeniture.

The sole momentous novelty was that everyone of the new constitutions
proceeded upon the theory of popular sovereignty. The new governments
derived their authority solely and directly from the people. And this
authority, too, was not surrendered to the government, but simply--and
this only in part--intrusted to it as the temporary agent of the
sovereign people, who remained throughout the exclusive source of
political power.

The new instruments of government were necessarily faulty and imperfect.
All have since been amended, and several entirely remodelled. But they
rescued the colonies from impending anarchy and carried them safely
through the throes of the Revolution.




By the spring of 1775 Massachusetts was practically in rebellion. Every
village green was a drill-ground, every church a town arsenal. General
Gage occupied Boston with 3,000 British regulars. The flames were
smouldering; at the slightest puff they would flash out into open war.

On the night of April 18th people along the road from Boston to Concord
were roused from sleep by the cry of flying couriers--"To arms! The
redcoats are coming!" When the British advance reached Lexington at
early dawn, it found sixty or seventy minute-men drawn up on the green.
"Disperse, ye rebels!" shouted the British officer. A volley was fired,
and seven Americans fell dead. The king's troops, with a shout, pushed
on to Concord. Most of the military stores, however, which they had come
to destroy had been removed. A British detachment advanced to Concord
Bridge, and in the skirmish here the Americans returned the British

Map of the United Colonies at the Beginning of the Revolution.

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
  Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
  And fired the shot heard round the world."

[Footnote: From R. W. Emerson's Concord Hymn, sung at the completion of
the Battle Monument near Concord North Bridge, April 19, 1836.]

Bunker Hill and Breed's Hill.
A Profile View of the Heights of Charlestown.

The whole country was by this time swarming with minute-men. The crack
of the rifle was heard from behind every wall and fence and tree along
the line of march. The redcoats kept falling one by one at the hands of
an invisible foe. The march became a retreat, the retreat almost a rout.
At sunset the panting troops found shelter in Boston. Out of 1,800
nearly 300 were killed, wounded, or missing. The American loss was about
ninety. The war of the rebellion had begun.

All that day and the next night the tramp of minute-men marching to
Boston was heard throughout New England, and by April 20th Gage was
cooped up in the city by an American army. May 25th, he received large
re-enforcements from England.

On the night of June 16th a thousand men armed with pick and spade stole
out of the American camp. At dawn the startled British found that a
redoubt had sprung up in the night on Breed's Hill (henceforward Bunker
Hill) in Charlestown. Boston was endangered, and the rebels must be
dislodged. About half-past two 2,500 British regulars marched silently
and in perfect order up the hill, expecting to drive out the "rustics"
at the first charge. Colonel Prescott, the commanding American officer,
waited till the regulars were within ten rods. "Fire!" A sheet of flame
burst from the redoubt. The front ranks of the British melted away, and
His Majesty's invincibles retreated in confusion to the foot of the
hill. Again they advance. Again that terrible fire. Again they waver and
fall back. Once more the plucky fellows form for the charge, this time
with bayonets alone. When they are within twenty yards, the muskets
behind the earthworks send forth one deadly discharge, and then are
silent. The ammunition is exhausted. The British swarm into the redoubt.
The Continentals reluctantly retire, Prescott among the last, his coat
rent by bayonets. Joseph Warren, of Boston, the idol of Massachusetts,
was shot while leaving the redoubt. The British killed and wounded
amounted to 1,054--157 of them being officers; the American loss was
nearly 500. The battle put an end to further offensive movements by
Gage. It was a virtual victory for the untrained farmer troops, and all
America took courage.

Plan of Bunker Hill.

A. Boston Battery.  B. Charlestown.
C. British troops attacking.  D. Provincial lines.
Bunker Hill Battle.
From a Contemporary Print.

Two days before, Congress had chosen George Washington
commander-in-chief, and on July 2d he arrived at Cambridge. Washington
was forty-three years old. Over six feet in height, and
well-proportioned, he combined great dignity with ease. His early life
as surveyor in a wild country had developed in him marvellous powers of
endurance. His experience in the French and Indian War had given him
considerable military knowledge. But his best title to the high honor
now thrust upon him lay in his wonderful self-control, sound judgment,
lofty patriotism, and sublime courage, which were to carry him, calm and
unflinching, through perplexities and discouragements that would have
overwhelmed a smaller or a meaner man.

Washington fought England with his hands tied. The Continental
government was the worst possible for carrying on war. There was no
executive. The action of legislative committees was slow and
vacillating, and at best Congress could not enforce obedience on the
part of a colony. Congress, too, afraid of a standing army, would
authorize only short enlistments, so that Washington had frequently to
discharge one army and form another in the face of the enemy. His troops
were ill-disciplined, and scantily supplied with clothing, tents,
weapons, and ammunition. Skilled officers were few, and these rarely
free from local and personal jealousies, impairing their efficiency.


Washington found that the army around Boston consisted of about 14,500
men fit for duty. He estimated the British forces at 11,000. All the
fall and winter he was obliged to lie inactive for want of powder.
Meantime he distressed the British as much as possible by a close siege.
In the spring, having got more powder, he fortified Dorchester Heights.
The city was now untenable, and on March 17, 1776, all the British
troops, under command of Howe who had succeeded Gage, sailed out of
Boston harbor, never again to set foot on Massachusetts soil.

Joseph Warren.

June 28th, a British fleet of ten vessels opened fire on Fort Moultrie,
in Charleston harbor, S. C. The fort, commanded by Colonel Moultrie,
returned the fire with remarkable accuracy, and after an engagement of
twelve hours the fleet withdrew, badly crippled. This victory gave
security to South Carolina and Georgia for three years.

The discomfited fleet sailed for New York, where the British forces were
concentrating. The plan was to seize the Middle States, and thus keep
North and South from helping one another. August 1st, 2,500 English
troops and 8,000 Hessians arrived. The effective British force was now
about 25,000. Washington was holding New York City with about 10,000 men
fit for duty.

Driven from Long Island by the battle of August 27th, and forced to
abandon New York September 15th, Washington retreated up the Hudson, and
took up a strong position at White Plains. Here the British, attacking,
were defeated in a well-fought engagement; but as they were strongly
re-enforced on October 30th, Washington fell back to Newcastle. Early in
November, guessing that they intended to invade New Jersey and advance
on Philadelphia, he threw his main force across the Hudson.

General Howe.

The fortunes of the American army were now at the lowest ebb, so that
had Howe been an efficient general it must have been either captured or
entirely destroyed. Through the treason of Adjutant Demont, who had
deserted to Lord Percy with complete information of their weakness,
Forts Washington and Lee were captured, November 16th and 20th, with the
loss of 150 killed and wounded, and 2,634 prisoners, besides valuable
stores, small arms, and forty-three pieces of artillery. Manhattan
Island was lost. General Charles Lee, with a considerable portion of the
army, persistently refused to cross the Hudson. Washington, with the
troops remaining, was forced to retreat slowly across New Jersey, the
British army, under Cornwallis, at his very heels, often within
cannon-shot. The New Jersey people were lukewarm, and many accepted
Cornwallis's offers of amnesty. Congress, fearing that Philadelphia
would be taken, adjourned to Baltimore. December 8th, Washington crossed
the Delaware with less than 3,000 men. The British encamped on the
opposite bank of the river. The American army was safe for the present,
having secured all the boats and burned all the bridges within seventy

Map of Manhattan Island in 1776, showing the American Defences, etc.

General Charles Lee.
Although intended for a caricature, this is considered an excellent likeness.

Washington was soon re-enforced, and now had between five and six
thousand troops. He determined to strike a bold blow that would
electrify the drooping spirits of the army and the country. At Trenton
lay a body of 1,200 Hessians. Christmas night Washington crossed the
Delaware with 2,400 picked men. The current was swift, and the river
full of floating ice; but the boats were handled by Massachusetts
fishermen, and the passage was safely made. Then began the nine-mile
march to Trenton, in a blinding storm of sleet and hail. The soldiers,
many of whom were almost barefoot, stumbled on over the slippery road,
shielding their muskets from the storm as best they could. Trenton was
reached at eight o'clock on the morning of the 26th. An attack was made
by two columns simultaneously. The surprise was complete, and after a
half hour's struggle the Hessians surrendered. Nearly 1,000 prisoners
were taken, besides 1,200 small arms and six guns. Washington safely
retreated across the Delaware.


Cornwallis, with 7,000 men, hurried from Princeton to attack the
American army. But Washington, on the night of January 2, 1777, leaving
his camp-fires burning, slipped around the British army, routed the
regiments left at Princeton, and pushing on northward went into winter
quarters at Morristown.

The next campaign opened late. It was the last of August when Howe, with
17,000 men, sailed from New York into Chesapeake Bay, and advanced
toward Philadelphia. Washington flung himself in his path at Brandywine,
September 11th, but was beaten back with heavy loss. September 26th the
British army marched into Philadelphia, whence Congress had fled.
October 4th, Washington attacked the British camp at Germantown. Victory
was almost his when two of the attacking parties, mistaking each other,
in the fog, for British, threw the movement into confusion, and
Washington had to fall back, with a loss of 1,000 men.

In December the American commander led his ragged army into winter
quarters at Valley Forge, twenty-one miles from Philadelphia. It was a
period of deep gloom. The war had been waged now for more than two
years, and less than nothing seemed to have been accomplished. Distrust
of Washington's ability sprang up in some minds. "Heaven grant us one
great soul!" exclaimed John Adams after Brandywine. Certain officers,
envious of Washington, began to intrigue for his place.

Meanwhile the army was shivering in its log huts at Valley Forge. Nearly
three thousand were barefoot. Many had to sit by the fires all night to
keep from freezing. One day there was a dinner of officers to which none
were admitted who had whole trousers. For days together there was no
bread in camp. The death-rate increased thirty-three per cent from week
to week.

Just now, however, amid this terrible Winter at Valley Forge, Baron
Steuben, a  trained German soldier, who had been a pupil of Frederick
the Great, joined our army. Washington made him inspector-general, and
his rigorous daily drill vastly improved the discipline and the spirits
of the American troops. When they left camp in the spring, spite of the
hardships past, they formed a military force on which Washington could
reckon with certainty for efficient work.

Baron von Steuben.


The British, after a gay winter in Philadelphia, startled by the news
that a French fleet was on its way to America, marched for New York,
June 18,1778. The American army overtook them at Monmouth on the 28th;
General Charles Lee--a traitor as we now know, and as Washington then
suspected, forced into high place by influence in Congress--General Lee
led the party intended to attack, but he delayed so long that the
British attacked him instead.

The Americans were retreating through a narrow defile when Washington
came upon the field, and his Herculean efforts, brilliantly seconded by
Wayne, stayed the rout. A stout stand was made, and the British were
held at bay till evening, when they retired and continued their march to
New York. Washington followed and took up his station at White Plains.




At the outbreak of hostilities the thoughts of the colonists naturally
turned to the Canadian border, the old battleground of the French and
Indian War. Then and now a hostility was felt for Canada which had not
slumbered since the burning of Schenectady in 1690.

May 10, 1775, Ethan Allen, at the head of a party of "Green Mountain
Boys," surprised Fort Ticonderoga. Crown Point was taken two days later.
Two hundred and twenty cannon, besides other much-needed military
stores, fell into the hands of the Americans. Some of these heavy guns,
hauled over the Green Mountains on oxsleds the next winter, were planted
by Washington on Dorchester Heights.

In November, 1775, St. Johns and Montreal were captured by a small force
under General Montgomery. The Americans now seemed in a fair way to get
control of all Canada, which contained only 700 regular troops. It was
even hoped that Canada would make common cause with the colonies. Late
in the fall Benedict Arnold led 1,000 men up the Kennebec River and
through the wilderness--a terrible journey--to Quebec. Here he was
joined by Montgomery. On the night of December 30th, which was dark and
stormy, Montgomery and Arnold led their joint forces, numbering some
3,000, against the city. Arnold was to attack the lower town, while
Montgomery sought to gain the citadel. Montgomery had hardly passed the
first line of barricades when he was shot dead, and his troops retreated
in confusion. Arnold, too, was early wounded. Morgan, with 500 of his
famous riflemen, forced an entrance into the lower town. But they were
not re-enforced, and after a desperate street fight were taken


A dreary and useless blockade was maintained for several months; until
in May the garrison sallied forth and routed the besiegers. The British
were successful in several small engagements during the summer of 1776;
and the Americans finally had to fall back to Crown Point and

Richard Montgomery.


In June of the next year a splendid expedition set sail from St. Johns
and swept proudly up Lake Champlain. Eight thousand British and Hessian
troops, under strict discipline and ably officered, forty cannon of the
best make, a horde of merciless Indians--with these forces General
Burgoyne, the commander of the expedition, expected to make an easy
conquest of upper New York, form a junction with Clinton at Albany, and,
by thus isolating New England from the Middle and Southern States, break
the back of the rebellion.

Ticonderoga was the first point of attack. Sugar Loaf Mountain, which
rose six hundred feet above the lake, had been neglected as too
difficult of access. Burgoyne's skilful engineers easily fortified this
on the night of July 4th, and Fort Ticonderoga became untenable. General
St. Clair, with his garrison of 3,000, at once evacuated it, and fled
south under cover of the night. He was pursued, and his rear guard of
1,200 men was shattered. The rest of his force reached Fort Edward.

The Death of Montgomery at Quebec.

The loss of Ticonderoga spread alarm throughout the North. General
Schuyler, the head of the Northern department, appealed to Washington
for re-enforcements, and fell back from Fort Edward to the junction of
the Mohawk and Hudson.

Meanwhile Burgoyne was making a toilsome march toward Fort Edward.
Schuyler had destroyed the bridges and obstructed the roads, so that the
invading army was twenty-four days in going twenty-six miles. Up to this
point Burgoyne's advance had been little less than a triumphal march;
difficulties now began to surround him like a net.

Burgoyne had arranged for a branch expedition of 700 troops and 1,000
Indians under St. Leger, to sail up Lake Ontario, sweep across western
New York, and join the main body at Albany. August 3d, this expedition
reached Fort Schuyler, and besieged it. A party of 800 militia, led by
General Herkimer, a veteran German soldier, while marching to relieve
the fort, was surprised by an Indian ambush. The bloody battle of
Oriskany followed. St. Leger's further advance was checked, and soon
after, alarmed by exaggerated reports of a second relief expedition
under Arnold, he hurried back to Canada.

At Bennington, twenty-five miles east of Burgoyne's line of march, the
Americans had a depot of stores and horses. Burgoyne, who was running
short of provisions, sent a body of 500 troops, under Baume, to capture
these stores, and overawe the inhabitants by a raid through the
Connecticut valley. About 2,000 militia hastened to the defence of
Bennington. General Stark, who had fought gallantly at Bunker Hill and
Trenton, took command. August 16th, Baume was attacked on three sides at
once, Stark himself leading the charge against the enemy's front. Again
and again his men dashed up the hill where the British lay behind
breastworks. After a fight of two hours Baume surrendered, overpowered
by superior numbers. Re-enforcements which came up a little later were
driven back with considerable loss. The Americans took 700 prisoners and
1,000 stands of arms.

General Herkimer at the Battle of Oriskany.

Burgoyne's situation was becoming dangerous. The failure of St. Leger
and the heavy loss at Bennington seriously disarranged his plans. The
troops detached to defend the posts in his rear had reduced his force to
about 6,000. He was greatly hampered by lack of provisions. Meanwhile
the American army had increased to 9,000. Schuyler had been supplanted
by Gates, who on September 12th advanced to a strong position on Bemis
Heights in the town of Stillwater. The right wing of the army rested on
the Hudson, the left on ridges and wood. In front was a ravine. On the
19th Burgoyne advanced to the attack in three columns. That led by
General Fraser, which tried to turn the American left, was the first to
engage. Arnold's wing, including Morgan's riflemen, met Fraser's
skirmishers a mile from the American lines. They were soon forced to
fall back; Burgoyne's central column came up, and the fight became
general. The battleground was covered by thick woods, with occasional
clearings, and the troops fought at close range. Four hours the battle
raged hotly. The British artillery was taken and retaken again and
again. Thirty-six of the forty-eight British gunners were either killed
or wounded. At sunset the Americans withdrew to their fortified lines,
leaving Burgoyne in possession of the field. It was a drawn battle, but
virtually a victory for the Americans. The British lost about 600, the
Americans half as many.

General John Stark.

Burgoyne's situation was now critical in the extreme. In the heart of
the enemy's country, his forces melting away while his opponents were
increasing, nearly out of provisions and his connections with his base
of supplies threatened by a party assailing Ticonderoga, Burgoyne's only
hope was that Clinton would force a passage up the Hudson. But the
latter, after capturing Forts Clinton and Montgomery early in October,
fell back to the lower Hudson and left Burgoyne to his fate.

October 7th, Burgoyne advanced a picked body of 1,500 men to reconnoitre
the American lines. Morgan's riflemen were sent out to "begin the game."
The fighting soon became even hotter than in the previous battle. In an
hour the whole British line was retreating toward the camp. At this
point Arnold, whom, because of his preference for Schuyler, Gates had
deprived of his command, filled with the fury of battle, dashed upon the
field and assumed his old command. The soldiers greeted him with cheers,
and he led them on in one impetuous charge after another. The enemy
everywhere gave way in confusion, and at dusk the Germans were even
driven from their entrenched camp. The British loss was fully 600.

General Horatio Gates.

The next day Burgoyne retreated to Saratoga, followed by Gates. The fine
army, which had set out with such high hopes only four months before,
was now almost a wreck. Eight hundred were in the hospital. On the 12th
the army had but five days' rations. Burgoyne could neither advance nor
retreat, and on the 17th he surrendered. The army were allowed free
passage to England on condition that they would not re-engage in the
war. The Americans got 35 superb cannon and 4,000 muskets. The Sunday
after the surrender, Timothy Dwight, afterward President of Yale
College, preached to Gates's soldiers from Joel ii. 20, "I will remove
far off from you the northern army."

Gates deserved little credit for the defeat of Burgoyne. Put forward by
New England influence against Schuyler, the favorite of New York, he but
reaped the results of the labors of Herkimer at Oriskany, of Stark at
Bennington, and of Schuyler in obstructing Burgoyne's advance and in
raising a sufficient army. Even in the two battles of Stillwater Gates
did next to nothing, not even appearing on the field. Arnold and Morgan
were the soul of the army on both days. Arnold's gallant conduct was at
once rewarded by a major-generalship. Schuyler, underrated and even
maligned in his day, had to wait for the approval of posterity, which he
has now fully obtained.

The surrender of Burgoyne was the most important event of the war up to
that time. It was of immense service at home, raising the country out of
the despondency which followed upon Brandywine and Germantown. Abroad it
disheartened England, and decided France to acknowledge the independence
of America and to send military aid. From the end of this year, 1777,
victory over England was a practical certainty.




After the summer of 1778 little of military importance occurred at the
North. July and November of that year were marked by bloody Indian
massacres at Wyoming, Pa., and Cherry Valley, N. Y., the worst in all
that border warfare which was incessant from the beginning to the end of
the Revolution. In August an unsuccessful attempt to regain Newport was
made by General Sullivan, co-operating with a French fleet under
D'Estaing. In the spring and summer of 1779, Clinton, who lay at New
York with a considerable army, closely watched by Washington, sent out
to Connecticut and the coasts of Virginia a number of plundering
expeditions which did much damage. "Mad Anthony Wayne" led a brilliant
attack against Stony Point on the Hudson, captured the British garrison,
and destroyed the fortifications. This year was also marked by a great
naval victory. Paul Jones lashed his vessel, the Bonhomme Richard, to
the British Serapis, off the northeast coast of England, and after a
desperate fight of three hours forced the Serapis to surrender.

But the brunt of the war now fell on the South, where the British,
unsuccessful in the Northern and Middle States, hoped for an easy
conquest. The capture of Savannah in December, 1778, and of Augusta the
next month, laid Georgia prostrate. The royal government was re-instated
by Prevost, the British general. Our General Lincoln, who had been
placed in command of the Southern army, assisted by D'Estaing with his
fleet, besieged Savannah, but on October 9, 1779, was repulsed with
heavy loss.


In the spring of 1780 Clinton arrived from New York with a fleet and
troops. Charleston, S. C, was besieged by land and sea. Lincoln was
compelled to surrender with his whole army. Beaufort, Ninety-Six, and
Camden capitulated in rapid succession. Marauding expeditions overran
the State. President Andrew Jackson carried to his grave scars of hurts,
one on his head, another on his hand, given him by Tarleton's men when
he was a boy at Waxhaw. The patriots lay helpless. The loyalists
organized as militia and joined the British. Clinton, elated by success,
hoped to force the entire population into allegiance to the king. The
estates of patriots were sequestered. Any Carolinian found in arms
against the king might be, and multitudes were, hung for treason.
Clinton even issued a proclamation requiring all inhabitants to take
active part on the royalist side. Sumter, Marion, and other leaders,
gathering around them little companies of bold men, carried on a
guerilla warfare which proved very annoying to the British. They would
sally forth from their hiding-places in the swamps, surprise some
British outpost or cut off  some detachment, and retreat with their
booty and prisoners before pursuit could be made.

