2.26.2015

Postscript of letter from Thomas Jefferson to William Crawford

Monticello
February 26, 1815


(note: this is the postscript of a letter originally written on February 11, 1815)

On the day of the date of this letter the news of peace reached Washington, and this place two days after. I am glad of it, although no provision being made against the impressment of our seamen, it is in fact but an armistice, to be terminated by the first act of impressment committed on an American citizen. It may be thought that useless blood was spilt at New Orleans, after the treaty of peace had been actually signed and ratified. I think it had many valuable uses. It proved the fidelity of the Orleanese to the United States. It proved that New Orleans can be defended both by land and water; that the western country will fly to its relief (of which ourselves had doubted before); that our militia are heroes when they have heroes to lead them on; and that, when unembarrassed by field evolutions, which they do not understand, their skill in the fire-arm, and deadly aim, give them great advantages over regulars. What nonsense for the manakin Prince Regent to talk of their conquest of the country east of the Penobscot river! Then, as in the revolutionary war, their conquests were never more than of the spot on which their army stood, never extended beyond the range of their cannon shot. If England is now wise or just enough to settle peaceably the question of impressment, the late treaty may become one of peace, and of long peace. We owe to their past follies and wrongs the incalculable advantage of being made independent of them for every material manufacture. These have taken such root, in our private families especially, that nothing now can ever extirpate them.

Source: Library of Congress

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