« PreviousContinue »
cussion, to decide whether an article on the subject could be formed, which would be mutually satisfactory, and to which they should think themselves, under their discretionary powers, justified in acceding
The British commissioners declined entering upon the discussion, unless the American commissioners would say that they considered it within their discretion to make a provisional arrangement on the subject, conformable to the view of it prescribed by the British Government, and proposed to adjourn the conferences for the purpose of consulting their own Government on this state of things.
The British commissioners were asked whether it was understood, as an effect of the proposed boundary for the Indians, that the United States would be precluded from the right of purchasing territory from the Indians within that boundary, by amicable treaty with the Indians themselves, without the consent of Great Britain? And whether it was understood to operate as a restriction upon the Indians from selling, by such amicable treaties, lands to the United States, as has been hitherto practised?
They answered, that it was understood that the Indian territories should be a barrier between the British possessions and those of the United States; that the United States and Great Britain should both be restricted from such purchases of lands; but that the Indians would not be restricted from selling them to any third party.
Protocol of Conference August 8th, 1814."
The British and American commissioners having met, their full powers were respectively produced, which were found satisfactory, and copies thereof were exchanged.
The British commissioners stated the folllowing subjects, as those upon which it appeared to them that the discussions between themselves and the American commissioners would be likely to turn:
"American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III, p. 708.
2d. That the peace be extended to the Indian allies of Great Britain, and that the boundary of their territory be definitively marked out as a permanent barrier between the dominions of Great Britain and the United States. An arrangement on this subject to be a sine qua non of a treaty of peace.
The meeting being adjourned to the 9th August, the commissioners met again on that day.
The American commissioners at this meeting stated that, upon the first and third points proposed by the British commissioners, they were provided with instructions from their Government; that the second and fourth of these points were not provided for in their instructions. That, in relation to an Indian pacification, they knew that the Government of the United States had appointed commissioners to treat of peace with the Indians; and that it was not improbable peace had been made with them. * * *
They, the American commissioners, were asked whether if those of Great Britain should enter further upon this discussion, particularly respecting the Indian boundary, the American commissioners could expect that it would terminate by some provisional arrangement which they could conclude, subject to the ratification of their government.
They answered that, as any arrangement to which they could agree upon the subject must be without specific authority from their Government, it was not possible for them, previous to the discussion, to decide whether any article on the subject could be formed which would be mutually satisfactory, and to which they should think themselves, under their discretionary powers, justified in acceding
Lord Castlereagh to the Commissioners at Ghent."
FOREIGN OFFICE, August 14, 1814. My Lord and Gentlemen-Your despatch, with its enclosures, of the 9th, from Ghent, has been received and laid before the
Correspondence of Lord Castlereagh, 3rd Series, Vol. II, p. 86.
Prince Regent. It appears from the communications you have had with the American Commissioners, that, upon two out of the four points referred to in your instructions, namely, upon the second and fourth, the American negociators have received no instructions from their Government, and that they have, on their part, suggested three additional topics for discussion.
Upon the question of the Indians, there is also room for further explanation. You will observe that this subject, in your instructions, divides itself into two propositions-ist, the Indians being included in the peace; 2ndly, such an arrangement of limits as, whilst it secures to the Indians the benefit of the peace, may tend the better to preserve hereafter the relations of amity between the British and American Governments.
J. A Bayard to the American Minister at Paris.
August 16th, 1814.
The second (stipulation) only seems to me at present to offer serious difficulty to a pacification. The pretension however in my opinion is totally inadmissible and possibly has been selected as a designed insuperable obstacle to peace. When first disclosed it was declared to be a sine qua non. One such pretension is as complete a barrier against peace as an hundred.
The state of things does not augur well-a sine qua non so early and in a manner so peremptory upon a point relatively to us of so great importance and to them of so small looks very much like an intended stumbling block placed in the threshhold of negotiations.
J. Q. Adams to the Secretary of State,
GHENT, August 17th, 1814.
I have had the honor of receiving the duplicate of your
favor of the ad of May, 1814 and the original of that of 23d of June.
But from the first moment they declared that the including of the Indians in the peace, and the setting of an Indian boundary line was made by the British government a sine qua non to the conclusion of a treaty, and they attempted at the very first meeting to entangle us in the alternative of conceding the principle or of breaking off the negotiation. At the second, after they were informed that we had no instructions authorizing us to treat with them on this point, they urged us to the admission, that we might agree to an article conceding the principle, if they would open the discussion, and upon our declining to make any such engagement, they instantly proposed a suspension of the conferences, until they should consult their government.
The American Plenipotentiaries to the Secretary of State,
GHENT, August 19th, 1814.
Mr. Baker, Secretary to the British mission, called upon us to-day at one o'clock, and invited us to a conference to be held at three. This was agreed to, and the British commissioner opened it by saying that they had received their further instructions this morning, and had not lost a moment in requesting a meeting for the purpose of communicating the decision of their Government. It is proper to notice that Lord Castlereagh had arrived last night in this city, whence, it is said, he will depart tomorrow, on his way to Brussels and Vienna.
The British commissioners stated that their Government had felt some surprise that we were not instructed respecting the Indians, as it could not have been expected that they would leave their allies in their comparatively weak situation, exposed to our resentment. Great Britain might justly have supposed that the American Government would have furnished us with instructions authorizing us to agree to a positive article on the subject; but the least she could demand was, that we should sign a provisional article, admitting the principle, subject to the ratification of our Government, so that if it should be ratified the treaty should take effect; and if not, that it should be null and void. On our assent or refusal to admit such an article would depend the continuance or suspension of the negotiation.
1 American State Papers, Foreign Relations, Vol. III, p. 708.
As we had represented that the proposition made by them on that subject was not sufficiently explicit, their Government had directed them to give us every necessary explanation, and to state distinctly the basis which must be considered as an indispensable preliminary.
It was a sine qua non that the Indians should be included in the pacification, and, as incident thereto, that the boundaries of their territory should be permanently established. Peace with the Indians was a subject so simple as to require no comment.
With respect to the boundaries which were to divide their territory from that of the United States, the object of the British Government was, that the Indians should remain as a permanent barrier between our western settlements and the adjacent British provinces, to prevent them from being conterminous to each other; and that neither the United States nor Great Britain should ever hereafter have the right to purchase or acquire any part of the territory thus recognized as belonging to the Indians. With regard to the extent of the Indian territory and the boundary line, the British Government would propose the lines of the Greenville treaty as a proper basis, subject, however, to discussion and modifications.
We stated that the Indian territory, according to these lines, would comprehend a great number of American citizens; not less, perhaps, than a hundred thousand; and asked what was the intention of the British Government respecting them, and under whose Government they would fall? It was answered that those settlements would be taken into consideration when the line became the subject of discussion; but that such of the inhabitants as would ultimately be included within the Indian territory must make their own arrangements, and provide for themselves. *