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Relations with Great Britain.

night before Mr. Pict's death, an order was sent ment I was also convinced that the manner in to the suitable department to report the number which I had opposed the measure of his Governof American vessels which had been seized, and ment, had produced no improper effect. The condemned, or dismissed, with the damages inci- Message is considered by the public in general as dent thereto, which looked as if a change was con- furnishing satisfactory proof that our Government templated even under him. The disasters on the will vindicate its rights with firmness, in case this continent tended to show the folly of the measure, Government imposes op it the necessity. There to which the eyes of the new Ministry will doubt- seems to be no difference of opinion that, in case less be more open. The present is a very impori. Ja misunderstanding took place between ihe two ant epoch in our concerns with this country and countries, it was attributable to this Government, Spain, as to the commerce which we are to enjoy and not to ours. In consideration of the effect with the West Indies after a peace. There would which the extent of our commerce, as heretofore be cause of regret if that event took place before enjoyed, had on the fortunes of this country in they were adjusted. I have heard nothing from impairing its own resources, or rather was supGeneral Armstrong, or Mr. Bowdoin, for more posed to have, and in supplying the wants of its than two months past. I shall do everything in enemies, the party in favor of the sentiments of my power to avail myself of the favorable oppor- the Ministry was a strong one, as a measure of tunity which is thus presented, by a concurrence policy. But there did not appear to be any one, of extraordinary events, to place our affairs with or at most very few, who approved the manner in this country on an advantageous footing, and I which that measure was introduced, being withhope not without effect. The considerations out notice to our Government, and of course a which made it improper for me to sail to the Uni-surprise on our people ; under the circumstance, ted States at any time since my return to Eng. too, of an existing negotiation, which made it land, seem now to operate with peculiar force. As more highly reprehensible. I expect in a day or the seizure of our vessels had then commenced, two to give you more full information respecting I could not withdraw without great compromit- the arrangement of the new Ministry, and of the ment of our Government and myself, without re- consequences likely to result from the change. monstrating against it. And, after taking that I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, your step, I could not withdraw and leave the business very obedient servant, unfinished, especially after the strong opposition

JAMES MONROE. which I made to it ; which I thought the nature of the transaction merited, and the state of public

No. 41. affairs in Europe justified. Thus engaged, I have felt it imperiously my duty to pursue the business

Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison. in all its windings. I shall, therefore, neither

LONDON, February 12, 1806. abandon the ground, nor relax in my exertions to Sir: The arrangement of the new Ministry accomplish the object till something conclusive is was completed, and its members installed in their done, unless the President may think proper to respective offices, in the course of the last week. consigo the trust 10 some other person. "I fear It makes, as you will find by the list, a thorough that the expectation of my return to the United change of character, as I hope it will of principle, Staies, which was authorized by my first letters in its measures, at least in respect to us. It is well after my return here, as by those of an earlier known that the King yielded io this change with date, has prevented your communicating to me extreme reluctance; that he offered to supply the your sentiments on these important topics, as you chief place, which had become vacant by the otherwise might have done. I fatier myself

, death of Mr. Pitt, by Lord Hawkesbury, who did however, that you will have concluded from ihose not seem unwilling to accept it, and in other rewhich followed, as from the nature and course spects to preserve the power in the same hands, which this business has taken, that I should be with a view, as is to be inferred, of pursuing the detained through the Winter; and, in conse- same system of measures; but the other members quence, that I shall soon have the pleasure to re- of the late Ministry seemed disposed to retire, ceive such communications from you. As the and as the opposition was not to be broken, and health of my family has been improved by the external causes pressed with great force, the late excursion into the country, I expect them in change could no longer be resisted. The measure town in a few days; since now that ihe Ministry itself being resolved on, the King had the pru. is about to change, and there is a fair prospect of dence not to embarrass it with conditions that accomplishing something to advantage, I do not were sure to be ill-received, or not accepted. He wish to be absent a moment.

assented at once to commit the administration to The President's Message to Congress has pro- the opposition, and authorized Lord Grenville and duced a very good effect here. I have reason to Mr. Fox to form and pre-ent to him an arrangethink that it was not ill-received by the Government for the purpose. The only obstacle which ment, as, at the levee and drawing-room, I was was understood to have arisen afterward, respectshown rather more than usual attention by the ed the continuance of the Duke of York in the King and Queen soon after it appeared, and have chief command of the forces, which was objected experienced from Lord Mulgrave, in an interview to by these gentlemen. That obstacle, however, of ceremony at his own house since, as I had be. was finally removed, by the King's assenting that fore at the Court, much civility. By his deport- the Duke might be assisted, or perhaps controlled,

