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lhe commerce with enemies colonies free. I shall doubt. less collect his idea on that point to-morrow, since it seems best to hear his proposition before I say any thing on it, and I shall not fail, in any case, to attend to your instruction of January 13.” I am, sir, &c.
Extract of a Letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison.
London, April 20, 1806. “I HAVE the pleasure to inform you, that I had an interview with Mr. Fox yesterday, in which we conferred on all the interesting topicks depending between our governments. The result was as satisfactory, in respect to his own views, as his more early communications had promised, and gave a prospect more favourable of the disposition of the cabinet generally than I had anticipated. The substance of what passed in our conference of the 17th was fully confirmed in this, and his sentiments on some points, on which I had not then clearly understood them, were made more explicit. The prohibition mentioned in my letter of the 18th is to be extended to the seizure as well as the condemnation of our vessels, of which he is to give me official notice in a day or two. On the principle there seems to be no question between us, but in respect to the direct trade between the colony and the parent country. To the justice of our claim of indemnity he said little, but I see that it is a point which the ministry will find it difficult to concede, from a variety of considerations. I am, however, not without the hope that it may be placed on a satisfactory footing. He expressed a desire to take up the subject of commerce generally, more especially in respect to the West Indies, the intercourse between which and the United States he thought it important to both countries to arrange at this time. I showed a willingness to meet him on the general subject, or any part of it on which we could agree. The sentiments which he expressed on this, and every other subject, to which our conversation extended, were of a very liberal kind, and communicated with frankness and candour. He admitted that it ought not to be expected that the United States would
allow their productions and resources, which were necessary to the existence of the West India colonies, to be drawn from them otherwise than on fair principles of reciprocity. It was finally agreed that he should write me a second letter, which would be in reply to those I had written to lord Mulgrave, in which he would explain the views of his government on the subject of them. mised to write this letter in a week or ten days, if not prevented by unexpected events. This letter will of course lay the foundation on the part of his government of the negotiation. I am, sir, with great respect, &c.
London, April 28, 1806. SIR,—Having waited a week after my interview with Mr. Fox on the 19th, without receiving either of the communications which he then promised me, I called on him on the 25th to know the cause, and to confer freely again on our affairs, if he should be so disposed. As he anticipated the object of the visit, we soon entered on it. After some introductory remarks on other topicks, he began by asking what was the minimum of our demands respecting the seizures ? Could we not agree in some modification of our respective pretensions, some compromise ? For example, to adopt some plan which might answer our object without compromitting his government. As I perceived that he alluded principally to our claim to an indemnity, I observed, that, if the principle was admitted to be with us, the indemnity followed of course. But, says he, cannot we agree to suspend our rights, and leave you in a satisfactory mode the enjoyment of the trade ? In that case nothing would be said about the principle, and there would be no claim to an indemnity. I told him that I could not agree to such an adjustment; that the right was unquestionably with us ; the injury had been severe and unprovoked, and that we could not abandon our claim in either
He entered into such a view of the subject as showed a disposition to yield what accommode ion he could, in a manner the least objectionable on his part. He did not
seem desirous of discussing the question of right, nor did he deny that an indemnity was fairly incident to it. He then asked how the fact stood relative to the continuity of the voyage ? On what ground did the charges rest of the Congress having made regulations to evade the principle insisted on by the court of admiralty ? I replied on none whatever; that the question of continuity had never occurred between our governments; that it was a creature of the court of admiralty, who had set it up as a doctrine, and supported it by such charges to justify the condemnation; that my government had never admitted the right in his to impose any restraint on the trade of neutrals with enemies colonics, other than with the parent country; that his government had repeatedly admitted and established that claim by the most solemn acts, as had been proved by the documents in his possession : that he must be sensible, if my government was capable in any case of passing acts to evade a principle, it would not do it in the present one, where it could only serve to create doubts to the prejudice of the United States, and by giving a new sanction to the former pretensions of his government, revive a controversy which had been already amicably settled in their favour. I added, that I possessed an official document, which fully proved what I had advanced respecting our regulations, which, with his permission, I would send him. He expressed a desire to receive it. Well, says he, I perceive that your minimum and maximum are the same.
