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grievances of the Russian American Company, against Foreign Navigators, in the Waters which environ their Establishments on the Northwest Coast of America, the Imperial Government saw itself under the necessity of having recourse to the means of coercion, and of measuring the rigour according to the inveterate character of the evil to which it wished to put a stop. Yet it is easy to discover, on examining closely the last Regulation of the Russian American Company, that no spirit of hostility had any thing to do with its formation. The most minute precautions have been taken in it, to prevent abuses of authority on the part of Commanders of Russian Cruizers, appointed for the execution of the said Regulation. At the same time, it has not been neglected to give all the timely publicity necessary, to put those on their guard against whom the measure is aimed.
Its action, therefore, can only reach the Foreign Vessels, which, in spite of the Notification, will expose themselves to seizure, by infringing upon the line marked out in the Regulation. The Government flatters itself, that these cases will be very rare; if all remains as at present,—not one.
I ought, in the last place, to request you to consider, Sir, that the Russian Possessions in the Pacifick Ocean extend, on the North-west Coast of America, froin Behring's Strait to the 5lst degree of North Latitude, and, on the opposite side of Asia, and the Islands adjacent, from the same Strait to the 45th degree. The extent of Sea of which these Possessions form the limits, comprehends all the conditions which are ordinarily attached to shut seas (Mers fermées), and the Russian Government might consequently judge itself authorized to exercise upon this Sea, the right of Sovereignty, and especially that of entirely interdicting the entrance of Foreigners. But it preferred only asserting its essential rights, without taking any advantage of localities.
The Emperor, my August Sovereign, sets a very high value upon the maintenance of the relations of amity and good understanding, which have till now subsisted between the two Countries. The dispositions of His Imperial Majesty, in this regard, have never failed appearing at all times, when an occasion has presented itself, in the political relations of the United States with the European Powers; and surely in the midst of a general Peace, Russia does not think of aiming a blow at the maritime interests of The United States ; she who has constantly respected them, in those difficult circumstances in which Europe has been seen to be placed in the latter times, and the influence of which The United States have been unable to avert.
I have the honour to be, &c. The Hon. J. Q. Adams.
PIERRE DE POLETICA. (12.)-The Secretary of State to the Chevalier de Poletica. SIR,
Department of State, Washington, 30th March, 1822. I HAVE had the honour of receiving your Letter of the 28th ult. which has been submitted to the consideration of the President of The United States.
From the deduction which it contains, of the grounds upon which the Articles of Regulation of the Russian American Company have now, for the first time, extended the Claim of Russia, on the North-west Coast of America, to the 51st degree of North Latitude, its only foundation appears to be the existence of the small Settlement of Novo Archangelsk, situated, not on the American Continent, but upon a small Island in Latitude 57; and the principle upon which you state that this Claim is now advanced, is, that the 51st degree is equidistant from that Settlement of Novo Archangelsk and the Establishment of The United States at the mouth of Columbia River. But, from the same statement, it appears that, in the Year 1799, the Limits prescribed by the Emperor Paul to the Russian American Company, were fixed at the 55th degree of Latitude, and that, in assuming now the Latitude of 51, a new pretension is asserted, to which no Settlement, made since the Year 1799, has given the colour of a sanction.
This pretension is to be considered, not only with reference to the question of territorial right, but also to that prohibition to the Vessels of other Nations, including those of the United States, to approach within 100 Italian miles of the Coasts. From the period of the existence of The United States as an Independent Nation, their Vessels have freely navigated those Seas, and the right to navigate them is a part of that Independence.
With regard to the suggestion, that the Russian Government might have justified the exercise of Sovereignty over the Pacifick Ocean as a close sea, because it claims territory both on its American and Asiatic Shores, it may suffice to say, that the distance from shore to shore on this Sea, in Latitude 51 th, is not less than 90 degrees of Longitude, or 4,000 miles.
As little can The United States accede to the justice of the reason assigned for the prohibition above-mentioned. The right of the Citizens of The United States to hold commerce with the aboriginal Natives of the North-west Coast of America, without the territorial jurisdiction of other Nations, even in arms and ammunitions of War, is as clear and indisputable as that of navigating the seas. That right has never been exercised in a spirit unfriendly to Russia; and, although general complaints have occasionally been made on the subject of this commerce, by some of your Predecessors, no specific ground of charge has ever been alleged by them of any transaction in it, which The United States were, by the ordinary Laws and usages of Nations,
bound either to restrain or to punish. Had any such charge been made, it would have received the most pointed attention of this Government, with the sincerest and firmest disposition to perform every act and obligation of justice to yours, which could have been required. I am commanded by the President of The United States to assure you that this disposition will continue to be entertained, together with the earnest desire that the most harmonious relations between the two Countries may be preserved.
Relying upon the assurance in your Note, of similar dispositions, reciprocally entertained by His Imperial Majesty towards The United States, the President is persuaded that the Citizens of this Union will remain unmolested in the prosecution of their lawful commerce, and that no effect will be given to an interdiction manifestly incompatible with their rights. I am happy to renew the assurances, &c. The Chevalier de Poletica.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.
(13)— The Chevalier de Poletica to the Secretary of State.--(Translation.) SIR,
Washington, (21st March,) 2d April, 1822. I had the honour yesterday to receive the Letter which you were pleased to address to me, dated 30th March last; and, not being authorized to continue the discussion to which it refers, J find myself under the necessity of taking the contents of that Letter, ad referendum, reserving myself to communicate it to my Government as soon as possible.
In the mean time, I shall take the liberty of submitting to your consideration some observations, which have been suggested to me by certain passages in your Letter, which require particular notice.
In the first Official Letter which I had the honour of addressing to you, dated 16th (28th,) February last, I thought I had succeeded in clearly demonstrating, that the Rights of Russia to the possession of a certain extent of the North-west Coast of America, as far as these Rights can be rendered legitimate by the first discovery, the first occupation, and a possession not contested for more than half a century that these rights, I say, go back to times considerably earlier than the Reign of the Emperor Paul I.
When this Sovereign ganted, in 1799, to the Russian-American Society its first Charter of Incorporation, there had never been a question about abandoning to that Company the right of Sovereignty over one determinate portion of the North-west Coast of America in all its plentitude. The question was purely and simply of conceding to the said Company a part of the Sovereignty, or rather certain exclusive privileges of Commerce, and it is in this view that the Act of 1799, to which you refer, Sir, fixed the limits of the operations of the Russian American Company.
The rights of Sovereignty belonging to Russia could lose nothing of their local extent, in consequence of the concessions made to that Company, in the Reign of the Emperor Paul. That these rights extended, in the opinion of the Imperial Government, further South than the 55th degree of Latitude, appears evident from the structure of the 3d Article of the Act of incorporation, which authorizes the Company to form Establishments South of the 55th degree of North Latitude.
But what will dispel even the shadow of doubt in this regard, is the authentic fact, that, in 1789, the Spanish Packet, St. Charles, commanded by Captain Haro, found, in the Latitude 48 and 49, Russian Establishments to the number of 8, consisting in the whole of 20 Families, and 462 Individuals. These were the Descendants of the Companions of Captain Tchiricoff, who was supposed, till then, to have perished.
With such titles, justifying the rights claimed by Russia, you yourself, Sir, will agree, that it is perfectly immaterial whether the Russian Establishment at Novo Archangelsk be small or large. If the rights of Territorial Possession were measured according to the dimensions of the Points occupied, what would become of those of The United States, upon a very considerable extent of the same North-West Coast? for the only American Establishment ever yet knowu, is certainly very inferior in stability to that of Russia at Novo Archangelsk.
In the same manner, the great extent of the Pacifick Ocean, at the 51st degree of Latitude, cannot invalidate the right which Russia may have, of considering that part of the Ocean as close. But as the Imperial Government has not thought fit to take advantage of that right, all further discussion on this subject would be idle.
As to the right claimed for the Citizens of The United States, of trading with the Natives of the Country of the North-west Coast of America, without the limits of the jurisdiction belonging to Russia, the Imperial Government will not certainly think of limiting it, and still less of attacking it there. But I cannot dissemble, Sir, that this same trade beyond the 51st degree, will meet with difficulties and incon. veniences, for which the American Owners will only have to accuse their own imprudence, after the publicity which has been given to the Measures taken by the Imperial Government, for maintaining the rights of the Russian American Company in their absolute integrity.
I shall not finish this Letter, without repeating to you, Sir, the very positive assurance, which I have already had the honour once of expressing to you, that in every case, where the American Government shall judge it necessary to make explanations to that of the Emperor, the President of The United States may rest assured that these ex. planations will be always attended to by the Emperor, my August Sovereign, with the most friendly, and consequently the most conciliatory, disposition.
Be pleased to accept, &c. The Hon. J. Q. Adams.
PIERRE DE POLETICA.
MESSAGE of the President of The United States to Con
gress, transmitting Correspondence, concerning the Commercial Relations of The United States with the Norwegian Government.--1st May, 1822.
To the House of Representatives of The United States :
In the Message to both Houses of Congress at the commencement of their present Session, it was mentioned, that the Government of Norway had issued an Ordinance, for admitting the Vessels of The United States and their cargoes, into the Ports of that Kingdom, upon the payment of no other or higher duties, than are paid by Norwegian Vessels, of whatever articles the said cargoes may consist, and from whatever Ports the Vessels laden with them may come.
In communicating this Ordinance to the Government of The United States, that of Norway has requested the benefit of a similar and reci. procal provision for the Vessels of Norway and their cargoes, which may enter the Ports of The United States.
This provision being within the competency only of the Legislative Authority of Congress, I communicate to them, herewith, Copies of the Communications received from the Norwegian Government in relation to the subject, and recommend the same to their consideration.
JAMES MONROE. Washington, 1st May, 1822.
LIST OF PAPERS.
1. Count d'Engestrom to Mr. Hughes.......... .Stockholm...25th Jan. 1821. 491 2. Baron de Stackelberg to the Secretary of State.. Washington.. 11th July
492 3. The Secretary of State to Baron de Stackelberg.. Washington.. 230 July 492 4. Baron de Stackelberg to the Secretary of State.. Washington..16th Aug. 493 5. The Secretary of State to Baron de Stackelberg.. Washington.. 21st 2.ug. 494
(1.)-The Count d'Engestrom to Mr. Hughes.-(Translation.)
Stockholm, 25th January, 1821. By the express Order of the King, the Undersigned, Minister of State and of Foreign Affairs, has the honour to inform Mr. Hughes, Chargé d'Affaires of The United States of North America, that hereafter Vessels belonging to Citizens of The United States, as well as their cargoes, will be subject, in the Ports of the Kingdom of Norway, to no other or higher duties of entry or clearance, than those payable by the National Vessels and their cargoes; so that every sort of distinction between Norwegian and American Vessels may cease, and that neither the Place from which a Vessel arrives, nor the Place of her destination, may be any cause of exception from the general rule. The cargoes may consist of the productions of the soil, or of the industry of such Country, whatever it may be.