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will not dwell on the immense inequality of value between the two territories, which, under such an arrangement, would be assigned by each nation respectively to the Indians, and which alone would make the reciprocity merely nominal. The condition which would be thus imposed on Great Britain, not to acquire lands in Canada from the Indians, would be productive of no advantage to the United States, and is, therfore, no equivalent for the sacrifice required of them. They do not consider that it belongs to the United States in any respect to interfere with the concerns of Great Britain in her American possessions, or with her policy towards the Indians residing there; and they cannot consent to any interference on the part of Great Britain with their own concerns, and particularly with the Indians living within their territories. It may be the interest of Great Britain to limit her settlements in Canada to their present extent and to leave the country to the west a perpetual wilderness, to be forever inhabited by scattered tribes of hunters; but it would inflict a vital injury on the United States to have a line run through their territory beyond which their settlements should forever be precluded from extending; thereby arresting the natural growth of their population and strength; placing the Indians, substantially, by virtue of the proposed guarantee, under the protection of Great Britain; dooming them to perpetual barbarism, and leaving an extensive frontier forever exposed to their savage incursions.
With respect to the mere question of peace with the Indians, the undersigned have already explicitly assured the British plenipotentiaries that, so far as it depended on the United States, it would immediately and necessarily follow a peace with Great Britain. If this be her sole object, no provision in the treaty to that effect is necessary. Provided the Indians will now consent to it, peace will immediately be made with them, and they will be reinstated in the same situation in which they stood before the commencement of hostilities. Should a continuance of the war compel the United States to alter their policy towards the Indians who may still take the part of Great Britain, they alone must be responsible for the consequences of her own act, in having induced them to withdraw themselves from the protection of the United States. The employment of savages, whose known rule of warfare is the indiscriminate torture and butchery of women, children and prisoners, is itself a departure from the principles of humanity observed between all civilized and Christian nations, even in war. The United States have constantly protested, and still protest, against it, as an unjustifiable aggravation of the calamities and horrors of war. Of the peculiar atrocities of Indian warfare, the allies of Great Britain in whose behalf she now demands sacrifices of the United States, have during the present war, shown many deplorable examples. Among them, the massacre in cold blood, of wounded prisoners and the refusal of the rites of burial to the dead, under the eyes of British officers, who could only plead their inability to control these savage auxiliaries, have been repeated, and are notorious to the world. The United States might at all times have employed the same kind of force against Great Britain to a greater extent than it was in her power to employ against them; but, from their reluctance to resort to means so abhorrent to the natural feelings of humanity they abstained from the use of them until compelled to the alternative of employing, themselves, Indians who would otherwise have been drawn into the ranks of their enemies. The undersigned, suggesting to the British plenipotentiaries the propriety of an article by which Great Britain and the United States should reciprocally stipulate never hereafter, if they should be again at war, to employ savages in it, believe that it would be infinitely more honorable to the humanity and Christian temper of both parties, more advantageous to the Indians themselves, and better adapted to secure their permanent peace, tranquillity, and progressive civilization, than the boundary proposed by the British plenipotentiaries. *
The undersigned, in their former note, stated with frankness, and will now repeat, that the two propositions-first, of assigning in the proposed treaty of peace a definite boundary to the Indians living within the limits of the United States, beyond which boundary they should stipulate not to acquire, by purchase or otherwise, any territory; secondly, of securing the exclusive military possession of the Lakes to Great Britain-are both inadmissible; and that they cannot subscribe to, and would deem it useless to refer to their Government, any arrangement, even provisional, containing either of those propositions. With this understanding, the undersigned are now ready to continue the negotiations, and, as they have already expressed, to discuss all the points of difference, or which might hereafter tend in any decree to interrupt the harmony of the two countries.
Jonathan Russell to the American Minister at Paris.
September 12th, 1814. On the 25th our answer was sent to the B. Commissioners of their note of the 20th. This answer was precise and firm and such, it was believed, as would have driven the adverse party, either to renounce its new and extravagant pretensions or break off the negotiations.
