News from Zanesville, Ohio

Zanesville, O. 
April 20, 1814

By Captain Alexander Hill, of the U.S. army, direct from Detroit, which place he left on the 4th inst. and passed upper Sandusky on the 15th, we learn-that scouting parties and spies had been out in different directions, up as far as Delaware on the Thames, say 100 miles above Detroit, and also down the lake; that no enemy, not news of the approach of the enemy was discovered, and that the rumor of an expected attack as had been reported by a letter from Detroit to Pittsburgh dated April 20, was entirely destitute of foundation. All was well and the garrison in good order.


Notice from Portsmouth

Portsmouth, N.H.
April 19

The alarm at this place still continues, and the preparations to repel an attack are progressing. We are happy to find our citizens are not waiting to be aroused to the sense of danger, by the thunder of British cannon, or the bayonets of the enemy at their breasts.

Many vessles and other valuable property have been removed to places of safety.

LOOK OUT!-Eight sail of ships of war were seen off Cape-Ann on Wednesday last. Two large ships of war were near the shoals on Sunday; after taking a view of the harbor, they stood to the eastward.


Letter to Willie Blount from Andrew Jackson

Camp at the junction of the coosee & Tallipoosee
18th April 1814


      I am happy to inform you that the campaign is, at length drawing to a prosperous close. We have scoured the coosee & the Tallipoosee, & the intervening country. A part of the enemy on the latter river made their escape across it, just before our arrival, & are flying in consternation towards Pensacola. Many of those on the coosee, & from the neighbouring country, have come in & surrendered unconditionally; & others are on the way & hourly arriving to submit in the same way. we will overtake those who fled, & make them sensible that there is no more safety in flight than in resistance. They must supplicate peace if they would enjoy it--Many of the negroes who were taken at Ft. Mimms have been delivered up; & one white woman (Polly Jones) with her three children. They will be properly taken care of. The Tallisee King has been arrested, & is here in confinement. The Fooshatchee King of the Hickory ground tribe, has delivered himself up. Weatherford has been with me & I did not confine him. He will be with me again in a few days. Peter McQueen was taken, but escaped. He must be taken again. Hilleshagee their great prophet, has absconded, but he will be found. These were the instigators of the war, & such is their situation--
        The advance of the Eastern division formed a junction with me at Hothlewaulee, & accompanied me down the Tallipoosee: The balance now at Ft. Decatur, opposite Tuccabatchee, will arrive in a few days, except what will be left for the retention of the post. Major Genl. Pinckney will join the army at this place, tomorrow or next day. The business of the campaign will not, I presume, require that I or my troops remain much longer. Genl. Pinckney, & Col. Hawkins, who is now with me, have been appointed to make the treaty I am Sir very respectfully yr. mo ob. Servt.

                                                                                                         Andrew Jackson
                                                                                                         Major Genl.

"To provide for the collection and preservation of such flags, standards and colors..."

To provide for the collection and preservation of such flags, standards and colors as shall have been or may hereafter be taken by the land and naval forces of the United States from their enemies.
BE it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of American in Congress assembled, That the secretaries of the war and navy departments be, and they are hereby directed to cause to be collected and transmitted to them, at the seat of the government of the United States, all such flags, standards and colors as shall have been or may hereafter be taken by the army and navy of the United States, from their enemies.
Sec. 2. And it be further enacted, That all the flags, standards, and colors of the description aforesaid, which are now in the possession of the departments aforesaid, and such as may be hereafter transmitted to them, be, with all convenient dispatch, delivered to the President of the United States, for the purpose of being, under his direction preserved and displayed in such public place as he shall deem proper.
Sec. 3 And be it further enacted, That the sum of five hundred dollars, and the same is hereby appropriated for the above purposes, out of any monies in the treasury not otherwise appropriated.

Speaker of the House of Representatives
Vice President of the United States, and President of the Senate.
April 18, 1814

Alarm at Portsmouth

New York, 
April 18, 1814

A letter from Portsmouth, dated on Monday, (published in yesterday's Newburyport Herald) states that accounts had been received there direct from Halifax, of an expedition fitting at that place, consisting of three 74's and several frigates, for the purpose of destroying the 74 building at Portsmouth. The letter adds, that the inhabitants were preparing for defence-that an express had been forwarded to Gov. Gilman &c. [This probably gave rise to the report current yesterday, that a large British squadron have arrived off Portsmouth.]  

Published in the Salem Register

Joshua Barney to Secretary Jones Returning to Baltimore

April 18, 1814


Off Annapolis. April 18th 1814


Yesterday I left Baltimore with ten Barges, Scorpion, Galley & Gunboat 138. We had fresh Winds, I find the 2d class does not answer well; they shipped much water and are dangerous in anything of a Sea.

The Enemy (by information from a Craft this morning) was off Piankitank two days ago, having gone down the Bay, unless some of them were up Potomac, which he could not see.

I shall return to Baltimore in the Morning, as three of the Barges, has Twisted off the head of their Rudders, they will require Rudders of more depth— I hope very shortly to be in a situation to resume my Station.

The remainder of my Barges are fitting at Baltimore under Mr. Rutter. We still continue to pick up
men. I hope to man two more boats in a few days—

I am respectfully your Obt. Servt.

Joshua Barney

Flotilla Needs for Men is Important

April 18, 1814

Secretary of the Navy Jones yields to Commodore Spence’s request that he be able to stay in Baltimore because of his health rather than going to Sackett’s Harbor. Jones emphasizes the need to keep a minimum of men with him as the (Barney) flotilla’s needs are great.

To Capt: R. T. Spence
Navy Department
U.S. Navy Baltimore

April 18th, 1814


Your letter of the 9th is received.   I regret that the state of your health should have prevented your participating in the enterprise on the Lakes, but it is evidently too much impaired for that service.  You will, therefore, remain on the Baltimore station until your health is restored; and you will Keep an Eye to the Erie and Ontario, and Keep them in order with as few men as possible.  Indeed, one very small gang will answer for both vessels. The Officers in charge must be Vigilant and must not sleep out of their ships.

Every man that can possibly be spared must be transferred to the Flotilla. That object in the present state of things is all important.

I am respectfully etc.

W Jones

P.S. Be pleased to return by some safe conveyance to this Department your private signals until they shall hereafter be required.


Latest Report from England

Newport, (R.I.)
April 17, 1814

This day arrived Swedish ship Prince Carl Jean, Capt Oberg, 63 days from London, and five from Bermuda, in ballast, where she put in. Capt. O. left Bermuda on Monday last, and informs us, that a ship arrived there on Sunday, (the day before he sailed) 35 days from England. Capt. Oberg was informed by the Capt. that he brought London papers to the 1st of March, and that they stated, that there had been a severe battle between the French and the Allied armies in France; that the Allies were defeated with considerable loss, and had retreated about 90 miles. The captain also informed, that in consequence of the arrival of the Bramble, the expedition fitting out for American, had been suspended, and that the general opinion of the merchants in England, was, that a peace would speedily take place between American and Great Britain. The above are all the particulars Capt. O. was enabled to obtain.
By the above arrival we were favored with Bermuda papers to April 9th, but they contain nothing of consequence.
Admiral Cochrane (was) at Bermuda on the 10th inst. but would sail in a few days for the American coast.
Admiral Warren, in the San Domingo, with the Terpsichore frigate (captured from the French by the Majestic) in co. sailed from Bermuda on the 7th inst. for England.
The Bulwark 74, with a convoy from England, arrived on the 7th , and sailed again on the 10 inst. for the American coast.-She sailed from England Feb 10th.
From 800 to 1000 troops were at Bermuda. but there was no intention of sending them on any expedition to this country. The whole naval force at Bermuda consisted of two 74's, the Majestic and two frigates.
No prizes had been sent to Bermuda since the 8th of March.
There were about 600 American prisoners at Bermuda. A ship was preparing to carry them to Halifax.

Update from Baltimore

April 17, 1814

Letters from Annapolis, yesterday morning, state that the 74 and two tenders that formed the van of the enemy's squadron, got under way from Sandy Point Saturday morning and dropped down to Sharp's Island, where they anchored; remained there yesterday morning, with thei heads to the northward, wind strong from N.W. there were several other sail below, but the weather too thick to discern their force.
A letter from Norfolk dated 13th, mentions the return of a flag that had been despatched by government. The person charged with the flag (an officer of the navy) learnt on board the frigate that they had received late accounts from Europe-and that there had been a general peace concluded in Europe (the news was  not generally believed in Norfolk, cause not stated). No answer was received to the despatches in consequence of the absence of Admiral Cockburn up the bay-the answer promised to be sent on shore to the Pleasure House when received; there were 50 prisoners on board the fleet, taken from the bay and river craft. It was thought an attack was meditated by them on some point by their unusual reserve and manneuvers.


"Would I be punishable for disobedience of the orders of a militia Colonel?"

Messrs Editors,
'We have Colonels in our militia establishment.' Are these recognized in the general militia law? This is a question of importance to the Colonels themselves. 'Would I be punishable for disobedience of the orders of a militia Colonel?' is one of great moment to every private militiaman. Let us see if there is any authority in the law for commissioning these officers. If there is not, then I am not punishable, their commissions notwithstanding. The 3d section of law passed on the 8th of May, 1792, provides for officering the militia of the several states, as follows: 'To each division, 1 Major General, &c.; to each brigade, 1 Brigadier General, &c.' to each regiment, 1 Lieut. Colonel Commandant; and to each battalion, 1 Major, &c.' The law establishing a military force for the United States, provides for the appointment of 1 Colonel, 1 Lieutenant Colonel, and 2 Majors to each regiment or regular troops-not including militia.
The 1st section of the militia law of the district, makes it 'lawful for the President of the United States,' whenever circumstances 'shall in his opinion make it necessary, to lay off said militia into additional companies, battalions, regiments or legions, and brigades; and shall appoint and commission during pleasure the proper officers for the same.' Now, I ask, who are proper officers of a regiment? There can be no question as to a regiment of regular troops-not so with regard to militia. If the law of 1792, as well as the law of 1795, comprehends the militia of a district or territory-then the proper officers are a Lieutenant Colonel Commandant, and Majors-'one Major to each battalion.' But we have 1 Colonel to a regiment, and 1 Lieutenant Colonel to the first, and 1 Major to the second, battalion of that regiment. But if the law of '92 does not extend to us, then the proper officers are no where designated. They are not designated in the law of the district, and it is evident that the framers of this district law had reference to the law of '92, and did not contemplate the appointment of Colonels; for they have no where mentioned them, or provided for the punishment of their misconduct, so that our Colonels are completely a lawless set of officers-who may do what they think proper, and are not amenable to any tribunal. It is lamentable to reflect that Congress (who alone have the power) are about to leave us at the commencement of troublesome times, without making one effort to remove the sad dilemma in which we are placed. Thank God, we have this consolation, that the spirits of our fathers still hover over us, and will fire every breast, and nerve every arm, in defence of our wives-our children-our sacred home.
A Private Militiaman.
April 16, 1814.


From Plattsburg


April 15.
Lake Champlain is clear of ice, and the British flotilla is almost finished, but ours will not be ready for service until sometime in May. We therefore expect they will shortly take the command of the lake, and keep it until Com. M’Donnough is ready to drive them out of it. Urged by this state of things the army has been building breastworks and furnaces, and are now actually heating cannon ball and will keep them communally red hot merely for the purpose of giving the enemy a hot reception, in case he should come within range of our long 18s of which, besides 12s and 6s, we have six in front of this village. Tomorrow General Wilkinson starts for Fort George [Edward] at the south end of Lake George in Washington County, N.Y. to meet the Court of Enquiry into the cause of the failure of he last campaign.



Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-May 6, 1814.


South Carolina Militia

We have just learned, that the South Carolina militia, with about 500 United States troops commanded by Col. Milton, have marched from Fort Hawkins against the hostile Creeks. The impatience of the militia could not be restrained till the arrival of North Carolina troops, who have also passed the frontiers, and it is to be hoped will be able to join the advance of the army before a battle. Those who have seen this detachment, say it is one of the finest military corps in the southern country; in excellent order and well provided with every equipment for the field; that their zeal and patriotic ardor may be crowned with their merited reward, is the sincere payer of their country.-Augusta Chronicle, April 1.


Published in the Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette-April 15, 1814.

"Lake Champlain is clear of ice"

April 15, 1814

 Lake Champlain is clear of ice and the British flotilla is almost finished but ours will not be ready for services until some time in May. We therefore expect they will shortly take command of the lake and keep it until commodore M'Donnough is ready to drive them out of it. Urged by this state of things, the army has been building breastworks and furnaces, and are actually heating cannon balls, and to keep them continually red hot merit for the purpose of giving the enemy hot reception, in case he should come within range of our long 18s, of which besides 12s and 6s, we have six in free range of this village. Tomorrow general Wilkinson starts for Fort George (Edward) at the south end of Lake George in Washington county, North to meet  the court of enquiry into the cause of the failure of the last campaign. It is a delightful place, where the court, parties, advocates, spectators and witnesses can indulge his respective inclinations in catching (trees?) from 1 to 30 pounds weight, or shooting ducks and geese or hunting deer or swimming in the silver lake.

From the Correspondent of the New York Columbian.

Update from Boston

April 15, 1814

Arrived, Spanish ship Fernando Septimo, capt. Montzuco, from the Havanna, via Bermuda (where she was sent in and cleared) and Amelia Island, 12 days from the latter place. Friday noon, seven leagues ENE from Cape Cod, was boarded from the Junon, the Tenedos in co.-Five American passengers were taken out and carried on board of the Junon, but in consequence of having passports for Bermuda, were sent back again.-One of them (Capt. Perkins, of Salem) while on board, was informed by the 1st lieutenant that the five Americans which they then had on board, and which they had taken out of the Spanish schooner Margarita a few days before, they should send to Halifax, & that they would not be allowed to return until regularly exchanged. He also stated that they were taken out in retaliation for the bounty of $100 offered by Mr. Madison for every British subject taken and brought into port. It was observed to the lieutenant, that their taking Americans out of neutral vessels was an unprecedented act. He replied that it was; but that the conduct of the American government had forced them to do it; and without regard to the flag of any nation, they should take out all Americans they found on board of any vessel whatever, and send them to Halifax to be exchanged, excepting those having British passports. There had been several arrivals at Amelia from England, but all long passages. The Swedish brig Embden, captain Wilcox, which was boarded from the U.S. frigate Constitution, on her passage from Bermuda, her papers taken out, and ordered to follow, but which parted in thick weather, while the frigate was in pursuit of another vessel, was taken going into Amelia by a number of U.S. Gun Boats, and sent into St. Mary's in consequence of not having any papers on board.
It is stated that the Yankee privateer, after leaving Newport, passed to windward of the British brig of war Nimrod, which was lying at Block Island-that the Nimrod immediately went in chace, and pursued her for 24 hours, but that she escaped in the night in consequence of a mistake made by the enemy, who fell in with a Spanish ship, hove to, and supposing her to be the privateer, (the chase having been very close, and the Nimrod had gained on her,) enabled the Yankee to escape.
The officers who went on board the ship stated, that the Nimrod had beel lying 5 days under Block Island, waiting for the Yankee. The Yankee had passed close by the Spaniard, just before he was boarded.

Joshua Barney to Secretary Jones

April 15, 1814

Despite having been ordered to turn over most of his crew to Commodore Barney, Captain Spence had not done so. In this letter Barney tells Sec’y of the Navy Jones that he has finally received the men and describes the problem with them.


