James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Thomas Lehré, 26 March 1813

From Thomas Lehré

Charleston March 26th: 1813


Yesterday the Citizens of this place meet in one of the Churches to deliberate upon the best mode of defending this City, against an attack from our enemy, after a little discussion the enclosed Resolutions were entered into.1

Certain bitter Federalists came forward at the above meeting and made a violent attack upon our Government, by saying among other things, “As the General Government had done nothing for us, it is now high time we should do something for ourselves.” This is a charge they are circulating with great industry here against the Government, no doubt with the view to endeavour to withdraw the affections of the people from their Rulers. I submit, with all due deference, whether it would not be proper in our Government, as soon as possible, to furnish its friends here, with the amounts in round numbers, of the sums which have been expended at Forts Moultrie—Johnston—and Castle Pinckney—also the sums that have been expended for Gun Boats, Barges &c. &c—And also the sums that have been placed in the Military chest here, in order that the friends of Government may be enabled to defend it against the base falsehoods that are now going the rounds against them on that head.

Whatever information may come to me from Government, upon the above subject, it may be assured I shall give it all the publicity in my power. I remain with the highest respect & esteem Sir Your very Obedt: and very Humble Servant

Thomas Lehré

RC (DLC). Docketed by JM.

1Lehré no doubt forwarded a copy of the resolutions published in the Charleston Courier of 26 Mar. 1813. They recommended that six batteries and two furnaces be constructed and federal ordnance be placed at Charleston, that local taxes be levied to finance the defense efforts, that the militia be ordered out and the city’s male citizens be counted, that the U.S. Navy vessels designated for Charleston’s defense “be re-instated to their former employ,” and that committees be appointed to carry out these measures. Thomas Bennet Jr., intendant of Charleston, wrote to William Jones on 26 Mar. 1813 requesting “the restoration of the small naval force hitherto imployed for the protection of this Harbour,” and in May 1813, Jones ordered six barges back into service at Charleston (DNA: RG 45, Misc. Letters Received; Dudley, Naval War of 1812, 2:142).

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