A School History of the United States
John Bach McMaster

Part 3 out of 10

totally dissolved.

Prompt action in so serious a matter was not to be expected, and
Congress put it off till July 1. Meanwhile Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin
Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were
appointed to write a declaration of independence and have it ready in
case it was wanted. As Jefferson happened to be the chairman of the
committee, the duty of writing the declaration was given to him. July
2, Congress passed Lee's resolution, and what had been the United
Colonies became free and independent states.

[Illustration: Campaigns of 1775-1776]

[Illustration: %The Pennsylvania Statehouse, or Independence Hall[1]]

[Footnote 1: From the _Columbian Magazine_ of July, 1787. The tower
faces the "Statehouse yard." The posts are along Chestnut Street. For
the history of the building, read F. M. Etting's _Independence Hall._]

%138. Independence declared.%--Independence having thus been decreed,
the next step was to announce the fact to the world. As Jefferson says
in the opening of his declaration, "When, in the course of human events,
it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands
which have connected them with another ... a decent respect to the
opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which
impel them to the separation." It was this "decent respect to the
opinions of mankind," therefore, which now led Congress, on July 4,
1776, to adopt the Declaration of Independence, and to send copies to
the states. Pennsylvania got her copy first, and at noon on July 8 it
was read to a vast crowd of citizens in the Statehouse yard.[1] When
the reading was finished, the people went off to pull down the royal
arms in the court room, while the great bell in the tower, the bell
which had been cast twenty-four years before with the prophetic words
upon its side, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the
inhabitants thereof," rang out a joyful peal, for then were announced to
the world the new political truths, "that all men are created equal,"
and "that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable
rights," and "that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of

[Footnote 1: The declaration was read from a wooden platform put up
there in 1769 to enable David Rittenhouse to observe a transit
of Venus.]

[Illustration: The royal arms]

%139. The Retreat up the Hudson.%--A few days later the Declaration
was read to the army at New York. The wisdom of Washington in going to
New York was soon manifest, for in July General Howe, with a British
army of 25,000 men, encamped on Staten Island. In August he crossed to
Long Island, and was making ready to besiege the army on Brooklyn
Heights, when, one dark and foggy night, Washington, leaving his camp
fires burning, crossed with his army to New York.

Howe followed, drove him foot by foot up the Hudson from New York to
White Plains; carried Fort Washington, on the New York shore, by storm
(November 16, 1776); and sent a force across the Hudson under cover of
darkness and storm to capture Fort Lee. But the British were detected in
the very nick of time, and the Americans, leaving their fires burning
and their tents standing, fled towards Newark, N. J.

%140. The Retreat across the Jerseys.%--Washington, meanwhile, had
gone from White Plains to Hackensack in New Jersey, leaving 7000 men
under Charles Lee in New York state at North Castle. These men he now
ordered Lee to bring over to Hackensack, but the jealous and mutinous
Lee refused to obey. This forced Washington to begin his famous retreat
across the Jerseys, going first to Newark, then to New Brunswick, then
to Trenton, and then over the Delaware into Pennsylvania, with the
British under Cornwallis in hot pursuit.


%141. The Surprise at Trenton.%--Lee crossed the Hudson and went to
Morristown, where a just punishment for his disobedience speedily
overtook him. One night while he was at an inn outside of his lines,
some British dragoons made him a prisoner of war. The capture of Lee
left Sullivan in command, and by him the troops were hurried off to join
Washington. Thus reenforced, Washington turned on the enemy, and on
Christmas night in a blinding snowstorm he recrossed the Delaware,
marched nine miles to Trenton, surprised a force of Hessians, took 1000
prisoners, and went back to Pennsylvania.

The effect of this victory was tremendous. At first the people could not
believe it, and, to convince them, the Hessians had to be marched
through the streets of Philadelphia, and one of their flags was sent to
Baltimore (whither Congress had fled from Philadelphia), and hung up in
the hall of Congress. When the people were convinced of the truth of the
report, their joy was unbounded; militia was hurried forward, the
Jerseymen gathered at Morristown, money was raised; the New England
troops, whose time of service was out, were persuaded to stay six weeks
longer, and, December 30, 1776, Washington again entered Trenton.

Meantime Cornwallis, who had heard of the capture of the Hessians, came
thundering down from New Brunswick with 8000 men and hemmed in the
Americans between his army and the Delaware. But on the night of January
2, 1777, Washington slipped away, passed around Cornwallis, hurried to
Princeton, and there, on the morning of January 3, put to rout three
regiments of British regulars. Cornwallis, who was not aware that the
Americans had left his front till he heard the firing in his rear, fell
back to New Brunswick, while Washington marched unmolested to
Morristown, where he spent the rest of the winter.

%142. The Capture of Philadelphia.%--Late in May, 1777, Washington
entered New York state. But Howe paid little attention to this movement,
for he had fully determined to attack and capture Philadelphia, and on
July 23 set sail from New York. As the fleet moved southward, its
progress was marked by signal fires along the Jersey coast, and the news
of its position was carried inland by messengers. At the end of a week
the fleet was off the entrance of Delaware Bay. But Lord Howe fearing to
sail up the river, the fleet went to sea and was lost to sight.
Washington, who had hurried southward to Philadelphia, was now at a loss
what to do, and was just about to go back to New York when he heard
that the British were coming up Chesapeake Bay, and at once marched to
Wilmington, Del.


It was the 25th of August that Howe landed his men and began moving
toward Washington, who, lest the British should push by him, fell back
from Wilmington, to a place called Chadds Ford on the Brandywine, where,
on September 11, 1777, a battle was fought.[1] The Americans were
defeated and retreated in good order to Chester, and the next day
Washington entered Philadelphia. But public opinion demanded that
another battle should be fought before the city was given up, and after
a few days he recrossed the Schuylkill, and again faced the enemy. A
violent storm ruined the ammunition of both armies and prevented a
battle, and the Americans retreated across the Schuylkill at a point
farther up the stream.

[Footnote: 1 Among the wounded in this battle was a brilliant young
Frenchman, the Marquis de Lafayette, who, early in 1777, came to America
and offered his services to Congress as a volunteer without pay.]

Congress, which had returned to Philadelphia from Baltimore, now fled to
Lancaster and later to York, Pa., and (September 26, 1777) Howe entered
Philadelphia in triumph. October 4, Washington attacked him at
Germantown, but was repulsed, and went into winter quarters at
Valley Forge.


%143. New York invaded.%--Though Washington had been defeated in the
battles around Philadelphia, and had been forced to give that city to
the British, his campaign made it possible for the Americans to win
another glorious victory in the north. At the beginning of 1777 the
British had planned to conquer New York and so cut the Eastern States
off from the Middle States. To accomplish this, a great army under John
Burgoyne was to come up to Albany by way of Lake Champlain. Another,
under Colonel St. Leger, was to go up the St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario
to Oswego and come down to Mohawk valley to Albany; while the third
army, under Howe, was to go up the Hudson from New York and meet
Burgoyne at Albany. True to this plan, Burgoyne came up Lake Champlain,
took Ticonderoga (July 5), and, driving General Schuyler before him,
reached Fort Edward late in July. There he heard that the Americans had
collected some supplies at Bennington, a little village in the
southwestern corner of Vermont, whither he sent 1000 men. But Colonel
John Stark met and utterly destroyed them on August 16. Meanwhile St.
Leger, as planned, had landed at Oswego, and on August 3 laid siege to
Fort Stanwix, which then stood on the site of the present city of Rome,
N.Y. On the 6th the garrison sallied forth, attacked a part of St.
Leger's camp, and carried off five British flags. These they hoisted
upside down on their ramparts, and high above them raised a new flag
which Congress had adopted in June, and which was then for the first
time flung to the breeze.

[Illustration: Flag of the East India Company]

%144. Our National Flag.%--It was our national flag, the stars and
stripes, and was made of a piece of a blue jacket, some strips of a
white shirt, and some scraps of old red flannel.[1]

[Footnote 1: The flags used by the continental troops between 1775 and
1777 were of at least a dozen different patterns. A colored plate
showing most of them is given in Treble's _Our Flag_, p. 142. In 1776,
in January, Washington used one at Cambridge which seems to have been
suggested by the ensign of the East India Company. That of this company
was a combination of thirteen horizontal red and white stripes (seven
red and six white) and the red cross of St. George. That of Washington
was the same, with the British Union Jack substituted for the cross of
St. George. After the Declaration of Independence, the British Jack was
out of place on our flag; and in June, 1777, Congress adopted a union of
thirteen white stars in a circle, on a blue ground, in place of the
British Union. After Vermont and Kentucky were admitted, in 1791 and
1792, the stars and stripes were each increased to fifteen. In 1818, the
original number of stripes was restored, and since that time each new
state, when admitted, is represented by a star and not by a stripe.]

[Illustration: Flag of the United Colonies]

[Illustration: British Union Jack]

%145. Capture of Burgoyne.%--When Schuyler heard of the siege of
Fort Stanwix, he sent Benedict Arnold to relieve it, and St. Leger fled
to Oswego. Then was the time for the expedition from New York to have
hurried to Burgoyne's aid. But Howe and his army were then at sea. No
help was given to Burgoyne, who, after suffering defeats at Bemis
Heights (September 19) and at Stillwater (October 7), retreated to
Saratoga, where (October 17, 1777) he surrendered his army of 6000 men
to General Horatio Gates, whom Congress, to its shame, had just put in
the place of Schuyler. Gates deserves no credit for the capture. Arnold
and Daniel Morgan deserve it, and deserve much; for, judged by its
results, Saratoga was one of the great battles of the world. The results
of the surrender were four fold:

1. It saved New York state.
2. It destroyed the plan for the war.
3. It induced the King to offer us peace with representation in
Parliament, or anything else we wanted except independence.
4. It secured for us the aid of France.

[Illustration: %Flag of the United States, 1777%]

%146. Valley Forge.%--The winter at Valley Forge marks the darkest
period of the war. It was a season of discouragement, when mean spirits
grew bold. Some officers of the army formed a plot, called from one of
them the "Conway cabal," to displace Washington and put Gates in
command. The country people, tempted by British gold, sent their
provisions into Philadelphia and not to Valley Forge. There the
suffering of the half-clad, half-fed, ill-housed patriots surpasses

But the darkest hour is just before the dawn. Then it was that an able
Prussian soldier, Baron Steuben, joined the army, turned the camp into a
school, drilled the soldiers, and made the army better than ever. Then
it was that France acknowledged our independence, and joined us in
the war.

%147. France acknowledges our Independence.%--In October, 1776,
Congress sent Benjamin Franklin to Paris to try to persuade the French
King to help us in the war. Till Burgoyne surrendered and Great Britain
offered peace, Franklin found all his efforts vain.[1] But now, when it
seemed likely that the states might again be brought under the British
crown, the French King promptly acknowledged us to be an independent
nation, made a treaty of alliance and a treaty of commerce (February 6,
1778), and soon had a fleet on its way to help us.

