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ister's correspondence that he successively tendered the two propositions with which he was charged, to which proposals the American Government, desiring to offer a counter-proposition, Mr. Bagot did not conceive himself authorised to negotiate, but only to make a specific offer of accommodation. He therefore declined to receive the American counter-projet, notifying to the admiral on the Halifax station that nothing had occurred in negotiation at Washington which should interfere with the execution of the instructions of which he was in possession.
You will particularly advert to the note presented soon after by Mr. Adams in London, with my answer. You will see, upon the assurance of that Minister, that his Government was prepared to offer a proposition which they persuaded themselves (being then in possession of the views of the British Government upon this question) would lead to an early and satisfactory understanding on the point of the fisheries between the two States; that, upon this representation and at his express solicitation, the execution of the orders issued for the protection of our fisheries were suspended for that season; and that Mr. Bagot was directed to receive and transmit the proposition alluded to for the consideration of the Prince Regent's Government.
Notwithstanding this assurance, no specific proposition whatever has hitherto been received from the United States. Various excuses, it is true, have been made for this delay, but the British Government is not the less entitled to complain that the expectation given has not yet been fulfilled, which has obliged them, in order to avoid collision, to suspend for another season the operation of these orders. The American Government having, however, now expressly proposed to include this subject in the intended negotiation, I cannot entertain a doubt that you will be put without delay in possession of the extent of accommodation which they desire to receive from Great Britain on this point. Indeed, the American plenipotentiaries, in the conversation we held with them, stated that, although they were not actually in possession of the projet, they were assured it would be sent to them by the first packet. You will, therefore, take the earliest opportunity of representing to them the disappointment which this Government has been subjected to on this important question, and make them feel that it has become indispensable for you to insist that the discussions on this point shall be proceeded in with the least practicable delay. The proposal of the United States on this subject, so soon as received, you will take ad referendum and submit for the consideration of your Government.
No. 33.-1818, September: Letter from Messrs. Robinson and Goulburn to Viscount Castlereagh.
BOARD OF TRADE Sept. MY LORD We have the honour to report to your Lordship, that we had yesterday agreeably to appointment, a further conference with the commissioners of the United States.
It commenced by our expressing a hope, that they would now be prepared to put us in possession, of the views of their Government
with respect to a limited participation in the fisheries, and the direct trade with the British colonies; and we stated our anxiety to receive them, in order that no time might be lost in entering upon this part of our discussions, and as a necessary preliminary to our offering any projet in the subject of impressment.
The American commissioners stated in reply, that they had now received those instructions from the United States, the absence of which had alone induced them to defer entering into those questions, proceeded to offer the projet of articles, which will be found inserted in the protocol of this day's conference and of which we have the honour to enclose copies. They took the opportunity of stating in some detail, the nature of the propositions themselves, and the reasons by which their Government had been influenced in submitting them for consideration. With respect to the fisheries they observed, that in consideration of the different opinions known to be entertained by the Governments of the two countries, as to the right of the United States to a participation in the fisheries within the British jurisdiction, and to the use for those purposes of British territory, they had been induced to forego a statement of their views of this right in the article which they had proposed; but they desired to be understood, as in no degree abandoning the ground upon which the right to the fishery had been claimed by the Government of the United States, and only waiving discussion of it, upon the principle that, that right was not to be limited in any way, which should exclude the United States from a fair participation in the advantages of the fishery: They added that while they could not but regard the propositions made to the Government of the United States by Mr. Bagot as altogether inadmissible, inasmuch as they restricted the American fishing to a line of coast so limited, as to exclude them from this fair participation, they had nevertheless been anxious in securing to themselves, an adequate extent of coast, to guard against the inconveniences which they understood to constitute the leading objection, to the unlimited exercise of their fishing. With this view they had contented themselves with requiring a further extent of coast, in those very quarters which Great Britain had pointed out, because it appeared to them that the very small population established in that quarter, and the unfitness of the soil for cultivation rendered it improbable that any conduct of the American fishermen in that quarter could either give rise to disputes with the inhabitants, or to injuries to the revenue.
They further observed that as the treaty of 1783, did not give the United States any right to dry or cure fish on the shores of Newfoundland and as they were uncertain whether the offer made by Mr. Bagot, was meant to include such a concession, they had deemed it absolutely necessary in abandoning this privilege as far as regarded other parts of His Majesty's territories, to stipulate distinctly for its enjoyment in Newfoundland, and also to require the continuance of a similar concession on the Magdalen Islands; some situation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in which fish might be cured and dried being essential to the carrying on the fishery at all on the coast of Labrador. 87
They concluded their observations on the subject of the fishery, by adverting to that part of the proposed article, in which the right to fish within the limits prescribed, is conveyed per
manently to the United States, and stated that as they conceived themselves to be abandoning a right to all these advantages, conferred by the article of the treaty of 1783, it appeared to the Govt. of the United States no less necessary, than just, that the fishery which they were henceforth to enjoy, should be distinctly admitted as permanent, and as not depending upon the duration of the treaty, in which the stipulation was contained
With respect to the colonial trade it appears to us only necessary to communicate to your Lordship, that while they admitted the importance of the trade to the United States (attended as they stated themselves to believe, with corresponding advantages to Great Britain) they stated their willingness rather to forgo entering into any arrangement on this subject, than depart from the principle upon which the projet of their present article was framed, namely that however limited that trade might be, it should within those limits be equally open to America and to Great Britain-They further stated that they could not consent to put the intercourse between Bermuda Turk's Island Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and the United States upon a different footing from that upon which the West India trade (properly so called) should ultimately stand. In reply to an observation made by us, that so far as regarded the trade between Bermuda, Turks Island and Nova Scotia and the United States, the effect of the article as explained by them, would be to place Great Britain on a worse footing than she stood at present; they frankly stated that, that was certainly their intention, and that there could be no doubt, that the restrictive system applied by the recent law of the United States to the trade between the United States and the British West Indies, would be applied in a future session, to that carried on with Bermuda Turk's Island & Halifax, it being as they stated, the policy of the American Government to counteract by these means the system adopted by Great Britain of defeating, through the medium of those ports of entrepot, the general prohibitions of the United States against the West India intercourse.
The American commissioners closed their observations by submitting projets of articles upon some other points, which they were desirous of offering as subjects of discussion, with a view to their eventually forming parts of the proposed convention. Copies of these articles are inclosed for your Lordship's information.
We declined entering at the time into any discussion of the propositions they had brought forward, till we should have had an opportunity of considering the articles themselves as necessarily containing a more precise view of their intentions than could be conveyed by any previous verbal explanation.
The American commissioners then requested a communication on our part of the proposition with respect to impressment, which we had before stated to be contingent on the production by them of the articles which had never been delivered to us. In acceding to their wish and delivering to them the projet of a convention which will be found in the protocol of the conference, we thought it, our duty to call their attention among other circumstances to that of His Majesty's Government having waived the introduction of any stipulation, which should require the crews of vessels met with on the high seas to be mustered. In doing so it was impossible for us to avoid impressing upon them the strong feeling which has always, and so
justly prevailed in this country with respect to the right of impressment as essential to our national security, and the jealousy with which a stipulation to forbear its exercise under whatever limitations could not fail to be regarded. We trusted therefore that in the determination of this Government, to forbear insisting upon one of those stipulations, which they had originally thought a necessary check upon abuse, the American commissioners would discover the best additional proof of their disposition, to make every practicable sacrifice to maintain the present state of our friendly relations with the United States, and to cement that perfect cordiality which was considered essential to the interests and happiness of both.
We should not do justice to the American commissioners, if we forbore to bear testimony to their acceptance of the proposition with respect to impressment, in the spirit with which it was offered, and to their expression that the bonds of union between the two countries might by every means be cemented and confirmed.
The conference concluded with their submitting to us two classes of propositions, which appeared to them as in some degree connected with the question of impressment, the one (marked from A to G) relating to maritime and neutral rights, and the other (marked from H to K) comprising some general regulations which as connected. with commerce, appeared to them not unfit to be introduced into a commercial convention.
We have the honour to be my Lord with the greatest respect your Lordship's most obedient humble servants.
P. S. The American plenipotentiaries also submitted an article respecting the captured slaves which your Lordship will find inclosed—
No. 34.-1818, September 17: Extract from Protocol of Third Conference held between the American and British Plenipotentiaries at Whitehall.
Present: Mr. Gallatin, Mr. Rush, Mr. Robinson, Mr. Goulburn.
The conference fixed for the 4th instant having been adjourned by mutual consent, it was held this day.
The protocol of the preceding conference was agreed upon and signed.
The American plenipotentiaries, after some previous explanation of the nature of the propositions which they were about to make, submitted the five annexed articles, (A, B, C, and D,) upon the fisheries, the boundary line, the West India intercourse, that of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and the captured slaves. The two first articles they stated to be drawn as permanent; and they accompanied that respecting the fisheries with the annexed explanatory memorandum. (E.)
The British plenipotentiaries submitted the annexed projet of articles respecting the impressment of seamen, (F;) and they expressed their conviction that a consideration of these articles would, under all
the circumstances of difficulty with which the question is involved, satisfy the American plenipotentiaries of the sincere and earnest disposition of the British Government to go every practicable length in a joint effort to remove all existing causes of difference, and to connect the two countries in the firmest ties of harmony and good understanding.
The American plenipotentiaries declared that they received the proposition entirely in the same spirit; and then brought forward the annexed articles, (G,) relating to other maritime points, which, at the former conference, they had announced their intention of producing.
They also submitted three other articles, as annexed, respecting wrecks, &c. (H.)
It was agreed to meet on Friday, the 25th instant.
FREDERICK JOHN ROBINSON,
Whereas differences have arisen respecting the liberty claimed by the United States for the inhabitants thereof to take, dry, and cure fish on certain coasts, bays, harbours, and creeks of His Britannic Majesty's dominions in America: it is agreed between the high contracting parties that the inhabitants of the said United States shall continue to enjoy unmolested, for ever, the liberty to take fish, of every kind, on that part of the southern coast of Newfoundland which extends from Cape Ray to the Ramea Islands, and the western and northern coast of Newfoundland, from the said Cape Ray to Quirpon Island, on the Magdalen Islands; and also on the coasts, bays, harbours, and creeks from Mount Joli, on the southern coast of Labrador, to and through the straits of Belleisle, and thence, northwardly, indefinitely, along the coast; and that the American fishermen shall also have liberty for ever to dry and cure fish in any of the unsettled bays, harbours, and creeks of the southern part of the coast of Newfoundland here above described, of the Magdalen Islands, and of Labrador, as here above described; but so soon as the same, or either of them, shall be settled, it shall not be lawful for the said fishermen to dry or cure fish at such settlement, without previous agreement for that purpose with the inhabitants, proprietors, or possessors of the ground; and the United States hereby renounce any liberty heretofore enjoyed or claimed by the inhabitants thereof to take, dry, or cure fish on or within three marine miles of any of the coasts, bays, creeks, and harbours of His Britannic Majesty's dominions in America not included within the above-mentioned limits: Provided, however, that the American fishermen shall be admitted to enter such bays and harbours for the purpose only of obtaining shelter, wood, water, and bait, but under such restrictions as may be necessary to prevent their drying or curing fish therein, or in any other manner abusing the privilege hereby reserved to them.