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300 Canadian militia ; and additional ture of defiance. The Chesapeak forces coming up, he immediately fell accepted the challenge ; she came ou back, and evacuated the province. to decide, as it were, by single con Wilkinson succeeded in effecting a bat, this contest between the two na landing near Kingston. But Lieut.. tions in maritime prowess. The coa Colonel Morrison, who was stationed was entirely lined by the inhabitant at that place with a small detachment, who could observe with ease all th immediately followed him, and an ac vicissitudes of a combat so interesting tion took place near Chrystler's Farm, The issue remained not long in su twenty miles above Cornwall. The pense. The two vessels came almo American army, six times superior in immediately in contact, and Captai numbers, was totally routed, with the Broke, observing that the enemy a loss of 1000 men. The enemy preci- this critical moment Alinched from the pitately crossed the St Lawrence, and, guns, gave immediate orders for board abandoning his boats, retreated by a ing. In less than ten minutes th difficult country to Plattsburg.
,whole of the British crew were on th The disasters of the enemy did not decks of the Chesapeake. In tw stop here. On the 25th December, minutes more, the enemy, after a des -a British and Indian force having sur- perate but disorderly resistance, wa prised Fort Niagara, destroyed or made driven from every post, and the Ame prisoners the whole garrison. The ricans from the shore beheld the Br British then crossed the river, attack. tish colours flying over the vesse ed General Hull, who had collected which had just left their harbour i about 2000 men on the other side, and full assurance of victory. put him totally to the rout.—The
The arrival of Admiral Warren a sent year, therefore, terminated in a Bermuda had now established the na manner as brilliant for the British arms val superiority of Britain in these seas as the preceding.
and the question was, how the Ame Thus, amid partial reverses, the cam- ricans might be best made to feel it paign by land was, on the whole, glo- With this view a squadron of ligh rious and fortunate for Great Britain. vessels was sent up the Chesapeake At sea, too, she regained that ascen- the grand inlet of the North Ameri dancy which naturally belonged to can States. This squadron made suc her. The first instance in which this cessful descents at various havens along superiority was established, was at. its coasts, and upon the rivers at it tended with circumstances particularly head. Wherever the British landed gratifying. . Captain Broke, of the they took possession of the vessels and Shannon frigate, with another small all public property, without doing vessel attending him, had been cruising any further injury to the inhabitants for some time near the harbour of An attempt upon Carney Island did Boston, where the Chesapeake frigate not succeed ; but Kent and Swan Is then lay. The latter, though much lands were taken and fortified, and es superior, particularly in men, did not tablishments were thus formed at the venture to come out. Captain Broke, .very head of the bay._Upon the however, was anxious to make a fair whole, considerable injury was done to trial of the valour of the combatants. the enemy by these operations, and On the 1st of June he dismissed the great alarm excited ; but no vital vessel which accompanied him, and, point was reached, nor were any of with the Shannon alone, drew up be. the grand objects of the war materialfore the harbour of Boston, in a pos. ly promoted. This desultory and
coasting warfare, though a favourite one ship of the line and five frigătes. with the British public, is never likely That so small a force only should to lead to any important result. Its have been stationed there, when a successes are superficial and transient, timely reinforcement might have awhile, though the suffering and alarm chieved the most important objects, inflicted may tend in some measure to loudly called for enquiry. If a force dispose the minds of the people to of five ships of the line, seventeen peace, this effect must be greatly coun. frigates, and an adequate number of teracted by the irritation which is ex. smaller vessels, had been on the Hacited. No very beneficial effect has lifax station at the time the war broke ever attended its adoption, either on out, the whole coast of the United the old or new continent.
