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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dinary, as the cession of that province to the United
States was, at the time, communicated to the British
government, who expressed their entire satisfaction
*vith it, and has subsequently received the solemn


sanction of Spain lierself. The undersigned will
further sav, that whenever the transactions of the U.
States, in relation to the boundaries of Louisiana and
Florida, shall be a proper subject of discussion, they
will be found not only susceptible of complete justi-
tication, but will demonstrate the moderation and
forbearance of the American government, and their
undeviating- respect for the rights of their neighbors.

The uj;dersigned are far from assuming the ex-
clusive right to decide, what is, or is not, a subject
of uncertainty and dispute, with regard to the bound-
ary of the District of Manie. But until the British
plenipotentiaries shall have shown in what respect the
part of that boundary which would be affected by
their proposal, is such a subject, the undersigned
may be permitted to assert that it is not.

The treaty of 1783 described the boundary as *a
line to be drawn along the middle of the ri\er St.
Croix, from its mouth in the bay of Fundy, to its
source, and from its source directly north to the high-
lands which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlan-
tic ocean from those which fall into the siver St.
Lawrence, and thence along the said highlands to the
nortliwesternmosf head of Connecticut river.'

Doubts having arisen as to the St. Croix designa-
ted in the treaty of 1783, a provision was made by
that of 1794 for ascertaining it : and it miiy be fairly
inferred, from the limitation of the article to that
sole object, that even in the judgment of G. Britain,
no other subject of controversy existed in relation to
the extension of the boundary line from the source of
that river. That river and its source having been ac-
cordingly ascertained, the undersigned are prepared
to propose the appointment of commissioners by the
two governments, to extend the line to the highlands,
conformably to the treaty of 1783.^ The proposal,
however, of the British Plenipotentiaries was not to as-
certain, but to vary those lines in such manner as to
secure a direct communication between Quebec and
Halifax ; an alteration which could not be effected
Without a cession by the the U. States to G. Britain


of all that portion of the state of Massachusetts iuter-
vening between the province of New Brunswick and
Quebec, although unquestionably included within the
boundary lines fixed by that treaty. Whether it was
con tern [)lated on the part of G. Britain to obtain the
cession, with or without an equivalent in frontier or
otherwise, the uiidersig^ned, in stating that they were
not nistructed or authorised to treat on the subject of
cession, have not declined to discuss any matter of
uncertauity or dispute which the British Plenipoten-
tiaries may point out to exist, respecting the bounda-
ries in that or in any other quarter, and are, therefore,
not liable to the imputation of having rendered their
powers on the subject nugatory or inadniissibly par-
tial in their operation.

The British plenipotentiaries consider the under-
signed as having declared, * that the U. States will
admit of no line of boundary between their territory
and that of the Indian nations because the natural
growth and population of the U. States would be
thereby arrested.' Tiie undersigned, on the contra-
ry, expressly stated ni their last note * that the lands
inhabited by the Indians were secured to them by
boundaries, defined in amicable treaties between them
and the U- States :' but they did refuse to assign, in
a treaty of peace with G. Britain, a definitive and
permanent boundary to the Indians, living within the
limits of the U. States. On this subject, the under-
signed have no hesitation in avowing, that the U.
States, wiiile intending never to acquire lands from
the Indians otherwise than peaceably, and with their
free consent, are fully determined in that manner,
progressively, and in proportion as their growing po-
])ulation may require, to reclaim from the state of na-
ture and to bring into cultivation every portion of the
territory contained within their acknowledged boun-
daries. In thus providing for the support ot" millions
of civilized beings, they will not violate any dictate of
justice or humanity, for they will not only give to the
few thousand savages, scattered over that territory,
an ample equivalent for any right they may surren -


der, but will always leave them the possession of
lands more than they can cultivate, and more than
adequate to their subsistence, comfort and enjoyment
by cultivation.

