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Fisheries.” Now to obtain the surrender of thus much of the Fisheries, all that the British Plenipotentiaries could possibly desire, was, that the American Commissioners should acquiesce in the principle, that the Treaty of 1783 was abrogated by the War. Assent to this principle would have been surrender of the right. Mr. Russell, if we can make any thing of his argument, would have assented, and surrendered, and comforted himself with the reflection, that, as the right had not been brought into discussion, the Instructions would not have been violated.

But, however clearly he expresses this opinion in his Letter, and however painfully he endeavours to fortify it by argument, he never did disclose it to the same extent at Ghent. The only way in which it was possible to meet the notification of the British Plenipotentiaries, without surrendering the rights which it jeopardized, was by denying the principle upon which it was founded. This was done by asserting the principle, that the Treaty of Independence of 1783 was of that class of Treaties, and the right in question of the character, which are not abrogated by a subsequent War; that the notification of the intention of the British Government not to renew the grant, could not affect the right of the United States, which had not been forfeited by the War; and that, considering it as still in force, The United States needed no new grant from Great Britain to revive, nor any new Article to confirm it.

This principle I willingly admit was assumed and advanced by the American Commissioners at my suggestion. I believed it not only indispensably necessary to meet the insidious form in which the British demand of surrender had been put forth; but sound in itself, and maintainable on the most enlarged, humane, and generous principles of international Law. It was asserted and maintained by the American Plenipotentiaries at Ghent; and if, in the judgment of Mr. Russell, it suffered the fishing liberty to be brought into discussion, at least it did not surrender the right.

It was not acceded to by the British Plenipotentiaries. Each Party adhered to its asserted principle; and the Treaty was concluded without settling the interest involved in it. Since that time, and after the Original of Mr. Russell's Letter, of the 11th February, 1815, was written, the principle asserted by the American Plenipotentiaries at Ghent, has been still asserted and maintained through two long and arduous Negotiations with Great Britain, and has passed the ordeal of minds of no inferior ability. It has terminated in a new and satisfactory Arrangement of the great interest connected with it, and in a substantial admission of the principle asserted by the American Plenipotentiaries at Ghent; by that Convention of 20th October, 1818, which, according to the Duplicate of Mr. Russell's Letter, he foresaw in February,

1815, even while writing his learned dissertation against the Right which he had been instructed not to surrender, and the only principle by which it could be defended.

At this time, and after all the controversy through which the American principle was destined to pass, and has passed, I, without hesitation, reassert, in the face of my Country, the principle, which, in defence of the fishing liberties of this Nation, was, at my suggestion, asserted by the American Plenipotentiaries at Ghent.

I deem this reassertion of it the more important, because, by the publication at this time of Mr. Russell's Letter, that Plenipotentiary has not only disclaimed all his share in the first assertion of it, but has brought to bear all the faculties of his mind against it, while the American side of the argument, and the reasons by which it has been supported against arguments coinciding much with those of his Letter, but advanced by British reasoners, are not before the Publick. The principle is yet important to great interests, and to the future welfare of this Country

When first suggested, it obtained the unanimous assent of the American Mission. In their Note of 10th November, 1814, to the British Plenipotentiaries, which accompanied their first Projet of a Treaty, they said, “in answer to the declaration made by the British Plenipotentiaries respecting the Fisheries, the Undersigned, referring to what passed in the Conference of the 9th August, can only state, that they are not authorized to bring into discussion any of the Rights or Liberties which The United States have heretofore enjoyed in relation thereto. From their nature, and from the peculiar character of the Treaty of 1783, by which they were recognized, no further Stipulation has been deemed necessary by the Government of The United States, to entitle them to the full enjoyment of all of them.” This paragraph was drawn up, and proposed to the Mission by the Member with whom Mr. Russell concurred in objecting to the proposal of an Article confirmative of the fishing Liberties and Navigation of the Mississippi, and as a substitute for it. The Mission unanimously accepted it: and the fishing liberties being thus secured from surrender, no Article relating to them or to the Mississippi was inserted in the Projet sent to the British Mission.

