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The Thirteenth Congress; its Members.—Daniel Webster. -Manifesto of
the British Government.--Embarrassments.-Commissioners of Peace appointed.—Britain offers to negotiate.—Jacob Brown.-Winfield Scott.-E. W. Ripley.-Wilkinson unsuccessful; his Misfortunes.Capture of Fort Erie.-Battle of Lundy's Lane.- Its effect. -- British repulsed at Fort Erie; their Batteries captured.-Battle on Lake Champlain.—British marauding Expeditions on the Shores of the Chesapeake.—Bladensburg.-Capture of Washington.—The Public Buildings burned.—Defence of Fort McHenry.-Death of General Ross.-Bombardment of Stonington.-Distress in New England.-Debates in Congress.—Embargo and Non-importation Act repealed.Hartford Convention.
Tue thirteenth Congress, in obedience to the call of CHAP. the President, met in special session, some months before the usual time. The last census had increased the num 1813
May ber of Representatives in the House to 182. Of the present members a greater proportion than in the last Congress were opposed to the war, and, indeed, its own advocates on that subject were by no means harmonious among themselves.
In this Congress, as well as in the last, appeared many new men, whose influence was afterward greatly felt, not only in their respective States, but in moulding the future policy of the nation itself. Among these were John Forsyth of Georgia, William Gaston of North Carolina, John McLean of Ohio, and Daniel Webster of New Hampshire, who now commenced that career so marked in our
CHAP: national councils. Born on the frontiers of that State, his XLIV.
privileges were limited. The quiet, thoughtful boy, fond 1813. of books, read all within his reach. His father, a man of
strong sense and sterling integrity; his mother, a woman of more than ordinary intellect and force of character ; to their judicious guidance may be traced the best elements of his education. The father noticed his expanding intellect, the calm power of mind that intuitively grasped thcughts far beyond his years. His resolution was taken ; though very limited in means, he must educate his son. At length he informed Daniel of his determination to send him to college. At this first intimation that the dreams which had been floating before his imagination were to be realized, the boy's emotions were too deep for utterance; he threw himself upon his father's neck and wept for joy.
In Congress stirring debates ensued. Not only was the policy of the war severely criticized, but the manner in which it had been conducted. Its advocates were surrounded with difficulties; the means to carry it on were exhausted ; the revenue derived from commerce had dwindled to one million, with a prospect of still greater reduction ; enormous bounties were offered to obtain recruits for the army, but very few enlisted. The clashing of opinions on the subject had arrayed the people definitely on one side or the other.
The British government issued to the world a manifesto, in which certain charges industriously circulated in the United States were utterly denied—such as that they had instigated the Indians to hostilities, or that they had endeavored to seduce the people of the Eastern States from the Union ; but on the contrary, they protested that the English people were actuated by a spirit of forbearance, and were truly desirous to be at peace and amity with the people of the United States. As to the question of search, they were unwilling to give up the