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   Chapter 115 1814).

Formation of the Union By Albert Bushnell Hart Characters: 2937

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


[Sidenote: New England disaffected.]

As at New Orleans, so throughout the war, the greater part of the fighting was done by State militia hastily assembled, imperfectly disciplined, and serving only for short terms. From the beginning, however, the New England States had refused to furnish militia on the call of the general government. They did not interfere with volunteer recruiting, and Massachusetts alone supplied as many troops as came from Virginia and North and South Carolina; but they declined officially to take part in offensive military operations. The war was very unpopular to the New Englanders because of the great losses to their commerce, and because they paid more than half the expense; nor had New England any sympathy with that invasion of Canada which was so popular in the West.

[Sidenote: Militia refused.]

As soon as war broke out, the Secretary of War authorized General Dearborn to summon twenty thousand militia from the New England States. Care was taken in sending the call to ask for small detachments of the militia, so as to rid the United States of the general militia officers appointed by the States. The result of these combined causes was that the Governor of Connecticut refused to send militia, declaring that he must "yield obedience to the paramount authority of the Constitution and the laws." The Massachusetts House voted that the "war is a wanton sacrifice of our best interests;" and the Governor of Massachu

setts informed the President that since there was no invasion, there was no constitutional reason for sending the militia. New Hampshire took similar ground, and the governor of Rhode Island congratulated the legislature on the possession of two cannon, with which that State might defend itself against an invader. On Nov. 10, 1813, Governor Chittenden of Vermont ordered the recall of a brigade which had been summoned outside the boundary of the State, declaring it to be his opinion that "the military strength and resources of this State must be reserved for its own defence and protection exclusively."

[Sidenote: National government hampered.]

[Sidenote: New England attacked.]

The general government had no means of enforcing its construction of the Constitution. It did, however, withdraw garrisons from the New England forts, leaving those States to defend themselves; and refused to send them their quota of the arms which were distributed among the States. This attitude was so well understood that during the first few months of the war English cruisers had orders not to capture vessels owned in New England. As the war advanced, these orders were withdrawn, and the territory of Massachusetts in the District of Maine was invaded by British troops. An urgent call for protection was then made upon the general government; but even in this crisis Massachusetts would not permit her militia to pass under the control of national military officers.

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