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tory alternative of improper concessions or inevitable collisions.
The last suggestion I have to make to you is, that, in case of great difficulties in re-adjusting the multiplied provisions embraced by the treaty of December, particularly those relating to commerce, it may be advisable to simplify the transaction by confining it to the few essential objects, or by not adding more than a few others of least difficulty and most importance. A general article may suffice for the rest, giving reciprocally, in regard to trade and navigation, armed ships and prizes the privileges of the most favoured nation; and leaving for more leisurely and detailed provision whatever further may conduce to the mutual interests, and correspond with the friendly dispositions of the parties. A general stipulation of this sort, applied to the subject of commerce, would have the advantage to the United States of abolishing and preventing British discriminations on exports, and to Great Britain the like advantage with respect to American discriminations on imports.
From Mr. Madison to Messrs. Monroe and Pinkney. Department of State, July 30, 1807.
GENTLEMEN,-Your letter of April 25th, enclosing the British project of a convention of limits, and your proposed amendments, has been duly received. The following observations explain the terms on which the President authorizes you to close and sign the instrument.
1st. The modification of the 5th article, (noted as one which the British commissioners would have agreed to) may be admitted in case that proposed by you to them be not attainable. But it is much to be wished and pressed, though not made an ultimatum, that the proviso to both should be omitted. This is in no view whatever necessary, and can have little other effect than as an offensive intimation to Spain, that our claims extend to the Pacifick ocean. However reasonable such claims may be, compared with those of others, it is impolitick, especially at the present moment, to strengthen Spanish jealousies of the United States, which it is probably an object with Great Britain to excite by the clause in question.
2d. The privileges of British trade and intercourse with the Indians, allowed by existing stipulations, are not to be extended to Indians dwelling within the limits of the United States, as determined by the treaty of peace.
The motives for excluding foreign traders from the territories of the United States, westward of the Mississippi, have been heretofore stated to you. These motives gain strength daily. It is manifest also, that the proposition on the part of Great Britain fails essentially in the point of real and fair reciprocity: first, as it excepts the possessions of the Hudson's Bay company, without any equivalent exception on our side of the boundary: secondly, as the use of the privilege by our traders on the British side of the boundary is known to be attended with danger and secret obstructions, to which British traders on our side of the boundary are in no degree exposed: thirdly, as all chance of competition with British traders on the British side would be completely frustrated by the disparity of duties and of prices, under which the American and British traders would respectively carry their merchandise to the Indian market on that side. The British government now complains of the disadvantage resulting to their Indian traders on the eastern side of the Mississippi from an excess of duty amounting to about six per cent. In the Indian trade within the British territory, the difference against our traders is equal to the difference between the duties imposed in the United States and those imposed in Canada, or rather, as no duties are probably imposed in Canada, equal to the full amount imposed in the United States, that is, to 15 or 20 per cent. It is enough to be under this inequality, as it relates to the existing stipulation. To extend it, as proposed, is more than can be fairly expected. The bargain would be still far worse on our side, if the British proposals contemplate a free access to the waters westward of the Mississippi, with goods free of duty for the Indians of Louisiana.
Having already transmitted to Mr. Monroe sundry documents, throwing light on our relations with the Indians in the north-west quarter, I add a few others, not a little curious, as well as not uninteresting.
3d. Access by land or inland navigation from the British territories, through the territory of the United States, to the river Mississippi, is not to be allowed to British sub
jects with their goods or effects, unless such articles shall have paid all the duties, and be within all the customhouse regulations, applicable to goods and effects of citizens of the United States. An access through the territory of the United States to the waters running into the western side of the Mississippi, is under no modification whatever to be stipulated to British subjects.
There can be no good' reason with Great Britain for wishing an access to the Mississippi for goods free of duty, because the river can never be a highway to any other market than the consumption of our citizens, and as this cannot be attained without a previous payment of the usual duties, it must be the same thing, whether the duties be paid on, or after entering the limits of the United States; or, rather, the only difference would be in the greater facility of evading the duties in the latter than in the former case; a facility, which cannot be supposed to be approved by Great Britain, or admissible by the United States.
4th. It may be agreed that the ad valorem duties, now payable on goods imported into the United States from the neighbouring territories of Great Britain, shall be regulated according to the value thereof, estimated in the same manner as if directly imported from beyond sea, and that licenses to Indian traders, and passes for their canoes and carriages, shall be freely granted; but that the British. traders shall, in all respects, be subject to the restrictions: and precautions with respect to the articles to be supplied to the Indians, as are imposed on citizens of the United States engaged in the same trade.
I have only to express the President's approbation of the idea of keeping open for future decision our right to the island of Grand Menan, and to suggest, as a desirable addition to the 8th article, a clause providing, "that in the mean time British vessels shall not be restrained from carrying plaster, &c. to any ports of the United States." It appears that a disposition exists to compel the British vessels to trade to the more distant ports of the United States, instead of resorting to the nearer ones, whence the plaster, &c. is now conveyed by vessels of the United States. For the spirit and outrages which prevail in that quarter, I refer to the communications from the collector 37
of Passamaquoddy, herewith enclosed. Affidavits of the facts stated by the collector have also been transmitted by
I have the honour to be, &c.
London, July 25, 1806.
SIR,-You will have been surprised at not hearing from us sooner, on the business confided to us, under the commission with which we are honoured by the President. The delay proceeded from a desire to give you some satisfactory information of our progress in it, which it was not in our power to do. It happened unfortunately, just about the time of Mr. Pinkney's arrival, on the 24th ultimo, that Mr. Fox was taken ill of a dropsical complaint, from which he has not yet recovered, and probably never will. That circumstance opposed to us a serious obstacle, which it was difficult to surmount, even in the first stage. As Mr. Fox was the official organ of the government, we could not approach it in that mode through any other channel; and as he and his friends are believed to be favourably disposed to the objects of our mission, and are strong in the cabinet, it seemed to be hazardous to make any experiment for that purpose which might have a tendency to irritate them. Thus we were kept for some time at a stand. Every necessary step was taken with the department of foreign affairs, without making any advance. At length, through the good offices of lord Holland, to whom, as the relative of Mr. Fox we presumed we might apply, without giving offence to him or his friends, we obtained our recognition of the king. And we trust now that the door is open, that we shall soon be able to proceed in the business, on which we have to treat, with some suitable organ of the government. We persuade ourselves, if Mr. Fox should continue unable to act, that some other person will be appointed to meet us in his stead. We have the pleasure to enclose you a copy of the several notes which have passed in this introductory stage of the business.
Our audience of the king took place on the 21st inst. The reception was quite a favourable one. To the assurances which we gave of the friendly policy of the United
States towards Great Britain, as particularly exemplified by the present mission, his majesty, in return, expressed himself to be highly satisfied with the proof which that measure gave of that disposition in their government, as that Mr. Pinkney had been selected from among their citizens to be employed in it. His other remarks, though not applicable to the topick of existing differences, were nevertheless of a conciliatory and friendly character.
We beg you to be assured, that we shall continue to exert our best efforts to accomplish the important objects of our mission. Of the actual disposition of this government on that subject, and of the prospect of a satisfactory adjustment, it is not in our power to speak from any recent occurrence. The general view, as founded on the sentiments which have been expressed by those about the government, with whom we have conferred, is favourable. We cannot but believe, that the delay to which we were. subjected in obtaining our recognition by the king, ought to be attributed to Mr. Fox's indisposition alone. It is, however, proper to mention, that a negotiation with France is still depending, and that many entertain the expectation, that it will terminate in peace. We are not aware that such an event is likely soon to happen, and we flatter ourselves, even in case it should, that the motive for preserving a good understanding with the United States, in the present situation of the world, is otherwise sufficiently. strong with this government to induce it to accede to a fair and satisfactory adjustment of differences with them.
We have received your letter of May 30, and shall not fail to pay due attention to the instruction it communi
We have the honour to be, with great consideration and esteem, sir, your very obedient servants,
To Mr. Fox. Low Layton, June 21, 1806.
MR. MONROE presents his compliments to Mr. Fox, and has the honour to inform him of the arrival of Mr. Pinkney at Liverpool, and to request that he will be so good as to give an order that his baggage and effects may be landed and brought to London. Mr. Monroe presumes