“Every body in this quarter [Albemarle County, Va.] expects the declaration of war as soon as the season will permit the entrance of militia into Canada…” Former President Thomas Jefferson to President James Madison, March 26, 1812.
The act was written by the U.S. Attorney General William Pinkney of Maryland, who in the spring of 1813 resigned to be commander of the 1st Rifle Battalion of Maryland with detachments that fought at the Battle of Bladensburg (August 24) and North Point, Sept. 12, 1814.
AN ACT – Declaring War between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and there dependences thereof, and the United States of America and their territories.
Be it enacted by the senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled that War be and the same is hereby declared to exist between the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland & the dependencies thereof & the United States of America & their territories; and that the President of the United States be and he is hereby authorized to use the whole land and naval force of the United States to carry the same into effect, and to issue to private armed vessels of the United States commissions or letters of marque and general reprisal in such form as he shall think proper, and under the seal of the United States against the vessels, goods and effects, of the government of the same United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the subjects thereof. June 12, 1812. Approved JAMES MADISON.
On the final passage of the act in the Senate, the votes were 19 to 13 and in the House, 79 to 49.
Sources: Jefferson and His Time: The Sage of Monticello by Dumas Malone (Boston: Little Brown and Company, 1981),91; Baltimore Federal Gazette, June 19, 1812.