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sea service will operate immediately from its commencement, with some inconvenience to our merchants. Since the peace and the dispersion of the vast number of seamen, disbanded from the British navy, there are, no doubt, considerable numbers of them, who have found employment on board our vessels, and their exclusion from them will not be accomplished without some inconvenience. The effect of the stipulation of Great Britain to take no men from our vessels is remote, and contingent upon the event of her being engaged in a maritime war with other powers. The onerous part of the engagement is, therefore, to us immediate and certain, the benefit to be derived from it, distant and eventual. If to this apparent inequality should be added a power, reserved by Great Britain, to cancel the bargain by a simple notice of six months, we could scarcely consider it as a contract. It would be a positive concession and sacrifice on our part, for the mere chance of a future equivalent for it, altogether dependent upon the will of the other party."
We are not disposed to deny, that this article does not wear on its face a liberal, enticing expression ; it is an uncommon departure from the principles and language, heretofore asserted and held by England, and a very near approach to the proposition of this government on a topic, on which it might well be supposed, the United States would be willing to concede many details, for the sake of avoiding the dangerous collisions, to which the practice of impressment has exposed them. We believe, however, that upon a full consideration of all the provisions, the project embraces only nominal advantages, and that, in fact, Great Britain abandoned the pretension during a period, when she had no inducements to exercise it. The claim to enter our vessels in search of men was not renounced, though the proposition, made by this government, was a great sacrifice on its part ;to forego the employment of all foreign seamen and even to exclude all British born subjects. The latter clause of the stipulation would be less mischievous to our navigation, because the greater portion of foreign seamen in the merchant service of this country, probably, come from the shores of the Baltic and the north sea. It would be an evil to deprive
ourselves of this class of men, as well as foreign workmen in many branches of business. The supply of labour is not yet equal to the demand and cannot well be for many years, though the deficiency in regard to seamen is more especially perceived of late. This is, partly, occasioned by the creation of more employment at home by the establishment of manufactories in those parts of the country, that furnished the supply, and by the opportunity, the peace affords to the European nations, to carry on their own fisheries as well as trade.
The whole operation of the law of March 1813, for the regulation of seamen on board the public and private vessels of the United States, would have been to the disadvantage of this country; for the simple, plain reason that wages are higher here. By that act we agreed to exclude from our service, navy and merchant, at the peace with Great Britain, all seamen not naturalized, (accompanied with a circumstance, respecting the proof of naturalization, somewhat difficult for that class of persons often to comply with) belonging to those countries, whose governments should adopt a similar regulation in regard to our citizens. But, whether other governments paid any attention or not to this proposition, the rate of wages is the only law required to exclude every American from their vessels. England has always known she could not, in time of peace, prevent her subjects from entering into our service. Submitting, therefore, to this evil and necessity, she refuses to trust to the ordinances of a foreign government to restore her seamen, when the urgencies of war compel her again to send forth her thousand sail of armed vessels. She retains the application of this claim within her own hands ;-the execution of her municipal regulations within the jurisdiction of a foreign state, as a terror and beacon of warning to her own subjects. The whole difficulty, by no means, rests in the system of naturalization, in the principle of allegiance, that prevails in this country, adopted, with a modification of details, from the usages of Europe, but in the full, direct, distinct right England claims to enter with her officers our ships and search for
her subjects. We confess it appears to us, that very little satisfaction for either party would attend any arrangement, which did not fully and formally provide for the entire, absolute abandonment of the pretension. The failure of this attempt brings to a close all negotiation on the subject of impressment. In placing upon record this last sincere and earnest endeavour to settle a great and formidable coutroversy," we may the more deeply lament the ill success, that has attended it, as it was made in a season of profound peace, when the relations as well as dispositions of the two people were of a friendly character.
In our different negotiations with England we have no recollection of having met with a stipulation upon any topic, arranged with more skill, or with more nicely adjusted parts and proportions than the one, recited on a preceding page, in regard to impressment. Projects, respecting other maritime rights, were inserted by the English commission on the same protocol, and though not introduced into the convention, we shall give them below in a note to illustrate the temper, views and disposition of the British government at this period. In future discussions, it may be important to refer to the doctrines, entertained in 1818, on those momentous subjects.
*“Art. (a). Whenever one of the high contracting parties shall be at war, any vessel of the other party, sailing for a port or place belonging to an enemy of the party at war, without knowing that the same is blockaded, may be turned away from such port or place, but she shall not be detained on account of such blockade, unless, aster such notice, she shall again attempt to enter. And in order to determine what characterises a blockade, it is agreed, that that denomination shall apply only to a port, where there is, by the disposition of the power, which blockades it with a naval force, stationary or sufficiently pear, an evident danger in entering.
