Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

The money was borrowed of the bank of the United States, and was to be furnished in London, principally by the sale of public stock. Colonel Humphreys was empowered to conclude a treaty of peace with the Dey of Algiers, and for this purpose he left the United States in April, 1795. He was accompanied by Joseph Donaldson, consul for Tunis and Tripoli; who was to be employed to negociate the treaty, while colonel Humphreys himself went to France, to obtain the aid of the French government.

In the mean time, Mr. Donaldson proceeded to Algiers, and on the 5th of September concluded a treaty with the Dey. He engaged that the money for the ransom should be paid in three or four months, presuming it would be ready in London before that time. Joel Barlow was employed by colonel Humphreys to go from France, to assist in the negociation, but the treaty was concluded before his arrival at Algiers.

The failure in the payment of the money by the time stipulated, greatly incensed the Dey, and he threatened to abandon the treaty; and it was with great difficulty that Mr. Barlow and Mr. Donaldson procured a delay until the 8th of April, and the Dey then declared, that unless the money was paid within thirty days, he never would be at peace with America. In this situation the American captives were thrown into a state of despair; and the agents were only able to save the treaty and procure their release by a promise to present him a frigate of thirty six guns.

By this they obtained a delay of three months, and in the mean time the money negociations were arranged, and the poor captives finally released. This was not done, however, but at the expense and sacrifice of about one million of dollars.*


* American State Papers, vol. 10, p. 452.


Mr. Jay concludes a treaty with Great Britain in November, 1794-Outlines of the treaty-The senate advise its ratification, with the exception of one article -Treaty made public soon after-Creates great dissatisfaction-Meetings of the citizens held and resolutions of disapprobation adopted-Addresses presented to the president requesting him not to sanction it—Views of the president on the subject of the treaty, and of the opposition to it-Ratifies it the 14th of AugustCongress meet in December-President's speech at the opening of the session— Adet presents the colors of France to the president-Speeches on this occasionPetitions against the British treaty circulated and signed by the people-Presented to the house of representatives-Copy of the treaty laid before the house-Resolution submitted to the house calling on the president for Mr. Jay's instructions, with his correspondence-Long debates on this resolution-Finally adopted-President refuses the papers-His reasons for this refusal-House pass a resolution declara. tory of their rights respecting treaties-Resolution submitted to the house, declaring it expedient to make provision for carrying the treaty into effect-Occasions long debates---Finally carried by a small majority.

MR. JAY arrived in Great Britain, on the 15th of June, 1794, and on the 19th of November following, concluded and signed with lord Grenville, "a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation between his Britannic majesty and the United States." It was receiv ed by the president on the 7th of March, 1795, and on the 8th of June, was submitted to the senate, and on the 24th of the same month, that body advised its ratification, with the exception of the 12th article, relating to the West India trade. This interesting subject occasioned violent debates in the senate, and the treaty itself was finally sanctioned in that body, (excluding the article relating to the West India trade,) by a bare constitutional majority, twenty against ten.

The preamble stated that the two governments "being desirous, by a treaty of amity, commerce, and navigation, to terminate their differences in such a manner, as, without reference to the merits of their respective complaints and pretensions, may be the best calculated to produce mutual satisfaction and good understanding," &c.



The western posts were to be surrendered to the United States, on or before the first of June, 1796; but no compensation was made for negroes carried away by the British commander, after the peace of 1783. The United States were to compensate British creditors for losses occasioned by legal impediments to the collection of debts, contracted before the revolutionary war; to be settled and adjusted by commissioners; and Great Britain was to make compensation to American merchants, for illegal captures of their property, to be adjusted also in the same mode. In both cases, the commissioners to consist of five persons, two to be appointed by each government, and the fifth by the unanimous voice of the four; but if they should not agree, then the commissioners named by the two governments, to propose one, and of the two names thus proposed, one to be drawn by lot. Provision was also made for ascertaining more accurately the boundaries between the United States, and the British North American possessions.

