Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1814: GALLATIN TO MONROE. - The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 1
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1814: GALLATIN TO MONROE. - Albert Gallatin, The Writings of Albert Gallatin, vol. 1 
The Writings of Albert Gallatin, ed. Henry Adams (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott, 1879). 3 vols.
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GALLATIN TO MONROE.
St. Petersburg, 7th January, 1814.
I might from the state of the roads have departed three weeks ago, but postponed my departure from a hope that a decisive answer might be received from the Emperor’s headquarters, which would enable Mr. Bayard to go at the same time. No answer is yet received. What is the cause of the delay it would be idle to conjecture. But I have fixed the 21st instant (New Style) for the day on which I will leave this city for Amsterdam, whence, according to circumstances, I will embark for America or take England in my way. I have several reasons for preferring going through Holland rather than by the way of Sweden; the principal of which is that I will be able to judge whether it is proper and useful to touch in England. Yet this may ultimately be a matter of necessity and not of choice, since, if Mr. Bayard and, of course, our ship are detained in Europe, I have no other means of returning but by a cartel from a British port in the United States. I have the honor to be, with great respect and consideration, your obedient servant.
GALLATIN TO ALEXANDER BARING.
St. Petersburg, 7th January, 1814.
It is my intention to leave this city on the 20th instant, and to proceed by land to Amsterdam, whence I may touch in England on my way to the United States, if, upon due consideration, that step should appear proper and advisable. On that subject I would wish to have your opinion in a letter directed to the care of the houses of Vilhen & Jan Willink and N. J. & R. Van Staphorst, bankers of the United States at Amsterdam. I hope that Mr. Bayard will leave Russia at the same time and that we will travel together, although he is still waiting for an answer from this government whether the offer of mediation has been accepted or rejected by the British government. For we have not to this day received any official communication on that point, nor has the proposition of a direct negotiation reached us.
This letter will be delivered by Mr. John P. Todd, Mrs. Madison’s son, who had accompanied us and intends to return with us. I beg leave to recommend him to your kind attentions. . . .
GEORGE M. DALLAS TO GALLATIN.
London, January 11, 1814.
Reports have been so incessant relative to your departure from St. Petersburg that I have not deemed it necessary or safe to address you at that place. The last and most certain information I received was through Mr. Beasley, who showed me an extract from a letter of Mr. Adams, intimating that you were on the eve of quitting Russia, having finally heard from Lord Cathcart the determination of the British Cabinet on the question of mediation, and that you would probably travel to the south in order to avoid the Baltic. I have concluded your design was to consume the winter on the road, and to reach Gottenburg early in the spring. Fearful, however, of being mistaken, and anxious to communicate the little of importance that has occurred since my arrival here, I hasten to intrust one more letter to the care of Mr. Hale, to insure its meeting you before you sail for America.
It was not until the 13th of December that I received any notice from his Excellency Count Lieven, and on the 14th, according to his desire, I called upon him. He was exceedingly polite, and told me that he had been anxious to see me; that he had written several notes, which he supposed had miscarried, and that owing to a very great press of business he had not been able to make regular inquiries for the place of my residence. He wished to speak about what particularly interested me. I interrupted him, and, in order to do away any impression which some absurd paragraphs in the newspapers relative to me might produce, thought it best to state explicitly and in the words of your letter why and how far I deemed myself authorized to proceed in the business. The Count then said that Lord Castlereagh had questioned him upon my arrival;—“a fact which I deemed it improper to deny or conceal;”—but he answered that the object of my coming could only be agreeable to the British Cabinet, as it was simply pacific. He had intended directing me to write a long letter to my government explanatory of the views and dispositions of this Cabinet. But Lord Castlereagh, having obtained from the ministers at St. Petersburg an unqualified declaration that their powers were limited to a negotiation under mediation (but that they were certain America would treat in any way wished for by the British government), had himself written, in the latter end of October, to Mr. Monroe, stating the precise circumstances of the mission, what communications had taken place between the gentlemen who composed it and his government, and had finished by reiterating the anxiety of the British Cabinet to make peace. Count Lieven then went somewhat into the argument he had heard from Lord Castlereagh relating to the right of search and impressment as practised by the British navy, which he conceived could only be bottomed on a case of necessity. He declared that since his coming to the Court of St. James, and particularly since the offered mediation of his Emperor, he had had several conversations upon the subject of the American war with the English minister; that Lord Castlereagh had invariably and with great apparent sincerity pronounced his wish to accommodate; but had stated at length his reasons for refusing the Russian mediation (reasons that Count Lieven did not appear inclined to dwell upon); had instanced as a proof of this conciliatory spirit my being permitted to remain in the country, and had offered, if I expressed a wish, to receive me and to hear what I had to say or propose. The Count concluded by requesting me to call upon him frequently, when he would tell me everything relating to the matter, and desired me to write in his name and to assure my government of his perfect belief in the sincerity and pacific wishes of the British Cabinet.
I declined the offer of being introduced to Lord Castlereagh, stating that I was not authorized to take any such formal step, having merely received from you directions to hear whatever his Excellency might deem important enough to communicate to my government, and to transmit it immediately; that I was desired to assure him again and again of the real wish for peace on the part of the United States and of the appointed ministers individually, who had in contemplation a base for negotiation that did not appear to oppose any principle hitherto asserted by the British government. To his information that Lord Castlereagh had written to Mr. Monroe, I told him I could hazard no opinion as to the probability of ministers being sent from the United States, but sincerely hoped they would.
On the same day I called upon Mr. Baring, and found him just returned from the country. He mentioned that he had written you a second letter, and was surprised it had not reached you before I left St. Petersburg. He seemed to have abandoned every hope of any negotiation, unless ministers came here from the United States, or you had time to receive new powers and instructions. He told me that Lord Castlereagh had that morning, in the most formal and public manner, crossed the floor of the House of Commons to make inquiries from him about my arrival; that his Lordship expressed some surprise at my not immediately apprising him, and declared it an evidence of an extreme condescension and of amicable spirit that he allowed me to continue in the country. Mr. Baring undertook a personal responsibility for my actions. He concluded by saying that he really thought ministers were desirous of terminating the American war, but that he had nothing which he supposed worth communicating to you just now.
After the conference with Count Lieven I had resolved on writing to Mr. Monroe immediately, but upon being told by Mr. Baring that he had assumed a personal responsibility for my conduct, which he trusted he would not find reason to think misplaced, and supposing a communication made by Mr. Beasley in my name and with the necessary explanations would answer the same purpose, I drew up the following short note, to which he was kind enough to put his signature, and which I enclose merely with a view to let you know everything I have done.
I had the honor to transmit on the 8th a despatch from St. Petersburg put into my hands by Mr. Dallas. Some remarks having been made on the manner of his arrival by Lord Castlereagh to Mr. Baring, and the latter gentleman having assumed a personal responsibility, &c.
This, I believe, was forwarded to the United States on the 18th of December last, since which time nothing has occurred at all connected with the business. I have not lately seen Count Lieven. Mr. Baring has again left town. The cause of the allies is successful on the Continent. Generals Wilkinson and Hampton have been baffled in Canada, and America is scarcely thought of. I have remained in London for the last six weeks, daily anticipating something to turn up, and always prepared, at a moment’s warning, even to cross the Atlantic if the occasion required. Resolved, however, to adhere strictly to your short instructions, I have waited in vain.
The intended visit to my relations in Devonshire I have not yet paid, but am now making preparations for a short trip to them. In the mean while, should you think proper to write to me, your letters will most promptly be forwarded if directed to the care of Mr. Beasley. I am anxious to know if what I have done meets with your approbation, if I can do anything more, or whether, in your opinion, I had better return home. I wish to see Edinburgh, Dublin, and Paris, but your advice shall be gratefully received and most religiously pursued.
Present my best respects to Mr. Bayard, upon whose kindness during my connection with the mission I look back with warm gratitude; to Mr. Milligan, Mr. Todd, and James. And for yourself, dear sir, receive the assurances of an unaltered affection and veneration from
Your most obliged pupil.
GALLATIN TO COUNT ROMANZOFF.
Monsieur le Comte,—
Je ne puis pas quitter St. Pétersbourg sans vous remercier encore une fois, non plus comme ministre mais comme simple particulier, des civilités dont vous m’avez comblé, et surtout de l’amitié que vous avez témoignée pour l’Amérique.
La confiance que vous m’avez inspirée m’enhardit à vous dire avec candeur que c’est avec un très-grand regret que je vois que nous partons, non seulement sans avoir réussi, mais même sans avoir reçu une réponse positive de S. M. I. sur la détermination de l’Angleterre au sujet de la médiation. Je ne vous répéterai point ce que je vous ai déjà dit, et que je n’aurais jamais dit si je ne l’avais pas senti, sur la parfaite confiance que nous avons pour l’Empereur Alexandre, dont les talents et surtout les vertus forment une phénomène historique. Mais je ne saurais vous cacher que la manque de réponse à la mission extraordinaire des États-Unis peut produire en Amérique un effet défavorable et faire retomber sur le gouvernement de la Russie le blâme qui n’appartient qu’à l’Angleterre. Mais ce qu’il y a de plus fâcheux, c’est que tant que l’on reste dans cette incertitude à cet égard, aucunes mesures ne peuvent être prises pour des négociations directes, en sorte que la paix entre les États-Unis et l’Angleterre aura peut-être été reculée par l’offre de la médiation de la Russie, et un effet produit totalement contraire aux intentions bienfaisantes de S. M. I. L’importance d’une réponse serait encore plus grande si, comme on nous l’avait fait entendre, l’offre d’une négociation directe était renfermée dans le refus de l’Angleterre de traiter sous une médiation.
Si ces considérations frappent votre Excellence, j’oserais vous prier de faire un dernier effort pour qu’une réponse du quartier-général pût nous atteindre avant que nous quittions le continent. Nous serons au moins six semaines à nous rendre à Amsterdam, où je compte aller par Berlin, Leipsick, Gotha et Cassel; et dans les circonstances actuelles ce serait faire à ce que je crois un bien à l’Amérique et même à l’Angleterre de nous faire parvenir une réponse officielle de S. M. I. à l’une de ces places.
Acceptez, M. le Comte, l’assurance réitérée de ma considération la plus distinguée et permettez-moi dans cette dernière note de m’appeler votre dévoué et affectionné serviteur.
M. Harris qui vous remettra cette lettre et qui part dans dix jours, recevra toutes les communications que vous voudrez bien lui faire.1
GALLATIN TO BARING BROTHERS & CO.
Amsterdam, 7th March, 1814.
