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The News On the East Coast

In January 1815, people in the cities of the East knew only that a large British force had landed and that fighting was going on. An editor of Niles Register, a Baltimore newspaper, wrote that "great interests" in all the Nation were anxiously awaiting news. Some leaders of the New England States, meeting in Hartford, were strongly suspected of planning to secede from the Union. The Capitol in Washington was in ruins. The Federal Government was in bad financial condition. Men feared that the negotiations at Ghent would fail or that the resulting treaty would not be ratified. It was possible that one of these outcomes, coupled with probable defeat at New Orleans, could have broken up the Union.

The relief of the Government was extreme when the news of victory at New Orleans finally reached Washington on February 4. The National Intelligencer used its largest type for the headline: ALMOST INCREDIBLE VICTORY!!! People went wild with delight. A heavy fall of snow did not dampen the celebration in Philadelphia. All over the East the fireworks and rejoicing were greater than for any other victory of the War of 1812.

Nine days later, news of the signing of the Peace Treaty at Ghent completed the people's happiness. The envoys to Washington from the Hartford Convention were glad to slip back to their own States without presenting their demands to the Federal Government. Even the Massachusetts Legislature gave thanks for the victory—to God if not to Andrew Jackson.


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