British subjects holding lands in the territories of the United States, and American citizens holding lands in the British dominions, were to continue to hold them, according to the nature and tenure of their respective estates and titles therein, with power to sell, grant, or devise the same; and by the 10th article, it was expressly provided, that neither the debts due from individuals of the one nation, to individuals of the other, nor shares or monies in the public funds, or in the public or private banks, should, in any event of war or national differences, be sequestered or confisca ted, "it being unjust and impolitic," as asserted in this article," that debts and engagements contracted and made by individuals, having confidence in each other and in their respective governments, should ever be destroyed or impaired by national authority, on account of national differences and discontents."

Both parties had liberty to trade with the Indians, in their respective territories in America, (with the exception of the country within the limits of the Hudson bay company,) and the river Mississippi to be also open to both nations.

The ten first articles, principally embracing these important subjects, were made permanent.

The other eighteen articles related to the future intercourse between the two countries, and in their duration, were limited to twelve years, or two years after the termination of the war in which the British nation were then engaged. By the 12th article, a direct trade was permitted between the United States and the British West India Islands, in American vessels not above the burden of seventy tons, and in goods or merchandize of the growth, manufacture, or produce of the states, and in the productions of the islands; but the United States were restrained from carrying molasses, sugar, coffee, cocoa, or cotton, either from the islands, or from the United States to any part of the world.

As a considerable quantity of cotton, at that time, was produ ced in the southern states, and had then began to be exported, and the quantity would probably increase, the 12th article was excluded. The American negociator, it was said, was then ignorant that cotton of the growth of the United States, had or would become an article of export.

A reciprocal and perfect liberty of commerce and navigation between the United and the British dominions in Europe, was established, neither to be subject to higher duties than other nations, the British government reserving the right of countervailing the American foreign duties. And American vessels were freely admitted into the ports of the British territories in the East Indies, but not to carry on the coasting trade.

Timber for ship building, tar, rosin, copper in sheets, sails, hemp, and cordage, and generally whatever might serve directly to the equipment of vessels, (unwrought iron and pine planks only excepted,) were included in the list of contraband. With respect to provisions and other articles, not generally contraband, on "account of the difficulty of agreeing on the precise cases, in which they should be regarded as such," and for the purpose of providing against the inconveniences and misunderstandings which might thence arise, it was declared, that whenever such articles should become contraband, according to the existing law of nations, the same should not be confiscated, but the owners be completely indemnified by the captors, or the government.

Prizes made by ships of war and privateers of either party, might enter and depart from the ports of each other, without examination; and no shelter or refuge was allowed to such vessels as had made a prize upon the subjects or citizens of the parties. Nothing, however, in the treaty was to operate contrary to former and existing treaties with other nations.

Mr. Jay was unable to obtain a stipulation, that free ships should make free goods. Indeed after the declaration of the lords of the committee of trade and plantations on this subject, contained in their report which we have before mentioned, it was hardly to be expected that Great Britain in time of war, would consent to any relaxation of the rigid rule of law, on this subject. Notwithstanding the opinion of the same committec, that their colonial ports were not to be opened to the Americans, and that this was not to be a subject even of negociation, yet a direct trade was permitted between the United States and the British West India Islands, in vessels of a certain description. But the article granting this privilege, for the reasons before mentioned, was excluded.

These are the principal features of a treaty, which gave such high offense to the rulers of France, and created such divisions in the United States, as to put in jeopardy the government itself.

Unfortunately, it left the important question with respect to provisions being contraband, as it found it, resting on the existing law of nations; but Mr. Jay, to whom had been assigned a most difficult as well as most delicate task; in a private letter to the president on the subject of the treaty, said, " to do more was impossible."* He also added, "I ought not to conceal from you, that the confidence reposed in your personal character was visiible and useful throughout the negociations."

The treaty was approved by Thomas Pinckney, the resident minister at the court of London. In his letter to the secretary of state he observed," although some points might have been arranged more beneficially for us, if the treaty had been dictated

* Marshall, vol. 5. p. 616.

« AnteriorContinuar »