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But this speech only forbodes hostility: the intelligence, which has been received this morning, is, if true, hostility itself. The President of the United States has understood through channels of real confidence, that governour Simcoe has gone to the foot of the rapids of the Miami, followed by three companies of a British regiment, in order to build a fort there.
Permit me then to ask, whether these things be so? It has been usual for each party to a negotiation, to pay such a deference to the pretensions of the other, as.to keep their affairs in the same posture, until the negotiation was concluded. On this principle, you complained, in your letter of the 5th of July, 1792, of the jurisdiction, attempted to be exercised under the state of Vermont, within the districts occupied by the troops of your king; and demanded, that our government should suppress it, from respect to the discussion, which was pending. On this principle, you were assured, that proper measures should be adopted. On the same principle you renew on the 10th of March, 1794, a similar application; and are answered that the measures of the government should correspond with its assurances. Accordingly, although the forts, garrisons and districts, to which your letters relate, are confessedly within the limits of the United States; yet have our citizens been forbidden to interrupt you in the occupancy of them. What return then have we a right to expect.
But you will not suppose, that I put the impropriety of the present aggression upon the pendency of the negotiation. I quote this only to show the contrast between the temper observed on your part towards us and on our part towards you. This possession of our acknowledged territory has no pretext of statu quo on its side; it has no pretext at all: it is an act, the hostility of which cannot be palliated by any connection with that negotiation: it is calculated to support an enemy whom we are seeking to bring to peace.
A late mission of the United States to Great Britain is an unequivocal proof, after all that has happened, of the sincere wish of our government to preserve peace and a good understanding with your nation. But our honour and safety require that an invasion shall be repelled.
Let me therefore inform you, sir, that I have it in charge from the President of the United States to request and urge you to take immediate and effectual measures, as far as in you lies, to suppress these hostile movements; to call to mind that the army of the United States in their march against the enemy will not be able to distinguish between them, and any other people, associated in the war; to compare these encroachments with the candour of our conduct and the doctrines, which you have maintained; and to admonish those, who shall throw obstacles in the way of negotiation and tranquillity, that they will be responsible for all the unhappy consequences. I have the honour to be, &c. EDM. RANDOLPH. Mr. Hammond, Minister Plenipoten- ! tiary of his Britannick Majesty. True copy, GEo. TAylor, JUN.
Philadelphia, May 22, 1794.
SIR,-ln answer to your letter of the 20th current which I did not receive j' late in the afternoon of yesterday, it is necessary for me to premise that, whatever may be my personal opinion with respect to the style and manner in which you have thought it proper to address me upon the present occasion, it is not my intention to offer any animadversion upon them, but to proceed with temper i. candour to the examination of the subjects of your etter.
Though I never can acknowledge the right of this government to require from me, so categorically as you have required it, an explanation of any measure emanating from the governours of Canada, over whose actions I have no ... and for whose conduct I am not responsible, I am willing to admit the authenticity of the speech to certain Indian nations, to which you have alluded, and which you have ascribed to the governour general of his majesty’s possessions in North America. But in order to ascertain the precise sense of the only passage of that speech to wo you have referred, and of which you have given merely a partial citation, I shall quote the passage at length.
“Children—Since my return I find no appearance of a line remains, and from the manner in which the people of the States push on, and act, and talk on this side, and from what I learn of their conduct towards the sea, I shall not be surprised if we are at war with them in the course of the present year; and if so, a line must then be drawn by the warriours." From the context of this whole passage, it is manifest that lord Dorchester was persuaded, that the aggression which might eventually lead to a state of hostility, had proceeded from the United States: and so far as the state of Vermont, to which I presume his lordship principally alluded, was implicated, I am convinced that that persuasion was not ill-founded. For notwithstanding the positive assurances which I received from your predecessor, on the 9th of July, 1792, jn answer to my letter of the 5th of the same month, of the determination of the general government to discourage aud repress the encroachments which the state and individuals of Vermont had committed on the territory occupied by his majesty's garrisons—I assert with confidence that not only those encroachments have never been in any manner repressed, but that recent infringements in that quarter, and on the territory in its vicinity, have been since committed. Indeed if this assertion of mine could require any corroboration, I would remark that though the space of fifty days elapsed between my letter of the 10th of March, 1794, upon this subject, and your answer of the 29th of April, 1794, you did not attempt to deny the facts which I then stated, and which I now explicitly repeat.
