which we published eight or nine years ago, is a faithful relation of all that occurred.
Scarcely had the flames burst out from the capitol and the two contiguous houses, than an awful explosion announced, that the Americans were employed upon the same business in the lower part of the city. By this time the remainder of the British forces from Bladensburg had arrived at the encampment. At 10 h. 30 m. p.m., after a party had been sent to destroy the fort and public works at Greenleaf's point, Major-general Ross, and Rear-admiral Cockburn, each at the head of a small detachment of men, numbering together not more than 200, proceeded down the hill towards the president's palace. Finding it utterly abandoned, and hearing probably that a guard of soldiers, with " two pieces of cannon, well mounted on travelling carriages," * had been stationed at, and but recently withdrawn from, this the American " commander-in-chief's " head-quarters, Rear-admiral Cockburn directed it to be set on fire. A log-hut, under similar circumstances, would have shared the same fate, and the justice of the measure not been disputed. Why, then, in a country where " equality of rights " is daily preached up, should the palace be held more sacred than the cottage ? The loss of the one falls, where it ought, upon the nation at large ; the loss of the other, a lamentable case at all times, solely upon the individual proprietor. To the building, containing the treasury and war offices, the torches of the conquerors were next applied. On arriving opposite to the office of the " National Intelligencer, " the American government-paper, Rear-admiral Cockburn observed to the inhabitants near him, that he must destroy it. On being told, however, that the adjoining buildings would be likely to take fire, he desisted. The rear-admiral, then, wishing the inhabitants " good night, " and assuring them that private property and persons should be respected, departed to his quarters on the capitol-hill. Early on the next morning the rear-admiral was seen walking about the city, accompanied by three soldiers only. Indeed, General Wilkinson says : " A single sentinel who had been accidentally left on post near the office of the National Intelligencer, kept undisturbed possession of the central part of the metropolis until the next morning ; of which there are several living witnesses. " † At this time too, it appears an American force of more than 4000 combatants, was posted upon the heights of Georgetown, which is a continuation of the city to the westward.
During the morning of the 25th the secretary of state's office was burnt, and the types and printing materials of the government-paper were destroyed. A serious accident had happened
"` Testimony of Mr. William Simmons, before the American committee of investigation.
† Wilkinson, vol. i., p. 791.
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