Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Cause of the Present War - May 21, 1814


               The Congress, who declared the present war, and the people who supported them in the declaration, it appears were totally mistaken, in the causes they ascribed for it.  It was not the commercial appression of England, her illegal blockades, her impressments of our seamen &c. which caused the resort to arms; - it was not, (strange, as it may seem,) on the other hand, the dictation of Bonaparte, who had go the cord so cleverly about our necks, and whose defeat gave such pleasant slumber to Mr. Harper[1], which produced it.  No, no.  Here follows the detection of the true "desideratum,"  and the sympathy which it causes, is really appropriate and natural.  The article is from a violent Massachusetts tory print.

               The next news from that quarter, will probably furnish the great desideratum for which this war was waged, that is - the possession and governmet of the immense and fertile tracts of land, of which these unfortunate denizens of the woods were the rightful owners; not by conquest or plunder, but by natural inheritance.

            How perfectly and natural and obvious all this is, but no one but this wise gentleman happened before to think of it.  Our rulers, it appears, declared war against Great Britain, simply for the purpose of cheating the Indians out of their land!  What a craving for land our government seem to have!  First they bought the Louisianian woods, and now they have fought for the Canadian wilds.

            But for the poor Indians. - Alas how melting are the plaints of their weeping condoler!  Is the massacre at Fort Mims forgotten?[2] Is the massacre at Fort Mims forgotten?  Did the ornament, which accompanied the mace [sic] at York, the capital of Upper Canada indicate n[] state of humanity, which could call for such tender sympathy?[3]- It is all of a piece, however.  If fear of superior force did not deter our internal foes from displaying their real temper, it would be a matter of indifference, whether an American, faithful to the republican administration fell into the hands of an English Hampton ruffian, a Creek Indian, or an Essex tory.[4]

[1] Heidler and heidler. 2004. Encyclopedia of the war of 1812. Annapolis, Md.  Naval Institute Press.

John Adams Harper (November 2, 1779 – June 18, 1816) was elected as a Democratic-Republican from New Hampshire to the Twelfth Congress (March 4, 1811 – March 3, 1813). He was a key member of the War Hawk faction that strongly supported the War of 1812. 

[2] "The Fort Mims massacre was a battle that occurred on 30 August 1813 during the Creek War, when a force of Creek people, belonging to the "Red Sticks" faction under the command of head warriors Peter McQueen and William Weatherford, or Lamochattee (Red Eagle), stormed the fort and defeated the militia garrison. After the defeat of the garrison there ensued a massacre and almost all of the remaining Lower Creek, white settlers, and militia at Fort Mims were killed. The fort was a stockade with a blockhouse surrounding the house and outbuildings of the settler Samuel Mims, located about 35 miles north of present-day Mobile, Alabama." from Wikipedia.

[3]  "The Battle of York was a battle of the War of 1812 fought on April 27, 1813, at York, Upper Canada (present day Toronto) on the north-west shore of Lake Ontario. An American force supported by a naval flotilla landed on the lake shore to the west, defeated the defending British force and captured the fort, town and dockyard. The Americans themselves suffered heavy casualties, including Brigadier General Zebulon Pike who was leading the troops, when the retreating British blew up the fort's magazine. The American forces subsequently carried out several acts of arson and looting in the town before withdrawing." from Wikipedia.

[4] Baltimore Patriot & Evening Advertiser.; Date: 05-21-1814; Volume: 3; Issue: 120; Page: [2]; Location: Baltimore, Maryland.
Transcribed by John Peter Thompson, May 22, 2013.

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