John Paul Jones's Medal.
"Joanni Pavlo Jones"   "Classis Praefecto."  "Comitia American"

John Paul Jones's Medal (Reverse).
"Dupre E"

But the British army in South Carolina and Georgia was 7,000 strong.
Help must come from without. And help was coming. Washington detached
from his scanty army 2,000 Maryland troops and the Delaware
regiment--all veterans--and sent them south under De Kalb, a brave
officer of German blood, who had seen long service in France. Virginia,
though herself exposed, nobly contributed arms and men. Gates, the
laurels of Saratoga still fresh upon his brow, was, against Washington's
judgment, appointed by Congress to succeed Lincoln.

Cornwallis, whom the return of Clinton to New York had left in command,
lay at Camden, S. C. Gates, as if he had but to look the Briton in the
eye to beat him, pompously assumed the offensive. On August 15th he made
a night march to secure a more favorable position near Camden.
Cornwallis happened to have chosen  the same night for an attack upon
Gates. The two armies unexpectedly met in the woods, nine miles from
Camden, early in the morning of the 16th. Gates's force, increased by
North Carolina militia, was between 3,000 and 4,000. Cornwallis had
about 2,000. The American position was strong, a swamp protecting both
flanks, but at the first bayonet charge of the British veterans the raw
militia threw away their guns and "ran like a torrent." The Maryland and
Delaware Continentals stood their ground bravely, but were finally
obliged to retreat. De Kalb fell, with eleven wounds.

General Sullivan.

This heroic foreigner had been sent hither by Choiseul before the
Revolution to report to the French minister on American affairs, and at
the outbreak of war had at great cost cast in his lot with our fathers.
Sent south to aid Lincoln, he arrived only in time to be utilized by
Gates. De Kalb was the hero of Camden. Wounded and his horse shot from
under him, on foot he led his stanch division in a charge which drove
Rawdon's men and took fifty prisoners. Believing his side victorious he
would not yield, though literally ridden down by Cornwallis' dragoons,
till his wounds exhausted him. Two-fifths of his noble division fell
with him.

The whole army was pursued for miles  and completely scattered. Arms,
knapsacks, broken wagons, dead horses strewed the line of retreat. The
Americans lost 900 killed and as many more prisoners. The British loss
was less than 500. Gates, who had been literally borne off the field by
the panic-stricken militia, rode in all haste two hundred miles north to
Hillsborough, N. C, where he tried to organize a new army.

General Lincoln.

The gloom created at the North by this defeat was deepened by the
startling news that Benedict Arnold, the hero of Saratoga, had turned
traitor. Smarting under a reprimand from Washington for misconduct,
Arnold agreed with Clinton to surrender West Point. The plot was
discovered by the capture of Clinton's agent, Major Andre, who was hung
as a spy. Arnold escaped to the British lines.

There was now no organized American force in the Carolinas, and
Cornwallis began a triumphant march northward. The brave mountaineers of
North Carolina and Virginia rose in arms. October 7th, 1,000 riflemen
fell upon a detachment of 1,100 British, strongly posted on King's
Mountain, N. C, and after a sharp struggle killed and wounded about 400,
and took the rest prisoners. In this battle fell one of the Tory
ancestors of the since distinguished American De Peyster family.

The King's Mountain victory filled the patriots with new hope and zeal,
and kept the loyalists from rising to support the British. Cornwallis
marched south again.

General Marion in Camp.

Gates was now removed and General Nathaniel Greene placed in charge of
the Southern department. Greene was one of the most splendid figures in
the Revolution. Son of a Rhode Island Quaker, bred a blacksmith,
ill-educated save-by private study, which in mathematics, history, and
law he had carried far, he was in 1770 elected to the legislature of his
colony. Zeal to fight England for colonial liberty lost him his place in
the Friends' Society. Heading Rhode Island's contingent to join
Washington before Boston at the first shock of Revolutionary arms, he
was soon made brigadier, the initial step in his rapid promotion.
Showing himself an accomplished fighter at Trenton, Princeton,
Germantown, Monmouth, and the battle of Rhode Island, and a first-rate
organizer as quartermaster-general of the army, he had long been
Washington's right-hand man; and his superior now sent him south with
high hopes and ringing words of recommendation to the army and people

Marquis de Lafayette.


Greene's plan of campaign was the reverse of Gates's. He meant to harass
and hinder the enemy at every step, avoiding pitched battles. January
17, 1781, a portion of his army, about 1,000 strong, under the famous
General Daniel Morgan, of Virginia, another hero of Saratoga, was
attacked at Cowpens, S. C., by an equal number of British under the
dashing Tarleton. The British, riddled by a terrible cross-fire from
Morgan's unerring riflemen, followed up by a bayonet charge, fled, and
were for twenty-four miles pursued by cavalry. The American loss was
trifling. Tarleton lost 300 in killed and wounded, and 500 prisoners,
besides 100 horses, 35 wagons, and 800 muskets.

Benedict Arnold.

Cornwallis began a second march northward. Greene's force was too weak
to risk a battle. His soldiers were poorly clad, and most of them were
without tents or shoes. He therefore skillfully retreated across North
Carolina, chased by Cornwallis. Twice the rivers, rising suddenly after
Greene had crossed, checked his pursuers. But on March 15th, re-enforced
to about 4,000, the Quaker general offered battle to Cornwallis at
Guilford Court-House, N. C. He drew up his forces on a wooded hill in
three lines one behind the other. The first line, consisting of raw
North Carolina militia, fled before the British bayonet charge, hardly
firing a shot. The Virginia brigade constituting the second line made a
brave resistance, but was soon driven back. On swept the British
columns, flushed with victory, against the third line. Here Greek met
Greek. The Continentals stood their ground like the veterans they were.
After a long and bloody fight the British were driven back. The
fugitives, however, presently rallied under cover of theartillery, when
Greene, fearing to risk more, withdrew from the field. The British lost
500; the Americans, 400, besides a large part of the militia, who
dispersed to their homes. Cornwallis, with his "victorious but ruined
army," retreated to the southern part of the State. The last of April he
forsook Carolina, and marched into Virginia with 1,400 men.

Arnold's Escape.

Greene, his force reduced to 1,800, carried the war into South Carolina.
Defeated at Hobkirk's Hill, near Camden, and compelled by the approach
of General Rawdon to raise the siege of Ninety-Six, he retreated north.
Meantime Marion and Lee had brought about the evacuation of Camden and
Augusta. Rawdon soon evacuated Ninety-Six, and moved toward the coast,
followed by Greene.

A ceaseless guerilla warfare was kept up, attended with many
barbarities. Slave-stealing was a favorite pursuit on both sides. It is
noteworthy that the followers of Sumter, fighting in the cause of
freedom, were paid largely in slaves. The whole campaign was marked by
severities unknown at the North. The British shot as deserters all who,
having once accepted royal protection, were taken in arms against the
king. In a few cases Americans dealt similarly with Americans fighting
for the British, but in general their procedure was infinitely the more

General Nathaniel Greene.

The battle of Eutaw Springs practically ended the war in the South. The
British were victorious, but all the advantages of the battle accrued to
the Americans. The British loss was nearly 1,000; the American, 600. In
ten months Greene had driven the British from all Georgia and the
Carolinas except Wilmington, Charleston, and Savannah.

Destiny decreed that Washington should strike the last blow for his
country's freedom on the soil of his own State. Cornwallis found himself
in Virginia, the last of May, at the head of 7,000 troops. He ravaged
the State, destroying $10,000,000 worth of property. Lafayette, pitted
against him with 3,000 men, could do little. In August Cornwallis
withdrew into Yorktown, and began fortifications. Lafayette's quick eye
saw that the British general had caged himself. Posting his army so as
to prevent Cornwallis's escape, he advised Washington to hasten with his
army to Virginia. Meanwhile a French fleet blocked up the mouth of
Chesapeake Bay and of James River and York River, cutting off
Cornwallis's escape by water. The last of September Washington's army,
accompanied by the French troops under Rochambeau, appeared before
Yorktown. Clinton, deceived by Washington into the belief that New York
was to be attacked, was still holding that city with 18,000 men. The
American army, 16,000 strong--7,000 French--began a regular siege.
Cornwallis was doomed.

Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

General Daniel Morgan.

Two advanced redoubts of the British works were soon carried by a
brilliant assault in which the French and the American troops won equal
honors. On the 19th Cornwallis surrendered. The captive army, numbering
7,247, marched with cased colors between two long lines of American and
French troops, and laid down their arms.

The news of Cornwallis's surrender flew like wild-fire over the country.
Everywhere the victory was hailed as virtually ending the war. Bonfires
and booming cannon told of the joy of the people. Congress assembled,
and marching to church in a body, not as a mere form, we may well
believe, gave thanks to the God of battles, so propitious at last.




The peace party and spirit in England increased month by month.
Burgoyne's surrender had dissipated the hope of speedily suppressing the
rebellion. And as the war dragged on and Englishmen by bitter experience
came to realize the bravery, endurance, and national feeling of the
Americans, the conviction spread that three millions of such people,
separated from the mother-country by three thousand miles of boisterous
ocean, could never be conquered by force. Discouragement arose, too,
from the ill conduct of the war. There was no broad plan or consistency
in management. Generals did not agree or co-operate, and were changed
too often. Clinton and Cornwallis hated each other. Burgoyne superseded
Carleton, a better man. But for Lord Germain's "criminal negligence" in
waiting to go upon a visit before sending the proper orders, Clinton
might have met and saved Burgoyne.

There were enormous and needless expenses. By 1779 England's national
debt had increased 63,000,000 pounds; by 1782 it had doubled. Rents were
declining. The price of land had fallen one-third. Hence the war became
unpopular with the landed aristocracy. British manufacturers suffered by
the narrowing of their foreign markets. American privateers, prowling in
all seas, had captured hundreds of British merchant-men. English
sentiment, too, revolted at certain features of the war. Ravaging and
the use of mercenaries and Indians were felt to be barbarous. Time made
clearer the initial error of the government in invoking war over the
doubtful right of taxing America. An increasing number of lawyers took
the American view. Practical men figured out that each year of
hostilities cost more than the proposed tax would have yielded in a

In February, 1778, Parliament almost unanimously adopted proposals to
restore the state of things which existed in America before the war, at
the same time declaring its intention not to exercise its right of
taxing the colonies. Washington spoke for America when he said, "Nothing
but independence will now do." The proposals were rejected by Congress
and by the States separately.

England's difficulties were greatly increased by the help extended to
America from abroad. France, eager for revenge on England, early in the
war lent secret aid by money and military supplies. Later, emboldened by
the defeat of Burgoyne, the French Government recognized the United
States as an independent nation. By a treaty, offensive and defensive,
the two nations bound themselves to fight together for that
independence, neither to conclude a separate peace.

The benefit from this treaty was moral and financial rather than
martial. At Yorktown, to be sure, the French forces rendered invaluable
aid. Without De Grasse's French fleet at the mouths of the York and
James rivers, the British might have relieved Cornwallis by sea. But
Congress needed money more than foreign soldiers, and without France's
liberal loans it is difficult to see how the government could have
struggled through.

Spain, too, joined the alliance of France and the United States and
declared war against England, though from no love for the young
republic. This action hastened the growth of public opinion in England
against the continuance of the American war. In the House of Commons,
Lord Cavendish made a motion for ordering home the troops. Lord North,
prime minister, threw out hints that it was useless to continue the war.
But George III., summoning his ministers, declared his unchanging
resolution never to yield to the rebels, and continued prodding the
wavering North to stumble on in his stupid course.

It was struggling against fate. The next year saw Holland at war with
England, while Catherine, Empress of Russia, was actively organizing the
Armed Neutrality, by which all the other states of Europe leagued
together to resist England's practice of stopping vessels on the high
seas and searching them for contraband goods.

Lord Cornwallis.

England was now involved in four wars, without money to carry them on.
North's majorities in Parliament grew steadily smaller. No doubt much of
the opposition was simply factious and partisan, but it had, after all,
solid basis in principle. England was fighting her own
policy--economically, for she was destined to free trade, and
politically, inasmuch as the freedom which our fathers sought was
nothing but English freedom.

The surrender of Cornwallis tipped the scale. Lord North, when he heard
the news, paced the room in agony, exclaiming again and again, "O God,
it is all over!" The House of Commons, without even a division, resolved
to "consider as enemies to His Majesty and the country" all who should
advise a further prosecution of the war. North resigned, and Shelburne,
Secretary of State in the new ministry, hastened to open peace
negotiations with Franklin at Paris.

Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin, now venerable with years, had been doing at the court
of Versailles a work hardly less important than that of Washington on
the battlefields of America. By the simple grace and dignity of his
manners, by his large good sense and freedom of thought, by his fame as
a scientific discoverer, above all by his consummate tact in the
management of men, the whilom printer, king's postmaster-general for
America, discoverer, London colonial agent, delegate in the Continental
Congress, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, had completely
captivated elegant, free-thinking France. Learned and common folk, the
sober and the frivolous alike, swore by Franklin. Snuff-boxes,
furniture, dishes, even stoves, were gotten up a la Franklin. The old
man's portrait was in every house. That the French Government, in spite
of a monarch who was half afraid of the rising nation beyond sea, had
given America her hearty support, was in no small measure due to the
influence of Franklin. And his skill in diplomacy was of the greatest
value in the negotiations now pending.

These were necessarily long and tedious, but Jay, Franklin's colleague,
made them needlessly so by his finical refusal to treat till England had
acknowledged our independence by a separate act. This, indeed,
jeopardized peace itself, since Shelburne's days of ministerial power
were closing, and his successor was sure to be less our friend. Jay at
last receded, a compromise being arrived at by which the treaty was to
open with a virtual recognition of independence in acknowledging Adams,
Franklin, and Jay as "plenipotentiaries," that is, agents of a sovereign
power. Boundaries, fishery rights, and the treatment of loyalists and
their property were the chief bones of contention.

As the negotiations wore on it became apparent that Spain and France,
now that their vengeance was sated against England by our independence,
were more unfriendly to our territorial enlargement than England itself.
There still exists a map on which Spain's minister had indicated what he
wished to make our western bound. The line follows nearly the meridian
of Pittsburgh. This attitude of those powers excused our
plenipotentiaries, though bound by our treaty with France not to
conclude peace apart from her, for making the preliminary arrangements
with England privately. At last, on November 30, 1782, Franklin, Jay,
and John Adams set their signatures to preliminary articles, which were
incorporated in a treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United
States, France, and Spain, signed at Paris on September 3, 1783. David
Hartley signed for England. Our Congress ratified on February 14, 1784.

The treaty recognized the independence of the United States. It
established as boundaries nearly the present Canadian line on the north,
the Mississippi on the west, and Florida, which now returned to Spain
and extended to the Mississippi, on the south. Despite the wishes of
Spain, the free navigation of the Mississippi, from source to mouth, was
guaranteed to the United States and Great Britain. Fishery rights
received special attention. American fishermen were granted the
privilege of fishing, as before the war, on the banks of Newfoundland,
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and in all other places in the sea where
the inhabitants of both countries had been accustomed to fish. Liberty
was also granted to take fish on such parts of the coast of Newfoundland
as British fishermen should use, and on the coasts, bays, and creeks of
all other British dominions in America. American fishermen could dry and
cure fish on the unsettled parts of Nova Scotia, Labrador, and the
Magdalen Islands. America agreed, for the protection of British
creditors, that debts contracted before the war should be held valid,
and should be payable in sterling money. It was also stipulated that
Congress should earnestly recommend to the several States the
restitution of all confiscated property belonging to loyalists.

"Done at Paris, this third Day of September,
In the Year of our Lord one thousand and seven hundred & eighty three.--
D. Hartley, John Adams, B. Franklin, John Jay"
Facsimile of Signatures to Treaty of Peace


Peace came like a heavenly benediction to the country and the army,
exhausted by so long and so fierce a struggle. No general engagement
took place after the siege of Yorktown; but the armies kept close watch
upon each other, and minor skirmishes were frequent. Washington's 10,000
men were encamped near the Hudson, to see that Clinton's forces in New
York did no harm. In the South, Greene's valiant band, aided by Wayne
and his rangers, without regular food or pay, kept the British cooped up
in Charleston and Augusta.

Congress in due time declared cessation of hostilities, and on April 19,
1783, just eight years from the battle of Lexington, Washington read the
declaration at the headquarters of his army. The British had evacuated
Charleston the previous December. In July, Savannah saw the last of the
redcoats file out, and the British troops were collected at New York. On
November 25th, Sir Guy Carleton, who had superseded Clinton, embarked
with his entire army, besides a throng of refugees, in boats for Long
Island and Staten Island, where they soon took ship for England. "The
imperial standard of Great Britain fell at the fort over which it had
floated for a hundred and twenty years, and in its place the Stars and
Stripes of American Independence flashed in the sun. Fleet and army,
royal flag and scarlet uniform, coronet and ribbon, every sign and
symbol of foreign authority, which from Concord to Saratoga and from
Saratoga to Yorktown had sought to subdue the colonies, vanished from
these shores. Colonial and provincial America had ended, national
America had begun."

The American troops took possession of New York amid the huzzas of the
people and the roar of cannon. On November 25th, Washington with his
suite, surrounded by grateful and admiring throngs, made a formal entry
into the city whence he had been compelled to flee seven years before.

The time had now come when the national hero might lay down the great
burden which he had borne with herculean strength and courage through so
many years of distress and gloom. On December 4th he joined his
principal officers at the popular Fraunces's Tavern, near the Battery,
to bid them farewell. Tears filled every eye. Even Washington could not
master his feelings, as one after another the heroes who had been with
him upon the tented field and in so many moments of dreadful strife drew
near to press his hand. They followed him through ranks of parading
infantry to the Whitehall ferry, where he boarded his barge, and waving
his hat in a last, voiceless farewell, crossed to the Jersey shore.

Arrived at Annapolis after a journey which had been one long ovation,
the saviour of his country appeared before Congress, December 23d, to
resign the commission which he had so grandly fulfilled. His address was
in noble key, but abbreviated by choking emotion. The President of
Congress having replied in fitting words, Washington withdrew, and
continued his journey to the long-missed peace and seclusion of his
Mount Vernon home.




It would be foolish to say that the Revolutionary soldiers never
quailed. Militia too often gave way before the steady bayonet charge of
British regulars, at times fleeing panic-stricken. Troops whose term of
service was out would go home at critical moments. Hardships and lack of
pay in a few instances led to mutiny and desertion. But the marvel is
that they fought so bravely, endured so much, and complained so little.
One reason was the patriotism of the people at large behind them.
Soldiers who turned their backs on Boston, leaving Washington in the
lurch, were refused food along the road home. Women placed rifles in the
hands of husbands, sons, or lovers, and said "Go!"

The rank and file in this war, coming from farm, work-bench,
logging-camp, or fisher's boat, had a superb physical basis for camp and
field life. Used to the rifle from boyhood, they kept their powder dry
and made every one of their scanty bullets tell. The Revolutionary
soldier's splendid courage has glorified a score of battle-fields; while
Valley Forge, with its days of hunger and nights of cold, its sick-beds
on the damp ground, and its bloody footprints in the snow, tell of his
patient endurance.

At Bunker Hill an undisciplined body of farmers, ill-armed, weary,
hungry and thirsty, calmly awaited the charge of old British
campaigners, and by a fire of dreadful precision drove them back. "They
may talk of their Mindens and their Fontenoys," said the British
general, Howe, "but there was no such fire there." At Charleston, while
the wooden fort shook with the British broadsides, Moultrie and his
South Carolina boys, half naked in the stifling heat, through twelve
long hours smoked their pipes and carefully pointed their guns. At Long
Island, to gain time for the retreat of the rest, five Maryland
companies flew again and again in the face of the pursuing host. At
Monmouth, eight thousand British were in hot pursuit of the retreating
Americans. Square in their front Washington planted two Pennsylvania and
Maryland regiments, saying, "Gentlemen, I depend upon you to hold the
ground until I can form the main army." And hold it they did.

Heroism grander than that of the battlefield, which can calmly meet an
ignominious death, was not lacking. Captain Nathan Hale, a quiet,
studious spirit, just graduated from Yale College, volunteered to enter
the British lines on Long Island as a spy. He was caught, and soon swung
from an apple tree in Colonel Rutgers's orchard, a corpse. Bible and
religious ministrations denied him, his letters to mother and sister
destroyed, women standing by and sobbing, he met his fate without a
tremor. "I only regret," comes his voice from yon rude scaffold, "that I
have but one life to give for my country." It is a shame that America so
long had no monument to this heroic man. One almost rejoices that the
British captain, Cunningham, author of the cruelty to Hale, himself met
death on the gallows, in London, 1791. How different from Hale's the
treatment bestowed upon Andre, the British spy who fell into our hands.
He was fed from Washington's table, and supported to his execution by
every manifestation of sympathy for his suffering.

John Paul Jones.

