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more ample details, which would show the subject in another light, and elucidate the matter by unfolding the mutual concessions of the parties then negociating.
Mr. Baring. *** As to the instructions to the American commissioners, the hon. gentleman could not know them at the outset of the negociation. On the question of the Indian boundary, the hon. gentleman had not spoken with candour. He had treated the Indians as what he called the Allies of Great Britain. Upon that subject he (Mr. Baring) agreed that the savage state of those people was no reason why they should be abandoned; but gentlemen must not suppose that they were people in the heart of America with whom we should have contracted any alliance. In the peace of 1783 the European Powers drew the line with reference to the Indians: in the time of lord Chatham, the strongest resistance was made against France, who wished to make some stipulations with respect to those within the Indian boundaries. He agreed that this country ought not to put an end to the war, and leave those Indians to the mercy of the American Government; but that a solemn pacification should be made for them, and that they should be left where they were before the war was all that could be required from us. In the early part of the discussion the Americans resisted any interference with the Indians. They asked whether a pacification and a boundary for the Indians was made a sine qua non; and the answer was in the affirmative. The question was then asked, whether the boundary was intended to preclude the Americans from purchasing lands without the consent of Great Britain, and whether the Indians would be restricted from selling them. The answer was that they might not purchase, but that the Indians would not be restrained from selling to a third person. The Americans said that peace with the Indians was so obvious as to require no comment. With regard to the extent of the Indian boundary, he would maintain that, objectionable as that point must be to any country, it would not only be to the advantage, but to the detriment of Great Britain, even if we could have enforced it. It would have been the most absurd policy that could be adopted. This Indian territory would have taken up more than one half of the United States, and this was to be put under savage tribes. Any one who knew what sort of a neighbour an Indian was, must be aware of the
danger of setting up hordes of savages, who would rob and murder without the least restraint. The effect on America of establishing the independence of the Indians would be this: instead of spreading out her people in agriculture, it would force her to become a manufacturing and a great naval power. Even, therefore, if we could have our will, and could establish those savages in independence, it would be the worst thing for this country that could be devised.
Mr. Charles Grant, jun. * * * Mr. Grant contended, that this Government was bound in honour, policy and justice, to give its protection to the Indians, whom they had drawn into the contest against the Americans; and he thought it a high honour to this Government that they had secured to the Indians the possession of those rights and privileges which, in his opinion, had been so shamefully sacrificed and given up in the treaties of 1763 and 1783.
Sir James Mackintosh. *** proceeded to examine the causes of delay after the Congress was assembled at Ghent. These were all reducible to one-a pretension set up by the British negociators to guarantee what was called the independence of the savages whom we had armed, and to prohibit the Americans from purchases of land from them. The first remark on this pretension was that it ought never to have been made or never abandoned. If honour and humanity towards the Indians required it, our desertion of it is an indelible disgrace. It is abandoned. The general words of the Treaty are of no value, or amount to no more than the Americans were always ready to grant. Having been abandoned, it can have been made only as a philanthropic pretext for war.
But, in truth, it was utterly untenable, and it must have been foreseen that it was to be abandoned. It amounted to a demand for the cession of the larger part of the territory of the United States of that territory which is theirs by positive treaty with Great Britain. Over the whole of the American territory, even to the Pacific Ocean, the Crown of Great Britain formerly claimed the rights of sovereignty. By the Treaty of 1783 the United States succeeded to the rights of the British Crown. The Indian tribes, who hunted in various parts of that vast territory, became vassals of the United States as they had been vassals of the King of Great Britain. Possessed doubtless of the most perfect right to justice and humanity, entitled like all other men to resist oppression, undisturbed, in regulating their internal concerns, or their ordinary quarrels with each other, rather to be considered as subjects of their own chiefs than as directly amenable to the paramount authority of the territorial sovereign; they had still, in all treaties respecting America, been considered as vassals and dependents, bound by the stipulations of their superior state. However undefined this character might be, whatever doubt might be entertained of the original justice of such treaties, it was not now for Great Britain to deny the existence of rights which she had herself exercised, and which she had solemnly ceded to the United States; and once more, if the Indians were her independent allies, it was disgraceful in the highest degree to surrender them at last into the hands of the enemy. Never was a proposal in fact so inhuman made under pretence of philanthropy. The western frontier of North American cultivation is the part of the globe in which civilization is making the most rapid and extensive conquests on the wilderness. It is the point where the race of men is most progressive. To forbid the purchase of land from the savages is to arrest the progress of mankind-it is to condemn one of the most favoured tracts of the earth to perpetual sterility, as the hunting ground of a few thousand savages. More barbarous than the Norman tyrants, who afforested great tracts of arable land for their sport, we attempted to stipulate that a territory twice as great as the British Islands should be doomed to be an eternal desert! We laboured to prevent millions of millions of freemen, of Christians, of men of English race, from coming into existence. There never was such an attempt made by a state to secure its own dominion by desolation, to guard by deserts what they could not guard by strength. To perpetuate the English authority in two provinces, the larger part of North America was forever to be a wilderness. The American ministers, by their resistance to so insolent and extravagant a demand, maintained the common cause of civilised men-and the English, who by advancing so monstrous a pretension protracted the miseries and the bloodshed of war, who had caused the sad defeat of New Orleans and the more disgraceful victory of Washington, had rendered themselves accountable to God and their country for all the accumulation of evils which marked the last months
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of an unfortunate and unnatural war.--For these reasons he heartily concurred in the amendment of his right hon. friend. Lord Castlereagh.
The great end they had in view was one that affected the honour of the country, that of protecting those who had fought and bled with us. We owed to the Indians to replace them in a state of peace, and in the enjoyment of such possessions as they had before. This was done, and the result was at least so far advantageous to the Indians as to make their interests an object of regulations to a country which was capable of protecting them.
Sir James Mackintosh, having been accused of sacrificing justice and humanity to his sanguine views of progressive civilization, observed, in explanation, that if in the year 1600 any European Powers at war with England, under pretence of humanity for the Indians, and of the injustice which they always suffered from Europeans, had compelled us to promise by treaty that we should make no purchases of land from these Indians, the whole of North America would at this day have contained fifty thousand cannibals instead of ten millions of British freemen, who may be numbered among the most intelligent, the most moral, the bravest, and the most happy of the human race. Sentence of desolation and barbarism would have been passed on a considerable portion of the globe. Our ministers in this proposal had tried to doom to the same fate all that yet remained to be reclaimed.
Summary of the Debate in Parliament.
The treaty with America was another topic of parliamentary discussion which afforded scope for the inculpation of the ministers. On April 11, Mr. Hart Davis rose to move an address of thanks to the Prince Regent for the treaty of peace entered into with the United States of America. He said, he believed, there were few men in this country who did not agree that the war declared by America was unprovoked on our part, at the same time, that person must have singular views of the policy of Great Britain who should think that it ought to be continued by us for the purpose of territorial aggrandisement, or from vindictive feelings. Our sole object was to resist aggression, and to support our maritime rights. We had gloriously defended Canada, had surrendered no rights, and had made a peace, in the spirit of peace, which would open again a wide field for the commerce and manufactures of this country. He concluded his speech with a motion for an address expressing perfect satisfaction with the arrangement by which the negociation had been terminated.
1 Annual Register, 1815, Vol. 57, p. 15.
Mr. Ponsonby declared that no man in the house could more sincerely rejoice than himself at the termination of the contest with America; yet he could not agree to the address, as he thought it their duty to inform his Royal Highness of what he conceived the gross misconduct and mismanagement of ministers in the progress of the negociations. In this treaty no one subject of dispute between the two countries that existed before its signature, does not still exist; and all the pretensions advanced by his Majesty's ministers in the course of the negociations were, one by one, abandoned by them. The right hon. gentleman then dwelt upon the circumstance of the long, and as it appeared, the unnecessary delay of the signature of this treaty. The final treaty with France was signed on May 30th, and it was fitting that the House should be informed what obstacles prevented the conclusion of a definitive treaty with America immediately after. The first conference between the commissioners of the two countries did not take place till August 8th, when terms were laid before the Americans as a sine qua non, which were, pacification with the Indians, and defining the boundaries of their territories; the military occupation of the lakes in Canada, and the cession of certain islands which the Americans had occupied since 1783. These terms were absolutely rejected by the American commissioners; and being transmitted to the president and presented to the congress, were unanimously refused by that body, and by the people of all parties. By the delay arising from these demands, which were all subsequently given up, except the simple pacification with the Indians, and the possession of the islands, which was referred to a future decision, the signature of the treaty did not take place till December 24th; and in the meantime military operations had gone on, occasioning a great waste of treasure, and the shedding of the best blood of the country. Mr. P. concluded with proposing