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of this attack upon me is of much older existence, and that the first preparation for it was laid in an alteration proposed by Mr. Russell, as he stated at the request of Mr. Clay, to the draft of the joint despatch from the mission of 25th December, 1814, to the Secretary of State. It had been brewing ever since that time. Through the whole affair Mr. Russell has only been ministerial in the part that he has acted. I propose to make this rather better known to the country; but as Mr. Russell is the only person as yet who has pawned his name to this negotiation, it is only with him that I have hitherto been at issue. The collection which I propose to publish will carry back the attention of those who take interest in this concern to the beginning of these transactions, and will show some part of the chain of incidents which have brought the controversy to its present state. The publication of one of the versions of Mr. Russell's letter in the National Gazette of 10th May is a circumstance of so much import in the history of this league that I propose further to notice it in my publication. But as in anything which concerns you I wish to say nothing which might either implicate you or be in any wise other than would be agreeable to you, I now inclose a copy of what I am disposed to insert if agreeable to you. It was not my intention in my late rejoinder, as it is called, to intimate that your editorial article was written by Mr. Russell, but that it was written upon representations made to you by him personally, or through a common friend. The extract from the cancelled instructions of 15th April, 1813, for instance, which was published in the editorial article I know could have come only from him, and the paragraphs disavowing hostility to me, referring to the passages in the letter professing respect for the majority and justifying the writing of the letter as an ordinary and usual exposition of the views of the
minority, I could not but consider as having been suggested to you by or from Mr. Russell himself. Upon those representations it was not surprising to me that you entertained the opinions expressed in the editorial article. But on his part what could possibly be the motive for publishing his letter in the National Gazette, unless it were that of forestalling the public opinion before I could be heard, and the editorial article, although not expressly acquitting me of dishonorable purposes, did very distinctly approve of the principles of Mr. Russell's letter in relation to the proceedings at Ghent. Now as to the mere personal part of the controversy I tell you in the sincerity of my heart that I am much more ashamed than proud of my victory over him. And every time that I hear, as I do, his conduct styled a Yankee trick, I feel more mortification than I can ever take pleasure in his disgrace. But he did get the start of me as to the principles discussed in his letter, and your editorial article largely contributed in this respect to his success. Now his principles were good for nothing. Not one of them, to use an elegant phrase of the Richmond Enquirer, will hold water a whit more than his excuse for falsifying his own letter. My publication will contain my argument upon the right to the fishing liberties, upon their value, upon the nothingness of value to the British of the proffered right to navigate the Mississippi, and upon the abrogation of treaties by war. But for you there will be nothing new in it, for I have already written to you all the substance of it. I have desired you, if you retained your first impressions on these points, not to support them in your Gazette until you shall have heard all I have to say against them. After the publication of my pamphlet, if you still retain them, I shall no longer request you to refrain from discussing them as you shall think proper. In that case I presume you will have no
objection to my republishing the whole of your editorial article of 10th May, as I propose from the enclosed paper. If you have any objection to its republication, or to any part of the enclosed paper, I will withhold or modify it in any manner that may be agreeable to you. All that I consider indispensable is the notice of the publication of the letter in the Gazette, and of its variations from the original with special reference to the cancelled instructions.
In some parts of the western country the purposes for which this affair was got up in Congress are pursued as if they had not been detected. The St. Louis Enquirer for example publishes the President's message to the House of 7th May and Russell's private letter and suppresses the duplicate and the remarks. This is a procedure which Jonathan would call unilateral.
Let me have an answer as soon as convenient to this letter. In the meantime I remain faithfully yours.
TO RUFUS KING
WASHINGTON, 15 August, 1822.
I enclose herewith a copy of the British act of Parliament opening the British ports in America and the West Indies to our vessels and a draft which I have prepared for a proclamation of the President under the act of Congress of 4 May last. You will see the minute endorsed on the draft of the proclamation by the President, and I ask the favor of your opinion with regard to the propriety of the restriction which you will observe is reciprocal to that in the third section of the British act.
There is another question upon which I wish for your opinion the more as I think the act of 6 May last was drawn and matured by you. The authority of the President to issue his proclamation opening the ports of the United States to British vessels is to be exercised on satisfactory evidence being given to him that the ports in the islands or colonies in the West Indies under the dominion of Great Britain have been opened to the vessels of the United States, and is to operate in favor of British vessels employed in the trade and intercourse between the United States and such islands or colonies. There seems by the words of the act to be a limitation to the trade with the islands and colonies in the West Indies.
The British act opens certain ports not only in the West Indies but in North America to the vessels of the United States. Was it not the intention of the act of Congress of 6 May last to authorize the President to proceed pari passu with the British government in opening the ports and of course to open our ports to British vessels coming from Quebec, Halifax, St. Johns, and St. Andrews, in New Brunswick, and St. Johns, Newfoundland, as well as to those coming from ports in the West Indies? I have so presumed and have drafted the proclamation accordingly.
It is proper to apprise you that during the passage of the British act through the House of Commons, a formidable opposition appearing against it, one of the arguments used against its passage was that it would not be met by a corresponding measure on the part of the United States. Mr. Robinson the President of the Board of Trade in consequence of this had an interview with Mr. Rush in which the latter, though declaring that he had received no recent instructions from us on the subject, expressed his entire belief that in the event of the passage of the act correspond
ing measures of a co-extensive liberality would be immediately adopted on our part.
If the restriction in the draft of the proclamation of importations in British vessels to articles of the growth, produce or manufacture of the island or colony from which the vessel shall directly come be too narrow, would it be expedient to insert in its stead a restriction to articles of the growth, produce and manufacture of the British colonies in the West Indies for vessels coming from the West Indies and to articles of the growth, produce or manufacture of the British colonies in North America for vessels coming from North American ports? 1
I beg your answer as soon as may suit your convenience and remain with great respect, dear Sir, very faithfully
P. S. I enclose also a letter from Colonel Aspinwall relating to the British act. I have to request the return of all these
TO HENRY ALEXANDER SCAMMELL DEARBORN
WASHINGTON, 19th August, 1822.
I have received your friendly letter of the 13th instant and am much gratified to be informed that the course which I have pursued in my own defence and that of my colleagues against the denunciation of Mr. Russell has met your approbation. It has been on my part the discharge of a very painful duty from which I thought it impossible for me to
1 The proclamation, dated August 24, 1822, is in Messages and Papers of the Presidents, II. 184.