John] 1793-1863 [Russell.

The history of the war, betwee the United States and Great-Britain, which commenced in June, 1812, and closed in Feb. 1815 .. online

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U. 8. tVijrale C )n.stitntion, M.iy, — 1815.

SIR— 0.1 the 20th oi February last, (he Island of
Madeira bearnitr about W. S. W. distant tJU leagues,
we fell in with his Britannic Majesty's two shi[>s of
war, the Cyane and Levant, ami brought them to ac-
tion about G o'clock in the eveaing, both of which
after a spirited engagement of 40 minutes, surrender-
ed to the ship under my command.

Considering the adva .tages derived by the enemy,
from a divided and more active force, as also Iheir
superiority m the weight and number of guns, I deem
tiie s[)eedy and decisive result of this action the strong-
est assurance which can be given to the government,
that ail did their duty, and gallantly supported the
reputation of American seamen.

Inclosed is a list of the killed and wounded ; also
a statement of the actual force of the enemy, and the
miinber killed and wounded on board their ships as
near as could be ascertained.

I have the honor to be, &c.



32 twenty -four pounders. — 20 thirty -two pounders. —
62 guns. Otiicers, men and boys 4(56. Killed 3 —
wounded 12.


22 thirty-two pounders — 10 eighteen do. — 2 twelve
do. — 2 brass swivels — officers, men and boys 180.
Kdled 12— wounded 23.


18 thiit,-two ((ounders — 2 nine do. — 1 t\selvedo.
o&cers, men and boys 156. Killed 23 — wounded 16.

^ ' ...<^'«'-„n^





Washington, Oct. 10, 1814.
Ta the Senate and House of tiepresentatives of

the United States.
I lay before congress communications just received
from the Plenipotentiaries of the U. S. charged with
negociating peace with Great Britain ; shewing the
conditions on which alone that government is willing
to put ao. end to the war,


Copy of a letter from Messrs. Adams, Bayard^ Clay,
and liitssell, to Mr. Monroe, Secretary of State*
Ghint, August 12th, 1814.
SIR— We have the honor to inform you that the
British commissioners, lord Gambier, Henry Goul-
burn, Esq. and Wilham Atlams, Esq. arrived in this
city on Saturday evening, the sixth inst. The day af-
ter their arrival, Mr. Baker, their Secretary, called
upon us to give us notice of the fact, and to propose a
meeting, at a certain hour, on the ensuing day. The
place having been agreed upon, we accordingly met,
at 1 o'^clock, on Monday, the eighth inst.

We enclose, herewith, a copy of the full powers
exhibited by the British commissioners, at that con-
ference ; which was opened on their part by an ex-
pression of the sincere and earnest desire of their
governmeat, thai the negociatioii might result in a
solid peace, honorable to both parties. They, at the
same time declared, that no events which had occur-
red since the first proposal for this negociation, had
altered the pacific disposition of their government, or
varied its views as to the terms upon which it was will-
in^g to conclude the peace.


We answered, that we heard these declarations
with great satisfaction, and that onr government had
acceded to the proposal ot negocialion, with the most
sincere desire to put an end to the ditierences which
divided the two countrits, and to lay upon just and
liberal grounds the foundation of a peace which, secur-
ing- the rights and interests of hoth nations, should
unite them by lasting bonds of amity.

The British commissioners then stated the follow*
ing subjects, as those upon which it appeared to them
that the discussions would be likely to turn, and oa
which they were instructed.

I. The forcibleseizuie of mariners on i)oard of mer-
chant vessels, and in connection with it, the claim of
his Britannic Majesty to the allegliance of all the native
subjects of G. Britain.

AVe understood them to intimate, that the British
government did not propose this point as owe winch
they were ))articularly desirous of discussing ; but
that, as it had occupied so prominent a place in the
disputes between the two countries, it necessarily at-
tracted notice and was considered as a sui>ject which
would come under discussion.

2. The Indian allies of G. Britain to be included in
the pacification, and a definite boundary to be settled
for their territory.

The British commissioners stated, that an arrange-
ment upon this point was a sine qua noii ; that ibey
were not authorized to conclude a treaty of peace
which did not embrace the Indians, as allies of his
Britannic Majesty ; and that the establishment of a
definite bouiidary of the Indian territory was necessa-
ry to secure a permanent peace, not only with the In-
dians, but also between the U. States and G.Britain.

3. A revision of the boundary line betweeti the U. S.
and the ajacent British colonies.

With respect to this point, they expressly disclaim
any intention, on the part of their government, to ac-
quire an increase of territory, and represented the pro-
posed revision as intended merely for tiie purpose of
preventing uncertamty and dispute.


Afler having- stated tl ese three points as subjects ol
discussion, the British commissioners addeci, that be-
fore they des. red any answer from us, they felt it in-
cumbent upon them to tleclare,lhat tlie British govern-
ment did not deny the right of the Americans to the
fisheries generally, or in the open seas ; but that the
privileges, formerly granted by treaty to the U.
S. oftishmg viathm the limits of the British jurisdiction,
and ot landing and drying fish on the shores of the
British territories, would not be renewed without an

The extent of what was considered by them as wa-
ters peculiarly British, was not stated. From the
manner in which they brought this subject into view,
they seemed to wish us to understand that they were
not anxious that it should be discussed, and that
they only iiitende<l to give us notice that these privi-
leges had ceased to exist, and would not be again
granted without an equivalent, nor unless we thought
proper to provide expressly in the treaty of peace tor
their renewal.

The British comissioners having stated, that these
were all the subjt^cts which they intended to bring for-
ward or to suggest, requested to be informed, whether
we were instructed to enter into negociation on these
several j)oints, and whether there was any amongst
these which we thought it unnecessary to bring into
the negociat.on ;^ aid they desired us to state, Oii our
part, such other subjects as we might intend to propose
for discussion in the course of the negociation. The
meeting was then ajourned to the next day, in order
to afford us the opportunity of consultation among
ourselves, before we gave an answer.

In the course of the evening of the same day, we
received your letters ot the 25th and 27th of June.

There could be no hesitation, on our part, in in-
forming the British commissioners, that we were not
instruci,ed on the subjects of Indian pacitication or
boundary, and of fiisheries. JNur did it seem proba-
ble, although neither of these points had been stated
with suthcieat precision in that first verbal conference.


that tliey coiiU! be admitted in any shape. — We did
not wish, however, to prejudge the result, or by any
hasty proceeding- abruptly to break off the ncgocia-
tion. It was not impossible that, on tiie subject of
the Indians, the British govermuent had received ei*^
roneous impressions bom the I.idnui traders in Can-
ada, \Ahich our representations might remove: and
it appeared, at all events, important, to ascertain dis-
tinctly the precise intentions of G. Britain on both
points. We, therefore, thought it advisable to mvitt
the British commissioners to a yfeneral conversation oa
all the points j stating to them, at the sametmie, our
want of instructions on two of them, and holding out
no expectation of the probability ot our agreeing to
Tiny article respecting them.

At our meeting on the ensuing day we informed
tlic British commissioners, that upon the first and
third points proposed by them we were provided
with instructions, and we presented as further subjects
considered by our government as suitable for dis-
cussion :

1st. A definition of blockade ; and as far as might
be mutually agreed, of other neutral and belligerent

2d. Claims of indemnity in certain cases of capture
and seizure.

We then stated that the two subjects, 1st of Indian
pacification, and boundary, and 2d of fisheries, were
not embraced by our instructions.

We observed, that as these points had not been
heretofore the grounds of any controversy Ijetween
the government of G. Britain and that of the U.S.
and had not been alluded to by lord Casliereagh, in
his letter proposi g the negociation, it conhl not be
expected that they should i.ave beeii antic pated and
made the subjert oH instructions by our government,
that it was naiural to be sup sosed, that our instruc-
tion^ were confined to those subjects u|!on which
<iifi"erences between die two con .tries were known to
exist; and that the propositioii to define, in a treatv


between the U. States and G. Britain, tlie boundai-y of
the Indian possessions within our territories, was new
and without example. No such provision had been
inserted in the treaty of peace in 1783, nor in any
other treaty between the two countries. No such
provision had to our knovvledg'e, ever been inserted in
any treaty made by G. Britain or any European }>ow-
er in relation to the same description of people, ex-
isting under bke circumstances. We would say,
however, that it would not be doubted, that peace
with the Indians would certainly follow a peace with
G Britain : that we had information that comniis-
sioners had already been appointed to treat wjth them;
that a treaty to that effect might, perhaps, have been
already concluded : and that the U. S. having no in-
terest, nor any motive to continue a separate war
against the Indians, there could never be a moment
when our government would not be disposed to
make peace with them.

We then expressed our wish to receive from the
British commissioners a statement of the views and
objects of G. Britain upon all the points, and our wil-
lingness to discuss thtm all, in order that, even if no
arrangement should be agreed on, upon the points
not included in our instructions, the government of
the U. States might be possessed of the entire and
precise intentions of that of G. Britain, respecting
these points, and that the British government might
be fully informed of the objections, on the part of the
U. States, toanv such arranoement.

In answer to our remark that these points had not
been alluded to by lord Castlereagh, in his letter pro-
posing the negociation, it was said, that it could not
be expected, that in a letter merely intended to invite
a negociation, he should enumerate the topics of dis-
cussion, or state the pretensions of his government;
since these would depend upon ulterior events, and
might arise out of a subsequent state of things.

In reply to our observation, that the proposed stip-
ulation of an Indian boundary was without example
in the practice of European nations, it was asserted.


that the Indians must in some sort be considered as
an independei t people, since treaties were made with
them, both by G. Britain and by the U. States ; upoa
■which we pointed out the obvious and important dif-
ferences between the treaties we might make with
Indians, hving in our territory, and such a treaty as
^vas proposed to be made, respecting' them, with a
foreign power, who had solemnly acknowledged the
territory on which they resided to be part of the U.

We were then asked by the British commissioners
■whether, in case they should enter further upon the
discussion ot the several points which had been stated,
we could expect that it would terminate by some
provisional arrangement on the points on which we
had no mstructions, particularly on that respecting
the Indians, which arrangement would be subject to
the ratification of our government ?

We answered, that before the subjects were dis-
tinctly understood, and the objects in view more pre-
cisely disclosed, we could not tlecide whether it would
be possible to form any satisfactory article on the
subject ; nor pledge ourselves as to the exercise of a
discretion under our powers, even with respect to a
provisional agreement. We added, that as we should
deeply deplore a rupture of the negoci;ition on any
point, it was our anxious desire to employ all possible
means to avert an event so serious in its consequences;
and that we had not been without hopes that a discus-
sion might correct the effect of any erroneous infor-
mation which the British government might have re-
ceived on the subject which they had proposed as a
preliminary basis.

We took this opportunity to remark, that no na-
tion observed, a jwlicy more liberal and humane to-
"wards the Indians than that pursued by the U. States ;
that our object had been, by all practicable means, to
introduce civilization amongst them ; that their posses-
sions were secured to them by well defined bounda-
ries, that their persons, lands and other property were
now more effectually protected against violence or


frauds from any quarter, tb;in tl»ey liad hren under
any former g-overnmeut; tluit even our citizens were
not allowed to purchase their lands ; that when ihey
g-ave U|) their title to any portion of their country to
the U. States, it was by voluntary treaty with our
government, who o-ave theni a satist'act(»ry equivalent;
and that through these means the U. States Lad suc-
ceeded in preserving, suice the treaty of Greenville of
1795, an uninterrupted peace ot sixteen years, with
ail the Indian tribi s ; a period of tranquility niu(h
loiig-er than they were kr.own to have enjoyed here-

It was then expressly stated on our part, that the
proposition resiiecting- the Indians, was not distinctly
understood. We asked whetiser the pacification, and
the settlement of a boundary for them were both made
asrne quo mm. Which was answere.t in the affirm-
ative. The question was then asked the British com*
missioners, w helher the ))roposed Indian boundar}'^
was intended to preclude the U. Stales from the right
of purchasing by treaty from the Indians, without the
consent ot G. Britain, lands laying beyond that boun-
dary ? And as a restriction upon the Indians from sel-
ling by amicable treaties lands to the U. Slates as
had been hitherto practised ?

To this question, it was first answered by one of
the commissioners, that the Indians would not be re-
stricted from selling their lands, but that the U. States
woidd be restricted from purchasing them ; and on
reflection another of the commissioners stated, that it
■was intended that the Indian territory should be a
barrier between the British domniions and those of
the U. States that both G. Britain, ^md the U. States
should be restricted from purchasing their lands;
but the Indians might sell them to a third party.

The proposition respecting Indian boundary thus
explaii ed, and connected with the right of sovereign-
ty ascribed to the Indians over the country, amounted
to nolhiig" less than a demand of the absolute cession
of the rights both of sovereignty and of soil. We
cannot abstain from remarking to ^oii, that the sub-


jecl (of Indian boundary) v%as indislir.ctly stated
when first proposed, and that the explanations were
:it tirst obscure and always given with reluctance.
And It was declared from the first moment, to be a
sine qua non, renderui*^ any discussion unprofitable
until it was aduiilled as a basis. Knowing that we
had no power to cede to the Indians any part of our
territory, we thought it unntcessarN to ask, what pro-
bably would not have been answered till the principle
was admitted, where the line of demarkation of the In-
dian country was proposed to be established.

The jjritish commissioners, after having repeated
llial their instruclioiis on the subject of the Indians
were peremptory, slated that unless we could give
some assurance, that our powers would allow us to
make at least a provisional arrangement on the sub-
ject, any further discussion would be fruitless, and
that they must consult their own go\ernment on this
state of things. They proposed accordiigly a sus-
pension of ti.e conferences, until they should have re-
ceived an answer, it being understood that each party
might call a meet ng wht never they had any proposi-
tion to submit. Ttiey despatched a special messen-
ger the same evenmg, and we are now waiting tor the

Before the proposed adjournment took place, it
was agreed that there should be a protocol of the con-
ferences ; that a statement should for that purpose be
drawn Uj) by each party, ami that we should meet the
tiext day to com[»are the statements. We according-
ly met again on Wednesday the lUth inst. and ulti-
mately agreed upon what should constitute the proto-
col of the conferences. A copy of this instrument,
we have the honor to transmit with this despatch.

They objected to the insertion of the an-
swer which they had given to our question respecting
the effect of the proposed Indian boundary ; but they
agreed to an alteration of their original proposition
on that subject, which renders it much more explicit
than as stated, either in the tii-st conference or in their
proposed draught of the protocol. They also object-


ed to the insertion of the fact, that they 'had proposed
to adjourn the conferences, until they could obttun fur-
ther instructions from their government. The re-
turn of their messenger may, perhaps, disclose the
motive of their reluclance in that respect.
We have the honor to be, &c.




Avgust 8, 1814.

The British commissioners requested infornmtion
whether the x\merican commissioners were instructed
to enter into negociation on the preceding points?
But before they desired any answer, they felt it right
to communicate the intentions of their govenmient" as
to the North American fisheries, viz. That the Bri-
tish government did not intend to grant to the United
States, gratuitously, the privileges formerly granted
by treaty to them, of fishing within the limits of the
British sovereignty, and of using the shores of the Bri-
tish territories for purposes connected with the fish-

Auyust 9 — The hieeling being adjourned to the 9th
of August the commissioners met again on that day.

The American commissioners at this meeting stat-
ed, that upon the first and third points proposed by
the British commisioners, they were provided with
instructions from their government, and that the se-
cond and fourth of these points were not provided for
in their instructions. That in relation to an Indian
pacification, they knew that the government of the
U. States had appointed commissioners to treat of
peace with the Indians, and that it was not improba-
ble that peace had been made w ith them.

The Amei-ican commissioners presented as further
subjects considered by the government of the United
States as suitable for discussion.

L A definition of blockade, and as far as may be
agreed, of other neutral and belligerent rights.


2. Certain claims of indemnity to individuals for
captures and seizures preceding and subsequent to
the war.

3. They further stated that there were various oth-
er points to which their instructions extended, which
might with propriety be objects ot discussion, either
in the negocialion ot the peace, or in that ot a treaty
of commerce, which in the case of a propitious ter-
mmation of the present conferences, they were like-
wise authorised to conckide. That for the purpose of
facditatin<r the first and most essential object ot peace,
they had discarded every subject which was not con-
sidered as peculiarly connected with that, and pre-
sented only those points which appeared to be imme-
diately relevant to this negociation.

The American commissioners expressed their wish
to receive from the British commissioners a statement
of the views and objects of Great-Britain, upon all
the points, and their willingness to discuss them all.

They, the American commissioners were asked,
whether, if those of Great- Britain should enter further
upon this discussion, particularly respecting the In-
dian boundary, the American commissioners could
expect that it would terminate by some provisional
arrangement, which they could conclude, subject to
the ralitication of their government ?

They answered, that as any arrangement to which
they could agree upon the subject must be without
Si>ecitic authority from their government, it was not
possible for them, previous to discussion, to decitle
whether any article on the subject could be formed
which would be mutually satisfactory, and to which
they should think themselves, under their discretion-
ary powers, justified in acceding.

Messrs. Adums, Bayard, Clay, Bussell, and GaUa-
tin, to Mr Monroe, Secretary of Slali'.

Gh±,]st, August 19, 1814.
SIR — Mrr Baker, secretary to the British mission,
called upon us to-day, at 1 o'clock, and invited us to
a conference to be held at liiiee. This was agreed to.


and the British commissioners opened it, by saying' that
they had received tlieir turlher instructions this morn-
itifr, and liad not lost a moment in requesting a meet-
ing (or the purpose of communicating the decision of
their government. It is proper to notice that lord
Cas lereagh had arrived last night in this city, whence,
it is said, lie will depart to-morrow on his way to
Brussels and Yieniia.

The British commissioners stated that their gov-
ernment had telt some surprise, that ue were not in-
structed respecting the luchans, as il could not have
been expected that they would leave their allies, in
their cotnpm'ativeU weak situation, exposed to our
resentment. Great-Britain might justlv have suppos-
ed that the American government would have fur-
nished us with instructions authorising us to agree
to a postive article on the subject; bul, the least she
could demand was that we should sign a provisional
article admitting the principle, subject to the ratifi-
cation of our govertuiient ; so that, if it should be
ratified, the treaty should take effect ; and, if not, that
it should be null and void; on our assent or refusal
to admit such an article would depend the continu-
ance or suspension of the negociation.

As we had represented that the proposition made
by them, on that subject, was not sufficiently expli-
cit, their government had directed them to give us
every necessary exj)lanation, and to state distinctl}'^
the basis which must be considered as an indispensa-
ble prehminary.

Il was a sine qua non that the Indians should be
included in the pacification, and, as incident thereto,
that the boundaries of their territory should be per-
manently established. Peace with the Indians was
a subject so simple, as to require no comment. With
respect to the boundaries which was to divide their
territory from that of the United Siates, the object of
the British government was, that the Indians should
remain as a permanent barrier between onr western
settlements, and the adjacent British provinces, to
prevent them from being conterminous to each other:

a:ppendix. 861

and that neither the United Si ates^ nor Great-Britain,
should ever hereafter have tlie right to j)nrrh.ise, or
acquire any part of the territory ihus recogrnzed, as
belonging- to the Indians. With regard to the extent
of the I.idian territory, and the houadarv line, the
British governnient would propose the lines of the
Greenville treaty, as a proper basis, su ject, however,
to discussion and tnoditications.

Wt^ stated that the Indian territory, according to
these lines, would comprehend a great iiuniber of
American citizens ; not less, prehaps, tlian a hundred
thousand: and asked, what was the intention of the
British government respecting them, and under whose
government they vvonhl tall ' It was answered that
those settlements would be taken into consideration,
when the line became a subject of discussion; but
that such of the inhabitants, as would ultimately be
included within the Indian territory, inu>t make their

Online LibraryJohn] 1793-1863 [RussellThe history of the war, betwee the United States and Great-Britain, which commenced in June, 1812, and closed in Feb. 1815 .. → online text (page 28 of 38)