10th Con. Ist SESS.-77

Relations with Great Britain.

by a military council. The new Ministry is com- ward the United States in the course of the pres. posed of characters who have, till of late, been ent war was as consonant to their principles and opposed to each other; from which circumstance, wishes in the most important points as they could as from a knowledge that the King must retain a desire it to be; that on that ground I left the bustrong prejudice against some of them, it is be- siness, when I went to Spain, in the expectation lieved by many that it will not remain long in that no change in the existing relations between power. The presumption is not an unreasonable the countries would be made in my absence. I ope, though there are many considerations to au- assured him that I was astonished to find, on my thorize a different conclusion. It is not likely that relurn, that on the contrary those relations had the causes which formed the union will soon be experienced a most essential change; that an atdone away. It is more probable that they will tack had been made on our commerce on a prinacquire greater force. From present appearances, ciple which had heretofore been so completely those which are external cannot well fail to do it, seitled between our Goveruments, and abandoned and they must tend to produce a correspondeni by his, as to have been a case for which no proeffect internally. If the war continues between vision was proposed in the project referred to. I this country and France, or the present rivalry in explained to him the ground of this remark, and peace, this Government will be compelled, to pre- informed him that I had written several noles to serve its independence, to arm the whole nation, Lord Mulgrave on the subject, to which I had not whence the people must unavoidably have more been able to obtain an answer, on the main quesinfluence in its measures. Such a course of things tion, though he seemed desirous, by keeping it would be apt, not only to preserve the union which open, in his short replies, that I should not conalready exists between many who have been hith- sider it as decided against the United States. I erto opposed to each other, but to strengthen it could not avoid intimating to him that the friendand even to increase the weight and considera: ly disposition which our Government had showa tion of those who were viewed for many years had been most ungenerously requited by his; past with most jealousy, and now admitted into a that it seemed as if it had pursued a just and parlicipation of power with the greatest reluct-friendly conduct toward the United States till the ance, in the direction of public affairs.

moment that the new coalition was formed, gave As soon as Mr. Fox look possession of his of the present blow when the prospect was favorfice, he requested an interview with the foreign able to success, and kept the business in susMinisters, which took place yesterday. We were pense to see the result of affairs on the Contiintroduced separately. “As soon as the ceremony nent and in the United States. He heard me of the interview had passed, I observed that I with much attention and apparent interest; intipresumed he had been too short a term in office mated that he had been accused of beiog too to have made himself acquainted with what had friendly to America, and when I spoke of the occurred between his predecessors and myself, treaty with Russia, he observed that he had more especially the last one. He said he had not thought that the arrangement made by it was a had time to read the papers, though he presumed good one, though I did not understand him as be had a general idea on some of the topics. In pledging himself by the remark to its conditions, respect to the immediate question, he asked whe- Í requested that he would make himself master, ther I had made to them, or they to me, any pro- as soon as in his power, of the correspondence position ? I gave a short sketch of the part which between Lord Mulgrave and myself, and give me our respective Governments had acted since the an interview, which he promised. I am happy commencement of the present war toward each to add, on a view of all the circumstances, that I other. I told him that my Government had been think the prospect of arranging our affairs with ready to form a commercial treaty with his on the this Government, especially that one which reexpiration of the late one; that it had agreed to specis our trade with the colonies of its enemies, postpone it to accommodate his, and with a desire on satisfactory terms, a very favorable one. It is that the arrangements which might be formed, certain that nothing more favorable was, or could being entered into at a time when each had suffi- reasonably have been expected from the first incieni leisure to attend to the object, and founded serview with the presepi Minister. on a liberal view of their respective interests, I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, your might place their relations on such a footing as very obedient servant, to secure their friendship from interruption, at

JAMES MONROE. least at an early day; that in the same spirit it had sought to put out of the way certain causes

No. 42. of a transient nature which might possibly create misunderstanding in the course of the war, such as

Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison. the impressment of our seamnen, blockades by proc

LONDON, February 28, 1806. lamation, &c., according to a project which had Sir: Presuming that it may be satisfactory to been presented to Lord Hawkesbury, and to both the President, and useful to be made acquainted his successors; that those gentlemen never gave without delay with every incident that occurs, any definitive answer to that project, and urged, I have the pleasure to send you a copy of a late as a cause of their delay, the other and pressing pote to Mr. Fox, on our concerns in his hands. engagements of their Government, with which I In our first interview he promised to examine the was well acquainted, as also that its conduct tv-papers, and give me another at an early day; but

Relations with Great Britain.

