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HISTORY OF FORMER CONSPIRACIES.
THE INDIAN DIFFICULTIES IN
The immense tracts of lands held in Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi by the Creeks, Choctaws, Chicksaw and Cherokee Indians, proved, for awhile, the source of much anxiety to government. The tions" guaranteed by solemn treaty to the Indians, in the various Southern and Western States, embraced immense bodies of choice land, up to a comparatively recent period. Thus, the treaties secured to the savages, and promised protection from all infringements. by the whites on their domains, territories as follows:-In Georgia, nine and a half millions of acres; in Alabama, seven and a half millions; in Mississippi, fifteen and three-quarter millions; in the Territory of Florida, four millions; in the Territory of Arkansas, fifteen and a half millions; in the State of Missouri, two millions and three-quarters; in Indiana and Illinois, fifteen millions, and in Michigan,
east of the lake, seven millions.
head waters of the Arkansas river. Georgia made her demand peremptorily, since she held the Federal Government bound by a compact to relieve her. This compact stipulated that, in consideration of Georgia relinquishing her title and claim to the Mississippi Territory, the General Government would extinguish the Indian titles to the lands within her confines, "whenever it could be peaceably done and on reasonable terms." After making that agreement the Government succeeded in extinguishing the title to about fifteen million acres, and conveyed the same to the State of Georgia. There still remained 9,537,000 acres in the possession of the Indians, of which 5,292,000 acres belonged to
the Cherokees and the remainder to the Creek nation. Shortly before the termination of Mr. Monroe's administration, the State Government became very urgent for the entire removal of the Indians, and at the solicitation of the Governor two Commissioners were appointed to make a treaty with the Creeks for the purchase of their lands. This was a treaty negotiated on the 12th of February, 1825, the famous Chief, General William McIntosh, signing it in the presence of Mr. Crowell, the United States Indian Agent, by which all the Creek country and several millions of acres in Alabaina were ceded to the United States. Complaints followed it to Washington as hav
The "march of civilization" soon compass-
State Legislatures demanded of Government
midst to the unsettled Territories around the
been concluded by McIntosh without the authority of the nation. The ratification of the treaty was opposed, but was finally car
ried by the strong vote of thirty-four to fɔur.
This sanction, on reaching the ears of the disand a secret council of the nation being called, contented Creeks, produced great excitement, they resolved not to accept the treaty. The death of McIntosh was determined on, and on the 30th of April his house was surround
tive Chair has, for sixty-four years, been filled nearly
of Kentucky, used these facts, in his speech made at
chief, and burned his premises. This aroused the State authorities to a determined course, and Georgia resolved to take possession of the lands by force. Troops were called out to sustain the claim. By this act the State opened a controversy with the General Government, which was bound to protect the Indians in their just rights.
When Mr. Adams came into power he made the subject an early matter of examination,
and became convinced that the Indians were The passage of the Tariff Act of 1828 was
labor"- -an "unequal assessment of burdens,"
To avoid this hazard of war, Mr. Adams succeeded in gathering at Washington, in January, 1826, the head men and responsible representatives of the Creeks, and concluded a new treaty, which was substituted for the old one, whereby all the lands in Georgia were ceded, but none in Alabama. Notwith- | timidated, if not convinced. standing the oposition of the Georgia delega- The excitement, however, soon received a tion in Congress, the new treaty was ratified new impetus, from a most trivial but not less by the Senate at the ensuing session by a vote significant source. The matter is thus stated: of thirty to seven, and the appropriations On the 15th of April, 1830, the anniversary were made by the House of Representatives of the birthday of Thomas Jefferson was celeby a vote of one hundred and sixty-seven to brated by a numerous company at Washingten. This treaty was faithfully observed by ton city, among whom were the President the Indians, and Georgia became possessed of and Vice-President of the United States, sevtheir valuable land, after waiting a quarter eral members of his Cabinet, and a numerous of a century for Government to fulfil its agree-attendance of the members of Congress. ment (made in 1802). At a late day the| With the promulgation of the toasts the feelCherokees' title was extinguished in Alabama, though their removal to the West was not accomplished until Gen. Scott took the matter in hand (in May, 1838).
THE SOUTH CAROLINA NULLIFICA
TION CONSPIRACY, 1832-3.
This Conspiracy raised the direct issue, invented by Mr. Jefferson in his Resolutions of '98, of the right of a State to nullify the acts of Congress and to be its own judge of the constitutionality of a law.*
*It is denied that Mr. Jefferson is the originator of the idea; but, as we have before remarked, the evidence to the contrary is the resolutions them
ing began to spread that the dinner was got
selves. The time has gone by for us as partisans to
HISTORY OF FORMER
was called upon for a volunteer, and gave one which has since become historical.
"Our Federal Union-it must be preserved." Under the peculiar circumstances of the case-the feeling that had found vent in South Carolina and elsewhere in that section, and the excited state of the public mind generally, this simple sentiment was received as a proclamation from the President to announce a plot against the Union. The next toast was by Mr. Calhoun, and it did not by any means allay the suspicions which existed in every bosom. It was this:
Meetings took place throughout the State close upon the Presidential election. The Legislature came together amid much excitement. One of its first acts was to appoint a Committee to report on the relations of the State with the General Government. It reported that the Federal Constitution was a compact originally formed, not between the people of the different States as distinct and independent sovereignties; that when any violation of the spirit of that compact took place, it was not only the right of the people, but of the State Legislature, to remonstrate against it; that the Federal Government was responsible to the State Legislatures whenever it assumed powers not conferred; that notwithstanding a tribunal was appointed under the Constitution to decide controverIn the language of Thomas H. Benton, who sies where the United States was a party, was present, "this toast touched all the ten- there were some questions that must occur der parts of the new question-liberty before between the Government and the State which Union-only to be preserved. State rights, it would be unsafe to submit to any judicial inequality of burthens, and benefits. These tribunal; and finally, that there was a pecuphrases connecting themselves with Mr. | liar propriety in a State Legislature's under Haync's speech, and with proceedings and taking to decide for itself, inasmuch as the publications in South Carolina, unveiled nul- Constitution had not provided any remedy. lification as a new and distinct doctrine in the United States, and the existence of a new party in the field."
"The Union, next to our liberty, the most dear: may we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States, and distributing equally the benefit and burthen of the Union."
From that moment the issue was directly presented in the shape of "our rights or dis union," and the State Rights party, in the extreme Southern States, became very powerful, particularly in South Carolina-the home of both Mr. Hayne and John C. Calhoun, where their influence was remarkably strong. To meet the approaching storm, and avert the calamity of an open rupture with South Carolina, a modification was made of the offensive act; but, the duties were not abated enough. The fact that the movement for nullification and secession had frightened Congress into some concessions made the State Rights men more strenuous than ever. It gave them the prestige which comes from victory. Had not Mr. Calhoun been elected Vice-President of the United States? Had not Congress made concessions and betrayed & nervous apprehension of South Carolina threats? The leaders of the nullification movement deemed the beginning auspicious for a glorious ending.
A convention of delegates was thereupon ordered to assemble on the 19th of November, to act for the State, in the crisis. Meanwhile the Virginia Legislature, also, by a vote of 154 to 68, gave her assent to the principle of nullification. North Carolina declared against it and held out firmly for the Constitution and the laws. Alabama and Georgia endorsed South Carolina heartily, and their course led the country to feel that, in event of South Carolina's secession, they would follow her lead. Government had just succeeded at enormous cost, in extinguishing the Indian titles to lands in these States, and they in return, were ready to cast off the Government.
The Convention of Delegates assembled on the 19th of November. Governor Hayne (late United States Senator) was made its President. The Tariff acts of 1828 and 1832 were declared null and void and not binding upon the citizens of the States. It was further declared that if the United States should attempt to enforce them by naval or military force, the Union was to be dissolved, and a convention called to form a government for
South Carolina. It further provided that no | of the harbor at the cannon's mouth, if neces appeal should be permitted to the Supreme sary. Court of the United States in any question concerning the validity of the ordinance, or of the laws passed to give effect thereto. This threw the die for the movements to follow. The Legislature immediately took all steps necessary to carry out the programme of the Convention—the legislators being convened for the especial purpose, by call of the Governor. The acts adopted embraced one authorizing the Governor to call on the militia to resist any attempt on the part of the Government of the United States to enforce the revenue laws. Ten thousand stand of arms and the requisite quantity of military munitions were ordered to be purchased, and any acts done in pursuance of that law were to be held lawful in the State courts.
This was followed by the resignation of the Vice-Presidency of the United States by Mr. Calhoun, and he proceeded to Washington to resume his seat in the Senate. The President, Andrew Jackson, just re-elected, felt extremely indignant toward Calhoun, and, it is now known, had made up his mind to ar'rest him, on his arrival at the Capital, to try him for high treason, and to hang him if convicted. He was persuaded from this extreme and hazardous course by Mr. Webster and others; and, on the 10th, issued his famous proclamation against the nullifiers, in which was forcibly and plainly stated the nature of the American Government; the pretended right of sovereignty was denied; the supremacy of the Federal Government declared, and an exhortation made to the citizens of South Carolina not to persist in a course which must bring upon their State the force of the Confederacy, and expose the Union to the hazard of dissolution. At the same time all the disposable military force was ordered to assemble at Charleston, and a sloop-of-war was sent to that port to protect the Federal officers, if necessary, in the discharge of their duty. General Scott, then as at a later day, the watchful Guardian of the public weal, was given charge of the military movements, under special instructions from Lewis Cass, Secretary of War. Ere the South Carolinians were aware Scott was in Fort Moultrie, with a strong force, prepared to collect the revenues
At the opening of Congress, Jackson sent in his Message, setting forth the facts of the case. His policy was one of peaceful settlement, if possible; but, if Congress did not repeal or modify the law, he was ready to force South Carolina into submission. Nullification he termed revolution, which he was bound to suppress. The entire country, save the States of Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama, approved "Old Hickory's" policy, and stood ready to sustain him. Even in these apparently disloyal States there was a very powerful Union party, which repudiated the baleful idea of nullification, and which, eventually, succeeded in making itself heard and felt.
