ページの画像
PDF
ePub

to transfer the allegiance of British dered by Mr Foster to the American + subjects, and thus to cancel the juris. government. diction of their legitimate sovereign, That although such were the causes by acts of naturalization and certific of the war put forward by the governcates of citizenship, which they pre- ment of America, yet the real origin of tend to be as valid out of their own the contest would be found in that spiterritory as within it, it is obvious that rit which had long unhappily actuated to abandon this ancient right of Great the councils of the United States ; Britain, and to admit these novel pre- their marked partiality in palliating tensions of the United States, would and assisting the aggressive tyranny of be to expose to danger the very foun. France ; their systematic endeavour to dations of our maritime strength. inflame the people against the defen

That whatever the declaration of sive measures of Great Britain; their the United States may have asserted, ungenerous conduct towards Spain, Great Britain never did demand that the intimate ally of Great Britain ; neutrals should force British manufac. and their unworthy desertion of the tures into France ; and she formally cause of other neutral nations, for declared her willingness to forego, or which America had been so justly modify, in concert with the United condemned in the eyes of the world. States, the system, by which a com- It was through the prevalence of such mercial intercourse with the enemy had councils that America had been assobeen allowed, under the protection of ciated in policy with France, and comlicences, provided the United States mitted in war against Great Britain.would act towards her, and towards And under what conduct on the part France, with real impartiality. of France had the government of the

That the government of America, United States thus lent itself to the if the differences between states are enemy? The contemptuous violation not interminable, had no right to no- of the commercial treaty of the year tice the affair of the Chesapeake. The 1800, between France and the United aggression in this instance, on the part States ; the treacherous seizure of all of a British officer, was acknowledged, American vessels and cargoes in every his conduct was disapproved, and a re- harbour subject to the controul of paration was regularly tendered by France; the tyrannical principles of Mr Foster, on the part of his majesty, the Berlin and Milan decrees, and the and accepted by the government of the confiscations under them; the subseUnited States.-That the American quent condemnations under the Ram. government was not less unwarranted bouillet decree, antedated or concealed in its allusion to the mission of Mr to render it the more effectual; the Henry; a mission undertaken without French commercial regulations which the authority, or even knowledge, of rendered the traffic of the United his majesty's government, and which States with France almost illusory; Mr Foster was authorised formally the burning of their merchant ships and officially to disavow.--That the at sea, long after the alleged repeal of charge of exciting the Indians to of- the French decrees—these, and many fensive measures against the United similar outrages, were the inducements States was equally void of founda. which France held out to conciliate the tion. Before the war began, a policy friendship of America. All these acts the most opposite had been uniformly of violence on the part of France propursued, and a proof of this was ten- duced from the government of the VOL. VI. PART I,

+

H

a

pro

Uuited States, only such complaints statement without exclaiming, “And as ended in acquiescence and submis. could a nation so circumstanced ven. sion, or were accompanied by sugges. ture upon a war with the mighty emtions for enabling France to give the pire of Great Britain with the most semblance of a legal form to her distant prospect of success ?" Un usurpations by converting them into luckily it did. The unwelcome truth municipal regulations.—That this dis- could not be concealed. Two of position of the government of the U. these four or five frigates had captured nited States--this complete subser- two frigates from the British navy, viency to the ruler of France--this Vigorous measures becoming this great hostile temper towards Great Britain, nation might have averted disasters were evident in almost every page of which must have the effect of the official correspondence of the A. longing hostilities. It was no answer merican with the French government. to say that our navy was immense,

Against this course of conduct, the but that it was proportionably extendreal cause of the war, Great Britain ed on the different stations. The nation solemnly protested. While contend- complained not of the naval department, ing against France, in defence not but of the policy which controuled its only of her own liberties, but of those operations. It complained that the of the world, she was entitled to look arm which should have launched the for a far different result. Disappointed thunderbolt was occupied in guiding in this expectation however, Great Bri- the pen ; that admiral Warren was tain declared her unalterable resolution busied in negociating, when he ought to pursue the policy which she had so to have been burning, sinking, and delong maintained, in repelling injustice stroying. Admiral Warren sailed from and in supporting the general rights this country in the middle of August

, of nations.

