Page images

same considerations, which led to the arrangements set tled by it, urge a prompt execution of them, it may be expected that the steps depending on that government will be hastened. As far as your exhortations may be requisite, you will of course apply them.

The objection to the fifth article appears to have arisen, from the posteriority of the signature and ratification of this convention to those of the last convention with France, ceding Louisiana to the United States, and from a presumption that the line to be run in pursuance of the fifth article might thence be found or alleged to abridge the northern extent of that acquisition.

It may reasonably be expected, that the British government will make no difficulty in concurring in this alteration, because,

First. It would be unreasonable that any advantage against the United States should be constructively authorized by the posteriority of the dates in question, the instructions given to enter into the convention, and the understanding of the parties at the time of signing it, having no reference whatever to any territorial rights of the United States acquired by the previous convention with France, but referring merely to the territorial rights as understood at the date of the instructions for and signature of the British convention. The copy of a letter from Mr. King, hereto annexed, is precise and conclusive on this subject.

Secondly. If the fifth article be expunged, the north boundary of Louisiana will, as is reasonable, remain the same in the hands of the United States as it was in the hands of France, and may be adjusted and established according to the principles and authorities, which would in that case have been applicable.

Thirdly. There is reason to believe that the boundary between Louisiana and the British territories north of it were actually fixed by commissioners appointed under the treaty of Utrecht, and that this boundary was to run from the Lake of the Woods westwardly in lat. 49, in which case the fifth article would be nugatory, as the line from the Lake of the Woods to the nearest source of the Mississippi, would run through territory which on both sides of the line would belong to the United States. Annexed is

a paper stating the authority on which the decision of the commissioners under the treaty of Utrecht rests, and the reasoning opposed to the construction making the 49th deg. of latitude the northern boundary of Louisiana, with marginal notes in support of that construction. This paper will put you more readily into possession of the subject, as it may enter into your discussions with the British government. But you will perceive the necessity of recurring to the proceedings of the commissioners, as the source of authentick information. These are not within our reach here, and it must consequently be left to your own researches and judgment to determine the proper use to be made of them.

Fourthly. Laying aside, however, all the objections to the fifth article, the proper extension of a dividing line in that quarter will be equally open for friendly negotiation after, as without, agreeing to the other parts of the convention; and considering the remoteness of the time at which such a line will become actually necessary, the postponement of it is of little or no consequence. The truth is that the British government seemed at one time to favour this delay, and the instructions given by the United States readily acquiesced in it. The annexed extracts from Mr. King's and Mr. Gore's letters will, with that from the department of state, explain this observation.

The fourth article of the convention provides, that the commissioners shall be respectively paid in such manner as shall be agreed between the two parties, such agreement to be settled at the time of the exchange of ratifications. It has been supposed that the compensation allowed to the commissioners under the treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, who settled the St. Croix boundary, would be satisfactory to the British government; and upon this idea the estimate, of which a copy is enclosed, was framed as the basis of an appropriation to be asked from Congress. The President authorizes you, therefore, to agree to the sum mentioned therein, viz. 4,444 dollars and 14 cents, to be paid by each government to the commissioner appointed by itself, the same sum being allowed the third commissioner, to be paid to him in equal portions by the two governments. Should, however, the British government insist upon a variation of the compensation from the sum

above mentioned, you may consent to it, provided it does not exceed 6,666 dollars and 66 cents, each party contributing equally to the payment, and each commissioner receiving the same sum as his colleagues. I have the honour to be, &c.



