Page images
PDF
EPUB

duct in the field is undoubted. He of course will assume the command in virtue of his militia rank, and will be liable to be superseded by any lieutenantcolonel your excellency may be pleased to appoint.

annum.

The expense of defending this province will unquestionably be great; upon a rough calculation, and supposing that 4,000 militia be constantly embodied, it cannot be estimated at less than £140,000 per However great the sum, it will be applied to very considerable advantage, provided your excellency be enabled to send reinforcements, as without them it is scarcely possible that the government of the United States will be so inactive or supine as to permit the present limited force to remain in possession of the country. Whatever can be done to preserve it, or to delay its fall, your excellency may rest assured will be exerted.

Having been suddenly called away from York, I had not time to close my dispatch, giving your excellency an account of my proceedings during my stay at Amherstburg. I now have the honor to forward two documents, detailing the steps taken by the Indian department to prevail on that unfortunate people to accommodate their differences with the American government.

Extract from an American Newspaper.

BUFFALO, July 14, 1812.

Major-General Brock is at present at Newark, superintending the various defences on the river. He is stated to be an able and experienced officer, with undoubted courage. He came from Little York soon after hearing the declaration of war, and, it was believed, with a serious intention of attacking Fort Niagara, but, contrary to what has been reported, he made no demand of a surrender.

Expecting a descent from the American army, the Canadians have, for ten days past, been removing their families and effects from the river into the interior. At Newark, Queenston, and other villages on the river, there are no inhabitants except a few civilians and officers and soldiers. It is even said, that an immense quantity of specie, plate, &c.,

from various parts of the province, have been boxed up, and destined for Quebec.

The British are understood to have about six or seven hundred regular troops stationed between the lakes, from Fort George to Fort Erie. These men are generally those who have "seen service" in various parts of the world. The militia of the province are ordered out en masse.

It is stated by gentlemen of intelligence at Lewistown, that the government of Canada have in their employment, under pay, about 250 Indians, armed complete: a part of them are mounted.

Brigadier-General William Wadsworth, from Genesee, commands the troops on our frontiers. His aids are Major Adam Hoops and Major W. H. Spencer. His head quarters are now at Lewistown. It is impossible to state the precise number of troops under his command, because the militia ordered on the lines are returning, and the companies composing the regiments under his command have not all arrived; but from what we learn, there are in regular troops, volunteers, and detached militia, above 4,000 stationed at Rock, Lewistown, Youngstown, and Fort Niagara. The troops are in excellent health, in good spirits, and well supplied. They appear quite impatient for want of employment. There has been some firing from the sentries on both sides of the river.

It was reported at Fort Niagara last week, that the British have sent from Little York every armed ship in pursuit of the brig Oneida.

The British armed ship Queen Charlotte, lying at Fort Erie, soon after the declaration of war was received, left her moorings and proceeded up the lake-is now understood to be at Fort Malden, the great depôt of Indian supplies. His majesty's sloop of war Hunter has gone up the straits of Mackina, and passed into Lake Michigan, and captured an American merchant vessel, said to be either the Mary or Salina. We understand an official account of the capture has been received at Fort Erie.

CHAPTER IX.

The American government, in anticipation of its declaration of war, had detached from the state of Ohio to the Michigan territory an army of about 2,000 men, under the command of Brigadier-General Hull, who, said President Madison in his message to congress, "possessing discretionary authority to act offensively, passed into Canada with a prospect of easy and victorious progress." The enemy evidently confided in the very limited defensive means of the Upper Province, and in the impossibility of its receiving early assistance from the mother country. They relied also on the supposed disaffection of many of its inhabitants, and they expected confidently that, weak and divided, it would fall an easy prey to the invaders; but they were soon undeceived. This army marched from Dayton, in Ohio, on the 1st of June, and arrived on the 7th at Urbana. On the 11th, Colonel M'Arthur's regiment of militia was detached to open a road as far as the Scioto river, on the south bank of which two block-houses, connected by a strong stockade, were erected, and named Fort M'Arthur. From this post to the rapids of the Miami (or Maumee) the distance is about 125 miles, and the route of the army was through a thick and almost trackless forest, as the north-western part of Ohio was at that time scarcely inhabited, so that it became necessary to open a road the whole way for the passage of the many baggage waggons. To

