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From Mr. Madison, Secretary of State, to Mr. Monroe, , Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States at London.
Department of State, April 12, 1805.
[This letter is printed in vol. v. p. 212 to 218, except the concluding paragraph, which follows:
* The effect of the doctrine, involved in the sentence of the court in Newfoundland, on our carrying trade, will at once be seen by you. The average amount of our re-exportations for three years, ending 30 September, 1803, bas been 32,003,921 dollars. Besides the mercantile and navigation profits, the average revenue from drawbacks, on goods re-exported for three years, ending 31st December, 1803, is 184,271 dollars, to which is to be added an uncertain but considerable sum, consisting of duties paid on articles re-exported, after having lost, through neglect or lapse of time, the privilege of drawback. A very considerable portion of this branch of trade, with all its advantages, will be cut off, if the formalities, heretofore respected, are not to protect our re-exportations. Indeed it is difficult to see the extent, to which the apprehended innovation may be carried in theory, or to estimate the mischief, which it may produce in practice. If Great Britain, disregarding the precepts of justice, suffers herself to calculate the interest she has in spoliating or abridging our commerce by the value of it to the United States, she ought certainly not to forget that the United States must, in that case, calculate by the same standard the measures which the stake will afford for counteracting her unjust and unfriendly policy. I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Madison to Mr. Monroe. Department of State, Jan.
13, 1806. Sir,—The letters received from you, since my last, are down to No. 36, inclusive.
The perseverance of the British government in the principle which licenses the depredations on our commerce in colonial productions, with the losses already sustained, and still apprehended by our merchants, has produced a very general indignation throughout this couniry, and makes it necessary that you should renew and extend your remonstrances on the subject. In aid of the means for this purpose, furnished by the information and instructions given you from time to time, I forward you an examination of it just published, in which you will find a variety of facts and views of the British principle and proceedings that may be made to bear against them. I will forward, also, in a few days, copies of sundry memorials from the merchants of our maritime cities, explaining the wrongs done them, and the disgust with which they are filled. These, with other documents accompanying them, will assist your endeavours to make on the British government the impressions which the occasion calls for.
I shall only add at present, that, notwithstanding the conviction of the illegality of the British principle, which becomes more and more evident the more it is investigated, the President so far yields to a spirit of conciliation, as to be still willing to concur in the adjustment on that point authorized in your instructions of January 5th, 1804; but expects and enjoins that you will be particularly careful to use such forms of expression, as will furnish no pretext for considering an exception of the direct trade between a belligerent nation and its colonies as declaratory of a limitation of the neutral right, and not a positive stipulation founded on considerations of expediency. I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Madison to Mr. Monroe. Department of State, April
23, 1806. SIR, Your last letter bears date on the 12th of Febru. ary. Those of the 18th October, 11th, 26th November, 11th and 23d December, and 28th January, had been previously received.
Congress adjourned the evening before the last. The gazettes, before and herewith sent, will give you a general view of the proceedings of the session. As soon as the laws passed shall be ready, a complete copy of them will be forwarded. For the present I enclose only a copy of the act shutting our market, after the 15th Nov. next, against certain articles of British manufacture. Notwithstanding the hope that the new ministers of Great Britain bring into the cabinet dispositions more just and favourable to the United States than their predecessors, it was thought most consistent both with self respect and with sound policy not to allow a change of persons, without an actual or promised change of measures, to arrest the meditated course of remedial provisions. You will not fail, however, by due explanations, to guard the act against the imputation of motives and views of a nature to excite feelings on the other side, unfriendly to a fair estimate of their true interests. You may with confidence affirm, that a resort to such a manifestation of the sensibility of this country to wrongs so long continued, and of late so grievously extended, has been had with the most sincere reluctance; and that nothing is necessary on the part of Great Britain, to smooth the way to perfect cordiality, and to all the beneficial intercourses of commerce, but a re. dress, which the United States are willing to limit to the clearest demands of justice and right. As a proof of their solicitude to bring about a final and amicable adjustment of all points in question between the two countries, and of their readiness to establish the principles of navigation and commerce in a form that will extend the latter, and render the former no longer a source of discord, the measure has been adopted of appointing yourself, and Mr. Pinkney, of Baltimore, commissioners extraordinary and plenipotentiary for those purposes. The objects of the appointment, as described in the terms of it, are " to settle all matters of difference between the United States and the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, relative to wrongs committed between the parties on the high seas, or other waters, and for establishing the principles of navigation and commerce between them."
No time will be lost in preparing the instructions for your joint negotiation ; and Mr. Pinkney will doubtless
not fail to be ready to embark with as little delay as possible. With great respect, &c.
Extract of a Letter from Mr. Madison, to Mr. Monroe.
May 15, 1806. “Since my last, of the 23d of April, I have received your several letters of the 28th February and 11th March.
“ This will be put into the hands of Mr. Pinkney, whose appointment jointly with you, by a commission extraordinary, has been already communicated, and who proceeds to London with the powers and instructions for carrying the joint commission into effect. This you will find embraces a larger field of negotiation and convention, than fell within the instructions heretofore given you, in your capacity of minister plenipotentiary alone. The commission extraordinary, therefore, will not be without important objects, even if those previously committed to yourself should fortunately have been obtained. Mr. Pinkney carries with him also a commission and letter of credence, as your successor, in case you should persist in your intention of returning, after the occasion which suspended it shall be over. A letter of farewell, also, for yourself, goes by him, of the same provisional character.
"As the joint commission does not include the subject of the convention of limits, not yet acceded to by Great Britain, as varied by the Senate here, it will remain with you alone, or your successor, to continue the endeavours to bring that business to a conclusion..
“ If any repugnance should be shown to the erasure of the 5th article, as proposed by the Senate, and thereby leaving unsettled, for the present, the boundaries in the north-west quarter of the Union, and preference should be given to a proviso against any constructive effect of the Louisiana convention on the intention of the parties at the signature of the depending convention, you may concur in the alteration, with a view to bring the subject in that form before the ratifying authority of the United States,
6 I must observe to you, however, that either another proviso, or a clear understanding to the same effect, or at least an understanding that the question is open for future settlement, will be proper, in order to supersede preten. sions which the British government may otherwise found on their possession of the island of Grand Menan, and the silence of the instrument with respect to it. This island is of considerable extent, is clearly within the general limits of the United States as fixed by the treaty of peace, and is understood not to be within the exception made by the treaty, of islands appurtenant to Nova Scotia, since all such islands must be either west, east, or north of the coast of that province, and within six leagues thereof; whereas the island of Grand Menan is nearly due south of the nearest part of the coast, and is either in the whole or with the exception of a mere point, beyond the distance of six leagues. No just title can therefore be alleged on the British side, and care would have been taken to guard against a pretended one by a clause to that effect, if the facts of British settlement, and the exercise of British jurisdiction had been known at the time. The documents now transmitted will sufficiently explain the subject, and enable you to annex a proper clause to the convention. One of these documents will give you a view at the same time of a late case, in which an American vessel, bringing plaster of paris from Nova Scotia to the United States, was condemned. In strictness of law the condemnation may have been not objectionable, but considering the con
tinuance of the trade for a length of time, and the official · sanction added to the usage, the case makes a very strong
appeal to the equity and liberality of the British government. The dependence of the British settlements in that quarter on supplies from the United States, more essential to them than plaster is to us, suggests other considerations not unworthy of attention. These, however, will be brought most advantageously into view in one of the branches of the joint negotiation."