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Halifax station, addressed a letter to Mr. Monroe, on the 30th of September, proposing an immediate cessation of hostilities between the two countries. In case this were agreed to, he was authorized to arrange for the repeal of the laws and regulations against British commerce and the entrance of British ships of war into our harbors; but if his propositions were rejected, he informed the secretary of state, that the orders in council, repealed June 23d, would be again revived. Mr. Monroe, who had learned the ill success of Mr. Russell's efforts at London, replied to Admiral Warren on the 27th of October, and expressing the willingness of the American government to take any measures which might lead to peace on conditions honorable to both nations, he avowed his conviction, that, till the subject of impressment was disposed of, a durable peace was hardly to be expected. "The claim of the British government," he remarked in his letter, "is to take from the merchant vessels of other countries, British subjects. In the practice, the commanders of the British ships of war often take from the merchant vessels of the United States, American citizens. If the United States forbid the employment of British subjects in their service, and enforce the f prohibition by suitable regulations and penalties, the motive for the practice is taken away. It is in this mode that the president is willing to accommodate this important controversy with the British government, and it cannot be conceived on what ground the arrangement can be refused. He is willing that Great Britr
ain should be secured against the evils of which she complains; but he seeks, on the other hand, that the citizens of the United States should be protected against a practice, which, while it degrades the nation, deprives them of their rights as freemen, takes them by force from their families and country into a foreign service, to fight the battles of a foreign power, perhaps against their own kindred and country."
The British admiral not being authorized to enter upon this subject in his negotiation, the United States had no alternative but to continue the war, and to prosecute it with vigor. Sincerely desirous, however, of peace, when the emperor of Russia, early in 1813, offered his mediation, it was immediately and cordially accepted by our government; but England peremptorily rejected every thing of the kind.
The presidential contest, in the autumn of 1812, was animated to a high degree, especially in the eastern and middle states. Mr. Madison, having acceded to the views of the war party, (see p. 137,) was nominated for re-election, Mr. Gerry being placed on the same ticket for vice-president. A portion of the democratic party, however, determined to support De Witt Clinton and Jared Ingersoll for president and vice-president; and the federalists, hoping to profit by divisions in the ranks of their opponents, mostly voted for Clinton and Ingersoll. The result of the election was, Mr. Madison received one hundred and twenty-eight votes for president, and Mr. Clinton received eighty-nine for the same high office. For Mr. Gerry, as vice-president, one hundred and thirty-one votes were given, and for Mr. Ingersoll, eightysix. The federalists, by a skilful use of their present opportunity, managed to elect a number of additional members of Congress to represent their views in the national legislature; so that, although the administration was decidedly in the majority, it was evident, that the minority possessed no little power and influence, and would watch the progress of affairs with unflagging zeal and interest.
THE PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST.
Congress assembled again on the first Monday in November, and the next day the president sent in his annual message to both Houses. It is a long and carefully prepared document, calm but decided in tone, and strongly patriotic in its sentiments. "On our present meeting," he said, "it is my first duty to invite your attention to the Providential favors which our country has experienced in the unusual degree of health dispensed to its inhabitants, and to the rich abundance with which the earth has rewarded the labors bestowed on it. In the successful cultivation of other branches of industry, and in the progress of general improvement favorable to the national prosperity, there is just occasion, also, for our mutual congratulations and thankfulness. With these blessings are necessarily mingled the pressures and vicissitudes incident to the state of war into which the United States have been forced, by the perseverance of a foreign power in its system of injustice aud aggression."
The president then enters upon a full account of the various important move
ments and occurrences of the year; relates Hull's operations and surrender; mentions the refusal of Massachusetts and Connecticut (see note, p. 155) to allow the militia to leave the state; recommends attention to a revision of the militia laws, an enlargement of the navy, the navigation laws, etc. The receipts into the treasury, he states, have been $16,500,000, sufficient to meet all the expenses of the government and to dis charge nearly $3,000,000 of the public debt. "We have the inestimable consolation," said Mr. Madison, in conclusion, "of knowing that the war in which we are actually engaged, is a war neither of ambition nor of vain glory; that it is waged, not in violation of the rights of others, "but in the maintenance of our own; that it was preceded by a patience without example, under wrongs accumulating without end; and that it was finally, not declared, until every hope of averting it was extinguished by the transfer of the British sceptre into new hands, clinging to former counsels, and until declarations were reiterated to the last hour, through the British envoy here, that the hostile edicts against our commercial rights and our maritime independence would not be revoked. ... It remains onlv, that, faithful to ourselves, entangled in no connections with .the views of other powers, and eVer ready to accept peace from the hand of justice, wre prosecute the war with united counsels, and with the ample faculties of the nation, until peace be so obtained, and as the only means, under the divine blessing, of speedily obtaining it."
The present session of Congress was Ch. IX.]
principally occupied in giving attention to the army and navy, and in providing means for carrying on the war. The executive was authorized to raise additional regiments, not exceeding twenty, to appoint six major-generals, and six brigadier-generals, to raise ten companies of rangers, for the defence of the frontiers, etc. The president was also authorized to have constructed, four seventy-four gun ships, six frigates, and six sloops-of-war; so highly had the navy risen in the estimation of the ruling party, who were now as willing to encourage it as they had previously depressed and underrated it. On the 8th of February, 1813, a law was passed, providing for a loan of $16,000,000; and authority was subsequently given, to issue $5,000,000 in treasury notes, making altogether, including the loan of $11,000,000 authorized by the act of March the 14th, 1812, and the $5,000,000 of treasury notes issued by the act of the 30th of June, in the same year, the gross sum of $37,000,000 borrowed by this Congress for the prosecution of hostilities, without providing for the redemption of the debt by the imposition of additional taxes. The loan of $16,000,000, authorized at this session, was promptly taken on the most favorable terms; $7,000,000 were subscribed by Stephen Girard and David Parish, and $2,000,000 by John Jacob Astor; all three of whom were adopted citizens; and the remaining $7,000,000 were taken by banks and individuals, principally in Philadelphia and New York. The federalists, whose animosity to the war was not at all lessened by what Vol. III.—23
had occurred since the commencement of hostilities, spared no efforts to prevent the loan from being taken in the New England states.
Laws were also enacted for the encouragement of vaccination among the people generally; prohibiting the employment of any seamen on public or private armed vessels, except citizens of the United States; giving the president power of retaliation for violations of the laws and usages of civilized nations, etc. After an animated and protracted discussion, an important bill was passed in respect to the goods imported from Great Britain and Ireland, after the declaration of war, and which had been seized under the non-importation act. By this bill, the secretary of the treasury was directed to remit the fines, forfeitures, penalties, and the like, which the owners of the goods had incurred; or, in other words, to cancel the merchants' bonds, given for those goods. Notwithstanding a most vigorous opposition, this bill passed by the close vote of sixty-four to sixty-one. Messrs. Calhoun, Quincy, and Cheves, were the principal advocates of this measure.
In the latter part of the month of January, the committee on foreign relations made their report to the House. It is an interesting document, prepared evidently under strong feeling, and reviews the course of the British government with great severity. It admits that the "practice of impressment" is the only grievance remaining unsettled, but contends that that is an abundantly sufficient cause for war. "War having been declared, and the case of impress merit being necessarily included as one of the most important causes, it is evident, that it must be provided for in the pacification. The omission of it in a treaty of peace would not leave it on its former grounds; it would in effect be an absolute relinquishment, an idea at which the feelings of every American must revolt." In conclusion, expressing the conviction that there is no room for apprehension as to the final result, the report declares: "Our resources are abundant; the people are brave and virtuous, and their spirit unbroken. The gallantry of our infant navy bespeaks our growing greatness on that element; and that of our troops, when led to action, inspires full confidence of what may be expected from them when their organization is complete. Our Union is always most strong when menaced by foreign dangers. The people of America are never so much one family, as when their liberties are invaded."
PRINCIPAL ACTS OF THE SESSION.
