The Americans, unfortunately for their case against “sailor snatching,” openly connived at desertion. Their prospering merchant marine was urgently in need of sailors, and in a position to offer alluring bounties, better working conditions, and seductively higher wages. . Every British warship that touched at American ports during the years of Napoleonic wars was in danger of losing some men. In 1804 twelve ships of the Royal Navy were detained at Norfolk, Virginia, because of deserters, some of whom paraded the streets cursing their officers and thumbing noses at them. Such episodes do much to explain why British press gangs made “mistakes” at the expense of the Americans on the high seas. 
The War of 1812 is a production of WNED-TV, Buffalo/Toronto and Florentine Films/Hott Productions Inc. , in association with WETA Washington, . , with funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities ,The Wilson Foundation, Warren and Barbara Goldring, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting , The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations , Philip B. Lind and The Annenberg Foundation with additional support from The Baird Foundation, Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and The Jackman Foundation.
On July 23, Perry grew even more vehement. ‘For God’s sake and yours and mine,’ he wrote to Chauncey,’send me men and officers … send on the commander, my dear sir, for the Niagara . She is a noble vessel … send me officers and men and honour is within our grasp.’ In his desperation, he urged the commodore to come to Lake Erie with men from his squadron and take charge. Perry said he would ‘rejoice, whoever commands, to see this force on the lake.’
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Amanda Foreman is the award-winning author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War . Her next book The World Made by Women: A History of Women from the Age of Cleopatra to the Era of Thatcher , is slated for publication by Random House (US) and Allen Lane (UK) in 2015.
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