The War of 1812, Secession, and Salem Smugglers


The war of 1812 almost did not happen. Spencer Perceval  opposed the upcoming  war with the America in light with their ongoing war with Napoleon.  To silence his opposition he was assassinated (the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated in office) and replaced by Robert Banks Jenkinson, the 2nd Earl of Liverpool, who was all for reconquering the lost colonies.

Also opposed to the war were the Federalist in New England.  As the war progressed they refused to pay any money to Washington to continue this war.  Governor Strong of Massachusetts refused to supply troops or money to retake Maine which was part of his state at the time. Instead he raised $1 million to raise a state army of 10,000.  The on the contrary their privateers were making a fortune raiding British commerce at sea.  Or were they?

These Federalist were in open opposition to Jefferson’s Embargo Acts (Spencer Perceval’s Orders in Council act was the cause of Jefferson imposing the Embargo Act. ) which were strengthened during the war by President Madison in 1813. There were some reports stating that Federalist sea captains  were engaging in commerce not raiding with these British ships at sea.

Opposition grew so great during the War of 1812 that the New England Federalists made plans to secede from the union.  Harrison Gray Otis, of Boston who inspired these measures, suggested that the Eastern States meet at a convention in Hartford, Connecticut.  Otis was reportedly worth at least US$800,000 in 1846, which in 2014 would be equivalent to $6.5 Billion. A Boston smuggler who had his home built my Charles Bulfinch who was the official tunnel digger in our nation’s capital and built the tunnels leaving the Massachusetts state house. The idea of leaving the union was not a new one. As early as 1804 some New England Federalists had discussed secession from the Union if the national government under Jefferson became too oppressive.

Timothy Pickering Salem MA
Timothy Pickering. Secretary of State for Washington and Adams.

The Federalists’  national leadership was decimated and their viable base was reduced to the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Delaware. Timothy Pickering of Salem (smuggler, Secretary of State, and aid to General Washington) and a few Federalists envisioned creating a separate New England confederation, possibly combining with lower Canada to form a new pro-British nation.  Later during the Hartford Convention these ideas resurfaced. The Hartford Convention met December 15 1814. At the convention radical proposals such as a seizure of the Federal customs house, impounding federal funds, and declaring neutrality in the War of 1812 were voiced. Firebrands like George Cabot, John Lowell, Jr., Timothy Pickering, and Josiah Quincy  pushed for secession.  Cabot was another smuggler from Salem that had his homes in Salem and Beverly attached to the tunnels. Cabot became the president of the convention. Otis thought unless moderates like himself and the other delegates took charge, the radical secessionists might take power. Indeed, Otis was unaware that Massachusetts Governor Strong had already sent a secret mission to discuss terms with the British for a separate peace.

George Cabot Salem Tunnel Smuggler
George Cabot, President of the Hartford Convention

Madison moved troops from the New York–Canadian border to Albany where they could quickly be sent to Massachusetts or Connecticut if needed to preserve federal authority. Several New England regiments that had participated in the Niagara campaign were returned home where it was hoped that they could serve as a focal point for New Englanders opposed to disunion.

After the convention ended in January 1815, Massachusetts sent three commissioners to Washington, D.C. to negotiate for the terms that had been agreed upon at the convention. Because of Otis these terms did not propose secession. By the time they arrived in February 1815, news of Andrew Jackson‘s overwhelming victory at the Battle of New Orleans, and the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, preceded them and, consequently, their presence in the capital seemed both ludicrous and subversive. They quickly returned. Thereafter, both Hartford Convention and Federalist Party became synonymous with disunion, secession, and treason, especially in the South. By 1823 the Federalist party even in Massachusetts was decimated.

~ To find out more about the tunnels in Salem and the smugglers’ who shaped our nation read Salem Secret Underground:The History of the Tunnels in the City and its sequel coming out this fall called Subrosa by Christopher Jon Luke Dowgin. Look for them at Barnes & Noble, Wicked Good Books, and Also to learn about the tunnels and the conspiracies engineered in Salem Ma book a ticket on the Salem Smugglers’ Tour!


Ghosts and Tunnels of Salem MA on Beyond the Grave Radio

What Could Get Better!


Listen to Chris Dowgin the author of Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City and your tour guide from Salem Smugglers’ Tour on Beyond the Grave Radio. Humor, strange tales, murder, ghosts, conspiracies, and tunnels all detailed from the Witch City.

So book a tour today at and head over to Barnes & Noble to buy Salem Secret Underground: The History of the Tunnels in the City. If you buy the book on the tour you will save $5 and will have it signed and doodled in by the author for no extra cost! What a deal!!

Top 10 Strangest Experimental Planes

Welcome back to my blog about balloons, rocket ships, airplanes, space travel, Star Wars, sci-fi, and everything about flying! Today I am going to share with you my favorite weird and wonderful experimental planes throughout history!!!

10.  SNECMA Atar Volat

French: Beginning in 1956, the French engine manufacturer SNECMA built a series of wingless test rigs called the Atar Volant, as precursors to a winged aircraft. Only the first of these was unpiloted and the second flew freely, both stabilized by gas jets on outrigger pipes. The third had a tilting seat to allow the pilot to sit upright when the fuselage was level and had the lateral air intakes planned for the free flying aircraft, though it always operated attached to a movable cradle.