In contrast with this report, we may refer the reader to the "British Manifesto," under date of January 9th, which was published in the London Gazette, and reached the United States in the month of February. It is a long and well written paper, and presents the English view of the questions at issue in a clear and forcible manner. The substance of the British complaints was, that the United States had all along manifested a subserviency to France and an aggressive spirit against England: "This complete subserviency to the ruler of France; this hostile temper towards Great Britain; are evident in almost every page of the official correspondence of the American
with the French government. Again°t this course of conduct, the real cause of the present war, the prince-regent solemnly protests;" and, in conclusion, says: "relying on the justice of his cause, and the tried loyalty and firmness of the British nation, his royal highness confidently looks forward to a successful issue of the contest, in which he has thus been compelled most reluctantly to engage."
On the 24th of February, the president sent a special message to Congress, denouncing, in very strong terms, the "demoralizing and disorganizing contrivances," by which the British government was attempting to sever the eastern states from the rest of the Union, in making offers to confine to those states licenses to trade with the West Indies. . The message and docu- . ments were considered, and bills were introduced and passed in the House, to prohibit exportations and trade by foreign licenses. The Senate, however, refusing to concur, the subject was indefinitely postponed.
Having appointed the fourth Monday in May as the opening of an extra session, the twelfth Congress terminated its labors on the 3d of March, 1813, and Mr. Madison's first term of service was brought to its close.
The next day, the president met the assembled concourse in the capital, to renew his vows of devotion to his country and his resolve to discharge his high duties to the utmost of his ability. His second Inaugural, like his first, was brief, but energetic in tone, and earnest in its defence of the war against England. Claiming to have been actuated by the
principles of justice and honor in every thing that had occurred, the address reflects severely upon the enemy: "They hare not, it is true, taken into their own hands the hatchet and the knife, devoted to indiscriminate massacre; but they have let loose the savages armed with those cruel instruments; have allured them into their service, and carried them to battle -by their sides, eager o glut their savage thirst with the blood of the vanquished, and to finish the work of torture and death on maimed and defenceless captives. And, what was never before seen, British commanders have extorted victory over the unconquerable valor of our troops, by presenting to the sympathy of their chief, captives awaiting massacre from their savage associates. And now we find them, in further contempt of the honorable modes of warfare, supplying the place of a conquering force by attempts to disorganize our political society, to dismember our confederated republic."
The concluding paragraph of the Inaugural is worth quoting. "Our nation," says the president, "is in number more than half that of the British Isles. It is composed of a brave, a free, a virtuous, and an intelligent people. Our country abounds in the necessaries, the arts, and the comforts of life. A general prosperity is visible in the public countenance. The means employed by the British cabinet to undermine it have recoiled on themselves; have given to our national faculties a rapid development; and draining or diverting the precious metals from' British circulation and British vaults, have poured them into those of the
United States. It is a propitious consideration, that an unavoidable war should have found this seasonable facility for the contributions required to support it. When the public voice called for war, all knew and still know, that without them it could not be carried on through the period it might last; and the patriotism, the good sense, and the manly spirit of our fello,w-citi-' zens, are pledges for the cheerfulness with which they will bear each his share of the common burden. To render the war short, and its success sure, animated and systematic exertions alone are necessary; and the success of our arms now, may long preserve our country from the necessity of another resort to them. Already have the gallant exploits of our naval heroes proved to the world our inherent capacity to maintain our rights on one element. If the reputation of our arms has been thrown under clouds on the other, presaging flashes of heroic enterprise assure us, that nothing is wanting to correspondent triumphs there also, but the discipline and habit which are in daily progress."
The inefficiency of some of the members of the cabinet having become painfully evident, and frequent complaints having been made on that account, they were induced to send in their resignations; which were accepted; and on the 12th of January, 1813, William Jones, of Pennsylvania, was appointed secretary of the navy, in the place of Paul Hamilton; and General Armstrong, late minister to France, sue- . ceeded Doctor Eustis, as the head of the war department. The new secre