Tag Archives: William Pechin

American and Commercial Daily Advertiser: “never since the Revolutionary war has our Independence been in greater danger from the same ambitious and powerful enemy.”

On July 4, 1814, the American and Commercial Daily Advertiser continued its’ “annual custom” publishing the Declaration of Independence in full:

American Commercial and Daily Advertiser, July 4, 1814. Maryland State Archives SC3392
American Commercial and Daily Advertiser, July 4, 1814. Maryland State Archives SC3392

For newspaper editor William Pechin, reading Thomas Jefferson’s words held special meaning in the summer of 1814:

We have this day, according to annual custom, inserted the Declaration of American Independence.Never since the 4th day of July 1776, has its publication become more necessary, for never since the Revolutionary war has our Independence been in greater danger from the same ambitious and powerful enemy.Let every American read it with solemn attention, and firmly resolve, with an honest ear, and a resolute hand, to support the liberties of the Republic.

The threat of the British attacks on towns and small farms around the Chesapeake still did not prevent Baltimore from celebrating the occasion. After the holiday passed, the American Commercial and Daily Advertiser summarized the events of the day in their next issue on July 6:

“Monday last, being the annual recurrence of that memorable transaction which took place on the 4th day of July 1776, and which, we trust, for ever separated the Western from the trammels of the Eastern hemisphere, the same was observed in this city by the various Military Corps and AssociationsIn the morning, they parade in Market-street, from whence they marched to Pratt-street Avenue, and fired three rounds in the honor of the dayAfter which they returned to Market-street, when the corps proceeded to their separate parades, and dismissed, each man to his place of abode, where, we hope, they will see many happy returns of the day, and long enjoy peace and independence, the invaluable inheritance of FREEMEN, both individually and nationally.”

Others gathered for private parties, including at Rutter’s Spring where William Pechin, writing on July 7, praised their restraint:

“A small part convened at this delightful spot to celebrate the Anniversary of Independence. Fully sensible, that the memory of Freedom is too often abused by inebriated riot, this little band of patriots mingled their bowl with temperance and discretion, and after dining and drinking the following toasts, went to their respective homes with gladdened hearts and steady heads.”

The group still shared a twenty-six toasts including a toast to the City of Baltimore calling it “The scourge of traitors, the heart of oak, too tough to be split by the influence which flows through the ‘Common Sewer’.”

Happy 4th of July!

View of Baltimore from Chapel Hill, by Francis Guy, American, 1760-1820
View of Baltimore from Chapel Hill (1802-1803), Francis Guy. Brooklyn Museum, Gift of George Dobbin Brown, 41.624.

New Year’s Day reflections from William Pechin and Hezekiah Niles

On January 1, 1814, two Baltimore newspaper editors reflected on the struggles of the war. William Pechin, editor of the American and Commercial Daily Advertiser published at 4 Harrison Street (near the site of the Baltimore City Police Department headquarters on Fayette Street) wrote:

“In taking a retrospective survey of the last twelve months, in a national point of view, although there may be much to deplore and regret, still we are not destitute of many proud and triumphant causes for the elevation of the American feeling, calculated to exclude any thing like sadness or despondency.”

Pechin, a 40 year-old Philadelphia native,  personally championed a Baltimore petition to advocate for the declaration of war that arrived in June 1812. Despite the recent U.S. retreat from Canada in October and the attack on Buffalo just two days prior, Pechin had lost none of his patriotic zeal continuing:

“The position we have been compelled to take to defend ourselves against the encroachments of British tyrrany, should call forth the zealous support of every American that has the vigor and spirit to wield a sword.”

The influential and nationally-circulated Niles’ Weekly Register, published by Hezekiah Niles, offered a more sober account:

“The present appears the most dreary sheet we have had yet to publish. The career of calamity seemed, for the moment, to overwhelm the soberness of reason, and place the mind in a state that has been aptly compared to the condition of ‘fishies frozen up in a pond.’”


January 1, 1814, Niles’ Weekly Register, “State of the War – Editorial Remarks,” p.299

January 1, 1814, American Commercial and Daily Advertiser, p.2