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Russian-American Company were fixed at the 55th degree of latitude, and that in assuming now the latitude of 51 a new pretension is asserted, to which no settlement made since the year 1799 has given the color of a sanction.
This pretension is to be considered, not only with reference to the question of territorial rights, but also to that prohibition to the vessels of other nations, including those of the United States, to approach within one hundred Italian miles of the coasts. From the period of the existence of the United States as an independent nation, their vessels have freely navigated those seas, and the right to navigate them is a part of that independence.
With regard to the suggestion that the Russian government might have justified the exercise of sovereignty over the Pacific Ocean as a close sea, because it claims territory both on the American and Asiatic shores, it may suffice to say that the distance from shore to shore on this sea in latitude 51 north is not less than ninety degrees of longitude, or 4000 miles.
As little can the United States accede to the justice of the reason assigned for the prohibition above-mentioned. The right of the citizens of the United States to hold commerce with the aboriginal nations of the northwest coast of America, without the territorial jurisdiction of other nations, even in arms and ammunitions of war, is as clear and indisputable as that of navigating the seas. That right has never been exercised in a spirit unfriendly to Russia, and although general complaints have occasionally been made on the subject of this commerce by some of your predecessors, no specific ground of charge has ever been alleged by them of any transaction in which the United States were, by the ordinary laws and usages of nations, bound either to restrain or to punish. Had any such charge been made, it would
have received the most pointed attention of this government, with the sincerest and firmest disposition, to perform every act and obligation of justice to yours, which could have been required. I am commanded by the President of the United States to assure you that this disposition will continue to be entertained, together with the earnest desire that the most harmonious relations between the two countries may be preserved.
Relying upon the assurance in your note of similar dispositions reciprocally entertained by his Imperial Majesty towards the United States, the President is persuaded that the citizens of this Union will remain unmolested in the prosecution of their lawful commerce, and that no effect will be given to an interdiction manifestly incompatible with their rights.
I am happy to renew, etc.
TO DON JOAQUIN DE ANDUAGA 1
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
WASHINGTON, 6 April, 1822.
Your letter of the 9th of March 2 was immediately after I had the honor of receiving it laid before the President of the
1 Printed in American State Papers, Foreign Relations, V. 380.
2 On January 22, 1822, the House of Representatives requested the President to lay before it such communications as it might have from the agents of the United States in the revolting states, or from the agents of those states in the United States, showing the political conditions of those governments, and the state of war between them and Spain. The President replied by a message, March 8, stating "that it merits the most profound consideration whether their right to the rank of independent nations . . . is not complete." Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II. 116. On seeing the message in the National Intelligencer, Anduaga prepared a
United States, by whom it has been deliberately considered, and by whose direction I am replying to it, to assure you of the earnestness and sincerity with which the government desires to entertain and to cultivate the most friendly relations with that of Spain.
This disposition has been manifested, not only by the uniform course of the United States in their direct political and commercial intercourse with Spain, but by the friendly interest which they have felt in the welfare of the Spanish nation, and by the cordial sympathy with which they have witnessed their spirit and energy, exerted in maintaining their independence of all foreign control, and their right of self-government.
In every question relating to the independence of a nation two principles are involved, one of right, and the other of fact; the former depending upon the determination of the nation itself, and the latter resulting from the successful execution of that determination. This right has been recently exercised as well by the Spanish nation in Europe, as by several of those countries in the American hemisphere, which had for two or three centuries been connected as colonies with Spain. In the conflicts which have attended these revolutions, the United States have carefully abstained from taking any part, respecting the right of the nations conprotest dated March 9, which is printed in American State Papers, V. 379. Stratford Canning wrote to Planta, April 3: “Government and citizens, one and all, are very proud of the pending measure for acknowledging the independence of South America, though it is quite clear that they are not disposed to incur any real risk for the sake of this favorite object. Adams confessed to me that he regarded Spain as a man under the pressure of a nightmare, longing to raise his arm, but unable to stir a muscle. I had previously accosted him by saying, 'So, Mr. Adams, you are going to make honest men of them?' 'Yes, Sir,' was his answer; 'we proposed to your Government to join us some time ago, but they would not, and now we shall see whether you will be content to follow us.' This was a cut in his old style." Lane-Poole, Life of Stratford Canning, I. 309.
cerned in them to maintain or new organize their own political constitutions, and observing, whereon it was a contest by arms, the most impartial neutrality. But the civil war, in which Spain was for some years involved with the inhabitants of her colonies in America, has in substance ceased to exist. Treaties equivalent to an acknowledgment of independence have been concluded by the commanders and viceroys of Spain herself, with the Republic of Colombia, with Mexico, and with Peru; while in the provinces of LaPlata and in Chile, no Spanish force has for several years existed, to dispute the independence which the inhabitants of those countries had declared [and which has already been formally recognized by their immediate neighbor and ally of Spain, the king of Portugal]. 1
Under these circumstances the government of the United States far from consulting the dictates of a policy questionable in its morality, has yielded to an obligation of duty of the highest order, by recognizing as independent states, nations, which after deliberately asserting their right to that character, have maintained and established it against all the resistance which had been or could be brought to oppose it. This recognition is neither intended to invalidate any right of Spain, nor to affect the employment of any means which she may yet be disposed or enabled to use, with the view of reuniting those provinces to the rest of her dominions. It is the mere acknowledgment of existing facts, with the view to the regular establishment with the nations newly formed of those relations, political and commercial, which it is the moral obligation of civilized and Christian nations to entertain reciprocally with one another.
It will not be necessary to discuss with you a detail of facts, upon which your information appears to be materially 1 The phrase in brackets was struck out.
different from that which has been communicated to this government, and is of public notoriety; nor the propriety of the denominations which you have attributed to the inhabitants of the South American provinces. It is not doubted that other and more correct views of the whole subject will very shortly be taken by your government, and that it, as well as the other European governments, show that deference to the example of the United States, which you urge it as the duty or the policy of the United States to show to theirs. The effect of the example of one independent nation upon the councils and measures of another, can be just only so far as it is voluntary; and as the United States desire that their example should be followed, so it is their intention to follow that of others upon no other principle. They confidently rely that the time is at hand when all the governments of Europe friendly to Spain, and Spain herself, will not only concur in the acknowledgment of the independence of the American nations, but in the sentiment that nothing will tend more effectually to the welfare and happiness of Spain than the universal concurrence in that recognition.
I pray you, etc.
TO DON JOAQUIN DE ANDUAGA
DEPARTMENT OF STATE, WASHINGTON, 15 April, 1822.
In the letters which I had the honor of writing you on the 2d of November and 31st of December last,' you were informed that a definitive answer to the complaints against
1 Printed in American State Papers, Foreign Relations, IV. 791.