guard against the attacks of the hostile Indians at night, the plan of encampment was a hollow square, defended usually by a temporary breast-work of felled trees. On the 26th of June, General Hull received intelligence, by express from Chillicothe, of the declaration of war, and on the 30th the troops suddenly emerged from a gloomy wilderness to a full view of the broad Miami with a village on the opposite bank, when a beam of joy animated every countenance, and repaid the men for the fatigues of a long and dreary march. Here a small schooner was engaged to carry a quantity of baggage, belonging to the army, to Detroit; but she fell into the hands of the British near Amherstburg, while on her voyage. On the 4th of July, the army reached the Huron river, 21 miles from Detroit, and the next day encamped at Spring Wells, about 4 miles from that town. On the 8th, the encampment at Spring Wells was abandoned, and the army took up a position in the rear of Detroit, when it was joined by 600 of the Michigan militia, and the necessary_preparations were made for the intended invasion. Having crossed his army over with several field pieces to the Canadian village of Sandwich on the 12th of July, Hull issued on that day the following insidious but able proclamation, which was doubtless indited at Washington. It will be seen that the American general was made to say, that he did not ask the assistance of the Canadians, as he had no doubt of eventual success, because he came prepared for every contingency with a force which would look down all opposition, and that that force was but the vanguard of a much greater!

Inhabitants of Canada!-After thirty years of peace and prosperity, the United States have been driven to arms. The injuries and aggressions, the insults and indignities of Great Britain, have once more left them no alternative but manly resistance or unconditional submission.

The army under my command has invaded your country, and the standard of union now waves over the territory of

Canada. To the peaceable, unoffending inhabitant, it brings neither danger nor difficulty. I come to find enemies, not to make them. I come to protect, not to injure you.

Separated by an immense ocean, and an extensive wilderness from Great Britain, you have no participation in her councils, no interest in her conduct. You have felt her tyranny, you have seen her injustice—but I do not ask you to avenge the one or redress the other. The United States are sufficiently powerful to afford you every security, consistent with their rights and your expectations. I tender you

the invaluable blessings of civil, political, and religious liberty, and their necessary result, individual and general prosperity-that liberty which gave decision to our councils and energy to our conduct in our struggle for independence, and which conducted us safely and triumphantly through the stormy period of the revolution-that liberty which has raised us to an elevated rank among the nations of the world, and which has afforded us a greater measure of peace and security, of wealth and improvement, than ever yet fell to the lot of any people.

In the name of my country, and by the authority of my government, I promise protection to your persons, property, and rights. Remain at your homes-pursue your peaceful and customary avocations-raise not your hands against your brethren. Many of your fathers fought for the freedom and independence we now enjoy. Being children, therefore, of the same family with us, and heirs to the same heritage, the arrival of an army of friends must be hailed by you with a cordial welcome. You will be emancipated from tyranny and oppression, and restored to the dignified station of freemen.

Had I any doubt of eventual success, I might ask your assistance-but I do not. I come prepared for every contingency. I have a force which will look down all opposition, and that force is but the vanguard of a much greater. If, contrary to your own interests and the just expectation of my country, you should take part in the approaching contest, you will be considered and treated as enemies, and the horrors and calamities of war will stalk before you. If the barbarous and savage policy of Great Britain be pursued, and the savages be let loose to murder our citizens, and butcher our women and children, this war will be a war of extermination. The first stroke of the tomahawk, the first attempt with the scalping knife, will be the signal of one indiscriminate scene of desolation. No white man, found fighting by the side of an Indian, will be taken prisoner-instant destruction will be his lot. If the dictates of reason, duty, justice, and humanity, cannot prevent the employment of a

« PreviousContinue »