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Fefferson's Embargo Policy.
It would seem that Jefferson deserves credit for keeping his country free from war at such a time. Finally, it must be remembered that his policy was not the only policy that failed of its expected results in that time of delirium. It may also be pointed out that the Jeffersonian system of commercial warfare as a matter of fact brought about the repeal of the Orders in Council on June 17th, 1812- one day before war was declared against Great Britain by the United States. Had the submarine cable suddenly come into being at that time, the War of 1812 probably would not have taken place.
THE SECOND WAR OF INDEPENDENCE AND THE ERA OF GOOD FEELING.
For a time events appeared to turn in Madison's favour. The begin- The New Englanders ceased from sedition and ning of Madiexerted themselves to make money by manuson's Administration. facturing for English goods were still excluded from the country; and, also, from a most profitable commerce which was carried on with the few European countries not under the control of either France or Great Britain. It even seemed for a moment as if England would enter again into friendly relations with the United States. A treaty was negotiated with Mr Erskine, the British Minister at Washington, on terms satisfactory to the American government. But Erskine had exceeded his power. The British government refused to ratify the treaty, and recalled their envoy; and Madison, who had suspended non-intercourse with Great Britain, was obliged to issue a Proclamation again imposing it. Erskine's successor was a Mr Jackson, who had represented Great Britain at Copenhagen at the time of the seizure of the Danish fleet. He had then used language to the Prince Royal of Denmark for which King George III is said to have remarked that Jackson should have been kicked downstairs. He now accused Madison of having knowingly deceived Erskine; and, repeating the assertion, Madison declined to receive any more communications from him. He returned
Madison's First Term, 1809-13.
home, delaying on the road to encourage the Federalists of New England in their intrigues against their government. Non-intercourse did not seem to be producing any effect on either of the belligerents. On May 1st, 1810, Congress substituted for it a bill known in policy modiAmerican political language as Macon's Bill, No. 2. This provided that non-intercourse should cease. In case, however, one belligerent should revoke its decrees or orders and the other should not do so, it was provided that the President should reimpose non-intercourse against the offending nation. Then followed a most distressing diplomatic contest, in the course of which Madison was entirely overreached by Napoleon. That master of duplicity offered to revoke his decrees on November 1st, 1810, so far as American shipping was concerned, provided Great Britain should rescind the Orders in Council before that day. Lord Wellesley, the British Foreign Minister at the time, offered to rescind the orders after Napoleon had revoked his decrees. Madison, however, understanding that the French decrees really were withdrawn, suspended non-intercourse with both countries.
It will be remembered that the American government had interpreted the provisions of the Louisiana Purchase to include West Florida. But against this West Florida, the Spanish government had protested, and Talleyrand had stated that the Spanish interpretation was the true one. As long as Spain remained an independent nation, the Americans were not disposed to push their claim. Now (1810) it seemed probable that Spain would become a dependence of either France or Great Britain. The occupation of West Florida by either of those powers would have menaced the control of the Mississippi by the United States. Madison decided to take possession of West Florida. A portion was occupied in 1810 and the remainder in 1812. The United
States had not the shadow of a claim to East Florida, or that province would probably have been seized also.
When Madison laid down the office of Secretary of State to
become President he wished to promote Albert Gallatin - the ablest man in the cabinet — from
the Treasury to the State Department. He was unable to do this, however, owing to the opposition of a faction led by Senator Smith of Maryland, whose brother Robert Smith was Secretary of the Navy. Gallatin had earned the enmity of this clique by condemning in severe terms the inefficient and wasteful management of the Navy Department by Robert Smith. So powerful were the Smiths, however, that the President was obliged, not only to put aside his plan as to Gallatin, but even to appoint Robert Smith Secretary of State. The latter could not write a proper state paper, and Madison was accustomed to write the important despatches himself, Robert Smith copying and signing them. The charter of the United States Bank was about to expire, and Gallatin desired to recharter it, for, as things stood, it was indispensable to the efficient management of the Treasury. Robert Smith did not oppose the plan in the cabinet, but with his brother's aid secured its rejection by Congress. This was more than Gallatin could bear, and he forwarded his resignation to the President. Now, at last, the patient Madison was aroused. He asked Gallatin to remain, removed Smith, and requested Monroe, who had opposed the government since the rejection of his treaty with England, to take the vacant post. Monroe accepted, to the indignation of many of his friends, and again entered political life.
During these years of embargo and non-intercourse the Republicans had suffered many defeats in New England. They now had control in Massachusetts. To perpetuate their hold on the upper house of the legislature of that State, they rearranged the senatorial districts to secure as many Republican districts, and hence
Madison's First Term, 1809-13.
as many senators, as possible. Some of the new districts were of a most extraordinary shape, resembling in outline those quaint monsters, salamanders and the like, with which medieval map-makers were wont to dot the unknown parts of the sea. To these the Federalists gave the name of gerrymander, as a satire on the Republican governor, Elbridge Gerry, who signed the bill. In this connection Gerry is still remembered among all English-speaking peoples.
In May, 1811, the American frigate President and the British sloop-of-war Little Belt, owing to some misunderstanding not now to be discovered, fired on each other in the darkness of the early evening and the Little Belt was badly crippled. This affair reconciled the American people to accept reparation for the Chesapeake outrage, and accordingly the American citizens seized by the Leopard in 1807 were restored to their country. To Americans of the present day, this whole matter of impressment seems extraordinary. The press-gang saved the British government a few thousand pounds in seamen's wages, at the cost of great hardship to Englishmen and oftentimes to their families as well. It did more than anything else to keep alive the spirit of resentment on the part of Americans towards the British nation, which was one of the principal causes of the War of 1812. Another cause of that war was the conviction, which obtained especially among the people of the North-west, that the British authorities in Canada were at the bottom of the Indian troubles of the period.
The President and Little Belt, 1811.
Among the Indians of Indiana Territory were two brothers, named Tecumthe and "the Prophet." Under their lead the Indians protested against the of Tippecanoe, United States securing more land in that region from individual tribes. They maintained, on the contrary, that the land belonged to the Indians as a whole, and could only be acquired by general consent. Following a refusal