But one of the objects of the Negotiation was to settle the Boun. dary between The United States and the British Dominions, from the North-west corner of the Lake of the Woods westward. That Boundary, by the Treaty of 1783, had been stipulated to be," from the most Northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods on a due west course to the River Mississippi ; and thence, down the middle of the Mississippi, to the 31st degree of North Latitude;" while, by the 8th Article of the same Treaty, it had been stipulated, that "the Navigation of the River Mississippi, from its source to the Ocean, should forever remain free and open to the Subjects of Great Britain and the Citizens of The United States."

The Right of Great Britain and of The United States, at the time of the Treaty of 1783, to make this Stipulation with regard to the Navigation of the Mississippi, might be, and afterwards was, questioned by Spain, then a Possessor also of Territories upon the same River, and indeed of both its banks from its mouth, to a higher latitude than that thus stipulated as the Boundary of The United States. But, as, between Great Britain and The United States, there could, at the time of the conclusion of the Treaty of 1783, be no possible question of the right of both to make the Stipulation, the Boundary Line itself being in substance a concession of Territory to the River, and down its middle to latitude 31, which Great Britain was undoubtedly competent to make, and The United States to receive. Now, The United States having received the Cession and the Boundary, with the right to navigate the River, with the express condition that the Navigation of the River should forever remain free and open to British Subjects, and having expressly assented to that condition, without considering it a infringing upon any Right of Spain; they could not, consistently with good faith, by acquiring afterwards the Right of Spain, allege tha this acquisition absolved them from the obligation of the prior engage ment with Great Britain. There is, indeed, in Mr. Russell's Letter, hesitating argument to that effect; the odious character of which but Alimsily veiled by its subtlety. The United States had always in sisted upon their right of navigating the Mississippi, by force of th Article of the Treaty of 1783, and had obtained the acknowledgme of that Right from Spain herself, many Years before they acquire her Territorial Right by the purchase of Louisiana. With what fro then could an American Negotiator have said, after the latter peric to a British Minister:--You have no right to the Navigation of t Mississippi, for although, on receiving from you a part of the Riv we expressly stipulated that you should forever enjoy a right to Navigation, yet that engagement was a fraud upon the Rights of Spa and although, long before we had acquired these Rights of Spain, s had acknowledged our right to navigate the River, founded upon very Stipulation of which you now claim the benefit, yet I will now acknowledge your right founded on the same Stipulation. Spain, Party to the Compact between you and me, after controverting it infringing upon her Rights, finally acceded to its beneficial appli tion to us, as compatible with those Rights. But we, who made Compact with you, having now acquired the adverse Rights of Sp will not allow you the beneficial use of our own Compact. We swindled and then bullied Spain out of her Rights, by this VIIIth Art of the Treaty of 1783; and now, having acquired ourselves those Rig we plead them for holding our engagement with you for a dead le This, and nothing more or less than this, is the substance of Mr. Russell's argument to show, that perhaps The United States were, by the acquisition of Louisiana, absolved from the obligation of the VIIIth Article of the Treaty of 1783, even before the War of 1812.

But, says Mr. Russell, the Treaty of 1783 was made, under a belief of both parties, that it would leave Great Britain with a portion of Territory upon the Mississippi, and therefore entitled to claim the right of navigating the River. But the Boundary Line of the Treaty of 1783, was a line from the North-westernmost point of the Lake of the Woods, due West to the Mississippi. And after the Treaty of 1783, but before the War of 1812, it had been found that a line due West, from the North-west corner of the Lake of the Woods, did not strike the Mississippi. Therefore, continues Mr. Russell, Great Britain could claim no territorial right to the navigation of the River; and therefore had no longer any claim to the benefit of the VIIIth Article of the Treaty of 1783.

