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Relations with Great Britain.

the United States of the liberties to which they
consider their title as unimpaired, inasmuch as it
has never been renounced by themselves.
The undersigned prays Lord Castlereagh to
accept the renewed assurance of his high con-


Lord Viscount CASTLEREAGH.

recurrence of the same evils whensoever a new war may take place.

I noticed the new recommendation in the President's Message to Congress, of a law for confining the navigation of American vessels to American seamen, and the solicitude manifested by the President that it may lead to the total discontinuance of the practice of impressment in our vessels. Lord Castlereagh expressed his satis

Extracts of a letter from Mr. Adams to the Secretary faction, at what he termed this change of policy

of State, dated

LONDON, Jan. 31, 1816.

on the part of the United States; but, far from appearing to think it a motive for Great Britain to stipulate by treaty to forbear the practice of In my interview with Lord Castlereagh on the impressment, he intimated the opinion that this 25th instant we had much conversation, as well measure of the United States, if fairly adopted, upon the topics which have formed the subjects and properly carried into execution, would rather of discussion with this Government during his make any arrangement between the two nations absence, as upon those concerning which I have unnecessary. He said that its consequences must recently been honored with your instructions. be, that there would be no British seamen on board As propositions for a formal negotiation had been of American vessels to take, and, if so, that the made on both sides, I thought it necessary to as- practice of taking them would cease of course. certain whether this Government would consider He remarked that, as the inconvenience did not the full power under which I had acted jointly exist during peace, it might be doubted whether it with my late colleagues as yet sufficient for con- was the most seasonable time for a discussion, upon cluding with me any further conventional ar- which there was such a different and opposite rangements. At the time when we signed the view in point of principle entertained by the two commercial convention of the 3d July last, we Governments. And, although I urged that the had given notice that the objects upon which we time of peace, when there was no immediate inhad been instructed to treat under that full power, terest of either party at stake, and when the feelwere much more extensive than those upon which ings on both sides would be cool and composed, we found it then practicable to come to an agree- might be peculiarly adapted to a mutual effort ment; but as the British Plenipotentiaries in- for closing this fruitful source of dissensions, he formed us that their powers would terminate on was not inclined to that opinion. He intimated the conclusion of that convention, I told them that there was still in England a very strong and that I should make no further propositions, unless highly irritable feeling on this subject; that the by virtue of subsequent instructions from my own Government could not incur the responsibility of Governinent; and, in that case, should address concession in relation to it; that it would be inthem in the ordinary channel of the Foreign De- expedient to wait until the new policy of the partment. I now inquired of Lord Castlereagh United States for encouraging their own native whether this Government was now disposed to seamen should fully have been developed, and, enter upon a further negotiation, and, if they by its consequences, have proved that Great were, whether they would expect me to produce Britain would not need impressment to preserve a new full power? With regard to the latter herself from the loss of her own seamen. point Lord Castlereagh said, that if I should de-added, nevertheless, that the British Government clare that the Government of the United States would always be ready to hear proposals on this still considered the joint power under which I subject, and to adopt arrangements which might had treated heretofore as in force, to authorize guard against abuses in the exercise of their me to treat separately, and that the proposals rights. which I should make were by the instructions of my Government, he thought it would not be necessary for me to produce a new power. As this answer is not perfectly explicit, and as it requires of me a declaration of what I must rather infer than positively know, I would request, as the safest course, that a new full power may be trans-rangement for renouncing the practice of impressmitted to me.

Lord Castlereagh inquired what were the subjects upon which we should be desirous of treating. I mentioned, as the first and most important, that which relates to seamen; observing, the great anxiety which was felt in the United States on this subject, the principal source of the late contest between the two countries, and that from which the greatest danger of future dissensions was to be apprehended, unless some provision should be made during the peace to prevent the


I shall give you, in my next, the sequel of this conference, the result of which has confirmed all the opinions, with regard to the policy of this Government, which I gave you in my last despatch. There appears to me no prospect that, under the present ministry, any conventional ar.

ment will be attainable; and you will observe the new argument which Lord Castlereagh derives against such a stipulation, from the measures recommended by the President for excluding foreign seamen from our service. There is no immediate prospect of any maritime war, nor, indeed, any remote discernible prospect of such a war, with the United States neutral to it. As the occurrence, however, is not impossible, and as the outrage of that practice can never be tolerated by a nation of the strength and resources to which the

Relations with Great Britain.

