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same day, sir Francis Vincent wrote the note which hears his name of that date. The arrangement with lord Holland was made on the 20th, for which the circumstance of our dining with him furnished a favourable opportunity. Sir Francis Vincent's note of the 21st was written before he was acquainted with that arrangement.
(Owing to the haste in despatching the original, the copy of the correspondence annexed to it was not so full as that accompanying the duplicate.)
London, August 11, 1806. SIR, - It was intimated to us, by sir Francis Vincent, soon after the date of our last, that, as the state of Mr. Fox's health was not likely soon to permit him to attend to us, or the subjects of our mission, lord Grenville would be asked to communicate with us in his stead; and sir Francis promised that he would endeavour, without loss of time, to arrange with lord Grenville to that effect.
On the first instant sir Francis informed us, by a note to Mr. Monroe, that lord Grenville had been applied to, and that he would fix an early day for our reception. Believing that we should not make the most profitable use of the opportunity, if we waited for a note from lord Grenville, we determined to write him immediately, and request him to appoint a time for receiving us. He accordingly appointed Monday the 4th, which, on account of an interfering engagement, not at first adverted to, was changed to the day following:
His lordship received us with great cordiality ; but, as we had expected, was not prepared to enter into any formal consideration of the subjects embraced by our commission, which, as the letter of credence had been delivered to the king, and had not been seen by lord Grenville, we thought it advisable to submit to his perusal. He told us that he was at present able to say little more than that his majesty's government was earnestly desirous of giving ihe most prompt and effectual attention to what we had to propose, and of adjusting satisfactorily whatever was in any degree calculated to disturb the good understanding
which ought to subsist between us ; that he had always entertained and acted upon a sincere disposition to cultivate the most friendly connection and intercourse with the United States; and that he could say for his colleagues, that such was their disposition also : that we were aware that the delay we had hitherto experienced arose entirely from the illness of Mr. Fox, to whose department subjects of this description particularly belonged ; that he himself, having only recently returned to a situation of confidence in his majesty's councils, was, of course, but very imperfectly acquainted with those immediate transactions and discussions, which had a bearing upon the relations of the two countries; that he could not, therefore, at this moment, undertake even to converse with us upon them, otherwisc than very loosely and informally ; but that he should, notwithstanding, be glad to hear from us a statement of the principal points, which it was supposed our negotiation would involve. His lordship added, that, if Mr. Fox should unfortunately continue to be disqualified by indisposition, from attending personally to the affairs of our mission, it would be necessary to receive his majesty's pleasure, whether this important duty should be committed to some other of the secretaries of state, or to commissioners to be specially appointed to treat with us; and that this would not be delayed beyond the actual necessity of the occasion.
The statement which his lordship invited was of course given with as much minuteness as was thought to be prudent; and it drew from him several remarks, some of which, although not very interesting, it may be proper to state,
On the subject of the impressment of our seamen, he suggested doubts, (which we endeavoured to remove by suitable explanations) of the practicability of devising the means of discrimination between the seamen of the two countries, within (as we understood him) their respective jurisdictions ; and he spoke of the importance, to the safety of Great Britain, in the present state of the power of her enemy, of preserving, in their utmost strength, the right and the capacity of government to avail itself in war of the scrvices of its seamen. These observations were connected with frequent professions of an earnest wish. that some liberal and equitable plan should be adopted for reconciling the exercise of this essential right with the just claims of the United States, and for removing from it all cause of complaint and irritation.
To a very brief sketch of the views of our government, relative to belligerent proceedings in the vicinity of our coasts and harbours, he replied, that there could be no objection on their part to a suitable provision on that head. And as this topick recalled the recollection of captain Whitby's outrages at New York, his lordship took occasion to say, that, if they had been truly represented, they would meet with the severest censure here; that captain Whitby could not be condemned upon such grave charges, unheard; but that he would return to answer for his conduct.
To what was suggested by us on the subject of contraband, he replied only, that he and Mr. Jay had copied the enumeration, in their treaty, from the British treaty with Sweden.
