The martial spirit which characterizes our gallant seamen.

National Intelligencer
June 30, 1812, Page 3, Column A

We shall always deem it a duty to record every instance of martial spirit which characterizes our gallant seamen.  The following we consider a signal instance which deserves our warmest applause.  Mr. William Hall, of Medford near Boston, a young midshipman in the service, obtained a furlough, about 18 months ago, and sailed on a voyage to the north-west coast of America; from whence he proceeded to Canton, and took passage home in the ship Enterprise, which arrived in this port last Sunday afternoon.  When boarded off the Hook, understanding that war had been declared by his country against Great Britain, he immediately left the Enterprise, and went on board the President and offered his services as a volunteer, which were accepted, and he has proceeded with Commodore Rodgers on his cruise. – ib. [Columb.]

Reply from Lt. Col. W.P. Anderson to Col. William Martin

June 30, 1812

Dear Sir, - On my return from Kentucky, I have found at my quarters your letter of the 22d instant.
The application which you make to me on the part of your son, Mr. Joseph A. Martin, shall be, or rather has been, punctually attended to. In supporting his pretensions with the war department, I not only gratify my individual feelings, but discharge in some degree an obligation which is due from all the friends of their country to yourself and your son. Nearly sixty men, principally the sons of farmers and of respectable connections, have already enlisted from your section of the country in the company of captain Gray. For this distinguished success it should not be dissembled, sir, that the United States are indebted, to a considerable degree, as well to your individual exertions as to the noble example which has been displayed in your family.

Your idea that your son should learn the duties of a soldier, by experience, before he is invested with command, is worthy of the days of Cincinnatus. In all ages and in all countries the most celebrated commanders have been formed in that way. See the constellation of great generals who now figure on the theatre of Europe and conduct at their pleasure the destinies of the old world; hardly one of these can be named who twenty or thirty years ago was not a private or a sergeant in the armies of France.

But in no country has merit been more entirely the passport to preferment than that in which we live. Young men whose bosoms are animated with a thirst for military fame should not decline the service because they cannot receive appointments before they are known. They should enter the army without being solicitous of rank, under the full assurance that the government will distinguish and appreciate their talents the moment they are displayed.

With respect to your son Joseph, and the qualifications which he possesses, I had already expressed my opinion, by directing captain Gray to order him to this place that he might perform the duties of adjutant to the eighth regiment.

This appointment cannot be bestowed upon him formally until he shall possess the rank of a subaltern officer; but I will give him the duties of it to perform and let him wait for the rank and emoluments attached to it until by law he can be invested with them.

I am most respectfully your friend, &c.
Lieutenant Colonel eighth regiment
United States army.

(Published in the Niles Weekly Register - July 18, 1812)

Letter from Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland
June 30, 1812

"Being threatened, one of the wealthiest and most useful importing merchants of this place has removed all his goods into a public store house. He is now preparing to leave the city, having made arrangements to remove to Philadelphia. Other importers of British goods have been threatened in the same way and are terrified. Will not all good men who can afford it and are not tied down to Baltimore, desert it! Yet 30 brave men acting in concert could restore quiet without the aid of the civil authority, which will not interfere. The former Mayor was turned out of office for quelling Ryasi's mob; this of itself would deter the present Mayor from interfering if he did not delight in what is passing."

A Proclamation

By His Excellency
William Hawkins
Governor, Captain General, and Commander in Chief, in and over the States of North Carolina

A Proclamation.

   Whereas I have received from the Secretary of State of the United States, an authenticated copy of an act of Congress, approved the 18th of June instant, declaring War to exist between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the dependencies thereof, and the United States of America and their territories: And whereas it is the indispensable duty of every State in the Union, with all the means in its power, to co-operate with the General Government in carrying on the War with the utmost vigor and activity:
   I have, therefore, thought proper to issue this Proclamation, hereby requiring and enjoining all Officers, Civil and Military, in the State of North-Carolina, according to the duties of their respective stations, to be vigilant in supporting their Country through the contest in which she is at present engaged:
   And further, I do hereby earnestly exhort all the good Citizens of the State to abandon party prejudices and distinctions, and to give their united and vigorous support to such measures as may be adopted by the Constituted Authorities, as well for mitigating the evils of war to our own citizens, as to make it effectual against the enemy; and for restoring the blessings of Peace, upon grounds compatible with the honor, dignity and independence of the United States.
   In testimony whereof, I have caused the Great Seal of the State to be hereunto affixed, & signed the same at the City of Raleigh, the 30th day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twelve, and of the United States the thirty-sixth.


Published in the Raleigh Register & North Carolina Gazette - July 3, 1812

Rumors that Americans are peaceably disposed

The Times (London)
June 30, 1812, Page 2, Column E

The American news received yesterday, seems to represent our Transatlantic cousins as rather more peaceably disposed, even before they knew of the revocation of our Orders in Council.  These representations wholly take their tinge from the political sentiments of the various writers; and are, therefore, not entitled to implicit credit.


Letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison

Monticello, June 29, 1812
Dear Sir,
I duly received your favor of the 22nd covering the declaration of war. It is entirely popular here, the only opinion being that it should have been issued the moment the season admitted the militia to enter Canada… To continue the war popular, two things are necessary mainly, 1. To stop Indian barbarities. The conquest of Canada will do this. 2. To furnish markets for our produce, say indeed for our flour, for tobacco is already given up, and seemingly without reluctance. The great profits of the wheat crop have allured every one to it; and never was such a crop on the ground as that which we generally begin to cut this day. It would be mortifying to the farmer to see such an one rot in his barn. It would soon sicken him to war. Nor can this be a matter of wonder or of blame on him. Ours is the only country on earth where war is an instantaneous and total suspension of all the objects of his industry and support. For carrying our produce to foreign markets our own ships, neutral ships and even enemy ships under neutral flag, which I would wink at, will probably suffice. But the coasting trade is of double importance, because both seller and buyer are disappointed, and both are our own citizens. You will remember that in this trade our greatest distress in the last war was produced by our own pilot boats taken by the British and kept as tenders to their larger vessels. These being the swiftest vessels on the ocean, they took them and selected the swiftest from the whole mass. Filled with men they scoured everything along shore and completely cut up that coasting business which might otherwise have been carried on within the range of vessels of force and draught. Why should not we then line our coast with vessels of pilot-boat construction, filled with men, armed with cannonades, and only so much larger as to assure the mastery of the pilot boat? The British cannot counter-work us by building similar ones, because, the fact is, however unaccountable, that our builders alone understand that construction. It is on our own pilot boats the British will depend, which our larger vessels may thus retake. These, however, are the ideas of a landsman only. Mr. Hamilton’s judgment will test their soundness.
Our militia are much afraid of being called to Norfolk at this season. They all declare a preference of a march to Canada. I trust however that Governor Barbour will attend to circumstances, and so apportion the service among the counties, that those acclimated by birth or residence may perform the summer tour, and the winter service be allotted to the upper counties.
I trouble you with a letter for General Kosciusko. It covers a bill of exchange from Mr. Barnes for him, and is therefore of great importance to him. Hoping you will have the goodness so far to befriend the General as to give it your safest conveyance, I commit it to you with the assurance of my sincere affections.

Jefferson to Madison: "Ours is the only country on earth where war is an instantaneous and total suspension of all the objects of his industry and support"

Monticello June 29. 12.
Dear Sir
     I duly recieved your favor of the 2d. covering the declaration of war. it is entirely popular here. the only opinion being that it should have been issued the moment the season admitted the militia to enter Canada. the federalists indeed are open mouthed against the declaration. but they are pool devils here, not worthy of notice. A barrel of tar to each state South of the Patomac will keep all in order, & that will be freely contributed without troubling government. to the North they will give you more trouble. you may there have to apply the rougher drastice of Govr. Wright, hemp and confiscation. to continue the war popular two things are necessary mainly. 1. to stop Indian barbarities. the conquest of Canada will do this. 2. to furnish markets for our produce, say indeed for our flour, for tobacco is already given up, & seeming without reluctance. the great profits of the wheat crop have allured every one to it, and never was such a crop on the ground as that which we generally begin to cut this day. it would be mortifying to the farmer to see such an one rot in his barn. it would soon sicken him of war. nor can this be a matter of wonder or of blame on him. ours is the only country on earth where war is an instantaneous and total suspension of all the objects of his industry and support. for carrying our produce to foreign markets our own ships, neutral ships, & even enemy ships under neutral flags, which I would wink at, will probably suffice. but the coasting trade is of double importance, because both seller & buyer are disappointed, & both are our own citizens. you will remember that in this trade our greatest distress in the last war was produced by our own pilot boats taken by the British and kept as senders to their larger vessels. these being the swiftest vessels on the ocean, they took them, & selected the swiftest from the whole mass. filled with men, they scoured every thing along shore, & completely cut up that coasting business which might otherwise have been carried on within the range vessels of force and draught. why should not we then line our coast with vessels of pilot boat construction, filled with men, armed with cannonades, and only so much larger as to ensure the mastery of the pilot boat? the British cannot counterwork us by building similar ones, because, the fact is, however unaccountable, that our builders alone understand that construction. it is on our own pilot boats the British will depend, which our larger vessels may thus retake. these however are the ideas of a landsman only. mr. Hamilton's judgement will test their soundness. Our militia are much afraid of being called to Norfolk at this season. they all declare a preference of a march to Canada. I must however that Governor Barbour will attend to circumstances, and to apportion the service among the countries, that those acclimated by birth or residence may perform the summer tour, and the winter service be allotted to the upper countries.
     I trouble you with a letter for General Kosciuzko, it covers a bill of exchange from mr Barnes for him, and is therefore of great importance to him. hoping you will have the goodness so far to befriend the general as to give it your safest conveyance, I commit it to you, with the assurance of my sincere affections
                                                                           Th: Jefferson

Courtesy of James Madison's Montpelier and the Library of Congress

Thomas Lehre, In favor of Madison's reelection

Charleston June  29th: 1812
     In a letter I wrote you on the 27th. Inst. in great haste, just as the mail was closing, I informed you that a very numerous meeting of the Citizens of this City, Vets vicinity, took place on that day in Saint Michaels Church. – That they appointed a Committee to draw up a Report, which Committee withdrew & between 12 & 1 oClock on the same day made their Report. – I also then gave you my opinion, upon the temper manifested by our Republican friends on the occasion, that I had no doubt, but the Report would be agreed to.
      I am now happy to inform you that my opinion was then correct as you will see by the enclosed paper which contains the proceedings of that day. – Permit me Sir to congratulate you and my Country on the occasion. I hope to God our Eastern will follow our example.
     In a conversation I had last week with our Governor, Mr: Middletin, he informed me, the returns that were made to him of the offers of Volunteers from various parts of this State were such, as to be almost incredible, and that it was with the utmost difficulty he could get rid of some of them without giving offense.
     I find, notwithstanding all the good you have done to our Country, yet still there are a set of ungrateful men among us, who seem determined by all means in their power, to oppose your reelection as P. of the U. States, however, I am happy to inform you, upon information received from various parts of this State, upon that subject, that your friends will be able to succeed against your opponents, in spite of all they can say or do
     I remain with the highest consideration
     Sir your Obedt Honbe Servant
                                        Tho: Lehre

The P. of the
United States

From a gentleman of respectability

Swanton Falls, VT
June 29, 1812

From a gentleman of respectability, to his friend in Boston

"Sir - We are in health, and have news enough to write. It appears by the Proclamations that we see circulating in this part of the country, that we are involved in a war with Great Britain - by proclamation, I say, and not by a preparation. I assure you, that there is not one pound of powder to be had within my knowledge, and our guns are very much out of order. Our enemy is prepared to invade, or receive us. We have been in this situation for some days; the people use great vigilance in preparing for our defence. There is not the least prospect at present of receiving any assistance from any quarter. We have applied to Col. Clark, of Burlington, for assistance, but he says he cannot relieve us, for his troops have neither guns, ammunition, or clothing, that our hopes are vanished as to assistance, but we have as good courage as could be expected, in a government forgotten people, placed on the frontiers without aid and means which cannot be procured. The people from down the river have moved into this village; my house contained five families last night, and probably more will be here to-night. We keep out a guard consisting of 7 in number, and nightly we collect in as few houses as will contain us, where we have an extra guard. This from a government forgotten person, placed in the mouth of an enemy."

From the Boston Weekly Messenger


Mordecai Barbour to James Madison, June 28 ,1812

Sir                                                                                                   Petersburg 28 June 1812
     In the present crisis when the insolence pride & rapacity of an unjust & haughty Nation has heaped upon our beloved Country such an accumulation of assaults wrongs and injustice, that the nation is compelld to resort to arms to recover its own respect and enforce from others the observance of that rule of right which is our inherent birth right – It becomes the duty of every Citizen to tender to his Country such services as he is capable to render – Under the influence of such a conviction and believing from the experience I acquired in the revolutionary War that I can render essential services to my Country, I have caused it to be communicated at the War office my Willingness to accept the command of a regiment of those troops now raising by the United States – In the result of my appointment it shall be my glory and my pride to aspire at commanding a regiment which shall surpass all others in its Military knowledge – Whilst the whole energies of my mind shall be exerted to prepare the feelings of my troops, and to inspire them with all that Heroic pride that ought to Characterize the Soldiers of the only free Government on Earth – If sir my services are deemed worthy of acceptance twill give me great pleasure to serve my Country – whilst at the same time if my Country can be better served by the appointment of some other Gentleman twill be to me cause of satisfaction rather than regret – With the highest esteem & Consideration, I have the honor to be
                                                              Sir Your Obedt. Servt
                                                                                            Mordecai Barbour

James Madison Esqr.
President of the U. S.

Courtesy of James Madison's Montpelier and Library of Congress


Two important decisions have been made in the House of Representatives to-day

National Intelligencer
June 27, 1812, Page 2, Column D

Two important decisions have been made in the House of Representatives to-day; the one a refusal to agree to any repeal or modification of the non-importation – the other, a postponement until the next session of the bills for laying the War-Taxes.  It appeared to be the opinion of those who voted for this postponement, that it would not be detrimental to the public service, inasmuch as the taxes were not necessary for the service of the present year, and could be considered at the next session in time to put them in operation for the service of the ensuing year.  This latter decision will have the effect to shorten the present session, which we are induced to believe will not extend beyond the next week.  It is thought, that an act will pass before adjournment for re-assembling Congress in the latter end of October or beginning of November.
The Treasury Note Bill has passed the Senate, with amendments, which yet require the concurrence of the House.

Joseph Wheaton considers St. John's in New Brunswick, Canada a proper "object of the war"

Washington City June 27. 1812 - 
     St. Johns a City in the British Provence of New Brunswick is Situated at the Mouth of the river St. Johns - feet 45 - Lon 65 - as the city contains about Eight thousand inhabitants, is a compact City Something Larger than Alexandria - about 10 miles from the Sea - the river emptys into the Bay of Fundy, and runs into the country about 350 miles in a Meandering N.W. Course - On its Banks are very Large Bodys of the finest Botom Lands, and capable of Supporting a considerable population - up the river 60 miles distant is the town of St. Anns - the Seat of the Government of the Province - to which Town Vessels, of considerable burthen Sail up - and large boats 150 Miles Still further - there are Several Small towns on the Margin of the river between St Johns and St Anns - On the opposite Side of the river at St Johns is a Fortification with Barracks for about 1000 - men - above the Town near the Falls is a Small Fort with Barracks for about two companies of troops - In time of peace the number of troops Stationed at St Johns has been one reduced Regiment of about 400 men and two companies of Artillery - Stationed at the tree points - St Johns the falls - & St Anns - In the time of our embargo - three years Since, these troops were filled up by recruits, and some auxillary aid of Militia - Quite to the head & branches of the river the Lands are very rich & fertile, and the country abounds in fine timber, consisting of Large pine, Spruce, hemlock, beach, Maple, and yellow birch - of Which the Merchants build vessels of considerable burthen for European and West India trade, and get Large quantities of Masts & Spars for the British Navy - the fisheries too are carried on to considerable extent, to the capes of Nova Scotia & Newfoundland - 
     The great fertility of the river Lands, the abundance of fine Ship timber - the excellent pines and Spruce for Masts & Spars for the British Navy, and the great fisheries carried on (a Nursery for Seamen) conspire to make New Brunswick one of the most valuable of the British Provinces - On the South Side of the Bay of Fundy, opposite to St Johns river is Anapolis Bason from thence to Anapolis in 18 miles east up a river, and 120 Miles Still cast to Halifax the capitol of Nova Scotia - From Halifax to Anapolis 120 - Miles - to the Bason 18 - across the Bay of Fundy to St Johns 45 - to St Anns 60 to the head of the river 290 and to Quebec about 200 - Making a distance of 673 Miles from Quebec to Halifax - by which rout the port - Travels, and is the only way of communication between these two capitols the Governments can have - unless by the Streights of Canso - and the river St Lawrence which is frozen up half the year - From the City of St Johns is about 100 Miles N.E. to the head of the Bay of fundy or to the nearest Settlement and that through a Baron Country untill the traveller reach it - which is called Cumberland - and this not within Supporting distance by land or water with troops.
     The City of St Johns is about 40 Miles from Passamaquada and 70 from Machias - and the taking of St Johns is the Capture of all the Most valuable part of the province - as the country, and Settlements up the river fall of course, and it would be an easy conquest, and most valuable acquisition - 
     The tide Ebbs & flows twice in 24 hours - it rises and falls about 45 feet perpendicular, the bed of the river is left almost dry at Low water, and prevents the possibility of men of war giving any Sort of aid or protection to the Province - 
     I was at the Taking of the City of St Johns in the month of June 1775 and have often visited in Since - I am well acquainted with the Harbour and Country - as also the whole Province of Nova Scotia - 
     One Regiment of Infantry of 1000 - Men, three companies of Artillery - with the voluntiers of Passamaquada Machias, and there vicinities would constitute a Sufficient force to conquer, and Maintain that invaluable Country.
     If therefore the Government may think proper to make that country one object of the war - I Shall with clear feelings be ready to give any information in my power to further the design - 
     Being impressed with a belief that the information herein contained may be acceptable & useful - 
                                   I am faithfully
                                          Sir Your Obedient Servant
                                                    Joseph Wheaton
N.B. St Johns is a considerable depot of British Merchandise which finds its way in all our eastern Country, and even to Alexandria - 
the President

War Against England

From the Niles Weekly Register (Baltimore)
June 27, 1812

Our ancient and inveterate foe, has at length been proclaimed by the constituted authorities of the United States of America. For many years we endured what no independent nation ought to have suffered for a moment, and pursued negociation like an ignus futuus, becoming more and more involved by insults and injuries; submission to one wrong preparing the way for another. In the valley of humiliation, at the foot of the throne of her ideot monarch, at the threshold of the palaces of the knaves who administer the government in his name, we sought justice and begged for peace; not because we feared war, but from that moderation which distinguishes the people, as well as the government of the United States. While we thus entreated mercy, many thousand seamen, our brethren, neighbors, and friends, were groaning out a weary life on board the vessel of her navy; whipped, spurned and kicked by every creature that pleased to abuse them; and some were murdered, basely and deliberately murdered, for nobly attempting to regain that "freedom which is their birth-right," for gallantly designing to seek their liberty through blood and slaughter. The indignity, abuse and destruction of our seamen, and through them, the violent assault on the sovereignty of the country itself, has long cried for revenge, as preventive of the practice in future : for rather than admit the principle for one solitary hour, or in a single instance, than an American seaman, or a seaman sailing under the American flag, may be kidnapped by those Algernes, there is not a true man among us that would not exclaim - "war - a war of extermination against them." Great Britain herself would nobly sink into absolute ruin before she would suffer her vessels to be so searched or her seamen so carried away. How monstrous then is it for her to practise towards the United States what she would indignantly refuse to permit another to do to her people! It is traitorous, and shews a mean and pitiful spirit, to palliate or in any manner excuse, or justify, the impressment of our seamen by the British. It springs from a heart so base and sordid, that he who is guilty of it may well be suspected of a disposition to sell his father, mother, wife and children to the Turks for a handful of sequins; to till the soil, or gratify the lust of a master, as slaves. It is an idea that the British, as a nation, would spurn at, with the mind of one man, though some shop keepers might wish it tolerated, provided they made a few pence by the compromise between the sovereignty of their country, and, indeed, the freedom of their own persons, and the pitiful profits of trade.

On the various points now at deadly issue between our country and this foreign nation, after the able and masterly manner in which they have been pourtrayed in the message of the president, and in the report of the committee of foreign relations, it becomes us to be silent; simply recommending a frequent perusal of these papers to all who doubt the justice of the stand we have taken. All the world has witnessed our forbearance - our desire of peace has been attributed, even in our own country, to fear. Let the world behold with how great force and power the slumbering Eagle will redress her wrongs when aroused from the nest where she nourished her young, harmless, and unoffending. Let her breast plate be UNION.

It is the law of the land that we defend ourselves from British aggressions: it is the legal authority of the country that we shall retaliate our wrongs as the only means to end them. For six years we have contemplated the necessity of this resort, the idea has become familiar, and war has lost half its horrors from being in perspective so long. Our means to carry it on are ample, we are young and vigorous, in all the freshness of youth as to national resources. They require only to be called into action; and we should contemn and despise the creature that underrates them.

The whole population of G. Britain is 12,562,144 souls. The white population of the United States is about half as many. In Great Britain at least three fifths of the laboring classes are paupers; in the United States there are none such but the halt, the lame, the blind and the infirm and insane. On this population, so miserably oppressed and worn out Great Britain levies war taxes to the amount of 70 millions of pounds sterling, or about 25 per annum for every man, woman and child on the island. Is any man prepared to say that we, a nation of freemen, with full bellies and fertile land, could not pay as much were it necessary? Is the slave more profitable than the free laborer? Compare Ohio with some of the other states and answer the question. Will the man who sees before him no other prospect than monotonous labor and poverty, work as cheerfully and do as much, as he who beholds, in his industry, the ease of old age, with independence for his children?

A one hundredth part of the people of Great Britain cannot point to a spot, and say, - that is mine, or it belongs to my father, or uncle, or COUSIN. - But a majority in these states can proudly place their foot on the soil, and exclaim, - this is mine, or it belongs to my father. The road to competency is free to all, and the same perseverance, frugality and industry that a poor Englishman exercises merely to exist at home, would make a man rich in the United States, in a few years. Whence comes this horrible clamor about "taxes and loans and the like," but of anti American principles? In time of peace, every soul in England, on the average, pays a tax of 14 dollars per annum, to government. The United Satest, in time of WAR, require their people to exert themselves, and pay two dollars each to fight their own battles, or less than one twelfth part of what Englishmen pay to support their oppressors. God forbid that the time shall ever arrive when this people may be taxed like the people of England: but how contemptible it is, to be alarmed at the payment of so pitiful a sum from the full coffers of the nation at large, accumulated by many years of unparalleled ease and prosperity! As to the loans, there is a fund that will pay them a thousand times over. We have 650 millions of acres of land to dispose of, which, in due time, will bring us two dollars an acre. But independent of this, it is ascertained that the usual revenues, in time of peace, are sufficient to defray all the expenses of government, and reduce the loans, expected to be made, as fast as desirable.