States might have been immediately Such is a brief sketch of the milita. blockaded. Had this been done, the ryand naval events of the year, connect. American frigates in port must have ed with the American continent, which remained there those which had sail. it seemed proper to record without in- ed must have been captured in their terruption. It becomes necessary now return--the American commerce would to advert to some proceedings which have been destroyed their customs, took place in England, and in Ameri. upon which they relied for their reveca, relating to this unhappy contest. nue, would have failed, and with this
On the 14th of May, Lord Darnley succession of disasters, the ruling parmade a motion in the House of Lords, ty in the United States would have for a select committee to enquire in- been forced out of power, and by this to the state of the war with Ameri. time we should have had peace. It ca, and into the naval administration might be said, that the amount of of the country, against which some of the force on the Halifax station was the accidental triumphs of the Ame- equal to that of the American navy, ricans had raised a very general out. and, judging from what had formerly cry. In support of the motion, it was occurred, five of our frigates might be maintained, that " ministers must have deemed equal to five of our enemy's been aware that war could not fail, at frigates ; but was the quality of our no distant period, to be the result of force in this instance equal to that their own measures, combined with with which it had to contend? Had
it the hostile feeling of the ruling party not, on the contrary, long since been in the United States. This being the a matter of notoriety, that the Amecase, how were they prepared to meet rican frigates were greatly superior to it? With respect to Canada, the ours in size and weight of metal erents which had happened there had “ War," continued the supporters of greatly added to the reputation of the motion," was declared against Great
But with regard to our Britain by the United States, on the naval force, how were we prepared ? 18th of June ; the official intelligence It appeared, that in the months of of this fact reached government on the April
, May, June, and July last year, 30th of July, and notwithstanding the during a part of which period there incalculable importance of this event, must have been every expectation of parliament was prorogued on that very the near approach of war, and during day. War then having been declared the latter part of which the war had on the 18th of June, what was done actually commenced, there were under by way of instant retaliation ? NoAdmiral Sawyer, on the Halifax sta- thing; and it was not until the 13th tion, (exclusive of smaller vessels,) of Oetober that letters of marque and
reprisal were issued; how the interval
to man new frigates to contend with was employed the country required an America, it might be replied, that explanation. Still, however, the same many small vessels were now uselessly dilatory system was pursued, and more employed upon various stations, the than two months elapsed before the crews of which might be turned over Chesapeake and Delaware were decla. to our larger vessels, and might thus red to be blockaded, the notification be rendered useful to their country, being dated the 26th of December. instead of wasting their years in inAlthough ministers were made ac- co glorious idleness. If proper measures quainted with the quality of the Ame- had been adopted at an early period, rican naval force, they took no steps the enemy's privateers and ships of to place our shipping upon an equal war would have been confined withfooting, by giving them additional in their ports, and the list of our cap. guns upon deck ; and the vessels upon tured vessels could not have been a new construction, that were built swelled to the present enormous and expressly to cope with the American melancholy amount. From the refrigates, were not to be launched un- turns, it appeared, that 382 of our til October. In pursuance of the valuable merchantmen had been capfeeble and indecisive plan which had tured, only 80 of which had been rebeen observed since the commence- taken. The chief cause of these losses ment of hostilities, on the 13th of was the deficiency of force on the va. March, 1813, certain other ports of rious stations at Jamaica and the Leethe United States were declared to be ward Islands ; for instance, the nation. blockaded, but Rhode Island and al flag of the British empire had been Newport yet remained open, and in the lately known to wave upon a vessel of the latter, the American frigate, after less than forty tons burden. While the capture of the Macedonian, actual- ministers were thus negligent of our ly refitted. Was this the mode in external commerce, they were not which the affairs of Great Britain, at more vigilant in the protection and a crisis like the present, ought to be support of our domestic manufactures. conducted ? Every thing which bra. American cotton, by a system of povery could accomplish had been done licy that could not be too severely reby the officers and seamen ; our dis- probated, had, until lately, been alasters were solely attributable to the lowed to be imported, to the great deministers. On a reference to the Lon. triment of our own colonies, and to don Gazette, it would be found that the great advantage of the territory many of the circumstances attending of our enemies. the
capture of all our frigates were si- “ Another part of the subject, of milar; they were all crippled in their not less importance than those already rigging, and dismasted early in the noticed, and upon which detailed enaction, disasters arising partly from the quiries were absolutely necessary, was commanding height of the ships of the the management of our dock.yards, enemy, and partly from their greater and the general system pursued with weight of metal, while the shot from regard to the construction of our ships. our smaller guns produced compara. Several men of war recently built had, tively little effect upon the masts of after one voyage, been laid up as unfit our antagonists. To ascertain satisfac. for further service, in consequence of torily the causes of this superiority, the badness of the materials.-All was surely of great importance. If it these were matters that demanded enwere urged, that we had not seamen quiry, as well indeed as the whole
conduct of the Navy Board, which plied to the stations in question. But was principally distinguished for an this could not be done, unless the force obstinate adherence to old systems, on other stations had been more than long exploded in every other country sufficient for its objec, which never of Europe, and for a determined op- had been the case. At Toulon the position to all kinds of improve. enemy had been fitting out 20 ships of ment.”
