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"The want of funds to pay off
discharged men," wrote the naval captain at Charleston, "has given
such a character to the navy as to stop recruiting."[200] "Men could
be had," reported his colleague at St. Mary's, now transferred to
Savannah, "were it not for the Treasury notes, which cannot be passed
at less than five per cent discount. Men will not ship without cash.
There are upwards of a hundred seamen in port, but they refuse to
enter, even though we offer to ship for a month only."[201]

During the American Civil War, fifty years after the time of which we
are speaking, this internal communication was effectually intercepted
by stationing inside steamers of adequate force; but that recourse,
while not absolutely impracticable for small sailing cruisers,
involved a risk disproportionate to the gain. Through traffic could
have been broken up by keeping a frigate in any one of the three
sounds, entrance to which was practicable for vessels of that class.
In view of the amount of trade passing back and forth, which Campbell
stated to be in one period of four months as much as eight million
dollars, it is surprising that this obvious expedient was not adopted
by the enemy. That they appreciated the situation is shown by the
intention, announced in 1813, of seizing one of the islands; which was
effected in January, 1815, by the occupation of Cumberland and St.
Simons'. As it was, up to that late period the routine methods of
their European experience prevailed, with the result that their
coastwise operations in the south differed little from those in the
extreme north. Smaller vessels occasionally, armed boats frequently,
pushed inside the inlets, seizing coasters, and at times even
attacking the gunboats. While the positive loss thus inflicted was
considerable, it will readily be understood that it was much exceeded
by the negative effect, in deterring from movement, and reducing
navigation to the limits of barest necessity.

In these operations the ships of war were seconded by privateers from
the West Indies, which hovered round this coast, as the Halifax vessels
did round that of New England, seeking such scraps of prize money as
might be left over from the ruin of American commerce and the
immunities of the licensed traders. The United States officers at
Charleston and Savannah were at their wits' ends to provide security
with their scanty means,--more scanty even in men than in vessels; and
when there came upon them the additional duty of enforcing the embargo
of December, 1813, in the many quarters, and against the various
subterfuges, by which evasion would be attempted, the task was
manifestly impossible. "This is the most convenient part of the world
for illicit trade that I have ever seen," wrote Campbell. From a return
made this summer by the Secretary of the Navy to Congress,[202] it is
shown that one brig of eighteen guns, which was not a cruiser, but a
station ship at Savannah, eleven gunboats, three other schooners, and
four barges, were apportioned to the stretch of coast from Georgetown
to St. Mary's,--over two hundred miles. With the fettered movement of
the gunboats before mentioned, contrasted with the outside cruisers, it
was impossible to meet conditions by distributing this force, "for the
protection of the several inlets," as had at first been directed by the
Navy Department. The only defensive recourse approximately satisfactory
was that of the deep-sea merchant service of Great Britain, proposed
also by Hull at the northward, to assemble vessels in convoys, and to
accompany them throughout a voyage. "I have deemed it expedient," wrote
Campbell from St. Mary's, "to order the gun vessels to sail in company,
not less than four in number, and have ordered convoy to the inland
trade at stated periods, by which means vessels may be protected, and
am sorry to say this is all that can be effected in our present
situation."[203] In this way a fair degree of immunity was attained.
Rubs were met with occasionally, and heavy losses were reported from
time to time. There was a certain amount of fighting and scuffling, in
which advantage was now on one side, now on the other; but upon the
whole it would appear that the novelty of the conditions and ignorance
of the ground rather imposed upon the imagination of the enemy, and
that their operations against this inside trade were at once less
active and less successful than under the more familiar features
presented by the coasts of Maine and Massachusetts.

