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We then communicated to him fully all the circumstances on which that remark was founded, particularly the nature of our instructions relative to impressments, the know. ledge which the British commissioners had of them; the entire suspension of the negotiation at a certain period, on the failure with the cabinet of a project of an article for the regulation of that point; the considerations which induced us afterwards to proceed in the negotiation, founded on the note of the British commissioners of the 8th of November, the nature of which we fully explained ; and finally the condition on which we did proceed in the business, that is, that our government would not be bound to ratify the treaty, if it should not be satisfied with the substitute for such an article offered in that note. He asked us, in case the treaty should not be ratified, in what state our government wished to place the relations of the two countries. We replied that it was its wish that the subject of impressment should be resumed and arranged : we explained to hiin the nature of the article, on the failure of which the negotiation had been suspended, and showed that Great Britain would gain by it much more than an equivalent for the forbearance of the practice of which we complained, independent of the other good effects likely to result from it. On this point he gave no opinion, but asked what the relation should be, in case no such agreement as we desired should take place respecting im pressments. We replied that, in such a case, it would be the desire of our government that no treaty should be concluded, but that the relations should be placed informally on the most friendly footing ; adhering, in the explanations which we gave him on this head, to the ideas contained in your letter of February 3d, but without mentioning the ac{ual receipt of such a letter. He said he was glad to find, that our government looked in all events to amicable arrangement. We told him that we had not heard from you since the treaty had arrived in America ; but that full instructions would doubtless be forwarded to us, as soon after that event as possible. He then observed that, under present circumstances, he thought it would be better to let the whole business rest, as it would be impossible for either party to move in it with advantage. He promised, in case the officer above mentioned brought any thing maVOL. VI.


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terial, to inform us of it, and to appoint a time for another interview, which however he has not since done. We enclose a copy of his note of the next day. : It is impossible for us to give you a satisfactory opinion as to the prospect of arranging this important business with the present ministry. All the facts on which such an opinion should be formed, not previously known to you, are stated above. As, however, we are not perfectly aware of the consequences of any act on our part, which might tend to lessen the obligation of this government to ratify the treaty, in case it should be ratified by the Prestdent and Senate, we have thought it best, (especially as Mr. Canning, after promising us an appointment, has shown no disposition towards another interview) to leave things in their present state until we hear from you. We flatter ourselves, that we shall soon have that satisfaction, as we see by the gazettes that Mr. Purviance must have arrived at Washington about the 12th of March. In the mean time, we have placed our affairs on a footing the most favourable for any course which our government may take, and we beg you to be assured that we shall, with the ut. most zeal and promptitude, adopt that which shall be thought the most expedient. We have the honour to be, &c.



P. S. We are preparing a letter to you, explanatory of the project of a supplemental convention mentioned above, which will be forwarded in a few days. A copy of the project of the British commissioners will be enclosed. It is not our intention to proceed, even if this government should be so disposed, to do any thing conclusive upon the subjects embraced by it, until the views of the President shall be known to us relative to such of the topicks as were not contemplated by the instructions originally given to the mission

London, April 25, 1807. SIR,–We had the honour to inform you, in our letter of the 22d inst. that the British commissioners having proposed to us to endeavour to adjust the terms of a supplemental convention relative to boundary, to a trade by sea between the United States and the British northern colonies, and to the subjects reserved for future explanation by the 2d article of our treaty, we had resumed our conferences with them, and had made considerable progress in digest. ing the plan of such a convention, when the business was interrupted by an entire change of the king's ministers. It is the purpose of this despatch concisely to explain that negotiation and its objects.

After many interviews and much discussion, the British commissioners at length presented to us the project, of which a copy is now transmitted, differing in many essential particulars from that which had been originally offered on our part.

The first article in our plan, which, like the first article in their project, defined the connecting line between the mouth of the St. Croix, as heretofore settled by commissioners, and the bay of Fundy, was copied from the convention of Mr. King and lord Hawkesbury, and, adopting the ship channel between Deer Island and Campo Bello Island, first included and then excepted the latter. The British commissioners alleged that the article in that shape accomplished its object by an useless inconsistency; that it gave a line of property and jurisdiction beyond its own views, merely to furnish occasion for an exception of almost equal importance with the whole residue of the subject; and that the navigation of the east passage being secured to the United States by a precise provision, the whole effect of the first article of the convention of 1803 would be produced at once by running the line along the middle of the west passage. They therefore proposed an article framed on that principle, to which no objection of any weight has occurred to us. We do not perceive that in substance this article is different from the other, while it is more simple and intelligible in its plan. Even if the commencement of one of the parallel east lines, within which, by the treaty of peace, the United States are enti

tled to all islands within twenty leagues of any part of our shores (not within the limits of Nova Scotia) should be adinitted to depend upon the channel through which our line from the St. Croix is conducted to the bay of Fundy, it would probably be indifferent to the United States whether the east or the west channel were adopted. Grand Menan seems to be considerably southward of an east line drawn even from West Quoddy Flead, and we know or no other island, taking into consideration the exception in the treaty of peace, to the title of which the commencement of that line can now be important.

To the 5th article, regulating our boundary in the northwest, which has encountered much zealous opposition here, even in the form suggested by the British commissioners, from the prejudices, supposed interests, and mistaken view of many persons, an explanation of some of which will be found in an idle paper written by lord Selkirk, (of which a copy is enclosed) we finally objected, that the division line between our respective territories in that quarter ought to be drawn from the most north-western point of the Lake of the Woods, due north or south, until it shall intersect the parallel of 49 degrees, and from the point of such intersection due west along, and with that parallel. This was agreed to by the British commissioners. .

We objected also to the terms defining the extension of the westline, viz. “ as far as the territories of the United States extend in that quarter.” It appeared to us that by these words a great portion of the subject was in danger of being set at large; that the provision would, perhaps, do no more than establish between the parties the commencement of the line, and might of course leave it open to Great Britain to found a claim hereafter to any part of the tract of country to the westward of that commencement, upon the notions of occupancy or conquest, which you will find stated by lord Selkirk, in the paper above mentioned, or upon some future purchase from Spain, as intimated by others. We therefore proposed to omit the words in question altogether, which the concluding proviso appeared to render wholly unnecessary, even upon the ideas of the British commissioners. This was not agreed to; but it was said there would be no objection to give to this part of the description a character of reciprocity, so as to make it read was far as their said respective territories extend in that

quarter.” A copy is enclosed of our plan of a fifth article, as also of the same article which the description above quoted merely made reciprocal.

It is proper to observe in this place that the project of the British commissioners contemplates, what of course had not entered into our plan, a permanent concession on our part of access through our territories in the north western quarter to the river Mississippi, for the purpose of enabling British subjects to enjoy the navigation of that river, as secured to them by the treaty of peace, and the treaty of 1794, and the like access to the rivers falling into the Mississippi from the westward. The desired concession however amounts simply to a right of passage, and is claimed, not only as an equivalent for such a permanent adjustment of boundary as is here thought, or affected to be thought, highly advantageous to us, and injurious to Great Britain, but (as regards access to the Mississippi) upon this idea, among others, that the treaty of peace, wbich secures to Great Britain the free navigation of that river, appears to have looked to it, in common with the treaty of 1763, as over-reaching our northern limit, and consequently as being accessible to the British in the territory of the Hudson's Bay. It is probable that this demand, so far as respects the waters falling into the Mississippi from the westward, would not be persisted in, if no other difficulty should present itself.

The 7th article of the project is wholly that of the British commissioners, and proposes to extend, as you were apprised by our letter of the 3d of January would be attempted by them for the term of the treaty, the privileges of trade and inland navigation, secured by the 3d article of the treaty of 1794, to the territories of the contracting parties to the north and south of the dividing line established by the 5th article, in other words, to Louisiana and the territories of the Hudson's Bay company, with the exception only of the actual settlements of that company and their immediate neighbourhood. This, if agreed to, must undoubts edly be considered as a concession to Great Britain ; although the proposed arrangement throws open to us for the first time the territories of the Hudson's Bay; although. they still insist that their admission into the trade of Louis siana is a necessary consequence of our acquisition of it, coupled with the third article of the treaty of 1794 ; and

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