Page images

CORRESPONDENCE between Great Britain and The United States, relative to the Non-Ratification by the latter of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, signed at London, 31st December, 1806.

July to October, 1807.

(1.)-Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney to Mr. Secretary Canning. London, 24th July, 1807.

THE Undersigned, Commissioners Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of The United States of America, have the honour to inform Mr. Canning, that they are instructed by the President of The United States to propose to His Majesty's Government, a renewal of the Negotiation relative to the objects of the Mission of the Undersigned, with a view to a more satisfactory result than is found in the Instrument signed on the 31st of December last (A), by His Majesty's Plenipotentiaries, and those of The United States.

The Undersigned are persuaded that His Majesty's Government will see in this measure, an unquestionable proof of the sincere desire of the President to place the friendly relations of the 2 Countries beyond the reach of those misunderstandings, which either the absence or the inadequacy of precise arrangements on subjects of the greatest delicacy and importance might from time to time occasion.

It is under the influence of this solicitude, that the President has charged the Undersigned to express to His Majesty's Government, his unfeigned regret that the Instrument above-mentioned does not appear to him to be such as he can approve; and at the same time to declare his entire confidence that the just and liberal sentiments which animate His Majesty's Government, corresponding with those which belong to the Government of The United States, cannot fail to lead, without delay or difficulty, to such an issue of the Negotiation which is now proposed, as shall be suited in all respects to the rights and interests of both Nations, and therefore calculated to insure a long continuance of the friendship which so happily subsists between them.

The Undersigned have already had the honour to present to Mr. Canning a Paper, which, taken in connexion with a Project on the subject of Impressment, and another on the subject of certain claims to Compensation by American Citizens, presented by the Undersigned at the same time, will be found to exhibit a complete view of the alterations which the Instrument above-mentioned is deemed by the President to require. They forbear to trouble Mr. Canning with a recapitulation of the details which these Papers contain; but there are some explanations upon the topics of Impressment and Compensation which they do not furnish, and which it is therefore incumbent upon the Undersigned to avail themselves of this occasion to give.

It was one of the primary objects of the Mission of the Undersigned to adjust with His Majesty's Government a formal and explicit Arrangement relative to a practice by British Ships of War, which has excited in a very great degree the sensibility of the American People, and claimed the anxious attention of their Government. The practice alluded to is that of visiting on the main Ocean the Merchant Vessels of The United States, navigable under the American Flag, for the purpose of subjecting their Crews to a hasty and humiliating inquisition, and impressing as British Seamen such of the Mariners as upon that inquisition the Visiting Officer declares to be so. The effect of this practice is, that the Flag of an Independent Power is dishonoured, and one of the most essential rights of its Sovereignty violated; that American Citizens, either mistaken for British Subjects, or assumed to be such without inquiry, are forced from the quiet pursuits of a lawful commerce into the severe and dangerous service of a Foreign Military Navy, to expose their lives in fighting against those with whoin their Country is at Peace; and that the Merchant Vessels of The United States are frequently thus stripped of so large a portion of their Hands, before their voyages have been performed, as to bring into the most imminent peril, and sometimes to produce the actual loss of the Vessels, their Cargoes, and their remaining Crews. It cannot be thought surprising that a practice like this should act with peculiar force upon the feelings of those whom it oppresses, and that the sensation should extend itself to their Countrymen and their Govern


The Government of The United States has accordingly made this pretension the subject of frequent discussion with Great Britain, and when an Extraordinary Mission to His Majesty's Government was last year determined on, it was one of the Instructions to the Undersigned, to whom the duties of the Mission were confided, to make no Treaty which should not provide for that object. In the first stages of the Negotiation which followed that Mission, the Undersigned were led to indulge a confident expectation that such a Provision should be obtained. At length, however, the rejection by His Majesty's Government of a Project of an Article on this point, which, without touching the question of right, offered on the part of The United States an effectual equivalent for the mere forbearance of the practice, having extinguished all hope of an immediate adjustment of this subject by Treaty; the Undersigned felt that they were called upon by candour, as well as by their duty to their Government, to inform the British Commissioners that, the Project relative to Impressment having failed, they had no power to conclude a Treaty upon the other points which had been discussed between them, so as to bind the Government of The United States. The Undersigned did accordingly give them this information in the most explicit terms, and the Negotiation was in

consequence for a short time suspended. It was soon afterwards, however, suggested by His Majesty's Commissioners that, if this topic should be expressly reserved for future Conventional Arrangement, and a pledge given to The United States for resuming the consideration of it at a convenient season with that view, and if, in the mean time, such an informal understanding should be substituted, as in its practical effect would remove the vexation complained of, it might perhaps be yet possible to conduct the Negotiation to a result which would not be unacceptable to the respective Governments; and in pursuance of this suggestion, the British Commissioners presented to the Undersigned, on the 8th day of November last, the Official Note of which a Copy is herewith enclosed (C). The Undersigned transmitted to their Government, for its consideration, a Copy of this Note, together with a statement of the circumstances connected with it, and, without giving it their sanction, agreed in the mean time to concur with the British Commissioners, as they were invited to do, in an effort to adjust the Stipulations of a Treaty upon the remaining objects of their Mission, and to leave the effect of what should be adjusted to their Government.

