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area of dispute, moreover, had been pushed back and our territory was much more self-sufficing than it had been. We had secured the outlet of our greatest river, and we actually possessed the mouths of nearly all those flowing from our territory into the Gulf of Mexico. The great western expanse of the Louisiana Purchase assured us that the Mississippi was destined to become what a river should be, a magnet to unite and not a boundary to divide. Had we rested where we were in 1815 our destiny as a great nation would have been certain; but we were already pushing our claims across the mountains to the Pacific, and it required no great prophetic power to foresee that our forty-five degrees of longitude would irresistibly grasp the almost uninhabited ten degrees of the Pacific slope.
Our commerce for years had been abnormal, and was for the moment almost swept from the seas; international law had been so strained and broken by twenty
Commerce and years of ceaseless strife that one might have international feared that two centuries of development in the regulation of international relationships would be lost and anarchy return. A world-wide readjustment must follow the overthrow of Napoleon, and we must share in it. Fortunately, we were increasingly producing things that other nations needed, besides affording a growing market for their products. Fortunately, too, we entered into the new era of negotiation free from entangling agreements, and with a remarkably consistent record of action in the past from which we could develop policies for the future.
COMMERCE AND BOUNDARIES
The period from the treaty of Ghent to the inauguration of Jackson is notable for the continuity and the brilliancy of The diplomat
our diplomatic service. In 1817 Monroe, havic service
ing been secretary of state, became President. Unsuccessful in all his early diplomatic undertakings except the purchase of Louisiana, which was in no wise due to him, he had nevertheless an experience dating back to 1793, and he showed improvement.
But, although the responsibility was Monroe's, the burden fortunately fell on John Quincy Adams. As a boy Adams had Characteristics known the diplomatic circles of Paris and St.
Petersburg. From 1795 to 1801 he had conducted negotiations with England, Holland, Prussia, and Sweden. At the close of his work at Ghent, he became minister to Great Britain, to return home in 1817 as secretary of state, an office which he retained until his elevation to the presidency in 1825. Although perhaps not intended by nature for a career in diplomacy, by intellect and industry he forced himself ahead of all his contemporaries and made fundamental contributions to American diplomacy on a par with those of Franklin, Washington, his father John Adams, and Hay. Unprofitably obstinate and exacting, and without personal charm, he had a more comprehensive view of our national future than any of his associates, a view somewhat obscured in later life, it is true, when his emotions were stirred by his opposition to slavery and his imagination by his fear of the slavocracy. His chief opponent 1 Monroe, Writings, 7 vols, N. Y., 1898–1903.
was George Canning, after 1822 foreign minister of Great Britain. Both players of consummate ability, Adams showed perhaps more genius, Canning more
Canning adaptability. If neither definitely triumphed over the other, at least neither lost tricks; each won when he held the cards.1
Of subordinates, Gallatin gained golden opinions during his mission to France from 1816 to 1823, and served as minister to England in 1826 and 1827. Clay,
Gallatin as Adams remarks, had been much influenced by his residence abroad on the peace commission. With his ready adaptability he had added a polish of manner to his natural magnetism, and had acquired interest
Clay in foreign affairs and a broad, if somewhat superficial, knowledge of them. Disappointed at not receiving the state department in 1817, he was for years a thorn in the side of the administration; but during his service as secretary of state, from 1825 to 1829, he was a sympathetic coadjutor of Adams. Richard Rush and Rufus King, ministers to England
Rush and King from 1817 to 1825, were highly competent representatives of the country. In general, indeed, the service had begun to attract men of a high class, and the administration was willing to employ them.
This condition was both a cause and a result of the higher standing which the United States had taken in the world's estimation. Perhaps no one thing had con Enhanced tributed more to this added prestige than the prestige glorious, though apparently futile, record of our navy in the war. Not since the French Revolution beheaded the naval officers of the old régime had the British found rivals able to stand before them on any basis approaching equality. The
IJ. Q. Adams, Memoirs, 12 vols., Phila., 1874–77. H. W. V. Temperley, Life of Canning, London, 1905.
2 Gallatin, Writings, 3 vols., Phila., 1879.
* Richard Rush, Memoranda of a Residence at the Court of London, Philadelphia, 1833; C. R. King, Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, 6 vols.
successful naval duels fought by the Constitution, the Wasp, and the United States, to say nothing of the battles on the lakes, amazed Europe. England sought to minimize this impression by pointing to inequalities in the strength of the vessels, and by claiming the crews as renegade Englishmen; but she failed to shake their effect. The potential strength of the American navy, and the actual strength of the merchant marine on which it rested, gained us a hearing at every court."
The problems that engaged the attention of the government during this period were less vital than those which Decline of
occupied our diplomacy before 1815, and conseCommerce
quently attracted less public interest. To a large degree our long-sought isolation had been attained. The European situation was also less absorbing, and our growth had rendered us less malleable to European intrigues. Moreover, Jefferson's restrictive policy had hastened the same natural process here which Napoleon's continental system had brought about in Europe. Manufacturing had developed. We were less dependent upon foreign imports, and our own markets consumed a greater proportion of our agricultural products. We were approaching more nearly to an economic equilibrium, and commerce was not so important to us as it had been. Our diplomacy was less interesting and less vital, and it was conducted under less pressure.
The treaty of Ghent had so rigidly excluded contentious matters that many subjects were left to the future. This Continuation was on the whole to the advantage of the of negotiation United States. In fact, the statesmen of the Britain
rising generation, conscious of our steadily growing power and not confronted by the pressing necessity of the Confederation and early constitutional periods, were usually ready to let issues drag, confidently believing that
*C. F. Adams, "Wednesday, August 19, 1812, 6:30 P. M. the Birth of a World Power,” Amer. Hist. Review, 1913, xviii. 513-521.
time was working with them. The settlement of many of these problems, however, was not long delayed; for the treaty proved to be not the end of agreement, but merely the first step toward it.
In 1817 Bagot, the British minister at Washington, and Richard Rush, the acting secretary of state, exchanged. notes dealing with the navigation of the Great Use of the Lakes. This simple arrangement provided for
lakes the maintenance of small and equal armed forces by the two powers. Although revocable at six months' notice, it has, adjusted to meet the changing conditions of ship-construction and revenue patrol, lasted to the present time."
A disagreement arose over the interpretation of the treaty of Ghent. The Americans claimed that its provision for the return of property of all kinds included slaves, Indemnity for many of whom had been taken on board by British war vessels in the Chesapeake and elsewhere; Great Britain, on the contrary, maintained that they ceased to be slaves on entering a British war vessel and so could not be returned. By a convention of 1818 this question was submitted to a true arbitration by the emperor of Russia, who decided that we could claim indemnification but not restitution. In accordance with this decision, a new claims convention was framed in 1822, by which we ultimately received nearly a million and a quarter dollars in compensation. The demand for the restitution of slaves taken at the close of the Revolution was not pressed.
A more disturbing question was that of the status of previous agreements between the two nations. The effect of a war upon earlier treaties is a subject which Effect of war had not then, and indeed has not yet, been
on treaties reduced to rule. The courts of this country and of others have continued to enforce provisions respecting individual rights established under earlier treaties, though this does not
1 J. M. Callahan, Agreement of 1817; Reduction of Naval Forces upon the American Lakes, Amer. Hist. Assoc., Report, 1895, pp. 369–392.