Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1813 - To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States: - The Writings, vol. 8 (1808-1819)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
1813 - To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States: - James Madison, The Writings, vol. 8 (1808-1819) 
The Writings of James Madison, comprising his Public Papers and his Private Correspondence, including his numerous letters and documents now for the first time printed, ed. Gaillard Hunt (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1900). Vol. 8.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
February 24, 1813.
I lay before Congress copies of a proclamation of the British lieutenant-governor of the island of Bermuda,1 which has appeared under circumstances leaving no doubt of its authenticity. It recites a British order in council of the 26th of October last, providing for the supply of the British West Indies and other colonial possessions by a trade under special licenses, and is accompanied by a circular instruction to the colonial governors which confines licensed importations from ports of the United States to the ports of the Eastern States exclusively.
The Government of Great Britain had already introduced into her commerce during war a system which, at once violating the rights of other nations and resting on a mass of forgery and perjury unknown to other times, was making an unfortunate progress in undermining those principles of morality and religion which are the best foundation of national happiness.
The policy now proclaimed to the world introduces into her modes of warfare a system equally distinguished by the deformity of its features and the depravity of its character, having for its object to dissolve the ties of allegiance and the sentiments of loyalty in the adversary nation, and to seduce and separate its component parts the one from the other.
The general tendency of these demoralizing and disorganizing contrivances will be reprobated by the civilized and Christian world, and the insulting attempt on the virtue, the honor, the patriotism, and the fidelity of our brethren of the Eastern States will not fail to call forth all their indignation and resentment, and to attach more and more all the States to that happy Union and Constitution against which such insidious and malignant artifices are directed.
The better to guard, nevertheless, against the effect of individual cupidity and treachery and to turn the corrupt projects of the enemy against himself, I recommend to the consideration of Congress the expediency of an effectual prohibition of any trade whatever by citizens or inhabitants of the United States under special licenses, whether relating to persons or ports, and in aid thereof a prohibition of all exportations from the United States, in foreign bottoms, few of which are actually employed, whilst multiplying counterfeits of their flags and papers are covering and encouraging the navigation of the enemy.
SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS.1
About to add the solemnity of an oath to the obligations imposed by a second call to the station in which my country heretofore placed me, I find in the presence of this respectable assembly an opportunity of publicly repeating my profound sense of so distinguished a confidence and of the responsibility united with it. The impressions on me are strengthened by such an evidence that my faithful endeavors to discharge my arduous duties have been favorably estimated, and by a consideration of the momentous period at which the trust has been renewed. From the weight and magnitude now belonging to it I should be compelled to shrink if I had less reliance on the support of an enlightened and generous people, and felt less deeply a conviction that the war with a powerful nation, which forms so prominent a feature in our situation, is stamped with that justice which invites the smiles of Heaven on the means of conducting it to a successful termination.
May we not cherish this sentiment without presumption when we reflect on the characters by which this war is distinguished?
It was not declared on the part of the United States until it had been long made on them, in reality though not in name; until arguments and expostulations had been exhausted; until a positive declaration had been received that the wrongs provoking it would not be discontinued; nor until this last appeal could no longer be delayed without breaking down the spirit of the nation, destroying all confidence in itself and in its political institutions, and either perpetuating a state of disgraceful suffering or regaining by more costly sacrifices and more severe struggles our lost rank and respect among independent powers.
On the issue of the war are staked our national sovereignty on the high seas and the security of an important class of citizens, whose occupations give the proper value to those of every other class. Not to contend for such a stake is to surrender our equality with other powers on the element common to all and to violate the sacred title which every member of the society has to its protection. I need not call into view the unlawfulness of the practice by which our mariners are forced at the will of every cruising officer from their own vessels into foreign ones, nor paint the outrages inseparable from it. The proofs are in the records of each successive Administration of our Government, and the cruel sufferings of that portion of the American people have found their way to every bosom not dead to the sympathies of human nature.
As the war was just in its origin and necessary and noble in its objects, we can reflect with a proud satisfaction that in carrying it on no principle of justice or honor, no usage of civilized nations, no precept of courtesy or humanity, have been infringed. The war has been waged on our part with scrupulous regard to all these obligations, and in a spirit of liberality which was never surpassed.
How little has been the effect of this example on the conduct of the enemy!
They have retained as prisoners of war citizens of the United States not liable to be so considered under the usages of war.
They have refused to consider as prisoners of war, and threatened to punish as traitors and deserters, persons emigrating without restraint to the United States, incorporated by naturalization into our political family, and fighting under the authority of their adopted country in open and honorable war for the maintenance of its rights and safety. Such is the avowed purpose of a Government which is in the practice of naturalizing by thousands citizens of other countries, and not only of permitting but compelling them to fight its battles against their native country.
They have 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 these cruel instruments; have allured them into their service, and carried them to battle by their sides, eager to glut their savage thirst with the blood of the vanquished and to finish the work of torture and death on maimed and defenseless 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 modes of honorable warfare, supplying the place of a conquering force, by attempts to disorganize our political society, to dismember our confederated Republic. Happily, like others, these will recoil on the authors; but they mark the degenerate counsels from which they emanate: and if they did not belong to a series of unexampled inconsistencies, might excite the greater wonder, as proceeding from a Government which founded the very war in which it has been so long engaged, on a charge against the disorganizing and insurrectional policy of its adversary.
To render the justice of the war on our part the more conspicuous, the reluctance to commence it was followed by the earliest and strongest manifestations of a disposition to arrest its progress. The sword was scarcely out of the scabbard, before the enemy was apprized of the reasonable terms on which it would be resheathed. Still more precise advances were repeated, and have been received in a spirit forbidding every reliance not placed on the military resources of the nation.
These resources are amply sufficient to bring the war to an honorable issue. Our nation 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 more 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 which it might last; and the patriotism, the good sense, and the manly spirit of our fellow-citizens, 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 habits which are in daily progress.
March 4, 1813.
TO DAVID HUMPHREYS.mad. mss.
Washington, Mar. 23, 1813.
I have recd your letter of the 19th Ulti: Mr. Perkins who was to have been the bearer, has not yet arrived, unless, as is possible, he may have done so, and had his communications with the Patent Office, without my knowing it.
Altho’ it is neither usual nor often eligible, to enter into political explanations on such an occasion as the present, I am induced by the frank & friendly tenor of your remarks, to express (under the reserves which you will infer) my regret that you should be able to cite a prevailing opinion that “an alliance with France and a systematic exclusion of Commerce” were within the views of the Administration.
To say nothing of the extreme improbability of such a policy on the first point, it is not easy to conceive a more formal disavowal of it, than has been repeatedly made & published both by my predecessor & myself, particularly in the Messages relating to the war, which emphatically impugn political alliances or conventions with any foreign power. In full conformity with these disavowals, is the letter from Mr. Barlow to Mr. Monroe lately published, from which it must be necessarily inferred that he was forbidden to enter into any arrangement with France beyond the subjects of indemnity & commerce. With such strong presumptions & decisive proofs before the public, it is impossible that a purpose in this Government of allying itself with that of France, can be seriously believed by any intelligent individual not in a temper to reject a witness even from the dead.
