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peace, to increase the taxes in various ways. A new direct tax of six millions was laid; the rate of postage on letters by mail was increased fifty per cent.; duties on sales at auction, on licenses to retail liquors, on distilled spirits, on pleasure carriages, on household furniture, and on watches, were increased; and new duties laid on wares and merchandise manufactured in the United States. These measures were opposed with great earnestness in Congress, especially the bill for six millions of direct taxes. Complaints on this subject were everywhere heard among the people, and increased the general anxiety for peace. A bill was before Congress for several weeks, in November and December, for authorizing the president, on the refusal of the governor of any state to call out the militia when requested, to order subordinate militia officers immediately to march their men as might be directed by the officers of the regular army. It was approved by a majority in the house, but was lost in the senate, after a long debate, by a single vote. The objection to the bill was, that it was in violation of the rights of the militia, and wholly unauthorized by the constitution. One section of the bill also provided for draughting the militia, when they did not voluntarily enlist. The most powerful argument against it, was its direct interference with the privi leges of the citizens enrolled in the militia, who were recognised to be so, even by the federal constitution.*
report, on the 17th army, in which he
Mr. Monroe, then acting secretary of war, made a of October, on the subject of filling the ranks of the expressed the opinion that it would be necessary to bring into the field, at the next campaign, not less than 100,000 regular troops; to provide for which he proposed that the free male population of the United States be formed into classes of one hundred men each, and each class to furnish a certain number of men for the war, and replace them in the event of casualty, or if any class proved delinquent, the men to be raised by draught on the whole class. The bounty in money allowed to each recruit to be paid to each draught by all the inhabitants within the precinct of the class within which the draught may be made, equally according to property possessed.
This plan was considered a conscription, intended to be equally efficacious with the conscription established in France by Bonaparte. It was opposed as unconstitutional, oppressive, and absurd, and when modified and introduced in the senate, by Mr. Giles, in the form of a bill for raising eighty thousand men, after a long debate, and great efforts by the friends of the administration, the measure could not be carried through Congress, and of course failed.
The secretary of the navy also made a report at the same session, recommending a register and classification of the seamen of the United States, for the purpose of calling them into the public service in succession,
as occasion might require; in other words, to establish by law what even in Great Britain has never had any higher sanction than that of practice, viz., a system of impressment.
At the same time that plans of conscription and impressment were thus recommended, a bill was introduced into the senate, making further provisions for filling the ranks of the army, which authorized recruiting officers to enlist any free effective able-bodied men, between the age of eighteen and fifty years, and repealed so much of former acts as required the consent in writing of the parent, master, or guardian, to authorize the enlistment of persons under twenty-one years of age. This measure excited great alarm and much feeling in many parts of the country. It was considered as aiming a direct blow at the legislative prerogatives of the several states, as, by the laws of the states, parents have an absolute right to the services of their children while they are minors, and the constitution contains no authority for Congress to interfere in the private concerns of individuals under the jurisdiction of the several states. The legislature of Connecticut being in session when these plans of conscription and enlisting minors were proposed, passed resolutions, nearly unanimously, expressive of their determination to resist them, if adopted by Congress in the form of a law. Fortunately these measures, which were justified by the friends of the administration on the ground that the public exigency required their adoption, were rendered unnecessary by the change of circumstances produced by the return of peace.
