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States the severest burthens, and such as, in in other respects also he alleges that we were the present stage of society, the people would pursuing a course most destructive to hunianeither be able nor disposed to bear. Though nity ;-alluding particularly to the British the people in general possessed real wealth, commander in Canada having selected from or the comforts and necessaries of life, they American prisoners of war, and sent to Great had but little of the signs of that wealth, or Britain for trial as criminals, a number of inmoney; and, unless on very extraordinary dividuals who had emigrated from Britain occasions, a people with little bullion cannot long prior to the war. In consequence of endure a long and expensive war. · The this, he had put into confinement a like numcampaign in Canada had been replete with ber of British prisoners of war, sending an disappointment. Its arrangement had been official notification, that they would experiunskilful. The troops had not yet acquired ence whatever violence might be committed the habits of military discipline; nor the ge on the

American prisoners of war sent to nerals attamed the requisite experience. For Great Britain. This, however, had produced these and other reasons, therefore, Mr. Madi- no effect: so far from it, that double the son had proposed that the emperor of Russia number of American officers had been put should mediate between Great Britain and in confinement. · It is as fortunate (adds America. But this proposal was decidedly Mr. Madison) for the United States, that objected to by the British government, though they have it in their power to meet their at the same time they professed, as they had enemy in this deplorable contest, as it is hoalways done, an anxious desire to put an end nourable to them that they do not join in it to the war.

but under the most imperious obligations, To this refusal of the mediation of the Em- and with the humane purpose of effectuating peror of Russia Mr. Madison alluded in the a return to the established usages of war.” opening of the message which he sent to The president next adverts to the conduct both houses of congress on the 12th of De- of France towards the United States ; but cember 1813. In this message, which is here his language becomes much more cool marked with a spirit of considerable hostility and guarded ; and the subject indeed is passed towards Britain, he recapitulates all the ad over with a


short and slight notice. vantages which the United States had really The next topic adverted to relates to a regained, or claimed, in order to show that, vision of the militia laws, under the circumstances in which they were of securing more effectually the services of placed by the refusal of Great Britain, having all detachments called into the employment no choice but an exertion of its strength in and placed under the government of the support of its rights--they had the best en United States. couragement to perseverance, from “the suc After some observations on thie adoption cess with which it had pleased the Almighty of measures, by which the American privato bless their arms, both on the land and on teers might have the use of the ports of the water.” He first alludes to the battle friendly powers, Mr. Madison passes on to on lake Erie, which had terminated in the the consideration of the finances of the Unitcapture of the whole British squadron. On ed States. The receipts for the last year had lake Ontario, the caution of the British had exceeded 37 millions and a half of dollars, of frustrated the attempts of the American com which nearly 24 were the produce of loans ; mander to bring on a decisive action; but on the 30th of September 1813 nearly seven even on that lake they were superior. By millions of dollars remained in the treasury, the success on lake Erie, a passage into the after meeting all the demands for the public territory of Canada had been opened, and the service: seven millions and a half had been war 'carried thither with considerable success. obtained as a loan on very favourable condiAfter mentioning some other successes, and tions: further sums were necessary, but there the prospect of future advantages, Mr. Madi were good grounds to suppose that they son adverts to our employment of the Indi- would be easily obtained. ans, which he censures in very strong terms: After mentioning generally the expenses


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which had been incurred during the last and burnt the depôt at Plattsburg; while
campaign, he again adverts to their successes : on the other hand a conjoint attack on Bur-
York, Forts George, Erie, and Malden, had lington heights, planned by the American
been reduced ; and the attacks of the British general Harrison and commodore Chauncey,
in almost every part had been repulsed. He was frustrated by the severity of the weather.
concludes by contrasting the advantages On the 30th of December, a corps of British
which the war had brought, with the evils amounting to 1000 men attacked an Ameri-
which it had 'necessarily inflicted: if it had car force of double that number, advantage-
interrupted their commerce, it had also en- ously posted near the Black Rock: the
couraged and extended their manufactures :, Americans were entirely beaten; and the
if much treasure had been expended, no in- consequence of this victory was, that posses-
considerable portion of it had been applied sion was gained of all the enemy's posts on
to objects durable in their value: if the war the Niagara frontier
had exposed them to spoliations on the From several causes, it was not to be ex-
ocean, and to incursions on the land, it had pected that the war between Britain and
also demonstrated, “ that every blow aimed America would be carried on in the most
at their maritiine 'independence was an im- humane and honourable mode, especially by
pulse accelerating the growth of their mari- the Americans: they had not yet forgotten
time power ;” and by the effects of the war the war of the revolution; and our employ-
on the military resources and discipline of the ment of the Indians, though they set us the
nation, “ a greater respect for their rights, example, exasperated them still more: the
and a longer duration of their future peace, consequences were such as might naturally
are promised, than could be expected without be dreaded. In their different invasions of
these proofs of the national character and re Canada the greatest inhumanities were ex-

