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CHAPTER VIII.

MADISON'S SECOND TERM AS PRESIDENT-LAST YEARS OF HIS LIFE.

TH

HE Presidential contest of 1812 resulted in the re-election of James

Madison as President, with Elbridge Gerry as Vice President. In this contest Mr. Madison overcame the disaffected of his own party, and the federalists, who, at separate conventions, had united in the nomination of DeWitt Clinton, of New York. The inaugural ceremonies were held in the hall of the House of Representatives, on the 4th of March, 1813, and were attended by large numbers of citizens.

The season of 1812 had been one of reverses to the American arms on the land, while on the sea the small navy had won for itself glory and renown. General Hull had invaded Canada, and shortly retired to Detroit, which post he disgracefully surrendered in August. The naval victories had been the capture of the British frigate Gucrriere, by the Constitution, Captain Hull, August 18th; the surrender of the British brig Frolic to the American sloop-of-war Wasp, Captain John Paul Jones; the capture of the British frigates Macedonia and Java by the Constitution, commanded first by Captain Decatur, and later by Commodore Bainbridge.

A proposition of mediation between the belligerents was made by the Emperor Alexander, through the Russian minister at Washington, March 8 1813; Albert Gallatin, John Quincy Adams, and James A. Bayard were appeinted commissioners to negotiate a peace through this mediation. Mr. Adams was already in Russia, and the remaining commissioners sailed under a flag of truce, arriving in the Baltic in June. The Russian mediation was declined by Great Britain in September, 1813, but on the 4th of November, Lord Castlereagh informed the government that Great Britain was willing to enter upon a direct negotiation for peace. This proposition was accepted by the president, and Ghent, in Belgium, was decided upon as the place for holding the conference.

The invasion of Canada was renewed in 1813, General Dearborn cap

turing York (now Toronto), and Fort George. In January, General Winchester, with a force of about eight hundred men, fought a battle with the British and Indians at the River Raisin, and was forced to surrender. In September, 1813, the small fleet of Commodore Perry captured the British fieet on Lake Erie, and soon after General Harrison defeated the British and Indians under Proctor, in the battle of the Thames, in Canada, the chief Tecumseh, being among the killed. In the southern part of the United States the war with the Creek Indians was brought to a close, by the army under General Jackson. On the ocean the British brig Peacock was captured by the American sloop-of-war Hornet, commanded by Captain Lawrence. That brave officer was soon after killed, and the frigate Constitution, to which he had been promoted, captured in an engagement with the British frigate Shannon; the British brig Pelican captured the American brig Argus, Captain Allen; the British brig Boxer was captured by the American brig Enterprise, commanded by Lieutenant Burrows, who was killed in the action. During the year 1813, the frigate Essex, commanded by Captain Porter, in a cruise in the Pacific ocean, captured and armed nine large English vessels, worth a total sum of two millions of dollars. Of this fleet Captain Porter was for some time commodore, during that time capturing and destroying many of the enemy's vessels. The frigate President, Captain Rodgers, and the Congress, Captain Smith, also made many captures. In the course of a year the American navy and privateers captured more than seven hundred British vessels.

British successes on the coast were much more numerous in the year 1814, than at any time before ; several towns were bombarded and burned, and much property destroyed. The successes of the British troops on the continent, under Wellington, followed by the peace of Paris in this year, relieved the flower of their army, and considerable detachments of veterans were transported to America; the armies in Canada were strengthened and preparations made for an invasion of the United States from that quarter. In July Generals Scott and Ripley captured the British fort Erie, opposite Buffalo. Two days later, on the 5th of July, the same commanders met and defeated the British army under General Rial. July 25th occurred the battle of Lundy's Lane, in which the American force, consisting of four thousand men, under General Brown, assisted by Generals Scott and Ripley, fought the British army of more than five thousand men. The Americans remained in possession of the field. During the summer the British invaded the United States by way of Lake Champlain, and attacked the American forces at Plattsburg; their fleet on the lake was defeated by Commodore Macdonough, and the army was compelled to retire, after losing in killed, wounded, and deserters, two thousand five hundred men.

The most disgraceful and unnecessary act of the war was the sacking and burning of the capital. On the Toth of August, a British force of five

CHAPTER VIII.

MADISON'S SECOND TERM AS PRESIDENT-LAST YEARS OF HIS LIFE,

TH

HE Presidential contest of 1812 resulted in the re-election of James

Madison as President, with Elbridge Gerry as Vice President. In this contest Mr. Madison overcame the disaffected of his own party, and the federalists, who, at separate conventions, had united in the nomination of DeWitt Clinton, of New York. The inaugural ceremonies were held in the hall of the House of Representatives, on the 4th of March, 1813, and were attended by large numbers of citizens.

The season of 1812 had been one of reverses to the American arms on the land, while on the sea the small navy had won for itself glory and renown. General Hull had invaded Canada, and shortly retired to Detroit, which post he disgracefully surrendered in August. The naval victories had been the capture of the British frigate Guerriere, by the Constitution, Captain Hull, August 18th; the surrender of the British brig Frolic to the American sloop-of-war Wasp, Captain John Paul Jones; the capture of the British frigates Macedonia and Java by the Constitution, commanded first by Captain Decatur, and later by Commodore Bainbridge.