The determined front of the governmentthe argument read in General Scott's facethe silent admonition of Moultrie's guns, induced a material abatement of the nullifiers' zeal. South Carolina, it became painfully evident to the leaders of the conspiracy, could not get out of the Union if she would. Her revenues were collected by the Collector, at the regular Custom House, and, in all other respects, the state of affairs was not changed. The Convention, after its most extraordinary display of arrogance and opposition, resolved to wait until Feb. 1st before ordering hostile action!
On the 21st of January, Mr. Wilkins, of Pennsylvania, introduced in the United States Senate his bill, to empower the President to crush out all opposition to the collection of the revenue by summoning the military power of the Confederacy. Pending the discussion which followed, Calhoun delivered his argument on the Constitution. It was a most powerful and subtle plea, claiming the rights of states as states and independencies, and assuming nullification to be the bulwark of their liberties. The speech was published and circulated extensively throughout the country, to be quickly followed by Webster's truly magnificent reply, which, in fact, made the Government and the Constitution stronger for the assault of the Carolina logician The bill of Mr. Wilkins passed by an almost unanimous vote-so united was the sentiment on the question of sustaining the laws and pro
HISTORY 1) F FORMER
tecting the Constitution from infringement | lature steadily refused to substitute a more upon its powers. John Tyler, of Virginia, modern and republican constitution for the was among those who voted against the bill. old, but simple and strong, government of This act was followed by one of concession the Charter. Thomas W. Dorr, an attorney and compromise, introduced by Henry Clay, at law, of Providence, and a member of the proposing a graduated scale, by which the Assembly, sought to introduce a reform; but, duties were to be abated annually. This bill for a long time labored in vain. When allowed Government the needed benefits of brought to a vote his proposition for a change the revenue, only detracting from the tariff obtained only seven out of seventy votes. one-tenth each year upon all articles tariffed Not to be thwarted, Dorr then appealed to over twenty per cent., thus gradually reduc- the people, agitating the question of change ing the duties until they should strike the and reform in several mass conventions, held free list, in December, 1841. This act passed in 1840-41. When the movement had gained both Houses by good majorities, and was sufficient strength, a Convention of Delegates signed March 2d, 1833. In the meantime, was called, which prepared a State ConstituFebruary 1st had come, and the Nullifiers tion to be submitted to a regular vote of the did not drive General Scott out of Fort Moul-people. It obtained 14,000 votes said to trie, nor cease to pay their duties both to the Collector and to the Government. Accepting the "highly satisfactory settlement" of the difficulty, it only remained for Governor Hayne to summon the Convention to undo what they had done. The delegates came together March 11th, placed South Carolina back in the Union, declared the great principle of State Sovereignty established, and, adjourned.
This conspiracy left behind it the seeds of disunion. The idea of a State independence, of a power to control circumstances to their own liking, of a disseverance of all bonds with the "hated North," was left to germinate and grow, to burst out again, when a weak Executive should afford the opportunity, into treason and revolution.
DORR'S REBELLION, 1842.
This merely local "rebellion" deserves mention rather from its peculiar nature than from its importance. Its circumstances were as follows:
have been a clear majority of the regular citizens of the State. The Chartists pronounced the entire proceedings seditious and declared the vote, illegal as it was, to have been largely fraudulent. Dorr decided otherwise; and, with true Puritan pertinacity, proclaimed the Constitution to be the law of the State. He ordered, accordingly, an election to be held for State officers.
Dorr was chosen Governor, and a Legislature, composed exclusively of his supporters, was elected, to meet at Providence on the first Monday of May, 1842. The Charter party also held an election for State officers, polling 5,700 votes, while the Suffrage party claimed to have polled 7,300.
On the 3d of May, Dorr's Government attempted to organize at Providence and seize the reins of power. They were resisted by the legal State Government, which assembled at Newport on the same day, and at the head of which was Gov. Samuel W. King. Both sides appealed to arms. The excitement was intense, and the people flocked to the respective standards in large numbers from various New England States. Gov. King proclaimed Down to 1833 the government of Rhode the State under martial law, called out the Island was based upon the original charter of militia and asked and obtained the aid of settlement, granted by Charles II. in 1663, by the United States to suppress the treason. which the elective franchise was restricted to On the 18th of May a portion of the Suffrage persons possessed of real estate to a specified party assembled at Providence under arms amount, and to their eldest sons. This dis- and attempted to seize the arsenal, but were franchised fully two-thirds of the actual citi- dispersed by Gov. King and a military force. zens. Yet, so prevalent were old prejudices, They assembled again, to the number of seveso powerful old associations, that the Legis-ral hundred, May 25, 1842, at Chepachet Hill,