ercised: especially at Sandwich, at the settle-
į In the statements and anticipations of ments on the Thames, at York, and at Fort-
some parts of his message Mr. Madison was George. Finding that remonstrances against
justified by what had actually happened, or this mode of conducting the war produced
by what was likely to happen. But certainly no effect, sir George Prévost at length issued
so far as he dwelt upon the military character a proclamation announcing a severe retalia-
of the United States, neither what had oc tion on the Americans; while at the same
curred, nor what in all probability would time he earnestly deprecated this mode of
speedily occur, bore him out: almost every warfare. We shall afterwards have occasion
American general and army had fled with to canvass the humanity as well as the policy
precipitation before an inferior force, com in retaliating on, and thus imitating, an ene-
posed almost entirely of Canadian troops. my when they depart from the paths of
Wilkinson and Hampton, the last who had justice.
fought, had derived no more honour than As soon as Europe was restored to peace
their predecessors : sir George Prevost, on by the dethronement of Buonaparte, the Bri-
the contrary, exhibited his usual activity and tish government resolved to prosecute

the courage; and after the defeat of the Ameri

war against the United States with a great can generals, he pursued them so closely that accession of means and vigour; and thus it they were forced to take up their winter was confidently expected that Mr. Madison quarters in their own territory. The ap- would be compelled to accept of such terms pearance of a small regular force menacing as we should be disposed to dictate. Two the front of general Wilkinson, was suffici- distinct modes of prosecuting the war seem ent to drive him in great alarm up the Sal- to have been determined on by the British mon river: on arriving at French Mills, government; an invasion of the coasts of the about six miles up the stream, he dismantled United States; and, after the protection of his boats, and arranged his artillery near a Canada had been secured, the conquest of so block-house. In the mean while, some Bri- much of the adjoining territory of the United tish gun-boats advanced into lake Champlain, States as might, in the event of a future war,

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effectually guard that province from all dan verses and downfall of Buonaparte the fedeger. It was reasonably expected also, that ralist party, which, as has been already obwhen the intelligence of the downfall of served, consisted principally of merchants, Buonaparte reached America, either Mr. now raised their voices most powerfully and Madison would feel the necessity of making effectually against a measure which involved peace, or, if he did not, bis unpopularity them in great pecuniary embarrassments and would become so great, that he would be difficulties. Thus another instance was ex obliged to quit the government of the states hibited which proved that Britain, though in favour of a president more favourable-to more essentially commercial than any other Britain and to pacific measures.

nation, can bear up under the interruption The intelligence of the downfall of Buona- of commerce for a much longer time, andi parte certainly did create a wonderful sensa with less suffering, than any of her rivals. tion in America ; but a sensation of a singu- Such are the effects of great capital and enlar kind, and not easily explained. It might terprise united. have been anticipated that the republican In the midst, however, of all their defeats party, the friends to liberty, the enemies of by land, and of the dismay into which the despotisın, would have rejoiced at the des war party in America were thrown by the truction of the military despotism and op- downfall of Buonaparte, they were still sucpression of Buonaparte ; but; on the contrary, Čessful by sea; and their success in this elethey mourned over his downfall, as if, with ment not only inspired them with the hope him, all hope and prospect of the liberty and that they should one day become the mistress independence of Europe had also falten. At of the ocean, but also threw a gloom over Brifirst,

the successes of the allies in France were tain, even while she was hailed by the rest of not credited; but when they were establish- Europe as having been mainly instrumental ed beyond all doubt, those newspapers which in restoring to the continent the blessings of spoke the sentiments and wishes of the re- independence and peace. publican party, in the most explicit manner, On the morning of the 28th of June, in lamented the intelligence. This, however, latitude 48. longitude 11., the Reindeer sloop. may perhaps be accounted for: their hatred of war, commanded by captain Manners, perof Britain, and the violence of their party ceived an enemy to the leeward, and instantly spirit against such of their own countrymen gave chase: about three o'clock the ships as were federalists and adverse to war, led were close together, when the action comthem to embrace the cause of one from whom menced, and was kept up with the most de they expected the ruin of Britain.

