April 30 1812: Producing a Quarrel

On April 30, 1812, Sir George Prevost, in Lower Canada, writes to Major-General Isaac Brock, in Upper Canada. Prevost writes that men of various American state militia have been ordered to the border.  Augustus Foster, the British Minister in Washington, believes that the Americans are trying to provoke an altercation on the border to justify war. Prevost wants Brock to use every effort to ensure that there is no "collision" between his and the American forces. Prevost's letter is reproduced below.
Sir George Prevost to Major-General BrockQUEBEC, April 30, 1812.
I have just heard from Mr. Foster that the secretary at war, at Washington, has transmitted orders to Governor Tompkins, of New York, to send 500 of the state militia to Niagara, 500 to the mouth of the Black River, opposite to Kingston, and 600 to Champlain, in consequence of the hostile appearances in  Canada. Mr. Foster is of opinion the government of the United States calculates that something will happen on the part of these men to produce a quarrel with the British troops, which  may lead to retaliation on both sides, and occasion  hostilities to commence, as in this way alone, it seems   thought, an unjust war can be forced on the American people, who are represented as really averse to it. We must, therefore, use every effort in our power to prevent any collision from taking place between our forces and the American.
I have also received information that the American garrison at Fort Chicago, not exceeding 60 men, has been ordered to Detroit, in consequence of apprehensions from the Indians.

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