. . . It was on the 25th January that Mr. Bayard and myself left St. Petersburg, and after a very tedious journey we arrived here without accident on the evening of the 4th instant. I had hoped to find here a letter from you or from Mr. Alexander Baring, but apprehend that you have not yet received mine of 14th January, nor he another of prior date. In these I requested that you would have the goodness to ascertain whether there will be any objection on the part of your government to my touching in England on my return to the United States, and if there was not, to send me here, under cover of Messrs. Willink, the necessary passport for myself, son, and servants. In repeating these requests I will also ask that you would ascertain whether we could obtain a passage for America, with your government’s consent, in any cartel sailing about April 1. Although I wish to ascertain this, I hope not to be obliged to resort to this mode of returning home, and that I will be able to go in the Neptune, which brought us here from America. Unfortunately, she has not yet arrived in a port of Holland, as we had directed Captain Jones to do before we left Russia. And I hear that although he wintered in the outer harbor, which is generally free of ice almost all the year, the severity of this winter may detain him longer than I would wish to wait. It is only in case he should be so detained that I will wish to sail in a cartel from England, and on that account I will thank you to give me any information you may have respecting the said ship Neptune. . . . Will you also have the goodness to let Mr. Dallas, if in London, know of my arrival, and request him to write to me? Mr. Bayard will, of course, proceed to Gottenburg to meet the other commissioners of the United States. I do not know in what manner or by what route he intends to go; but I feel much interested that he should not be obliged to make use of the Neptune for that purpose, as it would disappoint and detain me. It is therefore my wish that he may have it in his power, if he shall think it consistent with propriety, to go hence to England and thence to Gottenburg in a British packet, and I request that a passport, for which he would not probably apply himself, may be sent to him immediately for that purpose. . . .
GALLATIN TO ALEXANDER BARING.
Amsterdam, 1st April, 1814.
I had the pleasure to receive your two letters of the 14th and 17th ult., and have concluded to pass through England on my return to the United States. The Neptune has not yet arrived, and I have left orders for the captain, on his coming to any port of Holland, to proceed immediately to Falmouth, where I will join him from London. I leave this place to-morrow,—Saturday,—and intend to embark in the packet at Helvoetsluys on Tuesday next. I request, therefore, that you will have the goodness to procure the necessary orders, and to have them conveyed to the proper authorities at Harwich, so that they may reach that place before my arrival. I wish those orders to extend to two points: 1. That I may be permitted to proceed to London with my suite without delay. 2. That my baggage may not be searched,—a courtesy to which I would be entitled if I was not an enemy, and which under the circumstances of my passing through England will not, it is presumed, be refused. For on account of the delay of the Neptune I am compelled to carry through England what would otherwise have been put on board that vessel, viz., my papers and about £150 worth of various trifles purchased here and at St. Petersburg. . . . I regret to be obliged to give you that trouble on such a subject. My apology is that however pleased I would have been under other circumstances to visit England, my passing through it at present cannot be personally agreeable, and that my only motive is to try to be of some use both there and in America, by giving and receiving such explanations as may assist in paving the way towards an arrangement between the two countries. With the hope of seeing you soon, I remain, &c.
GALLATIN TO CRAWFORD.
London, 21st April, 1814.
My dear Sir,—
Mr. Bayard and myself left St. Petersburg on the 25th January, remained four weeks at Amsterdam, and arrived here on the 9th instant. I could not write you sooner, there having been no communication with Paris from Holland, and Mr. Poletica, who is the bearer of this, having offered the first safe opportunity for a confidential letter.
Messrs. Clay and Russell, who are jointly with Messrs. Adams and Bayard appointed to open a direct negotiation for peace with Great Britain, arrived at Gottenburg on the 12th instant, after a passage of forty-six days; but, as they had not reached the town when the last packet sailed, we have not yet received any letter from them, or any American news brought by the vessel in which they came.
There is a newspaper report of Norfolk, under date of 12th February, stating that G. W. Campbell was made Secretary of the Treasury, Rush Attorney-General, and that I had been nominated fifth commissioner to treat of peace with England. My stay in Europe will of course depend on the official account which Messrs. Clay and Russell will have brought. You are sufficiently aware of the critical situation in which the restoration of a general European peace has placed our affairs. The numerous English forces in France, Italy, Holland, and Portugal ready for immediate service, and for which there is no further employment in Europe, afford to this government the means of sending both to Canada and to the United States a very formidable army, which we are not prepared to meet with any regular, well-organized force; and they will also turn against us as much of their superabundant naval forces as they may think adequate to any object they have in view. In the prosecution of the war the Ministry would be supported by the general voice of the nation. In the intoxication of an unexpected success, which they ascribe to themselves, the English people eagerly wish that their pride may be fully gratified by what they call the “punishment of America.” They do not even suspect that we had any just cause of war, and ascribe it solely to a premeditated concert with Bonaparte at a time when we thought him triumphant and their cause desperate. That such opinions should be almost universally entertained here by the great body of the people is not at all astonishing. To produce such an effect, and thereby render the American war popular, the Ministerial papers have had nothing more to do than to transcribe American Federal speeches and newspapers. If Pickering, Quincy, Strong, Hanson, &c., have not brought a majority of the American people to their side, they have at least fully succeeded here, and had no difficulty in convincing all that part of the English community which derives its information from political journals that we had no cause of complaint, and acted only as allies of Bonaparte. I understand that the members of the Cabinet do not participate in that opinion, but it will certainly require an effort on their part against popular feeling to make peace with America. It must be added that even there (in the Cabinet) a belief is said to be entertained that a continuance of the war would produce a separation of the Union, and perhaps a return of the New England States to the mother-country. The multitude of persons in the army and navy, or connected with the war, where attached to the governing party, and whom peace will throw out of employment, will also press on government; and although it is probable that the immense military and naval establishments of this country will be so far reduced as to enable government to dispense with the most unpopular war taxes, a prosecution of the war against the United States would afford a convenient pretence for preserving a much more considerable standing force than is necessary and would otherwise be allowed by Parliament. It may, on the whole, be reasonably inferred that the ministers will be neither disposed to make the least concession (for doing us justice on any point would receive that name) in order to obtain peace, nor at all displeased in case of failure of the negotiations.
The only external check to those dispositions can be found in the friendly interposition of the Emperor Alexander, not as a mediator, but as a common friend, pressing on this government the propriety of an accommodation, and expressing his strong wishes for a general restoration of peace to the civilized world. I do not know whether your situation affords you means of approaching him, and can only state my opinion of the great importance that an early opportunity should be taken by you, or any other person you may think fitted for the object, to call his attention to the situation in which we are left, and to the great weight which his opinion in favor of peace on liberal conditions, strongly expressed to this government, must necessarily have at this time. Of his friendly disposition for the United States there is no doubt; but we may be forgotten; and it is necessary that he should be apprised of the hostile spirit which prevails here, and which, if not balanced by some other cause, may even carry ministers beyond their own wishes and views. It should also be stated that our government having accepted one year ago the Emperor’s mediation, and not having supposed that, considering the political connection between him and Great Britain, she could reject that offer, no other provision was made on our part to obtain peace until our government was apprised in January last of the rejection of the mediation by England. Thus was a delay of a year produced, and the opening of our negotiations unfortunately prevented till after England is at peace with the rest of the world; a circumstance which, although it does not give us a positive right to claim the Emperor’s interference, affords sufficient ground to present the subject to his consideration. I entreat you to lose no time in taking such steps as may be in your power in that respect, and to write to me whatever you may think important for the success of the mission should be known to us. The only modes of safe conveyance which I would recommend would be private American opportunities, or through the channel of the Russian Secretary of State, or of Mr. Poletica, directing to me under cover of “Count Lieven, Ambassador Extraordinary of H. I. M. the Emperor of all the Russias, London.”
I send General La Fayette’s patents, which were erroneously put in my hands instead of yours, and which I have had no previous safe opportunity to transmit. My last letters from my family were dated 23d January, when they were all well; but I have none of a late date from government or from any of its members.
I am, my dear sir, with great respect and sincere attachment, truly yours.
GALLATIN TO LA FAYETTE.
London, 21st April, 1814.
I regret that your patents should be put in my hands instead of being intrusted to Mr. Crawford, as no safe opportunity has as yet offered itself for their conveyance.
I had the pleasure of seeing very often your friend Tracy at St. Petersburg, and left him there in good health on 25th of January.
I believe that I am not mistaken in offering you my congratulations on the late events in France. It would certainly have been desirable that the changes should have been produced by the spontaneous will of the French people rather than to appear to have been forced by a foreign army. But if such was to be the mode, you are most singularly fortunate that the Emperor Alexander should have been the agent. With respect to the result itself, I think that every friend of rational liberty and of humanity must rejoice at the overthrow of the detestable tyranny under which you and a great part of Europe groaned, and in the hope that you have at last laid the foundations of institutions probably as free and liberal as you are susceptible of. My attachment to the form of government under which I was born and have ever lived never made me desirous that it should, by way of experiment, be applied to countries which might be better fitted for a limited monarchy. And if this be that which suits you best, I think the ancient dynasty in every respect preferable to a new one. Unfortunately, whilst the greater part of the civilized world rejoices at the restoration of a general peace, the United States remain alone at war, and are placed in a more critical situation than ever they were since the first years of their Revolution. Pride, avarice, and ambition will throw here great obstacles to an accommodation, for which there has ever been, on our part, the most sincere disposition. I write to you, well knowing your unalterable attachment for America, and that if in your power you will lend your assistance in promoting that result.
GALLATIN TO CLAY.
London, 22d April, 1814.
We have just heard of your arrival, but have received no letters; and I am yet ignorant whether I am one of the new commission to treat of peace. My arrangements must depend on that circumstance, and I wait with impatience for the official account which you must have brought. For that reason Mr. Bayard addresses you and Mr. Russell in his own name; but I coincide fully with him in the opinion that the negotiations should by all means be opened here, or at least in Holland, if this is not rendered impracticable from the nature of the commission. If this has unfortunately been limited to treating of peace at Gottenburg, which seems highly improbable, there is no remedy. But if the commission admits of a change of place, I would feel no hesitation in removing them at least to any other neutral place, whatever may be the language of the instructions. For their spirit would be fully answered by treating in any other friendly country as well as if at Gottenburg. On that point I feel great anxiety, because, on account of the late great changes in Europe, and of the increased difficulties thence arising in making any treaty, I do believe that it would be utterly impossible to succeed in that corner, removed from every friendly interference in our favor on the part of the European powers, and compelled to act with men clothed with limited authorities and who might at all times plead a want of instructions.
You are sufficiently aware of the total change in our affairs produced by the late revolution and by the restoration of universal peace in the European world, from which we are alone excluded. A well-organized and large army is at once liberated from any European employment, and ready, together with a superabundant naval force, to act immediately against us. How ill prepared we are to meet it in a proper manner no one knows better than yourself; but, above all, our own divisions and the hostile attitude of the Eastern States give room to apprehend that a continuance of the war might prove vitally fatal to the United States.
