CHAPTER THREE: "HANG THE BUGGERS!"
The year of 1801 was the brutal final one for the United States. The economy was in the metaphorical toilet, the homeless and jobless rates exploded, and the French conflict was an undeniable defeat for the country. French and Spanish soldiers were regularly making excursions upon American soil, not on the intent of conquering --for the two European countries had more than enough restless territory on their hands-- but to force Adams to agree to a humiliating peace. The French were willing to be lenient on the US, as there was no real damage done to them or theirs. The Spanish, still seething over the Louisiana attack, wanted more of a punishment.
The punishment came in the form of gradual payments to France and larger, quicker economic payments to the Spanish Crown, agreed to at the Second Treaty of Paris, which pushed the US economy further into the abyss. Adams and Hamilton's government was completely destroyed. There was no way to fix the economy. Outright anarchy was spreading across the land and Indian attacks were becoming more and more frequent on the frontier. It was hopeless. Finally, a Federalist official and member of the Friends of the Union had been beaten by a mob until he had spilled all the details of the Federalist rigging system. It was only a matter of time before someone took matters into their own hands to get rid of the Federalists once and for all. That someone was a 54 year-old former New York Army colonel.
That same Willard Crawford stood in the morning sunshine in full vintage Continental Army uniform. He took a deep breath. He was just four blocks from the Presidential Palace. Four blocks from removing the cancerous United States government once and for all. He knew soon news would be breaking of Andrew Jackson pulling the Carolinas out of the US. He knew the end was near for the Grand Experiment. He knew that that morning, May 18, 1801, would be the last that the cheaters and frauds and Federalists would ever sit in the Presidential Mansion. He took a step back and said a short prayer to himself. Then, the middle-aged ginger-haired man turned to his companion veterans and said, "Well, gentlemen, I suppose we're about to overthrow Johnny Boy and Alexander. Top of the morning and all of that rot, what? Let's do this."
The streets were desolate. Everyone had locked up as the mobs of minutemen had come streaming into the city. Now, hundreds of patriots from near and far had come to follow Crawford and remove the Commander-In-Chief. Crawford gazed out at the sea of care-worn faces. Other men also were wearing their old revolutionary uniforms. Others wore their everyday attire but carried their powder and pouches of musket balls, almost making them look like pirates. Still others wore second-hand British and French uniforms. Even a few pieces of Spanish equipment could be seen, acquired during the disaster in Louisiana. Some men carried axes, others sword, some multiple pistols. Banners from every group under the sun were flying in the breeze. There was, however, a severe lack of the national flag. Crawford realized these men thought the country was finished. They were ready to just remove the cancer and attempt to pick up the pieces of what was left. Quietly, he went and heaved himself up onto his horse. He galloped to the place he thought the most men would hear him. He raised his bicorne hat above his head and declared, "Gentlemen! I give you American justice! Down with these traitors who send us to die in wars of uncommon stupidity! Down with those that defrauded our democratic system! Down with those who delay our veterans' blood-wages year after year! Down with the President! And let's hang that bastard Hamilton!" The men went absolutely mad over that battle cry and surged forward, war drums setting the beat of their steps.
As Crawford's men began their march to the Presidential Mansion, the Mansion itself was in chaos. As Adams received word of the the coup gathering just a few blocks away, he stood up from his table suddenly, panicking, and spilling scalding gravy all over his trousers. "Confound it all!" he shrieked, as went into a near panic attack. He grabbed the gravy boat and hurled it across the room, shattering it into a thousand pieces. "Guards! Defend the Mansion! Defend your government and do your duty! We must secure a route to Canada and build a government-in-exile."
Hamilton barged into the room immediately after and announced, "John! It's over! They've sealed off the streets. We can't escape."
Adams took a Russian-made sword down from his wall. "We will never surrender! We will not give up power to a bunch of ignorant veterans who don't even know what they even want."
A nearby officer in a bright blue uniform and shako hat spoke up, "My men are already taking their positions, your excellency. We will shoot out of the windows and make them pay dearly for attacking their President."
Meanwhile, Crawford was already closing in, tightening his vice on the Mansion and totally surrounding it. Hundreds of men were ready to do this and finally get rid of the Federalists forever, at whatever cost. Crawford could see the Mansion now, muskets and long rifles bristling out of its windows. Almost as soon as he saw a puff of smoke come from one of the windows, a musket ball came whistling past his head. "Men of the Militias! Forward! Fire at will! Let's do this for our liberties and our wives!" screamed another mounted officer nearby, waving a sword in the air.
And the attack was on. The din of battle grew tremendous as the rebellion fired into the Mansion as others tore down fences and gates blocking their path. Dozens of men were already dropping. But they pressed on, determined now more than ever. Crawford galloped forward and jumped a new hole in the fence line. Whooping and hollering, packs of rebels followed him. More bullets sent up little puffs of dirt all around. Blood spattered into the air as the meaty smacks of the musket balls driving through charging men rang out. And still... they pressed on. The militia rebels busted down the front door of the Mansion, knocking one off its hinges and crushing a Federalist marine. They all cheered and bayoneted their way past several more.
Adams already knew he was finished. The loyalist troops were already almost completely slaughtered and there he stood in the hallway with a Russian fencing sword and an Ottoman flintlock pistol. Just as he thought about joining the last few Loyalists in death by charging into the fray, the doors of his vault-ceiling hallway flew open and in came Crawford, still on his horse, its hooves clunking on the polished wood flooring. Adams laid down his weapons. It was over.
"John Adams! Formerly known as the President of the United States in Congress Assembled!" Crawford shouted, pulling a paper out of his blue and gold coat. "I hearby do serve you your arrest warrant for high treason on the behalf of the sovereign people of New York and indeed the entire nation! Where is Alexander Hamilton?"
