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The other square-rigged vessels on Ontario were sold, in May,
1825. (Records of the Bureau of Construction and Repair, Navy

[331] Izard to Secretary of War, May 7, 1814. Official Correspondence of
the Department of War with Major-General Izard, 1814 and 1815.

[332] Izard Correspondence, p. 64.

[333] Izard Correspondence, p. 65.

[334] Ibid., p. 69.

[335] Ibid., p. 63.

[336] Izard Correspondence, p. 93.

[337] Ibid., p. 98.

[338] Oct. 6, 1814. Cruikshank's Documentary History, 1814, p. 240.

[339] Izard Correspondence, p. 102; Cruikshank, p. 242.

[340] Cruikshank, p. 240.

[341] Izard Correspondence, p. 103.

[342] Captains' Letters.

[343] Canadian Archives, C. 685, pp. 172-174.

[344] Ibid., M. 389.6, p. 222.

[345] The Reports of Captain Dobbs and the American lieutenant,
Conkling, are in Cruikshank's Documentary History, p. 135.

[346] Captains' Letters, Sept. 12, 1814.

[347] This account of naval events on the upper lakes in 1814 has been
summarized from Sinclair's despatches, Captains' Letters, May 2 to Nov.
11, 1814, and from certain captured British letters, which, with several
of Sinclair's, were published in Niles' Register, vol. vii. and



The British command of the water on Lake Ontario was obtained too late
in the year 1814 to have any decisive effect upon their operations.
Combined with their continued powerlessness on Lake Erie, this caused
their campaign upon the northern frontier to be throughout defensive
in character, as that of the Americans had been offensive. Drummond
made no attempt in the winter to repeat the foray into New York of the
previous December, although he and Prevost both considered that they
had received provocation to retaliate, similar to that given at Newark
the year before. The infliction of such vindictive punishment was by
them thrown upon Warren's successor in the North Atlantic command, who
responded in word and will even more heartily than in deed. The
Champlain expedition, in September of this year, had indeed offensive
purpose, but even there the object specified was the protection of
Canada, by the destruction of the American naval establishments on the
lake, as well as at Sackett's Harbor;[348] while the rapidity with
which Prevost retreated, as soon as the British squadron was
destroyed, demonstrated how profoundly otherwise the spirit of a
simple defensive had possession of him, as it had also of the more
positive and aggressive temperaments of Drummond and Yeo, and how
essential naval control was in his eyes. In this general view he had
the endorsement of the Duke of Wellington, when his attention was
called to the subject, after the event.

Upon the seaboard it was otherwise. There the British campaign of 1814
much exceeded that of 1813 in offensive purpose and vigor, and in
effect. This was due in part to the change in the naval
commander-in-chief; in part also to the re-enforcements of troops
which the end of the European war enabled the British Government to
send to America. Early in the year 1813, Warren had represented to the
Admiralty the impossibility of his giving personal supervision to the
management of the West India stations, and had suggested devolving the
responsibility upon the local admirals, leaving him simply the power
to interfere when circumstances demanded.[349] The Admiralty then
declined, alleging that the character of the war required unity of
direction over the whole.[350] Later they changed their views. The
North Atlantic, Jamaica, and Leeward Islands stations were made again
severally independent, and Warren was notified that as the American
command, thus reduced, was beneath the claims of an officer of his
rank,--a full admiral,--a successor would be appointed.[351]
Vice-Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane accordingly relieved him, April 1,
1814; his charge embracing both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. At the
same period the Lakes Station, from Champlain to Superior inclusive,
was constituted a separate command; Yeo's orders to this effect being
dated the same day as Cochrane's, January 25, 1814.

Cochrane brought to his duties a certain acrimony of feeling,
amounting almost to virulence. "I have it much at heart," he wrote
Bathurst, "to give them a complete drubbing before peace is made,
when I trust their northern limits will be circumscribed and the
command of the Mississippi wrested from them." He expects thousands of
slaves to join with their masters' horses, and looks forward to
enlisting them. They are good horsemen; and, while agreeing with his
lordship in deprecating a negro insurrection, he thinks such bodies
will "be as good Cossacks as any in the Russian army, and more
terrific to the Americans than any troops that can be brought
forward." Washington and Baltimore are equally accessible, and may be
either destroyed or laid under contribution.[352] These remarks,
addressed to a prominent member of the Cabinet, are somewhat
illuminative as to the formal purposes, as well as to the subsequent
action, of British officials. The sea coast from Maine to Georgia,
according to the season of the year, was made to feel the increasing
activity and closeness of the British attacks; and these, though
discursive and without apparent correlation of action, were evidently
animated throughout by a common intention of bringing the war home to
the experience of the people.

As a whole, the principal movements were meant to serve as a
diversion, detaining on the Chesapeake and seaboard troops which might
otherwise be sent to oppose the advance Prevost was ordered to make
against Sackett's Harbor and Lake Champlain; for which purpose much
the larger part of the re-enforcements from Europe had been sent to
Canada. The instructions to the general detailed to command on the
Atlantic specified as his object "a diversion on the coast of the
United States in favor of the army employed in the defence of Upper
and Lower Canada."[353] During the operations, "if in any descent you
shall be enabled to take such a position as to threaten the
inhabitants with the destruction of their property, you are hereby
authorized to levy upon them contributions in return for your
forbearance." Negroes might be enlisted, or carried away, though in no
case as slaves. Taken in connection with the course subsequently
pursued at Washington, such directions show an aim to inflict in many
quarters suffering and deprivation, in order to impress popular
consciousness with the sense of an irresistible and ubiquitous power
incessantly at hand. Such moral impression, inclining those subject to
it to desire peace, conduced also to the retention of local forces in
the neighborhood where they belonged, and so furthered the intended

The general purpose of the British Government is further shown by some
incidental mention. Gallatin, who at the time of Napoleon's abdication
was in London, in connection with his duties on the Peace Commission,
wrote two months afterwards: "To use their own language, they mean to
inflict on America a chastisement which will teach her that war is not
to be declared against Great Britain with impunity. This is a very
general sentiment of the nation; and that such are the opinions of the
ministry was strongly impressed on the mind of ---- by a late
conversation he had with Lord Castlereagh. Admiral Warren also told
Levett Harris, with whom he was intimate at St. Petersburg, that he
was sorry to say the instructions given to his successor on the
American station were very different from those under which he acted,
and that he feared very serious injury would be done to America."[354]

Thus inspired, the coast warfare, although more active and efficient
than the year before, and on a larger scale, continued in spirit and
in execution essentially desultory and wasting. As it progressed, a
peculiar bitterness was imparted by the liberal construction given by
British officers to the word "retaliation." By strict derivation, and
in wise application, the term summarizes the ancient retribution of
like for like,--an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; and to destroy
three villages for one, as was done in retort for the burning of
Newark, the inhabitants in each case being innocent of offence, was an
excessive recourse to a punitive measure admittedly lawful. Two
further instances of improper destruction by Americans had occurred
during the campaign of 1814. Just before Sinclair sailed for Mackinac,
he suggested to a Colonel Campbell, commanding the troops at Erie,
that it would be a useful step to visit Long Point, on the opposite
Canada shore, and destroy there a quantity of flour, and some mills
which contributed materially to the support of the British forces on
the Niagara peninsula.[355] This was effectively done, and did add
seriously to Drummond's embarrassment; but Campbell went further and
fired some private houses also, on the ground that the owners were
British partisans and had had a share in the burning of Buffalo. A
Court of Inquiry, of which General Scott was president, justified the
destruction of the mills, but condemned unreservedly that of the
private houses.[356] Again, in Brown's advance upon Chippewa, some
American "volunteers," despatched to the village of St. David's,
burned there a number of dwellings. The commanding officer, Colonel
Stone, was ordered summarily and immediately by Brown to retire from
the expedition, as responsible for an act "contrary to the orders of
the Government, and to those of the commanding general published to
the army."[357]

In both these cases disavowal had been immediate; and it had been
decisive also in that of Newark. The intent of the American Government
was clear, and reasonable ultimate compensation might have been
awaited; at least for a time. Prevost, however, being confined to the
defensive all along his lines, communicated the fact of the
destruction to Cochrane, calling upon him for the punishment which it
was not in his own power then to inflict.

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