Mr. Madison, Sccretary of State, to Mr. Monroe. Depari

ment of State, March 5, 1804. 66 The treaty of 1794, so far as it relates to commerce, having expired on the 1st day of October last, (that being the date of the preliminary articles) the commercial inter-course between the two countries is left to the regulations which the parties separately may think fit to establish. It may be expected, however, that the friendship and mutual interest between them will produce a continuance on both sides of such regulations as are just and equal, and an accommodation to those principles of such as, on either side, are otherwise than just and equal. On the side of the United States, their commercial regulations place Great Britain in every respect on the footing of the most favoured nation. Great Britain cannot say as much with respect to hers. One instance at least is explained in a letter from this department to Mr. King, of which a copy is enclosed, in which you will see, that, although the act of parliament to which it refers be no longer a breach of stipulation, it is not less a violation of equality than it is of sound policy. With respect to the British West Indies, it is not known that the United States are on a worse foots ing than other nations, whatever want of reciprocity there may be to the liberal regulations of the United States. With respect to the East India trade, it is understood that the treaty of 1794, by denying to American vessels both the coasting branch of it, and a direct intercourse between India and foreign countries, other than America, the United States were in both instances placed on a worse footing than other nations, and even on a worse footing than they themselves enjoyed prior to the treaty. The expiration of the treaty, and the friendly and favourable equali

ty allowed by the United States to Great Britain in every branch of their trade, ought certainly to restore what the treaty suspended.

* These observations are made not with a view to any negotiation whatever, leading at the present moment to a treaty on those or any other commercial points, or to discussions which might be misconstrued into a wish to take unreasonable advantage of a critical moment, but to enable you to present the ideas of your government with more precision, to vindicate our commercial policy against misconceptions, and to avail yourself the better of fit occasions for obtaining from the British government such relaxations as may be due to our example, and be calculated to cherish amity and useful intercourse between the two nations.

"In my letter of I stated the reasonableness of admitting American consuls in the dependencies of Great Britain, whenever and wherever the American commerce should be admitted. The principle urged in this case is applicable to the East as well as to the West Indies. During the last war an American agent was informally at least allowed to reside at Calcutta and take care of the trade of his countrymen. Mr. Jacob Lewis, who was appointed to succeed him, proceeded to London on his way thither, but peace having intervened, his application for an exequatur was refused. It is of real importance to our trade with that country, that such a functionary should be permitted to reside in it; the more so if it be true that the rule forbidding foreign factors to do so be enforced there. Be so good as to sound the British government on this subject, and communicate its sentiments for the information of the President.”

Extract of a Letter from Mr. Madison to Mr. Monroe.

Department of State, March 6, 1805. Sir,“ The experience of every day shows more and more the obligation on both sides to enter seriously on the means of guarding the harmony of the two countries against the dangers, with which it is threatened by a perseverance of Great Britain in her irregularities on the high scas, and particularly in the impressments from American vessels. The extent in which these have taken place since the com: mencement of the war will be seen by the enclosed report, required from this department by a vote of the House of Representatives ; and the call for it, whilst negotiations on the subject were understood to be in train, is itself a proof of the publick sensibility to those aggressions on the security of our citizens and the rights of our flag. A further proof will be seen in the motion, also enclosed, which was made by Mr. Crowninshield, and which will probably be revived at the next session. This motion, with his rcmarks on it, appear very generally in the newspapers, with comments proceeding from a coincidence of the sensibility out of doors with that within. A still stronger proof of impatience under this evil will be found in the proceedings authorized by an act of Congress just passed, and which is likewise enclosed, against British officers committing on the high seas trespasses or torts on board American vessels, offences manifestly including cases of impressment.

“In communicating these circumstances, it will occur to you, that whilst they may be allowed to proclaim the growing sensibility of the United States on the subject of impressments, they ought, by proper explanations and assurances, to be guarded against a misconstruction into marks of illiberal or hostile sentiments towards Great Britain. The truth is, and it may be so stated by you, that this practice of impressments, aggravated by so many provoking incidents, has been so long continued, and so often in vain remonstrated against, that, without more encouragement than yet appears to expect speedy redress from the British governinent, the United States are in a manner driven to the necessity of seeking for some remedy dependent on themselves alone. But it is no less true ihat they are warmly disposed to cherish all the friendly relations subsisting with Great Britain ; that they wish to see that necessity banished by just and prudent arrangements between the two governments; and that with this view you were instructed to open the negotiations which are now depending. It is impossible for the British government to doubt the sincerity of these sentiments. The forbearance of the United States, year after year, and war after war, to avail themselves of those obvious means, which, without violating their national obligations of any sort, would appeal in the strongest manner to the inicrest of Great Bria

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »