| This Country of Ours|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14 |
ADAMS—HOW HE KEPT PEACE WITH FRANCE
 THE crowd which gathered to see John Adams take the oath was almost
as great as that which had gathered when Washington had first been
But it was upon the old and not upon the new President that all
eyes were turned. And when the ceremony was over the people seemed
still loath to part from their beloved President, and a great crowd
followed him in silence to his home. At the door, before entering,
he turned, and with tears running down his cheeks he signed a last
farewell to his people. So for a long silent moment he stood upon
the doorstep, then he entered the house, and as the door closed
upon him a great sob broke from the crowd.
Thus the people took a last farewell of their great and beloved
Almost as soon as John Adams became President in 1797 he found
himself plunged into trouble with France. For the Jay Treaty had
made the French people very angry. They refused to receive Charles
C. Pinckney, who was sent as ambassador, and he had to flee to
Holland for refuge. The Americans were very angry at this treatment
of their minister and talked of war. But Adams was anxious to keep
peace. So he sent two more ambassadors to France and with them
Pinckney returned also.
But the French received the three ambassadors with little more
courtesy than they had received the one.
They now began to demand all sorts of things from the United States;
they demanded, among other things, that
 the Americans should pay
them a large sum of money as a bribe. They demanded a large loan
also. If they refused, why, then let the Americans beware. With
these demands and threats the ambassadors were obliged to leave
When the Americans heard them they were furious.
But they were not going to be bullied. So to the French
threats they replied by building ships, raising an army, and buying
cannon. Everywhere, too, patriotic songs were written and sung,
one of them being, "Hail Columbia," by Joseph Hopkinson.
Once more George Washington was asked to become commander-in-chief, and with a heavy heart he consented. He did not want to
leave his quiet home for the horrors and clamour of the battlefield.
Still less did he want to fight against his old friends. But at
his country's call he rose.
The French, however, were not really anxious to fight the United
States. They merely wanted to get money from them, and when they
saw the spirit of the nation, they changed their tune and did
everything they could to keep peace between the two countries.
But the Americans were now so angry with the French that they were
determined to fight them. "War with France!" "War with France!"
was everywhere the cry.
John Adams, however, like Washington, was determined if possible
to keep peace. So without asking any one's advice he sent another
friendly mission to France, and the quarrel was quietly settled.
Thus peace was kept, but the people were angry with Adams. They
declared that he had all sorts of mean reasons for his action. He
was sure he had done right. "When I am dead," he said, "write on my
tomb, 'Here lies John Adams, who took upon himself the responsibility
of peace with France.' " He felt that he could have no better epitaph.
 While Adams was President, another state was added to the
Union. This was Tennessee, which was an offshoot from North Carolina.
For several years Tennessee passed through troublous times. For
a few years, indeed, the state was set up as a separate republic,
under the name of Franklin. This name was given to it in honour
of Benjamin Franklin, the great statesman. But some of the people
wanted it called Frankland or Freeland so it was known by both
The inhabitants of Franklin now chose a Governor, instituted a
Senate and a House of Commons, and made laws for themselves. But
very soon this government collapsed, and after a few more troublous
years the state entered the Union under the name of Tennessee.
All this time men had been busy building the new capital and toward
the end of 1800 the government was removed there. Washington, the
great Father of his Country, had just died and it was determined
to call the new city by his name.
But when the government arrived at Washington they found the city
little more than a wilderness. Only a part of the Capitol was
built, and around it there was nothing but desolation. There were
neither streets, nor shops, neither business nor society.
The President's house was set down in the midst of an uncultivated
field, and beyond that and the unfinished Capitol there were but
a few scattered houses and one hotel. Many people were disgusted
with the new capital, and it was given all sorts of names, such
as the "Capital of Miserable Huts," "The Wilderness City," or
the "Mudhole." Every now and again one or other of the members of
Congress would suggest that the capital should be removed elsewhere,
but there were always some determined to stay. And at length by
slow degrees the city grew into one of the beautiful capitals of
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