A Meeting at the Fountain Inn, May 16, 1812: “Let us act with one heart…”

On this day, fifty delegates of the Democratic-Republican Party, with Judge Joseph Hopper Nicholson (1770-1817) presiding as chairman, met at Baltimore’s Old Fountain Inn to present several resolutions in a memorial to the President of the United States, James Madison, on the momentous decision that the nation was now affixed upon – a declaration of war with England. Mr. Nicholson, a former Congressman from Maryland, and a eloquent orator rose to address the gathering:
 

Fountain Inn

Fountain Inn. Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore.

 

 “…We have assembled here to-night, for the purpose of determining whether we will give it our support in the might struggle into which [our country ] is about to enter …Is there an American sword that will not leap from its scabbard to avenge the wrongs and contumely treatment under which we have suffered? No, my countrymen, it is impossible. Let us act with one heart, and with one hand; let us show to an admiring world, that however we may differ among ourselves about some of our internal concerns, yet in the great cause of our country, the American people are animated by one soul and by one spirit…”

 

Foremost of the delegates was Hezekiah Niles, the influential editor of the Niles’ Weekly Register, who reported the evening’s proceedings in his newspaper, arguing that England “… forcibly impresses our seamen, and detains them inhumanely in an odorous servitude – she obstructs our commerce in every channel…she had murdered our citizens within our own waters…” Such were the sentiments of the delegates many of whom were connected by livelihood to the popular “free trade and sailor’ rights” issues, one of several that led the U.S. to declare war upon England on June 18, 1812.

 

Source: “Joseph Hopper Nicholson: Citizen Soldier of Maryland,” by Scott S. Sheads (Maryland Historical Magazine, Summer 2003),132-151.

 

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Published in: on April 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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