I understand that the ministers, with whom we have not had any direct intercourse, still profess to be disposed to make an equitable peace. But the hope, not of ultimate conquest, but of a dissolution of the Union, the convenient pretence which the American war will afford to preserve large military establishments, and above all the force of popular feeling, may all unite in inducing the Cabinet in throwing impediments in the way of peace. They will not, certainly, be disposed to make concessions, nor probably displeased at a failure of negotiations. That the war is popular, and that national pride inflated by the last unexpected success cannot be satisfied without what they call the chastisement of America, cannot be doubted. The mass of the people here know nothing of American politics but through the medium of Federal speeches and newspapers faithfully transcribed in their own journals. They do not even suspect that we have any just cause of complaint, and consider us altogether as the aggressors and as allies of Bonaparte. In those opinions it is understood that the ministers do not participate; but it will really require an effort on their part to act contrary to public opinion; and they must, even if perfectly sincere, use great caution and run some risk of popularity. A direct or at least a very near intercourse with them is therefore highly important, as I have no doubt that they would go farther themselves than they would be willing to intrust any other person. To this must be added that Lord Castlereagh is, according to the best information I have been able to collect, the best-disposed man in the Cabinet, and that coming from France and having had intercourse with the Emperor Alexander, it is not improbable that those dispositions may have been increased by the personal expression of the Emperor’s wishes in favor of peace with America. Whatever advantages may be derived from that circumstance and from the Emperor’s arrival here would be altogether lost at Gottenburg.
I have confined my letter to this single point, and hoping soon to hear from you and from Mr. Russell, to whom you will present my best compliments, I remain, dear sir, respectfully and affectionately, your friend and servant.
CLAY TO BAYARD AND GALLATIN.
Gottenburg, 2d May, 1814.
Colonel Milligan, arriving here the evening before last, delivered to me Mr. Bayard’s letter of the 20th ult. to Mr. Russell and myself, and that of Mr. Gallatin of the 22d to me alone. I was much gratified in being relieved by them from the uncertainty in which I was placed as to your movements and prospects. On your part you will have been extricated, prior to the receipt of this letter, from a more perplexing embarrassment, particularly in respect to Mr. Gallatin, as to the new commission, by the despatch forwarded by Captain Jones in the Neptune. It would have been highly satisfactory to me to have been assisted by our colleagues, Messrs. Adams and Russell, in deliberating upon the contents of your letters. But the latter gentleman left this place on the 25th. The object of his visit was to present his credentials and to establish those relations with the Swedish government which may be deemed expedient, intending to return to this place the moment he should learn, by your arrival, that his presence was necessary. Of Mr. Adams I have no information except what is contained in the following paragraph of Mr. Russell’s letter: “Mr. Speyer received this morning (26th April) a letter from Mr. Adams, dated the 11th of the month, in which he says he proposes to leave St. Petersburg about the 20th of this month, and hopes to arrive somewhere in Sweden by the 1st of May, probably at Stockholm. His route, he says, will depend on the thermometer of the next ten days.” Mr. Russell adds that he shall endeavor to be ready to accompany Mr. Adams should he pass by Stockholm to Gottenburg. Being without the benefit of consulting with either Mr. Adams or Mr. Russell, I have given to the subject of your letter the best consideration in my power. With regard to changing the place of negotiation, it appears to me to be a measure attended with some difficulty, and requiring, on our part, great delicacy. Before Mr. Russell left this place, we learnt that the British chargé d’affaires at Stockholm had presented, on the 9th of April, a note to the Swedish government informing it of the contemplated negotiation here, and asking its sanction to the measure. It was an obvious duty on the part of the representative of our government to solicit also from Sweden the hospitalities requisite to our condition here, and, although Mr. Russell had no particular instruction to that effect, he intended, with my advice, to present a note on the occasion the moment he was accredited. This I have no doubt he has done. The Swedish government, thus officially informed by both parties of the intended negotiation here, must see with surprise, if with no other emotion, another place so quickly substituted for Gottenburg. I need not inform you that our government counts much upon the friendship of the Northern powers, particularly Russia and Sweden. And although I have no doubt that the Crown Prince has lost in the scale of European affairs much of his weight by the great events which he has himself contributed to produce, we ought not lightly to jeopardize his friendship. But it is highly probable that the President, had he foreseen what has occurred since the date of our instructions, would have deemed Holland equally eligible with this place, if not more so. And I am prepared in this instance, and in all others, to give to our instructions a liberal interpretation, with a view to the wonderful revolutions which have recently occurred. If, therefore, any place in Holland can be substituted for Gottenburg in such manner as that the change shall be understood to be at the instance of Great Britain, you have my consent to make it. Being thus brought about, such explanations may be made to Sweden as will not only retain to us her friendship, but cast upon the other party all the unfriendly consequences, should there be any, growing out of the measure. I enclose herein an extract of a letter I forwarded this morning to Mr. Russell, to put him in possession of the proposed change, and of my views of it.
With regard to going to London, with great deference for the opinion of Mr. Gallatin, I really cannot concur in that measure. If there be a doubt as to what our government has done to restore peace, it cannot lie on the side of its having done too little. A power of less pretensions than the United States might with great propriety, after the rejection of the Russian mediation, have demanded that its own seat of government should be the theatre for discussing propositions for peace. Having waived this, and acceded to one of the alternatives offered by the other party, I do not think that we ought to submit to further condescension, especially when we have yet to see in British history the example of that haughty people having been conciliated by the condescension of their enemy. I am deeply sensible of the magnitude of the present crisis, which I have endeavored to view in all its consequences, immediate and remote. And the result of my reflections is that we shall best promote the objects of our mission and acquit ourselves of our duty by preserving a firm and undismayed countenance. We have the chances in our favor of the Continental negotiations which are or will shortly be going on. It is impossible that Europe, liberated as it is from the despotism of Bonaparte, should be indifferent to the enormous power and the enormous pretensions of Great Britain on the ocean. It will assuredly, I presume, impose some limits on her. If she is wise she will readily acquiesce in them. The sympathy which she derived from the world generally, under the supposition that she was contending for her existence and struggling for their liberties, has ceased. If, intoxicated by her present prosperity, she rejects the counsels of moderation and prudence, that which Bonaparte attempted by compulsion will be accomplished by the voluntary consent of Europe. But I forbear; indeed, I ought to apologize for touching at all on a subject on which you are so much more competent to judge. From the letter of Mr. Bayard I remark that it is thought by you proper that we should make some official communication to the British government of our arrival here. The embarrassment which, even if Mr. Russell had been here, a minority of the commission must have felt on this subject, is greatly increased by my standing alone. It seems to me in the first place that, having been invited here by the British government, that government ought, by the promptitude of its own measures, to have rendered unnecessary such a notification on our part. Waiving, however, this point of etiquette (and I certainly am not going during this negotiation to give consequence to any affair of mere etiquette), what could I alone, one of five who compose the commission, say to accelerate the movements of the other party? It has, therefore, appeared to me most advisable to transmit to you, which I now do, copies of the new commissions and of the new instructions which our government has issued, and to submit to you the making of such communication as may be adapted to the occasion; and I authorize, if you deem it at all necessary, any use whatever of my name in relation to it. The packages and letters which we brought for you from America are sent by Colonel Milligan, and Mr. Hughes, the secretary of the mission, who accompanies him. . . .
GALLATIN AND BAYARD TO MONROE.
London, 6th May, 1814.
It is much to be apprehended that the great and unexpected events which have so entirely changed the state of affairs in Europe may have a serious effect on the nature and aspect of the war carried on by Great Britain against the United States, as well as on the proposed negotiations for peace. A convention has already been signed between France and the allies for the suspension of hostilities and for the restoration of prisoners. It is said and believed that the articles of a definitive treaty of peace between all the European powers have been chiefly agreed upon, and the treaty is expected to be concluded in a few weeks. This state of things, and the security derived by Great Britain from the restoration of the Bourbons on the throne of France and from the expulsion of Bonaparte to Elba, put at the disposition of this government the whole of their force heretofore employed against France. It might also be inconvenient here to reduce suddenly the army and navy to a peace establishment, and there can be no doubt that if the war continues, as great a portion of that disposable force as will be competent to the objects of the British government will be employed in America.
The complete success obtained by this country in their European contest has excited the greatest popular exultation, and this has been attended with a strong expression of resentment against the United States. Extravagant projects and hopes of success are entertained. The restriction of our commerce and fisheries is said to have been the subject of petitions to the Ministry; the curtailment of our northern boundary and an exclusive right to navigate the Lakes are suggested; and even a division of the Union is expected from a continuance of the war. The popular feeling is evidently strongly in favor of the prosecution of the war against us. This sentiment is universal, and so powerful that it will be difficult for ministers to control it should they be disposed to peace. Having no direct intercourse with any member of the Cabinet, our information as to its disposition or views is necessarily imperfect and uncertain. There is, however, no reason to doubt that peace may be had; but it seems certain that whatever modifications in the practice of impressment may be obtained, the point itself will not be conceded. On this subject the opposition and the whole nation support the Ministry. It is true that the restoration of peace in Europe has for the present reduced the conflicting rights and pretensions of the two countries on that subject to little more than questions of abstract rights, which might at this moment remain undecided without material prejudice to the interest of either party; but we have reason to believe that the Ministry is more disposed to an arrangement of the subject with a view to prevent what is called the abuses of the practice than to pass it over in silence. We think that we may at all events distinctly state that for our government the alternative only remains either to resolve on a vigorous prosecution of the war under an expectation of probable success, or to forego for the present the assertion of our rights on what was the principal remaining object of the war.
No persons have as yet been appointed on the part of this government to conduct the negotiation at Gottenburg. Having received an intimation that an official communication would be expected of the appointment of commissioners on our part and of their arrival in Europe before an appointment would be made by this government, we despatched a messenger to Gottenburg to Messrs. Clay and Russell, who we expect will enable us, in the course of a few days, to make the official notification which is suggested to be required. As soon as there is a probability of our being shortly followed by the British commissioners, we shall not fail to repair to the rendezvous agreed upon.
Conceiving that the negotiation could be conducted with more facility and despatch in Holland than at Gottenburg, and presuming that if the neutrality of Holland had been known in America when the place was fixed upon it would have been preferred, we have undertaken to recommend to Messrs. Clay and Russell, if our powers leave us a discretion on the subject, to transfer the seat of negotiation to Amsterdam or the Hague, which we are allowed to say would meet with the concurrence of this government. The good dispositions of the Prince of Orange towards our country are marked by his prompt appointment of a minister to our government, and we have reason to believe that he would freely contribute any friendly offices in his power to the re-establishment of peace.
