James Madison Papers

To James Madison from the North Carolina Legislature, 29 November 1813 (Abstract)

From the North Carolina Legislature, 29 November 1813 (Abstract)

§ From the North Carolina Legislature. 29 November 1813, “In Senate.” “The Memorial of the Senate and House of Commons of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, respectfully represents:

“That upon the declaration of war by the United States against Great Britain, your Memorialists, hoped and expected that measures would have been taken by the General Government to defend the Sea Coast of the State. In this hope and in this expectation we have been disappointed. His Excellency the Governor of this State has laid before us his communications with the Department of war of the United States, in which he has exposed the condition of our sea-board, represented the points most liable to attack; suggested means of defence, and enforced the claims of this State upon the General Government for protection.1 We regret that the General Government has not given that attention to those representations which their importance merited; and this regret is increased by the consideration that a comparatively small expenditure of money would have placed North Carolina in a state of safety from the predatory incursions of the enemy. A due regard however to the character and to the interest of the State, forbid us any longer to remain in this uncertainty and in this insecurity. The time has now arrived when Your Memorialists wish distinctly to understand whether the General Government will afford to them the necessary protection. The enemy are off our Coast: we know not at what hour or at what place they may land and plunder our towns and country on the sea board. We beg you sir, without delay to inform us whether measures will be immediately taken for our protection. We make this enquiry thus early after having assembled together that we may be able during our Session to give to North Carolina an attitude suited to her population, and the extent of her resources, and to extend to our Sea Coast the requisite protection should it be longer withheld by the General Government. We invite your attention to the communications of His Excellency the Governor of this State with the Department of War of the United States and earnestly entreat you to give immediate effect to the mode of protection and defence therein pointed out.”

RC (DLC). 3 pp. Appended to the memorial are resolutions of the Senate and the House of Commons, dated 29 and 30 Nov., respectively, stipulating that the memorial “be signed by the Speaker of this House” and sent to JM. Senate resolution signed by Montfort Stokes, clerk, and George Outlaw, speaker; House of Commons resolution signed by Richard Henderson, clerk, and William Miller, speaker. Enclosed in William Hawkins to JM, 30 Nov. 1813 (1 p.), in which Hawkins stated that the bearer, North Carolina militia Maj. Gen. Calvin Young, “was in service when the State was invaded” and could “communicate … the difficulties at that time experienced for want of the necessary supplies.” Printed in the Daily National Intelligencer on 9 Dec. 1813.

1North Carolina governor William Hawkins wrote to William Eustis on 26 July and 13 and 15 Sept. 1812 and to John Armstrong on 6 May, 20 Aug., and 19 Oct. 1813 regarding the defense of his state (DNA: RG 107, LRRS, H-300:6, H-364:6, H-113:7, H-220:7, and H-251:7). Replying on 31 July 1812, Eustis declined to call out more North Carolina militia for protection against the Cherokee Indians and approved Hawkins’s handling of supply problems for the militia already in U.S. service; in a letter of 18 Sept., he referred the governor to Maj. Gen. Thomas Pinckney for assistance with coastal defense. Writing to Hawkins on 25 May and 9 and 27 July 1813, Armstrong stated that Congress would soon be considering “some general measures for the defence of the Sea-board,” authorized Hawkins to order North Carolina militia into service at Ocracoke, Beaufort, and Wilmington, and assured him that a supply of arms and ammunition to the state had been provided for. Daniel Parker referred Hawkins to Pinckney once again on 15 Sept. 1813. In reply to Hawkins’s 19 Oct. 1813 protest that Pinckney apparently did not believe himself authorized to order the measures Hawkins deemed necessary, Parker stated on 30 Oct. 1813 that he had shown Hawkins’s letter to JM and had forwarded to Armstrong extracts from it regarding North Carolina fortifications. In addition, Parker informed the governor that the costs incurred by North Carolina militia in federal service would be reimbursed according to law, referred him to regulations regarding medical personnel, and stated that the commissary at Norfolk could provide medical supplies (DNA: RG 107, LSMA).

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