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a long amendment to the address, which contained all the points of inculpation of the measures pursued in negociating the treaty that had been dwelt on in his speech.
Mr. Goulburn then rose in defence of himself and his brother commissioners. With regard to the delay of the treaty, he said that the American commissioners had been instructed to make no peace without our relinquishment of the right of impressment, and our admission that the American flag covered all who sailed under it; and the 25th of June was the first day on which they were authorized to allow these matters to remain undecided, and to sign a treaty exclusive of their consideration, on which day the first conference was held at Ghent. As to the Indians, he said that stipulations would be found in the treaty, as well for their line of boundary as for a pacification with them. He acknowledged that in the progress of the negociations some points had been abandoned. The Canadian line was laid aside for the purpose of securing for the Indians a recognition of their boundary as it stood in 1810; and he asserted that these people were not mere savages, as had been represented, but that some of their nations were far advanced in civilization, and were entitled to a fulfilment of all the engagements made with them. He said that if the right hon. gentleman was in possession of the facts, he would alter his opinion that the delay arose from the pretensions of the British commissioners, who were bound to proceed with caution and circumspection in their view of the interests of the country.
Mr. Baring warmly condemned the whole conduct of the negociation on the part of this country. He said that the American Commissioners seemed willing to have entered into the question relative to the impressment of our seamen, but that ours refused to listen to the proposal, and had left the matter upon the worst possible footing. It was doubtless a point of much difficulty, but for his own part he was convinced of the practicability of an arrangement. With respect to our allies (as they had been called) the Indians, he allowed that they ought not to be left at the mercy of the American government, but all which could be required from us was to leave them as they had been before the war. The boundary demanded for them would have given to savage tribes more than one half of the United States; and would have been the worst possible policy for Great Britain, since instead of spreading out the Americans in agricultural settlements, it would
have compelled them to become manufacturers and seamen. Mr. B. then adverted to the trial which government had chosen to enter into after the peace of Paris, how an impression could be made on the territory of the United States, the result of which had shown that it could not be done with effect, either in the north or the south. He wished to hear a defence of the expedition to New Orleans; which, if it had succeeded, would only have produced the plunder of some cotton warehouses, and would infallibly, on the arrival of warm weather, have rendered the greatest part of our men unfit for duty.
After several other speakers had taken part in the discussion, in which the delay of the treaty appeared to be more forcibly attacked than satisfactorily defended, the House divided upon the amendment, which was negatived by 128 to 37, and the address was then agreed to.
The same topic was introduced to the House of Lords on April 13th, by a speech of Marquis Wellesley, in which he took a wide view of the whole negociation with America. As in its main points it was entirely similar to that of Mr. Ponsonby, it will not be necessary to repeat any of the arguments employed in censure of the conduct of ministers on that occasion. His Lordship concluded with moving an address to the Prince Regent for laying before the House copies or extracts of the correspondence which took place between his Majesty's Plenipotentiaries and those of the United States of America relative to the late negociations for
Earl Bathurst began his reply with regarding it as a very extraordinary thing to move, at the conclusion of a negociation for peace, for making public the correspondence between the ministers who had conducted it, and showed the objections to such a proceeding. His subsequent defence of the negociation, as far as he chose to enter into it, was founded on the same grounds as that in the other house. With respect to the charge of delay, he said he was convinced that if it had been entered upon two months sooner we should have met the American Commissioners instructed to insist on points which we had declared we could never accede to; the delay therefore could not be considered as an improvident one.
Earl Stanhope, in supporting the motion, begged leave to remind their Lordships, that before the breaking out of this war he had submitted to the house a motion for declaring a reciprocity of rights among all maritime nations. This had met with no support; but he was happy now to find that the noble Earl had expressly declared that this country had no other maritime rights than what belonged equally to all other nations.
The Marquis' motion was negatived by 83 votes against 30.
Comment on the Ratification of the Treaty.'