as I did not hear from him within the time I had has taken, and the state in which you receive it. expected, I called again, when he informed me Aware of the abuses which had been practised, that he had not yet been able to take up the Amer- in respect to neutral rights and seamen in the ican papers, but should soon do it. He asked in last war, and of their injurious effect on the interwhat shape the most interesting topic presented est of both countries, my Goveroment was very itself, alluding, as I uoderstood, to the late seizures? desirous to prevent a repetition of them in the I replied by a complaint on the part of the United present one. With that view, and by its order, I Staies of a violation by Great Britain of the rela- had the honor to propose to Lord Hawkesbury, tions subsisting between the countries; and I soon after the commencement of the war, an arillustrated the remark by a sketch of the con- rangement by convention of these interests, on duct of his Government in the most material cir- such just and fair conditions as was presumed cumstances. To the merits of the case he said would have been readily acceded to. You will but little. What he did 'say, however, was con- see by the project which I then presented to his ciliating; and he repeated, what he had said in Lordship at his request, that the object was strictly the former interview, his earnest desire to see the to prevent abuses and the ill consequences inciaffairs of the two countries placed on the most dent to them, not to acquire any advantage to the friendly footing. He assured me that I should United States by the establishment of controverthear from him as soon as he had read the papers, ed principles in the one, or unreasonable pretenwhich he would do without delay. I intimated sions in ihe other case. In respect to neutral that, by giving him a summary of the whole, I rights, it was proposed to adopt beiween the Govmight perhaps facilitate his research, to which he ernments, in such cases as were more liable to assented. It was on that ground thai I addressed abuse, certain principles or rules of conduct which him the enclosed note.

Great Britain had already assented to in her I have since received your letter of January 13, Treaty with Russia in 1801. As those Powers in which you promise to send me an examina- had entered into that treaty for the express pure tion of the British principle lately published, the pose of defining the law of nations in the cases to memorials of the merchants of our principal which it applied, and Great Britain had adopted towns, and other documents illustrative of the its conditions afterwards in separate conventions subject. I shall be happy to receive these, and with Denmark and Sweden, with the same view, shall certainly endeavor to draw from them all it was concluded that her Government would not the aid which they can furnish. The letter re- hesitate to admit its doctrine, or to observe its inferred to in the commencement of that of the 13th junctions with other Powers. The same motive has not come to hand, nor has any of a later date was felt and respected in the proposition which I than December 4. I shall be attentive to the in- had the honor to make in respect to seamen. The junction contained in the last paragraph of that sensibility of the Government, and indeed of the of the 13th.

whole nation, had been subjected to great and As the subject is now fairly before the new almost continual excitement by the abuses which ministry, who seem to be well disposed in the had been committed in that line, on the high seas, business, permit me to submit it to consideration in the islands, and sometimes in the ports, of the whether it may not be better that no measure United States. The sons of respectable citizens should be definitively adopted, or, if already adopt had been snatched from them, many of whom ed, be executed till a fair experiment be made of were doomed never to return, to be slain in wars what may be expected of it. By suspending what to which their country was not a party, or othermight have been contemplated in another view, wise perish in a foreign service. No rule had and even necessary, it may tend to conciliate been established by the Government to discrimithose now in power, and be productive of good. nate between American and British seamen, a

I have the honor to be, with great respect and thing not easily done by the most impartial, and consideration, your obedient servant,

the commanders of many of His Majesty's ships JAMES MONROE. of war and privateers, especially the latter, ac

knowledged none but their own judgments in

making the discrimination. The highest AmeriPrince's STREET, Feb. 25, 1806. can documents were often either not looked at, Sir: I have the honor to transmit you a note or utterly disregarded. It was evidently improof the papers which are material in my corres- per that an interest of a nature so delicate and pondence withyour predecessors on certain in- important, one which is so intimately connected teresting topics, which have been for some time with the sovereignty, and independence of the depending between our Governments, and are nation, should be lett longer in such a state of opstill unseliled. These are, 1st. The rights of pression. My Government felt that it would be neutral Powers in certain specified cases; 2d. The wanting in what it owed to its character as in its impressment of American and desertion of British duty, if it did not endeavor to put an end to a seamen; and 3d. The boundary between the practice so injurious, and at the same time so deUnited States and the British possessions in grading. It was, therefore, one of the objects of America. The papers referred to will, I presume, the project referred to, 10 provide a remedy for sufficiently illustraie these topics. I shall, how. that evil. But it was understood that Great ever, be permitted to accompany them with some Britain complained likewise of an injury in reremarks, to explain the course which the business spect to her seamen, though of a different kind

Relations with Great Britain.

