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of an innovation of dangerous tendency, whose admission, especially at the present time, might be deemed an act unworthy of the government. The outrages lately committed on our coast, which made some provision of the kind necessary, as an useful lesson to the commanders of their squadrons, and a reparation for the insults offered to our government, increased the difficulty of obtaining any accommodation whatever. The British commissioners did not fail to represent that which is contained in this article, as a strong proof of a conciliating disposition in their government towards the government and people of the United States. The limit established was not so extensive as that which we had contended for, and expected to have obtained. We persuade ourselves, however, that the great object which was contemplated by any arrangement of the subject will result from that which has been made. The article in the treaty, in connection with the causes which produced it, forms an interesting occurrence in the history of our country, which cannot fail to produce the most salutary consequences. It is fair to presume that the sentiment of respect which Great Britain has shewn by this measure for the United States, will be felt and observed in future by her squadrons, in their conduct on our coast, and in our bays and harbours. It is equally fair to presume that the example of consideration which it affords in their favour by a nation so vastly preponderant at sea, will be followed by other powers.
By the thirteenth article it is agreed that the sum for which bonds shall be given by the commanders of privateers, before they receive their commissions, to indemnify those who shall be injured by their misconduct, shall be increased to a greater amount than was required by the 19th article of the treaty of 1794. It is also enjoined in stronger and more definite terms on the belligerent in this than in the former article, to see that its ships of war and privateers shall observe, in a manner the most favourable to neutrals, the acknowledged principles and rules of the law of nations, in the search of merchant vessels. We endeavoured to obtain an arrangement more adequate to the object, and relinquished the pursuit of it with regret. While the subject of visitation and search was under consideration, the British commissioners assured us that their government would regulate it in a
satisfactory manner to the United States by act of parliament, especially in respect to privateers, which assurance was repeated when the treaty was signed.
The following articles, to the twenty-first inclusive, are taken from the treaty of 1794. The British commissioners shewed a desire to retain them, and as it appeared that they had in substance been introduced into the treaty with France, of 1801, and that an attempt on our part to omit them would be thought unaccommodating and captious, we agreed to them.
The twenty-second article contains a new and useful provision in favour of the unfortunate in the case of shipwreck.
The twenty-third article, after declaring that it is the intention of the high contracting parties that the people of their respective dominions shall be on the footing of the most favoured nations, stipulates that in case either of the parties shall hereafter grant any additional advantages in navigation or commerce to any other nation, the citizens or subjects of the other party shall fully participate in them. This article is deemed peculiarly important in many views, but more especially in its application to the British possessions in the East Indies. If it can be shewn that any peculiar accommodation is or shall be hereafter granted to any other powers, we become entitled to it of course.
The twenty-fourth article engages that the parties shall communicate to each other the laws which their respective legislatures may enact for the abolition or limitation of the African slave trade, and that they will also use their best endeavours to procure the co-operation of other powers for the complete abolition of that trade. As this engagement reposes on our laws, it follows that it does not enjoin any obligation unknown to them. If it should be acted on at all by our government, farther than by communicating to this the laws of Congress, as is proposed in the first part of the article, the sphere of its operation would be a very contracted one, till the year 1808. After that period such a co-operation on a more enlarged scale would become a constitutional measure of the govern. ment, and, as we think, a suitable one. Mr. Fox had taken great interest in this question, and it is understood that in suggesting the idea, in the address of the house of commons 10 the king, of obtaining the co-operation of other powers, the United States were held particularly in view. The British commissioners proposed the article, and shewed great desire that we should agree to it. As this stipulation was not comprised within the scope of our instructions, we have thought it our duty to explain to you the cause to which its admission into the treaty is to bē attributed.
The twenty-fifth article was introduced for the purpose of protecting other powers, having treaties with either party, in the enjoyment of the rights secured by them. The stipulation contained in our treaty with France, in 1803, of certain commercpn-privileges in favour of French and Spanish subjects for a defined term in Louisiana, made such a provision particularly necessary.
The twenty-sixth article fixes the term of the treaty at ten years from the date of the exchange of the ratifications. :
We are sorry to add that this treaty contains no provi. sion against the impressment of our seamen. Our despatch of the 11th of November communicated to you the result of our labours on that subject, and our opinion that, al. though this government did not feel itself at liberty to relinquish, formally by treaty, its claim to search our merchant vessels for British seamen, its practice would, nevertheless, be essentially if not completely abandoned. That opinion has been since confirmed by frequent conferences on the subject with the British commissioners, who have repeatedly assured us, that, in their judgment, we were made as secure against the exercise of their pretension by the policy which their government had adopted in regard to ihat very delicate and important qaestion, as we could have been made by treaty. It is proper to observe, however, that the good effect of this disposition, and its continuance, may depend in a great measure on the means which may be taken by the Congress hereafter to check desertions from the British service. If the treaty is ratified, and a perfect good understanding produced by it between the two countries, it will be easy for their governments, by friendly communications, to state to each other what they respectively desire, and in that mode to arrange the business as satisfactorily as it could be done by treaty.
We regret also to be under the necessity of stating that no provision has been made by the treaty to indemnify our citizens for their losses by the late seizures, and other viola. tions of the law of nations. This object engaged our attention in every stage of the negotiation, and was not abandoned by the signature of the treaty. On the day it was signed, we stated in explicit terms to the British commissioners, that we could not conclude, without having a satisfactory assurance, by them, of the part their government intended to take, equally in regard to the vessels and cargoes which had been condemned, and the suits that were depending. The principle established in the correspondence between Mr. King and tus] Hawkesbury, we admit. ted should form the boundary of our claim, in respect to the seizures for an imputed illegal trade; for every violation of which, in cases of condemnation, we expected a full indemnity, and a dismission of all the causes still depending that were protected by it. The British commissioners observed, that it was neither their wish nor expectation that we should relinquish our claim ; on the contrary, they were willing we should preserve it: with which view they proposed that we should present them a paper, bearing date prior to the signature, which should make the reservation in such form as we thought best suited to the object. They intimated that, in cases of vested right, it was not in the power of their government to interfere to the prejudice of the parties, and that it would be hard on the government, and unpopular in the ministry, to apply the publick money to such a purpose ; still they said nothing to preclude that expectation ; on the contrary, they encouraged it, and were still more explicit in suggesting that the depending cases would not be unfavourably adjudged. They seemed desirous that, while we should reserve our claim, their government should retain a right to pursue such a course of conduct in regard to it as might he dictated hereafter hy circumstances. To enter into an engagement in favour of our claim in the present state of things, appeared to them as being likely to expose their government to the imputation of having done it by coercion, and to deprive it of a claim to any merit for such an accommodation as it might, under other circumstances, be disposed to yield. Should the circumstances of collision which had taken place between the two countries be done away, and their commerce and friendly relations be reestablished, as they hoped was already in a great measure done, and would be so completely by this treaty, their government, they thought, would feel itself more at liberty to yield accommodations on this topick than in the actual state. This was the substance of the communication made us on this subject by the British commissioners before the signature of the treaty, on which, and our declaring explicitly that we would reserve the right in the manner they had proposed, in full confidence that their government would respect it, we proceeded to sign the treaty. We , have had an interview with the British commissioners since the signature, and were happy to find that they had not forgotten what had passed between us on that occasion. We had asked the interview, as we informed them, for the purpose of conferring on this subject, and of obtaining their sentiments in so distinct a form as to leave us under no embarrassment in the communication it was our duty to make to you on it. Nothing passed in this interview, on their part, to change the ground on which the business had been placed in the former one. They intimated, however, that it might be advantageous, and would certainly be proper for us, in the present stage, to confer with lord Howick on this subject, since any declaration from him could not fail, according to its import, to merit the peculiar attention of our government. We have accordingly seen and conferred with lord Howick upon this topick, whose sentiments appeared to correspond strictly with those which had been delivered to us by the British commissioners. He intimated, however, that it would be better for us to address the note which should contain a reservation of our rights to indemnity, to him than to the commissioners, to which we assented, as we could not perceive that that circumstance would make any difference in the case. We are engaged in preparing this paper, which we expect to present to his lordship in a few days, though we fear it will not be ready in time to enable us to obtain his answer to it to be forwarded to you with this despatch. We shall not fail to communicate to you, without delay, whatever may occur on this subject. We think it our duty, however, to add, that we do not wish our government to be too sanguine in the expectation of a satisfactory result. 'In the deliberations on this subject, it may, perhaps, be