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mand, and cover his retreat by every fire I could safely make. But the boats were dispersed--many of the boatmen had fled, panic struck÷and but few got off. But my note could but little more than have reached Gen. Wadsworth about 4 o'clock, when a most severe and obstinate conflict commenced and continued about half an hour with a tremendous fire of cannon, flying artillery and musketry. The enemy succeeded, in repossessing their battery; and gaming advantage on every side, the brave men who had gained the victory, exhausted of strength and ammunition, and grieved at the unpardonable neglect of their fellow-soldiers, gave up the conflict.
I can only add, that the victory was really won; but lost for the want of a small reinforcement. One third part of the idle men might have saved all.
I cannot in justice close this without expressing the very great obligation I am under to Brigadier-General Wadsworth, Col. Van Rensselaer, Col. Scott, Lieut. Cois. Chrystie and Fenwick, and Capt. Gibson. Many others have also behaved most gallantly. As I have reason to believe that many of our troops fled to the woods, with the hope of Crossing the river, I have notbeen able to learn the probable number of killed, wounded and prisoners.* The enemy have suffered severely.
GENERAL BROCK, is among their slain, and his aid-decamp mortally wounded.
I have the honor to be, &c.
STEPHEN VAN RENSSELAER.
Documents accompanying the President's Message of
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Russell.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, July 27, 1812.
SIR-I wrote you on the 26th of June, by Mr. Foster, a letter which he promised to deliver to you in person or by a safe hand.
* It is since ascertained that 90 regulars and militia were killed, and 385 regulars and 378 militia, 82 being wounded, made prisoners.
In that letter you were informed, that the Orders in Council, and other illegal blockades, and the impressment of our seamen by Great-Britain, as you well knew before, were the principal causes of the war, and that if they were removed, you might stipulate an armistice, leaving them and all other grounds of difference, for final and more precise adjustment by treaty. As an inducement to the British government to discontinue the practice of impressment from our vessels, by which alone our seamen can be made secure, you were authorised to stipulate a prohibition by law, to be reciprocal, of the employment of British seamen in the public or commercial service of the U. States. As such an arrangement, which might be made completely effectual and satisfactory by suitable regulations and penalties, would operate almost exclusively in favor of GreatBritain, for as few of our seamen ever enter voluntarily into the British service, the reciprocity would be nominal; its advantage to G. Britain would be more than an equivalent for any she derives from impressment, which alone ought to induce her to abandon the practice, if she had no other motive for it. A stipulation to prohibit by law the employment of British seamen in the service of the U. States, is to be understood in the sense and spirit of the constitution. The passage of such law must depend of course on Congress, who, it might reasonably be presumed, might give effect to it.
By authorising you to secure these objects as the grounds of an armistice, it was not intended to restrict you to any precise form in which it should be done. It is not particularly necessary that the several points should be specially provided for in the convention stipulating the armistice. A clear and distinet understanding with the British government on the subject of impressment, comprising in it the discharge of men already impressed, and on future blockades, if the Orders in Council are revoked, is all that is indispensable. The Orders in Council being revoked, and the proposed understanding on the other points, that is, on blockades and impressment, being first obtained, in a manner, though informal, to admit of no mistake or disagreement hereafter, the instrument providing for the armistice may assume a general form especially if more agreeable to the British government. It may for example
be said in general terms that both powes being sincerely desirous to terminate the differences which unhappily subsist between them, and equally so, that full time should be. given for the adjustment thereof, agree, 1st, that an armistice shall take place for that purpose to commence on the day of.
2. That they will forthwith appoint on each side commissioners with full power to form a treaty, which shall provide, by reciprocal arrangements, for the security of their seamen from being taken or employed in the service of the other power, for the regulation of their commerce, and all other interesting questions now depending between them. 3. The armistice shall not cease without a previous notice by one to the other party of days, and shall. not be understood as having other effect than merely to suspend military operations by land and sea.'
By this you will perceive that the President is desirous. of removing every obstacle to an accommodation which. consists merely of form, securing in a safe and satisfactory manner, the rights and interest of the U. States in these two. great and essential circumstances, as it is presumed may be accomplished by the proposed understanding; he is willing that it should be done in a manner the most satisfactory and honorable to G. Britain, as well as to the U. States. I have the honor to be, &c.
