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Relations with Great Britain.
planatory of the motives which induced the President and Senate to decline ratifying the fifth article. As the affair had become by that circumstance in some degree a delicate one, and as it was in its nature intricate, I thought it improper to let the explanation which I had given rest on the memory of a single individual. By committing it to paper, it might be better understood by Lord Harrowby and by the Cabinet, to whom he will doubtless submit it. As I send you a copy of that paper, it is useless to detail the substance of what passed between us on the subject of it. I sent him at the same time an abstract of the impressments, which Mr. Erving had furnished me, which had taken place since my communication to Lord Hawkesbury. As Mr. Erving gives you regular and correct information on that head, I do not annex it to this communication.
Before I left Lord Harrowby I informed him that, independent of the interesting nature of the subject of our conference, on which I should be happy to be enabled to communicate something that would be satisfactory to our Government, I had another motive for wishing an early answer from him respecting it; that I had lately received instructions from you to repair to Madrid in the character of Envoy Extraordinary, to join Mr. Pinckney in the adjustment of some points which grew out of the cession of Louisiana by France to the United States. He asked me if these did not respect our boundaries; to which I replied in the affirmative. We had some conversation on that point, in which I communicated a general idea of the ground on which our Government had concluded that West Florida was comprised in the cession. He seemed to have entertained a different one, but to hear with attention and candor the statement which I gave of the question. I told him that my absence would be short; that I should leave Mr. Purviance, the Secretary of the Legation, in the charge of our affairs in my absence, with which he seemed to be well satisfied, and assured me that an accommodation with the views of the President in the proposed mission would be a motive for giving me an early answer to the subjects depending here; by which, however, I understood only that he would endeavor as much as he could to prevent their proving a cause of my detention. I thought it proper at that time to communicate the fact of my mission to Spain, and of my desire to set out soon in discharge of it, that he and his Government might clearly see that it was a measure ordered by the President, and had relation to the concerns of the United States only. I told him that the President had taken this measure from motives of friendship for Spain, with whom the United States were desirous and expected to preserve that relation forever. I made this remark to preclude the possibility of any improper use being made of what had been said, on the presumption (which might inspire a disposition to make such use of it) that a disagreement between the United States and Spain, much less a rupture, could result from the negotiation, where
by a hope might be fostered by this Government that we should become a party to the present war on its side. If circumstances permitted, it would be agreeable to me, as in that case I should presume on the approbation of the President, to intimate the willingness of our Government to receive, in the proposed negotiation, the good offices of friendly Powers. Such intimation would make it less likely to view with jealousy the aid we may receive, should that be the case, from France. In making the suggestion, I should observe, that I did it from the knowledge I had of the pleasure with which the President would avail himself of opportunities to render good offices to the Powers with whom the United States were in amity. If our business here is closed satisfactorily, I should think myself at liberty to give such an intimation.
While we were conferring on these subjects generally, Lord Harrowby noticed the conduct of Captain Bradley, of the Cambrian, which he said his Government had disapproved and censured by his removal from the command, and ordering him home to account for it. He said that as this step had been taken before any complaint had been received from our Government, it could not be viewed otherwise than as a strong proof of the desire of His Majesty to cultivate the friendship of the United States; to which I readily assented.
Of the prospect of success in the points depending here, it is impossible for me to give any satisfactory opinion. The business has, however, now reached a stage to promise an early conclusion. Still it is of too much importance for me to precipitate it. I shall wait some days longer in patience before I call for au answer, as I deem it important, be the event what it may, to conclude the negotiation so far as respects my deportment, in a manner equally respectful to the Government as that in which it commenced.
You will receive within a copy of the project as I presented it to Lord Hawkesbury. You will find that I have omitted in it the fourth, fifth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth articles of that which you sent me. I omitted the fourth because it brought into view the question of contraband, and exposed us to the revival of the claim of this Government respecting provisions, which I saw, by what had taken place with Sweden, was likely to be insisted on; the fifth, because the present practice of the court conforms with it; the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth because, being intended as accommodations to them, it would be in time to introduce them when asked for, when it would be more seasonable to seek some equivalent in return; though, indeed, it is not likely that they care much about them, especially at this moment. I was the more confirmed in the idea of omitting the fourth article, from a knowledge that the abandonment by treaty of the principle that free ships make free goods, would produce an ill effect with France. I had this information from authority the most direct, that is, that she would be likely to consider it, being in war, an unfriendly act. By presenting it in the
Relations with Great Britain.
