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the differences subsisting between the two states, with an earnest desire on their part to bring them to a favourable issue, upon principles of perfect reciprocity, not inconsistent with the established maxims of publick law, and with the maritime rights of the British empire." This fact alone might suffice to show, that it ought not to have been expected that the American government, in acceding to this proposition, should have
exceeded its terms, and furnished the undersigned with instructions authorizing them to treat with the British plenipotentiaries respecting Indians situated within the boundaries of the United States. That such expectation was not entertained by the British government might also have been inferred from the explicit assurance which the British plenipotentiaries gave, on the part of their government, at the first conference which the undersigned had the honour of holding with them, that no events, subsequent to the first proposal for this negotiation, bad, in any manner, varied either the disposition of the British government, that it might terminate in a peace honourable to both parties, or the terms upon which they would be willing to conclude it.
It is well known that the differences which unhappily subsisted between Great Britain and the United States, and which ultimately led to the present war, were wholly of a maritime nature, arising principally from the British orders in council, in relation to blockades, and from the impressment of mariners on board of American vessels. The boundary of the Indian territory had never been a subject of difference between the two countries. Neither the principles of reciprocity, the maxims of publick law, nor the maritime rights of the British empire, could require the permanent establishment of such' boundary. The novel pretensions now advanced could no more have been anticipated by the government of the United States, in forming instructions for this negotiation, than they seem to have been contemplated by that of Great Britain in November last in proposing it. Lord Castlereagh's note makes the termination of the war to depend on a conciliatory adjustment of the differences then subsisting between the two states, and on no other condition whatever.
Nor could the American government have foreseen that Great Britain, in order to obtain peace for the Indians, residing within the dominions of the United States, whom she had induced to take part with her in the war, would demand that they should be made parties to the treaty between the two nations, or that the boundaries of their lands should be permanently and irrevocably fixed by that treaty. Such a proposition is contrary to the acknowledg. ed principles of publick law, and to the practice of all eivilized nations, particularly of Great Britain and of the United States. It is not founded on reciprocity. It is unnecessary for the attainment of the object which it professes to have in view.
No maxim of publick law has hitherto been more universally established among the powers of Europe possessing territories in America, and there is none to which Great Britain has more uniformly and inflexibly adhered, than that of suffering no interposition of a foreign power in the relations between the acknowledged sovereign of the territory, and the Indians situated upon it. Without the admission of this principle, there would be no intelligible meaning attached to stipulations establishing boundaries between the dominions in America of civilized nations possessing territories inhabited by Indian tribes. Whatever may be the relations of Indians to the nation in whose territory they are thus acknowledged to reside, they cannot be considered as an independent power by the nation which has made such acknowledgment.
That the territory of which Great Britain wishes now to dispose, is within the dominions of the United States, was solemnly acknowledged by herself in the treaty of peace of 1783, which established their boundaries, and by which she relinquished all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights within those boundaries. No condition respecting the Indians residing therein, was inserted in that treaty. No stipulation similar to that now proposed, is to be found in any treaty made by Great Britain, or within the knowledge of the undersigned, by any other nation.
The Indian tribes for which Great Britain proposes now to stipulate have, themselves, acknowledged this principle. By the Greenville treaty of 1795, to which the British plenipotentiaries have alluded, it is expressly stipulated, and the condition has been confirmed by every subsequent treaty, so late as the year 1810, “ That the Indian tribes shall quietly enjoy their lands, hunting, planting and dwelling thereon, so long as they please, without any molestation from the United States; but that when their tribes, or any of them, shall be disposed to sell their lands, they are to be sold only to the United States : that until such sale, the United States will protect all the said Indian tribes in the quiet enjoyment of their lands against all citizens of the United States, and against all other white persons who intrude on the same, and that the said Indian tribes again acknowledge themselves to be under the protection of the said United States, and of no other power wbatever."
