Slike strani
PDF
ePub

That conciliatory means should be found, which may be consistent. with the exercise of its rights, is the earnest desire of the Government of the United States, as well as of that of France. It has already been explicitly stated that the forcible means to which she has resorted, are an aggression on those rights, and she will neither commit her own or injure the interests of her subjects, in abstaining with every necessary reservation, from similar proceedings, until a satisfactory arrangement shall have taken place.

I request your Excellency to accept &c &c.

(Signed)

No. 53.-1823, June 24: Extract from Letter from Mr. Gallatin to Mr. J. Q. Adams.

107

ALBERT GALLATIN.

NEW YORK, 24th June, 1823. SIR. I arrived here this morning, after a passage of thirty-four days from Havre. Nothing had taken place at the time of my departure which altered our relations with France. In a conference with Mr. de Chateaubriand on the 13th ult., I complained of the want of disposition evinced by France to arrange the subjects of difference between the two countries, and of the manner in which the question had been treated by her Government, and by him in particular. It is unnecessary to repeat to you what was said on the subject of the American claims; but I dwelt on his last letter to me respecting the fisheries, and told him that if he intended to preserve an amicable understanding with the United States, he must answer the arguments used in support of their claims, instead of simply saying that they did not alter his view of the subject, and, above all, suspend every act of aggression pending the discussion. Í also adverted to his not having given any explanation on the subject of the second separate article of the commercial convention, and observed generally that that apparent determination on the part of the French Government to avoid every discussion had an unfriendly and offensive aspect, which could not fail ultimately to produce an unfavourable effect on our relations. What I said seemed to produce at least some momentary effect, and Mr. de Chateaubriand sent me, two days after our interview, the enclosed letters for Count de Menou, which may perhaps contain some instructions arising from that conversation. You need not, however, expect anything beyond words, or that justice shall be done in any respect. With respect to the fisheries, although France may abstain from positive aggression, and of this I have no assurances, she will again act as formerly unless fully satisfied that the Government of the United States will resist.

*

*

No. 54.-1823, June 27: Letter from Mr. Adams (United States Secretary of State) to Mr. Rush (Envoy at London).

DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Washington, June 27, 1823.

SIR: Your despatches Nos. 265 and 275, enclosing copies of your correspondence with Mr. Gallatin concerning the question which has arisen with France in regard to the right of fishing on a certain part of the coast of Newfoundland, have been duly received.

The transactions which gave rise to this controversy occurred in the years 1820 and 1821, when several fishing vessels of the United States, on the coast and within the strictest territorial jurisdiction of the Island of Newfoundland, were ordered away by the commanders of French armed vessels upon the pain of seizure and confiscation. Two distinct questions arose from these incidents: one, upon the pretension of France to the exclusive right of fishing on that part of the coast of Newfoundland; and the other, upon the right of French armed vessels to order away vessels of the United States from places within the exclusive jurisdiction of Great Britain. In both these questions Great Britain had an interest and concern not less important than that of the United States; but the President, in the first instance, determined to address the complaint which the occasion required to the French Government alone. The motives for this forbearance were, to give the French Government the opportunity of disowning these acts of its officers, and of disclaiming any pretensions to the exclusive fishing right at the place where they had occurred, without implicating Great Britain at all in the transaction. This course of proceeding was thought to be most consistent with delicacy towards both those Governments, by avoiding towards France the appearance of recurring upon a question between her and us to the interposition of a third Power, and by abstaining towards Great Britain from calling for her interference with France in a difference which might be adjusted without needing the aid of her influence. This was the reason upon which the instructions to make representations on this subject were forwarded only to Mr. Gallatin, and that until now it has never been mentioned in the instructions from this department to you.

