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Congress was called
together, and a hundred thousand men in the different States were
ordered to hold themselves in readiness for service. The action of the
captain of the _Leander_ was disavowed, reparation offered, and the
offending admiral was recalled, but the reparation promised was never
made, and Great Britain refused to give up the right of search.


THE EMBARGO ACT.

Although the action of England was anything but satisfactory, it averted
war for the time. In December, Congress passed the Embargo Act, which
forbade all American vessels to leave the coast of the United States.
The belief was that by thus suspending commerce with England and France,
the two countries would be forced to respect our neutrality. The real
sufferers, however, were ourselves; New England and New York, whose
shipping business was ruined, denounced the act in unmeasured terms.
Thus the administration of Jefferson, which had brought so much material
prosperity to the country and was so prolific in beneficent events,
closed amid clouds and threatened disaster.


PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1808.

In the presidential election of 1808, the electoral vote was as follows:
James Madison, of Virginia, Republican, 122; Charles C. Pinckney, of
South Carolina, Federalist, 47; George Clinton, of New York, Republican,
6. For Vice-President, George Clinton, Republican, 113; Rufus King, of
New York, Federalist, 47; John Langdon, of New Hampshire, 9; James
Madison, 3; James Monroe, 3. Vacancy, 1. Thus Madison and Clinton became
respectively President and Vice-President.




CHAPTER IX.

ADMINISTRATIONS OF MADISON, 1809-1817.

THE WAR OF 1812.

James Madison--The Embargo and the Non-Intercourse Acts--Revival of the
Latter Against England--The _Little Belt_ and the _President_--Population
of the United States in 1810--Battle of Tippecanoe--Declaration of War
Against England--Comparative Strength of the Two Nations on the
Ocean--Unpopularity of the War in New England--Preparations Made by
the Government--Cowardly Surrender of Detroit--Presidential Election
of 1812--Admission of Louisiana and Indiana--New National Bank
Chartered--Second Attempt to Invade Canada--Battle of Queenstown
Heights--Inefficiency of the American Forces in 1812--Brilliant Work
of the Navy--The _Constitution_ and the _Guerrière_--The _Wasp_ and
the _Frolic_--The _United States_ and the _Macedonian_--The
_Constitution_ and the _Java_--Reorganization and Strengthening of the
Army--Operations in the West--Gallant Defense of Fort Stephenson--American
Invasion of Ohio and Victory of the Thames--Indian Massacre at Fort
Mimms--Capture of York (Toronto)--Defeat of the Enemy at Sackett's
Harbor--Failure of the American Invasion of Canada--The _Hornet_
and _Peacock_--Capture of the _Chesapeake_--"Don't Give Up the
Ship"--Captain Decatur Blockaded at New London--Capture of the
_Argus_ by the Enemy--Cruise of the _Essex_--The Glorious Victory of
Commodore Perry on Lake Erie--Success of the American Arms in
Canada--Battle of the Chippewa--Of Lundy's Lane--Decisive Defeat of the
Enemy's Attack on Plattsburg--Punishment of the Creek Indians for the
Massacre at Fort Mimms--Vigorous Action by the National
Government--Burning of Washington by the British--The Hartford
Convention.


JAMES MADISON.

James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, was born at
Port Conway, Virginia, March 16, 1751, and died June 28, 1836. He
received the best educational facilities and graduated from Princeton
College at the age of twenty. He devoted himself so closely to study
that he permanently injured his health. In 1776, he was elected a member
of the Virginia Legislature, and was offered the mission to France,
after the return of Jefferson, but declined it. Again he had the chance
of becoming Jefferson's successor, when the latter resigned as secretary
of State, but refused through fear of causing differences in
Washington's cabinet. He was a Federalist at first, but changed his
views and became an earnest Republican. Jefferson made him his secretary
of State, and he served throughout both administrations. He was a
cultured gentleman, an ardent friend of Jefferson, and carried out his
policy when he became President.


THE NON-INTERCOURSE ACT.

Just before the close of Jefferson's last term, Congress repealed the
Embargo Act and passed the Non-Intercourse Act, which forbade all trade
with England. This was in 1809, and the law was abrogated in the
following year. Our relations with England, however, continued to grow
more irritating, until it became clear that war was at hand. Congress
gave notice that if either Great Britain or France would repeal their
offensive decrees, the Non-Intercourse Act would be revived against the
other. Bonaparte immediately announced that he revoked his decrees, but
instead of doing so, he enforced them more rigidly than before, thus
accomplishing what he sought, that of arraying the United States against
Great Britain. The Non-Intercourse Law was revived against Great
Britain, whose conduct became more exasperating than ever. Our whole
coast was under surveillance, and many of our merchant vessels were
captured without any excuse whatever.

[Illustration: JAMES MADISON. (1751-1836.) Two terms, 1809-1817.]

In the dusk of early evening, May 16, 1811, the British sloop _Little
Belt_, while occupied in holding up American vessels, hailed the frigate
_President_ off the coast of Virginia. Deeming the reply of the American
not sufficiently respectful, the _Little Belt_ fired a shot at the
_President_, which instantly let fly with a broadside, followed by
several others, that killed eleven men and wounded twenty-one. The
incident added to the angry excitement in both countries and brought war
nearer.


BATTLE OF TIPPECANOE.

The population of the United States in 1810 was 7,239,881, somewhat more
than a third of Great Britain and Ireland. Our growth in the West was
rapid. There was a continual stream of emigration thither, and the
Indians, seeing how rapidly their hunting grounds were passing from
them; combined to resist the invasion. This was done under the
leadership of Tecumseh, the ablest Indian that ever lived. In this
course he was incited by British agents, who, knowing that war was
coming, were anxious to do the Americans all the harm they could. The
outrages of the red men became so numerous that General William Henry
Harrison, governor of the Northwest Territory, gathered a large, force
and marched against them. Near the present city of Lafayette, while
encamped at a place called Tippecanoe, he was furiously assailed (Nov.
7, 1811) by the Indians. Tecumseh was absent at the time, and the battle
was brought on, against his orders, by his brother, called "The
Prophet." The loss was severe on both sides, but the Indians were
decisively defeated.

By this time the American people were clamoring more loudly than ever
for war with England. The congressional candidates were obliged to
declare whether they favored or opposed the war. Those who opposed it
were beaten at the polls. Congress, which had been making preparations
for some time for hostilities, declared war against England, June 18,
1812. It is a regrettable fact that we could not know that almost on the
same day England suspended the Orders of Council, so far as they
affected this country. Had the Atlantic cable been in existence at the
time, there would have been no war.


ENGLAND'S OVERWHELMING NAVAL STRENGTH.

England had been fighting so continuously with her neighbors that her
strength on the ocean was overwhelming when compared with ours. She had
1,036 vessels, of which 254 were ships-of-the-line, not one of which
carried less than seventy-four guns. This immense navy was manned by
144,000 men. The American navy numbered 12 vessels, besides a few
gunboats of little value. Indeed, the relative strength of the warring
nations was so disproportionate that the intention of the United States
at first was not to attempt a conflict on the ocean. Captains Bainbridge
and Stewart, however, persuaded the government to allow our little navy
to try its hand.

Despite the seeming hopelessness of such a struggle, it had some
advantages for the Americans. In the first place, it was easier for them
to find the enemy than for the latter to find them, because of the
disproportion between the number of their vessels. More important,
however, than all was the fact that our navy contained no politicians.
The men were brave sailors, and marvelously skillful in handling guns.
With these conditions they were sure to win glory on the ocean.

Still another fact must be mentioned, for it will explain many of the
incidents recorded in the following pages. England had been triumphant
so long on the ocean that she had become unduly confident and careless.
She held the surrounding nations in light esteem, and had good warrant
for doing so. Naturally this led her greatly to underestimate the
insignificant American navy. When such a mistake is made the
consequences are sure to be disastrous to the one committing the
blunder.

Truth compels the statement that in every war in which our country has
been engaged since the Revolution, the disasters have been mainly due to
the politicians. They have the "pull," as it is called, with the
government, and secure the appointment of men as leaders who are
totally lacking in military skill. When defeat has followed defeat, with
exasperating regularity, the government gradually awakes to the fact
that the most criminal thing it can do is to place a politician in
charge of a body of brave men, or to appoint a callow youth to the same
position, merely because his father was a good soldier and has become a
politician.


THE WAR UNPOPULAR IN SOME SECTIONS.

Moreover, it must be remembered that our country was by no means a unit
in favoring the second war with England. It was popular in most of the
Middle States and the South, but bitterly opposed in New England. When
the news reached Boston of the declaration of war, the shipping hung
their flags at half-mast.



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