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immense advantages which would result from the accomplishment of this object, were fully demonstrated. The public attention was aroused, and the importance of the work began to be in some measure appreciated.
In their report of 1812, the commissioners estimate the expense of the undertaking at six millions of dollars; and affirm, as the result of their calculations, that should the canal cost even ten millions, the revenue which would accrue from it, would soon discharge the interest, and very soon afterwards, by natural and necessary increase, discharge the principal.
After adverting to the future importance of this work, they prophetically observe—" Even when, by the flow of that perpetual stream which bears all human institutions away, our constitution shall be dissolved, and our laws be lost, still the descendants of our children's children will remain.—'The same mountains will stand, the same rivers run.—New moral combinations will be founded on the old physical foundations, and the extended line of remote posterity, after a lapse of two thousand years, and the ravage of repeated revolutions, when the records of history shall have been obliterated, and the tongue of tradition have converted (as in China) the shadowy remembrance of ancient events into childish tales of miracle, this national work shall remain. It shall bear testimony to the genius, the learning, the industry, and the intelligence of the present age."
Soon after this report was presented, an act was passed by the legislature, authorizing the commissioners, upon such terms and conditions as they should deem reasonable, to purchase, in behalf of the state, all the rights, interest, and estate of the " Western Inland Navigation Company," and to take charge of the same. An act was also passed, authorizing the commissioners to borrow five millions of dollars in behalf of the state, for the prosecution of the canal. This act was, however, repealed in J 814.
What estimate was made in the report of 1812? What acts
were soon after passed? Which was repealed in 1814?
War declared. Preparation for the Invasion of Canada. Battle of Queenstown. Capture of York and Fort George. Operations on the Lakes. Battles of Bridgewater, Chippewa and Plattsburg. Termination of the war. Commencement and Completion of the Northern and Erie Canals.
Sec. I. 1812. The encroachment of the British upon the maritime rights of the Americans, had for some time been a subject of controversy between the two countries. After repeated negotiations, in which no satisfactory concessions had been made by the British government, the depredations on the American commerce were still continued. At this crisis, the committee on foreign relations made report in concurrence with the message of the President, recommending, as the last resort for the defence of their rights, an appeal to arms. A bill for the declaration of war with Great Britian, was accordingly introduced,* and after
*The bill was passed by the House of Bepresentatives on the 4th, and by the Senate, on the 17th.
I. What had for some time been a subject of controversy with Great Britain ?—What was the result of the negotiation on this subject? —What was recommended by the board on foreign relations?
having passed both Houses of Congress, received the signature of the President on the 18th of June. Preparations were immediately made for the commencement of hostilities.
"The grounds of the war, as set forth in the President's message to Congress, were—The impressment of American seamen, by the British; the blockade of her enemies' ports, supported by no adequate forces, in consequence of which, the "American commerce had been plundered in every sea, and the great staples of the country cut off from their legitimate markets 5 and the British orders in council."
"The right of search" constituted an important point of controversy. Great Britain claimed, among her prerogatives, to take her native born subjects for her navy, wherever found, and of searching American vessels for this purpose. Native born British subjects, who had voluntarily enlisted on board our vessels, were frequently seized by the officers of the British navy, and, under color of seizing their own subjects, thousands of American seamen were impressed into the British service.
'Great Britain and France were at this time at war with each other, and had involved most of the European powers in their controversies. In 1806, the British government issued an order in council, declaring the ports and rivers, from the Elbe to Brest to be in a state of blockade. By this order, all American vessels trading to these and intervening ports were liable to seizure and condemnation. The French soon after issued the "Berlin Decree," by which all the British Islands were declared to be in a state of blockade, and all intercourse with them prohibited. In January, 1807, the British government issued an order in council, prohibiting all coasting trade with France; and, in November, the celebrated British orders in council,
When was war declared.
What were the grounds of the war, as set forth in the president's message ?— What constituted an important point of controversy T What is said of impressments ?—Of the state of Great Britain and France at this time i
prohibiting all commercial intercourse with France and her allies, all nations at war with Great Britain, and all places from which the British flag was excluded. This was retaliated on the part of France in December by the "Milan Decree," declaring every vessel denationalized, which shall have submitted to a search by a British ship, and every vessel a good prize which should sail to or from Great Britain, or any of its colonies, or countries, occupied by British troops.'
While America was endeavoring to maintain a neutrality and continue her commerce with the belligerents, they continued to array against each other these violent commercial edicts, in direct violation of the law of nations, and the most solemn treaties. In consequence of these edicts, the British and French cruisers were let loose upon the American commerce, by whom a large number of our merchantmen were captured, and an immense amount of American property seized and condemned.
In December Congress passed an act, laying an embargo on all vessels within the jurisdiction of the United States. This measure failing to coerce the belligerents into an acknowledgment of our rights, an act was passed, March following, by which all trade and intercourse with France and England was prohibited. This was retaliated on the part of France, the following year, by the "Rambouillet decree," ordering all American vessels and cargoes, arriving in any of the ports of France, or countries occupied by French troops, to be seized and condemned.
Congress, May following, passed an act, excluding British and French armed vessels from the waters of the United Slates; but providing, that in case either of these nations should modify its edicts, before the 3d of March, 1811, so that they should cease to violate neutral commerce, commercial intercourse with such nation might be
What measures were taken by congress to coerce the belligerents
into an acknowledgment of our rights? How was this retaliated
by France? What act of congress in May? Give some account of the orders in council, and French decrees. What influence had these on the commercial interests of the Americans?
renewed. In consequence of this act, official intelligence was soon after received by the American government, that the French decrees were revoked.
No concessions were, however, made on the part of Great Britain, and her orders in council were still rigidly enforced. While affairs were in this posture, an encounter took place, May 1814, between the American frigate, President, commanded by Capt. Rogers, and the British sloop of war, Little Belt, commanded by Capt. Bingham, in which the latter suffered severely in her men and rigging. The Mtack was commenced by the Little Belt without previous provocation, or justifiable cause.—War now appeared to be the only alternative; and Congress, having been assembled by proclamation in November, proceeded, in accordance with the recommendation of the president, to pass bills preparatory to a state of hostilities.
The opinions of Congress, and of the people of the United States, were much at variance on the policy and expediency of the war. By the friends of the existing administration, constituting the re-publican party, the measure was warmly supported, and the war declared to be unavoidable and just. By the federal party it was as warmly opposed, and declared to be impolitic, unnecessary, and unjust. The federal party, at this time constituting the minority in Congress, entered their solemn protest against it.
The commencement of the war was unfortunately signalized by the surrrender of Detroit, with about two thousand five hundred men to the enemy. Gen. Hull, the commander, was charged with treason, cowardice, and unofficerlike conduct, and tried before a court martial. On the first charge the court declined giving an opinion; on the two last, he was sentenced to death. The sentence was, however, remitted by the president.
What intelligence was soon after received? What was the
state of the controversy in relation to Great Britain at this time ?What naval occurrence is mentioned? What were the sentiments of the people of the United States as to the policy and expediency of the war? What is said of the commencement of the