« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
TREATY OF GHENT, &C.
WHO has not heard of the triumphant result of the negotiations at Ghent? Who does not know that the glory of the triumph is claimed by John Quincy Adams? He is the intellectual giant who prostrated with ease the sophistry, and the arguments ; the arts, schemes and stratagems of a superannuated Admiral and two mere diplomatic machines.
It may be questioned whether a resistance to the British claim for making the Penobscot an eastern boundary, surrendering Louisiana, an absolute exclusion from the lakes, and precluding ourselves from the exercise of all authority or influence over the Indians within our own limits, can be considered as absolute evidence of superior diplomatic skill and intellectual power. Great Britain never expected from us an acquiescence in such monstrous demands, and one would think that an ordinary mind might have commanded sufficient arguments to refute such pretensions when urged on the ground of right.
Did the Commissioners of America succeed in securing a treaty stipulation, respecting the imprisonment of seamen, and the belligerent right to blockade, which, together with the celebrated orders in council, were the only alleged causes of the war? None will pretend that they did :—then it would seem that the whole skill of the Commissioners was exerted to save that which was unquestionably ours before the commencement of hostilities, and not to obtain reparation for violated rights and a permanent security for their future inviolability
Such is the foundation of that mighty reputation which has been reared up for the wise men of Ghent.
The whole commission saved the Territory of the United States, excepting Moose Ísland, an integral part of old Massachusetts !
They saved to us a right of going to the British East Indies with solid specie, and returning with Indian cottons, to compete with ours, and Indian silks to clothe our yeomanry.
Whether the labour of preservation was divided or not, I do not know : but Mr. Adams .claims the exclusive merit of SAVING the FISHERIES.
For this, his admirers claim for him a reputation equal to that of Sully, or Richelieu, or the Duke of Marlborough.
We are informed in Mr. Adams' pamphlet containing his remarks upon the private letter and duplicate of Mr. Russell, that immediately after the meeting of the Commissioners at Ghent, the British Commissioners notified the American delegation 66 that the British Government did not intend to grant to the United States gratuitously, the privileges formerly granted by Treaty to them, of fishing within the limits of the British sovereignty, and of using the shores of the British territories, for the purposes connected with the fishery.” Shortly after he says, “the only way in which it was possible to meet the notification of the British plenipotentiaries, without surrendering the rights which it jeopardized, was by denying the principle upon which it was founded. This was done, by asserting the principle, that the Treaty of Independence of 1783, was of 'that class of treaties, and the right in question of that character, which are not abrogated by a subsequent war; that the notification of the intention of the British government, not to renew the grant, could not affect the right of the United States, which had not been forfeited by the war; and that considering
it as still in force, the United States needed no new grant from Great Britain to revive, or any new article to confirm it."
“ It was not acceded to by the British plenipotentiaries. Each party adhered to its asserted principle; and the Treaty was concluded without settling the interest involved in it."
The principle, that the title to the fisheries was prior possession, and acknowledgment by the Treaty of 1783, and that Treaty, was not and could not from its intrinsic character be abrogated by a subsequent war, Mr. Adams says, “ he willingly admits to have been assumed and advanced by the American Commissioners, at his suggestion.”
The proceedings of the British and American nations subsequent to the ratification of the Treaty of Ghent, will tend to elucidate more clearly, the subject of the Fisheries.
The provisions of that Treaty had scarcely become operative, before the enrolment and license of a fishing vessel from Cape Cod, was endorsed by Captain Lock, , of the British navy, in the following words, “ Warned off the coast by his Majesty's sloop
Jaseur, not to come within sixty miles, N. Lock, Captain.” This was done on the 19th of June, 1815. The American vessel returned home without completing her fare. Information of the circumstance was immediately communicated, by the collector of Barnstable, to the American government. Mr. Monroe, then Secretary of State, on the 18th of July, addressed a note to Mr. Baker, the British Charge d'Affaires, in which he complained of this act, and also of “the similar warning which had been given by the commander of the Jaseur, to all the other American vessels, which were then in sight.”
Mr. Baker in his reply, denied the authority of the Captain of the Jaseur, to warn off American vessels, fishing at the distance of 60 miles from the British coasts, and stated explicitly, that the British government, had never authorized any interruption to American vessels, fishing on the high seas.