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tion and Indian boundary, which shall bind the government of the United States, his majesty's government conceive that they cannot give a better proof of their sincere desire for the restoration of peace than by professing their willingness to accept a provisional article upon those heads, in the event of the American plenipotentiaries considering themselves authorized to accede to the general principles upon which such an article ought to be founded. With a view to enable the American plenipotentiaries to decide how far the conclusion of such an article is within the limit of their general discretion, the undersigned are directed to state fully and distinctly the bases upon which alone Great Britair: sees any prospect of advantage in the continuance of the negotiations at the present time.
The undersigned have already had the honour of stating to the American plenipotentiaries that in considering the points above referred to as a sine qua non of any treaty of peace, the view of the British government is the permanent tranquillity and security of the Indian nations, and the prevention of those jealousies and irritations to which the frequent alteration of the Indian limits has heretofore given rise.
For this purpose it is indispensably necessary that the Indian nations, who have been during the war in alliance with Great Britain, should, at the termination of the war, be included in the pacification.
It is equally necessary that a definite boundary should be assigned to the Indians, and that the contracting parties should guaranty the integrity of their territory by a mutual stipulation not to acquire by purchase, or otherwise, any territory within the specified limits. The British government are willing to take as the basis of an article on this subject, those stipulations of the treaty of Greenville, subject to modifications, which relate to a boundary line.
As the undersigned are desirous of stating every point in connection with the subject which may reasonably influence the decision of the American plenipotentiaries in the exercise of their discretion, they avail themselves of this opportunity to repeat, what they have already stated, that Great Britain desires the revision of the frontier between her North American dominions, and those of the United States, not with any view to an acquisition of territory as such, but for the purpose of securing her possessions, and preventing future disputes.
The British government consider the lakes, from lake Ontario to lake Superior, both inclusive, to be the natural military frontier of the British possessions in North America. As the weaker power on the North American continent, the least capable of acting offensively, and the most exposed to sudden invasion, Great Britain considers the military occupation of these lakes as necessary to the security of her dominions. A boundary line equally dividing these waters, with a right in each nalion to arm, both upon the lakes and upon their shores, is calculated to create a contest for naval ascendency in peace as well as in war. The power which occupies these lakes should, as a necessary result, have the military occupation of both shores. In furtherance of this object, the British government is prepared to propose a boundary. But as this might be misconstrued as an intention to extend their possessions to the southward of the lakes, (which is by no means the object they have in view) they are disposed to leave the territorial limits undisturbed, and as incident to them, the free commercial navigation of the lakes, provided that the American government will stipulate not to maintain, or construct, any fortifications upon, or within, a limited distance of the shores, or maintain, or construct, any armed vessel upon the lakes in question, or in the rivers which empty themselves into the same.
If this can be adjusted, there will then remain for discussion the arrangement of the north-western boundary between lake Superior and the Mississippi, the free pavigation of that river, and such a variation of the line of frontier as may secure a direct communication between Quebec and Halifax.
The undersigned trust, that the full statement which . they have made of the views and objects of the British government in requiring the pacification of the Indian na. tions, and a permanent limit to their territories, will enable the American plenipotentiaries to conclude a provisioual article upon the basis above stated. Should they feel it necessary to refer to the government of the United
States for further instructions, the undersigned feel it incumbent upon them to acquaint the American plenipotentiaries, that their government cannot be precluded, by any thing that has passed, from varying the terms at present proposed, in such a manner as the state of the war, at the time of resuming the conferences, may, in their judgment, render advisable.
The undersigned avail themselves of this occasion to renew to the plenipotentiaries of the United States, the assurance of their high consideration.
WILLIAM ADAMS. Ghent, Aug. 19, 1814.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO CONGRESS.
OCTOBER 13, 1814. I now transmit to Congress copies of the instructions to the plenipotentiaries of the United States, charged with negotiating a peace with Great Britain, as referred to in my message of the 10th inst.
INSTRUCTIONS, &c. Mr. Monroe to the Plenipotentiaries of the United States, for treating of Peace with Great Britain. Department of State, April 15, 1813.
GENTLEMEN, I had the honour, on the ultimo to receive Mr. Adams's two letters, one bearing date the 30th September, and the other on the 17th October last, communicating the overture of the emperor of Russia, to promote peace by his friendly mediation between the United States and Great Britain. On the day following, Mr. Daschkoff, the Russian minister, made a similar communication to this department. The subject has, in consequence, been duly considered : and I have now to make known to you the result.
The President has not hesitated to accept the mediation of Russia, and he indulges a strong hope that it will produce the desired effect. It is not known that Great Britain has acceded to the proposition, but it is presumed that she will not decline it. The President thought it improper to postpone his decision until he should hear of that of the British government. Sincerely desirous of peace, he has been willing to avail himself of every opportunity which might tend to promote it on just and honourable conditions, and in accepting this overture he has been particularly gratified to evince, by the manner of it, the distinguished consideration which the United States en. tertain for the emperor Alexander. Should the British government accept the mediation, the negotiation to which it leads will be held at St. Petersburg. The President commits it to you, for which a commission is enclosed. and he has appointed Mr. Harris secretary of the mission.
The impressment of our seamen, and illegal blockades, as exemplified more particularly in the orders in council. were the principal causes of the war. Had not Great Britain persevered obstinately in the violation of these important rights, the war would not have been declared. It will cease as soon as these rights are respected. The proposition made by Mr. Russell to the British government immediately after the war, and the answer given by this department to admiral Warren's letter since, show the ground on which the United States were willing to adjust the controversy relative to impressment.
This has been further evinced by a report of the committee of foreign relations of the House of Representatives, and an act of Congress passed in consequence of that report. By these documents you will see that to accommodate this important difference, the United States are disposed to exclude British seamen altogether from the American service. This being effectually done, the British government can have no pretext for the practice. How shall it be done? By restraints to be imposed by each nation on the naturalization of the seamen of the other, excluding at the same time all others not naturalized— Or shall the right of each nation to naturalize the seamen of the other be prohibited, and each exclude from its service the natives of the other ? Whatever the rule is it ought to be reciprocal. If Great Britain is allowed to naturalize American seamen, the United States should enjoy the same privilege. If it is demanded that the United States shall exclude from their service all native British subjects, a like exclusion of American citizens from British service ought to be reciprocated. The mode also should be common to both countries. Each should be at liberty to give the same facilities, or be bound to impose the same restraints that the other does. The President is willing to agree to either alternative, and to carry it into effect by the most eligible regulations that can be devised.
If the first alternative is adopted, the extent of the proposed exclusion will depend on the impediments to naturalization, on the efficacy of the regulations to prevent imposition, and the fidelity of their execution. The greater the difficulty in acquiring the right of citizenship, the easier will it be to avoid imposition, and the more complete the desired exclusion. The law of the last session of Congress relative to seamen, proves how sincerely desirous the legislative as well as executive branch of our government is, to adjust this controversy on conditions which may be satisfactory to Great Britain. By that law it is made indispensable for every British subject who may hereafter become a citizen, to reside five years without intermission within the United States, and so many guards are imposed to prevent frauds, that it seems to be impossible that they should be eluded. No British subject can be employed in a publick or private ship of the United States, unless he produces to the commander in the one instance, and to the collector in the other, a certified copy of the act by which he became naturalized. A list of the crew, in the case of a private ship, must be taken, certified, and recorded by the collector, and the consuls or commercial agents of Great Britain may object to any seamen, and attend the investigation. The commander of a pubVOL. IX.