[Footnote 1: For an account of Franklin in France, see McMaster's _With
the Fathers_, pp. 253-270.]

%148. The British leave Philadelphia.%--Hearing of the approach of
the French fleet, Sir Henry Clinton, who in May had succeeded Howe in
command, left Philadelphia and hurried to the defense of New York.
Washington followed, and, coming up with the rear guard of the enemy at
Monmouth in New Jersey, fought a battle (June 28, 1778), and would have
gained a great victory had not the traitor, Charles Lee, been in
command.[2] Without any reason he suddenly ordered a retreat, which was
fortunately prevented from becoming a rout by Washington, who came on
the field in time to stop it.

[Footnote 2: After remaining a prisoner in the hands of the British from
December, 1776, to April, 1778, Lee had been exchanged for a
British officer.]

After the battle the British hurried on to New York, where Washington
partially surrounded them by stretching out his army from Morristown in
New Jersey to West Point on the Hudson.

%149. Stony Point.%--In hope of drawing Washington away from New
York, Clinton in 1779 sent a marauding party to plunder and ravage the
farms and towns of Connecticut. But Washington soon brought it back by
dispatching Anthony Wayne to capture Stony Point, which he did (July,
1779) by one of the most brilliant assaults in military history.

%150. Indian Raids.%--That nothing might be wanting to make the
suffering of the patriots as severe as possible, the Indians were let
loose. Led by a Tory[1] named Butler, a band of whites and Indians of
the Seneca tribe of the Six Nations[2] marched from Fort Niagara to
Wyoming Valley in northeastern Pennsylvania, and there perpetrated one
of the most awful massacres in history. Another party, led by a son of
Butler, repeated the horrors of Wyoming in Cherry Valley, N.Y.

[Footnote 1: Not all the colonists desired independence. Those who
remained loyal to the King were called Tories.]

[Footnote 2: By this time the Five Nations had admitted the Tuscaroras
to their confederacy and had thus become the Six Nations.]

%151. George Rogers Clark%.--Meantime the British commander at
Detroit tried hard to stir up the Indians of the West to attack the
whole frontier at the same moment. Hearing of this, George Rogers Clark
of Virginia marched into the enemy's country, and in two fine campaigns
in 1778-1779 beat the British, and conquered the country from the Ohio
to the Great Lakes and from Pennsylvania to the Mississippi.

%152. Sullivan's Expedition%.--In 1779 it seemed so important to
punish the Indians for the Wyoming and Cherry Valley massacres that
General Sullivan with an army invaded the territory of the Six Nations,
in central New York, burned some forty Indian villages, and utterly
destroyed the Indian power in that state.

%153. The South invaded%.--For a year and more there had been a lull
in military operations on the part of the British. But they now began an
attack in a new quarter. Having failed to conquer New England in
1775-1776, having failed to conquer the Middle States in 1776-1777, they
sent an expedition against the South in December, 1778. Success attended
it. Savannah was captured, Georgia was conquered, and the royal governor
reinstated. Later, in 1779, General Lincoln, with a French fleet to help
him, attempted to recapture Savannah, but was driven off with dreadful
loss of life.

These successes in Georgia so greatly encouraged the British that in the
spring of 1780 Clinton led an expedition against South Carolina, and
(May 12) easily captured Charleston, with Lincoln and his army. By dint
of great exertions another army was quickly raised in North Carolina,
and the command given to Gates by Congress. He was utterly unfit for it,
and (August 16, 1780) was defeated and his army almost destroyed at
Camden by Lord Cornwallis. Never in the whole course of the war had the
American army suffered such a crushing defeat. All military resistance
in South Carolina was at an end, save such as was offered by gallant
bands of patriots led by Marion, Sumter, and Pickens.

%154. The Treason of Arnold.%--The outlook was now dark enough;
but it was made darker still by the treachery of Benedict Arnold. No
officer in the Revolutionary army was more trusted. His splendid march
through the wilderness to Quebec, his bravery in the attack on that
city, the skill and courage he displayed at Saratoga, had marked him
out as a man full of promise. But he lacked that moral courage without
which great abilities count for nothing. In 1778 he was put in command
of Philadelphia, and while there so abused his office that he was
sentenced to be reprimanded by Washington. This aroused a thirst for
revenge, and led him to form a scheme to give up the Hudson River to the
enemy. With this end in view, he asked Washington in July, 1780, for the
command of West Point, the great stronghold on the Hudson, obtained it,
and at once made arrangements to surrender it to Clinton. The British
agent in the negotiation was Major John Andre, who one day in September
met Arnold near Stony Point. But most happily, as he was going back to
New York, three Americans[1] stopped him near Tarrytown, searched him,
and in his stockings found some papers in the handwriting of Arnold.
News of the arrest of Andre reached Arnold in time to enable him to
escape to the British; he served with them till the end of the war, and
then sought a refuge in England. Andre was tried as a spy, found guilty,
and hanged.

[Footnote 1: The names of these men were Paulding, Williams, and Van

%155. Victory at Kings Mountain.%--After the defeat of Gates at
Camden, the British overran South Carolina, and in the course of their
marauding a band of 1100 Tories marched to Kings Mountain, on the border
line between the two Carolinas. There the hardy mountaineers attacked
them (Oct. 7, 1780) and killed, wounded, or captured the entire band.

[Map: %CAMPAIGNS IN THE SOUTH 1778-1781%]

%156. Victory at the Cowpens%.--Meantime a third army was raised for
use in the South and placed under the command of Nathanael Greene, than
whom there was no abler general in the American army. With Greene was
Daniel Morgan, who had distinguished himself at Saratoga, and by him a
British force under Tarleton was attacked January 17, 1781, at a place
called the Cowpens, and not only defeated, but almost destroyed.

Enraged at these reverses, Cornwallis took the field and hurried to
attack Greene, who, too weak to fight him, began a masterly retreat of
200 miles across Carolina to Guilford Courthouse, where he turned about
and fought. He was defeated, but Cornwallis was unable to go further,
and retreated to Wilmington, N.C., with Greene in hot pursuit. Leaving
the enemy at Wilmington, Greene went back to South Carolina, and by
September, 1781, had driven the British into Charleston and Savannah.

Cornwallis, as soon as Greene left him, hurried to Petersburg, Va. A
British force during the winter and spring had been plundering and
ravaging in Virginia, under the traitor Arnold. Cornwallis took command
of this, sent Arnold to New York, and had begun a campaign against
Lafayette, when orders reached him to seize and fortify some
Virginian seaport.

%157. Surrender of Cornwallis.%--Thus instructed, Cornwallis selected
Yorktown, and began to fortify it strongly. This was early in August,
1781. On the 14th Washington heard with delight that a French fleet was
on its way to the Chesapeake, and at once decided to hurry to Virginia,
and surround Cornwallis by land while the French cut him off by sea.
Preparations were made with such secrecy and haste that Washington had
reached Philadelphia while Clinton supposed he was about to attack New
York. Clinton then sent Arnold on a raid into Connecticut to burn New
London, in the hope of forcing Washington to return. But Washington kept
straight on, hemmed Cornwallis in by land and sea, and October 19, 1781,
forced the British general to surrender.

%158. The War on the Sea.%--The first step towards the foundation of
an American navy was taken on October 13, 1775. Congress, hearing that
two British ships laden with powder and guns were on their way from
England to Quebec, ordered two swift sailing vessels to be fitted out
for the purpose of capturing them. Two months later Congress ordered
thirteen cruisers to be built, and named the officers to command them.

Meantime some merchant ships were purchased and collected at
Philadelphia, from which city, one morning in January, 1776, a fleet of
eight vessels set sail. As they were about to weigh anchor, John Paul
Jones, a lieutenant on the flagship, flung to the breeze a yellow silk
flag on which were a pine tree and a coiled rattlesnake, with this
motto: "Don't tread on me." This was the first flag ever hoisted on an
American man-of-war.

Ice in the Delaware kept the fleet in the river till the middle of
February, when it went to sea, sailed southward to New Providence in the
Bahamas, captured the town, brought off the governor, some powder and
cannon, and after taking several prizes got safely back to New London.

Soon after the squadron had left the Delaware, the _Lexington_, Captain
John Barry in command, while cruising off the Virginia coast, fell in
with the _Edward_, a British vessel, and after a spirited action
captured her. This was the first prize brought in by a commissioned
officer of the American navy.[1]

[Footnote 1: John Barry was a native of Ireland; he came to America at
thirteen, entered the merchant marine, and at twenty-five was captain of
a ship. At the opening of the war Barry offered his services to
Congress, and in February, 1776, was put in command of the _Lexington_.
After his victory he was transferred to the twenty-eight-gun frigate
_Effingham_, and in 1777 (while blockaded in the Delaware) with
twenty-seven men in four boats captured and destroyed a ten-gun schooner
and four transports. When the British captured Philadelphia, Barry took
the _Effingham_ up the river; but she was burned by the enemy. In 1778,
in command of the thirty-two-gun frigate _Raleigh_, he sailed from
Boston, fell in with two British frigates, and after a fight was forced
to run ashore in Penobscot Bay. Barry and his crew escaped, and in 1781
carried Laurens to France in the frigate _Alliance_. On the way out he
took a privateer, and while cruising on the way home captured the
_Atalanta_ and the _Trepassey_ after a hard fight. As Barry brought in
the first capture by a commissioned officer of the United States navy,
so he fought the last action of the war in 1782; but the enemy escaped.
When the navy was reorganized in 1794, Barry was made senior captain,
with the title of Commodore. In 1798 he commanded the frigate _United
States_ in the war with France. He died in 1803.]

In March, 1776, Congress began to issue letters of marque, or licenses
to citizens to engage in war against the enemy; and then the sea fairly
swarmed with privateers.

In 1777 the American flag was seen for the first time in European
waters, when a little squadron of three ships set sail from Nantes in
France, and after cruising on the Bay of Biscay went twice around
Ireland and came back to France with fifteen prizes. As France had not
then acknowledged our independence, they were ordered to depart. Two did
so; but one of them, the _Lexington_, was captured by the British, and
the other, the _Reprisal_, was wrecked at sea.

%159. Paul Jones.%--Meanwhile our commissioners in France, Benjamin
Franklin and Silas Deane, fitted out a cruiser called the _Surprise_.
She sailed from Dunkirk on May 1, 1777, and the next week was back with
a British packet as a prize. For this violation of French neutrality she
was seized. But another ship, the _Revenge_, was quickly secured, which
scoured the British waters, and actually entered two British ports
before she sailed for America. The exploits of these and a score of
other ships are cast into the shade, however, by the fights of John Paul
Jones, the great naval hero of the Revolution. He sailed from
Portsmouth, N.H., November 1, 1777, refitted his ship in the harbor of
Brest, and in 1778 began one of the most memorable cruises in our naval
history. In the short space of twenty-eight days he sailed into the
Irish Channel, destroyed four vessels, set fire to the shipping in the
port of Whitehaven, fought and captured the British armed schooner
_Drake_, sailed around Ireland with his prize, and reached France
in safety.

For a year he was forced to be idle. But at last, in 1779, he was given
command of a squadron of five vessels, and in August sailed from France.
Passing along the west coast of Ireland, the fleet went around the north
end of Scotland and down the east coast, capturing and destroying vessel
after vessel on the way. On the night of September 23, 1779, Jones (in
his ship, named _Bonhomme Richard_ in honor of Franklin's famous _Poor
Richard's Almanac_) fell in with the _Serapis_, a British frigate. The
two ships grappled, and, lashed side by side in the moonlight, fought
one of the most desperate battles in naval annals. At the end of three
hours the _Serapis_ surrendered, but the _Bonhomme Richard_ was a wreck,
and next morning, giving a sudden roll, she filled and plunged bow first
to the bottom of the North Sea. Jones sailed away in the _Serapis_.

[Illustration: Benjamin Franklin]

In the Revolution the British lost 102 vessels of war, while the
Americans lost 24--most of their navy.

%160. Revolutionary Heroes.%--It is not possible to mention all the
revolutionary heroes entitled to our grateful remembrance. We should,
however, remember Lafayette, Steuben, Pulaski, and DeKalb, foreigners
who fought for us; Samuel Adams and James Otis of Massachusetts, and
Patrick Henry of Virginia, who spoke for freedom; Robert Morris, the
financier of the Revolution; Putnam who fought and Warren who died at
Bunker Hill; Mercer who fell at Princeton; Nathan Hale, the martyr spy;
Herkimer, Knox, Moultrie, and that long list of noble patriots whose
names have already been mentioned.

%161. The Treaty of Peace.%--The story is told that when Lord North,
the Prime Minister of England, heard of the surrender of Yorktown, he
threw up his hands and said, "It is all over." He was right; it was all
over, and on September 3, 1783, a treaty of peace (negotiated by
Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay) was signed at Paris.

Meantime the British, in accordance with a preliminary treaty of peace
signed in November, 1782, were slowly leaving the country, till on
November 25, 1783, the last of them sailed from New York.[1] Washington
now resigned his commission, and in December went home to Mt. Vernon.

[Footnote 1: They did not leave Staten Island in New York Bay till a
week later. For an account of the evacuation of New York see McMaster's
_With the Fathers_, pp. 271-280.]

%162. Bounds of the United States.%--By the treaty of 1783 the
boundary of the United States was declared to be about what is the
present northern boundary from the mouth of the St. Croix River in Maine
to the Lake of the Woods, and then due west to the Mississippi (which
was, of course, an impossible line, for that river does not rise in
Canada); then down the Mississippi to 31 deg. north latitude; then eastward
along that parallel of latitude to the Apalachicola River, and then by
what is the present north boundary of Florida to the Atlantic.

But these bounds were not secured without a diplomatic struggle. As soon
as France joined us in 1778, she began to persuade Spain to follow her
example. Very little persuasion was needed, for the opportunity to
regain the two Floridas (which Spain had been forced to give to England
in 1763) was too good to be lost. In June, 1779, therefore, Spain
declared war on England, and sent the governor of Lower Louisiana into
West Florida, where he captured Pensacola, Mobile, Baton Rouge, and
Natchez. Made bold by this success, Spain, which cared nothing for the
United States, next determined to conquer the region north of Florida
and east of the Mississippi, the Indian country of the proclamation of
1763. (See map of The British Colonies in 1764.) The commandant at St.
Louis[2] was, therefore, sent to seize the post at St. Joseph on Lake
Michigan, built by La Salle in 1679. He succeeded, and taking possession
of the country in the name of Spain, carried off the English flags as
evidence of conquest. Now when the time came to make the treaty of
peace, Spain insisted that she must have East and West Florida and the
country west of the Alleghany Mountains, because she had conquered it.
France partly supported Spain in this demand. The country north of the
Ohio she proposed should be given to Great Britain, and the country
south to Spain and the United States.

[Footnote 2: It will be remembered that Spain now held Louisiana, or the
country west of the Mississippi. (See Chapter VIII.)]

SPAIN 1783-1795]

The American commissioners, seeing in all this a desire to bound the
United States on the west by the Alleghany Mountains, made the treaty
with Great Britain secretly, and secured the Mississippi as our
western limit.

Spain at the same time secured the Floridas from Great Britain, and
insisting that West Florida must have the old boundary given in 1764,[1]
and not 31 deg. as provided in our treaty of peace, she seized and held the
country by force of arms; and for twelve years the Spanish flag waved
over Baton Rouge and Natchez.[2]

[Footnote 1: See Chapter X.]

[Footnote 2: Read Hinsdale's _Old Northwest_, pp. 170-191; McMaster's
_With the Fathers_, pp. 280-292.]

The area of the territory thus acquired by the United States was 827,844
square miles, and the population not far from 3,250,000. Apparently an
era of great prosperity and happiness was before the people. But
unhappily the government they had established in time of war was quite
unfit to unite them and bring them prosperity in time of peace.

[Illustration: Washington's sword]


1. In accordance with one of the Intolerable Acts, General Gage became
governor of Massachusetts in 1774.

2. Seeing that the people were gathering stores and cannon, he attempted
to destroy the stores, and so brought on the battles of Lexington and
Concord, which opened the War for Independence.

3. The Congress of colonial delegates, which met in 1774 and adjourned
to meet again in 1775, assembled soon after these battles, and assumed
the conduct of the war, adopted the army around Boston, and made
Washington commander in chief.

4. Washington reached Boston soon after the battle of Bunker Hill, which
taught the British that the Americans would fight, and he besieged the
British in Boston. In March, 1776, they left the city by water, and
Washington moved his army to the neighborhood of New York.

5. There he was attacked by the British, and was driven up the Hudson
River to White Plains. Thence he crossed into New Jersey, only to be
driven across the state and into Pennsylvania.

6. On Christmas night, 1776, he recrossed the Delaware to Trenton, and
the next morning won a victory over the Hessians. Then on January 3,
1777, he fought the battle of Princeton, and he spent the remainder of
the winter at Morristown.

7. In July, 1777, Howe sailed from New York for Philadelphia, to which
city Washington hurried by land. The Americans were defeated at the
Brandy wine, and the city fell into the hands of Howe. Washington passed
the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge.

8. Meantime an attempt had been made to cut the states in two by getting
possession of New York state from Lake Champlain to New York city, and
an army under Burgoyne came down from Canada. He and his troops were
captured at Saratoga.

9. In February, 1778, France made a treaty of alliance with us and sent
over a fleet. Fearing this would attack New York, Clinton left
Philadelphia with his army. Washington followed from Valley Forge,
overtook the enemy at Monmouth, and fought a battle there. The British
then went on to New York, while Washington stretched out his army from
Morristown to West Point.

10. So matters remained till December, 1778, when the British attacked
the Southern States. They conquered Georgia in the winter of 1778-1779.

11. In the spring of 1780 they attacked South Carolina and captured
General Lincoln. Gates then took the field, was defeated, and succeeded
by Greene, who after many vicissitudes drove the British forces in South
Carolina and Georgia into Charleston and Savannah, during 1781.

12. Meantime a force sent against Greene under Cornwallis undertook to
fortify Yorktown and hold it, and while so engaged was surrounded by
Washington and the French fleet and forced to surrender.


CAMPAIGNS OF 1775-1776

_In New England_.

1775. Concord and Lexington.
Continental Army formed.
Washington, commander in chief.
Battle of Bunker Hill.

1775-1776. Siege of Boston.

1776. Evacuation of Boston.

_In Canada_.

1775. Arnold's march to Quebec.
Montgomery's march to Montreal.
Capture of Montreal.

1776. Defeat and death of Montgomery at Quebec.
Americans return to Ticonderoga.

1776. Howe sails for New York.
Washington marches to New York.
The Declaration of Independence.
Capture of New York.
Retreat across the Jerseys.
Surprise at Trenton.
1777. Battle of Princeton.
Washington at Morristown.
Burgoyne and St. Leger move down from Canada to
capture New York state and cut the colonies in two.
St. Leger defeated at Fort Stanwix.
Burgoyne captured at Saratoga.
Howe sails from New York to Chesapeake Bay and
moves against Philadelphia.
Washington moves from New York to Philadelphia.
Battles of Brandywine and Germantown.
Philadelphia captured by the British.
1777-1778. Americans winter at Valley Forge.
1778. Alliance with France.
Fleet and army sent from France.
Clinton leaves Philadelphia and hurries to New York.
Washington follows him from Valley Forge.
Battle of Monmouth.
Washington on the Hudson.


1778. The South invaded.
Savannah captured and Georgia overrun.
1779. Clinton ravages Connecticut to draw Washington away
from the Hudson.
Wayne captures Stony Point.
Lincoln attacks Savannah.
1780. Clinton captures Charleston.
Campaign of Gates in South Carolina.
Battles of Camden and Kings Mountain.
Treason of Arnold.
1781. Greene in command in the South.
Battle of the Cowpens.
March of Cornwallis from Charleston.
Battle of Guilford Courthouse.
Cornwallis goes to Wilmington and Greene to South Carolina.
Cornwallis goes to Yorktown.
Washington hurries from New York.
Surrender of Cornwallis.
1782-1783. Peace negotiations at Paris.
1783. Evacuation of New York.




%163. How the Colonies became States.%--When the Continental Congress
met at Philadelphia on May 10, 1775, a letter was received from
Massachusetts, where the people had penned up the governor in Boston and
had taken the government into their own hands, asking what they should
do. Congress replied that no obedience was due to the Massachusetts
Regulating Act or to the governor, and advised the people to make a
temporary government to last till the King should restore the old
charter. Similar advice was given the same year to New Hampshire and
South Carolina, for it was not then supposed that the quarrel with the
mother country would end in separation. But by the spring of 1776 all
the governors of the thirteen colonies had either fled or been thrown
into prison. This put an end to colonial government, and Congress,
seeing that reconciliation was impossible, (May 15, 1776) advised all
the colonies to form governments for themselves (p. 132). Thereupon they
adopted constitutions, and by doing so turned themselves from British
colonies into sovereign and independent states.[1]

[Footnote 1: All but two made new constitutions; but Connecticut and
Rhode Island used their old charters, the one till 1818, the other till
1842. Vermont also formed a constitution, but she was not admitted to
the Congress (p. 243).]



