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above mentioned, you may consent to it, provided it does not exceed 6,666 dollars and 66 cents, each party contributing equally to the payment, and each commissioner receiving the same sum as his colleagues.
I have the honour to be, &c.
Mr. Madison, Secretary of State, to Mr. Monroe. Department of State, March 5, 1804.
"THE treaty of 1794, so far as it relates to commerce, having expired on the 1st day of October last, (that being the date of the preliminary articles) the commercial intercourse between the two countries is left to the regulations which the parties separately may think fit to establish. It may be expected, however, that the friendship and mutual interest between them will produce a continuance on both sides of such regulations as are just and equal, and an accommodation to those principles of such as, on either side, are otherwise than just and equal. On the side of the United States, their commercial regulations place Great Britain in every respect on the footing of the most favoured nation. Great Britain cannot say as much with respect to hers. One instance at least is explained in a letter from this department to Mr. King, of which a copy is enclosed, in which you will see, that, although the act of parliament to which it refers be no longer a breach of stipulation, it is not less a violation of equality than it is of sound policy. With respect to the British West Indies, it is not known that the United States are on a worse footing than other nations, whatever want of reciprocity there may be to the liberal regulations of the United States. With respect to the East India trade, it is understood that the treaty of 1794, by denying to American vessels both the coasting branch of it, and a direct intercourse between India and foreign countries, other than America, the United States were in both instances placed on a worse footing than other nations, and even on a worse footing than they themselves enjoyed prior to the treaty. The expiration of the treaty, and the friendly and favourable equali
ty allowed by the United States to Great Britain in every branch of their trade, ought certainly to restore what the treaty suspended.
"These observations are made not with a view to any negotiation whatever, leading at the present moment to a treaty on those or any other commercial points, or to discussions which might be misconstrued into a wish to take unreasonable advantage of a critical moment, but to ena
you to present the ideas of your government with more precision, to vindicate our commercial policy against misconceptions, and to avail yourself the better of fit occasions for obtaining from the British government such relaxations as may be due to our example, and be calculated to cherish amity and useful intercourse between the two nations.
"In my letter of I stated the reasonableness of admitting American consuls in the dependencies of Great Britain, whenever and wherever the American commerce should be admitted. The principle urged in this case is applicable to the East as well as to the West Indies. During the last war an American agent was informally at least allowed to reside at Calcutta and take care of the trade of his countrymen. Mr. Jacob Lewis, who was appointed to succeed him, proceeded to London on his way thither, but peace having intervened, his application for an exequatur was refused. It is of real importance to our trade with that country, that such a functionary should be permitted to reside in it; the more so if it be true that the rule forbidding foreign factors to do so be enforced there. Be so good as to sound the British government on this subject, and communicate its sentiments for the information of the President."
Extract of a Letter from Mr. Madison to Mr. Monroe. Department of State, March 6, 1805.
SIR,-"The experience of every day shows more and more the obligation on both sides to enter seriously on the means of guarding the harmony of the two countries against the dangers, with which it is threatened by a perseverance of Great Britain in her irregularities on the high seas, and particularly in the impressments from American vessels.
The extent in which these have taken place since the commencement of the war will be seen by the enclosed report, required from this department by a vote of the House of Representatives; and the call for it, whilst negotiations on the subject were understood to be in train, is itself a proof of the publick sensibility to those aggressions on the security of our citizens and the rights of our flag. A further proof will be seen in the motion, also enclosed, which was made by Mr. Crowninshield, and which will probably be revived at the next session. This motion, with his remarks on it, appear very generally in the newspapers, with comments proceeding from a coincidence of the sensibility out of doors with that within. A still stronger proof of impatience under this evil will be found in the proceedings authorized by an act of Congress just passed, and which is likewise enclosed, against British officers committing on the high seas trespasses or torts on board American vessels, offences manifestly including cases of impressment.
