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must be your guide. I think it however necessary to put you on your guard against the sanguineness of an aspiring party; the federalists, as I understand, have at all times discovered a leaning to this disposition, and their being under its particular influence at this moment, is the more to be expected from their having no ill founded ground for their hopes of being nearer the attainment of their object than they have been for some years past.
In the general terms which 1 have made use of in describing the object which I recommend to your attention, it is scarcely necessary that I should observe, I include the state of the public opinions, both with regard to their internal politics, and to the probability of a war with England; the comparative strength of the two great parties into which the country is divided, and the views and designs of that which may ultimately prevail.
It has been supposed that if the federalists of the eastern states should be successful in obtaining that decided influence, which may enable them to direct the public opinion, it is not improbable that rather than submit to a continuance of the difficulties and distress to which they are now subject, they will exert that influence to bring about a separation from the general Union. The earliest information on this subject, may be of great consequence to our government, as it may also be, that it should be informed, how far in such an event they mould look u/i to England for assistance,or be disposed to enter into a connexion with us.
Although it would be highly inexpedient that you should in any manner appear as an avowed agent, yet if you could contrive to obtain an intimacy with any of the leading party, it may not be improper that you should insinuate, though with great caution, that if they should wish to enter into any communication with our government through me, you are authorized to receive any such, and .will safely transmit it to me; and as it may not be impossible that they should require some document by which they may be assured -that you are really in the situation in which you represent yourself, I inclose a credential to be produced in that view; but 1 most particularly enjoin and direct that you do not make any use of this paper, unless a desire to that purpose should be expressed, and -unless you see good ground for expecting that the doing so may lead to a more confidential communication than you can otherwise look for.
In passing through the state of Vermont, you will of course exert your endeavors to procure all the information that the short stay you will probably make there will admit of. You will use your own discretion as to delaying your journey, with this view, more or less in proportion to your prospects of obtaining any information of consequence.
I request to hear from you as frequently as possible; and as letters directed to me might excite suspicion, it may be as well, that you put them under cover to Mr , and as even the addressing letters always to the same person might attract notice, I recommend your sometimes addressing your packet to the chief justice here, or occasionally, though seldom, to Mr. Ryland, but never with the addition of his official description. I am, sir, your most obedient humble servant, (Signed) J. H. CRAIG.
Copy of the " Credential" given by Sir James Craig to Mr. Henry. [Seal.]
The bearer, Mr. John Henry, is employed by me, and full confidence may be placed in him for any communication which any person may wish to make to me, in the business committed to him. In faith of which, I have given him this under my hand and seal at Quebec, this 6th day of February, 1809.
(Signed) J. H. CRAIG.
Copies of the Lettei-9 from Mr. Henry to Sir James Craig, relating to his mission to the United States, in the year 1809.
Answer to the letter of Mr. Secretary Ryland, proposing the mission, Vfc.
SIR, Montreal, Jan. 31,1809.
I have to acknowledge the favor of your letter, of the 26th inst. written by the desire of his excellency, the governor in chief; and hasten to express through you to his excellency, my readiness to comply with his wishes.
I need not add how very flattering it is to receive from his ex^ cellency, the assurance of the approbation of his majesty's secretary of state, for the very humble services that I may have reivdered.
If the nature of the service in which I am to be engaged, will require no other disbursements than for my individual expenses, I do not apprehend that these can exceed my private resources.
I shall be ready to take my departure before my instructions can be made out. I have the honor to be, your most obedient servant.
7b his excellency the governor general, &c. in answer to his letter of instructions, 53V. tsV. SIR, Montreal, Teb. 10, 1809.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellency's letter of instructions, the letter of credence, and the cypher for carrying on my correspondence. I have bestowed much pains upon the cypher, and am, notwithstanding this, deficient in some points, which might enable me to understand it clearly. I have compared the example with my own exemplification of the cypher; and find a difference in the results; and as the present moment seems favorable to the interference of his majesty's government, in the measures pursued by the federal party in the northern states, and more especially as the assembly of Massachusetts is now in session, I think it better to set forward immediately, than wait for any further explanation of the means of carrying on a secret correspondence, which the frequency of safe private conveyances to Canada will render almost wholly unnecessary. Should it, however, be necessary at any time, 1 take leave to suggest that the index alone furnishes a very safe and simple mode. In it, there is a number for every letter in the alphabet, and particular numbers for particular phrases; so that when I do not find in the index the particular word I want, I can spell it with the figures which stand opposite to the letters. For example, if I want to say that " troops are at Albany," I find under the hitter "T," that number 16 stands for " troops," and number 12s for "Albany." The intervening words " are at" I supply by figures corresponding with the letters in these words.
It will be necessary to provide against accident, by addressing
the letters to Mr. , of Montreal, with a small mark on the
Corner of the envelope, which he will understand. When he receives it, he will then address the inclosure to your excellency, and send it from Montreal by mail. I will be careful not to address your excellency in the body of the letter, nor sign my name to any of them. They will be merely designated by the initials A. B.