It appears that the President of The United States considers this collateral proceeding, upon a concern of such paramount importance, as unsuitable to the nature of it, as well in the mode as in its terms. In this opinion, the President does but continue to respect the considerations which heretofore induced him to believe that an arrangement upon this point ought to stipulate with precision against the Practice in question, and that the manner of it would properly be that which should be chosen for the arrangement of the other points of discussion; and in the Instructions which, in conformity with that opinion, he has now given to the Undersigned, he does but manifest his reliance upon the spirit of justice and amity, which he is assured His Majesty's Government will bring to the renewed consideration of a subject so interesting to the rights and feelings of a friendly Nation, for such an adjustment of this, as well as of every other Question belonging to the relations of the 2 Countries, as shall confirm their dispositions to mutual kindness, and promote the happiness and prosperity of both.

The subject of Compensation will perhaps be sufficiently explained by the enclosed Copies of 2 Notes (B and E) from the Undersigned to Lord Holland and Lord Auckland, and to Lord Howick.

It will appear from the last of these Notes, that this subject, for which the projected Treaty did not provide, was not to be affected by it; but, on the contrary, that the rights of The United States and the claims of their Citizens were understood to be reserved for future adjustment, as completely as if no Treaty had been made; and it will occur to Mr. Canning, that the Project of an Article on this point which they had the honour to leave with him at the late interview,

is in the spirit of that understanding, and is besides so entirely free from objection, that no motive is likely to exist against the adoption of it.

There is another subject to which the Undersigned have the orders of the President to invite the attention of His Majesty's Government, as affecting materially and giving a new and unexpected character to the proposed Treaty. They allude to the written Declaration (D), relative to the French Decree of the 21st of November last, by which His Majesty's Plenipotentiaries accompanied their Signature of the Treaty; a Declaration which, in its actual form, creates unnecessary embarrassments in the way of an acceptance of the Treaty by The United States.

The Undersigned persuade themselves that, as this proceeding, to which no sanction was given on their part, imposed on The United States no new obligation, and could only be intended to declare that, in siguing or ratifying the Treaty, it was understood by Great Britain that nothing contained in it would be a bar to any measure which, if no such Treaty had been signed, would be lawful as a measure of retaliation against her Enemy, and as the occasion which produced it does not now appear to exist as then supposed, it will not be thought that anything is sacrificed by withdrawing it as unnecessary.

The Undersigned request, &c.,

The Right Hon. George Canning.


(Enclosure A.)—TREATY of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, between Great Britain and The United States, signed at London, 31st December, 1806. (With the Alterations thereof proposed by the President of The United States.)

His Britannic Majesty, and the United States of America, being equally desirous to promote and perpetuate the good understanding and friendship which happily subsist between the Subjects of the United Kingdom and the Citizens of The United States, and for that purpose to regulate the Commerce and Navigation between their respective Countries, Territories, and People, on the basis of reciprocity and mutual convenience, have respectively named their Plenipotentiaries, and have given to them Full Powers to make and conclude a Treaty of Amity, Navigation, and Commerce; that is to say:

His Britannic Majesty has named for his Plenipotentiaries, Henry Richard Vassall Lord Holland, one of His Majesty's Privy Council and Lord Keeper of His Majesty's Privy Seal; and William Lord Auckland, one of His Majesty's Privy Council, and President of the Committee of Council for all matters of Trade and Foreign Plantations: and the President of The United States, by and with the advice

of the Senate thereof, hath appointed for their Plenipotentiaries, James Monroe and William Pinkney, Commissioners Extraordinary and Plenipotentiaries; who, after having exchanged their respective Full Powers, have agreed on the following Articles:

ART. I. There shall be a firm, inviolable, and universal Peace and a true and sincere Friendship between His Britannic Majesty, his Heirs and Successors, and the United States of America, and between their respective Countries, Territories, Cities, Towns, and People of every degree, without exception of Persons or Places.

II. It is agreed, that the several Articles of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, between His Majesty and The United States, made at London on the 19th day of November, 1794*, which have not expired, nor as yet had their full operation and effect, shall be confirmed in their best form, and in their full tenour; and that the Contracting Parties will also, from time to time, enter into friendly explanations on the subject of the said Articles, for the purpose of removing all such doubts as may arise, or have arisen, as to the true import of the same, as well as for the purpose of rendering the said Articles more conformable to their mutual wishes and convenience.

III. His Majesty agrees, that the Vessels belonging to the United States of America, and sailing direct from the Ports of the said States, shall be admitted and hospitably received in all the Sea Ports and Harbours of the British Dominions in the East Indies; and that the Citizens of the said United States may freely carry on a Trade between the said Territories and the said United States, in all articles of which the importation or exportation respectively to and from the said Territories shall not be entirely prohibited. Provided only, that it shall not be lawful for them, in any time of War between the British Government and any other Power or State whatever, to export from the said Territories, without the special permission of the British Government there, any military stores, or naval stores, or rice. The Citizens of The United States shall pay for their Vessels, when admitted into the said Ports, no other or higher Tonnage than shall be payable on British Vessels when admitted into the Ports of The United States; and they shall pay no higher or other Duties or Charges, on the importation or exportation of the cargoes of the said Vessels, than shall be payable on the same articles when imported or exported in British Vessels. But it is expressly agreed, that the Vessels of The United States shall not carry any of the articles exported by them from the said British Territories to any Port or Place, except to some Port or Place in

* See Page 784.

Alterations proposed by the President of The United States.

† ART. III. Omit the words " and sailing direct from the Ports of the said States." Omit the words "between the said Territories and the said United States," and insert" with the said Territories."

« PreviousContinue »