Ohio History Journal

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Duncan McArthur had won his military spurs before the

War of 1812 broke out and had been commissioned a general in

the State Militia. In the spring of 1812, with war looming on

the horizon, Congress authorized the President to organize a num-

ber of volunteers who were to be ready to march on short notice.

The Ohio quota was 1200 men.1 McArthur ordered his militia

division to assemble and used his forensic powers in an effort to

get them to join the volunteer army. He employed every argu-

ment to persuade the men to take the field, running the gamut of

patriotic emotions. His remarks are a good example of a tend-

ency to indulge in hyperbole:

FELLOW-CITIZENS AND SOLDIERS. The period has arrived when our

country again calls its heroes to arms. [We will be fighting against] Eng-

land unjust and perfidious--that proud and tyrannical nation, whose injustice,

prior to 1776, aroused the honest indignation of our fathers to manly re-

sistance; their souls could no longer endure slavery . . . the HEAVEN-

protected patriots of Columbia, obliged the mighty armies of the tyrant to

surrender to American valor.

Notwithstanding Great Britain, in 1782, was obliged to sue for peace,

and beg permission to withdraw her conquered and degraded troops, the

haughty spirit of that proud and unprincipled nation, has ever since burnt

with indignation against the author of her disgrace....

Could the shades of the departed heroes of the revolution who purchased

our freedom with their blood, descend from the valiant mansions of peace,

would they not call aloud to arms? And where is that friend to his country

who would not obey the call?2

Few four-minute speakers of 1917-18 surpassed this attempt

to make the eagle scream. The reference to the Elysian fields

with their "HEAVEN-protected patriots of Columbia" is remi-


* This is second of a series of articles on Duncan McArthur. The first was

published in the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Quarterly, (Columbus).

XLV (1936), 27-33.--Editor's note.

1 Robert B. McAfee, History of the Late War in the Western Country (Bowl-

ing Green, Ohio, 1919), 61.

2 Division Orders, Chillicothe, April 8, 1812, in Circleville (Ohio) Fredonian,

April 25, 1912; Samuel R. Brown, Views of the Campaign of the Northwestern Army

(Philadelphia, 1815), 5. This address had been corrected in style and spelling by

someone, perhaps the editor of the newspaper. This is especially apparent when it

is compared with some of the personal letters of Duncan McArthur which are quoted

later on in the article.