James Madison Papers

To James Madison from William Kilty, 2 June 1812 (Abstract)

§ From William Kilty1

2 June 1812, Annapolis. Transmits the proceedings of a meeting of Republican citizens held here “on Saturday last—as directed by the last of the resolutions.”2

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 59, ML). RC 1 p. For enclosure (3 pp.), signed as a true copy by J. S. Skinner as secretary, see n. 2.

1William Kilty (1757–1821) had been a surgeon during the Revolutionary War and later took up the law. He compiled The Laws of Maryland in 1799 and in 1806 became chancellor of the state (Papenfuse et al., Biographical Dictionary of the Maryland Legislature, 2:510).

2The 30 May meeting of the Republican citizens of Anne Arundel County and the city of Annapolis approved a preamble deploring the “lawless violence and unprovoked outrages” that had been committed against American neutral rights by “the inexorable tyranny and frantic ambition of the Government of Great Britain.” The meeting also expressed indignation against the rulers of France, who, “regardless of the principles of national faith and candour, seem to be governed by an exclusive regard to the advancement of their own interests” and the “aggrandizement of their fortunes.” Nevertheless, the meeting noted “the broad lines of distinction which mark the conduct of those Governments in the nature of the injuries they have inflicted upon us.” Both had violated the rights of property, but Great Britain had also trampled on “our precious and inestimable rights of personal liberty and security.” Believing that negotiations for redress were in vain and that measures recently adopted by the U.S. government indicated a prospect of war, the meeting adopted three resolutions. The first approved the conduct of the U.S. in its management of foreign affairs and its efforts to obtain justice from the belligerent powers. The second recorded the pledge of those in attendance, in the event of war, “to act as freemen conscious of the value of our rights, and determined to defend them.” The third directed the president of the meeting to forward its proceedings to the president of the U.S. and to arrange for their publication in the Annapolis Maryland Republican. The resolutions appeared in the 3 June 1812 issue of the Maryland Republican and also in the 13 June 1812 issue of the National Intelligencer.

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