tv President Madison and the War of 1812 CSPAN March 15, 2015 4:30pm-5:01pm EDT
with mr. hall is president madison using his years of experiencing -- experience. he discusses popular opinion of the time and the origins of the war of 1812. this event is about 13 minutes. >> good day to all of you. i am pleased to welcome my friends here to the home of the taylor's, which mr. madison and i have an occupying since last september. we've been here since february of 1815, certainly in anticipation of great alterations to national circumstance. i find that, from time to time as president there is a necessity of explanation to the american people. as the circumstances press forward with the actions taken by this administration, there have been many reports of discontent is the declaration
commenced in the june of 1812. since that time the administration, having relentlessly avoided any imposition of the suppression of the present speech alluded to in the bill of rights, this administration has been most fervent in not disturbing the rights of the american people. the accessibility to freedom of speech and the press has found great opposition in this administration. the outbreaks and riots in baltimore that occurred shortly after the declaration in july of 1812 in baltimore affected how many citizens supported the war.
the outcome was the consequence of the publications. my friend, henry lee, had suffered that is the consequence of that there. we were not about suppress the press on those matters. you had seen a reflection in the country and in the unit -- new england state. we have seen their expressions of discontent, even amongst those in the democratic republican party, who expressed reservations about the war. but let us talk to the war itself. for years comparing the war they
had taken a stance of neutrality. they had voted national law and engaged in tribute. in the day they were engaged in the trade and technology contraband of the trade, but we found the policies of france and england changing dramatically. before those years the united states was able to engage in what they call a broken voyage. where they had the permitting of trade that would occur between the two ports as long as the ship carrying the trade such as a united states ship, would stand in a neutral port for several days, they would thus pay the taxes and tariffs.
if they were not so, to have the goods replaced upon the ship and go on. this process of the broken voyage was acknowledged by france and england, if not passively than directly. in 1807 the british change their policy and did not allow these broken voyages. the search for those orders of counsel seem to engage that any ship, neutral or otherwise trading with their enemy as expressed by their allies would be subjected to british seizure by the royal navy. the polling responded through a host of other edicts and were engaged by a similar practice is the french navy and english navy regarding english ports, colonies, and allies. essentially curbing them of all neutral trade seized by the
british leading to the embargo declared by the united states, total embargo of trade. this embargo met with some resistance in new england. i was told that some urgency might be able to receive a great deal of profit have they sent three ships out to trade. two were usually captured by the english or the french. in this regard then, it was still be profitable even if one ship was able to return to port. with the embargo we sought to limit the amount of trade to those english and french colonies in the antilles and caribbean that were dependent upon american goods for subsistence. we restricted the trade to those colonies so that they would be forced to appeal to their respective governments and
receiver rescinding of the restrictive acts on the parts of free trade. now, this was not able to be occurring. the embargo also inspired manufacturers to produce such goods that could only be purchased in england and france. thus inspiring american commerce all the more. but this did not occur for want of capitalism. so, after a year the embargo was rescinded generally. during that year in the years following an 1812, the united states had been engaged in an epic negotiation with england and france, seeking to have them resume the restriction on american trade. a number of embargo act, smaller in consequence, the importation acts, prohibitive acts towards one nation or the other issued to france and england separately
as they were not tied together but dealing separately again with england, thus whichever nation lifted its restrictions on american trade, we would recommence trade with that country and enforce harsher restrictions on the country that did not. by 1810 we had received notice from france -- from john armstrong there that they were willing to discuss lifting edicts even from berlin if the united states would lift the non-importation of french good. on the basis of that we lifted our restrictions to france, sent notice to england on the lifting of the restrictions that england would be forced to do the same. but england did not change her policies and we vowed that even the lifting of french restrictions was something
obviated by the nuances of the declaration. he lifted the restrictions on american ships already in the port, but american ships on the high seas would still be subjected to seizure in the terms of making declarations and uncompromising based on the alterations and of these trainings. of course, this left our negotiations with france very tenuous, but still more advantageous than our previous negotiations had whereas with the secretary of state we had negotiated for powers to negotiate with the united states regarding the difference between the two nations. the presence of sailors. the hostility of western tribes. the nature of open ports. there were a host of a restricted.
we had come to an agreement and in consequence of that agreement we lifted the restriction on british trade for three months and allowed trade with england. but it turns out that his arrangement was rescinded by the administration and, because of that and later accounts from john foster, we found that the british would be intractable in the negotiation and would not lift any of their issues. most important, of course, was the matter of the present. the capacity of england to board american ships of war, the incident with the chesapeake in 1807 was very consequential. this cannot be tolerated by this nation. with every effort to negotiate with england, to negotiate the issues between the nations having failed it was
inevitable, then, that we would be declaring war on england and i knew that by 1811 and the issuance of the new 12th congress at that point, in the 11th congress he found a new group of men coming into congress, young men who had been born at least at if not after the commencement of the revolution in 1776. these generals seemed ambitious for war. mr. clay, mr. calhoun, mr. cheese, mr. gundy. they were most ambitious for war and one of the representatives from virginia, mr. john randolph, called it the war of hawks, they were so ambitious. there were new members of congress, extraordinary as much as they wanted to have war, many of them voted against any acts that would be introduce to prepare the united states for war. you cannot ill ships of war.