The stanch and useful loyalty of the New England clergy in the
Revolution has been much dwelt upon--none too much, however. With them
should be mentioned the Rev. James Caldwell, Presbyterian pastor at
Elizabeth, N. J., who, when English soldiers raided the town, and its
defenders were short of wadding, tore up his hymn-book for their use,
urging: "Give them Watts, boys, give them Watts."

No fiercer naval battle was ever fought than when Jones, in the old and
rotten Bon Homme Richard, grappled with the new British frigate Serapis.
Yard-arm to yardarm, port-hole to port-hole, the fight raged for hours.
Three times both vessels were on fire. The Serapis's guns tore a
complete breach in the Richard from main-mast to stern. The Richard was
sinking, but the intrepid Jones fought on, and the Serapis struck.

Fight between the Bon Homme Richard and the Serapis.

As the roll of Revolutionary officers is called, what matchless figures
file past the mind's eye! We see stalwart Ethan Allen entering
Ticonderoga too early in the morning to find its commander in a
presentable condition, and demanding possession "in the name of Almighty
God and the Continental Congress "--destined, himself, in a few months,
to be sailing down the St. Lawrence in irons, bound for long captivity
in England. We behold gallant Prescott leisurely promenading the Bunker
Hill parapet to inspirit his men, shot and shell hurtling thick around.
There is Israel Putnam--"Old Put" the boys dubbed him. He was no
general, but we forgive his costly blunders at Brooklyn Heights and
Peekskill as we think of him leaving plough in furrow at the drum-beat
to arms, and speeding to the deadly front at Boston, or with iron
firmness stemming the retreat from Bunker Hill. Young Richard Montgomery
might have been next to Washington in the war but for Sir Guy Carleton's
deadly grape-shot from the Quebec walls the closing moments of 1775.
Buried at Quebec, his remains were transferred by the State of New York,
July 8, 1818, to their present resting-place in front of St. Paul's, New
York City, the then aged widow tearfully watching the funeral barge as
it floated past Montgomery Place on the Hudson.

General Anthony Wayne.

During a four years' apprenticeship under Washington, General Greene had
caught more of his master's spirit and method than did any other
American leader, and one year's separate command at the South gave him a
martial fame second only to Washington's own. In him the great chief's
word was fulfilled, "I send you a general." A naked, starving army, an
empty military chest, the surrounding country impoverished and full of
loyalists--these were his difficulties. Three States practically cleared
of the royal army in ten months--this was his achievement. He retreated
only to advance, was beaten only to fight again. One hardly knows which
to admire most, his tireless energy and vigilance, his prudence in
retreat, his boldness and vigor in attack, his cheerful courage in
defeat, or his mingled kindness and firmness toward a suffering and
mutinous army.

John Stark, eccentric but true, famous for cool courage--how stubbornly,
with his New Hampshire boys, he held the rail fence at Bunker Hill, and
covered the retreat when ammunition was gone! But Stark's most brilliant
deed was at Bennington. "There they are, boys--the redcoats, and by
night they're ours, or Molly Stark's a widow." Those "boys," without
bayonets, their artillery shooting stones for balls, were little more
than a mob. But with confidence in him, on they rush, up, over, sweeping
Baume's Hessians from the field like a tornado. The figure of General
Schuyler comes before us--quieter but not less noble, an invalid, set to
hard tasks with little glory. His magnanimous soul forgets self in
country as he cheerfully gives all possible help to Gates, his
supplanter, and puts the torch to his own grain-fields at Saratoga lest
they feed the foe.

The Encounter between Tarleton and Colonel Washington.

And matchless Dan Morgan of Virginia, with his band of riflemen, tall,
sinewy fellows, in hunting-shirts, leggins, and moccasins, each with
hatchet, hunter's knife, and rifle, dead sure to hit a man's head every
time at two hundred and fifty yards. It was one of these men who shot
the gallant Briton, Fraser, at Bemis's Heights. Morgan became the ablest
leader of light troops then living. How gallantly he headed the forlorn
hope under the icy walls of Quebec, where he was taken prisoner, and at
Saratoga with his shrill whistle and stentorian voice called his
dauntless braves where the fight was thickest! But Cowpens was Morgan's
crowning feat. Inspiring militia and veterans alike with a courage they
had never felt before, he routs Tarleton's trained band of horse, and
then, skilful in retreat as he had been bold in fight, laughs at baffled
Cornwallis's rage.

Gladly would one form fuller acquaintance with other Revolutionary
leaders: Stirling, Sullivan, Sumter, Mad Anthony Wayne, of Monmouth and
Stony Point fame, Glover with his brave following of  Marblehead
fishermen, who, able to row as well as shoot, manned the oars that
critical night when General Washington crossed to Trenton. But space is
too brief. Colonel Washington, the dashing cavalryman, was the Custer of
the Revolution. All the patriot ladies idolized him. In a hot
sword-fight with the Colonel, Tarleton had had three fingers nearly
severed. Subsequently in conversation with a South Carolina lady
Tarleton said: "Why do you ladies so lionize Colonel Washington? He is
an ignorant fellow. He can hardly write his name." "But you are a
witness that he can make his mark," was the reply.

DeKalb Wounded at Camden.

DeKalb was an American, too--by adoption. It is related that he
expostulated with Gates for fighting so unprepared at Camden, and that
Gates intimated cowardice. "Tomorrow will tell, sir, who is the coward,"
the old fellow rejoined. And tomorrow did tell. As the battle reddened,
exit Gates from Camden and from fame. We have recounted elsewhere how
like a bull De Kalb held the field. A monster British grenadier rushed
on him, bayonet fixed. DeKalb parried, at the same time burying his
sword in the grenadier's breast so deep that he was unable to extract
it. Then seizing the dead man's weapon he fought on, thrusting right and
left, till at last, overpowered by numbers, he slipped and fell,
mortally hurt.

Among the civilian heroes of the Revolution, Robert Morris, the
financier, deserves exceeding praise. Now turning over the lead ballast
of his ships for bullets, now raising $50,000 on his private credit and
sending it to Washington in the nick of time, now leading the country
back to specie payment in season to save the national credit, the
Philadelphia banker aided the cause as much as the best general in the

Faithful and successful envoys as Jay and John Adams were, the
Revolution brought to light one, and only one, true master in the
difficult art of diplomacy--Franklin. Wise with a lifetime's shrewd
observation, venerable with years, preceded by his fame as scientist and
Revolutionary statesman, grand in his plain dignity, the Philadelphia
printer stood unabashed before the throne of France, and carried king
and diplomats with an art that surprised Europe's best-trained
courtiers. Never missing an opportunity, he yet knew, by delicate
intuition, when to speak and when to hold his tongue. Through
concession, intrigue, and delay, his resolute will kept steady to its
purpose. To please by yielding is easy. To carry one's point and be
pleasing still, requires genius. This Franklin did--how successfully,
our treaty of alliance with France and our treaty of peace with England
splendidly attested.

Towering above Revolutionary soldier, general, and statesman stands a
figure summing up in himself all these characters and much more. That
figure is George Washington, the most perfect human personality the
world has known. Washington's military ability has been much underrated.
He was hardly more First in Peace than First in War. That he had
physical courage and could give orders calmly while bullets whizzed all
about, one need not repeat. He was strategist and tactician too. Trenton
and Yorktown do not cover his whole military record. With troops
inferior in every single respect except natural valor, he
out-generalled Howe in 1776, and he almost never erred when acting upon
his own good judgment instead of yielding to Congress or to his
subordinates. His movements on the Delaware even such a captain as
Frederick the Great declared "the most brilliant achievements in the
annals of military action." Washington advised against the attempt to
hold Fort Washington, which failed; against the Canada campaign, which
failed; against Gates for commander in the South, who failed; and in
favor of Greene for that post, who succeeded. His army was indeed driven
back in several battles, but never broken up. At Monmouth his plan was
perfect, and it seems that he must have captured Clinton but for the
treason of Charles Lee, set, by Congress's wish, to command the van.
Indeed, of Washington's military career, "take it all in all, its long
duration, its slender means, its vast theatre, its glorious aims and
results, there is no parallel in history." [Footnote: Winthrop,
Washington Monument Oration. February 23, 1885.]

Yet we are right in never thinking of the Great Man first as a soldier,
he was so much besides. Washington's consummate intellectual trait was
sound judgment, only matched by the magnificent balance which subsisted
between his mental and his moral powers. "George had always been a good
son," his mother said. Nature had endowed him with intense passions and
ambitions, but neither could blind him or swerve him one hair from the
line of rectitude as he saw it. And he made painful and unremitting
effort to see it and see it correctly. He was approachable, but repelled
familiarity, and whoever attempted this was met with a perfectly
withering look. He rarely laughed, and he was without humor, though he
wrote and conversed well. He had the integrity of Aristides. His account
with Congress while general shows scrupulousness to the uttermost
farthing. To subordinate, to foe, even to malicious plotters against
him, he was almost guiltily magnanimous. He loved popularity, yet, if
conscious that he was right, would face public murmuring with heart of
flint. Became the most famous man alive, idolized at home, named by
every tongue in Europe, praised by kings and great ministers, who
compared him with Caesar, Charlemagne, and Alfred the Great, his head
swam not, but with steadfast heart and mind he moved on in the simple
pursuit of his country's weal. "In Washington's career," said Fisher
Ames, "mankind perceived some change in their ideas of greatness; the
splendor of power, and even the name of conqueror had grown dim in their
eyes." Lord Erskine wrote him: "You are the only being for whom I have
an awful reverence." "Until time shall be no more," said Lord Brougham,
"will a test of the progress which our race has made in Wisdom and
Virtue be derived from the veneration paid to the immortal name of
Washington." And Mr. Gladstone: "If among all the pedestals supplied by
history for public characters of extraordinary nobility and purity I saw
one higher than all the rest, and if I were required at a moment's
notice to name the fittest occupant for it, my choice would light upon
WASHINGTON." [Footnote: See Winthrop's Oration for these and other




The Revolutionary Congress was less a government than an exigency
committee. It had no authority save in tacit general consent. Need of an
express and permanent league was felt at an early date. Articles of
Confederation, framed by Dickinson, of Pennsylvania, were adopted by
Congress in November, 1777. They were then submitted to the State
Legislatures for ratification. By the spring of 1779 all the States but
Maryland had given their approval. Upon the accession of the latter, on
March 1, 1781, the articles went into effect at once.

The Confederation bound the States together into a "firm league of
friendship" for common defence and welfare, and this "union" was to be
"perpetual."  Each State retained its "sovereignty" and "independence,"
as well as every power not "expressly delegated" to the central
Government. Inhabitants of each State were entitled to all the
privileges of citizens in the several States. Criminals fleeing from one
State to another were to be returned.

Congress was composed of delegates chosen annually, each State being
represented by not less than two or more than seven. Each State had but
one vote, whatever the number of its delegates.

Taxation and the regulation of commerce were reserved to the State
Governments. On the other hand, Congress alone could declare peace or
war, make treaties, coin money, establish a post-office, deal with
Indians outside of the States, direct the army, and appoint generals and
naval officers. Many other things affecting all the States alike,
Congress alone could do. It was to erect courts for trial of felonies
and piracies on the high seas, and appoint judges for the settlement of
disputes between the States. It was to make estimates for national
expenses, and request of each State its quota of revenue.

To amend the Articles, the votes of the entire thirteen States were
demanded. Important lesser measures--such as those regarding war or
peace, treaties, coinage, loans, appropriations--required the consent of
nine States. Upon other questions a majority was sufficient. A
committee, composed of one delegate from each State, was to sit during
the recess of Congress, having the general superintendence of national

The faults of the Confederation were numerous and great. Three
outshadowed the rest: Congress could not enforce its will, could not
collect a revenue, could not regulate commerce.

Congress could not touch individuals; it must act through the State
Governments, and these it had no power to coerce. Five States, for
instance, passed laws which violated the treaty provision about payment
of British creditors; yet Congress could do nothing but remonstrate.
Hence its power to make treaties was almost a nullity. European nations
did not wish to treat with a Government that could not enforce its

Congress could make requisition upon the States for revenue, but had no
authority to collect a single penny. The States complied or not as they
chose. In October, 1781, Congress asked for $8,000,000; in January,
1783, it had received less than half a million. Lack of revenue made the
Government continually helpless and often contemptible.

Yet in spite of their looseness and other faults, the adoption of the
Articles of Confederation was a forward step in American public law.
Their greatest value was this: they helped to keep before the States the
thought of union, while at the same time, by their very inefficiency,
they proved the need of a stronger government to make union something
more than a thought. The years immediately after the war were an
extremely critical period. The colonies had indeed passed through the
Red Sea, but the wilderness still lay before them. The great danger
which had driven them into union being past, State pride and jealousy
broke out afresh. "My State," not "my country," was the foremost thought
in most minds. There was serious danger that each State would go its own
way, and firm union come, if at all, only after years of weakness and
disaster, if not of war. The unfriendly nations of Europe were eagerly
anticipating such result. At this juncture the Articles of
Confederation, framed during the war when union was felt to be
imperative, did invaluable service. They solemnly committed the States
to perpetual union. Their provisions for extradition of criminals and
for inter-State citizenship helped to break down the barriers between
State and State. Congress, by discharging its various duties on behalf
of all the States, kept steadily before the public mind the idea of a
national government, armed with at least a semblance of authority.

The Franklin Penny.
"United States" "We Are One"
"Fugio"  "1787"  "Mind Your Business"


The war had cost about $150,000,000. In 1783 the debt was
$42,000,000--$8,000,000 owed in France and Holland, and the rest at
home. The States contributed in so niggardly a way that even the
interest could not be paid. Five millions were owing to the army. Deep
and ominous discontent spread among officers and men. An obscure
colonel, supposed to be the agent of more prominent men, wrote to
Washington, advocating a monarchy as the only salvation for the country,
and inviting him to become king. In the spring of 1783 an anonymous
address, of menacing tone, was circulated in the army, calling upon it
for measures to force its rights from an ungrateful country.


That the army disbanded quietly at last, with only three months' pay, in
certificates depreciated nine-tenths, was due almost wholly to the
boundless influence of Washington. How powerless the Government would
have been to resist an uprising of the army, was shown by a humiliating
incident. In June, 1783, a handful of Pennsylvania troops, clamoring for
their pay, besieged the doors of Congress, and that august body had to
take refuge in precipitate flight.

The country suffered greatly for lack of uniform commercial laws. So
long as each State laid its own imposts, and goods free of duty in one
State might be practically excluded from another, Congress could
negotiate no valuable treaties of commerce abroad.

The chief immediate distress was from this wretchedness of our
commercial relations, whether foreign or between the States at home. If
our fathers would be independent, king and parliament were determined to
make them pay dearly for the privilege. Accordingly Great Britain laid
tariffs upon all our exports thither. What was much harder to bear, an
order of the king in council, July 2, 1783, utterly forbade American
ships to engage in that British West-Indian trade which had always been
a chief source of our wealth. The sole remedy for these abuses in
dealing with England at that time was retaliation, but Congress had no
authority to take retaliatory steps, while the separate States could not
or would not act sufficiently in harmony to do so. If one imposed
customs duties, another would open wide its ports, filling the markets
of the first with British goods by overland trade, so that the customs
law of the first availed nothing. If Pennsylvania and New York laid
tariffs on foreign commodities, New Jersey and Connecticut people, in
buying imported articles from Philadelphia or New York, were paying
taxes to those greater States. North Carolina was in the same manner a
forced tributary to South Carolina and Virginia, as were portions of
Connecticut and Massachusetts to Rhode Island.

Dollar of 1794.
The First United States Coin.
"Liberty"  "1794"  "United States of America"

We also needed a complete system of courts, departments for foreign and
Indian affairs, and an efficient executive. The single vote for each
State was unfair, allowing one-third of the people to defeat the will of
the rest. The article requiring the consent of nine States made it
almost impossible to get important measures through Congress. Delegates
should not have been paid by their respective States. In consequence of
this provision, coupled with other things, Congress decreased in numbers
and importance. In November, 1783, less than twenty delegates were
present, representing but seven States, and Congress had to appeal to
the recreant States to send back their representatives before the treaty
of peace could be ratified.


But the one grand defect of the Confederation, underlying all others,
was lack of power. The Government was an engine without steam. The
States, just escaped from the tyranny of a king, would brook no new
authority strong enough to endanger their liberties. The result was a
thin ghost of a government set in charge over a lot of lusty
flesh-and-blood States.

The Confederation, however, did one piece of solid work worthy of
everlasting praise. The Northwest Territory, embracing what is now Ohio,
Indiana. Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, had been ceded to the Union
by the States which originally claimed it. July 13, 1787, Congress
adopted for the government of the territory the famous Ordinance of
1787. It provided for a governor, council, and judges, to be appointed
by Congress, and a house of representatives elected by the people. Its
shining excellence was a series of compacts between the States and the
territory, which guaranteed religious liberty, made grants of land and
other liberal provisions for schools and colleges, and forever
prohibited slavery in the territory or the States which should be made
out of it. Thus were laid broad and deep the foundation for the full and
free development of humanity in a region larger than the whole German

The passing of the Ordinance was probably due in large measure to the
influence of the Ohio Company, a colonist society organized in Boston
the year before. It was composed of the flower of the Revolutionary
army, and had wealth, energy, and intelligence. When its agent appeared
before Congress to arrange for the purchase of five million acres of
land in the Ohio Valley, a bill for the government of the territory,
containing neither the antislavery clause nor the immortal principles of
the compacts, was on the eve of passage. The Company, composed mostly of
Massachusetts men, strongly desired their future home to be upon free
soil. Their influence prevailed with Congress, eager for revenue from
the sale of lands, and even the Southern members voted unanimously for
the remodelled ordinance. The establishment of a strong and enlightened
government in the territory led to its rapid settlement. Marietta, 0.,
was founded in April, 1788, and other colonies followed in rapid




The anarchy succeeding the Revolution was as sad as the Revolution
itself had been glorious. The Articles of Confederation furnished
practically no government with which foreign nations could deal; England
still clung to the western posts, contrary to the treaty of peace, with
no power anywhere on this side to do more than protest; the debt of the
confederacy steadily piled up its unpaid interest; the land was flooded
with irredeemable paper money, state and national; the confederacy's
laws and constitution were ignored or trampled upon everywhere; and the
arrogance and self-seeking of the several States surpassed everything
but their own contemptible weakness.

In 1786 Shays' rebellion broke out in Massachusetts. Solid money was
very scarce, and paper all but worthless, yet many debts contracted on a
paper basis were pressed for payment in hard money. The farmers swore
that the incidence of taxes upon them was excessive, and upon the
merchants too light. But the all-powerful grievance was the sudden
change from the distressing monetary injustice during the Revolution,
with the consequent increase of debts, to a rigid enforcement of
debtors' claims afterward. At this period men were imprisoned for debt,
and all prisons were frightful holes, which one would as lief die as
enter. Meetings were held to air the popular griefs, and grew violent.

In August the court-house at Northampton was seized by a body of armed
men and the court prevented from sitting. Similar uprisings occurred at
Worcester, Springfield, and Concord. The leader in these movements was
Daniel Shays, a former captain in the continental army. Governor Bowdoin
finally called for volunteers to put down the rebellion, and placed
General Lincoln in command. After several minor engagements, in which
the insurgents were worsted, the decisive action took place at
Petersham, where, in February, 1787, the rebels were surprised by
Lincoln. A large number were captured, many more fled to their homes,
and the rest withdrew into the neighboring States. Vermont and Rhode
Island alone offered them a peaceful retreat, the other States giving up
the fugitives to Massachusetts.

A Scene at Springfield, during Shays' Rebellion, when the
mob attempted to prevent the holding of the Courts of Justice.

The Shays commotion, for a long time shaking one of the stanchest States
in the Confederation, well showed the need of a far stronger central
government than the old had been or could be made. Other influences
concurred to the same conviction. Washington's influence, which took
effect mainly through his inspired letter to the States on leaving the
army, was one of these. National feeling was also furthered by the
spread of two religious sects, the Baptists and the Methodists, up and
down the continent, whose missionary preachers, ignoring State lines and
prejudices, helped to destroy the latter in their hearers.


During the Revolution, American Methodism had been an appanage of
England.  Wesley had discountenanced our effort at independence, and
when war broke out, all the Methodist preachers left the country, save
Asbury, who secreted himself somewhere in Delaware, waiting for better
days. But in 1784 this zealous body of Christians was organized as an
American affair, its clergy and laity after this displaying loyalty of
the most approved kind.

John Wesley.

Schemes had been mooted looking to a changed political order. A
proposition for a convention of the States to reform the Confederation
passed the New York Legislature in July, 1782, under the influence of
Alexander Hamilton; another passed that of Massachusetts, July, 1785,
urged by Governor Bowdoin; but because of too great love for state
independence and too little appreciation as yet of the serious nature of
the crisis, both motions failed of effect.