If this be a spirit of ag-grandizement, the undei-sig-n-
ed are prepared to admit, in that sense, its existence ;
but they must deny that it affords the slightest prooi*
of an intention not to respect the boundaries between
them and Euro|X?au nations, or of a desire to en-
croach upon the territories of G. Britain. If, in the
progress of their increasing- population, the American
people must grow in streng^th j)roportioned to their
numbers, the undersigned will hope that G. Britain,
far from repining at the prospect, will contemplate it
with satisfaction. They will not suppose that that gov-
ernment will avow, as the basis of their policy towards
the U. States, the system of arresting their natural
growth within their own territories, for the sake of
preserving a perpetual desert for savages. IfG. Bri-
taui has made sacrifices to give repose to the civilized
world in Europe, no sacrifice is required from her by
theU. Stales to complete the work of general pacifi-
cation. This negociation at least evinces, on their
part, no disposition to claim any other right, than that
of preserving their independence entire, and of gov-
eriung their own territories without foreign interfer-

Of the two proclamations, purported copies of
which the British plenipotentiaries have thought
proper to enclose with their last note, the undersigned
might content themselves with remarking, that neith-
er of them is the act of the American government.
They are enabled however to add, with perfect con-
fidence, that neither of them was authorised or ap-
proved by that government. The undersigned are
not disposed to consider as the act of the British gov-
ernment, the proclamation of Admiral Cochrane,
herewith enclosed, exciting a portion of the popula-
tion of the U. States, under the promise of military
employment, or of free settlement in the West-Indies,
to treachery and rebellion. The undersigned very


sincerely regret to be ol)liored to say, that an irresist^-.
ble mass of evidence, consisting principally of the
correspondence of British officers and agents, part on-
ly of which lias already been published in America,
establishes beyond all rational doubt, the fact, that a
constant system of excitement to those hostilities was
pursued by the British traders and agents, who had
access to the Indians, not only without being discoun-
tenanced, but with frequent encouragement by the
British authorities ; and that if they ever dissuaded
the Indians from commencing hostilities, it was only
by urging them, as in prudence, to suspend their
attacks, until G. Britain should recognize them as her
allies in the war.

When, in the conference of ihe 9lh ult. the under-
signed inviled discussion upon the proposal of Indian
pacification and boundary, as well as upon all the
subjects presented by the British plenipotentiaries for
discussion, they expressly staled their motives to be,
1st, to ascertain by discussion whether an article on
the subject could be formed to which they could sub-
scribe, and which would be satisfactory to the British
plenipotentiaries; and -dly, that if no such article
could be formed, the American government might be
informed of the views of G. Britain upon that point,
and the British government of the objections on the
part of the United States, to any such arrangement.
The undersigned have, in fact, already proposed no
less than three articles on the subject, all of which
they view as better calculated lo secure peace and
tranquility to the Indians, than any one of the propo-
sals for that purpose, made by the British plenipoten-

Tiie undersigned had repealed Iheir assurances to
the British plenipotentiaries, that peace, so far as it
depended on the United States, would immediately
follow a peace with (i. Britain, and added, thai the
Indians would thereby be reinstated in the same
situation in which Ihev stood before the commence-
ment of hostilities. The British plenipotentiaries
insist, in their lant nole, that the Indian nations shall


be included in the treaty of peace between Great-
Britain and the U. States, and be restored to all the
ri«rhts, jirivileges, and territories which they enjoyed
in the year 1811, previons to their commencement
of thi! war, by virtue of the treaty of Greenville,
and the treaties sul)seqnently conchided between
thetn and the U. States. Settinij aside the subject of
boundary, which is presented as for discussion only,
there is no apparent difference with respect to the
object in view ; the pacification and tranquility of the
Indians, and placing them in the same situation ia
which they stood before the war, all which will be
equally obtained in the manner proposed by the un-
dersig-ned, and the only point of real difference is,
the British plenipotentiaries insist that it should be
ilone by including the Indians, us allies of G. Bri-
tain, in the treaty of peace between her and the IT,