for that also, it was proposed to provide an ade with other nations on a footing which was perquate remedy. In protecting American citizens fectly satisfactory to their Government. At my refrom impressment, my Government was far from turn, however, the scene was completely changed. desiring to extend its protection to any one who A system of seizure and condemnation of Amerihad not a just claim to it. It was ready to meet can vessels had been commenced on a principle the injury complained of by Great Britain, and respecting which, it was presumed, that no new to suppress it by the most effectual means in its discussion could ever arise; one which was conpower. These propositions were neither accepted sidered as having been so completely settled benor rejected by Lord Hawkesbury, though I think iween the Governments, that, in the project above myself perfectly correct in stating that nothing referred to, it was not contemplated to make a occurred in our conferences, to justify an infer- provision for it: a principle which had been reence that he thought them unreasonable. They nounced by Great Britain in her treaty with the were postponed from time to time at his instance, United States in 1794 ; which had been condemoand finally transferred to Lord Harrowby, bis ed by the Commissioners who sat onder that successor. I revived the subject immediately treaty; which had been renounced by the Court with Lord Harrowby, to whom I also submitted, of Admiralty in a subsequent decision; by Lord at the same time, a proposition relative to boun- Hawkesbury in a formal communication with my daries. It happened that Lord Hawkesbury and predecessor in 1801; by the treaty with Russia in Mr. King had made a convention on this latterlihe same year; and, what is perhaps still more subject within a few days of the time, when one conclusive, by the Government, in ihe sanction was also concluded between the United States which had been given to that commerce for the and France, whereby the province of Louisiana two preceding years of the war. I could not was ceded to those States. As it was not known otherwise than be much surprised at a proceeding to Lord Hawkesbury or Mr. King, when they which I considered objectionable in so many formed their treaty, that one had been concluded views, and hastened to remonstrate against it to with France, it was impossible that the conditions Lord Mulgrave in several notes whose dates are of the French Treaty should be in any degree af- annexed. "To these his Lordship never honored fected by that with Great Britain. It was, how me with a conclusive answer, with one which ever, apprehended that, if the British Treaty acknowledged the measure an act of the Governshould be ratified by the President and Senate, ment, or disclaimed it on its part. The proceedafter the conditions of the other were known, ing has been highly injurious to the United without providing against it, it might lay the States; about one hundred and lwenty of their foundation for such a pretension. It was there vessels have been seized, several of which were fore, proposed to modify the convention in such condemned, all taken from their course, detained, a manner as to preclude a claim which would be and otherwise subjected to beavy losses and damequally unjust and unauthorized. As this subject ages. To the immediate sufferers it has been disis fully explained in my note to Lord Harrowby, astrous; but the ill effect has not been confined to of the 5th September, 1804, it is unnecessary to them only. It has been severely felt in the genenter further into it at present. The conduct of eral commerce of the country. Lord Harrowby in this business was essentially I have thought it my duty to give you above a the same with that of his predecessor. It was sketch of the several topics depending between postponed from time to time for the consideration our Governments, which are submitted to your of the Cabinet, whose decision I was taught to consideration. They are all of a nature very inexpect, but never received. I had been ordered teresting, as I am persuaded you will find by a by my Government, before Lord Harrowby came perusal of the documents reserred to. But ihe into office. to repair to Spain on a special mission, late seizure and condemnation of American vesas soon as the business with his Lordship should sels

, are acts which have proved so highly injuribe concluded. Of that fact, after waiting some ous to the United States, and have so essentially time, I gave his Lordship information, in the hope changed the relations which subsisted between of promoting despatch. Still, however, the busi- the countries, that they will, I flatter myself, obpess was delayed, the Cabinet, as I was informed, tain from you a more immediate and particular having come to no decision on any point, till attention. 'I beg you to be assured that I shall be finally it was agreed between us, to postpone the happy to have it in my power to transmit to my whole until my return from Spain, when it should Government, without delay, such communicabe resumed and concluded. I left Great Britain tions on your part, which may serve not only to on that mission in October, 1804, and returned in heal the wound which has been thus unexpectedly July, 1805.

received, but to promote in other respects, by suiiAi the epoch referred to the relations between able arrangements, the reciprocal and permanent the two countries were of a character the most interests of both nations and the best understandfriendly. Not an American vessel had been con- ing between their Governments. demned on any principle which was relied on by I beg you to accept the assurance of the high my Government, and only one that I knew of on consideration with which I have the honor to be, any principle whatever. Their commerce with sir, your most obedient and most humble servant. each other was, as it always will be when left to its

JAMES MONROE. natural course, most flourishing; and that which The Right Hon. C. J. Fox, &c. the United States claimed, as a neutral Power,

Relations with Great Britain.

