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ing Federalist electors were Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware. James Monroe-Josiah Quincy's “James the Second"-had 183 electoral votes, against 34 for Rufus King, so that four years more of yet milder Jeffersonianism were secured. The era of bitterness had passed and the “era of good feeling" was at hand.

XVI

THE ERA OF GOOD FEELING

MANY Presidents of the United States have served

at probably James Monroe was the only one who ever accomplished great good by going on an excursion. Few battles in the Revolution were of so much benefit to the nation as the journey which, in 1817, the President decided to undertake. There were two especial reasons for this beneficent result: the tour reconciled the people to the administration, and it reconciled the administration to what seemed the really alarming growth of the people.

The fact that Monroe was not generally held to be a very great man enhanced the value of this expedition. He had been an unfortunate diplomatist, retrieving his failures by good-luck; as a soldier, he had blundered at Washington, and yet had retained enough of confidence to be talked of as probable commander of a Canadian invasion. All this was rather advantageous. It is sometimes a good thing when a ruler is not personally eminent enough to obscure his office. In such a case, what the man loses the office may gain. Wherever Washington went he was received as a father among grateful children; Adams had his admirers, Jefferson his adorers; Madison had carried through a war which, if not successful, was

at least a drawn game. All these, had they undertaken what play-actors call “starring in the provinces,” would have been received as stars, not as officials. Whatever applauses they received would have been given to the individual, not the President. But when Monroe travelled, it was simply the Chief Magistrate of the nation who met the eyes of men. He was not a star, but a member of the company, a stock actor, one of themselves. In the speeches with which he was everywhere received there was very little said about his personality; it was the head of the nation who was welcomed. Thus stripped of all individual prestige, the occasion appealed to every citizen. For the first time the people of the United States met their President as such, and felt that they were a nation.

It was at the end of sixteen years of strife--political strife more bitter than can easily be paralleled in these calmer days. The result of this contest may in some respects have been doubtful, but on one point at least it was clear. It had extinguished the colonial theory of government and substituted the national. Hamilton and the Federalists, with all their high qualities, had still disbelieved in all that lay beyond the domain of experience. But experience, as Coleridge said, is like the stern-lights of a ship, illumining only the track already passed over. Jefferson, with all his faults, had steered for the open sea. Madison's war had impoverished the nation, but had saved its self-respect. Henceforward the American flag was that of an independent people—a people ready to submit to nothing, even from England, which England would not tolerate in return. And it so happened that all the immediate honor of this increased self-respect belonged, or seemed to belong, to the party in power. Jefferson was the most pacific of men, except Madison; both dreaded a standing army, and shrank with reluctance from a navy; yet the laurels of both arms of the service, such as they were, went to Madison and Jefferson. The Federalists, who had begged for a navy and had threatened to raise an army on their own account, now got no credit for either. That party held, on the whole, the best educated, the most high-minded, the most solvent part of the nation; yet it had been wrecked by its own want of faith. When in the Electoral College Monroe had 183 votes, against 34 for Rufus King, it was plain that the contest was at an end, and that the nation was ready to be soothed. Monroe was precisely the sedative to be applied, and his journey was the process of application.

So much for the people; but there were also anxieties to be quieted among the nation's statesmen. Not only did the people need to learn confidence in their leaders, but the leaders in the people. It was not that republican government itself was on trial, but that its scale seemed so formidable. Nobody doubted that it was a thing applicable among a few mountain communities, like those of Switzerland. What even the Democratic statesmen of that day doubted—and they had plenty of reason for the fear —was the possibility of applying self-government to the length and breadth of a continent peopled by many millions of men. They were not dismayed by the principle, but by its application; not by the philosophy, but the geography. Washington himself, we know, was opposed to undertaking the ownership of the Mississippi River; and Monroe, when a member of the Virginia Convention, had argued against the adoption of the Federal Constitution, for geographical reasons. “Consider,” he said, “the territory lying between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi. Its extent far exceeds that of the German Empire. It is larger than any territory that ever was under any one free government. It is too extensive to be governed but by a despotic monarchy.” This was the view of James Monroe in 1788, at a time when he could have little dreamed of ever becoming President. He was heard with respect, for he had been one of the Virginia committee-men who had transferred the northwestern lands to the United States government, and he was one of the few who had personally visited them. Yet he had these fears, and the worst of the alarm was that it had some foundation. But for the unexpected alliances of railway and telegraph, does anybody believe that Maine, Louisiana, and California would to-day form part of the same nation? In the mean time, while waiting for those mighty coadjutors, the journey of Monroe relieved anxiety in a very different manner, by revealing the immense strength to which the national feeling had already grown. At any rate, after this experience he expressed no more solicitude. In his message on internal improvements, written five years after his journey, he described the American system of government as one “capable of expansion over a vast territory.

Monroe himself was now fifty-nine years old, and formed in physical appearance a marked contrast to the small size and neat, compact figure of his predecessor. He was six feet high, broad-shouldered, and rather raw-boned, with grayish-blue eyes, whose

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