Page images

will effectually secure to the Indians peace, if they themselves will observe it, and they will not suppose that Great Britain would wish them included in the peace, but upon that condition.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Lord Bathurst to the Commissioners at Ghent."

FOREIGN OFFICE, September 27, 1814.






You will assure them that this success will make no difference in the terms which his Royal Highness had instructed you to propose with regard to the Canadian frontier—as soon as the Commissioners shall have declared themselves ready to accede to the proposition which you were authorized to make respecting the Indian nations; viz., that the Indian nations should be included in the peace, 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.

If the American Commissioners shall have declined acceding to the proposition respecting the Indian nations, his Royal Highness can only attribute to the American Government not having made any alteration in the instructions which were given to the Commissioners in January last, at a period when, there is too much reason to believe, there existed no serious disposition in the American Government to renew the relations of peace and amity with this country.

In the event of your having received an unfavourable answer to the proposition respecting the Indian nations, you will take this opportunity of again submitting it for their re-consideration, and you are instructed to add, that the Prince Regent is willing to accept a Provisional Article on this subject, if their instructions are deficient in this particular.

If the American Commissioners shall state either that they are not authorized by their instructions to include the Indian nations in the treaty of peace, or to enter into any negotiation with respect

Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh, 3rd Series, Vol. II, p. 138.

to the future boundaries of Canada, however equitable the proposition might be, which you are entrusted to propose, and that the spirit of their instructions will not enable them even to sign Provisional Articles on this subject, his Royal Highness is willing to consent that the negociation shall be suspended until the American Commissioners shall have time to send for further instructions, which may authorize them to proceed in the negociation with a fairer prospect of bringing it to a favourable conclusion.


Lord Bathurst to the Commissioners at Ghent.

FOREIGN OFFICE, October 5, 1814. My Lord and Gentlemen-I have the honour to enclose to you a project of an Article respecting the Indian pacification. You will consider yourselves at liberty to alter any word, or even phrase, if, by so doing, you can make it more acceptable to the American Plenipotentiaries, provided that such modification do not alter the substance or spirit of the Article.

If the American Plenipotentiaries shall propose that there shall be inserted in the same Article, or contemporaneously in another, an amnesty to the disaffected subjects of the two contracting parties, you will answer that you are instructed to confine yourselves entirely to the question of Indian pacification; and that, until an Article providing for this important object be settled, you are not authorized to enter on any other subject.

If the American Plenipotentiaries shall propose to sign the Article sub spe rati, you will consent so to accept it, although the Government of the Prince Regent do not disguise from themselves that the Article becomes, in that case, a unilateral engagement. If they shall propose to suspend the negociation, either to apply for, or in expectation of, receiving further instructions, you will consent to do so. If neither of those propositions shall be made by the American Plenipotentiaries, you will make them, separately, yourselves, in order to have on record that no expedient was omitted in order to prevent the breaking off of the negociation.



[ocr errors]




[merged small][ocr errors]


Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh, 3rd Series, Vol. II, p. 148.


The British to the American Plenipotentiaries'.



GHENT, October 8, 1814. The undersigned have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the note of the plenipotentiaries of the United States dated on the 26th ultimo.

As the continuance of the negotiation exclusively depends upon the question relating to the pacification and rights of the Indian nations, the undersigned are unwilling to extend their observations to the other subjects brought forward in the note of the American plenipotentiaries further than may be required for necessary explanation.

The undersigned deny that the American Government have proved, or can prove, that, previous to the declaration of war by the United States, persons authorized by the British Government endeavored to excite the Indian nations against the United States; or that endeavors of that kind, if made by private persons, (which the undersigned have no reason to believe,) ever received the countenance or encouragement of His Majesty's Government.

The American plenipotentiaries have not denied that the Indian nations had been engaged in war against the United States before the war with Great Britain had commenced; and they have reluctantly confessed that, so far from His Majesty's having induced the Indian nations to begin the war, as charged against Great Britain in the notes of the 24th of August and oth ultimo, the British Government actually exerted their endeavors to dissuade the Indian nations from commencing it.

As to the unworthy motive assigned by the American plenipotentiaries to this interference so amicably made on the part of Great Britain, its utter improbability is sufficiently apparent from considering by which party the war was declared. The undersigned, therefore, can only consider it as an additional indication of that hostile disposition which has led to the present unhappy war between the two countries. So long as that disposition continues, it cannot but render any effort on the part of Great Britain to terminate this contest utterly unavailing.

1American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III, p. 721.

The American plenipotentiaries appear unprepared to state the precise ground upon which they resist the right of His Majesty to negotiate with the United States on behalf of the Indian nations, whose co-operation in the war His Majesty has found it expedient to accept.

The treaty of Greenville, to the words, stipulations, and spirit of which the undersigned have so frequently appealed, and all the treaties previously and subsequently made between the United States and the Indian nations, show beyond the possibility of doubt that the United States have been in the habit of treating with these tribes as independent nations, capable of maintaining relations of peace and war, and exercising territorial rights.

If this be so, it will be difficult to point out the peculiar circumstances in the condition of these nations which should either exclude them from a treaty of general pacification, or prevent Great Britain, with whom they have co-operated as allies in the war, from proposing stipulations in their behalf at the peace. Unless the American plenipotentiaries are prepared to maintain what they have in effect advanced, that, although the Indian nations may be independent in their relations with the United States, yet the circumstance of living within the boundary of the United States disables them from forming such conditions of alliance with a foreign Power, as shall entitle that Power to negotiate for them in a treaty of peace.

The principle upon which this proposition is founded was advanced, but successfully resisted, so far back as the treaty of Munster. An attempt was then made to preclude France from negotiating in behalf of certain States and cities in Germany which had co-operated with her in the war, because, although those States and cities might be considered as independent for certain purposes, yet, being within the boundary of the German empire, they ought not to be allowed to become parties in the general pacification with the Emperor of Germany, nor ought France to be permitted in that negotiation to mix their rights and interests with her own.

The American plenipotentiaries, probably aware that the notion of such a qualified independence, for certain purposes and not for others, could not be maintained either by argument or precedent, have been compelled to advance the novel and alarming pretension that all the Indian nations living within the boundary

[ocr errors]

of the United States must in effect be considered as their subjects, and consequently, if engaged in war against the United States, become liable to be treated as rebels or disaffected persons. They have further stated, that all the territory which these Indian nations occupy is at the disposal of the United States; that the United States have a right to dispossess them of it; to exercise that right whenever their policy or interests may seem to them to require it; and to confine them to such spots as may be selected, not by the Indian nations, but by the American Government. Pretensions such as these Great Britain can never recognize. However reluctant His Royal Highness, the Prince Regent, may be to continue the war, that evil must be preferred if peace can only be obtained on such conditions. To support those pretensions, and at the same time to show that the present conduct of Great Britain is inconsistent with her former practice and principles, the American plenipotentiaries have referred to the treaty of peace of 1783, to that of 1763, and to the negotiations of 1761, during the administration of a minister whom the American plenipotentiaries have stated, and truly stated, to be high in the estimation of his country.

The omission to provide, in the treaty of 1783, for the pacification of the Indian nations which were to be included within the proposed boundary of the United States, cannot preclude Great Britain from now negotiating in behalf of such tribes or nations, unless it be assumed that the occasional non-exercise of a right is an abandonment of it. Nor can the right of protection, which the American plenipotentiaries have failed in showing to have been unclaimed by Great Britain, as incident to sovereignty, have been transferred by Great Britain to the United States, by a treaty to which the Indian nation were not parties.

In the peace of 1763, it was not necessary for Great Britain to treat for the pacification of the Indian nations, and the maintenance of their rights and privileges, because there had been no Indian nations living without the British boundaries who had co-operated with Great Britain in the war against France.

With respect to the negotiations of 1761, between Great Britain and France, on which the American plenipotentiaries more particularly rely, they appear, in the judgment of the undersigned, to have much misunderstood the whole course of that negotiation.

It is very true that the French Government brought forward,

« PreviousContinue »