The idea of reform which found most favor, the only one which at first
had any chance of getting itself realized, was that of giving Congress
simply the additional power of regulating commerce. Even so moderate a
proposal as this had many enemies, especially in the South. Greatly to
her credit therefore as a Southern State, the purpose of amending the
old Articles in the direction indicated was first taken up in earnest by
Virginia. Her Legislature, soon after opening session in October, 1785,
listened to memorials from Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Alexandria,
upon the gloomy prospects of American trade, which led to a general
debate upon the subject. In this, Mr. Madison, by a speech far exceeding
in ability any other that was made, began that extended and memorable
career of efforts for enlarged function in our central government which
has earned him the title of the Father of the Constitution.

The result of this discussion was a bill directing the Virginia
delegation in Congress to propose amendment to the constitution giving
to Congress the needed additional power. The enemies of the bill,
however, succeeded in so modifying it by limiting the proposed grant of
power to a period of thirteen years, that Madison and its other abettors
turned against it and voted to lay it on the table.

There was in existence at this very time  a joint commission
representing Virginia and Maryland, which had been raised for the
purpose of determining what jurisdiction each of the two States had over
the Potomac and in Chesapeake Bay. Madison was one of the Virginia
commissioners. A meeting had been held on March 17, 1785, at which the
commissioners agreed in their report to transcend their instructions and
to recommend to the two States uniform monetary and commercial
regulations entire, including common export and import duties. They thus
reported, adding the still further recommendation that commissioners to
work out the details of such a plan be appointed each year till it
should be completed. The Maryland Legislature adopted the report, adding
the proposition that Delaware and Pennsylvania also should be invited to
enter the system and to send commissioners.

When the commissioners' report, with Maryland's action thereon, came
before the Virginia Legislature, Madison moved, as a substitute for the
mutilated bill which had been tabled previously, that the invitation to
take part in the commission go to all the States. The motion passed by a
large majority.


Thus originated the Annapolis Convention of 1786. Nine States appointed
delegates; all but Connecticut, Maryland, and the two Carolinas; but of
the nine only Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York
actually sent them. As the powers granted the commissioners presupposed
a deputation from each of the States, those present, after mature
deliberation, deemed it inadvisable to proceed, drawing up instead an
urgent address to the States to take "speedy measures" for another,
fuller, convention to meet on the second Monday of May, 1787, for the
same purposes as had occasioned this one. Such was the mode in which the
memorable Federal Convention came about. Its seat was Philadelphia.


The second Monday of May, 1787, which should have witnessed the opening,
was the 14th, but on that day too few deputies had assembled. So late as
the 25th only nine States were represented. They, however, effected an
organization on the 25th and chose officers. On the 28th eleven States
were present, so that on the next day business began in earnest.
Governor Randolph read and expounded the Virginia plan for a new
government, and Charles Pinckney the South Carolina plan. Both of these
were referred to a committee of the whole to sit next day.

This Virginia plan was substantially the work of Madison, and was the
earliest sketch of the present Constitution of the United States. With
the Pinckney plan, it was worked over, debated, and amended in the
committee of the whole, until June 13th, on which day the committee rose
and reported to the Convention nineteen resolutions based almost wholly
upon the Virginia plan. These were the text for all the subsequent
doings of the Convention.

The so-called New Jersey plan was brought forward on June 15th, the gist
of it being a recurrence to the foolish idea of merely repairing the
Confederation that then was. Its strength, which was slight, consisted
in its accord with the letter of the credentials which the delegates had
brought. It was, however, emphatically rejected, the Convention
stretching instructions, ignoring the old government, and proceeding to
build from the foundations. On July 24th and 26th the resolutions, now
increased to twenty-three, were put in the hands of a committee of
detail to be reported back in the form of a constitution. They
reappeared in this shape on August 6th, and this new document was
henceforth the basis of discussion. On September 8th a new committee was
appointed to revise style and arrangement, and brought in its work
September 13th, after which additions and changes were few. The
Constitution received signature September 17th.

The Federal Convention of 1787 was the most remarkable gathering in all
our national history thus far. Sixty-five delegates were elected, but as
ten never attended, fifty-five properly made up the body. Even these
were at no time all present together. From July 5th to August 13th New
York was not represented. Rhode Island was not represented at all.
Washington was President; Franklin, aged eighty-one, the oldest member;
Gillman, of New Hampshire, aged twenty-five, the youngest. Each State
sent its best available talent, so that the foremost figures then in
American political life were present, the chief exceptions being John
Adams, Jefferson--both abroad at the time--Samuel Adams, not favorable
to the Convention, John Jay, and Patrick Henry. Eight of the members had
signed the great Declaration, six the Articles of Confederation, seven
the Annapolis appeal of 1786. Washington and a good half dozen others
had been conspicuous military leaders in the Revolution. Five had been
or still were governors of their respective States. Nearly all had held
important offices of one sort or another. Forty of the fifty-five had
been in Congress, a large proportion of them coming to the Convention
directly from the congressional session just ended in New York.

It is interesting to note how high many from this Constituent Assembly
rose after the adoption of the paper which they had indited. Washington
and Madison became Presidents, Gerry Vice-President, Langdon senator and
President of the Senate, with duty officially to notify him who was
already First in War that the nation had made him also First in Peace.
Langdon was candidate for Vice-President in 1809. Randolph was the
earliest United States Attorney-General, Hamilton earliest Secretary of
the Treasury, M'Henry third Secretary of War, succeeding General Knox.
Dayton was a representative from New Jersey in the IId, IIId, IVth, and
Vth Congresses, being Speaker during the last, then senator in the VIth,
VIIth, and VIIIth. Ellsworth and Johnson were Connecticut's first pair
of senators, Johnson passing in 1791 to the presidency of Columbia
College, Ellsworth to the national chief-justiceship to succeed Jay.
Rutledge was one of the first associate justices of the Supreme Court.
Subsequently, in July, 1795, Washington nominated him for chief justice,
and he actually presided over the Supreme Court at its term in that
year; but, for his ill-mannered denunciation of Jay's treaty, the Senate
declined to confirm him. Wilson and Patterson also each held the
position of associate justice on the supreme bench of the nation.

Rufus King, after the adoption of the Constitution, removed to New York.
He was a senator from that State between 1789 and 1795, and again
between 1813 and 1826; and Minister to England from 1796 to 1803, and
again after 1826 till his failing health compelled his resignation. He
was the federalist candidate for Vice-President in 1804 and 1808, and
for President in 1816. Sherman of Connecticut, Gillman of New Hampshire,
and Baldwin of Georgia, went into the House of Representatives and  were
promoted thence to the Senate. Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, Gouverneur
Morris, now again of New York, Caleb Strong of Massachusetts, William
Patterson of New Jersey, Richard Bassett of Delaware, Alexander Martin
and Blount of North Carolina, Charles Pinckney and Butler of South
Carolina, and Colonel Few of Georgia, all became senators. Madison,
Gerry, Fitzsimmons of Pennsylvania, Carroll of Maryland, and Spaight and
Williamson of North Carolina, all wrought well in the House, but did not
reach the Senate. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was nominated for the
Presidency in 1800, on the ticket with John Adams, again in 1804, and
still again in 1808.

Jared Ingersoll was the federalist candidate for Vice-President in 1812,
on the ticket with De Witt Clinton, against Madison and Gerry. Yates
rose to be Chief Justice of the State of New York, Lansing to be its
Chancellor. Gerry and Strong of Massachusetts, Patterson of New Jersey,
Bassett of Delaware, Spaight and Davie of North Carolina, and Charles
Pinckney of South Carolina, became Governors of their States, as did
Alexander Martin, of North Carolina, a second time.

Having received final revision and signature, the Constitution was
transmitted, with a commendatory letter from Washington, to the old
Congress. Suggestions were added relating to the mode of launching it.
Congress was requested to lay the new Great Charter before the States,
and, so soon as it should have been ratified by nine of them, to fix the
date for the election by these of presidential electors, the day for the
latter to cast their votes, and the time and place for commencing
proceedings under the revised constitution. Congress complied. The
debates of the Convention, only more hot, attended ratification, which
was carried in several States only by narrow majorities.


Delaware was the first to ratify, December 7, 1787. Pennsylvania and New
Jersey soon followed, the one on the 12th of the same month, the other
on the 18th. Delaware and New Jersey voted unanimously; Pennsylvania
ratified by a vote of forty-six to twenty-three. During the first month
of the new year, 1788, Georgia and Connecticut ratified, on the 2d and
9th respectively. New Hampshire next took up the question, but adjourned
her convention to await the action of Massachusetts. In this great State
the people were divided almost equally. Of the western counties the
entire population that had sympathized or sided with Shays was bitter
against the Constitution. The larger centres and in general the eastern
part of the State favored it. The vote was had on February 6th, and
showed a majority of only 19 out of 355 in favor of the Constitution.

Celebrating the Adoption of the Constitution in New York.

The good work still remained but half done. It was a crisis.
Accordingly, early in this year, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay published
their weighty articles, since collected in the immortal volume known as
"The Federalist." These discussions seemed to have much effect. Maryland
ratified on April 28th, and South Carolina on May 23d. New Hampshire
fell into line, the necessary ninth State to ratify, June 21st. Thus the
Constitution became binding, yet it was still painfully uncertain what
the action of Virginia and New York would be. In both States the
Constitution was opposed by many of the most influential men, and after
a long and heated canvass adoption occurred in Virginia by a majority of
only ten in a vote of 168; in New York by the narrow majority of two.
Even now North Carolina and Rhode Island remained aloof. The former, not
liking the prospect of isolation, came into the Union November 21, 1789,
after the new government had been some time at work. Rhode Island, owing
to her peculiar history in the matter of religious liberty, which she
feared a closer union would jeopardize, as well as to the strength of
the paper-money fanaticism within her borders, was more obdurate. The
chief difficulty here was to get the legislature to call a convention.
The New York Packet of February 20, 1790, in a letter from Rhode Island,
tells how this was accomplished. Among the anti-adoptionists in the
senate was a rural clergyman who, prompted by his conscience, or, as one
account runs, by exhortation and the offer of a conveyance by an
influential member of the adoption party, was, when Sunday came, absent
upon his sacred work. The occasion was seized for a ballot. The senate
was a tie, but the Governor threw the casting vote for a convention.
This was called as soon as possible, and on May 29, 1790, Rhode Island,
too, at the eleventh hour, made the National Constitution her own. Not
only had a MORE PERFECT UNION been formed at last, but it included all
the Old Thirteen States.








Notified on July 2, 1788, that nine States had voted approval of the
Constitution, Congress, on September 13th, set the first Wednesday in
January, 1789, for the choice of electors, the first in February for
their ballot, and the first in March for putting the new government in
motion. The first Wednesday in March, 1789, happening to fall on the
4th, this date has since remained as the initial one for presidencies
and congresses. The First Congress had no quorum in either branch on
March 4th, and did not complete its organization till April 6th.
Washington was inaugurated on April 30th, in New York, where the First
Congress, proceeding to execute the Constitution, held its entire first
session. Its second session was in Philadelphia, the seat of Congress
thence till the second session of the VIth Congress, 1800, since which
time Congress has always met in Washington.

The inauguration of our first President was an imposing event. As the
hero moved from his house on Franklin Square, through Pearl Street to
Broad, and through Broad to Federal Hall, corner of Wall Street, people
thronged every sidewalk, door-way, window, and roof along the entire
line of march. About him on the platform after his arrival stood John
Adams, Alexander Hamilton, Baron Steuben, Generals St. Clair and Knox,
Roger Sherman, and Chancellor Livingston. Washington advanced to the
rail, placed his hand upon his breast, and, bowing low, said audibly, as
the Chancellor in his robes solemnly recited the words, "I swear, so
help me God," reverently kissing the Bible as if to add solemnity to his
oath. "It is done," cried the Chancellor; "long live George Washington,
President of the United States!" The great crowd repeated the cry. It
was echoed outside in the city, off into the country, far north, far
south, till the entire land took up that watchword, which his own
generation has passed on to ours and to all that shall come, Long live
George Washington!

Let us study for a moment the habitat of the people over which the new
Chief Magistrate was called to bear sway. By the census of 1790, the
population of the thirteen States and of the territory belonging to the
Union numbered 3,929,214. It resided almost wholly on the Atlantic coast
from Maine to Florida. Not more than five per cent of it was west of the
mountains. The line of inner settlement, now farther, now nearer, ran at
an average distance from the coast of two hundred and fifty-five miles.
The coast land of Massachusetts, southern New England, and New York was
the most densely covered. The Hudson Valley was well peopled as far as
Albany. Farms and hamlets were to be met all the way from New York
across New Jersey to the Delaware, and far up the Delaware Valley
westward from that river. Maine, still belonging to Massachusetts, had
few settlements except upon her coast and a little way inland along her
great rivers. Vermont, not yet a State and claimed by both New Hampshire
and New York, was well filled up, as was all New Hampshire but the
extreme north.

The westward movement of population took mainly four routes, the Mohawk
and Ontario, the Upper Potomac, the Southwestern Virginia, and the
Western Georgia. The Mohawk Valley was settled, and pioneers had taken
up much land on Lake Ontario and near the rivers and lakes tributary to
it. Elmira and Binghamton had been begun. Pennsylvania settlers had
pressed westward more or less thickly to the lower elevations of the
Alleghanies, while beyond, in the Pittsburgh regions, they were even
more numerous. What is now West Virginia had squatters here and there.
Virginian pioneers had also betaken themselves southwestward to the head
of the Tennessee. North and South Carolina were inhabited as far west as
the mountains, though the population was not dense. In Northern
Kentucky, along the Ohio, lay considerable settlements, and in
Tennessee, where Nashville now is, there was another centre of
civilization. In the Northwest Territory, Detroit, Vincennes, Kaskaskia,
Prairie du Chien, Mackinac, and Green River were outposts, at each of
which a few white men might have been found.

The following table shows pretty nearly the population of the several
States about the end of the Revolution:

New Hampshire 102,000
Massachusetts 330,000
Rhode Island [1783] 51,869 [2,342 of them negroes,

464 mulattoes, 525 Indians.]
Connecticut [1782] 208,870
New York [1786] 215,283
New Jersey[1785] 138,934 [10,500 of them negroes.]
Pennsylvania 330,000
Delaware 37,000
Maryland 250,000 [80,000 of them negroes.]
Virginia 532,000 [280,000 of them negroes.]
North Carolina 224,000 [60,000 of them negroes.]
South Carolina 188,000 [80,000 of them negroes.]
Georgia [rough estimate] 80,000 [20,000 of them negroes.]

Another table exhibits approximately the number of houses in the
principal cities of the country in 1785-86. It was customary then in
estimating population to allow seven persons to each house. This
multiplier is probably too large rather than too small.

Houses Population, multiplying
number of houses by seven.
Portsmouth, N. H 450 3,150
Newburyport 510 3,570
Salem, Mass 730 5,210
Boston 2,200 15,400
Providence 560 3,920
Newport 790 5,530
Hartford 300 2,100
New Haven 400 2,800
New York 3,340 23,380
Albany and suburbs 550 3,850
Trenton 180 1,260
Philadelphia and suburbs 4,500 31,500
Wilmington 400 2,800
Baltimore 1,950 13,650
Annapolis 260 1,820
Frederick, Md. 400 2,800
Alexandria 300 2,100
Richmond 310 2,170
Petersburg 280 1,960
Williamsburg 230 1,610
Charleston 1,540 10,780
Savannah 200 1,400

The first New York City Directory appeared in 1786. It had eight hundred
and forty-six names, not going above Roosevelt and Cherry Streets on
the East side, or Dey Street on the West. There were then in the city
three Dutch Reformed churches, four Presbyterian, three Episcopal, two
German Lutheran, and one congregation each belonging to the Catholics,
Friends, Baptists, Moravians, and Jews. In 1789 the Methodists had two
churches, and the Friends two new Meetings. The houses in the city were
generally of brick, with tile roofs, mostly English in style, but a few
Dutch. The old Fort, where the provincial governors had resided, still
stood in the Battery. The City Hall was a brick structure, three stories
high, with wings, fronting on Broad Street. Want of good water greatly
inconvenienced the citizens, as there was no aqueduct yet, and wells
were few. Most houses supplied themselves by casks from a pump on what
is now Pearl Street, this being replenished from a pond a mile north of
the then city limits. New York commanded the trade of nearly all
Connecticut, half New Jersey, and all Western Massachusetts, besides
that of New York State itself. In short it did the importing for
one-sixth of the population of the Union. Pennsylvania and Maryland made
the best flour. In the manufacture of iron, paper, and cabinet ware,
Pennsylvania led all the States.

Over this rapidly growing portion of the human race in its widely
separated homes there was at last a central government worthy the name.
The old Articles of Confederation had been no fundamental law, not a
foundation but a homely botch-work of superstructure, resembling more a
treaty between several States than a ground-law for one. In the new
Constitution a genuine foundation was laid, the Government now holding
direct and immediate relations with each subject of every State, and
citizens of States being at the same time citizens of the United States.
Hitherto the central power could act on individuals only through States.
Now, by its own marshals, aided if need were by its army, it could
itself arrest and by its own  courts try and condemn any transgressor of
its laws.

But if the State relinquished the technical sovereignty which it had
before, it did not sink to the level of an administrative division, but
increased rather in all the elements of real dignity and stability. Over
certain subjects the new constitution gave the States supreme, absolute,
and uncontrollable power. The range of this supreme state prerogative
is, in fact, wider on the whole than that of national. For national
action there must be demonstrable constitutional warrant, for that of
States this is not necessary. In more technical phrase: to the United
States what is not granted is denied, to the State what is not denied is
granted. It is a perpetual reminder of original state sovereignty, that
no State can without its consent be deprived of its equal suffrage in
the Senate. Each State also must have at least one representative.
States cannot be sued by private persons or corporations. Even upon
subjects constitutionally reserved for national law, if Congress has not
legislated state statute is valid.

Precisely as its advocates had prophesied, this revised order worked
well, bringing a blessed new feeling of security. On commerce and
business it conferred immense benefits, which rapidly became
disseminated through all classes of the population. The sense and
appearance of unity and consequent strength which the land had enjoyed
in the early days of the Revolution came back in greater completeness,
and was most gratifying to all. There was still a rankling hatred toward
England, and men hostile to central government on other grounds were
reconciled to it as the sole condition of successful commercial or naval
competition with that country.

The consequence was a wide-spread change of public feeling in reference
to the Constitution very soon after its adoption. Bitterest hostility
turned to praise that was often fulsome, reducing to insignificance an
opposition that had probably comprised a popular majority during the
very months of ratification. Many shifted their ground merely to be on
the popular side. With multitudes Washington's influence had more weight
than any argument.

The Constitution's unfortunate elasticity of interpretation also for the
time worked well. People who had fought it saw how their cherished views
could after all be based upon it. All parties soon began, therefore, to
swear by the Constitution as their political Bible. The fathers of the
immortal paper were exalted into demigods. Fidelity to the Constitution
came to be pre-eminently the watchword of those till now against its
adoption. They in fact shouted this cry louder than the Federalists, who
had never regarded it a perfect instrument of government. It came to
pass ere long that nothing would blast a public measure so instantly or
so completely as the cry of its unconstitutionality.

[Click on map for larger image.]
Map Showing the Progressive Acquisitions of Territory by the United States

Few can form any idea of the herculean work performed by the First
Congress in setting up and starting our present governmental machinery.
The debt which we owe the public men of that time is measureless. With
such care and wisdom did they proceed, that little done by them has
required alteration, the departments having run on decade after decade
till now essentially in their original grooves. The Senate formed itself
into its three classes, so that one-third of its members, and never more
than this, should retire at a time. Four executive departments were
created, those of State, the Treasury, War, and the
Attorney-Generalship. The first occupants were, respectively, Jefferson,
Hamilton, Knox, and Randolph.

Of the present departments of government the post-office alone has come
down from colonial times, Benjamin Franklin having been general
superintendent thereof under the British Government. He was re-appointed
by the second Continental Congress, in July, 1775. The First Congress
under the Constitution erected a general post-office, but its head
attained the dignity of a regular cabinet officer not till about 1830,
and then only by custom. To begin with, in fact, there was strictly no
cabinet in the modern sense. Washington's habit was to consult his
ministers separately.

Under the Articles of Confederation there had been a treasury board of
several commissioners, and a superintendent of finance. The new
arrangement, making one man responsible, was a great improvement. A law
was passed forbidding the Secretary of the Treasury to be concerned in
trade or commerce, that is, to be a merchant. The late A. T. Stewart,
appointed by President Grant to the office, was rejected as ineligible
under this law. Yet no department of our Government has had a finer
record than the Treasury.

Not only had the First Congress to vote revenue, but to make provision
for the collection of this. Revenue districts had to be mapped out, the
proper officers appointed, and light-houses, buoys, and public piers
arranged for along the whole coast.  Salaries were to be fixed, and a
multitude of questions relating to the interpretation and application of
the Constitution to be solved by patient deliberation. The United States
Mint was erected, and our so felicitous monetary system, based upon the
decimal principle along with the binary, established in place of the
desperate monetary chaos prevailing before. Hitherto there were four
sorts of colonial money of account all differing from sterling, while
Mexican dollars and numberless other forms of foreign money were in
actual circulation.

The noblest part of all this work was the organization of the federal
judiciary, through an act drawn up with extraordinary ability by Oliver
Ellsworth of Connecticut. A Chief Justice--the first one was John
Jay--and five associates were to constitute the Supreme Court. District
courts were ordained, one per State and one each for Kentucky and Maine,
not yet States; also three circuit courts, the eastern, the middle, and
the southern; and the jurisdiction of each grade was accurately fixed.
As yet there were no special circuit judges, nor, excepting the
temporary ones of 1801, were there till some eighty years later. Clerks,
marshals, and district-attorneys were part of this first arrangement.
Originally the Attorney-General was little but an honorary officer. He
kept his practice, had no public income but his fees, and resided where
he pleased.

As his title implies, the Secretary of War was to have charge of all the
nation's means of offence and defence, there being until April 30, 1796,
no separate secretary for the navy. We had indeed in 1789 little use for
such a functionary, not a war-vessel then remaining in Government's
possession. In 1784 our formidable navy consisted of a single ship, the
Alliance, but the following year Congress ordered her sold.

The senators most active in the creations just reviewed were Langdon,
King, and Robert Morris, besides Ellsworth. In the House, Madison outdid
all others in toil as in ability, though worthily seconded by
distinguished men like Fisher Ames, Gerry, Clymer, Fitzsimmons,
Boudinot, and Smith. The three Connecticut representatives, Sherman,
Trumbull, and Wadsworth, made up perhaps the ablest state delegation in
the body.




Early in the life of our Constitution two parties rose, which, under
various names, have continued ever since. During the strife for and
against adoption, those favoring this had been styled Federalists, and
their opponents, Anti-Federalists. After adoption--no one any longer
really antagonizing the Constitution--the two words little by little
shifted their meaning, a man being dubbed Federalist or Anti-Federalist
according to his preference for strong national government or for strong
state governments. The Federalist Party gave birth to the Whig Party,
and this to the modern Republican Party. The Anti-Federalists came to be
called "Republicans," then "Democratic-Republicans," then simply

The central plank of the federalist platform was vigorous single
nationality. In aid of this the Federalists wished a considerable army
and navy, so that the United States might be capable of ample
self-defence against all foes abroad or at home. Partly as a means to
this, partly to build up national feeling, unity, self-respect, and due
respect for the nation abroad, they sought to erect our national credit,
which had fallen so low, and to plant it on a solid and permanent basis.
As still further advancing these ends they proposed so to enforce regard
for the national authority and laws and obedience to them, that within
its sphere the nation should be absolutely and beyond question paramount
to the State.

In many who cherished them these noble purposes were accompanied by a
certain aristocratic feeling and manner, a carelessness of popular
opinion, an inclination to model governmental polity and administration
after the English, and an impatience with what was good in our native
American ideas and ways, which, however natural, were unfortunate and
unreasonable. Puffed up with pride at its victory in carrying the
Constitution against the opposition of the ignorant masses, this party
developed a haughtiness and a lack of republican spirit amounting in
some cases to deficient patriotism.

The early Federalists were of two widely different stripes. There were
among them Washington, Adams, Hamilton, and Jay; and there were the
interested and practical advocates of the same, made up of business men
and the wealthy and leisurely classes, who, without intending to be
selfish, were governed in political sympathy and action mainly by their
own interests.

The greatest early Anti-Federalists were Jefferson, Madison, and
Randolph, all of whom had been ardent for the Constitution. The party as
a whole, indeed, not only acquiesced in the re-creation of the general
Government, but was devotedly friendly to the new order. But while
Republicans admitted that a measure of governmental centralization was
indispensable, they prized the individual State as still the main pillar
of our political fabric, and were hence jealous of all increased
function at the centre. It became more and more their theory that the
States, rather than the individuals of the national body politic, had
been the parties to the Constitution, so making this to be a compact
like the old Articles, and the government under it a confederacy as
before 1789.

Another issue divided the parties, that between the strict and the more
free interpretation of the Constitution--between the close
constructionists and the liberal constructionists. The question dividing
them was this: In matters relating to the powers of the general
Government, ought any unclear utterance of the Constitution to be so
explained as to enlarge those powers, or so as to confine them to the
narrowest possible sphere? Each of the two tendencies in construction
has in turn brought violence to our fundamental law, but the sentiment
of nationality and the logic of events have favored liberality rather
than narrowness in interpreting the parchment. When in charge of the
government, even strict constructionists have not been able to carry out
their theory. Thus Jefferson, to purchase Louisiana, was obliged, from
his point of view, to transcend constitutional warrant; and Madison, who
at first opposed such an institution as unconstitutional, ended by
approving the law which chartered the Second United States Bank.

The Federalists used to argue that Article I, Section VIII., the part of
the Constitution upon which debate chiefly raged, could not have been
intended as an exhaustive statement of congressional powers. The
Government would be unable to exist, they urged, to say nothing of
defending itself and accomplishing its work, unless permitted to do more
than the eighteen things there enumerated. They further insisted that
plain utterances of the Constitution presuppose the exercise by Congress
of powers not specifically enumerated, explicitly authorizing that body
to make all laws necessary for executing the enumerated powers "and all
other powers vested in the Government of the United States or in any
department or officer thereof."

In reply the Anti-Federalists made much of the titles "United States,"
"Federal," and the like, in universal use. They appealed to concessions
as to the nature of our system made by statesmen of known national
sympathies. Such concessions were plentiful then and much later. Even
Webster in his immortal reply to Hayne calls ours a government of
"strictly limited," even of "enumerated, specified, and particularized"
powers. Two historical facts told powerfully for the anti-federalist
theory. One was that the government previous to 1789 was unquestionably
a league of States; the other was that many voted for the present
Constitution supposing it to be a mere revision of the old. Had the
reverse been commonly believed, adoption would have been more than




I. Tariff.--Upon declaring their independence the United States threw
open their ports, inviting trade from all nations. During the Revolution
foreign commerce had become an important interest, and at its close the
inclination of all, the more so from memory of England's accursed
navigation acts, would have been to leave it untrammelled. Several
motives, however, induced resort to a restrictive policy which,
beginning with 1789, and for years expected to be temporary, has been
pursued with little deviation ever since. Of course the Government
needed revenue, and the readiest means of securing this was a tax on
imports. Rates were made low, averaging until 1808 only 11-1/4 per cent.
As a consequence the revenues were large.

The movers of this first tariff, especially Hamilton, also wished by
means of it to make the central Government felt as a positive power
throughout the land. It had this effect. All custom-houses passed to the
United States, and United States officers appeared at every port, having
an authority, in its kind, paramount to that of state functionaries.

A stronger consideration still was to retaliate against England. In
spite of America's political independence the old country was determined
to retain for her merchant marine its former monopoly here. Orders in
council practically limited all the commerce of England and her
remaining colonies with this country to English ships, although, from
the relations of the two lands and the nature of their productions, our
chief foreign trade must still be with England. There was no way to meet
this selfish policy but to show that it was a game which we too could

Besides, however we behaved toward the mother-land, we needed to be
prepared for war, because it was evident that George III. and his
ministers had only too good a will to reduce us again to subjection if
opportunity offered. Should we, by taxing imports, become independent in
the production of war material, a fresh struggle for life would be much
more hopeful than if we continued dependent upon foreign lands for
military supplies.

II. Funding the Debt.--In the first years after they had set up their
new constitution the people of this country staggered under a terrible
financial load. Besides the current expenses of Government, there were:
1, the federal debt due abroad, over thirteen million dollars, including
arrears; 2, the federal debt held at home, about forty-two and one-half
million; 3, the state revolutionary debts, aggregating nearly
twenty-five million. Each of these sums was largely made up of unpaid

The foreign debt Congress unanimously determined to pay in full. In
respect to the domestic federal debt two opinions prevailed. Hamilton
was for liquidating this also to the last copper. But these securities
had mostly changed hands since issue, so that dollar for dollar payment
would not advantage original holders but only speculators. As soon as
Hamilton's recommendation became public this class of paper rose from
about fifteen cents per dollar to fifty cents, and enterprising New York
firms hurried their couriers, relay horses, and swift packets to remote
parts of the Union to buy it up. Madison, supported by a strong party,
proposed, therefore, to pay only original debtors at par, allowing
secondary holders barely the highest market value previous to the
opening of the question in Congress. He was overruled, however, and this
part of the debt, too, was ordered paid according to its literal terms.

Even the motion that the United States should assume and discharge the
state debts finally prevailed, though against most violent and resolute
opposition. This came especially from Virginia, who had gone far in the
payment of her own war debt, and thought it unjust to have to help the
delinquent States. Her objection was strengthened by the fact that most
of the debt was owned in the North. The victory was secured by what is
now termed a "deal," northern votes being promised in favor of a
southern location for the national capital, in return for enough
southern votes to pass the bill assuming state debts.

These gigantic measures had origin in the mind of Hamilton. To many they
appeared and appear today like a grand government job. But they worked
well, laying the foundation of our national credit. Interest arrears and
back installments of the foreign debt were to be paid at once with the
proceeds of a fresh loan, supplemented by income from customs and
tonnage. The remaining debt was to be refunded. Federal stocks shot up
in value, moneyed interests became attached to the Government, and the
nation began to be looked to as a more reliable bulwark of sound finance
than any of the States.

Alexander Hamilton.
From a painting by John Trumbull in the Trumbull Gallery at Yale College.

III. The Excise.--Unexpectedly productive as the tariff had proved,
public income still fell short of what these vast operations required.
Direct taxation or a higher tariff being out of the question, Hamilton
proposed, and Congress voted, an excise on spirits, from nine to
twenty-five cents a gallon if from grain, from eleven to thirty if from
imported material, as molasses. Excise was a hated form of tax, and this
measure awakened great opposition in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina,
and New England, and most of all in Pennsylvania, in whose western
counties distilling was the staple industry.

Here, far from the seats of power, even the state government had
asserted itself little. The general Government was defied. A meeting in
Washington County voted to regard as an enemy any person taking office
under the excise law. September 6, 1791, a revenue officer was tarred
and feathered. Other such cases followed. Secret societies were formed
to oppose the law. Whippings and even murders resulted. At last there
was a veritable reign of terror. The President proceeded slowly but with
firmness, accounting this a good opportunity vividly to reveal to the
people the might of the new Government. Militia and volunteers were
called out, who arrived in the rebellious districts in November, 1794.
Happily, their presence sufficed. The opposition faded away before them,
not a shot being fired on either side.

Illicit Distillers warned of the Approach of Revenue Officers.

IV. The Bank.--The Secretary of the Treasury pleaded for a United States
Bank as not only profitable to Government but indispensable to the
proper administration of the national finances. Congress acquiesced, yet
with so violent hostility on the part of many that before approving the
Charter Act Washington required the written opinions of his official
advisers. Jefferson powerfully opposed such an institution as
unconstitutional, his acute argument being the arsenal whence close
constructionists have gotten their weapons ever since. Randolph sided
with Jefferson, Knox with Hamilton. The President at last signed,
agreeing with Hamilton in the view that Congress, being the agent of a
sovereignty, is not, within any sphere of action constitutionally open
to it, shut up to specific or enumerated modes of attaining its ends,
but has choice among all those that nations customarily use. The Supreme
Court has proceeded on this doctrine ever since. The bank proved vastly
advantageous. Three-fourths of every private subscription to its stock
had to be in government paper, which raised this to par, while it
naturally became the interest of all stockholders to maintain and
increase the stability and credit of the Government.




In 1789 France adopted a constitution. Provoked at this, the friends of
absolute monarchy withdrew from France, and incited the other powers of
Europe to interpose in effort to restore to Louis XVI. his lost power.
The result was that Louis lost his head as well as his power, and that
France became a republic. War with all Europe followed, which elevated
that matchless military genius, Napoleon Bonaparte, first to the head of
France's armies, then to her throne, to be toppled thence in 1814,
partly by his own indiscretions, partly by the forces combined against

From the beginning to the end of this revolutionary period abroad,
European politics determined American politics, home as well as foreign,
causing dangerous embarrassment and complications. War having in
February, 1793, been declared by England and France against each other,
what attitude the United States should assume toward each became a
pressing question. Washington's proclamation of neutrality, April 22,
1793, in effect, though not so meant, annulled our treaty of 1778 with
France, which bound us to certain armed services to that monarchy in
case of a rupture between her and England. Washington's paper alleged
that "the duty and interests of the United States" required
impartiality, and assumed "to declare the disposition of the United
States to observe" this.

"The proclamation," wrote Jefferson, "was in truth a most unfortunate
error. It wounds the popular feelings by a seeming indifference to the
cause of liberty. And it seems to violate the form and spirit of the
Constitution by making the executive magistrate the organ of the
'disposition' 'the duty' and 'the interest' of the nation in relation to
war and peace--subjects appropriated to other departments of  the

"On one side," says Mr. Rives, in his "Life of Madison," "the people saw
a power which had but lately carried war and desolation, fire and sword,
through their own country, and, since the peace, had not ceased to act
toward them in the old spirit of unkindness, jealousy, arrogance, and
injustice; on the other an ally who had rendered them the most generous
assistance in war, had evinced the most cordial dispositions for a
liberal and mutually beneficial intercourse in peace, and was now set
upon by an unholy league of the monarchical powers of Europe, to
overwhelm and destroy her, for her desire to establish institutions
congenial to those of America."

The more sagacious opponents of the administration believed true policy
as well as true honesty to demand rigid and pronounced adherence to the
letter of the French treaty. They were convinced from the outset that
France would vanquish her enemies, and that close alliance with her was
the sure and the only sure way to coerce either Great Britain to justice
or Spain to a reasonable attitude touching the navigation of the
Mississippi; while by offending France, they argued, we should be forced
to wrestle single-handed with England first, then with victorious
France, meantime securing no concession whatever from Spain.

This was a shrewd forecast of the actual event. The Federalists,
destitute of idealism, proved to have been overawed by the prestige of
England and to have underestimated the might which freedom would impart
to the French people. After Napoleon's great campaign of 1796-97, Pitt
seeks peace, which the French Directory feels able to decline. In 1802
the Peace of Amiens is actually concluded, upon terms dictated by
France. Had we been still in France's friendship, the two republics
might have compelled England's abandonment of that course which evoked
the war of 1812. As it was, ignored by England, to whom, as detailed
below, we cringed in consenting to Jay's treaty, we were left to
encounter the French navy alone, escaping open and serious war with
France only by a readiness to negotiate which all but compromised our
dignity. The Mississippi we had at last to open with money.

The federalist leaning toward Great Britain probably did not, to so
great an extent as was then alleged and widely believed, spring from
monarchical feeling. It was due rather to old memories, as pleasant as
they were tenacious, that would not be dissociated from England; to the
individualistic tendencies of republicanism, alarming to many; and to
conservative habits of political thinking, the dread of innovation and
of theory. The returned Tories had indeed all become Federalists, which
fact, with many others, lent to this attitude the appearance of
deficient patriotism, of sycophancy toward our old foe and persecutor.

Great Britain had refused to surrender the western posts according to
the peace treaty of 1783, unjustly pleading in excuse the treatment of
loyalists by our States. Not only the presence but the active influence
of the garrisons at these posts encouraged Indian hostilities. England
had also seized French goods in American (neutral) vessels, though in
passage to the United States, and treated as belligerent all American
ships plying between France and her West Indian colonies, on the ground
that this commerce had been opened to them only by the pressure of war.
The English naval officers were instructed to regard bread-stuffs as
contraband if bound for France, even though owned by neutrals and in
neutral ships; such cargoes, however, to be paid for by England, or
released on bonds being given to land them elsewhere than in France. In
this practice England followed France's example, except that she
actually paid for the cargoes, while France only promised.

John Jay.
From a painting by S. F. B. Morse in the Yale College Collection.


Worst of all, Britain claimed and acted upon the right to press into her
naval service British-born seamen found anywhere outside the territory
of a foreign State, halting our ships on the high seas for this purpose,
often leaving them half-manned, and sometimes recklessly and cruelly
impressing native-born Americans--an outrageous policy which ended in
the war of 1812. The ignorance and injustice of the English admiralty
courts aggravated most of these abuses.

Genet's proceedings, spoken of in the next chapter, which partly public
sentiment, partly lack of army and navy, made it impossible for our
Government to prevent, enraged Great Britain to the verge of war. After
the British orders in council of November 6, 1793, intended to destroy
all neutral commerce with the French colonies, and Congress's
counter-stroke of an embargo the following March, war was positively
imminent. The President resolved to send Jay to England as envoy
extraordinary, to make one more effort for an understanding.

The treaty negotiated by this gentleman, and ratified June 24,  1795
(excepting Article XII., on the French West India trade), was doubtless
the most favorable that could have been secured under the circumstances;
yet it satisfied no one and was humiliating in the extreme. The western
posts were indeed to be vacated by June 1, 1796, though without
indemnity for the past, but a British right of search and impressment
was implicitly recognized, the French West Indian trade not rendered
secure, and arbitrary liberty accorded to Great Britain in defining
contraband. Opposition to ratification was bitter and nearly universal.
The friends of France were jubilant. Jay was burned in effigy,
Washington himself attacked. The utmost that Hamilton in his powerful
"Letters of Camillus" could show was that the treaty seemed preferable
to war. Plainly we had then little to hope and much to fear from war
with Great Britain, yet even vast numbers of Federalists denounced the
pact as a base surrender to the nation's ancient tyrant, and wished an
appeal to arms.

Fisher Ames's eloquence decided the House for the treaty. An invalid,
with but a span of life before him, he spoke as from the tomb. "There
is, I believe," so ran his peroration, "no member who will not think his
chance to be a witness of the consequences (should the treaty fail of
ratification) greater than mine. If, however, the vote should pass to
reject, and a spirit should rise, as it will, with the public disorders,
to make confusion worse confounded, even I, slender and almost broken as
my hold on life is, may outlive the Government and Constitution of my

It was the most delicate crisis of  Washington's presidency, and no
other American then alive, being in his place, could have passed through
it successfully. After the fury gradually subsided, men for a long time
acquiesced rather than believed in the step which had been taken. In the
end the treaty proved solidly advantageous, rather through
circumstances, however, than by its intrinsic excellence.




 At its beginning all Americans hailed the Revolution in France with
 joy, but its terrible excesses, when they appeared, produced here the
 same effect as in England, of alienating everyone conservatively
 inclined. This included the mass of the Federalist party. On the
 contrary, most of the Republicans, now more numerous, now less,
 actuated partly by true insight into the struggle, and partly by the
 magic of the words "revolution" and "republic," favored the
 revolutionists with a devotion which even the Reign of Terror in France
 scarcely shook. It was in consequence of this attitude on its part that
 the party came to be dubbed "democratic-republican" instead of
 "republican," the compound title itself giving way after about 1810 to
 simple "democratic."

John Adams
From a copy by Jane Stuart, about 1874, of a painting by her father,
Gilbert Stuart, about 1800--in possession of Henry Adams.

Hostility to England, the memory of France's aid to us in our hour of
need, the doctrine of "the rights of man," then so much in vogue, the
known sympathies of Jefferson and Madison, who were already popular,
and, alas, a mean wish to hamper the administration, all helped to swell
the ranks of those who swung their hats for France. A far deeper motive
with the more thoughtful was the belief that neutrality violated our
treaty of 1778 with France, a conclusion at present beyond question.
Politically our policy may have been wise, morally it was wrong.

The administration, at least its honored head, was doubtless innocent of
any intentional injustice; and it could certainly urge a great deal in
justification of its course. The form and the aims of the French
Government had changed since the treaty originated, involving a state of
things which that instrument had not contemplated.  France herself
defied international law and compact, revolutionizing and incorporating
Holland and Geneva, and assaulting our commerce. And war with England
then threatened our ruin. Yet the pleading of these considerations in
that so trying hour, even had they been wholly pertinent, could not but
seem to Frenchmen treason to the cause of liberty. As to many
Federalists, trucklers to England, such a charge would have been true.

France was not slow to reciprocate in the matter of grievances. In fact,
so early as May, 1793, before the proclamation of neutrality could have
been heard of in that country, orders had been issued there, wholly
repugnant to the treaty (which had ordained that neutral ships could
carry what goods they pleased--free ships, free goods), to capture and
condemn English merchandise on American vessels. Provisions owned by
Americans and en route to England were also to be forfeited as
contraband. Even the most reasonable French officials seemed bent on
treating our country as a dependency of France.

We see this in the actions of Genet, the first envoy to America from the
French constitutional monarchy, accredited hither by a ministry of
high-minded Republicans while Louis XVI. still sat upon his throne.
Genet arrived in Charleston in 1793, before our neutrality had been
proclaimed. Immediately, before presenting his credentials to our
Government, he set about fitting out privateers, manning them with
Americans, and sending them to prey upon British ships, some of which
they captured in American waters. All this was in utter derogation of
the treaty, which only guaranteed shelter to bona fide French vessels.
Under a law of the French National Convention, Genet assumed to erect
the French consulates in this country into so many admiralty courts for
the trial of British prizes. We could not have allowed this without
decidedly violating international law at least in spirit. He also
devised and partly arranged expeditions of Americans, to start, one from
Georgia to invade Florida, another from Kentucky to capture New Orleans,
both as means of weakening Spain, which up to this time and for several
years later was France's foe.


But Genet's worst gall came out in his conduct toward Washington. Him he
insulted, challenging his motives and his authority for his acts and
threatening to appeal from him to the people. He tried to bully and
browbeat the whole cabinet as if they had been so many boys. So
ludicrous did he make himself by such useless bluster, that his friends,
at first numerous and many of them influential, gave him the cold
shoulder, and the ardor for France greatly cooled. At length Washington
effected his removal, the more easily, it would seem, as he was not
radical enough for the Jacobins, who had now succeeded to the helm in
France. The officious Frenchman did not return to his own country, but
settled down in New York, marrying a daughter of Governor Clinton. He
was succeeded by Adet.

George Clinton.
From a painting by Ezra Ames.

Upon learning that the United States had ratified Jay's treaty, France
went insane with rage. A declaration of war by us could not have angered
her more. Adet was called home and the alliance with America declared at
an end. Barras dismissed Mr. Monroe, our minister, in a contemptuous
speech, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, sent as Monroe's successor, was
not only not received but ordered from the land. New and worse decrees
went forth against American commerce. Our ships were confiscated for
carrying English goods though not contraband. Arbitrary and unheard-of
tests of neutrality were trumped up, wholly contrary to the treaty,
which indeed was now denounced. American sailors found serving, though
compelled, on British armed vessels, were to be condemned as pirates.


These brutal measures, coupled with Napoleon's increasing power, begot
in America the belief, even among Republicans, that France's struggle
was no longer for liberty but for conquest. The insolence of the French
Government waxed insufferable. President Adams, to a special session of
the Vth Congress, on May 19, 1797, announced the insult to the nation in
the person of Pinckney, and urged preparation for war. A goodly loan, a
direct tax, and a provisional army, Washington again leader, were
readily voted. Our Navy Department was created at this time. The navy
was increased, and several captures were made of French vessels guilty
of outrage. Adams, however, to make a last overture for peace,
despatched John Marshall and Elbridge Gerry to the aid of Pinckney, the
three to knock once more at France's doors for a becoming admission. In
vain. The only effect was a new chapter of French mendacity and
insolence, furthering America's wish and preparations for war.
Napoleon's recent Italian victories, terrifying Europe, had puffed up
France with pride. Talleyrand assumed to arraign us as criminals, and
what was worse, pressed us, through his agents, to buy his country's
forgiveness with gold. "You must pay money," our envoys were told, and
"a good deal of it, too."

John Marshall.

All this was duly made known at Philadelphia, and the President assured
Congress that no terms were obtainable from France "compatible with the
safety, honor, and general interest of the nation." The opposition
thought this an exaggeration, and called for the despatches, expecting
refusal or abridgment. The President sent every word.

Elbridge Gerry

Confusion seized the Republicans. Federalists were again in the
ascendant, the VIth Congress being much more strongly federalist than
the Vth. For once proud, reserved John Adams was popular, and
anti-French feeling irresistible. "Millions for defence but not a cent
for tribute," echoed through the land. Hosts of Republicans went over to
the administration side. Patriotism became a passion. Each night at the
theatre rose a universal call for the "President's March" [Footnote: The
music was that of our "Hail Columbia."] and "Yankee Doodle," the
audience rising, cheering, swinging hats and canes, and roaring
"encore." The black cockade, American, on all hands supplanted the
tricolor cockade worn by the "Gallomaniacs;" and bands of "Associated
Youth," organizing in every town and city, deluged the President with
patriotic addresses.

Seeing that we could not be bullied and that the friends of France here
were Americans first; ashamed, on their publication, of the indignities
which he had offered our envoys, and after all not wishing war with what
he saw to be potentially another naval power like England, the sly
Talleyrand neatly receded from his arrogant demands, and expressed a
desire to negotiate.




The heat of the nation's wrath evoked by this conflict with France
betrayed the Federalists in Congress into some pieces of tyrannical
legislation. These were especially directed against refugees from
France, lest they should attempt to reenact here the bloody drama just
played out there. Combinations were alleged, without proof, to exist
between American and French democrats, dangerous to the stability of
this Government.

A new naturalization act was passed, requiring of an immigrant, as
prerequisite to citizenship, fourteen years of residence instead of the
five heretofore sufficient. Next came three alien acts, empowering the
President, at his discretion, without trial or even a statement of his
reasons, to banish foreigners from the land; any who should return
unbidden being liable to imprisonment for three years, and cut off from
the possibility of citizenship forever. A "sedition act" followed, to
fine in the sum of $5,000 each and to imprison for five years any
persons stirring up sedition, combining to oppose governmental measures,
resisting United States law, or putting forth "any false, scandalous, or
malicious writings" against Congress, the President, or the Government.

To President Adams's credit, he was no abettor of these hateful decrees,
and did little to enforce them. The sedition law, however, did not rest
with him for execution, and was applied right and left. Evidently its
champions were swayed largely by political motives. Matthew Lyon, a
fiery Republican member of Congress from Vermont, had, in an address to
his constituents, charged the President with avarice and with "thirst
for ridiculous pomp and foolish adulation," He was convicted of
sedition, fined $1,000, and sentenced to four months in prison. This
impoverished him, as well as took him from his place in Congress for
most of a session. Adams refused pardon, but in 1840 Congress paid back
the fine to Lyon's heirs.

It is now admitted that these measures were unconstitutional, as
invading freedom of speech and of the press, and assigning to the
Federal Judiciary a common-law jurisdiction in criminal matters. But
they were also highly unwise, subjecting the Federalist Party to the
odium of fearing free speech, of declining a discussion of its policy,
and of hating foreigners. The least opposition to the party in power, or
criticism of its official chiefs, became criminal, under the head of
"opposing" the Government. A joke or a caricature might send its author
to jail as "seditious." It was surely a travesty upon liberty when a man
could be arrested for expressing the wish, as a salute was fired, that
the wadding might hit John Adams behind. Even libels upon government, if
it is to be genuinely free, must be ignored--a principle now acted upon
by all constitutional States.

But the Federalists were blind to considerations like these. As Schouler
well remarks: "A sort of photophobia afflicted statesmen, who, allowing
little for the good sense and spirit of Americans, or our geographical
disconnection with France, were crazed with the fear that this Union
might be, like Venice, made over to some European potentate, or chained
in the same galley with Switzerland or Holland, to do the Directory's
bidding. That, besides this unfounded fear, operated the desire of
ultra-Federalists to take revenge upon those presses which had assailed
the British treaty and other pet measures, and abused Federal leaders;
and the determination to entrench themselves in authority by forcibly
disbanding an opposition party which attracted a readier support at the
polls from the oppressed of other countries, no candid writer can at
this day question."


It was next the turn of the Republicans to blunder. In November, 1798,
the Kentucky Legislature passed a series of resolutions, drawn up by
John Breckenridge upon a sketch by Jefferson, in effect declaring the
alien and sedition acts not law, but altogether void and of no force. In
December the Virginia Legislature put forth a similar series by Madison,
milder in tone and more cautiously expressed, denouncing those acts as
"palpable and alarming infractions of the Constitution." A year after
their first utterance, the Kentucky law-makers further "resolved that
the several States who formed (the Constitution), being sovereign and
independent, have the unquestionable right to judge of its infraction;
and that a nullification by those sovereignties, of all unauthorized
acts done under color of that instrument, is the rightful remedy."
Virginia again declared it a State's right "to interpose" in such cases.

These resolutions were intended to stir reflection and influence
opinion, and, if  possible, elicit a concurrent request to Congress from
the various States to repeal the obnoxious acts. They do not hint at the
use of force. Their execration of the hated laws is none too strong, and
their argument as a whole is masterly and unanswerable. But at least
those of Kentucky suggest, if they do not contain, a doctrine respecting
the Constitution which is untenable and baneful, in kernel the same that
threatened secession in Jackson's time and brought it in Buchanan's. The
State, as such, is not a party to the Constitution. Still less is the
Legislature. Nor is either, but the Supreme Court, the judge whether in
any case the fundamental law has been infringed.

Procuring the resolutions, however, proved a crafty political move. The
enormity of the despicable acts was advertised as never before, while
the endorsement of them by federalist legislators went upon record.
Petitions for repeal came in so numerous and numerously signed that the
VIth Congress could not but raise a committee to consider such action.
It reported adversely, and the report was accepted, the majority in the
House, fifty-two to forty-eight, trying contemptuously to cough down
every speaker lifting his voice on the opposite side.


This sullen obstinacy in favor of a miserable experiment sealed the doom
of Federalism. In vain did the party orators plead that liberty of
speech and the press is not license, but only the right to utter "the
truth," that hence this liberty was not abridged by the acts in
question, and that aliens had no constitutional rights, but enjoyed the
privileges of the land only by favor. The fact remained, more and more
appreciated by ordinary people, that a land ruled by such maxims could
never be free.

So a deep distrust of Federalism sprung up, as out of sympathy with
popular government. It was furthered by the attachment of prominent
Federalists to England. Several of them are on record as ready to
involve the United States in an expedition planned by one Miranda, to
conquer Spanish America in aid of Great Britain, Spain and ourselves
being perfectly at peace. The federalist chieftains were too proud,
ignoring too much the common voter. They often expressed doubt, too, as
to the permanence of popular institutions. Federalism had too close
affinity with Puritanism to suit many outside New England. And
then--deadly to the party even had nothing else concurred--there was a
quarrel among its leaders. Hamilton, the Essex Junto (Pickering, Cabot,
Quincy, Otis), and their supporters were set against Adams and his
friends. This rivalry of long standing was brought to a head by Adams's
noble and self-sacrificing independence in accepting France's overtures
for peace, when Hamilton, Pickering, King, and all the rest, out of
private or party interest rather than patriotism, wished war.


Toward 1800, Democracy bade fair soon to come into power, but the
Federalists learned no wisdom. Rather were they henceforth more factious
than ever, opposing Jefferson and Madison even when they acted on purely
federalist principles. Tooth and nail they fought against the
acquisition of Louisiana, the War of 1812, and the protective tariff of
1816, which was carried by Republicans. A worse spirit still was shown
in their disunion scheme of 1804, after the purchase of Louisiana, and
in the Hartford Convention of 1814. Federalism had further lost ground
by its mean and revolutionary devices on resigning power in 1801, first
to make Burr President instead of Jefferson, and, failing in this, to
use its expiring authority in creating needless offices for its clients.

In consequence of such ill-advised steps, federalist strength waned
apace. In 1804 Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland alone chose
federalist electors, the last only two such. In 1808 these were joined
by the remaining New England States, North Carolina also casting three
federalist votes. In 1812, indeed, Clinton received eighty-nine votes to
Madison's one hundred and twenty-eight; but in 1816 again only
Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware were federalist. In 1820 not a
State had a federalist majority. State elections in Maryland, North
Carolina, Delaware, and Connecticut commonly went federalist till 1820,
and in Massachusetts till 1823, when the Republicans swept this
commonwealth too, Essex County and all.

Yet Federalism did not die without fixing its stamp indelibly upon our
institutions. Not to mention the Whig and the modern Republican Parties,
close reproductions of it, or the public credit, its child, methods of
administration passed with little change from Adams to Jefferson and his
successors, and federalist principles modified the entire temper, and
directed in no small degree the action, of the Democratic Party while in
power. The nation was exalted more, state rights subordinated, and the
Constitution construed ever more broadly. Thus there was silently and
gradually imparted to our governmental fabric a consistency and a
solidity which were of incalculable worth against storms to come.




A simple resolution of the Continental Congress in 1780 has proved of
the highest consequence for the subsequent development of our country.
It declared that all territorial land should be national domain, to be
disposed of for the common benefit of the States, with the high
privilege of itself growing into States coequal with the old Thirteen.
The treaty of 1783 carried this domain north to the Lakes, west to the
Mississippi. The Ohio divided it into a northwestern and a southwestern
part. The land to the west of themselves Virginia and North Carolina
claimed, and it became Kentucky and Tennessee, respectively, erected
into statehood, the one June 1, 1792, the other June 1, 1796, these
being the fifteenth and sixteenth States in order. Vermont, admitted in
1791, was the fourteenth. Virginia never released Kentucky till it
became a State. The Tennessee country, ceded to the United States by
North Carolina in 1784, the cession revoked and afterward repeated, had
already, under the name of Frankland, enjoyed for some time a separate
administration. The nucleus of Kentucky civilization was on the northern
or Ohio River border, that of Tennessee in the Cumberland Valley about
Nashville; but by 1800 the borders of these two oases had joined.

United States land has since broadened westward to the Pacific, over the
infinite areas which in 1800 belonged to Spain. From an early period
there have been, as now, unorganized territory and also partially
organized and fully organized territories, the last being inchoate
States, ready to be admitted to full membership in the Union when
sufficiently populous, on condition of framing each for itself a
republican constitution.

General Arthur St. Clair.


The great ordinance of 1787, re-enacted by the First Congress, forever
sealing the same to civil and religious liberty, opened the Northwest
for immediate colonization, twenty thousand people settling there in the
next two years. The territory was organized and General St. Clair made
governor. In 1788 Marietta was founded, named from Marie Antoinette,
also Columbia near the mouth of the Little Miami. In the same year
Losantiville, subsequently called Fort Washington, and now Cincinnati,
was laid out, the first houses having gone up in 1780. Louisville,
settled so early as 1773, contained in 1784 over one hundred houses.
Emigrants in hundreds and thousands yearly poured over the mountains and
down the Ohio. By the census of 1790 there were 4,280 whites northwest
of this river, 1,000 at Vincennes, 1,000 on the lands of the Ohio
Company, 1,300 on Symmes's purchase between the Great and the Little
Miami, Cincinnati being part of this purchase. In 1800 these numbers had
much increased. The settlements which had Pittsburgh for a nucleus had
also greatly extended, reaching the Ohio. Northern and Central
Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna Valley was yet a wilderness. St.
Louis, in Spanish hands, but to become French next year, had been
founded, and opposite it were the beginnings of what is now Alton, Ill.


The centre of United States population in 1790 was twenty-three miles
east of Baltimore. It has since moved westward, not far from the
thirty-ninth parallel, never more than sixteen miles north of it, or
three to the south. In 1800 it was eighteen miles west of Baltimore; in
1810 it was forty-three miles northwest by west of Washington; in 1820,
sixteen miles north of Woodstock, Va.; in 1830, nineteen miles
west-southwest of Moorfield, W. Va.; in 1840, sixteen miles south of
Clarksburg, same State; in 1850, twenty-three miles southeast of
Parkersburg, same State; in 1860, twenty miles south of Chillicothe, 0.;
in 1870, forty-eight miles east by north of Cincinnati; in 1880, eight
miles west by south of that city; in 1890, twenty miles east of
Columbus, Ind., west by south of Greensburg. It has never since been so
far north as in 1790, and it has described a total westward movement of
four hundred and fifty-seven miles.

The land system of the United States was at first a bad one, intended
to secure immediate revenue from the sale of immense pieces at auction,
on long credit, at very few points, the land to find its way into the
hands of actual settlers only through mercenary speculators. The honest
pioneer was therefore at the mercy of these land-sharks, greedy and
unpatriotic in the extreme.

The western movement aroused the Indians, of whom there were, in 1790,
from 20,000 to 40,000 north of the Ohio. The idea of amalgamating or
even civilizing these people had long been practically given up.
Settlers agreed in denouncing them as treacherous, intractable,
bloodthirsty, and faithless. So incessant and terrific were their
onslaughts, the Ohio Valley had come to be known as "the dark and bloody
ground." The British, still occupying the western posts, used their
influence to keep up and intensify Indian hostility to the United States
settlers and Government.

In September, 1790, Governor St. Clair sent Harmar against the Indians
on the Miami and Maumee. He had about fifteen hundred men, two-thirds of
them militia. The expedition was ill-managed from the first, and, after
advancing as far as the present Fort Wayne, came back with great loss to
itself, having exasperated rather than injured the red men. Harmar,
chagrined, soon resigned.

The Indians south of the Ohio were perhaps twice as numerous as those
north, and partly civilized. The Chickasaws and Choctaws, nearest the
Mississippi, gave little trouble. Not so the Cherokees and Creeks, whose
seats were nearer the whites. The Creeks claimed parts of Tennessee,
Georgia, and the Carolinas, justified herein by acts of the Continental
Congress. However, the whites invaded this territory, provoking a fierce
war, wherein the Cherokees allied themselves with the Creeks of Alabama
and Georgia. This brave tribe had border troubles of its own with
Georgia. These various hordes of savages, having the Florida Spaniards
to back them with counsel, arms, and ammunition, were a formidable foe,
which might have annihilated Georgia but for aid from the general
Government. McGillivray, the half-breed chief of the Creeks, was enticed
to New York, where the kindness of Washington and the evident desire of
Congress to deal with his people fairly, resulted in a treaty, August
13, 1790, which secured peace to the Southwest for a long time.


Touching the northwestern redskins, Harmar's defeat had convinced
Washington that mild measures were not yet the thing. A larger force was
fitted out against them under St. Clair in person, whom, as an old
Revolutionary comrade, Washington still trusted. General Butler was
second in command. The two thousand regulars and one thousand militia
rendezvoused at Cincinnati in the autumn of 1791. Part object of the
expedition was to build a military road, with forts at intervals, all
the way to the upper Wabash. Progress was therefore slow.

A fort was constructed on the present site of Hamilton, 0.; then one to
the northwest, near Greenville, 0., close to the present Indiana line.
From here the army pressed northwesterly still farther.

St. Clair was heroic, but incompetent through age and the gout. Some of
his militia deserted. Chills and fever shook the remainder of his too
slender host. His orders were not well obeyed. On November 9th,
encamping by a small branch of the Wabash, St. Clair's force was most
vehemently attacked by Indians, under the redoubtable Joseph Brant or
Thayendanegea--famed for his bloody exploits against us during the
Revolution--and well-nigh annihilated. Five high officers, including
Butler, were killed, and as many more sank from wounds. Cannons, guns,
accoutrements, in fact the whole equipment of the army, were lost. After
a four hours' fight St. Clair, sick but brave as a tiger, horse after
horse shot beneath him, part of the time carried in a litter, his gray
locks streaming in the breeze, put himself at the head of the five
hundred who remained unscathed, and hewed his way through walls of
savages to the rear. Six o'clock that night found the survivors back at
Greenville, twenty-nine miles from the scene of carnage. Had the Indians
pursued instead of stopping to mutilate the slain, every soul must have

Joseph Brant or Thayendanegea.


The announcement of this disaster called forth in the East a universal
howl of rage at the unfortunate commander. Even Washington went beside
himself: "To suffer that army to be cut to pieces, hacked, butchered,
tomahawked, by a surprise--the very thing I guarded him against! O God!
O God, he is worse than a murderer! How can he answer it to his country?
The blood of the slain is upon him, the curse of widows and orphans, the
curse of Heaven." St. Clair came East to explain. Hobbling into
Washington's presence, he grasped his hand in both his own and sobbed
aloud. He was continued as governor, but had to resign his
major-generalship, which passed to Anthony Wayne.

Wayne was every inch a warrior. Cautiously advancing over the road St.
Clair's fugitives had reddened with their blood, he reached Fort
Jefferson, at Greenville, in June, 1793. Next year he advanced to the
junction of the Au Glaize with the Maumee. The Indians fleeing, he
pursued to the foot of the Maumee Rapids, where he encountered them
encamped by a fort which the English, defying the treaty, still held,
fifty miles inside our lines. Wayne, agreeably to Washington's policy,
tried to treat. Failing, he attacked, routed the enemy, and mercilessly
ravaged the country, burning crops and villages. Building Fort Wayne as
an advanced post, he came back and made his headquarters at Fort
Jefferson. The Indians' spirit and opposition were at last broken. Their
delegates flocked to Wayne, suing for peace. Captives were surrendered.
The whole Ohio Territory now lay open to peaceful occupation, and
emigrants crowded northward from the Ohio in great companies.


The pioneer bought land wherever he found a vacant spot that pleased
him, building his hut, breaking up any open land for crops, and as
rapidly as possible clearing for more. His white neighbors, if any were
near, lent their assistance in this work. His rough dwelling of logs,
with one room, floored with puncheon, caulked with mud, and covered with
bark or thatch, however uncomfortable from our point of view, made him a
habitable home. When this primitive mansion was no longer sufficient, he
was usually able to rear another out of hewn logs, with glass windows
and a chimney. Then he felt himself an aristocrat, and who will deny
that he was so? A large family grew up around him, neighbors moved in,
the forest disappeared, the savages and wild beasts that at first
harassed him slunk away, while the fruitful soil, with such exchanges
and mail privileges as were speedily possible, yielded him all the
necessaries and many of the comforts of life.


So rapid was the increase of population henceforth, that Congress, in
1800, divided the territory, the line running north from the junction of
the Kentucky with the Ohio. All west of this was to be known as the
Indiana Territory, William Henry Harrison its governor, and a
territorial legislature to follow so soon as a majority of the
inhabitants should desire.

On February 19, 1803, Ohio became a State. Mainly through Governor
Harrison's exertions a better system of marketing public land was begun,
in healthy contrast with the old. It allowed four land-offices in Ohio
and Indiana. Lands once offered at auction and not sold could be
pre-empted directly by private individuals on easy terms. Actual
settlement and cultivation were thus furthered, speculation curbed, and
the government revenues vastly increased.

Dugout of a Southwestern Pioneer


We have spoken mostly of the Northwest. The present States of Alabama
and Mississippi north of 31 degrees, except a narrow strip at the
extreme north owned by South Carolina, were claimed by Georgia, but the
part of this territory south of 32 degrees 30 minutes the United States
also claimed, as having before the Revolution been separated from
Georgia by the king and joined to West Florida, so that it, like the
Northwest, passed to the United States at the treaty of 1783. This
section was organized in 1798 as the Mississippi Territory. In 1802
Georgia relinquished all claim to the northern part as well, which
Congress added to the Mississippi Territory. At this date there were
settlements along the Mississippi bluffs below the Yazoo bottom.

Robert Fulton




In 1800 the population of our land was 5,305,482, of whom 896,849 were
slaves. New York City had 60,489; Philadelphia, 40,000; Boston, 24,937;
Baltimore, 23,971; Charleston, 18,712; Providence, 7,614; Washington,
3,210. The population of Vermont, Northern and Western New York, and the
Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania had grown considerably more dense
since 1790. The social life, ideas, and habits of the rural districts
had not altered much from those prevalent in colonial days, but in the
more favored centres great improvements, or, at any rate, changes, might
have been marked.

Even far in the country framed buildings were now the most common, the
raising of one being a great event. The village school gave a half
holiday. Every able-bodied man and boy from the whole country-side
received an invitation--all being needed to "heave up," at the boss
carpenter's pompous word of command, the ponderous timbers seemingly
meant to last forever. A feast followed, with contests of strength and
agility worthy of description on Homer's page.

Skating was not yet a frequent pastime, nor dancing, save in cities and
large towns. Balls every pious New Englander abhorred as sinful. The
theatre was similarly tabooed--in Massachusetts, so late as 1784, by
law. New York and Philadelphia frowned upon it then, though jolly
Baltimore already gave it patrons enough. When, in 1793, yellow fever
desolated Philadelphia, one theory ascribed the affection to the
admission of the theatre. In other cities passion for the theatre was
growing, and even Massachusetts tolerated it by an act passed in 1793.
President Washington, while in New York, oftener than many thought
proper, attended the old, sorrily furnished play-house in John Street,
the only one which the city could then boast. John Adams also went now
and again. Both were squinted at through opera-glasses, which were just
coming into use and thought by the crowd to be infinitely ridiculous.
Good hours were kept, as the play began at five.

Fulton's First Experiment with Paddle-wheels.

All sorts of shows, games, and sports which the country could afford or
devise were immensely popular, the most so, and the roughest, in the
South. Horse-racing, cock-fighting, shooting matches, at all which
betting was high, were there fashionable, as well as most brutal
man-fights, in which ears were bitten off and eyes gouged out. President
Thomas Jefferson was exceedingly fond of menageries and circuses, his
diary abounding in such entries as: "pd for seeing a lion 21 months old
11-1/2 d.;" "pd seeing a small seal .125 ;" "pd seeing elephant .5;" "pd
seeing elk .75 ;" "pd seeing Caleb Phillips a dwarf .25;" "pd seeing a
painting .25."

Lotteries were universal, and put to uses which now seem excessively
queer. Whenever a bridge or a public edifice, as a schoolhouse, was to
be built, a street paved or a road repaired, the money was furnished
through a lottery. In the same way manufacturing companies were started,
churches aided, college treasuries replenished. It was with money
collected through a lottery that Massachusetts first encouraged cotton
spinning; that the City Hall of New York was enlarged, the Court House
at Elizabeth rebuilt, the Harvard University library increased, and many
pretentious buildings put up at the Federal City. [Footnote: McMaster's
United States, 588.] This was but a single form of the sporting mania.
The public stocks, as well as the paper of the numerous canals,
turnpikes, and manufacturing corporations now springing up, were gambled
in a way which would almost shock Wall Street today.

Departure of the Clermont on her First Voyage.

Anthracite coal had been discovered and was just beginning to be mined,
but on account of the plentifulness of wood was not for a long time
largely used. The first idea of steam navigation was embodied in an
English patent taken out by Jonathan Hulls in 1736. The initial
experiment of the kind in this country was by William Henry, on the
Conestoga River, Pennsylvania, in 1763. John Fitch navigated the
Delaware steam-wise in 1783-84. In 1790 one of Fitch's steam
paddle-boats made regular trips between Philadelphia and Trenton for
four months. In 1785-86 Oliver Evans experimented in this direction, as
did Rumsey, in Virginia, in 1787. One Morey ran a stern-wheeler of his
own make from Hartford to New York in 1794. Chancellor Livingston built
a steamer on the Hudson in 1797. It was only in 1807 that Fulton
finished his "Clermont" and made a passage up the Hudson to Albany from
New York. It took thirty-three hours, and was the earliest thoroughly
successful steam navigation on record. He subsequently built the
"Orleans" at Pittsburgh. It was completed and made the voyage to New
Orleans in 1811. No steamboat ruffled the waters of Lake Ontario till
1816. The pioneer steam craft on Lake Erie was launched at Black Rock,
May 28, 1818. It is recorded as wonderful that in less than two hours it
had gotten fifteen miles from shore.

John Fitch's Steamboat at Philadelphia.

Massachusetts Bill of Three Shillings in 1741.

At the North the muster or general training was, for secular
entertainment, the day of days, when the local regiment came out to
reveal and to perfect its skill in the manual and in the evolutions of
the line. Side-shows and a general good time constituted for the crowds
its chief interest. Cider, cakes, pop-corn, and candy drained boys'
pockets of pennies, those who could afford the fun going in to see the
one-legged revolutionary soldier with his dancing bear, the tattooed
man, the ventriloquist, or the then "greatest show on earth." College
commencements, too, at that time usually had all these festive
accompaniments, and many a boy debated whether to spend his scant change
here or at the muster. In New England, Christmas was not observed; it
was hardly known, in fact, Thanksgiving taking its place, proclaimed
with the utmost formality by the Governor some weeks in advance.

Intemperance was still terribly common; worst in the newer sections of
the country. There is extant a message of William Henry Harrison, while
Governor of Indiana Territory, to his legislature, against this evil,
urging better surveillance of public-houses. "The progress of
intemperance among us," it runs, "outstrips all calculation, and the
consequences of its becoming general I shudder to unfold. Poverty and
domestic embarrassment and distress are the present effects, and
prostration of morals and change of government must inevitably follow.
The virtue of the citizens is the only support of a Republican
Government. Destroy this and the country will become a prey to the first
daring and ambitious chief which it shall produce."

New Hampshire Bill of Forty Shillings in 1742.

To counteract this and other vices, which were justly viewed as largely
the results of ignorance, philanthropic people were at this period
establishing Sunday-schools, following the example of Robert Raikes, who
began the movement at Gloucester, England, in 1781. They had been
already introduced in New England, but were now making their way in
Philadelphia and elsewhere. The first Methodist bishop, Asbury,
zealously furthered them. They had, to begin with, no distinctive
religious character, and churches even looked upon them with disfavor;
but their numbers increased and their value became more apparent until
the institution was adopted by all denominations.

Before 1800 the new United States coinage, with nearly the same pieces
as now, had begun to circulate, but had had little success at that date
in driving out the old foreign coins of colonial times. Especially were
there still seen Spanish dollars, halves, quarters, fifths or
pistareens, and eighths--the last being the Spanish "real," "ryall," or
"royall," worth twelve and a half cents--and sixteenths or half-reals,
worth six and one-quarter cents each. Many of these pieces were sadly
worn, passing at their face value only when the legend could be made
out. Sometimes they were heated to aid in this. Many were so worn that a
pistareen would bring only a Yankee shilling, sixteen and two-thirds
cents; the half-pistareen, only eight cents; the real, ten; the
half-real, five.

Massachusetts Twopence of 1722.

The denominations of the colonial money of account were also still in
daily use, and, indeed, might be heard so late as the Civil War. The
"real," twelve and one-half cents, was in New York a shilling, being
one-twentieth of the pound once prevalent in the New York colony. In New
England it was a "nine-pence," constituting nearly nine-twelfths, or
nine of the twelve pence of an old New England shilling of sixteen and
two-thirds cents. Twenty such shillings had been required for the New
England pound, which was so much more valuable than the pound of the New
York colony. But neither one or any colonial pound was the equivalent of
the pound sterling.

Pine Tree Twopence.

Pine Tree Threepence.

In the middle colonies, including Pennsylvania, the pound had possessed
still a different value, the Spanish dollar, in which the Continental
Congress kept its accounts, there equalling ninety pence. This is why
those accounts stand in dollars and ninetieths, a notation so puzzling
to many. A "real" would here be about one-eleventh of ninety pence,
hence called the "eleven-penny-piece," shortened into "levy." Dividing
a levy by two would give five (and a fraction); hence the term
"five-penny-piece," "fippenny," or "fip," for the half-real or six and
one-quarter cent piece. There are doubtless yet people in Virginia and
Maryland who never say "twenty-five cents," but instead, "two levies and
a fip."

Pine Tree Sixpence.

General intelligence had improved, partly from the greater number,
better quality, and quicker and fuller distribution of newspapers.
Correspondents were numerous. Intelligent persons visiting at a distance
from home were wont to write long letters to their local newspapers,
containing all the items of interest which they could scrape together.
Papers sprung up at every considerable hamlet. Even the Ohio Valley did
not lack. Perhaps four and a half million copies a year were issued in
the whole country by 1800. They were admitted now--not so, however,
under the original postal law--as a regular part of the mails, and thus
found their way to nearly all homes. The news which they brought was
often old news, of course, post riders requiring twenty-nine and
one-half hours between Philadelphia and either New York or Baltimore;
but they were read with none the less avidity. Its first mail reached
Buffalo in 1803, on horseback. Mail went thither bi-weekly till 1806,
then weekly. Postal rates were high, ranging for letters from six cents
for thirty miles to twenty-five for four hundred and fifty miles or
over. So late as 1796 New York City received mails from North and from
South, and sent mails in both directions, only twice weekly between
November 1st and May 1st, and but thrice weekly the rest of the year. In
1794 the great cities enjoyed carriers, who got two cents for each
letter delivered. In 1785 there were two dailies, The Pennsylvania
Packet and The New York Advertiser, but, as yet, no Sunday paper
appeared, nor any scientific, religious, or illustrated journal, nor any
devoted to literature or trade. The New York Medical Repository began in
1797, the first scientific periodical in America. In 1801 seventeen
dailies existed. Paper was scarce and high, so that appeals were
published in most of the news sheets imploring people to save their

Pine Tree Shilling.

Postal Progress, 1776-1876.

The press was more violently partisan and indecently personal than now.
To oppose the federalist United States Gazette the republican National
Gazette had been started, which, with brilliant meanness, assailed not
only Washington's public acts, but his motives and character. Him, and
still more Adams, Hamilton, and the other leading Federalists, it, in
nearly every issue, charged with conspiracy to found a monarchy.

Republican journals reeked with such doggerel as:

  "See Johnny at the helm of State,
    Head itching for a crowny;
  He longs to be, like Georgy, great,
    And pull Tom Jeffer downy."

[Footnote: 2 McMaster, 383]

Federalists were not behind in warfare of this sort. Jefferson was the
object of their continual and vilest slander. In New England, the
stronghold of Federalism, nearly every Sunday's sermon was an
arraignment of the French, and impliedly of their allies, the
Republicans. [Footnote: 2 McMaster, 383] From Jefferson's election--he
was a conservative free-thinker--they seemed to anticipate the utter
extermination of Christianity, though the man paid in charities, mostly
religious, as for Bibles, missionaries, chapels, meeting-houses, etc.,
one year of his presidency, $978.20; another year, $1,585.60. One
preacher likened the tribute which Talleyrand demanded of Adams's envoys
to that which Sennacherib required of Hezekiah. [Footnote: Isaiah, 36]
Another compared Hamilton, killed in a duel, to Abner, the son of Ner,
slain by Joab. Another took for his text the message which Hezekiah sent
to the Prophet Isaiah: "This is a day of trouble and of rebuke and of
contumely," [Footnote: Isaiah, 37: 3 seq.] etc. Another attacked
Republicanism outright from the words: "There is an accursed thing in
the midst of thee, O Israel." [Footnote: Joshua. 7: 13] The coolest
federalist leaders could fall prey to this partisan temper. Lafayette
meditated settling in this country. Such was his popularity here that no
one would have dared to oppose this openly. Hamilton, however, while
favoring it publicly, yet, lest the great Frenchman's coming should help
on the republican cause, secretly did his utmost to prevent it. Even
Washington, who was human after all, connived, it seems, at this piece
of duplicity.

According to a federalist sheet, Hamilton's death called forth "the
voice of deep lament" save from "the rancorous Jacobin, the scoffing
deist, the snivelling fanatic, and the imported scoundrel." "Were I
asked," said an apologist, "whether General Hamilton had vices, in the
face of the world, in the presence of my God, I would answer, No."

Another poetized of the

                               "Great day
  When Hamilton--disrobed of mortal clay--
  At God's right hand shall sit with face benign,
  And at his murderer cast a look divine."

In 1800 instrumental music might have been heard in some American
churches. There were Roman Catholic congregations in Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Baltimore had its Catholic bishop. The
Protestant Episcopal Church in America had been organized. Methodism,
independent of England since 1784, was on its crusade up and down the
land, already strong in New York and the South, and in 1790 a Methodist
church had been gathered in Boston.

The manufacture of corduroys, bed-ticking, fustian, jeans, and
cotton-yarn had been started. Iron ore and iron ware of nearly all sorts
was produced. Syracuse was manufacturing salt. Lynn already made morocco
leather, and Dedham, straw braid for hats. Cotton was regularly exported
in small quantities from the South. In New York one could get a decayed
tooth filled or a set of false teeth made. Four daily stages ran between
New York and Philadelphia. The Boston ship Columbia had circumnavigated
the globe. The United States Mint was still working by horse-power, not
employing steam till 1815. Whitney's cotton-gin had been invented in
1793. Terry, of Plymouth, Conn., was making clocks. There were in the
land two insurance companies, possibly more. Cast-iron ploughs, of home
make, were displacing the old ones of wood. Morse's "Geography" and
Webster's "Spelling-book" were on the market, and extensively used.

Cotton Plant.

The Cotton-Gin.
From the original model.

The great industrial inventions which were to color the entire
civilization of mankind had a powerful effect upon America. So early as
1775, in England, Crompton's mule-jenny had superseded Hargreaves'
spinning machine. The latter had improved on the old spinning-wheel by
making eight, and later eighty, threads with the effort and time the old
arrangement had required for one; but the threads were no better, and
could be used only for woof, linen being required for warp. Arkwright's
roller arrangement was an improvement upon Hargreaves'. It bettered the
quality of the threads, making them evener, so that they could serve for
warp as well as woof. Crompton's mule was another quantitative
improvement, combining the excellences of both Hargreaves and Arkwright.
One man could with this machinery work twenty-two hundred spindles, and
they went much faster than by the ancient wheel. Then came steam-power.
Watts's engine was adapted to spinning and carding cotton at Manchester
in 1783. Two years later the cylinder printing of cottons was invented,
and a little after began the use of acid in bleaching.

Eli Whitney.

These mighty industrial devices did not cross to America immediately,
but were all here before the time of which we now write. A
spinning-jenny was indeed exhibited in Philadelphia so early as 1775.
During the Revolution, Philadelphia was a seat of much manufacture. We
have in an earlier chapter remarked that Beverly, Mass., had a cotton
factory in 1787. Oxen furnished its power, as a horse did that for the
first Philadelphia mill. A cotton mill was also started very early at
Worcester, but whether in 1780 or 1789 may admit of doubt. There is some
evidence that before July, 1790, a cotton factory run by water, with
ginning, carding, and spinning machines, the last of eighty-four
spindles apiece, was in operation near Statesburg, S. C.; but whether it
was successful or not is not known. Oliver Evans was operating a
single-flue boiler for steam-power by 1786. Soon after he had one with
two flues, and in 1779 a high-pressure or non-condensing engine, the
principle of which he is by many believed to have invented. He was the
earliest builder of steam-engines in the United States, having in 1804
secured a patent for the high-pressure device. His factory furnished
engines to all parts of the country.

England did her best to prevent all knowledge of the new manufacturing
machinery from crossing the Atlantic. The Act 21 George III., c. 37,
denounced upon anyone who should aid toward giving America any tool,
machine, or secret relating to manufacture in any branch, a penalty of
200 pounds and one year's imprisonment. In vain. Partly by smuggling,
partly by invention, the new arts soon flourished here as there. Some
Scotch artisans who came to Bridgewater, Mass., by invitation from Mr.
Hugh Orr, of that town, constructed, about 1786, the first
cotton-spinning machines in America, including the Arkwright inventions.

To build and launch the English machinery with full success was,
however, reserved for Samuel Slater, a native of Belper, Derbyshire,
England, who, in 1790, erected at Pawtucket, R. I., the Old Mill in rear
of Mill Street, which still stands and runs. Slater had served his time
at the making of cotton-manufacturing machinery with J. Strutt, who, had
been Arkwright's partner. In Strutt's factory he had risen to be
overseer. So thoroughly had he mastered the business that, on arriving
here, he found himself able to imitate the foreign machines from memory
alone, without model, plan, or measurement. Having gotten his gear in
readiness, almost solely with his own hands, December 20, 1790, he
started three cards, drawing and roving, also seventy-two spindles, all
on the Arkwright plan, the first of the kind ever triumphantly operated
on this side of the ocean. President Jackson styled Slater "the father
of American manufactures," and 1790 may be taken as the birth-year of
the American factory system.

The Tariff, the embargo policy of President Jefferson, and the hatred
toward England, taking form in organizations pledged to wear only
home-made clothing, all powerfully stimulated the erection of factories.
A report in 1810, of Albert Gallatin, Madison's Secretary of the
Treasury, states that by the end of the year preceding, eighty-seven
cotton factories had arisen in this country, calculated for eighty
thousand spindles. The power loom, however, not used in England till
about 1806, did not begin its work here till after the War of 1812.
[Footnote: See. further, Period II., Chap. VIII.]




By the original mode of election, President and Vice-President could not
be separately designated on electors' tickets, so that, soon as party
spirit led each elector to vote for the same two men, these two were
tied for the first place. This occurred in 1801. The republican
candidates were Jefferson and Burr. Each had the same number of
electoral votes, seventy-three, against sixty-five for Adams, sixty-four
for C. C. Pinckney, and one for John Jay. There being no choice, the
election went to the House. This had a federalist majority, but was, by
the parity of the two highest candidates, constitutionally shut up to
elect between these, both of them Republicans. Jefferson as the abler
and from the South, was more than Burr an object of federalist hate.
Against Hamilton's advice, to his honor be it remembered, the
Federalists agreed to throw their votes for Burr. But the vote then, as
to-day in such a case, had to be by States. There were sixteen States,
nine being necessary to a choice. In nineteen ballots on February 11th,
nine the 12th, one the 13th, four the 14th, one each the 16th and 17th,
thirty-five in all, Jefferson every time carried eight States and Burr
six, while Maryland and Vermont were equally divided, and therefore

The fear at last began to be felt that the Union would go to pieces and
the Federalists be to blame. Accordingly, on the 36th ballot, five
Federalists from South Carolina, four from Maryland, one from Vermont,
and one from Delaware--Mr. Bayard, grandfather to President Cleveland's
first Secretary of State--did not vote, enabling the republican members
from Vermont and Maryland to cast the votes of those States for
Jefferson. Thus, with ten States, he was elected, Burr becoming
Vice-President. This crisis led, in 1804, to the XIIth Amendment to the
Constitution, which directs each elector to vote for Vice-President as
such. There can hardly now be a tie between the two leading presidential
candidates, and if there is for any reason delay in electing the
President, the Senate may proceed to elect the Vice-President at once.
The improvement became manifest when, in 1825, the House again had to
elect the President, and chose John Quincy Adams over Crawford and

Thomas Jefferson.
From the painting by Gilbert Stuart--property of T. Jefferson Coolidge.

The Democratic Party proved to have entered upon a long lease of power.
For forty years its hold upon affairs was not relaxed, and it was in no
wise broken even by the elections of Harrison in 1840 and Taylor in
1848. Nor did it ever appear probable that the Whigs, upon anyone of the
great issues which divided them from the Democrats, were in a way to win
permanent advantage. Not till after 1850 had the ruling dynasty true
reason to tremble, and then only at the rise of a new party, the modern
Republicans, inspired by the bold cry of anti-slavery, which the Whigs
had never dared to raise.

