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January 23, 2014

Peace Negotiations

Cooperstown Crier

---- — From the Otsego Herald

for Saturday, Jan. 23, 1814

Compiled, with comments

Excerpts from Documents

President Madison to Congress. Jan. 6, 1814: I transmit for the information of Congress copies of a letter from the British Secretary of state for foreign affairs to the [American] Secretary of State, with the answer of the latter.

In appreciating the accepted proposal of the government of Great Britain for instituting negociations for peace, Congress will not fail to keep in mind that vigorous preparations for carrying on the war can in no respect impede the progress to a favorable result, whilst a relaxation of such preparations, should the wishes of the United States for a speedy restoration of the blessings of peace be disappointed, would necessarily have the most injurious consequences. JAMES MADISON.

Lord Castlereigh to the Secretary of State. November 4, 1813: I have the honor to enclose ... a copy of a note which his Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador at the Court of St. Petersburgh was directed to present to the Russian government [when] ... Plenipotentiaries had been nominated on the part of the American government for the purpose of negotiating for peace with Great Britain under the mediation of his Imperial Majesty [the Tsar of Russia] ...

The British government is willing to enter into discussion with the government of America for the conciliatory adjustment of the differences subsisting between the two states ... upon principles of perfect reciprocity not inconsistent with the established maxims of public law, and with the maritime rights of the British Empire ...

[Enclosure: Note from British Ambassador Cathcart to Russian Foreign Minister Nesselrode. 1st Sept. 1813 ... Although [the Prince Regent of Britain] finds himself under the necessity of not accepting the interposition of any friendly power in the question which forms the principal object in dispute between the two nations, he is nevertheless ready to nominate plenipotentiaries, to treat directly with the American plenipotentiaries. [He] sincerely wishes that the conferences of these plenipotentiaries may result in re-establishing between the two nations, the blessings and the reciprocal advantages of peace.... The Prince Regent would prefer that the conferences should be held at London ... [but he] would consent to substitute Gottenburg [in Sweden] as the place nearest to England ... CATHCART]

Secretary of State to Lord Castlereigh. Jan. 5, 1814 ... I am ... instructed to make known to your Lordship ... that the President accedes to his proposition, and will take the measures depending on him for carrying it into effect at Gottenburg, with as little delay as possible ... JAMES MONROE

COMMENT: Thus the American Government reluctantly agreed to direct peace talks with Britain, to be conducted at Gottenburg [Gothenburg] in Sweden. The time—and as it turned out—the place of these negotiations remained to be agreed upon. The terms of that peace were not yet even discussed.

Back To Africa Movement

House of Representatives, Friday, Jan. 7. Mr. Wheaton, of Mass. presented a petition of Paul Cuffee, a free colored man, who states, that from motives of religion and humanity he has been induced to attempt the civilization of the inhabitants of the African continent, and praying permission for a vessel to depart from the United States to Sierra Leone for the purpose of carrying a number of families of free colored people to effect the object of his undertaking. Referred to the committee of Commerce and Manufactures.

COMMENT: Captain Paul Cuffee (1759-1817) was half West African, half Native American, and a devout Quaker by religion, as well as a Sea Captain, a patriot, and an abolitionist. He was instrumental in persuading the State of Massachusetts to grant the vote to free Black males in 1783, and by 1800 was probably the wealthiest non-European in America. He became interested in the British effort, beginning in 1787, to re-settle British Blacks in Sierra Leone in West Africa, and in 1810 traveled there to promote the project for Americans.

Though his efforts were interrupted by the War of 1812, he led a group of 38 Black colonists from America to Sierra Leone in 1815, mostly at his own expense. Back in America, he tried unsuccessfully to get Congress to finance the resettlement of free Blacks in Africa and/or Haiti, and before his death became involved with the American Colonization Society that eventually established the American African colony of Liberia.


On Sunday evening last, two persons were committed to jail in Boston on a charge of High Treason. they were apprehended in Berwick, in pursuance of a warrant from the Hon. Judge Story, by Mr. Thaxter, Deputy Marshal, and conducted by him to Boston. We understand the charge alledged against them, is supplying the British ships off Cape Harbor with cattle. – Boston Chronicle

COMMENT: The two, brothers John and Ebenezer Hussey, were both Quakers, and were peddling some 50 head of cattle brought south from their home in Berwick (now in Maine). They sold the last 13 of them to British ships at Provincetown, on Cape Cod—and on Jan. 8, 1814, were arrested for high treason, but were absolved and released after 5 months in jail.


WHEREAS Mary my wife, had eloped from my bed and board, this is therefore, to forbid any person or persons trusting or harboring her on my account, as I am determined to pay no debts of her contracting. JESSE GLEASON. Columbus, Jan. 15, 1814.

COMMENT: It seems likely that this was the Jesse Gleason (1780-1844), who in January 1812 married Polly Mary Chase (1788-1868) in Oxford, Chenango County. If so, he seems to have forgiven her, for they had a large family, and are buried side by side in Guildford, Illinois.