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then, an alternative on the shore of the Island of Newfoundland, to commence at Cape Ray, and extend, east, to the Ramea Islands. Of the value of this coast I am likewise ignorant. The negotiation must, therefore, be again suspended until I obtain the information requisite to enable me to act in it.
It is probable that the arrangement of these two interests will again rest with you. The advantage of it, as you are already authorised to treat on other important subjects, is obvious.
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 endeavour to have revoked pending the negotiation. His attempt succeeded. I shall endeavour 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 transmitted to you.
No. 23.-1816, November 27: Letter from Mr. Bagot (British Minister at Washington) to Mr. Monroe (United States Secretary of State).
WASHINGTON, November 27, 1816.
SIR: In the conversation which I had with you a few days ago, upon the subject of the negotiation into which the British Government is willing to enter, for the purpose of affording to the citizens of the United States such accommodation for their fishery, within the British jurisdiction, as may be consistent with the proper administration of His Majesty's dominions, you appeared to apprehend that neither of the propositions which I had had the honour to make to you upon this subject would be considered as affording in a sufficient degree the advantages which were deemed requisite.
In order that I may not fail to make the exact nature of these propositions clearly understood, and that I may fully explain the considerations by which they have been suggested, it may perhaps be desirable that I should bring under one view the substance of what I have already had the honour of stating to you in the several conferences which we have held upon this business.
It is not necessary for me to advert to the discussion which has taken place between Earl Bathurst and Mr. Adams. In the correspondence which has passed between them, you will have already seen, in the notes of the former, a full exposition of the grounds upon which the liberty of drying and fishing within the British limits, as granted to the citizens of the United States by the treaty of 1783, was considered to have ceased with the war, and not to have been revived by the late treaty of peace.
You will also have seen therein detailed the serious considerations affecting not only the prosperity of the British fishery, but the general interests of the British dominions, in matters of revenue as well as government, which made it incumbent upon His Majesty's Government to oppose the renewal of so extensive and injurious a concession, within the British sovereignty, to a foreign State, founded
upon no principle of reciprocity or adequate compensation whatever. It has not been thought necessary to furnish me with additional argument upon this point. I therefore confine myself, upon the present occasion, to a brief repetition of what I have already, at different periods, had the honour to submit to your consideration upon the subject of an arrangement by which it is hoped practically to reconcile the different views of our respective Governments.
It will be in your recollection that, early in the month of July last, I had the honour to acquaint you that I had received instructions from my Government to assure you that, although it had been felt necessary to resist the claim which had been advanced by Mr. Adams, the determination had not been taken in any unfriendly feeling towards America, or with any illiberal wish to deprive her subjects of adequate means of engaging in the fisheries; but that, on the contrary, many of the considerations which had been urged by Mr. Adams, on behalf of the American citizens formerly engaged in this occupation, had operated so forcibly in favour of granting to them such a concession as might be consistent with the just rights and interests of Great Britain, that I had been furnished with full powers from His Royal Highness the Prince Regent to conclude an arrangement upon the subject, which it was hoped might at once offer to the United States a pledge of His Royal Highness's goodwill, and afford to them a reasonable participation of those benefits of which they had formerly the enjoyment.
It being the object of the American Government, that, in addition to the right of fishery, as declared by the first branch of the fourth article of the treaty of 1783 permanently to belong to the citizens of the United States, they should also enjoy the privilege of having an adequate accommodation, both in point of harbours and drying ground, on the unsettled coasts within the British sovereignty. I had the honour to propose to you that that part of the southern coast of Labrador which extends from Mount Joli, opposite the eastern end of the Island of Anticosti, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, to the bay and isles Esquimaux, near the western entrance of the Straits of Belleisle, should be allotted for this purpose; it being distinctly agreed that the fishermen should confine themselves to the unsettled parts of the coast, and that all pretensions to fish or dry within the maritime limits, or on any other of the coasts of British North America, should be abandoned.
Upon learning from you, some weeks afterwards, that, from the information which you had received upon the subject of this coast, you were apprehensive that it would not afford, in a sufficient degree, the advantages required, I did not delay to acquaint you that I was authorised to offer another portion of coast, which it was certainly not so convenient to the British Government to assign, but which they would nevertheless be willing to assign, and which, from its natural and local advantages, could not fail to afford every accommodation of which the American fishermen could stand in need. I had then the honour to propose to you as an alternative, that, under similar conditions, they should be admitted to that portion of the southern coast of Newfoundland which extends from Cape Ray eastward to the Ramea Islands, or to about the longitude of 57° west of Greenwich.
The advantages of this portion of coast are accurately known to the British Government; and, in consenting to assign it to the uses of the American fishermen, it was certainly conceived that an accommodation was afforded as ample as it was possible to concede, without abandoning that control within the entire of His Majesty's own harbours and coasts which the essential interests of His Majesty's dominions required. That it should entirely satisfy the wishes of those who have for many years enjoyed, without restraint, the privilege of using for similar purposes all the unsettled coasts of Nova Scotia and Labrador, is not to be expected; but, in estimating the value of the proposal, the American Government will not fail to recollect that it is offered without any equivalent, and notwithstanding the footing upon which the navigation of the Mississippi has been left by the treaty of Ghent, and the recent regulations by which the subjects of His Majesty have been deprived of the privileges, which they so long enjoyed, of trading with the Indian nations within the territory of the United States.
I have the honor to be, &c.
No. 24.-1816, December 30: Letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Bagot.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, December 30, 1816.
SIR: I have had the honour to receive your letter of the 27th November, and to submit it to the consideration of the President.
