Volume 6 of the "Presidential Series" covers the eight-month period between 8 February and 24 October 1813, during which the United States continued its military struggle against Great Britain. The volume opens with newly appointed Secretary of War John Armstrong's memorandum on the spring campaign against Canada, recommending attacks on Kingston and York (Toronto). United States forces took York in late April, but humiliating defeats followed in June, leading Armstrong to replace Maj. Gen. Henry Dearborn as commander of the Northern army with Maj. Gen. James Wilkinson. In the fall, Wilkinson opted to bypass Kingston and march directly to Montreal, but illness, bad weather, and personnel problems dogged the campaign, which later ended in failure.The nation faced financial and diplomatic challenges as well. With war expenses mounting, Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin kept the government solvent by negotiating a $16-million loan. A few months later, he sailed for St. Petersburg as a peace commissioner under the mediation offer of Alexander I of Russia, leaving the financial affairs of the nation to Navy Secretary William Jones.
Early in August, however, Madison wrote Gallatin that the Senate had 'mutilated the Mission to St Petersburg' by rejecting Gallatin's nomination as commissioner. The president spent the remainder of the period covered in this volume at Montpelier, regaining his health after a life-threatening bout of fever.The volume also documents the United States' evolving relationship with Spain's American colonies, quarrels among U.S. consuls in France, rivalries within the Cabinet, and Oliver H. Perry's victory on Lake Erie. Access to people, places, and events discussed is facilitated by detailed annotation and a comprehensive index.show more