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Many of the members may be indisposed to an arrangement on such terms as can be accepted, and most of them willing to postpone any decision, until the result of the proceedings in Congress is known. Under these circumstances he may find it most eligible to avoid any further communication with me for the present.
It becomes, therefore, very difficult, if not altogether improper, for me to press the business at this time. It seems to be my duty to postpone such pressure to the same epoch, that is, till the final proceedings of Congress are known. I shall doubtless receive with them the instructions of the President on the whole subject, which, I beg to assure you, I shall use my utmost exertions to carry into effect."
I am, sir, &c.
Extract of a Letter from Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison.' London, June 9, 1806.
On the 31st ultimo accounts were received here from the United States, that the President and Senate had adopted the measure of a special mission to this country, in which Mr. Pinkney and myself were associated. These accounts, which appeared to be well founded at first, have been confirmed since by letters to individuals, so that the fact seems to be unquestionable. I have not received official information of it, but expect it from you daily.
A suspension of further proceeding in the business in which I have been engaged, seemed to be the natural consequence of this measure, as soon as it was known. It has, accordingly, already produced that effect, and will probably preserve it in the same state till Mr. Pinkney arrives. 1 hope, therefore, that I shall soon have the pleasure of seeing him.
My former letters, the last of which was of May 20, shewed how this business stood at that time. I have since seen Mr. Fox twice, on the 4th and again on the 7th instant. The first interview was at his own house, on the anniversary of the king's birth, in a general rendezvous of the diplomatic corps. In that I touched on some interesting subjects, particularly the outrages lately com
mitted at New York by the British cruisers, our non-importation act, and the affair of general Miranda. But, as we could not treat those subjects with advantage in a crowd, it was agreed to postpone the consideration of them to the 6th, when I promised to attend him at his of fice for the purpose of entering more fully into it. The interview was afterwards deferred by him to the 7th, when it took place.
Although the object of this latter meeting was special, yet it naturally brought into view the other topicks in which we had been engaged, and with them that of the appointment above mentioned. Mr. Fox asked me, soon after we met, whether such an appointment was made. I told him that I had no official information of it, but I believed that it was. He said that Mr. Merry had informed him in his last letter that the measure was decided on, but had not been communicated to the senate. What effect, added he, will it produce on our business? It was evident that he thought it ought to suspend it. It was of course useless for me, had it even been proper, and I of a different opinion, to express it. My answer, therefore, corresponded with his expectation. I availed myself of the opportunity to assure Mr. Fox, that Mr. Pinkney was every way well qualified for the trust, and that I was persuaded that he would be well satisfied with the appointment.
The general subject being thus disposed, we proceeded to those which had been touched in our communication of the 4th. I told Mr. Fox that the outrage in the case of the unfortunate victim, John Pierce, had been committed, as appeared by the affidavits published, within the jurisdiction of the United States. I stated that the harbour of New York had been blocked up by those frigates, as if it were an enemy's port; that they did not appear to have taken their station there for hospitality or shelter, but for invasion. I told him of the outrages which had been committed at the same port in the autumn of 1804 by the same frigates, as of the conduct of his government in that respect, recalling in the first instance the officer who had given most offence, but finally promoting him to the command of a ship of the line. Mr. Fox said that he wanted information respecting the late unfortunate event: should it appear that the officers had acted improperly, due at
tention should be paid to the subject. He added that he had already written to Mr. Merry in that sentiment, and would also express it in a letter to me. In speaking of the non-importation act, he expressed his regret that it had passed. He said that it had the air of a menace, and that it was not agreeable to do things by compulsion. I reminded him how long we had complained of injuries which his government had not attempted to justify; injuries which were not imaginary or prospective, but real and severe, which affected equally the honour and the interest of the United States. I added that under such circumstances his government had no right to complain of the act referred to. I assured him, however, that I was of opinion, if the ministry had not changed, that a bill of a very different import would have been adopted; that I had reason to believe that the tone of our government, and of the Congress, had been essentially moderated by the information which I had given of his assurances that our differences should be settled amicably, and on just principles; that the act which had passed in consequence of that information was little more than a declaration to the citizens of the United States that the object would be duly attended to. I observed that he must be sensible, after the subject had been taken up by Congress, as it was before the change of the ministry was known, that it was impossible for that body to dismiss it without some expression of the rights of the United States, in the question in dispute, without exposing itself to the charge of having abandoned them. He seemed finally to admit that the Congress could not well have avoided doing something in the business, and that the measure which had been adopted ought to be considered as a moderate one. I was glad to hear this sentiment from Mr. Fox, because I had feared that he would urge the passage of the act, as a discharge from the obligation, which his communications with me had in a certain degree imposed on him, in respect to the conditions on which he was disposed to make the settlement, and in which, in some particular and interesting points, he was precise and explicit.
I then observed to Mr. Fox, that I should be glad he would state in the letter which he had promised, his wil lingness to resume the business, when Mr. Pinkney should arrive, and with a view to conciliation and despatch, oh.
jects which merited attention at the present time, that he would also advert in it to the several subjects, which we had had under consideration, in the sentiments which he had expressed in our conferences. He seemed to be aware that the proposition was a reasonable one, and promised, without hesitation, to comply with it; but, says he, I am afraid that I cannot be very distinct in it. I replied that I should leave that to himself, but that I presumed he could easily recollect what had passed between us on each point; that in respect to the trade with enemies' colonies especially, I did suppose that it had been intended by the late order to place it on the ground of the Russian treaty, and that he might go with safety in his letter as far as the order went. He neither admitted or denied the fact explicitly, though he did not seem willing to give his sanction to the inference I had drawn. I criticised the order, as well as I could from memory, to show why I had made the inference, without, however, expressing any approbation of the order. He said, it was true, that the produce of enemies' colonies might, under the exceptions stated in the order, find admission in neutral vessels into the enemies ports, but yet he did not seem willing to admit, that that was the particular object of the order. I did not press this point further, because I saw no motive for it. I concluded, however, from this conversation, as I had done from what had occurred before, that this measure had been taken to prevent the further seizure and condemnation of our vessels on the principle in discussion between our governments, and that the acknowledgment of it had been withheld from a consideration mentioned by Mr. Fox in one of our conferences, that such acknowledgment would be to give up the point in negotiation. Several circumstances, independent of those alluded to, support this idea. It is not necessary to state them, because trust that the business will ere long be placed on a muchmore solid footing.
I am, with great respect, &c.
Letter from Mr. Madison, Secretary of State, to Messrs.
GENTLEMEN,-I herewith enclose a commission and letters of credence, authorizing you to treat with the British government concerning the maritime wrongs which have been committed, and the regulation of commerce and navigation between the partics. Your authority is made several as well as joint, as a provision for any con tingency depriving either of the co-operation of the
The importance of the trust is evinced by its being made the occasion of an extraordinary mission, as well as by the subjects which it embraces. And I have great pleasure in expressing the confidence which the President feels, in the prudence and talents to which the business is committed.
It is his particular wish that the British government should be made fully to understand, that the United States are sincerely and anxiously disposed to cherish good will and liberal intercourse between the two nations; that an unwilliness alone to take measures not congenial with that disposition has made them so long patient under violations of their rights and of the rules of a friendly reciprocity; and when forced at length by accumulating wrongs to depart from an absolute forbearance, they have not only selected a mode strictly pacifick, but, in demonstration of their friendly policy, have connected with the measure an extraordinary mission, with powers to remove every source of difference, and even to enlarge the foundations of future harmony and mutual interest.
There can be the less ground of umbrage to the British government in the act prohibiting the importation of certain articles of British manufacture, 1st. Because there is nothing on the face of the act beyond a mere commercial regulation, tending to foster manufactures in the United States, to lessen our dependence on a single nation by the distribution of our trade, and to substitute for woollens and linens, manufactures made from one of our principal agricultural staples.. 2d. Because it is far short of a recipro