« PreviousContinue »
whole of them. The negotiations after the peace exhibit the whole argument on both sides as to the question of the abrogation of the treaty of 1783 and resulted in the compromise of the convention of 1818. By this all the valuable part of the fishing liberties, even within the exclusive jurisdiction of the British in its strictest sense, is secured to us forever, and that exclusive jurisdiction of itself in the places where we have renounced the liberty is limited to the distance of three marine miles from the shore.
Mr. Pickering's opinion of the remarks is the more gratifying to me for being barbed with reproach, as yours is doubly pleasing by its concurrence with his approbation and by the dissent from his censure.1 I am at some loss to account for the tempest of critical animosity through which my 4th of July address is yet passing, for it is scarcely a month since a new pamphlet was published against it in New York. My vanity takes some consolation in the singularity of the fact that a fourth of July address should be a subject of criticism nine months after it was delivered. . . .
I am, etc.
1 "About ten days ago, I was at the same dinner table with Mr. Pickering (old Timothy) and Mr. Gaillard of the Senate. Mr. G., who knew the enmity borne to you by Mr. P., asked, with a waggish intention, what he thought of your controversy with Mr. Russell. Mr. P. replied with great earnestness: 'Sir, I regard Mr. Russell as a man fairly done over. Mr. Adams will be exalted in the estimation of New England by his Remarks, and ought to be exalted in any part of the world. He has nearly effaced with me the impression of his 4th July oration.' You are aware how much you sinned against the faith of the veteran federalist in the oration." Walsh to John Quincy Adams, June 3, 1822. Ms.
"The controversy between Adams and Russell has been most unwisely provoked by the latter; the triumph seems, in the opinion of every one, to be given to the former. No antecedent document has been more in favor of Mr. Adams' talents, and none will be more useful to him, tho' I do not see that his course is free from great discouragement." Rufus King to Christopher Gore, June 5, 1822. Life and Correspondence of Rufus King, VI. 474.
2 Remarks on the Address, New York, 1822.
TO ROBERT WALSH
WASHINGTON, 8th June, 1822.
Acquiescing entirely in the wish intimated in your favor of the 3rd instant I shall, until Mr. Russell's reply shall appear, consider as altogether confidential the facts communicated to Mr. Brent and me, concerning the manner in which the triplicate with its annotations and various readings obtained access to the National Gazette. Till then also I shall cheerfully wait for the information of the time when you received the copy for publication.
From whatever source the false version in the Aurora to which you allude did proceed, it is false in all its parts and infamously false in its insinuations. No part of the transaction is more base than the use of Mr. Bayard's name, as it has been used in the Aurora and in the Franklin Gazette. Mr. Bayard did not finally come over to the opinion of Mr. Clay and Mr. Russell, either with regard to the proposal for allowing the navigation of the Mississippi, or with regard to the permanency of all our rights and liberties under the treaty of 1783. If Russell dares under his name to assert that he did, you may set it down as an assertion upon a level with that "trust in God" in his duplicate penned in the very act of committing an imposture. The dark innuendo in the Aurora of a case said to have been hypothetically put by Mr. Bayard, of a barter of some advantage in the fur trade for pecuniary influence to promote views upon a high station, seems to me too ridiculous to deserve a denial. That Bayard ever expressed such a sentiment with reference to me I do not believe. But if he or any one else ever did it was utterly without foundation. There is no form in which
language could clothe such a suggestion but I would meet it with a direct denial.
The Aurora and the Franklin Gazette are equally intent in the face of the facts upon fixing exclusively upon me the proposal of the clause offering the navigation of the Mississippi for the fishing liberties. The proposal was not made by me but by Mr. Gallatin. Even the paragraph in our note of 10th November to the British Plenipotentiaries, which asserted the permanency of all the fishing rights and liberties from the peculiar character of the treaty of 1783 and the nature of the rights and liberties themselves, was drawn up not by me but by Mr. Clay.
You have doubtless remarked the effect upon the purport of a very great portion of Mr. Russell's letter produced by the substitution of the words "we could" in the duplicate and Gazette copies, for the words "I can" in the real letter. The real letter pretends to give information concerning the nature and value of the fisheries, the best that he could obtain. He gives it as knowledge of his own, without pretending that it ever had been communicated by him, or that it had ever been known to any other member of the mission at Ghent. The necessary import of the words "we could" is, that the nature and value of the fisheries had been thoroughly discussed by the mission; that we had taken pains to obtain information and that what he gives was the result of our inquiries. It is impossible to read the duplicate or the Gazette copy without receiving from it that impression. Now we neither had nor could obtain any particular information concerning the comparative value of the different portions of the fisheries, nor was their value ever a subject of discussion among us. If he had ever obtained such information as he deals out in his letter, he never imparted it to his colleagues; and if he had, two of them at least, Mr. Gallatin and
myself, would have known that it was misinformation. But
I ask of you to read the enclosed papers with undivided attention, and with particular regard to their chronological 1 See p. 273, infra.
order as connected with the Ghent negotiations and with Mr. Russell's real letter from Paris. The newspaper essay signed "Richelieu" you will see was written in March, 1815, about a month after Russell's letter, and takes precisely the ground which I had taken at Ghent. I know not who was the author of it. Lloyd you will see was afraid of the effect of the British notification of forfeiture. He did not know of our counter notification, nor was it as you know ever made public till brought forth by Dr. Floyd's first call for the residue of the Ghent treaty papers.
The papers in the Franklin Gazette against my remarks consider our fishing rights on the Grand Bank and the open sea as resulting from natural right inseparable from our independence. Had this been the case we should have needed no article in the treaty of 1783 to secure it. But the whole fishery from the Banks of Newfoundland to the extremity of the coast of Labrador is an appropriated fishery, exclusively belonging till our revolution to the British and French nations. It was granted by the British sovereigns like all the territorial rights by their charters, which if Mr. Russell had known he might have saved himself all his profound research into rights by prescription. His doctrine that the king of England might have interdicted the rights of the colonists to the fisheries would not have been sound whig doctrine in 1775. The right was rigorously national, and in all the New England and Nova Soctia charters it was granted with an express reservation of a participation in it to all British Subjects. The Newfoundland fishery had been declared a free and unlicensed fishery by act of parliament as early as the reign of Edward 6th. The king could grant these rights by charter, but he could not take them
In committing to you the enclosed papers I must request