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Consul at Tunis, terminated the war and forced Tripoli to make peace in June, 1805. In 1812 Algiers declared war against the United States. As soon as the war then commencing against England had been brought to an end, our government turned its attention to Algiers. The Algerian war was short and decisive. In the spring of 1815 Commodore Decatur was sent with nine or ten vessels to chastise the pirates. In June he captured the largest of their frigates, and soon after took another vessel. He then dictated a treaty to the Dey of Algiers, which was signed June 30,1815, relinquishing all claims to tribute in the future. Tunis and Tripoli were next forced to pay an indemnity for permitting British menof-war to seize American vessels in their harbors during the war of 1812. Thenceforth there was no more tribute paid to the Barbary States, and their depredations on American commerce ceased. The troubles with these countries had forced the formation of a navy on the country, despite the wishes of the Republicans, and thus prepared us for the war with England. They also led to a slight increase in customs duties in 1804 and following years for the purpose of forming the Mediterranean Fund, as it was called, to protect American commerce.
Bargain. (See Political Bargain.)
Bar'l.—A slangy abbreviation for the word barrel, used in politics to denote that which the "barrel" is supposed to contain, namely, money. Any rich politician who opens his coffers for the benefit of his party is said to "tap his bar'l."
Barnburners.—A name applied to the followers of Van Buren, when in 1844 the Democratic party in New York split into two factions. The story of a farmer that burned his barn in order to free it from rats, was often told and the case of the party likened to it. Hence the name. Later they were known as the Softs or SoftShells. Their opponents, while known as Barnburners, were the Hunkers; while known as Softs, the Hards or Hard-Shells. (See Free Soil party.)
Battle Above the Clouds, The.—The capture of Lookout Mountain by General Joseph Hooker during the Civil War, is known as the battle above the clouds.
Bayard, James Asheton, was born in Pennsylvania, in 1767. He was graduated at Princeton and then practiced law in Delaware. From 1797 to 1801 he represented that State in Congress. He served in the Senate from 1804 to 1813. The posts of Minister to France and also to Russia were at different times offered to him, but declined. He aided in negotiating the Treaty of Ghent. He died August 6, 1815. He was a Federalist.
Bayard, James A., was born in Wilmington, Delaware, November 15, 1799, and died June 13, 1880. He served in the United States Senate from 1851 to 1864. In 1867 he was returned to the Senate. He was the son of James Asheton Bayard and the father of Thomas F. Bayard. He was a Democrat.
Bayard, Thomas F., was born at Wilmington, Delaware, October 29, 1828. He is a lawyer by profession. In 1853 he was appointed United States District Attorney for Delaware, but resigned in the next year. He was elected to the United States Senate for the term commencing 1869, his father, James A. Bayard, being at the same time re-elected to the other senatorship. He continued in the Senate until appointed Secretary of State by President Cleveland.
Beecher, Henry Ward, was born at Litchfield, Connecticut, June 24,1813; he died in Brooklyn March 8, 1887. After acting as pastor in two different Presbyterian churches in Indiana, he was called to Plymouth Church, Brooklyn, a Gongregationalist organization. Over this he presided until his death. He was a man of independent and outspoken views, singularly eloquent, and a leader in the Anti-Slavery agitation. He was a liberal-minded man, active in politics and one of the leaders of the revolt in the Republican party in 1884.
Bell, John, was born near Nashville, Tennessee, February 15, 1797, and died September 10, 1869. He was a lawyer, a graduate of the University of Nashville. He was a Congressman from 1829 to 1841, as a Whig; also Secretary of War under Harrison and Tyler. He became the presidential candidate of the Constitutional Union party in 1860.
Benton, Thomas Hart, was born near Hillsborough, North Carolina, March 14, 1784; he died in Washington April 10, 1858. He was a lawyer in Nashville but left the place after a street fight with Jackson. He moved to Missouri, which State he subsequently represented. He was United States Senator from 1821 to 1851. From 1853 to 1855 he was in the House. He was a Democrat, but opposed to secession and to slavery agitation; this caused his defeat in several elections late in life.
Berlin Decree. (See Embargo Act.)
Biddle's, Nicholas, United States Bank. (See Nicholas Biddle's United States Bank.)
Big Ditch.—The Erie Canal was spoken of derisively as "Clinton's Big Ditch " before its success and importance were made apparent.
