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vol. XXVII. No. 2.) LONDON, SATURDAY, JAN. 14, 1815. [Price is.
Botley, January 9, 1815.
DEAR SIR,-Before I proceed to the proposed subject of this Letter, I think it iight just to notice, that I have, in addressing you now, omitted the addition of Esq. at the end of your name. It is become high time for us, and all those who think as we do, to partake, in no degree whatever, in this sort of foolery, especially when we are writing, or speaking, upon the subject of a peace, which has been made with a nation, whose Chief Magistrate never pretends to any title above that of “fellow“citizen,” which he sharcs in common with all the people of the free and happy country, at the head of whose Government he has been placed by the unbought votes of his “fellow-citizens.”
In my former Letter I stated, as clearly as I was able consistent with brevity, the real cause of the war; and also the , real causes of its continuance after the European peace. I shall now endeavour to state clearly the real causes of the peace ; and then we shall come to those consequences, which, I think, we shall find to be of the utmost importance to the cause of freedom all over the world.
The peace has been produced by various causes. When Napoleon had been put
called the Reformers, “a low and degraded
“crew,” having amongst them “no honour“able distinctions ;” and he expressed his pleasure, that they were, as he said, fighting on the side of our enemy. They were, in his eyes, so contemptible, that he was glad we had them for enemies, and especially, as, in their chastisement, republicanism would be humbled in the dust, if not wholly destroyed. Such were the sentiments of the greater part of the nation, at the time when the Kings and Potentates of Germany paid us a visit, and when the “Bits of Striped “Bunting” were seen reversed under the Royal flag on the Serpentine River. There had, indeed, occurred, before that time, events, which, one would have hoped, would have checked this contemptuous way of thinking. The defeat and capture of the Guerriere, the Macedonian, the Java, the Peacock, and divers other smaller ships of war, by that Republic, whose very name we affected to despise, might have been expected to create a doubt, at least, of our power to annihilate the Republic in any very short space of time. But the nation had been cheated here, too, by the corrupt press, who persuaded them, that all these losses arose from causes other than those of the skill and valour of the Republicans. At one time, it was superior numbers ; at another, heavier metal ; at another, our own seamen inveigled into the Republican ships. This delusion was kept up for two years, until the incursion in the Chesapeake
down, this country was drunk with exulta- seemed to have closed the scene ; and, you tion. The war with America was gene- will bear in mind, that, at that time, it was rally looked upon as the mere sport of a the almost universal opinion, that our Rezmonth or two. Our newspapers published; gent would soon send out his Wiceroy to reports of speeches, or pretended speeches Washington City.
(for it is the same thing in effect), in which It was even at this very moment, howthe orators scoffed at the idea of our having ever, that the tide began to turn. The any trouble in subduing a people, with two gallant little army of Republicans, on or three thousand miles of sea-coast, defend- the Niagara frontier, had before proved, od by raw militia, and by “half a dozen fir' at Chippawa, that they were made of the “frigates, with bits of striped bunting at same;stuff that composed their ancesters; “ their mast heads.” This phrase will be and, at Fort Erie, they now gave a second long remembered. One of our Orators most signal proof of the same kind. called the Americans, as he had before While these **** acts of deve
tion to country were performing on the borders of Lakes Ontario and Erie, Lake Champlain exhibited a spectacle, which struck with wonder all the Continent of Europe, and which, in fact, astounded every man of sense here, who had before clamourcd for the war. It is true, that this was only a repetition of the scene, exhibited the year before on Lake Erie, where, with an */orjor number of men and guns, the Republican Commodore Perry had beaten and actually captured, the whole of our fleet under Commodore Barclay ; but, all eyes
were at that time fixed on the Continent of Europe. The expected fall of Napoleon, and the real victories over him, made the loss on Lake Ioric (a loss of immense importance, as is now seen) to be thought nothing of Our great object then was, Napoleon. Him once subdued, the Republic, it was thought, would be done for in a trice. To suppose, that she would be able to stand against us, for any length of time, appeared, to most men, perfectly ridiculous. A far greater part of the nation thought that it was our army who had put down Napoleon. Indeed, the Commander of them was called, “the conqueror of “ France;” and, it was said, that a part of the Conquerors of France, sent to America, would, in a few mouths, “reduce” the country.