I replied that I did not see how it could be otherwise ; that we only sought what was strictly just, and ought not to be desired to relinquish any portion of that. He then proceeded to insist that our vessels, which should be engaged in that commerce, must enter our ports, their cargoes be landed and the duties paid on them. I said that such restraints were incompatible with our just rights. He urged also that we must unite in a plan to prevent the fraudulent sale and use of enemies vessels. I was apprehensive that any stipulation on that head might lay the foundation of new disputes. He thought that we were interested as ship-builders in suppressing all such frauds : besides, says he, you must yield something to justify the concessions that are expected from us.
I told him that I should be glad to see his project, or that he would answer my letters in such a manner as to lay the foundation of a treaty. He assured me that he would do so, as soon as he could ; but as he had failed to comply with his former promise, he was afraid to make another as to time; but gave me reason to expect one in a week or ten days. As I had cause to suspect, from his remarks on the whole subject, that an order to prohibit the seizure and condemnation of our vessels had not been issued, I asked him explicitly the question. He said that none had been issued; that in truth such a step would be to give up the point in negotiation. I inferred, however, that the measures which he informed me on the 17th and 19th he had taken for that purpose, were of a nature to produce the desired effect. These are, I suppose, confidential in the cabinet, with the court of admiralty, &c. The order itself has most probably been withheld for the present, that it might be connected with the general subject, on the principle above adverted to by Mr. Fox. I could not, however, push the inquiry on that point further at the time, from motives of delicacy to him, nor did there appear to be any strong reason for it. I cannot suppose that nothing is done in that respect, and am persuaded that the business is so far advanced, that if intended, as I presume, the order must soon be issued.
On the day after the interview above mentioned, I sent Mr. Fox a copy of Mr. Gallatin's letter to you explaining the mode of entering goods, and paying the duties on them in the United States, as I had promised. I had not done this to lord Mulgrave, because the state of the business with him would have given it the air of a concession on my part. I availed myself of the opportunity to state explicitly that I could not enter into any adjustment which did not provide a reasonable indemnity for injuries. It seemed to me obvious that that claim formed a principal difficulty in the cabinet, and I was persuaded that it might have a good effect to give him what would be considered the ultimatum on it. I have not heard from Mr. Fox since, though it is presumable that I soon shall, for I do not suspect him of the want of good faith in his communications with me. It is proper, however, to add, that, independent of the real importance of the subject, and the responsibility incident to any concessions which may be made in our favour by the present ministry, of the pretensions of the former, circumstances, which are likely to
inspire caution and create delay in the eabinet, the additional one of his being a member of the house of commons, for the management of the prosecution of lord Melville, cannot fail to increase it. I shall nevertheless do every thing in my power, consistent with propriety, to bring the business to as early a conclusion as possible, and to comprise in the adjustment, in the manner enjoined by my instructions, the important questions respecting our seamen and boundaries.
You will observe that Mr. Fox insisted in the late interview on restricting the trade with enemies colonies in a greater degree than he had done in the preceding one. I am convinced that this was produced by the cabinet deliberations on the subject, for I am strong in the opinion, that if left to himself, he would meet in arrangements which would place the whole business, and indeed all our relations, on the most broad and liberal basis, in a firm belief that by so doing he would advance the best interests of his country. But he has to consult and accommodate with others, some of whom may perhaps not entertain in all respects the same sentiments, or be equally prepared to encounter, in a new scheme of policy, ancient and deep-rooted prejudices. When I get his answer I may remind him of his former concession in this respect, if it should appear that any advantage was likely to result from it. I shall not fail, however, to pay great attention to this particular object, and will certainly not agree to any restraint on the trade which can be avoided, or is likely to be disapproved by the President. I am, sir, with great respect, &c.
Prince's Street, April 26, 1806. NIR. Monroe presents his compliments to Mr. Fox, and has the honour to enclose him a copy of the official document mentioned in their interview of yesterday, being a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury to the Secretary of State, explaining the manner in which duties are paid on goods imported into, and exported from the United
Mr. Fox will find by this document, that the regulations respecting that subject are uniform and appli