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Mr. Graham to Mr. Russell. Department of State, Aug. 10, 1812. Sir, Thinking that it may possibly be useful to you, I do myself the honour to enclose a memorandum of the conversation between Mr. Baker and myself, alluded to in my letter of yestesday's date.
I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Baker also stated, that he had received an authority from Mr. Foster to act as Charge d'Affaires, provided the American Government would receive him in that character, for the purpose of enabling him officially to communicate the declaration which was to be expected from the British Government; his instructions to be understood, of course, as ceasing on the renewal of hostilities. I replied, that although to so general and informal a communication, no answer might be necessary, and certainly no particular answer expected, yet I was authorized to say, that the communication is received with sincere satisfaction, as it is hoped the spirit in which it is authorized by his Government may lead to such farther communications as will open the way not only for an early and sa tisfactory termination, of existing hostili ties, but to that entire adjustment of all the differences which produced them, and that permanent peace and solid friendship which ought to be mutually desired by both countries, and which is sincerely de sired by this. With this desire, an au thority was given to Mr. Russell on the subject of an armistice, as introductory to a final pacification, as has been made known to Mr. Foster; and the same desire will be felt on the receipt of the fur ther and more particular communications, which are shortly to be expected, with respect to the joint intimation from Mr. Foster and the British authorities at Halifax, on the subject of suspending judicial proceedings. in the case of maritime captures, to be accompanied by a suspension of military operations. The authority given to Mr. Russell just alluded to, and of which Mr. Foster was the bearer, is full proof of the solicitude of the Government of the United States to bring about a general suspension of hostilities on admissible terms, with as little delay as possible. It was not to be doubted, therefore, that any other practical expedient for obtaining a similar result would readily be concurred in. Upon the most favourable consideration, however, which could be given to the expedient suggested through him, it did not appear to be reducible to any prac ticable shape to which the Executive would be authorized to give it the necessary sanction; nor indeed is it probable, that if it was less liable to insuperable difficulties, it could have any material effect previous to the result of the pacific advance made by this Government, and which must, if favourably received, become operative as
Memorandum referred to in the above Leller. Mr. Baker verbally communicated to me, for the information of the President, that he had received dispatches from his Government, addressed to Mr. Foster, dated, I believe, about the 17th of June, from which he was authorized to say, that an official declaration would be sent to this country, that the Orders in Council, so far as they affected the United States, would be repealed on the 1st of August, to be revived on the 1st of May, 1813, unless the conduct of the French Government, and the result of the communications with the American Government, should be such as, in the opinion of His Majesty, to render their revival unnecessary. Mr. Baker moreover stated, that the Orders would be revived, provided the American Government did not, within fourteen days after they received the official declaration of their repeal, admit British armed vessels into their ports, and put an end to the restrictive measures which had grown out of the Orders in Council.The dispatches authorizing this communication to the American Government expressly directed, that it should be made verbally, and Mr. Baker did not consider himself at liberty to reduce it to writing, even in the form of a note-verbal, or pro memoria, or to suffer me to take a memorandum of his communication at the time he made it. I understood from him, that the dispatches had been opened by Mr. Foster, at Halifax, who, in consequence of a conversation he had had with Vice-Admiral Sawyer and Sir John Sherbroke, had authorized Mr. Baker to say, that these gentlemen would agree, as a measure leading to a suspension of hostilities, that all captures made after a day to be fixed, should not be proceeded against immediately, but be detained to await the future decision of the two Governments. Mr. Foster had not seen Sir G. Provost, but had written to him by express, and did not doubt but that he would agree to an arrangement for the temporary suspension of hostilities.
mark, that its authenticity might be relied on. Mr. Baker added, that it was not improbable, that the Admiral at Halifax might agree likewise to a suspension of 4 captures, though he did not profess or appear to be acquainted with his sentiments on that point. On full consideration of all the circumstances which merit attention, the President regrets that it is not in his power to accede to the proposed arrangement. The. following are among the principal reasons which have produced this decision :1st. The President has no power to suspend judicial proceedings on prizes. A capture, if lawful, vests a right, over which he has no control. Nor could he prevent captures otherwise than by an indiscriminate recal of the commissions granted to our privateers, which he could not justify under existing circumstances.2d. The proposition is not made by the British Government, nor is there any certainty that it would be approved by it. 3d. No security is given or proposed, as to the Indians, nor could any be relied on. They have engaged in the war on the side of the British Government, and are now prosecuting it with vigour in their usual savage mode. They can only be restrainedby force, when once let loose, and that force has already been ordered out for the purpose.- -4th. The proposition is not reciprocal, because it restrains the United States from acting where their power is greatest, and leaves Great Britain at liberty, and gives her time to augment her force in our neighbourhood.- -5th. That as a principal object of the war is to obtain redress against the British practice of impressment, an agreement to suspend hostilities, even before the British Government is heard from on that subject, might be considered a relinquishment of that claim..
-6th. It is the more objectionable, and of the less importance, in consideration of the instructions heretofore given you,. which, if met by the British Government, may have already produced the same resúlt in a greater extent and more satisfactory form.I might add, that the declaration itself is objectionable in many respects, particularly the following: 1st. Because it asserts a right in the British Government to restore the Orders in Council, or any part thereof, to their full effect, on a principle of retaliation on France, under circumstances of which she alone is to judge: a right which this Government cannot admit, especially in the
The Secretary of State to Mr. Russell. [Extract.]
Department of State, Aug. 21, 1812. My last letter to you was of the 27th of July, and was forwarded by the British packet, the Allhea, under the special protection of Mr. Baker. The object of that letter, and of the next preceding one of the 20th of June, was, to invest you with power to suspend by an armistice, on such fair conditions as it was presumed could not be rejected, the operation of the war, which had been brought on the United States by the injustice and violence of the British Government. At the moment of the declaration of war, the President, regretting the necessity which produced it, looked to its termination and provided for it; and happy will it be for both countries, if the disposition felt, and the advance thus made on his part, are entertained and met by the British Government in a similar spirit: You will have seen by the note forwarded to you by Mr. Graham, of Mr. Baker's communication to him, that Mr. Foster had authorized him to state, that the Commanders of the British forces at Halifax would agree to a suspension, after a day to be fixed, of the condemuation of prizes, to wait the decision of both Governments, without, however, preventing captures on either side.Sir George Prevost has since proposed to General Dearborn, at the suggestion of Mr. Foster, a suspension of offensive operations by land, in a letter which was transmitted by the General to the Secretary at War. A provisional agreement was entered into between General Dearborn and Colonel Baynes, the British Adjutant-General, bearer of General Prevost's letter, that neither party should act offensively before the decision of our Government should be | taken on the subject.- Since my return to Washington, the document alluded to in Mr. Foster's dispatch, as finally decided on by the British Government, has been handed to me by Mr. Baker, with a re
extent heretofore claimed, and acted on by the British Government.- -2d. That the appeal is founded exclusively on the French Decree of the 28th of April, 1811, by which the repeal of the Decrees of Berlin and Milan, announced on the 5th of August, 1810, to take effect on the 1st of November of that year, at which time their operation actually ceased, is disre garded, as are the claims of the United States arising from the repeal on that day, even according to the British pledge. 3d. That even if the United States had no right to claim the repeal of the British Orders in Council, prior to the French Decree of the 28th of April, 1811, nor before the notification of that Decree to the British Government on the 20th of May, of the present year, the British repeal ought to have borne date from that day, and been subject to none of the limitations attached to it. These remarks on the declaration of the Prince Regent, which are not pursued with rigour, nor in the full extent which they might be, are applicable to it, in relation to the state of things which existed before the determination of the United States to resist the aggressions of the British Government by war. By that determination, the relations between the two countries have been altogether changed: and it is only by a termination of the war, or by measures leading to it by consent of both Governments, that its calamities can be closed or mitigated. It is not now a question, whether the declaration of the Prince Regent is such as ought to have produced a repeal of the Non-importation Act, had not war been declared; because, by the declaration of war, that question is superseded, and and the Non-importation Act having been continued in force by Congress, and become a measure of war, and among the most efficient, it is no longer subject to the control of the Executive in the sense and for the purpose for which it was adopted.—The declaration, however of the Prince Regent, will not be without effect. By repealing the Orders in Council, without reviving the blockade of May 1806, or any other illegal blockade, as is understood to be the case, it removes a great obstacle to an accommodation. The President considers it an indication of a disposition in the British Government to accommodate the differences which subsist between the two countries; and I am instructed to assure you, that if such disposition really exists, and is persevered in, and is extended to other objects, especially
the important one of impressment, a durable and happy peace and reconciliation cannot fail to result from it.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
The following Message was received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Coles, his Secretary:
To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States.