Big Head is a political phrase to indicate an exalted opinion of his own abilities on the part of a public man.
Big Knife.—A name applied to General Andrew Jackson by the Southern Indians in recognition of his military successes against them.
Bill of 1800.—A law introduced in that year by Senator James Ross, of Pennsylvania, to regulate the electoral count. It provided for a "grand committee" of six Senators, six Representative and the Chief Justice. These, sitting in secret, were to settle all disputes concerning electoral votes. The bill was amended in the House so as to give to the committee the power merely to take testimony, doubtful returns to be rejected only by a concurrent vote of both Houses; this was amended by the Senate so as to cause returns to be rejected unless accepted by a concurrent vote. The bill was lost. The bill is memorable as the first open attempt on the part of Congress to arrogate to itself the duty assigned by the Constitution to the President of the Senate of counting the electoral votes.
Bill of Rights.—A bill of rights is the summary of rights and privileges claimed by the people of a nation against the tyrannous exercise of power by their rulers. The Bill of Bights in England is an Act of Parliament passed in 1689 by which the privileges claimed in the petition of right that was presented to William and Mary and acceded to by them on accepting the call to the British throne, were enacted as fundamental principles of English liberty. The chief of these principles had previously been asserted in the Magna Charta in 1215, and the Petition of Right presented to Charles I in 1628 (see those titles). The first six amendments to the Constitution of the United States are sometimes called our Bill of Rights. They are designed to prevent tyrannous acts by the Federal government and to protect, among other things, the freedom of religion, speech and the press, the rights of assembly, petition, bearing arms, and trial by jury, and the right to compensation for private property taken for public uses. (See Eminent Domain, Jury and Bight of Assembly, &c.) Most of the State constitutions in a similar way secure these rights to the people under their control.
Bills of Attainder. (See Attainder.)
Bi-metallism is the doctrine that two metals can and ought, at the same time, in the same country, to be adopted as standards of value, and to bear to each other a fixed ratio established and recognized by the government. The term is almost exclusively used in reference to the metals gold and silver. Monometallism is the doctrine that only one metal ought so to be used. It is a proposition generally admitted by bi-metallists that attempts to realize their object must fail unless the most important commercial countries unite in fixing the ratio between the metals. If different countries adopt a double standard, selecting different ratios, the gold or the silver, as the case may be, of every country, will leave it to go to a country in which it happens to be rendered more valuable, and thus ihe two metals will be separated and the object fail. If any one country alone adopt a double standard, its gold or silver will be exported according as the market value of silver (in other countries a mere commodity and not a standard of value) is lower or higher than the value fixed by the government ratio. (See Coinage.) Our country is monometallic, notwithstanding the fact that there is silver in circulation; silver is here coined only for the purposes of the government, and an individual presenting silver bullion at our mints and assay offices cannot have the same coined into dollars, as he can with gold. The coinage of bullion, as instanced in the case of gold, is called free coinage. Bimetallists regard the use of both metals as necessary, and claim that the co-operation of the principal commercial nations will suffice to establish it. Monometailists maintain that practical business has brought all nations to single standards, and that any change would be an uncalled for interference with natural laws, the untrammeled operation of which invariably conduces to the best results.
Birney, James G., was born in Danville, Kentucky, February 4, 1792, and died at Perth Amboy, New Jersey, November 25, 1857. He was originally a slave-holder, and at one time agent for a colonization society. In 1834 he freed his slaves and established an Abolition newspaper. Fear of violence compelled him to leave Danville, and subsequently Cincinnati, whither he had moved. He came to New York, where he was secretary of the American Anti-Slavery Society. In 1840 and 1844 he was the candidate for President of the Liberty party. In 1842 he moved to Michigan, and a fall from his horse disabled him from further political activity.
Black Cockade.—A black cockade worn on the hat was an emblem adopted by the Federalists during the troubles with France in 1797, when war seemed imminent. Its meaning lay in the fact that it had been a part of the Continental uniform during the Revolution, and moreover it served as a contrast to the tri-color cockade of France which the Republicans had affected. "Black Cockade Federalist" was a term of reproach applied to Federalists during the days of the party's decline.
Black Codes. (See Black Latvs.)
Black Eagle.—In the National Republican Convention of 1884 General John A. Logan, who had been proposed as the Republican candidate for President, wac referred to by Judge West, the blind orator of Ohio, as "that grand, old Black Eagle of Illinois."