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Upon receiving through you, on the part of the American government, a distinct and official recognition of the three above mentioned conditions, his majesty will lose no time in sending to America a minister fully empowered to consign them to a formal and regular treaty.
As, however, it is possible that the delay which must intervene before the actual conclusion of a treaty may appear to the American government to deprive this ar. rangement of part of its benefits, I am to authorize you, if the American government should be desirous of acting upon the agreement, before it is reduced into a regular form, (either by the immediate repeal of the embargo, and the other acts in question, or by engaging to repeal them on a particular day) to assure the American government of his majesty's readiness to meet such a disposition in the manner best calculated to give it immediate effect.
Upon the receipt here of an official note, containing an engagement for the adoption by the American government of the three conditions above specified, his majesty will be prepared, on the faith of such engagement, either immediately (if the repeal shall have been immediate in America) or on any day specified by the American government for that repeal, reciprocally to recall the orders in council, without waiting for the conclusion of the treaty; and you are authorized, in the circumstances herein described, to make such reciprocal engagement on his majesty's behalf.
I am, &c.
FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. DEC. 16, 1809. AGREEABLY to the request expressed in the resolution of the thirteenth instant, I lay before the House extracts from the correspondence of the minister plenipotentiary of the United States at London.
Brief Account of an unofficial Conversation between Mr.
Canning and Mr. Pinkney, on the 18th of January, 1809, continued on the 22d of the same Month. [Transmitted by Mr. Pinkney to the Secretary of State.
I dined at Mr. Canning's with the corps diplomatique on the 18th January. Before dinner he came up to me, and entering into conversation, adverted to a report which he said had reached him that the American ministers (here and in France) were about to be recalled. I replied, that I was not aware that such a step had been resolved upon. He then took me aside, and observed that, according to his view of the late proceedings of Congress, the resolutions of the House of Representatives, in committee of the whole, appeared to be calculated, if passed into a law, to remove the impediments to arrangement with the United States, on the subjects of the orders in council and the Chesapeake, by taking away the discrimination between Great Britain and France in the exclusion of vessels of war from American ports. He added that it was another favourable circumstance that the nonimportation system, which seemed to be in contemplation, was to be applied equally to both parties, instead of affecting as heretofore Great Britain alone.
I proposed to Mr. Canning, that I should call on him is the course of a day or two for the purpose of a free communication upon what he had suggested. To this be readily assented; and it was setiled that I should see him on the Sunday following the (22d) at 12 o'clock, at his own house.
In the interview of the 22d, Mr. Canning's impressions appeared to be in all respects the same with those which he had mentioned on the 18th; and I said every thing which I thought consistent with candour and discretion to confirm him in his disposition to seek the re-establishment of good understanding with us, and especially to see in the expected act of Congress, (if it should pass) an opening for reconciliation.
It was of some importance to turn their attention here, without loss of time, to the manner of any proceeding that might be in their contemplation. It seemed that the resolutions of the House of Representatives, if enacted into a law, might render it proper, if not indispensable, that the affair of the Chesapeake should be settled at the same time with the business of the orders and embargo, and this I understood to be Mr. Canning's opinion and wish. It followed that the whole matter ought to be settled at Washington, and, as this was moreover desirable on various other grounds, I suggested that it would be well (in case a special mission did not meet their approbation) that the necessary powers should be sent to Mr. Erskine.
In the course of the conversation, Mr. Canning proposed several questions relative to our late proposal: the principal were the two following.
1. In case they should wish either through me or through Mr. Erskine, to meet us upon the basis of our late overture, in what way was the effectual operation of our embargo as to France, &c. after it should be taken off as to Great Britain, to be secured ? It was evident, he said, that if we should do no more than refuse clearances for the ports of France, &c. or prohibit under penalties voyages to such ports, the effect which my letter of the 23d of August, and my published instructions, proposed to have in view, would not be produced; for that vessels, although cleared for British ports, might, when once out, go to France instead of coming here; and this would in fact be so, (whatever the penalties which the American laws might denounce against offenders) could not, he imagined, be doubted; and he therefore presumed that the government of the United States would not, after it had itself declared a commerce with France, &c. illegal, and its citizens, who should engage in it, delinquents, and after having given to Great Britain by compact an interest in the strict observation of the prohibition, complain if the naval force of this country should assist in preventing such a commerce.
2. He asked whether there would be any objection to making the repeal of the British orders and the American embargo contemporaneous ? He seemed to consider this as indispensable. Nothing could be less admissible, he said, than that Great Britain, after rescinding her orders, should for any time, however short, be lest sulject to the embargo in common with France, whose decrees were subsisting, with a view to an experiment upon France, or with any other view. The United States could not upon their own principles apply the embargo to this country one momeni after its orders were removed, or decline after that event to apply it exclusively to France, and the powers connected with her in system.
I took occasion towards the close of our conversation to mention the recent appointment of admiral Berkley to the Lisbon station. Mr. Canning said, that whatever might be their inclination to consult the feelings of the American government on that subject, it was impossible for the admiralty to resist the claim of that officer to be employed (no other objection existing against hiin) after such a lapse of time since his return from Halifax, without bringing him to a court martial. The usage of the navy was in this respect different from that of the army. But I understood Mr. Canning to say that he might still be brought to a court martial; although I did not understand him to say that this would be the case. He said that admiral Berkley, in what he had done, had acted wholly without authority. I did not propose to enter into any discussion upon the subject, and therefore contented myself with speaking of the appointment as unfortunate.
In both of these conversations, Mr. Canning's language and manner were in the highest degree conciliatory.
Extract of a Letter from William Pinkney, Esq. Minister
Plenipotentiary of the United States in London, to the Secretary of State. London, May 28, 1809.
“ In the interview which took place (on May 25) Mr. Canning said, that the British minister had acted in his late negotiation and engagements with you, not only without authority, but in direct opposition to the most precise instructions; that the instructions actually given to him had been founded on his own letters received here in January, in which were set forth the particulars of several conversations that had passed between him and Mr. Madison, Mr. Gallatin and yourself, but especially the two last; that it appeared from these conversations that, in the opinion of the persons with whom they were held, the government of the United States would be willing that Great Britain should consider the measures then contemplated by Congress, relative to non-intercourse, and the indiscriminate exclusion of belligcrent vessels from our waters, as presenting an opening for the renewal of amicable discussions with this country; that it would be disposed, in the case of the Chesapeake, to receive as sufficient reparation, in addition to the prompt disavowal and recall of admiral Berkley, the restoration of the seamen forcibly taken out of that vessel; that, on the subject of the orders in council, it would have no objection in case they were revoked as regarded the United States, to repeal the embargo and non-intercourse laws as to Great Britian, and to continue them as to France and Holland and such other countries as should have in force maritime edicts similar to those of France, so long as those edicts remained; that it would allow it to be understood that the British cruisers might capture American vessels attempting to violate the embargo and non-intercourse laws so modified; that it would even agree to abandon during the present war, all trade with enemies colonies from which we were excluded in peace; that it was prepared to regulate by treaty, the commercial relations of the two countries, upon the basis of the most favoured nation, or upon that of reciprocal equality; and, in a word, that it was extremely desirous of re-establishing the most perfect good understanding and the most friendly connection with Great Britain.
Mr. Canning proceeded to inform me that in consequence of these representations, some parts of which he said I had myself confirmed in two conversations in January, he had framed and transmitted to Mr. Erskine two sets of instructions, dated the 23d of that month, but not forwarded till some time afterwards, the first of which related to the business of the Chesapeake, and the second to the orders in council, and the proposed commercial arrangements. These instructions, together with the passages in Mr. Erskine's letter, written I believe in December last, which contained the above mentioned representations and some other details which I ought not to repeat, Mr. Canning read to me.
“ Although Mr. Canning made me acquainted with Mr. Erskine's instructions, he did not in any degree apprize me of the explanations, transmitted by that minister, of the grounds and motives of his proceedings ; and I could not be sure, from any thing which Mr. Canning had stated to me, that I had been made to understand the exact nature and character of the transaction. I believed, therefore,