United States are rising, it cannot too forcibly be urged upon their conviction, that the only means of protecting their seafaring citizens in the enjoyment of their rights, will consist in the energy with which they shall be asserted.

Extract of a letter from Mr. Adams to the Secretary

of State, dated

LONDON, February 8, 1816.

In relation to the fisheries little was said. He told me that he had, the evening before, read my note to him concerning them; that the British Government would adhere to their principle respecting the treaty, and to the exclusive rights of their territorial jurisdiction; but that they had no wish to prevent us from fishing, and would readily enter into a negotiation for an arrangement on this subject.

[NOTE.-See ante, for Mr. Adams's letters of 17th February, 1816, to the Secretary of State and Lord Castlereagh.]

Mr. Monroe to Mr. Adams.

Department OF STATE, Feb. 27, 1816. SIR: It being represented, by your letter of the 8th of November, that the British Government was disposed to regulate, in concert with the United States, the taking of fish on the coasts, bays, and creeks, of all His Britannic Majesty's dominions in America, and the curing and drying of fish by their citizens on the unsettled bays, harbors, and creeks of Nova Scotia, Magdalen islands, and Labrador, in such manner as to promote the interest of both nations, you will consider this letter an authority and instruction to negotiate a convention for these purposes. I have the honor to be, &c.


ject; it is, nevertheless, thought proper to enclose you an instruction, to be shown to the British Government, authorizing you to negotiate a convention providing for the objects contemplated.

It is very important that this trust should be executed in a manner not to weaken our right, which, it is presumed, may be done with the concurrence of the British Government, either by the reservation of mutual rights, or making the instrument a remedy for abuses.

As to the manner in which the injuries complained of by the British Government are to be remedied, you will be able, in aid of your own knowledge of the subject, to obtain better information than I can communicate.

The British project will show the nature and extent of these injuries, and it will be your object to make the remedy as harmless to our citizens and as safe to the public rights as possible. I have the honor to be, &c. JAMES MONROE.

Extract of a letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Adams.
A hope is entertained that you will have ar-
ranged with the British Government the differ-
ence respecting the fisheries before this reaches
you. Should you not have been able to do it,
you will endeavor to comprise it in the general
arrangement which you are authorized to make,
on the principles stated in my letter of the 27th
of February.

Extract of a letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Adams.


Mr. Bagot has received a power to arrange the difference respecting the taking, and curing, and drying fish on the shores of the British colonies; but whether it authorizes such an arrangement as will be useful and satisfactory to us, I am as yet uninformed.

Extract of a letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Adams.

Mr. Monroe to Mr. Adams. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Feb. 27, 1816. SIR: Since my last, of the 10th of December, I have had the honor to receive your letter of DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Aug. 13, 1816. November 21, with those of the 12th, 19th, 26th On the other subject [the fisheries] Mr. Bagot and 30th of September, the 7th and 31st of Oc- offered to secure to us the right in question on tober, and 8th of November. With the latter, a the Labrador shore, between Mount Joli and the copy of Lord Bathurst's reply to your note of Bay of Esquimaux, near the entrance of the September 25, on the fisheries, was likewise re-strait of Belleisle. It was necessary for me to ceived. seek detailed information of the value of this It appears by these communications that al-accommodation from those possessing it at Marthough the British Government denies our right blehead and elsewhere, which I did; the result of taking, curing, and drying fish within their of which was, that it would be more for our adjurisdiction, and on the coast of the British prov-vantage to commence at the last-mentioned point, inces in North America, it is willing to secure to our citizens the liberty stipulated by the Treaty of 1783, under such regulations as will secure the benefit to both parties, and will likewise prevent the smuggling of goods into the British prov-Newfoundland, to commence at Cape Ray, and inces by our vessels engaged in the fisheries.

It is hoped that the reply which you intimate you intended giving to Lord Bathurst's note may have produced some change in the sentiments of the British Government on this interesting sub

and to extend the right, eastward, through the Strait of Belleisle, as far along the Labrador coast as possible. To this he objected; offering, then, an alternative on the shore of the island of

extend, east, to the Ramea islands. Of the value of this coast I am likewise ignorant. The nego. tiation must, therefore, be again suspended until I obtain the information requisite to enable me to act in it.

Relations with Great Britain.

