The United States is Still a British Colony
Letter from Thomas Jefferson to George Hammond.
PHILADELPHIA, September 5, 1793.
Sir: I am honored with yours of August 30. Mine of the 7th of that month assured you that measures were taken for excluding from all further asylum in our ports vessels armed in them to cruise on nations with which we are at peace, and for the restoration of the prizes the Lovely Lass, Prince William Henry, and the Jane of Dublin; and that should the measures for restitution fail in their effect, the President considered it as incumbent on the United States to make compensation for the vessels.
We are bound by our treaties with three of the belligerent nations, by all the means in our power, to protect and defend their vessels and effects in our ports, or waters, or on the seas near our shores, and to recover and restore the same to the right owners when taken from them. If all the means in our power are used, and fail in their effect, we are not bound by our treaties with those nations to make compensation.
Though we have no similar treaty with Great Britain, it was the opinion of the President that we should use towards that nation the same rule which, under this article, was to govern us with the other nations; and even to extend it to captures made on the high seas and brought into our ports if done by vessels which had been armed within them.
Having, for particular reasons, forbore to use all the means in our power for the restitution of the three vessels mentioned in my letter of August 7th, the President thought it incumbent on the United States to make compensation for them; and though nothing was said in that letter of other vessels taken under like circumstances, and brought in after the 5th of June, and before the date of that letter, yet when the same forbearance had taken place, it was and is his opinion, that compensation would be equally due.
As to prizes made under the same circumstances, and brought in after the date of that letter, the President determined that all the means in our power should be used for their restitution. If these fail, as we should not be bound by our treaties to make compensation to the other Powers in the analogous case, he did not mean to give an opinion that it ought to be done to Great Britain. But still, if any cases shall arise subsequent to that date, the circumstances of which shall place them on similar ground with those before it, the President would think compensation equally incumbent on the United States.
Instructions are given to the Governors of the different States to use all the means in their power for restoring prizes of this last description found within their ports. Though they will, of course, take measures to be informed of them, and the General Government has given them the aid of the customhouse officers for this purpose, yet you will be sensible of the importance of multiplying the channels of their information as far as shall depend on yourself, or any person under your direction, or order that the Governors may use the means in their power for making restitution.
Without knowledge of the capture they cannot restore it. It will always be best to give the notice to them directly; but any information which you shall be pleased to send to me also, at any time, shall be forwarded to them as quickly as distance will permit.
Hence you will perceive, sir, that the President contemplates restitution or compensation in the case before the 7th of August; and after that date, restitution if it can be effected by any means in our power. And that it will be important that you should substantiate the fact that such prizes are in our ports or waters.
Your list of the privateers illicitly armed in our ports is, I believe, correct.
With respect to losses by detention, waste, spoilation sustained by vessels taken as before mentioned, between the dates of June 5th and August 7th, it is proposed as a provisional measure that the Collector of the Customs of the district, and the British Consul, or any other person you please, shall appoint persons to establish the value of the vessel and cargo at the time of her capture and of her arrival in the port into which she is brought, according to their value in that port. If this shall be agreeable to you, and you will be pleased to signify it to me, with the names of the prizes understood to be of this description, instructions will be given accordingly to the Collector of the Customs where the respective vessels are.
I have the honor to be, &c., TH: JEFFERSON. GEO: HAMMOND, Esq.
It is further agreed, between the said contracting parties, that the operation of so much of the twelfth article of the said Treaty as respects the trade which his said Majesty thereby consents may be carried on between the United States and his islands in the West Indies, in the manner and on the terms and conditions therein specified, shall be suspended.
EXPLANATORY ARTICLE TO THE THIRD ARTICLE OF THE TREATY OF NOVEMBER 19, 1794, RESPECTING THE LIBERTY TO PASS AND REPASS THE BORDERS AND TO CARRY ON TRADE AND COMMERCE.
Concluded May 4, 1796; Ratification advised by Senate May 9, 1796.
Whereas by the third article of the Treaty of amity, commerce and navigation, concluded at London on the nineteenth day of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninetyfour, between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, it was agreed that is should at all times be free to His Majesty's subjects and to the citizens of the United States, and also to the Indians dwelling on either side of the boundary line, assigned by the Treaty of peace to the United States, freely to pass and repass, by land or inland navigation, into the respective territories and countries of the two contracting parties, on the continent of America, (the country within the limits of the Hudson's Bay Company only excepted,) and to navigate all the lakes, rivers, and waters thereof, and freely to carry on trade and commerce with each other, subject to the provisions and limitations contained in the said article: And whereas by the eighth article of the Treaty of peace and friendship concluded at Greenville on the third day of August, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-five, between the United States and the nations or tribes of Indians called the Wyandots, Delawares, Shawanoes, Ottawas, Chippewas, Putawatimies, Miamis, Eel River, Weeas, Kickapoos, Piankashaws, and Kaskaskias, it was stipulated that no person should be permitted to reside at any of the towns or the hunting camps of the said Indian tribes, as a trader, who is not furnished with a licence for that purpose under the authority of the United States: Which latter stipulation has excited doubts, whether in its operation it may not interfere with the due execution of the third article of the Treaty of amity, commerce and navigation: And it being the sincere desire of His Britannic Majesty and of the United States that this point should be so explained as to remove all doubts and promote mutual satisfaction and friendship: And for this purpose His Britannic Majesty having named for his Commissioner, Phineas Bond, Esquire, His Majesty's Consul General for the Middle and Southern States of America, (and now His Majesty's Charg d'Affaires to the United States,) and the President of the United States having named for their Commissioner, Timothy Pickering, Esquire, Secretary of State of the United States, to whom, agreeably to the laws of the United States, he has intrusted this negotiation:
They, the said Commissioners, having communicated to each other their full powers, have, in virtue of the same, and conformably to the spirit of the last article of the said Treaty of amity, commerce and navigation, entered into this explanatory article, and do by these presents explicitly agree and declare, that no stipulations in any treaty subsequently concluded by either of the contracting parties with any other State or nation, or with any Indian tribe, can be understood to derogate in any manner from the rights of free intercourse and commerce, secured by the aforesaid third article of the Treaty of amity, commerce and navigation, to the subjects of his Majesty and to the citizens of the United States, and to the Indians dwelling on either side of the boundary line aforesaid; but that all the said persons shall remain at full liberty freely to pass and repass, by land or inland navigation, into the respective territories and countries of the contracting parties, on either side of the said boundary line, and freely to carry on trade and commerce with each other, according to the stipulations of the said third article of the Treaty of amity, commerce and navigation.
This explanatory article, when the same shall have been ratified by His Majesty and by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of their Senate, and the respective ratifications mutually exchanged, shall be added to and make a part of the said Treaty of amity commerce and navigation, and shall be permanently binding upon His Majesty and the United States.
In witness whereof we, the said Commissioners of His Majesty the King of Great Britain and the United States of America, have signed this present explanatory article, and thereto affixed our seals.
Done at Philadelphia this fourth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninetysix.
(SEAL.) P. BOND. (SEAL.) TIMOTHY PICKERING.
EXPLANATORY ARTICLE TO THE TREATY OF NOVEMBER 19, 1794, RELEASING THE COMMISSIONERS UNDER THE FIFTH ARTICLE FROM PARTICULARIZING THE LATITUDE AND LONGITUDE OF THE RIVER ST. CROIX.
Concluded March 15, 1798; Ratification advised by Senate June 5, 1798.
Whereas by the twenty eight article of the Treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation between His Britannic Majesty and the United States, signed at London on the nineteenth day of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety four, it was agreed that the contracting parties would, from time to time, readily treat of and concerning such further articles as might be proposed; that they would sincerely endeavour so to form such articles as that they might conduce to mutual convenience and tend to promote mutual satisfaction and, friendship; and that such articles, after having been duly ratified, should be added to and make a part of that Treaty: And whereas difficulties have arisen with respect to the execution of so much of the fifth article of the said Treaty as requires that the Commissioners appointed under the same should in their description particularize the latitude and longitude of the source of the river which may be found to be the one truly intended in the Treaty of peace between His Britannic Majesty and the United States, under the name of the river St. Croix, by reason whereof it is expedient that the said Commissioners should be released from the obligation of conforming to the provisions of the said article in this respect. The undersigned being respectively named by His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America their Plenipotentiaries for the purpose of treating of and concluding such articles as may be proper to be added to the said Treaty, in conformity to the above mentioned stipulation, and having communicated to each other their respective full powers, have agreed and concluded, and do hereby declare in the name of His Britannic Majesty and of the United States of America that the Commissioners appointed under the fifth article of the above mentioned Treaty shall not be obliged to particularize in their description, the latitude and longitude of the source of the river which may be found to be the one truly intended in the aforesaid Treaty of peace under the name of the river St. Croix, but they shall be at liberty to describe the said river, in such other manner as they may judge expedient, which description shall be considered as a complete execution of the duty required of the said Commissioners in this respect by the article aforesaid. And to the end that no uncertainty may hereafter exist on this subject, it is further agreed, that as soon as may be after the decision of the said Commissioners, measures shall be concerted between the Government of the United States and His Britannic Majesty's Governors or Lieutenant Governors in America, in order to erect and keep in repair a suitable monument at the place ascertained and described to be the source of the said river St. Croix, which measures shall immediately thereupon, and as often afterwards as may be requisite, be duly executed on both sides with punctuality and good faith.
This explanatory article, when the same shall have been ratified by His Majesty and by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of their Senate, and the respective ratifications mutually exchanged, shall be added to and make a part of the Treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation between His Majesty and the United States, signed at London on the nineteenth day of November, one thousand seven hundred and ninety four, and shall be permanently binding upon His Majesty and the United States.
In witness whereof we, the said undersigned Plenipotentiaries of His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, have signed this present article, and have caused to be affixed thereto the seal of our arms.
Done at London this fifteenth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight.
(SEAL.) GRENVILLE. (SEAL.) RUFUS KING.
1814 Treaty of Ghent 1814 to end the War Of 1812
Treaty of Peace and Amity between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, Concluded at Ghent, December 24,1814; Ratification Advised by Senate, February 16, 1815; Ratified by President; February 17, 1815; Ratifications Exchanged at Washington, February 17, 1815; Proclaimed, February 18, 1815. His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, desirous of terminating the war which has unhappily subsisted between the two countries, and of restoring, upon principles of perfect reciprocity, peace, friendship, and good understanding between them, have, for that purpose, appointed their respective Plenipotentiaries, that is to say:
His Britannic Majesty, on his part, has appointed the Right Honorable James Lord Gambier, late Admiral of the White, now Admiral of the Red Squadron of His Majesty's fleet, Henry Goulburn, Esquire, a member of the Imperial Parliament, and Under Secretary of State, and William Adams, Esquire, Doctor of Civil Laws; and the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, has appointed John Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, Jonathan Russell, and Albert Gallatin, citizens of the United States;
Who, after a reciprocal communication of their respective full powers, have agreed upon the following articles:
There shall be a firm and universal peace between His Britannic Majesty and the United States, and between their respective countries, territories, cities, towns, and people, of every degree, without exception of places or persons. All hostilities, both by sea and land, shall cease as soon as this Treaty shall have been ratified by both parties, as hereinafter mentioned. All territory, places, and possessions whatsoever, taken by either party from the other during the war, or which may be taken after the signing of this Treaty, excepting only the islands hereinafter mentioned, shall be restored without delay, and without causing any destruction or carrying away any of the artillery or other public property originally captured in the said forts or places, and which shall remain therein upon the exchange of the ratifications of this Treaty, or any slaves or other private property. And all archives, records, deeds, and papers, either of a public nature or belonging to private persons, which, in the course of the war, may have fallen into the hands of the officers of either party, shall be, as far as may be practicable, forthwith restored and delivered to the proper authorities and persons to whom they respectively belong. Such of the islands in the Bay of Passamaquoddy as are claimed by both parties, shall remain in the possession of the party in whose occupation they may be at the time of the exchange of the ratifications of this Treaty, until the decision respecting the title to the said islands shall have been made in conformity with the fourth article of this Treaty. No disposition made by this Treaty as to such possession of the islands and territories claimed by both parties shall, in any manner whatever, be construed to affect the right of either.
Immediately after the ratifications of this Treaty by both parties, as hereinafter mentioned, orders shall be sent to the armies, squadrons, officers, subjects and citizens of the two Powers to cease from all hostilities. And to prevent all causes of complaint which might arise on account of the prizes which may be taken at sea after the said ratifications of this Treaty, it is reciprocally agreed that all vessels and effects which may be taken after the space of twelve days from the said ratifications, upon all parts of the coast of North America, from the latitude of twenty-three degrees north to the latitude of fifty degrees north, and as far eastward in the Atlantic Ocean as the thirty-sixth degree of west longitude from the meridian of Greenwich, shall be restored on each side: that the time shall be thirty days in all other parts of the Atlantic Ocean north of the equinoctial line or equator, and the same time for the British and Irish Channels, for the Gulf of Mexico, and all parts of the West Indies; forty days for the North Seas, for the Baltic, and for all parts of the Mediterranean; sixty days for the Atlantic Ocean south of the equator, as far as the latitude of the Cape of Good Hope; ninety days for every other part of the world south of the equator; and one hundred and twenty days for all other parts of the world, without exception.
All prisoners of war taken on either side, as well by land as by sea, shall be restored as soon as practicable after the ratifications of this Treaty, as hereinafter mentioned, on their paying the debts which they may have contracted during their captivity. The two contracting parties respectively engage to discharge, in specie, the advances which may have been made by the other for the sustenance and maintenance of such prisoners.
Whereas it was stipulated by the second article in the Treaty of peace of one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America, that the boundary of the United States should comprehend all islands within twenty leagues of any part of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries, between Nova Scotia on the one part, and East Florida on the other, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, excepting such islands as now are, or heretofore have been, within the limits of Nova Scotia; and whereas the several islands in the Bay of Passamaquoddy, which is part of the Bay of Fundy, and the Island of Grand Menan, in the said Bay of Fundy, are claimed by the United States as being comprehended within their aforesaid boundaries, which said islands are claimed as belonging to His Britannic Majesty, as having been, at the time of and previous to the aforesaid Treaty of one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, within the limits of the Province of Nova Scotia. In order, therefore, finally to decide upon these claims, it is agreed that they shall be referred to two Commissioners to be appointed in the following manner, viz: One Commissioner shall be appointed by His Britannic Majesty, and one by the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof; and the said two Commissioners so appointed shall be sworn impartially to examine and decide upon the said claims according to such evidence as shall be laid before them on the part of His Britannic Majesty and of the United States respectively. The said Commissioners shall meet at St. Andrews, in the Province of New Brunswick, and shall have power to adjourn to such other place or places as they shall think fit. The said Commissioners shall, by a declaration or report under their hands and seals, decide to which of the two contracting parties the several islands aforesaid do respectively belong, in conformity with the true intent of the said Treaty of peace of one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three. And if the said Commissioners shall agree in their decision, both parties shall consider such decision as final and conclusive. It is further agreed that, in the event of the two Commissioners differing upon all or any of the matters so referred to them, or in the event of both or either of the said Commissioners refusing, or declining or wilfully omitting to act as such, they shall make, jointly or separately, a report or reports, as well to the Government of His Britannic Majesty as to that of the United States, stating in detail the points on which they differ, and the grounds upon which their respective opinions have been formed, or the grounds upon which they, or either of them, have so refused, declined, or omitted to act. And His Britannic Majesty and the Government of the United States hereby agree to refer the report or reports of the said Commissioners to some friendly sovereign or State, to be then named for that purpose, and who shall be requested to decide on the differences which may be stated in the said report or reports, or upon the report of one Commissioner, together with the grounds upon which the other Commissioner shall have refused, declined, or omitted to act, as the case may be. And if the Commissioner so refusing, declining, or omitting to act, shall also wilfully omit to state the grounds upon which he has so done, in such manner that the said statement may be referred to such friendly sovereign or State, together with the report of such other Commissioner, then such sovereign or State shall decide ex parte upon the said report alone. And His Britannic Majesty and the Government of the United States engage to consider the decision of such friendly sovereign or State to be final and conclusive on all the matters so referred.
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