Several changes in the cabinet and other principal officers of government, took place in 1814 and 1815. The office of secretary of the treasury being declared vacant by the senate, in consequence of the absence of Mr. Gallatin, as one of the commissioners to negotiate a treaty of peace, George W. Campbell, of Tennessee, was appointed secretary of that department, on the 9th of February, 1814. Ill health compelled Mr. Campbell to resign in September, and Alexander J. Dallas was appointed secretary of the treasury, October 6, 1814. General Armstrong resigned as secretary of war, in September, 1814, and Mr. Monroe, secretary of state, acted as secretary of war until February 28, 1815, when he was recommissioned as secretary of state. William H. Crawford, who had been appointed minister to France on the 9th of April, 1813, on his return from that mission was appointed secretary of war, August 1, 1815. On the 19th of December, 1814, Benjamin W. Crowninshield, of Massachusetts, was appointed secretary of the navy, in place of William Jones, resigned. Gideon Granger, who had held the office of postmaster-general more than twelve years, was removed by Mr. Madison, and Return Jonathan Meigs (governor of Ohio), appointed in his place, on the 17th of March, 1814. Richard Rush, of Pennsylvania, was appointed attorneygeneral, in place of William Pinkney, resigned, February 10, 1814. Jonathan Russell was nominated as minister to Sweden, and, after some de
received, being less than three weeks, was occupied by Congress in adapting the affairs of the government and country to a condition of peace. The army was reduced to a peace establishment of ten thousand men, and various acts concerning the acceptance of the services of volunteers and state troops, the flotilla service, and non-intercourse, were repealed. The naval establishment, however, was kept up, and an act passed for the protection of American commerce against Algerine cruisers, by authorizing the president to send a squadron to the Mediterranean. Direct taxes were continued, and one hundred thousand dollars was appropriated for the Cumberland road. A resolution was passed requesting the president to recommend a day of thanksgiving for the blessing of peace.
The total expenditures by the United States government during the war, may be stated, in round numbers, at one hundred millions of dollars; and the loss of lives by battles and other casualties incident to the war, has been estimated at thirty thousand persons. The cost of the war and loss of life by the British nation, were much greater. But the greatest disparity in the contest between the two nations was shown in its effects on the ocean. During the short period of less than three years which the war lasted, the Americans captured, on the ocean and lakes, 56 British vessels-of-war, mounting 886 cannon; and 2,360 merchant-vessels, mounting 8,000 guns; of which 345 were ships, 610 brigs, 520 schooners, 135 sloops, and 750 vessels of various classes taken by the Americans and recaptured by the enemy; making altogether 2,416 vessels, with their cargoes, specie, stores, provisions, and equipments, and about thirty thousand prisoners-of-war. Most of these prizes were taken by American privateers, and many of the vessels which could not be brought into port were either burnt or sunk. The number of merchant-vessels which arrived in port or were destroyed, was 1610. Besides this destruction and capture of British property, there were lost by wreck or otherwise, on the American coast, during the war, twenty-nine British ships-of-war, mounting about 800 guns. The American naval losses by British capture were three frigates, viz., the Chesapeake, Essex, and President, two sloops-of-war, six brigs, and fourteen smaller vessels and gunboats, amounting in all to no more than twenty-five vessels-of-war, carrying a total of 350 guns; while the number of American privateers and merchant-vessels captured by the English, although large, was much less than the British loss of similar vessels already stated. The statement of British captures of American vessels, reported by the admiralty office to the house of commons, on the 1st of February, 1815, gives a total of 1,407 merchant-vessels taken or destroyed, exclusive of captures by British privateers, and 20,961 American seamen prisoners-of-war.* The Americans lost during the war, in addition to the above vessels belonging to the navy, the frigate Adams, in Penobscot river, and a new frigate and brig at Washington city, which were · Niles's Register, vol. ix., p. 325.
destroyed to prevent them from falling into the enemy's hands. The new sloop-of-war Wasp was lost at sea sometime after capturing the British sloops-of-war Reindeer and Avon, in different actions.
In May, 1815, a squadron of nine vessels of the American navy, under Commodore Decatur, sailed for the Mediterranean, for the purpose of punishing the Algerines for their depredations on American commerce; that piratical nation having taken advantage of the war with Great Britain to plunder American vessels, and condemn their crews to slavery, notwithstanding the annual tribute of 23,000 dollars which had been paid their government by the United States, for the preservation of peace, from 1795 to 1812. On the 17th of June the new frigate Guerriere, commanded by Commodore Decatur, fell in with and captured the Algerine frigate Magouda, of 46 guns, after a running fight of twenty minutes, killing 30 men, among whom was the admiral of the fleet, and taking more than 400 prisA piratical brig of 22 guns, with 180 men, was afterward taken, by other vessels of the United States squadron. The American fleet soon appeared before Algiers, when the Algerine vessels-of-war were at sea, and Commodore Decatur dictated such terms as he pleased to the dey, who, on the 30th of June, concluded a treaty with the United States. The terms were of course honorable to the Americans. No tribute was in future to be paid by the United States; all American captives were to be released without ransom, and compensation was made for such vessels and property as had been taken.