To this it may be replied : First, that the British claim of right to navigate the Mississippi, was not founded solely on the Territory which it was believed they would retain upon that River, by the Boun. dary West from the Lake of the Woods. The VIIIth Article of the Treaty of 1783, was a separate and a distioct Article, stipulating the right of both Nations to navigate the River, without any reference to Boundary or to Territory. But the Boundary, the Territory, and the right to navigate the River, were all, in that Treaty, cessions from Great Britain to The United States. And, had it even been the intention of both parties, that Britain should cede the whole of her Terri. tories on the Mississippi, it was yet competent to her to reserve the right of navigating the River for her Subjects, in common with the People of The United States, and competent for The United States to accept the cession, subject to that reservation. They did so, by the VIIIth Article of the Treaty. And in this point of view, the British Right of navigating the River, within the American Territory, was precisely similar to the American liberty of fishing within the British Territorial jurisdiction, reserved by the IIId Article of the same Treaty.

But, secondly, the discovery that a line due West, from the Northwesternmost corner of the Lake of the Woods, would not strike the Mississippi, had not deprived Great Britain of all claim to Territory upon that River, at the time of the Negotiation at Ghent. The line described in the Treaty was, from the North-westernmost point of the Lake of the Woods, “ on a due West course to the River Mississippi.When it was found that the line due West did not touch the Mississippi, this Boundary was annulled by the fact. It remained an unsettled Boundary, to be adjusted by a new Agreement. For this adjustment, the moral obligation of the Parties was to adopt such a Line as should approximate as near as possible to the intentions of both Parties in agreeing upon the line for which it was to be substituted. For ascertaining this line, if The United States were entitled to the benefit of the words “ on a due West course," Britain was equally entitled to the benefit of the words “ to the River Mississippi.” Both the demands stood on the same grounds. Before the War of 1812, three abortive attempts had been made by the Parties to adjust this Boundary. The first was by the Treaty of 1794, when it was already conjectured, but not ascertained, that the line due West from the Lake would not intersect the Mississippi. By the IVth Article of the Treaty of 1794, it was agreed that a joint survey should be made to ascertain the fact; and that, if, on the result of that survey, it should appear, that the West line would not intersect the River, the Parties would proceed, “ by amicable Negotiation, to regulate the Boundary line in that Quarter, according to justice and mutual convenience, and in conformity to the intent of the Treaty of 1.783.” This survey was never made. The second attempt to adjust the line was by the Convention signed on the 12th of May, 1803, by Mr. King and Lord Hawkesbury; the Vth Article of which, after reciting the same uncertainty, whether a line drawn due West, from the Lake of the Woods would intersect the Mississippi, provided that, instead of the said line, the Boundary of The United States, in that Quarts, should, and was declared to be, the shortest line which could be drawn between the North-west point of the Lake of the Woods, and the nearest source of the River Mississippi. This Convention not having been ratified, the third attempt at adjustment had been made in the Negotiation of Mr. Monroe and Mr. Pinkney, of 1806 and 1807; at which an Article had been proposed and agreed to, that the line should be from the most North-western point of the Lake of the Woods, to the 49th parrallel of Latitude, and from that point, due West, along and with the said parallel, as far as the respective Territories extend in that Quarter. And with that Article was coupled another, as follows:

“ It is agreed by The United States, that His Majesty's Subjects shall have, at all times, free access from His Majesty's aforesaid Territories, by land or inland navigation, into the aforesaid Territories of The United States, to the River Mississippi, with the goods and effects of His Majesty's said Subjects, in order to enjoy the benefit of the navigation of that River, as secured to them by the Treaty of Peace, between His Majesty and The United States, and also by the III Article of the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation, of 1794. And it is further agreed, that His Majesty's Subjects shall, in like manner, and at all times, have free access to all the Waters and Rivers falling into the Western side of the River Mississippi, and to the navigation of the said River.”

This Negotiation was suspended, by a change of the British Minis

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