with raw timber you have to purchase it beforehand at the subtly naval yards reestablishing naval yards through the assembly of ships, hemp, operations from units and a host of necessary items to be addressed in raising a volunteer army, consisting of the militia from the civil state. allocations for money and appeals to the congress for those moneys went unanswered. it began with through a lack of preparation ensuring that in generations from now they would remark upon my person and my administration for having been so ill prepared for war. one was to be reminded of the restrictions in the constitution itself. it is the congress that declares war. it is the congress that appropriates money for the carrying out of war.
it is a congress that approves those actions necessary for conducting a war. it is the congress in one hand that is to appeal for war. yet on the other hand is nothing in order to prepare for that war. i suspect it is rather specious for anyone a subsequent generations to know of charges of ineptness or incompetence on the part of this administration. the war has been constructed the strict attention to the authority granted by it. we have suffered from difficulties in the northwest, in the niagara valley. numerous successes on the high sea, but certainly the most generous and enthusiastic ball of us here in the last six days from that glorious victory nor lands on the behalf of general jackson, eclectic assembly of soldiers that he gathered to
defeat the british army, a large army, regular army serving against napoleon. a most extraordinary assembly of british troops, well-trained and seasoned. according to the report of mr. jackson, the british loss included nearly 2500 killed, wounded, or captured. they indicated seven americans have been killed and 12 wounded a most extraordinary disparity. this may well lead to the conclusion of the secession of hostilities in which they may negotiate a final capitulation of the war, bringing about a cease-fire, armistice, or treaty in order to end hostilities between the nations. negotiations with england commenced almost as immediately as the declaration of war was declared in june of 1812.
most did not want the war to take place, but we had preconditions for the war to end. the british had appointed admiral boren, of halifax, to act in the manner of negotiating with the british, but he was himself intractable. we have seen irrefutable proofs over the last two in a half years of the efforts of the united states. in the conceding matter we have seen further cessation of hostilities that had not taken place because the terms proposed by the english, the terms proposed by this nation had not been answered by the enemy and as a consequence, the host has continued through difficulties of cost in capturing the
president in new york, managing to cripple one of the three british ships that was fighting the president. decatur was never to be exchanged, coming back to washington city only recently at the beginning of this month when i opponent -- appointed a shield as the new secretary of the navy. it has been his ambition in massachusetts to institute something broad through the navy , and i believe the congress will approve. the idea is to appoint a board made up of captains of the united dates navy well-versed in naval affairs. through the means of william bainbridge, porter, and rogers they have all been proposed as members of this three-man board. despite his position, likely
naming mr. rogers as the chairman, appointing to others following mr. porter to act as the other two commissioners in the title and rank of commodore where they will be responsible for the details supplied to the navy in securing it, leaving the secretary of the navy to other duties in the post. this would be a cursory review of the events that took place over the last 12 years including the reasons for going to war and the manner that we carry the diplomatic war on particularly if i left out any military encounters or specifics of those encounters in the northwest by appointment, the politics of congress during the course of these days in the negotiation were going on in europe to the presence of our peace commission starting in
1813 in new jersey with adams in st. petersburg, subsequent to the appointment of jonathan russell and henry clegg. these matters are more particular and i did not wish to engage your attentions at that time. even as i look upon your fine assembly i noticed a blank faces that indicate the inability to comprehend that which i have already said. it is much more difficult for me to say than for you to understand. if there are queries amongst your number, i should be pleased to receive any questions you may have. yes? >> there was much criticism of you when they called it mr. madison's war. at any time during those three years of war did you think that maybe it was not such a good idea in terms of accomplishing
your objectives? what you heard the order had been rescinded, did you have the ok to take act the declaration or anything like that? >> a very good question. the fact that you brought up the idea of the orders of counsel that we found so reprehensible rescinded we found out within two months after the declaration of war. but the war was not declared because of the particular orders of the council, or even the rescinding of those orders. the declaration of war was first established by the nation, an act that was de facto and data rate and terms of the subjection. the council supplied the british as a matter of maritime policy, and the rescinding of them was
not complicated by a declaration to rescind their right to impress service on other ships. in order to cause the british to lift this impressment upon america's sailors, boarding american merchant ships, even ships of war, we offered a statute that was proposed and passed in congress, the united states no longer allowing any english sailors on american worship. this was a guarantee of the british in the supposition that the general was deserting the english well maybe with american ships obviated by the statute. our passing that statute did not seem to cause the british to lift their declaration. in the terms of the nature of the war, it was only inevitable because the british were so intractable in negotiating these
issues. several times we even had to come to separate conclusions as mr. erskine. we had tried to make such adjustments in our manner of trade and combivent -- contraband in order to accommodate the british wishes but even with the extension of our magnanimity, the british did not rescind their most difficult right impressed upon the sailors. even toward the orders of counsel are lifted, the issues regarding the rights of trade in times of war had not been. the declaration of war is always the ultimate manner of diplomacy succeeded numerous other attempts at diplomacy to make changes in the negotiations between england and the united states and france in the united states. we came very close to declaring war on france as well.
but the issues of war were ones of national integrity. to wrinkle to the american people, to establish american diplomacy in the courts of europe so that they knew they had a nation with whom to contend, not merely some subordinate of the british or the french. i think that the war was inevitable only because of the intractability of the british and their failure to negotiate. i think that the law has been most successful. we did not seek to conquer land in canada or subjugate other people. we had held upon city of americans living in canada and might have urged the province to join our own united states, such as mr. monroe suggesting that -- suggesting to the commissioner at one point that we would
advance the idea of canada being next in the united states negotiations for the cessation of hostilities. these matters were not of congress but of national dignity. we had sought to express to the this american independence defect oh. for that reason i believe the war was inevitable and that we have met the goal of establishing our purposes with england and the rest of the arts of europe. it has admittedly become more difficult since last april, when the british were able to bring more forces down upon our nation on those terms. in victory it is new orleans who would indicate that however much more force they would push in our direction, the spirit of the american people would persevere in the end.
our there other questions, perhaps? are all here from washington city? i have liked your company and i would hope that we have an opportunity to speak together in private. it may be that in such a public forum there is a general reluctance to post questions amongst your colleagues and friends. i have been delighted with your company here today and must confess that the disposition of the president changed ultimately with the victory of new orleans obviated somewhat by the report from the president and the loss with two other victory since that time. hope, of course, more reports of victory at sea acquiesced to the most moderate of demands upon them. yes, sir? >> one question.
what has the impact than here on the government? >> a truly disagreeable turn of events in august and september certainly they have been a disappointment to myself and mrs. madison, certainly, as well as the rest of the nation, but i do not believe that the whole spirit of the united states and dignity of the american people are predicated on constructed buildings, but rather on the heart and spirit of the american people themselves. when the unfortunate events had taken place, mrs. madison and i had been separated from one another. i had sent a message to her on the 24th day of the battle of bladensburg. it indicated that i might meet her at the foxhole foundry. by the time that i arrived there i realized the difficulty of travel at that time with so many
leaving the city and i left another message for her to join with me across the river in northern virginia. by the time she had gotten there apparently i had already left. a variety of stays at sonoma were minor but ordinary and i did meet with her for a while we have three hours together at that point and i had to take leave to seek out forces and proceeded in the company of benjamin rushdie, the secretary of the attorney general and also, john mason, the general to which we proceeded to brookville , in which we understood the general might be located there at the bentley's house, myself mr. rush and mr. mason were accompanied, receiving word there from mr. monroe that the
forces would be reentering washington day -- washington city on the following day. we were quite surprised again to see mrs. madison. i had hoped she would not endanger herself by arriving in the city so quickly after such terrible events. we took private lodgings with her sister at the f street house , which we had been renting since we coming secretary of state in 1801. we stayed there for a few weeks receiving notice that he was not necessarily in support of myself for the administration, but magnanimously allowed us to rent his house for $500 for six months until the president's mansion could be reestablished. he then removed himself to the south of year to his house -- his house down that way.
in any event we have been carrying on the activities of the post office and the nation proceeds with public business, perhaps more uncomfortable than before but the public is this is such -- of such magnitude and import that it does require small adjustments in order to carry out what is required in the cost of american activities and spirit here in 1815 and we will persevere. it has been rather uncomfortable technology or question, but it has not in a deterrent from any inclination on my part or anyone in my circle to respond to the request that the week -- that we move the government of philadelphia to new york and we shall retain the national capital hit -- here. we built it here. this is madison has of course been very adamant in
establishing the american dignity rather than the languishing our capital because of some unfortunate turn of events by cockrum and his agents, we will remain and rebuild here to risk -- to reestablish that precedent in order to persevere. i have enjoyed your company here and i hope you will find it again in the near future. we may hear news from ghent in the near future, negotiations having taken place in saint petersburg with the appointment of john quincy adams in 1813 these were made in december of last year, waiting for the proposal of the british to meet and discuss these matters, they suggested removing the situation where it was again suggested that they remove it. the british have refused negotiations as offered during the summer of last year terms
like dropping the charge as discussed with us, terms of the cease-fire and cessation of hostilities. they refused it, but found in the past year that they did offer other terms of negotiations. though we were not entirely satisfied with those terms commonly -- those negotiations were better than none at all. our own misters were there and they had been instructed to recommence negotiations and hopefully something fruitful has arrived from them. we will not know yet. thank you again. [applause] >> you are watching "american history tv." all weekend, every weekend on
c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> former dealer and cataloger in u.s. and world paper money bruce martin discusses banknotes from 1861 to 1928. he talks about the people depicted on them, as well as legislation that appears on currency. he shows a number of banknotes from his personal collection, as well as rare bills including images of martha washington and a native american. the museum of american finance hosted this >> today i have the pleasure of introducing bruce smart. he received a b.s. in math from kansas city. from 1970