It is the law of the land that we fight England - it is also the will of the people, goaded by insults and injuries. Hitherto we have been divided into two great political sections, but professed a common object of preserving our glorious constitution pure and inviolate, and of giving perpetuity to the present system of things. An honest difference of opinion existed as to the best means of accomplishing these matters, though some perhaps may have had sinister views. At a time like the present, every honest diversity of sentiment will be sacrificed, or at least, suffered to rest in peace for a season, on the ALTAR OF UNION. All men admit (or at least every man but a knave or a fool, must admit) there is just cause for war against England, if war can be just, as quakers and some others deny. The injuries received from France do not lessen the enormity of those heaped upon us by England: nor can the crimes of one nation palliate the offences of the other. In this "straight betwixt two" we had an unquestionable right to select our enemy. We have given the preference to Great Britain, not only for our supposed capability to coerce justice from her, but also on account of her more flagrant wrongs. For, putting her on a par with France as to her violations of our commercial rights, what shall we say of IMPRESSMENT, of the murders by the Indians, of the mission of Henry? Besides, France is invulnerable to us; we might as well declare war against the people of the moon as against her; but Great Britain is tangible in her tenderest points. It is contended by some that if one of these powers does us justice, the other will follow the lead. Though we do not subscribe to this doctrine in its fullest extent, we cannot suffer from making an experiment of that which it was impossible to avoid - for war was inevitable, save by the interference of Him who moulds the hearts and dispositions of man.

It is not to be supposed that every man will approve a general measure; but the minority must submit to the majority. It is the first principle of our solemn compact with each other - it is the life of the republic; and of those even who disapprove of a law, the majority will support it while it has authority, though they may exert themselves to repeal it. Unfortunately, and to the lasting disgrace of those who are guilty of it, many endeavors are making to raise up an opposition having for its object the defeat of their own government and the triumph of a foreign enemy. It will not amount to much - the good sense of the people will prevail, as it did in 1776. At that time about one third of the inhabitants of these states were openly or covertly opposed to independence; many through prejudice, some through fear, and a great number through bribery, corruption, and interest. The same causes may prevail to a certain extent at this day; and it is to be expected that all that were tories in heart, or in deed, in the war for establishing independence, will also be opposed to the war for preserving it. But the number of such is contemptible. We can watch them better than our fathers were able to do. In 1776, the vessel of state was launched into an unknown sea, to contend with a nation whose power it had been our pride to extol; with whom, and for whom, we had fought, bled and conquered; and we were as children, devoid of arms and the munitions of war, and destitute of every thing but patience and courage. In 1812, we have a stable and solid government, operating upon known and accepted principles to the remotest corners of our territory; we are abundantly supplied with weapons of defence; we are in a state of comparative manhood, and will meet the enemy with confidence over whom we triumphed in infancy.

Let every man, solemnly, in his "closet" put this question to himself: "Would I send another ambassador to England to crawl on his hands and knees and beg, that my countrymen may not be stolen like African negroes, by the accursed traders in human flesh?"

The spirit of the people is up - the preposition must come from the other side of the water. We have retreated to the edge of the precipice - we have used every argument and exerted every means, to repel the adversary, without striking a blow. We can retire no further. We must strike or perish. The United States were compelled to "unbury the tomahawk" or become colonies. We have solemnly determined on the former, and may God speed the cause.

WAR IS DECLARED - GREAT BRITAIN IS THE ENEMY. What American will excite divisions among the people, and give aid and comfort to the jealous and unprincipled for? Who will admit an intruder? I once saw a man and his wife contending for the breeches - a person interfered with a view to injure the man. The pair left their private quarrel to repel the general grievance - they mauled the foreigner, and then resumed the "management of their own affairs in their own way." So let it be with US.

To both parties (if two parties will exist) we humbly recommend forbearance and temper. It is not possible for any rational man to believe that the majority of one is under French influence, or of the other under British influence. There must be, and is, bad men in both sides - but nine tenths of either have a common object in repulsing the enemy. A little time and patience with prudence, will bring about a perfect union, when the war really begins. The exertion of all are wanting that its duration may be short; let us not fret each other by general censures which no gentleman would particularly apply to his neighbor who happens to differ in sentiment on some minor points. By such means, in the course of a few months, our jarring opinions will settle down in peace, and every man be prepared to say, Long live America, the asylum of freedom - sovereign, independent and happy.


Public Feeling in Providence

June 26, 1812

On Wednesday evening last the President's Proclamation was received in this town. The bells of the houses of worship tolled during the gr--- ---- of yesterday, the shops and stores were shut, and the flags of the shipping at the --- as well as that on the Great Bridge, were played at half-mast. Every thing wore --- of mourning, expressing the feelings of the citizens upon the great national calamity that has befallen us. 

(Courtesy of the University of Texas Digital Repository)

Accounts from Canada

Published in the Boston "Weekly Messenger"
June 26, 1812

Accounts from Canada state, that the most active preparations were being made for its defence; that to the regular troops, which are said to amount to 10,000, every third man had been drafted, and ordered to march to convenient depots for organization and discipline. The accounts further add that the moment the government hear that war is declared, the troops are to proceed to the Vermont lines. 

(Courtesy of the University of Texas Digital Repository)

Proclamation regarding the Declaration of War

Raleigh Register and North Carolina Gazette
June 26, 1812, Page 3, Column B

A Proclamation.

Whereas the Congress of the United States, by virtue of the constituted authority vested in them, have declared by their act bearing date the 18th day of the present month that war exists between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the dependencies thereof and the United States of America and their Territories: Now, therefore, I, James Madison, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the same to all whom it may concern; and I do specially enjoin on all persons holding offices, civil or military, under the authority of the United States that they be vigilant and zealous in discharging the duties respectively incident thereto; and I do moreover exhort all the good people of the United States, as they love their country, as they value the precious heritage derived from the virtue and valor of their fathers, as they feel the wrongs which have forced on them the last resort of injured nations, and as they consult the best means under the blessing of Divine Providence of abridging its calamities, that they exert themselves in preserving order, in promoting concord, in maintaining the authority and efficacy of the laws, and in supporting and invigorating all the measures which may be adopted by the constituted authorities for obtaining a speedy, a just, and an honorable peace.
In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United
States to be affixed to these presents.
Done at the city of Washington, the 19th day of June, 1812, and of the Independence
of the United States the thirty-sixth. By the President:
By the President,
Secretary of State.

Elisha Tracy to James Madison, June 26, 1812

Norwich Cont June 26th 1812
His Excellency James Maddison Esqr
Dear Sir
     I feel myself verry happy in being able to state that from a carefull observation during my Journey home & since here - I find the people of the U: States, much less agitated & more dispersed to acquiesce in a declaration of War, than my fears had led me to expect - in N: York where I feared much clamour, little or none appeared & things appear verry quiet in this state - much enquiry is made - whether blank Commissions for Privateers will be immediately to Collectors forwarded. I have replied, I supposed they would - the importance of the present crisis I hope will be a sufficient appology for trespassing in You: I have only to fear that the federal members may on their return home work on the passions & prejudices of the people
                                                                        I have the honor to subscribe Myself
                                                                                      Dear Sir
                                                                        Your most Obedient Servt
                                                                                      Elisha Tracy
since writing the above I find the Adjutant General of this State a few days, since received from Govr. Griswold a Letter stating that he had from the President of the U: State through the Secy War received instructions to organize the detached Militia & place them under the Commander in Chief; with which order he had complied - the last mail however brought I understand from Govr Griswold another Letter to the Adjutant General saying that if any of the detached militia were wanted - the order must come through him or on his absence that Lieut Governor - on account of Ill health he being about to be absent. This is supposed to be an order to detach the Command of Troops.

