James Madison Papers

To James Madison from Joseph Haslet, 14 April 1813

From Joseph Haslet

Dover 14 April 1813.


I have the honour herein to transmit an attested Copy of certain resolutions, which have passed the Senate and House of Representatives of this State now met in General Assembly.1

I anxiously hope and solicit, that the requests expressed in these resolutions may be immediately granted.

This State is much exposed. A long coast presents to the enemy many points for attack and incursions. An attempt has already been made to destroy one of our towns. The attack was resolutely resisted and failed.2 There are strong grounds to believe, it will be repeated with greater violence.

The British Squadron send their barges considerable distances up the Delaware bay. They have nearly destroyed the coasting trade to Philadelphia, of our two lower counties. Upon this trade we depend for a market for our produce and for a supply of many conveniencies of life.

The resources of the State are very small, far from being adequate to the requirements of the existing emergency. With high consideration and respect, I have the honour to be, Your Excellency’s obedient Servant,

Joseph Haslet3

RC and enclosure (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, H-93:7). RC in a clerk’s hand, signed by Haslet; docketed as received in the War Department in April 1813. For enclosure, see n. 1.

1The enclosed resolutions (3 pp.; printed in Delaware Archives [5 vols.; 1911–19; reprint, New York, 1974], 4:391–92) requested that the Delaware militia be called out and provided with arms, ammunition, and provisions at U.S. government expense, and that JM “order to the Delaware a sufficient naval force for the defence thereof.” John Armstrong wrote to Haslet on 20 Apr. 1813 acknowledging receipt of his letter and stating that the requests had “been already complied with by my letter of the 17h. Instant to your Excellency, requiring that one Battallion of the Detached militia of Delaware be called into the service of the United States” (DNA: RG 107, LSMA; printed in Delaware Archives [1974 reprint], 4:397).

2See Nicholas Ridgely to JM, 22 Mar. 1813, and nn. 1–2.

3Joseph Haslet (ca. 1769–1823) was born in Kent County, Delaware, and orphaned in 1777, when he became the ward of Chief Justice William Killen. Around 1790 he moved to Sussex County and took up farming. After running unsuccessfully for governor in 1804 and 1807, Haslet, as a Democratic-Republican, defeated Federalist Daniel Rodney for that office in 1810, and served until 1814. As governor, he oversaw the formation of plans for a Delaware turnpike, the establishment of the Farmers’ Bank of Delaware, and the reorganization of the militia. Because Delaware governors were not allowed to serve two successive terms, Haslet returned to farming in 1814. He was elected to a second term in 1822 and died in office (Sobel and Raimo, Biographical Directory of the Governors, 1:215–16).

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