It is probable that the arrangement of these two interests will again rest with you. The advantage of it, as you are already authorized to treat on other important subjects, is obvious.

tercourse between the United States and the British colonies in North America. I told him I should repeat the proposal for treating in a note. He expressed a wish that I would not mention in the note the neutral questions at all. I was somewhat surprised at the objection, but promised him I would give it full consideration before I sent in the note. I did accordingly take ample time for reflection, and have concluded that I ought not only to include them in the note, but to urge with earnestness the reasons which make it peculiarly desirable that the two Governments should come to an understanding upon those points before the recurrence of a mari

At the commencement of our conferences, Mr. Bagot informed me of an order which had been issued by Admiral Griffith to the British cruisers, to remove our fishing vessels from the coasts of those provinces, which he would endeavor to have revoked pending the negotiation. His attempt succeeded. I shall endeavor to have this revocation extended, so as to afford the accommodation desired until the negotiation is concluded. All the information which has been, or may be, obtained on this subject shall be trans-time war. mitted to you.

Extract of a letter from Mr. Adams to the Secretary of State, dated

LONDON, August 24, 1816.

On Wednesday last I had an interview with Lord Castlereagh, in which he informed me that this Government declined entering upon any negotiation relative to the commercial intercourse between the United States and the British colonies in the West Indies; that they were averse to any discussion relative to blockades, and the other conflicting pretensions of neutral and belligerent rights; and that they were willing to receive any proposals that we may wish to offer respecting the intercourse by land between the United States and the British continental colonies, and respecting seamen; but there was a manifest reluctance to negotiate even upon these points. With regard to the West Indies, he said it was understood by this Government that the United States would be perfectly free to adopt any countervailing regulations, either of prohibition or of additional duties, that they might think advisable; that Great Britain would have no right to complain of them; that the determination in this instance arose altogether from that of adhering to their colonial system, of the wisdom of which he spoke as being, in his own mind, not unquestionable, but from which it was not thought expedient now to depart.

Extract of a letter from Mr. Adams to Mr. Monroe,
Secretary of State, dated

Extract of a letter from Mr. Adams to the Secretary of State, dated

LONDON, September 27, 1816. I have the honor of enclosing, herewith, a copy of the note which I have addressed to Lord Cas

tlereagh, renewing the proposal for the negotiation of a treaty of commerce. From the determination of this Government, as communicated to me in my personal interview with him on the 21st of August, it is to be expected that they will decline treating upon the subject of our trade with the British colonies in the West Indies, and upon the questions relating to neutral interests during maritime war. They may profess to be willing to receive specific proposals relative to seamen, and to our inland intercourse with their colonies in North America, but it is not probable that upon either of those subjects they will agree to anything that can be satisfactory to you; nor shall I think it expedient to conclude any separate arrangement concerning them, excluding the others, without further instructions to that effect. In the conversations that I have had with Lord Castlereagh, he has given me very distinctly to understand that, with regard to seamen, if they should even agree to the proposed stipulation of excluding from the respective naval and merchant services the native citizens and subjects of each other, they will not understand it as implying or intending an engagement to renounce the practice of taking men from our vessels in the event of a future maritime war. In not insisted that such a renunciation should be the instructions hitherto transmitted to me, it is included in the article; yet I cannot but suppose it was expected that, if the article should be agreed to, it would be with at least a tacit understanding that the practice of impressment shall be abandoned.

Mr. Adams to Lord Castlereagh.

LONDON, September 18, 1816. You will perceive, by all my late despatches, that there is no prospect of doing anything here in the way of a negotiation upon objects of commerce. I addressed yesterday to Lord Castlereagh a note, renewing the proposal to negotiate; the object of which is to have the refusal explicitly signified in writing. In my last interview 13 CRAVEN STREET, Sept. 17, 1816. with Lord Castlereagh he did unequivocally de- The undersigned, Envoy Extraordinary and cline negotiation upon the trade between the Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States United States and the British colonies in the of America, has the honor of renewing to Lord West Indies, and upon all the questions relating Castlereagh the proposal which he has been into neutral rights in time of maritime war. He structed to make, on the part of the Government said they were willing to receive any proposition of the United States, for the negotiation of a respecting seamen, and respecting the inland in-treaty of commerce, embracing all the principal

Relations with Great Britain.