The fourteenth Congress held their first session at Washington, from the 4th of December, 1815, to the 30th of April, 1816. The state of parties was similar to that of the thirteenth Congress, the democratic majority in the house being slightly increased, and amounting to about fifty over the federalists. Most of the members had been elected during the war, and the old party distinctions were not long kept up after this period. Mr. Clay, having returned from negotiating the treaty of peace at Ghent, was again returned to the house of representatives by his former constituents of Kentucky, and for the second time he was elected speaker. He received 87 votes, against 32 for other candidates, of which only 10 were given for federalists, although 65 of that party had been elected to the house. This showed that the return of peace had removed any inducement to an organized opposition to the administration. Mr. Gaillard was again elected president of the senate pro tem.
At this session, after an able debate on the subject of the direct tax imposed during the war, in which Mr. Clay, the speaker, Mr. Calhoun, Mr. Hopkinson, and other members participated, and in which the whole policy of the war and the conditions of peace were reviewed, a reduction of a portion of the taxes and duties of various kinds was made. The additional rates of postage were abolished, and new rates established; the duties on domestic manufactures, on gold, silver, jewelry, and distilled
lay, confirmed by the senate on the 18th of January, 1814; at the same time he was confirmed as one of the commissioners to negotiate a treaty of peace with Great Britain. Some of these changes, and those formerly noticed, during the administration of Mr. Madison, occurred in consequence of dissensions and dissatisfaction among the leaders of the democratic party, in Congress and in the cabinet. Mr. Ingersoll says: "Madison was thwarted by a jealous senate. In May, 1813, when he nominated Jonathan Russell as minister to Sweden, the appointment was nega tived by the senate on frivolous pretences largely set forth in publications on the subject by William B. Giles, one of the Virginia senators. In November of that year, Mr. De Kantzow arrived at Washington, and then at last Mr. Russell was suffered to pass the senate. The postmaster-general, Granger, was so inimical to Madison, that he found it necessary, in 1814, to remove him from office. The war of 1812, especially as respected the appointing power of the executive, both at home and for foreign service, was much embarrassed and annoyed by members of the war party, whose constituent states supported Madison's administration."
While Congress was passing acts for the vigorous prosecution of the war, the unexpected and welcome intelligence of peace was received at Washington, early in February, 1815. A treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain was concluded by the commissioners, at Ghent, on the 24th of December, 1814, and, as soon as communicated by the president, was ratified by the senate. It was the occasion of sincere and universal rejoicing, with the exception, perhaps, of contractors, officeholders, and others, who were making great gains by the war, and of course were interested in its continuance. To the administration it was an inexpressible relief; for difficulties and embarrassments had been long gathering and thickening around it. And the people were happy to learn the restoration of peace, the revival of commercial enterprise, and the prospect of a diminution of taxes in future. On the subject of impressment the treaty was silent, and commercial regulations between England and America were referred to negotiations proposed to be resumed at an early day.
A convention was held in London, as proposed at Ghent, early in 1815, to form a commercial treaty. The American commissioners were Messrs. Adams, Gallatin, and Clay; and a treaty was prepared by them and three commissioners on the part of Great Britain, in July, which was soon after ratified by both the contracting parties, to continue for four years. convention was strictly and almost exclusively of a commercial character; the subject of impressments and of blockades not being noticed by it. And it purported to place the commercial intercourse between the two countries on a perfect reciprocity. In the opinion of most commercial men, the terms of this convention were not more favorable to the maritime rights VOL. II.-14