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September 18 1812: Brock Gives His Word


On September 18, 1812, Major General Brock in Fort George is writing to his superior Sir George Preovost in Montreal.  Brock has some explaining. He writes that he has "implicitly followed" Prevost's instructions not to take any offensive measures but Colonel Proctor did dispatch some troops from Detroit to assist in the siege of Fort Wayne. "I regret exceedingly," Brock writes, "that this service should be undertaken contrary to your excellency's wishes; but I beg leave to assure you, that the principal object in sending a British force to Fort Wayne is with the hope of preserving the lives of the garrison." 

Brock's primary concern is to retain the allegiance of the Native nations. He is worried that the armistice has strained these relations. Natives felt that the British had not taken their interests into account in unilaterally deciding to enter into an armistice with the Americans. Brock has been asked to pledge his word that "England" would not enter into any negotiations with the Americans that would not include the interests of the Native nations. Brock writes: 
The Indians were likewise looking to us for assistance: they heard of the armistice with every mark of jealousy, and, had we refused joining them in the expedition, it is impossible to calculate the consequences. I have already been asked to pledge my word that England would enter into no negociation in which their interests were not included, and, could they be brought to imagine that we should desert them, the consequences must be fatal.
Brock's letter is reproduced below. 

Major-General Brock to Sir George Prevost
FORT GEORGE, September 18, 1812.

I have been honored with your excellency's dispatch, dated the 7th instant. I have implicitly followed your excellency's instructions, and abstained, under great temptation and provocation, from every act of hostility. The information received from a deserter, and which I had the honor to detail  in my last, is far from correct, and, where credit is to be given, the facts apply solely to the regular force. The militia, being selected from the most violent democrats, are generally inclined to invade this province--provisions are in tolerable plenty--the only complaint arises from a want of vegetables. It is currently reported that the enemy's force is to be increased to 7,000, and that on their arrival an attack is immediately to be made. I am convinced the militia would not keep together in their present situation without such a prospect, nor do I think the attempt can be long deferred. Sickness prevails in some degree along the line, but principally at Black Rock.

The flank companies of the royal Newfoundland have joined me. A sergeant and twenty-five rank and file of the Veterans arrived at the same time, whom I propose sending to Michilimakinack.

The enclosed letter from Colonel Proctor will inform your excellency of a force having been detached, under Captain Muir, for the reduction of Fort Wayne. I gave orders for it previous to my leaving Amherstburg, which must have induced Colonel Proctor to proceed, upon receiving intelligence of the recommencement of hostilities, without waiting for further directions. I regret exceedingly that this service should be undertaken contrary to your excellency's wishes; but I beg leave to assure you, that the principal object in sending a British force to Fort Wayne is with the hope of preserving the lives of the garrison. By the last accounts, the place was invested by a numerous body of Indians, with very little prospect of being relieved. The prisoners of war, who know perfectly the situation of the garrison, rejoiced at the measure, and give us full credit for our intentions.

The Indians were likewise looking to us for assistance: they heard of the armistice with every mark of jealousy, and, had we refused joining them in the expedition, it is impossible to
calculate the consequences. I have already been asked to pledge my word that England would enter into no negociation in which their interests were not included, and, could they be
brought to imagine that we should desert them, the consequences must be fatal.

I shall be obliged to your excellency to direct £5,000 to be transmitted to the receiver-general, for the civil expenditure of this province. Army bills, I make no doubt, will answer every purpose.

This dispatch is entrusted to Lieut.-Colonel Nichol, quartermaster-general of this militia, whom I take the liberty to introduce to your excellency, as perfectly qualified, from his local knowledge and late return, to afford every information of the state of affairs in the western district.

He is instructed to make extensive purchases of necessaries for the use of the militia, and I have to entreat your excellency to indulge him with the means of a speedy conveyance back to this place.


Notes

As for the tweets on this post. I assure you that I know that the Maritimes do not include Newfoundland and Labrador but I make no apologies for using any Second City footage I get my hands on.  

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