We are also of opinion that under existing circumstances England would in every point of view be at present preferable for the seat of negotiation to any other place. These circumstances may, however, vary, and we beg leave to suggest the propriety of authorizing the commissioners of the United States to remove those negotiations to any place which in their judgment may appear most proper for insuring their successful issue.
W. H. CRAWFORD TO THE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS.
Paris, 13th May, 1814.
. . . Expectations have been entertained by the government, and you no doubt have participated in them, that the Emperor Alexander would interest himself in the negotiation between us and our enemy. This expectation I am convinced will be wholly disappointed. Shortly after the arrival of the allies in Paris, I called upon Count Nesselrode, but was informed that he was attending the Emperor in council. I left my card, and proceeded to the hotel of the King of Prussia, and carded the person whose duty it was to present persons of distinction to the King. Some time after, I called on Count Nesselrode again, who sent me word by my valet that he was engaged at the council-table and was quite in despair at not being able to see me. Pursuant to the advice and opinion of the Danish minister, I addressed a note to the Count, requesting an interview, and, foreseeing that his engagements might prevent his compliance with this request, I desired him to communicate to the Emperor my wish to be presented to a monarch who had given such strong proofs of friendship to the United States. To this note I have received no answer. In my interviews with the Count la Forest I thought I discovered the most friendly disposition towards the United States. I asked him whether I should have to wait for new letters of credence before I could engage seriously in the discussion of our claim to indemnity with the new government. He thought there would be no necessity for this delay, but said the question would be settled immediately after the King arrived. This day week the Monitor announced that on the next day the King would receive in the hall of his throne the ambassadors near his Majesty. I had an interview with La Forest in the course of the day, who thought I ought to attend. I told him that he was the proper person to decide that question, and that I could not go without an express invitation from him. He insisted that the Grand Master of Ceremonies was the proper person to whom I ought to address myself.
He desired me to send him a note simply by way of informing him of my name and station, and that I would be presented of course. I refused to go to the palace unless I was assured in writing that I should be presented. I finally agreed to write a note to the Grand Master of Ceremonies and request an answer. This was done, and no answer was received. I mention these circumstances to show that the King and his minister do not feel the same friendly disposition to the United States. Some time since, the minister told me that Lord Castlereagh had submitted to him observations upon the difference of treatment between American and British vessels in the ports of France. He afterwards read to me a report which he intended to submit to the King, proposing that the prizes of both belligerents might be condemned and sold in the ports of France. He said he was afraid this proposition would not be acceptable to the English minister. If the proposition should be rejected, he would propose that the prizes of both belligerents should be brought in and remain without adjudication until peace. I saw him two days ago, when he informed me that every interview between him and the British minister afforded new proofs of the most extreme hostility on the part of the minister to the United States. In the course of the conversation I mentioned as wholly unworthy of credit the reports circulated in Paris of engagements on the part of the King to aid England in the prosecution of the war against the United States. He said that in an interview with the King he undertook to amplify the bad effects resulting from the fabrication of false reports by referring to the paragraph in the newspapers stating that the allied powers had by a secret convention engaged not to interfere in the affairs of the United States, and that the King of France was to make the same engagement. The King promptly replied that he came to the throne as free from all conditions from foreign powers as was the crown which he wore. The Count said that he did not care what effect these reports might have upon the minds of the few Americans in the trading cities of France, but he should deeply regret that they should reach the United States and have a tendency to depress the public mind. He is extremely anxious that the negotiation should open immediately and progress rapidly. He believes the duration of the European peace depends substantially upon the adjustment of our difference with England. After I had failed in obtaining access to the Emperor of Russia and to his minister, I requested General La Fayette to endeavor, through Colonel La Harpe, to have the proper representations made to Nesselrode or to the Emperor. Every effort to effect this object has been abortive. It seems as if there had been a settled determination to prevent the approach of every person who is suspected of an attachment to the United States. The general has, however, come in contact several times with Baron Humboldt, the Prussian minister, who has imbibed already the British misrepresentations.
The general asked him if his particular friend should have a quarrel with a man who was known to be engaged in a contest which indirectly affected his interests, and, notwithstanding this circumstance, this person should propose to make him the umpire in the case, and his friend should refuse this proposition, whether he should not, without further inquiry or knowledge of the circumstances, suspect that his friend was wrong. He replied, certainly he should. The general then said that such was the case with the United States and England. England had refused the mediation of Russia at the moment he was receiving her money. After the publication of the paragraph before alluded to, the Baron told the general that the paragraph was untrue, but admitted that they could not get England to treat until they agreed that the question of maritime rights should not be brought into discussion of the general peace. He insisted, however, that nothing had been settled in relation to the United States, and that question was entirely open. Mr. Poletica called on me yesterday, evidently for the purpose of contradicting the same statement, but he spoke of it as though we had conversed upon the subject before. I had not seen him since Saturday, and the paragraph did not appear until Sunday. I took no notice of this mistake; admitted that it might be incorrect, but stated what I believed to be the fact, which he seemed disposed to admit. I stated to Count la Forest, in my last interview with him, my conviction that this statement was not without foundation, and that its publication in the Monitor was something like an official declaration of the policy which the French government intended to pursue. He said, by way of repelling this idea, that the Monitor consisted of three parts; that under the interior head it was official, but under the foreign and literary heads the editor acted on his own responsibility. I have discovered no change in the character of the Monitor, except that it now eulogizes Louis the Eighteenth instead of the Emperor Napoleon; and everybody knows that nothing ever appeared under the foreign head without authority. These details will, I think, convince you that there is no reason to expect any interference on the part of the Emperor of Russia. . . .
BAYARD AND GALLATIN TO ADAMS, CLAY, AND RUSSELL.
London, 17th May, 1814.
We have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Messrs. Clay and Russell’s joint letter of 20th April, and of Mr. Clay’s of the 2d of May, written in answer to that of Mr. Bayard of the 20th April. In conformity with the view of the subject taken by Mr. Clay, we simply communicated to this government our joint appointment and your arrival at Gottenburg, leaving to them to make any proposal they might think proper for a change in the place of negotiation. Copies of our note, of Lord Bathurst’s answer, and of our reply are enclosed. You will perceive that, thinking Ghent free from objection, and not less convenient than a place in Holland, we have acceded to Lord Bathurst’s proposal. Some advantage may be derived from having evinced a conciliatory disposition on that subject, and we felt no hesitation in preferring any place in the Netherlands to Gottenburg. A prompt communication between the British commissioners and their government may have the effect to facilitate and shorten the negotiations.
In regard to Sweden, we beg leave to observe that, however favorable her general disposition may be, she cannot at this moment interpose any good offices on our behalf, being no longer wanted by the allies, whilst she needs the active assistance of this country in order to obtain the possession of Norway. We will thank you to favor us with an early answer, directed under cover of Mr. Beasley, and to inform us of the time at which you expect to reach Ghent, which may probably enable us to hasten the departure of the British commissioners and prevent any delay in the opening of the negotiations. In case we should have left London before the arrival of your letter, Mr. Beasley will transmit it to us on the Continent.
BAYARD AND GALLATIN TO MONROE.
London, 23d May, 1814.
We have the honor to inform you, that understanding that it was the intention of the British government to postpone the appointment of commissioners to treat of peace till they had received an official notification of the appointment of commissioners on the part of the United States, and of their arrival in Europe, we wrote immediately to Messrs. Clay and Russell, upon hearing of their arrival at Gottenburg, requesting them to make the communication. Upon the return of the messenger, we received from Mr. Clay, Mr. Russell being absent at Stockholm, copies of our commissions, which we transmitted to the British Department of State for Foreign Affairs, with a note, dated the 13th day of May, addressed to Lord Castlereagh. On the 16th of May we received an answer, signed by Lord Bathurst, containing an assurance that commissioners would be forthwith appointed on the part of his Majesty’s government, and proposing that Ghent in the Low Countries should be substituted in place of Gottenburg as the seat of the negotiation. Considering this change as promising some advantages and in no degree repugnant to the principle upon which Gottenburg was agreed upon, and thinking it advisable to give the earliest proof of a disposition to accommodate, we did not hesitate in acceding to the proposition, and we signified our assent in a note dated 17th inst., addressed to Lord Bathurst. Copies of these several notes accompany this despatch. We have written to Messrs. Adams, Clay, and Russell apprising them of this new arrangement, and requesting them to repair to Ghent, to which place we are about to proceed.
W. H. CRAWFORD TO THE UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS.
Paris, 24th May, 1814.
The return of Mr. Poletica to London offers a safe conveyance for this communication. I have but little to add to my letter of the 13th instant. A few days past I was informed by a friend that if I would draw up a short statement of the reciprocal causes of complaint between the United States and England, that he would cause it to be laid before the Emperor of Russia. This statement would not be communicated to the Count Nesselrode, or to any of the Emperor’s officers, as they are believed to be in the interests of England. In consequence of this intimation I drew up a statement, a copy of which is enclosed. It was to have been presented to the Emperor yesterday. I do not expect any beneficial result from it. The injunction of brevity, which was thought to be indispensable to secure its perusal, and a sense of national dignity, prevented the introduction of observations tending to repel the charge of subserviency to the views of the Emperor Napoleon. I understand that the ministers of the three allied powers have affected to consider the war between America and England as the result of this subserviency. I will not intrude upon your time by inquiring whether this opinion is real or only affected to cover the apathy which is affected by them for the event of the contest for maritime rights in which we are engaged. Perhaps I should not have excluded this topic if I had anticipated any beneficial result from the measure. . . .
LA FAYETTE TO GALLATIN.
Paris, 25th May, 1814.
My dear Sir,—
I am much obliged to you for the care you have been pleased to take of my patents, and still more grateful for the beneficial kindness I have experienced from you in the whole course of that transaction. The munificence of Congress, its importance to me, the assent of the people, and the goodness of my friends shall ever live in my heart as objects of the most happy feelings. Let me hope, my dear sir, you will not leave Europe before I have had the satisfaction to express the sense I have of my obligations to you, and all the sentiments which made me your affectionate friend before I had the honor of a personal acquaintance.
You have done me the justice to think of the patriotic concern I could not help to feel for the United States amidst the joys and congratulations of an European peace. The British Ministerial papers are so outrageous, the warlike preparations so threatening, that it would seem the soldiers of America, young and veterans, have nothing left to do but to join their colors and again to fight for liberty and independence. Yet I hope the able and respectable commission from the United States will succeed in securing for her the blessings of a timely pacification.
Mr. Crawford is better qualified than I am to give you all the information from this quarter which relates to American concerns. The confidence with which he honors my zeal has enabled me to discuss the matter with some influencing characters among the allied generals and diplomates. Two of the latter act a great part in the present negotiations. I found them well acquainted with British arguments and impressed with British prejudices, which convinced me that care had been taken to influence their opinion. I have endeavored to dispel those notions and urge the propriety of a general intervention of the European powers to insure an American peace. An opportunity has been seeked, which I am bound not to name, for putting directly under the eyes of Emperor Alexander a note of Mr. Crawford. You may depend it has been faithfully delivered, with proper comments, along with a letter, the copy of which Mr. Crawford has desired me to enclose. I expect this evening to meet the Emperor of Russia at a friend’s house, and shall try to obtain some conversation on the subject. How could we not hope for a peace when all the objects of litigation are at an end? Don’t you think, my dear sir, that peculiar circumstance is for the United States an honorable way to get out of a formidable war and to leave no excuse to the enemy for the prosecution of it? Permit me to add that from my conversation with foreigners, including some Englishmen, I have had to combat the idea of a Bonapartian partiality imputed to the American Cabinet, and that my explanations on the subject have been such as to furnish new arguments to such of those statesmen as may be disposed in our favor.
I must apologize to you, my dear sir, for those details, which look as if I would give to my private endeavors an undue and exaggerated importance. But the cause has such a hold of my heart, and I am so happy in the hope to render some service to it, that you will readily excuse me.
The newspapers give you an account of French interior politics, with this difference, that the spirit of liberty is more alive than you could infer from the addresses and paragraphs to which the provisory censure upon the journals does not permit to publish proper antidotes. In the enclosed collection you will find what has hitherto been done officially. Commissioners of the King are now debating constitutional articles with a committee of Senators and members of the Legislative Corps, equally named by him. But the last resort is to those two bodies and the public opinion. Some good pamphlets, amidst several bad ones, have been published. I am so taken up with this great concern that it does in great measure divert my thoughts from the preliminaries which deprive France of those natural, proper, well-earned frontiers which, under the tricolor cockade, had been secured, I thought, forever.
I feel a lively gratitude for the obligations conferred on Victor Tracy by my friend Mr. Quincy Adams. His family and mine partake in that sentiment, and join with my thanks for your particular attentions to him.
Begging my best respects to be presented to your worthy colleagues, I have the honor to offer you the assurances of my high regard and grateful attachment.
W. H. CRAWFORD TO UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS.
Paris, 28th May, 1814.
Since my letter of the 24th instant I have received the enclosed letter from General La Fayette, which may be of some use to you. He feels very confident that the exertion will be made. I presume there is no rational ground to doubt it.
I think the strongest argument he could urge would be the certainty of enlisting all the maritime states against England in a very short time if this war continues. So far as the interest of English commerce is likely to be directly involved in the question, I imagine it has been well understood and has been maturely considered.
The French government has revoked the decision of the late Emperor permitting American armaments in the ports of France. The general complexion of the official note communicating this change of measures is friendly, and I am still in hopes that if the war continues, the condemnation and sale of prizes will be permitted in the ports of France to both belligerents. Mr. Poletica, who will hand you this, will possibly be able to inform you something of the nature of the treaty which has been or will be signed before the departure of the allied sovereigns. Its contents have not transpired. The French nation will be probably dissatisfied with it, even if it is reasonable and just. The attempt in the French journals of Paris to reconcile them to it has a tendency to irritate the national feeling, not simply against the treaty, but against the King. The object of the journals is to give the King the whole credit of the peace, by representing the nation as being conquered and imploring the mercy of the allied sovereigns.
This is wholly indigestible to French stomachs. You cannot make a Frenchman believe that he is conquered as long as he can walk. Europe seems to be engaged in making and breaking constitutions. England and Russia are perhaps the only nations who are not engaged in forming or overturning constitutions. Certainly great changes of opinion have taken place upon this subject within the last twenty years. The news from Spain is of a distressing nature; perhaps it is not very truly represented, as it is at least probable that there is something like concert between the sovereigns of this and that country.
I am, gentlemen, your most obedient and very humble servant.
LA FAYETTE TO W. H. CRAWFORD.
26th May, 1814.
My dear Sir,—
I passed the last evening in company with the Emperor Alexander, who, however prepossessed in his favor, has surpassed my expectations. He really is a great, good, sensible, noble-minded man, and a sincere friend to the cause of liberty. We have long conversed upon American affairs. It began with his telling me that he had read with much pleasure and interest what I had sent him. I found ideas had been suggested that had excited a fear that the people of the United States had not properly improved their internal situation. My answer was an observation upon the necessity of parties in a commonwealth, and the assertion that they were the happiest and freest people upon earth. The transactions with France and England were explained in the way that although the United States had to complain of both, the British outrages came nearer home, particularly in the affair of impressments. He spoke of the actual preparation and the hostile dispositions of England. I of course insisted on the rejection of his mediation, the confidence reposed in him by the United States, who hastened to send commissioners chosen from both parties, which he very kindly acknowledged. He said he had twice attempted to bring on a peace. “Do, sir,” said I, “make a third attempt. It must succeed; ne vous arrêtez pas en si beau chemin. All the objects of a war at an end, the re-establishment of their old limits can the less be opposed, as the Americans have gained more than they have lost. A protraction of the war would betray intentions quite perverse and hostile to the cause of humanity. Your personal influence must carry the point. I am sure your Majesty will exert it.” “Well,” says he, “I promise you I will. My journey to London affords opportunities, and I will do the best I can.” I told him I had received a letter from Mr. Gallatin, now in London, and we spoke of him, Mr. Adams, Mr. Bayard, and the two new commissioners. I had also other occasions to speak of America; one afforded me by the Swedish Marshal Stadinck, who mentioned my first going over to that country; another by a well-intentioned observation of Madame de Staël, that she had received a letter from my friend Mr. Jefferson, of whom he spoke with great regard. This led to observations relative to the United States and the spirit of monopoly in England, extending even to liberty itself. The Emperor said they had been more liberal in Sicily than I supposed them. I did not deny it; but expressed my fears of their protecting Ferdinand against the Cortes. His sentiments on the Spanish affairs were noble and patriotic. The slave-trade became a topic, upon which he spoke with philanthropic warmth. Its abolition will be an article in the general peace.
You see, my dear sir, I had fully the opportunity we were wishing for. If it has not been well improved, the fault is mine. But I think some good has been done; and upon the promise of a man so candid and generous I have full dependence. If you think proper to communicate these details to Mr. Gallatin, be pleased to have them copied. He spoke very well of him, and seemed satisfied with the confidence of the United States and the choice of their representatives to him. By his last accounts Mr. Adams was at St. Petersburg. The particulars of this conversation ought not, of course, to be published, but you will probably think it useful to communicate to the commissioners.
Most truly and respectfully yours.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.
London, 2d June, 1814.
Since Mr. Bayard’s and my joint letter of 23d ult., announcing to you that the negotiations for peace would take place at Ghent, Mr. Bayard has proceeded to that city by way of Paris. I have remained here waiting for the answers of our colleagues at Gottenburg, and will depart as soon as I know that they and the British commissioners are on their way to the appointed place. The definitive treaty of European peace being signed and ratified, Lord Castlereagh is expected here this day, and the Emperor of Russia in the beginning of next week.
I enclose copy of an extract of a letter of Mr. Crawford to me. I may add that I have ascertained that the exclusion of all discussions respecting maritime questions and of any interference in the American contest was one of the conditions proposed at the Châtillon conferences, and I have reason to believe that with respect to the first point a positive, and in the other at least a tacit agreement have taken place in the late and final European negotiations at Paris.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.
London, June 3, 1814.
I had in April last written to Mr. Crawford urging the necessity of obtaining the friendly offices of the Emperor of Russia. It was in answer that he wrote the letter of which an extract was sent in mine of yesterday to you. I had also written to General La Fayette respecting the critical situation in which the United States were placed by the general European peace. I have this moment received letters from both. No. 1 is an extract from Mr. Crawford’s letter of 24th May, in his own cipher. No. 2, in my cipher, is a copy of so much only of his memoir on our war, presented to the Emperor of Russia, as respects the conditions of peace suggested by him. No. 3 is an extract of La Fayette’s letter to me. No. 4 is the translation of so much of his note to the Emperor of Russia as respects the terms of peace as above. No. 5 is an extract of Mr. Crawford’s letter of 28th May to us. No. 6 is a copy of La Fayette’s letter to him. These two last are in Mr. Crawford’s cipher, those parts which are underlined excepted, which are in my own.
LA FAYETTE TO GALLATIN.
Paris, June 3, 1814.
My dear Sir,—
I have just the time to write a line by my friend M. de Humboldt, who hopes to reach London before you have left it. M. Poletica having taken charge of Mr. Crawford’s despatches and a letter of mine, I ought to refer you to them. Here is, however, another copy of the observations which I had put under the eyes of Emperor Alexander, while I transmitted to him, through a particular friend, the excellent and more extensive note of Mr. Crawford. His letter of a later date than mine to you will have informed you that I had the expected conversation with the Emperor of Russia at the house of Madame de Staël, and that it has been very satisfactory. He began with telling me he had read with much pleasure and interest what I had sent to him. He gave me all the time to explain away the allusions and insinuations of the adversaries to the United States, and kindly positively promised he would take the opportunity of his journey to London and make a new eager attempt to promote a peace. I have had the matter urged again before his departure. I much wish you and Mr. Adams, with both of whom he is personally acquainted, might be in England during his short stay there. I am sure this noble-minded Alexander will make it a point to serve us in the critical juncture. You may begin the conversation with thanking him for the intention to do so to the best of his power, which he very positively expressed to me. Our friend Humboldt, who has already spoken to him on the subject, would be happy to receive your directions for anything in his power. I hasten to scribble this letter to be forwarded by him, and offer you my respectful attachment.
I have had the pleasure to see Mr. Bayard, who is arrived four days ago.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.1
London, 13th June, 1814.
The armament fitted against America will enable the British, besides providing for Canada, to land at least 15 to 20,000 men on the Atlantic coast. Whether the Ministry be nevertheless disposed for peace a few weeks will determine. It may be intended to continue the war for the purpose of effecting a separation of the Union, or with a view of promoting the election of a President of the Federal party, or in the hope of imposing conditions which will curtail the territory, the fisheries, and diminish the commerce of the United States; but even with the intention of a speedy and equal peace, the pride and vindictive passions of the nation would be highly gratified by what they would consider a glorious termination of the war, by an expedition that may console them for the mortification of naval defeats, retrieve the disgrace of the campaign in the Chesapeake, and cripple the naval and commercial resources, as well as the growing manufactures, of the United States. To use their own language, they mean to inflict on America a chastisement that will teach her that war is not to be declared against Great Britain with impunity. This is a very general sentiment in the nation, and that such are the opinions and intentions of the Ministry was strongly impressed on the mind of — by a late conversation he had with Lord Castlereagh. Admiral Warren also told to Levett Harris, with whom he was intimate at St. Petersburg, that he was sorry to say that the instructions given to his successor on the American station were very different from those under which he had acted, and that he apprehended that very serious injury would be inflicted on America. Knowing the species of warfare practised under him, and that he was blamed for the inefficiency and not on account of the nature of his operations, you may infer what is now intended. Without pretending to correct information respecting their plan of campaign, I think it probable that Washington and New York are the places the capture of which would most gratify the enemy, and that Norfolk, Baltimore, and the collected manufacturing establishments of the Brandywine and Rhode Island are also in danger. The ostensible object everywhere will be the destruction of the public naval magazines and arsenals, and of all the shipping, whether public or private; but heavy contributions, plunder, and whatever marks a predatory warfare must be expected, unless the ultimate object be to sever the Union, demand a cession of territory, &c., in which case the permanent occupation of New York or some other important tenable point will probably be attempted instead of mere destruction. Whatever may be the object and duration of the war, America must rely on her resources alone. From Europe no assistance can, for some time, be expected. British pride begins, indeed, to produce its usual effect. Seeds of dissension are not wanting. Russia and England may, at the approaching Congress of Vienna, be at variance on important subjects, particularly as relates to the aggrandizement of Austria. But questions of maritime rights are not yet attended to, and America is generally overlooked by the European sovereigns or viewed with suspicion. Above all, there is nowhere any navy in existence; and years of peace must elapse before the means of resisting with effect the sea power of Great Britain can again be created. In a word, Europe wants peace, and neither will nor can at this time make war against Great Britain. The friendly disposition of the Emperor of Russia, and a just view of the subject, make him sincerely desirous that peace should be restored to the United States. He may use his endeavors for that purpose; beyond that he will not go, and in that it is not probable he will succeed. I have also the most perfect conviction that, under the existing unpropitious circumstances of the world, America cannot, by a continuance of the war, compel Great Britain to yield any of the maritime points in dispute, and particularly to agree to any satisfactory arrangement on the subject of impressment, and that the most favorable terms of peace that can be expected are the status ante bellum, and a postponement of the questions of blockade, impressment, and all other points which in time of European peace are not particularly injurious; but, with firmness and perserverance, those terms, though perhaps unattainable at this moment, will ultimately be obtained, provided you can stand the shock of this campaign, and provided the people will remain and show themselves united; this nation and government will be tired of a war without object, and which must become unpopular when the passions of the day will have subsided and the country sees clearly that America asks nothing from Great Britain. It is desirable that the negotiations of Ghent, if not productive of immediate peace, should at least afford satisfactory proof of this last point. I might have adduced several facts and collateral circumstances in support of the opinions contained in this letter, but you know I would not risk them on light grounds. You may rest assured of the general hostile spirit of this nation and of its wish to inflict serious injury on the United States; that no assistance can be expected from Europe; and that no better terms of peace will be obtained than the status ante bellum, &c., as above stated. I am less positive, though I fear not mistaken, with respect to the views of the Ministry, to the object of the armament, to the failure of the Emperor’s interference, and to the consequent improbability of peace, even on those terms, before the conclusion of this year’s campaign.
I have the honor to be, with great respect, your obedient servant.
GALLATIN TO THE EMPEROR ALEXANDER.1
If the British government sincerely wishes peace with America, it will not bring forward any new territorial or commercial pretension, and will confine itself to the discussion of the questions which gave rise to the war. That respecting impressment of seamen on board American vessels is the only one which presents any difficulty. The abstract right of America to employ British seamen, or of Great Britain to claim her own subjects, needs not, however, be discussed. Although she has weakened it by permitting them to migrate, and by naturalizing herself the seamen of other nations, the United States would agree not hereafter to employ, even on board their merchant vessels, any seaman subject of Great Britain. But America cannot assent to an arrangement acknowledging the right of England to do herself justice by force, by seizing on the high seas even her own seamen, on board of American vessels. Any arrangement founded on that basis and on a promise to repress abuses would ultimately leave the American vessels at the mercy of England, without giving to America any advantage she has not a right to enjoy without any condition on her part, since England, not claiming the right to seize American seamen, is already bound to prevent its being done by her officers.
With respect to the principle, England is allowed, when she is at war, to visit neutral vessels for the purpose of seizing merchandise either belonging to her enemy, or considered as contraband destined for her enemy, and soldiers or other combatants in the service of her enemy. But she never had before claimed the right of visiting or seizing, under the pretence of retaking what belonged to herself. If the right was conceded to her of seizing, on board vessels of other nations, the seamen she claims as belonging to her, she would equally have that of seizing merchandise claimed by her subjects as belonging to them, and there would no longer be any acknowledged line of demarcation which should prevent her from exercising an unlimited jurisdiction over the vessels of all other nations.
The great interest which the United States have that impressment should cease, and also to create a navy purely national, gives a certain pledge of their faithfully excluding British seamen from their service, if they can thereby obtain that Great Britain shall cease impressing seamen on board their vessels. England only suspending the exercise of her pretensions without renouncing them, would be bound only so long as America faithfully fulfilled her engagement. It is, however, to be feared that, at this moment of irritation, the British government will not agree to this arrangement, against which there is another not publicly avowed motive of opposition. England, not losing her commerce when she is at war, always wants fifty thousand more seamen in war than when at peace. Far, therefore, from wishing that the United States should altogether exclude her seamen from their service, she wishes, on the contrary, that America would (as she might do it with ease) employ twenty thousand of them in time of peace, in order to claim them when at war, and thus to make the American navy subserve in a most efficient manner to the aggrandizement of her own maritime power.
Should the proposal of the United States be rejected, the only apparent means to make peace is a postponement of the discussion of that subject to a more favorable time. Maritime questions seem to fall with the war; and it is above all desirable that the whole civilized world may breathe and, without any exception, enjoy universal peace. But if the United States should derive no positive advantage from the war, they will at least terminate it without sacrifice and without dishonor. They would not assent to a peace requiring from them a cession of territory, restricting their commerce or rights to fisheries, or compelling them to recognize the pretensions of Great Britain on the subject of impressment or of the other disputed maritime questions.
Although the powerful armament, particularly of land forces, sent by England to America on the eve of opening the negotiations for peace may create a suspicion that she will not make it but on inadmissible terms, it is yet hoped that the United States may be indebted for that blessing to the liberator and pacifier of Europe; but should even the efforts of his Imperial Majesty to obtain that object prove fruitless, America will ever preserve a feeling recollection of this and of the several other proofs which his Majesty has given her of his friendly regard.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.
London, 20th June, 1814.
On the 11th instant I received a letter from Mr. Clay, dated at Gottenburg the 1st, and informing me that he would leave it on the next day and proceed by land to Ghent, leaving the corvette John Adams to take by sea Messrs. Adams and Russell, then at Stockholm, to some port in Holland. Of this I gave immediate information in a note addressed to Lord Castlereagh, and requested to know at what time the British commissioners might be expected at Ghent. On the 15th, Mr. Hamilton, Under-Secretary of State, wrote in answer a note to Mr. Erving, Mr. Beasley’s agent, informing him that the British commissioners would leave London for Ghent on or about the 1st day of July, where it was presumed they would find the American commissioners assembled. This does not bespeak any wish to hasten the negotiations; but I must add that it has been reported to me that the instructions for their commissioners had been delayed till Lord Castlereagh’s return: since which, and until the allied sovereigns will have departed, he cannot have time to attend to the subject. It is rather singular that Lord Liverpool, on being asked about six weeks ago whether it would not be preferable as tending to bring the negotiations to an immediate issue to remove their seat to London, answered in the negative. Yet the substitution of Ghent to Gottenburg will be highly beneficial in preventing delays, for it takes three weeks from the time of writing hence before an answer is received from the last place, even when your correspondent answers immediately. Even supposing that there be no design to protract the negotiations, it must be expected that new instructions will on some points be wanted by the British commissioners.
Mr. Harris and myself had, on the 17th, an audience from the Emperor of Russia. His friendly dispositions for the United States are unimpaired: he earnestly wishes that peace may be made between them and England; he regrets that his efforts with that view have been fruitless; but he does not give or seem to entertain any hope that he can on that subject be of any service. I could not ascertain whether he had touched the subject since he had been here; only he said, “I have made two—three attempts.” If three, the third must have been now. He added, “England will not admit a third party to interfere in her disputes with you. This is on account of your former relations to her (the colonial state), which is not yet forgotten.” He also expressed his opinion that with respect to conditions of peace the difficulty would be with England, and not with us. On the whole, this conversation afforded no reason to alter the opinions expressed in my letter of 13th instant. I yesterday, with his permission, sent him a note, which I have not time to translate and put in cipher by this opportunity, but which contains nothing new to you, and which will not probably produce any effect.
I expect to leave this city to-morrow on my way to Ghent.
21st June. I had forgotten to mention that I had advised Mr. Harris, who was on his way to the United States, and received here the account of his being left as chargé d’affaires at St. Petersburg during Mr. Adams’s absence, not to return there till after the Emperor’s arrival here. He has been very useful, both on account of his intimacy and standing with the principal persons near the Emperor, who likes him, and in obtaining information from persons connected with the British Ministry. He leaves town this week on his way back to St. Petersburg.
GALLATIN TO R. G. BEASLEY.
Ghent, 26th July, 1814.
Mr. Adams writes to you for the purpose of obtaining for the John Adams a passport similar in form to that granted for the Neptune; that is to say, expressing, if necessary, the object of the voyage, carrying of despatches, and without inserting on the face of the passport the implied condition of having neither cargo nor passengers; for which our word, the character of the ship, and the captain’s commission, afford sufficient security.
The passport granted to the Neptune is for carrying back to the United States Messrs. Bayard and Gallatin, with their suite. Mr. George M. Dallas and John P. Todd, having both come with me in the Neptune in the capacities of my secretaries as Minister of the United States, are therefore both embraced in the said passport. But, having no further occasion for their services, and the mission having been much protracted beyond our expectations, it is equally my wish and theirs that they should return home in the John Adams instead of waiting an indefinite length of time for the departure of the Neptune. Under those circumstances, and since they have already a general passport for another vessel, I presume that, whether the alteration in the passport of the John Adams be granted or not, there cannot and will not be any objection to granting special passports to those two gentlemen for taking their passage on board the last-mentioned vessel, the John Adams. I have therefore to request that you will make the application to the proper authority and send me the passports for them at the same time that you return that for the ship. It is proper to add that Mr. Dallas is to be the bearer of our despatches to our government.
In a confused report of a conversation in the House of Commons on the 20th instant, I see an intimation ascribed to Lord Castlereagh that the delay in the departure of the British commissioners for that place was owing to my remaining in Paris. This would have been no apology, since a majority of the American commissioners were assembled here on the 27th ult.; but the assertion, if made, was erroneous, and unjustly holds me out in that public manner to my government and country as the author of the delay. On the 9th of June I addressed a note to Lord Castlereagh informing him of the departure of Mr. Clay from Gottenburg; that Messrs. Adams and Russell were expected to follow immediately, and that Mr. Bayard and myself being ready at any moment to repair to Ghent, I wished to be informed of the time when the British commissioners might be expected there. On the 15th of June, Mr. Hamilton wrote to Mr. Irving that he had the honor to inform him, in reference to Mr. Gallatin’s note to Lord Castlereagh, that the British commissioners would leave London for Ghent on or about the first day of July, where it was presumed they would find the American commissioners assembled. I shaped my course in conformity with that information. Had the British government stated that their commissioners would proceed the next week, I should have done the same. They designated the first of July as the probable time of their commissioners’ departure from London; and calculating the journey thence to this place would consume four or five days, I so arranged my own as to arrive here on the 6th of July. From that day I have with my colleagues waited with impatience for the arrival of the British commissioners. I wish you would find an opportunity to express to Mr. Hamilton my surprise, such being the facts, that Lord Castlereagh should have made an assertion calculated to do me a personal injury. I am not at liberty to bring those details before the public; but I request you to have the fact inserted in one of the newspapers that I arrived here on the 6th of July, and that a majority of the American commissioners had been here since the 27th of June.
MME. DE STAËL TO GALLATIN.
Ce 31 Juillet, 1814.
Vous m’avez permis de vous demander si vous avez quelque succès heureux à espérer de votre mission. Mandez-moi à cet égard, my dear sir, tout ce qu’il vous est permis de me dire. Je suis inquiète d’un mot de Lord Castlereagh sur la durée de la guerre et je ne m’explique pas pourquoi il a dit qu’il était de l’intérêt de l’Angleterre que le Congrès de Vienne s’ouvrit plus tard. C’est vous, Amérique, qui m’intéresse avant tout maintenant, à part de mes affaires pécuniaires. Je vous trouve à présent les opprimés du parti de la liberté et je vois en vous la cause qui m’attachait à l’Angleterre il y a un an. On souhaite beaucoup de vous voir à Genève et vous y trouverez la République telle que vous l’avez laissée, seulement elle est moins libérale car la mode est ainsi maintenant en Suisse. Aussi les vieux aristocrates se relèvent et se remettent à combattre, en oubliant, comme les géants de l’Arioste, qu’ils sont déjà morts. J’espère que la raison triomphera, et quand on vous connaît on trouve cette raison si spirituelle qu’elle semble la plus forte. Soyez pacifique cependant et sacrifiez aux circonstances. Vous devez vous ennuyer à Gand et je voudrais profiter pour causer avec vous de tout le temps que vous y perdez. Avez-vous quelques commissions à faire à Genève et voulez-vous me donner le plaisir de vous y être utile en quelque chose? Mille compliments empressés.
Vous savez que M. Sismondi vous a loué dans son discours à St. Pierre.
CRAWFORD TO GALLATIN.
Paris, 4th August, 1814.
My Dear Sir,—
* * * * * * *
From the general tenor of Mr. Monroe’s letters I am very much afraid that they have not expected that so large a force would be sent out as I expect there has been. On the 6th of July, when Mr. Caraman sailed from New York, no fortified camp had been formed on Long Island. In all my letters to the government from November last, I endeavored to prepare them for the employment of the whole force which the enemy had employed on the Continent during the last year and the first months of the present. No such expectations, however, seem to be entertained. They had received yours and Mr. Bayard’s communication, in which you suggested the probability of a change of the place of negotiation.
I learn by a private letter from Charleston that Mr. Cheves will not be a candidate at the next election for Congress, on account of his unpopularity. Colonel Dayton is stated to have resigned his commission on account of younger officers being promoted over him. The same letter speaks of Armstrong’s pretensions for the Presidency as likely to succeed unless you make peace, and that the popularity of the measure should be ascribed to Mr. Adams, in which event he would probably be successful. The writer is a young man, and rather disposed to indulge in very uncertain speculations of this nature. The letter, however, proves that these gentlemen have partisans in Charleston, and in the State of South Carolina.
This letter excepted, I have received no news but what is contained in the Intelligencer, which is the only paper I have received.
Present my respects to Mr. Dallas, and accept for yourself the assurance of my sincere regard.
P.S.—Your friend Mr. Warden has used your offer to assist him in returning to the United States as an evidence of your zeal in his favor, and has employed it as a mean of obtaining letters here to prop him up in the United States. General La Fayette has been much importuned by those whom he has contrived to enlist in his cause. It is through him that I learned the use he is making of your offer.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.
Ghent, 20th August, 1814.
The negotiations at this place will have the result which I have anticipated. In one respect, however, I had been mistaken. I had supposed, whilst in England, that the British Ministry in continuing the war yielded to the popular sentiment, and were only desirous of giving some éclat to the termination of hostilities, and by predatory attacks of inflicting gratuitous injury on the United States. It appears now certain that they have more serious and dangerous objects in view. On these I will not dwell, as they are sufficiently explained by our public despatches, and will only observe that the capture of Moose Island, and the manner of taking possession, accord with the general scope of their demands here. But I beg leave to advert to the effect which those views, now fully disclosed, may have on the manner of conducting the war.
The British will naturally attempt the conquest of what they wish to acquire by the peace. They will make great efforts in Canada with respect to the possession of Lakes Ontario and Erie, for the recapture of Detroit, and for the support of the Indians, so as to derive from the status quo some claim to what they already demand. And your attention will be naturally drawn to that quarter, and, amongst other objects, to a vigorous prosecution of the Indian war, which, by a total expulsion of the adjacent tribes, or by compelling them to make peace, will remove every pretext for what is now made a sine qua non, and, indeed, afford an opportunity to Great Britain to desist (without retracting) from that preliminary. It is not improbable that their warfare on our Atlantic shore will be on a smaller scale than I had conjectured, and may be confined to desultory attacks made successively on several points, for the purpose principally of distracting our defensive measures and of diverting a considerable part of our force from the points of real and serious attack. It appears to me most likely that their true and immediate object is New Orleans. They well know that it is our most distant and weakest point, and that if captured it could not be retaken without great difficulty. If successful in other quarters, there is no possession which, as a sugar colony, as a port in the Gulf of Mexico, and as commanding all our Western country both in a political and in a commercial view, they would be more desirous of holding. If less successful in Canada than they expect, New Orleans would be made a set-off, and its restitution to depend on our compliance with their demands in the North.
You will also perceive that they would hardly have any other object in view when they gave in their official note the formal intimation that if we did not now sign a treaty, Great Britain would not be precluded from the right of varying her demands according to the state of the war at the time of resuming the negotiations.
Finally, the expedition ready to sail under Lord Hill in the beginning of September cannot, it seems, considering the season of the year, have any other object but Louisiana. It is evidently too late for Canada, and even for all our Northern coast. There is no apparent utility for them in an attack on Charleston or Georgia, and immense advantages to be derived from the conquest of New Orleans. It is not impossible that this last object may be connected with Florida, the cession of which by Spain to England is possible.
It is now evident that Great Britain intends to strengthen and aggrandize herself in North America. Knowing that that object would be fully disclosed by her proposals, and that these were inadmissible, it is not uncandid to suppose that her object in protracting the negotiations has been to delay their rupture to the very moment when her expedition under General Hill would be ready and must sail, in order to prevent, as far as practicable, our taking early alarm and making sufficient preparations to repel the attack.
It is highly probable that our struggle will be longer and more arduous than I had anticipated. I believe the other views I had given you respecting Europe to be correct. We cannot expect assistance from any quarter on our own account. An earlier renewal of war here than had been conjectured is not impossible, and would operate in our favor. It is an event which we cannot in any respect control, and of which, without relying on it, we must be ready to take advantage whenever it may happen.
Mr. Dallas is the bearer of our despatches. I have told him that I expected government would pay his expenses from this place to the Helder, and those of his passage and provisions on board the John Adams. He will accordingly state and transmit his account to you.
I do not expect that we can be detained more than two or three weeks longer, for the purpose either of closing the negotiation, of taking every other necessary step connected with it, and of making all the arrangements for our departure. In the hope of having the pleasure of seeing you again very soon, I have, &c.
I do not know to what the British commissioners allude in their note of yesterday, when they say that their government has forborne to press certain points on which they had a right to insist, unless it be to a recognition of their assumed right of impressment.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.
Ghent, 26th October, 1814.
Our negotiations have been protracted longer than I had expected or than was desirable. The only advantage arising from it is that a change in Europe or a reverse of the British in America might alter their views and produce a peace; that whilst we continue here it may be made at any time, if any such contingency should happen, and that, considering distance and irritation, a renewal of negotiations once broken would be attended with much delay and difficulty, even if Great Britain became sincerely disposed to peace.
With respect to the Indian article, my only motive for assenting to it—and I believe that it was the same with my colleagues—was that having little hope of peace, I thought it much more favorable, with respect to public opinion in the eastern part of the Union, that we should break on other grounds, and particularly on that of territorial rights, than on that of Indian pacification. Considering that we may still be detained longer than we calculate, it seems important that you should immediately send us instructions on that subject and on the other points, either not heretofore contemplated, or which may require reconsideration. Permit me to mention some of them: 1st. We principally rest on the basis of status ante bellum. Would it be proper to break on the point of trading with the Indians granted to the British by the treaty of 1794? The non-renewal by our present instructions is a sine qua non. 2d. The right of preserving our naval force on the Lakes to any extent we please is also a sine qua non by our instructions. Supposing the British to propose a mutual restriction in that respect, either partial or total, should we still adhere to the sine qua non? 3d. After the declaration of the British respecting fisheries, are we to insist on our rights as defined by the treaty of 1783 being renewed, or rest on our construction of that treaty? My idea was to make a similar declaration on our part respecting the British privilege of navigating the Mississippi, derived from the same treaty, and to let both be renewed or fall together. 4th. Is it indispensable, if we should agree to the northwestern boundary from the Lake of the Woods to the Mississippi, to provide for the northern boundary of Louisiana, or to insert a proviso that the article shall not affect said boundary? or may we safely rest on our right to the country without referring to it? If we fix a boundary for Louisiana, what should it be? In giving instructions on that point, I think that the ultimatum should be a line including all the waters of the Mississippi and Missouri. 5th. If Great Britain should agree to a mutual restoration of territory everywhere, with the single exception of the settlement on Columbia River, what must we do? And generally, what should be our conduct and claims respecting the country between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean? 6th. With respect to Maine, I believe the British will insist on the islands in the Passamaquoddy Bay as of right belonging to them. We have no documents to rebut their claim. May we agree to the appointment of commissioners to decide on the claim? How should they be constituted? and must we, in that case, insist on the restitution of the islands till the question is settled? 7th. The British also want in the same district the country watered by St. John’s River, which forms the northern part of said district. In case that, as already suggested; they should insist that there is uncertainty in the line, can we likewise agree to the appointment of commissioners? If they propose an exchange, how far can we agree to it? My reason for putting this last query is, that although Massachusetts has taken possession of the whole country, she has no claim to any part of the territory north of 45 degrees of north latitude and east of the Penobscot or Kennebec River (I do not recollect which). That territory of right belongs to the Union, as acquired by the treaty of 1783. Yet, considering the undisturbed possession by Massachusetts, it would be a delicate question to exchange without her consent, even for a fair equivalent. 8th. If a maritime war should be renewed in Europe, what must we do on the subject of impressment?