No. 43.

be duly notified that the negotiation has failed. Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison.

Such a suspension will be deemed a sufficient

mark of respect to those in the Ministry who are LONDON, March 31, 1806.

disposed to a fair accommcdation, and the attiSIR: Your letter of the 13th January is the tude will, in my opinion, tend to aid their counlast I have received. The pamphlet enclosed with cils in producing that effect. it has been republished here, and I have this day I am, sir, with great respect and esteem, your transmitted a copy of it to Mr. Fox, with whom very obedient servant, I had an interview on the 28th. I had expected,

JAMES MONROE. from what passed between us on the 11th, that before this much progress would have been made

No. 44. in the adjustment of our affairs; I am, however, sorry to add that this has not been the case. In

Mr. Monroe to Mr. Madison. the late interview I complained of the delay which

London, April 3, 1806. had taken place, more especially as the court con- Sir: As it appeared by what occurred in my tinued to condemn our vessels on the principle it interview with Mr. Fox on the 28th ultimo, that had heretofore done. Mr. Fox said that, till the some weeks at least would elapse before I could business was arranged, he presumed the court hope to bring our business to any conclusion, I would be consistent, but gave reason to expect thought it proper to make a formal application to that the condemnations would be suspended. him on the 31st, for an order to suspend the sei. He assured me explicitly that the late decis- zure and condemnation of our vessels on the ion was not to be considered as an evidence of the principle of the late decrees. I had not requested disposition of the present Ministry. I endeavor-ihis in explicit terms before, because I hoped from ed io fix with him the conditions of our adjust- what passed in our first interview, that the whole ment of that question, but found that he was not affair would have been concluded much sooner. prepared to conclude anything. The tenor of his I was fearful, too, that if the demand should be conversation, however, was perfectly consistent granted, it would become a reason why nothing with what he had said before on it, as heretofore more should be done. This latter reason, it is communicated to you. The interview terminated true, still remains in some degree in force, if, in. in his assuriog me that he should devote the East- deed, it had any weight at first

. It was, however

, er holidays to a full examination of the whole outweighed by the consideration that the seizures subject, after which he would be prepared to meet were continued, and that I ought not, on a mere me on it, and that he was persuaded we might speculative point of expedience, as io the effect conclude it in a month or six weeks from that which such an application might have on the gentime; that he would certainly give it all the des- eral question, to delay any longer my utmost ex. patch in his power. He intimated that if, indeed, ertion to put an end to the practice. a peace should take place, of which there was ai There were also some other considerations present but little prospect, he was, nevertheless, which prevented my making the application desirous of settling this business amicably with sooner, which had ceased, if they did not furnish the United States, with a view to preserve future motives, for making it in the present stage. The harmony. I told him that we expected payment new Ministry had a just claim to sufficient time for the spoliations. He said that that was a very to become acquainted with the merits of the quesserious and difficult point, but gave no opinion on tion, and even to sound the Parliament on it, beit. Finding that nothing could be done conclu- fore it could be expected to take any step in the sively, I had only to assure him that I should be business. Had I made the demand at an earlier ready to meet him whenever he might be pre- period I thought I should incur the imputation of pared, which I hoped would be immediately after a want of candor, without a reasonable pros: ihe holidays. From what I can discern, I think pect of hastening a decision, unless, indeed, by that there is much reason to believe that Mr. Fox urging it unseasonably, I might promote an has the best disposition to settle our differences on improper one. To Mr. Fox, especially, much just priociples; but it inust be recollected that attention was due in the mode of proceeding, on some other of the members of the Cabinet have account of his character and principles in refernot always thought with him on such topics. On ence to our country, which are known to be just the mosi deliberate reflection, I am convinced and liberal. It seemed probable that, by respectthat too much reliance ought not to be placed on ing that sentiment towards him in the measures these favorable appearances, and that there is taken, his feelings. would be gratified and his cause to fear that if the Congress should separate miod conciliated, which could not otherwise than without adopting a system of coercive policy, produce a good effect. His exertions on topics in calculated to meet the most unfavorable result, which the United States were interested form an their forbearance may contribute to the disappoint- important trait in his political life, and it was evment of our reasonable expectations. By this, ident, in our first and subsequent interviews, that however, I do not wish to imply that measures he looked back on them with interest and satisof the kind al!uded to should be carried into faction. This therefore, formed a special motive prompt execution. I mean only that the attitude for giving time and acting with delicacy in the should be taken, but its operation be suspended, business. At this period, however, the applicaby suitable powers to the President, till he shall tion seemed to be free from all these objections,

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