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posal that the claim of title to this Post should, as in the two former instances, go before Commissioners, and be governed, in other respects, by the precedent of the Treaty, annexing to it a third Supplemental Article as the groundwork of an eventual arbitration.

To his propositions and remarks, I made such replies as the nature of all, and the novelty of some of them, appeared to demand. First, as to the Settlement at Columbia River. Having heard nothing from this Department upon the subject, I was necessarily uninformed of what passed at Washington. I could only treat it as my first impressions dictated. I expressed the surprise which I felt at its assuming an aspect of complaint. The just grounds upon which England claimed dominion were, I said, unknown to me. Granting that there did exist in ber favour any Claim or pretence of Right, was it possible that the lawfulness of the step taken could be drawn into question ? That the spot was in our possession before the War was a fact known to the World. That it fell, by Belligerent Capture, into the hands of Britain, whilst it raged, was alike notorious. How, then, under a Treaty which stipulated the mutual restitution of all Places reduced by the arms of either Party, was our right to immediate and full re-possession to be, for an instant, impugned ? I adverted to the familiar Case of Nootka Sound, and the Falkland Islands. Here Great Britain, under circumstances far less strong, had asserted the undeniable principle of which we had claimed the benefit. In fine, I knew not how to illustrate or justify, by argument, a measure which seemed to rest upon so broad and indisputable a foundation of National Right. It is proper, at this stage to say, that Lord Castlereagh admitted, in the most ample extent, our right to be reinstated, and to be the Party in possession while treating of the title. The manner of obtaining it, he said, was alone to be lamented, declaring that it arose from the possible tendency which it might have, to give some momentary disturbance in that region to the general harmony subsisting between the Countries. He hoped, sincerely, this would not be the case, and added, that, with a view to forestall, by the most prompt and practicable means, such a result, he had addressed a Note to the Lords of the Admiralty, and another to Lord Bathurst, Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, on the 26th of last month, desiring that the proper Orders might be expedited to prevent, under whatever form, all hostile collision. A Copy of these Notes he took down and read to me.

I proceeded with further remarks. Though it was scarcely to be expected, I said, that I could yet have received information from my Government relative to the measure, and although, in fact, nothing had reached me, I was, nevertheless, most abundantly confident that it had originated in no unfriendly motive or feeling. It had so happened, I continued, that I had been honoured with some knowledge of the executive deliberations at about the time the Ontario sailed, which left

me the less scruple in making this assertion. It was true I had come away before her final departure; but sure I felt, that there could have been no alteration in the unexceptionable views that had suggested the Voyage; and, above all, I subjoined, that the use of force, as a means of re-establishing our previous dominion, had in no wise coupled itself with the intentions that were formed. These assurances, I thought, appeared to go some lengths towards placing the transaction in its innocent and justifiable lights. Given, as they were, frankly, I hope that what I said may be found to meet the President's approbation. I felt all the extravagance of the supposition that there had been any deviation, on the part of the Government, in this instance, from its wonted respect to the rights of other Nations. Lord Castlereagh did not, in any way, unfold the nature of the British Claim. The Hon. J. Q. Adams.


(5.)— The Secretary of State to Mr. Rush. (Extract.) Department of State, Washington, 20th May, 1818.

From the tenour of your Correspondence with Lord Castlereagh, reported in your Dispatch, as well as from the Communications made here on the same subject, by Mr. Bagot, it appears that the British Government have acceded to the proposals heretofore made on our part, to refer the Question which has arisen upon the construction of the 1st Article of the Treaty of Ghent, in relation to the restitution of Slaves carried away from The United States, after the Ratification of the Treaty of Peace, to the arbitration of a friendly Sovereign. This accession is understood to be absolute and unconditional ; but accompanied with the suggestion of a wish, on the part of the British Cabinet, to try, as a previous measure, the experiment adopted for the adjustment of other Questions between the two countries, of submitting the Case to the decision of Commissioners mutually chosen by the two Parties; submitting at the same time to the same, or other Commissioners, appointed in like manner, the ascertainment and demarcation of a Boundary Line from the Northwest corner of the Lake of the Woods, Westward; and the right and title of The United States to a Settlement at the mouth of Columbia River on the Pacifick Ocean.

If the proposal to refer to Commissioners the decision of the Question relating to the Slaves, before having recourse to the Arbitration, had been confined to that object, it would have been accepted without hesitation or delay. But it has been so connected with the others, that Lord Castlereagh at least avoided committing his Government to the engagement, of disposing in that manner, of this particular point of difference by itself. Mr. Bagot's statement of the proposal is of the same character. Without explicitly declaring that the British Government would decline submitting the Slave Question alone to Commissioners, he did not profess to be authorized to agree to it separately, and urged, on various grounds, the expediency of arranging, as soon as possible, and by the same means, all the subjects which might even be hereafter occasions of misunderstanding between the two Counries.

Taken altogether as a complicated Proposal, it involves a multitude of considerations, which require some deliberation before a defi. nitive Answer can be given. As soon as the President shall have come to a determination concerning it, the result will be immediately communicated to you. In the mean time, it may



you should assure Lord Castlereagh that it was entirely owing to accident, and to the Communications which had previously passed between the late Secretary of State and Mr. Baker, concerning the restitution of the Post at the mouth of Columbia River, that the Ontario was dispatched for the purpose of resuming our possession there, without giving notice of the Expedition to Mr. Bagot, and to his Government. Copies of these Communications are herewith inclosed, from which it was conclu. ded, that no authorized English Establishment existed at the Place; and as they intimated no question whatever, of the title of The United States to the Settlement, which existed there before the late War, it did not occur that any such question had since arisen, which could make it an object of interest to Great Britain. You are authorized to add, that notice of the departure of the Ontario, and the object of her voyage, would nevertheless have been given, but that the Expedition was determined, and the Vessel dispatched, during the President's absence from the seat of Government, the last Season.

These explanations have already been given to Mr. Bagot, who has expressed himself entirely satisfied with them; and his conviction that they will be equally satisfactory to his Government. As it was not anticipated that any disposition existed in the British Government to start questions of title with us, on the Borders of the South Sea, we could have no possible motive for reserve or concealment with regard to the Expedition of the Ontario. In suggesting these ideas to Lord Castlereagh, rather in conversation than in any more formal manner, it may be proper to remark the minuteness of the present interests, either to Great Britain or to The United States, involved in this concern; and the unwillingness, for that reason, of this Government, to include it among the objects of serious discussion with them. At the same time you might give him to understand, though not unless in a manner to avoid every thing offensive in the suggestion, that from the nature of things, if in the course of future events if should ever become an object of serious importance to the United States, it can scarcely be supposed that Great Britain would find it useful or advisable to resist their Claim to possession by systematic opposition. If the United States leave her in undisturbed enjoyment of all her Holds upon Europe, Asia, and Africa, with all her actual Possessions in this Hemisphere, we may very fairly expect, that she will not think it consistent, either

with a wise or a friendly policy, to watch with eyes of jealousy and alarm, every possibility of extension to our natural dominion, in North America, which she can have no solid interest to prevent, until all possibility of her preventing it shall have vanished. Richard Rush, Esq.


(6.)-Mr. Rush to the Secretary of State. (Extract.)

London, 25th July, 1818. LORD CASTLEReagh returned from Ireland sooner than was expected, having got back on the 14th of this month. On the 15th I wrote him a Note, requesting an official interview, which he granted me on the 16th.

I began the conversation by affording the explanations embraced in your Dispatch, respecting the Ontario's voyage to the mouth of the River Columbia. In the course of them, I particularly dwelt, according to your Instructions, upon the Correspondence which took place between the Secretary of State and Mr. Baker, soon after the Peace, in which the latter never made a question as to the valid title of The United States, or intimated the existence of any

authorized Establishment at that Post, on the part of Great Britain, before the War. His Lordship said nothing in reply, though it appeared to me that the explanation was satisfactory to him, removing, as it does, all ground of complaint. The Hon. J. Q. Adams.


(7.)-Mr. Prevost to the Secretary of State. SIR,

Monte Rey, New California, 11th November, 1818. In conformity with mine of the 27th July, which I had the honour to address to your Department from Lima, I proceeded in His Britannick Majesty's Sloop of War Blossom, to the mouth of the Columbia, and entered the River on the 1st of October following. A few days thereafter, to wit, on the 6th, as you will perceive by referring to a Copy of the Act of Surrender, marked A, I received, in the name, and on the part of The United States, the possession of the Establishment at Fort George, made, under the 1st Article of the Treaty of Ghent, by Captain Hickey, of the Royal Navy, in compliance with the Orders of the Prince Regent for that purpose, signified to him through the medium of the Earl Bathurst. The British Flag was thereupon lowered, and that of The United States hoisted in its stead, where it now waves in token both of possession and of sovereignty.

The Establishment, of which the annexed Sketch, marked B, will give you a correct idea, has been considerably extended and improved by the Agents of the North-west Company of Canada; who will continue to occupy and protect it under our Flag, until it shall please the President to give orders for their removal. I will, however, suggest,

that when this disposition shall take place, time ought to be granted in a ratio with the distance, to enable them to obtain the means of transporting the private property deposited there, consisting of dry goods, furs, and implements of war, to a large amount. Shortly after the ceremony and surrender, I received a Note on this subject from Mr. Keith, the Gentleman whose signature accompanies that of Captain Hickey, which, together with a copy of my Answer, also marked B, is submitted for your inspection. A sense of justice would have dictated the assurances I have given him in reply; but I had a further motive, which was that of subsiding the apprehensions excited by the abrupt visit of the Ontario. It appeared to me prudent, in this view, to take no notice of the suggestion relative to a discussion of Boundary, and, in answering, to avoid any intimation of immediate, or of future removal, as either might have induced him to form a Settlement elsewhere on the River, and thus give rise to collisions between the two Governments which may now be wholly avoided.

The Bay is spacious, contains several anchoring places in a sufficient depth of water, and is by no means so difficult of ingress as has been represented. Those enjoying the exclusive commerce have probably cherished an impression so favourable to its continuance, growing out of the incomplete Survey of Lieutenant Broughton, made under the orders of Vancouver, in 1792. It is true that there is a Bar extending across the mouth of the River, at either extremity of which, are, at times, appalling breakers; but it is equally true that it offers, at the lowest tides, a depth of 21 feet of water, throughout a passage, exempt from them, of nearly a league in width. The Blossom, carrying more guns than the Ontario, encountered a change of wind while in the Channel, was compelled to let go the anchor, and when again weighed, to tack and beat in order to reach the Harbour, yet found a greater depth, and met with no difficulty either then or on leaving the Bay. The Survey marked C may be relied on for its accuracy. The bearings, distances, and soundings, were taken by Captain Hickey, who was kind enough to lend himself to the examination, and to furnish me with this result. It is the more interesting, as it shews that, with the aid of buoys, the access to Vessels of almost any tonnage may be rendered secure. In addition to this, it is susceptible of entire defence, because a Ship, after passing the Bar, in order to avoid the breaking of the Sea on one of the Banks, is obliged to bear up directly for the Knoll forming the Cape, at all times, to approach within a short distance of its base, and most frequently then to anchor. Thus, a small Battery erected on this point, in conjunction with the surges on the opposite side, would so endanger the approach as to deter an Enemy, however hardy, from the attempt.

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