We have certainly no means of giving you information on the points of attack contemplated by the British. Their conduct in occupying the country east of Penobscot requires no comment. I still believe that their principal object is Louisiana. If strong enough, they may also occupy the Southern ports, from St. Mary’s as far north as they can, for the double purpose of obtaining cotton and of having territory in their hands for which to ask equivalents when making peace. The defence of New Orleans, the repossession of the country east of Penobscot, the subjugation and pacification of the Indians, and the conquest of enough in Canada to have also something to restore, appear important objects with a view to the terms of peace.
No loan can be obtained in Europe, and our financial resources will be deficient. I will, without apology, state the principles on which it seems to me that we can go with least inconvenience. Difficulties and objections in any plan you must expect. 1st. To carry the revenue to the greatest extent which the people will bear. Indirect internal taxes to be preferred. 2d. To limit the nominal loans to the extent which can be obtained, and to be previously ascertained as far as practicable, and not to borrow stock at a rate exceeding in any shape 8 per cent. 3d. To apply exclusively the moneys arising from those two sources—loans and revenue—to the payments of the civil list, interest of public debt, and pay and support of the regular army and navy, and of the militia employed in offensive operations. The essential objects must be first provided for, and some distinct line drawn between what you will pay in money or provide for otherwise. 4th. Not to increase the amount of Treasury notes receivable in payment of taxes and payable one year after date, but, in order to supply deficiencies, to issue notes payable also to bearer, but not receivable in taxes, and reimbursable at a longer period, if possible one year after peace, and having such an interest—from six to eight per cent.—as will prevent too great a depreciation. These may, if the war continues, be funded in part annually, when a loan is opened. 5th. To authorize the States, within such limitations as may be thought proper, to raise State troops for self-defence, which, as well as the militia called for defensive purposes, should be paid and supported by the States respectively, the United States reimbursing ultimately the expense by stock or by instalments after the war, or in any other mode which may be devised. States not providing as aforesaid would be left by their neglect without sufficient defence. 6th. If the preceding suggestion is not adopted, a superabundant issue of paper will take place, which I fear will be fatal. Still, in that case the notes bearing interest, or stock by loans on bad terms, appear preferable to paper money, so called. In case States be not resorted to, will not a local force, as I had formerly proposed, be more efficient and cheaper than large and sudden calls of militia? My plan was to raise men for local defence, to be trained and kept encamped or in forts by turns, say one-fourth part at a time, to be liable to be called as minute-men in service whenever required, and to be paid only when in actual service. But I perceive that my zeal carries me out of my sphere. I had left a plan for a bank; also that of making lands instrumental in procuring loans, by way of lottery. I think the last scheme might be useful. But it may be too late for a bank, and subscribers may not perhaps be obtained. Of that those on the spot must judge. With my conjectures on European affairs I will not trouble you. I do not think that the British are apprehensive of a renewal of the war. They are hated everywhere, and I think that we begin to grow popular. We are certainly so here, and the destruction of the public buildings at Washington has produced a considerable sensation against England, though its capture, and without sufficient defence, has been injurious to the opinion entertained of our strength or abilities. We have ordered the Neptune to Brest; we will join her by land, and whence we may sail with more convenience at an advanced or early season. Antwerp is also liable to be frozen up.
GALLATIN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.
Ghent, 24th December, 1814.
Our bankers at Amsterdam informed me at the beginning of November that no remittances for the payment of the dividend due 1st January next at Amsterdam on the Louisiana stock had yet reached them. To my inquiry whether they would advance the money in case the remittances did not arrive in time, they answered in the negative, and complained that they were already 280,000 guilders in advance for the diplomatic fund. I then wrote to Messrs. Baring to ascertain whether they had received remittances, and, in case they had not, how far they and their friends, the house of Hope, at Amsterdam, might be disposed to advance the money. Mr. A. Baring wrote me on the same subject before the receipt of my letter. Finding he hesitated, I applied to Mr. Iselin, of the house of Le Roy, Bayard & M. Evans, of New York, to make the necessary advance. He offered to advance 200,000 guilders, at 46 cents per guilder; and I was on the point of proposing to him, instead of 46 cents, the rate of exchange that might exist in America at the time of his being paid there by the Treasury, when I received a letter from Mr. Baring informing me that he would make the necessary advances in Amsterdam. I send copies of his letters, by which you will perceive the necessity of further remittances to him. You will owe him 400,000 guilders advanced in Holland, and a large sum for seamen and prisoners. When these are released, their support till shipped will be still more expensive than their allowance whilst in prison.
P.S.—The Amsterdam bankers are also very anxious to be reimbursed of their advances on account of the diplomatic fund.
GALLATIN TO MONROE.
Ghent, December 25, 1814.
The treaty of peace we signed yesterday with the British ministers is, in my opinion, as favorable as could be expected under existing circumstances, so far as they were known to us. The attitude taken by the State of Massachusetts, and the appearances in some of the neighboring States, had a most unfavorable effect. Of the probable result of the congress at Vienna we had no correct information. The views of all the European powers were precisely known from day to day to the British Ministry. From neither of them did we in any shape receive any intimation of their intentions, of the general prospect of Europe, or of the interest they took in our contest with Great Britain. I have some reason to believe that all of them were desirous that it might continue. They did not intend to assist us; they appeared indifferent about our difficulties; but they rejoiced at anything which might occupy and eventually weaken our enemy. The manner in which the campaign has terminated, the evidence afforded by its events of our ability to resist alone the now very formidable military power of England, and our having been able, without any foreign assistance, and after she had made such an effort, to obtain peace on equal terms, will raise our character and consequence in Europe. This, joined with the naval victories and the belief that we alone can fight the English on their element, will make us to be courted as much as we have been neglected by foreign governments. As to the people of Europe, public opinion was most decidedly in our favor. I anticipate a settlement with Spain on our own terms, and the immediate chastisement of the Algerines. Permit me to suggest the propriety of despatching a squadron for that purpose without losing a single moment. I have little to add to our public despatch on the subject of the terms of the treaty. I really think that there is nothing but nominal in the Indian article as adopted. With respect to precedents, you will find two, though neither is altogether in point, viz.: the article of the Treaty of Utrecht, and the latter part of the article of our treaty with Spain. You know that there was no alternative between breaking off the negotiations and accepting the article, and that we accepted it only as provisional and subject to your approbation or rejection. The exception of Moose Island from the general restoration of territory is the only point on which it is possible that we might have obtained an alteration if we had adhered to our opposition to it. The British government had long fluctuated on the question of peace: a favorable account from Vienna, the report of some success in the Gulf of Mexico, or any other incident, might produce a change in their disposition; they had already, after the question had been referred to them, declared that they could not consent to a relinquishment of that point. We thought it too hazardous to risk the peace on the question of the temporary possession of that small island, since the question of title was fully reserved, and it was therefore no cession of territory. On the subject of the fisheries within the jurisdiction of Great Britain, we have certainly done all that could be done. If, according to the construction of the treaty of 1783, which we assumed, the right was not abrogated by the war, it remains entire, since we most explicitly refused to renounce it directly or indirectly. In that case it is only an unsettled subject of difference between the two countries. If the right must be considered as abrogated by the war, we cannot regain it without an equivalent. We had none to give but the recognition of their right to navigate the Mississippi, and we offered it on this last supposition. This right is also lost to them, and in a general point of view we have certainly lost nothing. But we have done all that was practicable in support of the right to those fisheries, 1, by the ground we assumed respecting the construction of the treaty of 1783; 2, by the offer to recognize the British right to the navigation of the Mississippi; 3, by refusing to accept from Great Britain both her implied renunciation to the right of that navigation and the convenient boundary of 49 degrees for the whole extent of our and her territories west of the Lake of the Woods, rather than to make an implied renunciation on our own part to the right of America to those particular fisheries. I believe that Great Britain is very desirous of obtaining the northern part of Maine, say from about 47 north latitude to the northern extremity of that district as claimed by us. They hope that the river which empties into Bay des Chaleurs, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, has its source so far west as to intervene between the head-waters of the river St. John and those of the streams emptying into the river St. Lawrence: so that the line north from the source of the river St. Croix will first strike the heights of land which divide the waters emptying into the Atlantic Ocean (river St. John’s) from those emptying into the Gulf of St. Lawrence (River des Chaleurs), and afterwards the heights of land which divide the waters emptying into the Gulf of St. Lawrence (River des Chaleurs) from those emptying into the river St. Lawrence; but that the said line never can, in the words of the treaty, strike any spot of land actually dividing the waters emptying into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the river St. Lawrence. Such will be the foundation of their disputing our claim to the northern part of that territory; but, feeling that it is not very solid, I am apt to think that they will be disposed to offer the whole of Passamaquoddy Bay and the disputed fisheries as an equivalent for this portion of northern territory, which they want in order to connect New Brunswick and Quebec. This may account for their tenacity with respect to the temporary possession of Moose Island, and for their refusing to accept the recognition of their right to the navigation of the Mississippi, provided they recognized ours to the fisheries. That northern territory is of no importance to us, and belongs to the United States, and not to Massachusetts, which has not the shadow of a claim to any land north of 45 to the eastward of the Penobscot River, as you may easily convince yourself of by recurring to her charters.
[1 ]This appears to be the note alluded to in J. Q. Adams’s Memoirs, ii. pp. 569-573; 1st Feb., 1814; but it hardly warrants Count Romanzoff’s remark that it requested “him to write to them [Gallatin and Bayard] whatever might occur after their departure in reference to the mission,” p. 569. The account given of it by Mr. Harris, p. 573, is more accurate; but in fact this note contains no request for any communication from Count Romanzoff beyond the official answer of the Emperor in regard to the mediation.
[1 ]“Received by Secretary of State subsequent to capture of Washington.” Note by Mr. Gallatin.
[1 ]“Translation of an official note (in French) presented on the 19th June, 1814, to the Emperor of Russia by Albert Gallatin.” Note by Mr. Gallatin.