Whatever more or less of success or injury attended the coastwise
trade in the several localities, the point to be observed is that the
enemy's operations effectually separated the different sections of the
country from one another, so far as this means of intercourse was
concerned; thereby striking a deadly blow at the mutual support which
might be given by communities differing so markedly in resources,
aptitudes, and industries. The remark before made upon the effect of
headlands, on the minor scale of a particular shore-line, applied with
special force to one so extensive as that of the United States
Atlantic coast in 1813. Cape Cod to the north and Cape Fear to the
south were conspicuous examples of such projection. Combined with the
relatively shelterless and harborless central stretch, intervening
between them, from the Chesapeake to Sandy Hook, they constituted
insuperable obstacles to sustained intercommunication by water. The
presence of the enemy in great numbers before, around, and within the
central section, emphasized the military weakness of position which
nature herself had there imposed. To get by sea from one end of the
country to the other it was necessary to break the blockade in
starting, to take a wide sweep out to sea, and again to break it at
the desired point of entrance. This, however, is not coasting.

The effect which this coast pressure produced upon the welfare of the
several sections is indicated here and there by official utterances.
The war party naturally inclined to minimize unfavorable results, and
their opponents in some measure to exaggerate them; but of the general
tendency there can be no serious doubt. Mr. Pearson, an opposition
member of the House from North Carolina, speaking February 16, 1814,
when the record of 1813 was made up, and the short-lived embargo of
December was yet in force, said: "Blocked up as we are by the enemy's
squadron upon our coast, corked up by our still more unmerciful
embargo and non-importation laws, calculated as it were to fill up the
little chasm in the ills which the enemy alone could not inflict; the
entire coasting trade destroyed, and even the little pittance of
intercourse from one port to the other in the same state destroyed [by
the embargo], the planters of the Southern and Middle states, finding
no market at home for their products, are driven to the alternative of
wagoning them hundreds of miles, in search of a precarious market in
the Northern and Eastern states, or permitting them to rot on their
hands. Many articles which are, or by habit have become, necessary for
comfort, are obtained at extravagant prices from other parts of the
Union. The balance of trade, if trade it may be called, from these and
other causes being so entirely against the Southern and Middle states,
the whole of our specie is rapidly travelling to the North and East.
Our bank paper is thrown back upon the institutions from which it
issued; and as the war expenditures in the Southern and Middle states,
where the loans have been principally obtained, are proportionately
inconsiderable, the bills of these banks are daily returning, and
their vaults drained of specie, to be locked up in Eastern and Western
states, never to return but with the return of peace and
prosperity."[204]

The isolation of North Carolina was extreme, with Cape Fear to the
south and the occupied Chesapeake north of her. The Governor of the
central state of Pennsylvania, evidently in entire political sympathy
with the national Administration, in his message to the legislature at
the same period,[205] is able to congratulate the people on the
gratifying state of the commonwealth; a full treasury, abundant yield
of agriculture, and the progress of manufacturing development, which,
"however we may deprecate and deplore the calamities of protracted
war, console us with the prospect of permanent and extensive
establishments equal to our wants, and such as will insure the real
and practical independence of our country." But he adds: "At no period
of our history has the immense importance of internal navigation been
so strikingly exemplified as since the commencement of hostilities.
The transportation of produce, and the intercourse between citizens of
the different states, which knit more strongly the bonds of social and
political union, are greatly retarded, and, through many of their
accustomed channels, entirely interrupted by the water craft of the
enemy, sinking, burning, and otherwise destroying, the property which
it cannot appropriate to its own use." He looks forward to a renewal
of similar misfortune in the following year, an anticipation more than
fulfilled. The officials of other states, according to their political
complexion, either lamented the sufferings of the war and its supposed
injustice, or comforted themselves and their hearers by reflecting
upon the internal fruitfulness of the country, and its increasing
self-sufficingness. The people were being equipped for independence of
the foreigner by the progress of manufactures, and by habits of
economy and self-denial, enforced by deprivation arising from the
suppression of the coasting trade and the rigors of the commercial
blockade.

The effect of the latter, which by the spring of 1814 had been in
force nearly a twelvemonth over the entire coast south of Narragansett
Bay, can be more directly estimated and concisely stated, in terms of
money, than can the interruption of the coasting trade; for the
statistics of export and import, contrasted with those of years of
peace, convey it directly. It has already been stated that the exports
for the year ending September 30, 1814, during which the operation of
the blockade was most universal and continuous, fell to $7,000,000, as
compared with $25,000,000 in 1813, and $45,000,000 in 1811, a year of
peace though of restricted intercourse.



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