But the complaint to France has hitherto proved ineffectual, excepting to demonstrate that the pretensions of France to an exclusive right of fishing at the place referred to are without solid foundation, and that her intention of resorting to force to maintain this inadmissible pretension, though not yet unequivocally asserted, has been so far ascertained as to remove all scruple of delicacy with regard to the propriety of stating the case to the British Government, and calling upon them to maintain at once the faith of their treaty with us and the efficacy of their own territorial jurisdiction, violated by the exercise of force against the fishing vessels of the United States engaged in their lawful occupation under its protection.

The untenable character of the French claim and pretension has been so satisfactorily proved, as well in the correspondence between you and Mr. Gallatin as in that of Mr. Gallatin with the French Government, that it is altogether unnecessary for me to enter upon the discussion. I am not aware of anything that has escaped your attention in the development of our right to the free participation in the fisheries at the controverted points, and from the result of your oral communications with Mr. Robinson, in the course of your enquiries relating to this affair, it is not to be doubted that the whole contest will continue to be seen in its true light by Great Britain:

Copies are herewith transmitted to you of the correspondence between Mr. Gallatin in the execution of his instructions, with the Viscount de Chateaubriand, in which you will find all the argument. that France has been able to adduce in support of her claims to the exclusive right of fishery. It completes the demonstration that

108

the pretension can not be supported. But you will see that Mr. de Chateaubriand, in his letter of the 5th of April last, while evading or abandoning the attempt of reply to Mr. Gallatin, with regard to the claim of exclusive fishery, says that he had some time since instructed the chargé d'affaires of France at this place. to enter upon explanations with the Government of the United States concerning this object, and that he was then writing to him again about it. With regard to the exercise of force within the British jurisdiction the Viscount has given Mr. Gallatin no answer whatever; but Mr. Gallatin, in his letter to this department of 17th April, states that in a conversation with the Minister of Marine, to whom he knew the subject had been referred, that Minister "gave it as his opinion, in explicit terms, that France, being in possession of the exclusive right of fishing on the coast in question, inasmuch as she had not before the last occurrence been disturbed in it by the fishermen either of England or America, she had the right to retain such possession, and ought to continue to exercise that right by expelling any vessels that should attempt to participate in the fisheries." Mr. Gallatin had not ascertained whether the Viscount de Chateaubriand and the other Minister concurred in this opinion of the Minister of Marine, the candour and explicitness of which must be acknowledged, but the charge d'affaires of France here declares that he has received no instructions from his Government to give the explanations promised by the letter of Mr. Chateaubriand to Mr. Gallatin, and we should no longer be excusable for refraining from a representation of the whole case to the Government of Great Britain. The question concerning the jurisdiction belongs peculiarly to her. The documents cited by you, in your correspondence with Mr. Gallatin, show that the premises of the French Marine Minister, upon which he relies for the basis of his opinion, are as incorrect in point of fact as his conclusion is extraordinary in point of principle. The deliberate pretension to exercise force within purely British waters was unexpected on the part of France. We shall not, for the present, employ force to meet force. although that result was properly presented by Mr. Gallatin to the French Government as a consequence to be anticipated from the perseverence of their armed vessels in disturbing our fishermen. We respect the territorial jurisdiction of Great Britain in resorting to her for the effectual exercise of it to carry into execution her engagements with us.

The President desires that, in your conferences with the British Secretary of State, you will give him information of the present state of this concern between us and France. You will be careful to present it in the aspect the most favourable and friendly towards France that can be compatible with the effective maintenance of our own rights. It is probable that there may be no such interruption to our fishermen during the present season; and the occasion appears to be highly favourable for an adjustment of it to our satisfaction. Perhaps a mutual explanation and understanding between the British and French Governments concerning it, at this time, may render any resort to other measures unnecessary. But if, on discussion of the subject between them, France should not explicitly desist from both the pretensions to the exclusive fishery and to the exercise of force within British waters to secure it, you will claim that which the British Government cannot fail to perceive is due, the unmolested execution

of the treaty stipulation contained in the convention of October 20, 1818; and if the British Government admits the claim of France to exclusive fishery on the western coast of Newfoundland from Cape Bay [Ray] to the Quirpon Islands, they will necessarily see the obligation of indemnifying the United States by an equivalent for the loss of that portion of the fishery, expressly conceded to them by the convention, which, in the supposed hypothesis, must have been granted by Great Britain under an erroneous impression that it was yet in her power to grant.

