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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Worth brought Chief Coacoochee to Tampa in irons


when he became Minister to

the Republic of Colombia in South America. Congress, after some debate, passed a bill to appropriate one year's Presidential salary to General Harrison's widow. Vice-President Tyler became President. A Virginian by birth, he was committed to the Southern theory of State rights. In his first message he recognized the veto of the United States Bank measure as approved by the nation. This caused a decisive break with the holdover Cabinet. All the members resigned except Daniel Webster, who was retained to complete the Canadian boundary treaty with England. The line at length agreed upon gave to the United States 7,000 square miles, and to Great Britain 5,000, with the navigation of the St. John's River. Lord Ashburton in a speech at New York declared that never again could war be possible between the two countries. Tyler's new Secretary of State was Upham. The first measure of the Whigs was the repeal of the independent Treasury act of the previous Congress, and the next was the establishment of a general system of bankruptcy, and for distribution of the public land revenue. The former was more than a bankrupt law; it was practically an insolvent law for the abolition of debts at the will of the debtor. The bill passed both Houses. The land-revenue distribution was made imperative by the fact that various American States and municipalities owed $200,000,000 to European creditors. These became uneasy, and wished the Federal Government to assume their debts. The system was first favored
in 1838, and again in 1839, and in 1840 became a national issue. Although Calhoun and Benton both opposed the measure as a squandering of the public patrimony, it passed by a party vote.

[Sidenote: Tyler's vetoes]

[Sidenote: Loss of Whig support]

A compromise tariff measure, advocated by Clay, provided for an upward scale of duties, to reach their maximum during the following year. The bill was vetoed by the President. Another important measure was that for the rechartering of the National Bank. It passed both Houses by a close vote, but Tyler vetoed it, to the consternation of the Whigs. On the second vote the necessary two-thirds majority was not obtained. Thus the second attempt to resuscitate the old United States Bank resulted in failure. After this the Whigs withdrew their support from the Administration they had put into office.

During this year, in America, the grain drill was patented. Wilkes explored the coast of California. Graham's Magazine was published--one of the first American literary magazines of high pretensions. Among its earliest contributors was Edgar Allan Poe. At the same time Longfellow published his ballads, Cooper his "Deerslayer," and Ralph Waldo Emerson brought out his philosophical lectures in essay form.

[Sidenote: Close of Seminole War]

War with the Seminoles continued unabated. In the spring, General William J. Worth had been appointed to succeed Armisted. During the summer, Worth dispersed his troops into small parties, which ascended the rivers and penetrated the swamps to the islands to which the Indians had retired. Worth brought Chief Coacoochee to Tampa in irons. To secure peace, Worth bade him name five of his fellow chieftains, who were to return to the Indians and inform them that unless they should appear at Tampa within a given time and give themselves up, Coacoochee and his fellow prisoners would forthwith be hanged. The Indians came within the appointed time. As one band after another surrendered they were sent West to Mississippi. The cost of the war from first to last had been $40,000,000, which was twice the sum paid for the Territories of Louisiana and Florida together. It was estimated that for each black slave brought back from Florida to his owners, three white men had lost their lives, and $80,000 had been expended.


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