That there is no reciprocity in the proposed stipulation is evident. In prohibiting Great Britain and the United States from purchasing lands within a part of the dominions of the latter power, while it professes to take from Great Britain a privilege which she had not, it actually deprives the United States of a right exclusively belonging to them,
The proposition is also utterly unnecessary for the purpose of obtaining a pacification for the Indians residing within the territories of the United States. The undersigned have already had the honour of informing the British plenipotentiaries, that, under the system of liberal policy adopted by the United States in their relations with the Indians within their territories, an uninterrupted peace had subsisted from the year 1795, not only between the United States and all those tribes, but also amongst those tribes themselves, for a longer period of time than ever had been known since the first settlement of North America. Against those Indians the United States have neither interest nor inclination to continue the war. They have nothing to ask of them but peace. Commissioners on their part have been appointed to conclude it, and an armistice was actually made last autumn with most of those tribes. The British government may again have induced some of them to take their side in the
them will necessarily follow immediately a peace with Great Britain. To a provisional article, similar to what has been stipulated in some former treaties, engaging that each party will treat for the Indians within its territories, include them in the peace, and use its best endeavours to prevent them from committing hostilities against the citizens or subjects of the other party, the undersigned might assent, and rely on the approbation and ratification of their government. They would also, for the purpose of securing the duration of peace, and to prevent collisions which might interrupt it, propose a stipulation which should preclude the subjects or citizens of each nation, respectively, from trading with the Indians residing in the territory of the other. But to surrender both the rights of sovereignty and of soil over nearly one third of the territorial dominions of the United States, and to a number of Indians not probably exceeding twenty thousand, the undersigned are so far from being instructed or authorized, that they assure the British commissioners that any arrangement for that purpose would be instantaneously rejected by their government.
Not only has this extraordinary demand been made a sine qua non, to be admitted without discussion, and as a preliminary basis; but it is accompanied by others equally inadmissible, which the British plenipotentiaries state to be so connected with it, that they may reasonably influence the decision of the undersigned upon it, yet Jeaving them uninformed how far these other demands may also be insisted on as indispensable conditions of a peace.
As little are the undersigned instructed or empowered to accede to the propositions of the British government, in relation to the military occupation of the western lakes. If they have found the proposed interference of Great Britain in the concerns of Indians residing within the United States utterly incompatible with any established maxim of publick law, they are no less at a loss to discover by what rule of perfect reciprocity the United States can be required to renounce their equal right of maintaining a naval force upon those lakes, and of fortifying their own shores, while Great Britain reserves cxclusively
the corresponding rights to herself. That in point of military preparation, Great Britain, in her possessions in North America, ever has been in a condition to be termed, with propriety, the weaker power, in comparison with the United States, the undersigned believe to be incorrect in point of fact. In regard to the fortification of the shores, and to the forces actually kept on foot upon those frontiers, they believe the superiority to have always been on the side of Great Britain. If the proposal to dismantle the forts upon her shores, strike for ever her military flag upon the lakes, and lay her whole frontier defenceless in the presence of her armed and fortified neighbour, had proceeded, not from Great Britain to the United States, but from the United States to Great Bri. tain, the undersigned may safely appeal to the bosoms of his Britannick majesty's plenipotentiaries for the feelings with which, not only in regard to the interests, but to the honour of their nation, they would have received such a proposal. What would Great Britain herself say, if, in relation to another frontier, where she has the acknowledged superiority of strength, it were proposed that she should be reduced to a condition even of equality with the United States ?
The undersigned further perceive, that under the alleged purpose of opening a direct communication between two of the British provinces in America, the British government require a cession of territory forming a part of one of the states of the American Union, and that they propose, without purpose specifically alleged, to draw the boundary line westward, not from the Lake of the Woods, as it now is, but from Lake Superior. It must be perfectly immaterial to the United States, whether the object of the British government, in demanding the dismemberment of the United States, is to acquire territory, as such, or for purposes less liable, in the eyes of the world, to be ascribed to the desire of aggrandizement.
Whatever the motive may be, and with whatever consistency views of conquest may be disclaimed, while demanding for herself, or for the Indians, a cession of territory more extensive than the whole island of Great Britain, the duty marked out for the undersigned is the