and on the 27th of September he This declaration having been laid reached Halifax with his squadron, before parliament, an address was mov. where he employed himself in writing ed to the Prince Regent, approving of dispatches to the American governits principles, and expressing a deter- ment; while Commodore Rogers on mination to support the executive go- the 10th of October sailed unmolested vernment in the conduct of the war. from Boston. But we waited, it seems, There was but little difference of opi- to be quite sure that we were actually nion on this point; the principles avow- at war. Granting, for argument' ed by government could neither be sake, that in the first instance there mistaken norimpeached; but the want might not be full conviction of the of vigour which had been discovered certainty of war, yet even after the in the conduct of the war was severely American declaration was received in arraigned, even by some eminent per. the end of July, no hostile measure sons not unfriendly to the administrá- was resorted to by this country, till tion.-One thousand soldiers, it was the 14th of October, when letters of observed, fouror five frigates to guard marque were issued, upon the receipt an extent of coast of 1500 miles, and a of the intelligence (and, as might revenue of two millions and a half of dol- be not unfairly suspected, in conselars have been described as the means quence of that intelligence) that the physical and pecuniary of which the U. Guerriere frigate had been captured nited States were in possession when by the Americans.-What was the they declared war against this country. next advance towards actual blockade? Undoubtedly no man could hear the The blockade of the Chesapeak was determined upon, and the order in the tide of popular opinion in America council announcing that blokade was might have been turned, and the con. issued; when ?-the day after the ar. sequences of a long and ruinous war rival of the intelligence that the Ma. might have been avoided. It was to be cedonian, another of our frigates, had lamented, for the general happiness of fallen into the power of the republic. mankind, that no such vigorous exer. The loss of these two fine vessels pro- tion was attempted; for if some signal duced a sensation in the country scarce- act of vengeance had been inflicted on ly to be equalled by the most violent any part of the United States, exposed convulsion of nature. No one could to maritime attack, but particularly on attribute the slightest blame to our any portion of their territory where gallant sailors; they always do their there prevailed the greatest attachment duty; but neither was it possible to to the interests of France, it would agree with those who complained that have at least been a useful warning, and the consternation throughout Great might have prevented the continuance Britain was greater than the occasion of the contest, if it had not prevented justified. Who could represent the its commencement. Forbearance in war losses as insignificant, and the feelings is wholly impolitic, and where vigour of indignation occasioned by them as has a tendency to decide the contest, exaggerated and extravagant? That hesitation is cruelty.--Hostilities were, indignation was a wholesome feeling however, continued, although upon which ought to be cherished and such a small scale as suited the resourmaintained. It could not be too deep- ces of America. The American frily felt that the sacred spell of the in- gates were still distinguished by activi. vincibility of the British navy was bro. ty and success; and the British were ken by those unfortunate captures; to be again astonished by the advantage and however speedily we might all wish which one of these was to gain over the war to terminate, the desire could their own navy, so long deemed invinnot be considered as sanguinary and cible. The British frigate Java, of 38 unfeeling, that it might not be con- guns, sailed from Spithead early in No. cluded before we had re-established the vember of the preceding year, for the character of our naval superiority, and purpose of conveying Lieut.- General smothered in victories the disasters Hislop to Bombay. She was met off which we had now to lament, and the coast of Brazil by the Constituto which we were so little habitua- tion; and after a furious action, in which ted.-If it be true, in general, that Captain Lambert and many of his offi. indecision and delay are the parents of cers and men were killed, she was set failure; that they take every possible on fire and blown up. To the superior chance of detriment to the cause in weight of metal of the Constitution, which they are employed, and afford and the enterprize of the Americans in every advantage and encouragement to pushing out on such distant and unexthe adversary; it was peculiarly true, pected attempts, was to be attributed in the present instance, that prompti- this melancholy event. Yet it did seem tude and vigour afforded the surest extraordinary, that, with so great a Bripledge of success in the war. If, tish force on the American coa t, the while the elections were pending, the frigates of the latter power should have result of which was to place Mr Ma. had the good fortune of so frequently dison, the arch-enemy of this coun. sailing from and returning into their try, in the president's chair, a decisive own ports, without being met by any blow had been struck by this country, of the cruisers on that station.

a

Such were the reflections very gene- gary fencibles, to dislodge them from rally made on the subject of the naval that post. His instructions were exewar with America.–Of the military cuted in the most gallant and successevents of the year, a very brief sum- ful manner; the enemy were driven mary will be sufficient.

from their position, and were enabled The Americans made extraordinary only by the accidental absence of the efforts to retrieve the overwhelming Indian auxiliaries to effect their escape and shameful disasters of the former into the woods. This action was discampaign ; and they were soon able, tinguished by the heroic valour of Capfrom a numerous though scattered tain Jenkins, who, after having an arm population, to re-assemble an army shot off, continued still to rush forward which greatly outnumbered that ran- and cheer his men to the attack; and ged under the British standard. A even when he had received another seTarge force, collected from the back vere wound, did not desist till exhaussettlements, again approached Detroit, tion and loss of blood rendered him un. in the hope of wiping off that signal able to move.—The Americans after dishonour which had been there sus- this check did not repeat their intained. Colonel Proctor, who com. roads. manded the British, judged it inexpe- As the season advanced, however, dient to delay his operations till the forces accumulated from the different whole of the enemy's troops could be states, and their numbers again became brought forward. Making a vigorous decidedly superior to those of the Bri forward movement, he, on the 22d of tish. General Dearborn, in the end January, attacked the American ad. of April, set sail on Lake Ontario with vanced-guard, under General Winches- 5000 men, and baffling the vigilance ter, amounting to upwards of 1000 of the British flotilla, landed his forces men, which was postedat French Town, in the vicinity of York, near the head of on the river Raisin. The Americans, the lake, being the place of greatest though they found in the houses and importance in that part of Canada