termined spirit for twenty-five minutes : at Mr. Madison, however, was convinced the end of this time the captain of the Reinthat, now that Britain was at full liberty to deer, the purser, and 27 men were killed ; employ all her force against the United States, and 40 wounded, amongst whom were all the war would assurve a different character her officers then on board : before this, she from what it previously had done; and con had made several unsuccessful attempts to sequently, that it would be absolutely neces board. In this state she was under the ne-: sary, either to meet the more extended and cessity of striking to the enemy, which proy-vigorous warfare by measures of correspond- ed to be the Wasp American sloop of war, ing vigour and extension, or to bring about commanded by captain Blakely. The dis

peace with Great Britain. The latter: was proportion between the two ships in size, resolved

upon ; at the same time that, in case weight of metal, and complement of men, of the failure of the negociations, measures was very considerable. The Wasp was of were taken which he hoped would secure the the burden of nearly 800 tons, mounting 20 United States from the attacks which would 32-pounder carronades, besides two long 12-be now made against them. Mr. Madison pounders, and having on board 175 men ; also found himself under the necessity of re

while the Reindeer was little more than 380: pealing the embargo which had been laid on tons, mounting only 16 twenty-four pounder the 13th of December 1813; for by the re- carronades, besides two long twelve-poun-

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ders, with two long sixes, and had only 98 gree of praise on the bravery of the enemy:
men and twenty boys. Captain Manners the conduct of the captain of the Essex, how-
fought his vessel against this very superior ever (captain Porter), in one respect deserved
enemy in the most gallant manner : he lost no praise; for it appears by captain Hillyear's
his life in attempting to board, after receiv- account, that, he connived at the escape of
ing fourteen wounds. The Wasp was very some of his men after the ship had surren-
much cut up in her hull and rigging; and dered.
her loss in killed and wounded is supposed The only other naval action at sea, this
to have been fully equal to that of the Rein- year, took place off the coast of Ireland, be.
deer. On the day after the action it became tween the Wasp (already mentioned) and the
necessary to destroy the prize. Thus, in a Avon. The British here were inferior, and
sea war of two years, the Americans could would certainly have been taken possession
boast that, though they were opposed to the of, having been forced, after a short but des-
once dreaded navy of Great Britain, the pro perate conflict, to strike her colours, had not
portion of victories had been beyond all some of his majesty's ships fortunately come
comparison in their favour, having captured up at the instant, and obliged the Wasp to
three frigates, two twenty-gun ships, four seek her safety in flight.
eighteens, one twelve and.one ten-gun vessel. Besides these successes of the Americans,

It would seem, too, that where we were so far as their national vessels were concerned,
victorious over the Americans by sea, we they had many rich captures by their priva-
were generally indebted for our success to a teers; and these captures were made not
greater superiority than even they had when merely on their own coasts, or on the Atlan-
they were successful. This was certainly the tic ocean, but on the very shores of England
case with respect to the capture of the Essex; and Ireland; so that at length it was not safe
she had been long cruizing in company with for a vessel to sail without convoy from one
a corvette off the eastern coast of South part of the English or Irish channel to ano-
America; and captain Hillyear of his majes- ther. Strong representations were made to
ty's ship Phæbe was directed to sail in quest the admiralty on this subject; but as they
of them; for nearly five months he was un, were not attended to as they ought to have
successful; but at last, on the 28th of March, been, addresses to the prince regent were
he saw the Essex quit the port of Valparaiso, presented from London, Liverpool, and other
and immediately (accompanied by the Cherub) sea ports. It was indeed a most mortifying
he made sail after her. The Essex at first reflection, that while our navy amounted to
atteinpted to gain the weather gage; but in nearly 1000 ships of different sizes, and while
this attempt she did not succeed, carrying we were at peace with all Europe, we could
away her maintopmast: on this she endea not protect our commerce on our own coasts.
voured to regain the port she had just quit. The only defence (if defence it could be called)
ted; but in this also she was unsuccessful, that the admiralty could make was, that we
being obliged to anchor near the shore. In had captured a greater number of ships from
this situation it was not safe for captain Hill- the Americans than the Americans had from
year to pass a-head of her : he therefore re us. But the proportion of the captures we
solved to anchor as near her as possible: but had made was very far below the propor-
before he gained a position proper for that tional superiority which our navy bore to
purpose, the cable of the Essex was cut, and theirs : and indeed, all things considered, not
a serious conflict ensued; the guns of the too much would have been expected from
Phoebe became gradually more destructive, the admiralty, if, with the means in their
and her crew, if possible, more animated : power, the nation had anticipated the capture
the contest began at 35 minutes past five, of every American armed vessel that put to
and lasted till 20 minutes after six, when the
Essex struck her colours. In the official ac The lakes, it is well known, constitute the
count of the action captain Hillyear, with the most important boundary between Canada
spirit of a brave man, bestowed a liberal de- and the United States; and the possession of