form it bears, to which I was prompted by infor- of Pittsburg. The adjustment of the boundary mation recently obtained, and which could not of the territory between the two Powers in this have reached you, I hoped to secure the great ob-quarter, was the result of another war, and anojects which you had in view without hazarding ther treaty. any inconvenience whatever. It was also material to know that no case had then occurred (nor indeed has there since) in which the Admiralty have denied the right to our citizens to acquire merchandise, the growth of an enemy's country, and transport it as their own. There was, of course, no motive for securing it, especially at any expense. I am, with great respect and esteem, your most obedient and very humble servant,
By the fourth article of the Treaty of 1763, France ceded to Great Britain, Canada, Nova Scotia, &c., in the north; and, by the seventh article, the bay and port of Mobile, and all the territory which she possessed to the left of the Mississippi, except the town and island of New Orleans.
By the seventh article it was also stipulated, that a line to be drawn along the middle of the Mississippi, from its source to the river Iberville, and thence along the middle of that river, and the Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, to the sea, should be the boundary between the British territory to the eastward, and Louisiana to the west. At that time it was understood, as it has been ever since, till very lately, that the Missis sippi took its source in some mountain at least as high north as the forty-ninth degree of north latitude.
P. S. I find that there is a case of the kind adverted to above now depending before the Admiralty. The vessel, the Missouri, touched here on its way from Batavia, as is supposed, to Holland. I think it best to take this up on its own merits, unconnected with the principle adverted to, for the reasons above mentioned, which I trust will be approved by the President.
Paper respecting the boundary of the United States, delivered to Lord Harrowby, September 5, 1804.
By the Treaty of 1783, between the United States and Great Britain, the boundary between these States, and Nova Scotia and Canada, is fixed by a line which is to run along the St. Croix and highlands, bounding the southern waters of the St. Lawrence, the forty-fifth degree of latitude to the water communication between the Lakes, and along that communication to the Lake of the Woods, and through that Lake to the northwestern point thereof; thence, a due west course, to the Mississippi. The line follows afterward the course of the Mississippi to the thirtyfirst degree of north latitude.
By Mitchell's map, by which the Treaty of 1783 was formed, it was evident that the northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods was at least as high north as the latitude of 49 deg. By the observations of Mr. Thompson, astronomer to the Northwestern Company, it appears to be in Commissaries were accordingly appointed by latitude 49 deg. 37 min. By joining, then, the each Power, who executed the stipulations of the western boundary of Canada to its northern in treaty in establishing the boundaries proposed by the Lake of the Woods, and closing both there, it it. They fixed the northern boundary of Canada follows that it was the obvious intention of the and Louisiana by a line beginning on the Atlan-Ministers who negotiated the treaty, and of their tic, at a cape or promontory in 58 deg. 30 min. respective Governments, that the United States north latitude; thence, southwestwardly, to the should possess all the territory lying between the Lake Mistasin; thence, further southwest, to the Lakes and the Mississippi, south of the parallel of latitude 49 deg. north from the Equator, and along the forty-ninth degree of north latitude. This is that line indefinitely. confirmed by the courses which are afterward pursued by the treaty, since they are precisely those which had been established between Great Britain and France in former treaties. By running due west from the northern point of the Lake of the Woods to the Mississippi, it must have been intended, according to the lights before them, to take the parallel of the forty-ninth degree of latitude as established under the Treaty of Utrecht; and by pursuing thence the course of the Mississippi to the thirty-first degree of latitude, the whole extent of the western boundary of the United States, the boundary which had been established by the Treaty of 1763 was actually adopted. This conclusion is further sup
By the tenth article of the Treaty of Utrecht, it is agreed that France shall restore to Great Britain the Bay and Straits of Hudson, together with all lands, seas, seacoasts, rivers, and places. situate in the said bay and straits which belong thereunto," &c.
It is also agreed, "that Commissaries shall be forthwith appointed by each Power to determine, within a year, the limits between the said Bay of Hudson and the places appertaining to the French; and also to describe and settle, in like manner, the boundaries between the other British and French colonies in those parts."
At the time this treaty was formed France possessed Canada and Louisiana, which she connected by a chain of forts extended from the mouth of the Mississippi, on all its waters, and on the Lakes along the St. Lawrence to Montreal. Her encroachments eastward on the territory of the present United States, then British provinces, extended to the foot of the Alleghany mountain. It is well known that, on the Ohio, at a point formed by the confluence of the Alleghany and Monongahela branches, below which the stream takes the name of Ohio, that the French had built a fort which was called Duquesne; a fort which has been better known since by the name
Relations with Great Britain.
ported by the liberal spirit which terminated the war of our Revolution; it having been manifestly the intention of the parties to heal, as far as could be done, the wounds which it had inflicted. Nor is it essentially weakened by the circumstance, that the Mississippi is called for by the western course from the Lake of the Woods, or that its navigation is stipulated in favor of both Powers. Westward of the Mississippi, to the south of the forty-ninth degree of north latitude, Great Britain held then no territory; that river was her western boundary. In running west, and ceding the territory to the river, it was impossible not to call for it; and, on the supposition that it took its source within the limits of the Hudson Bay Company, it was natural that it should stipulate the free navigation of the river; but, in so doing, it is presumed that her Government respected more a delicate sense of what it might be supposed to owe to the interest of that company, than any strong motive of policy, founded on the interests of Canada or its other possessions in that quarter. As Great Britain ceded at the same time the Floridas to Spain, the navigation of the Mississippi by her subjects, if it took place, being under a foreign jurisdiction, could not fail to draw from her own territories the resources which properly belonged to them, and therefore could not be viewed in the light of a national advantage. After the Treaty of 1783, and at the time the convention in contemplation was entered into, the state of things was as is above stated. The territory which Great Britain held westward of the Lake of the Woods, was bounded south by the forty-ninth degree of north latitude; that which lay between the Lake of the Woods and the Mississippi, southward of that parallel, belanged to the United States; and that which lay to the west of the Mississippi, to Spain. It being, however, understood, by more recent observations, that the source of the Mississippi did not extend so high north as had been supposed, and Great Britain having shown a desire to have the boundary of the United States modified in such manner as to strike that river, an article to that effect was inserted in the late convention; but, in so doing, it was not the intention of the American Minister, or of the British Minister, to do more than simply to define the American boundary. It was not contemplated by either of them, that America should convey to Great Britain any right to the territory lying westward of that line, since not a foot of it belonged to her; it was intended to leave it to Great Britain to settle the point as to such territory, or such portion of it as she might want, with Spain, or rather with France, to whom it then belonged. At this period, however, certain measures respecting the Mississippi, and movements in that quarter, took place, which seemed to menace the great interests of America that were dependent on that river. These excited a sensibility, acute and universal, of which, in equal degree, her history furnishes but few examples. They led to a discussion which terminated in a treaty with France, by which that Power
Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison. LONDON, October 3, 1804.. SIR: Some days after Lord Harrowby returned from Weymouth, I received from him a note of the 26th, expressing his regret that he had been so engaged since his return, that he had not been able to see me, and that he could not even fix a time for the purpose. This note concluded with an invitation to dinner on the 29th at his house in the country. On an attentive consideration of the note, and all preceding circumstances, I was of opinion that his object by it was either to give me to understand, in a conciliating manner, that he could not conclude with me at present the business in which we were engaged, and wished it postponed, or that he sought an opportunity of conferring with me in retirement more freely on the subject of it than he could do at his office. In either view, I thought it incumbent on me to accept the invitation. I had, however, some doubt as to the mode; I hesitated at first whether I ought not to meet him in an expression of regret at the delay to which I was subjected, but I could not well connect such a sentiment with an acceptance of the invitation; and there was the less reason so to do, as that was to take effect so soon; I therefore thought it best to let his measure have its course, to see the result of it, and then adopt such a one as might appear most advisable at the time. With this view, I confined my reply altogether to the invitation, which I accepted. The dinner party was small, yet so composed as evidently to preclude the idea of an interesting political conversation with me having been intended by it. Not a word was said on the subject; so that I returned with that material fact only added to the data on which I had to deliberate. In deciding the part it now became me to take, I saw distinctly that the motive first above mentioned had dictated the note to me of the 26th; that Lord. Harrowby actually wished me to infer from ceded to the United States the whole of Louisia-I it, that he could not now proceed in the business
na, as she had received it of Spain. This treaty took place on the 30th of April, 1803, twelve days only before the convention between Great Britain and the United States was signed, and some days before the adoption of such a treaty was known to the Plenipotentiaries who negotiated and signed the convention.
Under such circumstances, it is impossible that any right which the United States derived under that treaty could be conveyed by this convention to Great Britain, or that the Ministers who formed the convention could have contemplated such an effect by it. Thus the stipulation which is contained in the fifth article of the convention has become, by the cession made by the treaty, perfectly nugatory; for, as Great Britain holds no territory southward of the forty-ninth degree of north latitude, and the United States the whole of it, the line proposed by that article would run through a country which now belongs exclusively to the latter.
Relations with Great Britain.
afterward, on a view of all circumstances, as it might deem most advisable, unfettered by any compromitment of mine. 6th. By keeping the negotiation open, it was in our power to renew it at pleasure; and it was probable, by preserving our neutrality, and profiting of the credit attached to it, that our attitude in it would every day become more imposing. Under these considerations, I resolved to pursue the latter course; to meet the friendly sentiments expressed in Lord Harrowby's
in which we were engaged, with the hope of an early conclusion of it, and was also desirous that the intimation should not affect the friendly relations subsisting between the two Powers. I resolved at once not to press the affair further at this time, from a belief that such pressure, instead of promoting the object desired, was more likely to increase the indisposition of this Government to any arrangement by treaty, as it seemed to lead directly from the safe ground on which I stood, to a vexatious and irritating controversy. I re-letter of the 26th, with a like one on our part; to regret the delay, but to admit that the state of things might impose it on him; to state the necessity of my departure for Spain, but declare the pleasure with which I should return to resume the negotiation. His Lordship's reply, which is also enclosed, breathed the same sentiments; so that the affair rests precisely on that ground. The negotiation is suspended by mutual consent, to be revived on my return from Spain, or whenever the President shall otherwise provide for the same.
I took occasion, in my letter to Lord Harrowby, to state the route I should pursue to Madrid, through Holland and France, to scout the degra ding suspicions which too often attach to such movements in such times-suspicions which are generally created by the artifices which are used to hide the movements, since they are considered, and perhaps properly, as proofs of guilt.
solved also to hasten my departure for Spain, with as much despatch as the explanations incident to such a measure, under existing circumstances, would permit. There seemed, however, to be some considerable degree of delicacy and importance attached to the manner in which this decision should be communicated to his Lordship. Two modes occurred, essentially different in character. The first supposed the negotiation at an end; the second as suspended only. To the first were opposed several strong objections, which were counterbalanced by no single advantage that could reasonably be hoped from it. 1st. A declaration by me to Lord Harrowby, that I considered the negotiation at an end, thereby implying that it had failed in its object, might appear to form a species of rupture between the two countries, especially when taken in connexion with my immediate departure from this, with intention to pass through France. 2d. A measure of such tone was not invited by, nor did it necessarily result from, his Lordship's note of the 26th, which sought only delay, and in a conciliating manner. The circumstances of the country might induce him to expect an accommodation in that respect from a friendly Power; and to fail in giving it, create a deep impression of resentment in the mind of the Ministry, and perhaps of the nation, against our Government and country. 3d. Such a measure, with the implication incident to it, was not justified by fact, or the true interest of the United States. The negotiation had not failed in its great objects, our commerce was never so much favored in time of war, nor was there ever less cause of complaint furnished by impressment. The state of Europe is unsettled; the events of war are uncertain; the United States are prosperous beyond the example of any other nation, and more might be lost at home and abroad by an appearance of hostility with any Power than could be expected from a formal concession of the points contended for. 4th. Such a declaration would also be contrary to the spirit in which the negotiation had been commenced, and carried to the present stage. It would lose the credit which our moderation had merited; expose to hazard fortunes that were secure; and even with less hope of advantage, in any view, than might be entertained from a continuance of the same system of moderation. 5th. My instructions did not authorize a measure so hazardous; they seemed to require only that I should make a fair experiment of the disposition of this Government, to arrange these points amicably, and submit the result to the wisdom of our Government, to act
I thought proper to notify to Lord Harrowby, at the same time, that Mr. Purviance would be left in charge of our affairs here, and that I should be happy in having an opportunity to present him to his lordship in that character; which was arranged on the following day. I have committed this trust to Mr. Purviance, in full confidence that he will discharge it with perfect integrity, and a diligence and capacity to merit the approbation of the President. His compensation, which has proved totally inadequate to his station as secretary, becomes, of course, much more so to his present one, which will unavoidably expose him to many heavy additional expenses. I have taken the liberty to instruct our bankers to advance him the sum of one thousand dollars, which is necessay for his immediate accommodation, and trust that the President will make him such an allowance as may be suitable to his situation.
In the interview which I had with Lord Harrowby, we had much general conversation on the topics depending between us, which, as it corresponded with what has passed before, and communicated to you, it is unnecessary to repeat. He appeared to agree with me, with great sincerity, in the advantage to be derived to both countries from the preservation of their present amicable relations, and to be quite satisfied with the state in which the negotiation was left, assuring me that he would not fail to take it up on my return, with an earnest desire to conclude it to the satisfaction of both parties, though he intimated that there was great difficulty attending certain branches of it. He suggested that, as I was forced to go to Spain, he hoped that the suspension would prove equally convenient to us both; to which I
Relations with Great Britain.
assented. He thought it unnecessary for me to go to Weymouth to take leave of the King, as he kept no regular Court there, and my absence would be short. He promised, however, to communicate to His Majesty my request to be presented to him there, as of his undertaking to prevent it; with which view, he desired to address him a special note to that effect, to be submitted to the King; a copy of which is enclosed.
In the course of this conversation, Lord Harrow by expressed concern to find the United States opposed to Great Britain on certain great neutral questions in favor of the doctrines of the modern law, which he termed novelties. I replied that, in adhering to our principles, the President had endeavored to arrange them in a friendly manner with his Government; that he had taken no step of an opposite character; that he had sought no concert with the neutral Powers in support of them, as he had supposed that a satisfactory arrangement to both Governments might be made by direct communication between them, which he preferred. He observed that, although while the negotiation was suspended, his Government would adhere to its principles, yet that it would act in what concerned us with moderation in the practice of them.
I informed you, in my letter of the 8th of September, that a case had occurred of an American vessel, engaged in commerce between Batavia and Holland, as was inferred by her having a European destination, being brought into port and subjected to trial. The case is not yet decided, though, in his remarks while the cause was in hearing before the court, the judge maintained the British doctrine; it was postponed to give time to ascertain what the regulations of the Government of Holland were, in peace, respecting our commerce with that colony. He did not say, if they prohibited the trade, that he would condemn the vessel. It is probable she may be acquitted on some other point in the cause, without impugning that principle. It is understood that several other vessels engaged in the same trade, which were stopped and examined at the Texel by the British cruisers, were permitted to prosecute their voyage; hence, it is presumable that orders were given to that effect by the Government. It is certain that, on no principle or pretext whatever, has more than one of our vessels been condemned, on which judgment there is an appeal.
The whole subject is now before the President; on which I have to remark that, in discharging this trust, I have endeavored, in every stage, to give full effect to the feelings and sentiments of my country in respect to the objects in question, especially the unwarrantable practice of impressment, without taking any step which should compromit our Government in the part it should take when the result was submitted to it. In that state the affair now is; for, after the expiration of a few months, it is perfectly consistent with it to revive the negotiation in such form as the President may deem advisable. The proceeding here lays a foundation for any course which the public honor and interest may dictate. If it is deemed 10th CoN. 1st SESS.-76
expedient, in pursuing our just rights, to profit of time and circumstances, and, in the interim, unless they be secured by a fair and equal treaty, to act with moderation till the occasion invites to a more decisive and hazardous policy, the state of things permits it; or, if it should be deemed more advisable to adopt the latter course at present, the opportunity is fair for such a measure. The situation in which our Government will find itself on receiving this communication is a very different one from that in which I have stood throughout. If the latter course is preferred, it cannot be doubted that the moderation which has been so far observed, will strengthen the Government in any the most vigorous measures which may be thought necessary. A virtuous and free people will be more united in support of such measures, however strong they may be, when they see, by the clearest evidence, that the cause is not only just, but that their Government has done everything in its power which the national honor and interest would permit, to avoid such an extremity. I shall apprize our Consuls that Mr. Purviance is left in charge of our affairs during my absence; and have only to add, that I expect to sail to-morrow or next day, in a vessel bound to Rotterdam, (my baggage being already on board,) on my way to Madrid, whither I shall proceed with all the despatch that may be practicable.
I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, your very obedient servant,
Extract.-Mr. Madison to Mr. Monroe. DEPARTMENT OF STATE, March 6, 1805. SIR: The experience of every day shows more and more the obligation on both sides to enter seriously on the means of guarding the harmony of the two countries against the dangers with which it is threatened, by a perseverance of Great Britain in her irregularities on the high seas, and particularly in the impressments from American vessels. The extent in which these have taken place since the commencement of the war will be seen by the enclosed report, required from this Department by a vote of the House of Representatives; and the call for it, whilst negotiations on the subject were understood to be in train, is itself a proof of the public sensibility to those aggressions on the security of our citizens and the rights of our flag. A further proof will be seen in the motion, also enclosed, which was made by Mr. Crowninshield, and which will probably be revived at the next session. This motion, with his remarks upon it, appear very generally in the newspapers, with comments proceeding from a coincidence of the sensibility out of doors with that within. A still stronger proof of impatience under this evil will be found in the proceedings authorized by an act of Congress just passed, and which is likewise enclosed, against British officers committing on the high seas trespasses or torts on board American vessels, offences manifestly including cases of impressment.