“Art. (6). In order to regulate, what is, in future, to be deemed contraband of war, it is agreed, that, under the same denomination, shall be comprised all arms and implements, serving for the purposes of war by land or by sea, such as cannon, mortars, &c. and generally all other implements of war, as also timber for ship building, tar or rosin, copper in sheets, sails, hemp and cordage, and generally whatThe most important matter,* adjusted at this negotiation, was the fisheries. The position, assumed at Ghent, that the
ever may serve directly to the equipment of vessels, unwrought iron and planks only excepted, and all the above articles are hereby declared to be just objects of confiscation, whenever they are attempted to be carried to an enemy.
“ Art. (c). In all cases of unfounded detention, or other contravention of the regulations, stipulated by the present treaty, the owners of the vessel and cargo detained, shall be allowed damages, proportioned to the loss occasioned thereby, together with the costs and charges of the trial. All proper measures shall be taken to prevent delays in deciding the cases of ships or cargoes, so brought in for adjudication, and, in payment or recovery of any indemnification adjudged or agreed to be paid to the masters or owners of such ships or cargoes. And whenever sentence shall be pronounced against any vessel, thus captured or detained, or against her cargo, or any part thereof, a duly authenticated copy of all the proceedings in the cause and of the said sentence, shall, if required, be delivered without delay to the commanders of the said vessels, or to the owner thereof, or to the agent of either, on payment of all legal fees and demands for the same.
“The commanders of ships of war and privateers of the belligerent party shall, in the searching of the merchant ships of the other party, conduct themselves according to the acknowledged principles and rule of the law of nations and as favourably, moreover, as towards the most friendly power, that may remain neuter. The said commanders, their officers and crew shall forbear doing any damage to the subjects or citizens of the other party, or committing any outrage against them, and if they act to the contrary, they shall be punished, and shall, also, make satisfaction and reparation for all damages, and the interest thereof, of whatever nature the said damages may be.
“It shall not be lawsul for any power or state at war with either of the high contracting parties, or the subjects or citizens of such power or state to fit out or arm ships of war or privateers in the ports of the other of the high contracting parties, nor to sell what they may take as prize from the ships or vessels of the high contracting party, with whom such power or state may be at war, in the ports of the other, nor in any other manner to exchange the same; nor shall they be allowed to purchase more provisions than shall be necessary
* The convention of 1818 was negotiated at London, by Messrs. Gallatin and Rush, for this country, and Messrs. Robinson and Goulbourn on the part of Great Britain ; it was signed the 20th of
fishery rights and liberties were not abrogated by war, was again insisted on, and those portions of the coast fisheries re
their going to the nearest port of that power or state, to which they belong."
These articles are of slight importance in themselves, though the two first contain a deviation from the British practice during the last war-vessels not having heard of a blockade were not liable to capture for the first attempt to enter the invested port, and provisions are exempted from the list of contrabands, though most of the articles necessary for ship building were included.
October, and ratified by the United States, January 28, 1819, and by England, November 2, 1818.
“ Art. 1. Whereas differences have arisen respecting the liberty claimed by the United States, for the inhabitants thereof, to take, dry and cure, fish, on certain coasts, bays, harbours and creeks, of his Britannic Majesty's dominions in America, it is agreed between the high contracting parties, that the inhabitants of the said United States shall bave, forever, in common with the subjects of bis Britannic Majesty, the liberty to take fish of every kind on that part of the southern coast of Newfoundland, which extends from Cape Ray to the Ramian islands, on the western and northern coast of Newfoundland, from the said Cape Ray to the Quirpon islands, on the shores of the Magdalen islands, and also on the coasts, bays, harbours and creeks, from Mount Joly on the southern coast of Labrador, to and through the Straits of Bellisle, and thence northwarılly indefinitely along the coast, without prejudice, however, to any of the exclusive rights of the Hudson Bay Company: And that the American fishermen shall also have liberty, forever, to dry and cure fish in any of the unsettled bays, liarbours and creeks, of the southern part of the coast of Newfoundland, hereabove described, and of the coast of Labrador; but so soon as the same, or any portion thereof, shall be settled, it shall not be lawful for the said fishermen to dry or cure fish at such portion so settled, without previous agreement for such purpose, with the inhabitants, proprietors or possessors of the ground. And the United States hereby renounce, forever, any liberty heretofore enjoyed or claimed by the inhabitants thereof, to take, dry, or cure fish, on or within three marine miles of any of the coasts, bays, creeks, or harbours, of his Britannic Majesty's dominions in America, not included within the above mentioned limits : Provided, however, that the American fishermen shall be admitted to enter such bays or harbours, for the purpose of shelter and of repairing damages therein, of purchasing wood,