Изображения страниц

place, or immediately threatened,* and when the conditions required by those officers were not inconsistent with the rights of the militia, and by them expressly remonstrated against, affords evidence of his readiness to comply with the just requisitions of the federal rulers.

Great expenses were probably prevented by the system. which was adopted by the governor, and the rights of the militia were preserved, which many believed would have been violated by a compliance with the plan of the national administration, and the orders of its military officers, which would have required the same service of them as of regular troops. Adjutant General Brooks, under whose immediate direction the orders respecting the militia were issued, and who had the entire confidence of Governor Strong, both for his bravery and prudence, probably arranged the details of the system; but the principles which were adopted, and which guided the measures for the defence of the state, must have been approved, and, no doubt, were suggested by the governor himself.

A distinction was made, at a subsequent period, between the services rendered by the militia, in the counties of Plymouth, Barnstable, and Bristol, belonging to the fifth division, and those performed by the citizens in other parts of the state. It was asserted, that the services of the former were more patriotic, having been entirely voluntary and spontaneous, and therefore entitled to a remuneration by the general government. But there was no just foundation for this distinction. In all places, the militia turned out readily, though not without orders from the governor, their constitutional commander-in-chief. His orders, originally, and afterwards, were to officers of the militia of all ranks to call out their men, when necessary for defence. And it was in compliance with these orders, that they were called into service by their respective officers. The major general of the fifth division, in his several orders, calling on the militia to march to particular places for the protection of the people, referred to the general order of the governor, directing him to have his men in constant readiness, and to

* In August, 1812, when there appeared to be danger of an attack at Eastport, several companies of militia were ordered to that place, and put under the command of an officer of the United States. When Captain Brainbridge asked for the militia to protect the Navy Yard in Charlestown, they were ordered out for the purpose. When General Cushing, in June, 1814, requested the militia for the protection of Boston and vicinity, it was agreed to call out the number he desired, and put them under his command. And when General Dearborn, in July, 1814, requested the militia to be in readiness, orders were issued by the governor accordingly; and eleven hundred were stationed at Forts Independence and Warren for sometime, under such officers as General Dearborn desired, and subject to his command.

march them to the scene of danger and of alarm, without waiting for particular commands from him in every case. In a public letter, in 1817, the commanding officer of that division says, "that the governor was pleased to devolve on me the responsibility of directing the militia in this division, if there should be an invasion, or imminent danger of it." To various places within that division, the militia were accordingly called out, in greater or less numbers, and for a longer or shorter period, as the circumstances required. But the same was done in and about Boston; at Portland, and at Wiscasset; where General Sewall's and General King's divisions furnished large numbers, in times of alarm and danger.


Hartford Convention-Its Proceedings-Approved by the General Court of Massachusetts-Objects of the Convention-Act of Congress to authorize a State to employ the Militia for Defence-Intelligence of Peace-Controversy touching the right to call out the Militia-Governor's Speech on the subject-Mr. Gore's Opinion on State Rights-Terms of PeaceManufactures-Mr. Strong again Governor, in 1815.

DURING the session of the legislature in October, 1814, in compliance with a resolution adopted by a large majority of the representatives, twelve citizens, distinguished for their political experience, public services, and sound judgment,* were selected to attend a convention of delegates or committees from the New England States, to consult for the defence and welfare of that part of the country, in the critical and exposed situation in which it was placed by the war. The convention was held at Hartford, in Connecticut, on the 15th of December following. Delegates attended also from Connecticut and Rhode Island; and several counties in New Hampshire were represented; but the legislature of that state declined choosing a committee for the purpose.