For the farther information of Congress, relative to the pacific advances made on the part of the Government to that of Great have been met by the latter, I transmit the Britain, and the manner in which they sequel of the communications on that subject, received from the late Charge d'Af
faires at London.
Nov. 12, 1812.
DOCUMENTS WITH THE MESSAGE. Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe. London, Sept. 19, 1812. Sir, On the 12th inst. I received your letter of the 27th of July last; and the copies of my note to Lord Castlereagh, and of his Lordship's reply enclosed herein, will inform you that the propositions, made in consequence of it, have been rejected.
-As I have but this moment heard of
the immediate departure of the Friends, I have time only to add, that I have received the communications of Mr. Graham, of the 9th and 10th of August, by the Gleaner, and that I leave London this evening, to embark on board the Lark, at Plymouth, for New York.—I am, with the greatest respect and consideration, Sir, your faithful and obedient servant,
(Signed) JONA. RUSSELL.
P. S. An interesting interview took place between Lord Castlereagh and myself on the 16th instant, the account of which I must, for want of time, reserve until I have the honour to see you.
Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh. (Private).
18, Bentinck-street, 12th Sept. 1812. My Lord,-In consequence of additional instructions which I have received from my Government this morning, I called about noon at the Foreign Office, and found with regret that your Lordship was out of town. My object was to communicate to your
Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh.
Lordship the powers under which I act, | aware that the power of the Government of that you might perceive their validity and the United States to prohibit the employextent. I have, however, sought to statement of British seamen must be exercised them substantially in the official letter in the sense and spirit of the constitution which I have herewith the honour to trans- but there is no reason to doubt that it will mit to your Lordship, but should you find be so exercised effectually and with good any thing that stands in need of explana- faith. Such a measure, as it might by tion, previous to being submitted to His suitable regulations and penalties be made Royal Highness, I shall remain at 18, Ben- completely effectual and satisfactory, would tinck-street, to receive the commands of operate almost exclusively in favour of your Lordship. If your Lordship could, in Great Britain, for as few American seamen courtesy, find any motive in my personal ever enter voluntarily into the British ser convenience to hasten to a decision upon vice, the reciprocity would be nominal, the propositions which I have submitted; and it is sincerely believed that it would be the season of the year, my anxiety to de- more than an equivalent for any advantage part (all my arrangements being made and she may derive from impressment. By all my baggage having left town), and the the proposition which I have now the ho detention of the Lark at much expense, nour to make in behalf of my Government, will plead powerfully in my favour. your Lordship will perceive the earnest have the honour to be, with great consider- desire of the President to remove every obation, your Lordship's very obedient and stacle to an accommodation, which consists very humble servant, merely of form; and to secure the rights and interests of the United States in a manner the most satisfactory and honourable to Great Britain as well as to America.→→→→→ The importance of the overture now made, will, I trust, obtain for it the early consi18, Bentirick-street, Sept. 12, 1812. deration of His Royal Highness the Prince My Lord, I hasten, authorized by in- Regent; and I shall detain the vessel in structions recently received from the Go- which I have taken my passage to the vernment of the United States, and urged United States, until I have the honour to by an unfeigned anxiety to arrest the cala-learn his decision. I have the honour mities of war, to propose to your Lordship to be, my Lord, with high consideration, a convention for the suspension of hostili- your Lordship's most obedient servant, ties, to take effect at such time as may be (Signed) JONA. RUSSELL, mutually agreed upon, and stipulating that Lord Viscount Castlereagh, &c. each party shall forthwith appoint Commissioners, with full powers to form a treaty, which shall provide, by reciprocal arrangements for the security of their seamen, from heing taken or employed in the service of the other power; for the regulation of their commerce; and all other interesting questions now depending between them; and that the armistice shall not cease without such previous notice by one to the other party, as may be agreed upon, and shall not be understood as having any other effect than merely to suspend military operations by land and sea.In proposing to your Lordship these terms for a suspension of hostilities, I am instructed to come to a clear and distinct understanding with His Britannic Majesty's Government, without requiring it to be formal concerning impressment, comprising in it the discharge of the citizens of the United States afready impressed; and concerning future blockades, the revocation of the Orders in Council being confirmed.Your Lordship is
(Signed) JONA. RUSSELL. Lord Viscount Casilereagh, &c. &c. bc.
Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Russell, Lord Castlereagh presents his compliments to Mr. Russell, and requests to have the honour of seeing him at his house in St. James's-square, at 9 o'clock this evening.
Foreign Office, Sept. 16, 1812.
Mr. Hamilton to Mr. Russell. Dear Sir, I have not seen Lord Castlereagh since his receipt of your two letters of the but have received his direcons to say to you, that he is concerned that he cannot have it in his power to reply to them for a few days, or would have had much pleasure in attending immediately, to your request in that respect. You may be assured that no delay will take place which can be avoided.I am, dear Sir, faithfully your's,
W. HAMILTON. Foreign Office, Sept. 16, 1812. Jonathan Russell, Esq. &c.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Hamilton. Dear Sir, I have learnt with much regret and disappointment, that Lord Castlereagh has directed you to inform me, that it is not in his power to give an immediate answer to the last letters which I have had the honour to address to him. The object of those letters was of a nature to require an early decision. Reluctant, however, by any precipitancy on my part, to protract the present unhappy relations between the two countries, I beg you to acquaint his Lordship, that I shall remain in town until Sunday (the 20th instant), when, unless some special and satisfactory reason be assigned for a longer delay, I shall consider it to be my duty to proceed to Plymouth to embark for the United States.I am, dear Sir, with great truth and respect, your obedient servant,
(Signed) JONATHAN RUSSELL. JONATHAN RUSSELL. 18, Bentinck-street, 16th Sept. 1812. N. B. Sent at 3 o'clock.
Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Russell.
Foreign Office, Sept. 18, 1812. Sir,-Under the explanations you have afforded me of the nature of the instructions which you have received from your Government, I have, as on the preceding occasion, been induced to lay your letter of the 12th inst. before His Royal Highness the Prince Regent. His Royal Highness commands me to express to you his regret that he cannot perceive any substantial difference between the proposition for a suspension of hostilities which you are now directed to make, and that which was contained in your letter of the 24th of August last. The form of the proposed arrange ment, it is true, is different; but it only appears to aim at executing the same purpose in a more covert, and, therefore, in a more objectionable manner. You are now directed to require, as preliminary to a suspension of hostilities, a clear and distinct understanding, without, however, requiring it to be formal on all the points referred to in your former proposition. It is obvious that, were this propasal acceded to, the discussion on the several points must substantially precede the understanding required. This course of proceeding, as bearing on the face of it a character of disguise, is not only felt to be in principle in admissible, but as unlikely to lead in practice to any advantageous result; as it does not appear on the important subject of impressment that you are either authorized to
propose any specific plan, with reference to which the suspension of that practice could be made a subject of deliberation, or that you have received any instructions for the guidance of your conduct on some of the leading principles, which such a discussion must in the first instance involve.Un der these circumstances the Prince Regent sincerely laments, that he does not feel himself enabled to depart from the decision which I was directed to convey to you in my letter of the 2d inst.I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant, CASTLEREAGH.
Jonathan Russell, Esq. &c.
Mr. Russell to Mr. Monroe, London, 19th Sept. 1812. Sir,-Since writing to you this morning, fearing that this Government should infer from my silence an acquiescence in the strange and unwarrantable view which Lord Castlereagh has in his last note thought fit to take of the overtures which I have submitted, and of the powers under which I acted, I have considered it my duty to return an answer, of which the enclosed is a copy.- -With great consideration and respect. I am, Sir, your assured and obedient servant,
(Signed) JONA. RUSSELL, To the Hon. James Monroe, &c.
Mr. Russell to Lord Castlereagh. London, 19th Sept. 1812. My Lord, I had the honour to receive, last evening, your Lordship's note of yesterday, and have learnt, with great regret and disappointment, that His Royal Highness the Prince Regent has again rejected the just and moderate propositions for a suspension of hostilities, which I have been instructed to present on the part of my Government.After the verbal explanations which I had the honour to afford your Lordship on the 16th instant, both as to the object and sufficiency of my instructions, I did not expect to hear repeated any objections on these points. For itself, the American Government has nothing to disguise; and by varying the proposition as to the manner of coming to a preliminary understanding, it merely intended to leave to the British Government that which might be most congenial to its feelings. The propositions presented by me, however, on the 24th of August and 12th inst. are distinguishable by a diversity in the substance as