%164. Articles of Confederation.%--While the colonies were thus
gradually turning themselves into the states, the Continental
Congress was trying to bind them into a union by means of a sort of
general constitution called "Articles of Confederation." By order of
Congress, Articles had been prepared and presented by a committee in
July, 1776, but it was not till November 17, 1777, that they were sent
out to the states for adoption. Now it must be remembered that six
states, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Virginia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, and Georgia, claimed that their "from sea to sea" charters
gave them lands between the mountains and the Mississippi River, and
that one, New York, had bought the Indian title to land in the Ohio
valley. It must also be remembered that the other six states did not
have "from sea to sea" charters, and so had no claims to western lands.
As three of them, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, held that the
claims of their sister states were invalid, they now refused to adopt
the Articles unless the land so claimed was given to Congress to be used
to pay for the cost of the Revolution. For this action they gave
four reasons:

1. The Mississippi valley had been discovered, explored, settled, and
owned by France.

2. England had never owned any land there till France ceded the country
in 1763.

3. When at last England had got it, in 1763, the King drew the
"proclamation line," turned the Mississippi valley into the Indian
country, and so cut off any claim of the colonies in consequence of
English ownership.

4. The western lands were therefore the property of the King, and now
that the states were in arms against him, his lands ought to be seized
by Congress and used for the benefit of all the states.

For three years the land-claiming states refused to be convinced by
these arguments. But at length, finding that Maryland was determined not
to adopt the Articles till her demands were complied with, they began to
yield. In February, 1780, New York ceded her claims to Congress, and in
January, 1781, Virginia gave up her claim to the country north of the
Ohio River. Maryland had now carried her point, and on March 1, 1781,
her delegates signed the Articles of Confederation. As all the other
states had ratified the Articles, this act on the part of Maryland made
them law, and March 2, 1781, Congress met for the first time under a
form of government the states were pledged to obey.

%165. Government under the Articles of Confederation.%--The form of
government that went into effect on that day was bad from beginning to
end. There was no one officer to carry out the laws, no court or judge
to settle disputed points of law, and only a very feeble legislature.
Congress consisted of one house, presided over by a president elected
each year by the members from among their own number. The delegates to
Congress could not be more than seven, nor less than two from each
state, were elected yearly, could not serve for more than three years
out of six, and might be recalled at any time by the states that sent
them. Once assembled on the floor of Congress, the delegates became
members of a secret body. The doors were shut; no spectators were
allowed to hear what was said; no reports of the debates were taken
down; but under a strict injunction to secrecy the members went on
deliberating day after day. All voting was done by states, each casting
but one vote, no matter how many delegates it had. The affirmative votes
of nine states were necessary to pass any important act, or, as it was
called, "ordinance."

To this body the Articles gave but few powers. Congress could declare
war, make peace, issue money, keep up an army and a navy, contract
debts, enter into treaties of commerce, and settle disputes between
states. But it could not enforce a treaty or a law when made, nor lay
any tax for any purpose.

%166. Origin of the Public Domain%.--In 1784 Massachusetts ceded her
strip of land in the west, following the example set by New York (1780),
and Virginia (1781).

As three states claiming western territory had thus by 1784 given their
land to Congress, that body came into possession of the greater part of
the vast domain stretching from the Lakes to the Ohio and from the
Mississippi to Pennsylvania.[1] Now this public domain, as it was
called, was given on certain conditions:

1. That it should be cut up into states.

2. That these states should be admitted into the Union (when they had a
certain population) on the same footing as the thirteen original states.

3. That the land should be sold and the money used to pay the debts of
the United States.

[Footnote 1: The strip owned by Connecticut had been offered to Congress
in October, 1789, but not accepted. It still belonged to Connecticut in
1785. In 1786 it was again ceded, with certain reservations, and

Congress, therefore, as soon as it had received the deeds to the tracts
ceded, trusting that the other land-owning states would cede their
western territory in time, passed a law (in 1785) to prepare the land
for sale by surveying it and marking it out into sections, townships,
and ranges, and fixed the price per acre.

%167. Virginia and Connecticut Reserves.%--When Virginia made her
cession in 1781, she expressly reserved two tracts of land north of the
Ohio. One, called the Military Lands, lay between the Scioto and Miami
rivers, and was held to pay bounties promised to the Virginia
Revolutionary soldiers. The other (in the present state of Indiana) was
given to General George Rogers Clark and his soldiers. A third piece was
reserved by Connecticut when she ceded her strip in 1786. This, called
the Western Reserve of Connecticut, stretched along the shore of Lake
Erie (map, p. 175). In 1800 Connecticut gave up her jurisdiction, or
right of government, over this reserve in return for the confirmation of
land titles she had granted.

RIVER %1787%]

%168. Ordinance of 1787; Origin of the Territories.%--Hardly had
Congress provided for the sale of the land, when a number of
Revolutionary soldiers formed the Ohio Land Company, and sent an agent
to New York, where Congress was in session, and offered to buy 5,000,000
acres on the Ohio River: 1,500,000 acres were for themselves, and
3,500,000 for another company called the Scioto Company. The land was
gladly sold, and as the purchasers were really going to send out
settlers, it became necessary to establish some kind of government for
them. On the 13th of July, 1787, therefore, Congress passed another very
famous law, called the Ordinance of 1787, which ordered:

1. That the whole region from the Lakes to the Ohio, and from
Pennsylvania to the Mississippi, should be called "The Territory of the
United States northwest of the river Ohio."

2. That it should be cut up into not less than three nor more than five
states, each of which might be admitted into the Union when it had
60,000 free inhabitants.

3. That within it there was to be neither slavery nor involuntary
servitude except in punishment for crime.

4. That until such time as there were 5000 free male inhabitants
twenty-one years old in the territory, it was to be governed by a
governor and three judges. They could not make laws, but might adopt
such as they pleased from among the laws in force in the states. After
there were 5000 free male inhabitants in the territory the people were
to elect a house of representatives, which in its turn was to elect ten
men from whom Congress was to select five to form a council. The house
and the council were then to elect a territorial delegate to sit in
Congress with the right of debating, not of voting. The governor, the
judges, and the secretary were to be elected by Congress. The council
and house of representatives could make laws, but must send them to
Congress for approval.

Thus were created two more American institutions, the territory and the
state formed out of the public domain. The ordinance was but a few
months old when South Carolina ceded (1787) her little strip of country
west of the mountains (see map on p. 157) with the express condition
that it _should_ be slave soil. In 1789 North Carolina ceded what is
now Tennessee on the same condition. Congress accepted both and out of
them made the "Territory southwest of the Ohio River." In that slavery
was allowed.[1]

[Footnote 1: The only remaining land-holding state, Georgia, ceded her
claim in 1802 (p. 246).]

%169. Defects of the Articles of Confederation.%--While Congress at
New York was framing the Ordinance of 1787, a convention of delegates
from the states was framing the Constitution at Philadelphia. A very
little experience under the Articles of Confederation showed them to
have serious defects.

_No Taxing Power_.--In the first place, Congress could not lay a tax of
any kind, and as it could not tax it could not get money with which to
pay its expenses and the debt incurred during the Revolution. Each of
the states was in duty bound to pay its share. But this duty was so
disregarded that although Congress between 1782 and 1786 called on the
states for $6,000,000, only $1,000.000 was paid.

_No Power to regulate Trade_.--In the second place, Congress had no
power to regulate trade with foreign nations, or between the states.
This proved a most serious evil. The people of the United States at that
time had few manufactures, because in colonial days Parliament would not
allow them. All the china, glass, hardware, cutlery, woolen goods,
linen, muslin, and a thousand other things were imported from Great
Britain. Before the war the Americans had paid for these goods with
dried fish, lumber, whale oil, flour, tobacco, rice, and indigo, and
with money made by trading in the West Indies. Now Great Britain forbade
Americans to trade with her West Indies. Spain would not make a trade
treaty with us, so we had no trade with her islands, and what was worse,
Great Britain taxed everything that came to her from the United States
unless it came in British ships. As a consequence, very little lumber,
fish, rice, and other of our products went abroad to pay for the immense
quantity of foreign-made goods that came to us. These goods therefore
had to be paid for in money, which about 1785 began to be boxed up and
shipped to London. When the people found that specie was being carried
out of the country, they began to hoard it, so that by 1786 none was in

%170. Paper Money issued.%--This left the people without any money
with which to pay wages, or buy food and clothing, and led at once to a
demand that the states should print paper money and loan it to their
citizens. Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North and
South Carolina, and Georgia did so. But the money was no sooner issued
than the merchants and others who had goods to sell refused to take it,
whereupon in some of the states laws called "tender acts" were passed to
compel people to use the paper. This merely put an end to business, for
nobody would sell. In Massachusetts, when the legislature refused to
issue paper money, many of the persons who owed debts assembled, and,
during 1786-87, under the lead of Daniel Shays, a Revolutionary soldier,
prevented the courts from trying suits for the recovery of money owed or

[Footnote 1: Read McMaster's _History of the People of the United
States_, Vol. I., pp. 281-295, 304-329, 331-340; Fiske's _Critical
Period of American History_, pp. 168-186.]

%171. Congress proposes Amendments.%--Of the many defects in the
Articles, the Continental Congress was fully aware, and it had many a
time asked the states to make amendments. One proposed that Congress
should have power for twenty-five years to lay a tax of five per cent on
all goods imported, and use the money to pay the Continental debts.
Another was to require each state to raise by special tax a sum
sufficient to pay its yearly share of the current expenses of Congress.
A third was to bestow on Congress for fifteen years the sole power to
regulate trade and commerce. A fourth provided that in future the share
each state was to bear of the current expenses should be in proportion
to its population.

But the Articles of Confederation could not be amended unless all
thirteen states consented, and, as all thirteen never did consent, none
of these amendments were ever made.

%172. The States attempt to regulate Trade and fail.%--In the
meantime the states attempted to regulate trade for themselves. New York
laid double duties on English ships. Pennsylvania taxed a long list of
foreign goods. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island passed
acts imposing heavy duties on articles unless they came in American
vessels. But these laws were not uniform, and as many states took no
action, very little good was accomplished.[1]

[Footnote 1: McMaster's _History of the People of the United States_,
Vol. I., pp. 246-259, 266-280; Fiske's _Critical Period of American
History_, 134-137, 145-147.]

%173. A Trade Convention called to meet at Annapolis,
1786.%[2]--Under these conditions, the business of the whole country
was at a standstill, and as Congress had no power to do anything to
relieve the distress, the state of Virginia sent out a circular letter
to her sister states. She asked them to appoint delegates to meet and
"take into consideration the trade and commerce of the United States."
Four (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) responded, and
their delegates, with those from Virginia, met at Annapolis in
September, 1786.

