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hension on this subject, and an erroneous belief entertained
that an arrangement, in regard to it, has been nearer an
accomplishment than the facts will warrant. Even our
friends in Congress, I mean (observing perhaps some alte-
ration in my countenance) those who were opposed to
going to war with us, have been so confident in this mistake,
ibat they have ascribed the failure of such an arrange-
ment solely to the misconduct of the American government.
This errour, probably originated with Mr. King, for being
much esteemed here, and always well received by the per-
sons then in power, he seems to have misconstrued their
readiness to listen to his representations and their warm
professions of a disposition to remove the complaints of
America, in relation to impressment, into a supposed con-
viction on their part of the propriety of adopting the plan
which he had proposed. But lord St. Vincent, whom he
might have thought he had -brought over to his opinions,
appears never for a moment to have ceased to regard all
arrangement on the subject, to be attended with formida-
ble, if not insurmountable obstacles. This is obvious from
a letter which his lordship addressed to sir William Scott
at the time." Here lord Castlereagh read a letter, con-
tained in the records before him, in which lord St. Vincent
states to sir William Scott, the zeal with which Mr. King
had assailed him on the subject of impressment, confesses
his own perplexity and total incompetency to discover any
practical project for the safe discontinuance of that prac-
tice, and asks for counsel and advice.
proceeded lord Castlereagh," that the confidence of Mr.
King on this point was entirely unfounded.

“ The extreme difficulty, if not total impracticability of any
satisfactory arrangement for the discontinuance of impress-
ment, is most clearly manifested by the result of the nego-
tiation carried on between Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney
and lords Auckland and Holland. The doctrines of which
these noblemen had been the advocates, when in opposition,
bound them by all the force of consistency to do every
thing under their commission for the satisfaction of Ame-
rica, relative to impressment, which the nature of the sub-
ject would possibly admit. There were many circum-
stances, on that occasion, peculiarly propitious to an
amicable arrangement on this point, had such an arrange-

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ment been, at all, attainable. Both parties accordingly appear to have exhausted their ingenuity in attempting to devise expedients satisfactorily to perform the office of impressment; and nothing can more conclusively demonstrate the inherent difficulty of the matter, and the utter impossibility of finding the expedient which they sought, than that all their labours, pursued on that occasion with unexampled diligence, cordiality and good faith, should have been in vain."

His lordship now turned to a letter in a volume before him, addressed at the close of the negotiation by these commissioners to the American ministers, conceived in the kindest spirit of conciliation, in which they profess the most earnest desire to remove all cause of complaint on the part of America, concerning impressment; regret that their endeavours had hitherto been ineffectual; lament the necessity of continuing the practice, and promise to provide as far as possible against the abuse of it.

“1f," resumed his lordship, “such was the result of a negotiation entertained under circumstances so highly savourable, where the powers and the disposition of the parlies were limited only by the difficulties of the subject, what reasonable expectation can be encouraged that, in the actual state of things, with your circumscribed and imperfect authority, we can come to a more successful issue? I shall have to proceed in so weighty a concern with the utmost deliberation and circumspection; and it will be necessary for me to consult the great law officers of the crown. You are not aware of the great sensibility and jealousy of the people of England on this subject; and no administration could expect to remain in power that should consent to renounce the right of impressment, or to suspend the practice, without the certainty of an arrangement which should obviously be calculated most unequivocally to secure its object. Whether such an arrangment can be devised is extremely doubtful, but it is very certain that you have no sufficient powers for its accomplishment.”

Such was the substance, and, in many parts, the language of his lordship's discourse. To which I replied, that the main object of my powers being to effect a suspension of hostilities, their form could not be material-it was sufficient that they cmanated from competent authority, and were distinctly and clearly conferred. That in requiring as a condition to an armistice a clear understanding relative to impressment and other points of controversy between the two countries, it was intended merely to lay the basis of an amicable adjustinent, and thereby to diminish the probability of a renewal of hostilities. To come to such an understanding to be in itself informal, and which expressly left the details of the points which it embraced to be discussed and adjusted by commissioners to be hereafter appointed, was certainly within the instructions which I had received, and I could of course thus far pledge my government for its observance. I did not acknowledge the force of his objection, predicated on the inequality of our respective powers, nor perceive how the British faith would be particularly committed. The faith of both governments would be equally committed for whatever was done under their respective authority-and although his lordship might have power to go; beyond the armistice and understanding for which I was instructed, yet there was no necessity for doing so; and while we acted within those limits we stood on equal ground.And were it otherwise, yet, as the promise of the one party would be the sole consideration for the promise of the other, should either fail in the performance of its engagements, the other would necessarily be discharged, and the imputation of bad faith could alone attach to the first delinquent. Nor was 1 dismayed at the very formidable difficulties with which he had thought proper to array the subject of impressment; and, although willing to acknowledge my inferiority to the American negotiators who had preceded me in the matter, yet I was not disposed on account of their failure to shrink from the discharge of a duty imposed on me by my government. To me indeed the whole question appeared much less alarming than bis lordship had described it to be—and that if Mr. King had really been mistaken with regard to the near completion of an adjustment, his lordship must, on an attention to the whole correspondence at the time, acquit him from the im. putation of any excessive want of penetration.