Mr. Graham to Mr. Russell.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Aug. 9, 1812.
SIR-The Secretary left this city about ten days ago,. on a short visit to Virginia. Since that period Mr. Baker has, in consequence of some despatches from his government addressed to Mr. Foster, made to me a communication respecting the intentions of his government as regards the Orders in Council. It was of a character, however, so entirely informal and confidential that Mr. Baker did not feel himself at liberty to make it in the form of a note verbal or promemoria, or even to permit me to take a memorandum of it at the time he made it. As it authorises an expectation that something more precise and definite, in and official form, may soon be received by this government, it is the less necessary that I should go into an explanation of
the views of the President in relation to it, more particularly as the Secretary of State is daily expected, and will be able to do it in a manner more satisfactory.
I have the honor to be, &c.
Mr. Graham to Mr. Russell.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Aug. 10, 1812.
SIR-Thinking that it may possibly be useful to you, I do myself the honor to enclose you a memorandum of the conversation between Mr. Baker and myself, alluded to in my letter of yesterday's date. From a conversation with Mr. Baker since this memorandum was made, I find that I was correct in representing to the President that the inti mation from Mr. Foster, and the British authorities at Halifax was was to be understood as connected with a suspension of hostilities on the frontiers of Canada. Yours, &c. JOHN GRAHAM.
Memorandum referred to in the above letter.
Mr. Baker verbally communicated to me for the information of the President, that he had received despatches from his government addressed to Mr. Foster, (dated I believe about the 17th of June) from which he was authorised to say, that an official declaration would be sent to this country, that the Orders in Council, so far as they affected the U. States, would be repealed on the 1st of August, to be revived on the 1st of May, 1813, unless the conduct of the French government, and the result of the communications with the American government, should be such as, in the opinion of his majesty, to render their revival unnecessary. Mr. Baker moreover stated that the Orders would be revived, provided the American government did not, within fourteen days after they received the official declaration of their repeal, admit British armed vessels into their ports, and put an end to the restrictive measures which had grown out of the Orders in Council.
The despatches authorising this communication to the American government expressly directed that it should be made verbally, and Mr. Baker did not consider himself at liberty to reduce it to writing, even in the form of a note verbal, or promemoria, or to suffer me to take a memorandum of his communication at the time he made it. I under
stood from him that the despatches had been opened by Mr. Foster at Halifax, who in consequence of a conversation he had had with Vice Admiral Sawyer, and Sir J. Sherbroke, had authorised Mr. Baker to say, that these gentlemen would agree, as a measure leading to a suspension of hostilities, that all captures made after a day to be fixed, should not be proceeded against immediately, but be detained to await the future decision of the two governments. Mr. Foster had not seen Sir George Prevost, but had written to him by express, and did not doubt but that he would agree to an arrangement for the temporary suspension of hostilities. Mr. Baker also stated that he had received an authority from Mr. Foster to act as charge d'affairs, provided the American government would receive him in that charac ter, for the purpose of enabling him officially to communicate the declaration which was to be expected from the British government; his functions to be understood, of course, as ceasing on the renewal of hostilities. I replied, that although, to so general and informal a communication, no answer might be necessary, and certainly no particular answer expected, yet, I was authorised to say, that the communication is received with sincere satisfaction, as it is hoped that the spirit in which it was authorised by his government, may lead to such further communications as will open the way not only to an early and satisfactory termination of existing hostilities, but to that entire adjustment of all the differences which produced them, and that permanent peace and solid friendship which ought to be mutually desired by both countries, and which is sincerely desired by this. With this desire, an authority was given to Mr. Russell on the subject of an armistice as introductory to a final pacification, as has been made known to Mr. Foster, and the same desire will be felt on the receipt of the further and more particular communications which are shortly to be expected with respect to the joint intimation from Mr. Foster and the authorities at Halifax, on the subject of suspending judicial proceedings in the case of maritime captures, to be accompanied by a suspension of military operations. The authority given to Mr. Russell just aliuded to, and of which Mr. Foster was the bearer, is full proof of the solicitude of the government of the U. States to bring about a general suspension of hostilities on admis