"In communicating these circumstances, it will occur to you, that whilst they may be allowed to proclaim the growing sensibility of the United States on the subject of impressments, they ought, by proper explanations and assurances, to be guarded against a misconstruction into marks of illiberal or hostile sentiments towards Great Britain. The truth is, and it may be so stated by you, that this practice of impressments, aggravated by so many provoking incidents, has been so long continued, and so often in vain remonstrated against, that, without more encouragement than yet appears to expect speedy redress from the British government, the United States are in a manner driven to the necessity of seeking for some remedy dependent on themselves alone. But it is no less true that they are warmly disposed to cherish all the friendly relations subsisting with Great Britain; that they wish to see that necessity banished by just and prudent arrangements between the two governments; and that with this view you were instructed to open the negotiations which are now depending. It is impossible for the British government to doubt the sincerity of these sentiments. The forbearance of the United States, year after year, and war after war, to avail themselves of those obvious means, which, without violating their national obligations of any sort, would appeal in the strongest manner to the interest of Great Bri
tain, is of itself a sufficient demonstration of the amicable spirit which has directed their publick councils. This spirit is sufficiently manifested also by the propositions which have been lately made through you, and by the patience and cordiality with which you have conducted the negotiation. I might add, as a further proof to the same. effect, that, notwithstanding the refusal of which we have official information, from Glasgow and Liverpool particu larly, to restore American seamen deserting their ships in British ports, the laws of many of the states have been left, without interruption, to restore British deserters. One of the states, Virginia, has, even at the last session of its legislature, passed an act for the express purpose of restoring such deserters, which deserves the more attention as it was done in the midst of irritations resulting from the multiplied irregularities committed by British ships in the American seas.
"Mr. Merry has expressed some inquietude with respect to the clause in the act above referred to, which animadverts on British trespasses on board American vessels; and his language on several late occasions has strongly opposed the expectation, that Great Britain will ever relinquish her practice of taking her own subjects out of neutral vessels. I did not conceal from him my opinion that the terms" trespass, &c." would be applicable to the impressment of British subjects as well as others, or that the United States would never accede to that practice. I ob served to him, that every preceding administration had maintained the same doctrine with the present on that point, and that such were the ideas and feelings of the nation on it, that no administration would dare so far to surrender the rights of the American flag. He expressed dissatisfaction also at the section, which requires certain compliances on the part of British ships of war entering our harbours with arrangements to be prescribed by the collectors. He did not deny the right of the nation to make what rules it might please in such cases, but apprehended that some of them were such as the commanders might deem incompatible with their just pretensions, especially when subjecting them to the discretion of so subaltern an authority as that of the collectors, and consequently that the law would have the unfriendly effect of excluding British ships of war altogether from American ports. He was reminded in reply,
that the collectors were, according to the terms of the section, to be guided in the exercise of their power by the directions of the President; and it was not only to be presumed, but he might be particularly assured, that the directions given would be consistent with the usages due to publick ships, and with the respect entertained for nations in amity with the United States. He asked whether, in transmitting the act to his government, as his duty would require, he might add the explanation and assurances he had heard from me. I answered, that, without having received any particular authority for that purpose from the President, I could safely undertake that what I had stated was conformable to his sentiments.
"Enclosed is another act of Congress, restraining and regulating the arming of private vessels by American citizens. This act was occasioned by the abuse made of such armaments in forcing a trade, even in contraband of war, with the island of St. Domingo, and by the representations made on the subject of that trade by the French charge des affaires and minister here, and by the British minister, with respect to abuses which had resulted or might result from such armaments, in cases injurious to Great Britain. A report of these representations, as made to the President, is herewith enclosed. The act, in substituting a security against the unlawful use of the armaments in place of an absolute prohibition of them, is not only consistent with the obligations of a neutral nation, but conformable to the laws* and ordinances of Great Britain and France themselves, and is consequently free from objections by either. The interposition of the government, though claimed in behalf both of Great Britain and of France, was most pressed in behalf of the latter. Yet the measure, particularly as it relates to the shipment of contraband articles for the West Indies, is likely to operate much more conveniently for Great Britain than for France, who cannot, like Great Britain, otherwise ensure a supply of these articles for the defence of their colonies.
"In the project which you have offered to the British government, I observe you have subjoined a clause for
*See act of parliament 35 G. 3, c. 92, s. 37-8, and Valin's Commertaries Liv. 1, Tit. 10, art. 1.