A part of them were, accordingly, sent.
thither; and now we are going to view their exploits against the Republicans on the borders of Lake Champlain. The Governor-General of Canada, Sir George Prevost, having received the reinforcements from France, invaded the Republic at the head of 14,000 men, with five Major-Generals under him, four troops of Dragoons, four companies of Royal Artillery, one brigade of Rocketeers, one brigade of Royal Sappers and Miners. ...The first object was to dislodge the Republicans from Fort Moreau, near the town of Plattsburgh, of the edge of the Lake, about 15 miles within the boundary line of the Republic. In this fort were 1,500 Republican regulars, and no more, and 6,000 volunteers and militia from the States of Vermont and New York, under the command of a very gallant and accomplished citizen, named Macob, a Brigadier-General in the Republican service. While Sir George Prevost attacked the fort by land, Commodore Downie, with his fleet, was to attack it by water. The
same time ; the land army met, as far as it went, with a very gallant resistance, though it behaved, on its part, with equal gallantry; and Mr. Macomb must, in all probability, have yielded, in time, to a force so greatly superior, if the attack by water had not been frustrated. But on the water side, the Republican Commodore Macdo norgh, though his force was inferior to ours, and has been so stated in the official dispatch of Sir George Prevost himself, not only defeated our sleet, but captured the whole of the ships, one of which was of 36 gums, while the largest of the Republican ships was of no more than 26 guns ! The Governor-General, seeing the fate of the fleet, knowing that the taking of the fort after that would only lead to a speedy retreat from it, and fearing the consequencesof an attack on his way back to Canada, raised the siege, and hastened back towards Montreal with all imaginable speed, pursued by the little Republican army, and leaving behind him, as the Republicans state, immense quantities of stores, ammunition, &c. besides great numbers of prisoners and deserters. They may have exaggerated in these their accounts, but the Canada newspapers stated that 150 of our men deserted; and, which is a thing never to be forgotten, our Alinisters have never published in the Gazette Sir George Prevost's account of his memorable retreat, though they have published his dispatches relating to all the movements of the army before and after that retreat. This blow did, in fact, decide the question of war, or peace. There was much blustering about it here; it was affected to treat the thing lightly ; the Times, and other venal newspapers, represented it as a mere trifling occurrence, which would soon be overbalanced by sweeping victories on our part. But upon the back of this came the brilliant success of the Republicans in repulsing our squadron, and burning one of our ships before Fort Mobile, in the Gulph of Mexico ; and thus, while we had to vaunt of our predatory adventures against the city of Washington, the town of Alexandria, and the villages of French, town and Stonington, the fame of the Re1. publican arms, by land as well as sea, sounded in every ear and glowed in every heart, along the whole extent of the sixteen hundred miles which lie between Camada and the Mexican Galph.
In Europe these events produced a pro
digious sensation. Those who wished to see a check given to the all-predominant naval power of England, rejoiced at them; and every where they excited and called forth Édouiration of the Republicans. There had been, during the struggle on the Continent, no leisure to contemplate the transatlantic contest ; but it now became an object of universal attention ; and Europe, so long accustomed to regard English naval invincibility, when the force on both sides was equal, or nearly equal, as a thing received and universally admitted, was surprised beyond expression at the undeniable proof of the contrary. The world was now called on to witness the combat between England and America single-handed. The former was at the summit of power and glory ; she had captured or destroyed almost all the naval force in Europe ; those powers who had any naval force left were her allies, and were receiving subsidies from her ; she had an army of regulars of 200,000 men, flushed with victory; she had just marched part of this army through the heart of France herself; she had a thousand ships of war afloat, commanded by men who never dreamt of defeat. This was the power that now waged war, singlehanded, against the only Republic, the only Commonwealth, remaining in the world. The friends of freedom, who were not well acquainted with America, had been trembling for her. They did not seem to entertain any hopes of her escape. They thought it scarcely possible, that she should, with her Democratical Government and her handful of an army, without officers and without stores, resist England even for a year single-handed ; and they saw no power able if willing, or willing if able, to lend the Republic the smallest degree of assistance. But when the battles of Lake Champlain were announced; and when it was seen by the President's Message to his fellow-citizens of the Congress, that the Republican Government marched on with a firm step, and had resolved not to yield one single Point to our menaces, or our attacks, a very different view of the contest arose. The English nation, which had been exulting in the idea of giving the Yankeys “a drubbing,” began to think, that the undertaking was not so very easy to execute; and seeing no prospect of an end to the war and its expences, they began to cry out for the abolition of the greatest of
mentioned by us.