If this mode should in any respect appear exceptionable, your excellency will have the goodness to order a more particular explanation of the card. It would reach me in safety inclosed to
Boston. I have the honor to be, with profound respect, your excellency's most obedient servant, &c. J. H.
SIR, Burlington, Vermont, Feb. 14,1809.
1 have remained here two days, in order fully to ascertain the progress of the arrangements heretofore made, for organizing an efficient opposition to the general government, as well to become acquainted with the opinions of the leading people, relative to the measures of that party which has the ascendant in the national councils.
On the subject of the embargo laws, there seems to be but one opinion: namely, that they are unnecessary, oppressive and unconstitutional. It must also be observed, that the execution of them is so invidious, as to attract towards the officers of government, the enmity of the people; which is, of course, transferable to the government itself; so that, in case the state of Massachusetts should take any bold step towards resisting the execution of these laws, if is highly probable, that it may calculate upon the hearty co-opera» tion of the people of Vermont.
I learn that the governor of this state is now visiting the towns in the northern section of it; and makes no secret of his determination, as commander in chief of the militia, to refuse obedience to any command from the general government, which can tend to interrupt the good understanding that prevails between the citizens of Vermont and his majesty's subjects in Canada. It is further intimated, that in case of a war, he will use his influence to preserve this state neutral, and resist, with all the force he can command, any attempt to make it a party. I need not add, that, if these resolutions are carried into effect, the state of Vermont may be considered as an ally of Great Britain.
To what extent the sentiments which prevail in this quarter, exist in the neighbouring states, or even in the eastern section oi° this state, I am not able to conjecture. 1 only can say, with certainty, that the leading men of the federal party act in concert; and, therefore infer, that a common sentiment pervades the whole body, throughout New England.
I have seen a letter from a gentleman now at Washington, to his correspondent in this place: and as its contents may serve to throw some light on passing events there, I shall send cither the original or a copy with this despatch. The writer of the letter is a man of character and veracity; and whether competent or not to form correct opinions himself, is probably within the reach of all the knowledge that can be obtained by the party to which he belongs.
It appears by his statement that there is a very formidable majority in congress on the side of the administration; notwithstanding which, there is every reason to hope that the northern states, in their distinct capacity, will unite and resist by force, a war with Great Britain. In what mode this resistance will first show itself, is probably not yet determined upon; and may, in some measure, depend upon the reliance that the leading men may place upon assurances of support from his majesty's representative in Canada; and as I shall be on the spot to tender this whenever the moment arrives that it can be done with effect, there is no doubt that all their measures may be made subordinate to the intentions of his majesty's government. Great pains are taken by the men of talents and intelligence to confirm the fears of the common people, as to the concurrence of the southern democrats in the projects of France; and every thing tends to encourage the belief, that the dissolution of the confederacy will be accelerated by the spirit which now actuate both political parties. I am, &c.
SIR, Windsor, Vermont, Feb. 19, 1809.
My last (No. 3.) was written at Burlington, the principal town in the northern part of the state of Vermont, I am now at the prmcipal town in the eastern section.
The fallacy of men's opinions, when they act under the influence of sensibility and are strongly excited by those hopes which always animate a rising party, led me to doubt the correctness of the opinions which I received in the northern section of this state; which, from its contiguity to Canada and necessary intercourse with Montreal, has a stronger interest in promoting a goad understanding with his majesty's government: therefore, since my departure from Burlington, I have sought every favourable occasion of conversing with the democrats on the probable result of the policy adopted by the general government. The difference of opinion is thus expressed:
The federal party declare that, in the invent of a war, the state of Vermont will treat separately for itself with Great Britain, and support, to the utmost, the stipulations into which it may enter without any regard to the policy of the general government. The democrats, on the other hand, assert that, in such a case as that contemplated, the people would be nearly divided into equal numbers; one of which would support the government, if it could be done without involving the people in a civil war, but, at all events, would risk every thing in preference to a coalition with Great Britain. This difference of opinion is not to be wholly ascribed to the prejudices of party. The people in the eastern section of Vermont, are not operated upon by the same hopes and fears as those on the borders of the British colony. They are not dependent on Montreal for the sale of their produce, nor the supply of foreign commodities. They are not apprehensive of any serious dangers or inconvenience from a state of war; and although they admit that the governor, council and three fourths of the representation in congress are of the federal party, yet they do not believe that the state would stand alone and resist the national government. They do not, however, deny that should the state of Vermont continue to be represented as it is at present, it would, in all probability, unite with the neighbouring states in any serious plan of resistance to a war, which it might seem expedient to adopt. This, 1 think, is the safer opinion for you to rely on, if, indeed, reliance ought to be placed on any measure depending upon the will of the rabble, which is ever changing and must ever be marked with ignorance, caprice and inconstancy. As the crisis approaches the difficulty of deciding upon an hazardous alternative will increase; and, unfortunately, there is not in Vermont any man of commanding talents, capable of attracting general confidence, of infusing into the people his own spirit, and amidst the confusion of conflicting opinions, dangers and commotion, competent to lead in the path of duty or safety. The governor is an industrious, prudent man, and has more personal influence than any other: but his abilities are not suited to-the situation in which a civil war would place him. I am, &c