[Footnote 2: The report of this Annapolis convention is printed in
_Bulletin of Bureau of Rolls and Library of the Department of State_,
No. 1, Appendix, pp. 1-5.]



%174. Call for the Constitutional Convention.%--Finding that it could
do nothing, because so few states were represented, and because the
powers of the delegates were so limited, the convention recommended that
all the states in the Union be asked by Congress to send delegates to a
new convention, to meet at Philadelphia in May, 1787, "to take into
consideration the situation of the United States," and "to devise such
further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the
Constitution of the Federal government adequate to the exigencies of
the Union."

%175. The Philadelphia Convention.%[1]--Early in 1787 Congress
approved this movement, and during the summer of 1787 (May to September)
delegates from twelve states (Rhode Island sent none), sitting in secret
session at Philadelphia, made the Constitution of the United States.

[Footnote 1: All we know of the proceedings of this convention is
derived from the journals of the convention, the notes taken down by
James Madison, the notes of Yates of New York, and a speech by Luther
Martin of Maryland. They may be found in Elliot's _Debates_, Vol. IV.]

[Illustration: Independence Chamber[2]]

[Footnote 2: The room where the Constitution was framed.]

%176. The Virginia and New Jersey Plans%.--The story of that
convention is too long and too complicated to be told in full.[1] But
some of its proceedings must be noticed. While the delegates were
assembling, a few men, under the lead of Madison, met and drew up the
outline of a constitution, which was presented by the chairman of the
Virginia delegation, and was called the "Virginia plan." A little later,
delegates from the small states met and drew up a second plan, which was
the old Articles of Confederation with amendments. As the chairman of
the New Jersey delegation offered this, it was called the "New Jersey
plan." Both were discussed; but the convention voted to accept the
Virginia plan as the basis of the Constitution.

[Footnote 1: For short accounts, read "The Framers and the Framing of
the Constitution" in the _Century Magazine_, September, 1887, or
"Framing the Constitution," in McMaster's _With the Fathers_, pp.
106-149, or Thorpe's _Story of the Constitution_, Chautauqua Course,
1891-92, pp. 111-148.]

%177. The Three Compromises.%--This plan called, among other things,
for a national legislature of two branches: a Senate and a House of
Representatives. The populous states insisted that the number of
representatives sent by each state to Congress should be in proportion
to her population. The small states insisted that each should send the
same number of representatives. For a time neither party would yield;
but at length the Connecticut delegates suggested that the states be
given an equal vote and an equal representation in the Senate, and an
unequal representation, based on population, in the House. The
contending parties agreed, and so made the first compromise.

But the decision to have representation according to population at once
raised the question, Shall slaves be counted as population? This divided
the convention into slave states and free (see p. 186), and led to a
second compromise, by which it was agreed that three fifths of all
slaves should be counted as population, for the purpose of apportioning

A third compromise sprang from the conflicting interests of the
commercial and the planting states. The planting states wanted a
provision forbidding Congress to pass navigation acts, except by a
two-thirds vote, and forbidding any tax on exports; three states also
wished to import slaves for use on their plantations. The free
commercial states wanted Congress to pass navigation laws, and also
wanted the slave trade stopped, because of the three-fifths rule. The
result was an agreement that the importation of slaves should not be
forbidden by Congress before 1808, and that Congress might pass
navigation acts, and that exports should never be taxed.

%178. The Election of President.%--Another feature of the Virginia
plan was the provision for a President whose business it should be to
see that the acts of Congress were duly enforced or executed. But when
the question arose, How shall he be chosen? all manner of suggestions
were made. Some said by the governors of the states; some, by the United
States Senate; some, by the state legislatures; some, by a body of
electors chosen for that purpose. When at last it was decided to have a
body of electors, the difficulty was to determine the manner of electing
the electors. On this no agreement could be reached; so the convention
ordered that the legislature of each state should have as many electors
of the President as it had senators and representatives in Congress, and
that these men should be appointed in such way as the legislatures of
the states saw fit to prescribe.

%179. Sources of the Constitution.%--An examination of the
Constitution shows that some of its features were new; that some were
drawn from the experience of the states under the Confederation; and
that others were borrowed from the various state constitutions. Among
those taken from state constitutions are such names as President,
Senate, House of Representatives, and such provisions as that for a
census, for the veto, for the retirement of one third of the Senate
every two years, that money bills shall originate in the House, for
impeachment, and for what we call the annual message.[1]

[Footnote 1: On the sources of the Constitution, read "The First Century
of the Constitution" in _New Princeton Review,_ September, 1887,
pp. 175-190.]

The features based directly on experience under the Articles of
Confederation are the provisions that the acts of Congress must be
_uniform_ throughout the Union; that the President may call out the
militia to repel invasion, to put down insurrection, and to maintain the
laws of the Union; that Congress shall have _sole_ power to regulate
_foreign trade_ and _trade between the states._ No state can now coin
money or print paper money, or make anything but gold or silver legal
tender. Congress now has power to lay taxes, duties, and excises. The
Constitution divides the powers of government between the legislative
department (Senate and House of Representatives); the executive
department (the President, who sees that laws and treaties are obeyed);
and the judicial department (Supreme Court and other United States
courts, which interpret the Constitution, the acts of Congress, and the

The new features are the definition of treason and the limitation of its
punishment; the guarantee to every state of a republican form of
government; the swearing of state officials to support the Federal
Constitution; and the provision for amendment.

Among other noteworthy features are the creation of a United States
citizenship as distinct from a state citizenship, the limitation of the
powers of the states; and the provision that the Constitution, the acts
of Congress, and the treaties are "the supreme law of the land."

%180. Constitution submitted to the People.%--The convention ended
its work, and such members as were willing signed the Constitution on
September 17, 1787. Washington, as president of the convention, then
sent the Constitution to the Continental Congress sitting at New York
and asked it to transmit copies to the states for ratification. This was
done, and during the next few months the legislatures of most of the
states called on the people to elect delegates to conventions which
should accept or reject the Constitution.

%181. Ratification by the States.%--In many of these conventions
great objection was made because the new plan of federal government was
so unlike the Articles of Confederation, and certain changes were
insisted on. The only states that accepted it just as it was framed were
Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, and Maryland.
Massachusetts, South Carolina, New Hampshire, New York, and Virginia
ratified with amendments. (For dates, see p. 176.)

%182. "The New Roof."%--The Constitution provided that when nine
states had ratified, it should go into effect "between the states so
ratifying." While it was under discussion the Federalists, as the
friends of the Constitution were named, had called it "the New Roof,"
which was going to cover the states and protect them from political
storms. They now represented it as completed and supported by eleven
pillars or states. Two states, Rhode Island and North Carolina, had not
ratified, and so were not under the New Roof, and were not members of
the new Union. Eleven states having approved, nothing remained but to
fix the particular day on which the electors of President should be
chosen, and the time and place for the meeting of the new Congress. This
the Continental Congress did in September, 1788, by ordering that the
electors should be chosen on the first Wednesday in January, 1789, that
they should meet and vote for President on the first Wednesday in
February, and that the new Congress should meet at New York on the first
Wednesday in March, which happened to be the fourth day of the month.
Later, Congress by law fixed March 4 as the day on which the terms of
the Presidents begin and end.[1]

[Footnote 1: The question is often asked, When did the Constitution go
into force? Article VII. says, "The ratification of the conventions of
nine states shall be sufficient for the establishment of this
Constitution between the states so ratifying the same." New Hampshire,
the ninth state, ratified June 21, 1788, and on that day, therefore, the
constitution was "established" between the nine.]

%183. How Presidents were elected%.--It must not be supposed that our
first presidents were elected just as presidents are now. In our time
electors are everywhere chosen by popular vote. In 1788 there was no
uniformity. In Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia the people had a
complete, and in Massachusetts and New Hampshire a partial, choice. In
Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Georgia the
electors were appointed by the legislatures. In New York the two
branches of the legislature quarreled, and no electors were chosen.

As the Constitution required that the electors should vote by ballot for
two persons, such as had been appointed met at their state capitals on
the first Wednesday in February, 1789, made lists of the persons voted
for, and sent them signed and certified under seal to the president of
the Senate. But when March 4, 1789, came, there was no Senate. Less than
a majority of that body had arrived in New York, so no business could be
done. When at length the Senate secured a majority, the House was still
without one, and remained so till April. Then, in the presence of the
House and Senate, the votes on the lists were counted, and it was found
that every elector had given one of his votes for George Washington, who
was thus elected President. No separate ballot was then required for
Vice President. Each elector merely wrote on his ballot the names of two
men. He who received the greatest number of votes, if, in the words of
the Constitution, "such number be a majority of the whole number of
electors appointed," was elected President. He who received the next
highest, even if less than a majority, was elected Vice President. In
1789 this man was John Adams of Massachusetts.

[Illustration: Federal Hall, New York[1]]

[Footnote 1: From an old print made in 1797.]

[Illustration: G Washington]

%184. The First Inauguration.%--As soon as Washington received the
news of his election, he left Mount Vernon and started for New York. His
journey was one continuous triumphal march. The population of every town
through which he passed turned out to meet him. Men, women, and children
stood for hours by the roadside waiting for him to go by. At New York
his reception was most imposing, and there, on April 30, 1789, standing
on the balcony in front of Federal Hall (p. 171), he took the oath of
office in the presence of Congress and a great multitude of people that
filled the streets, and crowded the windows, and sat on the roofs of the
neighboring houses.[1]

[Footnote 1: Full accounts of the inauguration of Washington may be
found in _Harper's Magazine_, and also in the _Century Magazine_, for
April, 1889.]


1. When independence was about decided on, Congress appointed a
committee to draft a general plan of federal government.

2. This plan, called Articles of Confederation, Maryland absolutely
refused to ratify till the states claiming land west of the Alleghany
Mountains ceded their claims to Congress.

3. New York and Virginia having ceded their claims, Maryland ratified in
March, 1781.

4. These cessions were followed by others from Massachusetts and
Connecticut; and from them all, Congress formed the public domain to be
sold to pay the debt.

5. The sale of this land led to the land ordinance of 1785 and the
ordinance of 1787, for the government of the domain and the new
political organism called the territory.

6. The defects of the Articles made revision necessary, and produced
such distress that two conventions were called to consider the state of
the country. That at Annapolis attempted nothing. That at Philadelphia
framed the Constitution of the United States.

7. The Constitution was then passed to the Continental Congress, which
sent it to the legislatures of the states to be by them referred to
conventions elected by the people for acceptance or rejection.

8. Eleven having ratified, Congress in 1788 fixed a day in 1789 (which
happened to be March 4), when the First Congress under the Constitution
was to assemble.