Baltimore April 15th 1814


I had the honour to receive yours of yesterday, and shall communicate the contents to Captain Spence in the morning. The Conduct of that officer in not transferring the men, put me under the necessity of telling him that I understood it was your intention it should be done, and if so, why not, when he saw that the enemy was at the mouth of the river, in consequence of which he told me they should be sent onboard, & which was done in a manner to require censure. Forty came on board the evening of the 13th. All drunk. & caused the greatest confusion. Yesterday twenty Eight more were sent in the same situation, so that I was under the necessity of putting the most of them in Irons, (all of which has a fatal tendency) Seventeen are, returned, as in the Hospital, making in the whole Eighty five. I know not what has become of the remainder, but I shall be better informed in the morning.

Yesterday Mr. Frazier arrived from St. Michaels; he came over in an Open Barge, with 30 men for the flotilla. He passed a 74 and two Schooners, a few miles below Sandy point, and above Annapolis. They had been for two days off St. Michaels, I suppose, to hear of our Barges but finding them safe, they proceeded up the Bay. They have taken a number of Craft & set fire to them in the night.

The weather has been bad all day & I have no news from below. I have no certain news of my look out boat but rumour says, she is in some creek below, yet I fear for her safety—

I hope to move down in a few days if the weather will permit, with Seven heavy Barges, four smaller, the Scorpion, Galley & one Gun boat—

If I had the Sea fencibles which are doing worse than nothing at the fort, I could man five more Barges.

I am with respect your Obt. Servt.

Joshua Barney


Letter to Thomas Pinckney from Andrew Jackson

Camp Milton
14th. April 1814 at night


         I reached the town of Fooshatchee, (situated about three miles below Hoithlewaule) on yesterday; & found it abandoned. I was prevented from marching directly to Hoithlewaule by learning, when I had arrived within 10 or 12 miles of it, that it also was abandoned. The enemy, apprised of our approach, had commenced a precipitate flight on the 11th. inst. the day on which I should have reached and attacked them, had I not been prevented by the excessiveness of the rains--
        I encamped at Foosehatchee last night, & to day advanced to this place about a mile above it--having previously burnt that town, and another called Coloome, a short distance below it. I did not think it necessary to march my main army to Hoithlewaule, but send out a Detachment to day which burnt it also. We have taken about ten prisoners at and near Fooshatchee, but I know not what reliance ought to be placed on the accounts they give of the present situation & intention of those who have fled. They represent them however (and in this statement they all agree) as having crossed the river and as hastening to Pensacola, either for fresh supplies of ammunition or in the hope of obtaining there that safety which no place in their own Country will afford.
        Anxious to avail myself by a speedy movement of the whole advantage of the victory of the 27th. Ulto. & relying upon the assurances you had given me, I left Fort Williams with only eight days rations, which are now exhausted. I accordingly sent an express to Colo. Milton to day requesting him to form a junction with me, as soon as practicable, & to forward supplies for the present relief of my army. As I advised him of my destitute condition, & of the necessary there was for immediate assistance I did not imagine that any hesitation would have been felt or any delay experienced. Nor could I have supposed him unprepared to furnish, me, as I had requested him the day after I commenced my march, to form a junction with me at Hoithlewaule on the 11th. inst, and had made him acquainted with the quantity of supplies I had with me, & of the reliance I placed, when those should be consumed, upon what I should be able to obtain from him. He however replyed to my express to day (verbally) that he would send a small supply to the friendly Indians who had accompanied me, & that tomorrow he would lend me some, for the remainder of my troops; but that he felt himself under no obligation to furnish any. This was about 12 o'clock to day; and he was then, not more than three miles above me, at Hoithlewaule; on the ruins of which he is now encamped. The bearer of this order has not returned, & I do not know how it will be complyed with; but as I feel myself justified in issuing it by your assurances & by his admission that he has supplies I shall see that it is not altogether neglected or trifled with. Affairs having taken this turn, it becomes more & more necessary that I should advance without delay to the junction of the rivers, where I hope to draw plentiful supplies from Fort Williams, by means of the present swell of the Coosa. I shall therefore take the most effectual & speedy means in my power to get such supplies as may be at Fort Decatur for my use, brought down, & shall not remit my exertions to bring the war to a speedy & successful termination, which I am happy to think I shall soon be able to effect. I wrote you on the 28th. Ulto from the battle ground near New Yauka, & afterwards from Fort Williams advising you of the success of my expedition to the Tallapoosa & of my future purposes; in answer to which I have not heard from you. The last letter I received from you was of date the 28th. Ulto.
          I shall be very happy to see you at the junction of the rivers as soon as the situation of your affairs will permit you. I have the honor to be with great respect Your Obt. Servt.

                                                                                               Andrew Jackson

P.S. 15th. 30 minutes after 5: o'clock AM Captain Gordon of the Spies whom I sent with the order to Colo. Milton has returned; bringing two thousand rations, & a note from the Colo., stating that they were sent, not because I had ordered them but because my men were destitute. His unwillingness to obey my orders (tho in the neighbourhood) until a junction is actually formed, & his apparent wish to postpone that event as long as possible, are a little singular & will be noted.                                                                                            A.J.

Letter to the Editors of the National Intelligencer

April 14, 1814.


Gentlemen- I have observed you correspondent's remarks, under the signature of 'Z,' together with your short not thereon at foot. Thro' the medium of your papers, permit a constant reader to state the case relating to importations from Great Britain, as it appears to him, with its attendant difficulties.
In your answer to Z, you say you 'desire an unlicensed neutral trade.'
Every friend to this country must desire to see the ocean freed from the insupportable vexations of its oppresors; but certainly every prudent man must take care that his property is not put at risk, in too dangerous a measure.
Does the law just passed by Congress remove the illegality of an American citizen's trading with the enemies of the United States? But was it illegal so to trade previous to the passage of the late law? i.e. was it expressly prohibited by any statute of the U.S.? or was it only illegal by virtue of the public law of nations?
May the property (British goods) on its arrival in a port in the U.S. on board a neutral vessel claimed (legally so) by a citizen of the U.S. without his incurrinf the risk of an illegal trading with the enemy, supposing it to be admitted that it is illegal so to trade? Then how shall it come in unless under a pretended sale to a neutral?
On the question of British licenses, surely no law of the U.S. can extend to prohibit the use of them by neutrals-if bound to a port in the United States; if so, on what grounds? Yet grounds appears to me to exist for such prohibition.
To come to practice: Suppose a neutral vessel with English goods on board, from an English port, bound to a port in the United States; this vessel is met with at sea by an English cruizer; and not having a British license, is she not liable to be detained and sent in for adjudication by the courts at Halifax or Bermuda? Surely British cruizers will claim the right to take enemy property wherever found afloat. And what result than condemnation-the supposition being that the vessel has no license? It would not be possible to shew it to be British property- nor could it be proved to be neutral, bona fide such, under any pretended sale to a neutral merchant; because such pretended sale to a neutral, in order to cover the property, would not stand the ordeal of those courts.
Thus, then, without a British license, it must be condemned. But it will be said, insure it. Insurance could probably not be effected in the United States on such property under 75 percent. unless protected by a British license; and no insurance whatever, effected on it in England, could be valid, unless under the protections of a British license. The insurance would be illegal, because no citizen or subject can make such insurance against the acts of his own government.
These are briefly the heads of the case, and unless the business can be carried on legally by the citizens of the United States, a very large portion of the merchants must be deterred from entering into it, and so the law remain a dea letter, or operative only in favor of a set of smuggling gentry whom no oaths, no sense of rectitude will bind.
Property shipped as above, if met with at sea by United States' citizens, is also liable to be sent in by them for adjudication; and if the neutral must still be prohibited from the use of British licenses, condemnation will ensue. Thus, therefore, whether with or without British license, is the property put most completely at hazard, so much so as to deter prudent men from embarking, at least until competent explanations are given, and such as it is known will govern the conduct of our own cruizers.
Surely it could not have been intended by Congress that all such property should come in as neutral, appearing to be owned by neutral merchants. All practical upright men must see the forcible objections to so covert, spurious, fraudulent and 'hugger mugger" a commerce, beneath the notice of just and liberal minds, and tending to establish perjury and falshood in all custom-house transactions.
By giving these remarks at large in your paper, the subject may be brought before the public; and such explanations may be elicited, as to satisfy conscientious and prudent men on all its difficulties.
  'Stat nominis Umbra.'