As to a systematic exclusion of commerce, a belief of it, is still more incomprehensible. Temporary abridgements or suspensions of it, must have for their object its permanent freedom, as interruptions of peace, have for their object, a re-establishment of peace on improved foundations. In such a light only can the restrictive measures applied to our commerce be rationally viewed. The avowed object of them, in fact, was to liberate our commerce from foreign restrictions equally obnoxious to all parties. Whether the means were well applied or not, may be made a question. The object itself never can. How is it possible that any man in his senses should attempt or wish to annihilate the foreign commerce of such a Country as this; or that such a policy should be supported by that portion of the Country, which thinks itself, as much more interested in commerce than the other portion, as the cargoes of ships are more valuable than their freight?
Viewing the topics which have so much agitated the public mind, in the light here presented, I have never allowed myself to believe that the Union was in danger, or that a dissolution of it could be desired, unless by a few individuals, if such there be, in desperate situations or of unbridled passions. In addition to the thousand affinities belonging to every part of the Nation, every part has an interest as deep as it is obvious, in maintaining the bond which keeps the whole together; and the Eastern part certainly not less than any other. Looking to the immediate & commercial effect of a dissolution, it is clear that the Eastern part would be the greatest loser, by such an event; and not likely therefore deliberately to rush into it; especially when it takes into view, the groundlessness of the suspicions which alone could suggest so dreadful an alternative; and the turn which would probably grow out of it, to the relations with Europe. The great road of profitable intercourse for New England, even with old England, lies through the Wheat, the Cotton & the Tobacco fields, of her Southern & Western confederates. On what basis could N. E. & O. E. form commercial stipulations. On all the great articles they would be in direct rivalship. The real source of our Revolution was the commercial jealousy of G. B. towards that part of her then Colonies. If there be links of common interest between the two Countries, they wd. connect the S. & not the N. States, with that part of Europe. Accept my friendly respects.
I this moment receive your favor of the 20th, with the paper headed “Navy.”
TO JOHN NICHOLAS.mad. mss.
Washington, April 2d, 1813.
Your favor of the 11th March came duly to hand and I feel myself obliged by the friendly spirit of the observations it contains. The circumstances under which the war commenced on our part require that it should be reviewed with a liberality above the ordinary rules and dispositions indulged in such cases. It had become impossible to avoid or even delay war, at a moment when we were not prepared for it, and when it was certain that effective preparations would not take place, whilst the question of war was undecided. Another feature was, the discord and variety of opinions and views in the public councils, of which sufficient evidence has been seen, in the public debates and proceedings; and of which much more is known than ever has been published. The Calculations of the Ex. were that it would be best to open the war with a force of a kind and amount that would be soon procured, & that might strike an important blow, before the Enemy, who was known to disbelieve the approach of such an event, could be reinforced. These calculations were defeated, as you observe by mixing, and substituting preparations necessarily producing fatal delays; and in some respects thwarting each other. At this moment, notwithstanding the additional stimuli, it is not certain that the regular force exceeds that which was in the first instance recommended, which would have been more an overmatch for the then strength of the enemy, than the force voted, if realized, would be for his present strength; and which could have been easily augmented as fast as might be necessary to maintain conquered ground, or meet reinforcements from Europe or elsewhere. The failure of our calculations, with respect to the expedition under Hull, needs no comment. The worst of it was that we were misled by a reliance authorized by himself, on its securing to us the command of the Lakes. The decisive importance of this advantage has always been well understood; but until the first prospect ceased, other means of attaining it were repressed by certain difficulties in carrying them into effect. These means have since been pushed with alacrity; and we hope will enable us to open the campaign in relation to Canada, with a retort of the success which the last turned against us. With the command of L. Ontario, the treasonable commerce at which you point, will probably be found too hazardous to be prosecuted. I have furnished you hints however, for the consideration of the proper Departments.
We are at present occupied with the Mediation of Russia.1 That is the only power in Europe which can command respect from both France and England; and at this moment it is in its zenith. We shall endeavour to turn this mediation to the best account, in promoting a just peace. We are encouraged in this policy by the known friendship of the Emperor Alexander to this country; and by the probability that the greater affinity between the Baltic and American ideas of maritime law, than between those of the former and of G. B. will render his interposition as favorable as will be consistent with the character assumed by him.
MESSAGE TO THE SPECIAL SESSION OF CONGRESS.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
Washington, May 25, 1813.
At an early day after the close of the last session of Congress an offer was formally communicated from His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Russia of his mediation, as the common friend of the United States and Great Britain, for the purpose of facilitating a peace between them. The high character of the Emperor Alexander being a satisfactory pledge for the sincerity and impartiality of his offer, it was immediately accepted, and as a further proof of the disposition on the part of the United States to meet their adversary in honorable experiments for terminating the war it was determined to avoid intermediate delays incident to the distance of the parties by a definitive provision for the contemplated negotiation. Three of our eminent citizens were accordingly commissioned with the requisite powers to conclude a treaty of peace with persons clothed with like powers on the part of Great Britain. They are authorized also to enter into such conventional regulations of the commerce between the two countries as may be mutually advantageous. The two envoys who were in the United States at the time of their appointment have proceeded to join their colleague already at St. Petersburg.
The envoys have received another commission authorizing them to conclude with Russia a treaty of commerce with a view to strengthen the amicable relations and improve the beneficial intercourse between the two countries.
The issue of this friendly interposition of the Russian Emperor and this pacific manifestation on the part of the United States time only can decide. That the sentiments of Great Britain toward that Sovereign will have procured an acceptance of his offered mediation must be presumed. That no adequate motives exist to prefer a continuance of war with the United States to the terms on which they are willing to close it is certain. The British cabinet also must be sensible that, with respect to the important question of impressment, on which the war so essentially turns, a search for or seizure of British persons or property on board neutral vessels on the high seas is not a belligerent right derived from the law of nations, and it is obvious that no visit or search or use of force for any purpose on board the vessels of one independent power on the high seas can in war or peace be sanctioned by the laws or authority of another power. It is equally obvious that, for the purpose of preserving to each State its seafaring members, by excluding them from the vessels of the other, the mode heretofore proposed by the United States and now enacted by them as an article of municipal policy, can not for a moment be compared with the mode practiced by Great Britain without a conviction of its title to preference, inasmuch as the latter leaves the discrimination between the mariners of the two nations to officers exposed by unavoidable bias as well as by a defect of evidence to a wrong decision, under circumstances precluding for the most part the enforcement of controlling penalties, and where a wrong decision, besides the irreparable violation of the sacred rights of persons, might frustrate the plans and profits of entire voyages; whereas the mode assumed by the United States guards with studied fairness and efficacy against errors in such cases and avoids the effect of casual errors on the safety of navigation and the success of mercantile expeditions.
If the reasonableness of expectations drawn from these considerations could guarantee their fulfillment a just peace would not be distant. But it becomes the wisdom of the National Legislature to keep in mind the true policy, or rather the indispensable obligation, of adapting its measures to the supposition that the only course to that happy event is in the vigorous employment of the resources of war. And painful as the reflection is, this duty is particularly enforced by the spirit and manner in which the war continues to be waged by the enemy, who, uninfluenced by the unvaried examples of humanity set them, are adding to the savage fury of it on one frontier a system of plunder and conflagration on the other, equally forbidden by respect for national character and by the established rules of civilized warfare.
As an encouragement to persevering and invigorated exertions to bring the contest to a happy result, I have the satisfaction of being able to appeal to the auspicious progress of our arms, both by land and on the water.
In continuation of the brilliant achievements of our infant Navy, a signal triumph has been gained by Captain Lawrence and his companions in the Hornet sloop of war, which destroyed a British sloop of war, with a celerity so unexampled, and with a slaughter of the enemy so disproportionate to the loss in the Hornet, as to claim for the conquerors the highest praise, and the full recompense provided by Congress in preceding cases. Our public ships of war in general, as well as the private armed vessels, have continued also their activity and success against the commerce of the enemy, and, by their vigilance and address, have greatly frustrated the efforts of the hostile squadrons distributed along our coasts, to intercept them in returning into port, and resuming their cruises.
The augmentation of our Naval force, as authorized at the last session of Congress, is in progress. On the Lakes our superiority is near at hand, where it is not already established.
The events of the campaign, so far as they are known to us, furnish matter of congratulation, and show that, under a wise organization and efficient direction, the Army is destined to a glory not less brilliant than that which already encircles the Navy. The attack and capture of York is, in that quarter, a presage of future and greater victories; while, on the western frontier, the issue of the late siege of Fort Meigs leaves us nothing to regret but a single act of inconsiderate valor.
The provisions last made for filling the ranks, and enlarging the staff of the Army, have had the best effects. It will be for the consideration of Congress, whether other provisions, depending on their authority, may not still further improve the Military Establishment and the means of defence.
The sudden death of the distinguished citizen who represented the United States in France, without any special arrangements by him for such a contingency, has left us without the expected sequel to his last communications: nor has the French Government taken any measures for bringing the depending negotiations to a conclusion, through its representative in the United States. This failure adds to delays before so unreasonably spun out. A successor to our deceased Minister has been appointed, and is ready to proceed on his mission: the course which he will pursue in fulfilling it, is that prescribed by a steady regard to the true interests of the United States, which equally avoids an abandonment of their just demands, and a connexion of their fortunes with the systems of other Powers.
The receipts in the Treasury, from the 1st of October to the 31st day of March last, including the sums received on account of Treasury notes, and of the loans authorized by the acts of the last and preceding sessions of Congress, have amounted to fifteen millions four hundred and twelve thousand dollars. The expenditures during the same period amounted to fifteen millions nine hundred and twenty thousand dollars, and left in the Treasury, on the 1st of April, the sum of one million eight hundred and fifty-seven thousand dollars. The loan of sixteen millions of dollars, authorized by the act of the 8th of February last, has been contracted for. Of that sum more than a million of dollars has been paid into the Treasury, prior to the 1st of April, and formed a part of the receipts as above stated. The remainder of that loan, amounting to near fifteen millions of dollars, with the sum of five millions of dollars authorized to be issued in Treasury notes, and the estimated receipts from the customs and the sales of public lands, amounting to nine millions three hundred thousand dollars, and making in the whole twenty-nine millions three hundred thousand dollars to be received during the last nine months of the present year, will be necessary to meet the expenditures already authorized, and the engagements contracted in relation to the public debt. These engagements amount during that period to ten millions five hundred thousand dollars, which, with near one million for the civil, miscellaneous, and diplomatic expenses, both foreign and domestic, and seventeen millions eight hundred thousand dollars for the military and naval expenditures, including the ships of war building and to be built, will leave a sum in the Treasury at the end of the present year equal to that on the first of April last. A part of this sum may be considered as a resource for defraying any extraordinary expenses already authorized by law, beyond the sums above estimated; and a further resource for any emergency may be found in the sum of one million of dollars, the loan of which to the United States has been authorized by the State of Pennsylvania, but which has not yet been brought into effect.
This view of our finances, whilst it shows that due provision has been made for the expenses of the current year, shows, at the same time, by the limited amount of the actual revenue, and the dependence on loans, the necessity of providing more adequately for the future supplies of the Treasury. This can be best done by a well digested system of internal revenue, in aid of existing sources; which will have the effect, both of abridging the amount of necessary loans, and on that account, as well as by placing the public credit on a more satisfactory basis, of improving the terms on which loans may be obtained. The loan of sixteen millions was not contracted for at a less interest than about seven and a half per cent., and, although other causes may have had an agency, it cannot be doubted, that, with the advantage of a more extended and less precarious revenue, a lower rate of interest might have sufficed. A longer postponement of this advantage could not fail to have a still greater influence on future loans.
In recommending to the National Legislature this resort to additional taxes, I feel great satisfaction in the assurance, that our constituents, who have already displayed so much zeal and firmness in the cause of their country, will cheerfully give any other proof of their patriotism which it calls for. Happily, no people, with local and transitory exceptions, never to be wholly avoided, are more able than the people of the United States to spare for the public wants a portion of their private means, whether regard be had to the ordinary profits of industry, or the ordinary price of subsistence in our country, compared with those in any other. And in no case could stronger reasons be felt for yielding the requisite contributions. By rendering the public resources certain, and commensurate to the public exigencies, the constituted authorities will be able to prosecute the war the more rapidly to its proper issue; every hostile hope, founded on a calculated failure of our resources, will be cut off; and by adding to the evidence of bravery and skill, in combats on the ocean and the land, an alacrity in supplying the treasure necessary to give them their fullest effect, and demonstrating to the world the public energy which our political institutions combine, with the personal liberty distinguishing them, the best security will be provided against future enterprises on the rights or the peace of the nation.
The contest in which the United States are engaged, appeals for its support to every motive that can animate an uncorrupted and enlightened people; to the love of country; to the pride of liberty; to an emulation of the glorious founders of their independence, by a successful vindication of its violated attributes; to the gratitude and sympathy which demand security from the most degrading wrongs of a class of citizens, who have proved themselves so worthy of the protection of their country, by their heroic zeal in its defence; and, finally, to the sacred obligation of transmitting entire, to future generations, that precious patrimony of national rights and independence which is held in trust by the present, from the goodness of Divine Providence.
Being aware of the inconveniences to which a protracted session, at this season, would be liable, I limit the present communication to objects of primary importance. In special messages which may ensue, regard will be had to the same consideration.
TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.1mad. mss.
I have recd. from the Committee appointed by the resolution of the Senate of the  day of [June] a copy of that resolution, which authorizes the Committee to confer with the P. on the subject of the nomination made by him of a Min: Plenipo. to Sweden.
Conceiving it to be my duty to decline the proposed conference with the Committee, & it being uncertain when it may be convenient to explain to the Committee & thro’ them, to the Senate, the grounds of my so doing, I think it proper to address the explanation directly to the Senate.
Without entering into a general review of the relations, in which the constitution has placed the several departments of the Govt to each other, it will suffice to remark.
That the Executive & Senate in the cases of appointments to Office & of Treaties, are to be considered as independent of and co-ordinate with each other. If they agree the appointments or treaties are made. If the Senate disagree they fail. If the Senate wish information previous to their final decision, the practice, keeping in view the constitutional relations of the Senate & the Executive has been either to request the Executive to furnish it, or to refer the subject to a committee of their body to communicate either formally or informally with the head of the proper Department.
The appointment of a Committee of the Senate to confer immediately with the Executive himself appears to lose sight of the co-ordinate relation between the Executive & the Senate which the Constitution has established, & which ought therefore to be maintained.
The relation between the Senate & House of Representatives in whom legislative power is concurrently vested, is sufficiently analogous to illustrate that between the Executive & senate in making appointments & treaties. The two houses are in like manner independent of & co-ordinate with each other; and the invariable practice of each in appointing Committees of conference & consultation is to commission them to confer not with the co-ordinate Body itself, but with a Committee of that Body. And although both branches of the Legislature may be too numerous to hold conveniently a conference with committees were they to be appointed by either to confer with the entire Body of the other, it may be fairly presumed that if the whole number of either branch were not too large for the purpose, the objection to such a conference, being agst the principle, as derogating from the co-ordinate relations of the two Houses, would retain all its force.
I add only that I am entirely persuaded of the purity of the intentions of the Senate, in the course they have pursued on this occasion, & with which my view of the subject makes it my duty not to accord; & that they will be cheerfully furnished with all the suitable information in possession of the Executive, in any mode deemed consistent with the principles of the Constitution, and the settled practice under it.
Washington July 6 1813.
TO ALBERT GALLATIN.mad. mss.
Washington, Aug 2, 1813.
You will learn from the Secy of State the painful manner in which the Senate have mutilated the Mission to St Petersburg.1 But the course & circumstances of the proceeding require more of explanation than may fall within his scope, and more indeed, than can well be conveyed on paper.
Previously to sending in the nomination of the Envoys, there was no indication, that, if the popularity of the object did not prevent opposition, it would extend beyond a portion of the Senate essentially short of a majority. And there is reason to believe that if a preliminary 2attempt to embarrass the subject had been decided on at the proper time, and before out-door means could be interposed, the desired & expected result would have been secured. Liberality however yielded to an adjournment of the question, and the opportunity afforded by it wasindustriously improved. The first step was, after formally ascertaining the arrangement under which you were included in the Mission, to obtain a vote declaring an incompatibility (without specifying whether Constitutional or otherwise) between the domestic & diplomatic appts. The tendency of this proposition to comprehend as many and to commit as much as possible, is obvious. It would seem notwithstanding that the vote of incompatibility was concurred in by some who regarded it not as an obstacle to an ultimate concurrence in the nomination, but rather as a protest throwing the whole responsibility upon the Executive. The next step was to communicate this opinion of the Senate to me, with a view either to extort a compliance, or to unite against the nomination all, or as many as possible, who had concurred in the vote of incompatibility. In this stage of the business it was the confident opinion of the supporters of the nomination that inflexibility on the part of the Ex would ensure a majority for it and their unanimous & urgent advice as well on general grounds, as on that particular calculation, not to yield to the irregular views of the adverse party. The event proved that the final purposes of certain individuals on whom the turning of the scale depended, had been miscounted. It is not easy to express the mixed feelings produced by the disappointment, or the painfulness of my own in particular. It was at first suggested from some friendly sources, as most advisable in such a posture of things to send in a renomination founded on a vacancy in the Secretaryship of the Treasury; and under certain points of view this expedient had its recommendations. They were met however by difficulties & considerations not to be got over. 1. The ground taken by the Executive did not admit a compliance with the condition imposed by the Senate, without a palpable inconsistency. 2. Those who had approved & urged this ground could not brook the idea of putting their opponents ostensibly in the right & themselves in the wrong. 3. It was calculated, that the mediation, if accepted by G. B. would be over, & the envoys on their way home, before the decision of the Senate could reach St Petersbg. and that this last wd. certainly be the case shd. the mediation be rejected as was becoming more & more probable especially considering the prospects on the Continent, &, as seems now to be put beyond doubt, by a late communication from Beasely at London. Nor were these the only views of the subject. It was apprehended by some of the best disposed & best informed of the Senate that a renomination would not secure the object. As it had become certain that the open & secret adversaries together amounted to a formidable number who would be doubly gratified by a double triumph, it was suspected that after succeeding in getting the Treasury vacated, it would be a prerequisite to a confirmation of the other app that the vacancy should be actually filled in order to prevent its being kept open for your return, which might be looked for within the term of six months; and that with this view a resolution might be obtained declaring the inconsistency of a protracted vacancy with the public service & the incompatibility of the two offices held by the Secretary of the Navy to be used in like manner with the first resolution, as a motive, or pretext for embarrassing & if possible getting rid of the renomination. It is certain that some who had intimated an intended change of their votes, in case the Treasury Dept. should be vacated, had in view that the vacancy should be forthwith filled & even that a nomination to it should go in with the renomination. Whether a majority would have gone such lengths is uncertain; but strong symptoms existed of a temper in the Body capable of going very great lengths. And apart from all other considerations it would have been impossible even if it had been intended to make & fill a vacancy in the Treasy Dept that the consent of the Senate in the other case could be purchased by a pledge to that effect. Besides the degradation of the Ex., it would have introduced a species of barter of the most fatal tendency.
I have given you this summary that you may understand the true character of a proceeding which has given us so much concern. I will add to it two observations only, 1. that the Senate by resting their negative on the opinion of official incompatibility tacitly acknowledge a personal fitness & so far defeat their own hostility: 2. that the whole proceeding according to every friendly opinion, will have the effect of giving you a stronger hold on the confidence & support of the Nation. Judging from the effect as already known this cannot fail to be the case.
I have just recovered strength eno’, after a severe & tedious attack of bilious fever, to bear a journey to the Mountains whither I am about setting out. The Physicians prescribe it as essential to my thorough recovery, & security agst. a relapse at the present season. For recent occurrences & the general state of affairs, I refer to the official communications going by this conveyance. If it were less inconvenient to me, to lengthen my letter, I should recollect that I send it, without expecting that it will find you at Petersburg, should it happen not to be intercepted on its passage.
Accept my affectionate esteem & best wishes.
TO HENRY DEARBORN.mad. mss.
Washington, Augt 8th, 1813.
I have recd. yours of the 24th July.1 As my esteem and regard have undergone no change, I wish you to be apprized that such was the state of things, and such the turn they were taking, that the retirement which is the subject of your letter, was pressed by your best personal friends.
