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War de

to acknowledge the justness of this argument, murders and thefts became common.

The settlers in the North-west were alarmed. William Henry Harrison was then the governor of that region. Gathering a small army composed of regulars and volunteers, he marched to Tecumthe's town of Tippecanoe. While encamped near that place he was attacked at night by a large body of Indians, who were beaten off with great loss. They then abandoned their village. Tecumthe, who was absent at the moment of the battle of Tippecanoe (1810), joined the British in Canada, and this gave colour to the assertions of the Americans that he was a British emissary. A few days before this conflict the Twelfth Congress met at

Washington. The House of Representatives was

now controlled by Henry Clay, John C. Calhoun, clared, 1812.

and other young men, to whom the theories of Jefferson and the founders of the Republican party were hardly more than traditions. They had had little or no part in the passing of the embargo, and believed that war with Great Britain was the only way out of the difficulties which surrounded the United States. They won the President to their side - he was now anxious as to his re-nomination — and war was declared against England on June 18th, 1812. The events which led up to the war have been narrated in the previous pages. Perhaps war was necessary, as Clay asserted. It is not probable that it would have taken place, however, had the British government and people treated the Americans as equals. For example, Mr Canning, in conversation and in his official correspondence with the American ministers at London, used language which made forgiveness without humiliation practically impossible. The following extract from a speech made in the House of Commons will serve to show the tone adopted towards the American people by at least one British minister, and that a conciliatory man. This diplomatist asserted in 1812 that “generally speaking, they (the Americans] were not a people

VII.]

Causes of the War.

189

we should be proud to acknowledge as our relations." Later, in 1813, Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister, declared that America “ought to have looked to this country as the guardian power to which she was indebted not only for her comforts, not only for her rank in the scale of civilization, but for her very existence.” Bearing these speeches in mind, it is easier to understand the exultation of the Americans over the capture of the Guerrière by the Constitution, and, also, the surprise expressed in the English papers when it was announced that English frigates must sail in pairs for safety against American "line-of-battle-ships in disguise.” The War of 1812 was waged by one free people against another free people in the interest of Napoleon, the real enemy of them both. It diverted England's strength at a time when it was sorely needed in Europe, and it might have been prevented at any time before 1812 by a few conciliatory words followed by conciliatory deeds.

It is impossible to formulate even a rough estimate of the strength of the two combatants. It is equally

Campaigns impossible to state the reasons for the failure of 1812, 1813,

and 1814. of both parties to accomplish their objects. The people of the North-west regarded the conquest of Canada as the only means by which an end could be put to the Indian troubles, and that conquest was begun in a spirit of rashness and with an amount of ignorance of the character of the undertaking which shows how completely the lessons of the Revolutionary War had been forgotten. Several half-trained armies, led by incapable generals, Hull, Dearborn, Van Rensselaer, and Smyth, crossed the border. The British General Brock and other able officers, with a small but efficient body of troops, soon put an end to the invasion and began a counter attack on the United States (1812). It is to be regretted that the British were aided at this time by a considerable body of Indians. A victory of a green-timber navy under Perry (1813) enabled the Americans to regain control of the original territory

of the United States. The abdication of Napoleon (April, 1814) freed the hands of the British, and the United States was invaded from three separate directions. On the American side the army was now placed in better hands. Jacob Brown, a Quaker with slight experience in the field, was given command in the North. He was a man of energy and was ably seconded by his two brigadiers, Winfield Scott and Ripley. There were several conflicts, those at Lundy's Lane and Fort Erie being creditable to both sides. Indeed, the former, where a small force of Americans opposed about the same number of Wellington's veterans in the darkness of night, is the most extraordinary conflict of the war. But Brown accomplished little more than to hold his own. Meantime a well-appointed army under Prevost had marched southward on the line of Lake Champlain. But MacDonough's victory gave the control of the water to the Americans, and Prevost was obliged to return to Canada.

