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“ gated to many and different hands. It is “ possible that it may be exercised wantonly " and vexatiously; and should this be the case, 6 it would not only call for remonstrance, but “ would justify resentment. This, however, is “ in the highest degree improbable. And if, in 6 spite of the utmost caution, an error should 66 be committed, and any American vessel should “ suffer loss or injury, it would be followed by “ prompt and ample reparation. The Under“ signed begs to repeat, that with American “ vessels, whatever be their destination, British “ cruizers have no pretension in any manner to “ interfere. Such vessels must be permitted, “if engaged in it, to enjoy a monopoly of this “ unhallowed trade; but the British Govern“ ment will never endure that the fraudulent “ use of the American flag shall extend the “ iniquity to other nations, by whom it is abhor“ red, and who have entered into solemn Trea“ ties with this country for its entire suppression.
« In order to prove to Mr. Everett the “ anxiety of Her Majesty's Government to pre“ vent all reasonable grounds of complaint, the “ Undersigned believes that he cannot do better 6 than to communicate to him the substance of “ those instructions under which the British “cruizers act in relation to American vessels 6 when employed on this service,
“ If, from the intelligence which the officer commanding Her Majesty's cruizer may have “ received, or from the manoeuvres of the ves“ sel, or from other sufficient cause, he shall “ have reason to believe that, although bearing " the American flag, the vessel does not belong “ to the United States, he is ordered, if the “ state of the wind and weather shall admit of “ it, to go ahead of the suspected vessel, after “ communicating his intention by hailing, and “ to drop a boat on board of her, to ascertain “ her nationality, without detaining her, if she “ shall prove to be really an American vessel. “ But should this mode of visiting the vessel be “ impracticable, he is to require her to be “ brought to for this purpose.
“ The officer who boards the vessel is merely “ to satisfy himself of her nationality by her “ papers, or other proofs ; and should she really “ be an American vessel, he will immediately 6 quit her, offering, with the consent of her “ commander, to note on her papers the cause 66 of suspecting her nationality, and the number « of minutes she was detained (if detained at “ all) for the object in question. All the par“ ticulars are to be immediately entered on the 6 log-books of the cruizer, and a full statement “ of them is to be sent, by the first opportunity, “ direct to England.
« These are the precautions taken by Her “ Majesty's Government against the occurrence “ of abuse in the performance of this service ; “ and they are ready to adopt any others which “ they may think more effectual for the purpose, “ and which shall, at the same time, be consist“ent with the attainment of the main object in “ view.
“ Mr. Stevenson has said that he had no « wish to exempt the fraudulent use of the “ American flag from detention; and this being " the case, the Undersigned is unwilling to “ believe that à Government like that of the “ United States, professing the same object, " and animated by the same motives as Great “ Britain, should seriously oppose themselves “ to every possible mode by which their own “ desire could be really accomplished. “ The Undersigned avails, &c.
“ (Signed) ABERDEEN."
At the period of Lord Ashburton's mission, this letter had been some time in the possession of the American Government, and as it appears to have been the last diplomatic communication from her Majesty's Government on the subject of a reciprocal right of visitation, and conveys in very unequivocal language the course which the commanders of British cruizers are instructed to pursue hereafter, the inference is plain that the American Government was not disposed to renew the discussion, and that the arguments of the Earl of Aberdeen were in so much left to be taken pro confesso.
It being thus manifest that it was the intention of the negotiators of the Treaty of Washington, that the 8th Article should be introduced into the Treaty, solely for the purpose of providing a further co-operation of the United States, towards the attainment of that most desirable object, the suppression of the trade in human beings, and that it was in no manner whatever intended to take Great Britain off the ground she oecupied in the Earl of Aberdeen's letter, it has excited no little surprise with those who pay attention to American affairs, to find the President of the United States, in his late Annual Message to Congress asserting, that the 8th Article of the Treaty was framed in “close conformity” with his own particular views of the right of search, and with the conduct of the United States Minister, lately accredited at the Court of France, who had been notoriously engaged in an attempt to dissuade the French Government from ratifying the Treaty it had entered into with Great Britain, for a reciprocal right of visitation.
The impossibility of the negotiators having framed the Article with any view of the kind, is sufficiently obvious: they had the Earl of Aberdeen's letter before them, and no one will believe that Lord Ashburton would consent to depart from the letter or spirit of it in the smallest particular; neither is there any proof that he did so in the Correspondence or the Treaty. The point is too important to be left without further explanation, respecting which, it is not unlikely, that nobleman will set the public right.
The 8th Article of the Treaty, therefore, simply provides that each Government is to
“Maintain in service, on the coast of Africa, " a sufficient and adequate squadron, or naval “ force of vessels, of suitable numbers and “ description, to carry in all not less than “ eighty guns, to enforce separately and respec“ tively the laws, rights, and obligations of each “ of the two countries for the suppression of " the Slave Trade.”
By reference to the Article, it will be seen that the two Governments are also to instruct their commanding officers to act in concert for the suppression of the trade, and copies of their respective orders are to be communicated by each Government to the other.
When Mr. Lemoinne calls this Article unim