Sunday, March 17, 2013

Punditry and political commentary in 1813 was just like today

Should an attempt be made to tamper with the British Admiral commanding the squadron off Norfolk [Virginia], what does Mr. Madison [President of the United States] expect to gain by it?  Should the British fit out and expedition to steal up the Potomac in disguise, and bear off our slang-whanging warlike Chief, what would they gain buy it?  In the event of success in the last undertaking, it is conjectured that the enemy will only row the little man through the fleet as a show, and let him trudge back to Washington without a hair on his head hurt, or a grain of his powder and pomatum [hairdressing consisting of a perfumed oil or ointment] disturbed, and with the privilege of issuing a proclamation denouncing British perfidy and cruelty.  Should the first enterprise take , and peace ensue, how glorious will be the termination of the war.  Stopped because money cannot be got to carry it out, and stopped after a series of the most disgraceful and calamitous disasters by land. - But the British will hardly be such fools as to patch up a slight and temporary suspension of hisotilties, serving only to reinstate the popularity if the deadly and envenomed enemies. -  We should like to known [sic] for what purpose a Patrole is to be established in the neighborhood of the Palace [the White House].  Surely our brave and redoubtable chief, who is expected will shortly exhibit himself in compelled armour, and a suitable attitude, is in no fear for his precious person.[1]

[1] Federal Republican, published as FEDERAL REPUBLICAN, AND COMMERCIAL GAZETTE.; Date: 03-17-1813; Volume: VII; Issue: 943; Page: [3]; Location: Georgetown, District of Columbia

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