As to the supposed ignorance in America of the revocation of the orders in council, at the time my instructions were dated, I observed, that if this ignorance did in fact

20

VOL. IX.

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exist, yet, from certain expressions in those instructions,
an expectation of such a measure seems to have been con-
fidently entertained, and the orders in council appeared no
longer to form an obstacle to a reconciliation. However
this might be, it ought not to be supposed that the Ameri-
can government would be ready to abandon one main point
for which it contended, merely because it had obtained
another which was generally considered to be of minor
importance, and to submit to the continuance of impress-
ment on account of the discontinuance of the orders in
council. At any rate having authorized me to propose
terms of accommodation here, it would proabably wait for
information concerning the manner in which they had been
received, before it would consent to more unfavourable
conditions. In the mean time the war would be prosecuted,
and might produce new obstacles to a pacifick arrangement.
I was happy to learn that the failure of a former negotia-
tion concerning impressment could not be ascribed to a
want of sincerity and moderation in the American govern-
ment, and I hoped the mode now suggested for securing
to Great Britain her own seamen might remove the diffi-
culties which had hitherto embarrassed this question. If
the people of England were so jealous and sensitive with
regard to the exercise of this harsh practice, what ought
to be the feelings of the people of America, who were the
victims of it? In the United States this practice of im-
pressment was considered as bearing a strong resem-
blance to the slave trade; aggravated indeed, in some of
its features, as the negro was purchased, already bereft of
his liberty, and his slavery and exile were at least miti-
gated by his exemption from danger, by the interested
forbearance of his task-master, and the consciousness
that, if he could no longer associate with those who were
dear to him, he was not compelled to do them injury;
while the American citizen is torn without price, at once,
from all the blessings of freedom, and all ihe charities of
social life, subjected to military law, exposed to incessant
perils, and forced at times, to hazard his life in despoiling
or destroying his kindred and countrymen. It was matter
of astonishment, that while Great Britain discovered such
zeal for the abolition of the traffick in the barbarous and
unbelieving natives of Africa, as to endeavour to force it

on her reluctant allies, that she could so obstinately adhere to the practice of impressing American citizens, whose civilization, religion and blood, so obviously demanded a more favourable distinction.

I next pointed out to his lordship, the difference between the propositions, which I now submitted, and those contained in my note of the 24th of August. That although the object of both was essentially the same, there was great diversity in the manner of obtaining it. The discontinuance of the practice of impressment, which was before required to be immediate, and to constitute a formal preliminary to an armistice, was now deferred to commence cotemporaneously with the operation of the law of the United States, prohibiting the employment of British seamen, and was consigned, with the other conditions, to a separate and informal arrangement. In this way it was no doubt intended, by respecting the feelings of the British government, to obviate any objection which might have been the mere suggestion of its pride.

I finally offered, in order to answer at once all the observations and inquiries of lord Castlereagh, that the proposed understanding should be expressed in the inost general terms—that the laws, to take effect on the discontinuance of the practice of impressment, should prohibit the employment of the native subjects or citizens of the one state, excepting such only as had already been naturalized, on board the private or publick ships of the other; thus removing any objection that might have been raised with regard to the future effect of naturalization, or the formal renunciation of any pretended right. With regard to blockades, I proposed to follow the same course, and only to agree that none should be instituted by either party, which were not conformable to the acknowledged laws of nations, leaving the definition of such blockade, and all other details, to be settled by the commissioners in the definitive treaty.

I was disappointed and grieved to find that these propositions, moderate and liberal as they were, should be treated in a manner which forbid me to expect their acceptance. I was even asked by Mr. Hamilton, if the United States would deliver up the native British seamen who might be naturalized in America. Although shocked

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