These demands having been transmitted to the President, he, instead of listening to them, laid them before the Congress, with an expression of his indignation at them; and in this feeling he appeared only to have anticipated his fellow-citizens throughout the country, with the exception of a handful of aristocratical intriguers in the State of Massachusetts. New and vigorous measures were adopted for prosecuting the war. The Congress hastened on Bills for raising and paying soldiers and sailors; for making the militia more efficient; for expediting the building of ships; erecting fortifications 3 providing floating batteries. In short, it was now clearly seen, that the
Government of the Republic was equal to a
time of war as well as to a time of peace; that we had to carry on a contest, at 3,000 miles distance, against a brave, free, and great nation; and that the aristocratical faction, on whom some men had depended for aid, were smeaking off into pitiful subterfuges, afraid any longer to shew a hankering after our cause. In this state of things; with this prospect before them, the Ministers wisely resolved to abandon their demands, and to make peace, leaving things as they stood before the war. The Opposition, who had pledged themselves to the support of the war wbon the old so that is to say, 2
upon the ground of impressment, began to protest against it upon the ground of congo st; and, if the war had continued, there is no doubt that they would have greatly embarrassed the Ministry upon this subject, • specially as the continuation of the war was the only remaining excuse for the continuation of the war taates, against which petitions were preparing in every part of the kingdom. Here we cannot help observing how wise it was in Mr. Madison to make public our demands. If these had been kept secret, till after the close of the war, how long might not that war have drawled on 2 The demands would never, perhaps, have been known. How wise is it, then, in the Americans to have framed their Government in such a way as to prevent mischievous State secrets from existing ! How wise to have made all their rulers really responsible for their acts' How wise to secure, upon all important points, an appeal to themselves! The President was very coarsely treated here by some persons, who ought to have known better, for having easosed the conferences. It was said to be an act unprecedented in a civilized nation. “Civilized nations,” you will perceive, mean nations governed by Kings and other hereditary sovereigns; and, in that sense, the Americans certainly are not a civilized nation. But ofty should such papers be kept secret? Or, at least, why should they not be made public, if the Government chooses to make them public? When once a Government has dispatches in its hands, there is no law that deprives it of the liberty to make what use of them it pleases. Nothing could be more fair than Mr. Madison's mode of proceeding. The aristocratical faction, whom we called our friends, were crying out for peace; the whole of the American people were represented, in our newspapers, as disapproving of the war, and as wishing for peace on our terms. What, then, could Mr. Madison do more just and more candid than publish to the people the whole of those terms.“There they arc,” said he, “decide upon “ them. Say: will you have peace upon “ these terms? I am, myself, ready to “ perish, rather than make such a peace. “Now, let me hear what you have to say.” A nation of free men agreed with him, that they would perish rather than yield to such terms; and, indeed, rather than yield to us “one single point,” thongh of ever so little importance. The result has been,
that peace has been made, and not one single point has been yielded to us. We now come to the most important and most interesting part of our subject; namely, 2 THE CONSEQUENCES of this peace, made at such a time and under such circumstances. Considered as to its probable and almost necessary consequences, it is, in my opinion, an event of infinitely greater importance to the world than any that has taken place since the discovery of the Art of Printing. But I will not enter further into the subject, 'till I have laid before you, or, rather, put upon record, for the sake of reference, some of the overslowings of gall, which this event has brought from the throats of the sworn enemies of freedom. You have observed, that those public prints in England, which were the most bitter against Napoleon, have been also the most bitter against the American President; a fact which ought to make people reflect a little before they give way to such outrageous abuse of the former, though we must always regard him as a traitor to the cause of liberty, having married a King's daughter, made himself an Emperor, and propped up and created Kings, for the sake of his and his family's Still, it is clear, that the writers, whom I have now in my eye, thought him more favourable to freedoms
than those who have succeeded him; be