9. The date of the first presidential election was also fixed, and
George Washington was made our first President.

/1776. New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode
The Colonies adopt | Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Constitutions and --| Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North
become States. | Carolina, South Carolina.
|1777. New York, Georgia.
\1780. Massachusetts.

/Framed by Congress 1776-1777.
|Adopted by the states 1777-1781.
Articles of |In force March 1, 1781.
Confederation --|Kind of government.
|Defects. Result of the defects.
|Trade convention at Annapolis.
\Constitutional convention called.

/Proceedings of the convention.
|The three compromises.
Constitution of |Sources of the Constitution.
the United States.-|Original features.
|Derived features.
| Ratification by the states.
\The Constitution in force.

/Land claims of seven states.
|Demands for the surrender of \
|the western territory. |
The Territories. --|The cessions by the states. |--The Public
|Ordinance of 1785. | Domain.
|Ordinance of 1787. |
\Territorial government created./

The President. /Manner of electing.
\Inauguration of Washington.

The Congress. /Organization of the First
\under the Constitution.

/The Supreme Court
The Judiciary. --|The Circuit Court
\The District Court

/Secretary of State
The Secretaries. --|Secretary of Treasury
|Secretary of War
|The Attorney-general.
\Origin of the "Cabinet."



%185. The States.%--What sort of a country, and what sort of people,
was Washington thus chosen to rule over? When, he was elected, the Union
was composed of eleven states, for neither Rhode Island nor North
Carolina had accepted the Constitution.[1] Vermont had never been a
member of the Union, because the Continental Congress would not
recognize her as a state.

[Footnote 1: The states ratified the Constitution on the dates given below:
1. Delaware Dec. 7, 1787
2. Pennsylvania Dec. 12, 1787
3. New Jersey Dec. 18, 1787
4. Georgia Jan. 2, 1788
5. Connecticut Jan. 9, 1788
6. Massachusetts Feb. 7, 1788
7. Maryland April 28, 1788
8. South Carolina May 23, 1788
9. New Hampshire June 21, 1788
10. Virginia June 26, 1788
11. New York July 26, 1788
12. North Carolina Nov. 21, 1789
13. Rhode Island May 29, 1790]

[Illustration: The %UNITED STATES% March 4, 1789]

%186. Only a Part inhabited.%--Three fourths of our country was then
uninhabited by white men, and almost all the people lived near the
seaboard. Had a line been drawn along what was then the frontier, it
would (as the map on p. 177 shows) have run along the shore of Maine,
across New Hampshire and Vermont to Lake Champlain, then south to the
Mohawk valley, then down the Hudson River, and southwestward across
Pennsylvania to Pittsburg, then south along the Blue Ridge Mountains to
the Altamaha River in Georgia, and by it to the sea. How many people
lived here was never known till 1790. The Constitution of the United
States requires that the people shall be counted once in each ten years,
in order that it may be determined how many representatives each state
shall have in the House of Representatives; and for this purpose
Congress ordered the first census to be taken in 1790. It then appeared
that, excluding Indians, there were living in the eleven United States
3,380,000 human beings, or less than half the number of people who now
live in the single state of New York.

%187. How the People were scattered.%--More were in the Southern than
in the Eastern States. Virginia, then the most populous, contained one
fifth. Pennsylvania had a ninth, while in the five states of Maryland,
Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia were almost one half of the
English-speaking people of the United States. These were the planting
states, and, populous as they were, they had but two cities--Baltimore
and Charleston. Savannah, Wilmington, Alexandria, Norfolk, and
Richmond were small towns. Not one had 8000 people in it. Indeed, the
inhabitants of the six largest cities of the country (Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, and Salem) taken together were
but 131,000.

CENSUS, 1790/]

[Illustration: Boston in 1790[1]]

[Footnote 1: From the _Massachusetts Magazine_, November, 1790.]

%188. The Cities.%--And how different these cities were from those of
our day! What a strange world Washington would find himself in if he
could come back and walk along the streets of the great city which now
stands on the banks of the Potomac and bears his name! He never in his
life saw a flagstone sidewalk, nor an asphalted street, nor a pane of
glass six feet square. He never heard a factory whistle; he never saw a
building ten stories high, nor an elevator, nor a gas jet, nor an
electric light; he never saw a hot-air furnace, nor entered a room
warmed by steam.

In the windows of shop after shop would be scores of articles familiar
enough to us, but so unknown to him that he could not even name them. He
never saw a sewing machine, nor a revolver, nor a rubber coat, nor a
rubber shoe, nor a steel pen, nor a piece of blotting paper, nor an
envelope, nor a postage stamp, nor a typewriter. He never struck a
match, nor sent a telegram, nor spoke through a telephone, nor touched
an electric bell. He never saw a railroad, though he had seen a rude
form of steamboat. He never saw a horse car, nor an omnibus, nor a
trolley car, nor a ferryboat. Fancy him boarding a street car to take a
ride. He would probably pay his fare with a "nickel." But the "nickel"
is a coin he never saw. Fancy him trying to understand the
advertisements that would meet his eye as he took his seat! Fancy him
staring from the window at a fence bright with theatrical posters, or at
a man rushing by on a bicycle!

[Illustration: Philadelphia in 1800 (Arch Street)]

%189. Newspapers and Magazines.%--A boy enters the car with half a
dozen daily newspapers all printed in the same city. In Washington's day
there were but four daily papers in the United States! On the news
counter of a hotel, one sees twenty illustrated papers, and fifty
monthly magazines. In his day there was no illustrated paper, no
scientific periodical, no trade journal, and no such illustrated
magazines as _Harper's, Scribner's_, the _Century, St. Nicholas_. All
the printing done in the country was done on presses worked by hand.
To-day the Hoe octuple press can print 96,000 eight-page newspapers an
hour. To print this number on the hand press shown in the picture would
have taken so long that when the last newspaper was printed the first
would have been three months old!

[Illustration: A Franklin press]

[Illustration: A fire bucket [1]]

[Footnote 1: Original in the Pennsylvania Historical Society.]

%190. The Fire Service.%--the ambulance, the steam fire engine, the
hose cart, the hook and ladder company, the police patrol, the police
officer on the street corner, the letter carrier gathering the mail, the
district messenger boy, the express company, the delivery wagon of the
stores, have all come in since Washington died. In his day the law
required every householder in the city to be a fireman. His name might
not appear on the rolls of any of the fire companies, he might not help
to drag through the streets the lumbering tank which served as a fire
engine, but he must have in his hall, or beneath the stairs, or hanging
up behind his shop door, at least one leathern bucket inscribed with his
name, and a huge bag of canvas or of duck. Then, if he were aroused at
the dead of night by the cry of fire and the clanging of every church
bell in the town, he seized this bucket and his bag, and, while his
wife put a lighted candle in the window to illuminate the street, set
off for the fire. The smoke or the flame was his guide, for the custom
of indicating the place by a number of strokes on a bell had not yet
come in. When at last he arrived at the scene he found there no idle
spectators. Every one was busy. Some hurried into the building and
filled their sacks with such movable goods as came nearest to hand. Some
joined the line that stretched away to the water, and helped to pass the
full buckets to those who stood by the fire. Others took posts in a
second line, down which the empty buckets were hastened to the pump. The
house would often be half consumed when the shouting made known that the
engine had come. It was merely a pump mounted over a tank. Into the tank
the water from the buckets was poured, and it was pumped thence by the
efforts of a dozen men.

[Illustration: Fire engine of 1800[1]]

[Footnote 1: From an old cut]

%191. The Post Office.%--Washington sees a great wagon or a white
trolley car marked United States Mail, and on inquiry is told that the
money now spent by the government each year for the support of the post
offices would have more than paid the national debt when he was
President. He hears with amazement that there are now 75,000 post
offices, and recalls that in 1790 there were but seventy-five. He picks
up from the sidewalk a piece of paper with a little pink something on
the corner. He is told that the portrait on it is his own, that it is a
postage stamp, that it costs two cents, and will carry a letter to San
Francisco, a city he never heard of, and, if the person to whom it is
addressed cannot be found, will bring the letter back to the sender, a
distance of over 5000 miles. In his day a letter was a single sheet of
paper, no matter how large or small, and the postage on it was
determined not by weight, but by distance, and might be anything from
six to twenty-five cents.

At that time postage must always be prepaid, and as the post office must
support itself, letters were not sent from the country towns till enough
postage had been deposited at the post office to pay the expense of
sending them. Newspapers and books could not be sent by mail.

%192. The Franchise.%--Taking the country through, the condition of
the people was by no means so happy as ours. They had government of the
people, but it was not by the people nor for the people. Everywhere the
right to vote and to hold office was greatly restricted. The voter must
have an estate worth a certain sum, or a specified number of acres, or
an annual income of so many dollars. But the right to vote did not carry
with it the right to hold office. More property was required for office
holding than for voting, and there were besides certain religious
restrictions. In New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, South
Carolina, and Georgia, the governor, the members of the legislature, and
the chief officers of state must be Protestants. In Massachusetts and
Maryland they must be Christians. All these restrictions were long since
swept away.

%193. Cruel Punishments.%--The humane spirit of our times was largely
wanting. The debtor was cast into prison. The pauper might be sold to
the highest bidder. The criminal was dragged out into open day and
flogged or branded. From ten to nineteen crimes were punishable with
death. No such thing as a lunatic asylum, or a deaf and dumb asylum, or
a penitentiary existed. The prisons were dreadful places. Men came out
of them worse than they went in.

%194. The Condition of the Laborer; of the well to do.%--Men worked
harder and for less money then than now. A regular working day was from
sunrise to sunset, with an hour for breakfast and an hour for dinner.
Sometimes the laborer was fed and lodged by the employer, in which case
he was paid four dollars a month in winter and six in summer. Two
shillings (30 cents) a day for unskilled labor was thought high wages.

[Illustration: %Washington's flute and Miss Custis's harpsichord at
Mount Vernon%]

Even the houses of the well to do were much less comfortable places than
are such abodes in our day. There were no furnaces, no gas, no
bathrooms, no plumbing. Wood was the universal fuel. Coal from Virginia
and Rhode Island was little used. All cooking was done in "Dutch ovens,"
or in "out ovens," or in the enormous fireplaces to be found in every
household. Wood fuel made sooty chimneys, and sooty chimneys took fire.
In every city, therefore, were men known as "sweeps," whose business it
was to clean chimneys.

[Illustration: %Earthenware stove--Moravian%]

[Illustration: %Dutch oven%[1]]

[Footnote 1: The bread, or meat, to be baked was put into the pot, and
hot coals were heaped all around the sides and on the lid, which had a
rim to keep the coals on it.]

[Illustration: a foot stove]

Washington was a farmer, yet he never in his life beheld a tomato, nor a
cauliflower, nor an eggplant, nor a horserake, nor a drill, nor a reaper
and binder, nor a threshing machine, nor a barbed wire fence.

[Illustration: Kitchen in Washington's headquarters in Morristown,

[Footnote 1: This shows a fine specimen of the old-fashioned fireplace.
Notice the andirons, the bellows, the lamp, the spinning wheel, the old
Dutch clock, and the kettles hanging on the crane over the logs.]

[Illustration: A plow used in 1776]

His land was plowed with a wooden plow partly shod with iron. His seed
was sown by hand; his hay was cut with scythes; his grain was reaped
with sickles, and threshed on the barn floor with flails in the hands of
his slaves.

%195. Negro Slavery.%--No living person under thirty years of age has
ever seen a negro slave in our country. When Washington was President
there were 700,000 slaves. When the Revolution opened, slavery was
permitted by law in every colony. But the feeling against it in the
North had always been strong, and when the war ended, the people began
the work of abolition. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire the
constitutions of the states declared that "all men are born free and
equal," and that "all men are born equally free," and this was
understood to abolish slavery. In Pennsylvania, slavery was abolished in
1780. In Rhode Island and Connecticut gradual abolition laws were passed
which provided that all children born of slave parents after a certain
day should be free at a certain age, and that their children should
never be slaves. The Ordinance of 1787 had prohibited slavery in the
Northwest Territory. But in 1790 New York, New Jersey, Delaware,
Maryland, and all the states south of these were slave states. (See map
on the next page.)

Though slaves were men and women and children, they had no civil rights
whatever. They could be bought and sold, leased, seized for a debt,
bequeathed by will, given away. If they made anything, or found
anything, or earned anything, it belonged not to them, but to their
owners. They were property just as oxen or horses were in the North. It
was unlawful to teach them to read or write. They were not allowed to
give evidence against a white man, nor to travel in bands of more than
seven unless a white man was with them, nor to quit the plantation
without leave.

If a planter provided coarse food, coarse clothes, and a rude shelter
for his slaves, if he did not work them more than fifteen hours out of
twenty-four in summer, nor more than fourteen in winter, and if he gave
them every Sunday to themselves, he did quite as much for their comfort
as the law required he should.


If the slave committed any offense, if he stole anything, or refused to
work, or ran away, it was lawful to load him with irons, to confine him
for any length of time in a cell, and to beat him and whip him till the
blood ran in streams from the wounds, and he grew too weak to stand.
Old advertisements are still extant in which runaway blacks are
described by the scars left upon their bodies by the lash. When such
lashings were not prescribed by the court, they were commonly given
under the eye of the overseer, or inflicted by the owner himself.

%196. Six Days from Boston to New York.%--Our country was small when
Washington was President. The people lived on the seaboard. The towns
and cities were not actually very far apart; but the means of travel
were so poor, the time consumed in going even fifty miles was so great,
that the country was practically immense in extent. Now we step into a
beautifully fitted car, heated by steam, lighted by electricity, richly
carpeted, and provided with most comfortable seats and beds, and are
whirled across the continent from Philadelphia to San Francisco in less
time than it took Washington to go from New York to Boston.

[Illustration: Old mill at West Falmouth, Mass.[1]]

[Footnote 1: In many parts of the country where there was no water
power, as Cape Cod, Long Island, Nantucket, etc., flour was ground at
windmills. The windmill shown in the picture was built in 1787, and is
still in use.]

If you had lived in 1791 and started, say, from Boston, to go to
Philadelphia to see the President and the great city where independence
had been declared, you would very likely have begun by making your will,
and bidding good-by to your friends. You would then have gone down to
the office of the proprietor of the stagecoach, and secured a seat to
New York. As the coach left but twice a week, you would have waited
till the day came and would then have presented yourself, at three
o'clock in the morning, at the tavern whence the coach started.

The stagecoach was little better than a huge covered box mounted on
springs. It had neither glass windows, nor door, nor steps, nor closed
sides. The roof was upheld by ten posts which rose from the body of the
vehicle, and the body was commonly breast high. From the top were hung
curtains of leather, to be rolled up when the day was fine, and let down
and buttoned when it was rainy and cold. Within were four seats. Without
was the baggage. Fourteen pounds of luggage were allowed to be carried
free by each passenger. But if your portmanteau or your
brass-nail-studded hair trunk weighed more, you would have paid for it
at the rate per mile that you paid for yourself. Under no circumstances,
however, would you be permitted to take on the journey more than 150
pounds. When the baggage had all been weighed and strapped on the coach,
when the horses had been attached, and the waybill, containing the names
of the passengers, made out, the passengers would clamber to their seats
through the front of the stage and sit down with their faces toward the
driver's seat.

One pair of horses usually dragged the coach eighteen miles, when a
fresh pair would be attached, and if all went well, you would be put
down about ten at night at some wayside inn or tavern after a journey of
forty miles. Cramped and weary, you would eat a frugal supper and hurry
off to bed with a notice from the landlord to be ready to start at three
the next morning. Then, no matter if it rained or snowed, you would be
forced to make ready by the dim light of a horn lantern, unknown now,
for another ride of eighteen hours.

If no mishaps occurred, if the coach was not upset by the ruts, if storm
or flood did not delay you at Springfield, where the road met the
Connecticut, or at Stratford, where it met the Housatonic, each of which
had to be crossed on clumsy flatboats, the stage would roll into New
York at the end of the sixth day.

%197. Two Days from New York to Philadelphia.%--And here a serious
delay was almost certain to occur, for even in the best of weather it
was no easy matter to cross the Hudson to New Jersey. When the wind was
high and the water rough, or the river full of ice, the boldest did not
dare to risk a crossing. Once over the river, you would again go on by
coach, and at the end of two more days would reach Philadelphia. In our
time one can travel in eight hours the entire distance between Boston
and Philadelphia, a distance which Washington could not have traversed
in less than eight days.

[Illustration: Stagecoach and inn[1]]

[Footnote 1: From a print of 1798.]

%198. The Roads and the Inns.%--The newspapers and the travelers of
those days complained bitterly of the roads and the inns. On the best
roads the ruts were deep, the descents precipitous, and the passengers
were often forced to get out and help the driver pull the wheels out of
the mud. Breakdowns and upsets were of everyday occurrence. Yet bad as
the roads were, the travel was so considerable that very often the inns
and taverns even in the large cities could not lodge all who applied
unless they slept five or six in a room.

%199. A Steamboat on the Delaware.%--Rude as this means of travel
seems to us, the men of 1790 were quite satisfied with it, and
absolutely refused to make use of a better one. Had you been in
Philadelphia during the summer of 1790 and taken up a copy of _The
Pennsylvania Packet_, you could not have failed to notice this
advertisement of the first successful steamboat in the world:

%The Steam-Boat

Is now ready to take Passengers, and is intended to
set off from Arch Street Ferry in Philadelphia every
_Monday, Wednesday_ and _Friday_, for _Burlington,
Bristol, Bordentown_ and _Trenton_, to return on _Tuesdays,
Thursdays_ and _Saturdays_--Price for Passengers, 2/6 to
Burlington and Bristol, 3/9 to Bordentown, 5/. to
Trenton. June 14. tu.th ftf.%

This boat was the invention of John Fitch, and from June to September
ran up and down the Delaware; but so few people went on it that he could
not pay expenses, and the boat was withdrawn.

%200. To the Great West.%--From Philadelphia went out one of the
great highways to what was then the far West, but to what we now know as
the valley of the Ohio. The traveler who to-day makes the journey from
Philadelphia to Pittsburg is whisked on a railroad car through an
endless succession of cities and villages and rich farms, and by great
factories and mills and iron works, which in the days of Washington had
no existence. He makes the journey easily between sunrise and sunset. In
1790 he could not have made it in twelve days.

%201. Towns beyond the Alleghany Mountains.%--Though the country
between the Alleghany Mountains and the Mississippi had been closed to
settlement from 1763 to 1776 by the King's proclamation, it was by no
means without population in 1790. At Detroit and Kaskaskia and Vincennes
were old French settlements, made long before France was driven out of
Louisiana. But there were others of later date. The hardy frontiersman
of 1763 cared no more for the King's proclamation than he did for the
bark of the wolf at his cabin door. The ink with which the document was
written had not dried before emigrants from Maryland and Virginia and
Pennsylvania were hurrying into the valley of the Monongahela.

In 1769 William Bean crossed the mountains from North Carolina, and,
building a cabin on the banks of Watauga Creek, began the settlement of
Tennessee. James Robertson and a host of others followed in 1770, and
soon the valleys of the Clinch and the Holston were dotted with cabins.
In 1769 Daniel Boone, one of the grandest figures in frontier history,
began his exploits in what is now Kentucky, and before 1777 Boonesboro,
Harrodsburg, and Lexington were founded.

[Illustration: %Model of Fitch's steamboat%[l]]

[Footnote 1: Now in the National Museum, Washington.]

%202. State of Franklin.%--Before the Revolution closed, emigrants
under James Robertson and John Donelson planted Nashville and half a
dozen other settlements on the Cumberland, in middle Tennessee. After
the Revolution ended, so many settlers were in eastern Tennessee that
they tried to make a new state. North Carolina, following the example
of her Northern sisters, ceded to Congress her claim to what is now
Tennessee in 1784. But the people on the Watauga no sooner heard, of it
than under the lead of John Sevier they organized the state of Franklin,
whereupon North Carolina repealed the act of cession and absorbed the
new state by making the Franklin officials her officials for the
district of Tennessee. In 1789 she again ceded the district, and in May
of that year Tennessee became part of the public domain.

%203. Squatters in Ohio.%--The cession to Congress of the land north
of the Ohio led to an emigration from Virginia and Kentucky to what is
now the state of Ohio. As this territory was to be sold to pay the
national debt, Congress was forced to order the squatters away, and when
they refused to go, sent troops to burn their cabins, destroy their
crops, and drive them across the Ohio. The lawful settlement of the
territory began after the Ohio and Scioto companies bought their lands
in 1787, and John C. Symmes purchased his in 1788.

%204. Pittsburg in 1790.%--At Pittsburg, then the greatest town in
the United States west of the Alleghany Mountains, were some 200 houses,
mostly of logs, and 2000 people, a newspaper, and a few rude
manufactories. The life of the town was its river trade. Pittsburg was
the place where emigrants "fitted out" for the West. A settler intending
to go down the Ohio valley with his family and his goods would lay in a
stock of powder and ball, buy flour and ham enough to last him for a
month, and secure two rude structures which passed under the name
of boats.

