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to us, which had been published in The United States, were republished in England.
In declining to insist on the Articles respecting Impressment and Indemnities, we made a formal declaration, that the Rights of both Parties, on the subject of Seamen and the Claims to Indemnities for losses and damages sustained prior to the commencement of the War, should not be affected or impaired by the omission, in the Treaty, of a specific provision on these two subjects.
From the time when the Projet of the Treaty, presented by us, was returned, with the proposed alterations, it was apparent, that unless new pretensions on the part of Great Britain should be advanced, the only important Differences remaining to be discussed, were those relating to the mutual Restoration of Territory, taken during the War; to the Navigation of the Mississippi by British Subjects, and to the right of the People of The United States to the Fisheries within the British Jurisdiction. Instead of a general restitution of captured Territory, which we had proposed, the British Government, at first, wished to confine it to the Territory taken by either Party belonging to the other. On our objecting, that this would make each Party the judge, whether Territory taken did or did not belong to the other, and thereby occasion new disputes, they acknowledged it to be their object, that each Party should, until a decision had taken place with respect to the title, retain possession of all the Territory claimed by both Parties, which might have been taken by such Party during the War. They proposed, however, to limit the exception from mutual Restitution, to the Islands in the Bay of Passamaquoddy. As it had been, on both sides, admitted, that the title to these Islands was disputed, and as the method of settling amicably those disputes was provided for in the Treaty, we had not expected that the British Government would adhere to the demand of retaining the temporary possession of those Islands. We insisted, therefore, on their being included in the general restoration, until we had reason to believe that our further perseverance would have hazarded the conclusion of the Peace itself; we finally consented, as an alternative preferable to the continuance of the War, to this exception, upon condition that it should not be understood as impairing, in any manner, the right of The United States to these Islands. We also urged for a Stipulation, requiring an ultimate decision upon the title within a limited time; but to this we also found opposed an insuperable objection, and we were finally induced to accept, in its stead, a declaration of the British Plenipotentiaries that no unnecessary delay of the decision should be interposed on the part of Great Britain.
At the first Conference on the 8th of August, the British Plenipotentiaries had notified to us, that the British Government did not intend, henceforth, to allow to the People of The United States, without
an equivalent, the liberties to fish, and to dry and cure Fish, within the exclusive British Jurisdiction, stipulated, in their favour, by the latter part of the IIId Article of the Treaty of Peace of 1783. And, in their Note of the 19th of August, the British Plenipotentiaries had demanded a new Stipulation to secure to British Subjects the right of navigating the Mississippi; a demand, which, unless warranted by another Article of that same Treaty of 1783, we could not perceive that Great Britain had any colorable pretence for making. Our Instructions had forbidden us to suffer our right to the Fisheries to be brought into discussion, and had not authorized us to make any distinction in the several provisions of the IIId Article of the Treaty of 1783, or between that Article and any other of the same Treaty. We had no equivalent to offer for a new recognition of our right to any part of the Fisheries, and we had no power to grant any equivalent which might be asked for it by the British Government. We contended that the whole Treaty of 1783, must be considered as one entire and permanent Compact, not liable, like ordinary Treaties, to be abrogated by a subsequent War between the Parties to it; as an Instrument recognizing the rights and liberties enjoyed by the People of The United States as an Independent Nation, and containing the terms and conditions on which the two parts of one Empire had mutually agreed thenceforth to constitute two distinct and separate Nations. In consenting, by that Treaty, that a part of the North American Continent should remain subject to the British Jurisdiction, the People of The United States had reserved to themselves the liberty, which they had ever before enjoyed, of Fishing upon that part of the Coasts, and of drying and curing Fish upon the Shores; and this reservation had been agreed to by the other Contracting Party. We saw not why this liberty, then no new Grant, but a mere recognition of a prior Right, always enjoyed, should be forfeited by a War, any more than any other of the rights of our National Independence, or why we should need a new Stipulationfor its enjoyment, more than we needed a new Article to declare that the King of Great Britain treated with us as free, sovereign, and Independent States. We stated this principle, in general terms, to the British Plenipotentiaries, in the Note which we sent to them with our Projet of the Treaty ; and we alleged it as the ground upon which no new Stipulation was deemed by our Government necessary, to secure to the People of The United States all the rights and liberties, stipulated in their favour, by the Treaty of 1783. No reply to that part of our Note was given by the British Plenipotentiaries; but, in returning our Projet of a Treaty they added a Clause to one of the Articles, stipulating a right for British Subjects to navigate the Mississippi. Without adverting to the ground of prior and immemorial usage, if the principle were just tha the Treaty of 1783, from its peculiar character, remained in force in
all its parts, notwithstanding the War, no new Stipulation was necessary to secure to the Subjects of Great Britain the right of navigating the Mississippi, as far as that right was secured by the Treaty of 1783; as, on the other hand, no Stipulation was necessary to secure to the People of The United States the liberty to fish, and to dry and cure Fish, within the exclusive Jurisdiction of Great Britain. If they asked the Navigation of the Mississippi as a new Claim, they could not expect we should grant it without an equivalent: if they asked it because it had been granted in 1783, they must recognize the Claim of the People of The United States to the liberty to fish and to dry and cure Fish, in question. To place both points beyond all future controversy, a majority of us determined to offer to admit an Article confirming both rights: or, we offered at the same time, to be silent in the Treaty upon both, and to leave out altogether the Article defining the Boundary from the Lake of the Woods westward. They finally agreed to this last proposal, but not until they had proposed an Article, stipulating for a future Negotiation for an equivalent to be given by Great Britain for the Navigation of the Mississippi, and by The United States for the liberty as to the Fisheries within British Jurisdiction. This Article was unnecessary, with respect to its professed object, since both Governments had it in their power, without it, to negotiate upon these subjects if they pleased. We rejected it, although its adoption would have secured the Boundary of the 49th degree of latitude west of the Lake of the Woods, because it would have been a formal abandonment on our part, of our Claim to the liberty as to the Fisheries, recognized by the Treaty of 1783.