cause no sooner was he down, than they set upon the American President with the same degree of fury, with which they had attacked Napoleon; and they recommended the deposing of him, upon “the same prin“ciple,” they said, that they had recommended the deposing of Napoleon. You. will not fail to have observed this, and to have traced it to its true source; but, I am afraid that it has passed unobserved by but too large a portion of the nation. There are several of our public prints, indeed, a very great majority of them, in country as well as in town, which have urged the justice and necessity of extinguishing the American Government ; that “ ill-organized association;” that “mis“chievous ea ample of the caistence of a “Government, founded on Democratical “Rebellion.” This peal was rung from one end of the country to the other. But the print, which led the van in this new
crusade against liberty, was that vile news
paper, the Times, to which paper we and the world owe no small portion of those consequences which will result from the
41] peace of Ghent, followed by such a war.— This print was, upon this occasion, the trumpet of all the haters of freedom; all those who look with Satanic eyes on the happiness of the free people of America; all those who have been hatched in, and yet are kept alive by, Bribery and Corruption. To judge of the feelings excited in the bosoms of this malignant swarm by the peace of Ghent; to enjoy the spectacle of their disappointment and mortification; of their alternate rage and despondency; of the hell that burns in their bosoms : to enjoy this spectacle, a spectacle which we ought to enjoy, after having endured the insolence of their triumph for so many years; to enjoy this spectacle we must again look into this same print; hear their wailing, vicw the gnashing of their teeth, see now the foam of revenge, and then the
drivel of despair, issue from their mouths,
teeming with execrations. With the help of the 41inisters, we have, for once, beat the sons and daughters of corruption; and if we bear our success with moderation, set us, at any rate, hear and laugh at the cries of our always cruel, and, until now, insolent enemy. It is right, too, that the Republicans themselves should know what these wretches now have to say ; these wretches, whom nothing would satisfy short of the subversion of the Republican Government; short of destroying that “mis“chievous erample, the civistence of a Go“vernment founded on Democratical Rebel“lion.” As far as i have been able to do it openly through the press, I have, during the war, as you will have perceived, made known the denunciations of these wretches against the liberties of America; and it may not be less useful to make known their wailings, their (fears, their despair at the peace; and the Republicans of America ought always to bear in mind, that these
same wretches, who arc ready to gnaw
their own flesh at seeing their hopes of destroying liberty in America blasted ; they ought always to bear in mind, that these same wretches it was, who praised, and who still praise, the conduct of the Governor Strong, Mr. Otis, Mr. Pickering, Mr. Goodloe Harper, Mr. Walsh the reviewer, and their associates. The FEDERALISTs, too, amongst whom there are many worthy men, look steadily at these facts; and consider how it must stand with their reputation, when it is notorious, that all those in England, who praise, or
give the proference to them, have been I
- JANUARY 14, 1815–Letter to Mr. John Cartwright.
using their utmost endeavours to urge this
nation on to fight against America, until they saw “the world delivered of the mis“chievous evample of the caistence of a “Government, founded on the principles of “Democratical Rebellion.” It is for the worthy part of the FEDERALISTs to consider if these notorious facts square with their reputation, whether as Republicans, as freemen, as faithful to their country, or, even as honest men. As to the Strongs, the Otises, the Goodloe Harpers, the Walshes, they have, in this way, nothing to lose. Every sound mind is made up with regard to them, and others like them; but, I should think, that the praises of the Times newspaper must make the great body of the Federalists look about them. We will now re-peruse the articles, to which I have so often alluded. I will insert them, without interruption, one after another, according to their dates, reserving my remarks, if any should be necessary, for the close ; and requesting you to pay particular attention to the passages printed in Italics, or in CAP!''A.I.S. 29th Dec. 1814.—“Without entering
“at present into the details of the Treaty,
“ (on which we have much to observe “hereafter), we confess that we look “anxiously to its mon-ratification ; be“cause we hope an opportunity will be at“forded to our brave seamen to retire “from the contest,-not, as they now are, “beaten and disgraced; not with the loss “of that trident which Nelson, whea “dying, placed in his country's grasp ; not “ leaving the marine latirel on the tinwor“thy brows of a Rodgers ; but, with an “ample and full revenge for the captures “of the Guerriere, the Macedonian, the “Java, and the numerous other ships that “ have been surrendered on the Ocean, “besides the whole flotillas destroyed on “. Lake Erie and Lake Champlain. Let “us not deceive ourselves. These victo“ries have given birth to a spirit, which, “is not checked, will, in a few years, create “an American navy truly formidable. “They have excited in other nations, who “foolishly envy our maritime preponder“ance, an undissembled joy, at beholding “our course so powerfully arrested. Per“haps it would not be asserting too much “to say, that they have detracted as muco “from the opinion of #. strength by sea, “ as the victories of Wellington have en
“hamced that of oor strength by land.” 30th Dec. 1514.—"The state of the