Upon the commercial subject very little was said on either side. For obvious reasons, it was not proper that we should do more than lead to it in a very general way. On the West Indian branch of it lord Grenville remarked, that he did not feel the difficulties which were supposed by many to belong to it; and that he regretted that the 12th article of Mr. Jay's treaty had not been retained, as it would have prepared the way for the more complete admission of the United States into that trade. We inferred from the little that passed on this point, that lord Grenville looked to a prevailing prejudice here, at variance with his own opinion, as likely to oppose itself to our views.
As the illness of Mr. Fox had hitherto restrained Mr. Monroe from sending to him a note, which he had prepared on the subject of captain Whitby's proceedings, he took the opportunity, afforded by this interview, of asking the opinion of lord Grenville as to the course, which, in reference to that interesting object, would now be most proper, intimating at the same time his own desire, that his communication, delayed thus long by motives of delicacy and respect towards Mr. Fox, should, as soon as possible, be brought under the serious consideration of his majesty's government. Lord Grenville stated his opinion and
wish to be, that the note should be retained for the pre
On the 7th, Mr. Fox underwent the operation of tapping, by which he was much relieved; and his friends have since had great hopes of his permanent recovery.
On the 9th we called on sir Francis Vincent, and stated to him what had passed with lord Grenville. He non assured us that Mr. Fox wished extremely to act in our affairs himself, and the late favourable appearances seemed to justify an expectation that his convalescence would be sufficiently rapid to enable him to indulge that wish. He even went so far as to express his conviction, that, if there was one reason more than another, why Mr. Fox was at this time particularly anxious to remain in office, it was his strong desire to settle personally with us every question relative to our country.
The publick papers will inform you that lord Lauderdale has been sent by this government to Paris, on the subject of peace. According to some opinions, the basis and the terms had been settled by previous correspondence, and his lordship was simply to perform the office of signing a treaty already adjusted. Others have supposed that he has been sent to make the usual experiment; and others again, that, although much has been agreed upon, there are certain points upon which this government has been misunderstood by that of France, which require to be explained by an envoy, and are of course still open.
The terms of M. D'Oubril's treaty are yet unknown, and the treaty itself is in all respects as mysterious as at first.
We need not suggest to you the various conjectures, which it would be possible to form, as to the causes to which it is owing that our negotiation is not yet in train, and as to the probable effect of our mission. We have not been inattentive to what has passed here, and upon the continent; but we are disposed to give credit to the professions of just and amicable views which we have so often heard, and to the precise assurances which have so frequently been given to us, that Mr. Fox's illness alone has suspended our progress. In the actual state of things it would be vain, and probably injurious, and certainly harsh, to be very urgent for despatch. You may be assured, however, that we shall lose no opportunity of fulfilling the just expectations of our government, with as little delay as possible. We have the honour to be, &c.
WILLIAM PINKNEY. James Madison, Esq. Secretary of State.
[Here follows No. 3, sent as confidential. It is a letter from Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney to the Secretary of State, dated 15th August, 1806.]
Extract of a Letter from Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney,
to the Secretary of State. London, August 21, 1806. Sir, We have the pleasure to transmit you a copy
of a note from Mr. Fox of yesterday, which announces the appointment of lords Holland and Auckland to meet us on the subjects which are embraced by our joint commission. We flatter ourselves that we shall enter on this business in the course of a few days, and that we shall be able in a short time afterwards to speak with some confidence of the result. We add with pleasure that we see no reason, at this time, to think the prospect less favourable to a satisfactory one than we have heretofore presumed it to be. Aware of the considerations which urge despatch, we have been and shall continue to be attentive to that object, though it is far from being in our power to promise any thing explicit on that point.
Downing Street, Aug. 20, 1806. Mr. Secretary Fox presents his compliments to Mr. Monroe and Mr. Pinkney, and he has the honour to inform them that his majesty has been graciously pleased, (Mr. Fox not yet being sufficiently recovered to attend to business of such magnitude,) to appoint lord Holland and lord Auckland to enter with Mr. Monroe and Mr. Pinkney upon the discussion of all matters now pending between