Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

At the next session, in an amendment to a bill from the Senate, the House manifested the same disposition by a smaller majority, but receded from it, on a conference, and thus the bill was finally passed for paying all the witnesses indiscriminately.

In consequence of a motion in the Senate, calling for information, the President on the 31st of January communicated a letter from the British minister at Washington and the French chargé des affaires, complaining that American merchant ships had armed and sailed from the ports of Baltimore and Philadelphia, for the purpose, as it was supposed, of forcing a contraband trade, especially with St. Domingo. These complaints suggested an act by which all commercial intercourse with that island was for a time suspended.

The other subjects which principally engaged the attention of the legislature at this session were, the acts providing severally for the government of the territory of New Orleans and the District of Columbia, in consequence of memorials from the inhabitants of Louisiana. An amendatory act concerning the Yazoo claims, and a resolution for appointing three commissioners to receive propositions of compromise from the claimants, within the limits prescribed by the convention with Georgia, after a warm debate of several days, passed by sixty-three votes to fifty-eight.

With this session closed Mr. Jefferson's first Presidential term, in which time he had, by a steady course of economy, reduced the public debt more than twelve millions, though he had at the same time lessened the taxes, and a host of revenue officers ;-had doubled the area of the United States, averted the danger of war both with France and Spain, chastised the Tripolitans, and made war with Algiers and Tunis ;-cxtinguished the title to a large and valuable tract of Indian lands, and promoted civilization among them. For thus promoting the national prosperity he was rewarded by the national favour, notwithstanding the unceasing virulence with which he had been assailed, as was evinced by the fact that he received a greater number of votes at the present election than in that of 1801.

198

CHAPTER VIII.

The President's Inaugural Address. Discontent of Spain. Eaton's

success against Tripoli. Mr. Jefferson's account of the Climate of America. Complaints of the Trade with St. Domingo. Schisms in the Republican Party. Message to Congress. John Randolph. Relations with Spain. Views of Parties. Appropriation for the purchase of Florida. The course pursued by the Administration assailed and defended. Interruptions to American Commerce by Great Britain. Impressment. Non-intercourse, and other plans of retaliation. Non-importation Act. Trade with St. Domingo prohibited. Cumberland Road. Importation of Slaves. Removal of Judges. Expedition under Lewis and Clark. State of Parties.

1805-1806.

On the 4th of March, 1805, Mr. Jefferson, then in his 62nd year, delivered an address to both Houses of Congress on the commencement of his second presidential terın. He reminds them of the declarations, when he entered on the office of President four years before, of the principles on which he should administer the government, and that his conscience told him he had acted up to them according to their fair import. He adverts to the liberal principles pursued in our foreign relations, and their success.

« We are firmly convinced,” he said, “ and we act on that conviction, that with nations, as well as individuals, our interests soundly calculated, will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties." He speaks with some exultation of the reduction of taxes and suppression of unnecessary offices, and yet with a revenue, which is levied on foreign luxuries and paid by wealthy consumers ; is sufficient to defray the expenses of the government, to fulfil contracts with other governments and the Indians; and to afford a surplus sufficient to redeem the public debt within a short period. That the revenue, when thus liberated, may, by a just repartition among the states, and a correspondent amendment to the constitution, be applied in time of peace to“ rivers, canals, roads, arts, manufactures, education, and other great objects in each state;" and in time of war, it may meet all the whole annual expenditure within the year. He suggests that the newly acquired territory will pay for itself before we should be called upon to pay the purchase money. He notices and answers the objection that our territory has thereby been too much enlarged. He speaks of the condition of the Indian tribes as imposing new duties both on our justice and humanity-says that being now reduced within limits too narrow for the hunter's state, they should be taught agriculture and the domestic arts, and thus be prepared for civilized society; that their own prejudices present great obstacles to this change, for they too “ have their antiphilosophers,” who dread reformation.

In presenting the foregoing outline of his administration, he disclaims arrogating to himself the merit of the measures, which, he says, is due to the character of his fellow-citizens, their representatives in Congress, and his associates in the executive department. Adverting to the virulence of the press against him, he says that the punishment of the offenders had been left altogether to the public indignation ; that the experiment thus made, whether " freedom of discussion, unaided by power, was not sufficient for the protection and propagation of truth, had proved successful ;" that our fellow.citizens when called to decide the question by their suffrage,“ had pronounced their verdict, honourable to those who had served them, and consolatory to the friend of man, who believes he may be intrusted with his own affairs.” He disclaims making any objection to the laws of the states against defamatory publications, which he thinks may exercise a salutary coercion; and in allusion to the sedition laws, says that they draw the only definite line between the inestimable liberty of the press and its demoralizing licentiousness. “ If," he remarks, " there is any impropriety which the state laws cannot reach, the defect may be supplied by the censorship of public opinion.” He congratulates the country on the union of sentiment lately manifested, and anticipates that those who have not yet rallied to the same point, have an increasing disposition to do so; in the mean time, forbearance is inculcated. He speaks with confidence of the principles which will govern him in his future administration. He is sensible of no passion which could “seduce him knowingly from the path of justice, but being liable to err from the weakness of human judgment, he should need their continued indulgence, and not the less for his increasing years."

This address was so generally vindicatory of the principal measures of his administration, as to prove that the attacks of his adversaries had left a soreness behind them, and that he deprecated the impression they tended to make on the minds of his countrymen. It may, indeed, be seen throughout his life that his desire of their esteem, for its own sake, was far stronger with him than for the power or any other benefits it could confer.

He thus speaks of this address in his reply to a complimentary letter received from Judge Tyler of Virginia, a short time afterwards : “ The first (inaugural address] was, from the nature of the case, all profession and promise. Performance, therefore, seeined to be the proper office of the second. But the occasion restricted me to mention only the most prominent heads, and the strongest justification of these in the fewest words possible. The crusade preached

« ПредишнаНапред »