I am, with great respect, Sir,

Your very humble and obedient servant,

Hon. R. RUSH, Envoy Extraordinary and

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.

Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, London.

No. 55.-1823, July 8: Extract from Diary of Mr. John Quincy Adams.

The Count de Menou came to inquire where were the Quirpon Islands; I showed him upon Mitchell's map. We had much conversation upon the subject of the French claim to exclusive fishery from them to Cape Ray. He said he had received further instructions from the Viscount de Chateaubriand on this affair, but there were still two previous instructions which he had not received. He saw it was an affair of great delicacy, and he did not see how they and we could enjoy a concurrent right of fishery on the same coast.

I told him the whole affair was a question between France and Great Britain, with which we had but a secondary concern. Great Britain was bound to maintain her own jurisdiction. And if she had conceded to us a right which she had already granted as an exclusive possession to France, she must indemnify us for it. The Count spoke also upon the subject of the maritime questions arisen from the war between France and Spain, upon which he said he should write to me.

109 No. 56.-1824, March 30: Letter from Messrs. Huskisson and Stratford Canning to Mr. G. Canning (British Secretary for Foreign Affairs).

No. 5.

BOARD OF TRADE, March 30. 1824. SIR, The American plenipotentiary in a conference which we held with him yesterday, communicated the enclosed papers in explanation of the circumstances concerning which he has received the instructions of his Government with reference to the Newfoundland fisheries.

The general purport of this communication is that the French lay claim in virtue of treaties with Great Britain to an exclusive enjoy

ment of the fisheries on the northern and western coasts of Newfoundland, and under this claim have taken upon themselves to exclude the citizens of the United States from that part of the fishery which is carried on between Cape Ray and the Quirpon Islands, along the whole western coast of Newfoundland, the enjoyment of which in common with His Majesty's subjects was conceded to the United States by the convention of October 1818.

The American plenipotentiary appears to be of opinion that His Majesty's Government is bound either to make the rights which his country has obtained under that convention, in common with His Majesty's subjects, respected by the French, or in case of the French substantiating their exclusive claim, to make compensation to the United States for the loss of so large a portion of their fishing ground.

It strikes us on a first view of the case as presented by Mr. Rush that the circumstances are not of a nature to be settled by negotiations between him and us; but we defer submitting any distinct opinion on this point, until we have made enquiry into the state of the regulations under which the fishery is practically carried on along the western coast of Newfoundland.

We have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient humble

W. HUSKISSON
STRATFORD CANNING.

servants

To The Right Honble GEORGE CANNING &c &c &c

No. 57.—Statement respecting Newfoundland Fishery, given in by

By the 13th article of the treaty of Utrecht of 1713, the sovereignty of the Island of Newfoundland was ceded by France to Great Britain. France being allowed the right of fishing and of drying fish from Cape Bonavista, on the eastern coast, to the place called Point Riche, but on no other parts.

The provision of this treaty were renewed and confirmed by that of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748, and also, as far as relates to Newfoundland and the French fisheries on its coast, by the treaty of Paris of

1763.

By the treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain of September 3rd 1783, article 3, it is stipulated that "the inhabitants of the United States shall have liberty to take fish of every kind on such part of the coast of Newfoundland as British fishermen shall use, but not to dry or cure the same on that island.

By the treaty of the same date between Great Britain and France, articles 4th and 5th, the right of Great Britain to this island was confirmed, (the small adjacent islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon being excepted), and the right of the French to fish on a certain part of the eastern coast as above recited, was exchanged for that of fishing on the remainder of the eastern, and on the whole of the western coast, as far down from the north as Cape Ray. See also the declaration and counter-declaration of the plenipotentiaries of the two Governments annexed to this treaty, which are material as respects fishing rights.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »