On May 27 1812, Henry Clay, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, writes to a person identified only as a gentleman of Kentucky. Clay believes that war is imminent. He is satisfied that the French have repealed the Berlin and Milan decrees so that only the Orders in Council of Great Britain remain in place. Excerpts from Henry Clay's letter is reproduced below.
That we shall have war, I still believe. The dispatches brought by the Hornet were yesterday laid before congress. Although not as favorable as we had a right to expect, or could have wished, they are more so than they had been rumoured to be. They shew the practical observance of the repeal of the Berlin and Milan decrees, as to us. The Rambouillet spoliations, it is true, are not yet indemnified, but they are subject of discussion and negotiation and with regard to the recent burnings (which by the bye however execrable, they do not fall within those decrees) Mr. Barlow had presented a strong note, but had received no reply. Thoughtout the whole of Mr. Barlow's intercourse with that government, they appear to have treated him with prompt attention and good manners at least. In short after the dispatches were read yesterday, there was general disappointment manifested at their being much be better than they had been rumoured to be, and the universal sentiment was "we will go on in our intended course as to England, and wait a little longer with France." I think it therefore highly probable that about the time this letter will be with you, War will be declared in due form against England.