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that there was nothing left to do but to fight, and Mr. Madison's predecessors had not made that preparation which was essential to the preservation of peace or to fit the nation for war, when war, which was inevitable, should occur. There was no enthusiasm for the war in many States of the Union. The narrow margin, both in the Senate and House of Representatives, in favor of war was an unmistakable indication that the whole country was neither willing nor prepared for hostilities. Six majority in the Senate and thirty-six majority in the House was a very slim vote on which to enter into a conflict with a nation like Great Britain; with Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware solidly against the war, and Massachusetts eight against it, with New York eleven against and three for, and New Jersey four against and two for. The condition of the public mind was not prepared to enter upon a great conflict and fight out a great issue with a nation like Great Britain, then confessedly the most powerful of the world.
This difference of sentiment hampered American effort and destroyed American enthusiasm; it made the men less brave and the generals less confident. With foes in front and foes behind no man can often lead an army to a great victory. The nation desired peace, the majority of those who had fought in the Revolutionary Army still lived. Indian aggressions on the frontier had produced a depressing effect, but it is just to say that the States like Tennessee and Kentucky, Georgia and Ohio, which would suffer most, were those which were most anxious and earnest in their demands for hostilities. The antiwar spirit was especially strong in New England. The legislatures of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey protested against the war, and the shipping interests of Boston hung flags at half-mast expressive of their disapproval of what Congress had done.
It took some months to create real enthusiasm in the quarters where it was most needed to give the armies of the United States proper backing, and the very first results of the war were such as to justify those who opposed it with their prophecies of evil. The men who were appointed first in military positions were men who had been prominent in the Revolutionary War and greatly advanced in years. As a result of this, operations were slow, the march of forces was timid, and movements hesitating. Unfortunately for the United States, General William Hull was Governor of the Territory of Michigan. No man in the country could have been found less fitted for the exigencies or the conditions which were sure to arise at one of the most important points of contact between the armies of the two countries.