James Madison Papers

From James Madison to Richard Cutts, 8 August 1812

To Richard Cutts

Washington Aug. 8. 1812

Dear Sir

I have had the pleasure of receiving yours of the 25th. Ult:1 The rancorous opposition in some of the E. States to the war, is peculiarly unfortunate, as it has the double effect of crippling its operations, and encouraging the Enemy to withold any pacific advances otherwise likely to be made. It appears that the B. Cabinet has been forced into a reconsideration of their refusal to repeal the Orders;2 but whether they will adopt such a repeal as will be an effective step towards adjustment; or whether they will repeal at all after a knowledge of the war, and above all, of the factious proceedings agst. it remains to be seen. Their delay in removing the Orders out of the way, may have the advantage of letting our vessels in England hear of the war before they avail themselves of the removal and anticipated repeal of the Non: Imp: act. In that case, they will surely be prudent eno’ not to encounter the risks without passports that will make them perfectly safe. Hull has raised the standard with some eclât on the Canada shore. He was preparing cannon & Mortars for the Attack on Malden. The Indians seem to be pretty generally in that quarter withdrawing from their allies.3 At Niagara there is or will be a force which I hope will effectually co-operate with Hull. But what are we to do as to the main expedition towards Montreal, under the manoeuvering counteractions of Strong & Griswold, and the general chill diffused by federalism throughout the region from which the requisite force was to be drawn? I wish the zeal of the S. & W. could be imparted to that region. It overflows so much in Kent:y: & Tenns. &c. that if disaffection takes place, it will be from disgust & disappt. at not being called into active service. We all join in Affece. remembrance to Mrs. C & the little family. Yrs. sincerely

J. Madison

RC (MHi); Tr (NjP: Crane Collection). RC docketed by Cutts.

1Letter not found.

2JM had been discussing with the British chargé d’affaires, Anthony St. John Baker, Foster’s recently received instructions from Lord Castlereagh, dated 17 June 1812, announcing that the orders in council would be repealed as of 1 Aug. 1812 (see JM to Gallatin, 8 Aug. 1812). Castlereagh explained that the orders would resume on 1 May 1813 if the French government failed to modify its conduct and also that they would be restored two weeks after formal notification if the U.S. continued to exclude British ships of war from American ports and persisted in restricting British trade. The instructions specified that a formal notification of this policy would follow in a matter of days (Mayo, Instructions to British Ministers description begins Bernard Mayo, ed., Instructions to British Ministers to the United States, 1791–1812, Annual Report of the American Historical Association of the Year 1936, vol. 3 (Washington, 1941). description ends , 381–83).

3After Hull’s entry into Upper Canada, James Taylor wrote to Eustis from Sandwich on 14 July, informing him that “the american Eagle was hoisted on the bank of this province amid the acclimations [sic] of our Patriotic little army and the shouts of the Inhabitants of Detroit.” Hull subsequently reported on 14 and 19 July that he was fortifying his position, obtaining control of the rivers, and preparing for an attack on Fort Malden. The Indians, he declared, had reacted to the invasion of Canada by returning to their villages, and a meeting with several nations in Brownstown would result in their neutrality. The Canadians, he continued, were receptive to his 13 July proclamation, which promised them protection and invited their help against the British. He concluded that disaffection at Fort Malden was so pronounced that “in a day or two, I expect the whole will desert” (Michigan Historical Collections 40 [1929]: 409–11, 412–15, 418–19).

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