John George Jackson to James Madison: "I am highly gratified with the declaration of War by Congress"

Clarksburg June 26th 1812
Dear Sir,
     I am highly gratified with the declaration of War by Congress, & the friends of the administration in this quarter unanimously approve of it - After so many outrages, & so long forbearance it was expected that greater  uninanimity would have been witnessed in the decision: but knowing as I do the secret springs which move some of the Minority hitherto associated with the republicans I am not surprised at their votes. I am however at a loss to conjecture wherefore a few others, Worthington, Pope, &c refused to give their concurrence. I had always intended if we engaged in war with Great Britain to enter into the array, my disability hitherto has very much damped that ardor, but my recovery since I saw you; has been so substantial & considerable, that if my services are desired in any station however subordinate where fighting is a part of the duty, & I am entitled to ride; they are at the command of the Government - I do not wish my dear Sir that you should regard this letter in the light of an application for commission, I know too well the course of proceeding to depart from it: & much less do I wish that you would deem yourself placed in a condition where the discharge of public duty might possibly conflict with individual feeling toward me. All that I intend to signify my readiness after approving the war to wage it -
     The assassination of Perceval will have some effect, perhaps more, on this side of the water than beyond it; the malcontents will condemn you for not waiting the tide of events produced by it - But what will they not say? It were madness to consult their wishes, or to deviate to the right hand or to the left to sue for their support. The war will separate the partisans of England from the honest federalists: & Tar & Feathers will cure that penchant for our enemy.
     Offer my affectionate regards to Mrs M Mr & Mrs Cutts & believe me truly Your Mo Obt
                                                                  J G Jackson
Honble Js. Madison

Courtesy of James Madison's Montpelier and the Library of Congress

Proclamation for a Day of Public Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer

By His Excellency Caleb Strong, Esq.
Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,


Whereas it has pleased the Almighty Ruler of the world in his righteous Providence to permit us to be engaged in war against the nation from which we are descended, and which for many generations has been the bulwark of the Religion we profess. -- And whereas by this awful and alarming change in our circumstances, the People of this Commonwealth, are in a peculiar manner exposed to personal suffering, and the loss of a great proportion of their substance: - It becomes us, in imitation of our fathers, in their times of perplexity and danger, with deep repentance to humble ourselves before Him for our sins, and the ungrateful returns we have made to Him for His mercies: - To ascribe righteousness to our Maker, when He threatens us with the most severe of all temporal calamities, and to beseech Him to avert the tokens of his anger, and remember for us His former loving kindness and tender mercy.

I do therefore by and with the advice and consent of the Council, and at the request of the House of Representatives, appoint THURSDAY, the Twenty-Third day of July next, to be observed by the people of this State, as a day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer, that with penitent hearts we may assemble in our places of public worship and unite in humble supplications to the God of our Fathers, who was their defence in danger and to whom they never sought in vain; and beseech Him through the merit of His Son, that He would forgive our ingratitude, and the innumerable transgressions of which we have been guilty: - That He would give wisdom, integrity and patriotism to our national and State governments, that the leaders of the people may not cause them to err: - That He would inspire the President and Congress, and the Government of Great Britain with just and pacific sentiments; that He would humble the pride and subdue the lust and passions of men, from whence Wars proceed, and that Peace may speedily be restored to us, upon safe and equitable terms.

That He would guard the lives of our Soldiers and Mariners, and protect our commerce and navigation from the dangers with which they are encompassed; - That He would dispose the people of these States to do justice to the Indian tribes, to enlighten and not to exterminate them: - And that He would protect our frontier settlements from their ravages: - That He would preserve us from entangling and fatal alliances with those governments which are hostile to the safety and happiness of mankind: - That He would regard with tender compassion the nations whose most essential rights have been wrested from them by fraud and violence, and who are groaning under the cruel hand of oppression, and that He would break in pieces the power of the oppressor, and scatter the people that delight in war.

That the inhabitants of this State may be the objects of His peculiar favor: - That He would take them under His holy protection, and hide them in his pavilion until these calamities be overpast: - That the chastisements with which He may think proper to affect us, may serve to humble us, and do us good; and that we may not be like those who are hardened by His corrections, and who in the time of their trouble multiply their transgressions against Him: -That He would save us from the baleful influence of party spirit, and that whenever enemies may rise up against us from abroad, we may have peace and mutual confidence among ourselves, and know by experience, how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.

That He would accomplish the promises of His mercy concerning the future repose and prosperity of the human race, when men shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and learn war no more; when fraud and violence shall cease forever, and righteousness and peace prevail through the earth; when the Kingdom of the Redeemer shall triumph over all opposition, and the heathen shall be given Him for His inheritance, and when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

And the people are requested to abstain from unnecessary labour and recreation on the said day.

Given at the Council Chamber, in Boston, this twenty-sixth day of June, in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twelve, and in the thirty-sixth year of the Independence of the United States of America.


God save the Commonwealth of Massachusetts!

(Courtesy of the University of Texas Digital Repository)

The Weekly Messenger, on War

From the Boston Weekly Messenger
June 26, 1812


War has been declared by the GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES against the COMMERCIAL SECTION OF THE COUNTRY, and is to be carried on by the aid of the BRITISH NAVY.
The war has at length commenced. We have tried to reason; we have attempted to arrange our thoughts, and to offer a comment upon it. But we are astonished, oppressed, overpowered; we have no spirit, no heart for the effort; we rouse as from a dream; we ask, can this be true? Is our beloved country indeed sunk to this depth of degradation.

A happy, a brave, a virtuous people, by what fatality, by what spell, by what unhallowed machination, or rather, by what vindictive judgment, have we become engaged in a common cause with that outcast from all good, that enemy of his species, that arch-fiend, Napoleon Bonaparte. Yes, it is true, we are to draw the sword against what remains in this world of patriotism, of liberty, and of religion. We are to aid in repressing the generous efforts of the Spaniard and Portugueze to resist the most ferocious tyranny and bitterest oppression that ever disgraced the annals of our guilty race. Our dearest interests are sacrificed; our rulers wage war against us, to gratify their own bad passions, and in coincidence, if not in concert, with the blood-thirsty rage of the Corsican apostate.

What shall we do? Shall we submit to the ruin, to the disgrace, and guilt of this war? This is a question we dare not trust our present feelings to discuss. We view with horror either side of the alternatives. We would respect the constituted authorities; we would maintain the unity of the states, but we cannot bring our hearts to engage in this war of shame and suicide. Is there any middle path? Let the sages of our land, let our wisest and best men come forward and consult for the preservation of their country. We will hear their voice, and we will obey it.

(Courtesy of the University of Texas Digital Repository)

From Caleb Strong to Henry Dearborn

June 26, 1812

I have received your letter, of this day, in which you request information of the measures which have been taken for calling the militia into the service of the United States.

I find that Governor Gerry, on the 25th of April last, ordered that ten thousand men should be detached from the militia of this State; but, I am informed by the adjutant general, that the returns of those detachments have not come to hand, except in a very few instances.