The convention separated early in January; and the delegates from Massachusetts made a report of their proceedings to the general court, which met a few days after they returned. The doings of the convention were approved by a large majority of the general court; and a vote of thanks was passed to the delegates, who were citizens of the state. The governor

*They were George Cabot, (who was president of the convention) Nathan Dane, William Prescott, H. G. Otis, Joshua Thomas, Hodijah Baylies, Timothy Bigelow, George Bliss, Joseph Lyman, Daniel Waldo, S. S. Wilde, and Stephen Longfellow. That these men were truly patriotic, and acted from pure motives, the candid of their political opponents did not dispute. That they were fallible, their friends did not deny. Yet their views were much misrepresented, for party purposes.

also spoke of their proceedings, as proof of great moderation. The measures proposed by the convention were, "that application should be made to congress, for its consent to an arrangement, by which the states represented in the convention, separately, or unitedly, might assume the defence of their territory, at the national expense; and that certain amendments to the constitution of the United States be proposed to the several states, for their consent and adoption." The amendments proposed were, that congress should not have power to make war unless two thirds of the members of both branches should be in favor of it: that no law should be passed laying an embargo, for a longer period than sixty days, at once: that no law suspending commercial intercourse with foreign nations should be enacted, unless two thirds of the members of congress should consent and approve that no person should be eligible for president of the United States a second time: and that the representation in congress should be according to the free population of the states. It was also recommended by the convention, that a request be made to congress for aid to defend the state, exposed as it was to invasion, in consequence of war, declared by the general government, which had the control of all the revenue of the nation. And when the general court passed resolutions, approving of the conduct of their delegates to the convention, they voted to send agents to the federal government, "to represent the exposure of the state, and the feelings and apprehensions of the people; the great expenses to which the state had already been subjected; and to solicit of congress and the administration the means of future protection, as well as a reimbursement in pårt of what the commonwealth had already advanced, for the defence of the country. This measure was considered necessary to satisfy the people: for if the war should be continued, and no means of defence furnished by the general government, the great body of the people would probably be called into service, as militia, to protect the inhabitants from the depredations of the enemy. Three eminent citizens were appointed for this object, who proceeded to the seat of the national government, in February, soon after they were commissioned. About the time of their arrival, the intelligence of peace was received, and no application was made to congress, as had been proposed.


The convention at Hartford, held by recommendation of Massachusetts, was, for many years, condemned by a large portion of the people through the United States. But its design

* H. G. Otis, T. H. Perkins, and William Sullivan.

was probably not fully understood, or not candidly and fairly represented. The people of Massachusetts, and of the other states on the seacoasts, had suffered exceedingly, for more than two years, by a war which they could not perceive to be necessary, and which, instead of being for defence, as pretended, had been made one of conquest, by the invasion of Canada. And when the regular forces of the nation were ordered away, and the militia called for to defend the country, the requisition and the system proposed were such, that the militia complained and remonstrated, and the experienced statesmen of Massachusetts and some other parts of the union, believed them to be arbitrary and unconstitutional. The militia, therefore, were not called out in all cases, as requested by the officer of the United States. But whenever there were attacks, or invasion immediately threatened, the militia were called into service: and the public debt, in consequence, had become very great. Still the general government had all the revenue in its own hands: and when requested to reimburse the expenses incurred, only in part, or to furnish means of protection, the administration refused to do either. In this state of things, and a prospect of the continuance of the war, the plan was suggested for a convention of delegates from the New England States, to devise means for protection, and to propose a remedy for the evils under which they suffered, and to which they were exposed, in future.

Such was the cause, and such were the designs of the convention at Hartford. It was charged with plotting against the union; but there was nothing in the first proposition, nor in the resolves preparatory to the convention, nor in their proceedings, nor report, which was in favor of a separation of the New England States from the union; nor which could be fairly construed, as implying or intimating such a measure. The minds of the people were so agitated, that some steps were necessary on the part of their representatives to shew that every just and constitutional means would be adopted to obtain relief. The measure adopted was to consult with citizens of neighboring states, and to apply to congress for protection, or the means of protection. And thus the people were kept from violent acts against the laws, and induced to wait with patience

*The journal of the Hartford Convention was put into the hands of the writer of this history, then secretary of the commonwealth, by the president, who made the declaration and certificate, as a man of honor, that it contained all the resolutions passed, and all the motions formally made in the convention; and the declaration of George Cabot did not need an oath to give it full credence.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »