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the President's proclamation rests, I cannot be furnished with documents enabling me either to admit or to controvert those statements of grievance, foreign to the attack upon that ship, contained in your letter, or authorized to discuss the matters themselves. I shall therefore not allow my. self to offer such comments as my personal knowledge of some of those transactions suggest to me, although their tendency would materially affect both the marked manner in which those transactions are portrayed, and the disadvantageous light in which his majesty's government is represented to have acted respecting them. I am moreover led to the persuasion, that my government will be the more easily able to rescue itself from inculpation by the inference arising from passages in Mr. Monroe's letters to Mr. Secretary Čanning, of the 29th of September last, that the differences unhappily existing between the two nations were in a train of adjustment.

If his majesty has not permitted me to enter into the discussion of the search of neutral merchant ships for British seamen, together with the adjustment of the amount of reparation for the attack upon the Chesapeake, it was no wise with a view of precluding the further agitation of that question at a suitable time; but it was that the negotiation might be relieved from the embarrassment arising from the connection of the present matter with the one so foreign to it, and, as it was hut too well known, so difficult to be adjusted, of a right distinctly disclaimed with one which Great Britain has at all times asserted, of enforcing her claim to the services of her natural born subjects, when found on board merchant vessels of other nations; a claim which she founds in that principle of universal law, which gives to the state the right of requiring the aid and assistance of her native citizens. The recurrence, therefore, to that course of negotiation, which had been originally settled between Mr. Secretary Canning and Mr. Monroe, and which had been alone broken in upon by the orders subsequently received by that minister, can only be considered as a resumption of that course of things which Great Britain strenuously contended there was no ground to depart from. I may observe that this purpose might have heen effected without the intervention of a special minis


It will be in your recollection, sir, that, in our first interview, I stated the condition, which makes the subject of the present letter, before I was informed by you, that the President of the United States would consent to the separation of the two subjects.

I had trusted, that the exposition, which I added in my letter of the 26th of January to the verbal explanation 1 had before offered, of the grounds of his majesty's demand, was both in its purport, and in the terms in which it was couched, such as to prevent a suspicion that they were in their intention derogatory to the honour, or calculated to wound the just sensibility of the nation. I may add, that such a supposition could not be reconciled with the various ostensible and unequivocal demonstrations of his majesty's good faith, and anxiety, that this transaction should be brought to an amicable termination, which were exhibited even prior to any remonstrances on the part, or by order of this government. The other topicks which I felt myself authorized to advance in that letier, in illustration of that amicable disposition on the part of the king, were brought forward from the conviction I entertained that they must be of a nature to be satisfactory to this government, and therefore such as it was particularly my duty to enforce, but not with a view to rest upon them the right to advance the claim which I have stated.

I may here remark, it is obvious, that, far from requiring that the first steps towards an arrangement of reparation should be taken by the United States, Great Britain has already made them openly and distinctly : they are indubitable testimonies to the respect borne and decidedly marked by Great Britain to the ties of amity subsisting between the two nations, and of her cordial desire to maintain them unimpaired; and as such alone they were urged.

As his inajesty would have derived sincere satisfaction from the evidence of corresponding feelings on the part of the United States, so it would be the more painful to me to dwell upon a series of insults and menaces, which, without any provocation of warlike preparation on the part of Great Britain, have been for months accumulated upon her through the United States, and but too frequently from quarters whose authority necessarily and powerfully commanded attention.

I ought perhaps to apologize for adverting to an incidental expression in your letter, if I did not think it right to remove any ambiguity respecting the nature of the claim which Great Britain maintained to her seamen, native citizens of the realm, who have deserted from her service to that of other powers; it is, that on demand they shall be discharged forthwith, and consequently they shall instantly be freed from their newly contracted obligations.

Before I close this letter, allow me to state to you, sir, that I have felt it my duty to transmit to his majesty's government the exposition, contained in your letter of the 5th instant, of the various demands on the honour and good faith of Great Britain, on which the complaint is made, that satisfaction has not been afforded to the United States, and on which, conjointly with the affair of the Chesapeake, you inform me that the proclamation of the President of the United States of the 20 July, 1807, is founded. It will be for his majesty's government to determine on the part of Great Britain, whether any, and what obliga

tions remain to be fulfilled by her-whether any denial, or į such protraction of redress have occurred on her part as

to render necessary or justifiable the perseverance in an edict, which, when not necessary or justifiable, assumes a character of aggression; and whether, on the result of these considerations, the present negotiation can be resumed on the part of his majesty, with a due regard for his own honour, or with a prospect of a more successful termination.

I have the honour to be, with the highest consideration, &c.


Mr. Madison lo Mr. Monroe. Department of State, Jan. 5,

1804.. Sia,–The information and observations which you have as yet received from me since your arrival in London, on the impressment of our seamen and other violations of our rights, have been in private letters only. The delay in making these injuries the subject of oficial communications proceeded, first, from an expectation that the British government would have notified formally to the United States, as a neutral power, the state of war between Great Britain and France, which would have been an apt occasion for combining with assurances of the fairness, with which our neutral obligations would be fulfilled, our just claims on a correspondent respect for our neutral rights, and particularly of those which had been least respected during the last war; secondly, from the expected arrival of Mr. Merry, which, if he should not be charged with such a notification, might be a favourable opportunity for commencing the explanations and discussions, which must precede a thorough correction of the wrongs which we experience.

Since the arrival of Mr. Merry, accordingly, no time has been lost'in calling his attention to the subject; and in preparing both it and him for the negotiation which is now to be committed to you. If appearances are to be trusted, his impressions and representations will be friendly to it. In my conversations with him, which have been free and full, he has expressed the best dispositions, has listened with candour to the appeals made, as well to the considerations of justice, as of the solid interest of his nation; and although he suggests serious difficulties on certain points, he will, I believe, sincerely co-operate in Jessening them, and in bringing about an arrangement which will be acceptable to this country. The only topick, on which any thing has passed in writing between the department of state and him, is that of the pretended blockade of St. Domingo. Copies of my letter to him, and of his answer, are herewith enclosed; as also of the letter written to Mr. Thornton, some time before, and referred to in that to Mr. Merry, in relation to a like blockade of Martinique and Guadaloupe.

Although there are many important objects which may be thought to invite conventional regulations between the United States and Great Britain, it is evidently proper to leave, for subsequent consideration, such as are less urgent in their nature, or more difficult in their adjustment; and thereby to render the way plainer and shorter to an agreement with respect to objects which cannot be much longer delayed, without danger to the good understanding between the two nations. With this view, the plan of a convention contemplated by the President is limited to the cases of impressments of our seamen, of blockades, of visiting and searching our vessels, of contraband of war, and of

the trade with hostile colonies, with a few other cases affecting our maritime rights ; embracing, however, as inducements to Great Britain to do us justice therein, a provision for the surrender of deserting seamen and soldiers, and for the prevention of contraband supplies to her enemies.

The plan digested for your use is subjoined. The first column contains the articles which are to be proposed in the first instance, and which are considered as within our just expectations; the second modifies the articles into the

concessions, which the British government may possibly ! require, and which it may be expedient for us ultimately

to admit.

4 Convention between the United States and Great Britain.





No person what

No seaman, seafaring or other perever shall, upon the son, shall, upon the high seas and high seas and with without the jurisdiction of either parout the jurisdiction ty, be demanded or taken out of any of either party, be ship or vessel belonging to the citidemanded or taken zens or subjects of one of the parties, out of any ship or by the publick or private armed ships vessel belonging to belonging to or in the service

of the citizens or subjects other party; and strict and effectual of one of the par- orders shall be given for the due obties, by the publick servance of this engagement; but it or private armed is to be understood that this article ships belonging to shall not exempt any person on board or in the service of the ships of either of the parties the other, unless from being taken therefrom by the such person be at other party, in cases where they may the time in the mi- be liable to be so taken according to litary seryice of an the laws of nations, which liability, enemy of such oth- however, shall not be construed to er part

extend in any case to seamen or scafaring persons, being actually part of the crew of the vessel in which they may be, nor to persons of any

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