It was my purpose to have written to you on the occasion, but it was made impossible by a severe illness, from which I am now barely eno’ recovered for a journey to the Mountains, prescribed by my Physicians as indispensable. It would have been entirely agreeable to me, if as I took for granted was to be the case, you had executed your original intention of providing for your health, by exchanging the sickliness of Niagara for some eligible spot, And I sincerely lament every pain to which you have been subsequently exposed from whatever circumstance it has proceeded. How far the investigation you refer to would be regular, I am not prepared to say. You have seen the Motion in the House of Representatives comprehending such an object; and the prospect held out of resuming the subject at another session. I am persuaded that you will not lose in any respect by the effect of time and truth.
Accept my respects & best wishes.
TO ISAAC SHELBY.1mad. mss.
Montpelier, Aug. 12, 1813.
I recd. your favor of the 18th July a few days only before I left Washington, which was on the 9th instant. If any doubt had ever existed of the patriotism or bravery of the Citizens of Kentucky, it would have been turned into an admiration of both by the tests to which the war has put them. Nor could any who are acquainted with your history and character, wish the military services of your fellow Citizens to be under better direction than yours. How far a call on you and them, according to the provision made by your Legislature, will take place, must depend on the wants of Gen1 Harrison who will be regulated in his applications for succour by his own prospects on L. Erie, & by the operations on & below L. Ontario, which must have a considerable bearing on his. We do not despond tho’ we ought not to be too sanguine, that the effect of our naval preparations on the several Lakes, and the proper use of the forces assembled on & convenient to them, will soon relieve the distant militia & volunteers from much of the demands which the course of the war on our inland frontier has made on them. Should it happen otherwise it is consoling to know that such resorts exist as those to which your letter contains so favorable an example.
TO JOHN GRAHAM.mad. mss.
Montpelier, Augt 28th, 1813.
I have recd. your favor of the 26th. I cannot recollect off-hand, very much about the letter from Turreau to R. Smith, of which a translation is printed at Georgetown.1 My general impression pression is that it was considered at the time as highly exceptionable in several passages; that it was noticed that T. by a ruse diplomatique, which distinguished between the existing & preceding administrations, and assumed the air of a private instead of an Official paper, had attempted to cover & pass off here a rudeness which might be recd. as a proof of his energetic zeal, by his own Govt. and that unless T. preferred taking back the paper, a proper notice of its offensiveness ought to be taken; it being of course left to R. S. to manage the business with T. A further appeal to my memory, may give more precision to these circumstances, and may recover others from the oblivion into which they have fallen. The case will probably be the same with you. If you can pronounce with certainty from your own knowledge, or the information of Mr. Smith that the letter was taken back by T. (a thing not very unusual in such cases, and of which there have been examples with other foreign Ministers, British,1 if I mistake not, as well as French2 ) it may be well perhaps that the fact shd. be noticed in the Newspaper. An antidote in some form, to the mischievous intent of the publication seems due to the crisis chosen for it. If no answer were given to the letter, which the records will test, that alone would be animadversion, in one of its modes, of no inconsiderable force. It is unfortunate that the individual possessing the fullest knowledge of all circumstances, cannot be resorted to. If he has himself conveyed the paper to the printer, as you conjecture, it is another evidence of the folly which has marked his career; since the position which he occupied and the address of the paper to him as “une lettre simple,” wd. assign to him more particularly any reproach of want of sensibility to its offensive contents; For he will hardly pretend that he was controuled in the expression of it. The time for doing that was the time when he mustered the whole of that & every other species of denunciation agst. the object of his tormenting passions. If the original of the French letter was returned to T. without a copy having been taken, as may be inferred from the sending of a translation to the Printer, and your translation is not found in the Office, the translation sent must have been yours; and the public will decide between the Clerks in the Depart. and the then head of it. It is sufficiently known that he carryd with him out of it, copies of other papers which he wished to possess, with a view to eventual publicity.
If the date of the translated letter be correctly published, the letter must have been recd. before the rejection of Erskine’s arrangement was known, and at a period when a reconciliation with England was considered as certain. This consideration might properly have had weight, in disposing the Cabinet to bear with less impatience an exceptionable tone from a French Minister, whose feelings on such an event, wd. naturally mingle themselves with his complaints on other subjects, some of which, particularly the apathy of the Amn. Govt. with respect to the French ship burnt near the shore of N. C., it was not very easy to meet in a satisfactory manner.
I am very sorry to hear of the indisposition of Col. Monroe. I hope it will be found to justify the term slight which you apply to it. My own health has greatly improved since my arrival here; but I have not been without several slight returns of fever which are chargeable rather on the remnant of the influenza than the cause from which I suffered in Washington. I am now pretty well recovered from the last return which took place a few days ago. Accept with my respects my best wishes for your health & welfare.
TO WILLIAM WIRT.1
Montpelier, Septr 30th, 1813.
I have been several weeks in possession of your favor of the 29th of August. As it appeared that you were on an excursion from Richmond, perhaps behind the mountains, I have not been in a hurry to acknowledge it. From the present advance of the season, I infer your probable return to that place.
From whatever motives information such as that in your letter might proceed, it ought not to be unwelcome. The friendly ones by which I well know you were governed entitle it to my sincere thanks, which I pray you to accept.
I have not been unaware of the disappointment and discontent gaining ground with respect to the war on Canada, or of the use to which they were turned against the Administration. I have not been less aware that success alone would put an end to them. This is the test by which public opinion decides more or less in all cases, and most of all, perhaps, in that of military events, where there is the least opportunity of judging by any other. No stimulus, therefore, has been wanting to the exertions necessary to render our arms successful in the quarter where they have failed.
How far these exertions will prevail remains to be seen; and how far past failure is to be ascribed to the difficulties incident to the first stages of a war commenced as the present necessarily was; to the personal faults of those entrusted with command; to the course pursued by the National Legislature; or to mismanagements by the Executive Department, must be left to those who will decide impartially, and on fuller information than may now exist.
Without meaning to throw undue blame elsewhere, or to shun whatever blame may be justly chargeable on the Executive, I will, in the confidence with which we both write, intimate the plan for giving effect to the war, originally entertained by that branch of the Government. As it was obvious that advantage ought to be taken of our chusing the time for commencing, or rather retorting, hostilities, and of the pains taken to make the British Government believe that they were not to be resorted to by the United States; and as it was foreseen that there would be great delay, if not impossibility, in raising a large army for a long term of service, it was thought best to limit our first attempts to such a force as might be obtained in a short time, and be sufficient to reduce Canada, from Montreal upwards, before the enemy would be prepared to resist its progress; trusting to the impression to be made by success, and to the time that would be afforded, for such an augmentation of the durable force as would be able to extend as well as secure our conquests. With these views, it was recommended to Congress to provide immediately and effectually for compleating the existing establishment of 10,000 men; to provide for a like number to be enlisted for a shorter term of 2 or 3 years; and for volunteers, of whom an adequate number, as was represented, would be readily furnished by the enthusiasm of the frontiers of New York and Vermont. With this arrangement was combined the expedition conducted by Hull against the upper and weaker part of the Province.