The same summer (1814) witnessed the burning of WashThe Burning

ington by a force commanded by General Ross of Washing and Admiral Cochrane. Landing on the banks ton, 1814.

of the Patuxent, the British marched to Washington through a sparsely-inhabited country, meeting with only slight opposition at Bladensburg. They remained at Washington long enough to burn the public buildings — save one, and then retired in great haste to their shipping. This incendiarism was perpetrated by the orders of the commanders, and under their personal direction. It was said to be in retaliation for the burning of the Assembly House at Toronto (then called York); but that act had been the work of private soldiers, and had been disavowed by the commanding officer: and it had already been amply avenged by the burning of Buffalo by the British. The destruction of the public buildings at Washington aroused indignation in Iondon - one paper sorrowfully remarking: “The Cossacks spared Paris, but we spared not the capital of

VII.]

The Campaigns of 1813-15.

191

defence of

America." A subsequent attack on Baltimore was repulsed with some loss to the British, including that of General Ross the commander.

The last serious conflict of the war was the unsuccessful campaign against New Orleans, December 7, Jackson's 1814-Jan. 8, 1815, by a formidable force led

New Orleans, by General Pakenham, one of Wellington's sub- 1814-15. ordinates. The American commander in that quarter was General Andrew Jackson a man of great energy.

At first he seems to have been very dilatory. But when at last he understood the nature of the task, he took prompt and effectual measures for resistance. The American artillery practice proved to be superior to that of the British, and it was due to this fact and to the great difficulties offered by the physical conformation of the country in the vicinity of New Orleans that the attempt ended in disaster. The last attack in this campaign was made two weeks after the signing of the treaty of peace at Ghent.

It was on the water, however, that the Americans contributed most to the history of warfare. The American sea-going navy consisted in 1812 of three stitution and large frigates, known as “forty-fours,” four smaller frigates, rated at from thirty-two to thirty-eight guns each, and a number of sloops-of-war and brigs mounting from sixteen to eighteen guns. There were about a dozen vessels in all, compared with more than eight hundred on the British naval list. It seemed to be the height of folly to send these vessels to sea to be picked up one after another by the fleets of Great Britain, and Madison desired to use them as guard-ships in the larger ports. It was not easy, however, to restrain the ardour of officers like Decatur and Hull, who once at sea were not likely to regain the shelter of a port without a fight of some kind. One of the first to get to sea was the Constitution, commanded by Captain Hull, nephew to the coward who had surrendered Detroit. While on a voyage from Annapolis to New York, he

The Con

Guerrière.

She was

fell in with a British squadron of five ships, carrying from sixty-
four to thirty-two guns each. From sundown on July 17th to
the morning of July 2oth the squadron chased the single ship
through alternate calms, breezes, and squalls, occasionally get-
ting near enough to try the range of a gun or two. In the end,
Hull saved his ship, after one of the most memorable chases in
naval annals, and reached Boston in safety. Sailing thence on
August 2nd, without any orders, except the old ones to go to
New York, he cruised about until August 19th, when he sighted
the British frigate Guerrière. The Constitution was one hundred
and seventy-three feet long and forty-four feet wide. She carried
thirty-two "long 24's "and twenty" 32 lb." carronades, or fifty-
two guns in all. Her sides were very solid for a ship of that
period, and she was very heavily timbered throughout. The
Guerrière was one hundred and fifty-six feet long and forty feet
wide. She carried thirty“ long 18's,” two “long 12's,” and six-
teen “32 lb.” corronades, or forty-eight guns in all.
not as strongly built as her opponent, and not only had four
guns less, but also threw a much lighter broadside. In thirty
minutes she lay a wreck on the water, with seventy-nine of her
crew killed or wounded; and she sank soon after her men had
been removed. On October 17th, the American sloop-of-war
Wasp encountered the British brig Frolic. The Wasp threw a
slightly lighter broadside than the Frolic, and was six feet longer.
Both were rated as carrying eighteen guns. In forty-three
minutes after the first gun was fired the Frolic was a wreck, with
ninety of her crew of one hundred and ten killed or wounded.
Before the end of the year two more British “thirty-eights,” the
Java and Macedonia, had struck to the Constitution and United
States.
The loss of three frigates was, in itself, nothing to the

English navy. But the effect of these battles

can be compared only with that produced by the fights.

Monitor-Merrimac fight of a half-century later.

Effects of these sea

1

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