February 13 1815: News of Peace Spreads

On February 13 1815, the New York Evening Post wrote:

On Saturday evening, about eight o’clock, arrived the British sloop of war, Favorite, bringing Mr. Carroll, one of the Secretaries attached to the American legation, bearer of a treaty of PEACE between the United States and Great Britain. He came not unexpected to us: Ever since the receipt of the October dispatches, we have entertained and expressed, as our readers know, but one opinion. A critical examination of those dispatches convinced us that the negociations would, nay, must terminate in the restoration of a speedy peace; and the speech of the Prince Regent, in November, contained an implied assurance that the preliminaries waited for little else than the form of signatures.

It has come, and the public expressions of tumultuous joy and gladness that spontaneously burst forth from all ranks and degrees of people on Saturday evening, without stopping to enquire the conditions, evinced how really sick at heart they were, of a war that threatened to wring from them the remaining means of subsistence, and of which they could neither see the object nor the end. The public exhilaration shewed itself in the illumination of most of the windows in the lower part of Broadway and the adjoining streets in less than twenty minutes after Mr. Carroll arrived at the City Hotel. The street itself was illuminated by lighted candles, carried in the hands of a large concourse of the populace; the city resounded in all parts with the joyful cry of a peace! a peace! and it was for nearly two hours difficult to make one’s way through unnumbered crowds of persons of all descriptions, who came forth to see and to hear and to rejoice. In the truth, the occasion called for the liveliest marks of sincere congratulations. Never, in our opinion, has there occurred so great a once since we became an independent nation. Expresses of the glad tidings were instantly dispatched in all directions, to Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, Albany, &c., &c. The country will now be convinced that the federalists were right in the opinion they have ever held, that during the despotism of Bonaparte, no peace was ever to be expected for their own country, and therefore they publickly rejoiced at his downfall, and celebrated the restoration of the Bourbons. Men of property, particularly, should felicitate themselves, for they may look back upon the perils they have just escaped with the same sensations that the passenger in a ship experiences, when, driving directly on the breakers through the blunders of an ignorant pilot, he is unexpectedly snatched from impending destruction by a sudden shifting of the wind. Fears were entertained, that it was really intended, like losing and desperate gamblers, to find a pretence for never paying the public debt, in the magnitude of the sum: that a spunge would be employed in the last resort, as the favorite instrument to wipe off all scores at once. A principle nearly bordering on this, was, not long ago, openly avowed on the floor of Congress by a member from Virginia. Neither is it a small cause of congratulation that we are now to be delivered from that swarm of leeches that have so long fastened upon the nation, and been sucking its blood. Their day is over. Let the nation rejoice.

What the terms of the peace are, we cannot tell; they will only be made known at Washington, by the dispatches themselves. But one thing I will venture to say now and before they are opened, and I will hazard my reputation upon the correctness of what I say, that when the terms are disclosed, it will be found that the government have not by this negociation obtained one single avowed object for which they involved the country in this bloody and expensive war.

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