Of the issue of this part of the plan, and its distressing consequences, it is needless to speak. The other part, not coinciding with the ideas adopted by Congress, was not brought to an experiment. It was there thought best to commence with the addition of 25,000 regulars to the existing establishment of 10,000. And to the delays in passing the laws for this purpose; to the deficiency in the bounty and pay allowed recruits; to the necessity of selecting 1,000 officers, to be drawn from every part of the Union; and to the difficulty, not to say impossibility, of procuring, at a crisis of such scarcity, supplies for such an army, and of distributing them over such a surface in the worst season of the year; may reasonably be ascribed the loss of the first year of the land war. It unfortunately happened, also, that the first provision of the two vital Departments, the Commissary’s and Quarter Master’s, was so inadequate, that the War office, otherwise overcharged, was obliged for some time to perform the functions of both. It was only after repeated failures and a lapse of months that a Commissary General could be obtained on the terms offered by the law. Nor ought it to be omitted that the recommendation of a greater number of General Officers, though complied with at the last session of Congress, was rejected in the first instance. The same may be remarked as to two auxiliary appointments in the War office, now substantially provided for under other names in the organization of the military establishment. The utter inexperience of nearly all the new officers was an inconvenience of the most serious kind, but inseparable, as it always must be, from a Country among whose blessings it is to have long intervals of peace, and to be without those large standing armies which even in peace are fitted for war.
These observations will be allowed less weight in the present than in the first year of the war. But they will justly mitigate the lateness, to say nothing of the thinness of the ranks notwithstanding the augmented inducements to enlist, attending the operations by which the character of the campaign is to be decided. My anxiety for the result is great, but not unmingled with hopes that it will furnish topics better than the past on which the Censorious adversaries and criticising friends of the Administration are to be met.
Accept, dear Sir, the assurances of my regard.
FIFTH ANNUAL MESSAGE.
Fellow-Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
Washington, December 7, 1813.
In meeting you at the present interesting conjuncture it would have been highly satisfactory if I could have communicated a favorable result to the mission charged with negotiations for restoring peace. It was a just expectation, from the respect due to the distinguished Sovereign who had invited them by his offer of mediation, from the readiness with which the invitation was accepted on the part of the United States, and from the pledge to be found in an act of their Legislature for the liberality which their plenipotentiaries would carry into the negotiations, that no time would be lost by the British Government in embracing the experiment for hastening a stop to the effusion of blood. A prompt and cordial acceptance of the mediation on that side was the less to be doubted, as it was of a nature not to submit rights or pretensions on either side to the decisions of an umpire, but to afford merely an opportunity, honorable and desirable to both, for discussing and, if possible, adjusting them for the interest of both.
The British cabinet, either mistaking our desire of peace for a dread of British power or misled by other fallacious calculations, has disappointed this reasonable anticipation. No communications from our envoys having reached us, no information on the subject has been received from that source; but it is known that the mediation was declined in the first instance, and there is no evidence, notwithstanding the lapse of time, that a change of disposition in the British councils has taken place or is to be expected.
Under such circumstances a nation proud of its rights and conscious of its strength has no choice but an exertion of the one in support of the other.
To this determination the best encouragement is derived from the success with which it has pleased the Almighty to bless our arms both on the land and on the water.
Whilst proofs have been continued of the enterprise and skill of our cruisers, public and private, on the ocean, and a new trophy gained in the capture of a British by an American vessel of war, after an action giving celebrity to the name of the victorious commander, the great inland waters on which the enemy were also to be encountered have presented achievements of our naval arms as brilliant in their character as they have been important in their consequences.
On Lake Erie, the squadron under command of Captain Perry having met the British squadron of superior force, a sanguinary conflict ended in the capture of the whole. The conduct of that officer, adroit as it was daring, and which was so well seconded by his comrades, justly entitles them to the admiration and gratitude of their country, and will fill an early page in its naval annals with a victory never surpassed in luster, however much it may have been in magnitude.
On Lake Ontario the caution of the British commander, favored by contingencies, frustrated the efforts of the American commander to bring on a decisive action. Captain Chauncey was able, however, to establish an ascendency on that important theater, and to prove by the manner in which he effected everything possible that opportunities only were wanted for a more shining display of his own talents and the gallantry of those under his command.
The success on Lake Erie having opened a passage to the territory of the enemy, the officer commanding the Northwestern army transferred the war thither, and rapidly pursuing the hostile troops, fleeing with their savage associates, forced a general action, which quickly terminated in the capture of the British and dispersion of the savage force.
This result is signally honorable to Major-General Harrison, by whose military talents it was prepared; to Colonel Johnson and his mounted volunteers, whose impetuous onset gave a decisive blow to the ranks of the enemy, and to the spirit of the volunteer militia, equally brave and patriotic, who bore an interesting part in the scene; more especially to the chief magistrate of Kentucky, at the head of them, whose heroism signalized in the war which established the independence of his country, sought at an advanced age a share in hardships and battles for maintaining its rights and its safety.
The effect of these successes has been to rescue the inhabitants of Michigan from their oppressions, aggravated by gross infractions of the capitulation which subjected them to a foreign power; to alienate the savages of numerous tribes from the enemy, by whom they were disappointed and abandoned, and to relieve an extensive region of country from a merciless warfare which desolated its frontiers and imposed on its citizens the most harassing services.
In consequence of our naval superiority on Lake Ontario and the opportunity afforded by it for concentrating our forces by water, operations which had been provisionally planned were set on foot against the possessions of the enemy on the St. Lawrence. Such, however, was the delay produced in the first instance by adverse weather of unusual violence and continuance and such the circumstances attending the final movements of the army, that the prospect, at one time so favorable, was not realized.
The cruelty of the enemy in enlisting the savages into a war with a nation desirous of mutual emulation in mitigating its calamities, has not been confined to any one quarter. Wherever they could be turned against us, no exertions to effect it have been spared. On our Southwestern border, the Creek tribes, who, yielding to our persevering endeavors, were gradually acquiring more civilized habits, became the unfortunate victims of seduction. A war in that quarter has been the consequence, infuriated by a bloody fanaticism recently propagated among them. It was necessary to crush such a war before it could spread among the contiguous tribes, and before it could favor enterprises of the enemy into that vicinity. With this view, a force was called into the service of the United States from the State of Georgia and Tennessee, which, with the nearest regular troops, and other corps from the Mississippi Territory, might not only chastise the savages into present peace, but make a lasting impression on their fears.
The progress of the expedition, as far as is yet known, corresponds with the martial zeal with which it was espoused; and the best hopes of a satisfactory issue are authorized by the complete success with which a well planned enterprise was executed against a body of hostile savages, by a detachment of the volunteer militia of Tennessee, under the gallant command of General Coffee; and by a still more important victory over a larger body of them, gained under the immediate command of Major General Jackson, an officer equally distinguished for his patriotism and his military talents.