. inclosures of the village an advantage. General Sheaffe, who had not a thou. ous defensive position, were yet unable sand men, was compelled, after a gal. to withstand the impetuosity of British lant resistance, to evacuate the place ; valour. They were not only defeated, and the Americans thus at last obtain. but entirely cut off. All who were not en a firm footing on the north bank of killed or wounded in the action were the St Lawrence.-About the same raken prisoners ; and in this number time, General Vincent was obliged, by was General Winchester himself. This a still greater uperiority of force, to

: brilliant exploit placed the Detroit abandon Fort St George, which form. frontier for the present in a state of ed the main point of defence on the security.

Niagara frontier. To these disasters The Americans, in the mean time, was added the failure of an attempt maintained also a force upon the branch made by Colonel Baynes to obtain of the St Lawrence which connects possession of Sackett's Harbour. The the Lakes Ontario and Erie ; and a detachment was landed, and the enemy large detachment, posted at Ogden. were driven with loss into their blockburgh, availed itself of the frozen state houses and batteries ; but these were of the river to make incursions on the found so strong, that it would have opposite bank. In order to put a stop been an useless waste of men to attempt to these inroads, Sir George Prevost storming them. The British force directed Major Macdonell, of the Glen. was therefore re-embarked.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Even under this overwhelming pres. that on another element Great Britain sure, however, British valour and en would always maintain the predomiterprize soon produced a reaction. The nance. On Lake Erie, however, the enemy having advanced beyond Forty case was reversed. This unpropitious Mile Creek to attack General Vin. circumstance is said to have been occa. cent, who was posted at Burlington, sioned by a delay in the transmission of the latter came upon them by surprise a dispatch from Sir G. Prevost to on the night of the 5th June, totally Admiral Warren, demanding a reindefeated them, and forced them to re- forcement of shipping, The consetire with precipitation. As the Indians quence was, that nine American vës. and the squadron under Sir James Yeo sels were, on the 10th September, met now operated on their rear, they were only by six British. The unequal concompelled to fall back upon Niagara, test was gallantly maintained : the and had to maintain in their retreat a Lawrence, the American commander's series of unsuccessful actions, in which vessel, at one time struck, but the they lost a great part of their army, British were not able to take posseswith almost all their artillery and bag. sion of her; relieved by the other gage The British force advanced, and ships, she again came into action; and held them nearly in a state of blockade. the result was, that the British squaLandings were effected by the British dron, after being reduced to a state of at Sodus, at the Genessee river, and almost complete wreck, fell entirely at Plattsburgh ; the stores and provi. into the hands of the enemy. This sions at these places were destroyed or success gave to the Americans the com. carried off. Hopes were now entertain- plete command of Lake Erie ; com. ed that the troops occupying Niagara bined with the defeat of Col. Proctor, might be cut off, and compelled to it rendered them masters of Upper Casurrender.

nada. They were seized with that A change of fortune, however, im- excess of exultation, to which popular mediately followed. It began with the governments are liable ; they already army on the Detroit frontier, which considered all Canada as their own, till now had been uniformly victorious. and publicly announced their intention Colonel Proctor having been almost of taking Montreal, as their winter compelled by the solicitations of the quarters. Indians, and of some ill disciplined mi- The preparations by which these litia, to make an attempt on the fort magnificent promises were to be supof Sundusky, was repulsed with loss. ported, appeared not altogether inadeThe troops were disheartened by this quate to their fulfilment. Three armies, unwonted reverse ; and the American each amounting to nearly 10,000 men, general, Harrison, pressing on at the marched in the end of October, from head of 10,000 men, forced them to different points, upon Lower Canada. retreat in confusion. The country be. While General Harrison proceeded ing unfavourable to this movement, he along Lake Erie, General Wilkinson overtook, surrounded, and made them embarked his division upon Lake Onprisoners; the general, with a few at. tario, and General Hampton marched tendants, only escaping,

to Montreal. These troops, however, This disaster was followed by an- were formidable only in number, and other, still more unexpected and mor- possessed no qualities which could entifying: Whatever might be the nu. able them to stand the shock of troops

. merical superiority of the Americans under British discipline. Hampton's on land, it seemed reasonable to expect whole corps was arrested for a day by

« 前へ次へ »