objects most interesting to the friendly and com- tions, enforced since the conclusion of that conmercial intercourse between the two nations. vention, rigorously excluded from the British He has already exhibited to his Lordship the ports. This exclusion of all participation in the authority with which he has been furnished by advantage of carrying between the two countries the American Government for that purpose, and the articles of a commerce mutually beneficial to has fully stated to him the motives which in- both parties, has not only the aspect of a policy duced this proposal. They are all founded in peculiarly pointed against the United States, but the anxious desire of the American Government it defeats, in a great degree, the principle of equalto cultivate the harmony between the two na-izing the advantages of the commerce between tions, and to concert, by engagements of mutual the two countries, by equalizing the duties and accommodation, such arrangements of the points charges upon the vessels of both, in the direct infrom which differences have unfortunately arisen tercourse between them; for while British vesheretofore, or which might have a tendency to sels, after performing a direct voyage from Euproduce them hereafter, as may be satisfactory to rope to the United States, are there received both parties, guard against future misunderstand-upon terms of equality with those of the United ings, and promote that amicable temper and dis- States, they now enjoy the exclusive benefit of position which can alone perpetuate the peace resorting to an intermediate market in the West and friendship dictated by the clearest and high- Indies, while the vessels of the United States are est interests both of Great Britain and of the restricted to the direct interchange to and from United States. Europe. The result of which is, that British vessels enjoy in the ports of the United States important advantages, even over the vessels of the United States themselves. It must be obvious that this cannot long be tolerated; that, if the commerce with those parts of the British dominions be not placed on a footing of reciprocity, similar restraints will become indispensable on the part of the United States. Such countervailing restraints were proposed at the last session of Congress, and postponed, in the hope that satisfactory arrangements might be made, before the next meeting, to prevent a recurrence to a system of commercial hostility, inconsistent with the interests of both nations, inauspicious to the amicable relations now existing between them, and repugnant to the most earnest wishes of the American Government. In the arrangements proposed, they do not contemplate any interference, on their part, with the colonial monopoly of Great Britain. It is not asked that she should renounce the right of prohibiting the importation into her colonies, from the United States, of whatever articles she may think fit; but that the commerce which, for their and her own advantage, Great Britain allows between them and the United States, should be placed on the same footing of reciprocity as the direct trade between Great Britain and the United States was intended to be placed by the convention of 3d July, 1815.

It will be recollected by Lord Castlereagh that the commercial convention of 3d July, 1815, was not considered at the time of its conclusion as the ultimate or definitive arrangement of the commercial relations between the high contracting parties. Other objects, besides those upon which the agreement was completed, were discussed in the course of that negotiation. Others yet, including all or most of those upon which Great Britain is now again invited to treat, were presented to the attention of the British Plenipotentiaries, but postponed, in consideration of peculiar circumstances then operating, and which have happily since been done away. In bringing them again to the view of the British Cabinet, the undersigned has the honor of distinctly specifying the several objects upon which the American Government repeats the proposal to enter into further reciprocal commercial stipulations, of suggesting the urgent additional motives for desiring them which have arisen since that period, and of exposing the liberal principles upon which they propose that this supplementary treaty should be founded.

1. The commerce between the United States and the British colonies in North America and in the West Indies.

From the relative geographical position of those countries; from the nature of their respective productions; and from the wants on either side, which may be most advantageously, if not exclusively, supplied by the other, this commerce is not only of the greatest convenience to both parties, but, in some respects, and on many occasions, it is of the first necessity to the colonies. At the time when the commercial convention of 3d July, 1815, was negotiated, this commerce was open to vessels of the United States. The ports of the British colonies in the West Indies are still accessible, under certain restrictions, to French, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish vessels; and while the ports of every nation in the West Indies (Great Britain alone excepted) are in like manner accessible to American vessels, they have been, and still are, by new regula

While on this subject, the undersigned cannot but remark the extraordinary measures relating to the commercial intercourse between the United States and the British colonies in North America and in the West Indies, adopted since the conclusion of the commercial convention of 3d July, 1815. In all of them, very heavy duties have been imposed upon the importation of American produce, even when carried in British ships. A heavy duty of exportation has been laid, in the province of Nova Scotia, upon plaster of Paris, an article for which there is no other market than the United States. And in the province of Upper Canada, an act of the Provincial Legislature having first vested in the Lieutenant Governor and Council the power of regulating the commercial intercourse between that pro