You will perceive by the Correspondence that the IXth Article was offered us as a sine quâ non and an ultimatum. We accepted it, not without much hesitation, as the only alternative to a rupture of the Negotiation, and with a perfect understanding that our Government was free to reject it, as we were not authorized to subscribe to it.
To guard against any accident which might happen in the transmission of a single Copy of the Treaty to The United States, the British Plenipotentiaries have consented to execute it in triplicate: and as the Treaty with the British Ratification may be exposed to the same danger, the times for the cessation of hostilities, the restoration of Captures at Sea, and the release of Prisoners, have been fixed, not from the exchange of Ratifications, but from the Ratification on both sides, without alteration by either of the Contracting Parties. We consented to the introduction of this latter provision, at the desire of the British Plenipotentiaries, who were willing to take a full, but were unwilling to incur the risk of a partial Ratification, as the period from which the Peace should be considered as concluded.
We are informed by them that Mr. Baker, their Secretary, is to go out to America with the British Ratification.
We have the honour to be, &c.
The Hon. James Monroe.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.
Mr. Russell to the Secretary of State.
Ghent, 25th December, 1814.
My necessary occupation, at this moment, in aiding my Colleagues to prepare our joint Dispatches, puts it out of my power to furnish you with any details or observations exclusively my own.
As, however, you will perceive by our Despatch to you of this Date, that a majority only of the Mission was in favour of offering to the British Plenipotentiaries, an Article confirming the British right to the Navigation of the Mississippi, and ours to the liberty as to the Fisheries, it becomes me, in candour, to acknowledge, that I was in the minority on that Question. I must reserve to myself the power of communicating to you, hereafter, the reasons which influenced me to differ from a majority of my Colleagues on that occasion; and if they be insufficient to support my opinion, I persuade myself they will, at least, vindicate my motives. The Hon. James Monroe.
Mr. Gallatin to the Secretary of State.
Ghent, 25th December, 1814.
THE Treaty which we signed yesterday, with the British Ministers, is, in my opinion, as favourable as could be expected, under existing circumstances, so far as they were known to us. The attitude taken by the State of Massachusetts, and the appearances in some of the neighbouring States, had a most unfavourable effect. Of the probable result of the Congress at Vienna, we had no correct information. The views of all the European Powers were precisely known from day to day, to the British Ministry. From neither of them did we, in any shape, receive any intimation of their intentions, of the general prospect of Europe, or of the interest they took in our Contest with Great Britain. I have some reason to believe that all of them were desirous that it might continue. They did not intend to assist us; they appeared indifferent about our difficulties, but they rejoiced at any thing which might occupy, and eventually weaken our Enemy. The manner in which the Campaign has terminated; the evidence afforded, by its
events, of our ability to resist, alone, the now very formidable Military Power of England; and our having been able, without any Foreign assistance, and after she had made such an effort, to obtain Peace on equal Terms, will raise our character and consequence in Europe.. This, joined with the naval Victories, and the belief that we alone can fight the English on their element, will make us to be courted as much as we have been neglected by Foreign Governments. As to the People of Europe, publick opinion was already most decidedly in our favour. I anticipate a settlement with Spain on our own Terms, and the immediate chastisement of the Algerines. Permit me to suggest the propriety of despatching a Squadron for that purpose, without losing a single moment.
I have little to add to our Publick Despatch on the subject of the Terms of the Treaty. I really think, that there is nothing but nominal in the Indian Article, as adopted. With respect to precedent, you will find two, though neither is altogether in point, viz. the Article of the Treaty of Utrecht, and the latter part of the - Article of our Treaty with Spain. You know, that there was no alternative between breaking off the Negotiations, and accepting the Article; and that we accepted it, only as provisional, and subject to your approbation or rejection.
The exception of Moose Island, from the general restoration of Territory, is the only point, on which it is possible that we might have obtained an alteration, if we had adhered to our opposition to it. The British Government had long fluctuated on the Question of Peace: a favourable account from Vienna, the report of some success in the Gulf of Mexico, or any other incident, might produce a change in their disposition; they had, already, after the Question had been referred to them, declared that they could not consent to a relinquishment of that point. We thought it too hazardous to risk the Peace on the Question of the temporary possession of that small Island, since the Question of Title was fully reserved; and it was, therefore, no Cession of Territory.
On the subject of the Fisheries, within the jurisdiction of Great Britain, we have certainly done all that could be done. If, according to the construction of the Treaty of 1783, which we assumed, the right was not abrogated by the War, it remains entire, since we most explicitly refused to renounce it, either directly or indirectly. In that case, it is only an unsettled subject of difference between the two Countries. If the right must be considered as abrogated by the War, we cannot regain it without an equivalent. We had none to give but the recognition of their right to navigate the Mississippi, and we offered it. On this last supposition, this right is also lost to them; and, in a general point of view, we have certainly lost nothing. But we have done all that was practicable in support of the right to those Fisheries