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at this demand, I mildly replied, that such a procedure would be disgraceful to America, without being useful to Great Britain that the habits of seamen were so peculiarly unaccommodating that no one would patiently go through the long probation required by law, to become the citizen of a country where he could not pursue his professional occupations; and that not to employ him in this way would be virtually to surrender him to Great Britain.

I was disposed to believe, however, that a reciprocal arrangement might be made for giving up deserters from publick vessels.

Here, perhaps, I owe an apology to my government for having, without its precise commands, hazarded the overture above mentioned, relative to British subjects who may hereafter become citizens of the United States. In taking this step, however, I persuaded myself that I did not trespass against the spirit of the instructions which I had received ; and had the proposition been accepted, I should not have been without all hope that it would have been approved by the President, as its prospective operation would have prevented injustice, and its reciprocity disgrace. Should ), however, urged by too great a zcal to produce an accommodation, have mistaken herein the intentions of the President, I still should have derived some consolation from reflecting, that this proposition, thus frankly and explicitly made, afforded an opportunity of satisfactorily testing the disposition of this government, and might be useful in removing much misconception and errour. The refusal, indeed, of this proposition, sufficiently explains the view with which I was assailed with the ostentatious parade of the abortive negotiations relative to impressment; the exaggeration of its pretended difficulties; the artificial solemnity given to its character; the affected sensibility to the popular sentiment concerning it; and the fastidious exceptions taken to my powers; and proves most unequivocally the predetermination of the British government to reject, at this time, every over. ture for the discontinuance of this degrading practice.

Most unfeignedly desiring to suspend the existing hostilities between the two states, with a reasonable prospect of finally terminating them in a manner honourable to

both, I perhaps pressed with too much earnestness the adoption of the arrangement which I was instructed to propose; for lord Castlereagh once observed, somewhat loftily, that if the American government was so anxious to get rid of the war, it would have an opportunity of doing so on learning the revocation of the orders in council. I felt constrained on this occasion to assure his lordship, that the anxiety of the American government to get rid of the war, was only a proof of the sincerity with which it had constantly sought to avoid it; but that no event had occurred, or was apprehended, to increase this anxiety. His lordship, correcting his manner, rejoined, that it was not his intention to say any thing offensive, but merely to suggest, that if the American government sincerely wished for a restoration of the friendly relations between the two countries, it would consider the revocation of the orders in council as affording a fair occasion for the attainment of that object. After a pause of a few moments, he added, that if the United States did not avail themselves of this occasion, not only to put an end to the war which they had declared, but to perform the conditions on which those orders were revoked, that the orders would, of course, revive. I could not forbear to remind his lordship, that when I took this view of the subject, in my note of the 24th of August, he had found it to be incorrect; but I hoped that now I was so fortunate as to agree with him on this point, some provision would be made, in case the terms proposed for an armistice should be accepted, to prevent the revival of those edicts. His lordship attempted to explain, but I could not distinctly seize his meaning

The conversation ended with an assurance on the part of his lordship, that he would, with as little delay as possible, communicate officially to me the decision of the prince regent; and I took my leave, forbidden to hope, that while the present councils, and the present opinion of the American people prevail here, this decision will be favourable. I have the honour to be, &c.

JONA. RUSSELL. His Excellency James Monroe, &c.

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MESSAGE

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FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

SENATE. JAN. 14, 1813.

I TRANSMIT to the Senate a report of the Secretary of State, complying with their resolution of the twenty-second December

JAMES MADISON.

{The Senate of the United States do not consent that the Report of the

Secretary above referred to should be published; but the Resolution of December 22d, and a number of the Documents follow.]

Extract from the confidential Proceedings of the Senate of

the United States, December 22, 1812. * RESOLVED, That the President of the United States be requested to cause to be laid before the Senate, any information which he may have of the intention of the enemy to take possession of East Florida, and of the disposition of the people of that territory to be received under the protection of the government of the United States; the amount of the American force in that neighbourhood, and under the command of general Wilkinson, and the quantum of the Spanish or other force in St. Augustine, Pensacola, and Mobile, and respecting any negotiation that may have been had for the settlement of differences and claims, existing between the United States and Spain, not heretofore laid before the Senate; respecting any proposal or negotiation that may have been made, or had by or with any person or persons exercising the powers of the government of Spain, or claiming to exercise the powers of said government, or with their respective agents, for the cession of East Florida to the United States; res. pecting any proposal to or from the local authorities of East Florida, (not heretofore communicated,) for the cession, surrender, or occupancy thereof, to or by the United States; and also any information respecting the relation's of the United States with Spain or said territory of East Florida, which the President may deem proper to communicate."

DOCUMENTS ON THE SUBJECT OF EAST FLORIDA, ACCON

PANYING PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE. JAN. 14, 1813.

A.

SIR,—Being elected to the office of director by the freemen of East Florida, who engaged in the revolution, it becomes my duty to address you, and through you, the President of the United States, upon the subject of our situation; after suffering for a long time, under the oppression of a government, corrupt in itself, and free from the control of the parent country, we saw the correspondence between yourself and Mr. Foster, respecting East Florida ; your letter refrained from noticing that part of Mr. Foster's communication relating to general Matthews. When general Matthews came forward with instructions of a date, prior to that of the correspondence, we immediately concluded that the United States would receive our country as a component part of their territory, as soon as we should declare our determination to shake off the shackles with which we were overloaded.

Under this impression, the whole planting interest declared themselves free, took possession of all the country, and held it until they surrendered it by cession of their commissioners to the United States.

None opposed our measures but persons in St. Augustinc, under immediate military influence, (and frequently they come out and join us) and some English merchants or agents at Amelia, who became subjects in East Florida, for the purpose of taking advantage of the situation of that island, and by evading or infringing the laws of the United States, to become rich by a trade in Africans, or by smuggling,

Firmly confiding in the assurances and declarations of general Matthews, and in the full belief, that we and our country would be taken under the protection of the United States, a temporary form of government was adopted, merely to prevent confusion, and to enable us to make a cession to the United States. This form answered our intention until lately, when it was thought advisable to establish a more detailed one, lest the first should not be considered as sufficient to authorize a cession.

Yet, sir, not a man among us, but considers this as a thing of a moment, for without the aid of the United States, we must fall, and become a ruined and dispersed people. It was in consequence of the assurances of commissioner Matthews, that our conduct would be sanctioned by his government, that we were induced to take up arms against our tyrants, and to constitute a local authority or government, under which, to cede to the United States all the country around St. Augustine.

A copy of the deed of cession, made between general Matthews for the United States, and the commissioners appointed by our constituted authorities, was, we are told, sent on to the President. With surprise and concern, we heard shortly after, that the President refused to ratify any of the acts of his commissioner; but having every reliance and confidence in the justice and humanity of the United States, we never despaired of being eventually protected. We could not believe that men, whose errour had been an unbounded confidence in the authorized agent of the United States, and whose crime was an ardent love for your government, would be left to the revenge of an arbitrary, jealous, and vindictive power. Indeed we were told through official and semi-official channels 6 that not a hair of our head should be touched.” Latterly we have learned with inexpressible anguish, that the troops and gun-boats of the United States, which constitute our only security, are to be removed, our slaves are excited to rebel, and we have an army of negroes raked up in this country, and brought from Cuba to contend with. Let us ask, if we are aban. doned, what will be the situation of the southern states, with this body of men in the neighbourhood ? St. Augustine, the whole province will be the refuge of fugitive slaves; and from thence emissaries can, and no doubt will be detached, to bring about a revolt of the black population in the United States.

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