Important State Paper!

(relating to the issue of the impressments and imprisonment of Americans; it was then the common law in England that everyone born a British subject remained one until his death; there was no recognized right to change this by becoming a naturalized citizen of another country; When prisoners were taken by the British at Fort George, twenty three  men were alleged to be British citizens and were taken to England to be tried for treason; the arguments discussed in the state paper below were part of the thinking that led to the “retaliation” policy of the American government in the handling of British prisoners):

Important State Paper

The following message was transmitted to the Senate by the President of the United States.

The Secretary of State to whom was referred several resolutions of the Senate of the second of February and 9th of March last, has the honor to submit to the President the following


Although these resolutions are of different dates and refer to subjects in some respects distinct in their nature, yet as they are connected in others of considerable importance, which bear essentially on the conduct of the parties in the present war, it is thought proper to (__?) them in the same report.

The first of these resolutions calls for the names of the individuals who were selected from the American prisoners of war and sent to G. Britain for trial – their places of residence in the United States – the times when and the courts by which they were admitted to become citizens – the regiments to which they belong – when and where they were taken – with copies of any official correspondence respecting the treatment of prisoners of war, and of any orders for retaliation on either side.

The other resolutions request information of the conduct of Great Britain towards her native subjects, taken in arms against her, and of the general practice of the nations of Europe relative to naturalization, and the employment in war each of the subjects of the other – of the cases with their circumstances, in which any civilized nation has punished its native subjects taken in arms against it, for which punishment retaliation was inflicted by the nation in whose service they were taken. And lastly-

Under what circumstances and on what grounds Great Britain has refused to discharge native citizens of the united States impressed into her service – and what has been her conduct towards American seamen on board her ships of war, at and since the commencement of the present war with the United States.
The paper marked A contains the names of the American prisoners who were sent to England for trial by the British commander in Canada – of the corps to which they belong – of the times when, and of the places where they were taken. Of their places of residence in the united states – of the times and the courts in which they were admitted to become citizens, there is no evidence in this department, nor is there any to show whether they were naturalized or native citizens of the United states. This paper contains also a copy of the orders of both governments for retaliation and of the correspondence between the respective commissaries concerning the treatment of prisoners.

The paper marked B, states various grounds on which the British government has refused to deliver up American seamen, impressed into the British service, on the applications of the agents of the U.S. regularly authorized to demand them, with the correspondence relating to the same…..Among the causes assigned for their detention, the following are the most deserving of notice:

1.       That they had no documents or that their documents were irregular.
2.       That they were released from prison in Gottenburg
3.       That they were exchanged as British subjects
4.       Were said to be imposters
5.       To have married in England
6.       Did not answer the description given of them in their protections
7.       Had attempted to desert
8.       Were sent into the service for smuggling
9.       Were not to be found on board of the ship stated
10.   Had voluntarily entered into the British service
11.   Were natives of foreign countries, Prussia, Sweden, Italy etc.

It is probably that some of the seamen whose discharges were demanded may not have been native citizens of the United States, but very presumable that the greater part were. Indeed the pretext assigned for their detention seems to admit it. Had they been native subjects of England, being there, their origin might have been traced. But that is the ground in a few instances only. In urging that some had no protections, or that their protections were irregular- that others had been exchanged as British prisoners – were imposters – had attempted to desert – did not answer the descriptions given them – were natives of Prussia, Sweden etc. it is fairly to be inferred that the public authority in England, to whom this duty is assigned, sought rather to evade the application, than to justify the refusal. The pretext that some were natives of Prussia, Sweden etc. deserves particular attention. On this circumstance the Secretary will remark only, that in extending impressments in American vessels, to persons who could not be mistaken for British subjects, and refusing to surrender them on application to the voluntary service from which they were taken, it is evident that the recovery of British seamen, has not been the sole object of the practice.

By the report of the American commissary of prisoners in England, it appears that a considerable number of our seamen had been transferred from British ships of war, to prisons, that their exchange for British seamen taken in battle was demanded, in the first instance, but that that claim seems to have been since waved. It might have been expected that the British government on being satisfied that these men or that any of them were American citizens, would have liberated and sent them home at its charge. They are however, still held prisoners, in confinement…………………………………………………….

The contrast which these documents present, in the pretensions and conduct of Great Britain with the pretensions and conduct of the United States, cannot fail to make a deep impression in favor of the latter. The British government impresses into its Navy native citizens of the U. States, and compels them to serve in it, and in many instances even to fight against their country, while it arrests as traitors and menaces with death, persons suspected to be native British subjects, for having fought under our standard against British forces, although they had voluntarily entered our army after having emigrated to the U. States and incorporated themselves into the American society. The United States on the other hand have forced no person into their service nor have they sought nor are they disposed to punish any who, after living freely emigrated to any part of the British dominions and settled there, may have entered voluntarily into the British army………………………………..

The information required relates to the following points:

1.       The conduct of G. Britain and the other nations of Europe, as to naturalization, and the employment in war, each of the subjects of the other.
2.       As to the punishment of their native subjects taken in arms against them, in the service of other powers.
3.       Examples of retaliation by the latter in such cases.

These inquiries necessarily involve an extensive research into the history and jurisprudence of the nations of Europe. For so important a task, the other duties of the Secretary of State have altogether disqualified him, since the call was made. The approaching close of the session does not leave him time form more than the following observations:

                That all the nations of Europe naturalize foreigners;
                That they all employ in their service the subjects of each other, and frequently against their native countries, even when not regularly naturalized;
                That they allow their own subject to emigrate to foreign countries;

                That although examples may be found of the punishment of the native subjects taken in arms against them, the examples are few, and have either been marked by peculiar circumstances, taking them out of the controverted principle, or have proceeded from the passions or policy of the occasion……………… It is confidently believed that no instance can be found in which the alleged purposes of the enemy against the twenty three prisoners in question, under all the circumstances which belong to their cases, even though many of them may not have been regularly naturalized are countenanced by the proceedings of any European nation.

That if no instances occur of retaliation in the few cases requiring it, or in any of them, by the governments employing such persons, it has been as is presumed, because the punishment which had been inflicted by the native country might be accounted for on some principle other than its denial of the right of emigration and naturalization. Had the government employing the persons so punished by their native country, retaliated in such cases, it might have incurred the reproach either of countenancing acknowledged crimes, or of following the example of the party in acts of cruelty, exciting horror, rather than of fulfilling its pledge to innocent persons in support of rights fairly obtained and sanctioned by the general opinion and practice of all the nations of Europe, ancient and modern,

All which is respectfully submitted (Signed) JAS. Monroe.
Department of State, April 14, 1814

Published in the Maryland Gazette and Political Intelligencer - May 5, 1814

Secretary Jones to Joshua Barney: Repel Boats

April 14, 1814

Secretary of the Navy Jones to Commodore Joshua Barney:

“…I am all anxiety to see you under way in order to keep those fellows in check below.-
Your present force I trust is sufficient to repel all the boats the enemy can muster and I hope to hold his ships uneasy under certain circumstances. –
If he enters the Potomac you must hang on his rear….”