I am, sir, with great respect, your most obedient servant,

Caleb Strong

An Act Concerning Letters of Marque, Prizes, and Prize Goods

"AN Act concerning Letters of Marque, Prizes, and Prize Goods"
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled , That the President of the United States shall be, and he is hereby authorized and empowered to revoke and annul at pleasure all letters of marque and reprisal which he shall or may at any time grant pursuant to an act entitled “An act declaring war between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the dependencies thereof, and the United States of America and their territories."
Sec. 2 . And be it further enacted, That all persons applying for letters of marque and reprisal, pursuant to the act aforesaid, shall state in writing the name and a suitable description of the tonnage and force of the vessel, and the name and place of residence of each owner concerned therein, and the intended number of the crew; which statement shall be signed by the person or persons making such application, and filed with the Secretary of State, or shall be delivered to any other officer or person who shall be employed to deliver out such commissions, to be by him transmitted to the Secretary of State.
Sec. 3 . And be it further enacted , That before any commission of letters of marque and reprisal shall be issued as aforesaid, the owner or owners of the ship or vessel for which the same shall be re-quested, and the commander thereof, for the time being, shall give bond to the United States, with at least two responsible sureties, not interested in such vessel, in the penal sum of five thousand dollars; or if such vessel be provided with more than one hundred and fifty men, then in the penal sum of ten thousand dollars; with condition that the owners, officers, and crew, who shall be employed on board such commissioned vessel, shall and will observe the treaties and laws of the United States, and the instructions which shall be given them according to law for the regulation of their conduct; and will satisfy all damages and injuries which shall be done or committed contrary to the tenor thereof by such vessel, during her commission, and to deliver up the same when revoked by the President of the United States.
Sec. 4 . And be it further enacted, That all captures and prizes of vessels and property, shall be forfeited and shall accrue to the owners, officers and crews of the vessels by whom such captures and prizes shall be made; and on due condemnation had, shall be distributed according to any written agreement which shall be made between them; and if there be no such agreement, then one moiety to the owners, and the other moiety to the officers and crew, to be distributed between the officers and crew as nearly as may be ,according to the rules prescribed for the distribution of prize money, by the act entitled "An act for the better government of the navy of the United States," passed the twenty-third day of April, one thou-sand eight hundred ....
Sec. 12 . And be it further enacted, That the commanders of vessels having letters of marque and reprisal as aforesaid, neglecting to keep a journal . . . or willfully making fraudulent entries therein, or obliterating any material transactions therein, where the interest of the United States is in any manner concerned, or refusing to produce such journal, commission or certificate, pursuant to the preceding section of this act, then and in such cases, the commissions or letters of marque and reprisal of such vessels, shall be liable to be revoked; and such commanders, respectively shall forfeit for every such offense the sum of one thousand dollars, one moiety thereof to the use of the United States, and the other to the informer ....
Sec. 13 . And it be further enacted, That the owners or commanders of vessels having letters of marque and reprisal as aforesaid, who shall violate any of the acts of Congress for the collection of the revenue of the United States and for the prevention of smuggling, shall forfeit the commission or letters of marque and reprisal, and they and the vessels owned or commanded by them, shall be liable to all the penalties and forfeitures attaching to merchant vessels in like cases ....
Sec. 15 . And be it further enacted, That all offenses committed by any officer or seaman on board any such vessel, having letters of marque and reprisal, during the present hostilities against Great Britain, shall be tried and punished in such manner as the like offenses are or may be tried and punished when committed by any person belonging to the public ships of war of the United States: Provided always, that all offenders who shall be accused of such crimes as are cognizable by a court martial, shall be confined on board the vessel in which such offense is alleged to have been committed, until her arrival at some port in the United States or their territories; or until she shall meet with one or more of the public armed vessels of the United States abroad, the officers whereof shall be sufficient to make a court martial for the trial of the accused; and upon application made, by the commander of such vessel, on board of which the of-fence is alleged to have been committed, to the Secretary of the Navy, or to the commander or senior officer of the ship or ships of war of the United States abroad as aforesaid, the Secretary of the Navy, or such commander or officer, is hereby authorized to order a court-martial of the officers of the navy of the United States, for the trial of the accused, who shall be tried by the said court ....
Sec. 17 . And be it further enacted, That two per centum on the net amount (after deducting all charges and expenditures) of the prize money arising from captured vessels and cargoes, and on the net amount of the salvage of vessels and cargoes recaptured by the private armed vessels of the United States, shall be secured and paid over to the collector or other chief officer of the customs at the port or place in the United States, at which such captured or recaptured vessels may arrive; or to the consul or other public agent of the United States residing at the port or place, not within the United States, at which such captured or recaptured vessels may arrive. And the monies arising there from, shall be held and hereby is pledged by the government of the United States as a fund for the support and maintenance of the widows and orphans of such persons as may be slain; and for the support and maintenance of such persons as may be wounded and disabled on board of the private armed vessels of the United States, in any engagement with the enemy, to be assigned and distributed in such manner as shall hereafter by law be provided.
Approved, June 26, 1812.


Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations regarding the Declaration of War

Maryland Gazette
June 25, 1812, Page 1, Column A

The committee on foreign relations to whom was referred the Message of the president of the United States of the 1st of June, 1812 –
That after the experience which the United States have had of the great injustice of the British government towards them, exemplified by so many acts of violence and oppression, it will be more difficult to justify to the impartial world their patient forbearance, than the measures to which it has become necessary to resort, to avenge the wrongs, and vindicate the rights and honor of the nation.  Your committee are happy to observe on a dispassionate review of the conduct of the United States, that they see in it no cause for censure.
If a long forbearance under injuries ought ever to be considered a virtue in any nation it is one which peculiarly becomes the United States.  No people ever had stronger motives to cherish peace; none have ever cherished it with greater sincerity and zeal.
But the period has now arrived, when the United States must support their character and station among the nations of the earth, or submit to the most shameful degradation. – Forbearance has ceased to be a virtue.  War on the one side, and peace on the other, is a situation as ruinous as it is disgraceful.  The mad ambition, the lust of power and commercial avarice of Great Britain, arrogating to herself the complete dominion of the Ocean and exercising over it an unbounded and lawless tyranny, have left to neutral nations an alternative only, between the base surrender of their rights, and a manly vindication of them.  Happily for the U. States, their destiny, under the aid of Heaven is in their own hands.  The crisis is formidable only by their love of peace.  As soon as it becomes a duty to relinquish that situation, danger disappears.  They have suffered no wrongs, they have received no insults, however great, for which they obtain redress.
More than seven years have elapsed, since commencement of this system of hostile aggression by the British government, on the rights and interest of the United States.  The manner of its commencement was not less hostile than the Spirit with which it has been prosecuted.  The U. States have invariably done every thing in their power to preserve the relations of friendship with Great Britain.  Of this disposition they gave a distinguished proof, at the moment when they were made the victims of an opposite policy.  The wrongs of the last war had not been forgotten at the commencement of the present one.  They warned us of dangers, against which it was sought to provide.  As early as the year 1804, the Minister of the United States at London was instructed to invite the British government to enter into a negociation on all the points on which a collision might arise between the two countries in the course of the war, and to propose to it an arrangement of their claims on fair and reasonable conditions.  The invitation was accepted – A negociation had commenced and was depending, and nothing had occurred to excite a doubt that it would not terminate to the satisfaction of both the parties.  It was at this time, and under these circumstances, that an attack was made, by surprise, on an important branch of the American commerce, which affected every part of the United States, and involved many of their citizens in ruin.
The commerce on which this attack was so unexpectedly made, was between the U.S. and the colonies of France, Spain, and other enemies of G. Britain.  A commerce just in itself; sanctioned by the example of Great Britain in regard to the trade with her own colonies; a solemn act between the two governments in the last war; & sanctioned by the practice of the British government in the present war, more than two years having elapsed, without any interference with it.
The injustice of this attack could only be equalled by the absurdity of the pretext alleged for it.  It was pretended by the British government, that in case of war, her enemy had no right to modify its colonial regulations, so as to mitigate the calamities of war to the inhabitants of its colonies.  This pretension, peculiar to G. Britain, is utterly incompatible with the rights of the sovereignty in every independent state.  If we recur to the well established and universally admitted law of nations, we shall find no sanction to it in that venerable code.  The sovereignty of every state is co-extensive with its dominions, and ran not be abrogated, or curtailed in its rights, as to any part, except by conquest.  Neutral nations have a right to trade to every port of either belligerent, which is not legally blockaded; and in all articles which are not contraband of war.  Such is the absurdity of this pretension, that your committee are aware, especially after the able manner in which it has been heretofore refuted, and exposed, that they would offer an insult to the understanding of the House, if they enlarged on it, and it any thing could add to the high sense of the injustice of the British government in the transaction, it would be the contrast which her conduct exhibits in regard to this trade, and in regard to a similar trade by neutrals with her own colonies.  It is known to the world, that G. Britain regulates her own trade, in war and in peace, at home and in her colonies, as she finds for her interests – that in war she relaxes the restraint of her colonial system in favor of the colonies, and that it never was suggested that she had not a right to do it; or that a neutral in taking advantage of the relaxation, violated a belligerent right of her enemy.  But with Great Britain every thing is lawful.  It is only in a trade with her enemies that the U. S. can do wrong.  With them all trade is unlawful.
In the year 1793 an attack was made by the British government on the same branch of our neutral trade, which had nearly involved the two countries in a war.  That difference however was amicably accommodated.  The pretension was withdrawn and reparation made to the U.S. for the losses which they had suffered by it.  It was fair to infer from that arrangement that the commerce was deemed by the British government lawful, and it would not be again disturbed.
Had the British government been resolved contest this trade with neutrals, it was due to the character of the British nation that the decision should be made known to the government of U.S.  The existence of a negociation which had been invited by our government for the purpose of preventing differences by an arrangement of their respective pretensions, gave a strong claim to the notification, while it afforded the fairest opportunity for it.  But a very different policy animated the then cabinet of England.  The liberal confidence and friendly overtures of U.S. were taken advantage of to ensnare them.  Steadv to its purpose and inflexibly hostile to this country, the British government calmly looked forward to the moment, when it might the most deadly wound to our interests.  A trade just in itself, which was secured by so many strong and sacred pledges, was considered safe.  Our citizens with their usual industry and enterprise had embarked in it a vast proportion of their shipping, and of their capital, which were at sea, under other protection than the law of nations, and the confidence with which they reposed in the justice and friendship of the British nation. – At this period unexpected blow was given.  Many of our vessels were seized, carried into port and condemned by a tribunal, which, while it professes to respect the law of nations, obeys the mandates of its own government.  Hundreds of other vessels were driven from ocean, and the trade itself in a great measure suppressed.  The effect produced by this attack on lawful commerce of the U.S. was such might have been expected from a virtuous, independent and highly injured people.  But one sentiment pervaded in the whole American nation.  No local interests were regarded; no sordid motives felt.  Without looking to the parts which suffered most, the invasion of our rights was considered a common cause, and from one extremity of Union to the other, was heard the voice of an united people, calling on their government to avenge their wrongs, and vindicate the rights and honor of country.
From this period the British government has gone on in a continued encroachment on the and interests of the United States, disregarding in its course, in many instances, obligations have heretofore been held sacred by civilized nations.
In May, 1806, the whole coast of the continent from the Elbe to Brest inclusive, was declared to in a state of blockade.  By this act, the well established principles of the law of nations, principles which have served for ages as guides, and fixed the boundary between the rights to belligerents and neutrals, were violated: By the law of nations, as recognized by Great Britain herself, no blockade is lawful, unless it be sustained by the application of an adequate force, and that an adequate force was applied to the blockade in its full extent, ought not to be pretended. – Whether Great Britain was able to maintain legally so extensive a blockade considering the war in which she is engaged requiring such extensive naval operations, is a question which it is not necessary at this time to examine.  It is sufficient to be known, that such force was not applied, and this is evident from the terms of the blockade itself, by which, comparatively, an inconsiderable portion of the coast only was declared to be in a state of strict and rigorous blockade.  The objection to the measure is not diminished by that circumstance.  If the force was not applied, the blockade was unlawful from whatever cause the failure might proceed.  The belligerent who institutes the blockade cannot absolve itself from the obligation to apply the force under any pretext whatever.  For a belligerent to relax a blockade, which it could not maintain, it would be a refinement in injustice, not less insulting to the understanding than repugnant to the law of nations.  To claim merit for the mitigation of an evil, which the party either had not the power or found it inconvenient to inflict, would be a new mode of encroaching on neutral rights.  Your committee think it just to remark that this act of the British government does not appear to have been adopted in the sense in which it has been since construed.  On consideration of all the circumstances attending the measure, and particularly the character of the distinguished statesman who announced it, we are persuaded that it was conceived in a spirit of conciliation and intended to lead to an accommodation of all differences between the United States and Great Britain.  His death disappointed that hope, and the act has since become subservient to other purposes. It has been made by his successors a pretext for that vast system of usurpation, which has so long oppressed and harrassed our commerce.
The next act of the British government which claims our attention is the order of council of January 7, 1807, by which neutral powers are prohibited trading from one port to another of France or her allies, or any other country with which G. Britain might not freely trade.  By this order the pretension of England, heretofore claimed by every other power, to prohibit neutrals disposing of parts of their cargoes at different ports of the same enemy, is revived and with vast accumulation of injury.  Every enemy, however great the number or distant from each other, is considered one, and the like trade even with powers at peace with England, who from motives of policy had excluded or restrained her commerce, was also prohibited.  In this act the British government evidently disclaimed all regard for neutral rights.  Aware that the measures, authorised by it could find no pretext in any belligerent right, none was urged.   To prohibit the sale of our produce, consisting of innocent articles, at any port of a belligerent, not blockaded, to consider every belligerent as one, and subject neutrals to the same restraints with all, as it there was but one, were bold encroachments.  But to restrain or in any manner interfere with our commerce with neutral nations with whom Great Britain was at peace, and against whom she had no justifiable cause of war, for the sole reason, that they restrained or excluded from their ports her commerce, was utterly incompatible with the pacific relations subsisting between the two countries.
We proceed to bring into view the British Order in Council of November 11th, 1807, which superceded every other order, and consummated that system of hostility on the commerce of the United States which has been since so steadily pursued.  By this order all France and her allies and every other country at war with Great Britain, or with which she was not at war, from which the British flag was excluded and all the colonies of her enemies, were subjected to the same restrictions as if they were actually blockaded in the most strict and rigorous manner, and all trade in articles the produce and manufacture of the said countries and colonies and the vessels engaged in it were subjected to capture and condemnation as lawful prize.  To this order certain exceptions were made which we forbear to notice, because they were not adopted from a regard to neutral rights, but were dictated by policy to promote the commerce of England, and so far as they relate to neutral powers, were said to emanate from the clemency of the British government.
It would be superfluous in your committee to state, that by this order the British government declared direct and positive war against the U. States.  The dominion of the ocean was completely usurped by it, all commerce forbidden and every flag driven from it, or subjected to capture and condemnation, which did not subserve the policy of the British government by paving it a tribute and sailing under its sanction.  From this period the U.S. have incurred the heaviest losses and most mortifying humiliations.  They have borne the calamities of war without retorting them on its authors.
