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Plattsburg has been much deeper. We shall have no valuable friends in Europe, until we have proved that we can defend ourselves without them. There will be friends enough, if we can maintain our own cause by our own resources.
We have also received by two several occasions Letters to us, and dispatches for you, from Mr. Sumter at Rio de Janeiro. They were sent by the Portugeze Minister who attends the Congress at Vienna, and by Count Pahlen who is returning to Russia. Mr. Sumter's dispatches for you, were left open for our perusal, and we shall forward them by the Transit.
I am, with great respect, Sir, your very humble and obed't Serv't.
The British to the American Plenipotentiaries.'
GHENT, November 26th, 1814. The undersigned have had the honor to receive the note and projet of a treaty of peace presented by the American plenipotentiaries on the roth instant.
The undersigned are of opinion that the most convenient course for them to adopt will be to return this projet with their marginal alterations and suggestions on the several articles of which it is composed.
The first part of the tenth article appears to be unnecessary, and the stipulation contained in the whole of it altogether inadmissible. Though His Majesty's Government sincerely hopes that a renewal of the war between His Majesty and the United States may be far distant, yet the undersigned cannot consent to enter into any engagement as to what shall be the conduct of their Government if such a war should unfortunately occur.
With respect to the fourteenth article, the undersigned do not concur in the necessity for any such stipulation as is there proposed.
1 American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III, p. 740.
The view of the discussions at Ghent presented by the private letters of all our Ministers there, as well as by their official despatches, leaves no doubt of the policy of the British Cabinet, so forcibly illustrated by the letter of Mr. Adams to you. Our enemy, knowing that he has peace in his own hands, speculates on the fortune of events. Should these be unfavorable, he can at any moment, as he supposes, come to our terms. Should they correspond with his hopes, his demands may be insisted on, even extended. The point to be decided by our Ministers is, whether, during the uncertainty of events, a categorical alternative of immediate peace, or a rupture of the negotiation, would not be preferable to a longer acquiescence in the gambling procrastinations of the other party. It may be presumed that they will, before this, have pushed the negotiations to this point.
It is very agreeable to find that the superior ability which distinguishes the notes of our Envoys extorts commendation from the most obdurate of their political enemies. And we have the further satisfaction to learn that the cause they are pleading is beginning to overcome the prejudice which misrepresentations had spread over the continent of Europe against it. The British Government is neither inattentive to this approaching revolution in the public opinion there, nor blind to its tendency. If it does not find in it a motive to immediate peace, it will infer the necessity of shortening the war by bringing upon us, the ensuing campaign, what it will consider as a force not to be resisted by us.
Writings of James Madison (Cong. Ed.), Vol. II, p. 595.
Article IX of the Treaty of Ghent.' Art. 9. The United States of America engage to put an end, immediately after the ratification of the present treaty, to hostilities with all the tribes or nations of Indians with whom they may be at war at the time of such ratification, and forthwith to restore to such tribes or nations, respectively, all the possessions, rights, and privileges which they may have enjoyed or been entitled to, in one thousand eight hundred and eleven, previous to such hostilities: provided, always, that such tribes or nations shall agree to desist from all hostilities against the United States of America, their citizens and subjects, upon the ratification of the present treaty being notified to such tribes or nations, and shall so desist accordingly. And His Britannic Majesty engages, on his part, to put an end, immediately after the ratification of the present treaty, to hostilities with all the tribes or nations of Indians with whom he may be at war at the time of such ratification, and forthwith to restore to such tribes or nations, respectively, all the possessions, rights, and privileges, which they may have enjoyed, or been entitled to, in one thousand eight hundred and eleven, previous to such hostilities: provided, always, that such tribes or nations shall agree to desist from all hostilities against His Britannic Majesty and his subjects, upon the ratification of the present treaty being notified to such tribes or nations, and shall so desist accordingly.
American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III, p. 747.
J. Q. Adams to the Secretary of State.
GHENT 24. December 1814. THE SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE UNITED STATES.
Sir, The first object of the joint mission at this place having been accomplished by the signature this day of a Treaty of Peace, the Full Power for negotiating a Treaty of Commerce still remains to be acted upon. An official communication of it will be made to the British Government, but they will probably take no further step in relation to it until the Ratification of the Treaty of Peace on the part of the U. States.
At the time of the appointment of the mission to negotiate under the Emperor Alexander's offer of mediation, it was signified to me as the President's intention should that negotiation terminate in the conclusion of a Peace, to employ my services in England. It is not impossible that his views may now be different, and that he may deem the appointment of some other person to that mission, more conducive to the Public Service. I request you, Sir, to have the goodness to assure him that I shall in either case cheerfully acquiesce in his determination. But at all Events I must renew my sollicitation to be recalled from the Mission to Russia. It will be unnecessary for me to trouble you with my motives for this wish, or to assure you that none of them arise from an indisposition to return there, if in the President's opinion any public interest should require it. But having no reason to think that he will deem it important, I would ask his permission, should he judge it advisable to dispose otherwise of the mission to England, to return to the United States.
In either case it would be useless, and in one of them might be inconvenient to the public Service, that I should return at present to St. Petersburg. In order to be at a place where I may be able to receive with the least possible delay, the President's Commands, I propose to repair frrom this place to Paris, and to invite my family now in Russia to join me there. Should the peace be ratified, and the mission to England assigned to me, I shall be able in a very few days to be at the place of my destination. If I receive permission to return home I shall be more conveniently situated for the Voyage than at St. Petersburg.
I beg leave to mention that a new formal Letter of Recall, addressed to the Emperor will be necessary, as that heretofore transmitted to me cannot now be presented. I presume it will be found expedient still to keep a person of the rank of a Minister Plenipotentiary in Russia, and the Mission will probably be of increased importance after the Peace. Should either of my present Colleagues, or any person coming from the United States receive the appointment, I shall doubtless have the opportunity of seeing him in Paris, and of forwarding by him the letter of Recall.
As it is our intention to send one Copy of the Treaty by Mr. Hughes, and he will leave this place to embark as soon as possible in the Transit, I have no time at present to communicate some details concerning the course of the Negotiation, and some observations concerning the objects of Negotiation with England after the Peace, which I shall take the liberty of submitting to you at some future hour. If the Treaty is not precisely such as we could have wished, I firmly believe it is all which under the circumstances of the times, it was possible to obtain. The disposition of the Nation in Great Britain is so strong for the continunace of the War, that neither the present Ministry nor any other would probably have conceded more of their pretensions than they have done. They will not escape reproach at home for conceding so much. The unsettled and threatening state of affairs in Europe, and the heavy disappointment of their expectations from the campaign in America brought them down from the demands of August to the terms of December. On our part we have yielded only that without which Peace would have been impracticable.
I am, with great Respect, Sir, your very humble obed't Serv't.
The American Plenipotentiaries to the Secretary of State."
GHENT, December 25th, 1814. We have the honor of transmitting herewith one of the three copies of the Treaty of Peace between Great Britain and the
1 American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III, p. 732.