From the Otsego Herald
for Saturday, Jan. 15, 1814
Compiled, with comments
by HUGH C. MacDOUGALL
Under this head we have given the most important rumors that are afloat relative to a speedy peace with England. We would that something more satisfactory could be laid before our readers, touching this important subject. But at present it appears that public attention and expectation has been aroused by surmises only. In this speculating age, we should not be at all surprised should the whole business evaporate in smoke! In the meanwhile let us all look well to that host of speculating sharpers and swindlers with which our country is infested.
Message from Lord Castlereagh
Wednesday, Dec. 31. Dispatches from lord Castlereagh were received last night at 12 o’clock at the secretary of state’s office, per the cartel [ship under flag of truce] arrived at Annapolis. They are said to be of a pacific nature. A cabinet council has been convoked. The messenger is instructed to wait three weeks for an answer.
COMMENT: Irish-born Robert Sterling, Viscount Castlereagh, (1769-1822) was British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and leader in the House of Commons from 1812 until his death by suicide in 1822. He led British Foreign Policy throughout the War of 1812. A Russian offer in March 1813 to mediate an end to the War of 1812 with America was accepted by the United States, which immediately sent a delegation of commissioners led by John Quincy Adams to St. Petersburg, but the offer was rejected by Castlereigh. Only after the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813 did the British agree to negotiate directly with America.
Hints of the Message
Letter, dated Baltimore, Jan. 1. Expresses [couriers] passing here this morning, gave the news from Washington to be “that peace will certainly ensue. Our ministers have met in Russia and a correspondence has commenced. They have differed on some points, which both parties have agreed to refer to their respective governments, & lord Castlereagh has communicated to our government what that difference is.”
Philadelphia, Jan. 2. A letter was received in this city last night by an express from Washington. A gentleman who saw the letter states to us, that the despatches brought by the British messenger arrived at Annapolis, in the [British ship] Bramble [under] flag of truce, had been received at Washington, and contained terms of peace; that this government either had, or would immediately accept of them.
The Columbian [NY], Jan. 8. The National Intelligencer of Monday contains not a word respecting the late dispatches received by our government. Rumors of a pacific nature are still circulating. Whether they are not too sanguine in their anticipations, a few days may determine.
The Philadelphia Daily Advertiser; Letter from a gentleman in Baltimore: “Our commissioners have been met in Russia — differed on two points, which are referred to the respective governments and lord Castlereigh has communicated those two points to our government.”
The Alexandria [VA] Herald: Various rumors were afloat yesterday evening in Washington, relative to the late [recent] dispatches. ... From these speculations we cannot pledge ourselves further than to say from the information we cannot pledge ourselves further than to say from the information we have been able to obtain that pacific measures are progressing. It appears pretty evident ... that Bonaparte has met with more serious disasters in ... October than has ever befallen him in battle before. ... It appears probable to us that this success ... will raise [British] pretensions toward this country rather than produce a spirit of concession, but if it should prove otherwise, we feel confident that our government will embrace with alacrity any opportunity of securing to us an honorable peace.
COMMENT: Peace talks with Britain were agreed to by President Madison, and after some delay began in the Belgian city of Ghent. The war lasted another year.
MARRIED—At Burlington, on the 10th instant [January], Mr. PETER GOODSELL, Merchant, of this village, to Mrs. _____ DAY, of that place.
COMMENT: Peter Goodsell (1771-1851) came from Fairfield, Conn. In Cooperstown he had a dry goods business, and also had a farm and mill in Burlington, and later moved to DeWitt, N.Y., where he died. He served as a Cooperstown Village Trustee in 1812-13. He was married three times: to Elizabeth Ruth Morehouse (1771-1813), Mrs. Lucy Day, and lastly to a Mrs. Marvin.
Plymouth (England) Telegraph, Nov. 6, 1813: “Two great battles [were] fought on the 16th and 19th October, in the former of which, the French ... were defeated with the loss of 12,000 men. The loss of the allies is stated at from 6 to 7000. On the 18th a severe battle was fought near Leipsic [Leipzig, in German Saxony], where the French were attacked throughout their whole line by the combined allied armies, and totally defeated with the loss of 40,000 men in killed, wounded and prisoners, 65 pieces of cannon, besides the desertion of 17 battalions of German infantry with all their staff and generals, who went over to the allies en masse. ... On the 19th the town of Leipsic was taken by assault, with all its artillery, magazines, stores, with...the garrison and rear-guard of the French army; upwards of 30,000 wounded. Bonaparte had only escaped from Leipsic at 9 o’clock in the morning; the allies entered at 11.
COMMENT: The French had 225,000 troops in the battle, of whom 120,000 Germans defected; the “allies” (Russia, Austria, Prussia, and Sweden) had 380,000. French losses were 34,000 killed and wounded, 26,000 captured. Allied losses were 54,000 killed, wounded, or missing. Napoleon had to abdicate, and went into exile on the Isle of Elba (off the Italian Coast), from which he would briefly escape in 1815.