In regard to your declaration that "governour Simcoe has gone to the foot of the rapids of the Miami, followed by three companies of a British regiment, in order to build a fort there"—I have no intelligence that such an event has actually occurred. But even admitting your information to be accurate, much will depend on the place, in which you assert that the fort is intended to be erected. And whether it be for the purpose of protecting subjects of his majesty residing in districts dependent on the fort of Detroit, or of preventing that fortress from being straitened by the approach of the American army. To cither of which cases I imagine that the principle of the status qvo, until the final arrangement of the points in discussion between the two countries shall be concluded, will strictly apply. In order however to correct any inaccurate information you may have received, or to avoid any ambiguity relative to this circumstance, I shall immediately transmit copies of your letter, and of this answer as well to the governour general of his majesty's possessions in North America and the governour of Upper Canada, as to his majesty's ministers in England, for their respective information.
Before I conclude this letter, I must be permitted to observe that I have confined to the unrepressed and continued aggressions of the state of Vermont alone, the persuasion of lord Dorchester, that they were indicative of an existing hostile disposition in the United States against Great Britain, and might ultimately produce an actual state of war bu their part. If I had been desirous of recurring to other sourc es of disquietude, I might, from the allusion of his lordship "to the conduct of this government towards the sea," have deduced other motives of apprehension on which, from the solicitude you evince to establish a "contrast between the temper observed on your part towards us and on our part towards you," I might have conceived myself justified in dilating. I might have adverted to the privateers originally fitted out at Charleston at the commencement of the present hostilities, and which were allowed to depart from that port, not only with the consent, but under the express permission of the governour of South Carolina. I might have adverted to the prizes made by those privateers, of which the legality was in some measure admitted by the refusal of this government to restore such as were made antecedently to the 5th of June, 1793. I might have adverted to the permission granted by this government to the commanders of French ships of war and of privateers to dispose of their prizes by sale in ports of the United States. I might have adverted to the two privateers Le Petit Democrat (now la Cornelia) and le Carmagnol, both which were illegally fitted out in the river Delaware, and which in consequence of my remonstrances and of the assurances I received, I concluded would have been dismantled: but which have remained during the whole winter in the port of New York armed, and now are, as I am informed, in a condition to proceed immediately to sea—I might have adverted to the conduct which this government has observed towards the powers combined against France in the enforcement of the embargo: for while the vessels of the former are subjected to the restrictions of that measure, those of the latter have been permitted to depart from Hampton road, though three weeks had elapsed subsequently to the imposition of the embargo, though they were amenable to its operation, and though they were chiefly laden with articles "calculated to support an enemy whom we are seeking to bring to peace"—I might have adverted to the uniformly unfriendly treatment, which his majesty's ships of war and officers in his majesty's service have since the commencement of the present hostilities experienced in the American ports—and lastly, I might have adverted to the unparalleled insult, which has been recently offered at New Port, Rhode Island (not by a lawless collection of the people but) by the governour and council of that state, to the British nag, in the violent measures pursued towards his majesty's sloop of war Nautilus, and in the forcible detention of the officers by whom she was commanded. I have however forborne to expatiate upon these points, because I am not disposed to consider them, as I have before stated, as necessary elucidations of the immediate object of your letter, and much less to urge them in their present form as general topicks of recrimination. I have the honour to be, &c.
Secretary of State.
George Taylor, Jun.
May 23, 1794.
Philadelphia, April 29, 1794.
Sir,—Very soon after the receipt of your letter of the 10th ult. I took more than one opportunity of mentioning to you verbally, that the government of the United States was sincere and constant in its determination to fulfil its assurances, concerning the districts occupied by the British troops, and the acts of violence said to be committed under the authority of the state of Vermont on the persons and property of British subjects, residing under the protection of your garrisons.
I indeed promised to give you an answer in writing at an earlier day than this. But being anxious to obtain particular information from a gentleman who was in town, well acquainted with the plages to which you refer, and