So far your committee has presented to the view of the House the aggressions which have been committed under the authority of the British government on the commerce of the United States VV e will now proceed to other wrongs which have been still more severely felt.  Among these is the impressment of our seamen, a practice which has been unceasingly maintained by G. Britain in the wars to which she has been a party since our revolution.  Your committee cannot convey in adequate terms the deep sense which they entertain of the injustice and oppression of this proceeding.  Under the pretext of impressing British seamen, our fellow citizens are seized in British ports, on the high seas, and in every other quarter to which the British power extends, are taken on board British men of war and compelled to serve there as British subjects.  In this mode our citizens are wantonly snatched from their country and their families, deprived of their liberty and doomed to an ignominious and slavish bondage, compelled to fight the battles of a foreign country and often to perish in them.  Our flag has given them no protection; it has been unceasingly violated and our vessels exposed to danger by the loss of the men taken from them.  Your committee need not remark that while the practice is continued, it is impossible for the U.S. to consider themselves an independent nation.  Every new case is a new proof of their degradation.  Its continuance is the more unjustifiable because the U. States have repeatedly proposed to the British government an arrangement which would secure to it the control its own people.  An exemption of the citizens of the U.S. from this degrading oppression and their flag from violation, is all that they fought.
The lawless waste of our trade and equally unlawful impress inert of our seamen, have been much aggravated by the insults and indignities attending them.  Under the pretext of blockading the harbours of France and her allies, British squadrons have been stationed on our coast, to watch and annoy our trade.  To give effect the blockade of European ports, the ports and harbors of the U.S. have been blockaded.  In executing the orders of the British government or in obeying the spirit which was known to animate it, the commanders of these squadrons have encroached on our jurisdiction, seized our vessels,  and carried into effect impressments within our limits, and done other acts of great injustice, violence and oppression. The U.S. have seen with mingled indignation and surprise, that these acts, Instead of procuring to the perpetrators the punishment due to unauthorized crimes have not failed to recommend them to the favour of their government.
Whether the British government has contributed by active measures to excite against us the hostility of the savage tribes on our frontier, your committee are not disposed to occupy much time in investigating.  Certain indications of general notoriety may supply the place of authentic documents; tho’ these have not been wanting to establish the fact in some instances.  It is known that symptoms of British hostility towards the U.S. have never failed to produce corresponding symptoms among those tribes.  It is also well known that on all such occasions, abundant supplies of the ordinary munitions of war have been afforded by the agents of British commercial companies, and even from British garrisons, with which they were enabled to commence that system of savage warfare on our frontiers, which has been at all times indiscriminate in its effect, on all ages, sexes and conditions, and so revolting to humanity.
Your committee would be much gratified if they could close here the detail of British wrongs, but it is their duty to recite another act of still greater malignity, than any of those which have been already brought to your view.  The attempt to dismember our union and overthrow our excellent constitution, by a secret mission, the object of which was to foment discontents and to excite insurrection against the constituted authorities and laws of the nation, as lately disclosed by the agent employed in it, affords full proof that there is no bound to the hostility of the British government towards the U. States, no act, however unjustifiable, which it would not commit to accomplish their ruin.  This attempt excites the greater horror from the consideration that it was made while the U.S. and G. Britain were at peace, and an amicable negociation was depending between them for the accommodation of their differences through public ministers regularly authorized for the purpose.
The U.S. have beheld with unexampled forbearance, this continued series of hostile encroachments on their rights any interests, in the hope, that yielding to the force of friendly remonstrances, often repeated, the British government might adopt a more just policy towards them; but that hope no longer exists.  They have also weighed impartially the reasons which have been urged by the British government in vindication of these encroachments, and found in them neither justification or apology.
The British government has alleged in vindication of the orders in council that they were resorted to as a retaliation on France, for similar aggressions committed by her on our neutral trade with the British dominions.  But how has this plea been supported?  The dates of British and French aggressions are well known to the world.  Their origin and progress have been marked with too wide and destructive a waste of the property of our fellow-citizens to have been forgotten.  The decree of Berlin of Nov 21st, 1806, was the first aggression of France in the present war.  Eighteen mouths had then elapsed after the attack made by G. Britain on our neutral trade with the colonies of France and her allies, and six months from the date of the proclamation of May, 1806.  Even on the 7th of Jan. 1807, the date of the first British order in council, so short a term had elapsed, after the Berlin decree, that it was hardly possible that the intelligence of it should have reached the U. States.
A retaliation which is to produce its effect by operating on a neutral power ought not to be resorted to, till the neutral had justified it by a culpable acquiescence in the unlawful act of the other belligerent, It ought to be delayed until after sufficient time had been allowed to the neutral to remonstrate against the measure complained of, to receive an answer, and to act on it, which had not been done in the present instance; and when the order of November 11th was issued, it is well known that a minister of France had declared to the minister plenipotentiary of the U.S. at Paris, that it was not intended that the decree of Berlin should apply to the U. States. It is equally well known, that no American vessel had then been condemned under it, or seizure been made, with which the British government was acquainted.  The facts prove incontestably, that measures of France, however unjustifiable in themselves, were nothing more than a pretext for those of England.  And of the insufficiency of that pretext, ample proof has already been afforded by the British government itself, and in the most impressive form.  Although it was declared that the orders in council were retaliatory on France for decrees, it was also declared, and in the orders themselves, that owing to the superiority of the British navy, by which the fleets of France and her were allies were confined within their own ports, the French decrees were considered only as empty threats.
It is no justification of the wrongs of one power, that the like were committed by another; nor ought the fact, if true, to have been urged by either as it could afford no proof of its love of justice, of its magnanimity or even of its courage.  It is more worthy the government of a great nation, to relieve than to assail the injured.  Nor can a repetition of the wrongs by another power repair violated rights, or wounded honor of the party.  An utter inability alone to resist, would justify a quiet surrender of our rights, and degrading submission to the will of others.  To that condition the U.S. are not reduced, nor do they fear it.  That they ever consented to discuss with either power the misconduct of the other, is a proof of their love of peace, of their moderation, and of the hope which they still indulged that friendly appeals to just and generous sentiments would not be made to them in vain.  But the motive was mistaken, if their forbearance was imputed, either to the want of a just sensibility to their wrongs, or of a determination, if suitable was not obtained to resent them.  The time has now arrived when this system of reasoning must cease.  It would be insulting to repeat it.  It would be degrading to hear it.  The U.S. must act as an independent nation, and assert their rights, and avenge their wrongs, according to their own estimate of them, with the party who commits them, holding it responsible for its own misdeeds unmitigated by those of another.
For the difference made between Great Britain and France, by the application of the nonimportation act against England only, the motive has been already been too often explained, and is too well known to require further illustration.  In the commercial restrictions to which the U.S. resorted as an evidence of their sensibility, and a mild retaliation of their wrongs, they invariably placed both powers on the same footing, holding to each in respect to itself, the same accommodation, in case it accepted the condition offered, and in respect to the other, the same restraint. if it refused.  Had the British government confirmed the arrangement, which was entered into with the British minister in 1809, and France maintained her decrees, with France would the U. States have had to resist, with the firmness belonging to their character, the continued violation of their rights.  The committee do not hesitate to declare, that France has greatly injured the U.S. and that satisfactory reparation has not yet been made for many of those injuries.  But that is a concern which the U. States will look to and settle for themselves.  The high character of the American people, is a sufficient pledge to the world, that they will not fail to settle it, on conditions which they have a right to claim.
More recently, the true policy of the British government towards the U. States has been completely unloaded.  It has been publicly declared by those in power, that the orders in council should not be repealed, until the French government had revoked all its internal restraints on the British commerce, and that the trade of the U. States, with France and her allies, should be prohibited until G. Britain was also allowed to trade with them.  By this declaration, it appears, that to satisfy the pretensions of the British government, the U.S. must join G. Britain in the war with France, and prosecute the war, until France should be subdued, for without her subjugation, it were in vain to presume on such a concession.  The hostility of the British government to these states has been still further disclosed.  It has been made manifest that the U.S. are considered by it as the commercial rival of Great Britain, and that their prosperity and growth are incompatible with her welfare.  When all these circumstances are taken into consideration, it is impossible for your committee to doubt the motives which have governed the British ministry in all its measures towards the U.S. since the year 1805.  Equally is it impossible to doubt longer, the course which the U.S. ought to pursue towards G. Britain.
From this view of the multiplied wrongs of the British government since the commencement of the present war, it must be evident to the impartial world, that the contest which is now forced on the U.S. is radically a contest for their sovereignty and independence.  Your committee will not enlarge on any of the injuries, however great, which have had a transitory effect.  They wish to call the attention of the house to those or a permanent nature only, which intrench so deeply on our most important rights, and wound so extensively and vitally our best interests, as could not fail to deprive the U.S. of the principal advantages of their revolution, if submitted to.  The control of our commerce by G. Britain, in regulating at pleasure, and expelling it almost from the ocean; the oppressive manner in which these regulations have been carried into effect by seizing and confiscating such of our vessels with their cargoes, as were said to have violated her edicts, often without previous warning of their danger; the impressment of our citizens from on board our own vessels on the high seas, and elsewhere, and holding them in bondage until it suited the convenience of these oppressors to deliver them up, are encroachments of that high and dangerous tendency which could not fail to produce that pernicious effect, nor would those be the only consequences that would result from it.  The British government might for a while be satisfied with the ascendancy thus gained over us, but its pretensions would soon increase.  The proof, which so complete and disgraceful a submission to its authority would afford of our degeneracy, could not fail to inspire confidence that there was no limit to which its usurpations, and our degradation might not be carried.
Your committee believing that the freeborn sons of America are worthy to enjoy the liberty which their fathers purchased at the price of much blood and treasure, and seeing in the measures adopted by G. Britain, a course commenced and persisted in which might lead to a loss of national character and independence, feel not hesitation in advising resistance by force, in which the Americans of the present day will prove to the enemy and to the world, that we have not only inherited that liberty which our fathers gave us, but also the will and power to maintain it.  Relying on the patriotism of the nation, and confidently trusting that the Lord of Hosts will go with us to battle in a righteous cause, and crown out efforts with success – your committee recommend an immediate appeal to ARMS.