As to its main outlines, the democratic policy was well foreshadowed in
Jefferson's first inaugural. It favored thrift and simplicity in
government, involving close limitation of army, navy, and diplomatic
corps to positive and tangible needs. It professed peculiar regard for
the rights and interests of the common man, whether of foreign or of
native parentage. Strict construction of the Constitution, which was to
a great extent viewed as a compact of States, was another of its
cherished ideas. It also maintained special friendliness for agriculture
and commerce. From its strict constructionism sprung, further, its
hostility to internal improvements; from this and from its regard to
agriculture and commerce resulted its dislike to restrictive tariffs.
Particularly after the whig schism, about 1820, did these ideas stand
forth definite and pronounced as the authoritative democratic creed. In
and from Jackson's time they were more so still.

Yet in most respects Jefferson has remained the typical Democrat, He had
genuine faith in the people, in free government, in unfettered
individuality, His administration was frugal almost to a fault. He
insisted upon making the civil power supreme over the military, and
scorned all pretensions on the part of any particular class to rule, In
two points only was his democracy ideal rather than illustrative of that
which followed, viz., adroitness in giving trend and consistency to
legislation, and non-partisan administration of the civil service. In
the former no executive has equalled him, in the latter none since
Quincy Adams.

Growing up as a scholar and a gentleman-farmer, with refined tastes,
penning the great Declaration, which was early scouted for its
abstractions, long minister to France, where abstract ideas made all
high politics morbid, the sage of Monticello turned out to be one of the
most practical presidents this nation has ever had. If he overdid
simplicity in going to the Capitol on horseback to deliver his first
inaugural, tying his magnificent horse, Wildair, to a tree with his own
hands, he yet entertained elegantly, and his whole state as President,
far from humiliating the nation, as some feared it would, was in happy
keeping with its then development and nature. His cabinet, Madison,
Gallatin, Dearborn, Smith, and Granger, was in liberal education
superior to any other the nation has ever had, every member a college
graduate, and the first two men of distinguished research and

As to the civil service, Jefferson, it is true, made many removals from
office, some doubtless unwise and even unjust; but in judging of these
we must remember his profound and unquestionably honest conviction that
the Federalists lacked patriotism. It was this belief which dictated his
prosecution, almost persecution, of Burr, whom Federalists openly
befriended and defended.

Aaron Burr.
From a painting by Vallderlyn at the New York Historical Society.

Aaron Burr was the brilliant grandson of President Edwards. Graduating
at Princeton at the early age of seventeen, he studied theology a year,
then law, which on the outbreak of the Revolution he deserted for army
life at Boston. He went in Arnold's expedition to Canada, was promoted
to be colonel, and served on Washington's staff. In Canada he did
service as a spy, disguised as a priest and speaking French or Latin as
needed. His legal studies completed, 1783 found him in practice in New
York, office at No. 10 Little Queen Street. Both as lawyer and in
politics he rose like a meteor, being Hamilton's peer in the one, his
superior in the other. Organizing his "Little Band" of young
Republicans, spite of federalist opposition and sneers from the old
republican chiefs, he became Attorney-general of New York in 1789. In
1791, superseding Schuyler, he was United States senator from that
State, and in 1800, Vice-President.

Higher he could not mount, as federalist favor cursed him among his own
party, yet was too weak to aid him independently. It was kept down by
Hamilton, who saw through the man and opposed him with all his might.
For this Burr forced him to a duel, and fatally shot him, July 11, 1804.

Indicted for murder, Burr now disappears from politics, but only to
emerge in a new role. During all the early history of our Union the
parts beyond the Alleghanies were attached to it by but a slender
thread, which Spanish intrigue incessantly sought to cut. At this very
time Spain was pensioning men in high station there, including General
Wilkinson, commanding our force at New Orleans. Could not Burr detach
this district or a part of it from our Government and make here an
empire of his own? Or might he not take it as the base of operations for
an attack on Spanish America that should give him an empire there? Some
vision of this sort danced before the mad genius's vision, as before
that of Hamilton in the Miranda scheme. Many influential persons
encouraged him, with how much insight into his plan we shall never know.
Wilkinson was one of these. Blennerhassett, whose family and estate Burr
irreparably blasted, was another. He expected aid from Great Britain,
and from disaffected Mexicans.

From the outset the West proved more loyal than he hoped, and when, at
the critical moment, Wilkinson betrayed him, he knew that all was lost.
Sinking his chests of arms in the river near Natchez, he took to the
Mississippi woods, only to be recognized, arrested by Jefferson's order,
and dragged to Richmond to jail. As no overt act was proved, he could
not be convicted of treason; and even the trial of him for misdemeanor
broke down on technical points. The Federalists stood up for Burr as if
he had been their man, while Jefferson on his part pushed the
prosecution in a fussy and personal way, ill becoming a President.

Jefferson's most lasting work as national chief-magistrate was his
diplomacy in purchasing for the Union the boundless territory beyond the
Mississippi, prized then not for its extent or resources, both as yet
unknown, but as assuring us free navigation of the river, which sundry
French and Spanish plots had demonstrated essential to the solid loyalty
of the West. Louisiana, ceded by France to Spain in 1762, became French
again in 1801. Napoleon had intended it as the seat of a colonial power
rivalling Great Britain's, but, pressed for money in his new war with
that kingdom, concluded to sell. He wished, too, the friendship of the
United States against Great Britain, and knew not the worth of what he
was bargaining away. Willing to take fifty million francs, he offered
for one hundred million, speedily closing with Livingston and Monroe's
tender of eighty, we to assume in addition the French spoliation claims
of our citizens. The treaty of purchase was signed May 2, 1803, and
ratified by the Senate the 17th of the following October.

This stupendous transaction assured to our Republic not only leading
hand in the affairs of this continent, but place among the great powers
of the world. Its 1,124,685 square miles doubled the national domain. It
opened path well toward, if not to, the Pacific, and made ours
measureless tracts of agricultural and mining lands, rich as any under
the sun.

Stephen Decatur.

If it originated many of the most perplexing questions which have
agitated our national politics, as those relating to slavery in this
territory itself, to the acquisitions from Mexico, to the Pacific
railways, and to the Indians and the Chinese, all this has been amply
compensated by the above and countless other benefits.

Equally brilliant if less impressive was another piece of Jefferson's
foreign policy. He might be over-friendly to France, but elsewhere he
certainly did not believe in peace at any price. The Barbary powers had
begun to annoy our commerce soon after Independence. The Betsey was
captured in 1784, next year the Maria, of Boston, and the Dauphin, of
Philadelphia, and their crews of twenty-one men carried to a long and
disgraceful captivity in Algiers.

The Dey's bill for these captives, held by him as slaves, was:

3 Captains at $6,000 $18,000
2 Mates at $4,000 8,000
2 Passengers at $4,000 8,000
14 Seamen at $1,400 19,600

For custom, eleven per cent
Grands Total


Later a single cruise lost us ten vessels to these half-civilized

Following European precedent, Washington had made, in 1795, a
ransom-treaty with this nest of pirates, to carry out which cost us a
fat million. The captives had meantime increased to one hundred and
fifteen, though the crews of the Maria and the Dauphin had wasted away
to ten men. Nearly a million more went to the other North-African
freebooters. The policy of ransoming was, indeed, cheaper than force.
Count d'Estaing used to say that bombarding a pirate town was like
breaking windows with guineas. The old Dey of Algiers, learning the
expense of Du Quesne's expedition to batter his capital, declared that
he himself would have burnt it for half the sum.

Yet it makes one's blood hot to-day to read how our fathers paid tribute
to those thieves. The Dey had, in so many words, called us his slaves,
and had actually terrorized Captain Bainbridge, of the man-of-war George
Washington, into carrying despatches for him to Constantinople, flying
the Algerine pirate flag conspicuously at the fore. After
anchoring--this was some requital--Bainbridge was permitted to hoist the
Stars and Stripes, the first time that noble emblem ever kissed the
breeze of the Golden Horn.


Jefferson loathed such submission, and vowed that it should cease.
Commodore Dale was ordered to the Mediterranean with a squadron to
protect our ships there from further outrage. One of his vessels, the
Experiment, soon captured a Tripoli cruiser of fourteen guns, the
earliest stroke of any civilized power for many years by way of showing
a bold front to these pestilent corsairs.

This was on August 6, 1801. In 1803 Preble was placed in command of the
Mediterranean fleet, with some lighter ships to go farther up those
shallow harbors. Bainbridge had the misfortune while in pursuit of a
Tripoli frigate to run his ship, the Philadelphia, on a rock, and to be
taken prisoner with all his crew. The sailors were made slaves.
Lieutenant Decatur penetrated the Tripoli harbor under cover of night,
and burned the Philadelphia to the water's edge. Tripoli was bombarded,
and many of its vessels taken or sunk. Commodore Barron, who had
succeeded Preble, co-operated with a land attack which some of the
Pasha's disaffected subjects, led by the American General Eaton, made
upon Tripoli. The city was captured, April 27th, and the pirate prince
forced to a treaty. Even now, however, we paid $60,000 in ransom money.

Lieutenant Decatur on the Turkish Vessel during the Bombardment of Tripoli.




Although paying, so long as Jay's treaty was in force, for certain
invasions of our commerce, Great Britain had never adopted a just
attitude toward neutral trade. She persisted in loosely defining
contraband and blockade, and in denouncing as unlawful all commerce
which was opened to us as neutrals merely by war or carried on by us
between France and French colonies through our own ports.

The far more flagrant abuse of impressment, the forcible seizure of
American citizens for service in the British navy, became intolerably
prevalent during Jefferson's administration. Not content with reclaiming
deserters or asserting the eternity of British citizenship, Great
Britain, through her naval authorities, was compelling thousands of men
of unquestioned American birth to help fight her battles. Castlereagh
himself admitted that there had been sixteen hundred bona fide cases of
this sort by January 1, 1811. And in her mode of asserting and
exercising even her just claims she ignored international law, as well
as the dignity and sovereignty of the United States. The odious right of
search she most shamefully abused. The narrow seas about England were
assumed to be British waters, and acts performed in American harbors
admissible only on the open ocean. When pressed by us for apology or
redress, the British Government showed no serious willingness to treat,
but a brazen resolve to utilize our weak and too trustful policy of

One instance of this shall suffice. Commodore Barron, in command of the
United States war vessel Chesapeake, was attacked by the Leopard, a
British two-decker of fifty guns, outside the mouth of Chesapeake Bay,
to recover three sailors, falsely alleged to be British-born, on board.
Their surrender being refused, the Leopard opened fire. The Chesapeake
received twenty-one shots in her hull, and lost three of her crew killed
and eighteen wounded. She had been shamefully unprepared for action, and
was hence forced to strike, but Humphreys, the Leopard's commander,
contemptuously declined to take her a prize. There was no excuse
whatever for this wanton and criminal insult to our flag, yet the only
reparation ever made was formal, tardy, and lame.

James Madison.
From a painting by Gilbert Stuart--property of T. Jefferson Coolidge.

Bad was changed to worse with the progress of the new and more desperate
war between Great Britain and Napoleon. The Emperor shut the
North-German ports to Britain; Britain declared Prussian and all West
European harbors in a state of blockade. The Emperor's Berlin decree,
November, 1806, paper-blockaded the British Isles; his Milan decree,
December, 1807, declared forfeited all vessels, wherever found,
proceeding to or from any British port, or having submitted to British
search or tribute. In fine, Britain would treat as illicit all commerce
with the continent, France all with Britain. But while Napoleon, in
fact, though not avowedly, more and more receded from his position,
England maintained hers with iron tenacity.


Sincere as was our Government's desire to maintain strict neutrality in
the European conflict, it naturally found difficulty in making England
so believe. Their opponents at home ceaselessly charged Jefferson,
Madison, and all the Republicans with partiality to France, so that
Canning and Castlereagh were misled; and they were confirmed in their
suspicion by Napoleon's crafty assumption that our embargo or
non-intercourse policy was meant to act, as it confessedly did,
favorably to France. Napoleon's confiscation of our vessels, at one time
sweeping, he advertised as a friendly proceeding in aid of our embargo.
Yet all this did not, as Castlereagh captiously pretended, prove our
neutrality to be other than strict and honest. At this time it certainly
was both. So villainously had Napoleon treated us that all Americans now
hated him as heartily as did any people in England.


The non-intercourse mode of hostility, a boomerang at best, had played
itself out before Jefferson's retirement; and since George's ministry
showed no signs whatever of a changed temper, guiltily ill-prepared as
we were, no honorable or safe course lay before us but to fight Great
Britain. Clay, Calhoun, Quincy Adams, and Monroe--the last the soul of
the war--deserved the credit of seeing this first and clearest, and of
the most sturdy and consistent action accordingly. Their spirit proved
infectious, and the Republicans swiftly became a war party.

Most of the "war-hawks," as they were derisively styled, were from the
South and the southern Middle States. Fearing that, if it were a naval
war, glory would redound to New England and New York, which were hotbeds
of the peace party, they wished this to be a land war, and shrieked, "On
to Canada." They made a great mistake. The land operations were for the
most part indescribably disgraceful. Except the exploits of General
Brown and Colonel Winfield Scott, subsequently the head of the national
armies, not an action on the New York border but ingloriously failed.
The national Capitol was captured and burnt, a deed not more disgraceful
to England in the commission than to us in the permission. Of the
officers in command of armies, only Harrison and Jackson earned laurels.

Harrison had learned warfare as Governor of Indiana, where, on November
7, 1811, he had fought the battle of Tippecanoe, discomfiting Tecumseh's
braves and permanently quieting Indian hostilities throughout that
territory. In the new war against England, after Hull's pusillanimous
surrender of Detroit, the West loudly and at length with success
demanded "Tippecanoe" as commander for the army about to advance into
Canada. Their estimate of Harrison proved just. Overcoming many
difficulties and aided by Perry's flotilla on Lake Erie, he pursued
Proctor, his retreating British antagonist, up the River Thames to a
point beyond Sandwich. Here the British made a stand, but a gallant
charge of Harrison's Kentucky cavalry irreparably broke their lines. The
Indians, led by old Tecumseh in person, made a better fight, but in
vain. The victory was complete, and Upper Canada lay at our mercy.


Andrew Jackson also began his military experience by operations against
Indians. The southern redskins had been incited to war upon us by
British and Spanish emissaries along the Florida line. Tecumseh had
visited them in the same interest. The horrible massacre at Fort Mims,
east of the Alabama above its junction with the Tombigbee, was their
initial work. Five hundred and fifty persons were there surprised, four
hundred of them slain or burned to death. Jackson took the field, and in
an energetic campaign, with several bloody engagements, forced them to
peace. By the battle of the Horse-Shoe, March 27, 1814, the Creek power
was entirely crushed.

Subsequently placed in command of our force at New Orleans, Jackson was
attacked by a numerous British army, made up in large part of veterans
who had seen service under Wellington in Spain. Pakenham, the hero of
Salamanca, commanded. Jackson's position was well chosen and strongly
fortified.  After several preliminary engagements, each favorable to the
American arms, Pakenham essayed to carry the American works by storm.
The battle occurred on January 8, 1815. It was desperately fought on
both sides, but at its close Jackson's loss had been trifling and his
line had not been broken at a single point, while the British had lost
at least 2,600, all but 500 of these killed or wounded. The British
immediately withdrew from the Mississippi, leaving Jackson entirely
master of the position.

But the naval operations of this war were far the most famous, exceeding
in their success all that the most sanguine had dared to hope, and
forever dispelling from our proud foe the charm of naval invincibility.
The American frigate Constitution captured the British Guerriere. The
Wasp took the Frolic, being soon, however, forced to surrender with her
prize to the Poitiers, a much larger vessel. The United States
vanquished the Macedonian, and the Constitution the Java. One of the
best fought actions of the war was that of McDonough on Lake Champlain,
with his craft mostly gunboats or galleys. His victory restored to us
the possession of Northern New York, which our land forces had not been
able to maintain.

Oliver H, Perry.


The crowning naval triumph during the war, one of the most brilliant, in
fact, in all naval annals, was won by Oliver Hazard Perry near
Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie, September 10, 1813, over the Briton, Barclay, a
naval veteran who had served under Nelson at Trafalgar. The fleets were
well matched, the American numbering the more vessels but the fewer
guns. Barclay greatly exceeded Perry in long guns, having the latter at
painful disadvantage until he got near. Perry's flag-ship, the Lawrence,
was early disabled. Her decks were drenched with blood, and she had
hardly a gun that could be served. Undismayed, Perry, with his insignia
of command, crossed in a little boat to the Niagara. Again proudly
hoisting his colors, aided by the wind and followed by his whole
squadron, he pressed for close quarters, where desperate fighting
speedily won the battle. Barclay and his next in command were wounded,
the latter dying that night. "We have met the enemy and they are ours,"
Perry wrote to Harrison, "two ships, two brigs, one schooner, and one

Triumph far more complete might have attended the war but for the
perverse and factious federalist opposition to the administration. Some
Federalists favored joining England out and out against Napoleon. Having
with justice denounced Jefferson's embargo tactics as too tame, yet when
the war spirit rose and even the South stood ready to resent foreign
affronts by force, they changed tone, harping upon our weakness and
favoring peace at any price. Tireless in magnifying the importance of
commerce, they would not lift a hand to defend it. The same men who had
cursed Adams for avoiding war with France easily framed excuses for
orders in council, impressment, and the Chesapeake affair.

Apart from Randolph and the few opposition Republicans, mostly in New
York, this Thersites band had its seat in commercial New England, where
embargo and war of course sat hardest, more than a sixth of our entire
tonnage belonging to Massachusetts alone. From the Essex Junto and its
sympathizers came nullification utterances not less pointed than the
Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, although, considering the sound
rebukes which the latter had evoked, they were far less defensible.
Disunion was freely threatened, and actions either committed or
countenanced bordering hard upon treason. The Massachusetts Legislature
in 1809 declared Congress's act to enforce embargo "not legally
binding." Governor Trumbull of Connecticut declined to aid, as requested
by the President, in carrying out that act, summoning the Legislature
"to interpose their protecting shield" between the people and "the
assumed power of the general Government." "How," wrote Pickering,
referring to the Constitution, Amendment X., "are the powers reserved to
be maintained, but by the respective States judging for themselves and
putting their negative on the usurpations of the general Government?" A
sermon of President Dwight's on the text, "Come out from among them and
be ye separate, saith the Lord," even Federalists deprecated as hinting
too strongly at secession. This unpatriotic agitation, from which, be it
said, large numbers of Federalists nobly abstained, came to a head in
the mysterious Hartford Convention, at the close of 1814, and soon began
to be sedulously hushed--in consequence of the glorious news of victory
and peace from Ghent and New Orleans.

Perry transferring his Colors from the Lawrence to the Niagara.

While the Congregationalists, especially their clergy, were nearly all
stout Federalists, opposing Jefferson, Madison, and the war, the
Methodists and Baptists almost to a man stood up for the administration
and its war policy with the utmost vigor, rebuking the peace party as
traitors. [Footnote: The writer's grandfather, a Baptist minister, was
as good as driven from his pulpit and charge at Templeton, Mass.,
because of his federalist sympathies in this war.] Timothy Merritt, a
mighty Methodist preacher on the Connecticut circuit, has left us from
these critical times a stirring sermon on the text, Judges v. 23, "Curse
ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants
thereof; because they came not up to the help of the Lord, to the help
of the Lord against the mighty." Meroz was the federalist party and
England's ministry and army were "the mighty."

Czar Alexander, regarding our hostility as dangerous to England, with
whom he then stood allied against Napoleon, sought to end the war. The
Russian campaign of 1812 practically finished Napoleon's career, so
leaving England free to press operations in America. In April, 1814,
Paris was captured. The United States therefore accepted Alexander's
offices. Our commissioners, Adams, Clay, Gallatin, Marshall, Bayard, and
Russell met the English envoys at Ghent, and after long discussions, in
which more than once it seemed as if the war must proceed, the treaty of
Ghent was executed, December 24, 1814, a fortnight before the battle of
New Orleans.

It was an honorable peace. If we gained no territory we yielded none.
The questions of Mississippi navigation and the fisheries were expressly
reserved for future negotiations. Upon impressment and the abuse of
neutrals, exactly the grievances over which we had gone to war, the
treaty was silent, and peace men laughed at the war party on this
account, calling the war a failure. The ridicule was unjust. Had
Napoleon been still on high, or the negotiations been subsequent to the
New Orleans victory, England would doubtless have been called upon to
renounce these practices. But experience has proved that such a demand
would have been unnecessary. No outrage of these kinds has occurred
since, nor can anyone doubt that it was our spirit as demonstrated in
the war of 1812 which changed England's temper. Hence, in spite of our
military inexperience, financial distress, internal dissensions, and the
fall of Napoleon, which unexpectedly turned the odds against us, the war
was a success.

End of Volume II.