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of duties on imposts and tonnage, having Fort Stoddert for the port of entry and delivery.

In July, 1804, occurred the memorable duel between General Hamilton and the Vice-President, Aaron Burr. Certain offensive publications having appeared in one of the journals of the day, Colone! Burr suspected Hamilton of being the author, and in a letter required his acknowledgment or denial of the fact. Hamilton refusing to give either, received a challenge, accepted it, met Burr, and fell at the first fire. No similar event ever caused so much sensation throughout the United States as the news of this fatal duel. By his great talents, powerful eloquence, and gentlemanly conduct, Hamilton had become the idol of the federal party, and the admiration of all his countrymen. Extraordinary honours were paid to his memory, while for the future Burr was regarded with detestation.

On the 4th of March, 1805, Mr. Jefferson entered upon his second term of office. Burr was succeeded in the Vice-Presidency by

George Clinton, of New York. At this time the aggressions of Great Britain upon the seamen and commerce of the United States called for serious interference on the part of government. The strict neutrality maintained by Congress had secured to our merchants a lucrative and growing trade in the West Indies, which soon excited the envy of England. Many large vessels trading to the French colonies were captured and condemned by the British. In May, 1806, some of the principal French ports were declared in a state of blockade; while in November, of the same year, Napoleon issued his famous Berlin decree, declaring all the British islands under blockade. Neutral vessels were thus prohibited from trading with either country.



At the same time England continued to search American vessels, and impress their seamen into her own service. A most aggravated instance of this occurred in June, 1807. On the 6th of March previous, the British consul at Norfolk had demanded of Captain Decatur three of the Chesapeake's crew, deserters, as he alleged, from the British ship Melampus. On inquiry they were

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found to be native born Americans. On the 22d of April the Chesapeake sailed for the Mediterranean, under Commodore Barron; but, after passing through the British squadron, she was stopped by the English ship Berkeley, and an officer sent on board demanding the three men. On his returning to the Leopard with a refusal of the demand, that vessel opened a heavy fire, which continued thirty minutes, when the Chesapeake struck her colours. She was then boarded, her crew mustered, and four men carried to the British vessel. The Chesapeake lost three men killed, and eighteen wounded; and was so much injured in her hull and rigging as to be obliged to return to Hampton Roads.

News of this outrage was received throughout the country with a burst of indignation. The inhabitants of Norfolk and Portsmouth passed unanimous resolutions discontinuing all communication between the shore and the British ships. At the same time two hundred hogsheads of water, for the use of the squadron, were destroyed by the people; and to the consequent threat of the English captain to stop all vessels trading to Norfolk, he was answered that peace or war was at his pleasure. On the 2d of July, the President issued a proclamation forbidding communication with British armed vessels,

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unless in distress or conveying despatches. They were interdicted from the waters of the United States, two thousand militia were ordered to the defence of Norfolk, and one hundred thousand to hold themselves in readiness for service. Congress was summoned to meet on the 26th of October. The American minister in London having demanded satisfaction for the insult, Berkeley's act was disavowed; yet he was shortly afterwards elevated to a more important station.

A singular and still unexplained event had taken place previous to this time, which for a while caused much sensation throughout the United States. This was the supposed treason of Aaron Burr. After his retirement from the political arena of the Union, he is said to have attempted the secession of the Western States, so as to form them into an independent nation; but failing, he endeavoured to persuade the settlers to invade Mexico. This received some encouragement. He was, however, narrowly watched by government; and General Wilkinson, commandant at New Orleans, having transmitted


473 to the President an account of the whole enterprise, Jefferson, on the 27th of November, issued a proclamation forbidding all citizens to lend it their encouragement, and ordering the stoppage of the boats intended for the enterprise. Burr was arrested in the February following, and carried to Richmond for trial in the federal circuit court. On the 23d of June a true bill was found against him, and he was committed to prison, but permitted to remain at his hotel under a guard. His trial took place, August 3, 1805; and on the 31st he was acquitted, on the ground that his offence did not come under jurisdiction of the court. The growing difficulties with foreign powers enabled him to escape further prosecution, and he soon after sailed for England.

In December, 1807, an embargo was imposed by government upon American vessels, forbidding them to leave their ports, for fear of capture. This law continued during the remainder of Jefferson's administration, but was very injurious to the eastern states, and rendered the administration unpopular in that portion of the country.

In 1808, Jefferson announced his intention of retiring from the presidential chair. The ensuing election gave the office of chief magistrate to James Madison, the candidate of the republican party. Mr. Clinton was re-elected for the Vice-Presidency. They were inaugurated March 4, 1809; after which the ex-President retired to his seat at Monticello, where the evening of his life was passed amid the quiet of literary pursuits.

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HE opposition to the embargo act of the late administration was so decided, that one of the first acts of Congress after the inauguration of Mr. Madison was to repeal it, but at the same time prohibiting all intercourse with either France or England. Taking advantage of this measure, Mr. Erskine, the British ambassador, proposed an adjustment of the difficulties between the two nations on the basis of full satisfaction for the Chesapeake insult, with the restoration of her men, the withdrawal of the orders in council so far as they related to the United States; the appointment of an envoy extraordinary, with power to conclude a treaty respecting all the points at issue. This was ratified by the President, who immediately issued a proclamation permitting the resumption of trade with Great Britain. But this pacific appearance was dispelled by news from England disavowing the act of her minister, and ordering his recall. The President's proclamation was consequently revoked.

Mr. Erskine was succeeded by Mr. Jackson. That gentleman, on being asked by the Secretary of State why the British government had disavowed the proceedings of his predecessor, answered that the latter had exceeded his instructions, and insinuated that the

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