The treaty of peace concluded at Ghent was ratified by the president and senate of the United States on February 17th. By its articles each party bound itself to restore all places and possessions captured by it, with an exception of the islands in Passamaquoddy bay, which were to remain under their present occupation till the right to them should be decided by two sworn commissioners, one of each nation. To a similar decision were also referred some existing doubts and disputes respecting boundaries on the limits between Nova Scotia and the New England States, and on the line through the Canadian lakes between the territories of the two powers. Prisoners of war were to be mutually restored after paying the debts they might have contracted. Each party engaged to terminate all hostilities with the Indians with whom they might be at war, provided the latter should desist from hostilities on their part. Both parties agreed to continue their efforts for the final abolition of the slave trade. Not the least notice was taken of any of the national points at issue on the commencement of the war, and which were the occasion of it; so that the continuance of peace must depend either upon the absence of those circumstances which produced the disputes, or upon a spirit of reciprocal moderation and conciliation, the desirable fruit of dear-bought experience.
1 Annual Register, 1815, Vol. 57, p. 124.
Extracts from Journals of the Period.
The British Demands.1
London, May 21. After the harrassing and unjust war which America has waged against us, we have every right to expect that, now we have the means of chastising and compelling her, nothing short of the following conditions will be demanded of her, viz.
The unequivocal recognition, on the part of America, of the established law of nations, as incorporated with the British code:
The acknowledgment of the right of search for British seamen in American vessels.
The safe and undivided possession of the American lakes:
In minor points, such variations from the present line of boundary as may tend forever to the security of our invaluable North American colonies, and the well being of the Indian tribes, our allies; such restrictions in commerce, fisheries, etc., as may augment the prosperity of the British empire, and put an end to all vexatious interference with her rights and privileges.
The Preliminary Negotiations.?
There is a fatality which seems to hang over every American argument, and drive it to sophistry or solecism. Thus with regard to the Indian nations, when it is proposed by Great Britain to include them in the arrangements for peace, Mr. Madison exclaims, absurd, to imagine that Indians can form treaties, and exercise (one line cut off paper here] to speak about certain territories, which it is expedient that the Americans should leave, as a neutral barrier, between their possessions and our's; upon which, with equal warmth, the transatlantic Solon cries—What, give up our lands, acquired by the most unexceptionable title! Why,
1 The Weekly Register (Niles), March-August, 1814, Vol. 6, p. 386.
2 The Times, London, November 26, 1814: Editorial Comment; the notes of the Commissioners made public by President Madison in October had just reached London. 1 The Times, London, December 31, 1814: Editorial Comment.
, they were purchased by treaty from the Indians! Now, which position does Mr. Madison mean to stand to? Have the Indians rights, or have they not? Can they contract-can they exercise sovereignty-can they act as an independent people? If all this be answered in the affirmative, then we are right in protecting their interests as those of allies in the war; if in the negative, then on what footing stands the Treaty of Greenville; or how could people incapable of possessing a territorial title make over such title to the United States? The truth seems to be, this: Savage and undomesticated tribes do not possess the same solid title to the territories over which they wander, as nations do, which acknowledge and confirm by laws among themselves the individual appropriation of landed possessions. Contracts made with them in good faith may, indeed, be held valid, when the interests of no third party intervene: but here is such intervention. The very existence of Canada is at stake.
The right of external aggrandisement among civilised nations is limited by the common safety. In this view, we do not hesitate to say, that not only the transfer of lands by the United States from the Indians is nugatory; but the purchase of Louisiana to them by Buonaparte was, in point of public right, an absolute nullity.
British sine qua non abandoned.'
There was also an influence which we once possessed over the minds of our Indian allies, and which in war and in peace we have found to be of no mean value. We are told with respect to the latter, that there is a stipulation (how to be enforced we know not) that they are to be restored to all the possessions, rights and privileges, which they enjoyed, or were entitled to, before 1812: that between 1795 and 1812 the boundary line of the Indians remained undisturbed; and consequently that they are thus reinstated in all of the advantages of the treaty of Greenville, concluded in 1795. But the Treaty of Greenville was only