[Illustration: %The first millstones and salt kettle in Ohio%]

%205. A Trip down the Ohio in 1790.%--In the long keel boat he would
put his wife, his children, and such travelers as had been waiting at
Pittsburg for a chance to go down the river. In the flatboat would be
his cattle or his stores. Two dangers beset the voyager on the Ohio. His
boat might become entangled in the branches of the trees that overhung
the river, or be fired into by the Indians who lurked in the woods. The
cabin of the keel boat, therefore, was low, that it might glide under
the trees, and the roof and sides were made as nearly bullet-proof as
possible. The whole craft was steered by a huge oar mounted on a pivot
at the stern.[1]

[Footnote 1: See the boats in the pictures on next page.]

[Illustration: Map of Ohio]

%206. Towns along the Ohio.%--As the emigrant in such an ark floated
down the river, he would come first to Wheeling, a town of fifty log
cabins, and then to Marietta, a town planted in Ohio in 1788 by settlers
sent by the Ohio Company. Below Marietta were Belpre and Gallipolis, a
settlement made by Frenchmen brought there by the Scioto Company. Yet
farther down, on the Kentucky side, were Limestone (now Maysville) and
Newport, opposite which some settlers were founding the city of
Cincinnati. Once past Cincinnati, all was unbroken wilderness till one
reached Louisville in Kentucky, beyond which few emigrants had yet
ventured to go.

[Illustration: %Cincinnati in 1802 (Fort Washington)%]

%207. Cotton Planting.%--The South, in 1790, was on the eve of a
great industrial revolution. The products of the states south of
Virginia had been tar, pitch, resin, lumber, rice, and indigo. But in
the years following the peace the indigo plants had been destroyed year
after year by an insect. As the plant was not a native of our country,
but was brought from the West Indies, it became necessary either to
import more seed plants, or to raise some other staple. Many chose the
latter course, and about 1787 began to grow cotton.

[Illustration: %Farmers' Castle (Belpre) in 1791%]

%208. Whitney and the Cotton Gin.%--The experiment succeeded, but a
serious difficulty arose. The cotton plant has pods which when ripe
split open and show a white woolly substance attached to seeds. Before
the cotton could be used, these seeds must be picked out, and as the
labor of cleaning was very great, only a small quantity could be sent to
market. It happened, however, that a young man from Massachusetts, named
Eli Whitney, was then living in Georgia, and he, seeing the need of a
machine to clean cotton, invented the cotton gin.[1] Till then, a negro
slave could not clean two pounds of cotton in a day. With the gin the
same slave in the same time could remove the seeds from a hundred
pounds. This solved the difficulty, and gave to the United States
another staple even greater in value than tobacco. In 1792 one hundred
and ninety-two thousand pounds of cotton were exported to Europe; in
1795, after the gin was invented, six million pounds were sent out of
the country. In 1894 no less than 4275 million pounds were raised and
either consumed or exported. Of all the marvelous inventions of our
countrymen, this produced the very greatest consequences. It made
cotton planting profitable; it brought immense wealth to the people of
the South every year; it covered New England with cotton mills; and by
making slave labor profitable it did more than anything else to fasten
slavery on the United States for seventy years, and finally to bring on
the Civil War, the most terrible struggle of modern times.

[Footnote 1: The word "gin" is a contraction of "engine."]

[Illustration: %The cotton gin% _A_. Whitney's original gin. _B_. A
later form.]


1. When Washington was inaugurated, the United States consisted of
eleven states, with a population of about 3,380,000.

2. These people lived not far from the Atlantic coast. Few cities
existed; not one had 50,000 inhabitants. Even the largest was without
many conveniences which we consider necessaries.

3. Travel was slow and difficult, and though a steamboat had been
invented and used, it was too far ahead of the times to succeed.

4. West of the Alleghany Mountains a few settlements had been made
between 1763 and 1783. But it was after 1783, when streams of emigrants
poured over the mountains, that settlement really began.

6. In the South cotton was just beginning to be cultivated; there all
labor was done by slaves. In the North slavery was dying out, and in
five of the states had been abolished.

State of the Country in 1790

- _On the Seaboard._
The population. {Number.
{Movement west.
The cities {Size.
{Absence of many conveniences known to us.
{Newspapers and magazines.
Communication between states. {Bad roads. Slow travel.
{The post offices.
{The stagecoaches. The inns.
{The early steamboat.

- _In the Ohio Valley._ {Population. Squatters.
{Pittsburg in 1790.
{A trip down the Ohio.
{Towns in the valley.

- _In the South._ {Slavery.
{Cotton planting.
{Whitney and the cotton gin.



%209. Organizing the New Government.%--he President having been
inaugurated, and the new government fairly established, it became the
duty of Congress to enact such laws as were needed immediately. The
first act passed by Congress in 1789 was therefore a tariff act laying
duties on goods, wares, and merchandise imported into the United States.
Customhouses were then established and customs districts marked out, and
ports of entry and ports of delivery designated; provision was made for
the support of lighthouses and beacons; the Ordinance of 1787 for the
government of the territories was slightly changed and reenacted; the
departments of State, War, and Treasury were established; and a call was
made on the Secretary of the Treasury to report a plan for payment of
the old Continental debt.

%210. The United States Courts.%--The Constitution declares that the
judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court
and such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain
and establish. Acting under this power, Congress made provision for a
Supreme Court, consisting of a Chief Justice and five Associate
Justices, and marked out the United States into circuits and districts.
The circuits were three in number. In the first were the Eastern States;
in the second, the Middle States; and in the third, the Southern States.
To each were assigned two Justices of the Supreme Court, whose business
it was to go to some city in each state in the circuit, and there, with
the district judge of that state, hold a circuit court. The district
courts were thirteen in number, one being established in each state.[1]
Washington appointed John Jay the first Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court.

[Footnote 1: For later changes, see Andrews's _Manual of the
Constitution,_ p. 183.]

%211. The Secretaries.%--During the management of affairs by the
Continental Congress three great executive departments had gradually
grown up and been placed in charge of three men, called the
"Superintendent of Finance," the "Secretary of the United States for the
Department of Foreign Affairs," and the "Secretary of War." These the
Constitution recognized in the expression "principal officer in each of
the executive departments." Congress by law now continued the
departments and placed them in charge of a Secretary of the Treasury, a
Secretary of State, and a Secretary of War. Washington filled the
offices promptly, making Alexander Hamilton Secretary of the Treasury,
Thomas Jefferson Secretary of State, and General Henry Knox Secretary
of War.

%212. The "Cabinet."%--It has long been the custom for the President
to gather his secretaries about him on certain days in each week for the
purpose of discussing public measures. To these gatherings has been
given the name "Cabinet meetings," while the secretaries have come to be
called "Cabinet officers." The Constitution, however, never intended to
give the President a body of advisers. Indeed, a proposition to provide
him with a council was voted down in the constitutional convention. But
Washington at once began to consult the Chief Justice, the Vice
President, his three secretaries, and the Attorney-general on matters of
importance. At first he asked their opinions individually and in
writing, but toward the end of his first term he convened a general
meeting of the heads of departments, and by so doing set a custom out of
which, in time, the "Cabinet" has grown.

%213. The Origin of the National Debt.%--As soon as Hamilton was made
Secretary of the Treasury, it became his duty, in accordance with an
order from Congress, to prepare a plan for the payment of the debts
contracted by the Continental Congress. When that body was unexpectedly
called on, in May, 1775, to conduct the war, it had nothing with which
to pay expenses, and was forced to use all sorts of means to
raise money.

[Illustrations: Continental money]

%214. Paper Money.%--The first resort was the issue, during 1775 and
1776, of six batches of Continental "bills of credit," amounting in all
to $36,000,000. These "bills" were rudely engraved bits of paper,
stating on their face that "This bill entitles the bearer to receive
---- Spanish milled dollars, or the value thereof in gold or silver."
They were issued in sums of various denominations, from one sixth of a
dollar up, and were to be redeemed by the states. The amount assigned
each state for redemption was in proportion to the supposed number of
its inhabitants.

%215. Loan-office Certificates.%--In 1776 Congress tried another
means. It opened a loan office in each state and called on patriotic
people to come forward and loan it money, receiving in return pieces of
paper called "loan-office certificates." Interest was to be paid on
these; but after a while Congress, having no money with which to pay
interest, was forced to resort to another form of paper, called
"interest indents."

%216. The Congress Lottery.%--The loan office having failed to bring
in as much money as was needed, Congress, toward the close of 1776, was
driven to seek some other way, and resorted to a lottery. A certain
number of tickets were sold, after which a drawing took place, and all
who drew prizes were given certificates payable at the end of
five years.

%217. More Bills of Credit.%--But the sale of tickets went off so
slowly that Congress had to go back to the issue of bills of credit. In
1777, therefore, the printing press was again put to work, and issues
were made in rapid succession, till more than $200,000,000 in
Continental paper were in circulation.

%218. The "New Tenor".%--Then the Continental bills ceased to
circulate, and in March, 1780, Congress called in the old money and
offered to exchange it for a new issue, giving one dollar of the new
paper money, or "new tenor," for forty dollars of the old. But the
attempt to restore credit by such means was a failure, and by the end of
the year 1781 all paper money ceased to circulate.

%219. Certificates.%--Long before this time officials had been forced
to pay debts contracted in the name of Congress with other kinds of
paper, called certificates, and known as treasury, commissary,
quartermaster, marine, and hospital certificates, according to the
department issuing them. To these must be added the "final settlements,"
or certificates given to the soldiers at the end of the war in payment
of their services.

%220. Foreign Debt.%--Besides the debt thus contracted at home,
Congress had borrowed a great sum in Europe.

%221. The National Debt in 1790.%--Thus the debt contracted by the
Continental Congress consisted of two parts. 1. The foreign debt, due to
France, Holland, and Spain, and amounting, Hamilton found, to
$11,700,000. 2. The domestic or home debt, of $42,000,000. But the
states had also fallen into debt because of their exertions in the war.
Just how great the state debts were could not be determined, but they
were estimated to be $21,500,000.

%222. Assumption and Funding.%--For the redemption of this debt
Hamilton prepared two measures,--the funding, or, as we should say, the
bonding, of the foreign and Continental debt, and the assuming and
funding of the state debts. This was done, and Congress ordered stock
bearing interest to be issued in exchange for the old debts, and so
established our national debt, which in 1790 amounted to $75,000,000.

%223. The National Capital.%--Funding the state debts was strongly
opposed by many congressmen, and was not carried till a bargain was made
by which it was agreed that if enough members from Virginia and
Pennsylvania would support the measure to secure its passage through the
House of Representatives, the national government should be removed from
New York to Philadelphia for ten years, and after that to a city to be
built on the Potomac. This was faithfully carried out, and in the summer
of 1790 the government offices were removed to Philadelphia, where they
remained till the summer of 1800, when they were removed to Washington
in the District of Columbia.

%224. The Bank of the United States.%--The troublesome questions of
funding and assumption thus disposed of, Congress called on Hamilton for
a report on the further support of public credit, and when it met in the


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