The tJ. States cannot consent that Indians residing
within their boundaries, as acknowledged by Great-
Britain, shall be included in the treaty of peace, ia
any manner which will recognize them as independ-
ent nations, whom G. Britain, having obtained this
recognition, would hereafter, have the right to con-'
sider in every respect, as such. Tims to recognize
these Indians as independent and sovereign nations,
would take from the IJ. States, and transfer to those
Indians, all the rights of soil and sovereignty over
the territory which they inhabit; and this being ac-
complished through the agency of G. Britain, would
place them effectually and exclusively under her pro-
tection, instead of being, as heretofore, under that
of the U. States. It is not perceived in what res-
pect such a provision would differ from an absolute
cession by the U. States of the extensive territory in

The British plenipolentiaries have repeated the

assertion, that the treaty by which the Indians placed

themselves under the protection of the U. States,

was abrogated by the war; and thence infer, that tliev



are no long-er to be considered as under tlie protec-
tion of the U. States, whatever may be the import
of the term ; and that the right of G. Britain to in-
terfere in their behalf in the negociation of peace,
can only be denied on the ground that ihey are re-
garded as subjects. In point of fact, several of the
tribes, parties to the treaty of Greenville, have con-
stantly been, and still are, at peace with the United
States. Whether that treaty be, or be not abrogated,
is a question not necessary to be now discussed. The
right of the U. States to the protection of the Indians
within their boundaries, was not acquired by that
treaty ; it was a necessary consequence of the sove-
reignty and independence of the U. States. Previ-
ous to that lime the Indians living within the same
territory, were under the protection of his Britannic
majesty, as its sovereign. The undersigned may
refer the British plenipotentiaries to all the acts of their
own government, relative to the subject, for proof,
that it has always considered this right of protection
as one of the rights of sovereignty, which it needed
no Indian treaty to confer, and which the abrogation
of no Indian treaty could divest. They will particu-
larly bring to their recollection, that m hen a similar
proposition of considering Indian tribes as independ-
ent nations, to serve as a barrier between the French
and English territories, was made by France to
England, it was immediately rejected, by a minister
to whom the British nation is accustomed to look back
with veneration, and rejected on the express ground,
that the king would not renounce his right to pro-
tection over the Indians within his dominions. But
whatever the relation of the Indians to ihe U. States
may be, and whether under their protection or not,
G. Britain having by the treaty of 178-3, recognized
the sovereignty of the U. States, and agreed to certain
limits as their boundaries, has no right to consider
any persons or communities, whether Indians or
others, residing within those boundaries, as ualions
independent of the U. Stales^


The U. States claim, of rig^ht, with respect to all
European nations, and particularly with respect to
G. Britain, the entire sovereignty over the whole
territory, and all the persons embraced within the
boundaries of their dominions. G. Britain has no
rig-ht to take cognizance of the relations subsisting-
between the several communities or persons living'
therein. They form as to her, only parts of the do-
minions of the U. States, and it is altogether inmiate-
rial, whether, or how far, under tlieir political insti-
tutions and policy, these communities or persons arc
independent states, allies, or subjects. With respect
to her and all other foreign nations, they are parts of
a whole, of which the U. States are the sole and ab-
solute sovereigns.

The alleg"ation of the British plenipotentiaries, that
it is inconsistent with the practice or prniciples of G.
Britain to abandon in her negociations for peace, those
who have co-operated with her in war, is not appli-
cable to the Indians, but on the erroneous assumption
of their independence, which, so far as she is concern-
ed, has been fully disproved. And although no powv
er from these tribes to the British government to treat
in their behalf, would, for the same reason be admit-
ted by the nndersig-ned, they may nevertheless ob
serve, that the British plenipotentiaries having- produc-
ed no such powers, having no authority to bind the
Indians, to engage for their assent to the pacification,
or to secure the continuance of peace on their part
whilst speaking of them as allies, do really propose
to treat for them not as if they were independent
nations, but as if they were the subjects of G. Britain.
The undersigned so far from asking- that, in rela-
tion to the Indians, G. Britain should pursue a course
inconsistent with her former practice and principles,
only desire that she would follow her own example re-
specting them, in her former treaties with other Europe-
an nations, and with the U. States. No provision for
the Indians is found in the treaty of 176-3, by which
France ceded Canada to G. Britain, although almost
alllhe Indians living- within the territory ceded, or