The systematic perseverance of the enemy in courting the aid of the savages in all quarters, had the natural effect of kindling their ordinary propensity to war into a passion, which, even among those best disposed towards the United States, was ready, if not employed on our side, to be turned against us. A departure from our protracted forbearance to accept the services tendered by them, has thus been forced upon us. But, in yielding to it, the retaliation has been mitigated as much as possible, both in its extent and in its character, stopping far short of the example of the enemy, who owe the advantages they have occasionally gained in battle, chiefly to the number of their savage associates; and who have not controlled them either from their usual practice of indiscriminate massacre on defenceless inhabitants, or from scenes of carnage without a parallel, on prisoners to the British arms, guarded by all the laws of humanity and honorable war. For these enormities the enemy are equally responsible, whether with the power to prevent them, they want the will, or, with the knowledge of the want of power, they still avail themselves of such instruments. In other respects, the enemy are pursuing a course which threatens consequences most afflicting to humanity.
A standing law of Great Britain naturalizes, as is well known, all aliens complying with conditions limited to a shorter period than those required by the United States; and naturalized subjects are, in war, employed by her Government in common with native subjects. In a contiguous British province, regulations promulgated since the commencement of the war, compel citizens of the United States being there under certain circumstances to bear arms; whilst, of the native emigrants from the United States, who compose much of the population of the province, a number have actually borne arms against the United States within their limits; some of whom, after having done so, have become prisoners of war, and are now in our possession. The British commander in that province, nevertheless, with the sanction, it appears, of his Government, thought proper to select from American prisoners of war, and send to Great Britain for trial as criminals, a number of individuals, who had emigrated from the British dominions long prior to the state of war between the two nations, who had incorporated themselves into our political society, in the modes recognised by the law and the practice of Great Britain, and who were made prisoners of war, under the banners of their adopted country, fighting for its rights and its safety.
The protection due to these citizens requiring an effectual interposition in their behalf, a like number of British prisoners of war were put into confinement, with a notification that they would experience whatever violence might be committed on the American prisoners of war sent to Great Britain.
It was hoped that this necessary consequence of the step unadvisedly taken on the part of Great Britain would have led her Government to reflect on the inconsistencies of its conduct, and that a sympathy with the British, if not with the American sufferers, would have arrested the cruel career opened by its example.
This was unhappily not the case. In violation both of consistency and humanity, American officers and non-commissioned officers, in double the number of the British soldiers confined here, were ordered into close confinement, with formal notice that, in the event of a retaliation for the death which might be inflicted on the prisoners of war sent to Great Britain for trial, the officers so confined would be put to death also. It was notified, at the same time, that the commanders of the British fleets and armies on our coasts are instructed, in the same event, to proceed with a destructive severity against our towns and their inhabitants.
That no doubt might be left with the enemy of our adherence to the retaliatory resort imposed on us, a correspondent number of British officers, prisoners of war in our hands, were immediately put into close confinement, to abide the fate of those confined by the enemy; and the British Government has been apprized of the determination of this Government, to retaliate any other proceedings against us, contrary to the legitimate modes of warfare.
It is as fortunate for the United States that they have it in their power to meet the enemy in this deplorable contest, as it is honorable to them that they do not join in it but under the most imperious obligations, and with the humane purpose of effectuating a return to the established usages of war.
The views of the French Government on the subjects which have been so long committed to negotiation have received no elucidation since the close of your late session. The Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at Paris had not been enabled, by proper opportunities, to press the objects of his mission, as prescribed by his instructions.
The militia being always to be regarded as the great bulwark of defence and security for free States, and the Constitution having wisely committed to the national authority a use of that force, as the best provision against an unsafe Military Establishment, as well as a resource peculiarly adapted to a country having the extent and the exposure of the United States, I recommend to Congress a revision of the militia laws, for the purpose of securing more effectually the services of all detachments called into the employment, and placed under the Government of the United States.
It will deserve the consideration of Congress, also, whether, among other improvements in the militia laws, justice does not require a regulation, under due precautions, for defraying the expense incident to the first assembling, as well as the subsequent movements, of detachments called into the national service.
To give to our vessels of war, public and private, the requisite advantage in their cruises, it is of much importance that they should have, both for themselves and their prizes, the use of the ports and markets of friendly Powers. With this view, I recommend to Congress the expediency of such legal provisions as may supply the defects or remove the doubts of the Executive authority to allow to the cruisers of other Powers at war with enemies of the United States, such use of the American ports as may correspond with the privileges allowed by such Powers to American cruisers.
During the year ending on the 30th of September last, the receipts into the Treasury have exceeded thirty-seven millions and a half of dollars, of which near twenty-four millions were the produce of loans. After meeting all the demands for the public service, there remained in the Treasury, on that day, near seven millions of dollars. Under the authority contained in the act of the 2d of August last, for borrowing seven millions and a half of dollars, that sum has been obtained on terms more favorable to the United States than those of the preceding loan made during the present year. Further sums to a considerable amount will be necessary to be obtained in the same way during the ensuing year; and, from the increased capital of the country, from the fidelity with which the public engagements have been kept, and the public credit maintained, it may be expected, on good grounds, that the necessary pecuniary supplies will not be wanting.
The expenses of the current year, from the multiplied operations falling within it, have necessarily been extensive. But, on a just estimate of the campaign, in which the mass of them has been incurred, the cost will not be found disproportionate to the advantages which have been gained. The campaign has, indeed, in its latter stages, in one quarter, been less favorable than was expected; but, in addition to the importance of our naval success, the progress of the campaign has been filled with incidents highly honorable to the American arms.
The attacks of the enemy on Craney Island, on Fort Meigs, on Sacketts Harbor, and on Sandusky have been vigorously and successfully repulsed; nor have they in any case succeeded on either frontier excepting when directed against the peaceable dwellings of individuals or villages unprepared or undefended.
On the other hand, the movements of the American Army have been followed by the reduction of York, and of Forts George, Erie, and Malden; by the recovery of Detroit and the extinction of the Indian war in the West, and by the occupancy or command of a large portion of Upper Canada. Battles have also been fought on the borders of the St. Lawrence, which, though not accomplishing their entire objects, reflect honor on the discipline and prowess of our soldiery, the best auguries of eventual victory. In the same scale are to be placed the late successes in the South over one of the most powerful, which had become one of the most hostile also, of the Indian tribes.
It would be improper to close this communication without expressing a thankfulness in which all ought to unite for the numerous blessings with which our beloved country continues to be favored; for the abundance which overspreads our land, and the prevailing health of its inhabitants; for the preservation of our internal tranquillity, and the stability of our free institutions, and, above all, for the light of divine truth and the protection of every man’s conscience in the enjoyment of it. And although among our blessings we can not number an exemption from the evils of war, yet these will never be regarded as the greatest of evils by the friends of liberty and of the rights of nations. Our country has before preferred them to the degraded condition which was the alternative when the sword was drawn in the cause which gave birth to our national independence, and none who contemplate the magnitude and feel the value of that glorious event will shrink from a struggle to maintain the high and happy ground on which it placed the American people.