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these lakes is absolutely necessary to the se war on the frontiers of Canada, the inhabi-
cure and permanent possession of the province. tants of that province complained that they
It was therefore the duty and the interest of were left almost entirely to defend them.
the British government, as soon as the war selves; for during the two years of hostilities,
broke out, to have secured the superiority of the operations of which have been already
these lakes in so decided a manner as to have detailed, they had procured little assistance
effectually protected Canada: this, however, from Great Britain. A sufficient reason,
during the two years which the war had al- however, was assigned for this, viz., that the
ready lasted, they had neglected to do. In troops of Britain were so fully employed
fact, though on some of the lakes the British against Buonaparte that she could not send
were occasionally successful, yet this success strong reinforcements to Canada. This
was never of long continuance, and it was so should, however, have induced the ministry
chequered with defeat as to give confidence to exert themselves more in the equipment
to the Americans and to dispirit the Cana- of a proper flotilla on the lakes, in order that
dians. For the former, when they com Canada might have been adequately pro-
menced the war, could hardly have looked tected by our superiority on them, till such
forward to such victories as they had obtained time as we could send out more troops. As
over the British; and being naturally a san it was, had it not been for the incapacity of
guine and ardent people, the achievement of the American generals, and the badness of
victory over such a nation as Britain could not their troops, on the one hand; and on the
fail to gratify and invigorate their feelings, other hand, the activity of sir George Pre-
and to reconcile to the war those who at its vost, and the valour of the troops under his
commencement were averse to it.

command, Canada must have fallen into the
In some respects, indeed, the Americans possession of the enemy. The Americans,
possessed advantages which we did not enjoy indeed, as we have seen, fought so ill on land,
for carrying on operations on the lakes; they that no alarm seems to have been excited
were nearer to the supplies necessary for the that they would ever be a match for even the
equipment and repair of their squadrons.- Canadian provincial troops. It seems to have
But, on the other hand, it seems to have been been most strangely and culpably overlooked,
abundantly shown in the house of commons, that their bad fighting on land arose from
that their superiority arising from these ad causes and circumstances which must in the
vantages was greatly increased by the ignor- nature of things gradually die away, and be
ance or inattention of our ministry. Indeed replaced by such as would render them as -
it was disputed in parliament, to what de- good soldiers as they had proved themselves
partment of government the equipment of to be sailors. This we might have antici-
the flotilla on the lakes properly belonged. pated from what had occurred to ourselves,
Common sense would have said that it be- Till the war against Buonaparte, even Bri-
longed to the admiralty ; but the admiralty tons were disposed to acknowledge that their
denied this, because forsooth the lakes were countrymen, though the best sailors in the
inland seas of fresh water; and they threw world, were very indifferent soldiers; as if
the duty of equipping the flotilla on the se either in their case, or in that of the Ameri.
cretary of state for the colonial department, cans, the men who had courage sufficient to
It may be remarked by the by, that there fight well by sea would not soon be taught
seems some deficiency in the executive part to fight well on land.
of our government in this respect : the prime The British ministry were therefore blamed
minister, though not recognised by the con- for protracting the war with America ; they
stitution, ought certainly to have such a di were blamed for not annihilating their navy
recting and controlling power as, in cases of at once. This seemed a well-grounded charge,
doubt, to assign to each department its pro- considering the immense superiority of our
per duties, and to see that those duties are navy, and that we had no other employment
performed as they ought to be.

for it. They were also blamed for not hav.
With respect to the other branches of the ing sent out more troops to Canada :--this


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