acknowleclgecl to belong to G. Britain, had taken
part with France in the war. No such provision was
inserted in the treaty of peace of 1783, between ' . Bri-
tain and the U. States, aUhough almost all tl.e Indian
tribes living^ within the territory recognized by the
treaty to belong to the U. States, had during the war,
co-operated wilh G. Britain, and might have been
considered as her alhes more justly than on the pre-
sent occasion. So far as concerns the relations be-
tween G. Britain and the U. States, these Indians can
he treated for only on the principles by which amnes-
ties are stipulated in favor of disaffected persons, who,
in times of war and invasion, co-operate with the en-
emy of the nation to which they belong. To go as
far as possible in securing the benefit of the peace lo
the Indians, now the only object professed by the
British government in their present sine qua noii, the
undersigned offer a stipulation in general terms, that
no person or persons, whether subjects, citizens, or
Indians, residing within the dominions of either par-
ty, shall be molested or annoyed, eitlier in persons or
their property, for any part they may have taken in
the war between the U. States and G. Britain ; but
shall retain all ihe rights, privileges and possessions,
which they respectively had at the commencement of
the war; they, on their part, demeaning themselves
peaceably, and conformably to their duties to the re-
spective governments. — This the undersigned have
no doubt will effectually secure to the Indians peace,
if they themselves will observe it, and they will not
suppose thatG. Britain would wish them included in
the peace but upon that condition-

The undersigned have never intimated that their
government had not furnished them wilh any instruc-
tions since January last. On the contrary, they dis-
tinctly told the British plenipotentiaries in confer-
once, though it appears to have escaped their recol-
lection, that instructions had been received by the un-
dersigned, dated at the close of the month of June.
The undersigned will now add, that those instructions
were drawn with a full knowledge of the general pa-


<:ification in Europe, and with so liberal a considera-
tion of its necessary bearing- upon ail the differences
that had been until then subsisting between G. Bri-
tain and the U. States, that the undersigned cannot
doubt that peace would long- since have been conclud-
ed, had not an insuperable bar against it been raised
by the new and unprecedented demands of the Bri-
tish government.

With respect to the proposition which the British
plenipotentiaries inform them they will be prepared
to make, in relation to the Canadian boundaries,
which appears to them so entirely founded on princi-
ples of moderation and justice, but the nature of which
they think proper at present to withhold, the under-
signed can only pledge themselves to meet any pro-
position from the British plenipotentiaries, character-
ized by moderation and justice, not only with a per-
fect reciprocity of those sentiments, but with a sincere
and earnest desire to contribute to the restoration of
peace, by every comphance with the wishes of Great
Britain, compatible with their duty to their country.

The undersigned have the honor of tendering- to
the British plenipotentiaries, the renewed assurance
of their hioh consideration.



The British to the American Commissioners

Ghent, Oct. 8, 1814.

The undersigned have the honor to acknowledge
the receipt of the note of the plenipotentiaries of the
U. States, dated on the 29th ult.

As the continuance of the neg-ociation exclusively
depends upon the question relating to the pacifica-
tion and rights of the Lidian nations the undersigned
are unwilling- to extend their observations to the
other subjects brought forward in the note of the
American plenipotentiaries, further than may be
required for necessary explanation.

h\ adverting- for this purpose to the acquisition of
XiOuisiana, the undersigned must observe, thai the


instrument by which the consent of his Catholic ma-
jesty is alJedged to have been given to tlie cession o{
it, has never been made public. His Cathohc ma-
jesty .was no party to the treaty by which the ces-
sion was made, and if any sanction has been subse-
quently obtained from him, it must have been, hke
other cotem para neous acts of that monarch, involun-
tary, and as such cannot alter the character of the
transaction. The Maiqnis of Yrujo, the minister of
his Catholic majesty at Washington, iu a letter ad-
dressed to the President of the U. States, formally
protested against the cession, and the right of France
to make it. Yet, in the face of this protestation, so
stroiigly evincing the decided opinion of Spain as
to the illegality of the proceeding, the President of
the U. States ratified the treaty. Can it be contend-
ed that the annexation of Louisiana, under such cir-
cumstances, did not mark a spirit of territorial ag-
grandizement ?

His Britannic majesty did certainly express satis-
faction when the American government communi-
cated the event, that Louisiana, a valuable colony in
the possession of France, with whom the war had
just been renewed, instead of remaining in the hands
of his enemy, had been ceded to the U. States, at
that time professing the most friendly disposition to-
wards G. Britain, and an intention of providing for
her interest in the acquisition. But the conditions
under which France had acquired Louisiana from
Spain, were not communic.ded ; the refusal of Spain
to consent to its alienation was not known ; the pro-
test of her ambassador had not been made, and many
other circumstances attending the transaction, on
which it is now unnecessary to dilate, were, as there
is good reason to believe, industriously concealed.

The proof of a spirit of aggrandizement, which
the undersigned had deduced from the hostile seiz-
ure of a great part of the Floridas, under the most
frivolous pretences, remains unrefuted; and the iin-
dersigned are convinced that the occasion and cir-
cumstances under which that unwarrantable act of


a^g'i'ession took place, have given rise throug-hout
Europe to bat one sentiment as to the character oi the

After the previous communication which the under-
signed have had the honor of" receiving- from the
American plenipotentiaries, they could not but feei
much surprized at the information contained in their
last note of their having- received instructions dated
subsequently to January, 1814. The undersigned
have no recollection whatever of the American ple-
nipotentiaries having communicated to them, either
collectively, or individually at a conference or other-
wise, the receipt of instructions from the govern-
ment of the U. Slates dated at the close of the month
of June, and they must remind the American pleni-
potentiaries that their note of the 9th ult. distinctly
stated that the instructions of January, 1814, were
those under which they were acting. If therefore,
the American plenipotentiaries received instructions
drawn up at the close of the month of June, with ii
liberal consideration of the late events in Europe, the
undersigned have a right to complain, that while the
American government justly considered those events
as having a necessary bearing on the existing dift'er-
ences between the two countries, the American ple-
nipotentiaries should nevertheless have preferred act-
ing under instructions, which, from their date, must
have been without the contemplation of such events.

The British government never required that all that
portion of the state of Massachusetts intervening be-
tween the province of JNew Brunswick and Q,uel)ec»
should be ceded to G. Britain, but only that small
portion of unsettled country which interrupts the com-
munication between Halifax and Quebec, there be-
ing much doubt whether it does not already belong to
6r. Britain.

The undersigned are at a loss to understand how
vice Admiral C-ochrane's proclamation illustrates any
topic connected with the present negociation, or bears
upon the conclusion which they contended was to be
drawn from the two proc)am:itions of the Anifrican


Generals. Tliese proclamations distinctly avow-
ing the intention of the American government per-
manently to annex the Canadas to the U. States, were
adduced not as a matter of complaint, but simply
for the purpose of provmg what had been denied as a
fact, viz. that such had been the declared intention
of the American government.

The undersigned observe, that although the Ameri-
can plenipotentiaries have taken upon themselves
generally to deny that tlie proclamations were au-
thorized or approved by their govermuent, without
stating in what mode that disapprobation was express-
ed j yet they avoid statnig that the part of those proc-
lamations containing the declaration in question, had.
not been so authorized or ap|}roved. It is indeed
impossible to imagine, that if the American govern-
ment had intimated any disapprobation of that part of
General Hull's proclamation, the snme declaration
would have been as contidently repeated four months
after by General Smyth.

His majesty's government have other and ample
means of knowing that the conquest of the Canadas

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 32 of 38)