the line ; and in this as well as many To these charges it was answered, other places the blockading force was " that it would indeed be a circum- less than the force blockaded. The stance tending to criminate the admi. season of the year, it might be also nistration of the country, if, while observed, at which the Americans, they were apprised that war was in with a view to their own advantage, evitable, they had not kept a suffici. had declared war, was such that all our ent force on the coasts of the Ameri- vessels had been previously dispatched can states. For some time before the to their several stations, whence they was, the government of the United could not be speedily recalled. Now, States, indeed, indicated any thing under all these circumstances, had the but a spirit of friendship towards this events of the war been such as to warcountry. Such, however, was not the rant enquiry? It had been said, that general opinion, and it was at that the force on the American station at time confidently asserted, that the re- the commencement of the war was in. vocation of the orders in council adequate. The Americans did not
sufficient to pacify Ame- think it so ; for, before declaring war, rica. In this hope we had been dis- their vessels escaped from the Chesaappointed, for, although the pre- peake, which was a port liable to be text which was once rested upon as a blockaded. They did not attempt to sufficient ground for hostilities, had fight our squadron, but wished to go been taken away, the Americans still after the trading vessels ; they went afmaintained a furious opposition to ter the Jamaica squadron, but found it those naval rights, on the integrity of sufficiently guarded, and were chased which our safety as a nation depends. by the British ships. They had neThat it was the duty of government ver dared to attack the British squadto have been always ready with a fleet ron when united, but they took adsufficient to blockade all the ports of vantage of its dispersion. The Guer. America, would hardly be maintained. riere, one of the frigates alluded to, It was its duty, no doubt, to keep on had but a few days before been in comthe American station at all times a pany with the other ships, but being sufficient force to check the navy of separated by a gale, was, after an acAmerica, and to protect the trade of tion of which no one could speak too his majesty's subjects. But it was at highly, taken by a vessel of superior the same time the duty of govern- force. This might have happened ment, as far as was consistent with the whatever had been the force of the security of the country, to abridge British vessels. It was absurd to talk the naval force, and to give all the ef. of blockading the American ports. ficiency possible to another branch of What had passed within the last 20 the service, of which the exertions years might have been sufficient to were now of such eminent importance. dissuade us from such an attempt, It had been said, that ships ought to since we had seen, notwithstanding have been taken from other quarters at the endeavours of our blockading the commencement of the war, and ap- squadrons, vessels taken on our very coasts. If the government had before made a charge against the ministers, the war sent, as it was now contend. that the letters of marque and reprisal ed they ought to have done, a force were not issued till October, although sufficient to blockade the ports of intelligence of the war was received in America, while they were doing every July. But by this delay, which was thing consistent with national honour allowed to take place with the view to accommodate the differences be. of ascertaining the reception given to tween this country, how eagerly would propositions of amity from the British this circumstance have been laid hold government, no detriment had been of as the symptom of a hostile spirit ?- occasioned ; for so soon as the intel. Because the crew of the Java had been ligence of the declaration of war had composed in a great degree of young reached this country, orders were ismen, this circumstance could not be sued to detain all American vessels, adduced as a proof that there was not thus insuring all the advantages which among them many experienced sea- could be obtained by letters of marque.
Was it contended, that we -As to the military force again, it should alter the classes of ships in the had not indeed conquered the United British navy, merely because there States ; but it was not intended for were three American vessels of unu- conquest,--it was intended for the desual dimensions? If there was a sub- fence of his majesty's dominions there, ject on which all naval officers were and this object it had effected. It agreed, it was this--that it was im- was not fair to infer that, because the proper to multiply the classes of ves- blockade of the American ports was sels. It was far better to send out not notified in the London Gazette, 74's on the station, than to set about armed vessels could go out and in building ships which would be fit to without danger.-As to the loss of the cope only with the American navy. Java, the court-martial which met in As to the advice to diminish the num- consequence of that event, would, if it ber of small vessels, no experienced had been attended with circumstances person could adopt it. At this time of neglect of any kind, have reported small craft were in great demand, to to that effect. In the construction of protect our trade from the privateers our vessels we had been represented and other small vessels of the enemy.-- as very deficient, and the public offices As to the assertion, that the balance were said to be so wedded to old cus. of captures since the declaration of toms, that no good could ever be ef. war was in favour of the Americans, fected. The truth is, that in the mothe fact was directly the reverse. On delling of vessels the French and other this part of the question a most satis- nations were superior to us ; but in the factory argument might be deduced execution we were as superior to them. from the rates of insurance. The rate But in pursuance of a report of the for ships convoyed was but one per commissioners of revision, measures cent. higher than it was a year ago. had been taken which would remedy The number of this description of ships the defect even in the scientific part. captured had been unusually small, and to build ships hastily was in ordinary it was not to be wondered at, that of times ruinous, although when the enethose which ran from their convoy my made unusual exertions in this some should be taken, or that when way, we were obliged, in order to the convoy was dispersed by gales of meet them, to follow his example. wind, the enemy should sometimes The decay of some of our ships had pick up a few stragglers.-It had been indeed been very rapid; but a plan