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On
August 8, fifteen, three of which were seventy-fours, were counted
from North Point, at the mouth of the Patapsco, on which Baltimore
lies. Kent Island, on the eastern shore of the bay abreast Annapolis,
was taken possession of, and occupied for some days. At the same
period attacks were reported in other quarters on that side of the
Chesapeake, as elsewhere in the extensive basin penetrated by its
tributaries. The prosecution of these various enterprises was attended
with the usual amount of scuffling encounter, which associates itself
naturally with coastwise warfare of a guerilla character. The fortune
of war inclined now to one side, now to the other, in the particular
cases; but in the general there could be no doubt as to which party
was getting the worst, undergoing besides almost all the suffering and
quite all the harassment. This is the necessary penalty of the
defensive, when inadequate.

Throughout most of this summer of conflict there went on, singularly
enough, a certain amount of trade by licensed vessels, neutral and
American, which passed down Chesapeake Bay and went to sea. Doubtless
the aggregate amount of traffic thus maintained was inconsiderable, as
compared with normal conditions, but its allowance by either party to
the war is noticeable,--by the British, because of the blockade
declared by them; by the Americans, because of the evident
inexpediency of permitting to depart vessels having full knowledge of
conditions, and almost certain to be boarded by the enemy. Sailing
from blockaded ports is of course promoted in most instances by the
nation blockaded, for it is in support of trade; and with the sea
close at hand, although there is risk, there is also chance of safe
passage through a belt of danger, relatively narrow and entered at
will. The case is quite different where a hazardous navigation of
sixty to a hundred miles, increasing in intricacy at its further end,
and lined throughout with enemy's cruisers, interposes before the sea
is reached. The difficulty here is demonstrated by the fact that the
"Adams," a ship by no means large or exceptionally fettered by
navigational difficulties, under a young captain burning to exercise
his first command in war, waited four months, even after the bulk of
the enemy's fleet had gone, before she was able to get through; and
finally did so only under such conditions of weather as caused her to
miss her way and strike bottom.

The motive of the British for collusion is clear. The Chesapeake was
the heart of the wheat and flour production of the United States, and
while some provision had been made for meeting the wants of the West
Indies, and of the armies in Canada and Spain, by refraining from
commercial blockade of Boston and other eastern ports, these
necessary food supplies reached those places only after an expensive
transport which materially increased their price; the more as they
were carried by land to the point of exportation, it not suiting the
British policy to connive at coasting trade even for that purpose. A
neutral or licensed vessel, sailing from the Chesapeake with flour for
a port friendly to the United States, could be seized under cover of
the commercial blockade, which she was violating, sent to Halifax, and
condemned for her technical offence. The cargo then was available for
transport whither required, the whole transaction being covered by a
veil of legality; but it is plain that the risks to a merchant, in
attempting _bonā fide_ to run a blockade like that of Chesapeake Bay,
exceeded too far any probable gain to have been undertaken without
some assurance of compensation, which did not appear on the surface.

Taken in connection with intelligence obtained by this means, the
British motive is apparent; but why did the United States
administration tolerate procedures which betrayed its counsels, and
directly helped to sustain the enemy's war? Something perhaps is due
to executive weakness in a government constituted by popular vote;
more, probably, at least during the period when immediate military
danger did not threaten, to a wish to frustrate the particular
advantage reaped by New England, through its exemption from the
restrictions of the commercial blockade. When breadstuffs were pouring
out of the country through the coast-line of a section which gloried
in its opposition to the war,[169] and lost no opportunity to renew
the declaration of its disapproval and its criticism of the
Government, it was at least natural, perhaps even expedient, to wink
at proceedings which transferred elsewhere some of the profits, and
did not materially increase the advantage of the enemy. But
circumstances became very different when a fleet appeared in the bay,
the numbers and action of which showed a determination to carry
hostile operations wherever conditions permitted. Then, betrayal of
such conditions by passing vessels became an unbearable evil; and at
the same time the Administration had forced upon its attention the
unpleasant but notorious fact that, by the active complicity of many
of its own citizens, not only the flour trade continued, but the wants
of the blockading squadrons along the coast were being supplied.
Neutrals, real or pretended, and coasting vessels, assuming a lawful
destination, took on board cattle, fresh vegetables, and other stores
acceptable to ships confined to salt provisions, and either went
direct to enemy's ports or were captured by collusion. News was
received of contracts made by the British admiral at Bermuda for fresh
beef to be supplied from American ports, by American dealers, in
American vessels; while Halifax teemed with similar transactions,
without serious attempt at concealment.

Such aid and comfort to an enemy is by no means unexampled in the
history of war, particularly where one of the belligerents is shrewdly
commercial; but it is scarcely too much to say that it attained
unusual proportions at this time in the United States, and was
countenanced by a public opinion which was more than tolerant,
particularly in New England, where the attitude of the majority
towards the Government approached hostility. As a manifestation of
contemporary national character, of unwillingness to subordinate
personal gain to public welfare, to loyalty to country, it was
pitiable and shameful, particularly as it affected large communities;
but its instructive significance at this time is the evidence it
gives that forty years of confederation, nearly twenty-five being of
the closer union under the present Constitution, had not yet welded
the people into a whole, or created a consciousness truly national.
The capacity for patriotism was there, and readiness to suffer for
patriotic cause had been demonstrated by the War of Independence; but
the mass of Americans had not yet risen sufficiently above local
traditions and interests to discern clearly the noble ideal of
national unity, and vagueness of apprehension resulted inevitably in
lukewarmness of sentiment. This condition goes far to palliate actions
which it cannot excuse; the reproach of helping the enemies of one's
country is somewhat less when the nation itself has scarcely emerged
to recognition, as it afterwards did under the inspiring watchword,
"The Union."

The necessity to control these conditions of clandestine intercourse
found official expression in a message of the President to Congress,
July 20, 1813,[170] recommending "an immediate and effectual
prohibition of all exports" for a limited time; subject to removal by
executive order, in case the commercial blockade were raised. A
summary of the conditions above related was given, as a cause for
action. The President's further comment revealed the continuity of
thought and policy which dictated his recommendation, and connected
the proposed measure with the old series of commercial restrictions,
associated with his occupancy of the State Department under
Jefferson's administration. "The system of the enemy, combining with
the blockade of our ports special licenses to neutral vessels, and
insidious discrimination between different ports of the United States,
if not counteracted, will have the effect of diminishing very
materially the pressure of the war on the enemy, and encourage
perseverance in it, and at the same time will leave the general
commerce of the United States under all the pressure the enemy can
impose, thus subjecting the whole to British regulation, in
subserviency to British monopoly."

The House passed a bill meeting the President's suggestions, but it
was rejected by the Senate on July 28. The Executive then fell back on
its own war powers; and on July 29 the Secretary of the Navy, by
direction of the President, issued a general order to all naval
officers in command, calling attention to "the palpable and criminal
intercourse held with the enemy's forces blockading and invading the
waters of the United States." "This intercourse," he explicitly added,
"is not only carried on by foreigners, under the specious garb of
friendly flags, who convey provisions, water, and succors of all kinds
(ostensibly destined for friendly ports, in the face, too, of a
declared and rigorous blockade),[171] direct to the fleets and
stations of the enemy, with constant intelligence of our naval and
military force and preparation, ... but the same traffic, intercourse,
and intelligence is carried on with great subtlety and treachery by
profligate citizens, who, in vessels ostensibly navigating our own
waters, from port to port [coasters], find means to convey succors or
intelligence to the enemy, and elude the penalty of law."[172]
Officers were therefore instructed to arrest all vessels, the
movements or situation of which indicated an intention to effect any
of the purposes indicated.

A similar order was issued, August 5, by the War Department to army
officers.[173] In accordance with his instructions, Captain Morris of
the "Adams," on July 29 or 30, stopped the ship "Monsoon," from
Alexandria. Her agent wrote a correspondent in Boston that, when the
bill failed in the Senate, he had had no doubt of her being allowed
to proceed, "but the Secretary and Mr.



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