In providing for the accommodation of the citizens of the United States engaged in the fisheries on the coast of His Britannic Majesty's colonies, on conditions advantageous to both parties, I concur in the sentiment that it is desirable to avoid a discussion of their respective rights, and to proceed, in a spirit of conciliation, to examine what arrangement will be adequate to the object. The discussion which has already taken place between our Governments has, it is presumed, placed the claim of each party in a just light. I shall, therefore, make no remark on that part of your note which relates to the right of the parties, other than by stating that this Government entered into this negotiation on the equal ground of neither claiming nor making any concession in that respect.
You have made two propositions, the acceptance of either of which must be attended with the relinquishment of all other claims on the part of the United States, founded on the first branch of the fourth article of the treaty of 1783. In the first, you offer the use of the territory on the Labrador coast, lying between Mount Joli and the Bay of Esquimaux, near the entrance of the Strait of Belleisle; and, in the second, of such part of the southern coast of the Island of Newfoundland as lies between Cape Ray and the Ramea Islands.
I have made every inquiry that circumstances have permitted, respecting both these coasts, and find that neither would afford to the citizens of the United States the essential accommodation which is desired; neither having been much frequented by them heretofore, nor likely to be in future. I am compelled, therefore, to decline both propositions.
I regret that it has not been in my power to give an earlier answer to your note; you will, however, have the goodness to impute the
delay to a reluctance to decline any proposition which you had made, by the order of your Government, for the arrangement of an interest of such high importance to both nations, and to the difficulty of obtaining all the information necessary to guide this Government in
I have the honor to be, &c. The Right Hon. CHARLES BAGOT.
No. 25.-1816, December 31: Letter from Mr. Bagot to Mr. Monroe. WASHINGTON, December 31, 1816.
SIR: I have had the honour to receive your letter of yesterday's date, acquainting me that neither of the propositions which I had submitted to your consideration, upon the subject of providing for the citizens of the United States engaged in the fisheries some adequate accommodation for their pursuit upon the coast of His Majesty's territories, having been found to afford the essential conveniences which are desired, you are compelled to decline them.
The object of His Majesty's Government, in framing these propositions, was to endeavour to assign to the American fishermen, in the prosecution of their employment, as large a participation of the conveniences afforded by the neighbouring coasts of His Majesty's settlements as might be reconcileable with the just rights and interests of His Majesty's own subjects, and the due administration of His Majesty's dominions; and it was earnestly hoped that either one or the other of them would have been found to afford, in a sufficient degree, the accommodation which was required.
The wish of His Royal Highness the Prince Regent to extend to the citizens of the United States every advantage which, for the purposes in view, can be derived from the use of His Majesty's coasts, has no other limit than that which is necessarily prescribed by a regard to the important considerations to which I have adverted. His Royal Highness is willing to make the utmost concession which these considerations will admit; and, in proof of the sincerity of this disposition, I have received His Royal Highness's instructions to acquaint you that if, upon examination of the local circumstances of the coasts, which I have had the honour to propose, the American Government should be of opinion that neither of them, taken separately, would afford, in a satisfactory degree, the conveniences which are deemed requisite, His Royal Highness will be willing that the citizens of the United States should have the full benefit of both of them, and that, under the conditions already stated, they should be admitted to each of the shores which I have had the honour to point out.
In consenting to assign to their use so large a portion of His Majesty's coasts, His Royal Highness is persuaded that he affords an unquestionable testimony of his earnest endeavour to meet, as far as is possible, the wishes of the American Government, and practically to accomplish, in the amplest manner, the objects which they have in view. The free access to each of these tracts cannot fail to offer every variety of convenience which the American fishermen can require in the different branches of their occupation; and it will be
observed that an objection which might possibly have been felt to the acceptance of either of the propositions, when separately taken, is wholly removed by the offer of them conjointly; as, from whatever quarter the wind may blow, the American vessels engaged in the fishery will always have the advantage of a safe port under their lee.
His Royal Highness conceives that it is not in His Royal Highness's power to make a larger concession than that which is now proposed, without injury to the essential rights of his Majesty's dominions, and some of the chief interests of His Majesty's own subjects. But it will be a source of sincere satisfaction to His Royal Highness if, in the arrangement which I have the honour to submit, the citizens of the United States shall find, as His Royal Highness confidently believes that they will find, ample means of continuing to pursue their occupation with the convenience and advantage which they desire.
I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, Sir, &c. CHARLES BAGOT.
No. 26.-1817, January 7: Letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Bagot. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, January 7, 1817.
SIR: I have had the honour to receive your letter of the 31st of December, proposing an accommodation of the difference between our Governments relative to the fisheries, comprised in the first branch of the fourth article of the treaty of 1783, by the allotment of both the coasts comprised in your former propositions.
Having stated, in my letter of the 30th of December, that, according to the best information which I had been able to obtain, neither of those coasts had been much frequented by our fishermen, or was likely to be so in future, I am led to believe that they would not, when taken conjointly, as proposed in your last letter, afford the accommodation which is so important to them, and which it is very satisfactory to find it is the desire of your Government that they should possess. From the disposition manifested by your Government, which corresponds with that of the United States, a strong hope is entertained that further enquiry into the subject will enable His Royal Highness the Prince Regent to ascertain that an arrangement, on a scale more accommodating to the expectation of the United States, will not be inconsistent with the interest of Great Britain.
In the meantime, this Government will persevere in its measures for obtaining such further information as will enable it to meet yours in the concilatory views which are cherished on both sides.
I have the honor to be, &c.
The Right Hon. CHARLES BAGOT.
No. 27.-1817, May 7: Extract from Letter from Lord Castlereagh (Foreign Office) to Mr. Adams.
The undersigned, His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in reply to Mr. Adams's note of the 21st ultimo,