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Lord Castlereagh to Lord Liverpool."

Paris, August 28, 1814. Draft. My dear Liverpool

I send you a despatch and two private letters received from Ghent; also my reply to Goulburn, and some observations upon the documents referred to.

During my stay of the greater part of two days at Ghent, I did not see any of the American Commissioners; they did not call upon or desire to see me; and I thought my originating an interview would have been objectionable and awkward by our own Commissioners. When I left them, they inferred, from the manner in which their verbal explanations had been received, that the American Commissioners were disposed to treat and sign upon the frontier and Indian arrangements. No surprise or repugnance was at the moment disclosed to any of our suggestions.

If I had been to prepare the note given in on our part, I should have been inclined to state the proposition as to Indian limits less peremptorily; but the Commissioners appeared to attach so much importance to the not weakening, in this stage of their discussions, the ground which they had previously taken up upon this point, that I acquiesced in the expression, “it is equally necessary,” etc., which is very strong. I cautioned them, in reasoning on the words “purchase or otherwise," not to commit themselves, without further authority, to mean thereby to negative the possibility of conquest in a war justifiably declared, however open such a principle might be to evasion—the absence of any such right of acquiring territory being, at this moment, the state in which Great Britain and America stand mutually, with respect to each other's Indians.

Each Power would repel an attack, and follow the Indian enemy within the lines of the other State, would extinguish the tribe, if possible, and destroy their towns; but their right of war would not extend to the acquisition of territory beyond their own boundary. It is a right of reprisal, rather than a perfect right of war.

The whole seems a question of expediency and not of principle, as the American Commissioners have endeavoured to make it.

Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh, 3rd Series, Vol. II, p. 100.

There is nothing demanded which is not, or may not be made, consistent with reciprocity; nor does it follow, because, in the year 1783, the two States, not perhaps very justly, took a common boundary, thereby assuming a sort of sovereignty over the Indians, that they may not mutually recede from that boundary, if a frontier conterminous with that of the Indians is preferable to one with each other: and special exceptions might be introduced in favour of existing settlements on either side, which had given birth to rights of property.

It is extremely material to answer fully the American note, as it is evidently intended to rouse the people upon the question of their independence. As I leave Paris in a few hours, I have not time to suggest a sketch for your consideration, and can only send a few rough materials for you and my colleagues to work upon.

The substance of the question is, are we prepared to continue the war for territorial arrangements; and, if not, is this the best time to make our peace, saving all our rights, and claiming the fisheries, which they do not appear to question in which case, the territorial questions might be reserved for ulterior discussion); or is it desirable to take the chance of the campaign, and then to be governed by circumstances? If the latter is advisable, we have the means of doing so, as the American Commission gives us no room to expect any pacific stipulation whatever in favour of what they call their Indians, without now putting the war solely and avowedly on a territorial principle, which I think it would be imprudent to do. On the other hand, if we thought an immediate peace desirable, as they are ready to 'wave all the abstract questions, perhaps they might be prepared to sign a Provisional Article of Indian peace, as distinct from limits, and relinquish their pretensions to the islands in Passamaquoddy Bay, and possibly to admit minor adjustments of frontier, including a right of communication from Quebec to Halifax, across their territory. But whilst I state this, I feel the difficulty of so much letting down the question, under present circumstances, upon the chance of such a body, containing all the varieties of American party, agreeing amongst themselves to any measure of responsibility; and, further, upon the imperfect security that, if they did, it would be approved at home.

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J. Q. Adams to The American Minister at Paris.'

GHENT, August 29th, 1814. The result has been such as was to be expected. It is natural that we should feel, and we do feel, a deep disappointment at the failure of this attempt to restore to our country the blessings of Peace.

You are instructed that we have rejected the preliminary sine qua non to which the adverse party has adhered. We are only waiting for their official reply and shall not remain here beyond a week or ten days.



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On the subject of the Indians the Commissioners must repeat that an adequate provision for their interest is conceded by the British Government as a sine qua non in any pacific arrangement between the two countries; but it has never been the intention of the British Government to propose to the Government of the United States any stipulation on this subject which they were not ready reciprocally to adopt. They have proposed for this purpose as the basis of an arrangement a treaty concluded by the Government of the United States with the same Indians; and, whatever restrictions are imposed on the subjects of the United States with respect to the Indians in the districts under the American Government, the British Government are ready to adopt with regard to those Indians who may reside in the districts under

their power.

If the peculiar circumstances of the Indian tribes and natives render such an arrangement inconsistent, let it be fairly considered whether an allotment of territory at present uninhabited by either British or American subjects cannot be allotted to them, to which the respective Governments of Great Britain and America shall forego all right. The object of the British Government is to fulfil their engagements to the Indians, to secure them against encroachments, and to remove all cause of misunderstanding in future.

1 Crawford Papers, Library of Congress.

? Yonge's "Life and Administration of Robert Banks, Second Earl of Liverpool,” Vol. II., p. 64 at p. 66.

After this full exposition of the sentiments of the British Government on the points above stated, it will be for the American Commissioners to determine whether they consider themselves at liberty to continue the negotiation upon the principles which have been laid down, or whether they are disposed to refer to their Government for further instructions, or, lastly, whether they will take upon themselves the responsibility of breaking off the negotiation altogether.


The British to the American Plenipotentiaries.'

GHENT, September 4th, 1814.

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It is perfectly true that the war between His Majesty and the United States was declared by the latter Power, upon the pretense of maritime rights, alleged to be asserted by Great Britain, and disputed by the United States.

If the war thus declared by the United States had been carried on by them for objects purely of a maritime nature, or if the attack which has been made on Canada, had been made for the purpose of diversion, or in the way of defence against the British forces in that quarter, any question as to the boundaries of Canada might have been considered as unnecessary; but it is notorious to the whole world that the conquest of Canada, and its permanent annexation to the United States, was the declared object of the American Government.

Is the American Government to be allowed to pursue, so far as its means will enable it, a system


1 American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III, p. 713.

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of acquisition and aggrandisement to the extent of annexing entire provinces to their dominions, and is His Majesty to be precluded from availing himself of his means, so far as they will enable him, to retain those points which the valor of British arms may have placed in his power, because they happen to be situated within the territories allotted under former treaties to the Government of the United States?

It is with equal astonishment and regret the undersigned find that the American plenipotentiaries have not only declined signing any provisional article by which the Indian nations who have taken part with Great Britain in the present contest may be included in the peace, and may have a boundary assigned to them, but have also thought proper to express surprise at any proposition on the subject having been advanced.

The American plenipotentiaries state that their Government could not have expected such a discussion, and appear resolved at once to reject any proposition on this head, representing it as a demand contrary to the acknowledged principles of public law, tantamount to a cession of one-third of the territorial dominions of the United States, and required to be admitted without discussion.

The proposition which is thus represented is, that the Indian nations which have been during the war in alliance with Great Britain, should, at its termination, be included in the pacification, and with a view to their permanent tranquillity and security, that the British Government is willing to take as a basis of an article on the subject of a boundary for those nations, the stipulations which the American Government contracted in 1795, subject, however, to modifications.

After the declaration publicly made to these Indian nations by the Governor General of Canada, that Great Britain would not desert them, could the American Government really persuade itself that no proposition relating to those nations would be advanced; and did Lord Castlereagh's note of the 4th November, 1813, imply so great a sacrifice of honor, or exclude from discussion every subject excepting what immediately related to the maritime questions referred to in it?

When the undersigned assured the American plenipotentiaries of the anxious wish of the British Government that the negotiation might terminate in a peace honorable to both parties, it could not have been imagined that the American plenipotentiaries would

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