Relations with Great Britain.

vince and the United States, that body did, on knowledged principles founded on the general the 18th of April last, issue an order, imposing usages of nations, have still more unsettled whatheavy duties upon many articles of the growth ever reliance might heretofore have been placed or manufacture of the United States, with an upon their authority. A time of peace, when addition of twelve per cent. on all those duties the feelings of both parties are free from the exupon importation in American vessels, and a citement of any momentary interest, and when tonnage duty of twelve shillings and six pence per the operation of the principles to be sanctioned ton upon every vessel exceeding five tons burden by mutual compact depends upon contingencies entering any port or harbor of the province, and which may give either party the first claim to belonging to citizens of the United States. The the stipulated rights of the belligerent or of the inland commerce between the United States and neutral, must be more favorable to the amicable Upper Canada is believed to be of paramount adjustment of these questions than a time of acimportance to the province; but, were it eventual war, under circumstances when the immeequally important to the United States, measures like these can be viewed in no other light than as efforts to engross, exclusively, the whole of the trade on one side. It would be far more agreeable to the American Government to settle this intercourse by amicable concert, than to be left under the necessity of meeting a system of exclusion by countervailing regulations.

2. Seamen.

collisions, which the recollection of the past so forcibly admonishes the rulers of both nations to obviate, if possible, for the future.

diate interests of each party are engaged in opposition to those of the other. Whether Great Britain or the United States will be first engaged in a maritime war with any third party, cannot now be foreseen; but it is of the deepest interest to the permanency of peace and friendship between them that they should come to an explicit understanding with each other upon the points here referred to, before the occurrence of any such event on either side. It is not the desire of It is proposed to stipulate that neither the Uni- the American Government to propose, upon these ted States nor Great Britain shall employ, in subjects, any innovation upon principles often retheir naval or merchant service, native citizens cognised by Great Britain herself, in her treaties or subjects of the other party, with the exception with other Powers. They wish only, by a mu of those already naturalized, of whom the num-tual compact now formed, to guard against the ber is very small. From the well known fact that the wages of seamen, in time of peace, are invariably higher in the American service, of both descriptions, than in the British, it is apparent that the advantage of this stipulation will 4. Slaves carried away from the United States, be almost entirely on the side of Great Britain. by British officers, after the peace. Although obviously proper that it should be re- As the construction given by His Majesty's ciprocal, it is offered, not as an engagement from Government to the first article in the Treaty of which the United States expect to derive any Ghent, in reference to the slaves carried away advantage, in itself, but as the means to Great from the United States by British officers, after Britain of reserving to herself the services of all the ratification of the peace, is so directly at her own native seamen, and of removing forever variance with the construction which the Amerthe necessity of resorting to means of force, can Government think alone applicable to it, the either by her naval officers, to take men from undersigned has been further instructed to prothe vessels of the United States, or by the United pose that this question should be submitted to States, to resist the renewal of that practice, in the decision of some friendly sovereign. This the event of any future maritime war to which reference is suggested by provisions in the Treaty they may be neutral. In adopting the principle of Ghent itself, applicable to the contingency of proposed, the American Government are pre-differences in other instances; and it is conceived pared to secure its faithful execution by any reciprocal regulation which may be deemed necessary, consistent with their constitution and the spirit of their laws.

3. Neutral and belligerent rights.

that, when such differences exist, no better mode can be adopted for settling them in a satisfactory


Should His Majesty's Government think proper to accept this proposal for a negotiation, upon the points with regard to which the genStates have been here frankly exposed, the undersigned will be ready to enter into further communications with any person who may be authorized to confer with him for the purpose of such a negotiation. If the offer should not be deemed acceptable, he requests the honor of as early an answer as may be convenient. The undersigned prays Lord Castlereagh to

It is equally desirable, in the view of the Amer-eral wishes of the Government of the United ican Government, to arrange, at this time, every question relating to neutral rights, particularly those concerning blockade; contraband of war; visits at sea of merchant vessels by ships of war; the trade with the colonies of enemies, and between them and the parent country, and the trade from one port of an enemy to another. The tendency of discordant principles upon these points to embroil neutral and belligerent States with each other has been shown by the melan-accept the assurance of his high consideration. choly experience of ages. The frequent departures, during the most recent wars, from all ac


Lord CASTLereagh.

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