Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

that any thing disgraceful hangs on the country or any part of it. Let us, Gentlemen, be proud of our country; but let us preserve for that country the character of a just and debt-paying nation. Let it never be said among the nations of Europe that the United States of America—the nation that had its birth in the glorious scenes of ’76—the country of Washington -the example and great type of all modern republics—cannot or will not pay its debts!” . A melancholy event occurred in the American navy at the end of last year. The son of the Secretary at War was in the month of December hanged on board the vessel of which he was a midshipman, for the crime of a mutinous and piratical conspiracy. The name of the vessel was the Somers, a 10-gun brig, with a complement of about seventy-five persons, including officers. The following narrative is taken from a New York journal:— Shortly before the brig arrived at St. Thomas, where she put into water, it came to the knowledge of Lieutenant Commandant Mackenzie that a mutiny was in preparation on board, headed by Midshipman Spencer, son of the honourable Secretary of War. Spencer was thereupon arrested; and papers were found upon him, signed by such a number of the crew as would have been able to carry out their plan by a surprise. The obligations they had entered into were of the most desperate kind. They had sworn that they were not afraid of blood ; that after the brig had been watered and was prepared for a cruise, they would rise, take possession of her, and kill every officer except the surgeon, who might be neces

sary for them; they would then |. off the Hook of New York arbour, and capture the homewaid-bound packets, which they expected would contain large sums of specie. Of the people on board the captured vessels they swore that no one should be left to tell tales. After these horrible disclosures, a court-martial was held upon Spencer and those most prominently connected with him. It was impossible to know how far the contamination had spread, though it had evidently spread to a most dangerous extent. To crush it at all hazards was indispensable. The court-martial determined that nothing short of the prompt execution of the ringleaders would insure the safety of the ship. Spencer and two petty officers were thereupon ordered to be hung on the yard-arm ; which was done forthwith, and such other measures taken as entirely frustrated the diabolical plan. The brig was taken to the Navy-yard, with all hands on board, all intercourse with the shore being forbidden. Captain Mackenzie was afterwards tried in consequence of this act of speedy retribution, and acquitted. A speech delivered by Mr. Webster at a public dinner at Baltimore, in the month of May, excited much attention, as indicating a desire to enter into a commercial treaty with Great Britain on the basis of mutual reductions of import duties. He said in the course of his harangue, “All of us know, that the principal interests of the United States are all under a considerable degree of depression. The commercial interest is depressed, the manufacturing interest is depressed, and, so far as I am able to perceive, the agricul

tural interest of both North and South is equally depressed. The opinion has become somewhat current, that with England an arrangement might be made favourable to our great agricultural interest. The agreement must, of course, be founded on an adequate consideration. But as to the objects of the agreement, which it is supposed may be favourable to the United States, I may mention the admission into England for consumption, at lower rates of duty, of several of our large agricultural products. It has been supposed, for example, that England may be induced to make important reductions in her duties on tobacco; I confess I have never been able to see why not. The tobacco. duty in England is a mere matter of revenue; there is no collateral or ulterior object in it. The question, therefore, in the minds of English statesmen, as it seems to me, can only be, whether a reduction of the duty will diminish the aggregate of revenue 2 We all know that it often increases this aggregate; and in regard to this article, a reduction of duty of onehalf should augment importation one-half: and it is clearly of equal benefit to the English revenue. It is supposed, too, that the duty on rice may undergo a material and beneficial change; and this is an article now as much depressed as any other. There again is this great product of our own in the United States—maize, or, as it is called, Indian corn. I have not heard a suggestion from any quarter that England would be inclined to a modification of her Cornlaws, properly so called, I mean her duties on wheat and flour; but it has been suggested — I know not with how much plausi

bility, and I beg it may be received as merely a suggestion of my own—I have heard it, suggested, that in regard to this article of wholesome and cheap food, England might be induced to place upon its importation a low and fixed rate of duty. For what inducement may we hope that this concession may be obtained? Undoubtedly, the only inducement we could hold out to England would be a modification of the tariff of the United States. This proposition may seem unwise, because the tariff is not for revenue only but for protection also; and how far both or either of these objects could be firmly maintained under any modification of the tariff, is a question of great delicacy and great difficulty. My experience has not given me clear knowledge of it; but this I do know, that by making the tariff stable and firm, we shall render it healthful and judicious. If by any great operation that should unite the interests and opinions of all parts of the country we can place the productions of American industry and American labour on a permanent foundation, that is a much more important consideration than the degree to which protection may be extended.”

In July several changes occurred in the Cabinet of the President, which was thus remodelled: The honourable A. P. Upshar, Secretary of State; J. C. Spencer, Secretary of the Treasury; J. M. Porter, Secretary of War; D. Henshaw, Secretary of the Navy; C. A. Wickliffe, Postmaster-General; and J. Nelson, AttorneyGeneral. Subsequently, however, Mr. Gilmer was appointed Secretary of the Navy in the place of Mr. Henshaw.

[ocr errors]

Very little occurred during the rest of the year of general interest. That which most nearly concerned ourselves was the sympathy manifested in different parts of the United States with the efforts of the Irish Repealers, and some very violent language in the usual exaggerated style of American eloquence was held by different speakers. Perhaps the most ridiculous exhibition of ignorance and bombast that has occurred on either side of the Atlantic was that made by Mr. Robert Tyler, a Son of the President, at an Irish Repeal meeting in New York, on the 29th of August. After stating that he appeared “to denounce a Government which I hate,” and that he “abhorred the history of the British Government,” and that he (Mr. Robert Tyler) demanded “legislative emancipation for Ireland in the name of the enlightened age in which we live,” he proceeded to conjure up a picture of Ireland as a country where his audience would find the “churches desecrated, daughters ravished in sight of mothers, sons slain, and Ireland's halls of justice turned into worse than Saturnalian orgies, and where the British judge has 8tained his very ermine with the blood of victims;” and stated that “Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington have declared that Ireland must be put down, and that she can be put down in twenty four hours; and that, if need be, they can cover that ill-fated land with the bones of her murdered children.” We forbear to offend our readers with any more specimens of such trash. During the autumn, the most absorbing subject of interest to the American public was the elec

tion of Members to Congress, and the struggle assumed a more than ordinary degree of importance, from the fact of its being a trial of strength between the supporters of the rival candidates for the high office of President. The election of President was to take place in November, 1844, and the result of the elections would afford the means of judging as to who was likely to be the successful candidates. The chief contest lay between the friends of Mr. Clay, one of the principal leaders of the Whig or (in America) Conservative party, and Mr. Van Buren, the head of the Loco-foco, or Democratic party. Mr. Calhoun was another formidable candidate. The result of the elections was in favour of the party of Mr. Van Buren. Congress met early in December, and Mr. Jones, of Virginia, a decided partisan of Mr. Van Buren, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. But the acts and proceedings of the newlyelected Congress will be recorded in our next volume. We give the most important passages from the Message delivered by President Tyler on the opening of the new Congress. “If any people ever had cause to render up thanks to the Supreme Being for parental care and protection extended to them in all the trials and difficulties to which they have been from time to time exposed, we certainly are that people. From the first settlement of our forefathers on this continent— through the dangers attendant upon the occupation of a savage wilderness—through a long period of colonial dependence—through the war of the Revolution—in the wisdom which led to the adoption of the existing Republican form of tural interest of both North and South is equally depressed. The opinion has become somewhat current, that with England an arrangement might be made favourable to our great agricultural interest. The agreement must, of course, be founded on an adequate consideration. But as to the objects of the agreement, which it is supposed may be favourable to the United States, I may mention the admission into England for consumption, at lower rates of duty, of several of our large agricultural products. . It has been supposed, for example, that England may be induced to make important reductions in her duties on tobacco ; I confess I have never been able to see why not. The tobacco-duty in England is a mere matter of revenue; there is no collateral or ulterior object in it. The question, therefore, in the minds of English statesmen, as it seems to me, can only be, whether a reduction of the duty will diminish the aggregate of revenue 2 We all know that it often increases this aggregate; and in regard to this article, a reduction of duty of onehalf should augment importation one-half: and it is clearly of equal benefit to the English revenue. It is supposed, too, that the duty on rice may undergo a material and beneficial change; and this is an article now as much depressed as any other. There again is this great product of our own in the United States—maize, or, as it is called, Indian corn. I have not heard a suggestion from any quar

ter that England would be inclin

ed to a modification of her Corn

laws, properly so called, I mean

her duties on wheat and flour;

but it has been suggested — I

know not with how much plausi

bility, and I beg it may be received as merely a suggestion of my own—I have heard it suggested, that in regard to this article of wholesome and cheap food, England might be induced to place upon its importation a low and fixed rate of duty. For what inducement may we hope that this concession may be obtained? Undoubtedly, the only inducement we could hold out to England would be a modification of the tariff of the United States. This proposition may seem unwise, be: cause the tariff is not for revenue only but for protection also; and how far both or either of these objects could be firmly maintained under any modification of the tariff, is a question of great delicacy and great difficulty. My experience has not given me clear knowledge of it; but this I do know, that by making the tariff stable and firm, we shall render it healthful and judicious. If by any great operation that should unit: the interests and opinions of all parts of the country we can place the productions of American industry and American labour on a permanent foundation, that is a much more important considera: tion than the degree to which protection may be extended.”

In July several changes occurred in the Cabinet of the President, which was thus remodelled: The honourable A. P. Upshar, Secretary of State; J. C. Spencer, Secretary of the Treasury; J. M. Porter, Secretary of War; D. Henshaw, Secretary of the Navy; C. A. Wickliffe, Postmaster-Ge. neral ; and J. Nelson, AttorneyGeneral. Subsequently, however, Mr. Gilmer was appointed Secre. tary of the Navy in the place of Mr. Henshaw.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Very little occurred during the rest of the year of general interest. That which most nearly concerned ourselves was the sympathy manifested in different parts of the United States with the efforts of the Irish Repealers, and some very violent language in the usual exaggerated style of American eloquence was held by different speakers. Perhaps the most ridiculous exhibition of ignorance and bombast that has occurred on either side of the Atlantic was that made by Mr. Robert Tyler, a son of the President, at an Irish Repeal meeting in New York, on the 29th of August. After stating that he appeared “to denounce a Government which I hate,” and that he “abhorred the history of the British Government,” and that he (Mr. Robert Tyler) demanded “legislative emancipation for Ireland in the name of the enlightened age in which we live,” he proceeded to conjure up a picture of Ireland as a country where his audience would find the “churches desecrated, daughters ravished in sight of mothers, sons slain, and Ireland's halls of justice turned into worse than Saturnalian orgies, and where the British judge has stained his very ermine with the blood of victims;” and stated that “Sir Robert Peel and the Duke of Wellington have declared that Ireland must be put down, and that she can be put down in twenty four hours; and that, if need be, they can cover that ill-fated land with the bones of her murdered children.” We forbear to offend our readers with any more specimens of such trash. During the autumn, the most absorbing subject of interest to the American public was the elec

tion of Members to Congress, and the struggle assumed a more than ordinary degree of importance, from the fact of its being a trial of strength between the supporters of the rival candidates for the high office of President. The election of President was to take place in November, 1844, and the result of the elections would afford the means of judging as to who was likely to be the successful candidates. The chief contest lay between the friends of Mr. Clay, one of the principal leaders of the Whig or (in America) Conservative party, and Mr. Van Buren, the head of the Loco-foco, or Democratic party. Mr. Calhoun was another formidable candidate. The result of the elections was in favour of the party of Mr. Van Buren. Congress met early in December, and Mr. Jones, of Virginia, a decided partisan of Mr. Van Buren, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. But the acts and proceedings of the newlyelected Congress will be recorded in our next volume. We give the most important passages from the Message delivered by President Tyler on the opening of the new Congress. “If any people ever had cause to render up thanks to the Supreme Being for parental care and protection extended to them in all the trials and difficulties to which they have been from time to time exposed, we certainly are that people. From the first settlement of our forefathers on this continent— through the dangers attendant upon the occupation of a savage wilderness—through a long period of colonial dependence—through the war of the Revolution—in the wisdom which led to the adoption of the existing Republican form of

« ForrigeFortsett »