With all good citizens the justice and necessity of resisting wrongs and usurpations no longer to be borne will sufficiently outweigh the privations and sacrifices inseparable from a state of war. But it is a reflection, moreover, peculiarly consoling, that, whilst wars are generally aggravated by their baneful effects on the internal improvements and permanent prosperity of the nations engaged in them, such is the favored situation of the United States that the calamities of the contest into which they have been compelled to enter are mitigated by improvements and advantages of which the contest itself is the source.
If the war has increased the interruptions of our commerce, it has at the same time cherished and multiplied our manufactures so as to make us independent of all other countries for the more essential branches for which we ought to be dependent on none, and is even rapidly giving them an extent which will create additional staples in our future intercourse with foreign markets.
If much treasure has been expended, no inconsiderable portion of it has been applied to objects durable in their value and necessary to our permanent safety.
If the war has exposed us to increased spoliations on the ocean and to predatory incursions on the land, it has developed the national means of retaliating the former and of providing protection against the latter, demonstrating to all that every blow aimed at our maritime independence is an impulse accelerating the growth of our maritime power.
By diffusing through the mass of the nation the elements of military discipline and instruction; by augmenting and distributing warlike preparations applicable to future use; by evincing the zeal and valor with which they will be employed and the cheerfulness with which every necessary burden will be borne, a greater respect for our rights and a longer duration of our future peace are promised than could be expected without these proofs of the national character and resources.
The war has proved moreover that our free Government, like other free governments, though slow in its early movements, acquires in its progress a force proportioned to its freedom, and that the union of these States, the guardian of the freedom and safety of all and of each, is strengthened by every occasion that puts it to the test.
In fine, the war, with all its vicissitudes, is illustrating the capacity and the destiny of the United States to be a great, a flourishing, and a powerful nation, worthy of the friendship which it is disposed to cultivate with all others, and authorized by its own example to require from all an observance of the laws of justice and reciprocity. Beyond these their claims have never extended, and in contending for these we behold a subject for our congratulations in the daily testimonies of increasing harmony throughout the nation, and may humbly repose our trust in the smiles of Heaven on so righteous a cause.
SPECIAL MESSAGE TO CONGRESS.
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:
The tendency of our commercial and navigation laws, in their present state, to favor the enemy, and thereby prolong the war, is more and more developed by experience. Supplies of the most essential kinds find their way, not only to British ports and British armies at a distance, but the armies in our neighborhood, with which our own are contending, derive from our ports and outlets a subsistence attainable with difficulty, if at all, from other sources. Even the fleets and troops infesting our coasts and waters are, by like supplies, accommodated and encouraged in their predatory and incursive warfare.
Abuses, having a like tendency, take place in our import trade. British fabrics and products find their way into our ports, under the name and from the ports of other countries; and often in British vessels, disguised as neutrals, by false colors and papers.
To these abuses it may be added, that illegal importations are openly made, with advantage to the violators of the law, produced by undervaluations, or other circumstances involved in the course of the judicial proceedings against them.
It is found, also, that the practice of ransoming is a cover for collusive captures, and a channel for intelligence advantageous to the enemy.
To remedy, as much as possible, these evils, I recommend:
That an effectual embargo on exports be immediately enacted.
That all articles, known to be derived, either not at all, or in any immaterial degree only, from the productions of any other country than Great Britain, and particularly the extensive articles made of wool and cotton materials, and ardent spirits made from the cane, be expressly and absolutely prohibited, from whatever port or place, or in whatever vessels, the same may be brought into the United States; and that all violations of the non-importation act be subjected to adequate penalties.
That, among the proofs of the neutral and national character of foreign vessels, it be required that the masters and supercargoes, and three-fourths at least of the crews, be citizens or subjects of the country under whose flag the vessels sail.
That all persons concerned in collusive captures by the enemy, or in ransoming vessels or their cargoes from the enemy, be subjected to adequate penalties.
To shorten, as much as possible, the duration of the war, it is indispensable that the enemy should feel all the pressure that can be given to it; and the restraints having that tendency, will be borne with the greater cheerfulness by all good citizens; as the restraints will affect those most, who are most ready to sacrifice the interest of their country in pursuit of their own.
December 9, 1813.
[1 ]The circular of the British Government dated November 9, 1812, transmitting the Order in Council of October 26, to the Lieutenant-Governor of the Bermudas, contained this paragraph:
[1 ]Madison had been re-elected by a vote of 128 to 89 for DeWitt Clinton, of New York. Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia voted for him; Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island against.
[1 ]Offered by Dashkoff, the Russian Chargé at Washington, March 8.
[1 ]Jonathan Russell was nominated May 29 to be Minister Plenipotentiary to Sweden. On June 14 the Senate “Resolved, that the nomination of Jonathan Russell, and the motion of Mr. Goldsborough, on the subject, together with the message of the President of the United States, of the 7th instant, with the communications therein mentioned, be referred to a committee, with instructions respectfully to confer with the President of the United States, upon the subject of the said nomination, and report thereon.”—Executive Journal of the Senate, ii., 354.
[1 ]On April 17 Gallatin was appointed Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary with John Quincy Adams and James A. Bayard, but it was intended that his post as Secretary of the Treasury should be kept open for him. He left Washington April 21 and the Senate rejected the nomination July 19. On February 9, 1814, it declared his seat as Secretary of the Treasury vacant, because he was absent from it, and on the same day he was nominated to be Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to England. Jones, Secretary of the Navy, served as Secretary of the Treasury ad interim from April 21, but on July 24 he wrote to Madison that a continuance of the double service was absolutely impracticable. Nevertheless, he continued to serve till George W. Campbell was appointed February 9, 1814.
[2 ]Italics for cypher.
[1 ]In the letter of July 24 from Utica Dearborn said he intended to retire to his family near Boston and asked that an inquiry be made into his conduct.—Mad. MSS. The request was denied; but, ostensibly because of his ill-health, he was relieved of his active command and transferred to New York, considered an important post. Madison to Armstrong, Sept. 8, 1813.—Madison’s Works (Cong. Ed.).
[1 ]Governor of Kentucky.
[1 ]The letter appeared in the Federal Republican of Georgetown. It was dated June 14, 1809, and started out: “The federal government is going to settle all its differences with Great Britain, and to make a treaty of amity, of commerce and of navigation with that power.” Turreau then proceeded to point out the undesirability from France’s point of view of a treaty with the United States and recited the wrongs committed by the United States upon France. The manner as well as the matter of the letter made it one which the United States could not have received without dismissing Turreau. On August 31, Graham wrote the Federal Republican, saying the letter was one which he had translated for Secretary Smith when it was received, but that it had been withdrawn by Turreau. Both letters may be found in Niles’s Weekly Register, v., 37.
[1 ]Mr. Erskine.
[2 ]Mr. Pichon.
[1 ]From the Works of Madison (Cong. Ed.).