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Though much was waived for the sake of peace, tion of one principle, if no more, had been maintained for foreign- our country. In the first year of the war, the British had set out to treat some Irishmen taken while fighting on the American side, not as ordinary prisoners of war, but as traitors to Great Britain. On their being sent to be tried for treason in England, Congress aroused itself in their behalf, and authorized the adoption of retaliatory measures. An equal number of British captives was presently imprisoned, and when the British retorted by ordering twice as many American officers into confinement, the Americans did the same by the British officers in their power. The British government went so far as to order its commanders, in case any retaliation was inflicted upon the prisoners in American hands, to destroy the towns and their inhabitants upon the coast. It was at this juncture that Massachusetts, as already alluded to, appeared in the lines of nullification. The federalist majority in Massachusetts, caring little for the fate of the Irish prisoners, forbade the use of the state prisons for the British officers now ordered to be confined, (February, 1814.) The matter was set at rest by the retraction of the British government, who consented to treat the Irishmen as prisoners of war. Proclamation was made pardoning all past offences of the sort, but threatening future ones with the penalties of treason; a threat never attempted to be fulfilled, (July.)
Indian Some months after the treaty of Ghent, a treaty
treaty. was made with the Indians of the north-west. Such as had been at war agreed to bury the tomahawk, and to join with such as had been at peace in new relations with the United States., (September.)
Aigerine Another treaty had been made by this time. It treaty. wag wjtn tjle j)e^ Qf jygjerS) wno na(J g0ne to war with the United States in the same year that Great Britain did. The United States, however, had paid no attention to the inferior enemy until relieved of the superior. Then war was declared, and a fleet despatched, under Commodore Decatur, by which captures were made, and terms dictated to the Algerine. The treaty not only surrendered all American prisoners, and indemnified all American losses in the war, but renounced the claim of tribute on the part of Algiers, (June.) Tunis and Tripoli being brought to terms, the United States were no longer tributary to pirates.
Exhaus- Madison was reelected president, with Elbridge tl0n- Gerry as vice president, in the first year of the war. If he really consented to war as the price of his re-election, he had his reward. The difficulties of his second term, more serious than those of any administration before him, weighed upon him heavily. He welcomed peace, as his party welcomed it, — in fact, as the whole nation welcomed it, — with the same sensations of relief that men would feel if the earth, yawning at their feet, should suddenly close. To see from what the government and the nation were saved, it is sufficient to read that systems of conscription for the army and of impressment for the navy were amongst the projects pending at the close of the war, and that the public debt had been increased by one hundred and twenty millions — a far larger sum in those days than in these. Some parts of the country had suffered more than others; some industries, like those of commerce, had vanished. But as a whole, the people were in a state of temporary exhaustion.
indepen- I* was n°t so much in vain as it sometimes seems, dence. Indirectly, almost unconsciously, our fathers had perfected their independence of other nations. Never after, as before the treaty of Ghent, did the United States hang in suspense upon British orders or French decrees; never again did the people, or their parties, shape their course merely according to foreign movements. Not the war itself, so much as what went before, bore this fruit; the war was merely the forcing process by which the fruit was ripened.
Recovery. The depression at the close of the war was not so great as the elation at the return of peace. Men every where resumed their old enterprises, or entered upon new ones, without fear of the past or the future. The government addressed itself at once to the restoration of national prosperity. A new tariff was adopted, partly to increase the revenue, and partly to protect domestic manufactures. Internal taxes were gradually abolished. A new Bank of the United States was chartered, (March, 1816.) All this was not done in a day; nor was the revival of the nation uninterrupted. But the general tendency was towards recovery from the disorders into which the country had been plunged by the recent war. Adminis- Madison's troubled administration came to an trations. en(j# James Monroe was the president for the next eight years, (1817-25,) with Daniel D. Tompkins as vice president. Monroe, once an extreme, but latterly a moderate republican, so far conciliated all parties as to be reelected with but one electoral vote against him. Old parties were dying out. The great question of the period, to be set forth presently, was one with which republicans and federalists, as such, had nothing to do. Seminole The new administration had but just opened, when war« the Seminole war, as it was styled, broke out with the Indians of Georgia and Florida. It began with massacres. on both sides, and ended with a spoiling, burning., slaying expedition, half militia and half Indians, under General Jackson, the conqueror of the Creeks in the preceding war, (March, 1818.) On the pretext that the Spanish authorities countenanced the hostilities of the Indians, Jackson took St. Mark's and Pensacola, not without some ideas of seizing St. Augustine. He also put to death, within the Spanish limits, two British subjects accused of stirring up the Indians, (March, May.) So that the war, though called the Seminole, might as well be called the Florida war. The Spanish minister protested against the invasion of the Florida territory, of which the restitution was immediately ordered at Washington, though not without a23probation of the course pursued by Jackson.
Florida was a sore spot on more accounts than
tion of one. The old trouble of boundaries had never been settled; but that was a trifle compared with the later troubles arising from fugitive criminals, fugitive slaves, smugglers, pirates, and, as recently shown, Indians, to whom Florida furnished not only a refuge, but a starting point. The Spanish authorities, themselves by no means inclined to respect their neighbors of the United States, had no power to make others respect them. "This country," said President Monroe, referring to Florida, " had, in fact, become the theatre of every species of lawless adventure." Matters there were not improved by the uncertain relations still continuing between the United States and Spain. Former difficulties, especially those upon American indemnities, were not settled; while new ones had gathered in consequence of South American revolutions, and North American dispositions to side with the revolutionists. The proposal of an earlier time to purchase Florida was renewed by the United States. Its acceptance was impeded chiefly