James Madison Papers
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To James Madison from William Bellinger Bullock, 4 June 1812 (Abstract)

§ From William Bellinger Bullock1

4 June 1812, Savannah. “The enclosed Resolutions have been adopted at a general and very numerous Meeting of the Citizens of Savannah and agreeably to the request therein contained I have the honor to transmit them to you.”2

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, ML). RC 1 p. Enclosure signed by Bullock as chairman of the meeting and by Thomas Mendenhall as secretary. For enclosure (3 pp.; printed in the National Intelligencer, 27 June 1812), see n. 2.

1William Bellinger Bullock, district attorney for Georgia, was at this time serving as mayor of Savannah (see PJM-PS description begins Robert A. Rutland et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Presidential Series (4 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 1984–). description ends , 2:42–43 and n. 1; Bullock to Eustis, 25 June 1812 [DNA: RG 107, LRRS, B-311:6]).

2Bullock enclosed the proceedings of a meeting held in the Baptist church of Savannah on 3 June to consider a committee report consisting of a preamble and seven resolutions on “the present, and impending Crisis of our National affairs.” The preamble noted “the reiterated insults, and unparalleled injuries” the U.S. and its citizens had received from the European belligerents and recorded that the U.S. government had been “unjustly and artfully defeated” in its hopes that those belligerents “would return to an observance of such fundamental principles of national and natural law, as ought ever to obtain between civilized Countries.” The meeting therefore wished to convey to the “Constitutional representatives of the Republic their solemn and deliberate determination to unite in all such Measures as may be necessary in support of the honor, rights, and sovereignty of the Nation.”

The first resolution stated that the U.S. had “abundant cause” for war against both belligerents. “But it is demanded against Great Britain, by the present crisis, to the end that our rights as a nation may be preserved inviolate, and transmitted unimpaired to posterity: And unless our injuries which are now the subject of negociation, are immediately redressed by France, we recommend hostilities against her also.” The second resolution declared that for the administration to persevere in its “virtuous and pacific conduct” would “prostrate the dignity of the Government, and render contemptible this the only free nation upon earth”; the citizens therefore approved the defensive measures of the government and would hazard their lives and fortunes in support of them. The third resolution urged the early seizure of East Florida in its “present disorganized state,” both as an expedient response to Spanish spoliations and as a “precaution against foreign occupancy, and for this still more important consideration, that the safety of our southern frontier greatly depends on an absolute dominion by the United States over that Province, to be held subject to ulterior negociation.”

The fourth resolution requested the Georgia congressional delegation “to apply to the General Government, for an adequate naval and military force, to aid in the protection of our Cities, Harbours, Seaboard, and frontier generally.” The fifth resolution declared that the erection of defensive works at Fort Wayne, adjoining Savannah, was necessary for the public safety and directed the state congressional delegation “earnestly to represent the same” to the president. The sixth and seventh resolutions provided for the publication of the above resolutions and their transmission to the president and the Georgia congressional delegation and also thanked the chairman and secretary of the meeting.

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