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against it. These objections were all speculative and were contradicted by all former experience. But after the proposal had been made and rejected distinctly on the ground that it offered substantially nothing, I certainly did not dream that a member of the mission would dare to represent it as intended to give free and unlimited access to British traders and smugglers, and as holding a scourge over the unoffending citizens of the west. The objections to allowing a right of navigating the Mississippi thus limited seem to me a mere mystification. It is the mere right of travelling a highway. By the treaties of Vienna in 1815 the right of navigating all the rivers of Germany is stipulated for all mankind. The people of the United States enjoy it as much as the people of Würtemberg and Bavaria. What should you think if Hardenberg, who was one of the signers of these treaties, should now come out with a manifesto against Metternich, who also signed them, for having opened a Pandora's box of democracy in Germany by stipulating the right of navigating the German rivers to the Republicans of the United States?

Persecution makes a man an egotist in spite of himself and egotism always ends by making itself tedious. I say no more for the present, but I do not promise that I shall write to you upon this subject no more. What I have written is only for your personal information and to obtain that of the time when you received the copy published in the National Gazette on the 10th.

I remain, etc.




WASHINGTON, 3 June, 1822.

It was from you that I received the first intimation of the subfluvial torpedo which was from the turbid bottom of the Mississippi to blow me up. But I had no suspicion then that Mr. Jonathan Russell had volunteered to be chief engineer for the explosion. If that ingenious person should suffer a little by the operation of his own machine, he must seek an equivalent for it wherever it may be found.

The only proper question in this case affecting the character of the majority of the Ghent mission is not what was the comparative value of the Mississippi navigation and the fisheries, but what their instructions authorized and required them to do. And so conscious was the letter writer of this that when he came to bring forth his duplicate, he found it necessary to put a second charge into the gun and to accuse his colleagues of direct violation of instructions. To which and with admirable address he cites an instruction which had been revoked and cancelled.

But suppose the question were of the comparative value of the two things. You say that much may be said on both sides. Certainly, much of truth on one side and much of imagination on the other. For set your prejudices aside, take our proposition as it was made, limited and restricted as it was, and I defy you to specify any value of which it could be to Great Britain and any injury that it could be to us. And so sensible of this too is the letter writer that from the very nullity of its value as it stood he takes ground to argue that we must be presumed to have intended to yield more than the article did in itself purport. And then giving

the range to his imagination, he makes a bear of a bush and charges his colleagues with having let the wild beast loose, and set him upon the unoffending people of the west. It was from necessity and not from choice that he resorted to this expedient. Of the real proposition he could have made nothing to excite suspicion or odium against his colleagues. He then treated their proposition as he now treats his own letter.

The truth is that our proposition was made to meet the British demand, and I venture to say there was not one member of the mission but was convinced the British government would immediately reject it. From the time that they gave up the claim to territory on the Mississippi they had no interest in the right to navigate the river. Of what possible use could it be to them clogged with the payment of duties upon the merchandise to be floated down upon it? Their only object was to try to get something for renouncing it. They rejected our proposal, because it offered them nothing and they plainly told us so. Since the peace they have given up all pretension to it for nothing.

I say therefore there was neither value to them nor inconvenience to us in the proposal that we made of allowing them to navigate the Mississippi. In our enjoyment of the right of fishing within their jurisdiction and curing fish upon their shores there was both value to us and inconvenience to them. The exclusion of our fishermen from competition with theirs would have been a double advantage to them. And from the indefinite manner in which they had notified the pretended forfeiture, and from the warning to our fishermen after the peace not to approach within sixty miles of the shores, I have no doubt their intention was to exclude us from the whole fishery. I ask you not to measure the value of this fishery to the nation either by the amount of

tonnage employed in it, or by the proportional profits that it yields to those who engage in it. No congressional document, no office-patched up tables of registered tons, fish quintals, bushels of salt, and dollars and cents, can give the measure of value which a North American patriot should set upon this fishery. It is in the first place the very best nursery of seamen in the world. It breeds a race of men enured to every hardship to whom danger and death are playthings, and who are content to sport with them for profits seldom exceeding a scanty subsistence. A race of men of whom while it may be emphatically said

Their march is on the mountain wave,
Their home is on the deep,

it must with equal truth be added that there breathe not throughout all the classes of our citizens men more devotedly attached to their country, men with hearts stouter to defend or warmer to bleed in her cause. I name Commodore Samuel Tucker,' to whom in the last stage of life Congress have lately granted a pension for services surpassed by none in the Revolutionary war, as one of that race of men and as a fair sample of them all. Now in the valuation of that interest which is to this race of men the breath of life, I cannot allow it to be estimated in dollars and cents, or consider it merely in the light of their separate and private interest. Mr. Russell's frosty panegyric upon them in his duplicate is as far from doing them justice, as that principle of spurious republicanism with which it concludes, that the interests of the few must be sacrificed to those of the many.2 The just and lawful interests of none are to be sacrificed to those of the many. The interests of each and every one are

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to be maintained and supported by the power of all. And if in cases of necessity they must sometimes be abandoned, it is not because the interests of the many must be preferred to them, but because they cannot all be maintained. But the interest of the fishermen in the fisheries is the smallest, incomparably the smallest part of their value. The interest of each fisherman is but the value of the fish he can catch and cure. The interest in the fisheries is all national, all belonging to the whole community, and most severely would the nation have felt it if they had been surrendered. You have seen in my remarks that the proposed article, or rather clause of an article, for restipulating the fisheries and the Mississippi navigation was not offered by me. It was offered by Mr. Gallatin. I assented to it with reluctance, not because I believed there was anything objectionable in it, but because it was objected to by Mr. Clay and might be unacceptable to the western country. My principle was that the fishing liberties were not forfeited by the war, and I was content to rest their defence upon the formal notification to the British government that we held and should adhere to this principle. But it is not a little remarkable that even the paragraph in which we did first assert this principle in our correspondence with the British plenipotentiaries was drawn up not by me but by Mr. Clay. He certainly did not tell us that he meant to word it in such a manner as would leave him afterwards at liberty individually to disavow it. I should have expressed it in a different manner, for I did surely believe and do still believe it sound. I accepted it however in the words of Mr. Clay and it effectually answered my purpose. It gave notice to the British government that we had not surrendered any part of the fishing rights or liberties, and that without any new stipulation we should still after the peace maintain our right to the

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