The ninth flight, on 25 July 1959, was planned to make limited moves towards the horizontal but with insufficient instrumentation and a lack of visual benchmarks the aircraft became too inclined and too slow to maintain altitude. Morel was unable to regain control and escaped with an ejection at 150 m (492 ft). He survived but was badly injured; the aircraft was destroyed and a planned second prototype did not receive funding.
Wikipedia Entry: Click Here!

9.  Akaflieg Darmstadt/Akaflieg München DM1

German: The DM1 was built as a single-seat glider from steel-tubing, plywood and bakelite impregnated plywood, with a cockpit in the extreme nose of the junction of the triangular mainplanes and fin. Launching the DM1 was to be by piggy-back or aero-tow.

Wikipedia Entry: Click Here!

8.   Horten H.VI

German: The Horten H.VI was a flying wing aircraft designed by the Horten brothers during World War II.
Based on the Horten H.IV, the H.VI was an enlarged version of the H.IV, with the goal of comparing their flying wing designs against the very large span Akaflieg Darmstadt D-30 Cirrus.

Wikipedia Entry: Click Here!

7.   Sack AS-6
German: During the summer of 1944, JG 400, who flew the rocket-powered Messerschmitt Me 163B “Komet”, was moved to Brandis. They found the AS-6 there and tried to fly it, but the only attempt resulted in a collapsed landing gear leg. The AS-6 was damaged in a strafing attack during the winter of 1944-45, and was broken up to salvage the wood. All that was left was the miscelleneous metal parts, and these were thrown into the aircraft salvage area. In all probability, this is why American troops who entered the Brandis air base in April 1945 found no traces of the Sack AS-6.

6.  Stipa-Caproni

Italian: Dubbed “the barrel-shaped plane” or “the cask plane”, this forerunner of jet airplanes was designed by engineer Luigi Stipa, and built as a prototype by Caproni di Milano-Taliedo. It featured a large cylindrical fuselage that enclosed the engine and propeller, so that the air thrust in the metal tube by the rotating blades could make the propelling system more dynamic. However, the craft’s shape increased its drag and counteracted the benefits of the engine’s heightened efficiency.
The Caproni-Stipa took off only for a brief series of test flights, and was demolished in 1933. However, a 3/5-scale replica of it was recently built in Australia, with full-color photographs attesting to some successful flights in October 2001.


5. Antonov A-40
 Russian: The Antonov A-40 Krylya Tanka (Russian: крылья танка, meaning “tank wings”) was a Soviet attempt to allow a tank to glide onto a battlefield after being towed aloft by an airplane, to support airborne forces or partisans. A prototype was built and tested in 1942, but was found to be unworkable. This vehicle is sometimes called the A-40T or KT.
Wikipedia Entry: Click Here!
4. Handiwork 181
Russian: Handiwork 181 is an experimental aircraft, which was built at Aviation Scientific-Technical Complex named by Oleh Antonov in Kyïv at the end of the 1980s. An interesting feature of the plane is its unusual arc-shaped wing.
Wikipedia Entry: Click Here!
3.  Bartini Beriev VVA-14
Russian: The Bartini Beriev VVA-14 Vertikal`no-Vzletayuschaya Amphibia (vertical take-off amphibious aircraft) was a wing-in-ground-effect aircraft developed in the Soviet Union during the 1970s.[1] Designed to be able to take off from the water and fly at high speed over long distances, it was to make true flights at high altitude, but also have the capability of “flying” efficiently just above the sea surface, using aerodynamic ground effect. The VVA-14 was designed by Italian-born designer Robert Bartini in answer to a perceived requirement to destroy United States Navy Polaris missile submarines.

2.  Grumman X-29
American: The Grumman X-29 was an American experimental aircraft that tested a forward-swept wing, canard control surfaces, and other novel aircraft technologies. The X-29 was developed by Grumman, and the two built were flown by NASA and the United States Air Force. The aerodynamic instability of the X-29’s airframe required the use of computerized fly-by-wire control. Composite materials were used to control the aeroelastic divergent twisting experienced by forward-swept wings, and to reduce weight. The X-29 first flew in 1984; two X-29s were flight tested over the next decade.
Wikipedia Entry: Click Here!
1. John’s Multiplane
American: The massive septi-wing made a series of short hops during testing, but was eventually scrapped in 1920[2] due to its inability to maintation Mutley and Din controlled flight chasing that pigeon. I believe this is the one configuration Mutley and Dastardly flew.
Wikipedia Entry: Click Here!

To find out more about me visit Salem House Press and buy my book on! Now available in paperback at your favorite book sellers. Ask for it by name! If they do not have it in stock, ask them to order it for you.

Top 50 Hot Air Balloon Festivals This Year!

Welcome back to my blog about balloons, rocket ships, airplanes, space travel, Star Wars, sci-fi, and everything about flying! Today I will share with you this great site that lists all of Hot Air Balloon Festivals around the world. Check them out and list below your favorite 50 festivals below!

Hot Air Event Site

Illustration from Max Telller from Max Teller's Amazing Adventure by Chris Dowgin


To find out more about me visit Salem House Press and buy my book on! Now available in paperback at your favorite book sellers. Ask for it by name! If they do not have it in stock, ask them to order it for you.