« PreviousContinue »
ACTION OF THE UNITED STATES. .
EXHIBIT 170. Instruction from the Secretary of War to Governor Clark, Governor
Edwards, and Auguste Chouteau.
WAR DEPARTMENT, March 11, 1815. GENTLEMEN: I had the honor to transmit to you on the 24th ultimo a copy
of the treaty of peace which was concluded on the 24th of December last between the United States and Great Britain at Ghent, and ratified by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, on the 17th ultimo. By the ninth article of this treaty it is stipulated that the United States shall put an end to all hostilities with the Indian tribes with whom they might be at war at the time of the ratification, and to restore to such tribes all the rights and privileges to which they were entitled previous to the war: provided that such tribes or nations should agree to desist from all hostilities against the United States of America, their citizens and subjects, upon the ratification of such treaty being notified to such tribes or nations, and should so desist accordingly. By the same article it is also stipulated that His Britanic Majesty should likewise put an end, in like manner and on the same conditions, to hostilities with the tribes or nations of Indians with whom he might be at war at the time of the ratification of said treaty.
It is incumbent on the United States to execute every article of this treaty with perfect good faith, and it is their firm resolution to do it. They wish to be particularly exact in the execution of the article above recited relating to the Indian tribes. For this purpose the President has, in consequence, appointed you commissioners with full power to conclude a treaty with all those tribes, for which I enclose you a commission.
You will give immediate notice to all the tribes with whom the United States are at war on the Mississippi and its waters of the peace which has been concluded between the United States and Great Britain, and of the stipulations contained in it in regard to them; and you will likewise invite them to attend by a deputation
‘American State Papers, Indian Affairs, Vol. II, p. 6.
have compelled them to become manufacturers and seamen. Mr. B. then adverted to the trial which government had chosen to enter into after the peace of Paris, how an impression could be made on the territory of the United States, the result of which had shown that it could not be done with effect, either in the north or the south. He wished to hear a defence of the expedition to New Orleans; which, if it had succeeded, would only have produced the plunder of some cotton warehouses, and would infallibly, on the arrival of warm weather, have rendered the greatest part of our men unfit for duty.
After several other speakers had taken part in the discussion, in which the delay of the treaty appeared to be more forcibly attacked than satisfactorily defended, the House divided upon the amendment, which was negatived by 128 to 37, and the address was then agreed to.
The same topic was introduced to the House of Lords on April 13th, by a speech of Marquis Wellesley, in which he took a wide view of the whole negociation with America. As in its main points it was entirely similar to that of Mr. Ponsonby, it will not be necessary to repeat any of the arguments employed in censure of the conduct of ministers on that occasion. His Lordship concluded with moving an address to the Prince Regent for laying before the House copies or extracts of the correspondence which took place between his Majesty's Plenipotentiaries and those of the United States of America relative to the late negociations for
Earl Bathurst began his reply with regarding it as a very extraordinary thing to move, at the conclusion of a negociation for peace, for making public the correspondence between the ministers who had conducted it, and showed the objections to such a proceeding. His subsequent defence of the negociation, as far as he chose to enter into it, was founded on the same grounds as that in the other house. With respect to the charge of delay, he said he was convinced that if it had been entered upon two months sooner we should have met the American Commissioners instructed to insist on points which we had declared we could never accede to; the delay therefore could not be considered as an improvident one.
Earl Stanhope, in supporting the motion, begged leave to remind their Lordships, that before the breaking out of this war he had submitted to the house a motion for declaring a reciprocity of rights among all maritime nations. This had met with no support; but he was happy now to find that the noble Earl had expressly declared that this country had no other maritime rights than what belonged equally to all other nations.
The Marquis' motion was negatived by 83 votes against 30.
Comment on the Ratification of the Treaty."
The treaty of peace concluded at Ghent was ratified by the president and senate of the United States on February 17th. By its articles each party bound itself to restore all places and possessions captured by it, with an exception of the islands in Passamaquoddy bay, which were to remain under their present occupation till the right to them should be decided by two sworn commissioners, one of each nation. To a similar decision were also referred some existing doubts and disputes respecting boundaries on the limits between Nova Scotia and the New England States, and on the line through the Canadian lakes between the territories of the two powers. Prisoners of war were to be mutually restored after paying the debts they might have contracted. Each party engaged to terminate all hostilities with the Indians with whom they might be at war, provided the latter should desist from hostilities on their part. Both parties agreed to continue their efforts for the final abolition of the slave trade. Not the least notice was taken of any of the national points at issue on the commencement of the war, and which were the occasion of it; so that the continuance of peace must depend either upon the absence of those circumstances which produced the disputes, or upon a spirit of reciprocal moderation and conciliation, the desirable fruit of dear-bought experience.
1 Annual Register, 1815, Vol. 57, p. 124.
Extracts from Journals of the Period.
The British Demands.1
London, May 21. After the harrassing and unjust war which America has waged against us, we have every right to expect that, now we have the means of chastising and compelling her, nothing short of the following conditions will be demanded of her, viz.
The unequivocal recognition, on the part of America, of the established law of nations, as incorporated with the British code:
The acknowledgment of the right of search for British seamen in American vessels.
The safe and undivided possession of the American lakes:
In minor points, such variations from the present line of boundary as may tend forever to the security of our invaluable North American colonies, and the well being of the Indian tribes, our allies; such restrictions in commerce, fisheries, etc., as may augment the prosperity of the British empire, and put an end to all vexatious interference with her rights and privileges.
The Preliminary Negotiations.?
There is a fatality which seems to hang over every American argument, and drive it to sophistry or solecism. Thus with regard to the Indian nations, when it is proposed by Great Britain to include them in the arrangements for peace, Mr. Madison exclaims, absurd, to imagine that Indians can form treaties, and exercise (one line cut off paper here] to speak about certain territories, which it is expedient that the Americans should leave, as a neutral barrier, between their possessions and our's; upon which,
1 The Weekly Register (Niles), March-August, 1814, Vol. 6, p. 386.
? The Times, London, November 26, 1814: Editorial Comment; the notes of the Commissioners made public by President Madison in October had just reached London,