They solemnly protest against the Indians being considered as subjects of the U. States. They affect great concern for them, but say that the specific proposition was far from being insisted on (although by the way it was made a sine qua non) and that no unwillingness had been manifested to discuss any other proposition directed to the same object. They concluded by endeavoring to alarm us at the responsibility for a rupture of the negotiations.
The British to the American Plenipotentiaries.?
GHENT, September 19th, 1814. The undersigned have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note addressed to them by the American plenipotentiaries on the gth instant.
It must be also from the want of instructions that the American plenipotentiaries have been led to assert that Great Britain has induced the Indians to withdraw from the protection of the United States. The Government of the United States cannot have forgotten that Great Britain, so far from inducing the Indians to withdraw themselves from the protection of the United States, gave it the earliest information of the intention of those nations to invade the United States, and exerted herself, though without success, to prevent and appease their hostilities. The Indian nation, however, having experienced, as they thought, oppression, instead of protection, from the United
Crawford Papers, Library of Congress.
States, declared war against them previously to the declaration of war by that country against Great Britain. The treaty by which the Indians placed themselves under the protection of the United States is now abrogated, and the American Government cannot be entitled to claim as a right the renewal of an article in a treaty which has no longer any existence. The Indian nations are, therefore, no longer to be considered as under the protection of the United States, (whatever may be the import of that term,) and it can only be on the ground that they are regarded as subjects that the American plenipotentiaries can be authorized to deny the right of Great Britain to interfere on their behalf in the negotiation
To any such claim, it is repeated, that the treaties concluded with them, and particularly that of Greenville, are in direct opposition.
It is not necessary to recur to the manner in which the territory of the United States was at first settled, in order to decide whether the Indian nations, the original inhabitants of America, shall have some spot assigned to them where they may be permitted to live in tranquillity; nor whether their tranquillity can be secured without preventing an uninterrupted system of encroachment upon them under the pretense of purchases.
If the American plenipotentiaries are authorized peremptorily to deny the right of the British Government to interfere with the pacification of the Indian nations, and for that reason refuse all negotiation on the subject, the undersigned are at a loss to understand upon what principle it was that, at the conference of the 9th ultimo, the American plenipotentiaries invited discussion on the subject, and added, that it was not possible for them to decide, without discussion, whether an article could be framed which should be mutually satisfactory, and to which they should think themselves, under their discretionary power, warranted in acceding.
The undersigned therefore repeat that the British Government is willing to sign a treaty of peace with the United States on terms honorable to both parties. It is not offered in any terms which the United States can justly represent as derogatory to their honor, nor can it be induced to accede to any which are injurious to its
It is on this ground that the undersigned are authorized distinctly to declare that they are instructed not to sign a treaty of peace with the plenipotentiaries of the United States, unless the
Indian nations are included in it, and restored to all the rights, privileges, and territories which they enjoyed in the year 1811, previous to the commencement of the war, by virtue of the treaty of Greenville, and the treaties subsequently concluded between them and the United States. From this point the British plenipotentiaries cannot depart.
They are further instructed to offer for discussion an article by which the contracting parties shall reciprocally bind themselves, according to boundaries to be agreed upon, not to purchase the lands occupied by the Indians within their respective lines of demarcation. By making this engagement subject to revision at the expiration of a given period, it is hoped that the objection to the establishment of a boundary, beyond which the settlements of the United States should be forever excluded, may be effectually obviated. Whenever the question relative to the pacification of the Indian nations (which, subject to the explanations already given, is a sine qua non,) shall be adjusted, the undersigned will be authorized to make a final proposition on the subject of Canadian boundaries, so entirely founded on principles of moderation and justice, that they feel confident it cannot be rejected. This proposition will be distinctly stated by the undersigned, upon receiving an assurance from the American plenipotentiaries that they consider themselves authorized to conclude a provisional article on the subject, and upon their previously consenting to include the Indian nations in the treaty, in the manner above described.
The American to the British Plenipotentiaries.
GHENT, September 26, 1814. In replying to the note which the undersigned have had the honor of receiving from His Britannic Majesty's plenipotentiaries, dated on the 19th instant, they are happy to concur with them in the sentiment of avoiding unnecessary discussion, especially such as may have a tendency to create irritation.
1 American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III, p. 719.