A proposition of mediation between the belligerents was made by the Emperor Alexander, through the Russian minister at Washington, March 8 1813; Albert Gallatin, John Quincy Adams, and James A. Bayard were appeinted commissioners to negotiate a peace through this mediation. Mr. Adams was already in Russia, and the remaining commissioners sailed under a flag of truce, arriving in the Baltic in June. The Russian mediation was declined by Great Britain in September, 1813, but on the 4th of November, Lord Castlereagh informed the government that Great Britain was willing to enter upon a direct negotiation for peace. This proposition was accepte by the president, and Ghent, in Belgium, was decided upon as the place for holding the conference.

The invasion of Canada was renewed in 1813, General Dearborn cap

turing York (now Toronto), and Fort George. In January, General Winchester, with a force of about eight hundred men, fought a battle with the British and Indians at the River Raisin, and was forced to surrender. In September, 1813, the small fleet of Commodore Perry captured the British fieet on Lake Erie, and soon after General Harrison defeated the British and Indians under Proctor, in the battle of the Thames, in Canada, the chief Tecumseh, being among the killed. In the southern part of the United States the war with the Creek Indians was brought to a close, by the army under General Jackson. On the ocean the British brig Peacock was captured by the American sloop-of-war Hornet, commanded by Captain Lawrence. That brave officer was soon after killed, and the frigate Constitution, to which he had been promoted, captured in an engagement with the British frigate Shannon; the British brig Pelican captured the American brig Argus, Captain Allen; the British brig Boxer was captured by the American brig Enterprise, commanded by Lieutenant Burrows, who was killed in the action. During the year 1813, the frigate Essex, commanded by Captain Por. ter, in a cruise in the Pacific ocean, captured and armed nine large English vessels, worth a total sum of two millions of dollars. Of this fleet Captain Porter was for some time commodore, during that time capturing and destroying many of the enemy's vessels. The frigate President, Captain Rodgers, and the Congress, Captain Smith, also made many captures. In the course of a year the American navy and privateers captured more than seven hundred British vessels.

British successes on the coast were much more numerous in the year 1814, than at any time before ; several towns were bombarded and burned, and much property destroyed. The successes of the British troops on the continent, under Wellington, followed by the peace of Paris in this year, relieved the flower of their army, and considerable detachments of veterans were transported to America; the armies in Canada were strengthened and preparations made for an invasion of the United States from that quarter. In July Generals Scott and Ripley captured the British fort Erie, opposite Buffalo. Two days later, on the 5th of July, the same commanders met and defeated the British army under General Rial. July 25th occurred the battle of Lundy's Lane, in which the American force, consisting of four thousand men, under General Brown, assisted by Generals Scott and Ripley, fought the British army of more than five thousand men. The Americans remained in possession of the field. During the summer the British invaded the United States by way of Lake Champlain, and attacked the American forces at Plattsburg; their fleet on the lake was defeated by Commodore Macdonough, and the army was compelled to retire, after losing in killed, wounded, and deserters, two thousand five hundred men.

The most disgraceful and unnecessary act of the war was the sacking and burning of the capital. On the roth of August, a British force of five

thousand men, under General Ross, sailed up the Chesapeake bay and Potomac river, disembarked, and proceeded by way of Bladensburg toward Washington. At the former place they were met and opposed by a small body of sailors and marines, but the opposition was futile, and the enemy marched directly to the capital, where the public buildings were sacked and burned, and many private dwellings and business houses despoiled of their contents, an act which was strongly condemned in the British house of commons by Sir James Mackintosh, who said it was “an enterprise which most exasperated a people and least weakened a government of any recorded in the annals of war.” The greatest loss to the country that accrued from this invasion was the burning and destroying of many valuable public records, and documents, which it is impossible to replace. Preceding the battle of Bladensburg, the President, with the secretaries of state, navy, and war, went to the front to take such measures as were best calculated to retard the advance of the enemy, and narrowly escaped capture; Mrs. Madison was left at the executive mansion, where she saw the plate and valuables belonging to the establishment conveyed to a secure place, before herself seeking safety in flight. After sacking and burning as they were disposed, the invading army set out with the intention of attacking Baltimore, but learning that the city was well defended by militia, they paused to bombard Fort McHenry. In a slight skirmish, the British commander, General Ross, was killed, and the enemy soon after left the Chesapeake.

The British navy was not idle during this time, but by means of supe. rior numbers was enabled to cripple and well nigh destroy the commerce of the country, besides capturing several war vessels and privateers. The American vessels that were so fortunate as to escape the blockade, did great damage to the enemy's commerce, and captured a number of men-of-war of different grades.

The crowning victory of the army was accomplished by General Andrew Jackson, at New Orleans, on the 8th of January, 1815. With six thousand men, mostly volunteers, he defeated a picked British army of twelve thousand men, fresh from their victory over Bonaparte, killing seven hundred and wounding one thousand more, the commander in chief, General Packenham, being among the former, and Generals Gibbs and Keene, among the severely wounded.

In September, 1813, the British minister, Lord Castlereagh, informed the American government that England was ready to enter upon direct niegotiation looking toward peace. With that object in view President Madison appointed the following commissioners to proceed to Ghent: John Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, Jonathan Russell, and Albert Gallatin. Three of these,–Adams, Gallatin, and Bayard,—were first appointed as a commission to serve under the mediation of the emperor of Russia. Mr. Gallatin, the secretary of the treasury, and Henry Clay, the

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