Adams sighed. And then he pointed to Hamilton's hiding place one room over. Minutemen slapped chains on both of them shortly. They were then thrown in a carriage and whisked away to the Livingston Sugar House Prison. And that was how the last President of the United States was violently deposed.
It came not too soon. Indeed, the nation was already splintering into secessionist movements. Andrew Jackson was in the midst of calling for the "Congress of the Carolinas" to decide upon the next course of action to become an independent nation. Radicals in Virginia had already tried to call for secession in 1800, and was also about to move to vote to leave the USA. In fact, in order to claim they did it first, Virginia made 1800 their official year of independence, but it was not proclaimed for good and in seriousness until May 28, 1801, ten days after the overthrow of the US government.
Overwhelmingly, the individual counties of the Carolinas voted to leave the United States, forming the Confederation of the Carolinas, and the delegates from both states then elected Andrew Jackson as Emergency Chancellor. A democratic election would be held as soon as the new nation stabilized and was satisfied the USA would not try to resist them. The frontier territorial disputes between the two states were solved upon union, forming the State of West Carolina (also sometimes known as Tennessee or Centralia), which also joined the Confederation.
Georgia, now cut off in every way from the USA, also formed its own country, the Republic of Georgia. It was quite large, stretching from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. West Florida, which had been a haven for pro-American Louisianans, rebelled against Spain, and with Georgian assistance formed the West Florida Republic. It took up Georgia's entire coastline on the Gulf of Mexico, but Georgia and its traders were allowed to freely come and go into West Florida, making future Georgian annexation almost impossible to avoid. Georgia had considered joining the Confederation of the Carolinas and creating a slave-holding super-state "Southern Confederacy," but that issue was pushed to the back burner as the ongoing collapse of the USA was making large unions look pointless and weak.
The new "government" of New York City decided they would hold off on a trial until the the country's messes could be sorted out. Hamilton, Adams, Tom Pinckney, Rufus King, and many others rotted in the Livingston Sugar House for several months, eating gut-wrenching gruel and moldy bread and drinking moldy water. However, when Rufus King was let out of the prison for a few minutes to get some air following a breathing attack, a mob rushed the guards, seriously injuring one, and ripped King limb from limb. The gruesome scene was quickly ended by another platoon of guards, but King was well and truly dead. Lynchings reached epidemic proportions. Federalists were seen as traitors to be killed immediately, even if most were innocent and were not aware of the ballot-stuffing plot. Hundreds fled to Canada, to seek refuge in Quebec City, joining many Royalist Americans who had fled there 20 to 30 years earlier.
Finally, the trial was agreed to be held on July 4th. The Federalists in the Sugar House knew nothing good was going to come of it. The blue-coated New York constables came and escorted them out of the jail. Professional soldiers formed a wall around them, making sure no radicals tried to kill them all before the trial. However, many of the citizens seemed willing to let the trial go on as planned, just so they could see Alexander the Ungreat and Octavian Adams answer for their deeds.
The trial was largely a joke. John Jay, the quite moderate judge in charge, tried to be fair, but he couldn't hold against the tide of revenge wanted by the Jeffersonians. The Democratic-Republicans sat in the boxes in the upper floor of the courthouse, cursing and blaspheming the Federalists' names. Ironically, Jefferson and Madison wanted the country to repair itself and exile the Federalists to South America or Europe, but their followers were out for blood.
Adams was marched to Jay first, where he was told to explain himself. He stammered and stuttered something about "love of country" and "tried my best" and then, pointing at his Vice President, his voice rising to a falsetto Cockney-Bostonian screech, exclaimed, "Hang Hamilton! Not me! This was all his idea, the disgusting snake! He plotted it out at Fraunces Tavern in '96! He was the puppet-master, controlling and manipulating the party like some sort of evil wretch! Hang him, sir! I have only done what I been have been threatened or bullied into doing! I love this country! Hang Hamilton the Traitor!"
The cries that arose from the Federalists' area were furious, and they countered that Adams had been complacent and even helped as much as he could in the scheme. Hamilton, by all accounts, just sort of sat there, his face in his hands, watching his carefully planned plot collapse around him. The jury immediately voted to execute Hamilton, and he was dragged out, his body like a rag-doll, to the front of the courthouse. A noose was draped from a branch, and Willard Crawford's drummers sounded the death beats. Hamilton looked at the crowd gathered around him. Then, slowly, he spoke: "I wish I had something to say that would redeem me in the eyes of all of you gathered here today. That you would think of me as a Patriot. That I would go down as a hero to all. But I can't. And I'm beyond caring. You people don't deserve me. You all can go straight to Hell, and take this sorry country with you!" As soon as the words were out, Crawford twirled his sword blade downward as the signal and Hamilton's neck was snapped instantly. He hanged there limply for a few minutes, and was then cut down and thrown in an unmarked ditch. His body was never found again.
The other Federalist leaders joined him over the next few hours, each hanging on the same branch. Finally, Adams' turn was up. After speaking for ten minutes (Jay had allowed him twenty), the restless crowd stormed the courthouse and dragged Adams out. He was shrieking and screaming as tar and feathers were dumped on him, as fists hit him, and finally as a radical ran up and stabbed him in the stomach with a dagger. Bleeding profusely from the wound, the noose was tightened around his neck, and the 17th and last President of the United States in Congress Assembled was executed. John Jay and the guards and soldiers barely put up a show of resistance to the mob action, as they knew they might get called "Federalist sympathizers." And thus the 4th of July, Independence Day, became "Liberty Day." The United States was over. Believing now that their loyalties belonged to their state, Jefferson and Madison quickly departed to Virginia to try and restart their grand idea.