« PreviousContinue »
The Black Hawk war.- United States bank. - The Cherokees.--Seminole war. lected or refused to appropriate the amount, and the draft for the first instalment came back protested. This act the president highly resented, and a war between this country and France became extremely probable. The matter was finally settled in 1836, but not till years
angry dispute had, in a great measure, alienated from each other the people of the two countries.
In 1830, by a treaty with Great Britain, direct trade was opened with the British colonies in the West Indies. In 1832, the war with the Indian tribes on the northwest frontier, known as the “ Black-Hawk war,'' occurred. From 1829 to 1833, advantageous commercial treaties were concluded with many of the governments of the Old World.
In 1832, a bill for rechartering the United States bank was passed by both houses of Congress. The bill was vetoed by the president, and in 1836 the bank, as a national institution, ceased to exist.
In the autumn of 1832, Jackson was re-elected president, and Martin Van Buren was elected vice-president. Mr. Clay was the opposing candidate for president.
In 1833, the president becoming convinced that the United States bank was insolvent, directed the removal of the government deposites from its custody. This measure produced great excitement, and, to some extent, a defection from the administration ranks. It was proved, by a subsequent commission, that the bank was in a sound condition. The great commercial revulsion of 1836–7 was charged upon this measure, but, as a majority of the people believed, without any just cause.
In 1834, the Cherokee nation of Indians, inhabiting a portion of Georgia, came into collision with the authorities of that state, who claimed that by certain treaties their lands belonged to Georgia. They were partially civilized and had many farms under cultivation, and it was a peculiar hardship for them to leave and go into the wilderness. In 1835, amicable arrangements were made for their removal, and they went beyond the Mississippi. This was a most unrighteous act of our government.
Toward the close of 1835, the Seminole Indians in Florida commenced hostilities against the white settlements on the frontier. ' An attempt of the government to remove the tribes beyond the Mississippi was the immediate cause of the war. Osceola was the chief warrior of the Seminoles, and by his artful dissimulation in diplomacy, and boldness in war, the contest lasted for several years.
In 1835–6, a large number of banking institutions sprang up in the several states, and the facility thus afforded for obtaining money, fostered a spirit of speculation, which finally ended in a business revulsion such as was never witnessed here before. The celebrated “specie circular," issued from the treasury department in 1836, requiring the payment of
The “Specie Circular." — Expunging resolutions.-Jackson's death and character. gold and silver for public lands, gave the first powerful check to mad schemes of speculation, and it doubtless prevented in a measure the absorption of the entire public domain by a few individuals.
In the fall of 1836, another presidential election occurred. The opposing candidates were Martin Van Buren (democratic), and General Harrison and Judge White (opposition). Van Buren was elected president and Richard M. Johnson vice-president.
In January, 1837, a resolution was passed, expunging from the journals of Congress a resolution offered by Mr. Clay in 1834, censuring the course of the president in removing the government funds from the United States bank. The last official act of Jackson's administration was an informal veto (by retaining it in his possession till after the adjourn. ment of Congress) of a bill so far counteracting the “specie circular" as to allow the reception of the notes of specie-paying banks in payment for public lands.
On the 3d of March, 1837, his administration closed; and having published a farewell address, he retired to the “ Hermitage” in Tennessee, where he passed the remainder of his days. For the last two years of his life he was physically quite infirm, but his mind lost but little of its energy. On the 8th of June, 1845, he expired, in the seventy-ninth year of his age. Public funeral obsequies were performed throughout the country,* for it might be truly said, a "great man has fallen in Israel.” His estate was left to the Donelson family, who were relatives of Mrs. Jackson, he having no blood-relations in this country.
In person, General Jackson was six feet one inch high, remarkably straight, and thin, never weighing over one hundred and fifty pounds. His sharp, intelligent eye was a dark blue. His manners were pleasing, his address commanding, and the most remarkable feature of his character was firmness. Honest and conscientious, no obstacle could prevent his doing what he judged to be right. Benevolence was in him a leading virtue, and his moral character was ever above reproach.
• A colossal equestrian statue is to be erected upon an arch to span Pennsylvania avenue, near the capitol, at Washington. It is to be erected by private subscription.
MARTIN VAN BUREN,
THE EIGHTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
ITHERTO, in tracing the lives of our chief magistrates, we have been carried back to the scenes of the Revolution, for they came upon the stage of life be. fore that eventful period. They were also AngloAmericans; but the eighth president was, in relation to our war of independence, like St. Paul, as
one born out of due time," and his fatherland was not of the British realm.
The Van Buren family were among the earlier emigrants from Holland to the New Netherlands (New York). They settled upon lands on the east bank of the Hudson, now known by the name of Kinderhook, in Columbia county. MARTIN VAN BURen was born at Kinderhook on the 5th of December, 1782. His father was a farmer in moderate circumstances, and both of his parents were distinguished for sagacity, sound sense, and uprightness of character. His early education was extremely limited, but the little opportunity afforded him at the Kinderhook academy, for acquiring any learning beyond the mere rudiments of a good English education, was industriously improved. At the age of fourteen
he entered the office of Francis Sylvester, a lawyer of Kinderhook, and very soon gave promise of future eminence, being, even at that age, a keen observer of men and things, a good extempore speaker, and quite a ready writer. During his long course of study* he was almost constantly employed in cases in justices' courts, and when his term expired he was an accomplished pleader at the bar, and a well-informed politician. His father was a whig of the Revolution and a democrat during the administration of the elder Adams, and therefore Martin was trained in the democratic school, its adherents then forming a small minority in his native town and county. The last year of his preparatory studies was spent in the office of William P. Van Ness, an eminent lawyer and leading democrat in the city of New
• At that time, students-at-law were not admitted to practice until they had stadied seven years, unless they had received a collegiate education.