Rhode Island's preparedness for war; Peace Party; Henry Letters
April 19, 1813
Member of Series
Gabriel Allen was 63 years old when this was written.
The recipient, William Barton, was 64 when it was received.
Gabriel Allen died 10 years, 11 months, 15 days after writing this.
It was written 208 years, 22 days ago.
It was a Monday.
Providence, 19 April 1813
After waiting a long time in hope of being honoured with a line from you, I have taken the resolution of addressing a few lines to you. One reason I have delayed it, is, that I have been in expectation of your return home, the Peace Party, more properly war in disguise have reduced this part of our country to a most shameful & degraded situation.
The enemy have not only landed on Block Island but have erected their flag and are now building a wharf on that island for their convenience and have demanded fresh provisions, etc.
These things have produced a little stir in the Peace Party; the governor has called his council & we have that some ammunition has been sent to Newport. But not a single man is on duty from here to Newport. They might send up a launch or two in the night & go off again. We have not even a town watch!
Alas, how has the gold changed & the most fine gold become dim! Had they complied with the requisition of the President, the state would have been now in a respectable state of defense and this at the expense of the Nation, but they told the government “the President had no right to call out the Militia” that he Jones would take care of the state, etc. and what was all this for? To inveigle & flatter the people, to get their votes & to keep themselves in power in the state.
The Tories thought by joining the Republicans of N. York in the nomination of DeWitt Clinton, and by taking to themselves the name of the Peace Party, to answer two grand purposes, Viz, by changing the presidency, it would be telling the British in the stronger language, not to make peace, we approve your conduct, we will neither support the government, either in men or money; 2ndly, it was the best trick they could hit on to gull & deceive the people; had they succeeded in the former as well as they have in the latter, we should have been undone. All the Whigs in England, Ireland, and Scotland want peace with us, all the manufacturers & merchants in England want the same, in short, every honest man, both sides of the Atlantic, want peace except the British Minister & our peace party.
Don’t let us be too sanguine in expectation of an immediate peace, the Tories have pledged themselves to the British, to go all lengths. It may yet turn out that the whole story of the mediation of Russia is only another Henry Plot to amuse & trifle with the government and that the late letters intercepted at Annapolis by order of the President, may unfold a plot, the most infamous on record! Let this hint suffice for the present, as a few days will give us a complete development. What may we not expect, what infamy remains un-assayed? These things unheard of among civilized nations call loud for us to rally round the government & support it with energy to the last man & the last drop of American blood. Let this suffice as I fear I have tired you out.
Your family & friends here are all well. John was home a few minutes time. I now invoke the benediction of that power who made & governs all things, on you and our beloved country.