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Sec. XIV.

the British by Generals Drummond and Riall. The battle commenced at four o'clock, P. M. and continued till midnight. The British were compelled to retire with the loss of nine hundred in killed, wounded, and prisoners. The loss of the Americans did not exceed one hundred.

Sir George Prevost, with an army of fourteen thousand men, made a descent upon Plattsburg, where he arrived on the 11th of September, and, after a severe engagement, was compelled to retire with great loss. The British fleet on Lake Champlain, commanded by Com. Downie, was the same day captured, by that of the Americans under Com. Macdonough.

Both the Americans and the British had at this time a respectable force on Lake Champlain. That of the latter was superior, amounting to ninetyfive guns, and one thousand and fifty men, while the American squadron carried but eightysix guns, and eight hundred and twentysix men.

The American fleet was lying off Plattsburg, when the British squadron was observed bearing down in order of battle. An engagement ensued, which lasted two hours and twenty minutes. By this time the enemy was silenced, and one frigate, one brig, and two sloops of war fell into the hands of the Americans. Several British galleys were sunk, and a few others escaped. The loss of the Americans was fiftytwo killed, and fiftyeight wounded; of the British, eightyfour killed, and one hundred and ten wounded.

On the commencement of the naval action, Sir George Prevost led up his forces against the American works, and began throwing upon them shells, balls, and rockets. The Americans, at the same time, opened a severe and destructive fire from their forts. Before sunset, the temporary batteries of the enemy were all silenced, and every attempt to cross from Plattsburg to the American works, repelled.

XIV

What enterprise of the enemy in September ?-What was the result of the engagement at Plattsburg ?

Give some further account of these operations.

At nine o'clock, the object was abandoned, and the British general hastily drew off his forces, diminished by killed, wounded, and deserted, two thousand five hundred. Large quantities of military stores were abandoned, and fell into the hands of the Americans.

In March of the present year, the American navy suffered no inconsiderable loss in the Essex, commanded by Com. Porter, which was captured by a superior British force in the bay of Valparaiso, South America. In April, the British brig Epervier, after an action of fortytwo minutes, was surrendered to the American sloop of war Peacock.

Some important enterprises were undertaken by the enemy at the south the present year. In August, above fifty sail of the British arrived in the Chesapeake. On the 23d, a large detachment forced their way to Washington, and burned the capitol, president's house, and executive offices. They then hastily retired, and regained their shipping. Early in September, an enterprise was conducted against Baltimore. After an unsuccessful engagement on the 12th, the British were repulsed with the loss of Gen. Ross, their commander in chief.

In December, the enemy's fleet, consisting of sixty sail, appeared off the coast of the Mississippi. A detachment of fifteen thousand were landed, under command of Sir Edward Packenham ; and, on the 8th of January, attacked the Americans, consisting of about six thousand, chiefly militia, under Gen. Jackson, in their entrenchments before New Orleans. After an obstinate engagement, the enemy were compelled to retire, with the loss of their commander, and near three thousand men in killed, wounded, and prisoners.

Sec. xiv. The war was soon after terminated by the treaty of Ghent. This treaty was signed by the commissioners of the two countries on the 24th of December, 1814, and ratified by

What naval occurrences are mentioned the present year ?. What operations of the enemy at the south ?

XVI. When, and in what manner was the war terminated ?

the president and senate, on the 17th of February following.

This treaty made provision “ for the suspension of hostilities—the exchange of prisoners—the restoration of territories and possessions obtained by the contending powers during the war—and a combined effort for the abolition of the slave trade.” No provision was made in regard to the subjects for which the war was avowedly undertaken. It was, however, contended by the friends of the administration, that as the orders in council had been repealed, and the motives for impressment ceased with the wars in Europe, the grounds of the controversy now no longer existed.

