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256

AFFAIR OF THE CHESAPEAKE.

and e moyances towards the vessels from that port. On one cccasion a shot from it killed an American sailor of the name of Pearce. No sooner did a report of this reach the United States government, than a proclamation appeared, mentioning the murder, forbidding any communication between the shore and that ship, and in fact ordering it off the coast. This was followed by a more serious legislative act, against any further importation of British manufactures, thie restriction to date from the ensuing November.

Meantime, in May, 1806, the British orders in council were passed, declaring several European ports under controul of the French, to be in a state of blockade, and of course authorising the capture of American vessels bound for them.

In the month of June, 1807, an event occurred of an extremely irritating character. The British man of war Leopard, coming up with the American frigate Chesapeake, near the coast of the United States, fired into her, killed three of her men, and wounded eighteen more, The Chesapeake, being a vessel of inferior force, and unprepared for action, struck her colours. She was then boarded by the British, her crew mustered, and four of them carried off under pretence that they were British deserters. They were subsequently tried at Halifax, and me of them hanged, by way of establishing the rightfulness of the impressment. The other three were proved to be Americans, who had been impressed by the British, and had escaped from their service.

The intelligence of this outrage was received with a burst of indignation throughout the country, Meetings of the citizens were very generally held, and, forgetting party distinctions, all united in resolutions to support the government in any measures of retaliation or redress which might be adopted. The president issued a proclamation, forbidding British ships of war the ports and har bours of the United States, and instructed the Americari ninisters at the court of St. James to demand satisfaction for the insult. He also summoned the congress to meet, and take the subject into consideration.

The act of the naval officer was promptly disavowed by the British government, who also forbade the right of

How was this outrage retaliated ?-What was the tenor of the British orders in council !–Give an account of the atfair of the Chesapeake. What was the effect of this outrage on the American people :- What was done by the president ?-By the British government ?

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search, which they claimed, to be extended to ships of war; but as no adequate reparation was offered, this oui. rage remained unforgiven; and contributed to keep alive the hostile feeling already excited by the aggressions of the British on our commerce.

By his Berlin decree of 1806, Napoleon had forbidden the introduction of any English goods to the continent of Europe, even in neutral vessels, and shut the harbours of France against any vessel that should touch at an English port. The English, in retaliation, first prohibited the frade of neutrals from port to port, belonging to their enemy; and afterwards declared the whole coast of Europe in a state of blockade, prohibiting neutrals altogether from trade with the continent.

Napoleon, on learning that this measure had been adopted, thundered forth his famous Milan decree, confiscating not only the vessels that should touch at a British port, but such as should submit to be searched by the English. This was carrying hostilities to an extreme on both sides.

The American ships being so much exposed to capture, congress, in December, 1807, decreed an embargo, or prolibition to American vessels to leave their ports; a measure which operated far more to the disadvantage of England and of American merchants, than of France. Mr. Jefferson, in his correspondence, acknowledges this to have been a measure preparatory to war, allowing the merchants to recall home their ships and sailors, and the country to put itself in a posture of defence. The embargo caused much distress, and many murmurs, especially in the New England 'states ; but the edict was rigidly enforced by the government.

In the autumn of 1808, Mr. Jefferson having signified his intention of retiring from office at the expiration of his second term, James Madison was elected to succeed him, and George Clinton was re-elected to the office of vicepresident. In March, 1809, he retired to his farm at Monticello, to pass the remainder of his life in literary leisure, and the society of a large circle of admiring friends, who were constantly repairing to his residence to interchange the offices of kindness and attention.

What was the effect of Napoleon's Berlin decree ?--Of the English retaliatory order in council ?-of the Milan decree of the emperor ?When was the embargo law passed !-What was its effect ?-When did efferson retire from office ?--Who was elecied to succeed oim?

Wurther did he retire ?

258

MISSION OF MR. ERSKINE..

CHAPTER XXXVI.

COMMENCEMENT OF MADISON'S ADMINISTRATION

The public services of Mr. Madison had fully entitled him to the first office of the state. We have seen that he was one of the first authors of the federal constitution, and had been most active in recommending it to the adoption of his countrymen. His subsequent career had not been marked as that of a partisan. He was declared to want the strong anti-British feeling of his predecessor, and it was now confidently hoped, that an accommodation between the United States and the leading maritime powe. of Europe might speedily take place.

In March, 1809, the embargo law was repealed, and an act passed prohibiting all intercourse between this country and both France and Great Britain. A provision was inserted in this non-intercourse law, that if either of the belligerent nations should revoke her hostile edicts, the law should cease to be in force with respect to that nation.

