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These were the points that related to the laws of nations. They certainly could not be considered as favourable to the United States; but these were doctrines England would not relinquish, as this government has had abundant experience. She would not yield them to the armed neutrality of 'so, nor has any one state, or coalition of states, yet succeeded in compelling her to abate a tittle from a rigorous enforcement of them. Mr. Jay's treaty has been called an instrument that settled nothing. There is some ground for the description. The position and boundaries of the Mississippi and the St. Croix, the debts, and the spoliations, were referred to commissioners; the West India trade, reciprocal duties, contrabands, the neutral flag, and provisions, to future negotiations. These were really the principal provisions of the treaty. It is worth while to trace, for a moment, the history of these different objects of negotiation. The north-western and northeastern boundaries, though in progress, have not been settled to this day; the commission on the debts was suspended, and the American government agreed to pay, under the convention of Mr. King, in 1802, a sum of £600,000, as a release from the obligations of the sixth article of Mr. Jay's treaty; the West India trade has not yet been secured ; and the great questions of neutral flag, contrabands, and provisions, rest in the same profound uncertainty that they did in '94. But the treaty was not without some advantages to the United States, though its principal advantage
work extant on maritime law. It was received at a time when it was easy to ascertain the ownership of goods or cargo--when the owner embarked with and accompanied his goods to a market. The application is more difficult in modern days. Business is now done by commission, and the transfers of trade are constant, and exceedingly involved. England at the peace of Utrecht, acknowledged that the flag covered the merchandize. The basis of the armed neutrality of 1780, and 1800, was this principle,--but they effected nothing for neutral commerce,
consisted in its having decided the question of neutrality ;if it settled none of the leading questions of neutral rights, it at least prevented a war, at a moment when the government and nation were in every respect unprepared,-in itself a vast benefit. It opened all the ports of Great Britain in Europe, on equal terms; all her ports in the East Indies, but it made the trade round the cape direct, and forbid the coasting trade. Before the treaty, the Americans had both an indirect and a coastwise trade in India. They carried cottons, for example, from the British settlements in the East Indies, to Canton. But the trade to India and Europe depended, before '94, on the pleasure of the British government. It was now secured by treaty ; a fur trade to Canada was also gained.
The ratification of this treaty may be considered the proper solid foundation of the commercial prosperity of the United States. It was the first act of the government that proved the stability of the federal constitution. It was a severe trial; and the steadiness with which the government bore the shock, may be attributed, in some degree, to the personal character of the President.*
* In 1791, the lords of the committee of Privy Council made a very minute report on the trade of England with America. This report was intended to show on what terms it would be favourable for Great Britain to conclude a treaty with the United States. The West India planters were very desirous of having an intercourse opened with America, immediately after the peace of '83.—(Collection, &c. of reports on trade and navigation, &c. London, 1807, published by order of the society of ship owners, &c.)
TREATY OF GHENT OF 1814 WITH GREAT BRITAIN.
Little settled by Jay's treaty—Mr. King, minister to England Made no
treaty-Succeeded by Mr. Monroe— Proposes a convention to Lord Hawkesbury-Rule of '56- Account of it-Injurious to American commerce-Special mission of Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney-Con
-vention with Lords Holland and Auckland Most favourable ever made-President rejects it without consulting Senate-Impressment Account of it—Opinions of Foster, Mansfield, and Chatham-Convention with Lord St Vincent-Chesapeake-England offered reparation—Refused to consider the affair in connexion with other topics in discussion—Mr. Rose - Mission ineffectual Orders in councilGreat sensation-- Erskine arrangement, Unsuccessful—Erskine withdrawn—Mr. Jackson-His correspondence with government-Dismissed - England expresses no mark of displeasure-- Antedated decree -England refuses to repeal orders--Declaration of 1812—WarRemarks on neutrality-Mediation of Russia -Not successful--Peace of Ghent--No disputed point settled - Peace--Policy of AmericaWar of 1812, good effect on national character—Mr. Adams, minister to England-Mr. Bagot to this country.
We shall give, in this chapter, an account of the different negotiations that led to the war of 1812 with Great Britain, and finally terminated in the peace of Ghent of 1814. We propose to divide this period into two parts ;—the first relating to events immediately preceding the orders in council of 1807, and the other, comprehending the portion of time from that event to the peace above-mentioned.
We have remarked in the preceding chapter that the treaty of '94 in reality settled but few of the important points in discussion. If Europe had relapsed into its original condition of peace and quietness, this circumstance would have presented itself to the mind with little relief. But subsequent events gave to those questions an importance no one could have anticipated. As the power of France increased on the land, that of England seemed, with corresponding industry and activity, to magnify itself on the ocean. Fresh conquests led to new blockades, and retaliation became a pretext for renewed and aggravated outrages on neutral rights. They were repeated and enforced every year with increased severity and an alarming augmentation of power till a place of refuge or safety could be found for the neutral, neither on the ocean, nor in any part of the continent of Europe. The peace, or rather truce of Amiens, afforded a momentary respite, but with that slight exception, it must be considered that the two belligerents actually waged a maritime war upon America from the year 1792 to 1812.
Rufus King, of New-York, was appointed minister plenipotentiary to the court of St. James, in May '96. He remained in that country till 1803.* He discussed in a full and
* We shall give in this note a continuation, from the last chapter, of the hostile acts of Great Britain :
1797, April 11. Horatio Nelson declared Cadiz to be in a state of blockade.
“ 1799, March 22. All the ports of Holland declared in a state of rigid blockade.
“ 1799, Nov. 27. The blockade of March suspended.
“ 1803, June 24. Instructions issued, not to interrupt the direct trade between neutrals and the colonies of enemies, unless, upon the outward passage, contraband articles had been furnished by the neutrals.
“1804, January 5. Certain ports of Martinique and Guadaloupe declared in blockade. The siege of Curacoa converted into blockade.
satisfactory manner the principal provisions of maritime law, in which this country feels an interest, though with the exception of two conventions in relation to the treaty of '94, already mentioned, he did not succeed in agreeing on any formal instrument, regulating the commerce or defining the rights of neutrals. To the article of impressment, Mr. King gave particular attention, and made great progress in securing an arrangement that would have afforded essential protection to our seamen. But it failed from a cause that will be hereafter mentioned. Violations of neutral rights, though very galling, were trifling during his residence in England, compared with those of the preceding or succeeding years. Mr. King returned to this country in 1803, and was succeeded by James Monroe of Virginia.* -As it will be necessary to examine with some attention the points in dispute between the two countries, in giving an account of the treaty concluded with the British government in 1806 by Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney, we have presented only a very brief summary of Mr. King's negotiations. For the same reason, we shall pass rapidly over the diplomatic intercourse of Mr. Monroe with that country. Early in 1804 he proposed to the British ministry, by direction of his government, a convention regulating the right of search, blockades, contrabands, &c. A copy of it will be found in the state papers for the year 1804. The war, between France and England, having been renewed in 1803, the British government having given indications of returning to her former maritime pretensions, and, in consequence of the peace of Amiens, the commercial part of the · treaty of ’94 having expired in the autumn of the preceding year, it was matter of very pressing importance, not only that
“ 1804, August 9. A rigorous blockade established at the entrances of the ports of Fecamp, St. Vallery, and other places on the French coast."
* Mr. Robert Liston (afterwards Sir Robert Liston) succeeded Mr. Hammond, as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, in this country. He was appointed in March, 1796.