Sec. xv. The termination of hostilities presented an opportunity for resuming the great plans of improvement in the internal navigation of the state. In 1816, an act was passed, directing the commissioners“ to devise and adopt such measures as might be requisite to facilitate and effect a communication, by means of canals and locks, between the navigable waters of Hudson's river and Lake Erie, and the said navigable waters and Lake Champlain.” Nothing of importance was however effected the present year.

During the session of 1817, a memorial was presented, signed by above one hundred thousand of the citizens, calling upon the legislature to pass laws for the commencement and execution of the proposed canals.

An act was accordingly passed, and large appropriations made for this purpose. The Erie and Champlain canals were immediately commenced,

What can you say of this treaty ? xy. For what did the termination of hostilities present an opportunity? What act was passed in 1816 ? present year! What took place in 1817 ?

-What was effected the

and vigorous measures taken for their prosecution.

On the revival of this subject, at the close of the war, the state of the public mind was found to be highly unfavorable to the enterprise. The excitement, which had been produced by the reports of the commissioners in 1811 and 1812, had mostly subsided, and great doubts were entertained, by a large body of the citizens, of the practicability of the proposed undertaking. Many, intimidated by the magnitude of the work, apprehended that the resources of the state were entirely inadequate to secure its completion. In addition to these difficulties, the measure was warmly opposed on party grounds.

In 1816, the commissioners again made report to the legislature, and stated, that their former opinions had been confirmed by reflection and additional inquiry. Their report was clear and conclusive, but failed in producing any very important results. Some measures were taken for the furtherance of the work, but its importance, and the advantages which must result from it were, at this time, very imperfectly appreciated. The commissioners, appointed the present year, were Stephen Van Rensselaer, De Witt Clinton, Samuel Young, Joseph Ellicott, and Myron Holley.

In autumn, several distinguished individuals,* aware of the gloomy and discouraged state of the public mind, proceeded to call a meeting of the citizens, at the City Hotel, in New York, to take into consideration the propriety of an application to the legislature, in favor of prosecuting the canals. The meeting was large, and highly respectable. William Bayard was placed in the chair, when the business was opened by Judge Platt, followed by De Witt Clinton, John Swartwout, and others. Messrs Clinton, Swartwout, and Eddy, were constituted a committee to prepare a memorial to the legislature.

* Judge Platt, De Witt Clinton, and Thomas Eddy.

What was the state of the public mind on this subject at the close of the war? On what grounds was the work" opposed ?What is said of the report of 1816?- Who were appointed commissioners in 1816?- What took place in autumn ?

This memorial was drafted by Mr Clinton, and drawn in a masterly style, embracing a lucid and comprehensive view of the immense advantages that would be produced to the state by the completion of the canal. Copies, which were sent throughout the state, were eagerly signed by thousands, and carried full conviction to every mind. The project immediately became popular, the legislature was roused, and the several successive acts passed for the prosecution of the work. A system of finance was drawn up by Mr Clinton, which, with some trifling alterations, was adopted, and went into successful operation.* SEC. XVI.

In 1817, Gov. Tompkins was chosen vice president of the United States, and De Witt Clinton was elected to succeed him, as governor of New York. In 1822, Mr Clinton declined a reclection, and was succeeded by Joseph C. Yates. The constitution of the state, having been revised by the convention at Albany, the preceding year, was accepted by the people in January. (See General Views.) In 1824, Mr Clinton was again reelected to the office of governor.

The great system of internal improvement, commenced in 1817, was vigorously prosecuted, and attended by a success equalled only by the spirit- and enterprise with which it was conducted. The Champlain canal, seventyone miles in length, was completed in 1823. The Erie canal, three hundred and sixtytwo miles in length, was completed, and in successful

* See Documents relating to the Canals.

What is said of the memorial ?- What effect did it produce ? xvi. Who was elected governor in 1817 ?. In 1822? -What other event the same year ?

-When was Mr Clinton reelected? What is said of the internal improvements ? -When were the canals completed ?

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