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CHAP. measures for that end before another sun sets upon you. XLIV.
With all the war of the enemy upon your commerce, if 1814. you would cease to make war upon it yourselves, you
would still have some commerce. That commerce would give you some revenue. Apply that revenue to the augmentation of your navy. Let it no longer be said, that not one ship of force, built by your hands since the war, yet floats upon the ocean. If the war must continue, go to the ocean.
If you are seriously contending for maritime rights, go to the theatre where alone those rights can be defended. Thither every indication of your fortune points you. There the united wishes and exertions of the nation will go with you. Even our party divisions, acrimonious as they are, cease at the water's edge. They are lost in attachment to the national character, on the element where that character is made respectable. In time you may be able to redress injuries in the place where they may be offered ; and, if need be, to accompany your own flag throughout the world with the protection of your own cannon.”
The embargo and non-importation act were repealed, while action on the other recommendations of the President was postponed.
The delegates to the convention recommended by the legislature of Massachusetts, met upon the appointed day
at Hartford. In accordance with the sentiments express15.
ed in the call for the convention, the members were enjoined not to propose measures “repugnant to their obligations, as members of the Union.” They met in a time of trial and distress to confer with each other on the best means to relieve the country of a ruinous war, and secure the blessings of a permanent peace. The Convention, consisting of but twenty-six members, sat with closed doors. After a session of twenty days it adjourned, and, as the result of their deliberations, published an address to the people. The address disappointed the more violent
THE HARTFORD CONVENTION.
opponents of the war, who thought the occasion demanded CHAP more decided measures. The President and his cabinet had been much alarmed ; in the Convention, they imagin- 1814. ed lurked some terrible plot of treason; they breathed more freely when they read this address and the resolutions.
After recapitulating the evils which the war had brought upon the people whom they represented, they expressed their sentiments upon other wrongs ; such as the enlistment of minors and apprentices; the national government assuming to command the State militia ; and especially the proposed system of conscription for both army and navy. “Strange propositions for a government professedly waging war to protect its seamen from impressment !” “The conscription of the father with the seduction of the son, renders complete the power of the national executive over the male population of the country, thus destroying the most important relations of society.”
“A free constitution administered by great and incomparable statesmen realized the fondest hopes of liberty and independence, under Washington and his measures. The arts flourished, the comforts of life were universally diffused, nothing remained but to reap the advantages and cherish the resources flowing from this policy.”
“Our object is to strengthen and perpetuate the union of these States, by removing the causes of jealousies.”
In furtherance of these views they proposed amendments to the Constitution ; among others, to equalize the representation in the lower House of Congress, by basing it on free population; against embargoes and non-intercourse laws; to make the President ineligible for a second term. These amendments were never adopted by the States. The existence of the Convention showed the intense feel. ing on the subject of the war and its consequences, and its deliberations exhibit no other spirit than that of wishing to redress grievances by constitutional means.
Shortly after the adjournment of the Convention, the
legislatures of Massachusetts and Connecticut, viewing 1814. the law of Congress which authorized the enlistment of
minors and apprentices, as a violation of their rights and unconstitutional, passed laws that subjected the recruiting officers to fine and imprisonment; and required the State judges to release any such minor or apprentice on application of the parent or guardian. Fortunately the war was soon after brought to a close, and the necessity for enlistments under this oppressive and demoralizing law, was removed.
Jackson enters Pensacola.—New Orleans defenceless.—The British land.
Jackson's Measures of Defence.—Battle of New Orleans.—The Distress
WHEN arranging affairs with the Creeks, General CHAP Jackson learned that the Spaniards at Pensacola had welcomed the hostile Indians, and also that a British 1814. man-of-war had furnished them with arms. Intelligence of this was sent to Washington, whence orders were transmitted to Jackson to seize Pensacola. That these orders were six months on the way, may illustrate the efficiency with which the War Department was conducted. Meantime some British men-of-war arrived in the harbor, from which a Colonel Nichols landed men and began to enlist the Creeks. Jackson now sent urgent appeals to his favorite Tennessee mounted men to hasten to his aid. The British soon after attacked Fort Bowyer on the east shore of Mobile Bay. The fort was defended by one hundred and thirty men, under Major Lawrence. The
Sorous defence soon repulsed the enemy, one of whose ships blew up and the rest were fain to depart. This success encouraged the people of Louisiana and Mississippi in their efforts to defend New Orleans themselves,
CHAP. without depending upon the General Government. Jack
son wrote repeatedly to Washington for orders and re1814. ceived none, but when the three thousand Tennesseans,
under General Coffee, arrived, he took the responsibility
to enter Pensacola and demand that the British should Nov. leave the place. He also intimated in emphatic terms to
the Spanish governor, that he would hold him responsible
seven miles below the town, and took to their ships.
efforts against New Orleans, Jackson sent in advance
While he was thus unprepared, the British fleet cast