The repeal of the embargo, and the substitution of a less obnoxious act, offered a fit and favourable pretext for renewing negotiations. Mr. Erskine was accordingly sent out by the British government to treat, and considering the suspension of the non-intercourse a fair equivalent for that of the orders in council, he stipulated that the orders should cease to be in force at a certain epoch The president, accordingly, suspended the non-intercourse. But tidings no sooner reached England of the act of Mr. Erskine, than he was disavowed. The orders in council were suspended only so far as not to endanger those vessels which had sailed from America on the faith of Mr. Erskine's declaration. The president, in consequence declared the non-intercourse act still in force, and the silent war of prohibitory edicts continued in its old footing.

What was the character of Mr. Madison ?- When was the embare law repealed ?-What was substituted for it ?-Who was sent out by the British government to negotiate ?-What did he offer !-What was done by the president ?-How did the British government elude the periorm ance of their engagements made by Mr. Erskine ?-What was then done by the president ?

RELATIONS WITH ENGLAND AND FRANCE.

259

Mr. Erskine was recalled, and Mr. Jackson sent in his place. The latter was ill chosen, since there was some cause which rendered him particularly obnoxious to the Americans. He was coldly received, and made to wait even for his recognition for some time. His endeavours lo renew the negotiation were met by the remark of the inutility of such an attempt, and by an allusion to the duplicity of the British government in the affair of Erskine. Jackson retorted with warmth, and insinuated that the American government were, at the time of his negotiation, aware that Erskine had exceeded his powers, and that his acts would not be sanctioned by his government. This charge being promptly denied and insultingly repeated, further communication with Jackson was declined and his recall demanded of the minister in London.

The non-intercourse act expiring in 1810, the Ameri. canis summoned the two powers to remove their restrictions. This was asked with the manifest purpose of declaring war if the restrictions were not removed. Na poleon replied by an amicable advance, intimating through his minister, that his decrees should be suspended. It was understood by him of course, that America should no longer submit to the orders in council if unrepealed.

To the English ministry an appeal was now made t follow the example of France. Unfortunately for them, they hesitated, chicaned as to the supposed insincerity of the French declaration, or the informality of its announcement, and persisted in enforcing the orders in council. Mr. Pinckney, the American envoy in London, disgusted at this shuffing behaviour of the British government, demanded his audience of leave.

In this doubtful state of connection between America and England, another accidental collision took place beiween vessels of the respective countries, tending much to inflame and widen the existing differences. An English sloop, of war, the Little Belt, commanded by Captain Bingham, descried a ship off the American coast, and made sail to come up with it; but

finding it a frigate, and dubious of its nation, he retired. The other, which proved to be American, the President, under Captain Rodgers, pursued in turn. The American captain hailed, and,

Who was sent out by England in place of Mr. Erskine? -How was he received ?-What passed between him and our government ?-What was done in 1810 ?-What was offered by Napoleon ?--How did the English ministry behave ?- What was the consequence l-Give an

account of the affair of the Little Belt.

men.

260

HENRY'S MISSION. instead of an answer, received a shot in his mainnasi. He returned the fire, and speedily silenced the guns of his adversary, disabling his ship and killing thirty-two of his

In the autumn of 1811, General Harrison was sent into the country of the hostile Indians, on the northwestern frontier, to treat or fight with them, as occasion might require. On the 6th of November, being arrived at Tippecanoe, their chief settlement, he was met by a deputation from the chiefs, who stipulated that no attack should be made before the next day, when they would be ready for a friendly conference.

In the night the American camp was suddenly and furiously assaulted by the Indians; but the Americans having suspected treachery and slept on their arms, made a gallant resistance, defeated and dispersed the enemy, and burnt their town, not, however, without a severe loss in killed and wounded.

In the month of February, 1812, Captain John Henry, formerly of the United States army, and afterwards resident in Canada, gave information to the president, that in 1809 he had been employed by Sir James Craig, the governor of Canada, upon a secret mission to the New England states, for the purpose of gaining information of the state of parties, and inducing those who were opposed to the restrictions of the American government on commerce, to effect a separation of the northern states from the Union, and form a political connection between those states and Great Britain. For this information Henry was paid $50,000, from the contingent fund for foreign intercourse. He furnished ample documentary evidence of the truth of his disclosures, which was after wards fully corroborated by developements made in the British parliament. But his mission had entirely failed, and it did not appear that he had succeeded in bringing any individual in this country to adopt his views. His inotive for disclosure was the failure of his employers to compensate him for his services. This affair proved the hostile disposition of the government of Great Britain towards the United States, and served to increase the irritation already created in this country, by the injuries

When was General Harrison sent against the Indians ?-Where did he meet their chiefs ?-What took place in the night ?-What was the result of the battle?-Who was John Henry ?-Give an account of his mission.--Of his disclosure and its result.

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